Friday, January 30, 2015

Where School Dollars Go to Waste - The Atlantic

Where School Dollars Go to Waste - The Atlantic:



Where School Dollars Go to Waste

"Why throw money at problems? That is what money is for."Kurt Vonnegut






Shutterstock/The Atlantic

America spends tons of money on education even though the final product isn't very impressive. If children are indeed the future, then they're certainly an expensive one: Of the $3.2 trillion in total expenditures for local and state governments in 2012, education accounted for nearly 28 percent, or $869.2 billion, according to the latest data from the Census Bureau. That figure topped government spending in any other sector, almost doubling the second-largest recipient of taxpayer dollars—public welfare.

Local and State Spending by Sector


The Atlantic



But while much attention centers on how much schools are spending, it's also worth examining how well it’s being spent. And it's not a new question. A few years ago the New York Times, for example, hosted a debate in its opinion section about the worthiness of education spending.
Meanwhile, audits regularly find wasted funds at the district level, including one last summer that identified more than $2.7 million in misspent technology funding for schools in Fort Worth, Texas. Another audit—this one for Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, Texas—resulted in over 200 recommendations for improvement. The revelations were so damning that the state auditor, Adam Edelen, was quoted blaming the problem on "an unchecked bureaucracy that has become bloated and inefficient at the expense of the classroom." It's undeniable that the burden on taxpayers to foot the bill for education is a heavy one, especially when research shows that the quality of a school district directly correlates with the amount of tax dollars families put into their local economies.

piece last year in USA Today by Michelle Rhee, a Democrat who formerly served as the chancellor of Washington, D.C., public schools, and Susan Combs, Texas' Republican public comptroller, reveals just how concerned public officials on both sides are about the misappropriation of government funds.

Of course, education spending isn’t inherently bad—what matters is the result. Some school districts get lots in return for the amount of money they spend. And some governments have systems that track the return on investment. Texas, for example, launched a tool five years ago that assesses how school districts and individual campuses spend their money and compares the data with student achievement.

Now, the online financial resource WalletHub has crunched the numbers on school spending at 90 of the most-populated cities across the country, revealing which ones are getting the most—and least—bang for their buck. To arrive at the findings, WalletHub divided each city’s aggregate test scores in fourth- and eighth-grade reading and math by its total per-capita education spending. The researchers then adjusted those figures for various socioeconomic factors, such as the poverty rate and percentage of households that don't speak English as their first language.


Cities With the Most Efficient K-12 Spending


WalletHub



Regionally, trends suggest that the North East is home to some of the most wasteful school districts. Of the bottom 10 cities on the list, seven are located in that area:

Cities With the Least-Efficient K-12 Spending


WalletHub


For some cities the data is all but indicting: At the bottom of the list is Rochester, New York, a city that is No. 2 for K-12 spending but has the lowest test scores. Jill Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for WalletHub, had this to say about the regional analysis: "As far as the Northeast goes these cities are spending upwards of $2,500 per capita and their test scores really aren’t showing that. They may have more money to spend on students but they are not using it efficiently."

Mapping Efficient and Inefficient K-12 Spending 




WalletHub



California is also home to some of the most wasteful K-12 spenders, according to WalletHub—11 of the state's 16 most-populated cities are in the bottom 25. It's noteworthy that two of those cities also top the list of the percentage of households where English isn't spoken as a first language. While that factor isn't necessarily a reason for their inefficient spending, research shows that the Where School Dollars Go to Waste - The Atlantic: 

Michelle Rhee gets 3-year term (No not Jail) on Scotts Miracle-Gro board - Columbus - Columbus Business First

Michelle Rhee gets 3-year term on Scotts Miracle-Gro board - Columbus - Columbus Business First:



Michelle Rhee gets full 3-year term on Scotts board

Jan 30, 2015, 10:40am EST


Michelle Rhee, the education reformer disliked by many public school teachers, has earned a three-year term on the board of Scotts Miracle-Gro Co.
Rhee, who also goes by Michelle Johnsonafter marrying Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson, joined the Marysville lawn-and-garden company's board in August for a term that ended at the end of the year.
Scotts shareholders elected her on Thursday to a three-year term that expires in 2018.
Rhee is controversial in the public education sector. She became famous in 2007 as chancellor of Washington, D.C., schools and her reform efforts put her at odds with many in the district. She resigned in 2010 and started advocacy group StudentsFirst, which she has since left.
Her appointment to the Scotts (NYSE:SMG), board caused some teachers to threaten boycotting the $2.84 billion company, although there's no indication that happened or had any consequential impact.
A Scotts spokesman told me in August that board members "spent a lot of time getting to know her," and CEO Jim Hagedorn called Rhee an innovator and change agent who can bring a unique perspective to Scotts.Michelle Rhee gets 3-year term on Scotts Miracle-Gro board - Columbus - Columbus Business First:

NEA - Congressional Report Card

NEA - Congressional Report Card:



Congressional Report Card

113th Congress, (2013-2014)



The National Education Association (NEA) Legislative Report Card measures Members of Congress’ overall support for public education and educators, with each Member receiving a letter grade of A, B, C, D or F. Letter grades are based on their voting records on selected votes in 2013 and on five additional criteria:
  • Cosponsorship of bills critical to advancing NEA’s identified legislative priorities;
  • Behind- the-scenes work to advance or impede NEA priority issues;
  • Committee votes in support of or against NEA priorities;
  • Accessibility of the Member and staff in Washington, DC to NEA staff and leaders; and
  • Accessibility and education advocacy in the Member’s home state or district.
Additionally, emphasis continues to be given to votes and other actions involving union rights. We believe it important to hold lawmakers accountable at a time when both public and private sector unions and the right to bargain collectively are under severe attack.
More information on NEA's Legislative Report Card may be gained by contacting NEA at reportcard@list.nea.org.

Previous Report Cards

House
Senate
Paid for by the NEA Fund for Children and Public Education at 1201 16th Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20036 and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.NEA - Congressional Report Card:

Cut the Baloney Fact Checking the Cuomo Education Agenda Alliance for Quality Education

Alliance for Quality Education of New York - The state's lead community-based organization in the fight for high quality public education:


Cut the Baloney
Fact Checking the Cuomo Education Agenda




ALBANY (Jan. 30, 2015) - Governor Cuomo has offered up a dramatic set of reforms that amounts to nothing less than an attack on the fundamental concept of public education. His packaging of these proposals creates a compelling narrative that he is the champion of our public school students. The Governor’s State of the State address was peppered with partial facts and misleading assertions. In a moment of rhetorical flourish designed to justify his entire agenda, he called the current teacher evaluation system “baloney,” but his own agenda simply does not cut the mustard.

School Funding: Holding Students Hostage, Growing Inequality 
Governor Cuomo is holding public school students hostage to the agenda of his hedge fund campaign donors and their front groups like Students First and Families Excellent Schools. He says he will not add any funding for art, music, smaller class sizes, career and technical education, advanced placement classes, or anything else, unless lawmakers agree to his education reforms that are at best untested and unproven, and at worst have actually failed in other states. 

Governor Cuomo said that “money does not improve performance.” But there is plenty of evidence of just how much money does matter. A comprehensive new study shows that “a 10 percent increase in the money available for each low-income student resulted in a 9.5 percent increase in students' earnings as adults.”1 His $1.06 billion proposal falls way short of what is needed; it’s half of what was proposed by the Board of Regents and supported by 83 members of the State Legislature. Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, inequality in spending between rich and poor districts has grown to $8733 per pupil, a record setting level. When Governor Cuomo says money does not matter, all students suffer, but those in high need districts suffer the most. When he threatens to hold funding for our schools hostage, he is playing politics with our kids.

Evaluations and Testing: Ignoring the Evidence


Governor Cuomo called the current New York State teacher evaluation system “baloney.” He failed to mention that he forced the existing evaluation system through the legislature. At the time, his PR team succeeded in getting TIME Magazine to name him one of the World’s 100 Most Influential People in 2012 in part due to his teacher evaluation system.

Governor Cuomo’s solution is to increase the role of standardized testing despite huge public opposition. He is proposing that 50% of teacher evaluations be based on state tests, disregarding the overwhelming evidence this approach doesn’t work. In fact, the American Statistical Association warns “that teachers account for about 1% to 14% of the variability in test scores,” and that ranking teachers based on test scores “can have unintended consequences that reduce quality.”4    The RAND Corporation concluded that test scores should not be used in “high-stakes decisions about individual teachers or schools.” The National Research Council’s Board on Testing and Assessment states that using test scores in this way is “far too unstable to be considered fair or reliable.”6  In New York, parents, teachers and administrators alike have panned the Governor’s approach as overly simplistic, and too focused on standardized tests.7
 
Ignoring the evidence, Governor Cuomo asserted that, “Everyone will tell you nationwide the key to education reform is a teacher evaluation system.” This is certainly the rhetoric of the corporate reform crowd who are the Governor’s donors, but there is no evidence to back it up. The outcome will be more teaching to the test, which is bad for the education of our children. It will also punish teachers who dedicate themselves to teaching low-income students.

Expanding Pre-K Statewide: Hollow Promises


Governor Cuomo’s budget presentation began with an introduction from a teacher who told us, “Thanks to Governor Cuomo, soon every four year old in the state will have access to quality pre-K education.” The Governor said that as part of his “phase-in” of  universal full-day pre-K, he would “Invest another $365 million this year in pre-k for 4 year olds.” It was very exciting to hear the Governor follow through on last year’s much-ballyhooed commitment regarding statewide pre-K that “as quickly as cities can bring it online, we will fund it.”8 But in reality the teacher who introduced him was, like the rest of us, artfully misled. The $365 million in new money this year is actually not new money at all. It is simply a renewal of the $365 million invested last year - $300 million for New York City, $40 million for the rest of the state and $25 million for a statewide competitive grant program.
 In reality, Governor Cuomo did not propose to expand pre-K for a single four-year-old this year. And this comes after only serving 4% of four-year-olds outside New York City last year. Governor Cuomo has no plan to phase in universal pre-K for upstate and suburban four-year-olds.

Charter Accountability: Another Bait and Switch


The Governor is right that there is a major problem with privately-run charter schools cherry picking students. He promised “anti-creaming” legislation to make sure they serve their share of students in the highest poverty, students with disabilities and English language learners. The problem is that his “anti-creaming” legislation for charter schools is toothless. The only new requirement involves charters self-reporting student demographics. It does not change current law at all in terms of enforcing any requirement to actually serve the same spectrum of high-need students as are served by public schools. It’s anti-creaming legislation without the anti-creaming provisions.  Further, the Governor failed to propose anything to require greater fiscal accountability for charters. The First Deputy Comptroller recently warned of charter schools engaging in “practices that are questionable at best, illegal at worst.”9  Yet the Governor proposed nothing to crack down on fraud, waste, or abuse in the charter school industry.


The Governor and his hedge fund backed charter allies are relying on this toothless enforcement legislation to provide cover for a massive expansion of charter schools. Currently there are 159 available charter school slots, including 24 for New York City. The Governor would add 100 new slots, but he would open up all of  the 159 for any location in the state—meaning that New York City could rapidly see another 259 privately run charter schools. But the Governor also proposes to increase state subsidies for privately run charter schools to $575 per student, on top of tuition paid by local school districts. This additional funding will provide an incentive for an expansion of privately run charter schools statewide, which will divert hundreds of millions of additional state and local dollars away from public schools.  This enormous growth in charters and charter funding would come with no additional accountability for the charter school industry.

Improving Low Performing Schools: Good Sound Bite, Failed Policy


The Governor is right that the state needs to improve education in many schools. That has been our argument all along. Over the years, the Governor has made a big splash off of programs like community schools, extended learning time and statewide pre-K. But he’s invested a very small amount of money—enough to get a headline while serving only a small fraction of students.  For instance, in the 2013 State of the State he promised extended day to every school district that wants to “opt in”, saying if they do it, the state would pay 100% of the additional cost.10  But, as with universal pre-K, he never delivered on this promise. If Governor Cuomo put his money where his mouth is and invested what is necessary to turn every one of these schools into community schools, with extended day, a high quality curriculum and full-day pre-K throughout the state, we would see dramatic improvements. The research cited by his own education commission proves that. But that would require asking millionaires and bankers to pay their fair share in taxes in order to finance those programs. Fair taxation in order to fund these programs could hurt Governor Cuomo’s campaign war chest and his future political ambitions. 

The Governor is proposing a state run takeover of local school districts and schools by turning control of a local school district over to a “receiver”, who essentially becomes the czar of the school district. The Cuomo plan would eliminate the powers of the elected school board and the superintendent, and would make the voices of parents, students and voters moot as the new school czar, who would most likely be a private consultant, would call all the shots. The same plan would be applied to individual schools as well as districts. The school czar could fire all the teachers and administrators, turn the school into a charter school, or insist on other top down dramatic actions. The one power the school czar would not have is additional funding to create the needed programs. For the most part these interventions are borrowed from federal No Child Left Behind programs. 

Educationally, the plan is destined to fail in most cases. In fact, a comprehensive review of these type of interventions nationwide found that “Overall, there is little or no evidence to suggest that any of these options delivers the promised improvements in academic achievement.”11  The research on what does work shows clearly that one of the essential elements is strong parent and community ties,12 but Governor Cuomo’s top down interventions ignores parents and communities. It may be a good sound bite, but it’s bad policy.
Private School Voucher Tax Credit: Pure Privatization
This is nothing more than a give-away to the wealthy. Corporations and individual taxpayers would receive a tax credit equal to 75 percent of their contributions, up to $1 million a year. That is a total of $100 million in taxpayer money going primarily to private schools. In a cynical political ploy, the Governor is holding passage of the DREAM Act hostage in order to win support for the private school tax credit. 

Market Reforms Do Not Work in Education


The Governor’s education agenda places him in the national spotlight alongside presidential contender and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and other leading proponents of a “market reform” agenda for education. This agenda applies market forces to school reform. Test scores are used as a bottom line to measure schools and teachers, just as Wall Street uses a balance sheet to measure profits. Privatization and “market disruption” through expanding charter schools and tax credit voucher programs are hallmarks of this approach. Using high stakes test scores to label schools as “failing”, and to trigger top down takeovers by a single person with the virtually unlimited powers of a corporate CEO, jumps straight out of the corporate “turnaround” playbook. And proclaiming that money does not matter in public education, while insisting on more funding for privately run charter schools, is one of the leading sound bites of the market reformers and their hedge fund sponsors. The problem is that market approaches to education reform have failed. Dr. Margaret Raymond, the director of CREDO, a nationally renowned conservative education think tank at Stanford University, summed it up recently:

“I actually am kind of a pro-market kinda girl. But it doesn’t seem to work in a choice environment for education. I’ve studied competitive markets for much of my career. That’s my academic focus for my work. And (education) is the only industry/sector where the market mechanism just doesn’t work. ”13



1http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/01/20/when-public-schools-get-more-money-students-do-better/?Post+generic=%3Ftid%3Dsm_twitter_washingtonpost&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Capital%20Education&utm_campaign=Capital%20Education%2001%2F21%2F15
  2http://www.aqeny.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/final-final-record-setting-inequality.pdf
  3http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2111975_2111976_2111987,00.html
  4https://www.amstat.org/policy/pdfs/ASA_VAM_Statement.pdf
  5Daniel F. McCaffrey, Daniel Koretz, J. R. Lockwood, Laura S. Hamilton (2005). Evaluating Value-Added Models for Teacher Accountability. Santa Monica: RAND Corporation.
  6National Research Council, Board on Testing and Assessment (2009). Letter Report to the U.S. Department of Education.
  7http://www.lohud.com/story/opinion/editorials/2015/01/21/gov-cuomo-wrongly-focused-teacher-evaluations/22129435/
  8http://www.recordonline.com/article/20140213/NEWS/140219841/0/SEARCH
  9http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/01/23/five-key-questions-to-ask-now-about-charter-schools/
  10http://www.governor.ny.gov/news/transcript-governor-andrew-m-cuomos-2013-state-state-address
  11http://nepc.colorado.edu/files/Mathis-SANCTIONS.pdf
  12http://ccsr.uchicago.edu/downloads/9954essentialsupports_onepager_final-2.pdf
  13http://www.educationdive.com/news/credo-director-the-free-market-doesnt-work-in-ed/343780/

Wisconsin Senate Bill 1: Less Flogging is still Flogging | BustED Pencils

Wisconsin Senate Bill 1: Less Flogging is still Flogging | BustED Pencils:



Wisconsin Senate Bill 1: Less Flogging is still Flogging

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flogging_1
As most of you know the Wisconsin House republicans had a hearing on their destroying public schools accountability bill (Assembly Bill #1) a few weeks ago.  Read here for a review of that disastrous day.  
It’s now been two days since I went to the capital in Madison to testify against Senate Bill #1.  In case you’re wondering, Senate Bill #1 is another silly school “accountability ” bill.  And yes I actually waited 7 1/2 hours this time because it was really important for the 6 people left in the room to hear such a blistering and historic oratory.
However, after some reflection I am really troubled by what I heard from people who were supposedly there as supporters of  public education.  Time and time again, public school administrators went to the microphone and literally thanked the Senate for putting forward a bill that was (And I’m paraphrasing), “not as bad as AB #1 and not punitive.”  In fact the School Administrator’s Alliance (SAA) “Representing the Interests of Wisconsin School Children”  called Senate Bill #1, “a significant improvement over Assembly Bill #1.”
Is it really an improvement when our public schools—the hearts of our communities—can still be privatized? And please explain how the continued use of high stakes standardized tests as an accountability tool is not punitive? Children are damaged cognitively and psychologically every time they are forced to take a high stakes standardized test.
Where’s the improvement?  There isn’t any and its extremely simple why?  Children are not struggling in schools because of a lack of accountability.  Children are struggling because accountability denies them the opportunities and essentials for success in school.  In fact, here is what I said on Tuesday,
I am here today as a citizen, a parent and a long time educator.  I start my testimony by asking the committee three questions.
  1. Does this bill provide blankets for homeless children?
  2. Does this bill provide supplemental health care and nutrition for sick and hungry Wisconsin Senate Bill 1: Less Flogging is still Flogging | BustED Pencils:

Report estimates as much as $27.7 million in Illinois charter school fraud

Charter School Vulnerabilities to Waste, Fraud, and Abuse | Center for Popular Democracy:



Report estimates as much as $27.7 million in Illinois charter school fraud
NEA President Lily Eskelsen García demands real oversight, transparency, accountability
in charter industry 


WASHINGTON—The Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) has uncovered massive oversight deficiencies and found at least $13.1 million in proven or suspected fraud in the charter school industry in Illinois. This is the latest from a series of state-specific follow-ups to its whistle-blowing May 2014 report, Charter School Vulnerabilities to Waste, Fraud, and Abuse. Today’s report, focusing on the Illinois charter school industry, alleges that this number may be as high as an estimated $27.7 million in possible fraud in 2014 alone and finds that Illinois has no system in place for monitoring charter school projects.
“Here is yet another state where lawmakers continue to dump massive amounts of public school funds into the charter industry, yet no one is held accountable at any stage of the funding pipeline,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. “Operators continue to line their pockets unchecked while public schools are forced to slash programs due to lack of funding. Lawmakers need to stop treating education budgets like a slush fund for corporate charter school operators and hold them accountable to the students and communities they are supposed to be serving.”
The CPD report, Illinois’ Charter School Fraud Risk Problemidentifies three fundamental flaws with Illinois’ oversight of its charter schools:
  • Oversight depends heavily on whistleblowers and reporting by the charters themselves;
  • General auditing techniques commissioned by the charters are not specifically designed to uncover fraud, only inaccuracies and inefficiencies; and
  • Government agencies in Illinois tasked with investigating fraud are severely understaffed.
Despite instances of proven and suspected fraud and the inability to show real improvement in student achievement, Illinois charter schools have seen enrollment grow by 680 percent and funds continue to pour in. Chicago Public Schools’ budget for its charter schools is $616 million for fiscal year 2015, an increase of 15 percent compared to 2014.
“Illinois students, their families, and taxpayers cannot afford to keep losing millions of dollars in public funds at the hands of charter school operators, who essentially enforce their own rules. It’s time for the Illinois legislature, State Board of Education, and authorizers like Chicago Public Schools to step in and make sure these operators use the funds they are given to fulfill their own promises of a great education for their students,” said Eskelsen García. “There should be a sound structure for oversight and accountability whenever taxpayer dollars are applied.”
CPD recommends that the state of Illinois make major changes to its current oversight structure, including mandated audits designed to detect and prevent fraud; increased transparency and accountability; and a state-imposed moratorium on new charter schools until the state oversight system has adequately reformed.
“It’s time Illinois and all states are able to assure taxpayers that their charter oversight systems are airtight and dedicated to quality and community,” said Eskelsen García.
###
The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing nearly 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, and students preparing

Charter School Vulnerabilities to Waste, Fraud, and Abuse





Risking Public Money: Illinois Charter School Fraud






Diegnan Enters PARCC Exam Fray with Bill Formalizing Opt-Out Procedures - NJ Spotlight

Diegnan Enters PARCC Exam Fray with Bill Formalizing Opt-Out Procedures - NJ Spotlight:



DIEGNAN ENTERS PARCC EXAM FRAY WITH BILL FORMALIZING OPT-OUT PROCEDURES

Grassroots opposition to online testing continues to grow, while administration soldiers on with preparations for next month’s rollout


diegnan
State Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan Jr. (D-Middlesex)
As the debate rages in public over New Jersey’s new student testing, state legislators are entering the fray with several new bills that could limit the exams and how they are used.
State Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan Jr. (D-Middlesex), chairman of the Assembly’s education committee, yesterday introduced a bill to provide a process for students to sit out the upcoming PARCC exams, including a timeline for families to give a 14-day notice to their districts and a requirement that schools provide someplace supervised for opt-outs during testing.
In addition, Diegnan said he planned a second bill that would delay the use of the new tests as a measurement of school, staff, or students for as much as three years. The details are still being worked out, but he said that while the tests would still be administered, they would not yet have any consequences associated with them.
“I’m just wondering if we want to take a time-out, and reflect on where we are and where we should be,” Diegnan said yesterday. “The distrust that is out there I find to be really distressing.”
Meanwhile, another bill sponsored by state Assemblyman David Rible (R-Monmouth) passed unanimously in the Assembly that would put new safeguards on the use and disclosure of student data.
The long-term prospects of the bills are far from certain, and the Christie administration hasn’t much hedged so far in proceeding as planned with Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), starting next month, while districts continue to prepare for the exams.
But leaders of the New Jersey Education Association, the teachers union that has started a public campaign against the testing, continue to press for what they call a “testing bill of rights” out of the Legislature.
Yesterday, its chief lobbyist said she saw it would come in a package of bills, including Diegnan’s and Rible’s.
“It’s not going to be just one bill,” said Ginger Gold Schnitzer, the NJEA’s Diegnan Enters PARCC Exam Fray with Bill Formalizing Opt-Out Procedures - NJ Spotlight:

Four Seattle Teachers Declare: “We Refuse to Give the Tests” - Living in Dialogue

Four Seattle Teachers Declare: “We Refuse to Give the Tests” - Living in Dialogue:


Four Seattle Teachers Declare: “We Refuse to Give the Tests”





  By Anthony Cody and Susan DuFresne. 

Four Seattle area teachers who got to know one another in 2011, when they all attended the Save Our Schools march in Washington, DC, stood before the Renton Board of Education and read “statements of professional conscience” in which they pledged their refusal to administer standardized tests to their students. Their names are Julianna Kreuger Dauble, Judy Dotson, Susan DuFresne and Becca Ritchie.
Renton, Washington, is just south of Seattle. The Renton School District has 15,000 students and a five member elected school board. The board met on the evening of Wednesday, Jan. 28, in the Sierra Heights Elementary School cafeteria. Teacher Susan DuFresne provided me with a firsthand description of the night’s events.
The process began with a simple group post on Facebook started by Becca Ritchie, saying that she wanted to write a letter and wanted feedback. That spark inspired all of us to organize around this issue.
We arrived at Sierra Heights Elementary School early after three of us had been collaborating working on her speech is over the course of two weeks. Julianna teaches there, so we gathered in her classroom to practice. Jeb Binns, president of the Rainier UniServ Council, joined us to time us and offer feedback. Judy Dotson decided to join us just a few days before the board meeting so she worked on her speech for a very short time. We lined up other teachers at Julianna’s school to read from the list of objections that went beyond the boards’ three-minute allocation for each of us to speak. We also had other teachers who though they did not submit of letters a professional conscience, spoke passionately about toxic testing right after we spoke.
We entered the cafeteria at Sierra Heights elementary, which is Julianas school where the school board meeting was being held last night. We signed up as a group so that our names would be called in a stacked order after strategizing how we wanted to deliver our speeches.
The gym was packed full as there were teachers there being honored for receiving their national board certification, and students who were going to deliver speeches about studying Martin Luther King, which framed our entire message for us by serendipity. This also meant that there were parents in the crowd ready to hear their children, but who also ended up hearing our speeches.
As we were waiting for our place on the agenda when it was time allotted for the public to share comments to the board our friends from the Washington Badass Teachers Association began filing in in solidarity. Other teachers from Julianna’s 
Four Seattle Teachers Declare: “We Refuse to Give the Tests” - Living in Dialogue:

Susan DuFresne: My Statement of Professional Conscience













David Spring to Renton School Board: SBAC Test is Designed to Fail 70% of Our Students



Thursday, January 29, 2015

Mark Geragos wants to know: Who leaked Calderon affidavit? | Michelle Rhee and the Calderon Scandal

Mark Geragos wants to know: Who leaked Calderon affidavit? | The Sacramento Bee The Sacramento Bee:



Mark Geragos wants to know: Who leaked Calderon affidavit?

01/28/2015 3:52 PM 
 01/29/2015 7:49 AM

It’s been more than a year since a cable news network published an FBI affidavit accusing then-Sen. Ron Calderon of accepting bribes from an undercover agent. But Calderon’s lawyer said Wednesday that he’s still pursuing a case against the federal government to find out who leaked the sealed file.
Calderon, a Montebello Democrat, was indicted in February on two dozen criminal charges in a public corruption case that also involves his brother, former Assemblyman Tom Calderon. Many of the allegations against Ron Calderon were revealed months earlier, when Al Jazeera America published an FBI affidavit in the fall of 2013.
Calderon’s lawyer, Mark Geragos, said a judge’s threat this week to toss the case from the federal court in Sacramento won’t stop him from pursuing the source of the leak in federal court in Los Angeles, where the government’s case against the Calderon brothers is scheduled to go to trial in August. Here’s what Geragos had to say during a brief interview outside the Capitol Wednesday:






Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article8529158.html#storylink=cpy
http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article8529158.html









Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article8529158.html#storylink=cpy

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