Monday, May 8, 2017

Dear extraordinary teacher, - Lily's Blackboard

Dear extraordinary teacher, - Lily's Blackboard:

Dear extraordinary teacher,





 Dear extraordinary teacher, - Lily's Blackboard:

If You Call It “School Choice,” You’ll Go to Hell

Center for a Stateless Society » If You Call It “School Choice,” You’ll Go to Hell:

If You Call It “School Choice,” You’ll Go to Hell

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Right-libertarian shills for school charterization like to use the euphemism “school choice,” which is about as misleading as referring to proprietary walled garden platforms like Uber as the “sharing economy.” The charter school movement’s inroads occur, almost without exception, in places where choice has been suppressed by the state. The Charter Mafia hates choice. Charterization, where it occurs, is imposed by a process about as free and democratic as the National Party coup that established Apartheid in South Africa.

Charterization is just another example of the kind of corporate “privatization” that is advocated by right-libertarians, in which public assets created at taxpayer or ratepayer expense are enclosed by politically connected private actors. Such enclosure, of land and of everything else, has been with us since the beginning of ruling classes and states. Such enclosures, and the battles against them, were described in Livy’s history of the Roman Republic, where commonly owned public lands were enclosed by the patrician landed oligarchy.

We find the model of “privatizing” taxpayer-created assets and services — i.e. selling or contracting them out to corporations — almost exclusively in places characterized by what Naomi Klein calls “Disaster Capitalism,” where some extraordinary circumstance has given the capitalist state unaccountable authority to transfer public assets to its private sector cronies. Hence the mass “privatization” (a.k.a. looting) in Chile after the Pinochet coup, in Russia after Yeltsin’s seizure of power and forcible suppression of the Duma, in Iraq under the “Coalition Provisional Authority” puppet government installed by the United States, and in the Michigan municipalities placed under the dictatorial authority of state-appointed “Emergency Managers.”

In the United States, similarly, we see large-scale charterization in places like New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, where government seized emergency powers and a major part of the black population was in exile far from home. We see it in places like Detroit under the above-mentioned emergency managers, and Chicago under the corrupt and authoritarian administration of Rahm Emanuel. And we see it in my home state of Arkansas, where the largely black Little Rock school district was taken over two years ago by the state, which has taken advantage of the suspension of local control to push charterization in cahoots with private interests like the Walton Family Foundation.

To add insult to injury, the Charter Mafia are (having removed the school district from local control) attempting to bully the people of Little Rock into approving a property tax millage increase for the school district which is now completely unaccountable to them, so its charter-happy absentee management can promote their agenda.  A vote on the $600 million tax increase is scheduled for May 9. (“Stockholm syndrome, a tax dodge and empty promise in Little Rock school tax election,” Arkansas Times: Arkansas Blog, April 11).

Advocates for the tax increase are actually using the issue of local control to blackmail voters into approving it. Bobby Roberts, a leading spokesman for the tax campaign, warned: “If the citizens of Little Rock cannot pass this, if I were [Arkansas Education] Commissioner Johnny Key or I were the governor I would say, ‘I am in no hurry to turn this school district back over to an elected school board because there is no support in the Center for a Stateless Society » If You Call It “School Choice,” You’ll Go to Hell:


Lacking oversight, charter schools squandered $223 mil of your tax dollars - Education Votes

Lacking oversight, charter schools squandered $223 mil of your tax dollars - Education Votes:

Lacking oversight, charter schools squandered $223 mil of your tax dollars


Remember when we told you that since 1994, 15 states reportedly lost more than $100 million of taxpayer money to charter-school waste, fraud, and abuse? That was back in 2014.
Since then the situation has gotten much worse, according to a new report by the Center for Popular Democracy. Instead of $100 million, that amount now stands at more than $223 million—once again, that’s more than $223 million in alleged and confirm cases of charter-school waste, fraud, and abuse.
A key element of the problem remains that charter-school funding and growth are outpacing oversight at all levels of government.
The rapid expansion of the charter sector in recent years is a particularly important factor in the fraud epidemic,” reads the report. “Local and state entities charged with oversight of charter schools are quickly becoming overwhelmed, yet the federal government continues to pour taxpayer dollars into this expansion project. Over the past 20 years, the federal Department of Education has channeled over $3 billion into states to increase the quantity of charter schools without requiring strong oversight systems.
Click on above image to see full report
Last year, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General echoed similar concerns regarding charter-school funding and oversight. However, none of this appears to be slowing down President Trump and his new education secretary, Betsy DeVos, whose only qualification for her new post is that she gave lots of money to politicians who support the corporate takeover of public education.
“As a staunch advocate for charter schools in Michigan (her home state), DeVos has spent millions in campaign donations supporting state candidates who favored ‘school choice’ and opposed increased oversight and regulation,” states the report. “The result of Michigan’s experiment in charters has been a system of failing schools run by for-profit companies, and millions of dollars lost in fraud and waste.”
As most of you know, charter schools are publicly funded schools that are managed privately, in many cases, by for-profit companies. Under the Trump-DeVos education agenda, federal funding for charter schools would jump from $333 million this year to $501 million in 2018.
According to the report, when you look at all the money being spent on charter schools at the local, state, and federal levels, it totals about $40 billion annually. And without proper oversight, taxpayers this year reportedly stand to lose about $2.1 billion.
Policymakers can stem the tide of public funding being lost on charter waste, fraud, and abuse. The report’s recommendations include the following reforms:
  • Required audits to detect fraud and increase transparency and accountability among charter-school operators and managers;
  • Clear, planning-based public investment programs that link equity, transparency, and accountability to charter-school expansion; and
  • Increased transparency and accountability to ensure that charter schools provide necessary information to state agencies to detect and prevent fraud.
Without the necessary oversight for charter schools, the report’s authors conclude that taxpayers will be subject to more of their dollars—hundreds of millions of dollars—being lost to charter-school fraud, waste, and abuse.Lacking oversight, charter schools squandered $223 mil of your tax dollars - Education Votes:
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Parents who want recess say lawmakers are using kids as ‘pawns in a political game’ | Miami Herald

Parents to lawmakers: Don’t support budget bill solely for kids’ recess | Miami Herald:

Parents who want recess say lawmakers are using kids as ‘pawns in a political game’




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Passionate parents, like Kate Asturias of Miami and Angela Browning of Orlando, have been fighting for years to get guaranteed daily recess for their children and the more than 1.2 million other kids in Florida’s public elementary schools.
The two moms trekked to Tallahassee on Friday, for the countless time, hoping to see lawmakers finally make that happen. They left disappointed once again.
The favored proposal of “recess moms” and dads that unanimously passed the Senate a month ago (SB 78) wasn’t brought to the floor by House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, before Friday’s session deadline — despite parents’ numerous emails and phone calls urging him to take up the bill, which had the votes to pass easily.
Instead, Corcoran prolonged a conclusion to the recess proposal by lumping it — with a never-before-seen exemption parents didn’t ask for — into a 278-page education budget bill released Friday evening, three days before lawmakers will vote Monday on an annual budget package they can’t change.
Filled with disappointment and anger, parents vented their frustration in social media groups this weekend — and some now have a message for their lawmakers: Don’t vote “yes” on this bill just so Florida’s kids can be assured recess.
“This is not just about recess anymore. This bill is a mishmash of some policies that have never even been vetted before,” Browning wrote Saturday night to parents in the “Recess for All Florida Students” group on Facebook. “It’s not how the process is supposed to work. The people, and those they elected to represent them, are supposed to be involved in the process. A conforming bill dropped after 4pm on the last day of session, with no amendments permitted and an up or down vote, is no way to govern.
“We can’t expect legislators to support it based solely on their support for recess,” she said.
Asturias, of the “Recess for Miami Students” group, noted that the new recess language is seven lines out of 6,848 in the bill, and “I understand.”
“It’s so disappointing that our kids were used in this way, and the message of recess and what it stood for was used ... as political cover,” she said. Parents “feel like recess was just kind of this very nice, sweet, pure movement — it was something for the kids — and they feel like it was just used in a mean way, a nasty way, as political leverage.”
Meanwhile, Corcoran claims he “saved” the recess proposal by adding it to the budget. (Daily school recess was not part of earlier budget conference talks, as it requires no Parents to lawmakers: Don’t support budget bill solely for kids’ recess | Miami Herald:

11 Ways Chicago Is the Beating Heart of the Disastrous Charter School Agenda | Alternet

11 Ways Chicago Is the Beating Heart of the Disastrous Charter School Agenda | Alternet:

11 Ways Chicago Is the Beating Heart of the Disastrous Charter School Agenda

Chicago's political elite have fallen under the spell of the charter industry’s billionaire sponsors—and the results spell disaster for K-12 education.


Chicago’s public school system has become a showcase for the negative effects of K-12 privatization, according to a new report that tracks how the city replaced struggling local schools with dozens of charters that didn’t perform better, yet deprived traditional schools of funds, students and public accountability.
The report, "Closed by Choice: The Spatial Relationship between Charter School Expansion, School Closures and Fiscal Stress in Chicago Public Schools,” tracks 108 charter schools that opened between 2000 and 2015, a period when Chicago Public Schools (CPS) was shutting struggling schools, cutting district funding and reducing staff. It details and confirms what many charter critics have long said, that lobbying from pro-privatization forces swayed the city’ political leaders to impose top-down reforms that riled neighborhoods, undermined traditional K-12 schools, increased segregation and did not lead to schools with better academic results.
Perhaps most insidiously, the report describes in great detail how the CPS system aggressively shut down struggling schools in neighborhoods where student numbers were dwindling, while allowing better-funded charters to open up nearby, taking a greater share of taxpayer funds that might have been used to rescue struggling schools. The report was written by Roosevelt University’s associate professor of sociology Stephanie Farmer, Loyola University PhD candidate Ashley Baber and University of Illinois PhD candidate Chris Poulos.
“CPS’ approach to saturating neighborhoods with declining school-age population with new charter schools is stripping all middle- class, working-class and lower-income children, families, and communities of education security, where schools are rendered insecure by budgetary cuts, deprivation, or closure,” the report’s conclusion begins. “Education insecurity is the product of the school reform agenda focused on cannibalizing the neighborhood public schools in order to convert CPS into a privatized 'choice' school system.”
“While new charter schools continue to proliferate in low demand neighborhoods, all CPS neighborhood public schools experience debilitating budget cuts that lead to the elimination of teaching professionals and enriching curriculum,” it continues. “The most vulnerable communities are stripped of their 11 Ways Chicago Is the Beating Heart of the Disastrous Charter School Agenda | Alternet:

The Public School System Is Rigged Against Poor And Black Children | HuffPost

The Public School System Is Rigged Against Poor And Black Children | HuffPost:

The Public School System Is Rigged Against Poor And Black Children

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Charter school operators successfully market their schools as the better option. They use standardized test scores to make their point. However, the truth is, when it comes to student outcomes, there is very little difference between traditional public schools and public charter schools. Because of superior marketing and student recruitment strategies, charter operators have convinced a substantial number of parents that their schools are the better option.

After working nearly 30 years as an urban school educator, I am convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the rules of the public school game are rigged against poor and Black children. The guardians of the game focus on three strategies to rig it: deception, fear, and misinformation.
As a former public school insider, I see and understand how politicians and educators deceive the public, manipulating data to draw pictures of progress, which in many instances are nothing more than illusions. An increase in high school graduation rates does not mean the students are ready for college or careers. An increase in college enrollment does not mean a higher college completion rate. A decrease in student suspension rates does not mean the school environment is safer. Achieving a level of proficiency on standardized tests does not mean one can think and grasp complex concepts.
The emphasis on standardized tests may be the most damaging type of deception that public schools practice.
The emphasis on standardized tests may be the most damaging type of deception that public schools practice. Politicians persistently pressure public school personnel to produce improved standardized test results, which are the main measurement of school quality. This places teachers in a dilemma. They either teach to the test, as often directed by school administrators, or they risk their job security.
Arguably, many people become teachers because they love teaching. Most probably had no idea to what extent politics would influence their teaching practice. They quickly learn that standardized testing is the most politically charged aspect of their job. Ironically, teachers are not taught to teach to the test. Yet, this practice of teaching to the test dominates their pedagogy on all levels, particularly grades 3 through 12. Furthermore, the overemphasis on test prep robs children of quality instructional time, not to mention limiting any attempts at creativity by teachers.
Teachers know that if their students’ tests scores are low, they face the threat of a negative rating or termination. This is one reason they support unions: job security.
Other than collective bargaining, the job of teachers’ unions is basically twofold: increase and retain membership. The more members there are, the more money unions raise by collecting dues, money that can be used to lobby politicians for more and stronger job protections as well as higher salaries. In this scenario, children only matter because each child comes with a dollar amount. That is one reason unions fight against any form of school choice. Parents who pull their children out of public school hurt the unions’ bottom line: money.
Of all stakeholders in public education, parents are the least informed. After all, the public school game can only be played if parents put their children in the game. However, the recent rise in the number of public charter schools is causing parents to explore other options for their children. This is a game changer.
Charter school operators successfully market their schools as the better option. They use standardized test scores to make their point. However, the truth is, when it comes to student outcomes, there is very little difference between traditional public schools and public charter schools. Because of superior marketing and student recruitment strategies, charter operators have convinced a substantial number of parents that their schools are the better option.
There is evidence to support the claim that some charter school leaders pressure children with special needs to attend their local public schools. It is also true that some low-performing children are encouraged to leave charter schools. The Public School System Is Rigged Against Poor And Black Children | HuffPost:

The Daily Diane Ravitch's blog | A site to discuss better education for all

Diane Ravitch's blog | A site to discuss better education for all:

The Daily Diane Ravitch's blog 
A site to discuss better education for all







Paul Ryan Will Visit Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy Charter Schools Tomorrow
Eva Moskowitz has become a favorite of the Trump White House and the Republican Party. Speaker Paul Ryan will visit her schools tomorrow. “House Speaker Paul Ryan is planning to visit a Success Academy charter school in New York City on Tuesday, sources with knowledge of the visit told POLITICO New York. Ryan’s visit will be the latest in a series of high-profile visits by Republicans to the city
Update on Phyllis Bush’s Fight with Cancer
Phyllis Bush, retired teacher, active member of the board of the Network for Public Education, learned last month that she has cancer. She decided to blog about it because writing about it helps her cope. Her blog also displays her wit, her wisdom, and her courage. Her blog is called “Kind of a Big Dill.” In this installment, she reports the latest news from her oncologist. She plans to take her
Purdue Buys Online, For-Profit Kaplan, Over Faculty Objections University
Mitch Daniels, former governor of Indiana, is now president of Purdue, a soft landing for a politician with no academic bona fides. He has continued his assault on the academic integrity of the university by arranging the purchase of 

Steve Nelson on the Fallacies of the New York Times’ Story on School Choice: He Nails It!

Steve Nelson writes here about the erroneous assumptions behind the New York Times’ article on the “broken promise of school choice,” posted earlier today . I was especially happy to see this article, because I sensed something awry about 

The Broken Promise of Choice in New York City

The New York Times published a lengthy article about New York City’s complicated and byzantine high school admissions process, which was launched 14 years ago to give choice to every student. With few (if any) exceptions, 

Adam Bessie and EriK Thurman: A Graphic Essay on School Choice, DeVos, and Segregation

Adam Bessie (writer) and Erik Thurman (artist) have created a graphic essay that explains in a series of drawings the consequences of school choice and how it affected students with disabilities in New Orleans. Their graphic essay is especially pertinent at a time when the U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is an evangelist for school choice and indifferent to the consequences. I recommend t
NAPLAN and the Ruination of Education in Australia

NAPLAN is Australia’s national system of tests. The acronym stands for “National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy,” a series of tests focused on basic skills administered annually to Australian students. It was introduced in 2008, in large part because of American influence and the pressure of international tests like PISA and TIMSS. But since the adoption of NAPLAN, Australia has decli
Australia: A Brief History of How America’s Bad Ideas Undermined Education Down Under

This posting comes from Phil Cullen in Australia, whose blog is The Treehorn Express. You will see some familiar names, like Rupert Murdoch, who is a media baron in Australia, and Joel Klein, who was Murdoch’s favorite education expert. As Phil Cullen explains on his blog: Treehorn is the hero of an easy-to-read children’s book: “The Shrinking of Treehorn” by Florence Heidi Parry. It clearly illu
A Trillion Dollars of Student Debt, and DeVos Wants to Protect Lenders, Not Students

Susan Dynarski of University of Michigan wrote an article in The New York Times about the trillion dollars of outstanding debt for college loans, and the Trump administration’s regulatory decisions that will help and protect the lending industry, not the students. As the saying goes, elections have consequences. Hillary Clinton adopted Bernie Sanders’ pledge to make higher education free for stud
Dallas: Kirkpatrick Missed an Outright Win in School Board Race by 14 Votes

I just heard from Lori Kirkpatrick, the school board candidate in Dallas who pledged to oppose privatization and end the insulting programs that rate, rank, reward and punish teachers. She is a parent of a child in the DISD. The election was last Saturday. Last night, she sent a blast email to supporters saying that the final tally showed her 14 votes shy of reaching the 50% mark that she needed

YESTERDAY

EPA Dismisses 5 Members of Scientific Review Board, Plans to Replace Them with Industry Representativ

Well, we knew this was coming. Scott Pruitt, in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency, has dismissed at least five members of a major scientific review board. The Environmental Protection Agency has dismissed at least five members of a major scientific review board, the latest signal of what critics call a campaign by the Trump administration to shrink the agency’s regulatory reach by red
Florida: The Great Hijacking of Taxpayer Money Escalates!

From Sandy Stenoff of Opt Out Florida: We are “all hands on deck” in Florida and would greatly appreciate all the help we can get. Please feel free to share this e-mail. Dear Public Education allies, Florida’s 2.8 million public school children need your help now. Both the Budget and HB 7069, the Conforming bill, which contains an inappropriate number of policies and barely vetted concepts, will
Trump Questions Whether a Funding Source for HBCUs is Constitutional

The Washington Post reports that Trump questioned whether an important funding source for Historically Black Colleges and Universities is constitutional . “In February, President Trump invited leaders from historically black colleges and universities to the White House, a move they hoped signaled his support for the institutions and showed an effort to give them more clout in his administration.
Florida: Get Ready for Another Jeb Bush Charter Hoax

In the 2012 and 2013 legislative sessions, Jeb Bush, Michelle Rhee and allies in the privatization movement tried to get a parent trigger law through the Florida legislature but met a solid wall of parent resistance. Now the same forces are gathering for another run at privatizing the Sunshine State’s public schools. The method is to declare not just F schools eligible for charter takeover, but D
Laura Chapman: Computer-Based Education as a Depersonalized and Profitable Industry

Laura Chapman writes here about “computer-based education” and who profits from it. “Frankly, the scariest for-profit ventures are the tech companies that hope to replace teachers and schools with their “scalable” models.” Diane Ravitch. Yes. Computer-based Education (CBE) is being marketed as personalized when it is exactly the opposite. Legislators in Ohio and elsewhere are counting on CBE to p
California: How the Charter School Association Bought Power and Democrats with $$$

Ten percent of the children in California attend privately-managed charter schools. But that small number of students has the most powerful and richest lobby in the state, funded by billionaires. The overwhelming majority of charters are non-union, which appeals to the Walton family, the richest family in America, with a net worth of $130 billion or more, produced by their non-union Walmart store
Sen. Bernie Sanders Endorses Steve Zimmer and Imelda Padilla for L.A. School Board!!

Senator Bernie Sanders endorsed Steve Zimmer and Imelda Padilla for the Los Angeles school board. The election will be held May 16. ““Billionaires should not make a profit off of public school children. That’s why I’m supporting Steve Zimmer and Imelda Padilla for the Los Angeles School Board. They will fight against the Trump/DeVos agenda to destabilize and undermine public schools,” said Sen. B
William J. Mathis: Fake News from Florida About Charter “Success”

William J. Mathis is the the Vice-Chair of the State Board of Education in Vermont, currently managing director of the National Education Policy Center Fake News and Politicized Prevarications: The Florida State Department of 
Diane Ravitch's blog | A site to discuss better education for all: