Monday, September 7, 2015

Charter School Operators Deserve the Blame for Rushing to Open Charters Before Court Ruled | HorsesAss.Org

Charter School Operators Deserve the Blame for Rushing to Open Charters Before Court Ruled | HorsesAss.Org:

Charter School Operators Deserve the Blame for Rushing to Open Charters Before Court Ruled



SupremeCourtJustices2014



Oh, please.
I have sympathy for the families who were duped into enrolling their children in charter schools before the court ruled today that they are unconstitutional, but I’ve absolutely no sympathy for the argument that the justices are somehow to blame. The court’s job is to interpret the constitution, and on this issue both the Washington State Constitution and 100 years of legal precedent are rather clear. It was never a sure thing that the court would rule Initiative 1240 unconstitutional because court rulings almost never are, but it was always more likely than not.
Article IX, Section 2 of the constitution plainly reads: “the entire revenue derived from the common school fund and the state tax for common schools shall be exclusively applied to the support of the common schools.” Clear enough. The whole case hinged on the legal definition of “common schools,” and since School District No. 20 v. Bryan in 1909 it has always been this:
a common school, within the meaning of our constitution, is one that is common to all children of proper age and capacity, free, and subject to and under the control of the qualified voters of the school district. The complete control of the schools is a most important feature, for it carries with it the right of the voters, through their chosen agents, to select qualified teachers, with powers to discharge them if they are incompetent.
Charters, with their unelected appointed boards, totally outside the control of voters, clearly do not meetBryan’s definition of common schools. I supposed the court could have engaged in judicial activism by futzing the issue for the sake of political expediency. Or perhaps it could have overturned the clear precedent established in Bryan. But there was no good reason to expect that the court would.
If I had to bet money I would have bet that I-1240 would be ruled unconstitutional, at least in part. And anybody with any experience reading the law could have at least foreseen this possibility. Hell, a lower court had already ruled as much!
And yet, charter school operators rushed to start up chartersbefore the court released its opinion—perhaps betting that the Charter School Operators Deserve the Blame for Rushing to Open Charters Before Court Ruled | HorsesAss.Org:

Students' return to school is marred by renewed segregation across US | Education | The Guardian

Students' return to school is marred by renewed segregation across US | Education | The Guardian:

Students' return to school is marred by renewed segregation across US

Experts say a ‘substantial majority’ of black and Latino students attend schools segregated by race and poverty, which are linked to poorer education






Millions of students around the US have started autumn with familiar rituals: waiting for absent teachers, flipping through outdated books and watching their peers fall behind in strained, segregated schools that experts warn represent a slow-burning crisis neglected by leaders.
Little has changed since a 2014 report concluded that 60 years after the supreme court declared segregation unconstitutional, major regions of the US have turned away from integration toward deeper inequality, said Gary Orfield, a UCLA professor and co-author of that paper.
The “substantial majority” of black and Latino students are in schools segregated by race and poverty, Orfield said. Such students are being primed by struggling schools for “a downward spiral” in a society that increasingly demands college diplomas.
“If you get in a really poor-performing high school, you probably were in a weak elementary school,” Orfield said.
“Let’s say your family’s poor, and then your chances of going to a really great state university are basically nonexistent. It’s deeply unhealthy for a place where a majority of people are non-white.
“If this is sustainable then it’s incompatible with democracy, and spells disaster for the long run.”
According to the report, black people are most segregated in the north-eastern US, especially in New York, where 65% of black students go to school almost exclusively without white peers.
In the western US, Latinos still largely lack access to mostly white schools, the report adds. In California, where white people are a minority, the average Latino student in a public school has only one to two white classmates.
In the south, where courts and officials worked hardest to desegregate schools and dismantle unconstitutional policies, integration has best endured.
When the civil rights act was passed in 1968, 78% of black students in the south went to intensely segregated schools. By 1991, only 26% of black students were in similar schools, the lowest rate in the US.
But following successive court decisions to roll back desegregation orders, that number has increased to 34%, still the lowest in the US but part of a national retreat toward segregation.
Today, two out of five black and Latino children go to a school that is less than 10% white, said Genevieve Siegel-Hawley, a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Siegel-Hawley stressed the consequences of the situation, noting the large body Students' return to school is marred by renewed segregation across US | Education | The Guardian:

Data Wars in New Orleans | The Progressive

Data Wars in New Orleans | The Progressive:

Data Wars in New Orleans

Has "reform" helped the students of New Orleans? Does the data show that school effectiveness has improved following Katrina? Is the conversion of the city's school district into a "portfolio" system a model for the rest of the nation?

If you listen to the reformsters, the answer is an unequivocal "Of course!" Not only that: anyone who questions the narrative of undeniable success in New Orleans is guilty, in the words of Campbell Brown, of "denigrat[ing] hard work & progress of LA teachers, parents & KIDS."

As if the constant droning about the "failure" of American education found at Brown's website isn't the same level of denigration. Way to elevate the conversation, Campbell...

The certainty of the reformy side in the rightness of their beliefs is, of course, a core feature of their movement. I will concede that there are those on the opposite side who rush to condemn any evidence that favors things like charter schools or merit pay or school reconstitution.

But the reformsters always seem to forget that the burden of proof is on them. That doesn't mean that every argument against reformy policies has to be rebutted beyond any doubt; it does mean, however, that reasonable critiques should be engaged beyond simple mockery.

Take Peter Cook, for example, striking back at Andrea Gabor's NY Times op-ed, which questioned the awesomeness of reform in NOLA:
While conceding that proficiency, high school graduation, and college entry rates have all risen in New Orleans over the past ten years (no small matters), Gabor
- See more at: http://www.progressive.org/news/2015/09/188293/data-wars-new-orleans#sthash.vJmdTdE4.dpuf

Third Circuit Finds Teacher's Blog Comments About Students Not Protected By First Amendment Issue - Constitutional Law Prof Blog

Constitutional Law Prof Blog:

Third Circuit Finds Teacher's Blog Comments About Students Not Protected By First Amendment Issue

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In its opinion in Munroe v. Central Bucks School District, a divided panel of the Third Circuit found that a public school teacher's blog posts about students did not "rise to the level of constitutionally protected expression" under the First Amendment and thus they could be the basis of her termination.  Agreeing with the district judge, the majority thus concluded that the balancing test of  Pickering v. Board of Education (1968) was not satisfied.
The majority's opinion, authored by Judge Robert Cowen and joined by Judge Jane A. Restani of the United States Court of International Trade, sitting by designation, details the offending blog posts including one in which Munroe stated she was "blogging AT work," (capitalization in original), and offered alternative "canned" comments for student evaluations including:  "Sneaking, complaining, jerkoff"; "Whiny, simpering grade-grubber with an unrealistically high perception of own ability level"; and "Am concerned that your kid is going to come in one day and open fire on the school. (Wish I was kidding.)"  
Later posts were equally unflattering about students and teaching.  And while the blog was originally subscribed to by a handful of people, some posts circulated and attracted the interest of the press.  Termination was contemplated, Munroe took a scheduled maternity leave, and also did her own interviews with the press. 
The majority's opinion "reluctantly" concludes that Munroe's speech implicated a matter of public concern, but then diminishes any public concern, and then reinstates it and states that: 
Given our assessment of the interests of Munroe and the public in her speech, Defendants were not required to make an especially vigorous showing of actual or potential disruption in this case. However, even if we were to assume arguendo that her speech “possesses the highest value,”  we would still conclude that Defendants met their burden. Simply put, “Plaintiff’s speech, in both effect and tone, was sufficiently disruptive so as to diminish any legitimate interest in its expression, and thus her expression was not protected.”
Interestingly, the majority also seems to hold teachers to a higher standard - - - despite the fact that Pickering itself involved a school teacher.  While recognizing that the parents objecting to Munroe's speech cannot constitutionally be a "heckler's veto" to protected speech, the court states:
However, there is a special (perhaps even unique) relationship that exists between a public school teacher (or other educators, like a guidance counselor), on the one hand, and his or her students and their parents, on the other hand. Simply put, neither parents nor students could be considered as outsiders seeking to “heckle” an educator into silence—“‘rather they are participants in public education, without whose cooperation public education as a practical matter cannot function.’”
 This notion could seriously erode teachers' First Amendment rights.   
 The dissent of Judge Thomas Ambro from the affirmance of summary judgment in favor of the defendant school district concludes:
In short, I have no doubt the School District was well aware that firing Munroe for her blog posts and media tour would land it in constitutional hot water. More than enough evidence suggests that firing her on performance grounds was a pretext for its real reason—she had spoken out to friends on a blog, it became public, School District officials were upset and proposed her termination, they decided to wait, the once- sterling evaluations of Munroe immediately became negative, and she was fired. The bottom line: too many signs suggest this was all a set-up that a jury needs to sort out.
A petition for en banc review is presumably forthcoming.Constitutional Law Prof Blog:

Special Nite Cap: Catch Up on Today's Post 9/7/15 #FightForDyett


SPECIAL NITE CAP 

CORPORATE ED REFORM




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