Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Annenberg Challange in Chicago of 500 million

Click HERE for the podcast from WGN 720 AM in Chicago

Milt talks with Stanley Kurtz,a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and a contributor to National Review, about what he's found in the newly opened Annenberg Challenge archives at the UIC Library.

Find out a bit about the 500 million dollar grant that was headed by Barack Obama.

How to spend 500 million on ed reform and produce close to zero for results.

The great American brain robbery continues.


Anonymous said...

TERC and Annenberg are a duo - they work together. Look at the Board of Trustees.


This is also appeared on a blog that I find interesting

An interesting article about journalist Stanley Kurtz's experience in spelunking through the recently-released records of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, founded by Bill Ayers, and chaired by Barack Obama, can be found at http://www.swamppolitics.com/news/politics/blog/2008/08/obama_campaign_confronts_wgn_r.html

The reason I'm bringing it to your attention is the point raised in the following comment left by a reader of the article:

"Missing from the comments so far is any discussion of what Stanley Kurtz talked about finding in his search of the archives. One item he mentioned concerned an organization that applied for money to fund a program promoting the celebration of the Juneteenth holiday. Apparently Juneteenth is an event that began in 1865 to mark the end of slavery. This request was approved and funds were provided from the Annenberg money. Another request for money from an organization dedicated to improving math skills of its participants was turned down. According to Dr. Kurtz many other academically oriented applications were also rejected. This information was taken directly from documents in the archive. Now I don't have a problem with people celebrating and remembering their cultural heritage but if your goal is to improve academic performance it seems funding programs to improve math skills would be far more important. It is also apparent that Senator Obama was instrumental in determining which requests for grants were accepted and which were rejected. His priorities in this example do little to inspire confidence in his message about hope for a better future."

You would think that the Chicago Annenberg Challenge would leap at the chance to fund projects designed to improve the math skills of public school children. Unfortunatlely, to read the above comment is to conclude that Bill Ayers and his ilk only assume roles in an education-related organization if they think it will be an easy mark to pilfer money to fund their radical political priorities.

Fast forward to this year, and we learn, upon reading this blog, that Bill Ayers was recently elected vice president for curriculum of the 25,000-member American Educational Research Association (AERA), the nation's largest organization of education-school professors and researchers.

Surely the AERA knew what it was getting in electing Bill Ayers to such a position. Since Ayers was "elected", there must be a majority of people in that organization who share his radical outlook, which as we now know, does not coincide with the best interests of public school children.

The official State of New Jersey Education websites have links to only two national education-related organizations, namely: Bill Ayers' American Educational Research Association (AERA), and Assistant Superintendent Botsford's Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).


Anonymous said...

Its amazing this debate continues despite the public outrage. I am swamped with children that can't make heads or tails of math and its because they haven't any basic skills to back themselves up. Botsford is the Curriculum Diva for Ridgewood, NJ and President of the ASCD.

Despite the controversy, the district does not plan to stop using TERC. This summer, Travell teachers will review and prepare to use an updated edition that includes more traditional arithmetic practice. The school will also include parents in that conversation, as well as
draw input from surveys sent home this year.

"We want for [students] to accurately and efficiently get the answer, but also to go beyond that," said Regina Botsford, assistant superintendent for curriculum. "The problems of tomorrow are complex.

They will need new and novel solutions, to problems for which the solution is not immediately obvious."

What is Regina Botsford gaining? Notoriety? Money? Pearson Education reported record profits.

Will Ridgewood be the center piece of a new add campaign and push of their products into other districts?

Is Regina Botsford now attempting to sell Ridgewood Public School District to the Everyday Math camp?

Most of this is coming from the Ridgewood Parents Blog

Here's some more interesting news related to board meetings and such.

Ms. Barbara VanDenBerg introduced herself as being a mathematician for 34 years, and went on to extol the virtues of math reform. We were surprised to learn that Barbara VanDenBerg is a consultant for Pearson Prentice Hall, the company that sells CMP 2 and sells TERC through Pearson Scott Foresman.


According to her Bio, which is posted on the Prentice Hall web site, Ms. VanDenBerg has a BA in Elementary Education- College of Steubenville and a K-12 NJ Mathematics Certificate from Montclair State University. Her education does not include a degree in mathematics.

Is a thirty-year career as a teacher and supervisor in Clifton Middle School, a K-12 math certificate, and consulting work for education organizations sufficient credentials to proclaim oneself a mathematician?

As Ms. Botsford explained in a recent board meeting, there is a huge difference between being a mathematician (an expert in mathematics) and being a math educator (an expert on how kids learn). Ms. VanDenBerg’s credentials certainly qualify her as an educator.

But are these the credentials of a mathematician? Was it unethical of her to present herself as an expert in mathematics, especially given the current circumstances in our schools? Was this misleading to those who are still learning about the math issues in our town?


This is the blog and the author really has a handle on the situation.


Anonymous said...

We want for [students] to accurately and efficiently get the answer, but also to go beyond that," said Regina Botsford, assistant superintendent for curriculum. "The problems of tomorrow are complex."

Botsford's conceit would never apply to my class of juniors and seniors who were taught with reform math.

My students are taking 9th grade earth science because they need the science credit to graduate, the district has started (this year) to start teaching lower level science classes that meet the A-G requirements.

The concern is that now most of these students will not be able to graduate.

Ask a student to do a division problem and they have to use their cell phone. But before doing so, they have to be told what operation to use.

School policies are made by liars and idiots.