Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Education ‘Reform’ Bargain Is Off. What’s Needed Instead.

2/25/2016 – The Education ‘Reform’ Bargain Is Off. What’s Needed Instead.:

The Education ‘Reform’ Bargain Is Off. What’s Needed Instead.

Education Opportunity Network -
THIS WEEK: Money Matters … Education As Equalizer? … Why Replicate Findland … Student Activism Works … Climate Change Taught Wrong

TOP STORY

The Education ‘Reform’ Bargain Is Off. Here’s What We Need Instead.

By Jeff Bryant

“Because the original bargain of education reform was broken at the outset, let’s free the conversation of the constraints of that deal and instead consider what we can do to support equity. That’s what a real conversation about education policy would be all about.”
Read more …

NEWS AND VIEWS

How Do You Fix Schools? Maybe Just Give Them More Money.

Slate

“What if simply throwing more money at schools actually is a reasonable approach? A couple of interesting recent studies suggest it might be … This new wavelet of research should at the very least weaken the by-now-conventional wisdom that cash alone can’t ease the problems that ail our education system. Maybe money is a solution, after all.”
Read more …

Still Think America Is The ‘Land Of Opportunity’? Look At This Chart.

The Washington Post

“Policymakers on the left and right often tout education as the bridge to help poor kids make their way up the income ladder … But striking new research from the Brookings Institution shows that simply sending more kids to college won’t fix income inequality: As it turns out, a college degree is worth a lot less, earnings-wise, to poor kids than to rich ones.”
Read more …

How Finland Broke Every Rule – And Created A Top School System

The Hechinger Report

“Finland’s historic achievements in delivering educational excellence and equity to its children are the result of a national love of childhood, a profound respect for teachers as trusted professionals, and a deep understanding of how children learn best … What if many of Finland’s educational practices are not cultural quirks or non-replicable national idiosyncrasies – but are instead bare-minimum global best practices that all our children urgently need, especially those children in high-poverty schools?”
Read more …

High School Student Activism Makes An Impact

Education Week

“Student walk-outs and boycotts have been effective in generating attention for a number of issues around the country … What’s remarkable and inspiring is that at a young age our teens can also be thoughtful, informed, passionate, and right.”
Read more …

Why Science Teachers Are Struggling With Climate Change

NPR

“Many middle and high school science teachers are getting climate change wrong … Roughly 30 percent tell students that humans are only partly to blame for climate change, along with natural causes.”
Read more …

John Sheffield for New York Board of Regents | deutsch29

John Sheffield for New York Board of Regents | deutsch29:

John Sheffield for New York Board of Regents



Below is a guest post by Yvonne Gasperino, co-founder of Stop Common Core in New York State. Gasperino composed this post, an effort to feature John Sheffield, candidate for the New York Board of regents, at my request.
***
When it comes to the education of children in the state of New York, the Board of Regents holds a lot of influence, power and control. They supervise all educational activities within the state and preside over the State University New York (SUNY) and the New York State Education Department (NYSED).  Board members and chairs are appointed by the Regents chancellor, also, Regents includes 17 members elected by the state legislature for five-year terms: one from each of the State’s 13 judicial districts and four members that serve at large.
New York State (NYS) legislators (most of whom are not educators) dictate the election process. However, a very few were former educators, for instance, Assemblyman Al Graf.
So… let’s envision this:
If NYS superintendents had a voice in the vetting and election process of Regents, what questions should they ask candidates vying for an open Board of Regents seat? Which superintendents do we think must have a voice in this process? For this reason, John Sheffield and I offer this mock interview focused on hypothetical interview questions for the Regents seat that Sheffield hopes to occupy. The questions are posed by well-known and highly-regarded NYS school superintendents, Drs. Joe Rella, Michael Hynes, and William Cala.
About the Interviewers
Dr. Joe Rella, superintendent for Comsewogue School District, is known as “America’s Superintendent” due to his infamous robocall in the infancy of the Refusal/Stop Common Core movement. All who come in contact with Dr. Rella revere and admire him – not only in New York but nationwide.
Dr. Michael Hynes, superintendent of the Patchogue-Medford School District, is known for his commitment to our children, schools. But he is also known for his call to abolish the US Dept. of Ed.  Dr. Hynes has emerged as another prominent advocate for parents, children and teachers when he spoke in a Garden City, NY, forum hosted by Stop Common Core on Long Island, where he discussed the adverse effects of Common Core and why it was imperative to refuse the tests.
Dr. William Cala is a seasoned professional who has held several Superintendent positions throughout Western New York and Long Island (Pembroke, Shoreham-Wading River, and Fairport). Dr. Cala is well-known in Western New York, having served as interim superintendent for the City of Rochester, and rose as a voice for the public by, criticizing Governor Cuomo as a corporate hound with little knowledge of how schools work. (Read his letter here.)
John Sheffield for Regents
A bit about John Sheffield from the man himself:
John Sheffield  
John Sheffield
My name is John Sheffield, and I hope to be appointed to the NYS Board of Regents. My Board of Regents agenda is encompassed by one simple question: “Is this what is best for the kids?” I am beholden to no group but the students of New York.
I am a father of two children who were well–served by the public school system (as was I, many years ago). I am an educator, I have been called an education activist, and I am an active member of my community. I also am one very concerned citizen of this great state-– concerned about the direction education is being driven, not just on the state level, but by the way Fed Ed is pushing, and at times threatening, our state. I am also deeply-– DEEPLY troubled by the daily erosion of local control of public education, which I feel is being outright taken from our communities across the state.
I was officially interviewed for the position of Regent by Assembly members in Albany, NY on Wednesday February 3rd, 2016. That interview in its entirety can be found here.
I was also interviewed live by Susan Arbettor on Friday February 5th, 2016, for her show, The Capitol Pressroom; that interview can be found here from the 36:12 mark to the 48:24 mark.
Finally, I have been interviewed by local papers and been endorsed by such groups as Stop Common Core in New York State, NYSAPE, and NY BATS, and by numerous other groups and individuals across the state.
The Rella-Hynes-Cala Interview 
Sheffield asked Rella, Hynes, and Cala what questions they would like answered if they were allowed to be part of the Regents process. Sheffield found that the superintendents’ individual questions could be grouped into four major areas of concern. Thus, the four items below represent Sheffield’s consolidation of the superintendents’ questions for a Regents candidate.
Item One: Trust Issues
Q: How would you begin to heal the damage done over the past five years?  How would you demonstrate that children are the center of the educational enterprise? Where do you stand on the right of parents to OPT-OUT?
Sheffield’s response:
All three of these issues are tied together by one simple theme: trust.  In order to undo the damage of the past five years, trust must be rebuilt between the Regents and the people of New York State. The legislature and the governor must also win back the trust of parents and communities across the state.
We must start by using child–centered practices that are proven and remove the emphasis on testing. Look at the programs that are being used in the consortium schools that are experiencing great success without a focus on testing and, for the most part, without Common Core.  We should expand on those models; let decisions be made at the local level as to which part or parts of the consortium models best fit their given community.
We need to address the different learning styles of our children, in part, by providing multiple pathways to graduation through the use of different diploma tracks. While recognizing that a Regent’s diploma appropriately suits the capabilities of some students, we must bring back the “local” diploma, have a vocational diploma track, and recognize that our hard– working special education students deserve a diploma as well for their various equivalent skill sets.
In addition to these things, I support parents’ opt out rights.  The children are their children. It is up to the Regents and education policy makers to earn back the trust of parents, schools, communities, and educators – until such time when parents do not feel they have to opt their children out.  Furthermore, I will fight against any and all government agencies or persons that threaten, attempt to intimidate, and/or try to penalize districts with high opt out rates.
Item Two: Testing and Evaluation
Q: What do you see as the role of testing? Should testing be coupled with teacher/school/administrative/district evaluation?
Sheffield’s response:
First and foremost, the role of testing should be for the classroom teacher and used in both formative and summative capacities for the classroom.  I further add that its weight as a summative tool should be limited to 25% or under during any given marking period.  To be clear though, this decision should be made at the local level.  While I understand we are in an age of “globalization”, our communities are as varied as the children in them.
Should tests be linked to evaluations of teachers, principals, schools, and districts? The answer is simple: absolutely not. There is no reliable or valid formula to do so; Value Added Measure (VAM) is a perfect example of this. The reason there is no reliable or valid measure to link test scores to these types of evaluations is because these tests are not made to measure teacher/principal/school effectiveness. It is an axiom in testing and statistics that one does not use an instrument to measure something it was not made for! Where a Regents diploma is concerned, then testing may play a larger role due to the nature of that diploma track; what that role is needs to be determined by all stakeholders and certainly must have educator input.
Item Three: Charter School Funding
Q: What are your stances on the funding of charter schools with public money with little accountability or oversight, the $300 million that charter schools received for MANDATE RELIEF this year, and unfunded and underfunded mandates in our public schools?
Sheffield’s response:
I think what bothers me the most about charter schools is how their original intent has been distorted from an alternative setting for students who have difficulty functioning in the “normal” school environment to a cash cow for privateers and education reformers whose main concern is the bottom line and profit margins…NOT the kids.  The fact that they receive public funds with little or no oversight is mind–boggling to me as a citizen and tax payer.
If you delve further into it, you will find that many of these privateers have dumped millions upon millions of dollars into the legislative process of New York, including massive donations to Governor Cuomo, in order to exercise control over New York’s education policies. Part of their payback is that they receive public funds yet they do not have to play by the same rules as true public schools across the state.
As for the “mandate” relief charter schools have received this year, it simply disgusts me.  While not having to follow many of the same rules and regulations as most public schools, here they are receiving even more public monies – and it comes at a time where the state is claiming not to have enough money to properly fund public schools.  This leads me to underfunded and unfunded mandates.
Policies have been forced upon our public schools although proper funding has not been provided.  As a matter of fact, the GEA (Gap Elimination Adjustment) is still here even though in two campaigns Governor Cuomo said eliminating it would be a priority. As a result of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit, it was found New York State owes its schools billions of dollars that it has yet to pay, and it has been known for years that New York’s Foundation Aid Formula is in dire need of adjustments…yet none of it has been fixed. It seems to me that this, combined with some of the other factors I’ve mentioned, constitutes a clear attack on public education; an attack that is purposely setting our children, schools, and communities up for failure in order to facilitate a hostile takeover of public education.
Item Four: “Pressing Concerns”
Q: What are the top three most pressing concerns you believe the Board must confront and correct?
Sheffield’s response:
There is really only one grave issue in my mind and that is the total lack of trust in those making educational decisions about our children. Trust must be rebuilt. In order to re-establish that trust, there are several main issues that must be dealt with.
People, be they concerned parents, grandparents, educators, or community members in general, need to really be listened to.  By that I mean more than just reflective listening and lip service. Action must be taken– action that undoes the damage of the past five years; it must be swift and it must be clear.
Processes dealing with education (and many other decisions for that matter) must be much more transparent. The citizens of this state deserve honesty and integrity where our children are concerned. Our children are not baseball cards to be traded and bartered away to the highest bidder and they should not be treated as such.  The politics and big money must be driven from the equation in order for all children to be educated in the manner they all so richly deserve.  The Regents must take the lead in this and all things regarding education.
The Board of Regents must regain control of educational decisions in New York State. The legislature must work with the Regents to properly fund education; investing in our children is truly investing in the future.  The adage of pay now or pay later holds true.  The cost of not investing in the education of all of our children to the very best of our ability leads to much greater financial and societal costs down the road.  It is the Regents who must take the lead in all of this.  It is they that must gain the trust of the parents, for with the active, involved, and informed parents backing them up, the legislature, and even the governor, will have to follow suit.
The Regents also must lead in absolving New York from its misplaced commitment to Common Core.  After five years, the fact that there is so much public dissent about Common Core, its history, its developers, its inadequacies, its intrusiveness through data, its misplaced emphasis on testing, and the mere fact that it essentially is an experiment on our kids…all lead to the conclusion – it needs to be tossed.  It is my opinion that it would have been gone already if not for the hundreds of millions of dollars of private money propping it up.  Before Common Core, before RTTT, before NCLB, before federal government overreach began, New York had a first class public education system; we need to go back in time in order to move forward in education. New York also has its own “lost standards’ which had both time and money invested into them only to be “lost” in the wild goose chase of Race to the Top.
It is time for New York State to be a leader in education once more. The first step must be to leave Common Core and, if necessary, fight the Federal Department of Education.
And Sheffield’s apt closing:
New York as a state must fight for its children.  The leaders in that fight should be the New York State Board of Regents because they do not have to play politics; they only have to do what is right.  In doing so, then trust can be restored, and we can move forward together.
***John Sheffield for Regents***
new york seal
John Sheffield for New York Board of Regents | deutsch29:


Don’t miss the LIVE STREAM of the UNITED OPT OUT Conference this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. | Reclaim Reform

Don’t miss the LIVE STREAM of the UNITED OPT OUT Conference this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. | Reclaim Reform:

Don’t miss the LIVE STREAM of the UNITED OPT OUT Conference this Friday, Saturday and Sunday



 Why will I be attending the UNITED OPT OUT CONFERENCE: The Movement to End Corporate Education Reform in Philadelphia this Friday, Saturday and Sunday?

Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 7.55.35 PM
These brilliant speakers and several more will explain the how-what-where-when-and-why of the nationwide Opt Out Movement. If you cannot attend in person, go to THIS LINK to stream it live.
Because the corporate education reform movement is all about the corporate profits from mandated high stakes testing, their weakness is obvious. Hedge fund and venture fund managers and their multinational investors, often disguised as philanthropists who wish to dismantle public education for the good of America, want money – lots of money from education tax funding on local, state and national levels. By refusing to allow children to take the tests, money is denied them. Without the vast ill-gotten money, the corporate reform movement will die. Opt Out one child at a time, one family at a time, one school at a time, one district at a time, etc. No private profits, no corporate education reform movement.
Yes, refusing to take tests mandated by corrupt legislators who will do anything to gain funds for their own re-election campaigns requires an act of civil disobedience.
Will people do this for their children? They are already doing it, and their numbers are growing daily.
Corporate education reformers and their paid legislators are doing it for the money.
Parents opt out for their children. Parents refuse to allow their children’s futures diminished, and they refuse to accept a promise of fewer punishing tests. They refuse to allow any lead in the water and any mandated high stakes tests to continue.

Special Nite Cap: Catch Up on Today's Post 2/25/16



CORPORATE ED REFORM





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Souza brings back revised parental rights bill, gets it through Senate Education | The Spokesman-Review: Souza brings back revised parental rights bill, gets it through Senate Education Idaho Sen. Mary Souza has brought back her “parental rights” bill, with one change: An added paragraph defining “reasonable accommodation.” The bill still permits parents to withdraw their child from any program or
A South Dakota Bill Shows How K-12 Schools Are Becoming a Hotbed for Debates Over Transgender Students - The Atlantic
A South Dakota Bill Shows How K-12 Schools Are Becoming a Hotbed for Debates Over Transgender Students - The Atlantic: The Power Struggle Over Transgender StudentsWho should have the ultimate say over school policies pertaining to trans youth?Last year, states across the country considered 17 bills that would’ve regulated transgender people’s use of sex-segregated spaces such as bathrooms. None of
New Texas education boss Morath offers intriguing option for standardized testing | | Dallas Morning News
New Texas education boss Morath offers intriguing option for standardized testing | | Dallas Morning News: New Texas education boss Morath offers intriguing option for standardized testingMike Morath has been the Texas education commissioner only since Jan. 4 and already he’s bringing some common sense to STAAR-replacement ideas. (NYT Photo) Former Dallas ISD trustee Mike Morath has spoken publicl
The Times They are a-Changin', Broader Bolder Approach
The Times They are a-Changin': The Times They are a-Changin' June 2008 isn't really all that long ago. But in the education policy world, it feels almost like a different era altogether.That month saw the launch of the Broader, Bolder Approach to Education, a national campaign with the mission of calling attention to the many impediments posed by poverty to student's achievement and school success
Hundreds converge on city school board meeting to fight for higher teacher salaries - Sacramento News & Review -
Sacramento News & Review - Hundreds converge on city school board meeting to fight for higher teacher salaries - News - Local Stories - February 25, 2016: Hundreds converge on city school board meeting to fight for higher teacher salariesBoard President Christina PritchettIn what was not a typical school board meeting, hundreds of teachers, parents and students marched into the Sacramento City

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Jeb Bush’s Presidential Failure | deutsch29
Jeb Bush’s Presidential Failure | deutsch29: Jeb Bush’s Presidential FailureOn June 15, 2015, former Florida governor Jeb Bush formally announced his intention to run for president.Eight months and $130 million later, he dropped out.  Jeb BushWhat is intriguing about Bush’s failure in vying for the Republican presidential bid is that for years, it was assumed that Bush would run for president and
Special Nite Cap: Catch Up on Today's Post 2/24/16
CORPORATE ED REFORMCURMUDGUCATION: MD: Asking the Wrong Questions about TestingCURMUDGUCATION: MD: Asking the Wrong Questions about Testing: MD: Asking the Wrong Questions about Testing The Maryland state school board has noticed what many other folks have noticed as well-- if you make the PARCC test your state graduation requirement, a huge number of young'uns in your state are not going to gradu









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