Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Plan is Coming Together...Badass Teachers Association

Badass Teachers Association:

The Plan is Coming Together...

By:  Dr. Mitchell Robinson



Originally posted on his blog  http://www.mitchellrobinson.net/2015/11/18/the-plan-is-coming-together/
Careful readers have noticed a flurry of reformster activity over the past week or so, highlighted by two big announcements. First was the rollout of #TeachStrong, an education improvement scheme allegedly dedicated "to modernizing and elevating the teaching profession," and involving a murderer's row of reformer groups, like Teach for America, the Relay Graduate School of Education and the National Center for Teacher Quality. Never mind that none of these groups are actually interested in either modernizing or elevating anything, and are instead working to hasten the privatization of public education, and turning P-12 schools and college teacher education programs into profit centers. [As an aside, why is it that when the reformers name a new group they simply throw a bunch of words together that sound like they are good, but infuse them with the exact opposite of what those words mean (i.e., TFA is not about teaching for the good of America in any way; the RGS bears absolutely no resemblance to a real graduate school; and, the NCTQ wouldn't recognize a quality teacher preparation program if it actually set foot on a college campus--which it doesn't actually do in its attempts to evaluate teacher prep programs. So there's that...).]

Announcement #2 came today with the unveiling of a massive, $34 million grant bonanza from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that is designed to...stop me if you've heard this one before..."improve teacher-preparation programs’ overall effectiveness." This one looks for all the world like a college-targeted follow up to Mr. Gates' failed efforts to improve teacher quality, which has taken over a decade and billions of dollars. You've got to hand it to Bill and Melinda--they are persistent. Even in the face of overwhelming evidence that their reforms have not moved the needle on teacher quality, test scores, class size, small schools or student learning, they just don't give up.

This new project involves a rather motley crew of organizations, including TeacherSquared (which includes a slew of what are charitably referred to as "nontraditional preparation programs," such as our old friends from the Relay Graduate School of Education), a consortium of 6 Southern universities, the Massachusetts Department of Education, and the National Center for Teacher Residencies.

But perhaps the most curious partner in the Gates-funded consortium is TeachingWorks, a think-tank out of the University of Michigan, led by Dr. Deborah Loewenberg Ball, Dean of 
Badass Teachers Association:



ESEA Reauthorization Update: Conference Committee Is Already a Done Deal | deutsch29

ESEA Reauthorization Update: Conference Committee Is Already a Done Deal | deutsch29:

ESEA Reauthorization Update: Conference Committee Is Already a Done Deal





Well, the House and Senate conference committee met for 90 minutes on the morning of November 19, 2015, and they’re already done. The full text of what is now being called the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is still not available to the public and will not be until November 30, 2015. However, the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) idea of Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) and its federally-derived, punitive list of “interventions” ( which included firing faculty, turning school over to the state, or converting to a charter school) are out. Still, with ESSA, states are required to intervene (not sure how this “intervention”is qualified in the language of the bill) in the bottom five percent of schools (likely defined by test scores and/or graduation rates), in schools with high dropout rates (not sure of the definition of “high”), and in schools with some group of students consistently underperform (likely on standardized tests).
ESSA also retains language banning the federal government from mandating Common Core. ESSA also apparently includes funding for afterschool programs, STEM (science-technology-engineering-mathematics) education, and pre-K,
Here are details regarding the amendments that were approved in the lightening-round conference committee meeting:

How I Got Over [College Activism Is A Must] | The Jose Vilson

How I Got Over [College Activism Is A Must] | The Jose Vilson:

How I Got Over [College Activism Is A Must]



MeAngelaDavisLemnyPerez


My first real foray into real college activism was on Syracuse University’s campus. It started with visiting a few tables at a college activities fair, picking up a few pamphlets and hoping to get acquainted with the Orange culture. I already predicted that my Dominican mother would say that I wasn’t there to start problems, but college activism spoke to me in ways I didn’t know that, in a couple of years, a good hundred of us would be occupying the student center during Homecoming weekend, putting racism in the front and center of the mostly-white parents, students, and other passersby. While they shared stories of the ‘Cuse of yore and contemplated the fortunes of the middling football team, this set of students, while fortunate to get into this institution of higher learning, set its sights of reminding everyone that there was more than one side of this story to tell.
Indeed, the campus had been plagued with racial incidents that rarely got addressed. On the same campus that prided racial, geographical and gender diversity and had three black student association presidents during my time on campus, we could also see rampant blackface before, during, and after Halloween, and only slightly off-campus fraternities terrorize international students who walked within five feet of their houses. The old adage was that many of our white classmates could spend most, if not all, of their formative years not interacting with black people, but the converse wasn’t true for black people. This adage manifested in ways that, if left unspoken, would have made us complicit in our own second-class scholarship.
Thus, we set up meetings, engaged in dialogue, voted people into committees and student government. And when that didn’t work (and when it did), we disrupted homecoming. We barely blinked.
What conservative folks don’t understand about the idea of “safe spaces” isn’t that people of color, specifically black people, have their feelings in a bunch, or that we’ve become tender from too much media consumption. [These critiques never seem to float for folks who were able to afford these technologies first, mind you.] It’s that, from the minute we step on campus, we’re already not How I Got Over [College Activism Is A Must] | The Jose Vilson:

KCRA investigates: Is state teacher database accurate?

KCRA investigates: Is state teacher database accurate? | KCRA 3 Investigates - KCRA Home:

KCRA investigates: Is state teacher database accurate?

KCRA finds some teachers don't appear on website

Teacher's desk


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KCRA) —It looks simple: A big button sits at the top of the California Commission for Teacher Credentialing website that says “Search for an Educator.”

After a few more steps, the user can look up information on any credentialed teacher in California. But, is the information accurate? 
KCRA 3 Investigates put the names of every teacher in the Sacramento City Unified School District into that state database to see if there were teachers who had disciplinary records.
However, dozens of teachers didn't show up in the database.
The six-page list of missing teachers was sent to Gabe Ross, communications director for the Sacramento City Unified School District. 
“We started with our employee system, which may have more updated information,” Ross said. 
It turns out, the teachers KCRA 3 couldn’t find on the list are licensed. 
“Every person that you sent us either has an active credential, or in some cases they are not necessarily a teacher or don't need a teaching credential," Ross said.
The district used the teachers’ personnel files to verify the credentials. 
“Social security number, employee number, etc.,” Ross said. “Because we know that people might get married, change their name or use a nickname or might have put a typo in how they identified themselves.” 
The credentialing commission said it is confident in the accuracy of the database but acknowledges some names may be difficult to find.
The credentialing commission sent KCRA an email that said it is the teacher’s responsibility to KCRA investigates: Is state teacher database accurate? | KCRA 3 Investigates - KCRA Home:

Seattle Schools Community Forum: Washington State Supreme Court Uphold Its Charter Law Ruling

Seattle Schools Community Forum: Washington State Supreme Court Uphold Its Charter Law Ruling:

Washington State Supreme Court Uphold Its Charter Law Ruling






The Court released its ruling today and upheld its decision to strike down the charter school law.   The ruling was 6-3.  The decision in the original ruling becomes final on December 14th.

The majority did strike out one footnote (page 11, footnote 10) about the use of School District No. 20 v. Bryan.  A bit interesting as this does revolve around Article IX on funding but they were likely addressing the issue of funding for other education programs.  
The dissenters said: (partial)


"various amici have raised legitimate questions regarding the use of unrestricted funds and the power of the legislature to act. These questions touch upon the impact of our decision on other public, non-common school programs. Granting reconsideration would provide an opportunity for appellants to respond to the motions for this court to clarify our decision and to expressly limit our ruling to the case before us so that the legislature can chose to act, or not, without fear of another constitutional challenge and additional litigation."
Again, two wrongs don't make a right.  If there are education programs being wrongly funded, the legislature can figure that out.  It still won't make this law constitutional if other programs' funding gets changed.

This presents an tough problem for the charters.


  • When is their funding cut off? November or December?  
  • What about the Charter Commission - it cannot exist without state funding so even if charters get their own funding to go on, who oversees the ones that are not overseen by a school district?
The Legislature starts up on January 11, 2016 and it's a short session and full 

Louisiana Educator: Public Education Haters Churn Out Lies and Attack Ads

Louisiana Educator: Public Education Haters Churn Out Lies and Attack Ads:

Public Education Haters Churn Out Lies and Attack Ads






The Broads and the Gates; they are using their immense wealth to appoint themselves as the dictators of public education. On a whim, they have decided to choose Louisiana public education as a laboratory in which to demonstrate their theories of privatization and their new test oriented curriculum. To accomplish this they  are determined to do whatever it takes to buy Louisiana's State Board of Education. Somehow they think they know better how to run education than the real educators. See this excellent expose' by the blog Block the Agenda.

Michael Bloombeg, former New York mayor and owner of a media empire capitalizing on privatization and online courses who would never bother to set foot in Louisiana, is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to purchase candidates for BESE. Bloomberg, LABI and the Walton family heirs are financing candidates that have never even spoken to a real public school teacher about how to improve education.

One of the PACs they support: "Empower Louisiana" is running an ad telling us that 6th district BESE Candidate, Jason Engen is opposed to Common Core and believes that teachers should be listened to. That is impossible to believe since the founder of the PAC, Lane Grigsby, is one of the most committed Common Core supporters in the state and his out-of-state funders described above are also Common Core boosters.  These power brokers believe that teachers should be just small cogs in their education reform machine. To them teacher concerns mean absolutely nothing. The strategy seems to be to say whatever the voters want to hear to get their candidate elected, then have him serve the real puppet masters who want to privatize public education and turn teaching into a mechanical exercise in test prepping.

A Department of Education controlled committee is now in the process of renaming the Common Core as the Louisiana Standards. Jason Engen has stated he supports Louisiana standards instead of Common Core. So just by making minor changes and then changing the name of the Common Core, Engen can go to work doing his puppet master's bidding. 

Common Core is an untested experiment that was financed and sold to us by Bill Gates Bloomberg and the Broads before it was even written, because the assumption was that the testing 
Louisiana Educator: Public Education Haters Churn Out Lies and Attack Ads:

Special Nite Cap: Catch Up on Today's Post 11/19/15



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Special Nite Cap: Catch Up on Today's Post 11/18/15
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