Monday, October 25, 2010

Portland Superintendent Carole Smith gets glowing evaluation, three-year contract extension | OregonLive.com

Portland Superintendent Carole Smith gets glowing evaluation, three-year contract extension | OregonLive.com

Portland Superintendent Carole Smith gets glowing evaluation, three-year contract extension

Published: Monday, October 25, 2010, 7:17 PM Updated: Monday, October 25, 2010, 7:37 PM
Portland Superintendent Carole Smith got a glowing performance evaluation and a three-year contract extension tonight from the school board that hired her three years ago. They praised her as a thoughtful, respectful leader who empowers district employees, displays impeccable integrity, cares deeply about equity for students and is a good communicator.

Their evaluation, adopted on a 6-0 vote, made note of the fact that she failed to meet any of the three key student achievement targets she and the school board had agreed she should strive for, but emphasized that "the board is encouraged by results in individual schools."

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"We have, overall, a really, really strongsense of satisfaction with the superintendent's performance," board co-chairwoman Trudy Sargent said.

"Her personal and professional strength is everything for this district," echoed board member Ruth Adkins.

Even so, Smith won't get a raise -- because she preempted that by declaring she and all district employees who report directly to her would have their pay frozen this school year, even as most other employees got a 2 percent cost-of-living raise.

Smith earns $190,000 and has declined to accept a raise every year since she became

Isaac Newton, Pieces of Eight, and Project Win-Win

Isaac Newton, Pieces of Eight, and Project Win-Win

Isaac Newton, Pieces of Eight, and Project Win-Win



There’s a vein of skepticism running through this Chronicle article on “Project Win-Win” that reveals a lot about the flaws in our system of higher education credentialing. The Project is designed to track down students who have earned enough (or almost enough) credits to merit a college degree but don’t have a degree and award them a degree.There are more people like this than you might think. But the author, Jennifer Gonzalez, questions the value of the effort:

Putting more degrees into people’s hands certainly contributes to the tally of Americans who hold them, although it does little to increase the nation’s educational capital.

I think this fundamentally misunderstands the nature of “educational capital.” That widely-used phrase has non-

Facebook | Consumer Groups Join Dave Jones at Mercury Insurance HQ to Protest Insurance Companies $5.7M to Buy Insurance Commissioner Race

Facebook | Consumer Groups Join Dave Jones at Mercury Insurance HQ to Protest Insurance Companies $5.7M to Buy Insurance Commissioner Race
Consumer Groups Join Dave Jones at Mercury Insurance HQ to Protest Insurance Companies $5.7M to Buy
Today two of California's most important consumer advocacy groups - The Consumer Federation of California and Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety (C.A.R.S.) - joined me to protest the $5.7 million that the insurance industry is spending to elect my opponent - an anti-consumer, pro-insurance industry candidate.

Thank you to the many consumers who joined us outside the headquarters of Mercury Insurance whose CEO has personally contributed $1 million to the negative attack ads designed to defeat my candidacy.

"Not since the days when Chuck Quackenbush was driven out of the Insurance Commissioner's office have we seen insurance companies spend this kind of money to dictate who our next Insurance Commissioner will be," said Richard Holober, Executive Director of the Consumer Federation of California.

So far, insurance companies have contributed $5.7 million to an "independent expenditure" committee sponsored by the California Chamber of Commerce that is running a negative ad campaign against me throughout the state.

By laundering contributions through the California Chamber of Commerce, insurance companies are hiding from voters that it's the insurance industry paying for the attack ads.

"Voters have a right to know that insurance companies are funding the attack ads against Dave Jones, who has been a strong, pro-consumer champion," said Rosemary Shahan, President of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety (C.A.R.S.) "Mercury General and other insurers clearly think that Dave Jones' opponent will favor them, against consumers."

The insurance companies funding the California Chamber of Commerce's negative campaign are:

Allstate: $1.15 million

George Joseph , CEO, Mercury Insurance: $1 million

Liberty Mutual: $640,000

Progressive: $390,000

Farmers: $225,000

Anthem Blue Cross: $150,000

Health Net: $100,000

American Insurance Association IE PAC: $52,000

Personal Insurance Federation of CA: $25,000

In addition to the attack ads funded by the insurance contributions listed above, the California Chamber of Commerce ran a $2 million issue ad campaign for my opponent, once again hiding the source of the funds.

This brings the total amount spent to $5.7 million to elect an Insurance Commissioner who will favor the insurance industry over consumers.

"Insurance Companies have a lot at stake since the next Insurance Commissioner will be responsible for implementing national health care reform," said Laurel Kaufer, an Anthem Blue Cross customer whose rates were almost increased by 34% this year. "Dave Jones supports national health care reform. His opponent does not."

I am proud to be on the side of California's consumers. We may not have the millions of dollars that the insurance industry has, but I know that voters will see through their deceptive campaign.

There's no doubt that we have a tough fight ahead of us in the next 7 days. Please contact everyone you know and tell them about the insurance industry's deceptive campaign, and ask them to vote for me on Election Day!

It's time we had an Insurance Commissioner who is on the side of California's consumers and not the insurance industry.

Thanks for your continued support,

DAVE JONES
Candidate for Insurance Commissioner

P.S. Please send an email to everyone you know today and ask them to vote for Dave Jones for Insurance Commissioner!

Student Learning Expectations Gap Can Be Twice the Size of National Black-White Achievement Gap, New Report Details | American Institutes for Research

Student Learning Expectations Gap Can Be Twice the Size of National Black-White Achievement Gap, New Report Details | American Institutes for Research

Student Learning Expectations Gap Can Be Twice the Size of National Black-White Achievement Gap, New Report Details

Monday, October 25, 2010


Washington, D.C. – The gap in what students are expected to know in each state varies so greatly that the difference in student expectations between the states with the most rigorous assessments and those with the least stringent is twice the size of the national black-white achievement gap, according to a new report by the American Institutes for Research (AIR).

For comparison, while black students are falling nearly two grade levels behind their white peers in knowledge and achievement, what students are expected to know in one state may be up to four grade levels behind the expectations set in another state.

At a time when student assessments are increasingly being used to judge how well students are learning, teachers are teaching and schools are performing – and the stakes involved are growing to include hiring and firing decisions, funding allocation and whether or not a school even remains open –

Bullying Speaker Tony Bartoli--STAND!, Stop BULLYING!

If You've ever been there YOU KNOW what it's like. It affects thousands of teenagers, Kids, students EVERY day in Schools all across America. And not only in schools. It affects the BULLIED students and yes, it affects the Bullies. Bullying affects adults. Tony Bartoli teaches across the country on key ways to handle BULLYING. Watch the Vid and consider Tony!

600,000 local government salaries posted online | California Watch

600,000 local government salaries posted online | California Watch

600,000 local government salaries posted online

State Controller John Chiang today made good on a promise to post an online database of salary and benefits for hundreds of thousands of local government employees around the state.

So far, the database includes salary and benefit information for nearly 600,000 employees in more than 400 cities and about 40 counties statewide. The famous six-figure Bell salaries are included, although data from the city of Vernon, whose employees' big paydays are also under investigation, has not yet been collected.

Dozens of cities and counties have not yet filed reports and could face penalties for not doing so.

"The absence of transparency and accountability invites corruption, self-dealing and the abuse of public funds,"

Klein: ratings are useful for the worst and best teachers | GothamSchools

Klein: ratings are useful for the worst and best teachers | GothamSchools

Klein: ratings are useful for the worst and best teachers

For parents of students in the “average” city teacher’s class, learning the teacher’s rating may not tell them very much, Chancellor Joel Klein wrote in a letter to principals today.

In his email, Klein explained the city’s decision to release release teachers’ effectiveness ratings and the teachers union’s move to block this from happening. He noted that the ratings, which measure teachers against estimations of how much their students’ test scores ought to rise, would be most useful in identifying very high and low performing teachers. He wrote:

One indication will never tell the whole story, and sometimes it is hard to discern definitive

Onus Shmonus. � Fred Klonsky's blog

Onus Shmonus. � Fred Klonsky's blog

Onus Shmonus.

OCTOBER 25, 2010
by Fred Klonsky

Union hater Mike Antonucci claims that since states with collective bargaining laws pay their teachers more than right-to-work non-union states the “onus,” as he puts it, is on unions to show they are worth what he calculates as the extra 20% that unionized teachers get paid.

Of course, Alexander Russo repeats this nonsense on his blog.

But Antonucci’s hatred for unions blinds him. He at once admits that teacher salaries and students scores are not to be correlated and then he proceeds to correlate them.

But collective bargaining is what it says it is: An agreement between the board of education, which usually is elected and represents the community’s financial interest, and the teachers union, which represents their members on issues of working conditions and wages. The

Student Drops Restraining Order Request Against MI Asst AG Who Harassed Him For Being Gay | TPMMuckraker

Student Drops Restraining Order Request Against MI Asst AG Who Harassed Him For Being Gay | TPMMuckraker

Student Drops Restraining Order Request Against MI Asst AG Who Harassed Him For Being Gay

Chris Armstrong, student body president at the University of Michigan, dropped his petition today for a restraining order against Andrew Shirvell, the Assistant Attorney General in Michigan.

For several months, Shirvell had been waging a campaign against Armstrong because he is gay. Shirvell blogged about Armstrong's "radical homosexual agenda" and repeatedly allegedly harassed him on campus. A hearing scheduled for today regarding Armstrong's petition has now been canceled.

According to David Jesse at AnnArbor.com, court documents say Armstrong dropped the request because Shirvell "has not contacted me since service of the petition on him."

At the beginning of the month, Shirvell

Governor's Veto of Services to Disabled Students - Year 2010 (CA Dept of Education)

Governor's Veto of Services to Disabled Students - Year 2010 (CA Dept of Education)

State Schools Chief Jack O'Connell Denounces Governor's
Cuts to Mental Health Services for Students
with Disabilities, Questions Constitutionality

SACRAMENTO — State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell today strongly condemned Governor Schwarzenegger's veto of $133 million for essential mental health services intended for students with severe disabilities.

"After underfunding public education by more than $21 billion over the last three budgets, it is unconscionable that the Governor would take away this funding for critically needed mental health services to severely disabled students," O'Connell stated. "School districts remain responsible for implementing the Individualized Education Program (IEP) plans for all students with disabilities. I question whether the Governor's action to eliminate funding for this mandate is constitutional."

Among a series of cold-hearted and cruel line-item vetoes to the final 2010-11 Budget Act, the Governor eliminated funding for county mental health programs that are mandated under law per AB 3632, which was passed in 1984 and took effect in 1986.

His action is not only adding additional cost burdens on already underfunded districts, but more importantly, is causing great concern and uncertainly about the ability of districts to immediately provide necessary mental health services by appropriate providers. These services include psychiatric and medical management of necessary medications — services that school districts are simply not equipped to provide.

"While directing school districts to maintain their commitment to meet the requirements of all students' IEP plans, we are working closely with legislative leadership to pursue a legal opinion on whether the Governor broke the law by eliminating funding to provide mental health services for severely disabled students. We are also exploring other steps to prevent cessation of services of mental health services for students by county mental health agencies,” O'Connell said.

A class-action lawsuit was filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on behalf of 20,000 special education students by mental health and disability rights advocates charging the Governor with violating the Individuals with Disabilities Act.

"I welcome the Court's review of the Governor's legal authority to cut these mandated funds,” O'Connell said.

The California Department of Education has issued a memo to county and district superintendents and charter school administrators, Special Education Local Plan Area directors, and special education administrators, reminding them of their responsibility to provide mental health services to students with disabilities as required by Government Code sections 7570 et seq.

"All students in California deserve an education that gives them the opportunity to meet their full potential. Both federal law and common decency tell us that we cannot balance the state budget shortfall on the back of vulnerable students with disabilities,” O'Connell said.

Opinion: How money is corrupting our elections - NorthJersey.com

Opinion: How money is corrupting our elections - NorthJersey.com
Opinion: How money is corrupting our elections
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
LAST UPDATED: MONDAY OCTOBER 25, 2010, 4:47 PM
THE RECORD
EJ Dionne writes for The Washington Post.

IMAGINE an election in a Third World nation where a small number of millionaires and billionaires spent massive sums to push the outcome in their preferred direction. Wouldn’t many people here condescendingly tut-tut such a country’s “poorly developed” sense of democracy and the inadequacy of its political system?

That, of course, is what is going on in our country as you read this. If you travel any place where there is a contested race for the House or Senate, you are bombarded with attack ads, almost all against Democrats, paid for by groups that do not have to reveal where their money comes from.

What we do know from enterprising journalism and the limited disclosure the law requires is that much of this money is donated in large sums from a rather small

UC Berkeley: Action on Wednesday � occupy california

UC Berkeley: Action on Wednesday � occupy california

UC Berkeley: Action on Wednesday

Noon, Oct. 27 – Sather Gate at UC Berkeley.

from those who use it:

The Academic Student Employees (ASEs) in UAW 2865 – that means all of the GSIs, readers, and tutors on all UC campuses across the state – have been denied a fair contract since negotiations with the administration began over the summer. The UC is pushing an effective pay cut – a “raise” that is below the projected inflation rate – and refusing to increase childcare subsidies (which are currently $450/semester, hardly enough for even a month of childcare).

Undergraduates who have experienced fee hikes know the feeling. With yet another fee hike on the table for the next Regents meeting (Nov. 16), this trend toward forcing its own students into poverty has no end in sight, and now graduate students are under attack. Fee hikes and denial of a fair contract are two sides of the same coin: austerity measures.

Just when you thought the UC administration was the only enemy on campus, we find out that the GSIs’ own union bargaining team is giving them the runaround. The final day of contract bargaining is this Wednesday,

Senior Exit Projects � Outside the Cave

Senior Exit Projects � Outside the Cave

Senior Exit Projects

Today, I was invited to give a presentation to coaches from the Institute for Student Achievement (ISA) on the Senior Seminar and Capstones that are meant to be the culmination of the student experience at my school, now in its seventh year. I’m not sure how much interest this will be to most, nor if it will make much sense without my talk, but thought I would post my presentation nonetheless for others to learn from. I’m hoping, also, to continue the conversation I began at the presentation with many who were there.

In the presentation, I make reference to two methods of planning backwards, planning like a staircase, and

Education chief, actor reach out to teachers | WHYY News and Information | WHYY

Education chief, actor reach out to teachers | WHYY News and Information | WHYY

Education chief, actor reach out to teachers

Monday, October 25th, 2010


By: Tom MacDonald
tmacdonald@whyy.org


The Secretary of Education and celebrity teacher Tony Danza joined forces Monday at Temple University to talk about the pressing need for educators in the United States.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan told the future educators and others thinking about joining the profession there are 8,000 new teachers needed across the country.

"Far too many great young teachers come in and want to make a difference but they don't have the classroom management skills, they are not listened to, there are not many mentoring and they burn out," said Duncan. "They don't make it."

Actor Tony Danza, who stars in a reality television series about his year of teaching at Northeast High School in Philadelphia, was passionate about the experience.

4LAKids - some of the news that doesn't fit: ICEF REVISITED

4LAKids - some of the news that doesn't fit: ICEF REVISITED

ICEF REVISITED

BY SMF FOR 4LAKIDS

I received a phone call this AM from Caprice Young -- the CEO of ICEF Charter schools. Caprice and I go back aways, if we are not friends we are colleagues in the shared mission of providing quality public education to all kids. In different time we have driven neighborhoods looking for sites for traditional schools in Hollywood and charter schools in Northeast LA.

Caprice called to take offense of some of my 4LAKids writing - and in particular my comments upon John Fensterwald’s piece in the Educated Guess http://bit.ly/baQ2uF re: the near financial meltdown of ICEF.

Monday, October 18, 2010: L.A. CHARTER GROUP LAYS OFF ONE-SIXTH OF STAFF: ICEF squeezed by state budget cuts and unwise borrowing + comments

I wrote:

smf: This piece has some excellent follow-on commentary, none of it rabid one-way-or-the-other. I invite all readers to read it here. That

This Week In Education: Thompson: Treating Value-Added Decisions Like Foreclosures

This Week In Education: Thompson: Treating Value-Added Decisions Like Foreclosures

Thompson: Treating Value-Added Decisions Like Foreclosures

ScreenHunter_10 Oct. 18 10.09What would happen if legal challenges forced districts (and district-hired attorneys) to certify that the numbers derived from statistical models are an accurate reflection of an individual educator's practice? That's what they're doing with home foreclosures now, putting attorneys on the line (NPR). Attorneys are officers of the court, and judges don't like to be lied to. Hat tip to Eduwonk for a link to a discusion of why "a flood of lawsuits is certain to occur" when test scores are used in evaluations. Unions

The Answer Sheet - Willingham: Is a paradigm shift really needed?

The Answer Sheet - Willingham: Is a paradigm shift really needed?

Willingham: Is a paradigm shift really needed?

My guest today is cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham, a psychology professor at the University of Virginia and author of “Why Don’t Students Like School?” By Daniel Willingham Several people have sent me this video, either because they thought it brilliant and wanted to be sure that I saw it, or because they thought it foolish and wanted me to criticize it. It’s a cleverly animated summary of a talk delivered by Sir Ken Robinson, a British author, former professor of education, and authority on innovation. Robinson suggests that what’s needed in education is a “paradigm shift.” Maybe so, but Robinson makes a poor case. T

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