Wednesday, May 6, 2015

12 Civil Rights Groups Oppose Opting Out. It Could Have Been 28. | deutsch29

12 Civil Rights Groups Oppose Opting Out. It Could Have Been 28. | deutsch29:

12 Civil Rights Groups Oppose Opting Out. It Could Have Been 28





On May 5, 2015, twelve civil rights groups led by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights issued a statement “opposing anti-testing efforts.” In short, these groups are confronting the growing strength of the Opt Out/Resist the Test movement.
These groups are the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the American Association of University Women (AAUW), Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD), Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, Inc. (COPAA), Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF), League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), NAACP, National Council of La Raza (NCLR), National Disability Rights Network (NDRN), National Urban League (NUL), Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC), and TASH.
I wrote about their statement in this May 5, 2015, post, entitled, Opting Out Interfering with the “Civil Right” of Testing?
When I first read the May 5, 2015, statement by these 12 civil rights organizations that are defending annual testing even in the face of nationwide standardized-testing overuse and abuse, it put me in mind of another recent statement by civil rights groups in support of annual testing: This one, dated January 11, 2015, and taken from the Education Trust website. In this statement, 28 civil and human rights organizations appealed to Congress not only to retain the annual testing, but also to ask that the US secretary of education serve as the enforcer of state goals, as excerpted below:
For more than five decades, Congress has consistently recognized and acted on the need to promote fair and equal access to public schools for: children of color; children living in poverty; children with disabilities; homeless, foster and migrant children; children in detention; children still learning English; Native children; and girls as well as boys. Much progress has been made, but educational inequality continues to quash dreams, erode our democracy, and hinder economic growth. This federal role must be honored and maintained in a reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which must ensure the following: …
VI. States implement and enforce the law.  The Secretary of Education approves plans, ensures state implementation through oversight and enforcement, and takes action when states fail to meet their obligations to close achievement gaps and provide equal educational opportunity for all students.
I will leave those who wish to do so to read the entire January 2015 statement signed by these 28 civil and human rights organizations. However, let me note that in the 12 Civil Rights Groups Oppose Opting Out. It Could Have Been 28. | deutsch29:


Charter school founder, company agree to pay $3 million to settle lawsuit #CharterSchoolsWeek

Charter school founder, company agree to pay $3 million to settle lawsuit - The Washington Post:

Charter school founder, company agree to pay $3 million to settle lawsuit






 Charter school founder Kent Amos and his management company have agreed to pay $3 million to settle a lawsuit that alleged he used the company to divert taxpayer funds from the school for his personal gain.

consent agreement was filed in court Friday by the District of Columbia, Amos, the Dorothy I. Height Community Academy Public Charter Schools, and the management company, of which Amos is president. According to the agreement — which is expected to become effective as soon as a judge signs it — the money will go to the school or to its “successors.”
Community Academy, established in 1998, is one of the oldest and largest charter schools in the city. Amos, a former corporate executive, founded the school with a mission of helping children and parents in poor neighborhoods.
Last summer, the D.C. attorney general alleged that millions of dollars had been diverted from the school for personal gain, contrary to the school’s nonprofit status. Amos and his attorney did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday.
Since 2004, the school paid more than $14 million to the company, according to court records. Management fees rose while costs declined, because the company employed fewer people and duties were shifting to school employees, records show.
Amos profited most in recent years, according to court documents. He received about $1.15 million in income in 2012 from the management company, according to federal tax records. In 2013, he received $1.38 million, including $103,000 paid to his wife, who was also listed as an employee.
In February, the D.C. Public Charter School Board voted unanimously to revoke the s chool’s charter effective July 1, citing a pattern of fiscal mismanagement. Last month, a Superior Court judge upheld that decision.
In a deal brokered by Deputy Mayor for Education Jennifer C. Niles, the school’s campuses will be divided up and transferred to other entities starting next school year. One campus will be transferred to D.C. Public Schools, a second campus will go to the DC Bilingual Public Charter School, and a third campus and online school will transfer to Friendship Public Charter Schools.
Some of the proceeds from the settlement could be apportioned to the new schools.Charter school founder, company agree to pay $3 million to settle lawsuit - The Washington Post:
The settlement does not resolve a separate lawsuit filed against two members of the school’s board of trustees, Ernest Green Jr. and Maurice Sykes. The complaint says that the trustees received money or expected to receive money from the school’s management company but that they failed to disclose their business dealings and acted to further the interests of Amos at the expense of the school.

LAUSD college prep rule puts nearly 75% of 10th graders' diplomas at risk - LA Times

LAUSD college prep rule puts nearly 75% of 10th graders' diplomas at risk - LA Times:

LAUSD college prep rule puts nearly 75% of 10th graders' diplomas at risk






As many as three-quarters of Los Angeles 10th-graders are at risk of being denied diplomas by graduation because they are not on track to meet rigorous new college prep class requirements.
This has prompted some in the L.A. Unified School District, including Supt. Ramon C. Cortines, to suggest reconsidering the requirements, which were approved a decade ago to better prepare students for college. The plan came after years of complaints that the nation's second-largest school system was failing to help underprivileged students become eligible for and succeed in college.
In an interview, Cortines said the effort is laudable, but that it would be unfair to penalize students who otherwise could graduate.
"I do believe the goal is a good one, but we need to be realistic," Cortines said. Enforcing the plan is "not practical, realistic or fair to the students of 2017. I don't think we've provided the supports to the schools."
But the college prep requirements still have significant backing within the district and among community activists, who say L.A. Unified must do a better job helping students pass the challenging classes.
L.A. Unified received national attention with its college prep goals, which were approved in 2005. The district allotted 12 years to get there — the entire education of a child who entered the system at that time.
Students in the class of 2017 must earn a C grade or better in a set of courses aimed at making all seniors eligible to apply to the University of California and California State systems. These include four years of English and three years of math, including geometry and intermediate algebra.
Overall, officials said, students have been better served because of the mandate. For one thing, the full set of college preparatory classes has become available at all high schools.
Moreover, the percentage of students completing the minimum college prep curriculum has increased from 15% to 28%, said activists who reviewed district data.
And graduation rates have increased. Last year, the four-year graduation rate for 9th graders was 67% — the latest in a string of improving statistics.
Fewer than half of these graduates, however, would have met the 2017 standard.
Among about 37,000 students remaining in the class of 2017, only 26% are on track to graduate and 17% are repeating 9th grade, according to district research.
The success of students varies widely. At Washington Preparatory High School, for example, 29% of the class of 2017 are on track. At Mendez High School, by contrast, 77% are on schedule.
The push for mandatory college-prep courses was based on the apparent success of San Jose Unified, which had adopted a similar policy. But its gains in college-prep rates were later determined to be inflated by an accounting error. A 2013 Times review of the data showed that most San Jose students never qualified to apply to a state college.
L.A. Unified immediately fell behind in its efforts but stuck to its timeline. Former Supt. John Deasy, who resigned in October, repeatedly insisted that requiring students to get a C or better in these classes was necessary for a diploma to beLAUSD college prep rule puts nearly 75% of 10th graders' diplomas at risk - LA Times:

NEA - Social Justice Activist Award

NEA - Social Justice Activist Award:



Social Justice Activist Award

        Boyd Bosma                    Jose Lara                             Jose Vilson
Members of the National Education Association have a long and proud history of social justice activism. Education advocacy and social justice advocacy go hand in hand, as an increasingly diverse kaleidoscope of students and educators must feel welcome in our public schools. Every day educators take extraordinary action to show leadership on social justice issues in and out of the classroom.
The social justice activist award will be presented to one exceptional member who demonstrates the ability to lead, organize and engage educators, parents, and the community to advocate on social justice issues that impact the lives of students, fellow educators and the communities they serve.
Read the biographies of the nominees below. Then cast your vote. Only one vote per member will be counted.

Nominees for the 2015 Social Justice Activist Award 

Boyd Bosmaboyd-bosmaFrom his days as a Michigan classroom teacher and civil rights pioneer to the present, Boyd Bosma has maintained his commitment to social justice.Dr. Boyd Bosma was a teacher leader in Michigan prior to serving much of his professional career with the National Education Association in the NEA Human Relations Center, an early precursor to the Department of Human and Civil Rights.  He was a social justice change maker—a courageous pioneer of NEA policies and programs supporting civil and human rights in education at a time of enormous resistance to changing the status quo.
Dr. Boyd’s most notable accomplishments include leading efforts to end segregated membership requirements in NEA-affiliated state associations and the merger of black and white NEA affiliates; organizing the National Committee of Educators for Civil Rights; and writing and leading the adoption of the NEA Resolution 12 amendment requiring the merger and integration of NEA local and state affiliates. 
Jose Lara
jose-laraSocial studies teacher Jose Lara’s successful campaign to make ethnic studies a graduation requirement in Los Angeles schools has inspired school districts across the nation.Jose Lara is a social studies teacher, vice president of the El Rancho Unified School Board, Dean at Santee Education Center (an LA Unified high school), and a member of the United Teachers Los Angeles board. A dedicated social justice activist, Lara has organized parents, educators, and students around issues of educational justice in our public schools.
Most recently, Lara formed the Ethnic Studies Now Coalition and led the campaign to make Ethnic Studies a graduation requirement in the Los Angeles Unified School District—the nation’s second largest—last fall. After a successful vote, school districts and states across the country are beginning to pass similar resolutions.
Jose Vilson
jose-vilsonA New York City math teacher and innovative online activist for social justice, Vilson has been a tireless advocate for public school students and communities of color.José Luis Vilson is a math educator for a middle school in the Inwood / Washington Heights neighborhood of New York, New York. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Syracuse University and a master’s degree in mathematics education from the City College of New York. He is a committed writer, web designer, and father and an outstanding activist and leader in the area of social justice and education.
Vilson’s efforts to raise the voices of people of color in education-related matters via online activism has resulted in the formation of the influential group #educolor. Vilson’s book, This is Not a Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class and Education, has been instrumental in broadening the scope of discourse in education.
Nominations Closed.
Voting Ends May 18, 2015
If you have any questions or concerns, please email us atHCRActivists@nea.org

Cast your vote for NEA’s Social Justice Activist AwardNEA - Social Justice Activist Award:

NPE Response to The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights Statement on Opting Out

PRESS RELEASE: Network for Public Education Response to The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights Statement on Opting Out – The Network For Public Education:

Network for Public Education Response to The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights Statement on Opting Out



Image result for Network for Public Education


Today, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights led 11 civil rights groups into a national disagreement with students who have exercised their constitutional political free speech rights and chosen to opt-out of high-stakes testing.
The Network for Public Education supports those who choose to opt out, because we believe these tests are now causing harm to students, and to the cause of educational equity. Seattle teacher Jesse Hagopian has written a response to The Leadership Conference of Civil and Human Rights’ statement, which the Network for Public Education shares here. He states, “High-stakes standardized tests, rather than reducing the opportunity gap, have been used to rank, sort, label, and punish students of color.”
We support opting out of high stakes tests because:
  • There is no evidence that these tests contribute to the quality of education, have led to improved educational equity in funding or programs, or have helped close the “achievement gap”.
  • These tests, particularly those associated with the Common Core, have become intrusive in our schools, consuming huge amounts of time and resources, and narrowing instruction to focus on test preparation.
  • These tests have never been independently validated or shown to be reliable and/or free from racial and ethnic bias.
  • Instead the Common Core exams are being used as a political weapon to claim huge numbers of students are failing, to close neighborhood public schools, and fire teachers, all in the effort to disrupt and privatize the public education system.

Thus, the notion that subjecting students to high-stakes tests is a “civil right” is inherently misguided.
Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig, Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and NPE board member stated, “The alleged benefit of No Child Left Behind and national required annual high stakes testing was to unveil the achievement gaps, and by doing so, close them. After more than a decade of high-stakes testing this never happened. Instead, thousands of neighborhood schools— the anchors of communities, especially in poor and minority neighborhoods — were closed and their students sent to another low performing and poorly resourced school much further away from their home.”
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights argued that data obtained through standardized tests are “the only available, consistent, and objective source of data about disparities in educational outcomes.” This statement is completely false. There is reliable disaggregated national data available from NAEP. There are a number of student outcomes available to consider the success of students, schools, districts, states and the nation. More importantly, we must pay closer attention to data that demonstrate the differences in opportunity between schools.
While persisting inequality between schools is our real challenge, the political framing supported by testing is instead a focus on the failure of our students and teachers in our public system. This rhetoric is then linked to school “reform” policies that have made the real agenda very clear—continuing to underfund schools and replace our locally controlled public school systems with privately controlled schools. Private control allows the opportunity to profit from equally under resourced and poor-performing charters, for-profit on-line schools, and vouchers for private schools (which opt-out of testing). Without democratic control, these schools are free to create a constant churn of temporary teachers whose work is largely reduced to worksheets and canned software programs for test preparation.
The Seattle NAACP recently urged parents to opt out of the SBAC test, and stated:
Using standardized tests to label Black people and immigrants as lesser—while systematically underfunding their schools—has a long and ugly history.
It is true we need accountability measures, but that should start with politicians be accountable to fully funding education and ending the opportunity gap. The costs tied to the test this year will run into the hundreds of millions of dollars. If the State really wants students to achieve academic performance at higher levels these dollars should be put in our classrooms and used for our children’s academic achievement, instead of putting dollars in the pockets of test developers.
The use of high-stakes tests has become part of the problem, rather than a solution. We reiterate our support for parents and students who choose to exercise their political free speech and opt out of high stakes tests, and call on our nation’s leaders to shift policies away from these tests.PRESS RELEASE: Network for Public Education Response to The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights Statement on Opting Out – The Network For Public Education:

Special Nite Cap: Catch Up on Today's Post 5/6/15




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