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Friday, March 6, 2015

House Representative Santos and “Personal Finance” | Seattle Education

House Representative Santos and “Personal Finance” | Seattle Education:

House Representative Santos and “Personal Finance”


Washington State Representative Santos was a primary sponsor for yet another nonsensical bill, House Bill 1121. 
From the Washington State School Directors Association (WSSDA) Watch List,  is the following description of the bill:
Directs  the partnership to work with OSPI to  integrate financial ed into common core and career and college standards.
Directs districts to offer a course students can take at school or home (meaning online).
Districts are encouraged to grant credit. Allows the partnership to seek federal andprivate funds (guess who from).
Do any of the legislators who put their name to the bill know:
1. …that the Common Core Standards are just for math and English? Therefore, adding Personal Finance to math and English makes those the three most important subjects that will be the focus in all schools in our state. What about science, civics, history and geography? Am I missing something here?
We’ve lost nurses, counselors, librarians, field trips, art, band, music and other enrichment classes but they want to legislate “Personal Finance” into the Common Core Standards?
2. …that the Common Core Standards are copyrighted along with the SBAC test and therefore cannot be altered?
Probably not. I doubt any of them knew anything about the Common Core Standards before voting to approve their implementation in our state. In fact, the Common Core Standards had not been completed when the fine politicians in the great state of Washington approved their use.
When a bill doesn’t make sense, what do I do? You know the answer. I follow the money.

Answering a Challenge for “Full Disclosure” of My *Secret Funding* | deutsch29

Answering a Challenge for “Full Disclosure” of My *Secret Funding* | deutsch29:

Answering a Challenge for “Full Disclosure” of My *Secret Funding*

 On March 4, 2015, I wrote a post about a Louisiana teacher promoting the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in the op/eds and who happens to be under contract with the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) as a paid “common core expert.”

The teacher did not disclose that she is being financially compensated specifically for promoting CCSS.
money money
I took issue with both the compensation and the failure to disclose.
On March 6, 2015, I had a comment connected to the above post awaiting approval. It was written under the name, SickOfYourNonsense.
Here is what Sick had to say:
I think it’s time for full disclosure from you.
Who has been paying you under the table to keep our children tied to low standards and the worst curriculum in the nation,
Who has been paying you at all?
Setting aside the spitting-lizard tone of the above comment, allow me to offer “full disclosure” of my finances related to my advocacy for public education.
Let me begin with this: I am under contract with no entity, neither public nor private, nor with any individual for financial compensation for this blog, which is my primary, sustained means of communicating my research on the systematic privatization of public education.
I charge no fees to any readers of this blog. Any and all can read it for free.
To date, I have not sold the rights to any of my blog posts to any third parties.
My primary income is my teaching salary. It was slightly less in 2014 than in 2013. Our district allows teachers three days per year for “personal” absences. These I have used toward events related to education reform for the past three years (2012-14). Once I exhaust the three days, I must record my absence as “unexcused,” which means my teaching pay is docked. From 2012 to 2014, I collected no speaking fees for speaking engagements; I only asked that organizations pay for my travel, and in cases in which I needed to take an “unexcused” day from school, that the Answering a Challenge for “Full Disclosure” of My *Secret Funding* | deutsch29:

Rahm Emanuel is an Organic Tomato – sort of… | Reclaim Reform ‪#‎Chuy2015‬ ‪#‎imwithchuy‬

Rahm Emanuel is an Organic Tomato – sort of… | Reclaim Reform:

Rahm Emanuel is an Organic Tomato – sort of…

As Rahm Emanuel spends millions of dollars on TV ads and other media, he labels himself certain things. In propaganda terms, this is a simple plan. If something is repeated often enough, people will believe it as truth.
Rahm Emanuel organic tomato
One favorite term that Rahm and his PR people use is “Progressive Democrat.”
Just because he labels himself a “Progressive Democrat” doesn’t make him a Progressive Democrat any more than if he labeled himself… well, an “Organic Tomato.”
There are other corporate media connections that the rich and powerful use for their propaganda.
The Washington Post endorsed Rahm. Why?
Diane Ravich questions and answers what is behind the endorsement.
You may wonder how the term ‘progressive Democrat’ became a definition for someone who attacks teachers, unions, and public education, and exactly how they differ from conservative Republican governors like Scott Walker, John Kasich, and Mike Pence.
Rahm closed more public schools than any person in America’s history. That is un-Rahm Emanuel is an Organic Tomato – sort of… | Reclaim Reform:

California’s school funding guarantee, Prop 98 - One More John Mockler Lesson for the Road :: Fox&Hounds

One More John Mockler Lesson for the Road :: Fox&Hounds:

One More John Mockler Lesson for the Road

Joe Mathews

Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

The obituaries for John Mockler are focusing on his role in crafting California’s school funding guarantee, Prop 98, and the funding regime around it. That made sense—Prop 98 had a huge impact, and his command of the complicated measure was so great that I once suggested in print that California needed a constitutional amendment requiring Mockler to live forever. If only such a thing could be legislated.
But the focus on Mockler’s finance work, and on his public service and political work, shouldn’t distract us from recognizing the breadth of his commitment to California kids and schools. He thought about far more than funding. He was deeply grounded in the realities of kids – how they learn and how schools affect their educations and their lives.
He also had a great devotion to facts, and to trying to correct misimpressions. And one point he made often and very well deserves to be remembered by all Californians. That point? California’s schools are NOT failing.
Yes, the schools have challenges, they need more funding, and they need to do better, he’d say. But the repetitive slur that “our schools are failing” is wrong, a product of misuse and misunderstanding of statistics, he argued convincingly. The statistics showed that California schools have made huge gains – even in the face of underinvestment. A better question might be whether those gains are enough – and how we could accelerate them.
When I talked to him in recent years, our conversation was often about this subject. Mockler believed we needed a more accurate, clearer understanding of what schools were doing right – if we were going to do better by California children.
Mockler gave talks about the non-failure of California schools – and their progress. As someone who stole many of Mockler’s statistics and arguments from these talks for journalistic purposes, I highly recommend reading this interview of Mockler, laying out his case. I’d also suggest an excellent slide show with more figures.
To honor his memory, I’d suggest we all resolve to stop referring to California schools as “failing.” Yes, the schools need to do better. But so do we all.One More John Mockler Lesson for the Road :: Fox&Hounds:

Showdown in Chicago: Harold Washington Loyalist vs. "Mayor 1%" ‪#‎Chuy2015‬ ‪#‎imwithchuy‬

Showdown in Chicago: Harold Washington Loyalist vs. "Mayor 1%":

Showdown in Chicago: Harold Washington Loyalist vs. "Mayor 1%"

Thursday, 05 March 2015 11:52By Robert NaimanTruthout | Op-Ed
Chicago mayoral candidate Jesus "Chuy" Garcia speaks with Chicago Southside residents. (Photo:  Eric Allix Rogers)Chicago mayoral candidate Jesus "Chuy" Garcia speaks with Chicago Southside residents. (Photo: Eric Allix Rogers)On April 7, there's going to be a world-historical electoral showdown in Chicago between incumbent Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the insurgent challenger, former Harold Washington lieutenant Jesus "Chuy" Garcia. The official deadline for voter registration is in less than a week, on March 10. A recent Chicago Sun-Times poll said the race was a "dead heat."
National media are alreadyportraying this as a national showdown between the Hillary Clinton/Wall Street/corporate wing of the Democratic Party and the Elizabeth Warren/Bernie Sanders/Harold Washington populist wing. MoveOn, Democracy for America and other national progressive Democratic groups are already on the ground in Chicago, pulling out the stops for Chuy. Veterans of the Harold Washington campaigns are "getting the band back together."
We all believe in voting and participation, right? So, if this is really going to be a referendum on where the Democratic Party is headed, with national implications, then we all should all easily agree that every available Chicagoan over the age of 18 should participate, right?
Members of the Chicago diaspora spread across the United States - especially, spread across Illinois - have a special responsibility to help Rock the Vote.
With this responsibility in mind, I have prepared the following planning calendar from public sources, focused on the task of making sure that college students from Chicago who may temporarily be residing in other places in Illinois avail themselves of the opportunity to participate.
All of us have Chicagoans in our midst. Make sure that the Chicagoans in your life engage on this. Friends don't let friends miss a world-historical election.
Chicago Mayoral Election: Student Participation Planning Calendar
March 10: Official deadline for registering to vote in the election. Chicagoans can register to vote here.
March 7 - March 15: Spring break at Northern Illinois UniversityIllinois State University (ISU) and Southern Illinois University (SIU). Thus, Northern, ISU and SIU students who are home in Chicago for spring break can register to vote before the official deadline during the first few days of their break.
March 16 - 20: Spring break at Eastern Illinois University.
March 23 - April 4: Early vote at any of 51 locations citywide.
March 21 - March 29: Spring break at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign(UIUC). Thus, UIUC students who are home in Chicago for spring break can early vote between March 23 and March 29.
April 2: Official deadline for requesting a mail ballot (absentee ballot.) Any registered voter may cast an absentee ballot by mail. Voters do not need a reason or excuse to vote by mail. Absentee ballots need to be postmarked by April 6. The Showdown in Chicago: Harold Washington Loyalist vs. "Mayor 1%":

Bunkum Awards 2014 | National Education Policy Center

Bunkum Awards 2014 | National Education Policy Center:

Bunkum Awards 2014

The National Education Policy Center is pleased to announce the deserving winners of the 2014 BUNKUM AWARDS, recognizing the lowlights in education research over the past year. This marks our ninth year of handing out the Bunkums, and—judging by the bunk we’ve been reviewing—we’ll admit to feeling a little uneasy about the possibility that we may actually be enticing think tanks to produce awful reports. So, just to be clear to any think tank folks who may be reading this: receipt of these awards isn’t something to be proud of. Please stop competing to out-bunk one another.
Watch the 2014 Bunkum Awards Ceremony:

2014 Bunkum Honorees:

The ‘Class Size Reductio ad Absurdum' Award

To GEMS Education Solutions for The Efficiency Index
Comparing international test scores and drawing ominous conclusions is quite the rage. Also, as GEMS Educational Solutions found, it is a great way to garner credulous coverage from The Economist and the BBCAll that’s needed is a pile of data and a mathematical model, and one can do creative things like rank countries’ educational systems based on their “efficiency.” It apparently matters not how much sense it all makes, as long as it can be puffed up with something that sounds sufficiently intimidating, such as a stochastic frontier analysis, to lend an air of gravitas to an inherently silly idea. So armed, GEMS set out in The Efficiency Index to rank 30 countries. When the data emerged from the GEMS statistical grinder, researchers concluded from the resulting mince meat that to get a 5% increase in PISA scores, teacher wages would (on average) have to go up by 14% or class sizes would (on average) have to go down by 13 students per class.
The most entertaining part of this report is the efficiency index itself, which purports to list optimal wage levels and class sizes for each country. For four countries, the optimal class size is estimated at fewer than two students per teacher. The teacher salary part of the report is almost as risible. The Swiss, we discover, should cut teachers’ wages nearly in half to achieve that nation’s “optimal” teacher salary. Indonesian teachers meanwhile would see their wages triple. As explained by our reviewer, City University of New York economist Clive Belfield, such anomalies expose the weaknesses in each of the study’s three key elements: “the output measure is questionable, the input measures are unclear, and the econometric method by which they are correlated does not have a straightforward economic interpretation.”
Meanwhile, even those of us in the research community who have long pointed to the benefits of (smart) class-size reduction can savor the irony of an “efficiency” report suggesting that two students is an optimal class size.

The ‘What the World Needs Now is Choice Sweet Choice' Awards

To Fordham Institute for Expanding the Education Universe
To Reason Foundation for Federal School Finance Reform
The past decades have seen school choice expand through charter schools, vouchers, tax credits (neo-vouchers), and various other mechanisms dreamed up after feverish evenings of reading Milton Friedman. While it’s true that all this choice has increased systemic inequities even as it has failed to improve educational outcomes, that’s no reason to stop or slow down—at least not according to two Bunkum-winning reports: Expanding the Education Universe: A Fifty-State Strategy for Course Choice from the Fordham Institute, and Federal School Finance Reform: Moving Toward Title I Funding Following the Child from the Reason Foundation.
The Fordham report urges policymakers to bring the blessings of market competition to the selection of classes, envisioning a future when students design their own selection of online and off-line classes, offered by a variety of public and private providers. Unfortunately, the report makes no effort to actually evaluate the merits of the idea. It “assumes, without solid evidence, that course choice, electronic educational provisions, and the like are viable, Bunkum Awards 2014 | National Education Policy Center:

The Network For Public Education | NPE Supports Those Who Opt Out

The Network For Public Education | NPE Supports Those Who Opt Out:

NPE Supports Those Who Opt Out

NPE Supports Opt Out

The Network for Public Education stands in full support of parents, students and educators who choose to teach and learn about the reality of high stakes tests, opt out of high stakes tests, speak out against high stakes tests and who refuse to give those tests to students.

We take this stand because:

  • Right now, in communities from the highest need to the most affluent, students, parents and educators are being punished for the courageous act of informing others about available options to opt out of high stakes tests and acting upon those options.  These reprisals, often for merely learning and teaching about students’ rights, violate basic human rights and common decency.
  • There is no evidence that these tests contribute to the quality of education, or help close the “achievement gap.” Since NCLB, these tests have hindered, not helped, school improvement efforts. The scores of US students in the international PISA tests have remained flat for the dozen years of high stakes testing.
  • These tests, particularly those associated with the Common Core, have become intrusive in our schools, consuming excessive time and resources. These are not the kind of tests that we took when we were children. Students in grades three to eight must spend ten or more hours on testing, and enter their answers on computer keyboards. Since teachers will not see their scores for months they have no diagnostic value. They have resulted in narrow instruction and curriculum that focuses on test preparation.
  • The Common Core tests, such as PARCC, SBAC and others Pearson has developed to measure the Common Core standards, have been designed to yield widespread failure for students, and thus are an inaccurate reflection of what our students are capable of doing.
  • Inequities in education are a real and devastating reality in our education system. High stakes tests exacerbate this inequity with their negative, disparate impact on students of color, students in poverty, English language learners, and students with disabilities.
NPE Board member Carol Burris wrote recently,
“…there comes a time when rules must be broken — when adults, after exhausting all remedies, must be willing to break ranks and not comply. That time is now. The promise of a public school system, however imperfectly realized, is at risk of being destroyed. The future of our children is hanging from testing’s high stakes. The time to Opt Out is now.”
NPE recognizes that not everyone is in a position where opting out of the tests is a viable option. However, we strongly support those who make that decision, and we encourage administrators, school board members and elected officials to honor this choice. We encourage teacher unions to support and defend teachers taking this stand and to support members’ rights to freedom of speech when they speak out on such issues of importance.
Most of all, we encourage all involved to circulate information and educate ourselves, each other and especially students to make decisions about their own education including around the issue of high stakes testing.
We do not take this position lightly, but we do so in response to a testing system that has moved far beyond what is useful, and has become a force of fear and failure in our schools; a system that is now directly attacking parents, students and educators who courageously stand to defend students.
In order to defend our students, high-stakes testing must be halted. We stand in full support of those who opt out and encourage others to do so.The Network For Public Education | NPE Supports Those Who Opt Out:

Parents Can Opt Out - United Opt Out National

Click Here to go to United Opt Out National: 

Click Here to go to the WebsiteUnited Opt Out Team

National History Day: Here comes the judge, here comes the judge... - It is Alive in the Lab

National History Day: Here comes the judge, here comes the judge... - It is Alive in the Lab:

National History Day: Here comes the judge, here comes the judge...


NHD Judges Photo courtesy of Joni Reynolds, Bay Farm 6th Grade Teacher

National History Day (NHD) makes history come alive for students by engaging them in the discovery of the historical, cultural, and social experiences of the past. NHD is an outstanding example of project-based and inquiry-based learning that can be integrated into any social studies, history, or humanities classroom. source:
Many years ago, our children attended Bay Farm Elementary School in Alameda, California. We were one of the first 250 families to open this new school that featured year-round education instead of a traditional calendar. The school has since reverted to a traditional schedule due to issues with trying to coordinate two different schedules in the same school district. Since my wife still substitute teaches at the school, I was asked to be one of the judges for NHD.
This is Bay Farm's first year participating in NHD. A teacher, Nancy Ely, who championed NHD at another school transferred to Bay Farm this year. She brought it with her! At her former school, she had only a few entrants. Though it was Bay Farm's inaugural year. there were 80 projects — the most of any elementary school in Alameda county. That speaks volumes about the students, parents, and staff at Bay Farm Elementary. (Forget the fact that they know a good judge when they see one.)
As part of NHD, students could do one of the following:
  • research paper
  • dramatic re-enactment of a historic event
  • documentary film
  • website
Bay Farm is participating in the junior division which means that projects submitted by 6th, 7th, and 8th-grade students are judged together rather than by grade level. Our teacher who provided the judging instruction noted "Just because the 6thgraders are small and cute doesn't get them any more points on their projects." Based on the judging, Bay Farm will select 12 projects that will advance to the county level. From there, county winners can advance to the state level, and state winners will be judged nationally in Washington, D.C. NHD is a BFD.
This year's NHD theme is leadership and the legacy of history that these leaders created. I was among some judges who looked at 4 websites.
  • Alexander the Great
  • Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli
  • Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Tutankhamun
Our process was to look at each website, interview the students about their site (to get them to talk, think on their feet, and answer ad hoc questions), and then complete a rubric where we scored the site against pre-defined criteria specific to NHD. Our scale was:
  • 0 = missing
  • 1 = needs improvement
  • 3 = good
  • 5 = excellent
  • 7 = superior
Each site had something unique to offer.
The teachers then collected all of the judges' rubrics, tabulated the results, and announced the winners that will move on. All of the projects wereNational History Day: Here comes the judge, here comes the judge... - It is Alive in the Lab:

What Lyndon B. Johnson Really Said About Selma, Bloody Sunday, and Martin Luther King Jr. - The Atlantic

What Lyndon B. Johnson Really Said About Selma, Bloody Sunday, and Martin Luther King Jr. - The Atlantic:

What LBJ Really Said About Selma

Mar 05, 2015 | 165-part series 
Video by Scott Calonico

Fifty years ago, a civil rights march began in Selma, Alabama. Nearly 600 people intended to walk to the state capitol in Montgomery, led by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, where they would demand to speak with then-Gov. George Wallace about the death of Jimmie Lee Jackson, a 26-year-old who was shot by police the previous month. 
The march barely made it out of Selma. When protestors crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge on March 7, they were ambushed by state troopers. Mounted police charged the protestors on horseback; troopers beat people unconscious; 17 were hospitalized. News of the "Bloody Sunday" attack immediately spread across the country.
The next morning, as filmmaker Scott Calonico recounts in this short documentary, President Lyndon B. Johnson faced a crisis. While he publicly condemned the attack, Johnson was also calling allies and advisors, searching for a political salve to the situation. "They're going to have another march tomorrow, and, as we see it, it's going to go from bad to worse," he warned.
Calonico's film is a fascinating peek at the politics behind a historic moment in American history. In a conversation with Bill Moyers, a White House special assistant, Johnson expresses a shocking disdain for Martin Luther King Jr.'s actions: "I really think we ought to be firm on him myself," he says. "I just think it's outrageous what's on TV. I've been watching it here and it looks like that man is in charge of the country."
This film collects archival material from the LBJ Library, the Miller Center, the Tennessee State Archives, the Internet Archive, and the Library of Congress.

Author: Chris Heller

When School Reform and Democracy Meet - The Atlantic

When School Reform and Democracy Meet - The Atlantic:

When School Reform and Democracy Meet

 Three years ago Facebook's CEO pledged $100 million to improve Newark's schools. In this week's New Yorker, Dale Russakoff offers an enlightening and depressing portrait of how that money was spent and what it achieved. The story is a welcome corrective to the bromide that "government should be run like a business"—as though business is some unassailable fortress of morality. 

School reformers promised to clean up a bloated and corrupt school administration. But what emerges in its place is a system in which various "consultants" are paid millions to deliver minimal results. And those results are meant to be delivered on a fast-food schedule:
On a Saturday morning later that month, Booker and Cerf met privately on the Rutgers-Newark campus with twenty civic leaders who had hoped that the Zuckerberg gift would unite the city in the goal of improving the schools. Now they had serious doubts. “It’s as if you guys are going out of your way to foment the most opposition possible,” Richard Cammarieri, a former school-board member who worked for a community-development organization, told them.

Booker acknowledged the missteps, but said that he had to move quickly. He and Christie could be out of office within three years. If a Democrat defeated Christie in 2013, he or she would have the backing of the teachers’ unions and might return the district to local control. “We want to do as much as possible right away,” Booker said. “Entrenched forces are very invested in resisting choices we’re making around a one-billion-dollar budget.” Participants in the meeting, who had worked for decades in Newark, were doubtful that reforms imposed over three years would be sustainable.
The "going out of your way to foment opposition" critique sounds really familiar. As does the anti-democratic streak which seems to haunt "reformers" and classical progressives of every age. One strategy Booker might have embraced was committing to making the case for school reform to Newark voters, and voters in New Jersey at large—be that as mayor or governor—over the long term. (Newark's schools are under the control of the state.) Instead, Booker chose another strategy—one that assumes an inability to convince the people whom Booker was charged with serving. 
In any political fight worth having, one will likely tangle with "entrenched forces." The beauty of democracy is the right (and I'd say obligation) to convince a critical mass of voters that those forces are acting counter to the public When School Reform and Democracy Meet - The Atlantic: