Monday, June 1, 2015

* Gradgrind in Vermont

The Bill and Melinda Gradgrind Foundation

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

* Abolish the U. S. Department of Education? Over Bill and Melinda's Empty Wallet !


In 1949 Yale President A. Whitney Griswold abolished
 Yale's Graduate Department of Education
 saying its existence was "unnecessary."


Sunday, September 7, 2014

* Bill Gradgrind, Our Dear Leader, Ridiculed in New York Times


. . .   Perhaps the largest challenge facing the Big History Project, however, is Gates himself, or at least the specter of him. To his bafflement and frustration, he has become a remarkably polarizing figure in the education world. This owes largely to the fact that Gates, through his foundation, has spent more than $200 million to advocate for the Common Core, something of a third rail in education circles. He has financed an army of policy groups, think tanks and teachers’ unions to marshal support for the new rules and performance measurements that have been adopted by 44 states. Many education experts, while generally supportive of the new goals for reading and math skills, have been critical of the seemingly unilateral way in which the policy appeared to be rolled out. The standards have engendered public anger on both the right and left, and some states, including Indiana and Oklahoma, have decided to repeal the Common Core altogether.

In March, the American Federation of Teachers announced that it would no longer accept grants from the Gates Foundation for its innovation fund, which had already received more than $5 million from the organization. As Randi Weingarten, the A.F.T. president, told Politico, “I got convinced by the level of distrust I was seeing — not simply on Twitter, but in listening to members and local leaders — that it was important to find a way to replace Gates’s funding.” When I spoke with Weingarten last month, she elaborated on her union members’ problem with Gates. “Instead of actually working with teachers and listening to what teachers needed to make public education better,” she said, Gates’s team “would work around teachers, and that created tremendous distrust.”

Teachers, she continued, feared that his foundation was merely going to reduce them to test scores. While Weingarten said that she tried to work with Gates to “pierce” the animosity, she ultimately chose to part ways because “our members perceived that we were doing things in our support of Common Core because of the Gates Foundation, as opposed to because it was the right thing to do.” It was a difficult decision, Weingarten said. “Bill Gates has more money than God. People just don’t do what we did.”. . .

Diane Ravitch, an education historian at New York University who has been a vocal critic of Gates, put even it more starkly: “When I think about history, I think about different perspectives, clashing points of view. I wonder how Bill Gates would treat the robber barons. I wonder how Bill Gates would deal with issues of extremes of wealth and poverty.” (The Big History Project doesn’t mention robber barons, but it does briefly address unequal distribution of resources.) Ravitch continued: “It begins to be a question of: Is this Bill Gates’s history? And should it be labeled ‘Bill Gates’s History’? Because Bill Gates’s history would be very different from somebody else’s who wasn’t worth $50-60 billion.” (Gates’s estimated net worth is approximately $80 billion.)

Saturday, September 28, 2013

* The Anti-Yale Mocks Gradgrind Foundation and its Mentor, E.D. Hirsch

Link to The Anti-Yale

Paul Keane, (AKA The Anti-Yale) 

has ridiculed our dear leaders, 

Bill and Melinda Gradgrind, 

in a post today

 on his blog, 

The Anti-Yale. 

(excerpted below)

The Common Bore
Mr. Hirsch’s newfound popularity comes largely because of the Common Core, a set of learning goals for kindergarten through 12th grade that have been adopted by almost every state in the last few years.
Mr. Hirsch [E.D. Hirsch] was already an accomplished scholar of literature, and head of the English department at the University of Virginia, when he began formulating the ideas that would become “Cultural Literacy.” He said that if poor students were ever to achieve equity in American society, they needed to be taught a core body of knowledge. Most of the book was a mixture of research, cognitive psychology and a call to action. But what made it famous was the appendix, known as “The List.”
Its 5,000 facts, names and concepts, which read like an index to human history and culture, served as an inventory of what he and his colleagues thought essential for success in America. The list began with “1066,” ended with “Zurich” and included, just to name a few terms Mr. Hirsch thought you should know, “Babbitt,” “Dachau,” “faux pas,” “Houston, Sam” and “Houston, Tex.,” “I-beam,” “Pickwickian,” “Spare the rod and spoil the child,” “Trappist monks,” “Turkey in the Straw,” “vanishing point” and “vasectomy.”

“Cultural Literacy” vaulted to the top of best-seller lists, where it sat alongside another book that saw education losing its backbone, “The Closing of the American Mind,” by Allan Bloom. But it was eviscerated as promoting a Eurocentric view of the world, and elevating rote memorization over critical thought.

A critic from those days, (LINK) Henry A. Giroux, said his sentiments about Mr. Hirsch’s theories were unchanged. “He is normalizing a view of teaching and content which, in the current moment, enshrines the standardization of knowledge and assessment, which I believe is very deadly for what it means for students to learn and think creatively and critically,” said Mr. Giroux, a professor of English and cultural studies at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. “There is a corporate-driven, pedagogical machine out there that would reduce classroom learning to rote memorization, embraces high-stakes testing and derides any kind of critical pedagogy as a pathology.”