Saturday, June 23, 2007

My View of 'Dam News Look at Paying Students for Good Grades

Note: I am no longer at Medgar Evers College. And I had tried to contextualize this whole standarized testing thing with Sista Reporter, Tanangachi Mfuni. But, I guess she's a product of Western Soundbitism style of reporting.

I tried to inform her of the racist/classist/gender biased and bogus-at-the-roots nature of standardized exams by tracing their origin back to the IQ and England's Sir Cyril Burt and the US's Stanford-Binet IQ testing policy that was so skewed in terms of elite white male supremacy. Subsequently, this university sanctioned and based policy became the foundation for ETS (Educational Testing Service based in Princeton, NJ), Sylvan and Kaplan test prep corporations, and Edison Schools, Inc. It also was the basis for publishing companies like McGraw-Hill, Macmillan and Prentice-Hall to step into the test manufacturing and distribution enterprise.

To make a long story extremely short: there is no scientific basis for measuring the intelligence level of any human on Planet Earth! Hence, there are no "standardized" exams that can determine the intellectual quality or quantity of any of humanity's children. (read the classic; "The Mismeasure of Man" by Stephen J. Gould or the Biography of Sir Cyril Burt by Leon Kamin)

I also mentioned to her other forms of assessment of our children's intellectual growth that are based in the use of portfolios of a child's development over years of their classroom, field trips, independent study/research efforts and experiences.

Bloomberg-Klein's decision to entice and hire this young Harvard Prof to work with them is part of Bloomberg-Klein's (and a certain segment of the US rulingclass) to present a BlackFace for their racist and classist privatization-of-education policies and programs.

I suggested that multibillionaire Bloomberg could pay out of his pocket for hundreds of full scholarships for Black/Latino student who do well on these hi stakes hoop jumping tests. My suggestion was: if you are going to have some sort of financial incentive for good grades/test scores, then it should be FREE tuition to any of the CUNY/SUNY colleges. Or a $15,000 scholarship towards any college that accepts the student with good test scores and grades. To raise $50 million from NYC based corporations is chumpchange of chumpchange. Bloomberg himself rakes in a minimum of $8000/minute 24/7/365 (i.e. do the math: he's worth more than $10billion now. He was worth about $8billion when he first became mayor). For those who have been traumatized by math: it's a mindblowing huge huge amount of money that he's raking in for his $1/year mayoralty.

In Addition, just look who here in NYC: Google's zillionaires, American Express, IBM, Dow Jones, Xerox, and hundreds of other multimillion and multibillion dollar enterprises that exploit the ignorance and labor of NYC's majority: folk of color- especially Black & Latinos between 18 and 35.

Lastly, I suggested to Sista Mfuni, that the 'Dam News put on a debate in Harlem between the newly appointed young Black Harvard Economist now in charge of the "Equality Office" in Bloomberg-Klein's education cabal and some of us "Black radical" educators around the current ways to recognize and resolve the educational genocide being committed against our African Descendant People in NYC.

In Struggle,

Sam Anderson

Paying kids to take tests

Amsterdam News Staff
Originally posted 6/21/2007

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will pay low-income Black and Hispanic public school students for taking tests. The initiative is part of a cash incentive program, Opportunity NYC, geared towards reducing poverty the mayor and Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Linda Gibbs outlined last Monday.

Education advocates had a mixed reaction to the student portion of the program which begins this fall. The city would give fourth graders at participating schools $5 for taking tests and seventh graders $10. For scoring top marks, fourth graders would receive $25 and seventh graders $50. If they score well on all ten tests given throughout the year, fourth graders could receive as much as $250, and seventh graders $500.

Harvard professor Dr. Ronald G. Fryer, Jr. will oversee the incentive plan for the DOE. Fryer, 30, has also been named the Department of Education’s chief equality officer. The Black economist advocates cash incentives for students as a means of narrowing the much documented achievement gap between Black and Hispanic students and their white and Asian counterparts.

City Council Education Chair Robert Jackson supports the plan. Jackson said it gave kids “an immediate incentive” and would cause students to have more “self esteem” and get “better grades.”

However critics like Medgar Evers education professor Dr. Sam Anderson disagrees.

“I’m not a believer in these kinds of financial rewards for intellectual development. It feeds into the capitalistic structure,” said Anderson, who argued the incentive program encouraged students to be materialistic.

“We should not continually instill in our young people that the pursuit of money is the pursuit of all happiness,” he said.
Moreover, Anderson said the amount of money being distributed was too little.

“The little bit of money that’s paid out is a joke,” Anderson said. “You don’t buy educational excellence by bribing kids with chump change.” Anderson suggested putting money towards college fund instead.

The 40 schools the DOE plans to implement the cash incentive program in this fall are not yet determined. A spokeswoman for the DOE said Dr. Fryer has sent letters out and conducted meetings with principals interested in the program. The program would also give $5000 to schools that participate.
The Opportunity NYC is being paid for by private funding that will come from several non-profits including the Rockefeller Foundation, the Starr Foundation, the Robin Hood Foundation as well as Mayor Bloomberg.

The education chair said he might have had second thoughts about the program had it depended on public funds. “I don’t know I would allocate public funds to do this,” Jackson said.

Other features of the Opportunity NYC program give cash rewards, in some cases several hundred dollars, to families if they maintain their health insurance, hold a full time job, send their kids to school, and ensure their kids take and pass tests like the state-issued.


Thursday, June 07, 2007

A Physicist Brother's Work On Time Travel

A snippet of a Discovery documentary where a Black Physicist (Prof Ron____) talks about his work on creating a time machine