Monday, August 19, 2019

Colorado: Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid. | Diane Ravitch's blog

Colorado: Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid. | Diane Ravitch's blog

Colorado: Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.

The state board of education in Colorado has decided to turn over schools in three districts to a for-profit management corporation that claims it can turn the schools around, at a cost of millions of dollars. Where there the firm has ever turned any schools around before isin doubt. The political connections of the firm are not.
Read here about the story and a deep dive into the history of MGT Consulting.
In all cases, the state board gave districts the go-ahead to pay millions of school district dollars for MGT Consulting, a for-profit management firm, to virtually take over the schools. The move has elicited hope from some that the company can improve student performance after everything the districts have tried has failed. But the contracts have prompted condemnation from critics who say the firm has a dubious track record and is diverting tax dollars to private profits at a time when every cent should be spent on student needs…
Leaders of the Florida-based MGT say they specialize in allocating public money more effectively while improving teacher effectiveness in the classroom and school CONTINUE READING: Colorado: Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid. | Diane Ravitch's blog

Gender, name changes could be required on California high school diplomas after graduation | EdSource

Gender, name changes could be required on California high school diplomas after graduation | EdSource

Gender, name changes could be required on California high school diplomas after graduation

California school districts could soon be required to update records if graduates have changed their name or gender since leaving high school.
Introduced by Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, AB 711 would ensure that transgender and nonbinary individuals who are no longer in school can have their legal name reflected on school documents such as high school diplomas and transcripts. Nonbinary individuals are those whose gender identity is not strictly male or female.
The bill passed the state Legislature on Thursday and now heads to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk, who has until Oct. 13 to sign or veto it. Newsom has so far not indicated what his views on the bill are.
Existing California law requires a school district to recognize a student’s name and gender change and update their records. But these protections largely apply to students who are currently enrolled in school. State law does not explicitly provide guidance on updating records for former students who have changed their name or gender after graduating.
Advocates for the bill say it is important that graduates can choose to update their records, which may be used for a range of reasons, including applying for jobs, college or even housing.
“We don’t want to put someone in a position where they are unnecessarily being outed CONTINUE READING: Gender, name changes could be required on California high school diplomas after graduation | EdSource

How Educators Can Help Undocumented Students and Their Families - Informed Immigrant

How Educators Can Help Undocumented Students and Their Families - Informed Immigrant

For Educators: Supporting Undocumented Students & Their Families

Overview

There are many things that you can do to create educational environments in which students of all backgrounds can thrive socially, emotionally, and academically. Teachers, in particular, can create inclusive and safe learning environments for all students by incorporating lesson plans and classroom activities that are designed to cultivate empathy and trusting relationships, create a sense of belonging, and reduce discriminatory stereotypes and actions.
The contents of this guide were provided by our partners at Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR) and Californians Together. 

Safety Planning for Immigrant Parents and Caregivers

In the current climate, communities are afraid and unsure of what the future holds. To help students and their families grapple with the stress that comes with this uncertainty, education and preparation can be useful tools to empower immigrants and help them regain some sense of control. Schools, as trusted institutions in immigrant family’s lives, can play a critical role in ensuring that families have access to important information and resources, and that they are prepared for possible immigration arrests and/or detention. This Guidance for Schools from the Immigrant Legal Resource Center provides an excellent overview.

Policies and Protocols Impacting Immigrant Students and Families

Under the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Plyler v. Doe, all K-12 students in the United States are guaranteed a free public education regardless of immigration status. This right includes other services and programs provided through the public school system, such as free lunches and special education programs. However, how school districts comply with this obligation varies widely, and local policies and practice have a significant impact on creating safe environments for immigrant students.


New pilot program among 9 school districts aims for student success from cradle to career | News | bakersfield.com

New pilot program among 9 school districts aims for student success from cradle to career | News | bakersfield.com

New pilot program among 9 school districts aims for student success from cradle to career

What if a student's academic data could be tracked from their first day of school all the way until they graduate college in a way that was not available before? A Kern County pilot program is on its way to do just that.
Nine local school districts are participating in a two-year Kern Integrated Data System pilot program to share real-time student outcome data to assist in making informed decisions about what is best for students, teachers and schools. Every night data will be uploaded to a "warehouse" to provide the most up-to-date information.
The nine districts selected, which include the Bakersfield City, Buttonwillow Union and Kern High school districts, represent approximately 60 percent of Kern County students, or 115,000 students, according to the KIDS website. After the pilot's end, the county's remaining 38 districts and other educational partners will join the program.
Christian Shannon, support services administrator for the Kern County Superintendent of Schools, said the program formed from the Kern Education Pledge. Kern County's 47 public school districts along with higher education institutions signed a pledge to transform the educational system and ensure education remains a top priority in the community.
"KIDS is ultimately a collaborative effort born from the understanding that no institution can solve barriers in education on their own," he said. "Data plays a critical role to better understand the needs of students. Without access to real-time accurate data, it limits (educators') ability to make positive and effective decisions on behalf of their students."
The nine-person KIDS support team selected Hoonuit as its data warehouse where administrators and other educators will be able to access students' entire attendance, assessment and coursework history. 
Anthony Davis, KCSOS executive director of technology, said he looked for providers that had a proven track record, reliable security and did "things by the books."
The data collected is broken down into four modules: essentials, early warning, student success and operations. The first phase got underway in June, which consists of data management and analytics tools to track and meet federal, state and local accountability requirements.
Though there have been some challenges — extracting data from various student information systems and converting to one database CONTINUE READING: New pilot program among 9 school districts aims for student success from cradle to career | News | bakersfield.com

Questions swirl as fate of HISD board remains uncertain. Here are a few answers. - HoustonChronicle.com

Questions swirl as fate of HISD board remains uncertain. Here are a few answers. - HoustonChronicle.com

Questions swirl as fate of HISD board remains uncertain. Here are a few answers.


Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath came to and left the Greater Houston area Thursday without addressing one of the biggest issues on his agenda: the fate of Houston ISD’s school board.
In the coming weeks, Morath likely will be forced to decide whether to replace all trustees governing Texas’ largest school district or close one of HISD’s most historic campuses, the consequence of historic Wheatley High School failing to meet state academic standards for a seventh consecutive time. While Morath was in no mood to discuss the looming decision following the release of academic accountability ratings Thursday — he hurried out of an Aldine ISD school without answering questions or making a statement on HISD — a review of comments by the commissioner, his top deputies and state education leaders offers insight into the likely process.
Barring a successful appeal of Wheatley’s grade, which became public Thursday, Morath is widely expected to strip power from the nine HISD trustees and appoint a new board of managers comprised of Houston-area residents. The process likely would take multiple months to complete, with a replacement board seated sometime in early 2020.
“These are not going to be people that live in Austin,” Morath told the Houston Chronicle in the spring of 2018, when asked about the possibility of a state-appointed board taking control of HISD. “These are going to be well-qualified people that live in Houston that just didn’t want to run for school board before, but they wouldn’t mind being appointed."
In light of the looming state intervention in HISD, home to nearly 210,000 students and 280 campuses, here are answers to the most common questions swirling about a replacement school board:
Why is Morath “widely expected” to oust HISD trustees instead of closing Wheatley?
To date, Morath has not definitively stated he would prefer replacing HISD’s school board over shuttering schools, though he hinted at it last year.
“I'm not sure (school) closure is, in fact, the best option in Houston,” Morath said at the time, cautioning that he wanted to see academic accountability results for chronically low-rated schools before making a decision.
Morath’s top lieutenant in Houston, AJ Crabill, echoed the commissioner’s comments at a town hall meeting last year.
“We have to look beyond state-mandated closure as a panacea in this particular instance,” said Crabill, who served as the Texas Education Agency deputy commissioner of governance until this summer, when he became a special adviser to Morath. “I don’t say that out of an unwillingness to use that as an option. I say that from someone who’s gone to the campuses and doesn’t see that it actually moves the ball forward for those students.”
In addition, several state legislators working in education circles have stated they believe a replacement board is imminent.
State Sen. Paul Bettencourt, a Houston Republican and member of the Senate Education Committee, declared earlier this month that he is “nearly 100 percent certain” that CONTINUE READING: Questions swirl as fate of HISD board remains uncertain. Here are a few answers. - HoustonChronicle.com

Economics of racism and neglect: Flint, Newark and a generation of children at risk | Salon.com

Economics of racism and neglect: Flint, Newark and a generation of children at risk | Salon.com

Economics of racism and neglect: Flint, Newark and a generation of children at risk
Flint and Newark are only the tip of a massive, poisoned iceberg: Lead contamination threatens an entire generation

The images of long lines of residents in Flint, Michigan, and Newark, New Jersey, lining up for bottled water because their city water was contaminated with brain-damaging lead resembled what we once would have expected to see only in a National Geographic photo spread from a “developing nation.”
And yet in 2019 in Donald Trump’s America, Flint and Newark are not outliers. 
From coast to coast, from border to border, the threat of lead contamination is most pronounced in poor communities of color — with potentially devastating consequences for infants and children. 
The Center for Disease Control warns that even a slight elevation of lead levels in the blood can reduce IQs, stunt development and lead to behavioral problems. 
In an academic white paper titled the “Racial Ecology of Lead Poisoning” Harvard researchers Robert Sampson and Alix Winter studied “the toxic inequality in Chicago neighborhoods from 1995 until 2013”:
Yet as the crisis in Flint, Michigan, revealed, there is a major health scourge that has not been subjected to the same analytic scrutiny at the neighborhood level as other health indicators — lead poisoning. Unlike longstanding health concerns, it was not until relatively recently that a sizable body of research built up and converged in concluding that lead is a major neurotoxin that impairs cognitive, physical, and behavioral functioning, even at relatively low levels.
Sampson and Winter flagged a National Research Council from the late 1990s, which asserted, CONTINUE READING: Economics of racism and neglect: Flint, Newark and a generation of children at risk | Salon.com


The Politics of Wealth and Power | radical eyes for equity

The Politics of Wealth and Power | radical eyes for equity

The Politics of Wealth and Power

Celebrated author of the graphic novel Maus, Art Spiegelman, and former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick may seem to have little in common except for their respective fame and success in their fields.
But Spiegelman’s recent experience with Marvel Entertainment has exposed a much more significant parallel, as Spiegelman concludes about having his work excluded by the company for being too political:
A revealing story serendipitously showed up in my news feed this week. I learned that the billionaire chairman and former CEO of Marvel Entertainment, Isaac “Ike” Perlmutter, is a longtime friend of Donald Trump’s, an unofficial and influential adviser and a member of the president’s elite Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida. And Perlmutter and his wife have each recently donated $360,000 (the maximum allowed) to the Orange Skull’s “Trump Victory Joint Fundraising Committee” for 2020. I’ve also had to learn, yet again, that everything is political… just like Captain America socking Hitler on the jaw.
This moment of being policed for being too political experienced by Spiegelman has been Kaepernick’s life outside of the playing field for the past three years.
Kaepernick’s NFL sin leading to his being banished from the Gridiron of Eden that is professional football was protesting during the National Anthem—an act often cast as protesting about the National Anthem and thus rejecting the good ol’ U.S. of A.
Despite their fame and success, Spiegelman and Kaepernick are CONTINUE READING: The Politics of Wealth and Power | radical eyes for equity

Lessons for Democratic 2020 presidential primary voters from your pals in Michigan | Eclectablog

Lessons for Democratic 2020 presidential primary voters from your pals in Michigan | Eclectablog

Lessons for Democratic 2020 presidential primary voters from your pals in Michigan
Strong women, practical promises, voting rights and weed.

You know that winning Michigan, the state the Republican nominee carried by the slightest margin in 2016, is essential to defeating Donald Trump in 2020.
You also know that our state is not Wisconsin, which is “the pivotal battleground state.” But Democrats will not win without carrying Michigan. I’ll go further: Democrats cannot win in 2020 if Michigan is close.
Democrats pretty much ran the board in the Mitten on the statewide and federal level last year. But there are still at least two winnable House seats Michigan’s 6th — represented by Fred Upton, the man who made sure the repeal of the Affordable Care Act passed the House — and Michigan’s 7th — represented by Tim Walberg, one of the most useless pieces of lumber in Congress. And we also missed the chance to take back our Supreme Court.
But even the losses contain lessons (such as, don’t help save Fred Upton).
These lessons aren’t as important as Democrats confronting Trump’s strategic racism by CONTINUE READING: Lessons for Democratic 2020 presidential primary voters from your pals in Michigan | Eclectablog

glen brown: Hey, Illinois Tier 2 Teachers! Don’t Forget You Are Subsidizing Everyone Else

glen brown: Hey, Illinois Tier 2 Teachers! Don’t Forget You Are Subsidizing Everyone Else

Hey, Illinois Tier 2 Teachers! Don’t Forget You Are Subsidizing Everyone Else

“…The Tier 2 system… covers all employees hired after 2010.  The precise details of the Tier 2 benefit program differ for each of the 5 state retirement systems (for teachers, state employees, university employees, judges, and legislators), and variations exist for the retirement programs for City of Chicago employees, and other public employees in Illinois, but there were three key changes in the Tier 2 benefits:

·       Retirement age and minimum vesting service were increased;
·       The Cost-of-Living adjustment was reduced from a fixed 3% per year to half the rate of inflation, and is additive rather than compounded (that is, if CPI is 3% for four years, your original benefit is increased by 4 times 1.5% rather than 1.03 x 1.03 x 1.03 x 1.03); and
·       Pensionable pay is capped at a level that sits at $113,645 in 2018, but increase at a rate of half the rate of inflation.  (The legislators, not surprisingly, chose to apply neither this provision nor the COLA reduction to themselves or the judges.)
“For the teachers, the impact of these provisions is harshest, especially bearing in mind that Illinois teachers (unlike those of 35 other states) do not participate in Social Security.  Illinois teachers do not vest in their benefits until reaching 10 years of service.  Their normal retirement benefit is not available until age 67; while they are eligible to retire at age 62, their benefit is reduced by 6% per year prior to age 67.  They contribute 9% of pay towards their benefits (though, roughly half the time, their local school CONTINUE READING: glen brown: Hey, Illinois Tier 2 Teachers! Don’t Forget You Are Subsidizing Everyone Else



White House Imposes “Public Charge Rule” but 1982 Supreme Court Decision Blocks Efforts to Deny Public Education to Undocumented Children | janresseger

White House Imposes “Public Charge Rule” but 1982 Supreme Court Decision Blocks Efforts to Deny Public Education to Undocumented Children | janresseger

White House Imposes “Public Charge Rule” but 1982 Supreme Court Decision Blocks Efforts to Deny Public Education to Undocumented Children

On the front page of yesterday’s NY Times appeared, How Stephen Miller Seized the Moment to Battle Immigration, and yesterday’s Washington Post featured, The Ghostwriter: The Adviser Who Scripts Trump’s Immigration Policy.  These stories profile one of President Donald Trump’s most influential advisers—a sinister, skilled and influential manipulator of policy, other staff, and the President himself.
Miller is described by the Post‘s Nick Miroff and Josh Dawsey as a deeply involved in the “immigration restrictionist movement.” For the NY Times, Jason DeParle describes Miller as “a speechwriter, policy architect, personnel director, legislative aide, spokesman and strategist.  At every step, he has pushed for the hardest line. When Mr. Trump wavered on his pledge to abolish protections for 800,000 so-called Dreamers—people brought illegally to the United States as children—Mr. Miller urged conservative states to threaten lawsuits. Mr. Trump then canceled the protections. When the president later mulled a deal to restore them, Mr. Miller stacked the negotiations with people who opposed the move, leading Mr. Trump to abandon compromise and rail against immigrants from ‘shithole countries.'”
Miller is described as skilled at working behind the scenes to manipulate staff at all levels including the President himself, but he has worked to keep a low profile. This week’s press coverage likely results from a new executive regulation—the “public charge rule”— finalized this week to promote Miller’s obsession: making America white again. The rule will take effect in mid-October.
Neither profile focuses on the effect of Miller’s policies on children—neither on Miller’s willingness to punish children for their parents’ border crossings, nor on Miller’s efforts more broadly to discourage immigration altogether by violating children’s rights or even isolating them in cages in detention centers at the border.  But the Washington, D.C., child advocacy organization, First Focus explains the potentially devastating implications of the new public charge rule on the children in immigrant families. The public charge rule will affect later CONTINUE READING: White House Imposes “Public Charge Rule” but 1982 Supreme Court Decision Blocks Efforts to Deny Public Education to Undocumented Children | janresseger


Has the Personalized Learning Hype Worn Off? - NEA Today

Has the Personalized Learning Hype Worn Off? - NEA Today

Has the Personalized Learning Hype Worn Off?


Many, if not most, public school educators recognize the pattern. A new education buzzword or trend enters the conversation about public education. Proponents say it is nothing less than a “game-changer” that will “revolutionize” student learning. The hype surrounding this new idea is usually borderline messianic, but is backed by enormous amounts of corporate money. Anyone who raises the slightest objection or reservation is often branded a stuffy defender of the status quo.
The idea is embedded in a few school districts and steadily begins to expand. Within a year or two, it’s clear that – oops! –  the promised positive results have yet to materialize. A backlash grows. By this point, tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent, time and resources have been wasted, and proven ideas about what really works in the classroom have been marginalized.
Sound familiar? The U.S. public education system has been squeezed by a series of half-baked innovations or “reforms” over the past couple of decades, driven by a “failing schools/bad teacher” narrative. The tireless activism of educators and their allies has, to certain extent, stalled the momentum behind many of these policies, including for-profit charter schools, vouchers, and high-stakes testing.
The latest education trend to find itself in the hot seat is personalized learning.
By now, most educators have heard of personalized learning.  Many have implemented some version of it in their classrooms. No one seems to agree precisely on what personalized learning means and what it entails, beyond a CONTINUE READING: Has the Personalized Learning Hype Worn Off? - NEA Today

Sunday, August 18, 2019

How to Organize Your Child's IEP Binder

How to Organize Your Child's IEP Binder

How to Organize Your Child’s IEP Binder

Download all IEP binder resources (View / Download)
Or download resources individually:
Making an IEP binder is a great way to keep information organized and at the ready when you need it. An IEP binder can help you prepare for IEP meetings and stay up to date on your child’s progress. This powerful tool can also help you communicate and collaborate with teachers and your child’s IEP team. Here’s what you need to get started:
  • A three-ring binder
  • Six tabbed section dividers
  • A three-hole punch
Organizing an IEP binder with your child’s evaluation reports, IEP, report cards, and other paperwork may sound like a lot of work. But this guide walks you through what to gather and where to put it.

Start With the IEP Binder Checklist

Print this IEP binder checklist and put it in the very front of your binder. The checklist has details about what you can put in each of the tabbed sections in your IEP binder.
The checklist has another very important purpose: You can update it as you add new paperwork. As your binder grows, this checklist will help you see what you’ve updated and when you updated it.

Label the Tabbed Section Dividers

Label the tabbed dividers for each of the sections of the checklist: CommunicationEvaluationsIEPReport Cards/Progress NotesSample Work, and Behavior. Keep in mind that if you’re just starting the special education process, you may not have much to put in each of these sections yet. Over time, here’s what you’ll be putting in each section—and why:

Tab 1: Communication

Print and fill out a school contact sheet and put it in the front of this section. The contact sheet will help you quickly find and reach out to key people with questions or concerns.
Next is the school communication log. Print one out and use it to help you keep track of meetings, phone calls, emails, and other important interactions you have with your child’s teacher and school. As you fill out each entry, be sure to note what was discussed and what was decided.
The rest of this section is for letters and important emails. Put the newest ones on top, behind the communication log. Why keep printed copies of emails? Having a paper version in your binder means you’ll have it on hand for meetings, so you can easily find and reference what was said.
As you file letters and emails in this section, remember to include a brief summary of each one in the communication log.

Tab 2: Evaluations

Start this section with the request or referral for evaluation. After that, put in your consent to evaluate. Keeping these two documents together can help you see if the school completes the evaluation in a timely manner.
Next comes the school-based evaluation report. (It’s handy to have this in the same section as your request for evaluation, so you can match up each request with the CONTINUE READING: How to Organize Your Child's IEP Binder