Friday, June 7, 2019

CA Charter School Policy Task Force Report

CA Charter School Policy Task Force Report
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BREAKING NEWS: CA Charter School Policy Task Force report just released. Majority of panelists call for greater local control & accountability, giving a boost to the growing momentum to pass #AB1505 in Sacramento!


UCLA study finds schools across the country are becoming increasingly segregated | Daily Bruin

UCLA study finds schools across the country are becoming increasingly segregated | Daily Bruin

UCLA study finds schools across the country are becoming increasingly segregated

American public schools are increasingly segregated along the lines of race and income, a study found.
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report from the Civil Rights Project at UCLA and the Center for Education and Civil Rights at the Pennsylvania State University, which was published in May, found racial and economic segregation is intensifying and spreading among American public schools due to demographic changes and a stall in desegregation regulations.
The report examined segregation in American schools in observance of the 65th anniversary of the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision, which deemed racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional.
California has the most segregated Latino student population nationwide, with 58% of Latino students attending intensely segregated schools, according to the report. The study defines intensely segregated schools as those in which 90-100% of the student population is nonwhite.
The report found the share of intensely segregated schools more than tripled from 1988 to 2016, to the point where one out of five schools counts as intensely segregated, said Jenn Ayscue, an assistant education professor at North Carolina State University and co-author of the report.
Nationally, 40% of black students and 40% of Latino students attend intensely segregated schools, she added.
Gary Orfield, a professor of education, law, political science and urban planning at UCLA and co-author of the report, said he thinks progress made toward desegregation since the civil rights movement has largely been erased.
“We are back to the periods of the late 1960s in terms of levels of segregation,” Orfield said. “We’ve lost all the progress we made since the time of (Martin Luther King Jr.’s) death and we are going backward steadily.”
Orfield said the Latino population in the United States has quintupled since the 1970s, from 5% to 26%, due to factors including increased immigration and decreased domestic white birth rates.
These changes have led to residential segregation among communities, particularly among black and Latino students, he said. Residential segregation increases segregation within individual school districts because students are assigned to districts based on their residential locations, Orfield added.
Ayscue said the study found desegregation efforts in state and federal levels have stalled because schools are no longer legally required to desegregate.
“When (school) districts are released from court-ordered desegregation, they also lose CONTINUE READING:UCLA study finds schools across the country are becoming increasingly segregated | Daily Bruin

Poverty & Reading: The Sad and Troubling Loss of School Libraries and Real Librarians

Poverty & Reading: The Sad and Troubling Loss of School Libraries and Real Librarians

Poverty & Reading: The Sad and Troubling Loss of School Libraries and Real Librarians

My last post listed reasons why many children don’t learn to read. Poverty was behind many of the items.
Poor students attend poor schools where they miss out on the arts, a whole curriculum, even qualified, well prepared teachers. Students might end up in “no excuses” charter schools with only digital learning.
But, next to hunger and healthcare, one of the worst losses for children in poor schools is the loss of a school library with a real librarian.
Stephen Krashen, a well-known reading researcher and advocate for children, provided a study he and his co-authors did as proof why school libraries help children be better readers. He is adamant that children need access to books, and he believes good school libraries are “the cure.” We often hear that getting books into the hands of very young children is important. It’s also critical to ensure that children who are in fourth grade and beyond have access to books!
Many poor schools have closed their school libraries, citing a lack of funding. Oakland, California lost thirty percent of their school libraries. Cities from Los Angeles to New York report library closures.
Chicago has lost school libraries. Some there blame the teachers union who pushed not to replace the librarian at one elementary school with volunteers. But good CONTINUE READING: 

LOIS WEINER: Schools Should Serve Humans, Not “The Economy”

Schools Should Serve Humans, Not “The Economy”

Schools Should Serve Humans, Not “The Economy”
Bernie Sanders’s education policies are the most progressive of any 2020 candidate. But his platform must reject the pro-business language of “competitiveness” to truly transform the education system.


It’s no stretch to say that Bernie Sanders’s platform is by far “the most progressive” and equitable public education agenda we’ve seen from any nationally known politician, including all the other Democrats vying for their party’s presidential nomination.
Sanders’s agenda stands out for its repudiation of the bipartisan neoliberal agenda, advanced by successive Republican and Democratic administrations since George W. Bush. It contains a comprehensive list of elements needed to create a system of quality public education: halting funding to for-profit charter schools; supporting desegregation measures; imposing a moratorium on new charter schools and regulating those that exist; equalizing and increasing federal funding for schools, including scrutinizing the use of the property tax (which reinforces segregation of schools by race and class); making school meals free and universal; investing in community schools and after-school and summer programs; and supporting increased special education funding.
With a nod to a key demand in the teacher walkouts and strikes in what is known as the #RedForEd movement, Sanders now has a plan, as did Kamala Harris (who beat him to the finish line on this issue), for increasing teacher salaries (and wooing teachers unions, perhaps?).
While Sanders hasn’t supported the movement for reparations, his decision to name his education platform the “Thurgood Marshall Plan for Public Education” signals its intent to address this country’s failure to address systemic racism: what researcher Gloria Ladson Billings has called the “education debt” to African Americans, the historic, economic, social, political, and moral imperatives to correct the legacy of slavery.
With these policies Sanders has broken with the legislation adopted by Democrats and the GOP in the past thirty years. However, the platform accepts, indeed frames the proposals, with the same economic CONTINUE READING: Schools Should Serve Humans, Not “The Economy”

Bernie Sanders Vigorously Criticizes Charter Schools | Diane Ravitch's blog

Bernie Sanders Vigorously Criticizes Charter Schools | Diane Ravitch's blog

Bernie Sanders Vigorously Criticizes Charter Schools

Despite the outrage of the privatization movement, which attacked Bernie Sanders for his position on charters, Sanders doubled down by publishing an article in the San Jose Mercury News reiterating his views. 
Here is an excerpt, where he accurately cites the studyby Gordon Lafer on how charters drain money from public schools and the NPE study showing the waste of federal money spent on charters that never opened or closed almost immediately.
My education plan calls for rescinding Donald Trump’s tax breaks and using those resources to triple funding for low-income school districts. We will also institute a national per-pupil funding standard, so that the quality of a child’s education is not contingent on her zip code. Education should be a human right, not a privilege.
In addition, my plan also calls for restrictions on charter school initiatives that siphon resources out of the public education system and resegregating schools.
When parents enroll their children in charter schools, the public funding allocated to those students goes with them. In the Oakland Unified School District, for example, charter schools were costing the district more than $57 million per year. This amount would easily cover the budget shortfall of $56 million over two years that Oakland officials have projected.
Charters are publicly-funded, but they are privately CONTINUE READING: Bernie Sanders Vigorously Criticizes Charter Schools | Diane Ravitch's blog

Schools Matter: If Vouchers Don't Measure Up, Just Change the Measure

Schools Matter: If Vouchers Don't Measure Up, Just Change the Measure

If Vouchers Don't Measure Up, Just Change the Measure

I have thought for some time that the biggest threat to the hegemony of the testing accountability complex will come from the school privatization movement, whose own researchers know in dark center of their whoring hearts that charter schools and voucher schools more often than not produce lower test scores than the public schools they are replacing.

We have evidence that this now could be happening, as Trump's feds and states like Florida and Tennessee are beating the bushes to find any and all positive correlations between clean living, hard work, and voucher school attendance.

An interesting piece from the Conversation, with good links, too:


For the past couple of decades, proponents of vouchers for private schools have been pushing the idea that vouchers work.

They assert there is a consensus among researchers that voucher programs lead to learning gains for students – in some cases bigger gains than with other reforms and approaches, such as class-size reduction.

They have highlighted studies that show the positive impact of vouchers on various populations. At the very CONTINUE READING: Schools Matter: If Vouchers Don't Measure Up, Just Change the Measure

CURMUDGUCATION: Talking Point Update: Focus on Fit

CURMUDGUCATION: Talking Point Update: Focus on Fit

Talking Point Update: Focus on Fit

This has been going on for a while, but just in case you've missed this rhetorical shift, I want to highlight the tweaking of a reformy talking point.

Complete this sentence: "We need school choice because____________________"

The classic answer has been "because students need to escape failing public schools." Or "because the quality of your education shouldn't be determined by your zip code."


Betsy DeVos herself used to call public education a dead end. But DeVos (who, as I keep saying, is not a dope, despite the commonly shared cartoon version of her) has been steadily tweaking language in an apparent attempt to stop pissing off and energizing her opposition. So she has a new answer to this sentence completion puzzle. You can hear it in this radio interview that Betsy DeVos did with Chris Salcedo, a conservative radio talker in Texas.

It's fit. DeVos and some other reformsters have largely stopped talking about bad failing public schools and the terrible teachers who work there. Instead, the new idea is fit. The parents should be able to choose the school that best fits the student's needs or desires or "learning style."

From the reformster POV, there are a couple of benefits to this talking point.

One is that it is less confrontational with the public school system. "We're not saying that your school sucks; we just think another school might fit Pat better." Ironically, this is a flipped version of the argument used to push some students out of private and  CONTINUE READING: 
CURMUDGUCATION: Talking Point Update: Focus on Fit


Badass Teachers Association Blog: Charter School Teacher Introduces Elizabeth Warren at Rally by Steven Singer

Badass Teachers Association Blog: Charter School Teacher Introduces Elizabeth Warren at Rally by Steven Singer

Charter School Teacher Introduces Elizabeth Warren at Rally by Steven Singer

Originally posted at: https://gadflyonthewallblog.com/2019/06/04/charter-school-lobbyist-introduces-elizabeth-warren-at-rally/?fbclid=IwAR0v-Cnm7aT7eaICzVPUI7YzK0_DBq5eQsEEVwlF7_yG5ttMF6WwDWs6LKQ
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CORRECTION:

In the first draft of this article, I called Sonya Mehta a “Charter School Lobbyist” in the title. On further examination of the facts, I realize this is unfair. She was a charter school TEACHER. I apologize to Ms. Mehta and truly regret any harm I have done her. I have changed the title to better reflect the facts. However, be advised that the text of the article, itself, has remained almost completely unchanged. Everything in the article is true to the best of my knowledge and backed up with sources that the reader can see by following the links in the text. My concern remains centered on Warren and what exactly her intentions are via education policy.

The biggest news from Elizabeth Warren’s rally in Oakland, California, on Friday wasn’t what she said.
It was who introduced her and what that says about Warren and her 2020 Presidential campaign.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “Warren was introduced by Sonya Mehta, a former Oakland schoolteacher.”
However, this characterization is inaccurate.
Mehta was not an authentic public school teacher. She taught in a non-union charter school called “Learning Without Limits.” She also was a policy fellow at GO Public Schools Oakland, which is a toxic charter promoter focused around that city.
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In her introduction, Mehta didn’t explicitly advocate for school privatization. She promoted Warren’s early education and free college policies (Her speech can be seen here beginning at 57:30). But why would Warren, one of the smartest and most knowledgeable candidates in the race for the White House, let herself be associated with such a divisive and toxic legacy? CONTINUE READING: Badass Teachers Association Blog: Charter School Teacher Introduces Elizabeth Warren at Rally by Steven Singer

Steven Singer Issues a Correction | Diane Ravitch's blog

Steven Singer Issues a Correction | Diane Ravitch's blog

Steven Singer Issues a Correction

Steven Singer writes:
CORRECTION:

In the first draft of my article, I called Sonya Mehta a “Charter School Lobbyist” in the title. On further examination of the facts, I realize this is unfair. She was a charter school TEACHER. I apologize to Ms. Mehta and truly regret any harm I have done her. I have changed the title to better reflect the facts. However, be advised that the text of the article, itself, has remained almost completely unchanged. Everything in the article is true to the best of my knowledge and backed up with sources that the reader can see by following the links in the text. My concern remains centered on Warren and what exactly her intentions are via education policy.
Steven Singer Issues a Correction | Diane Ravitch's blog

West Virginia Teachers Keep On Fighting As Legislature Debates Charter Schools and Education Savings Accounts | janresseger

West Virginia Teachers Keep On Fighting As Legislature Debates Charter Schools and Education Savings Accounts | janresseger

West Virginia Teachers Keep On Fighting As Legislature Debates Charter Schools and Education Savings Accounts

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In February of 2018, school teachers across the entire state of West Virginia walked out over the conditions in their public schools and their low pay, which has been driving fine teachers out of the profession and away from the state. West Virginia’s public school teachers thereby launched the #RedforEd movement that swept across Oklahoma, Kentucky, Arizona, Denver, Los Angeles and Oakland.
The 2018, West Virginia teachers’ strike ended when Governor Jim Justice and both houses of the state legislature agreed to a 5 percent raise for the state’s teachers, support staff, bus drivers and West Virginia state troopers.  Last October, Governor Jim Justice promised West Virginia’s teachers an additional raise, but an omnibus education reform bill that included the raise stalled in February 2019, when West Virginia Republicans in the state senate insisted on combining the raise with the introduction of charter schools into the state for the first time and launching an Education Savings Account neo-voucher program.
After teachers walked out statewide this year—for the second time—to protest the addition of two forms of public school privatization, the state’s House of Delegates tabled the bill indefinitely, killing the bill earlier this spring.  A special session to consider education was called, but it was put off for weeks. Some people said that the strategy was to wait until summer, until school was out of session. Then teachers would not be able to create momentum for their demands through a strike.
Now, in June, West Virginia’s legislature has been meeting in special session, and on Monday of this week, the West Virginia Senate once again passed an omnibus education bill which incorporates both Education Savings Accounts and the introduction of charter schools to the state.  For the West Virginia Metro NewsBrad McElhinny reports: “The state Senate again passed an omnibus education bill, just as it did during the regular legislative session.  The vote on Monday was 18-15 with one absence.  The votes in the regular session were consistently 18-16.  During the regular session, the Senate passed a bill and the House struggled with some of its more controversial provisions before tabling it for good.  That led to the current special CONTINUE READING: West Virginia Teachers Keep On Fighting As Legislature Debates Charter Schools and Education Savings Accounts | janresseger

Millions of kids take standardized tests simply to help testing companies make better tests. (Really.) - The Washington Post

Millions of kids take standardized tests simply to help testing companies make better tests. (Really.) - The Washington Post

Millions of kids take standardized tests simply to help testing companies make better tests. (Really.)

Millions of U.S. students take standardized tests every year with the sole goal of helping testing companies make better tests.
They are called “field tests,” and students take them at different times of year — often in spring and early summer — to test questions so that companies can determine whether they are constructed well enough to use on future exams. New York is completing its field tests this week.
Kids don’t get a grade but take them anyway, sometimes without their parents’ knowledge.
(If this sounds to you as though students are being used as guinea pigs for testing companies, well . . .)
School systems and testing companies say field tests are a vital part of writing new and valid exams and that including students is necessary. Critics have questioned their usefulness. (Questions used for the same purpose also appear on standardized tests that really do count. But students aren’t told which ones.)
Concerns about the validity of questions on high-stakes standardized tests have dogged testing companies for years, prompting critics to ask whether field tests work as well as they should. Complaints about the wording or usefulness of questions mar just about every testing cycle — and have for years.
In 2013, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution published results of a year-long investigation into standardized testing and found big flaws with standardized tests in more than 40 states. In one, West Virginia, about 45 percent of the exams given over a two-year period were “thick with potentially poor questions,” it said.
What kind of flaws? The newspaper cited one, on a sixth-grade social studies test given in Georgia, in which CONTINUE READING: Millions of kids take standardized tests simply to help testing companies make better tests. (Really.) - The Washington Post

Elizabeth Warren Has a Former TFAer Advising Her on Education | deutsch29

Elizabeth Warren Has a Former TFAer Advising Her on Education | deutsch29

Elizabeth Warren Has a Former TFAer Advising Her on Education

According to his Linkedin bio, Joshua Delaney is Democratic presidential hopeful, Senator Elizabeth Warren’s, senior education policy advisor. He describes his job as follows:
Advise United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) on all matters pertaining to early, elementary, secondary, and higher education, including college affordability and student loan debt.
“Advise… on all matters pertaining to early, elementary, secondary, and higher education.” That’s quite a responsibility. No problem: Delaney has put in his two years (2011-13) as a Teach for America (TFA) temp teacher as a “ninth-grade special education algebra co-teacher” (his bachelors degree is in “journalism, advertising, new media, and theater”; he held a patchwork of Georgia teaching certifications which one can look up here).
While doing his TFA stint (with one year in), in 2012, Delaney turned his attention toward education policy, serving as a sort of TFA policy incubator:

Co-founder & Vice-Chairman, Metro Atlanta Policy Leadership Track

Jun 2012 – Jun 2013 (1 yr 1 mo), Greater Atlanta Area
Founded and led a board of six members to create programming for Teach for America (TFA) corps members with an interest in education policy and advocacy. Hosted monthly events including lectures, panels, debates, and networking nights with education advocates and policy leaders. Secured sponsorship from national organization (Leadership for Educational CONTINUE READING: Elizabeth Warren Has a Former TFAer Advising Her on Education | deutsch29

CURMUDGUCATION: WV Senate Can't Seem To Hear Teachers

CURMUDGUCATION: WV Senate Can't Seem To Hear Teachers

WV Senate Can't Seem To Hear Teachers

It would be funny if it weren't so angrifying. But West Virginia's legislature is at it again.

Back in February of 2018, the teachers of West Virginia were fed up. Low pay. Lack of support. Lack of respect. They were fed up enough that they staged an illegal wildcat strike that shut down every school district in the state. The governor and legislature backed down, and in short order, the teachers had won. Well, until they hadn't. Because when you strike during district contract negotiations, you get back to the table, settle a contract, sign, and you're done. One of the smaller lessons of 2018 statewide teacher strikes is that when you negotiate with a legislature, negotiations are never over.


I hear you just fine.
So in January of 2019, the West Virginia legislature said, "Well, let's give them one of the things they asked for, and put in a whole bunch of privatization baloney that we always wanted, and they'll just let it go so they can get their raise." That was incorrect. Teachers struck again, and the legislature and governor agreed that maybe they'd tackle education in a special session.

So now it's June, and the Senate is back at it. GOP Senate President Mitch Carmichael took the latest pile of poop and tried to sneak it through extra-quick and quiet like last weekend (because, he said, he wanted to save the taxpayers the money it would cost for legislators to stay in session and actually discuss the bill-- what a thoughtful guy). But West Virginia teachers have CONTINUE READING: 
CURMUDGUCATION: WV Senate Can't Seem To Hear Teachers


After 29 Years Evidence That TFA Still Doesn’t Set New Corps Members Up For Success | Gary Rubinstein's Blog

After 29 Years Evidence That TFA Still Doesn’t Set New Corps Members Up For Success | Gary Rubinstein's Blog

After 29 Years Evidence That TFA Still Doesn’t Set New Corps Members Up For Success

When I first started this blog 11 years ago, the purpose was to give tips for new teachers.  Back then, this was on the teachforus.org site, no longer active, where I would interact with new TFA corps members and offer advice to them.
You’d think that after 29 years, TFA training would have improved.  But since they are supposed to be so data-driven, they should look at the most telling statistic about their quality of training.  The quit rate for TFA has not changed from 29 years ago until this day, approximately 15% don’t complete their two-year commitment, or roughly 1 out of 7 corps members.
I was once a staff member at the TFA institute and I had a lot of conflicts with Michelle Rhee who was second in charge of it at that time.  I also worked for the New York City Teaching Fellows which was a TFA spin-off and trained about 6 cohorts of math teachers.  I wrote two books about teaching, the first one ‘Reluctant Disciplinarian’ is still in print.  The lesser known one ‘Beyond Survival’ went out of print, though I obtained the rights to it and am considering making a kindle version of that one.
I noticed this tweet from an institute staffer today:



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TFA Chorps Members are ready for their 1st Day of Power Up! Grateful for the opportunity to serve as a Faculty Advisor for the 6th year @TeachForAmerica @PrincipalBGrant @Bunche_Chargers


We rarely get to see or hear from actual TFA corps members.  I don’t know if they now have to sign some kind of non-disclosure agreement but I find it strange that this group of ‘leaders’ produces not one person live-blogging or live-tweeting their experience.  When CONTINUE READING: After 29 Years Evidence That TFA Still Doesn’t Set New Corps Members Up For Success | Gary Rubinstein's Blog

AN OPEN LETTER TO LAUSD'S SUPERINTENDENT AUSTIN BEUTNER - Perdaily.com

AN OPEN LETTER TO LAUSD'S SUPERINTENDENT AUSTIN BEUTNER - Perdaily.com

AN OPEN LETTER TO LAUSD'S SUPERINTENDENT AUSTIN BEUTNER

The longstanding endemic corruption at a clearly dysfunctional and always prospectively bankrupt Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) will not get better until some of LAUSD's dyfunctional practices- both financial and academic- are finally addressed, eliminated, or radically changed.

After the recent resounding defeat of the Proposition EE parcel tax, that needed 67% "Yes" votes to pass and only got 45% of votes cast, LAUSD's Superintendent Beutner, Mayor Garcetti, and UTLA's Alex Caputo Pearl now want to go to the State of California for the money they were unable to get on the Proposition EE parcel tax.

This actually might be a good and successful course of action, if, big if, Superintendent Deasy et al were finally able to show and convince the California State legislature that agreeing to bail out LAUSD at this time was not just throwing more good money after bad as has now been done for decades.

Some of the following points that could be made by Superintendent Beutner and Co. to the State might just succeed, if they finally had the teeth necessary to fundamentally reorganize LAUSD administration and academic and financial practices to accomplish this difficult task, given the entrenched interests that will fight you every step of the way:

The number one clear reality that stands the best chance of getting the State Legislature to give LAUSD more money is that it presently costs "an average of $407.58 per person per day and $148,767 per person per year" to incarcerate a juvenile. Actually educating these predominantly minority students in LAUSD (Blacks have a 14 times greater and Latinos have a 7.5 times greater chance of being incarcerate than Whites) could be accomplished for a small fraction of this amount. Bottom line: Educated people with gainful employment, for the most part do not wind up in jail.

But up until now LAUSD has continued to socially promote students through grade after grade without mastery of any basic grade-level academic standard. This ultimately leads to the very act of education being humiliating to students put in an Algebra class without knowing their times tables or into a high school Government class with a 3rd grade reading ability.

Ultimately, these students drop out of school, but not CONTINUE READING: AN OPEN LETTER TO LAUSD'S SUPERINTENDENT AUSTIN BEUTNER - Perdaily.com