Monday, October 29, 2018

NPE Indianapolis: “We Are Winning!” | tultican

NPE Indianapolis: “We Are Winning!” | tultican

NPE Indianapolis: “We Are Winning!”


Diane Ravitch opened the fifth Network for Public Education (NPE) conference stating, “We are the resistance and we are winning!” She noted that “reformers” were envious of our domination of social media. When they hired mercenaries to staff their own multimillion dollar web-publications to counter us; they failed. We still dominate social media.
Ravitch listed a long string of victories including:
Leonie Haimson and her Class Sizes Matters organization successfully fought Bill Gates’ $100,000,000 Inbloom data base project that would have abrogated the privacy rights of countless children and their parents.
Jitu Brown led a thirty-two day hunger strike that saved the Walter Dyett high school, the only open enrollment high school in the Bronzeville community of Chicago.
Charter school growth has slowed significantly. Without the literally billions of dollars from “fauxlanthropists” and the federal government these often corrupt private businesses would have gone the way of the Edsel.
Diane concluded, “We’re winning. David is beating Goliath.”
Ravitch then introduced the famed Finish educator, Pasi Sahlberg, who coined the apt acronym for the worldwide school privatization phenomena by calling it the Global Education Reform Movement (GERM). Sahlberg began with stressing that what happens in the United States is extremely important because Continue reading: NPE Indianapolis: “We Are Winning!” | tultican
NPE Action - Political Endorsements - http://npeaction.org/ on @NPEaction


Zombie Ideas Are Killing Public Education - The Crucial Voice of the PeopleThe Crucial Voice of the People

Zombie Ideas Are Killing Public Education - The Crucial Voice of the PeopleThe Crucial Voice of the People

Zombie Ideas Are Killing Public Education


“Zombie ideas … are policy ideas that keep being killed by evidence, but nonetheless shamble relentlessly forward, essentially because they suit a political agenda.” Paul Krugman

Zombie Ideas!?!

Exactly! Policymakers have been using zombie ideas to dismantle, transform, and restructure the public education system. So with a mountain of evidence that the zombie ideas in No Child Left Behind didn’t show any appreciable improvement in student achievement, now is the time to end the zombie invasion killing our public schools.

Zombie Ideas in Education?

The test-based, metric-driven accountability of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law is based on a political agenda, not proven education reforms. NCLB is now called the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) but the same policy ideas and political agenda remain in place. The same detrimental consequences persist because the aim and purpose of the law did not change.
Zombie Ideas in Education: High-Stakes Testing and Graduation Policies*
Sol√≥rzano (2008) found that the results of high-stakes tests used as a high school diploma requirement “show quite clearly that Blacks and Latinos (and English Language Learners) are disproportionately failing them, whether enrolled in Texas, New York, California, or Minnesota” (p. 312).
He goes on to say that students who do poorly on these exams “are viewed as the problem; they are retained, tracked, or denied Continue reading: Zombie Ideas Are Killing Public Education - The Crucial Voice of the PeopleThe Crucial Voice of the People

Submission: Marshall Tuck’s track record proves him unfit as state superintendent candidate | Daily Bruin

Submission: Marshall Tuck’s track record proves him unfit as state superintendent candidate | Daily Bruin

Submission: Marshall Tuck’s track record proves him unfit as state superintendent candidate



Business banker Marshall Tuck is running for California superintendent of public instruction again. He’s backed by ideologically charged billionaires – several of whom supported reactionary measures like 2008’s Proposition 8, which would have banned gay marriage in California. With Tuck having nearly unlimited funding, voters will be deluged with his messaging. There’ll be plenty of unsubstantiated claims that he ran successful schools.
Those ads won’t reveal the truth about Tuck’s record. There’ll be no mention that, when he ran the Green Dot Public Schools, one of his high schools “achieved” the dubious distinction of back-to-back years of zero students scoring proficient on the mathematics portion of the California State University entrance examination. There won’t be discussion of how, under Tuck, one Partnership for Los Angeles Schools’ high school went five years without achieving even 20 percent of students scoring proficient on either the mathematics or the English portion of those same CSU exams.
Five years.
These awful proficiency rates were reflected in SAT scores as well. Under Tuck’s watch, the schools he managed were year after year among the lowest scorers on the SAT in Los Angeles.
Tuck’s record of terrible academic results isn’t his only issue that will be obscured as election season ramps up. His abject treatment of students of color is something he works hard to hide, in a fashion similar to his contemporary counterparts Tom Horne and John Huppenthal, former state superintendents of public instruction at Arizona.
Using their positions of authority, Tuck, Horne and Huppenthal closed down popular and 

Public school fees go largely unchecked in Louisiana, prompting reform proposals | Education | theadvocate.com

Public school fees go largely unchecked in Louisiana, prompting reform proposals | Education | theadvocate.com

Public school fees go largely unchecked in Louisiana, prompting reform proposals



Ursula Clark-Holmes, who has three children attending public schools in Baton Rouge, is beset by so many student fees that she even offered to offset the charges by volunteering at the schools.
"I can't afford these school fees," said Clark-Holmes, who husband died recently. "I literally can't."
She is not alone.
In a state where two out of three public school students live in low-income homes, fees for homeroom, ID's, lockers, PE uniforms, parking and technology have sparked controversy for more than two years.
Parents and others contend that what schools routinely charge parents, including up to $300 for some courses, has reached a breaking point.
"If you don't pay your fees she can't do this, she can't do this," Clark-Holmes said of children being denied school activities.
"How are you going to penalize a child for what the parents cannot pay?" she asked.
Mike Faulk, executive director of the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents, said school districts need to make changes before state lawmakers order them.
"What we are trying to do is encourage superintendents to look at the issues, to look at what is going on in their school systems, to develop policies and to be transparent about fees and stuff prior to anything being mandated by the Legislature," said Faulk, former superintendent for the Central school system.
Under current rules, principals, superintendents and school boards enjoy near unchecked authority when it comes to imposing fees on students.
While 27 states regulate fees, state laws in Louisiana barely touch the topic.
Roughly a dozen school districts and schools imposed student fees totaling nearly $3 million for the financial year that ended June 30, 2016, according to the latest state tally.
That includes the Ascension Parish School District, $932,920; Lafayette, Continue reading: Public school fees go largely unchecked in Louisiana, prompting reform proposals | Education | theadvocate.com
Big Education Ape: Charter school kept two homeless children out of class for a month because they didn’t have uniforms | The Lens - http://bigeducationape.blogspot.com/2017/06/charter-school-kept-two-homeless.html


Seattle Schools Community Forum: Washington State Charter School Law Upheld

Seattle Schools Community Forum: Washington State Charter School Law Upheld

Washington State Charter School Law Upheld


On October 26, 2018, in a split decision, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that the charter school law created by the Legislature, after a voter initiative was thrown out in 2012, is valid under our state's constitution.  Here's the ruling.

As someone who has never supported charter schools in Washington State, I wasn't pleased with the news but it also didn't surprise me.  Interestingly, one judge, Justice Barbara Madsen was clearly not buying it that the law makes charter schools legal.  From KUOW:


In one of the dissents, Justice Barbara Madsen said that the Charter School Act included too many exceptions on public control of charter schools.

"The Act creates a parallel public school system that provides a general education, serves all students, and uses public funds, but lacks local voter control or oversight," Madsen wrote.
The Court said - as they did in the first ruling against the initiative that brought them into being - that they were not ruling on efficacy of charters but on whether their existence violated our state constitution.

What does surprise me is that the ruling leaves open some fairly interesting issues that the Legislature will have to grapple with, some which could undermine charter schools.  I need to consult a lawyer on some of these issues but even reading as a layperson, I see problems for charters.
Issues:



- Charters limit the ability of their employees to organize ONLY at their school. 

 The majority of the justices saw this as unfair because it would be such a small group (and the strength of collective bargaining is in numbers). They said that Continue reading: 
Seattle Schools Community Forum: Washington State Charter School Law Upheld





Betsy DeVos’ Family Gives $2 Million to Far-Right Candidates | Diane Ravitch's blog

Betsy DeVos’ Family Gives $2 Million to Far-Right Candidates | Diane Ravitch's blog

Betsy DeVos’ Family Gives $2 Million to Far-Right Candidates




During her confirmation hearings, Betsy DeVos pledged not to make political contributions while she was Secretary of Education.
But, knowing her penchant for parsing words, we may now assume that she was not covering the political donations of her family, which continue.
This latest review of political donations by Ulrich Boser and Perpetual Baffour of the Center for American Progress shows that the DeVos family gave $2 Million to far-right candidates.
My hunch is that they gave far more than $2 million, through Dark Money PACs that do not disclose the names of their donors.

The report finds:
“Even by the loose standards of U.S. campaign finance laws—and President Donald Trump’s blatant corruption—the donations by the family members of a Cabinet official have been brazen. In February 2018, Richard DeVos, Secretary DeVos’ father-in-law, gave $1 million to the Freedom Partners Action Fund—a political action fund that has long been associated with far-right causes. Over the past year, the DeVos family has also given $350,000 to the Republican Congressional Leadership Fund and another $400,000 to the Republican National Committee.
“The DeVoses have also donated to specific candidates for federal and state office. Wisconsin’s far-right firebrand, Gov. Scott Walker (R), for example, has received more than $635,000 over the past decade from the DeVos family—including $30,000 in 2018. Bill Schuette, Michigan’s continue reading: Betsy DeVos’ Family Gives $2 Million to Far-Right Candidates | Diane Ravitch's blog




Six Reasons Not To Get Excited About The New SAT Scores

Six Reasons Not To Get Excited About The New SAT Scores

Six Reasons Not To Get Excited About The New SAT Scores

Today's big-- well, not big. Medium-sized, maybe--news comes from the College Board, which announced that both participation and scores are up, as well as the percentage of college-ready students. Here's why you can comfortably not care.
It's 8 Points
The average score "jumped" from 1060 to 1068. That's 0.7%. If your child retook the test in hopes of a higher score, and that's all they squeaked out, nobody would be trading high fives.
It's An Average (And It's Not News)
If Michael Jordan comes to stay with my family, the average number of points scored in an NBA game goes up dramatically for my household. Nevertheless, the number of points I've scored in an NBA game remains zero.
In fact, the SAT score has always been subject to the make-up of the group taking the test. For years, while folks were chicken littling about dropping SAT scores, what was actually happening was that more and more low-scoring students were taking the test. Meanwhile, each sub-group was actually improving their scores, even as the low-growing sub-groups increased in number. Averages are a lousy way to Continue reading: Six Reasons Not To Get Excited About The New SAT Scores

Choosing Democracy: Teachers Respond to Hate

Choosing Democracy: Teachers Respond to Hate

Teachers Respond to Hate


As I stood at a vigil at Temple Emanuel in New York City today to honor the Tree of Life synagogue victims, I couldn’t stop thinking about how hate has become a fact of life in our country.

Hateful rhetoric and words of incitement have fueled heinous acts of violence across our nation over the past week: pipe bombs mailed to elected officials and the media, a racially motivated shooting at a Kroger grocery store after a failed church attack, and, yesterday, the most deadly anti-Semitic attack in our nation’s history. Political violence that once seemed unimaginable now seems inevitable—the result of hate being normalized and divisions stoked by those in power. This is a moment of crisis for our communities that we have not experienced in decades.

We are in pain, but our pain can’t immobilize us; we must act, and that starts with voting on Nov. 6.

On Tuesday night, one week before the midterm election, we’re holding a telephone town hall, with partners including MoveOn, the NAACP and other progressive groups, about what’s happened in the last week and what we’re doing about it. Sign up here, and we’ll make sure you’re on the call.

The sad truth is that no matter how much we plead for Donald Trump to change, he won’t. He can’t. He’s so caught up in his quest for praise and power that he seems incapable of reflection on, much yet empathy for, what’s happened to America during his tenure and his role in enabling such division and polarization. Despite these three terrible acts in the last week, at the hands of assailants who self-identify as anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic, racist white supremacists who have embraced Trump’s words and deeds, the president is still using the same tactics and exacerbating the same shameful divisions.




And since we know he won’t change, we must act.

We must act to disarm hate, not arm more people. We must act as educators and activists, and do everything possible to combat this surge of hatred and violence in America. We must act by voting, and by doing all we can to get out the vote through our calls; our texts; our emails; our conversations with family, friends and co-workers; and, yes, our knocks on doors. The most important thing we can do right now—to promote our values and make this the best it can be—is to vote. Nov. 6 is our opportunity to vote for sanity and change.

In the days since the pipe bombs, the president has already resumed criticizing those who were targeted. A man targeted two black people at a grocery store, killing them because of the color of their skin. And yesterday an anti-Semite with a gun murdered 11 people.

You have a way to combat the pain you feel over these events—by voting for candidates who will be a check on Trump; by voting for decency and fairness, and against cruelty and prejudice.

It’s on us, collectively, to put a check on Trump and hate. We can do that by voting on Nov. 6.

Join the call on Tuesday, and we’ll discuss how we make sure we serve as a check on this hate.

Randi Weingarten,
AFT President

P.S.: Our Share My Lesson website has free resources for parents, educators and anyone looking for ways to productively combat anti-Semitism and hate.


Choosing Democracy: Teachers Respond to Hate





Research evidence on bullying prevention at odds with what schools are doing - The Hechinger Report

Research evidence on bullying prevention at odds with what schools are doing - The Hechinger Report

Research evidence on bullying prevention at odds with what schools are doing
Punishing the bullies doesn't really help, researchers say. But what does work?



In September 2018, I wrote about the so-called “Trump effect” on bullying in schools, citing a study that found higher bullying rates in GOP districts after the 2016 presidential election. But that piece raised an important question: what should schools do to address and prevent bullying?

The scientific evidence on what works is complicated.
There’s a whole cottage industry of consultants selling anti-bullying programs to schools but academic researchers say there is no proof they work. There are some small studies with positive results. But when reputable researchers study efforts to expand these strategies across schools among many students and compare bullying rates with those at schools that didn’t receive the intervention, there tends not to be a difference. For example, this 2007 review of anti-bullying programs found “little discernible effect on youth participants.”
“A lot of us know the dirty secret that these [bullying-prevention] programs don’t work out in the real world,” said Ron Avi Astor, an educational psychologist at the University of Southern California and an expert in bullying prevention. “All of us talk about it.”
Meanwhile, researchers notice that schools often address bullying in ways that are counter productive. Jonathan Cohen, a psychologist and an adjunct professor at Teachers College, Columbia University, is currently working on a paper about the gap between anti-bullying policies and the scientific evidence on bullying. He found that state policies typically encourage schools to focus on identifying bullies and punishing them. Often a student who is misbehaving and treating another student badly is sent to the principal’s office and punished with a suspension or an expulsion, Cohen said.
“That flies in the face of twenty-some years of empirical researchthat shows punishing kids is unhelpful,” said Cohen.
Instead, he argues that schools should combine consequences for bullies with mediation, counseling or a learning experience. “Not all, but characteristically, the students who fall into the profile of a Continue reading: Research evidence on bullying prevention at odds with what schools are doing - The Hechinger Report