Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Mike Bloomberg was in charge of the country’s largest public school district. Here are 8 key questions for him. - The Washington Post

Mike Bloomberg was in charge of the country’s largest public school district. Here are 8 key questions for him. - The Washington Post

Mike Bloomberg was in charge of the country’s largest public school district. Here are 8 key questions for him.


Mike Bloomberg, the former New York mayor, recently showed up for the first time on a debate stage with other leading candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination, and there were exactly no questions asked of him about education. It seems like a subject ripe for exploration, given that:
  • Bloomberg alone among the Democratic candidates has been in charge of a public school system, in this case the country’s largest.
  • Education was a central focus of his three-term tenure as mayor.
  • His education overhaul was, if nothing else, highly controversial.
In this article are some questions that could be asked of the billionaire Bloomberg, who was mayor from 2002 to 2013. But first, some background informing the questions.

Shortly after becoming mayor, Bloomberg persuaded the New York legislature to strip power from the district’s Board of Education and give it to him. Believing employing business practices in the operation of schools would improve student performance, he selected a non-educator, Joel Klein, as chancellor of the 1.1 million-student district.
Klein was a corporate executive and former head of the Justice Department’s antitrust division. He and Bloomberg insisted bad teachers were the biggest cause of low performance by students — not outside influences — and said they believed they could use students’ standardized test scores to identify “bad” teachers.
Bloomberg and Klein believed in operating schools as if they were businesses. They closed nearly 100 low-performing schools and opened small ones; fueled the expansion of charter schools, which are publicly funded but privately operated; gave principals more autonomy, and raised pay for teachers but attacked teacher tenure and union-backed due process.
They also elevated the primacy of student standardized tests, using the scores to evaluate teachers and CONTINUE READING: Mike Bloomberg was in charge of the country’s largest public school district. Here are 8 key questions for him. - The Washington Post

At the World Zionist Congress, election is a family affair

At the World Zionist Congress, election is a family affair

At the World Zionist Congress, election is a family affair


Running as delegates to the World Zionist Congress is a family affair for a handful of American Jewish activists and leaders, with immediate family members and spouses running on opposing slates.
At least three are from the Ellenson family, and two are a married couple: American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum of Manhattan’s Congregation Beth Simchat Torah.
Family Ties: Reform Rabbi Jacqueline Ellenson, former director of the Women’s Rabbinic Network, and her son Rafi Ellenson are running on the Vote Reform slate, which includes Reconstructionist rabbis like Kleinbaum and her daughter, Hannah Ellenson, is running on the Hatikvah slate. Also happening this year, Nicole Berner-Kadish is running on the Hatikvah slate and her son, Mattan Berner-Kadish, is running on the Vote Reform slate.
By the numbers: With less than three weeks to go before polls close on March 11, 60,498 votes had been cast by Sunday evening, according to American Zionist Movement Executive Director Herb Block, whose organization administers the CONTINUE READING: At the World Zionist Congress, election is a family affair

CURMUDGUCATION: Montana and the Wall Between Church and State

CURMUDGUCATION: Montana and the Wall Between Church and State

Montana and the Wall Between Church and State


Sarah Vowell is a fave of mine, with a fabulous grasp of US history and that special gift of being able to illuminate big ideas with the perfect specific detail, plus she has the gift of balance, of being able to recognize the god and the not-so-good, and most of, the gift of recognizing the humanity of the people she writes about. Her writing about colonial US history is excellent-- if you need a place to start, I'd go with The Wordy Shipmates, a look at the Puritans in America. For an extra treat, get her audiobooks-- she does her own reading and it's great. I would be quite happy if I grew up to be Sarah Vowell.

Sarah Vowell
I bring Vowell up because she was born in Oklahoma, but grew up and attended college in Montana. Last week, she wrote a piece for the New York Times about the Espinoza case, the case that will allow the Supreme Court to legitimize the use of public tax dollars for private religious schools (or not-- the Supremes could totally surprise me and go the other way).

If you are able to get past the paywall, you should go read the piece, because there's a whole  chunk of background that virtually every commenter on the case has simply missed.

Do Mr. Roberts and his eight co-workers fully appreciate the public-spirited grandeur of the winter of 1971-72, when 100 Montanans, including housewives, ministers, a veterinarian and a beekeeper, CONTINUE READING: 
CURMUDGUCATION: Montana and the Wall Between Church and State

The More Things Change … – radical eyes for equity

The More Things Change … – radical eyes for equity

The More Things Change …



As I have previously recommended Jeff McQuillan’s work on reading from the 1990s, I want to highlight briefly another example of the more things change, the more they stay the same.
In 2007, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute released Whole-Language High Jinks: How to Tell When “Scientifically-Based Reading Instruction” Isn’t by Louisa Moats. This report includes on the cover a despondent looking Black girl with her head down near a book, reminding me of the manipulative imaging used in the documentary Corridor of Shame.
Fordham cover
Moates is touted as a “renowned reading expert” and “author of the American Federation of Teachers’ Teaching Reading Is Rocket Science and an earlier Thomas B. Fordham Foundation report, Whole Language Lives On: The Illusion of “Balanced” Reading Instruction.”
The Executive Summary makes a case that may sound familiar to anyone paying attention to media coverage of the “science of reading” since 2018:
While the field of reading has made enormous strides in recent years—especially with the publication of the National Reading Panel’s landmark report and enactment of the federal Reading First program—discredited and ineffectual practices continue in many schools. Although the term “whole language” is rarely used today, programs CONTINUE READING: The More Things Change … – radical eyes for equity

Education Law Center Challenges Charter Expansion in New Jersey | Diane Ravitch's blog

Education Law Center Challenges Charter Expansion in New Jersey | Diane Ravitch's blog

Education Law Center Challenges Charter Expansion in New Jersey

The Education Law Center is suing in New Jersey Supreme Court to challenge the negative effects of charter schools on public schools in Newark.
ELC is asking the court to review the fiscal impact and segregating effects of charters on public schools. The bottom line is whether the state can afford to support two different school systems.
The New Jersey Supreme Court has granted a petition filed by Education Law Center (ELC) to review the State Commissioner of Education’s 2016 decision approving an enrollment increase of 8500 students in KIPP, Uncommon and other charter operators’ schools in the Newark Public School (NPS) district.
In accepting In Re Team Academy Charter School, the Supreme Court will now decide several consequential issues raised by the State’s push to rapidly grow charter school enrollments in NPS over the last decade. Under former Governor Chris Christie, Newark charter enrollments grew 320% from 4,559 in 2009, to 19,152 in 2020. NPS payments to charter schools increased from CONTINUE READING: Education Law Center Challenges Charter Expansion in New Jersey | Diane Ravitch's blog

Dehesa says Inspire charter schools corporation appears to be skirting transparency laws - The San Diego Union-Tribune

Dehesa says Inspire charter schools corporation appears to be skirting transparency laws - The San Diego Union-Tribune

Dehesa says Inspire charter schools corporation appears to be skirting transparency laws 

If the Inspire schools fail to remedy several issues, Dehesa says it may consider revoking the schools’ charters


The Dehesa School District says a corporation that has been managing the Inspire charter schools across California appears to have been skirting transparency and conflict of interest laws.
Dehesa says the corporation, called Inspire District Office, is a charter management organization and therefore is subject to such laws. The corporation, which has ties to charter schools around the state serving more than 36,000 students, denies that.
Dehesa’s Acting Superintendent Rich Thome recently sent letters to two Inspire schools that Dehesa oversees, saying that the Inspire District Office has been given too much control over what should be local school matters — such as maintaining student records, monitoring student performance and setting school board agendas.
Dehesa authorizes and oversees two Inspire schools: Pacific Coast Academy and Cabrillo Point Academy. Both schools are projected to each receive $39 million of state funding this year, based on how many students they enroll, according to their latest interim financial reports.
Inspire District Office collects 15 percent of all state tax dollars sent to Inspire schools and it is involved in what may be all of Inspire schools’ operations, Thome said in his letters.
Yet Inspire District Office has refused to release details of its finances or operations to the San Diego Union-Tribune in response to public records requests.
And when Dehesa requested invoices between the district office and its schools, Inspire said it has no invoices for the services it has provided the schools.
Thome wrote that if the Inspire schools fail to remedy several issues noted in its letters, Dehesa “will consider all available options,” including revoking the two schools’ charters. CONTINUE READING: Dehesa says Inspire charter schools corporation appears to be skirting transparency laws - The San Diego Union-Tribune

CURMUDGUCATION: Call for Federal Charter Transparency Law

CURMUDGUCATION: Call for Federal Charter Transparency Law

Call for Federal Charter Transparency Law



We've been here before. For instance, in 2015 while Congress was wrestling with what would eventually become ESSA, Sherrod Brown introduced the Charter School Accountability Act, which had some modest goals-- require greater charter transparency, mandate some reporting from charter authorizers, and compel charter operators to talk to the community before opening up. The bill was promptly sent to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee, to never be heard from again.

But Congress has yet an other chance to get it right.

Representative Rashina Tlaib (D-Michigan) is introducing the Charter Oversight, Accountability, and Transparency (COAT) Act (how many person-hours do you suppose are used up trying to give bills names that spell something cute?).

This bill is pretty simple, and is asking for, well, transparency about what happens to public taxpayer dollars once they disappear into the charter school system. To keep their ESSA money, states would have to insure that every contract between a charter school and a charter management organization (the businesses that charter schools hire to actually run the schools) would have to require the following:

* How much of the money is being used to actually operate the school (by amount and percent)

* How much of the money is being used to run the CMO (by amount and percent)

* Salaries for CONTINUE READING: 
CURMUDGUCATION: Call for Federal Charter Transparency Law


TFA Is Expanding Its “Pipeline of Philanthropists.” Interested? | deutsch29

TFA Is Expanding Its “Pipeline of Philanthropists.” Interested? | deutsch29

TFA Is Expanding Its “Pipeline of Philanthropists.” Interested?

Teacher temp org, Teach for America (TFA), is adding two “leadership gifts officers,” or fundraisers focused on enlisting more “seven- and eight-figure” philanthropic donors, or “ensur[ing] that Teach For America’s pipeline of philanthropists is ever-expanding and increasingly diverse.”
Interestingly, TFA’s corresponding “VP, Leadership Gift Officer” position requires “at least 10+ years of fundraising experience.” TFA specializes in tossing inexperienced college grads with degrees outside of education into America’s classrooms in the name of “building champions of education and equity,” but when it comes to schmoozing high-dollar donors, 10+ years of experience required.
Below is the job posting, in full.

Vice President, Leadership Gifts Officer

TEAM: National Development
REPORTS TO: Vice President of Individual Giving
LOCATION(S): Flexible; NY/NJ/CT, Houston, Dallas, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and Boston are highly preferred
THE ROLE
Teach For America is expanding our Leadership (seven- and eight-figure) Gifts portfolio.  We are hiring two new Leadership Gifts Officers, in thriving philanthropic markets across the country, to help grow the CONTINUE READING: 
TFA Is Expanding Its “Pipeline of Philanthropists.” Interested? | deutsch29

A very odd visit to a Shanghai preschool | GFBrandenburg's Blog

A very odd visit to a Shanghai preschool | GFBrandenburg's Blog

A very odd visit to a Shanghai preschool

Would you believe…
A class of twenty or so 2-year olds in Shanghai who are bilingual, AND reading, BOTH in Mandarin Chinese AND in English?
Who, at circle time, understand and read the days of the week and of the month?
Yes, two year olds.
Is this for real?
My wife taught pre-school for about four decades. She tells me she has had some two-year olds who could read and do worksheets, but they generally could not transfer that apparent knowledge to other situations. Paraphrasing her words: at that age, we teachers are mostly trying to make sure these toddlers poop and pee appropriately, and avoiding biting or accidentally bumping into each other. Playing nicely, talking clearly, listening and sharing are also top goals. Some really want to learn how to write or read, some don’t really care. Yet; they will later.
The writer is an American pediatrician and author whose own CONTINUE READING: A very odd visit to a Shanghai preschool | GFBrandenburg's Blog

antiracismdsa: Compare Candidates on Immigration Policy

antiracismdsa: Compare Candidates on Immigration Policy

Compare Candidates on Immigration Policy



antiracismdsa: Compare Candidates on Immigration Policy

LAUSD District 3 Endorsement — Lifetime Educator Scott Schmerelson

LAUSD District 3 Endorsement — Lifetime Educator Scott Schmerelson

LAUSD District 3 Endorsement — Lifetime Educator Scott Schmerelson





















I know this for you is personal.”
– Marilyn Koziatek
For a person asking for votes, LAUSD School Board candidate Marilyn Koziatek does not seem very willing to share information about her views with potential constituents. She was the only person running in Board District 3 to not answer the questionnaire that I sent out so that I could write candidate profiles. She has ducked and weaved when asked questions about sex education and providing students with birth control options at candidate forums. While saying at an event last Saturday that she was opposed to the tone of the anti-Semitic flyers sent out by the California Charter School Association (CCSA), she made no mention that this group has endorsed her campaign. I managed to catch up with her as she left the venue and asked a simple question – would she disavow the CCSA endorsement?
Not surprisingly, Koziatek did not answer the question, complaining that “this is not the way to approach” her. Perhaps I should have made my inquiry while holding a big, fat campaign check. She complained that I have an agenda and that for me this is personal. Finally, something that we can agree on. This election is personal and for that reason, I am wholeheartedly endorsing Scott Schmerelson for LAUSD Board District 3.
Special Education
Two of my daughters are on the severe end of the Autism spectrum CONTINUE READING: LAUSD District 3 Endorsement — Lifetime Educator Scott Schmerelson 

Support Scott for LAUSD 


The Dallas Model Episode 2: Who is Behind the Corporate Education Reform Agenda in Dallas | tultican

The Dallas Model Episode 2: Who is Behind the Corporate Education Reform Agenda in Dallas | tultican

The Dallas Model Episode 2: Who is Behind the Corporate Education Reform Agenda in Dallas

By Thomas Ultican