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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

What Happened to Rahm? | EduShyster ‪#‎Chuy2015‬ ‪#‎imwithchuy‬

What Happened to Rahm? | EduShyster:

What Happened to Rahm?

At some point the gap between press conference and reality becomes too glaring to ignore…
By Maria Moser
rahmHow on earth could something as silly as neighborhood public schools bedevil Rahm Emanuel right out of his incumbent throne as mayor of Chicago? The New York Times recently asked that question, and I’m happy to provide some answers.  My home is on Chicago’s South Side, on a street full of cops and firefighters, and people still call themselves *new to the neighborhood* if they’ve been here less than 25 years. With only 9 years under my belt, I’m a relative newcomer. But traveling often for work, and seeing the gap between national coverage and reality on the ground, I’d like to try to answer a question that’s been asked a lot recently: What happened to Rahm?
It’s not rocket science
Here’s what happened: Rahm systematically attacked nearly every city service through a neoliberal privatization plan. As a friend put it, *Rahm’s not so much the mayor as the guy auctioning off what’s left of our public goods.* And public goods have a disproportionate value to middle class and poor people in our city. Your library is open less and has less staff. There are fewer lifeguards on our beaches in the summer. Or you spent hours on the phone trying to activate your new Ventra card only to be disconnected. We’ve taken notice as these things have happened because they affect our lives.  What’s it like to live in a city with an auctioneer at the helm? Here’s a sampling:What Happened to Rahm? | EduShyster:

A mayor for all of us ‪#‎Chuy2015‬ ‪#‎imwithchuy‬

A Mayor for All of Us

Timuel Black and Asean Johnson represent four generations of community activism in Chicago. Watch as both share their views on the importance of having a mayor willing to listen.

Louisiana Teacher Who “Sees Benefits of Common Core” in Op/ed Is a Paid Endorser | deutsch29

Louisiana Teacher Who “Sees Benefits of Common Core” in Op/ed Is a Paid Endorser | deutsch29:

Louisiana Teacher Who “Sees Benefits of Common Core” in Op/ed Is a Paid Endorser

 On March 4, 2015, carried an op/ed entitled, Teacher Sees Benefits of Common Core Playing Out in Classroom.

The column was written by St. Bernard Parish fifth-grade teacher, Angelle Lailhengue.
Here’s an excerpt:
As phase 1 of the PARCC assessment nears, my teachers are doing more and more “test prep.” And I couldn’t be more proud of what I see in their classrooms. Students are reading grade-level texts independently. Students are having discussions about complex texts. Students are writing about texts. “Test-prep,” as we prepare to take the PARCC assessment, means deeper thinking and learning, analyzing and understanding text, problem solving and complex thinking. Teachers aren’t stopping instruction to start “test prep,” and students are still learning as the assessments near. The skills that students are practicing are the skills that they need to succeed after high school.
The article included the following brief bio:
Angelle Lailhengue is an instructional coach at Lacoste Elementary School in Chalmette.
What readers are not made aware of is that “instructional coach” is a euphemism for “teacher leader”– an individual paid to promote Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE)-endorsed policies– such as the Common Core and its assessments.
Lailhengue is under contract with LDOE and is being paid $5,930 in “100% federal fund” from October 15, 2013, through June 30, 2015, for work including “serving as a Common Core expert & assist[ing] in building a growing network of teacher leaders throughout the state.”

Lailhengue tweeted the following four days after being under contract to promote Common Core:
lailhengue tweet
One more bit of info:
ELA Unit Plan Preparation, Grades 3-5 (Sessions A & B) (P4) 3 Rotations (4.5 Louisiana Teacher Who “Sees Benefits of Common Core” in Op/ed Is a Paid Endorser | deutsch29:

PARCC Is 30 Days of Destruction | Branden Rippey

PARCC Is 30 Days of Destruction | Branden Rippey:

PARCC Is 30 Days of Destruction

 The following statement was drafted and endorsed by 35 teachers at Newark's Science Park High School, a school consistently rated as one of the top public schools in New Jersey and the nation.

To Whomever Will Listen:
We are teachers at Science Park High School in Newark, New Jersey, and we are deeply disturbed by the thirty days of disruption being forced on our school. In the coming weeks, like the rest of New Jersey, we will be forced to administer the PARCC exam. A few weeks ago we saw the schedule: three weeks of testing in March, followed by three weeks of testing in May. This total does not include the additional week of make-up testing following each of the three-week periods. This total does not include the days of mandatory test preparation to familiarize students with the exam's very specific computer interface. This total does not include the thousands of hours of training of teachers and administrators to plan, schedule, and execute this exam. We honestly believe that The State of New Jersey, by forcing us to administer this time-devouring test, is engaged in behavior destructive to the educational well being of our students.
We believe that the thirty days of disruption could just as easily be called the thirty days of destruction. Science Park High School is a Blue Ribbon school. We, like many teachers in Newark and throughout New Jersey, have dedicated huge parts of our lives to making certain that our students receive an excellent education. We come in early. We stay late. We give up our weekends. We wouldn't change our dedication because we love what we do. We love the students we teach. Our love forces us to say something.
We do not believe that parents and administrators who work for the State of New Jersey understand the destructive impact this testing will have on our ability to teach students. Some teachers will be removed from their classes for a week. The second week that same teacher may not have any students because they are being tested. In the third week they may have only partially filled classes. The disruption will continue with some students still absent from class during the fourth week of make-up exams. Then we have spring break, three weeks of teaching in April, and in May we test for a second three-to-four week period. We say again, in May we test for a second three- to four-week period!
We value our time in the classroom with our students. Teachers are important to the educational process. It is wrong to stop the educational process for close to 17 percent of the year to administer an exam. We could talk about further objections, like the use of a confusing computer interface, or the use of an exam that many highly educated and successful people have difficulty completing. But thirty days of testing is sufficiently outrageous and -- we believe -- indefensible.
There are three questions this schedule raises that demand answers:
1. Why is 30 days of testing disruption more beneficial than 30 days of classroom instruction? We have never heard a pedagogical justification for this and could not imagine what one would be. Explain to us how this is about the education of our children.
2. How much are the State of New Jersey and private foundations spending on the creation, training, execution, and grading of this exam, and who is financially benefitting from this? There is so much in education that we cannot afford, that we must fund out of our own pockets. There are so many teachers and clerks and drug PARCC Is 30 Days of Destruction | Branden Rippey:

What VAM Can Never Measure? | The Public Educator

What VAM Can Never Measure? | The Public Educator:

What VAM Can Never Measure?

It does not matter how many papers are written discrediting VAM. If it was possible to shove the American Statistical Association Statement on Using Value-Added Models for Educational Assessment in front of Andrew Cuomo’s face, it would make no difference to him. He would toss the paper into his circular file because reason has nothing to do with his so-called reform. VAM is not a rationale, but a belief to the reformers. The basis of their belief has nothing to do with mathematics, but everything to do with the tall tales the reformers give as anecdotal evidence to justify their beliefs.
This tall tale, often told by Teach for America types go something like this. After five weeks of training, this natural born teacher who just graduated from Harvard comes to work in a high needs school and immediately he is able to motivate every student in his 7th grade class located in the most poverty stricken area of Chicago. Each lesson captures the imagination of every student in the classroom. These highly inspirational lessons are differentiated toward every student in his class. He “teaches like a champion” as he was taught in those five magical weeks. He breaks down every academic behavior happening in the classroom. His students never knew that they have to face the teacher, give him direct eye contact, and have their feet planted squarely on floor. For the first time someone told them that they must have pencil in hand ready to write. Not only that, he is at school at 7:00 AM in the morning working with students one-on-one to catch them up to grade level. He tutors individual kids during his prep, during his lunch, and after school until nine at night. On weekends, he spends Saturday and Sunday at a local library working with even more of students. When April comes around, this class now has 100% of his students at level three or four on the Common Core ELA and Math Assessments. Just think, the previous year, when these students had that lazy burned-out unionized teacher who came to school at 8:40 and left exactly at 3:00, only 4% of these students even reached a level two on the assessment. Therefore, this “superman” teacher is rated using VAM as highly effective while that shriveled up union hack next door is deservedly ineffective and must be fired. Once every teacher in America is just like this Harvard What VAM Can Never Measure? | The Public Educator:

Rahm Emanuel’s New Campaign Ad Shows a Mayor Who’s Terrified He’s About to Lose - #‎Chuy2015‬ ‪#‎imwithchuy‬

Rahm Emanuel’s New Campaign Ad Shows a Mayor Who’s Terrified He’s About to Lose - In These Times:

Rahm Emanuel’s New Campaign Ad Shows a Mayor Who’s Terrified He’s About to Lose

His reelection bid was supposed to be a cakewalk, but Rahm is clearly starting to get nervous.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has just released a remarkable commercial that will no doubt soon be saturating Chicago's airwaves ahead of his widely unexpected April 7 runoff election against progressive challenger Jesús “Chuy” García
The ad is remarkable, because it showcases a mayor who is actually terrified he is going to lose what was supposed to be a cakewalk reelection bid.

Unlike Emanuel's previous campaign commercials that smugly boasted of his “toughness” as an executive, the new 30-second spot features Emanuel in what appears to be his home, fairly relaxed, no tie, a newspaper and empty glass on a dining room table. It starts with a frank admission: “They say your greatest strength can be your greatest weakness. I'm living proof of that. I can rub people the wrong way, or talk when I should listen. I own that.”

He goes on to insist that those characteristics just prove how “driven” he is “to make a difference” in the city. Still, he admits again at the end, “I'm not gonna always get it right.”
It's an interesting campaign strategy: begin with an admission of weakness and that people don't really like you, but insist they should vote for you anyway. The ad gives a rare glimpse of humility from a guy who's built a mystique over the years around being the kind of guy who sends political opponents a rotting fish in a box and curses out individual leaders or entire unions
The commercial reminded me of a spot for former Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, released just before the gubernatorial elections last November. In that ad, Quinn is shown on a basketball court, nailing jump shots while talking about his accomplishments in Rahm Emanuel’s New Campaign Ad Shows a Mayor Who’s Terrified He’s About to Lose - In These Times:
Big Education Ape: Rahm's Accomplishments - #Chuy2015

NYC Charter School Group Will Send 9,000 Students To Pro-Charter Rally - BuzzFeed News

NYC Charter School Group Will Send 9,000 Students To Pro-Charter Rally - BuzzFeed News:

NYC Charter School Group Will Send 9,000 Students To Pro-Charter Rally

9,000 students at Success Academies will be bused to a rally in Albany calling for the limit on new charter schools to be lifted. It’s on the same day as the teachers’ union lobbying day.

School will be closed tomorrow for 9,000 students at Success Academies, New York City’s most prominent charter school chain. Instead of class, the charter schools — which operate as government-funded public schools — will bus their students to Albany for a political rally that happens to coincide with the lobbying day of the school’s biggest foe, the United Federation of Teachers.
The move to shut down schools drew criticism last year, when Success first sent its students to an political rally that had been scheduled to clash with a rally a few blocks away held by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who had opposed the expansion of Success. And like last year, attending the rally is essentially the only option for for students: the schools aren’t providing alternative childcare. (Successtold Capital New York that teachers, who are also required to attend, will instruct students on the bus.)
“I still have a deep belief that no public school system should be closed for a political rally,” said Daniel Dromm, a New York City council member. “These students and parents don’t have a choice.”
Tomorrow’s rally is organized by the nonprofit Families for Excellent Schools, which said that more than 160 charter schools would be represented at the rally. Charters and their supporters hope to encourage New York lawmakers to raise the state’s cap on charter schools, which has put a stopper on the rapid growth of Success and other charters. Success plans to open 14 new schools this year, on top of the 32 that it already runs in the city, but will not be able to open any new schools in 2016 unless the cap is raised.
The rally’s organizers argued against the idea that charter students would be missing out on class time because of the rally, given that charters traditionally have significantly longer school days than public schools.
“Most of these charter schools could hold a rally that lasted for a month and still give their students more days in the classroom than district schools hampered by a failing, self-interested bureaucracy,” a representative of Families for Excellent Schools told BuzzFeed News.
Not coincidentally, the United Federation of Teachers will use tomorrow to lobby against raising that charter cap. The New York teachers’ union argues that charters unfairly divert money from traditional public schools.
Success is backed by some of the state’s most prominent figures, from Wall Street billionaires Dan Loeb and Paul Singer to former journalist Campbell Brown to Governor Andrew Cuomo, who made a surprise appearance at last year’s rally. The school has also racked up impressive test scores, managing to dramatically NYC Charter School Group Will Send 9,000 Students To Pro-Charter Rally - BuzzFeed News:

Restore the True Spirit of ESEA | Diann Woodard

Restore the True Spirit of ESEA | Diann Woodard:

Restore the True Spirit of ESEA

The single most important issue facing the 114th Congress is the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), a law whose primary purpose when it was originally passed was to alleviate the conditions of poverty that often cripple the ability of educators to meet our professional commitments and crush the hopes of the children we serve.
At its recent AFL-CIO Executive Council meeting, a statement titled Restore the Promise of ESEA was introduced and passed asking Congress to reclaim the true spirit of ESEA -- a law signed by then President Lyndon Baines Johnson as a way to alleviate poverty by providing adequate resources to disadvantaged and special needs children, thereby helping them to better compete.
The AFL CIO statement further calls on Congress to invest in the things frontline educators know our students need to secure a high quality education, rather than perpetuating the mandates and evaluation schemes promoted under No Child Left Behind (NCLB) that have so patently failed.
Indeed recalling the intent of ESEA only highlights the flaws in the first draft of the legislation, Student Success Act, soon to be debated in the House of Representatives. The draft continues to weigh heavily on testing and keeping funding at sequestration levels, making it difficult, if not impossible, to provide services and resources in areas where child poverty is at an all-time high.
In fact, a report released recently by the White House found that the bill would cap spending for the next six years at $800 million lower than it was in 2012.
During the public response phase of HR 5, my union, the American Federation of School Administrators (AFSA), made suggestions of ways to improve the act. In coalition with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) and the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), we submitted recommendations calling for inclusion of school leaders in the development of evaluation plans and more professional development and training. In addition, our coalition challenged performance assessments currently in use.
A joint statement we submitted to Congress noted that "assessments that are attached to high-stakes and a punitive label regardless of whether or not a student is actually making academic gains and growth is counterproductive. This has led to an untenable environment of over-testing, and [has] forced educators to spend less time on instruction in order to prepare for standardized tests."
To address these inequities, we urged that states and districts use more expansive growth models instead of high-stakes assessments in the belief that such an expansion of assessment systems would put more balance, fairness, and accuracy in measuring student and school progress and performance. The AFL CIO's Executive Council statement strongly endorsed this approach by, among other things, calling for an end to the federal mandate on teacher and principal evaluations.
Dr. Christine Handy, principal at Gaithersburg High School in Gaithersburg, Maryland, made a more viable path to success apparent in her testimony before the Senate Health Education Labor Pension (HELP) Committee when she stated, "ESEA must acknowledge the vital role of principals and provide them with appropriate professional support to ensure high academic achievement for all students."
Congress has the opportunity to invest in our nation's most valuable resource -- our youth. We need to write to our legislators to remind them of the original intent of Restore the True Spirit of ESEA | Diann Woodard:

February 25, 2015
A high-quality public education can build much-needed skills and knowledge. It can help children reach their God-given potential. It can stabilize communities and democracies. It can strengthen economies. It can combat the kind of fear and despair that evolves into hatred.
Public education, by bringing children together – regardless of race, religion or creed – can promote pluralism. It can also provide the safe harbors our children need, especially in tough times. We have seen in Ferguson, Mo., how public schools gave children the space they needed to process what was happening in their community, while instilling hope for their future.
And we are all constantly reminded of how a high-quality public education, one that enables students to learn teamwork, critical thinking and problem solving – skills they need to compete in the 21st century – can lead to good jobs and a more robust economy.
A study published recently found if we eliminate the achievement gap in the United States, we can grow our gross domestic product by 10% and raise the lifetime earnings of low-wage workers by 22%. This study by the Washington Center for Equitable Growth describes strategies that have worked in other countries to bridge the achievement gap.
We narrow that gap by supporting, not sanctioning, children, teachers and schools. We narrow that gap by teaching children how to work with their hands, to work in teams, to solve problems – not just how to ace a test. We narrow that gap by providing early childhood education and helping all third-graders read at grade level. We narrow that gap when we give all kids, not just those kids from wealthier families, access to art and music, librarians and nurses. We narrow that gap by focusing on high-poverty schools that struggle and by helping these schools through interventions such as wraparound services that combat the impact of poverty.
There's a debate stirring now around the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), a law signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson as part of his War on Poverty that, at its root, was about leveling the playing field for children. The law's most recent iteration, No Child Left Behind (NCLB), emphasized testing, which pulled us away from the focus on kids, especially those who are poor – as are half of public school students in the United States.
The good news is that pretty much everyone agrees NCLB has to go. The law allowed high-stakes testing to eclipse all else. It failed to close the achievement gap or reach its intended goals, and it must be fixed. The central question today is how to fix and improve the law so it realizes its original promise and maintains its historical focus on helping disadvantaged children.
The Republican majority’s response to this challenge is woefully inadequate. Their proposal (H.R. 5, the Student Success Act) would undermine more than five decades of work aimed at leveling the playing field for all students. While H.R. 5 would make some needed improvements to accountability, it would also lock in recession-driven cuts to education. It would allow state and local governments to walk away from their responsibility to maintain funding from year to year. And it would divert money meant to go to public schools that teach poor children, giving it to wealthier schools instead.
A report released this week from the White House found that this bill would cap "spending for the next six years at $800 million lower than it was in 2012." This would happen at a time when child poverty rates are alarmingly high and when Title I – the biggest federal education program – has not seen any increase since 2012. The report also found that high-poverty districts could lose $700 million, while more affluent districts could gain $470 million.
Make no mistake: The House bill will further harm our most disadvantaged children. We need a law that gives kids the resources they need, including computers, lower class sizes, nurses and counselors, even when their communities can't afford them. While only in draft form at this point, the majority’s ideas for reauthorizing the law in the Senate are not markedly different than what is fast approaching the floor in the House.
There is another path for lawmakers to follow here, one that would not abandon the promises made 50 years ago by President Johnson. This path would continue to ensure a strong and appropriate federal role in education.
NCLB, Race to the Top and the ESEA waivers prioritized annual testing in grades three through eight and once in high school to determine whether all children were grade level by 2014, and used that same single measure to judge schools, districts and teachers.  To undo the damage done by this flawed approach we recommend the following:
  • Build a better accountability system – one that is meant to support and improve and uses multiple, meaningful measures of student achievement once per grade span to judge performance and one that holds schools and districts responsible for providing equitable resources and supports to all schools. With half of public school students living in poverty and more than 30 states funding public education at pre-recession levels, resource accountability can help level the playing field for all children. We need to make sure all kids have access to equal resources, including the computers, lower class sizes, nurses, counselors and adequate support staff.
  • Annual testing should be retained for the purpose of ensuring that parents and communities get information – broken down by race, gender and income level – on how schools and students are performing to help students make progress – not to sanction or scapegoat. In that vein, parents who want to opt out of annual testing should also have the right to do so.
  • Provide struggling students and schools access to the 21st-century solutions they deserve – community schools that help mitigate the impact of poverty; project-based learning that drives critical thinking and problem-solving skills; and individual plans to support students who aren’t reading at grade level.
  • Invest in early childhood education. The value of early childhood education is undeniable. It helps ensure children, especially poor children, have a strong start. And it yields a strong return on the investment: Every dollar we invest in early childhood programs saves us up to $8 in the future. To this end, ESEA should include an additional dedicated source of continual funding for early childhood education and care programs. Early education programs are an integral part of a child’s education continuum and must be given the attention, resources and funds they need.
  • End the federal mandate on teacher and principal evaluation. Studies have shown that testing has increased tremendously because of federalizing teacher evaluations.  As Rick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute recently stated, “Teaching is a very essential profession, even though most teachers are not paid like professionals. If Congress insists on mandates for teachers, why not high-stakes doctor evaluations? Lawyer evaluations? State legislator evaluations? Members of Congress evaluations? Governor evaluations?  For legislators, for example, how often were you absent? How many votes did you miss? Who funded your campaign? Did your votes reflect the wishes of your contributors, or the needs of your constituents? How many bills did you introduce? How many passed? What changes did they produce? Did you help to reduce poverty?” 
  • Adopt the president’s FY 2016 budget request, a proposal that focuses on children and seeks to mitigate the rising percentage of public school students living in poverty. The president’s budget proposes an overdue increase of $1 billion for Title I as well as substantial investments in Head Start, child care, and early childhood education initiatives. Taken together these investments will help provide critical services to disadvantaged children at a time when many of their communities can't afford to do this for them.
We have an opportunity with the ESEA reauthorization to help reclaim the promise of public education. The AFL-CIO calls on Congress not to miss this chance by enacting a new ESEA that returns to the law’s original roots and invests in the things frontline educators know our students need to receive a high-quality public education to succeed in college and the work of work. Our society also needs a well-educated citizenry that thinks critically, engages fully in our democracy and helps contribute to our economic competitiveness as a nation.

WORLD | Why was the No Child Left Behind reauthorization abandoned in the House? | Emily Scheie | March 4, 2015

WORLD | Why was the No Child Left Behind reauthorization abandoned in the House? | Emily Scheie | March 4, 2015:

Why was the No Child Left Behind reauthorization abandoned in the House?


House Republicans scuttled a vote to reauthorize the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) federal education policy on Friday. Supporters say the delay is temporary and blamed the Department of Homeland Security funding crisis for distracting lawmakers’ attention. But opponents say the bill lacked enough support to pass, uniting Democrats and conservatives in an effort to kill it.
Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., who sponsored the Student Success Act, said it would improve education by “reducing the federal footprint, restoring local control, and empowering parents and education leaders.”
According to the bill summary, the act would replace more than 70 federal funding programs with the Local Academic Flexible Grant, so states and districts would have “the flexibility to support initiatives based on their local needs.” It also would allow states and districts to make their own teacher evaluation and accountability systems, and it includes measures limiting the secretary of education’s power.
Organizations such as the American Association of Christian Schools and the Family Research Councilwrote letters in support of the Student Success Act, but some conservatives say the bill does not go far enough in limiting the federal role in education. Heritage Action for America, a sister organization to The Heritage Foundation, issued an “Action Alert” on Thursday calling for people to contact their representatives and fight against the NCLB reauthorization.
Heritage Action issued a brief outlining its concerns, including the bill’s failure to change the NCLB mandate for annual reading and math testing in grades 3-8 and once in high school. 
Some lawmakers agreed the act failed to go far enough in returning local control over education to the states. In a Friday letter posted on his website, Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., announced his intention to vote against it: “I’m convinced it doesn’t do enough to allow the states to take the lead on education standards. I firmly believe that each state should have the power to opt out of federal education programs and mandates while still being able to keep their federal funding.”
Early last week, the Department of Education also spoke out against the House bill. 
“At exactly the time we should be expanding opportunity for America’s students and helping schools recover from the recession, this bill would allow unconscionable funding cuts,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a statement
The Obama administration also fears the bill will redirect money away from poorer districts, and the Office of Management and Budget issued a statement last week warning the president’s “senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.”
Kline tied Friday’s failed vote to prioritizing funding for the Department of Homeland Security. “I am disappointed we are unable to complete consideration of the Student Success Actthis week, but national security must always come first,” he said in a statement. He also said, “I expect we will have an opportunity to finish this important work soon.”
But others cited the bill’s lack of support as a contributing factor. “Great news: Reauthorization of No Child Left Behind … has been pulled from consideration. Your calls, emails, messages, and tweets made a difference!” Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., posted on Facebook.
Meanwhile, the Senate also is working to fix No Child Left Behind. 
“We still have a lot of work to do,” Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, said in a Friday statement. But she concluded, “I am hopeful that we can deliver results.”WORLD | Why was the No Child Left Behind reauthorization abandoned in the House? | Emily Scheie | March 4, 2015: