Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wisconsin Grassroots Leaders to Elected Officials: You Now Own Common Core | Truth in American Education

Wisconsin Grassroots Leaders to Elected Officials: You Now Own Common Core | Truth in American Education:

Wisconsin Grassroots Leaders to Elected Officials: You Now Own Common Core

Here is the text of the letter:
At the beginning of April, the Wisconsin State Legislature concluded its 2014 floor sessions. Yet, Common Core State Standards (CCSS)—the single most prominent issue of the last year in Wisconsin politics—remains unaddressed. As leadership has announced that the legislature will now take a nine-month hiatus, CCSS is unlikely to see any serious opposition at the state level until at least January of 2015.
With CCSS presently retaining status as official state standards, and Smarter Balanced assessments scheduled to roll out this fall for the 2014-2015 school year, the legislature’s failure to act means that total implementation of CCSS is now imminent in Wisconsin. Smarter Balanced assessments are the enforcement mechanism that will be used to ensure compliance with CCSS and aligned curricula.
Because Smarter Balanced assessments have not been in place in Wisconsin up to now, our state has not yet experienced the full reality of CCSS. This fact has allowed several individuals in key positions on both sides of the aisle to tout the standards’ alleged benefits in a manner that few in Wisconsin currently have the experience or the courage to refute. The haze created by this well funded and heavily marketed campaign of misinformation has resulted in confusion, inaction, and even active pro-CCSS entrenchment on the part of many state legislators, district and school administrators, the business community, and even some parents and teachers. Meanwhile, the informed parents, teachers, and taxpayers who have explored CCSS beyond the superficial talking points have been championed only by a small but dedicated coterie of legislators. Those legislators who did understand and make an effort to jettison or undercut CCSS found themselves effectively sidelined by those with greater influence and higher positions of authority.
Well done, then, to Wisconsin’s state-level CCSS advocates. You’ve won this round. You successfully convinced many that rejection of CCSS was just an issue of the “fringe” Tea Party. Despite the wishes of constituents, you ensured that a true CCSS kill-bill never saw the light of day. You ensured that other legislation that might help to undermine CCSS was Wisconsin Grassroots Leaders to Elected Officials: You Now Own Common Core | Truth in American Education:

Against PARCC: an argument in response to Elaine Gantz Berman | Chalkbeat

Against PARCC: an argument in response to Elaine Gantz Berman | Chalkbeat:

Against PARCC: an argument in response to Elaine Gantz Berman

Proponents of the controversial Common Core aligned PARCC test suggest that it is a“more rigorous” standardized test and will create better students. But a closer look at supporters’ claims raises many questions.
First of all, the “rigor” of the exams has proven difficult to measure, as only samples of the PARCC test questions have been released.
Colorado mandated that all schools administer the PARCC test without knowing exactly what is on the test, as even state officials only have access to sample questions, and not the questions that students themselves will face.
PARCC is a new, unproven, unfunded, state-wide test to be taken on computers, multiple times per year.  The test has been adopted by many states across the nation, thereby rendering it a national test of sorts.  The states that have adopted the Common Core Standards and PARCC, have done so under federal pressure — states could not receive Race To The Top (RTTT) funding without doing so.
Since the inception of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), we have been adding to the pile of standardized tests that our students must hurdle over. We overuse and over-emphasize standardized tests. PARCC adds to the problem, with lost classroom time, exorbitant cost– some districts are spendingmillions of dollars on the infrastructure and computers necessary to take this PARCC test — and high-stakes pressure on both students and teachers alike.
But where is the evidence that this reliance on standardized tests is producing better outcomes for our students? Despite this increase in the use of standardized tests, postsecondary remediation rates continued to climb from 2012 to 2013.
Colorado began field-testing PARCC last week. Colorado teachers have been leaving feedback on both the PARCC exams and the TCAPS on the website Testing Talk; the reviews are not positive. New York piloted the PARCC field test earlier this year and also foundmultiple problems; the results there showed that under Common Core-aligned tests, theachievement gap actually widens.
Standardized tests fail to accurately measure knowledge; rather, results can be predicted based on income and race. . The tests are snapshots, and don’t take into account other factors: ability to navigate a computer; having an “off” day, being tired/sick; having issues outside the classroom, etc. High school GPAs are a more reliable predictor of college readiness than the SAT, another prominent standardized text. And, as per American Statistical Association (ASA) findings, evaluating teachers based on students’ standardized test scores is highly questionable.
Coloradans are fed up with standardized testing. Parents are now taking a standopting their students out of the exams. They know PARCC tests are predicted to take longer and can be given up to four times per year. By comparison, the TCAPS are administered only once a year.
In a landmark vote, the Colorado State Board of Education (SBE) recently  voted againstPARCC testing in our state, and has asked the state legislature to repeal the law requiring PARCC assessments. The board agrees that testing is excessive and has commissioned a study on the amount and types of assessments used in Colorado classrooms. A bill currently in the General Assembly, HB14-1202, which was intended to allow schools alternatives to the PARCC tests, was weakened after political pressure and has morphed into another study on Colorado’s assessments. A similar bill that would have delayed the implementation of PARCC and Common Core, SB14-136, was killed earlier this season by the same political parties. A proposed amendment to HB14-1202 proposes to delay PARCC, keeping TCAPs, for one year. One more year of TCAP would give Colorado educators and families time see what PARCC is and if we want it for our state. This delay would not cost the state additional money.
Common Core and PARCC also help schools and districts collect data, of all sorts — not just academic. This video from the White House Education Datapalooza shows how companies like Pearson (who made the PARCC test) collect “hidden” data on children, “by tagging every sentence, down to the atom.”
The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) captures this data and more from other testsand observations including home life, mental healthbehavioral, pictures and videos taken throughout the school year, and packages the data, creating a “single golden record” for each student that combines data from schools and school districts, workforce and social service agencies, and corrections agencies. Watch the CDE video here.
This data collection happens without parents’ approval. Parental consent is not necessary; in fact, parents cannot prohibit their child’s data being collected or shared, often with third partyvendors.  A Fordham University study finds “there are serious deficiencies” in student data security; the data is not safe and can be breached. Lawsuits, such as one from the public interest research center EPIC’s, challenge this data collection and the weakened FERPA regulations.
This government document explains that the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) laws were changed and can now be bypassed.  You can find the exact words in this clip.
Student profiling often happens in other countries – Singapore, for instance:
“Singapore’s government instituted the practice of streaming (or tracking) students based on their academic ability from elementary school onward. After six years of primary-school education, Singaporean students take a test that determines whether they’ll be placed in a special school for the gifted, a vocational school or a special education program, and another test later determines their higher-ed options.”
This tracking sounds eerily like what CDE and the White House have described as their goals for American children. Obtaining this type of personal and predictive, behavioral data without parental consent is clearly questionable. In fact, Nevada Department of Education allowed Against PARCC: an argument in response to Elaine Gantz Berman | Chalkbeat:

Zombie policy of 'turnaround' returns for tenth year

CPS to do more reconstitutions - Substance News:

Zombie policy of 'turnaround' returns for tenth year... April 23, 2014 Chicago Board meeting to feature latest scripting of 'turnaround', additional millions of dollars to AUSL despite a decade of AUSL failures and racism... 'Reconstitution' is among the zombies of corporate school reform policy

Although zombies have only become a feature of popular culture during the past few years, the Chicago Board of Education has been attacking public schools using what can only be characterized as a "zombie school" policy which is legally the failed policy of "reconstitution" but which in Chicago corporate jargon becomes "school turnaround." The agenda for the April 23, 2014 Board of Education meeting shows the cynical reality in the form of the legal documents, called Board Reports, which when approved by a vote of the seven Board members will seal the fate of three more Chicago schools (and result in the firing of all of their staffs), then provide additional millions of dollars on top of the millions that have already been provided to a private outfit called the "Academy for Urban School Leadership" (AUSL).
Despite a consistent record of nearly two decades of the failure of the policy of reconstitution of so-called "failing" schools, the Chicago Board of Education is poised on the morning of its April 23, 2014 meeting to double down on the policy. In Chicago, despite the history, the activity, using corporate jargon, is referred to as "turnaround." As early as 1996, less than two years after corporate school reform began, Chicago Public Schools began to impose "reconstitution" on schools labeled as "failing." By 2004, the activity of reconstitution continued, only under the corporate jargon of so-called "turnaround." And despite a full decade of proof that Chicago's various versions of "turnaround" have failed to keep the promises they made, on April 23, 2014 the Board will vote to do three more turnarounds, at a cost of hundreds of teacher and other school jobs and millions of dollars.
When the agenda for the April 23, 2014 Board meeting became available to the public on April 21, 2014, three Board Reports were set to be voted on condemning another three elementary schools as "failure." Following the Board's approval of those three Board Reports, the Board will approve three additional reports giving millions of dollars to the Academy for CPS to do more reconstitutions - Substance News:

4-23-14 Ed Notes Online

Ed Notes Online:

Shades of the NYSUT Split: Cuomo Aims to Avert 3rd Party Challenge by Undermining Working Family Party

...the fact that the party’s activists and unions are not currently on the same page means, at the very least, a challenge from the left could get as messy for them as it is for Cuomo ... Does the party exist primarily for the purposes of contracts and pensions, or for the broader ideals of economic and social justice? If solely for contracts and pensions, is labor’s recent success at the bargain

4-22-14 Ed Notes Online
Ed Notes Online: Gloom and Doom to InBloomFred Smith: Leonie brings Gloom and Doom to InBloom, Dragon Slayer Kills the Demon SeedThe accolades are rolling in for Leonie Haimson on the inBloom closing announcement. Leonie's campaign should written up in textbooks. She won a major war against the leading ed deformers.Just look at this list from Diane Ravitch:The company was started with a grant of $

4-23-14 @ The Chalk Face


Guest Post: Ken Derstine. “Talking Back to Mark Gleason”

The 2014 Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, held in Philadelphia from April 3rd – 7th, has come and gone. The thousands of delegates have left town, but for the general public of Philadelphia, the most memorable and long lasting thing to come out of the conference was to get a glimpse of […]

4-22-14 @ The Chalk Face
@ THE CHALK FACE: REVIEW: Jimmy’s Blues and Other Poems, James BaldwinREVIEW: Jimmy’s Blues and Other Poems, James Baldwin. via REVIEW: Jimmy’s Blues and Other Poems, James Baldwin.Filed under: PAUL THOMAS: Becoming Radical1 by plthomasedd / 42min hide  //  saveYESTERDAYVergara v. California Part One: Thoughts on Hannah Arendt, a New Totalitarianism and Completing The Circle of DominationOriginall

4-23-14 Seattle Schools Community Forum

Seattle Schools Community Forum:

Duncan Gives No Hint about WA Waiver in Interview
In more in the long line of stuff Arne says comes this interview with Education Week.  But, NCLB waivers ARE brought up and, in specific, Washington State.  But Duncan is both direct and coy.And he pledged to get one long-awaited initiative done that could also have a far-reaching impact: an overhaul of regulations that govern teacher-preparation programs. "They will get done," he said.
Testing Issues Nationwide
From Diane Ravitch's blog via the group, FairTest:Today’s technical problems, which disrupted computerized testing in many Florida districts, are far from unusual. Many other states have experienced similar failures, according to the National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest), which monitors standardized exams across the country. Earlier this month, the statewide testing systems in Kan
Seattle Schools Special Education Meeting
I did not attend but this is an open thread for any discussion for anyone who did attend. 
This and That
To note for tonight's Board meeting agenda; the Jane Addams Middle School BEX IV construction item has been moved to the May 7th Board meeting by the Superintendent.  No explanation given. The Superintendent has also asked to remove the Reduction in Force (RIF) item from the agenda.   I confirmed that this is because there will be no RIFs sent out.  As well, the bill to fix facade restoration at F
4-22-14 Seattle Schools Community Forum
Seattle Schools Community Forum: Tuesday Open ThreadIs your 5th grade and up student looking for a great sport that offers individual achievement as well as the benefits of participating on a team?  Seattle Canoe & Kayak Club is having an Open House on Sunday, April 27th and Saturday, May 17th from 10 am -1 pm.  Come join us at the Small Craft Center on Green Lake at 9:45AM.  Get to see the co

4-23-14 LA School Report - What's Really Going on Inside LAUSD

LA School Report - What's Really Going on Inside LAUSD (Los Angeles Unified School District):

LACES (No. 112) ranks as top LA Unified school in US News survey
Despite being the nation’s largest state, with the second-largest school district in the country, California placed only one school in The U.S. News and World latest rankings of public high schools, Oxford Academy near Anaheim, made it to the No. 10 spot. The highest ranked school in LA Unified, the nation’s No. 2 district to New York’s, was the Los Angeles Center For Enriched Studies, which place

Five takeaways from Supreme Court affirmative-action ruling
Via Politico | By Josh Gerstein The Supreme Court’s decision upholding Michigan’s affirmative-action ban was far from a shock, but it generated considerable strife on the high court, producing five different opinions in which the justices traded charges and countercharges on the polarizing issues at stake. Tuesday’s splintered, 6-2, ruling continued what appears to be a steady march toward the dem
Morning Read: Brown’s K-12 online learning plan rejected
Lawmakers reject Brown’s online learning proposal A key budget panel on Tuesday rejected Gov. Jerry Brown’s latest plan to revamp the K-12 independent study program and create more opportunities for students to use modern technology as part of their academic day. The Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance also held off on endorsing Brown’s proposed funding levels for energy-saving schoo
4-22-14 LA School Report - What's Really Going on Inside LAUSD
LA School Report - What's Really Going on Inside LAUSD (Los Angeles Unified School District): LIVESTREAM coverage of today’s LAUSD school board meetingThis morning, the Los Angeles Unified School Board meets at 9 a.m. with an agenda that includes a discussion about the future of CHAMPS, a charter high school which has recently been under investigation on allegations an employee misused school fund

Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog: Rahm finds $100M for air conditioners. Does Ari have an A/C company client?

Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog: Rahm finds $100M for air conditioners. Does Ari have an A/C company client?:

Rahm finds $100M for air conditioners. Does Ari have an A/C company client?

A cool $100M for A/C. 
A hundred million here. A hundred million there. It soon adds up.

But that doesn't seem to be a problem for Chicago's mayor, who can always find $100M lying around whenever he needs it for one of his favorite projects. It just so happens that contributing the city's required share to the pension fund or paying teachers and municipal employees what they deserve is not one of those projects.

This week, air conditioners are.
Chicago Public Schools put a $100 million price tag Tuesday on Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s sudden mandate to air-condition classrooms in 206 schools, even as CPS faces a $1 billion shortfall and many other pressing capital needs.
Irony is that the CTU pushed to make air-conditioned classrooms, especially following Rahm's longer-school-year mandate, part of the contract negotiations back in 2011. The mayor's response then was:
“Everything here is down to two final issues, and it’s not air conditioning, OK? ...We don’t go on strike for air conditioning.”
The change in course wasn’t lost on the teachers. “We were told it wasn’t  Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog: Rahm finds $100M for air conditioners. Does Ari have an A/C company client?:

FCMAT » Fiscal Crisis & Management Assistance Team

FCMAT » Fiscal Crisis & Management Assistance Team:

Autism cases increase by 8% among Calif. public school students

FCMAT’s new website is coming soon! We will have a new look and better compatibility with mobile devices, making it easier to access information and resources. Look for our new site starting April 25.

Education Headlines

Wednesday, April 23, 2014
FCMAT provides links to California K-12 news stories as a service to the industry. However, some stories may not be accessible because of newspapers' subscription policies.

Stockton USD to vote on charter in May

The Stockton Unified School District has 30 days to decide if it will recommend approval of a new dual immersion language and International Baccalaureate charter school on Fremont Street.

Gonzales schools banking on bond

The school bond initiative would provide $16.9 million toward building a new elementary school and upgrades at La Gloria Elementary and Fairview Middle schools.

Monterey school district delays naming superintendent

The contract was ready to be approved. A recess to welcome the new top administrator was on the agenda. But at the last minute, plans to appoint a new superintendent for the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District were dropped from Tuesday's regular trustee meeting.

Autism cases increase by 8% among Calif. public school students

The number of California public school students who have been diagnosed with autism increased by 8% from 2013 to 2014, bringing the total number of diagnosed children in the state to nearly 79,000, according to data from the state Department of Education, the Sacramento Bee reports.

California's drought ripples through businesses, then to schools

One area that has officials worried is the effect on education in places affected by the drought. Jane Brittell, the principal at Lorena Falasco Elementary School in Los Banos, a town about 35 miles north of Mendota, says she's worried that the drought will force families to leave and pull their kids out of school.

Bond firm's gifts to California school officials probed

California’s political watchdog is investigating whether school officials failed to report gifts from municipal bond underwriter Stone & Youngberg, now a unit of Stifel Financial Corp. (SF)
Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Common Core boosts push for technology in classrooms

If there’s one thing certain about Common Core, it’s that technology will play a much bigger role in Ventura County classrooms.

Yoga program to expand beyond Encinitas

The foundation that brought yoga to Encinitas elementary schools will hold an open house to announce plans to expand the program nationally Wednesday night.

Sweetwater board backs agreement with teachers

The three remaining trustees on the Sweetwater Union High School District board voted unanimously Monday to approve a contract agreement with the district’s teachers union.

Credit card spending could cost Van Nuys school its charter

Charter High School of the Arts in Van Nuys could lose its charter because officials failed to act when a former employee racked up $27,000 in personal expenses on her school credit card.

Orinda school board refuses to hear complaint against principal

Three years after hearing complaints from parents about what they claim is strict and overly harsh punishment of students by an elementary school principal, a majority of Orinda School District trustees have voted down an appeal to hear a new complaint filed by a teacher against the administrator.

D.A. says no charges warranted over L.A. schools' iPad contract

The Los Angeles County district attorney's office has reviewed an internal L.A. school district report on its iPad contract and concluded that criminal charges are not warranted.

EdSource: Santa Ana Unified caters to parents to boost accountability meeting attendance

Retired principal Frances Byfield used translators, meals, babysitting, and prize raffles to motivate parents to attend the district’s 23 LCAP community workshops. Each meeting venue was prepped in advance to identify locations to set up audio-visual equipment, childcare services, and meals consisting of turkey sandwiches in the evenings and coffeecake in the mornings.

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