Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Schooling in the Ownership Society: K-12 Inc. stock price plummets. Should we care?

Schooling in the Ownership Society: K-12 Inc. stock price plummets. Should we care?:

K-12 Inc. stock price plummets. Should we care?

Uh oh! The speculators are speculatin' and the short-sellers are short selling. K-12 Inc. stock is in free-fall and Andy Rotherham at Eduwonk (who denies holding any shares) sound downright panicky and hedgey. While he is not currently contracting with K-12, his Bellweather consulting company has done work with them in the past. The stock market is to edu-profiteers like Rotherham, what standardized test scores are to DOE bureaucrats and big-city mayors, indicators of their future employment and marketability.

The trouble began Monday when a New York Times story by Stephanie Saul, "Profits and Questions at Online Charter Schools", called out K-12, not on its stock prices, but on how badly its "portfolio schools" like Agora Cyber Charter School are doing.

Agora is one of the largest in a portfolio of similar public schools across the country run by K12. Eight other for-

State House votes to lift limit on charter schools, Senate may follow | Detroit Free Press | freep.com

State House votes to lift limit on charter schools, Senate may follow | Detroit Free Press | freep.com:

State House votes to lift limit on charter schools, Senate may follow


The state House narrowly approved legislation long sought by Michigan charter school advocates this evening - removal of the cap on their number.

Concurrence by the state Senate, which could come as soon as Thursday, would send the bill to Gov. Rick Snyder and open the door to the creation of a wave of new charters in 2012.

The measure was approved on a vote of 58-49, almost entirely along party lines with Republicans in support and Democrats opposed. In addition to lifting the cap on the number of charter schools, backers

Education Quote of the Week: Arne Duncan on No Child Left Behind | Mother Jones #edreform

Education Quote of the Week: Arne Duncan on No Child Left Behind | Mother Jones:

Education Quote of the Week: Arne Duncan on No Child Left Behind

Kristina Rizga at The Riff Feed | Mother Jones - 3 minutes ago
Here's Education Secretary Arne Duncan on the widely expected overhaul of the nine-year-old No Child Left Behind Act, formally called the Education Elementary and Secondary Education Law, as quoted by AP: "Everyone I talk to really shares my sense of urgency that we have to do better for our children. We're fighting for our country here." What's he talking about? AP reports: "Duncan has worked with lawmakers of both parties over the past two years to lay the groundwork for a rewrite." The new law "[W]ould ease many testing requirements, put a new focus on teacher performance and ... more »

Pedro's Scars

Kristina Rizga at The Riff Feed | Mother Jones - 3 minutes ago
*Editors' Note: This education dispatch is part of an ongoing series reported from Mission High School, where education writer Kristina Rizga is embedded for the year. Click here to see all of MoJo's recent education coverage, or follow Kristina's writing on Twitter or with this RSS Feed.* *[Previous Mission High dispatch: "Yes, I made an aspiring astronaut cry. But then she returned the favor."]* I'm feeling drained after my conversation with Natalie, but I run into Pedro* on my way home and stop to say hi. "Do you want to see my scars?" he asks me suddenly. He puts his skateboa... more »

Gov. Bentley's Christian Brotherhood

Jen Quraishi at The Riff Feed | Mother Jones - 3 minutes ago
All Alabamans are apparently not equal, at least not in the eyes of new governor Robert Bentley. Bentley told an audience at a Baptist church where Martin Luther King Jr. was a pastor that he was "color-blind" but also that non-Christians were not his "brother and sister." According to the *Birmingham News*, Bentley told the congregation: ''There may be some people here today who do not have living within them the Holy Spirit... But if you have been adopted in God's family like I have, and like you have if you're a Christian and if you're saved, and the Holy Spirit lives within ... more »

Closing the Achievement Gap, One 'A' at a Time

Kristina Rizga at The Riff Feed | Mother Jones - 3 minutes ago
*Editors' Note: This education dispatch is part of an ongoing series reported from Mission High School, where education writer Kristina Rizga is embedded for the year. Click here to see all of MoJo's recent education coverage, or follow Kristina's writing on Twitter or with this RSS Feed.* *[Previous Mission High dispatch: When a kid suddenly pulls up his shirt to show you scars from a gang-related stabbing, what do you say?]* Early Friday morning Darrell* cracks open the classroom door for a second time here at Mission High. Darrell's nervous. He's been making progress and getti... more »

In Egypt and Beyond, Democracy Through...Soccer?

Gavin Aronsen at The Riff Feed | Mother Jones - 3 minutes ago
At *Sports Illustrated*, Dave Zirin analyzes the role of Egypt's "most organized, militant" soccer clubs in organizing opposition to the Mubarak government. He quotes Egyptian blogger Alaa Abd El Fattah, who told * Al-Jazeera* that the clubs "have played a more significant role than any political group on the ground at this moment." Explains Zirin: The critical role of Egypt's soccer clubs may surprise us, but only if we don't know the history that soccer clubs have played in the country. For more than a century, the clubs have been a place where cheering and anti-government orga... more »

Does Islamophobia Increase Hate Crimes for Others?

Jen Quraishi at The Riff Feed | Mother Jones - 3 minutes ago
In a new interview with Katie Couric as part of her 1-hour *@Katie**Couric*show, NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says that incidents targeting Muslims on on the rise in the US. "I think Islamophobia is on the rise, and I think the best way to counter it is communication," said Abdul-Jabbar. "To let people know who we are and what we believe in." Abdul-Jabbar, who has been a public face for American Muslims at events like the Rally to Restore Sanity, is right about the lack of education surrounding Islam. A 2010 study by the Pew Research Center found that Americans were more confus... more »

The Loughner Double Standard

Beth Winegarner at The Riff Feed | Mother Jones - 3 minutes ago
*Guest blogger Beth Winegarner writes about teens, culture, and music.* In one of a handful of videos Jared Lee Loughner posted on YouTube, a man cloaked in brown burns the American flag while Drowning Pool's "Bodies" blares in the background. As reporters pull together descriptions of the man who shot and killed six people and wounded 14 others, including Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, it's not surprising that many mention which band Loughner picked as his soundtrack. What *is* surprising is that most reporters aren't blaming Loughner's taste in music for the attack. "Since Co...more »

Education Roundup: More Segregation, Science Fails, and the State of the Union

Titania Kumeh at The Riff Feed | Mother Jones - 3 minutes ago
[*UPDATE*: *BlackAmericaWeb.com* reports that *Kelley Williams-Bola*r will get to keep her public school assistant job, despite having two felonies on her record. Meanwhile, bloggers are asking whether Williams-Bolar is the "*Rosa Parks*" of education and a *Change.org* petition is demanding that *Gov. John Kasich* pardon her. What did Kelley do? Read on.] - Would you lie to get your kids into a better school? Ohio mom *Kelley Williams-Bolar *did, and was jailed for nine days for using a false address to send her two daughters to a better school. *Colorlines* and * Hu... more »

Realization of the Week: The Same Classroom Is Never the Same

Kristina Rizga at The Riff Feed | Mother Jones - 3 minutes ago
*Editors' Note: This education dispatch is part of an ongoing series reported from Mission High School, where education writer Kristina Rizga is embedded for the year. Click here to see more of MoJo's recent education coverage, or follow Kristina's writing on Twitter or with this RSS Feed.* *[Previous Mission High dispatch: Will Darrell flunk this test?]* There's a spring in my step as I walk to Mission High School this morning. I can't wait to tell Natalie—the aspiring astronaut who was "kicked out" of two charter schools—that my NASA friend has agreed to meet with her and give ... more »

The Hook Up: Relationship Advice For the Gases

Anna Pulley at The Riff Feed | Mother Jones - 3 minutes ago
Have you been wondering how to help a girlfriend who has a gas problem or what to do when your partner treats you like her child? Look no further than my latest AfterEllen advice column. Excerpt: *I don’t know how to put this delicately, so I’ll just say it: My girlfriend has a gas problem. Her diet is great (she’s a chef even!) and she’s not like obnoxious about it or anything. She leaves the room when she can, but man, sometimes it smells so foul that I want to fumigate her entire gastrointestinal tract. I know in the long run, this is not a big deal, but it’s still gross and I... more »

Happy Fred Korematsu Day

Angilee Shah at The Riff Feed | Mother Jones - 3 minutes ago
Mother Jones' *guest blogger Angilee Shah is a Los Angeles-based freelance journalist who writes about globalization and politics. You can read more of her work at www.angileeshah.com*. This weekend, American civil rights activists celebrate a new icon: Fred Korematsu, the Japanese-American who resisted placement in a World War II-era internment camp. It's the first holiday in the US commemorating an Asian-American—and it's proof to some judges and civil rights activists that a new generation of Asian-American leaders can't be far behind. Korematsu's story is an instructive one f... more »

Education Roundup: Armed Teachers?

Titania Kumeh at The Riff Feed | Mother Jones - 3 minutes ago
*This week's roundup is brought to you by the buzzword "social capital." Click here to learn what it really means.* Guns in Los Angeles schools permeated education news this week. Why? Well, first two students were shot in an LA classroom after a gun discharged in a third student's backpack. Then, in a separate incident, several LA schools were put on lockdown after an unknown assailant shot a police officer near a local high school. Would armed teachers help keep schools safe from shootings?* *One Nebraska senator thinks so, and introduced a bill this week to allow school admin... more »

Education Buzzword Explainer: What the Heck Is Social Capital?

Titania Kumeh at The Riff Feed | Mother Jones - 3 minutes ago
Let's face it: Jargon happens. And in education circles, it happens *a lot*. Curious what an education buzzword actually means? Or how a seemingly unrelated business concept migrated into discussions about kids and schools? Let *MoJo*'s education team research it so you don't have to. We welcome buzzword suggestions in comments for our next primer: Help us decide what lingo to look at next. *This week's education buzzword: "SOCIAL CAPITAL."* *What is social capital? *It's not about money. At its core, social capital theory holds that "relationships matter" and that "social networ... more »

Sam Cooke's Wild Side

Joe Kloc at The Riff Feed | Mother Jones - 3 minutes ago
*Sam Cooke* *Live at the Harlem Square Club, 1963* *RCA* Eighty years ago last Saturday, Sam Cooke was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi. He started out as a gospel singer, and when he switched to recording secular music his smooth style made him an instant success. In the short 33 years before he was killed by a motel manager in Los Angeles, California, he wrote and recorded 29 Top 40 soul hits. In 2008, *Rolling Stone* ranked his voice as the fourth-greatest of all time, behind only Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, and Elvis Presley. But Cooke didn't always stick to the polished sou... more »

Zaire Paige and Others Who Roughed Their Way to Hollywood

Jaeah Lee at The Riff Feed | Mother Jones - 3 minutes ago
In Hollywood, it takes a gangster to play a gangster. Zaire Paige, the 21-year-old who recently scored a role alongside Richard Gere and Don Cheadle in the new-release *Brooklyn's Finest*, hung out with Crips members during his adolescent days in Brownsville—New York City's "most murderous" neighborhood. Paige auditioned for the role in 2008 at the urging of a friend who was hired to consult on the film's "street authenticity," as the *Village Voice* reports. Director Antoine Fuqua was sold immediately. "He is a kid who obviously comes from a violent world...He just fit the bill,"... more »

Compton's "Parent Trigger" Education Fight Heats Up

Kristina Rizga at The Riff Feed | Mother Jones - 3 minutes ago
Looks like the "parent-trigger law" debate is heating up between Compton' pro-charter parents and the Compton Unified School District. If you haven't been following the news out of Compton, last month I bloggedabout how parents of kids attending LA's public McKinley Elementary School are trying something new: Shutting down the chronically struggling institution and demanding that it be replaced by a charter school. And yes, they can do that—thanks to a new parental option called the "parent-trigger" law, which allows parents to force big changes at the state's lowest-performing sc... more »

RJD2 is Not Guilty

Jaeah Lee and Zoë Slutzky at The Riff Feed | Mother Jones - 3 minutes ago
On stage, Ramble John Krohn (a.k.a. RJD2) has an ability to entrance his audience into a sea of synchronized hand-waves and head-bopping. The vinyl-scratching, mass-Tweeting, Ohio-raised DJ started spinning in 1993, when he decided to buy a pair of turntables from a friend. He's since produced 20 albums, 28 singles, and dozens of other collaborations, mix tapes, and remixed tracks. We recently caught up with Krohn, who abides by the music-making philosophy of not giving "a s*** as long as it sounds hot." He fuses explosive elements from hip-hop, brass-band, and metal rock with so... more »

Bryan Fischer, Basketball Analyst

Tim Murphy at The Riff Feed | Mother Jones - 3 minutes ago
American Family Association issues director Bryan Fischer is what we in the blogging business like to call a "generalist." In just the last year, he's called for the public stoning of a killer whale, labeled grizzly bears an existential threat to America, warned that the Congressional Medal of Honor has been "feminized," and suggested that all Muslims be deported. Take any topic, no matter how remote, and Fischer will manage to find a hidden message of impending doom. Now, in what amounts to a stay of execution for America's wildlife, Fischer has broken his lengthy silence on the... more »

Gang of Four Finds Its Rare Essence

Michael Mechanic at The Riff Feed | Mother Jones - 3 minutes ago
Circa 1979, on the recommendation of a nerdy record-store clerk, I bought a rust-colored LP called *Entertainment!*, the debut full-length from the British group Gang of Four. I was immediately intrigued. Led by the songwriting core of singer Jon King and guitarist Andy Gill, the foursome had created a sound that stood apart, even at a time of great experimentation in rock and roll. It sounded neither like the punk rock that preceded it, nor the synth-driven music emerging with bands like Devo, the B-52s, and dozens more. Gang of Four's songs were dark, stark, and spare, the lyri... more »

Street Talk With Grammy Hopeful Ana Tijoux

Maddie Oatman at The Riff Feed | Mother Jones - 3 minutes ago
According to French-Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux, Chileans really know how to butcher Spanish. "Every culture has their own slang, but I think in Chile specifically we speak very bad," she says over the phone. "So we have a lot, a lot of slang." Despite this, or maybe because of it, Tijoux has an incredible way with words. Even if listeners don't understand her Spanish, they will sense the graceful fluidity of her style, which often relies on unusual syncopations and internal rhymes. Tijoux, who spent a childhood in France after dictator Augusto Pinochet forced her parents into exil... more »

Schools Matter: That's where our money goes: Cuts in libraries in California, but no plans to reduce useless testing

Schools Matter: That's where our money goes: Cuts in libraries in California, but no plans to reduce useless testing:

That's where our money goes: Cuts in libraries in California, but no plans to reduce useless testing


Sent to the San Francisco Chronicle, Dec. 14


Gov. Brown plans to cut funding for public libraries, but has no plans to eliminate the High School Exit Exam ("Jerry Brown announces $1 billion in spending cuts,” Dec. 14). This is despite the fact that libraries contribute strongly to literacy development, despite the fact that use of public libraries has increased since the economic hard times began, and despite data showing that California’s public libraries are among the least well-funded in the nation.


Research also consistently shows that High School Exit Exams are a waste of money: Performance on exit exams does not relate to

Call for Action - Educators Unite - Submitted by Peg Robertson

Call for Action - Educators Unite - Submitted by Peg Robertson:

Call for Action – Educators Unite – Submitted by Peg Robertson

As public educators committed to democratic principles, we are charged to:

  • Advocate for authentic reform initiatives that support public education to ensure PK-12 students develop the critical thinking and process skills necessary to become informed citizens capable of supporting an effective democracy,
  • And, in support of this goal, resist, and support resistance of, forces that seek to connect standardized testing to teacher evaluation.

The current political climate is marked by powerful attacks on public institutions, including schools, colleges, universities and public employee unions. These attacks are dangerous because public education is an essential component of an effective democracy: for citizens to self-govern, they must be able to engage in the process of recreating society in meaningful, intentional ways.

Today, neoliberal policies threaten the ability of public institutions to foster critical, thoughtful, active citizens. Education is being viewed as a commodity and the labor of teachers and students – at all levels – is being exploited as a means to generate data for private entities which then, more often than not, use those data to confirm the perceived ineffectiveness of the public institutions themselves.

As a public institution that prepares future educators, we must model the critical stance that we want our

Three-year study suggests great promise in innovation schools, but raises many questions - The Denver Post

Three-year study suggests great promise in innovation schools, but raises many questions - The Denver Post:

Three-year study suggests great promise in innovation schools, but raises many questions

POSTED: 12/14/2011 01:16:30 PM MST
UPDATED: 12/14/2011 01:16:39 PM MST
By Yesenia Robles
The Denver Post


The first part of a three-year report examining innovation schools in Denver was released today presenting new questions and giving preliminary — but promising — answers to others.

"As with any good study, this study raises as many questions as it answers," said Van Schoales, executive director of the independent advocacy group, A-Plus Denver. "The power of this study is that it will be much easier to tease out how this tool has been helpful."

Innovation status, a designation under state statue, allows schools to have more autonomy with hiring, budgets, and curriculum, and freedom from some union rules.

Of 21 innovation schools in Colorado, 19 are Denver Public Schools.

The research is being conducted by the University of Colorado, but is being led and paid for by a partnership between DPS, Colorado Education Association, the Denver Classroom Teachers



Read more:Three-year study suggests great promise in innovation schools, but raises many questions - The Denver Posthttp://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_19546885#ixzz1gZGFsYfd
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