Monday, December 20, 2010

Union requests formal investigation of data reports’ accuracy | GothamSchools

Union requests formal investigation of data reports’ accuracy | GothamSchools

Union requests formal investigation of data reports’ accuracy

The city teachers union today formally asked the comptroller and special commissioner of investigation to examine the accuracy of the Department of Education’s teacher ratings.

The move comes after an ongoing back-and-forth between the union and the city over how city officials ensure the accuracy of the data that determine the ratings. Yesterday, the union called a press conference to share stories of teachers who discovered that their data reports rate their effectiveness based on students and subjects they had never taught.

The feud over the ratings began in October, when city officials announced that they intended to release the teacher rankings to reporters. Union officials began collecting examples of errors on the reports, and then sued to block the release, arguing that the reports were too riddled with inaccurate information to be released.

Teachers union President Michael Mulgrew said Sunday that his staff has documented at least 200 cases in which teachers’ reports include errors. In its court filings, the union gave nearly 20 examples of reports, with teachers’ names redacted, that the union claims reflect errors.

But city officials countered today in a letter to Mulgrew that they have not yet seen the details of the flawed


UPR Students Arrested and Injured « occupy california

UPR Students Arrested and Injured « occupy california

UPR Students Arrested and Injured

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – [BREAKING] 15 or more students were arrested, at least 2 hospitalized, and around 8 police injured today in clashes related to the student strike at the University of Puerto Rico. Although still unclear, it appears students attempted to shutdown business as usual at the natural sciences building at the Río Piedras campus, but were instead met with a violent police response.

For the past few weeks students have been in an uproar over a fee increase intended to begin in January. This is the same fee increase students fought to prevent last Spring, where students effectively shut down the 10 of 11

The Educated Reporter: Startling mobility statistics.

The Educated Reporter: Startling mobility statistics.

Startling mobility statistics.

Did you know that 13 percent of all students in kindergarten through eighth grade change schools four or more times? That is a lot of kids, and a lot of moves. (And we’re not talking about progressing from elementary to middle school.)

If you are interesting in writing about mobility, check out

Christie to sign police, firefighter salary cap bill - NorthJersey.com

Christie to sign police, firefighter salary cap bill - NorthJersey.com
Christie to sign police, firefighter salary cap bill
Monday, December 20, 2010
STATE HOUSE BUREAU
STATE HOUSE BUREAU

TRENTON -- Governor Christie on Tuesday will sign legislation instituting a 2 percent cap on salary increases for police and fire fighters if their union can't come to an agreement during contract negotiations.

The biggest pieces of the "tool kit" Christie proposed to help municipalities deal with the impending 2 percent cap on property tax collections, the bill was heralded by both the governor and Democratic leadership in the Legislature.

The 2 percent limit will affect contracts that come to an impasse and seek a third-party arbitrator to resolve the differences. If a contract goes into arbitration, the

National City Teachers Take Step Toward Strike - voiceofsandiego.org: Schooled: The Education Blog

National City Teachers Take Step Toward Strike - voiceofsandiego.org: Schooled: The Education Blog
20Dec
National City Teachers Take Step Toward Strike

Elementary school teachers in National City have given the green light for their union to go on strike if negotiations with the National School District continue to stall. The step does not mean teachers will go on strike but it means the union is now free to call one if it wants to.

If that happens, the tiny district of roughly 5,800 elementary-schoolers would be the first school system in the county strike since this round of budget cuts have pressed schools. Budget cuts have ramped up tensions between teachers unions, superintendents and school boards all over the county, but National would be the only local district where those tensions bubbled over.

Read the rest of this article
16Dec
Parent Leader to School Board: Oh No You Didn’t

A parent leader is calling on the school board to reverse course after it decided to pull federal funding from schools with lower poverty rates to concentrate the money on the poorest schools.

David Page leads a school district advisory committee that weighs in on funding for disadvantaged schools. He argues the school board violated its own policies by not properly consulting his group on the plan and "acted in bad faith towards parents."

Page is filing an official complaint that calls on the school district attorney to tell the board to cancel its vote immediately so it can get more parent input and response before making its decision.

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Presidential Memorandum--Delegation of Certain Functions and Authorities | The White House

Presidential Memorandum--Delegation of Certain Functions and Authorities | The White House

Presidential Memorandum--Delegation of Certain Functions and Authorities

Release Time:
For Immediate Release

MEMORANDUM FOR THE DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT

SUBJECT: Delegation of Certain Functions and Authorities

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, including section 301 of title 3, United States Code, I hereby delegate to you the functions and authority conferred upon the President by section 7301 of title 5, United States Code, with respect to providing appropriate workplace accommodations for executive branch civilian employees who are nursing mothers.

You are authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.

BARACK OBAMA

NJ’s Christie Used ‘60 Minutes’ Platform to Attack Public Workers | AFL-CIO NOW BLOG

NJ’s Christie Used ‘60 Minutes’ Platform to Attack Public Workers | AFL-CIO NOW BLOG

NJ’s Christie Used ‘60 Minutes’ Platform to Attack Public Workers

by Mike Hall, Dec 20, 2010

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Last night’s “60 Minutes” report on the budget crises and shortfalls many state and local governments face could have been written by anti-worker, anti-union New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), who used his airtime to slam public employees and their unions as the root cause for the huge budget gaps. Yet 60 Minutes did not give one second of airtime to a public employee or union spokesperson.

Throughout the report, writes Media Matters’ Jamison Foser:

CBS allows Christie, New Jersey’s Republican governor, to launch attacks on unions and make unsupported claims about budget problems, all without ever challenging his assertions and without including substantive disagreement from Christie critics… If Christie didn’t get a producer credit on the 60 Minutes segment, he should have.

BTW, “60 Minutes” producers never even contacted the AFL-CIO for input or comments. AFSCME President Gerald McEntee says Christie “is more interested in scoring political points than solving state and local budget challenges and getting the economy moving.”

The fact is, hundreds of thousands of public employees, just like private-sector employees, have been laid off and taken pay and benefit cuts—even as Wall Street executives lined their pockets with taxpayer money and took home huge bonuses. And as [the report] noted, much of the pension problem stems from the fact that politicians did not contribute to their pension funds.

While politicians like Christie rail against the pensions public employees have secured through collective bargaining—painting them as overly generous golden parachutes, McEntee notes the average annual pension for an AFSCME member is $19,000, and the workers contribute 80 percent during their lifetime on the job.

[Take action: Write a comment on the "60 Minutes" Facebook wall here and if you're on Twitter, retweet: RT @AFLCIO #60minutes Why did you do segment on public wkrs in state w/ Christie/Wall St, but didn't contact the workers? @60minutes #p2 ]

The long term solution to state and local fiscal challenges, says McEntee, is “a robust economy, one that is creating jobs and replenishing tax revenue.”

Public employees stand ready to help state and local governments get through the economic storm. But to suggest that they have not sacrificed is a lie, and we will not allow politicians like Chris Christie to blame the economic crisis on working and middle class Americans.

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Hard choices ahead for K-12 funding | EdNewsColorado

Hard choices ahead for K-12 funding | EdNewsColorado

Hard choices ahead for K-12 funding

Written by Todd Engdahl on Dec 20th, 2010.

Legislators face tough decisions next session about whether to cover the loss of local tax revenues or force school districts to eat those cuts.

Legislative Council meeting

Legislators listen to revenue forecasts on Dec. 20, 2010. Chief legislative economist Natalie Mullis is seen in profile at lower left.

That was the key message for school districts out of revenue forecasts and economic reports given to the Legislative Council, Joint Budget Committee and other legislators today by legislative and executive branch economists.

While they said the national and state economies continue to improve, the December revenue forecasts were little changed from those issued in September.

Lawmakers also received forecasts of 2011-12 school enrollment and local property tax collections, reports that are made only in December.

Changes in local revenues are key to the funding picture for K-12, said Todd Herreid, fiscal director of the Legislative Council staff and a school finance expert.

Those local revenues, which come from property and vehicle taxes, are projected to drop by $143 million for the 2011-12 school year. Traditionally, the state covers losses in local revenue, but the tight state budget situation makes it an open question whether lawmakers will do that for next year.

It’s widely expected that state support of schools will be no better than flat next year. What’s called “total

2 civil rights groups claim Texas education discriminates against minorities 3:24 PM CT | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News | Latest News

2 civil rights groups claim Texas education discriminates against minorities 3:24 PM CT | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News | Latest News

2 civil rights groups claim Texas education discriminates against minorities 3:24 PM CT

03:34 PM CST on Monday, December 20, 2010

By STEVE THOMPSON / The Dallas Morning News
stevethompson@dallasnews.com

Two leading civil rights groups for African-Americans and Hispanics are jointly asking the federal government to step in and force anti-discriminatory initiatives in Texas public education.

“We know that we have to be in Austin, but one way that we’re doing this is also appealing to the federal government,” said Hector Flores, former national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens, during a news conference today at Dallas City Hall.

“We know that the TEA [Texas Education Agency] has been failing our communality miserably, African-American and Hispanics,” Flores said. “We know that in Texas there are many dropout factories even here in our own community.”

Standing with him were other LULAC officials, as well as local officials of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

The groups singled out, among other problems, curriculum changes made this spring by the Texas Board of Education, which apply new

“Teachers’ Union Leading School Reform? Impossible!” | Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day...

“Teachers’ Union Leading School Reform? Impossible!” | Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day...

“Teachers’ Union Leading School Reform? Impossible!”

Teachers’ Union Leading School Reform? Impossible! is the title of a blog post by Anthony Cody at Ed Week. It describes the success of schools here in California that have received funds through the California Teachers Association sponsored Quality Education Investment Act (QEIA).

The school where I teacher, Luther Burbank High School, is one of them, and I contributed a paragraph to Anthony’s piece describing the effect those monies have had on us.

Here’s Anthony’s first paragraph, and I hope you’ll go over to his blog to read the rest:

Seattle Public Schools community blog: They're At It Again

Seattle Public Schools community blog: They're At It Again

They're At It Again

From Joan Sias, word that the "highly qualified teachers" item that was inserted in a Senate appropriations bill to allow teachers such as TFA recruits to be considered "highly qualified" for NCLB is back in the bill.

This is complete nonsense. On the one hand they want better teachers and want to direct districts to tell parents their student has a teacher who is "highly qualified" and that means a bachelor's and 5 weeks training? Look, if you want to put these student teachers into difficult to fill posts, fine. But to argue that they are highly qualified is

A simultaneous policy scrum. « Fred Klonsky's blog

A simultaneous policy scrum. « Fred Klonsky's blog

A simultaneous policy scrum.

Jim Broadway of the State News Service calls what is going on in Springfield right now a simultaneous policy scrum.

In the game of rugby, a scrum is where you go the distance as a unit, passing the ball back and
forth. If someone gets hurt, someone gets hurt.

According to Broadway, Madigan wants a bi-partisan revenue bill with a tax increase. A bi-partisan bill means getting a couple of Republican votes. Madigan wants it in this session. To get the couple of GOP votes, teachers get it up the rear.

But Madigan gets a score and if teachers get hurt, teachers get hurt.

Broadway:

As an analogy, consider the Obama Administration’s recent capitulation to

Queens Teacher: Busting the Teachers' Unions

Queens Teacher: Busting the Teachers' Unions

Busting the Teachers' Unions

Teachers Unions No More: Are We Prepared for the Union-Busters?
Gary Anderson
Professor of Education, NYU

Although most of the new crop of self-described "reformers" have denied it, we've all suspected that union-busting is ultimately behind the scapegoating of teachers for turning America into a "nation at risk." But in case there was ever any doubt, New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie, former DC schools chancellor, Michelle Rhee and L.A. mayor and former union guy, Antonio Villaraigosa aren't mincing words about going after teachers unions.

There is no doubt that unionism in the U.S. has a checkered history including corruption, conservative politics, and dictatorial control by union bosses. However, democratic struggles within unions have also always been part of unionism. In fact in Chicago the democratic forces have recently been victorious. CORE (Caucus of Rank-and-File Educators), led by Karen Lewis, is now THE union in Chicago. United Teachers of Los Angeles, the current target of mayor Villaraigosa, also has a progressive recent history.

Moreover, because a mere 8 percent of private sector workers are unionized, we have no organized group in this

Del Valle opposes anti-strike legislation. Supports collective bargaining rights. « Fred Klonsky's blog

Del Valle opposes anti-strike legislation. Supports collective bargaining rights. « Fred Klonsky's blog

Del Valle opposes anti-strike legislation. Supports collective bargaining rights.

As the General Assembly prepares to debate the right of teachers to collectively bargain local agreements and the right to strike, Chicago mayoral candidate Miguel Del Valle plans to make a statement giving his unconditional support to teacher union rights at a campaign meeting tonight.

I’m looking forward to what he had to say when he speaks at an educator’s meet and greet this evening at Lazo’s Restaurant, 2009 N. Western Ave. in Chicago.

The gathering is at 5PM and Del Valle plans to discuss the issue of collective bargaining rights at 6:30.

While Del Valle started low in early polls, this past week has witnessed a series of forums where large crowds

Gates and Weingarten: Fixing Our Nation's Schools - Newsweek

Gates and Weingarten: Fixing Our Nation's Schools - Newsweek

Bill Gates and Randi Weingarten

Can the billionaire philanthropist and the president of the American Federation of Teachers find common ground—and fix our nation’s education system?

Bill Gates and Randi Weingarten in Washington, D.C.Paolo Pellegrin / Magnum for Newsweek

Bill Gates and Randi Weingarten in Washington, D.C.

Our schools are lagging behind the rest of the world. Why is that? How did we fall so far behind?

Gates: Well, it’s the big issue. A lot of other countries have put effort into their school systems. So part of it is the competition is better. The Chinese, who have a 10th of our wealth, are running a great education system. There are some things we can learn from other systems. They have a longer school day in most countries, and a longer school year in most countries. And some of them have elements of their personnel system that are worth learning from.

Weingarten: What we’re seeing is that the United States, instead of moving ahead, is actually stagnating. We’re basically in the same place we’ve been, and these countries have moved forward. They’ve spent a lot of time investing in the preparation and support of teachers. Many of them teach a common curriculum, very similar to the common standards that Bill Gates

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