This startling fact was posted by Beth Bye, a long-term Connecticut state senator and current head of the Connecticut State Office of Early Childhood. The statistic was determined by a highly credentialed research organization.Preventing 10,000 deaths means that 10,000 mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons, and daughters are with their families who, otherwise, would not be, due solely to the effectiveness of social isolation. We, here in Connecticut, learn each day of one more death of someone we know, one more loss. The news of those deaths pains us, and the losses overwhelms us. It seems that 10,000 more deaths would be more than any of us could handle.We can prevent illness and death if we each commit to continue social distancing when, to aid the economy, the states lessen restrictions on social distancing although the virus will be still with us. At that time it will be up to us, as individuals, to decide how we will go about our lives. By not inviting people into our homes, by not gathering with friends in their homes, by not meeting up with others in churches, synagogues, and mosques, by not permitting our children to play with other children, by not going to a crowded neighborhood pool or beach, by not getting a much-needed haircut, by not going to a restaurant or bar, by not going to the gym, and by not traveling on planes, trains, and buses, we can save someone’s son, save someone’s daughter, save someone’s sister, save someone’s brother, save someone’s mother, and save someone’s father.We can save ourselves.We ARE all in this together. Stay safe. Keep others safe.
In my most recent post entitled There Are Two Words For It: Stupid and Dangerous, if your email did not contain the video mentioned in the post, click on the title of the post, and in a minute or less, the video will appear. It is worth watching.
I can’t remember when I have used the word “stupid”. Using it in the title of a post indicates how truly awful I find the decision of the Governor of Georgia.
We teach our high school students when they write an essay in their English class to present clear evidence for their position and to reach a conclusion that is well-founded and offers a logical plan of action.
The Governor of Georgia clearly is not demonstrating the good thinking of high school students. If he wrote his plan in an essay, the essay would earn an F.
Watch this video of Dr. Karla Lorraine who is so dismayed that Governor Kemp has reached the conclusion, with absolutely no evidence, that the people of Georgia no longer need to maintain any social distancing and can gather together in gyms, massage parlors, movie theaters, bowling alleys, restaurants, and on beaches.
Governor Kemp is “liberating” Georgia. He is in sync with Donald Trump who contradicted the social distancing policy of his own administration and urged Michigan, Minnesota, and Virginia to “liberate” themselves and similarly open up their states.
Dr. Lorraine knows too well what will result from Governor Kemp’s plan and from Donald Trump’s advocacy to “liberate” states from social distancing: illness and death.
As we English teachers read great literature with our high school students, the question of what makes someone a hero frequently occurs. We question together what qualities in a person cause us to be inspired by her or him. We discuss what uplifts us about human beings and what we want to emulate in the actions of others. In every discussion about what is heroic, students bring up the idea of a hero having an individual conscience and doing what the person thinks is right, regardless of the personal consequences.
Recently, Captain Brett Crozier, the captain of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, was fired from the United States Navy for doing just that. He reported that 100 men on the aircraft carrier tested positive for the COVID19, and, to save the lives of the crew, the aircraft carrier needed to dock. He was fired for that action. However, the great grandson of Theodore Roosevelt, for whom the aircraft carrier is named, not only supports what Captain Crozier did but also wrote that his great grandfather did the same thing. The sailors onboard the aircraft carrier were grateful to Captain Crozier for his lifesaving action and cheered for him as he disembarked the carrier. The crew sees their captain as a hero.
Future high school students will bring in the example of Captain Crozier as they analyze the motivations and actions of Harper Lee’s Atticus Finch, Arthur Miller’s John Proctor, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and Toni Morrison’s Sethe. They will also bring in examples from the current President and his cabinet who condemn Captain Crozier’s motivation and actions. Those students will, without doubt, analyze the current administration as being totally bereft of real leadership and not possessing any shred of a moral center.
The nature of tragedy in our national life is monumentally expanded by the current President. To our devastating peril and our national shame.
The 7th grade field trip at The Connecticut Science Center was over. The bus arrived to bring the class back to their school. The kids were lined up to board the bus. Two boys, Mike and Pete, broke out of the line and, bumping into each other, ran to the back of the bus. When they arrived there, they began to argue.
Mike: Pete, it’s my turn to sit in the back seat of the bus. You had the back seat on the last field trip.
Pete: Tough luck, Misfit Mikey. You don’t get a turn because you’re a fat slob, dumb as they come, and nobody, nobody at all, likes you.
Mike stood up to push Pete out of the way.
Pete: You touch me, Misfit Mikey, and, when we get off the bus, me and my three friends will get you on the walk home. We’ll make you wish you’d never talked to me
Mr. Smith, their teacher, ran down the aisle of the bus and separated the two boys and began to talk to them.
Mr. Smith: I don’t care whose turn it is to sit in the back of the bus. There’s something more important going on here. Pete, you’ve lost your chance for the seat. What’s important here is how you are treating someone else in the class. Calling someone names is always wrong. And it’s always wrong to threaten people because they don’t agree with you. Who would do that? What kind of a grown-up will you be if you call people names and bully them?
Pete: Who could I be, Mr. Smith? Well, I could be the President of the United States of America, that’s who. He does that. I saw two of his tweets the other day.
One tweet said: Our case against lyin’, cheatin’, liddle’ Adam “Shifty” Schiff, Cryin’ Chuck Schumer, Nervous Nancy Pelosi, their leader, dumb as a rock AOC, & the entire Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrat Party, starts today at 10:00.
The other tweet said: Shifty Adam Schiff is a CORRUPT POLITICIAN, and probably a very sick man. He has not paid the price, yet, for what he has done to our Country!
If the President of the United States can insult people in Congress and bully the one he’s the most angry at, then why can’t I?
It must OK, Mr. Smith, or people wouldn’t let him be President. Right, Mr. Smith? But what do you know, Mr. Smith? You’re a terrible, hideous teacher and everyone hates you and you dress like a dork and you can’t even run fast down the aisle of this stupid bus.
As the song says “Teach your children well….and feed them on your dreams.” Our children become what they see. Our children become what we dream for them.
We must dream kindness for them. We must dream decency for them, We must dream maturity for them. We must dream a President other than Donald Trump for them.
Today, let’s each of us call the office of one Republican senator and ask the question: “Why would an innocent man and you as a jurist interested in the truth not want all the evidence out and all the witnesses to testify? Wouldn’t you if you were innocent?”
For millions of mothers to ask that question now of senators will save our republic from shame and disgrace and could even save the republic itself. It can allow us to prove that we still have a government with three equal branches and that the U.S. Constitution is still the foundation of that government.
We bring up our children to tell the truth, to know right from wrong, to admit it when they have done something wrong, and to face the consequences of their actions.
We can’t hold up as role model for our children a President of the United States who doesn’t tell the truth and has made 16,241 false or misleading claims (what we moms call lies) in his first three years in office, who bribes a leader of another country with money appropriated by Congress for his own person gain and thinks it “perfect”, who has absolutely no sense of right and wrong, and who will destroy any institution in our society, such as the Justice Department, the intelligence agencies and the free press, instead of admitting he is wrong and taking the consequences.
We can’t hold up as role models for our children senators who turn a blind eye to all of this because they condone what we tell our children in wrong.
Call a Republican senator today and insist that the senator act in the way we can hold up to our children as honorable. Leave a message asking the senator to vote to call witnesses and admit documents to the impeachment hearing so that we have a fair trial, so that our government functions as the Founding Fathers intended, and so that our government functions as we tell our children is right and good.
We hear so often, including from the new Connecticut Commissioner of Education, that the most important goal for K-12 education is to close the achievement gap. Well, what if it isn’t? What if that goal to have students affected by poverty and racism achieve standardized test scores as high as students of privilege is not only an impossible goal, because standardized test scores are correlated with family income, but one that is damaging to all K-12 students in this country?
Equating achievement with high standardized test scores does a terrible injustice to all of our children. What if we gave up on closing the achievement gap and gave up on standardized testing? What then could our schools look like?
A picture of what those elementary, middle, and high schools could look like is provided by James Hatch, a first year student at Yale who is a 52 years old retired Navy SEAL, covered with tattoos and accompanied by a service dog. Read his story here.
James Hatch began his college education afraid of the academic competition from his classmates but left that behind when he became engaged in shared inquiry with a broad range of learners and was encouraged by a professor to recognize his own good mind and not see himself in competition with other students. He developed an appreciation for the diversity of experiences that the other students brought to class discussions and valued their questions and their passion. Through both the subject matter of his classes and interactions with his classmates, he began to think in new ways and see the world differently. He determined his life’s goal – to lead by building bridges between those who are different. He was transformed by his education.
From my experience as a teacher and an administrator in elementary, middle, and high schools, I know that we can offer that kind of education to all of our students. In grades kindergarten through grade 12, students can be taught to learn in collaboration with others so that they see that there is more than one perspective or one interpretation. They can be taught to question rather than merely to answer so that they become deep and innovative thinkers. They can see themselves as learners and thinkers because that is what their teachers encourage them to be. They can develop skills that lead them to believe in themselves. They can fall in love with learning. They can be transformed.
But none of that will happen if the students’ learning is measured by standardized tests. And none of this will happen if closing the achievement gap is the national goal.
In my post entitled “The Cost Of The Dalio Deal Is Too High”, I did not write the correct figure for the amount of the Dalio Foundation donation and the amount of taxpayer funding. The correct amount for each is one hundred million dollars.
Here is the blog post with the correct figures:
https://reallearningct.com/2019/10/03/the-cost-of-the-dalio-deal-was-too-high/ via @reallearningct
A Hartford Courant editorial (Sunday, July 14, 2019) strongly criticized the stipulation that the Dalio Foundation put on its offer to Connecticut public schools. The Dalio Foundation has committed 100 million dollars to Connecticut public education if we taxpayers also contribute 100 million AND agree to not being given any information about how the decisions will be made about how our 100 million will be spent. That is not a deal that we, as taxpayers, should take. It is giving our blank check to the billionaire Dalios. The Hartford Courant rightly points out that we, as taxpayers, have the right to know how 100 million of our tax dollars is being spent or we should not give the 100 million. Our money can be misspent and do damage to our children. We have an obligation to our children to demand information about how decisions will be made about how the money is to be spent.
We have to wonder why the deal rests on exempting the Dalio and state partnership from Freedom of Information regulations and agreeing to no transparency and no accountability. As appealing as money always is, Governor Lamont should say NO to such a deal. We don’t want Connecticut to repeat the mistakes that Newark made with the Zuckerberg money.
Also true and even scarier:
We, as taxpayers, give the same kind of blank check to charter schools. Charter schools take taxpayer funds and refuse transparency and refuse to give any accountability about how those tax dollars are spent. Connecticut charter schools defy Brown vs. the Board of Education and Sheff vs. O’Neill by increasing racial segregation in Connecticut. Charter schools in Connecticut restrict the number of students with special education needs and students who do not have English as their first language. Charter schools in Connecticut suspend students as greater rates than public schools. Charter schools in Connecticut take money and resources from the 98.5% of Connecticut children who attend public schools. And charter schools do not have any better results than public schools, even with the questionable measure of standardized test scores.
The Connecticut State Board of Education should join with the NAACP, which has called for a moratorium on opening any new charter schools and called for transparency and accountability for existing charter schools. Most of all, The Connecticut State Board of Education and Connecticut taxpayers should wonder what charter schools have to hide by refusing to be open and honest about their use of our money.
The news is full of the story of the Dalio Philanthropies donating $100 million to the Connecticut public schools. But is private philanthropy the best way to fund public education? I think not.
The Prize by Dale Russakoff documents the disaster it was when Mark Zuckerberg donated $100 million, which was matched by another $100 million from other philanthropists, to improve public education in Newark, NJ. The failure has been attributed to the “parachuting in” of outside consultants rather than rallying the forces within the school system and to the political football the $200 million became among local officeholders, among them Cory Booker and Chris Christie. Similarly, Bill and Melinda Gates gave over $400 million to design, promote, and implement the Common Core Standards. The Common Core Standards, designed without input from educators, have greatly reduced the quality of education for students and produced absolutely no increase in student achievement, even by the weak measure of standardized test scores. The results of these well-intentioned philanthropic efforts: NOTHING.
The way to create a state of the art public school system is not found in hand-outs, no matter how generous or how headline-worthy. Instead the way to create a state of the art public school system is:
- To engage the professionals, the educators, in determining how students best develop as learners and thinkers and then creating curricula to maximize that development.
- To provide students in impoverished neighborhoods the same advantages that children in affluent suburbs have: small class size; libraries; guidance counselors, social workers, and special education teachers with reasonable case loads; ongoing professional development for teachers and administrators; adult mentors for students; and clean, well-supplied facilities.
- To provide dependable and equitable tax-supported funding from the state and federal governments, funding that can be counted on year after year because it is from the tax base and approved by the voters.
In a democracy, it is the moral responsibility of the citizenry, through their taxes, to fund public education and the moral responsibility of the government to make sure that the allocation of those funds is equitable and the education is of the highest quality for all students.
Philanthropy cannot replace the responsibility of either the citizens or the government. Philanthropy cannot produce the complete and effective K-12 education for all children that a democracy requires.
Please read the following article from CT Mirror in response to the donation of the Dalio Philanthropies:
Philanthropy to the rescue? Not in New Haven schools
Last Friday, Gov. Ned Lamont announced a $100 million donation to the state of Connecticut from the Dalio Philanthropies “to strengthen public education and promote greater economic opportunity.” The five year initiative is to be matched two-to-one by the state and unspecified private donors, with state funds this year coming from surplus dollars.
On its surface, this sounds like good news. The New Haven Public Schools face a staggering $30 million deficit. Our children, ages 4, 8, 9, and 11, attend Columbus Family Academy and the Engineering Science University Magnet School.
We love our schools. But like so many other schools across the state, particularly in urban areas, they face chronic underfunding and ongoing loss of services: cuts to guidance, library, field trips, and planned cuts inevitably affecting class size. Our public schools simply don’t have enough teachers, teacher aides, librarians, counselors, nurses, or social workers to serve all of our kids, especially those navigating poverty and trauma. With 26 kids per class, even the most skilled teacher is challenged to provide the individualized attention that every child needs and deserves.
Inadequate funding is only part of the reason our schools don’t have what they need. Another major problem is how we distribute public dollars. Gov. Lamont’s budget disappointingly decreases Education Cost Sharing, the main source of unrestricted state funding for core classroom needs, like teachers and counselors. At the same time, it increases Alliance District funds, a restricted pool for “pursuing bold and innovative reforms” grounded in corporate-inspired ideas for how to improve education, which are often painfully disconnected from actual classroom needs.
For example: the New Haven Public Schools just spent $132,000 on an outside contractor to conduct a curriculum audit, shortly after laying off counselors and librarians. Since New Haven’s tax base can’t take much more and Alliance funds can’t be used to meet day-to-day classroom needs, those needs simply remain unmet, shortchanging our kids year after year.
Private philanthropy to the rescue? It hasn’t worked out that way in New Haven, so far, particularly when it comes to the Dalio Philanthropies. Their most prominent footprint here is CT RISE, a program centered on a “data dashboard” for teachers, which aggregates student data such as grades, test scores, attendance data, course credits, and behaviors.
While the program provides some potential benefits, including streamlined access to student data and supports for students and teachers, there are major downsides. According to educators using the dashboard, it serves as a distraction from teaching and learning, undermines human connection and understanding, and raises significant data privacy concerns — all without any demonstrated improvement in student learning. Following numerous concerns from educators, the NHPS Advocates network compiled this report that summarizes preliminary findings.
We don’t question the Dalios’ good intentions. The Dalio Philanthropies also contributes to a number of worthwhile endeavors in New Haven including, most recently, nearly a million dollars for full-time mental health clinicians from Clifford Beers at five public schools. But their track record is dominated by major, long-term investments in charter school networks, corporate “education reform” efforts that give control of public entities to private interests, and the school privatization movement more broadly. We the people should know better than to give the proponents of CT RISE disproportionate influence over state education policy.
Primacy is given to the Dalio donation and initiative, rather than the state’s moral responsibility to provide foundational, equitable, quality learning experiences for every child.
This “gift” to the state should have been public money all along. Bridgewater Associates received a $22 million grant from Connecticut taxpayers to facilitate its expansion in 2016. This followed a subsidy of $52 million in 2015. Bridgewater and Mr. Dalio also benefit from the state’s “carried interest loophole” that allows hedge-fund income to be taxed at a lower rate than ordinary income and thus deprive Connecticut of millions of dollars that could be used to support public education. Last year alone, according to the Connecticut Post, Mr. Dalio’s tax bill on earned income —without the loophole— would have been $139.8 million.
So the gift effectively returns public dollars. But rather than increase the pool of resources for all, it comes with conditions that seem deaf to the actual needs of children in schools.
Primacy is given to the Dalio donation and initiative, rather than the state’s moral responsibility to provide foundational, equitable, quality learning experiences for every child. And it comes at a significant cost: $100 million of the state’s own public dollars, which could resolve New Haven’s deficit, return our counselors, and reduce class sizes, are suddenly reserved for a vaguely-defined “partnership” and new bureaucracy to “leverage” and “administer.” Given the poor track record of mega-philanthropy in education, from the Gates Foundation’s unsuccessful “experiments” to Mark Zuckerberg’s $100 million disruption in Newark, we have every reason to take serious pause before this plan takes further shape.
Decades of research show us what works in public education. There is no secret sauce. It’s complex, difficult work; but it is not mysterious or particularly in need of innovation. There is no experimentation on children in Connecticut’s wealthy, white suburban communities or in the much-lauded classrooms of Finland. If the Dalios want what’s best for all kids, they could set a new bar for those at the high end of the wealth gap in Connecticut by annually paying their real proportional fair share — and do so publicly, in order to encourage others to find their moral centers, too.
These funds could in turn give our kids what they actually need: teachers, teacher aides, librarians, counselors, nurses, social workers, quality materials and supplies, child-centered programs in all disciplines, “extras” like arts and languages, individualized support services, and smaller class sizes.
Sarah Miller and Fátima Rojas are organizers with New Haven Public School Advocates.