Thursday, December 12, 2019

Charter Industry Announces Its Plans to Disrupt Pittsburgh Forum on Public Education on Saturday | Diane Ravitch's blog

Charter Industry Announces Its Plans to Disrupt Pittsburgh Forum on Public Education on Saturday | Diane Ravitch's blog

Charter Industry Announces Its Plans to Disrupt Pittsburgh Forum on Public Education on Saturday



Prominent groups that support public schools–not charter schools or religious schools–are meeting on Saturday in Pittsburgh to discuss the future of public education with Democratic presidential candidates.
The billionaire-funded charter industry is angry that they can’t control the event and they have released their plans to disrupt the event.
Contrary to the claims of the charter industry, charter schools are not public schools. They are private contractors that receive public money and are typically unregulated and fail to meet basic standards of accountability and transparency.
Unfortunately, their leaders insist on minimal or non-regulation, assuring that grifters and entrepreneurs will be able to receive public dollars without any accountability.
The industry resolutely refuses to acknowledge, let alone curb, the waste, fraud, and abuse that has created a backlash against charter schools.
The Center for Education Reform, led by former Heritage Foundation education analyst Jeanne Allen, sent out this email:
 Charter Schools in Pittsburgh & Leaders throughout Pennsylvania Unite 
Issue strong message to special interest sponsors of “Public Education Forum 2020” and the Democratic candidates ignoring parental demands
WASHINGTON – Charter school leaders in Pittsburgh, joined by others throughout Pennsylvania, and by key state democratic officials issued strong statements today challenging the Democratic candidates for president who will be in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, this Saturday, December 14, 2019, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center for the “Public Education Forum 2020: Equity and Justice for All.” Sponsored by unions and other interest groups, the Forum has sparked strong responses from the Pennsylvania charter school community, with its unfounded attacks upon the substantive work being carried out throughout the state and right in the city where the forum will be held.
“We call on the candidates to remember those who won’t be there: the thousands of parents from underserved communities tragically forced to watch their children suffer academically because of a failed system that refuses any real reform,” said representatives of 5 of the city’s charter schools in a statement, speaking on behalf of the state’s 143,000 charter school students and their parents.
“The Democratic Presidential candidates have been summoned to demonstrate their allegiance to the unions and special interests who they believe hold the key to their nomination,” said CER Founder & CEO Jeanne Allen. “Not invited were any charter or reform minded voices to participate in this nationally televised forum CONTINUE READING: Charter Industry Announces Its Plans to Disrupt Pittsburgh Forum on Public Education on Saturday | Diane Ravitch's blog

CALIFORNIA STILL ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL - Network For Public Education

Still Asleep at the Wheel - Network For Public Education

CALIFORNIA STILL ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL


Still Asleep at the Wheel continues our investigation of the U.S. Department of Education’s Charter Schools Program (CSP) that began with our March 2019 report, which you can find here. The Charter Schools Program has spent more than $4.1 billion dollars to fund new charter schools and to expand existing charter schools. In this report, we document over a half-billion dollars that was wasted on defunct charter schools that received grants from 2006-2014 alone. There is no data for granted money from 1995-2005. That is because the Department did not require the states to report to which schools they gave over a million dollars of taxpayer funds. Given that 28% of all of the funds spent during those select years (2006-2014) were wasted, we conclude that over $1 billion has been wasted during the 25 years that the program has been in existence.
According to our analysis, 37% of the charter schools that were funded by CSP during those years either never opened (11%) or opened and then closed (26%). That figure is the result of our confirmation of the status of nearly 5000 charter schools that received funds from CSP.
The interactive map below provides detailed information, state by state, on the waste of federal tax dollars from active CSP grants between 2006-2014. Amounts are derived from the 2015 CSP report and thus reflect actual expenditures and/or committed amounts when the report was published. For more detail, please read our report.
California Charters



Eight hundred two California charter schools were awarded grants through the U.S. Department of Education’s (U.S. DOE) Charter Schools Program (CSP) from money that the U.S. DOE gave to the states between 2006-2014. At this time, at least 298 (37%) of those charter schools were closed or never opened at all.

To determine that number, we compared the U.S. DOE CSP award data set which you can
find here to the California Department of Education (CDE) list of 699 closed charter schools
which you can find here. Next, we reviewed all schools that the CSP data set reported as having no NCES number and compared those school names with the CDE’s list of charter schools using the quick search function. From that comparison, we determined that 60 schools never opened at all (or opened and closed on the same day).

In total, $102,879,832.00 were awarded to California charter schools during those years that either never opened or shut down. And yet, in 2016 the U.S. DOE awarded the CDOE an additional $49,899,243.00.

The chart below shows the names of all of the closed California charter schools that received CSP grants between 2006-2014. Those highlighted in maroon are charters that opened and closed. The rest are grant recipient schools that never opened. The federal grant amount is to the right of the school's name. CLICK HERE TO SEE CHART 

Still Asleep at the Wheel - Network For Public Education


Big Education Ape: Carol Burris Responds to Charter Industry Critique of NPE’s “Asleep At the Wheel” | Diane Ravitch's blog - https://bigeducationape.blogspot.com/2019/07/carol-burris-responds-to-charter.html


Watch the Public Education Forum 2020 and See Where the Candidates Stand - NPE Action

Watch the Public Education Forum 2020 and See Where the Candidates Stand - NPE Action

Watch the Public Education Forum 2020 and See Where the Candidates Stand



Click the image above to watch the the forum beginning at 9:45 am on Saturday December 14.

We are excited to announce that NPE Action is one of ten public education groups hosting top Democratic presidential candidates at the “Public Education Forum 2020: Equity and Justice for All” on Saturday, Dec. 14 in Pittsburg. MSNBC will moderate and exclusively livestream the forum focused on public education issues.
At 9:45 you can begin watching on MSNBC live streaming here.
There will be more than 1,000 educators, students, parents and community members on hand to discuss the public education topics you care about the most. Each candidate will provide opening remarks and then answer questions from moderators and forum attendees.
Topics to be discussed will include privatization, charters, school investment, student services, special education, student debt and teaching conditions, as well as key education equity and justice issues facing America’s students and public schools.
Please enter the dialogue with your tweets! Go here for some sample tweets you can cut and paste to use. Please remember to use the hashtags #PublicEdForum and add @NPEaction to your tweet so we can retweet and amplify your voice!
And find out how we rate those on the stage on testing and privatization by going to our 2020 Presidential Candidates Project here.

JEFF BRYANT: Why the federal government’s billion-dollar charter school program is a complete disaster | Salon.com

Why the federal government’s billion-dollar charter school program is a complete disaster | Salon.com

Why the federal government’s billion-dollar charter school program is a complete disaster
A new report reveals waste and corruption

Earlier this year when members of Congress repeatedly confronted U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos about a study finding the federal government’s charter school grant program had wasted an estimated $1 billion on schools that had never opened or opened and quickly closed, she dismissed the findings and accused the report authors of having a “political agenda against charter schools.” On December 10, the organization that published the study DeVos disparaged issued a more detailed examination of waste in the government’s charter grant program and concluded the $1 billion figure was indeed likely not correct — it was an underestimate.

The report “Still Asleep at the Wheel: How the Federal Charter Schools Program Results in a Pileup of Fraud and Waste” by the Network for Public Education (NPE) calculates approximately $1.17 billion in federal funding has been spent on charters that either never opened or that opened and have since shut down. Much of the added waste the study found in the charter program comes from the researchers’ findings that way more of these charters have closed or never opened than originally estimated. Based on its second passthrough of the data, NPE upped the failure rate of taxpayer-funded charter startups from 30 percent to 37 percent.
The new report arrives at an especially critical time in the discussion about charter schools in the Democratic presidential primary.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, one of the four front-runners in the race, has proposed “halting the use of public funds to underwrite new charter schools.” Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, another front-runner, has pledged to, if elected, “eliminate” the federal charter school grant program and “end federal funding for the expansion of charter schools.”
Warren in particular has been taking the brunt of the pushback from charter supporters, who contend her call for ending the federal grant program for charter schools is “threatening the freedom” charters CONTINUE READING: Why the federal government’s billion-dollar charter school program is a complete disaster | Salon.com

Principal Accused of Banning Black History Month Files Lawsuit

Principal Accused of Banning Black History Month Files Lawsuit

Principal Who Allegedly Banned Black History Month Accuses Black Teachers of Reverse Racism. 
Teachers Accuse Her of Original Recipe Racism

A principal who was demoted amid accusations that she prohibited students from celebrating Black History Month has filed a lawsuit against a group of teachers at a Bronx school for discriminating against her because she is white. Meanwhile, the teachers filed their own legal claim against the school district, claiming the principal implied black instructors were lazy and unqualified.
For nearly two years, the New York Daily News has reported on the ongoing feud between former principal Patricia Catania, who is white, and three black teachers at Bronx Intermediate School 224. It all started in February 2018, when students and employees at the 95 percent black school accused Catania of banning Black History Month lessons.
The Daily News Reports:
The disturbing allegations — relayed to the Daily News by eight current or former employees and five students — come amid a spate of racially tinged controversies at city schools.
[Teacher Mercedes] Liriano said she was beginning a class Wednesday when Catania pulled her aside and told her not to give lessons about the famed Harlem Renaissance movement of literature and art in the 1920s.
The order shocked Liriano.
She teaches the Harlem Renaissance, as well as the writings of Frederick Douglass, to her sixth- and seventh-grade students as part of the officially CONTINUE READING: Principal Accused of Banning Black History Month Files Lawsuit
Big Education Ape: Participate in the 2020 Black Lives Matter in School Week of Action Webinar Recording – Black Lives Matter At School - https://bigeducationape.blogspot.com/2019/12/participate-in-2020-black-lives-matter.html

A teacher makes 10 predictions for education in 2020 -- some of them rather hopeful - The Washington Post

A teacher makes 10 predictions for education in 2020 -- some of them rather hopeful - The Washington Post

A teacher makes 10 predictions for education in 2020 — some of them rather hopeful


Every year, veteran teacher Larry Ferlazzo makes two lists for this blog: one on what he sees as the best and worst education news of the past year; the second on education predictions for the next year.
I published his 2019 list, and here are his 2020 predictions.
Ferlazzo teaches English and social studies at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento. He has written or edited 12 books on education, writes a teacher advice blog for Education Week Teacher and has a popular resource-sharing blog. He has written pieces for this blog over the years, including one on how teachers can help students motivate themselves and this one, one of my favorites, titled: “NEWS BREAK (not breaking news): Teacher asks students to grade him. One wrote: ‘I give Mr. Ferlazzo an A at being annoying.’ ”

As always, Ferlazzo invites readers to comment on his predictions and add their own in the comments.

By Larry Ferlazzo

Some of these predictions are educated guesses, and some may be pipe dreams, Check them out, let me know which ones are off-base, and share your own! You can see the predictions I made in previous years at the end of this post.
* The U.S. Supreme Court will rule that the Trump administration can legally end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programs, which began under President Barack Obama and grants permission for nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children to either work CONTINUE READING: A teacher makes 10 predictions for education in 2020 -- some of them rather hopeful - The Washington Post

Michael Kohlhaas: Charter Leader in Los Angeles Harasses Teacher Protesting Co-Location and Unqualified Staff at Charter | Diane Ravitch's blog

Michael Kohlhaas: Charter Leader in Los Angeles Harasses Teacher Protesting Co-Location and Unqualified Staff at Charter | Diane Ravitch's blog

Michael Kohlhaas: Charter Leader in Los Angeles Harasses Teacher Protesting Co-Location and Unqualified Staff at Charter

Michael Kohlhaas, blogger in Los Angeles, writes here about a charter leader who harassed a teacher who protested his staff’s lack of qualifications.
Excelencia Charter Academy is yet another creepy little charter school run by yet another shockingly unqualified creepy little galaxy-brained grifter, this one known as Ruben Alonzo, going about the place making creepy little announcements of delusionally impending disruptive excellence while lining his creepy little pockets with public money1 at the expense of the actual human children that the state legislature, for reasons they’re going to have to answer for eventually, has seen fit to place into his care.
In this regard Alonzo is much like Sakshi Jain, shockingly unqualified founder of the ill-fated GANAS Academy, whose plan to co-locate on the campus of Catskill Elementary School conjured up such a monumental hurricane of activist opposition and scorn that, it appears, she has had to put her school’s opening on hold while she slinks back to her lair to soothe her metaphorical wounds with a salve made of equal parts boorish self-pity and Walton family megabucks.
Unlike Jain, though, Alonzo did actually manage to open his school. In the Fall of 2018 as it happens and, like CONTINUE READING: Michael Kohlhaas: Charter Leader in Los Angeles Harasses Teacher Protesting Co-Location and Unqualified Staff at Charter | Diane Ravitch's blog

Mike Klonsky's Blog: Hard to understand CTU's vitriol on these charter closings.

Mike Klonsky's Blog: Hard to understand CTU's vitriol on these charter closings.

Hard to understand CTU's vitriol on these charter closings.

I'm having a difficult time making sense out of CTU policy statements lately. Yesterday, the union leadership came out with a blistering, overheated attack on CPS leaders. Why? Because CPS recommended the closing of two privately-run charter schools for poor academic performance and financial mismanagement.

The two schools are Chicago Virtual Charter School (CVCS) and Frazier Preparatory Academy Charter School. Both schools opened as part of Renaissance 2010, a failed initiative of former Mayor Daley’s schools chief, Arne Duncan. The initiative called for the opening of 100 new schools by 2010 amid the closure of dozens of schools the district said were "underperforming."


Arne Duncan with K12 Inc. founder William Bennett

Private charter school operators moved in like vultures, promising that their non-union schools would outperform neighborhood schools. It turned out to be a lie. The best of the charters did just about the same as the schools they were replacing. The worst either kept getting their charters renewed with little oversight, or were closed, either for poor performance, financial mismanagement or put on probation and given a few years to improve. Several more went out CONTINUE READING:
 Mike Klonsky's Blog: Hard to understand CTU's vitriol on these charter closings.


NYC Public School Parents: Interview with Diane Ravitch and Talk out of School is now a podcast!

NYC Public School Parents: Interview with Diane Ravitch and Talk out of School is now a podcast!

Interview with Diane Ravitch and Talk out of School is now a podcast!

Today on WBAI, I interviewed Diane Ravitch on Talk out of School.  We discussed her new book, Battling Goliath, to be released in January, about the resistance to privatization, about Mayoral control, and what to pay attention to during Saturday’s education forum of the Presidential candidates on MSNBC.
You can hear our conversation here.   Earlier Talk out of School shows can be downloaded here.


NYC Public School Parents: Interview with Diane Ravitch and Talk out of School is now a podcast!

CURMUDGUCATION: Fordham: Teachers Are Downloading Junk

CURMUDGUCATION: Fordham: Teachers Are Downloading Junk

Fordham: Teachers Are Downloading Junk

Fordham Institute, the right-tilted thinky tank and tireless ed reform advocacy group, just released a new study that actually raises some interesting questions. "The Supplemental Curriculum Bazaar" takes a look at the materials teachers are downloading, and it finds them, well, not delightful. While I'm only going to argue with their findings a little, there are aspects of their methods that I find, well, not delightful.

The Playing Field

The study looked specifically at materials for high school English (ELA for the core-trained), which is right in my wheelhouse (39 years of secondary English classrooms). So I was prepared to predict the results of this study before reading it. My prediction: the stuff available on line today is much like the stuff available in catalogs and teacher stores twenty yeas ago-- kind of mediocre, but occasionally helpful. So now we can see if Fordham matches my findings.

They looked at two main sets of questions. 1) what types of materials are being downloaded, and 2) how do "experts" rate the quality. Also, how do the "expert" ratings compare to teacher ratings?

Yeah, about that-- who are these experts, and why is "expert" different from "teacher."

Experts include:

Morgan Polikoff, from USC Rossier, and we've seen him before as a big-time testing supporter. His background is ed policy and math.


I think I see a good Hamlet unit in there
Jennifer Dean, freelance educational assessment consultant. She's worked for Student Achievement Partners, was involved in K-122 assessment for "a large assessment company" (looks like maybe ETS). At SAP she developed standards alignment guidelines and sample CONTINUE READING: CURMUDGUCATION: Fordham: Teachers Are Downloading Junk







“None of the Children at the School Are Safe” — ProPublica

“None of the Children at the School Are Safe” — ProPublica

“None of the Children at the School Are Safe”
One school. 21 abuse investigations. And the struggle to stop relying on seclusion and restraint.


This story is a collaboration between ProPublica Illinois and the Chicago Tribune.
The knock came on Beth Sandy’s door late one Friday afternoon at the end of May.
Standing outside was an investigator with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, the state agency charged with examining allegations of child abuse and neglect.
Sandy assumed she was in trouble for violating truancy laws. A week earlier, she had pulled her 7-year-old son from Gages Lake School, which serves young children in suburban Lake County with behavioral and emotional disabilities, after he complained of a scary office and began hiding under the bed when the school bus arrived.
“Oh, great, here we go,” Sandy, who lives in north suburban Round Lake Heights, remembers thinking to herself.
But she wasn’t the target of the investigation; school employees were. An administrator at Gages Lake had reported concerns to DCFS that Sandy’s son Staley had been physically abused, the investigator explained. There was video. The investigator wanted to talk with the boy.
Since mid-May, DCFS has opened a total of 21 abuse investigations involving students at Gages Lake. Citing evidence from surveillance video, agency reports describe workers grabbing children by the wrists, shoving them into walls and throwing them to the ground in a cluster of four seclusion spaces — some with lockable doors, others open — that the school calls “the office.”
Two aides at the center of the investigations resigned from the school. One of them is facing criminal charges; Lake County prosecutors allege he used excessive force on students.
Despite recent efforts at Gages Lake to add employee training and more support for students, the school continues to struggle, with dozens of calls to police, staff CONTINUE READING: “None of the Children at the School Are Safe” — ProPublica

Curtis Cardine on the Fiscal Crisis in Arizona’s Charter School Industry | Diane Ravitch's blog

Curtis Cardine on the Fiscal Crisis in Arizona’s Charter School Industry | Diane Ravitch's blog

Curtis Cardine on the Fiscal Crisis in Arizona’s Charter School Industry

Curtis Cardine, former superintendent of both public and charter schools, is the preeminent expert on charter schools in Arizona. He created the Grand Canyon Institute to study education issues, and it keeps a close eye on charter malfeasance.
Cardine has written two books that are well worth reading to learn about the failures of the charter industry in Arizona. He is an expert in school finance, and he demonstrates in detail how charter operators are ripping off the public.
I quote that book extensively in my own new book SLAYING GOLIATH.
Cardine’s second book, recently published, is Schooling Alone, in which he compares the atomization of society CONTINUE READING: Curtis Cardine on the Fiscal Crisis in Arizona’s Charter School Industry | Diane Ravitch's blog

Mike Klonsky's Blog: Missing Friday's show with Erika & Jen from The Girl Talk Show

Mike Klonsky's Blog: Missing Friday's show with Erika & Jen from The Girl Talk Show

Missing Friday's show with Erika & Jen from The Girl Talk Show

I can't believe I'm missing tomorrow's show featuring two of my favorite people. Jen Sabella and Erika Wozniak will be Fred's in-studio guests. For those who don't know them (you must not live in Chicago), Jen and Erika co-host The Girl Talk Show on the 4th Tuesday of every month, over at the Hideout.

Jen, who describes herself as a "professional tequila drinker", is actually a working Chicago journalist. Erika is a veteran, award-winning, teacher and union activist who currently works as an aldermanic chief-of-staff.

I should add that the GTS is produced by ace political strategist, Joanna Klonsky (yes, we are related).

I'm heading down to FL for a few days to visit family, escape the Chicago windchill, and get rid of this damn cold. So, Fred and Annie will have to carry on without me. I'll be listening and CONTINUE READING: 
Mike Klonsky's Blog: Missing Friday's show with Erika & Jen from The Girl Talk Show


Michelle Obama delivers $100,000 from Ellen DeGeneres to a D.C. public school. What’s wrong with this picture? - The Washington Post

Michelle Obama delivers $100,000 from Ellen DeGeneres to a D.C. public school. What’s wrong with this picture? - The Washington Post

Michelle Obama delivers $100,000 from Ellen DeGeneres to a D.C. public school. What’s wrong with this picture?


Former first lady Michelle Obama recently walked into an elementary school in the nation’s capital and delivered a box with a stunning gift: $100,000 in cash, courtesy of entertainer Ellen DeGeneres. Children and adults screamed and jumped for joy when they saw the money in a genuinely heartwarming scene (that you can see below in the video Obama tweeted). And why not?

For one thing, Obama is, according to some polls, the most admired woman in the world. Having her show up at your school is a treat by itself. What’s more, the school can certainly use the money.
All of the mostly African American students at Randle Highlands Elementary School in Southeast Washington come from economically disadvantaged homes, according to D.C. Public Schools’ website, and Principal Kristie Edwards said in the video that many of the children are homeless or in the foster care system. Edwards says in the video that her school is in one of the “roughest” areas of the city, but that her students know they can expect “love and a hug” when they come to school — and that they will be safe.
As the box was opened, Obama said, “Ellen is giving you guys $100,000 to help you cover whatever business that you have for the schools, whether it is for the food pantry or whether it’s computer programs. We hope this will make sure that you will not have to go into your pockets any longer for these kids because we know how amazing you guys are.”
So what’s wrong with this picture?

I had so much fun putting a smile on all of these little faces from Randle Highlands Elementary School in Washington, D.C. Thanks to the @TheEllenShow for letting me be a part of !


Embedded video

The problem certainly is not a visit from a former first lady or an entertainer trying to help a school.
Rather, the problems are:
  • The funding system in U.S. public education leaves the poorest schools with the fewest resources
  • School system budgets do not provide most teachers with all the supplies they need to do their jobs — and this has been baked into the process for many years.
  • The D.C. government has had multimillion-dollar budget surpluses the past few years, and Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) is in charge of the school system. Why are there campuses that don’t have all of the supplies they need?
In her comments at Randle, Obama said she and DeGeneres hoped the $100,000 would “make sure CONTINUE READING: Michelle Obama delivers $100,000 from Ellen DeGeneres to a D.C. public school. What’s wrong with this picture? - The Washington Post