Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Teach For America sabotages public schools | www.socialism.com

Teach For America sabotages public schools | www.socialism.com:

Teach For America sabotages public schools


Hundreds of Cleveland teachers protest the district plan to pay $400,000 for TFA replacement teachers at a school board meeting on May 27, 2014. Photo: Lisa DeJong / The Plain Dealer
School closures and teacher strikes are an almost daily occurrence, because public education is under siege. Drastic government underfunding has cut school programs, caused a severe teacher shortage, and jam-packed classrooms.
Central to these developments is a group called Teach for America Corp (TFA), which over the last three decades has become a primary propagandist and practitioner in the campaign to privatize education. It is now coming under well-deserved fire for failing both students and its trainees, and for serving the interests of big business.
Myth vs. reality. Teach for America markets itself as an education reform organization that can close the achievement gap and end social injustices in poor, inner-city and rural schools. How? By getting rid of all those “bad” teachers and replacing them with TFA trainees — until recently, mostly white, well-meaning graduates of Ivy League colleges.
These recruits need no previous experience or education coursework to get into the program. They complete a five-week training session that contains just 18 hours of actual teaching, in classrooms very unlike those they’ll face once on the job. This is all the training they get, before entering the classroom at the start of the school year.
Upon “graduation” recruits work both in charter and traditional schools. The majority stop teaching after completing their two-year contract. And no wonder. They’ve been put in jobs they’re untrained to do. The group’s mission statement doesn’t even use the word “teach” or “teacher.” As former recruit T. Jameson Brewer puts it, TFA focuses “more on influencing policy decisions as it seeks to install alumni of the organization as political puppets who work as principals, school board leaders, and other elected political positions.”
Obscuring racism. The most disturbing aspect of Teach for America is its position on race. Former members criticize the group’s “color blind” philosophy that denies the actual role of racism in this country. Its “no-excuses” behavior codes enforced in charter schools are thoroughly racist. Pupils are told they must defer to and obey adults, walk in the halls, sit still and answer, not ask questions. Minor infractions can result in detention and suspension, the first stop in the school-to-prison pipeline, especially for kids of color.
The much-denounced vogue of standardized testing is another racist cornerstone of Teach for America philosophy. It is part of the corporate vision of education, which emphasizes measurable results. It does not recognize the economic, cultural or social forces that perpetuate poverty. Students are told, “If you fail the test or can’t go to college or find a good job, you have no one to blame but yourself. “
To counter heavy criticism for racist and incompetent teaching policies, TFA has begun to recruit more trainees of color, and tries to cloak its agenda in the robes of the Civil Rights movement. TFA graduate DeRay McKesson, for example, became a self-appointed leader in the Black movement’s militant response to Michael Brown’s murder in Ferguson, Mo. The debate continues within Black Lives Matter on his creds as a true community activist. Meanwhile, the 30-year-old McKesson, defeated in his bid for mayor of Baltimore, is now ensconced in a $165,000 year job as “Chief of Human Capital” in the Baltimore School District.
Corporate sidekick. What began in 1990 as a school project of Princeton undergraduate Wendy Kopp has morphed into a highly influential organization with a corporate philosophy and tentacles that extend far beyond the classroom. As a non-profit, Teach for America receives tens of millions of dollars from the federal government and private benefactors like Bill Gates of Microsoft and the Walton family of Walmart. Some of its money comes from strapped public school districts which, in addition to teacher salaries and benefits, must pay TFA finder’s fees up to $5,000 for each trainee.
Teach for America CEO Wendy Kopp sits on the board of the Broad Superintendent Academy, a Teach For America sabotages public schools | www.socialism.com:
 

When ordinary people demand justice... - Lily's Blackboard

When ordinary people demand justice... - Lily's Blackboard:

When ordinary people demand justice...



I actually thought there was a danger of being crushed. Roberto Baradel, one of the top leaders of SUTEBA, the union of educators in Buenos Aires, was holding my hand in a vise grip and I was holding my husband Alberto’s hand in a vise grip, and we were snaking our way through thousands and thousands of passionate protestors in thePlaza de Mayo where the presidential plaza, Casa Rosada, today maintains barricades against such protests. We knew that if we let go of each other, we’d be lost in the sea of marchers.
I was in Buenos Aires at a regional meeting of Education International. I serve as one of their regional vice presidents and was honored to be a part of several presentations. But this march was not on the official agenda. Roberto asked if I knew about Las Madres de la Plaza – the Mothers of the Plaza. Of course, I had heard of them. In the 1970s and 80s when Argentina was ruled by the military, those who were critical of the government were “disappeared.” They were kidnapped, tortured and killed. Their bodies were disposed of in mass unmarked graves or tossed into the ocean from airplanes in routine death flights. At least 600 educators were among those detained never to be seen again.
On April 30, 1977, a dozen mothers led by Azucena Villaflor came to the Plaza Maya and stood in front of the presidential palace. They wore pictures of their Disappeared adult children around their necks. They marched before the Casa Rosada arm in arm. It was an act of unimaginable courage born of unimaginable pain and outrage.IMG_6359
These ordinary women without fortunes, positions or even rights to speak the truth came every week to walk in protest; to demand justice; and to shame their shameless government. Other ordinary people took heart from Las Madres. Other ordinary people began joining the weekly marches to demand justice. They took up a collection and bought a newspaper ad that named the Disappeared.
The night the ad ran, Azucena Villaflor was taken from her home, tortured and never seen alive again. The government believed that the example of her cruel death would influence the others and end the marches.
It was not the end. Thirty-nine years later, the gentle giant, Roberto, was pulling me by the hand and parting the When ordinary people demand justice... - Lily's Blackboard:

CALPADS Unduplicated Pupil Count (UPC) Source File - Student & School Data Files (Downloadable) (CA Dept of Education)

CALPADS Unduplicated Pupil Count (UPC) Source File - Student & School Data Files (Downloadable) (CA Dept of Education):

CALPADS Unduplicated Pupil Count (UPC) Source File

Downloadable data files pertaining to the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) UPC Source File.



This page contains downloadable files pertaining to the Unduplicated Pupil Count (UPC) of free or reduced price meal (FRPM) eligibility, English learner (EL), and foster youth data from the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS). These counts are the starting point for determining the Unduplicated Pupil Percentage (UPP) used in the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) supplemental and concentration grant calculations.

LEA and School Level Data Files

Year of DataData FileInformation about the FileFile Structure
2015–16CALPADS UPC Source File 2015–16 (XLS; 4MB; Posted 17-Aug-2016)CALPADS UPC Source File 2015–16File Structure: CALPADS UPC Source File 2015–16
2014–15CALPADS UPC Source File 2014–15 (XLS; 4MB; Posted 12-April-2016)CALPADS UPC Source File 2014–15File Structure: CALPADS UPC Source File 2014–15
2013–14CALPADS UPC Source File 2013–14 (XLS; 4MB; Posted 3-July-2014)
Questions:   Data Reporting Office | dro@cde.ca.gov | 916-327-0219

What Your Back-To-School Shopping List Reveals About Our Underfunded Schools

What Your Back-To-School Shopping List Reveals About Our Underfunded Schools:

What Your Back-To-School Shopping List Reveals About Our Underfunded Schools


“You can exhale now,” the headline in Salon reassures, because “kids have more money than ever to spend on school stuff this year.”
The reason for Salon’s celebratory tone is that a national survey every year by the National Retail Federation finds that preteens preparing for a new school year have a record-breaking average of $80.31 in personal spending money. The author leaps from that nugget of information to conclude this is a sign of a stronger economy ahead. (Disclosure: I’ve written about education for Salon.)
But even if Salon’s analysis makes you breathe easier about the economy, you should understand those school kids aren’t going to keep their cash for very long, because their schools are going to need it.
Indeed, back to school supply lists are likely longer than ever before due to the simple reason that schools increasingly don’t have the funds to pay for items on the list. And because of persistently inadequate budgets that continue to dog our schools, you can be sure the longer your shopping list, the worse the funding situation is throughout your child’s school system.
Not only are school stockrooms increasingly bare of supplies, but teachers aren’t being adequately paid, class sizes are ballooning, programs are being cut, and school buildings increasingly forego required maintenance.
In states like North Carolina – where schools still get less funding than they did in 2008, despite an improving economy – money for necessary school supplies continues to be inadequate.
In the News & Observer, a local paper based in Raleigh, a first-grade teacher explains how the allotment for supplies she and her colleagues receive has gone from $100 per student “over a decade ago” to zero. The shortfall is especially harmful to her school where 70 percent of students are from low-income households that qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. “Some are even homeless,” she says.
Across the state in Asheville, a local reporter explains how in that district’s schools the allocation for classroom supplies dropped from What Your Back-To-School Shopping List Reveals About Our Underfunded Schools:


CURMUDGUCATION: The Ledger: Lab Rat America

CURMUDGUCATION: The Ledger: Lab Rat America:

The Ledger: Lab Rat America


Oh my God. Oh my effing God.

If you want to see where Competency Based Education, data mining, the cradle to career pipeline, the gig economy, and the transformation into a master and servant class society all intersect-- boy, have I got a video for you. Spoiler alert: this is also one way that public education dies.




I'm going to walk you through the video, embed it for your own viewing, and tell you about the people behind this. Hang on. This is stunning. And I'll warn you right up front-- this is not some hack job that looks like amateur hour video production (like, say, an in house USED video). This is slick and well-produced. Which somehow makes it more horrifying.

The Video 

The video is a little SF film taking us ten years into the future. Imagine you are one of the one billion people using a new technology called The Ledger. And our slogan...?

Learning is earning.

Your Ledger account tracks everything you've ever learned in units called edublocks.

An edublock represents, supposedly, one hour of learning in any subject-- which brings us to our first mystery, which is exactly how one breaks down learning into hours.

But you can get edublocks from anyone-- from a formal institution like a school (though as we'll see, there will be precious few schools in the Ledger's world) or from, well, anyone. Literally anyone. But especially also your workplace. That connection matters, because edublocks are tied straight to your employment and your income. But they can also come from informal groups, community 
CURMUDGUCATION: The Ledger: Lab Rat America:



Jersey Jazzman: Teacher Pay, Student Poverty, and Inequitably Funded Schools: A Data-Driven Story From Chicago

Jersey Jazzman: Teacher Pay, Student Poverty, and Inequitably Funded Schools: A Data-Driven Story From Chicago:
Teacher Pay, Student Poverty, and Inequitably Funded Schools: A Data-Driven Story From Chicago



How much more abuse can Chicago's schools take?

Chicago Public Schools students protested Monday the “racist and discriminatory” firing of district teachers and staff, which they said disproportionately affect low-income schools.
At a rally held outside the Thompson Center, about a dozen young protesters called for quality education and funding to be provided in all schools. The district fired 508 teachers and 521 support staff earlier this month. [emphasis mine]
Before we take a data dive, let's acknowledge something important: every number in a staff cut represents an actual person. As Xian Barrett writes in The Progressive, the students who have developed personal connections to their teachers suffer the most when a teacher is laid off. So while I think there's value in the analysis I present below, let's not forget that we are talking about children and educators -- real people who are going through real hell.

The layoffs took place in an atmosphere of continuing friction between the Chicago Teachers Union and district leadership, who can count on the editorial board of theChicago Tribune, among others, to lay the blame for the district's continuing fiscal problems at the feet of the union:

The district is a candidate for bankruptcy. Chicago taxes already are rising, but CTU wants more. A CPS contract offer on the table since January is a sweet deal for educators; district CEO Forrest Claypool tells us it won't — can't — get sweeter. 
CPS' proposal offers teachers a generous raise and keeps paying them for added seniority and education. It does make a significant ask: Teachers would have to pay a 7 percent pension tab that CPS now pays but no longer can afford. CPS still would pick up the employer's share of pension costs but asks employees to pay their share. Most Chicagoans, most Americans, understand that, since they too have to save for their own retirement.
Note the framing here: the funding of Chicago's schools is an issue of teacher Jersey Jazzman: Teacher Pay, Student Poverty, and Inequitably Funded Schools: A Data-Driven Story From Chicago:




Stolen Language: Charter Schools Are Not “Public” Schools | deutsch29

Stolen Language: Charter Schools Are Not “Public” Schools | deutsch29:
Stolen Language: Charter Schools Are Not “Public” Schools



On August 15, 2016,  the Post News Group published an op-ed entitled, “There’s No Such Thing as a ‘Public Charter School.'”
The piece was written by retired San Francisco State University adjunct professor, education activist, and Oakland, CA. resident, Ann Berlak. In short order, Berlak lays bare the lie behind the popularized message, “charter schools are public schools,” in such a clear, direct manner that I thought it worth sharing with my readers:
This year, more than a quarter of Oakland’s 49,000 students are attending one of its nearly 40 charter schools, far more per capita than anywhere else in the state.
Is this something for Oaklanders to boast about?
Not long ago I visited a school in Oakland to read to third graders on “Literacy Day.” On 
the way to the classroom I asked my guide if this was a charter or a public school. The 
immediate and decisive response: “We’re a public charter school.”
On June 14th the LA Times informed the public: “Charters are independently operated, free public schools.”
The California Department of Education makes no bones about it: “A charter school is a public school.”
However, the term “public charter school” was developed by a PR firm to reframe the way we understand schooling in relationship to “public” and to democracy.
The campaign has been wildly successful. However, though the term “public charter school” is increasingly ubiquitous, charters are not public schools.
Public institutions—schools, libraries, zoos—are, at least in theory, funded by 
taxes from all the people in its jurisdiction—local, state and national—and are held accountable to and by those people through that fundamental process we in a democracy call voting.
Most public schools are accountable to an elected school board made up of community 
members. Residents of that community have the right to be present at Board meetings, weigh in 
on votes and debates, and access public financial documents.
Charter schools are run by executive boards, committees or corporations 
Stolen Language: Charter Schools Are Not “Public” Schools | deutsch29:

Milwaukee’s War on Black People | Educate All Students: Larry Miller's Blog

Milwaukee’s War on Black People | Educate All Students: Larry Miller's Blog:
Milwaukee’s War on Black People


Sarah Lazare
August 15, 2016
Alternet
Protesters taking to the streets today say that police violence against black residents of Milwaukee remains systemic. “You see anger, just the anger and the frustration of a community that has suffered atrocities and oppression on behalf of what they deem to be the police oppressive system, that has never seemingly been held accountable for taking the life, like the young man said, of their loved ones,” Muhibb Dyer, a community activist said.

Maria Hamilton, mother of Dontre Hamilton, leads the march Mondayalong Water St. during a Coalition for Justice rally at Red Arrow Park in downtown Milwaukee, Calvin Mattheis,
Donald Trump supporter and Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke has built a national profile by openly declaring war on the Black Lives Matter movement, from the floor of the Republican National Convention to the pages of national media outlets, once even proclaiming on social media that racial justice protesters will “join forces” with ISIS.
Now that some Milwaukee residents have staged days of open rebellion against police violence following the cop killing of 23-year-old Sylville K. Smith, Clarke is ratcheting up his rhetoric. During apress conference on Sunday, he employed dog-whistle racist language, stating that “the urban pathologies have to be addressed to shrink the growth of an underclass.” Clarke went on to argue that, from Baltimore to Ferguson to Milwaukee, there is a “war on police,” and vowed to escalate his crackdown on demonstrators. Meanwhile, Gov. Scott Walker on Sunday declared a state of emergency and activated the national guard against protesters.
But in a city that has been called the most segregated urban area in America, angry demonstrators are telling a different story, of a state-sanctioned war against poor black residents. This perspective was described by Sedan Smith, who identified himself to local outlet CBS 58 as the brother of Sylville Smith.
“It’s the police. This is the madness that they spark up. This is what they encourage. This is what they provoke. This is what you get. You take a loved one from something, this is what you get,” Smith declared on Saturday, standing in view of an auto parts store engulfed in flames. “I don’t know when it’s going to end. But it’s for y’all to start. We’re not the ones that’s killing us. Y’all killing us. We can’t make a change if you all don’t change.”
Before Sylville Smith was killed, Milwaukee was already reeling from former Milwaukee police officer Chistopher Manney’s killing of Dontre Hamilton, a mentally ill black man, with 14 gunshots in 2014. While Manney was fired from his position, he did not face any charges for the murder, and Milwaukee residents staged Black Lives Matter demonstrations to protest his impunity.
Protesters taking to the streets today say that police violence against black residents of Milwaukee remains systemic. “You see anger, just the anger and the frustration of a community that has suffered atrocities and oppression on behalf of what they deem to be the police oppressive system, that has never seemingly been held accountable for taking the life, like the young man said, of their loved ones,” Muhibb Dyer, a community activist and co-founder of the organization Flood the Hood with Dreams, told Democracy Now.
But in Milwaukee, injustices against black people extend far beyond policing. A 2013 study from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee found the state has the highest incarceration rate for black men in the country at 13 percent. Report authors John Pawasarat and Lois M. Quinn note:
The prison population in Wisconsin has more than tripled since 1990, fueled by increased government funding for drug enforcement (rather than treatment) and prison construction, three-strike rules, mandatory minimum sentence laws, truth-in-sentencing replacing judicial discretion in setting punishments, concentrated policing in minority communities, and state incarceration for minor probation and supervision violations. Particularly impacted were African American males, with the 2010 U.S. Census showing Wisconsin having the highest black male incarceration rate in the nation. In Milwaukee County over half of African American men in their 30s have served time in state prison.”
Not surpringly, Wisconsin’s budget allots more for incarceration than for schooling. Four out of every five African-American children in Milwaukee live in poverty.
report released last year by the University of California at Los Angeles found that schools in Milwaukee suspend black students at nearly two times the national average. Meanwhile, Wisconsin has theworst achievement gap between white and black students in the United States, thanks largely to the Milwaukee public school system, which has been systematically defunded and privatized for more than two decades.
Racial disparities extend to home lending. A study released in July by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition found, “In the Milwaukee Metropolitan Statistical Area, whites represent 70 percent of the population, yet received 81 percent of the loans. African Americans are 16 percent of the population yet only received four percent of the loans.”
NPR’s Kenya Downs wrote an article last year raising the question, “Why is Milwaukee so bad for black people?” Downs wrote: “Milwaukee is a vibrant city known for its breweries and ethnic festivals and can be a great place to live — unless you’re black. Statistically, it is one of the worst places in the country for African-Americans to reside.”
When Baltimore erupted in uprisings last year following the violent death of Freddie Gray in police custody, angry protesters, most of them black youth, were widely demonized. Yet a recently released Department of Justice investigation into that city’s police department vindicates protesters’ outrage, exposing law enforcement’s atrocities against poor black communities, including systematic harassment, violence and degradation.
Now, like their counterparts in Baltimore, the black youth of Milwaukee are being demonized as thugs and criminals by the police department entrusted to protect and serve them. Bolstered by a hate-fueled presidential campaign, Sheriff Clarke is escalating his demagogic incitement against the very people he and his city have failed.
Sarah Lazare is a staff writer for AlterNet. A former staff writer for Common Dreams, she coedited the book About Face: Military Resisters Turn Against War.
This article was made possible by the readers and supporters ofAlterNet.Milwaukee’s War on Black People | Educate All Students: Larry Miller's Blog:







Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog: Claypool not worried about a strike. It's all good.

Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog: Claypool not worried about a strike. It's all good.:

Claypool not worried about a strike. It's all good.

Claypool with top lawyer Mormer, the man from Jenner & Block
Given that Chicago schools CEO Forrest Claypool is under investigation once again, this time for funneling CPS contracts a connected law firm, you would think he would tone down his arrogance a notch or that the mayor would put someone else in front of the media for a while.

Claypool suddenly exudes a false sense of optimism after forecasting a deficit hovering near $1 billion less than a year ago. This even while Gov. Rauner, in a political death spiral himself, is still holding the state's school budget hostage.

After a year of CPS teachers working without of contract, Claypool still had the audacity to assure everyone that contract negotiations with the CTU were going swell with no need to worry about a teachers strike.

"We are at the negotiating table. I don't see any reason why we should not be able to come to an agreement. Teachers do important work. We want to give them as generous a contract as we can possibly provide given the dollars that are available."
Well here's one reason for no agreement. Claypool continues to push for an end to the 7% pension pick up which was negotiated in lieu of a pay increase. With no corresponding pay Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog: Claypool not worried about a strike. It's all good.:



 

Civil Rights organizations vs. Wealthy: Are charter schools better? – Cloaking Inequity

Civil Rights organizations vs. Wealthy: Are charter schools better? – Cloaking Inequity:

Civil Rights organizations vs. Wealthy: Are charter schools better?



Corporate reformers supported by the deep pockets of the wealthy and their foundations (Broad, Gates, Walton etc.) are spending millions on propaganda— research, websites and books extolling the virtues anti-democratic, private control of resources for public schools. Meanwhile, Civil Rights organization such as the Black Lives Matter movement (here) the Journey for Justice Alliance (here) and the NAACP (here and here) have criticized the private control and privatization of our public schools via charters. The ACLU also weighed in here. Mother Jones has covered these recent developments and reported,
A few weeks ago, the Movement for Black Lives, the network that also includes Black Lives Matter organizers, released its first-ever policy agenda. Among the organization’s six demands and dozens of policy recommendations was a bold education-related stance: a moratorium on both charter schools and public school closures. Charters, the agenda argues, represent a shift of public funds and control over to private entities. Along with “an end to the privatization of education,” the Movement for Black Lives organizers are demanding increased investments in traditional community schools and the health and social services they provide.
The statement came several weeks after another civil rights titan, the NAACP, also passed a resolution, calling for a freeze on the growth of charter schools. The NAACP had equated charters with privatization in previous resolutions, but this year’s statement—which will not become policy until the National Board meeting in the fall—represents the strongest anti-charter language to date…
There is much much more in the Mother Jones article… Please check out and share as it’s an excellent read.
Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 8.38.48 AM
This week I also had the opportunity to have a conversation with the The Real News Network about the rapidly changing climate for charters. I have pasted the entire 8-minute RNN segment below which includes their introduction to the developing debate surrounding charter schools. Below the full clip, I have pasted easily shareable abbreviated YouTube clips.


 

Hawaii Charter School Commission Is Under The Microscope - Civil Beat News

Hawaii Charter School Commission Is Under The Microscope - Civil Beat News:

Hawaii Charter School Commission Is Under The Microscope
School leaders’ complaints have the Board of Education considering a special performance review of the state’s charter school authorizer.



 Members of a Hawaii Board of Education committee tasked with investigating the State Public Charter School Commission are recommending a more formal review of the agency’s performance after finding a “pattern of well-founded complaints” from charter school leaders.

The committee is “primarily concerned with why there are consistently similar complaints from a large number of charter school leaders and why there is a seeming disconnect between the perceptions of these leaders and those of the Commission,” it stated in a report.
The recommendation comes more than seven months after the BOE formed an investigative committee to decide if a review of the Commission was warranted. The full board is expected to vote on the committee’s recommendation at a meeting in September.
Lawmakers created the Charter School Commission in 2012 as part of a broad overhaul of regulations aimed at strengthening academic and financial oversight of the schools. The BOE oversees the commission, but has not previously undertaken a formal evaluation.
BOE members conducted three listening tour events with charter schools in November and December.
Charter school leaders said then that the commission had been overburdening schools with reporting requirements, not doing enough to support the schools and failing to clearly communicate. Many expressed frustration with the new school contracts, which they felt were too uniform when they should be negotiated more individually with schools.
Charter School Commission members were not asked to attend the listening tour and did not get a chance to respond to complaints before the BOE published a report on the tour.
The BOE committee has since met with members of the Charter School Commission and its staff, but has not altered its position on the complaints of school leaders.
Despite months of discussions, the committee said that it “cannot report with confidence that the Commission will adequately and fully address the concerns, whether real or perceived, of charter school leaders.”
A BOE review of the commission would take four months, according to a special review Hawaii Charter School Commission Is Under The Microscope - Civil Beat News:

Clock ticking on failing schools; lawmaker calls plan 'irresponsible'

Clock ticking on failing schools; lawmaker calls plan 'irresponsible':

Clock ticking on failing schools; lawmaker calls plan 'irresponsible'


A Democratic lawmaker today called for more transparency on aggressive plans by the State School Reform Office to close chronically failing schools in Michigan.
"The decision to close an unknown number of schools, based on data from two entirely different tests without any clear, consistent and transparent processes to help schools improve, is completely irresponsible," said Rep. Adam Zemke, D-Ann Arbor.
"This will leave Michigan families in flux, wondering what their options will be for their children's education going forward," Zemke said.
He called the decision-making process "mysterious" and said "we don't even know how these extreme decisions about our children's futures are being made."
Natasha Baker, the head of the school reform office, said Monday that a decision will be made by the end of 2016 on which schools would close. Those at risk, she said, have been poor-performing for years and should close so the students in the schools have better opportunities.
The decision is taking heat from educators who had been assured by the Michigan Department of Education that the scores on the state's new exam — the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress — wouldn't be used for accountability purposes until 2017. But the school reform office operates separately from the education department, and says it will use results from that new exam, in addition to results from the now-retired MEAP exam.
MDE officials declined to comment for a story Monday. But Martin Ackley, spokesman for the MDE, said in a statement today that the department is "keeping to that commitment," to not use the assessment data to rank schools now.
"The State Reform Office, outside of the Michigan Department of Education, is choosing to use its own authority outlined in state law, to identify a new bottom 5 percent of schools," Ackley said.
The number of schools that would close is unknown. The reform office is starting with a list of 128 schools that performed in the bottom 5% academically in 2014 — based on MEAP scores. But the office will also look at 2015 and 2016 rankings. Baker said the final number will be far less than the number identified in 2014 and include those schools that consistently were the worst-performing in all three years.
Contact Lori Higgins: 313-222-6651, lhiggins@freepress.com or @LoriAHigginsClock ticking on failing schools; lawmaker calls plan 'irresponsible':
 

Bill Phillis: If the U.S. Extradites Fethullah Gulen, What Happens to His Charter Chain? | Diane Ravitch's blog

Bill Phillis: If the U.S. Extradites Fethullah Gulen, What Happens to His Charter Chain? | Diane Ravitch's blog:

Bill Phillis: If the U.S. Extradites Fethullah Gulen, What Happens to His Charter Chain?


Bill Phillis, onetime state deputy superintendent of instruction in Ohio, now director of the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy, raises an important question: What becomes of the Gulen charter chain of about 150 charters if the U.S. State Department decides to extradite Imam Fethullah Gulen? The Turkish government blames Gulen’s followers for the coup that sought to overturn the government. The Turkish government now blames the U.S. for sheltering Gulen. Turkey has resumed an alliance with Russia because of our refusal to turn Gulen over.
The decision the White House makes on the request of the Turkish government to extradite Turkish Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen (the U.S. charter school magnate) will likely affect the future of the 150 Gulen, tax-funded charter schools, 19 of which are in Ohio
The August 3 New York Times article-Turks can agree on one thing: U. S. was behind failed coup- indicates that pressure is mounting for the U.S. to send Gulen home to Turkey. Since the U.S. government has denied the extradition request multiple times, the Turks opine that the U.S. is supporting the coup attempt by the Gulenists in Turkey.
Disentanglement of the international politics associated with the recent coup attempt is beyond the scope of this post. But it is appropriate to ask a fundamental question to state officials and the sponsors of Gulen charters: Should a chain of charters, spawned and operated by members of the Gulen movement, continue to be supported by tax funds?
In dealing with this sensitive issue, the White House could send a clear message to Turkey by forbidding public funding of Gulen charters. Inasmuch as it has been substantiated that some of the funds paid to Gulen charters gravitates to the Gulen movement, state and federal officials should arrange for a complete investigation of the connection between the Gulen movement and the Gulen charters.


The question remains: Why are taxpayers allowing foreign nationals to take control of their neighborhood public schools?Bill Phillis: If the U.S. Extradites Fethullah Gulen, What Happens to His Charter Chain? | Diane Ravitch's blog:

Big Education Ape: Fethullah Gülen: public intellectual or just another charter school crook? - http://bigeducationape.blogspot.com/2016/08/fethullah-gulen-public-intellectual-or.html

Big Education Ape: Fethullah Gulen’s Race to the Top Is Over | Foreign Policy - http://bigeducationape.blogspot.com/2016/08/fethullah-gulens-race-to-top-is-over.html
 

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