Sunday, January 3, 2016

Seattle Schools Community Forum: Charter Schools: What's Happening, What's Next

Seattle Schools Community Forum: Charter Schools: What's Happening, What's Next:

Charter Schools: What's Happening, What's Next


I'll start with what I think is coming next.  A big fat fight in the legislature - one that will take time and energy away from the work of McCleary.  (Despite what Republicans think, a one-pager to the Supreme Court with some dates and thoughts on funding are unlikely to change minds on the court.)  The legislature starts its short two-month session on Monday, Jan. 11th.

I think there will be at least one charter school bill in the legislature (I'm hearing there may be two which would make it interesting.  I'm also betting one of them will have Rep. Eric Pettigrew's name on it.) 

Now, there are three major issues with the current law that would need to be fixed, two of them constitutional, and I think those two come with so much baggage, that a bill can't be created, vetted by both legislators and the public, amended and then passed.  It could happen but I think that's not likely.

I think the charter schools will be opening their doors after the holiday break but honestly, I can't really tell you what they are now.  I don't think the ALE 
Seattle Schools Community Forum: Charter Schools: What's Happening, What's Next:

Major education issues to watch in 2016 – and predictions of what to expect | EdSource

Major education issues to watch in 2016 – and predictions of what to expect | EdSource:

Major education issues to watch in 2016 – and predictions of what to expect

A safe New Year prediction: EdSource writers won’t sit around Monday mornings wondering if there’s anything to write about. Especially because it is an election year, 2016 will be interesting and intense. Here are nine big issues to follow in 2016, with my predictions about whether anything will change during the year. The scale ranges from 1 to 5 “Fensterwald Faces”, with 1 meaning no chance, and 5 meaning highly likely.

IN THE COURTS

Two lawsuits – one in state courts, one before the U.S. Supreme Court – pose huge challenges to the state’s two statewide teachers unions. One and maybe both will be decided in 2016. The California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers are worried about the outcomes – for good reason.
Vergara v. California: In 2014, ruling on a lawsuit brought on behalf of nine students, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu overturned as unconstitutional five teacher protection statutes. Treu said that a two-year probationary period for new teachers – short compared with probation in most states – a layoff statute that protected senior teachers; and dismissal statutes that can make it burdensome to fire the state’s worst-performing teachers, violated the constitutional right of low-income and minority students to an equal opportunity to get a good education.
The state and the CTA appealed the ruling, and lawyers for Students Matter, which brought the lawsuit, expected a decision in 2015. But it didn’t happen, and there’s no deadline for the Court of Appeal to rule. Treu’s 16-page decision, in the view of some analysts, was light on substance.
Likelihood that the state Second District Court of Appeal will hear oral arguments and issue a decision this year:
fensterwalds-2


Likelihood that whenever it decides, the court will overturn Treu’s decision in Vegara:
fensterwalds-4



Friedrichs v. CTA: In Friedrichs v. CTA et al, 10 California teachers and a teachers group, Christian Educators Association International, sued the California Teachers Association and state of California over the state law that requires that teachers pay fees to their local unions and the state CTA to cover the costs of bargaining. The teachers argued that mandatory fees violate their free speech rights.
Dating back to a four-decades-old decision, Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, the Supreme Court has upheld the right of states to require public Major education issues to watch in 2016 – and predictions of what to expect | EdSource:


Good-bye Joe | Cooperative Catalyst - Diane Ravitch's blog - Ideas and Thoughts

Good-bye Joe | Cooperative Catalyst:

Good-bye Joe 

JoeBower
Tonight, my friend Joe Bower passed away after a massive heart attack a few days ago. He died with his family all around him.
Joe was one of the first educators I interacted with via social media. During many late night chat sessions he taught me to question many of my basic assumptions about education.
Why do we give grades to students anyway? Does this help them learn? What about homework? Does this practice help students learn? If not, why are we still doing it? What about school discipline? Do our current practices help students? If not, why not change them?
I’m going to miss my thought-provoking conversations with my friend Joe. His students are going to miss their compassionate teacher. Progressive educators are going to miss one of their champions. His children are going to miss their father.
Good-bye Joe.

Joe Bower Passed Away this Evening Diane Ravitch's blog

Sorry for the mixed messages. I reported earlier today that our great friend Joe Bower, a wonderful educator in Alberta, Canada, had died of a massive heart attack. Then I learned he was on life support, still alive. 
I have just learned, sadly, that Joe has died. This was confirmed by his family. 
Please google his blog “For the Love of Learning” and enjoy the thinking and insights of this fine man. 
http://www.joebower.org/?m=1


Joe Bower | Ideas and Thoughts 


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Joe Bower leads a session in Calgary

Today a Canadian hero in education died suddenly from a massive heart attack. Joe Bower as a middle school teacher from Alberta. He was 37 years old.
I almost didn’t write this since some folks had already written about Joe. But then I realized the more people know about Joe and his work, the richer his legacy. If you know Joe, followed him on twitter, read his blog or heard him speak, you likely already know what a smart, passionate thinker he was. My own interactions largely revolved around me introducing my pre-service teachers to his work as well as referencing him in any presentations I did around assessment. I use this slide to showcase those that have influenced my thinking around assessment. Some of these folks are world renowned “experts”. Joe was every bit as important as any of them. (Sadly Grant Wiggins passed away in 2015)
Screenshot_1_3_16,_11_10_PM
As eloquently and passionately as Joe shared, what was overwhelming evident to me is how much he cared for children. He was willing to speak the truth, even when it was harsh and unpopular with many. Not to be provocative Joe Bower | Ideas and Thoughts 


New York Plays the NCLB Testing Game | deutsch29

New York Plays the NCLB Testing Game | deutsch29:

New York Plays the NCLB Testing Game



On January 02, 2016, I wrote a post about former US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s departure from the US Department of Education (USDOE).
In that post, I included a letter dated December 22, 2015, written to state superintendents by Ann Whalen, whose temporary title is, “Delegated the authority to perform the functions and duties of Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education.” In the letter, Whalen tells state superintendents that they had better deliver on testing the No Child Left Behind (NCLB)-mandated 95 percent of students in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school, just as NCLB requires.
According to Whalen, it isn’t good enough for the states to plan to assess the 95 percent of students; the states better deliver the scores no matter if parents prefer not to have their children forced into taking federally mandated tests.
Of course, this has the makings of textbook dysfunction in adult relationships; Whalen’s putting states on the spot for the actions of parents is similar to a relationship triangulation in which one adult makes an agreement with another adult, and as part of that agreement, Adult Two must guarantee some action on the part of Adult Three, who has no direct agreement with Adult One, even as Adult One holds the greater advantage than Adult Two (and certainly Adult Three) in the deal.
In her letter, Whalen makes it clear that in her temporary, delegated US assistant secretary of education capacity, she plans to either withhold or redirect NCLB funding for states that did not have that 95 percent of students tested in 2014-15:
If a State with participation rates below 95% in the 2014−2015 school year fails to assess at least 95% of its students on the statewide assessment in the 2015−2016 school year, ED will take one or more of the following actions: (1) withhold Title I, Part A State administrative funds; (2) place the State’s Title I, Part A grant on high-risk status and direct the State to use a portion of its Title I State administrative funds to address low participation rates; or (3) withhold or redirect Title VI State assessment funds.
New York was one such state that did not have the federally-expected 95 percent test New York Plays the NCLB Testing Game | deutsch29:

Who closed the Bronx’s high schools? by Lynne Winderbaum | JD2718

Who closed the Bronx’s high schools? by Lynne Winderbaum | JD2718:

Who closed the Bronx’s high schools? by Lynne Winderbaum

by Lynne Winderbaum, retired ESL teacher, JFK HS, and former Bronx High School UFT District Rep
I wrote an intro piece on the destruction of the large high schools in the Bronx last week – Lynne, a chapter leader than district rep through this process, has much more to say – Jonathan
One day in the early 2000’s the flyers began to appear in all teachers’ mailboxes at Kennedy HS. Headlined “21st Century Grants”, the finer print announcing that the Gates Foundation and other corporate philanthropists were encouraging teachers to imagine a different way of delivering instruction. To “dream” of changing education as it was. In return, they would offer seed money to flesh out the idea and further money down the road if the ideas were judged feasible. Teachers were invited to attend a meeting for further information and the time and place were on the flyer. I surmise that some Kennedy teachers were intrigued by the offer to start a new and different school because BETA, Bronx Theater, and Law & Finance all sprang from Kennedy staff (Marble Hill, now housed at Kennedy was proposed by a group of teachers and an AP from Morris). In addition, Chapter Leaders and principals of six Bronx High Schools were personally asked to attend by the Bronx HS Superintendent, Norman Wechsler, who was interested in pursuing the Gates grants. My principal, Gino Silvestri and I were not asked to attend, probably because we were not playing well at the time. In retrospect, the lack of that invitation probably saved Kennedy from earlier closing as you will read below.
At the time Norman Wechsler took the helm of the Bronx HS Superintendency, there were no schools on the SURR (Schools Under Registration Review) list. Within a short time, there were five. While I in no way blame Dr. Wechsler for this since the demographic, educational, and economic factors that made some Bronx high schools so dismal were already in motion, but it certainly explains the atmosphere in the early 2000s that made the “small school” innovation so attractive. It was a timely gift that could make it seem that “reform” was afoot. Dr. Wechsler produced charts, graphs, and reports touting the educational superiority of the small school. One day as JFK Chapter Leader, I was out with my UFT District Rep. David Shulman. While he made a stop and I remained in the car, he handed me a pile of data supplied by the Bronx Superintendents office and asked me to look at it. It surely made small schools seem like the answer to failing schools.
When the meeting took place to get the “21st Century Grant” process rolling Walton, Columbus, Stevenson, Evander Childs, were among the schools that attended with principals and their UFT Chapter Leaders. The motive for their attendance was to learn about designing their own small schools and the grant process. Attendees I know always maintained that this was the agenda of the meeting. Several years later the Department of Education took the position that by attending the meeting, the principals and Chapter Leaders agreed to the closing of their schools. Eric Nadelstern from the Bronx Superintendent’s office and John Soldini, then UFT VP of Academic High Schools remembered that the intent to close and replace the large high schools with small schools was made clear at that meeting. Others who were there were incredulous at the announcements of intent to close schools because they did not remember the meeting that way.
Of course the SURR schools were ultimately closed by the state. But the Gates grants that led to the Who closed the Bronx’s high schools? by Lynne Winderbaum | JD2718:


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