Thursday, August 29, 2019

"FLINT WATER" IN CA: Lead Found in Drinking Fountains at 17% of California Public Schools | Capital & Main

Lead Found in Drinking Fountains at 17% of California Public Schools | Capital & Main

Lead Found in Drinking Fountains at 17% of California Public Schools
The state only requires schools to take action if lead levels exceed 15 ppb. But the CDC says there’s no safe blood lead level for children.

Two years ago Assembly Bill 746 required all California K-12 public schools built before 2010 to test for lead in drinking fountains and faucets by July 1, 2019. So far, 1,256 of 7,188 schools tested by the California State Water Resources Control Board (17 percent) have reported levels of lead that exceed five parts per billion (ppb). The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that lead in school drinking fountains not exceed 1 ppb, whereas the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there is no blood lead level for children that can be considered safe.
The state, however, only requires schools to take action – including notifying parents, shutting down dangerous fountains and conducting more testing – if lead levels exceed 15 ppb. Schools that do detect levels of lead above 15 ppb must take follow-up samples from the place at which the school’s plumbing connects to the community water supply to identify whether tainted water is reaching the school from the outside. As of mid June, 268 California schools reported lead levels above 15 ppb, according to the Water Resources Control Board.
AB 746 builds upon 2017 permit amendments, issued by the state’s Division of Drinking Water, that give all California schools (public, private and charter) the right to request testing from their local water systems of up to five samples, and to receive repeat tests to confirm the effectiveness of any steps taken to lower lead levels.
The presence of lead at so many schools is particularly alarming because lead is especially toxic to children, even at low levels. “Lower levels of lead have the potential to cause significant effects on children’s brain development, on their attention levels, on behavior and on their ability to learn,” said Susan Little of the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy CONTINUE READING: Lead Found in Drinking Fountains at 17% of California Public Schools | Capital & Main

Bombshell in California: E-Mails Reveal Charter Lobby’s Goal of Complete Privatization of All Schools in the State | Diane Ravitch's blog

Bombshell in California: E-Mails Reveal Charter Lobby’s Goal of Complete Privatization of All Schools in the State | Diane Ravitch's blog

Bombshell in California: E-Mails Reveal Charter Lobby’s Goal of Complete Privatization of All Schools in the State

Blogger Michael Kohlhaas received a huge trove of leaked emails from the Green Dot Charter School organization in Los Angeles.
He has been releasing them as he reviews them.
No one has disputed their accuracy.
Yesterday, Kohlhaas released one of the most startling of these documents, in which the charter lobby reveals its ultimate goal: by 2030, every student in the state of California will attend a charter school or a “charter-like public school.”
He writes:
It’s not clear at all what they mean by “charter-like public school[s]”. It’s especially unclear given the amount of time they spend ranting about how charter schools are in fact public schools, so presumably charter schools are the most charter-like public schools of all, but whatever. The point is that this is an acknowledgement by the CCSA that they are in fact trying to destroy public education in California by removing ALL students from it or, if that’s not possible, making public schools be so much like their CONTINUE READING: Bombshell in California: E-Mails Reveal Charter Lobby’s Goal of Complete Privatization of All Schools in the State | Diane Ravitch's blog

The Walton Presence in Louisiana K12 Education (Still Watching for a 2019 BESE-Influencing Money Dump) | deutsch29

The Walton Presence in Louisiana K12 Education (Still Watching for a 2019 BESE-Influencing Money Dump) | deutsch29

The Walton Presence in Louisiana K12 Education (Still Watching for a 2019 BESE-Influencing Money Dump)

I have been watching for the billionaire Walton influence in the upcoming, October 2019 elections of Louisiana’s Board of Elementary and secondary Education (BESE).
On August 21, 2019, I posted about the disbanding of the Louisiana PAC (Louisiana businessman Lane Grigsby’s Empower Louisiana PAC) used to funnel $3M in out-of-state billionaire money into Louisiana’s 2015 BESE election. Siblings Jim and Alice Walton pumped $650K into that election and subsequent, November 2015, runoff via that single Louisiana PAC, with Alice and Jim each donating $200K to the BESE primary and Jim donating an additional $250K for the runoff. Grigsby used the money to advertise for specific ed-reform candidates and against specific traditional-ed candidates.
alice-and-jim-walton
billionaire siblings Alice and Jim Walton
By August 2015, both Alice and Jim had already made their $200K donations to influence the 2015 BESE race, with both donations being made on August 20, 2015. (To verify, search via name here.)
(Also on August 20, 2015, the same day that Jim Walton donated $200K to Empower Louisiana PAC, he also donated $100K to La. Federation for Children PAC and $250K to Stand for Children IEC.)
Since the Empower Louisiana PAC has been disbanded prior to the 2019 BESE election, that specific vehicle for Walton and other out-of-state billionaire money CONTINUE READING: The Walton Presence in Louisiana K12 Education (Still Watching for a 2019 BESE-Influencing Money Dump) | deutsch29

Grassroots Education Network- August 2019 Newsletter - Network For Public Education

Grassroots Education Network- August 2019 Newsletter - Network For Public Education

Grassroots Education Network- August 2019 Newsletter


The NPE Grassroots Education Network is a network of over 135 grassroots organizations nationwide who have joined together to preserve, promote, improve, and strengthen our public schools. If you know of a group that would like to join this powerful network, please go here to sign up.
If you have any questions about the NPE Grassroots Education Network please contact Marla Kilfoyle, NPE Grassroots Education Network Liaison at marlakilfoyle@networkforpubliceducation.org
Notes from Marla
As many of us return Back to School, you will see in this newsletter great ideas from across the nation for Back to School events, forums, campaigns, and actions.
National Organizing
Read Dr. Denisha Jones reflections from Defending the Early Years first leadership institute. In the Public Interest’s informative article How to Spot — and Stop — Privatization (of prisons, water, schools, etc.) Before it Happens is a must read and share. The Journey for Justice Alliance podcast On The Ground, hosted by Jitu Brown, airs every Monday at 6 PM CST. Make sure you check out their new website which follows all their actions and movements. J4J went to Puerto Rico in August to be part of a transnational meeting in defense of public education. Check out their livestream of the event. Fairtest publishes an amazing newsletter each week covering the flaws of relying on standardized exams to make high-stakes educational decisions. Rethinking Schools heads Back to School with their plan book for social justice teachers – Planning to Change the World 2019-2020The Parent Coalition for Student Privacy has toolkits for parents, students, and teachers that detail how to protect data privacy. Go to their website to access and share these excellent resources. Parents for Public Schools National published a series on their website celebrating the unsung heroes within their communities who show how to make positive change. Parents Across America’s position papers and key documents are a valuable resource for parents. Go to their website to access and share. At this year’s annual Social Impact Exchange conference, Schott Foundation Vice President Edgar Villanueva spoke on a panel with other philanthropic leaders to discuss how funders can help address the systemic problems at the root of so many of the challenges we face. The Badass Teachers Association Quality of Worklife (QWL) team held an informative webinar this month on Educators Facing their Fears. For the archive of that webinar go here. For other informative webinars from the QWL go here. The Trinational Coalition to Defend Public Education (USA) exists in a network with many other organizations in Canada and Mexico. Check out their network here. The Ontario (Canada) Secondary School Teachers Federation issued a statement on the STEM and skilled trades not being fully funded with the government’s cuts to the provinces high schools. Wear Red for Ed tracks the Red for Ed movement nationwide. Check out their open Facebook page for the latest on the Red for Ed movement. Find out what Save our Schools March is up to by following their open Facebook page. First Focus Campaign for Children produced a fact sheet on how the proposed SNAP rule will overwhelmingly harm children and their family members. They also co-sponsored a tweetstorm on August 14th. Check out the hashtag #HandsOffSnap to learn how you can raise your voice for children and their families. Please make sure to visit the Network for Public Education’s 8 Powerful Voices for Public Education video series.
NPE Grassroots Education Network – State Organizations Support Public Education CONTINUE READING: Grassroots Education Network- August 2019 Newsletter - Network For Public Education


John Thompson: Virtual learning oversight: 'Riding a donkey into the space age'

Virtual learning oversight: 'Riding a donkey into the space age'

Virtual learning oversight: ‘Riding a donkey into the space age’

Earlier this month, I met with three administrators at the Oklahoma State Department of Education  who have been wrestling with accountability issues for virtual and blended schools, especially for-profit charters like Epic Charter Schools.

As spokesperson Steffie Corcoran told me, devising oversight systems for these schools is complex because “there is a physical world and a virtual world.”
The OSDE has earned a reputation for professionalism, but changes in education models are outpacing legislation and policy. In terms of monitoring a rapidly emerging landscape of online instruction, Deputy Superintendent Monty Guthrie said, “We’re riding a donkey into the space age.”  
Oklahoma’s approach to public school oversight has long stressed local control by the districts’ governing boards. There has often been a tension between the desire for school choice and flexibility and the need for regulations to protect students and taxpayers. Any attempt to hold schools like Epic more accountable in the future would have to acknowledge that history.

The dubious nature of attendance metrics

As bizarre as it sounds, the U.S. has rushed down the path toward online instruction without conducting adequate research or thoroughly contemplating the downsides of virtual schooling. Believe it or not, Oklahoma is more engaged than most states in discussions over virtual school accountability.
One of the most complicated questions involves how to define and implement attendance CONTINUE READING: Virtual learning oversight: 'Riding a donkey into the space age'

A Reckoning for the Inexcusable?: “No Excuses” and the Collapse of Misguided Educational Reform | radical eyes for equity

A Reckoning for the Inexcusable?: “No Excuses” and the Collapse of Misguided Educational Reform | radical eyes for equity

A Reckoning for the Inexcusable?: “No Excuses” and the Collapse of Misguided Educational Reform

Valeria Strauss has offered questions at The Answer SheetSome ‘no-excuses’ charter schools say they are changing. Are they? Can they?—including an answer by Mira Debs, Joanne Golann, and Chris Torres.
As a long-time critic of “no excuses” (and the target of harsh backlash for that criticism), I want here to note briefly that this apparent reckoning for “no excuses” practices in the education of mostly black, brown, and poor students is yet another piece of the developing puzzle that will create a clear picture of the predicted failures of educational reform begun under Ronald Reagan and then expanded under George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
Pet elements of that educational reform movement have come and gone (value-added methods for evaluating teachers [VAM], Common Core), but the foundational approaches (accountability grounded in standards and high-stakes testing) seem deeply entrenched and confirmation of the cliche about insanity (doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results).
Just glancing at my public work, I have over 70 posts criticizing “no excuses” as a deficit perspective, as racist and classist, and as a distraction from addressing the larger causes for low achievement by vulnerable populations of students.
A good portion of that scholarship and advocacy led to an edited volume CONTINUE READING: A Reckoning for the Inexcusable?: “No Excuses” and the Collapse of Misguided Educational Reform | radical eyes for equity

Broad’s Academy and Residencies Fuel the Destroy Public Education Agenda | tultican

Broad’s Academy and Residencies Fuel the Destroy Public Education Agenda | tultican

Broad’s Academy and Residencies Fuel the Destroy Public Education Agenda



By T. Ultican 8/29/2019
In 2002, the billionaire, Eli Broad, established his own education leadership training program. Although he is the only person ever to create two Fortune 500 companies, Broad, who attended public school, has no other experience or training in education. However he is so rich, he can just institute his opinions such as his belief that education knowledge is not needed to run large urban school systems; consultants can be hired for that knowledge.
Peter Greene, the author of the popular blog Curmudgucation, framed this absurdity in his own snarky fashion:
“But Broad does not believe that schools have an education problem; he believes they have a management problem. School leadership does not need an infusion of educational leadership– they need business guys, leadership guys. And so Broad launched the Superintendent’s Academy by ignoring completely the usual requirements for Superintendent certification or program accreditation. The Board Superintendent Academy exists by its own force of will. It’s kind of awesome– there is no external governing or certifying board of any sort declaring that the Broad Superintendent’s Academy is a legitimate thing, and yet, it exists and thrives.
“I myself plan to soon open the Curmudgucation Academy of Brain Surgery, or maybe a School Of  Fine Art Production. I have everything I need to make these highly successful, with the possible exception of enough power and money to get people to listen to me whether I know what the hell I’m talking about or not.”
In Pasi Sahlberg’s and William Doyle’s new book Let the Children Play, there are many anecdotes that demonstrate the fallacy of Broad’s education opinions. They describe the growing crisis developing especially in the lower grades and CONTINUE READING: Broad’s Academy and Residencies Fuel the Destroy Public Education Agenda | tultican





What Cory Booker isn’t telling us about the Newark water crisis Or How Did Newark Get Flint Water?

What Cory Booker isn’t telling us about the Newark water crisis. |

What Cory Booker isn’t telling us about the Newark water crisis.

BY GUY STERLING
Guy Sterling, a longtime resident of Newark and a member of the Newark Water Group, spent almost 30 years as reporter with The Star-Ledger when the paper was located in the Newark.

Booker with political ally, former GOP Gov. Chris Christie

Newark’s biggest scandal since the one that led to the downfall of the notorious mob-linked mayor Hugh Addonizio 50 years ago occurred during the administration of now U.S. Senator and presidential hopeful Cory Booker.
To date, eight persons have pleaded guilty to charges in connection with the looting of more than $1 million of taxpayer money from the entity that was created to manage the city’s watershed property in North Jersey and deliver clean drinking water to Newark’s homes, schools and businesses.
One other person charged in the case remains awaiting trial.


Two of the eight, including the former executive director, got lengthy prison sentences, while the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark has not said if its investigation of the entity, known as the Newark Watershed Conservation and CONTINUE READING: What Cory Booker isn’t telling us about the Newark water crisis. |

Jeff Bryant: Flint’s Crisis Reveals National Failure On School ‘Leadership’ | OurFuture.org by People's Action

Flint’s Crisis Reveals National Failure On School ‘Leadership’ | OurFuture.org by People's Action

Flint’s Crisis Reveals National Failure On School ‘Leadership’

Flint, Michigan, became a national poster child for incompetence and corruption when a small group of autocratic officials put in charge by the state’s governor made the infamous decision to supply lead-tainted water to the public.
But long before Flint’s water crisis, the practice of outsourcing critical decisions to a small circle of individuals with little vested interest in the community was also the way to determine who would run Flint’s schools.
In 2005, Walter Milton Jr. became superintendent of Flint City Schools in large part because the city hired a superintendent search firm that recommended him. But even before he officially took office, news broke that his application for the position included degrees he had not earned. After taking office, his first actions to close and consolidate schools drew opposition from parents and teachers who complained of overcrowded conditions and textbook shortages.
More outrage ensued when he hired a director of curriculum for the school district who had been convicted of child molestation. It’s not clear how Milton left his position, but his tenure lasted just 17 months and likely cost the district a hefty buy-out package.
While multiple people are usually involved in hiring decisions of this type, at least one school board member blamed the search firm that recommended him.
That firm—Schaumburg, Illinois-based Hazard, Young, Attea, and Associates (HYA)—overlooked things that should have turned up in a thorough background check, particularly his fake degree and problems with his previous tenure as superintendent of schools in Fallsburg, New York. In that position, he hired the very same person convicted of child molestation he would also hire in Flint.
The man was a longtime business partner of Milton’s and raised much attention in Fallsburg. A state audit shortly after Milton left Fallsburg found that during his tenure he “was overpaid” for “vacation time, and personal items, like moving expenses, CONTINUE READING: Flint’s Crisis Reveals National Failure On School ‘Leadership’ | OurFuture.org by People's Action

The Forever Activists: NEA's Retired members fight on - Education Votes

The Forever Activists: NEA's Retired members fight on - Education Votes

The Forever Activists: NEA’s Retired members fight on

By Emily Bricker, Mallory Johnson, Amanda Menas, and Danielle Sklarew / lead photo courtesy of Mads Johansen
The National Education Association is a powerhouse of advocacy on issues that matter for public schools. What many don’t realize is the major role that retired educators play in amping up that advocacy.
More than 200,000 educators remain union members in retirement, to stay informed about issues affecting education and take action to stop policies that can hurt public schools. 

NEA-Retired President Sarah Borgman.

“Why wouldn’t I want to continue to be active in the only organization that truly fights for public education, my profession, and our students?” asks retired Indiana teacher Sarah Borgman.
Borgman, the current elected president of NEA-Retired, says that staying active in advocacy efforts since ending her formal career in the classroom was “simply the right thing to do.”
Leading the fastest growing membership category of the NEA, Borgman advocates with other members on issues such as education funding, teacher and bus driver shortages, school safety, teacher pay, and the overuse of standardized tests.
“The whole gambit of theories, trial and errors, political ploys using public education…you name it, we’ve seen it!” says Borgman.
State education associations work with their Retired chapters to organize around state CONTINUE READING: The Forever Activists: NEA's Retired members fight on - Education Votes

School Shooting Threat & Racist Image Draw Attention To Local High Schools - Elk Grove Tribune

School Shooting Threat & Racist Image Draw Attention To Local High Schools - Elk Grove Tribune

School Shooting Threat & Racist Image Draw Attention To Local High Schools

School Shooting Threat Neutralized

Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department says they’ve detained at least one student in relation to a school shooting threat. The student in custody is from Elk Grove and attends Elk Grove Charter School. Two Arden Arcade High Schools, Jesuit High School and Rio Americano High School, were apparently the targets of the threat, prompting law enforcement to lock both schools down. The online threat,  as well as the arrest of the minor suspect, occurred on Tuesday afternoon.
Officials say the threat was posted on social media. Additionally, officials placed both El Camino Fundamental High School and Del Dayo Elementary School under a shelter-in-place order. Earlier this month 3 mass shootings rocked the nation, raising alarms about gun and school safety.
Elk Grove Unified School District released the following statement on the incident: CONTINUE READING: School Shooting Threat & Racist Image Draw Attention To Local High Schools - Elk Grove Tribune

More Trouble For Rio Americano


Important to note, this is the second time in the space of a week Rio American High School has been in the news. Last week students at the Arden Arcade high school received a racist image of the school website on their cell phones. Supposedly, the image was apparently altered to include racist statements, according to officials. The image included the words, “District-Wide High School No Black People Policy.”
The Arden Arcade Area is not quite as diverse as some other areas of Sacramento. Consequently, the ramifications of such racist imagery is that African Americans students and families of Rio Americano High School, as well as non-Caucasian students and families are feeling a bit less welcome. CONTINUE READING: School Shooting Threat & Racist Image Draw Attention To Local High Schools - Elk Grove Tribune

At Your Wits’ End With A Screen-Obsessed Kid? Read This (Anya Kamenetz and Chloee Weiner) | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

At Your Wits’ End With A Screen-Obsessed Kid? Read This (Anya Kamenetz and Chloee Weiner) | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

At Your Wits’ End With A Screen-Obsessed Kid? Read This (Anya Kamenetz and Chloee Weiner)

This article is based on a podcast episode that appeared in National Public Radio’s Life Kit. It was published June 30, 2019. Anya Kamenetz and Chloee Weiner are NPR journalists.
Geoff and Ellie live in a suburban Chicago neighborhood that looks familiar from movies like Pretty in Pink and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off — both filmed in the area.
They have three kids — Nathan, 5, Benji, 11, and Abby, 14 — and they’re worried that all three are too into their screens.
An all-too-common experience
Ninety-eight percent of families with children now have smartphones. Young children Nathan’s age consume over two hours of media per day on average, tweens take in about six hours, and teens use their devices for nine hours a day, according to the nonprofit Common Sense Media.
Technology overuse ranked as the No. 1 fear of parents of teenagers in a national survey last year.
As we sit in the family room, Ellie tell us how it feels to have a houseful of tiny electronic devices that travel with her kids into their bedrooms, to the table, in the car — everywhere.
“We’re the first generation of parents that has to do this monitoring,” Ellie says.
Case in point: Nathan, her 5-year-old, is tugging at her sleeve:
“Mommy, Mommy. MOMMY, CAN I PLAY ON YOUR IPAD? CAN I NOW?! PLEASE! PLEASE! PLEASE!
The problem with time-based rules
How did Geoff and Ellie get here? They are not hands-off parents, nor are they CONTINUE READING: At Your Wits’ End With A Screen-Obsessed Kid? Read This (Anya Kamenetz and Chloee Weiner) | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

Parent-teacher partnerships are crucial for students

Parent-teacher partnerships are crucial for students

OPINION: Parents, here’s why your most important partner may be your child’s teacher (and vice versa)
Seven ways that family collaboration can benefit students
As teachers return to the start of school following summer break, I hope they will take some time to reflect on ways to effectively communicate and partner with the families of the students they teach.
Particularly for educators in early and elementary education, they have a chance to set the course for how families imagine school and family connections. As a parent of young children, I know for sure that I am doing the very best I can to support them for school success. But, even as a university professor of education, I still experience a deep level of anxiety and vulnerability about how best to partner with teachers to support my children.
As I’ve communicated with other families across the United States, I have learned that they too yearn for opportunities to build stronger partnerships with teachers.
Similar to a doctor with a bedside manner that fosters respect and trust when working with patients and their families, teachers can design initial and subsequent interactions with families that demonstrate trust, collaboration and advocacy, giving them a better chance of effectively meeting the needs of students.
I believe teachers can learn something really powerful about how to communicate with families and build sustainable partnerships with them. As teachers prepare to build and cultivate positive, relevant CONTINUE READING: Parent-teacher partnerships are crucial for students

BACK TO SCHOOL: A parent’s guide to K-12 school success

A parent’s guide to K-12 school success
click on picture

What Schools Can Do To Support Parents
  • Recognize that all parents, regardless of income, education or cultural background, are involved in their children's learning and want their children to do well.
  • Design programs that will support families to guide their children's learning,from preschool through high school.
  • Develop the capacity of school staff and families to work together.
  • Link activities and programs for families to improving student learning.
  • Focus on developing trusting and respectful relationships among staff and families.
  • Build families' social and political connections.
  • Embrace a philosophy of partnership and be willing to share power.
  • Make sure that parents, school staff, and community members understand that the responsibility for children's educational development is a collaborative enterprise.
  • Build strong connections between schools and community organizations.
  • Include families in all strategies to reduce the achievement gap between white, middle-class students and low-income students and students of color.