Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Is the Co-Location of Charters inside Neighborhood Schools a Problem? | Cloaking Inequity

Is the Co-Location of Charters inside Neighborhood Schools a Problem? | Cloaking Inequity

IS THE CO-LOCATION OF CHARTERS INSIDE NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOLS A PROBLEM?

This past summer I had opportunity to visit the Hawkins community schools in Los Angeles. What I haven’t talked about publicly is that I also was also invited to visit Magnolia Science Academy 3 (MSA3)   which is co-located at Curtiss Middle School in Carson California during the same trip. The Magnolia charters are affiliated with the Gulen schools, the second largest network of charters in the United States (Read more about what that means in the post Breaking News: California NAACP calls for investigation of ALL G├╝len charters)
A few months after the visit, there are a few things that really stick out in my mind about the visit to MSA3.
Magnolia Science Academy 3 in Carson, CA
First, the faculty at the school talked about the small class sizes at MSA3. I only saw about 5 classes, but I counted and the class sizes in the rooms that I saw were 30+, which didn’t jive with the small class sizes that they told me about.
The second experience that really stuck out to me was that we walked into a science class and the teacher was showing a film that featured an adult (or maybe a teen) prancing around on a stage in a diaper. My science classes never featured curriculum this exciting (well maybe, in chemistry we blew things up), the teacher explained that she was showing a movie to “prepare the students for high school.” What?!
Third, faculty at MSA3 complained that they couldn’t use the gym and other facilities when they wanted them because they were co-located on the same campus with Curtiss Middle School (more on this in a moment). I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sympathetic.
Was there anything that I liked about MSA3 during the visit? I am a hip hop fan. In one of the classes the teacher showed how he was helping students program their own hip hop tracks. Now that was cool! But relevant?
The MSA3 staff also told me an interesting story. Apparently, there is a trash can in an alley that faces the Continue reading: Is the Co-Location of Charters inside Neighborhood Schools a Problem? | Cloaking Inequity

Teachers at 8 of 10 schools Tuck oversaw rejected his leadership - SFChronicle.com

Teachers at 8 of 10 schools Tuck oversaw rejected his leadership - SFChronicle.com

Teachers at 8 of 10 schools Tuck oversaw rejected his leadership


When choosing between Marshall Tuck and Tony Thurmond for California’s next schools chief, it’s worth remembering, “when the character of a man is not clear to you, look at his friends.” Someone whose supporters are Donald Trump advisers is no friend of public school students and teachers.
Tuck and Thurmond are candidates for California superintendent of public instruction in the November election. Tuck’s biggest backers are deeply tied to Trump’s education privatization agenda. Trump’s education adviser Bill Evers, who loudly praised Trump’s cuts to federal education spending, has come out strongly in support of Tuck.
Thurmond, a Democratic Assemblyman from Richmond, is backed by the California Teachers Association, which has spent $3.2 million through independent expenditures to support his campaign.

Billionaire Arthur Rock, whose charter school chain is supported by the Trump administration and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, already has contributed $3 million of the $13.8 million raised by charter school advocates to elect Tuck. The California Charter School Association, which celebrated DeVos’ nomination, is Tuck’s biggest organizational endorser.
Tuck’s career as a schools executive is defined by the same cutting of corners and programs and deep animosity toward teachers that DeVos’ initiatives in education are known for.

Tuck was a Wall Street banker before taking over as the chief operating Continue Reading: Teachers at 8 of 10 schools Tuck oversaw rejected his leadership - SFChronicle.com
Image result for Tony Thurmond as Superintendent of Public Instruction

A Plan to Improve California's Public Schools

Tony Thurmond for State Superintendent of Public Instruction -https://www.tonythurmond.com/


Florida voucher schools fail, stiff teachers — and get more money to try again - Orlando Sentinel

Florida voucher schools fail, stiff teachers — and get more money to try again - Orlando Sentinel

Florida voucher schools fail, stiff teachers — and get more money to try again

Two years ago, the Beta Preparatory school in Orlando was being run — with your tax dollars — inside a commercial complex on South Orange Blossom Trail, alongside eight bail-bonds businesses and a drug-testing company.
With no outdoor space for recess — and fellow tenants such as “Drug Tests R Us” — it wasn’t most parents’ vision of an ideal learning environment.
Apparently Beta wasn’t an ideal tenant either. The private school that takes state vouchers was evicted for not paying its rent.
Yes, the entire taxpayer-subsidized school. (Class, the words of the day are: “Final notice.”)

So last year, Beta moved to a new locale — a church campus in Orlando, where it continued to take more of your tax dollars … until things went south there, too.
Teachers filed formal complaints about a “lack of basic school supplies,” academic “irregularities,” student safety, inadequate staffing and a “lack of professionalism.” Multiple teachers said the school stiffed them on salary. The church said the school stiffed it on rent.
Ultimately, the school shut down for good.
You might think that would be the final chapter in this sorry story.
But not in Florida.
As Sentinel reporter Annie Martin reported last weekend, the owner of the Beta school simply opened another school a few weeks ago with a new name; this time in Volusia County … once again with your tax dollars.
Court records show the school’s owner filed the application for the new school the same Continue reading: Florida voucher schools fail, stiff teachers — and get more money to try again - Orlando Sentinel



The Easiest Money Bill Ackman Has Made Lately Is In A Bunch Of Charter Schools

The Easiest Money Bill Ackman Has Made Lately Is In A Bunch Of Charter Schools

The Easiest Money Bill Ackman Has Made Lately Is In A Bunch Of Charter Schools


It turns out that Bill Ackman is making good money in the most unexpected of places: financing charter schools for low-income kids.
Since 2011, the billionaire hedge fund manager has invested $20 million of his own money in the Turner-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund, which was started by former tennis star Andre Agassi and has built 79 new charter schools in poor neighborhoods around the country. The impact investment, which Ackman made via his charitable foundation, has netted annual returns north of 10%.



Meanwhile, performance at his hedge fund has been languishing. Ackman has lost money for the past three years running, largely because of disastrous bets on two companies: Valeant and Herbalife. During that time, his net worth has dropped by more than half, to an estimated $1.1 billion. Recently he’s managed to turn things in the right direction, with his Pershing Square Holdings posting gains of 15.8% through September 30, according to the firm.

Ackman's foray into impact investing began in 2011 when Agassi, a tennis champ with eight Grand Slams under his belt, pitched him on his new fund, the Turner-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund. Agassi, who had teamed up with professional impact investor Bobby Turner, promised Ackman that his capital would go toward the construction of 100 new charter schools for low-income children by 2020 in areas like the Bronx and Southwest Detroit—and that he would see double-digit returns, to boot. Ackman put in $10 million and agreed to take Continue reading: The Easiest Money Bill Ackman Has Made Lately Is In A Bunch Of Charter Schools


A One Issue State Election? You Better Believe That Issue is Public Education | The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch

A One Issue State Election? | The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch

A One Issue State Election?



This is the year to vote education.

It's been the number one issue in the state for years. It's on everyone's minds and most candidates' lips. The decision voters make, whether to continue with the Republican-majority status quo or shift more power to Democrats, will be a major factor in deciding our children's present and future.

If you have patience enough and time, by all means look beyond education when you choose who to vote for. The more you know when you cast your ballot, the better. But after you take a deep dive into the candidates' positions, you're likely to find their approach to education is a reliable a indicator of where they stand on other important issues. Vote their positions on education, and you won't go far wrong.




Candidates who support a robust, fully funded system of public education are making a statement of principle which goes beyond schooling. "Public" is the key word. They want to provide a quality education for all the state's children, the whole K-through-college public, and probably pre-K as well, to give them the best shot at a bright future.

"Public" is also the key word when it comes to the same candidates' approach to the rest of government. They want state government to contribute to the well being of the general public, in the present and into the future. That means, among other things, supporting a well funded social services system, building and maintaining infrastructure and tending to the environment.

Candidates who are OK with education funding at levels low enough that the courts say they're unconstitutional aren't so keen on public education. Lots of them like to use the term "government schools" (FYI, that's supposed to be a bad thing) along with "failing schools" and "failing teachers" to describe our public education system. They heap praise on charter and private schools which educate 20 percent of the school-aged population and treat the schools educating 80 percent of children as an afterthought.

Candidates who disparage "government schools" think of the rest of government the same way, as a public irritant, not a public good. They want government to get out of the way so the free market can do what as it pleases. The less taxes, the less spending, the less meddling by the Continue reading: 
A One Issue State Election? | The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch




Hundreds of US teacher candidates shake up midterm elections

Hundreds of US teacher candidates shake up midterm elections

Hundreds of US teacher candidates shake up midterm elections



Last September, school speech therapist Kathy Hoffman was settling into the new academic year, working with youngsters in her small classroom behind a playground at Sahuaro Ranch Elementary School in a blue-collar neighborhood outside Phoenix.

This year, the political novice is gone from her classroom and on the campaign trail across Arizona full-time as the Democrats’ choice in the race to become superintendent of public education, overseeing the state’s schools. It’s a post typically held by career politicians or political insiders.




“My tipping point was realizing we need more teachers running for office, people who understand what it’s like in the classroom, who have seen the effect of having the lack of resources from our lawmakers,” Hoffman said.

Hundreds of current and former educators, most of them Democrats like Hoffman, are on general election ballots from school board to governor — far exceeding educator candidacies prior to this year’s #RedForEd protests.



In her first campaign during the Democratic primary, the 32-year-old Hoffman beat a former state senate minority leader, illustrating how much a surge in teacher activism centering on higher teacher pay and increased educational funding have shaken up November midterm elections around the U.S.

She and the other teacher candidates represent a wild-card political movement following the teacher-driven #RedForEd effort that drew support from parents and school children in Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky, Oklahoma and West Virginia and also focused on outdated textbooks, crowded classrooms and teacher shortages. Across the country, some educators have already won primary races against the incumbent state legislators they blamed for public school spending cutbacks.

“It’s about standing up for what’s right and bringing that teacher’s voice to that position,” Hoffman said. “I felt it should come straight from the classroom.”
After years of dense education debates over teacher evaluations and the Common Core learning standards, the new teacher candidates’ simplified message for higher pay and more funding for schools represent “talking points (that) are resonating,” said Frederick Hess, director of education policy at the conservative American Enterprise Institute public policy think tank.

“What we might be seeing is the emergence of a number of individuals who will be an elected mainstream set of advocates for Continue reading: Hundreds of US teacher candidates shake up midterm elections


CURMUDGUCATION: The Opportunity Myth Myth

CURMUDGUCATION: The Opportunity Myth Myth

The Opportunity Myth Myth

When it comes to slick, pretty education "research," the folks at TNTP know their stuff. Reformsters have been milking the slick-but-hollow "Widget Effect" for years, and now TNTP has whipped up another sure-to-be-referenced-way-too-much "report" entitled "The Opportunity Myth."


Who are these folks? TNTP used to stand for The New Teacher Project; She Who Will Not Be Named created it as a spin-off of TFA, designed to put older career-changers into the classroom. At some point it changed into an advocacy group pushing a redesign of teaching (current slogan: reimagine teaching). TNTP is led by Daniel Weisberg, who started out as a lawyer and then served as a labor specialist under Joel Klein in NYC. The board is packed with entrepreneurs, PR specialists, and reform CEOs. You can hunt through the whole list of TNTP leaders and find that this organization devoted to teaching has no teachers in leadership positions (just a few TFA temps and other alternative paths to one or two resume-building years in the classroom).

So this report comes straight from the heart of reformdom.

The report is a slick piece of graphic-soaked digitized niftiness (Look! This part scrolls sideways! And here are more graphics!!) but it features the TNTP sleight of hand. The subheading is the first piece Continue reading: 
CURMUDGUCATION: The Opportunity Myth Myth


Congratulations to re-elected PAA Board members! | Parents Across America

Congratulations to re-elected PAA Board members! | Parents Across America

Congratulations to re-elected PAA Board members!


We are especially happy to have four of our strong, accomplished, dedicated board of directors members back for another term on the PAA Board of Directors! Dora Taylor, Nathan Harris, Steven Norton, and Deb Mayer were recently re-elected to serve two-year terms on our seven member Board. We look forward to another year of PAA growth under their leadership. You can read all about these exceptional people here.


From left, Nate and Carrie Lynn Harris, Julie Woestehoff, Dora Taylor, Deb Mayer, and Steve Norton.

Congratulations to re-elected PAA Board members! | Parents Across America


PAA interim executive director to retire

Julie Woestehoff, PAA co-founder and interim executive director, and the executive director of PURE for 20 plus years, is taking a well-deserved retirement at the end of this year. Julie helped established PURE as a powerhouse parent voice in Chicago, which earned her recognition as one of the 100 most powerful women in the city, along with a Ford Foundation team leadership award and regular appea


This is how we roll! PAAers share insider tips on school superintendent searches

UPDATE: Boston Globe article on continuing concerns of parents and others about superintendent search here. Excellent letter from QUEST and other groups regarding needed process and participation for search here. A while ago we