Friday, October 28, 2016

CURMUDGUCATION: CA: Is the Fox Guarding the Henhouse?

CURMUDGUCATION: CA: Is the Fox Guarding the Henhouse?:

CA: Is the Fox Guarding the Henhouse?

The Los Angeles Unified School District put away their charter rubber stamp, and it has touched off a wave of hand wringing and baloney shoveling.

Earlier this month, the LAUSD board pulled the plug on five charters. Three of them were Magnolia schools, part of the Gulen charter web of schools allegedly tied to the reclusive cleric who is also an exiled political leader from Turkey allegedly tied to this year's coup attempt. The Magnolia chain has been accused of significant financial shenanigans, The other two were Celerity schools, a chain that has such a spotted record that even reformy John Deasy has cast a wary eye in their direction. Oversight and transparency, two important qualities that charter schools generally do very badly, were cited as issues with the five.

But the unexpected move by the board to hold any charters accountable for anything ever has stirred some folks up.

Here's a charter-friendly look at the "issue" from KPCC,
CURMUDGUCATION: CA: Is the Fox Guarding the Henhouse?:

Big Education Ape: Charter Schools Accused Of Discrimination In Admissions Process « CBS Sacramento -

GA: Ed Consultant Slams Takeover Amendment

In Georgia, reformsters are pushing hard for Amendment 1, a constitutional amendment that would institute a state-level takeover district, modeled after the pioneering Achievement School District in Tennessee.

Dr. David K. Lerch is a Georgia resident and ran his own educational consulting firm for over three decades. He has worked all over the country, writing grants and overseeing programs (e.g. Pueblo hired him to evaluate their STEM programs).

Lerch has presumably seen plenty in the ed  field; he earned his Master's Degree in Public School Administration from the University of Virginia back in 1967By 1984 he was forming the National Association of Magnet School Development and was touting magnets as a path to desegregation and what we now call educational equity. He was also saying the kinds of things that charter fans would chime in on decades later:

Parents want neighborhood schools until they find a program they support and then they will send a child halfway across the county if the education program is attractive.

Lerch now works for the Juliana Group, Inc, a Savannah-based business that specializes in selling furniture for Montessori schools.  

In short, Lerch is not a long-time hard-core supporter for traditional public education. However, 
GA: Ed Consultant Slams Takeover Amendment

Matt Damon explains why he made this surprising new film - The Washington Post

Matt Damon explains why he made this surprising new film - The Washington Post:

Matt Damon explains why he made this surprising new film

“Backpack Full of Cash” is a film title that suggests some untoward money dealings. And a new film by that title is — though the theme is not the traditional movie yarns about arms or drug dealing.
Actually, it’s a 90-minute documentary about the real and ongoing movement to privatize public education and its effects on traditional public schools and the students they enroll. With actor and activist Matt Damon narrating, “Backpack” tells a scary but important story about corporate school reform policies that critics say are aimed at destroying the U.S. public education system, the country’s most important civic institution.
While many Americans have heard of charter schools, which are publicly funded but privately operated, often by for-profit companies, and school “vouchers,” which use public money to pay tuition for private schools, they may not understand their central place in the broader corporate reform movement. That movement, which also includes policies such as standardized test-based “accountability” systems, thrived under the administrations of presidents George W. Bush, a Republican, and then Barack Obama, a Democrat. But there are both Republicans and Democrats who oppose corporate reform as well.
“Backpack” — done by Stone Lantern Films, and Turnstone Productions — attempts to explain the entire movement through the prism of the 2013-2014 school year. The best way to understand what is happening is by looking at how corporate reform affects schools, teachers and children, and that’s what the film attempts to do. Here’s a description of the film, from its Kickstarter website:
BACKPACK takes viewers to Philadelphia, where in 2013-14, the charismatic principal of South Philadelphia High worries about the upcoming school year — his school has no music teacher, no librarian, and just two counselors for over 1,000 students. Across town, the C.O.O. of a brand new charter school welcomes students to gleaming, high tech classrooms.
In North Philly, a 10th-grader performs a virtual frog dissection on her computer, in her bedroom. Her cyber charter school is run by the biggest for-profit online education company in the world.
In Nashville, TN, a teacher is giving standardized tests to her eight-year-old students. This is their 30th Test Day of the year. Testing companies reap huge dividends.
And in Louisiana, a Bible school headmaster teaches creationism to students who pay tuition with tax-funded vouchers.
The description also notes that the term “backpack full of cash” refers to the belief by corporate Matt Damon explains why he made this surprising new film - The Washington Post:

What is the purpose of the State-sponsored Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) “Mastery” Test? - Wait What?

What is the purpose of the State-sponsored Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) “Mastery” Test? - Wait What?:

What is the purpose of the State-sponsored Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) “Mastery” Test?

Designed to fail a vast share of Connecticut’s students, the SBAC test is aligned to the Common Core, rather than what is actually taught in Connecticut’s classrooms.
If Governor Malloy and his allies in the corporate Education reform industry get their way, the SBAC test will continue to be used to rate and rank order students, teachers and schools.  For them, it is a mechanism to ensure students, and teachers are deemed to be failures, thereby paving the way to turn even more Connecticut public schools over to privately owned, but publicly funded charter school companies and others that seek to profit off the privatization of public education.
With the Connecticut legislature’s approval, the Malloy administration has been busy turning Connecticut’s public schools into little more than testing factories and profit centers for private entities, many of which have become some of Malloy’s biggest campaign donors.
One of the areas that remains unresolved is how the SBAC testing scam will be used in Connecticut’s teacher evaluation process.  Malloy and his ilk want to require that the results of the unfair tests be used as a key tool in determining how well teachers are doing in the classroom.
Teachers, their unions and public school advocates recognize that there are much better teacher evaluation models that could be used and don’t rely on the use of standardized tests to determine which teachers are succeeding, which teachers need additional training What is the purpose of the State-sponsored Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) “Mastery” Test? - Wait What?:

Miss Information – EduShyster

Miss Information – EduShyster:

Miss Information

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I talk to Tracy Novick about what Question 2 actually says, and what’s behind the Massachusetts school committee rebellion…
EduShysterI thought we could start out with a little TV viewing. Here’s one of the latest spots for the campaign to lift the charter school cap in Massachusetts, and it features none other than our own governor, Charlie Baker.

The spot is just 30 seconds long, but my sense of confusion persisted long after that. The Governor doesn’t seem to be talking about the same ballot question that I’m helpfully linking to here.
Tracy Novick: It is not accurate to say that Question Two is only about nine cities. Right now, when the state considers new charter schools, priority goes to school districts in the lowest 10% of performance. But under the ballot question, the district performance doesn’t even have to be considered unless the state gets more than 12 applications in a year. The largest number of schools the state has actually chartered in a year date back to the mid 90’s, when they chose six or seven in a year. Having more than 12 applications isn’t likely. That means the charters really could go anywhere. Question 2 actually replaces a system where some of those nine cities are first in line with one where most of the time they won’t be. 
EduShyster: I’ve actually been feeling a little bad for the suburban charter schools these days. They’ve been completely ignored during our frenzied debate. For example, the school with the longest wait list is the state isn’t in one of Baker’s nine cities. It’s Mystic Valley, which draws from suburbs around Boston and is in hot demand among parents who want a private school education at public school prices.
osvstagecoachcostumessm.jpg (700×465)NovickThe same is true of Sturgis on the Cape, of the Advanced Math and Science Academy in Marlborough, and the Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School in Western Mass. And those are schools that have some serious resources, in term of facilities and fundraising. I can really see boutique kinds of schools being very happy to open up in places like Cambridge and Somerville and Miss Information – EduShyster:

The Truth About Ohio School Report Cards – Blogging with Craig Brown

The Truth About Ohio School Report Cards – Blogging with Craig Brown:

The Truth About Ohio School Report Cards

A few weeks ago the Ohio school report cards were released. Very few administrators, teachers, or parents were happy. Overall it looks like Ohio schools are doing much worse. Schools in high income areas with high residential property values are doing great while schools in urban areas with low property values are not.
The Ohio school report cards tell us the same thing every year. Except this year, many schools are doing much worse than usual. Is it possible that many Ohio schools are suddenly catastrophic failures? If you believe the report cards then yes. Some sort of day of reckoning- cataclysmic event has hit dozens of school districts.
Except the schools have not significantly changed. Most are doing the same things they did the year before. What happened in a year? How did so many schools make so many mistakes earning such terrible distinctions?
Here is the secret. The schools are not changing. The mechanisms and political mumbo jumbo contributing to the creation of the school report cards changed again last year. This new recipe for measuring schools has yielded an inaccurate result. Once again Ohio state politicians keep messing around with how they measure Ohio schools, and the result is another year of failure for many Ohio school districts. Now the politicians will blame the administrators, teachers, and indirectly the parents for kids not succeeding at an acceptable level.
This allows the state politicians to shift the blame away from themselves for properly funding Ohio schools and lay it at the feet of others. This is a classic political maneuver. For decades Ohio politicians have been messing with school funding, creating new draconian rules for teachers, and adopting common core like rules that take power away from locally elected school boards. It is time we face reality. Ohio’s schools are being engineered to fail.
Wait. Planned to fail? Well, not all schools are being set up, just Ohio public schools. Ohio’s powerful politicians want the privatization of education. They have received millions of dollars in campaign contributions from charter school investors. They have given said investors billions of dollars of our tax money. They have also been forcibly dragged kicking and screaming into any scenario involving holding charter schools accountable. What do you think is happening? The school report cards get “tweaked” every year, and things just keep looking worse for public education. Do these cards accurately reflect what is going on in our schools? No. This is nothing more than an attempt to turn public opinion against our local schools.
Do you need more evidence? Do the research. Look at how Ohio legislators have made it harder to be a teacher in Ohio. Examine the new regulations and new rules. Don’t forget how decades ago the Ohio Supreme Court told legislators to fix the unfair funding of schools in our state. Did they fix it? Nope. We haven’t even talked about the new graduation standards that may prevent tens of thousands of kids from graduating high school next year.
Accountability is a good thing, but it is only good when you are using measurements that are accurate and consistent. Ohio politicians want you to be angry at your public schools. They want you to blame your school administrators and teachers. Remember, this is merely a distraction. Ohio politicians don’t want you to hold the real responsible parties accountable. Ohio politicians don’t want you to see they are the ones to blame for our failing schools.The Truth About Ohio School Report Cards – Blogging with Craig Brown:

Michigan Schools: Can Bill Cobbs Fix What Snyder Broke?

(100) Literacy is Fundamental:

Michigan Schools: Can Bill Cobbs Fix What Snyder Broke? 
Fortune 500 Executive Coach, Bill Cobbs promises to clean up Snyder's educational mess.  "We must stop blaming teachers and empower them," says the executive with his eyes on the Governor's seat.

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Literacy is important to both our democracy and freedom as a nation. From all that I've read, one of the most importance aspects of the slave trade was denying slaves the ability to read, and write to maintain servitude. While slavery has ended, even to enjoy Freedom of the Press, we must be able to read what our journalists print. Without literacy, we can’t study our nation’s history, to understand why our nation granted the freedoms we now enjoy. Without literacy, what remains is a dumbed down society plagued by the virus of cognitive dissonance eating away one by one, at our critical thinking, our attention span, and our very moral fiber. And here we are. Trump.
Today's bondage may not be physical, but it is even more insidious. Children are being deprived of basic literacy both in our schools and in the home. In educational policy, we are being drawn into the trap of privatization by "school of choice" marketing. This marketing is not for our benefit. Listen closely when a Governor says he is taking over academic control of your school, but he is not accountable for a quality education! A Governor that would rather spend $35,000 to imprison an illiterate juvenile, than $10,000 to teach a child, has another agenda. Governor Snyder has been deaf to our cries, and out of touch with the components of good Governance. Literacy is all the more difficult to achieve when the average charter school teacher has only one year of experience.
There are four steps to this immoral and unethical scheme to profit from the destabilization of our neighborhoods.
1. Defunding neighborhood schools so they lack books, staff and proper maintenance.
2. Labeling public schools which lack critical resources as “failing” to drive students away.
3. Closing the schools lacking critical resources.
4. Privatizing by giving away publicly funded community assets to for-profit charters.

There was a time that brothers and sisters went to the same school, knew the same teachers, were proud to root for the home team at high school football games. The viability of every neighborhood and it’s cultural institutions is important to literacy. When neighborhoods have safe, clean schools, people desire to put down roots and property values rise.
Conversely, destroying our neighborhood institutions creates crime and instability. It has been shown that closing schools and making children cross into unknown territories increased gang activity and gang membership in Detroit. Poor areas are easy victims because more families are renters, and these families have fewer connections to the neighborhood. Therefore, children who attend charters may have an even more difficult time forming stable positive relationships.
Yet, the opportunity to send our child to a charter school across town with a fancier name is so tempting, we may forget momentarily the impact on our property values when our neighborhood school is boarded up. Let’s remember, we are in this together. Destabilizing neighborhood institutions to benefit a business is counter-intuitive to government efficiency, transparency and accountability. It also creates segregation by dividing children into two classes:
- children who will be accepted at a charter and have transportation
- children who are not accepted at a charter and do not have transportation.
Around the country, brown and black communities are being pushed off the precipice into privatization. Have you noticed that when the public accountability of an elected board is removed, we have the Charles Pughs, and Eddie Longs, eager to step right up to “mentor” a fresh crop of fatherless victims? There are many examples I won't name, but you have heard about them too. If we want literacy, we have a moral responsibility to shore up deficiencies exist in our neighborhood schools and empower teachers and parents with the resources they need.
In the home, we must reinforce the importance of reading. Some families have every game system and shoes with three-figure price tags. These same homes may not have a book. This is the Slavery of Consumerism which keeps us in a financial bondage our children may never escape from. There are still lessons to be learned from Oliver Twist, and I Know Why the Mockingbird Sings. Books can teach us about far away places. Books can show a child that his or her self worth cannot be determined by things. When we hunger for things, we can never have enough things. Things are secondary to character and community pride. Things are secondary to dreams.
At home we must reinforce education’s role in opportunity. We can not allow the television and gaming systems to be the educational tools in our home. Whatever neighborhood we live in, we as parents must expose our children to reading at an early age. Reading is power. We must find creative ways to make learning fun. We break the strangle hold of illiteracy by having strong community based schools and homes that stress reading skills early. We must praise education and make it paramount to the children's future.
We can fix this. We must properly fund public K-12 education. We can not abandon our neighborhood schools. We must stop blaming educators and empower them. We must not allow education of our children to be driven by economic standing. We must not abandon our special needs students. Some charter schools have done excellent work, but destabilization of our public institutions for school privatization is not the answer.
We must increase educational spending, and use our resources more effectively. We must move money from the incarceration process to the educational process. We have to provide our children the tools to become doctors, lawyers, teachers, and public servants and productive contributors to our community?
After nearly 17 years of school choice, it is estimated that Michigan is 40th of 50 states in child literacy. With this in mind, we can no longer allow one family in West Michigan to decide the fate of every child via political contributions.
If we want to throw off the choke hold of illiteracy, we must do our duty as citizens. Many died for our right to vote. Staying home on election day has laid the red carpet for politicians beholden to corporations which turn our children into commodities for sale like corn or wheat. We must care about the policy being written for our community and make our voices heard. We must groom leaders with moral character. We must get in the voting line and we must pull the lever for people who value funding quality education in every Michigan neighborhood. We must open a book, and read to our kids. Literacy is fundamental.

Finally, districts’ accountability plans may be easier to read and use | EdSource

Finally, districts’ accountability plans may be easier to read and use | EdSource:

Finally, districts’ accountability plans may be easier to read and use 

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For three years, school districts have been writing an annual budget and accountability plan using a state-dictated form that has irritated just about everyone writing and reading it. Next week, the State Board of Education is expected to approve a new version that promises to be simpler, better organized and easier to follow.
The revised Local Control and Accountability Plan, or LCAP (see draft template starting page 7), has gotten generally positive reviews, with some reservations, from school officials and advocates for high-needs students who disagree over how much information should be in the document but credit state board staff for trying to strike a balance.
“We are not completely satisfied, but we will support the revised LCAP,” said Martha Alvarez, legislative advocate for the Association of California School Administrators, which had recommended changes through months of hearings and drafts. Districts’ LCAPs had mushroomed to dozens, and in some cases hundreds, of pages over the past three years. It’s unclear, she said, despite improved readability, whether LCAPs will become shorter or longer under the new template. “At this point, districts need time – a number of years without further changes – to work with it,” she said.Finally, districts’ accountability plans may be easier to read and use | EdSource:

A Free Book on Amazon That Explains the Plot to Privatize Public Schools | Diane Ravitch's blog

A Free Book on Amazon That Explains the Plot to Privatize Public Schools | Diane Ravitch's blog:

A Free Book on Amazon That Explains the Plot to Privatize Public Schools 

You can go to Amazon and click on this link to receive a free pdf of a 40-page report called “Who Controls Our Schools? The Privatization of American Public Education.”
It is up-to-date, concise, and well-written. It was prepared by Don Hazen, Elizabeth Hines, Steven Rosenfeld, and Stan Salett of THE INDEPENDENT MEDIA INSTITUTE.
If your friends and relatives don’t understand why you are worried about the future of public schools, share this document with them.
Here is the table of contents:
Analysis/Findings ……………………………..
2.1 How the School Privatization Industry Has Hijacked the Concept of Education Reform
2.2 How a Group of Billionaires Has Aggressively Pushed to Privatize the Public School System
2.3 How the Myth of “Failing Schools” Helped Spur
a Movement. . . One-Sided Propaganda Machine. . . . . . . . . . . ….
2.4 How a Lack of Transparency Undermines Schools
and Communities: Privatization in Action . . . . . . . . . . .
2.5 How Locally Elected School Boards and Democratic Governance Have Been Destroyed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
In Los Angeles, Pushing Charters,
by Every Means Necessary . . . . . . . . . . .. ……..
2.6 How the Legal Framework for Privatization
and Total Control Has Taken Hold. . . . . . . .. ……. .
2.7 How the Rapid Expansion of Privatized
Charters Is Pushed. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. ……..
Today’s Battlefront States . . . . . . . . . . . .. ……..
2.8 How to Take a Hard Look at Charter Schools
and Educational Outcomes: Rhetoric Is Not
the Same as Results . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ……..
2.9 How Charters Create Self-Enrichment Schemes
and Crony Capitalism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Self-Enrichment……. Nepotism … Corporate Profiteering . . . . . . . . .
2.10 How School Privatization Keeps Out Regulators
or Captures Them . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Policy Recommendations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Acknowledgments ………………………………
About the Authors ……………………………….
 A Free Book on Amazon That Explains the Plot to Privatize Public Schools | Diane Ravitch's blog:



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