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MarkovChaney

“Whatever you are, be a good one.”
— Abraham Lincoln

I am good at giving a damn.

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  • MarkovChaney replied to a comment by Kathy Barkulis

    An Open Letter to President Obama from Bill Ayers via magazine.good.is

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    Kathy Barkulisover 1 year ago

    Standardized testing is a necessary evil. No one gets through life without a standard to which they must adhere. There is no other way to determine whether teachers or students are performing. If you don't test you are left with a subjective analysis of a child's performance. It is not concrete, and it doesn't prove anything other than whether the teacher wants to promote that child further. It also leaves a student open to a non-performing teacher, which doesn't help that child. And if teachers are not given a guideline, how does anyone know whether that teacher is just pushing their own agenda? In terms of subjects like math and science, there must be a concrete measurement of that child's progress in order for her/him to move on to the next level.

    I am not saying that schools are using testing mechanisms wisely. I am just saying that testing has to be done, and perhaps it should be less than what it is now. But you can't do away with it.

    I am a product of a Catholic school from the early 60's. Very regimented, and very structured. Testing was the norm. In those days, it was very simple. You either passed the test and went on, or you were kept back until you learned it by memory. No calculators, no excuses. You had to learn it. These are basic skills that every child deserves to learn. This is the foundation for their future learning and their success. Once high school comes around if students don't perform well on tests they don't get into good colleges.

    Until college admission policies change, you are forced to test.

    MarkovChaneyover 1 year ago

    I strongly disagree. Testing isn't necessary, particularly not the meaningless multiple-choice standardized money-makers that pass for real assessment and have a stranglehold on public education these days. There's a long history of devastating criticism of such tests that goes back to before I was born in 1950. You owe it to yourself to look at what physicist/mathematician Banesh Hoffman was saying about the SAT and College Board in THE TYRANNY OF TESTING, written before I was in high school. I suggest, too, that you read Stephen J Gould's MISMEASURE OF MAN for an incisive critique of the history and practice of intelligence testing and its racist roots.

    Where, exactly, is it written in the US Constitution, "Thou Shalt Measure, Compare, and Judge Children," let alone do so based on test scores?

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  • MarkovChaney replied to a comment by Kathy Barkulis

    An Open Letter to President Obama from Bill Ayers via magazine.good.is

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    Kathy Barkulisover 1 year ago

    Stuart-You need to know who Bill Ayers is. And you need to research his life and his ideas. He is put on a pedestal in the education field, yet University of Illinois -Chicago refused to award him with a coveted retirement honor. There is a reason for that. You're a teacher. Do the research.

    MarkovChaneyover 1 year ago

    Ayers was denied emeritus status for one very simple reason: there's a person on the board of his university who happens to be the son of the late Robert F. Kennedy. And he apparently has the same sort of beliefs about people that you do, Kathy: something someone allegedly wrote in 1973 (and which, FYI, Ayers claims he didn't write himself: that is, he denies having specifically dedicated his book to Sirhan Sirhan, according to the Wikipedia article on him. Whether this article is accurate, whether he claim is true, I certainly can't verify, but it's something that requires, as you say, research): tells the entire story of that person's life. No one changes for the better, only the worse, and all good work is negated by one's youthful follies.

    That said, you might do well to read that Wikipedia article, Kathy. It suggests that some of Ayers' fiercest opponents in the '60s admire his work in education and acknowledge his growth. He has made apologies to a Chicago DA who was paralyzed (not by Ayers or Dohrn), during the Days of Rage and it seems that fellow harbors far less hatred in his heart than do you, Kathy. There's much more in that article, some of it critical of Ayers, and links to many sources of information.

    But here's what's NOT in that article as far as I can see: "The fact remains that Ayers decided one day to throw a molotov cocktail into a man's home where his wife and children slept."

    So where is your documentation for that claim. I've followed Ayers' career since 1969. I somehow missed that anecdote. The way you write that he "just decided" to do what you allege, I'd almost think you were there, in dialog with his thoughts. But then, if it never happened, you can also make up his motivations for what he never did.

    As long as we're on a debunking spree, let me mention that Professor Ayers has not been placed on any pedestal. Some educators, myself included, admire his work in education. Some don't. Most of his peers believe he's earned emeritus status, which is an honor that comes with nothing but a title. It was denied him not by a PEER, but by a multi-millionaire who sits on a board, and who apparently, like you, really knows how to hold a grudge for life (not my type of person). You may have missed my comment to another poster that I was very surprised by how impressive I found Ayers' talk at U of Michigan in the 1990s, given how negatively I viewed him from direct contact in the late 1960s (and what I read about him in the ensuing decade). But I think he's earned respect for his educational work in Chicago.

    Now, let's get to the bottom line: you don't like his views on education. That's what this is really about. So like Sarah Palin, you dredge up his alleged and actual past, and expect everyone to say, "Oh, well, that tears it: he's a BAD man." What a cheap, intellectually dishonest approach to critiquing the man's letter. You STILL haven't done that, have you? And as long as you don't (and, I suspect, can't), there's nothing to say to you but, "Dismissed."

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  • MarkovChaney replied to a comment by Kathy Barkulis

    An Open Letter to President Obama from Bill Ayers via magazine.good.is

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    Kathy Barkulisover 1 year ago

    You know what my point is, don't you? I've made it very clear. There is nothing that Bill Ayers says or does that will erase his actions. Nothing. The fact remains that Ayers decided one day to throw a molotov cocktail into a man's home where his wife and children slept. He is a terrorist. "Free as a bird." It is disgusting to me that he was able to work his way into the educational system to teach teachers how to indoctrinate their students. Because after all, that was his intention all along.

    He dedicated his book, "Prairie Fire," to Sirhan Sirhan, Bobbie Kennedy's murderer. This is who you revere? This is the man these young teachers on this board are admiring? No wonder the educational system in this country has gone down the tubes.

    MarkovChaneyover 1 year ago

    Again, though it's like trying to convince a brick wall: one thing has NOTHING to do with the other. Either you believe, as I do, that people change - some for the good, some for the worse - or you believe that if a person does something you view as bad (regardless of whether you actually know for a fact that he or she did those things), then that person's entire life before or afterwards is irrelevant. And further, that you are relieved of the responsibility to make a cogent argument about what he wrote to Obama: you just have to say, "B-b-but this is written by someone who was a terrorist 43 years ago."

    That's really too bad, but you've got NOTHING worth reading regarding the letter. You repeat a bunch of things about which you really have little or no direct knowledge as if that's an argument against something written a few days ago.

    Let's not forget that Malcolm X said some pretty reprehensible things about JFK's assassination. He said them in 1963. But between that point and his own assassination, Malcolm had some rather transformative experiences that are reflected in his writing and speeches. Now, you, clearly, believe that all of that is irrelevant. I do not. So I guess we won't be on one another's holiday card list this year. I can live with that. Of course, I hope that some day, you undergo a change for the better. At that point, please drop me a note. But at this point, I wonder if you've even bothered to read Ayer's letter.

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  • MarkovChaney replied to a comment by Kathy Barkulis

    An Open Letter to President Obama from Bill Ayers via magazine.good.is

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    Kathy Barkulisover 1 year ago

    Apparently, neither do most of the "educators" posting here. None of you have a very good track record when the United States keeps falling behind every other developed nation in educating its children, in spite of the fact that more money is spent per child here than most everywhere else. My suggestion to you, Melissa, and your fellow posters who are so fond of Bill Ayers would be "think before you teach."

    MarkovChaneyover 1 year ago

    Ms. Barkulis, you really should do a bit more research before you cite "facts" that don't hold up under any degree of scrutiny at all. The late Gerald Bracey debunked your claim about money spent per child so many times that any anti-union, anti-public education person should hear the refutation echoing in his/her ears at night.

    But it's obvious from what you've contributed to this thread (and I am being generous) that your mind is completely closed. You've decided that Bill Ayers is nothing but what you read in the papers based on a very short period of his life. You're likely not old enough to have the smallest clue what was going on in this country in the '60s and early '70s (other than what you've read in the 'official story' you got from all those "radical" teachers you're so worried about, who undoubtedly taught from Howard Zinn's PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES. . . no? They taught you from big publisher's approved history texts in which the US is blameless throughout history, is always on the side of right, and surely had God's favor when it took land that didn't belong to it, no matter who died as a result. So why would you have the first clue about Vietnam and the Civil Rights movements of that era, any more than you have the first clue about social justice movements today?)

    It's just remarkable how much you seem to think you know about an era you didn't experience and a profession (education) of which you're not a member. You know all about the evil teachers unions, though you've likely never been a member of a professional union, never attended a meeting of a union chapter, and don't know the slightest thing about the history of the teaching profession in this country (any more than you know a thing about the history of labor). And yet you deign to pontificate on Bill Ayers letter (without, of course, ever addressing a single word in it.

    Good show. Stay irrelevant, Ms. Barkulis, and continue to name-call. You're excellent at both. But terribly short on substance.

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  • MarkovChaney replied to a comment by Kathy Barkulis

    An Open Letter to President Obama from Bill Ayers via magazine.good.is

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    Kathy Barkulisover 1 year ago

    The substantive reply, Comrade MarkovChaney, is that Bill Ayers is a rich, trust fund baby and proud heir of the 1% who hate America. He would rather indoctrinate children rather than teach them objective skills to make their own decisions. Oh yes, and he's a terrorist. Why should anyone treat him with respect unless you share his view of America as an evil empire.

    MarkovChaneyover 1 year ago

    Sorry, Kathy, but that's not substantive in the least. It's simply ad hominem, as any literate person would recognize. Just as your red-baiting use of "Comrade" is ad hominem. You imply that I'm a Soviet-style communist, based on what, exactly? That I read what Professor Ayers wrote about education and, in spite of what he may have done 40-odd years ago, I find that his argument makes sense and find much to agree with.

    If you had something relevant to say, you wouldn't need to resort to cheap name-calling and would stick to the text above. So my suggestion that you have nothing of substance to say stands. I realize that comes as a deep shock to you, but some people are more interested in what gets written than in who wrote it.

    I'm not in the least bit worried about what names you dredge up, for Bill Ayers or for me. Because people who can't do better than play at schoolyard insults over the safe distance of the Internet are no threat at all. You tell me to stay classy? I suggest you try staying on point for once.

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  • MarkovChaney replied to a comment by Kathy Barkulis

    An Open Letter to President Obama from Bill Ayers via magazine.good.is

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    Kathy Barkulisover 1 year ago

    An Open Letter To Bill Ayers:
    I do not support President Obama's policies, but this letter is vindictive. It reeks of petty jealousy toward Duncan, and needlessly lectures the President. It sounds like a letter from a long lost friend who gave the recipient many favors so that he could achieve power and position, and then isn't grateful to the people who got him there. I am sure that you are resentful of Obama for so many favors you and your rich 1% father did for Obama to get him that power, but really, you just sound small in this letter. It took a leftist village to bring President Obama to the White House, but alas, he threw you under the bus with so many others who got him there. Life's a bitch, huh Bill?

    MarkovChaneyover 1 year ago

    There's a bitch here, Ms. Barkulis, but it isn't "life."

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  • MarkovChaney replied to a comment by 5905

    An Open Letter to President Obama from Bill Ayers via magazine.good.is

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    5905over 1 year ago

    I don't see anything in Mr. Ayers' letter except a deep understanding that education that education must be a safe space in which to learn, make mistakes, and grow--and NOT be forced into competitive models and standardized tests. Nothing "vindictive" here, just a very perceptive understanding of the disconnect between so many of the president's excellent policies and and an educational policy that seems governed by ideas we should be fighting off, not espousing. Mr. Ayers truly sees that everyone deserves the rights that the privileged seek. Readers will recall that Malcolm X's teacher told him he should be a mechanic. Nothing at all wrong with that except the preconceived glass ceiling on Malcolm's aspirations and potential. Led by Mr. Duncan, President Obama's policies are compromising the future of students and contradicting the president's over all programs. Mr. Ayers respectfully alerts us to so many of the contradictions he sees.

    MarkovChaneyover 1 year ago

    I've seen Bill Ayers speak at the University of Michigan School of Education and was DEEPLY impressed with his insights. That didn't come easily, given my recollections of him from the late 1960s and early 1970s. The predictable attempts to dismiss him out of hand by citing things he did to oppose an immoral and illegal "police action" in Vietnam don't cut it with those who understand that era well.

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  • MarkovChaney replied to a comment by Grant Garrison

    Send This Open Letter About Education Reform to Secretary Duncan

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    Grant Garrisonover 1 year ago

    Liz, you know I love you but I'm worried this letter is a bit aggressive and not totally fair. Do you really feel Gates, Broad et al may be pursuing ed reform for some nefarious purpose? There's more nuance to be had here so I can't quite lend my support to it.

    MarkovChaneyover 1 year ago

    Grant, do you really feel that Gates, Bloomberg, Broad, the Walton Family, the DeVoss Family, the Coors Family, et al., are NOT pursuing ed reform for a HOST of nefarious purposes, including profit, greed, and various right-wing and fundamentalist social agendas? Are you actually not aware of those things?

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  • MarkovChaney replied to a comment by mrds

    An Open Letter to President Obama from Bill Ayers via magazine.good.is

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    MarkovChaneyover 1 year ago

    Nice knee-jerk attempt at deflecting the content of what Professor Ayers wrote. It doesn't stand or fall based on what he did to fight the United States criminal and reprehensible "police action" in Vietnam. I will assume that the vapidity of your "retort" is based on the fact that you have NO SUBSTANTIVE REPLY.

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    An Open Letter to President Obama from Bill Ayers via magazine.good.is

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