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UConn's Neag School of Education aligns with faux 'Educators 4 Excellence' reform group

Ohanian Comment: Jonathan Pelto has put a lot of work into research this outfit. I'd just say "Kudos" and add that if you click on the website provided by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as the organization to which they gave money to give birth to this outfit in 2010, you end up at Stand For Children, traveling as "Education Equality Project Inc."

Education Equality Project Inc.

Date: November 2010
Purpose: to support "Educators 4 Excellence," a project to build an authentic, alternate teacher voice
Amount: $160,950
Grantee Location: New York City, New York
Grantee Website: http://www.edequality.org

By 2011, they had their own website and were getting more money:

Educators for Excellence

Date: October 2011
Purpose: to ensure that the voice of classroom teachers is included in the polices that impact their profession and students
Amount: $974,941
Grantee Location: New York, New York
Grantee Website: http://www.educators4excellence.org

And 2013 brought tons more money:

Educators for Excellence

Date: July 2013
Purpose: to support teachers to be leaders in policy development and implementation
Amount: $3,000,695
Grantee Website: http://www.educators4excellence.org

What a typically Gatesian notion: Non-teachers building the "authentic teacher voice."

Evan Stone, the head of this group,got a degree from Yale in Political Science, and, through Teach for America, became a 6th grade teacher in the Bronx--for a short time. Then he found Gates money to start this organization.

Stone's piece How Common Core Helps Teachers appeared in the New York Post, Dec. 12, 2013. Warning:It just echoes the claims of the Common Core chief architect, also from Yale.

None of this explains why the University of Connecticut's School of Education would hook up with this outfit.

by Jonathan Pelto

A couple of weeks ago nearly 500 students were handed diplomas from the University of Connecticut's Neag School of Education. Most were Connecticut residents and after spending years studying and paying tens of thousands of dollars to get a comprehensive education from a premier teacher preparation program, many are now out looking for teaching jobs in an incredibly difficult job market.

So whatever you do, don't tell these new UConn graduates that rather than promoting the need for teachers who have acquired the depth of knowledge and skills that comes from attending a true teacher preparation program, their university has aligned itself with a corporate funded education reform front group that is overwhelming made up of teachers who have bypassed all that "teacher prep stuff."

Although UConn's Neag School of Education graduation ceremonies were held with great pomp and circumstance, the Neag School's most profound message to its students and graduates actually came a couple of weeks before graduation day when the Neag School of Education hosted the following:

@NeagSchool alums/school teachers are working together with Educators for Excellence (E4E), a teacher-led organization that works to ensure that the voices of classroom teachers are included in the creation of policies that shape our classrooms and careers. They are having a happy hour to discuss the organization and to get feedback from current Hartford teachers. Share your feedback at the discussion: Hartford @WoodNTap, 4/23, 5 p.m.

Neag School and Educators 4 Excellence. . .

Wait, What?

Educators 4 Excellence (E4E) is the corporate funded education reform advocacy group that purports to be "working across the state to provide a more elevated teaching profession and improved student outcomes."

With chapters in Connecticut, New York, California, Minnesota, New Jersey and Chicago, E4E has collected and spent approximately $20 million over the past three years, money it received from the Gates Foundation, the Walton Foundation (Walmart) and other major anti-teacher education reform groups. E4E's mission is to make it seem like real teachers support the corporate education reform industry's agenda that includes repealing teaching tenure, eliminating the teacher seniority process and promoting the use of the unfair and discriminatory Common Core testing scheme.

In fact, E4E is one of the leading organizations behind the push to use the unfair Common Core tests as part of the teacher evaluation system.

And perhaps most incredible of all, Educators 4 Excellence is primarily made up of people who simply sidestepped an undergraduate teacher training programing, choosing instead to grab a quick alternative certification before entering the classroom.

In Connecticut, E4E claims to have five teachers staffing their advocacy operation.

However, not a single one of the E4E "educators" attended an undergraduate teacher training program in Connecticut or in any other state. Rather than actually take the time to attend a comprehensive teacher training programs these individuals used the five week Teach For America program to get their teaching certificates.

E4E's operatives in other states followed a similar path. While a couple picked up a Master's degree in some education related field, few did the heaving lifting that provides the depth of knowledge that comes with attending a teacher preparation program.

Of the Educators 4 Excellence staff in New York, only two of thirteen bothered to attend an undergraduate teacher training programs.

In Minnesota, the number is zero out of seven.

In Chicago only one of the four E4E staffers attended a teacher training program and in Los Angeles none of the group's ten staffers attended an undergraduate teacher preparation program.

The E4E message is that "excellence" does not require going to school to become a teacher.

And that is who UConn's School of Education is joining with...

Yet according to 2016 U.S. News & World Report rankings, the Neag School ranks among the top 25 public graduate schools of education in the nation and has three specialty programs ranked in the top 20 nationally: Special Education, Educational Psychology, and Educational Administration & Supervision.

As one of the nation's "premier education programs," you'd think UConn would be sending a clear and powerful message that while there is a time and place of alternative routes to certification, students who want to be teachers in the United States should attend a true teacher preparation program in order to get the comprehensive education they will need to succeed in today’s classrooms.

But no, for reasons beyond comprehension, while their own students were busy focused on their studies and taking exams to finish up the semester, UConn's Neag School of Education was off sponsoring a "happy hour" with a corporate front group whose employees didn’t even bother to attend a teacher preparation program.

For more about E4E and this "work," check out the following Wait, What? posts:

Educators 4 Excell'Education Reform' front group

Teacher-led organization that gives teachers a meaningful voice in policy is expanding in CT!

Another faux pro-public education group targets Connecticut

— Jonathan Pelto with Ohanian comment
Wait What?/ blog





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