Friday, May 29, 2015

Letter: CREDO flawed in charter schools report | Opinion | The Advocate — Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Letter: CREDO flawed in charter schools report | Opinion | The Advocate — Baton Rouge, Louisiana:

Letter: CREDO flawed in charter schools report






 In her letter to the editor, “Parents key to success of charter schools” on May 8, Jefferson Chamber Foundation Academy of N.O. Board Chairwoman Kristine H. Strickland greatly misrepresents the results of a recent Center for Research on Education Outcomes study comparing charter to traditional school performance.

Peer reviews of CREDO’s original 2013 study and its 2015 follow-up have exposed its flawed research methodology. University of California-Santa Barbara Professor Andrew Maul’s review of CREDO’s research, published by the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, explains CREDO’s seriously flawed unusual research technique that attempts to simulate a controlled experiment.
But regardless of concerns over methodology, Maul points out, “The actual effect sizes reported are very small, explaining well under a tenth of 1 percent of the variance in test scores. To call such an effect ‘substantial’ strains credulity.” Overall, the report fails to provide compelling evidence that charter schools are more effective than traditional public schools.
Moreover, CREDO’s report, much heralded by Louisiana’s superintendent of schools, John White, continues to be the subject of scrutiny by Dr. Barbara Ferguson’s highly respected organization Research on Reforms. Ferguson recently prevailed in her lawsuit that forces White to release the personal student data signed over to CREDO, without parental disclosure or approval, in a 2011 memorandum of understanding so that Research on Reforms can provide its own analysis.
Most alarming is the funding and purpose for the CREDO project. The study was conducted by charter promoter New Schools for New Orleans with the Recovery School District as project partner funded by a federal grant. The memorandum states: NSNO and RSD have embarked on a bold, five-year journey to standardize, validate and export the New Orleans charter restart model … addressing the problem of failing schools by restarting them with schools operated by charter operators. This represents serious conflicts of interest.
The agenda of so-called school reform has always been the privatization of our public school system, which continues to funnel millions of public dollars into private hands.
Lee P. Barrios, M.Ed., NBCT

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SPEDGate: How the Louisiana Dept of Ed is Misappropriating Millions from Fed Special Edu for Cronies & Political Favors

SPEDGate: How the Louisiana Department of Education is Misappropriating Millions of Dollars a Year from their Federal Special Education Funding for Cronies and Political Favors | Crazy Crawfish's Blog:

SPEDGate: How the Louisiana Department of Education is Misappropriating Millions of Dollars a Year from their Federal Special Education Funding for Cronies and Political Favors





What follows is an investigative story about the Special Education program run by the Louisiana Department of Education which reveals how numerous players have profited by funneling Federal IDEA funds to their own pet projects and personnel.
This illegal misappropriation of public money has left many special education students, parents, and district staff without the support those federal funds were mandated to provide.
My story has many twists, turns, and villains, but I will try to lay out the details as clearly as I can.  This story exposes what appears to be criminal behavior and corruption at our highest levels of government.  There is undoubtedly more to the story than I know or will be able to relay here, but I will present what I have and let the public, legislators and law enforcement agencies decide if this matter is worth investigating further using tools beyond my power.
A few months ago I received a letter from a concerned Special Education activist in Louisiana.  This source to whom I have given anonymity provided some internal documents prepared by the Louisiana Department of Education which were distributed to certain Louisiana legislators.  Much of the information provided had been previously relayed to me over several years, but I have been unable to prove those assertions, until now.
The first element that was revealed to me is that LDOE has destroyed the Special Education Department.  Most of the staff who previously dealt with Special Education issues were reassigned or fired,  but LDOE kept the money the federal government was providing specifically to support special education staff.  To justify this, LDOE allocated these funds I to 129 different staff members across the department, many of whom had absolutely nothing to do with Special Education.  I have provided a list of these allocations as attachments labeled “salary” and “salary 2”.  I’m told this documentation was provided to Representative John Schroeder when the department was trying to make a case that SPEDGate: How the Louisiana Department of Education is Misappropriating Millions of Dollars a Year from their Federal Special Education Funding for Cronies and Political Favors | Crazy Crawfish's Blog:

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Why America Demonizes Its Teachers | Frank Breslin

Why America Demonizes Its Teachers | Frank Breslin:

Why America Demonizes Its Teachers 






Evaluating teachers on their students' performance is an issue that has elicited much comment of late. In essence, this view assumes that if students aren't learning, the fault lies squarely with their teachers alone. Well, perhaps, but not necessarily.
While the logic of this view seems compelling at first, a moment's reflection shows that it ignores several factors over which teachers have no control. These factors include: the home life of children, the poverty and segregation of the inner cities, America's Gospel of Instant Gratification, commercial TV, school sports, the restlessness of American society itself and its ingrained anti-intellectualism and ambivalence toward knowledge, youth's distrust of the adult world and the school, youth culture and its rejection of tradition, the Millennial Generation and its outlook on life, technology's negative impact on learning, Facebook, the eclipse of reading, youth's literal-mindedness, its lack of intellectual curiosity, its inability to ask significant questions, and its disinclination to develop a critical mind. To repeat, these are factors over which teachers have no control, but which have an enormous impact upon student learning.

The issue of teacher responsibility for student performance must be placed within this broader social context of what has been happening outside the American classroom for the last 30 years. Only in this way will the discussion about student learning become more realistic, and honest, and why singling out teachers alone distorts the true nature of both the problem and its solution.

When there are too few teachers in a school, and those few are overwhelmed by large classes and have no time to provide individualized attention for students -- many of whom come to school deeply troubled and alienated with all sorts of problems having nothing to do with the school -- is it any wonder that students find it hard to focus and learn?
The emotional, familial, and social problems of many inner-city students are often so deeply embedded and, in many cases, treatable only by professional help that the paltry resources of the school cannot begin to address them. These underfunded schools often lack even the essential services of counselors, social workers, and nurses because of draconian budget cuts.
What makes matters still worse is that these same schools are now set up for additional failure by being annually denied billions in vitally needed tax revenues diverted to charter schools, with no accountability, as part of a right-wing political agenda.
This is nothing less than the nationwide destruction of public schools by privatizing them for personal gain and rewarding charter-friendly legislators and governors with campaign contributions taken from that same taxpayer funding that should be going to support public schools.
And if that weren't enough, insult is added to injury when these cash-strapped schools are then routinely accused of "failing their students," when they should rather be Why America Demonizes Its Teachers | Frank Breslin:


Louisiana Education Legislative Update | deutsch29 #flipbese

Louisiana Education Legislative Update | deutsch29:

Louisiana Education Legislative Update

LA state seal


During the Louisiana legislative session, the Louisiana Federation of Teachers (LFT) issues a weekly legislative digest of education-related legislation. (Archived digests can be found here.)
These digests are excellent resources for following education legislation throughout the legislative session.
In this post, I would like to offer some highlights from the May 29, 2015 LFT legislative digest and add a bit to it. (The complete document can be read here: LFT Legis Digest 05-29-15.)
I added links for each of the bills mentioned In the LFT excerpt below. The links include comprehensive information on each bill. (Note that this search engine allows one to track any bill nationwide: LegiScan Search Engine)
House Approves $3.7 Billion MFP
The House of Representatives approved public education’s $3.7 billion Minimum Foundation Program formula without opposition, but questions linger about its fate in upcoming Senate hearings.
The House version of the formula in HCR 18 by Rep. Steve Carter (R-Baton Rouge) includes a scaled-back $36 million inflation factor. That is just half of what it would take to provide a 2.75% increase, which was considered a customary practice prior to the Jindal administration. In six of the seven previous Jindal-era budgets, per-pupil funding in the MFP remained flat.
LFT President Steve Monaghan was one of those who argued for a full 2.75% increase in the MFP this year. But after HCR 18 was approved by the House Education Committee during the week, Monaghan said that it would be difficult to get more in a year that began with lawmakers facing a $1.6 billion deficit.
In total, the MFP includes about $85 million over last year’s formula. Nearly half of that is due to an increase in the number of students expected in public schools next year, and $8 million is in the MFP to bump spending on students with special needs and for those in dual enrollment college courses and career education programs.
If the MFP survives the session intact, it will increase the base per-pupil funding from $3,961 to $4,051. Lawmakers can either accept or reject the formula, but may not change it.
The governor’s original budget proposal did not include an increase in the MFP. As budget hearings begin in the Senate, there are big questions about 
Louisiana Education Legislative Update | deutsch29:


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Special Nite Cap: Catch Up on Today's Post 5/29/15



SPECIAL NITE CAP 

CORPORATE ED REFORM

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