Latest News and Comment from Education

Friday, July 3, 2015

Is Someone Thinking About Giving Me a Few Million to Start an Education News Network? Not Likely.

Is Someone Thinking About Giving Me a Few Million to Start an Education News Network? Not Likely. | The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch | Tucson Weekly:

Is Someone Thinking About Giving Me a Few Million to Start an Education News Network? Not Likely.

No one would be foolish enough to give me a couple million to start an online education news network. I'm the wrong guy for the job, in spades. But it would be nice if someone on the progressive side of education got that kind of money to put together a slick, comprehensive website to cover education news, staffed with serious, experienced journalists.

I don't see that happening. But ex-CNN and NBC anchor Campbell Brown is getting big money tostart an online news network with a privatization/"education reform" slant. It must be nice to have friends in high financial places.

Brown's nonprofit news site is supposed to go live in mid July. She's hired 13 people so far, including a former editor at Time magazine and a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist. It takes a decent chunk of change to pay 13 quality staff members while also taking care of general startup costs. But money isn't really a problem when your funding comes from the likes of Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Walton Family Foundation, among others.

As in the world of politics, there's a financial imbalance between the people supporting conservative and progressive education agendas. In education, the big money is on the anti-union, anti-tenure, pro-charter, pro-voucher side. They have the means to package and disseminate their message. There's just not the same kind of money on the progressive side.

This isn't Brown's only educational venture. She also runs another nonprofit with deep pockets devoted to fighting teacher tenure and seniority laws in court. And she's hardly a lone voice crying in the wilderness. A number of well funded organizations push a similar agenda. For instance, there's Students First, the group started by Michelle Rhee who built her educational reputation on lies and half truths about her successes as a teacher and as chancellor of the Washington, D.C. schools. She raised lots of money before she got kicked out of her own organization. Students First also has a high powered Board of Directors. One of the board members is Dan Senor, who was an aide to President George W. Bush, chief spokesperson for the Coalition Provisional Is Someone Thinking About Giving Me a Few Million to Start an Education News Network? Not Likely. | The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch | Tucson Weekly:


LAUSD | L.A. Weekly:


The Los Angeles Unified School District is looking for a new leader. The question isn't who they want, it's who would actually want the job.
The interim superintendent, Ramon Cortines, signed a one-year contract extension last month. But last week, Cortines began crying during a public meeting and announced that he was leaving in six months.
"Cortines, a fitness fanatic also known for a punishing work ethic, has discussed feeling exhausted by the job, which has included managing several difficult situations," wrote Howard Blume in the Los Angeles Times.
"Several difficult situations" = understatement of the year. The fact is, LAUSD superintendent just might be the hardest job in America. Here's why:
The School DistrictWelcome to LAUSD, the second-largest school district in the country. It has roughly 1,100 schools, 646,683 students and a budget of $7.8 billion. It sprawls over 710 square miles, from the Los Angeles–Ventura County line to the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, then southeast to Vernon and Maywood and Cudahy, and then all the way south to San Pedro. 
It has its own 475-person sworn and non-sworn police force. It operates nearly as many buses as L.A. County Metro. Its cafeterias serve around half a million meals — each day. 
It is, in short, a massive city not unlike L.A. itself, performing a multitude of services that go well beyond teaching reading, writing and arithmetic. Its schools house parent centers and act as hubs for social services. 
Four out of five of its students are in poverty; one out of four them is learning to read and write English as a second language. Most of the latter speak Spanish as a first language, but thousands speak Armenian, Korean or one of 90 other languages (Tagalog! Pashto! Gujarati!). There are more English-language learners in Los Angeles than in any other school district in the United States. 
Where It's HeadingThe good news is that LAUSD is improving by any number of measurements, after four decades of decline from the 1960s through the 1990s. Test scores, truancy rates and graduation rates have all improved. All but one: enrollment.
And that is the bad news.
Enrollment has been dropping steadily since 2003, when the district had 750,000 students. Where are all these students going?
Many of them are going to charter schools. Many others have families that are moving out of LAUSD, either to neighboring school districts such as Culver City, Santa Monica or Long Beach, or out of L.A. 
So LAUSD is leaking students, and it's a major problem, since school districts get money from the state government based on head counts.
Less students = less money. Less money = fewer employees, fewer services. That might make the school LAUSD | L.A. Weekly:

Remarks By NEA President Lily Eskelsen GarcĂ­a To The 94th Nea Representative Assembly - Lily's Blackboard

Remarks As Prepared For Delivery By NEA President Lily Eskelsen GarcĂ­a To The 94th Nea Representative Assembly - Lily's Blackboard:

Remarks As Prepared For Delivery By NEA President Lily Eskelsen GarcĂ­a To The 94th Nea Representative Assembly

NEA President Lily Eskelsen GarcĂ­a addresses the NEA Representative Assembly in Orlando,Fl on July 3,2015. (Photo by Scott Iskowitz)
Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Florida
Twenty-eight years ago, I was sitting right here with my Utah delegation in Los Angeles. I had been teaching seven years. My local had an at-large seat that any member could run for. I was Orchard Elementary AR that year, and my local president said: You’ve got an opinion on everything—You should run.
And I did. And I lost. I was like the alternate-alternate-alternate. Two people had to get sick so I could go. It was the second plane ride I ever had in my life. A day before I got on the plane, they handed me three tons of paperwork—resolutions and platforms and policy statements and I read every word. It was the last time I read every word. But you should, of course.
I walked into the room and it took my breath away. Do you remember the first time you walked into the Representative Assembly? I was a sixth grade teacher from Utah with 39 kids in my class, and I walked in, and I thought: I’m not alone. I belong to something big. I belong to something powerful.
Mary Hatwood Futrell was president. She was the voice of power and professionalism and dignity. I thought: Wow! How could anyone ever have the guts to call someone out of order? All my life I’ve wanted to call someone out of order!
Now, I thought I was supposed to speak on every issue. If a thought entered my head, I got to a microphone. And that made me really…popular. But I had this sense of urgency. Possibilities. Excitement. I had a sense that the people in this room were powerful enough to do something that would make a difference for my students. I wasn’t disappointed.
A lot of things have changed in 28 years. I’ve changed.
I was a lunch lady—okay I was the salad girl. I was working my up to hot food. Then I was a Head Start teacher’s assistant and then a university student and then an elementary teacher. And now I’m the president of the NEA.
But some things haven’t changed.
I’ve never lost that feeling that we are powerful, and we use that power in service to our students.
I know so many of you. I know from a thousand conversations and arguments and motions and debates that whatever journey brought you to this room, your hearts are wrapped around your students. The ones you drive to school. The ones you feed. The ones you teach and scold and counsel and heal and save their lives and love. From the very beginning, our mission has never changed: we wake up every day set on doing whatever we can to ensure that our students have every opportunity to learn, to grow, to succeed.
And that is why we are gathered here today. To carry out that mission.
This room has been mission control for so many of us. How many of you have been coming to the RA for 10 years or more?
How many of you are first time delegates? Stand up so we can clap for you.
There’s only two things that happen to first timers. At the end of four days, you will either run screaming from the room yelling: Make it stop! Or you will be inspired and empowered and you will not let the actions of the RA end at the end of the RA. You will say: Whatever I told my NEA to do, I’m supposed to do when I get back home. I am the NEA back home.
And that is the essence of who we are. We are the NEA. We are rabble rousers; the activists; the true believers…and this is how we are going to make our mark on the world…as educators who understand the fearless power of collective action.
I was thinking about what I wanted to say to you in my first speech. I was thinking about how my life has changed and how my life hasn’t changed. And then I thought, that’s no different from anyone else’s life. We change. We grow. We learn. But the essence of who we are remains.
And then I knew what I wanted to say. Because what’s happening to us as individuals, has also happened to our own union.
At the beginning, we didn’t even call it a union.
In 1857, a couple of states had started forming teacher associations to strengthen this new idea of professionally trained teachers. A teacher in New York thought it would be a good idea for all these new state associations to come together and start advocating for public schools and professional teachers on the national level. Around 100 teachers representing 15 states answered his call. They voted to form the National Teachers Association, which soon became the National Education Association.
Women were barred from membership. Oh my, how things have changed.
The years rolled by, and NEA changed again and again. Leadership from the beginning in our organization was mostly men and mostly white and mostly administrators and deans of colleges of education.
We didn’t even have a place at the table for our education support professionals. We thought it was unprofessional to bargain a contract. There was a great debate on whether or not we should be a union or a professional association—it took us a while until we discovered that that was a false choice. We needed to be both.
Because a school is more than our place of employment. That school was our cause. It was a movement. And from the beginning, it has been a cause to love someone else’s child.
One of the first national actions of the NEA was to stand beside women like Mother Jones and fight against child labor.
When we saw the effect of poverty on families, we saw it specifically through an educator’s eyes. We saw what happened to a child who was plucked out of a desk at school to work in a factory or a in a mine so that their families might not starve. Did you know that Mother Jones—was a teacher in her early life. She saw through a teacher’s eyes: When you destroy the future of a child, you destroy the future of everything.
We both fought and won child labor protections in state after state. One hundred years ago, because we were here, something good happened for children that protects children still today.
Ninety years ago, our country faced the Great Depression.
Many schools were forced to close for lack of funds.
NEA worked with President Roosevelt, for federal aid as part of the New Deal so state and local governments would have the money to reopen their schools.
Sixty-five years ago, NEA lobbied for the G.I. bill, The G.I. bill was a game changer for the U.S. Before that, universities were for kids from mostly well-off families. After that, it was for anybody’s kid. Men and women who didn’t come from wealthy families—but who served their country would have a decent shot at higher education. We helped make that happen.
Sixty years ago, the Supreme Court finally ruled that separate is inherently and intolerably and immorally unequal. I remember whites-only water fountains in the playground when my dad was stationed in Warner Robins, Georgia. This is not ancient history…It’s current events. The vestiges of racism live on. It takes on many forms. We see it in which children are bullied at school. We see it in which children have the services and supports that nurture the whole, blessed child and which don’t even get recess. We see it in voter suppression. We see it today in the churches that are burning.
The ’60s were a time of decision for our Association. It was a time that called on us to demand justice in our own NEA house. NEA merged with the black teachers union, the American Teachers Association, and we required our affiliates to integrate. Some refused, and we disaffiliated those affiliates. We lost a lot of members, but we organized and we came back. And today, NEA is one of the largest, most powerful deliberately diverse organizations on the planet.
Fifty years ago, it was clear that even after Brown, states were shortchanging students who lived in poverty—and the face of poverty was still primarily the face of black and brown children. NEA fought for a new educational priority within the federal government. In 1965, President Johnson signed the Elementary & Secondary Education Act as part of the civil rights movement; as part of the war on poverty. A law that would give schools with high concentrations of children in poverty, some extra funding to try to make up for the lack of resources provided by state legislatures. NEA was part of the team that won this victory.
That same 50 years ago, we charged up Capitol Hill again and helped put another pen in President Johnson’s hand when he signed the law authorizing Head Start, a program that I am proud to say hired me as the lunch lady. And as of today, a program that has served over 30 million preschoolers with education, nutrition, health and social services.
Forty-seven years ago the NEA led the charge and won passage of the Bilingual Education Act for the first federal funding to establish innovative programs for students who were English language learners, including Latino students, Asian Pacific Islander students and American Indian- Alaska Native students.
Forty-four years ago, we fought for passage of the School Breakfast Program and we argued what researchers and any school lunch lady could tell you: that kids who are hungry can’t learn.
Forty-three years ago, NEA cheered as President Richard Nixon (yes, we cheered President Nixon) because he signed Title IX—the federal law outlawing discrimination against girls and women in school sports.
Forty years ago, NEA fought for the passage of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and for the first time there were federal protections for the rights of children with disabilities to a free and appropriate education.
Three years ago, with NEA doing a full-court press, President Obama approved an immigration policy to defer action on childhood arrivals. With DACA, children and young people who had been brought to America without the right papers could apply for a temporary visa that would allow them to stay in the country they loved, work and go to school until a permanent solution on comprehensive immigration reform could be found. NEA believes in our DREAMers.
And one week ago—after considering the arguments, including an NEA amicus brief arguing that state discrimination against same-sex married couples deprives them and their children of the fundamental dignity, benefits and rights that other couples and their children enjoy—the Supreme Court decided on our side and on the right side of history. And my son, Jeremy, called me and said, “Ma! Mike and I are no longer living in sin!” My son and Mike are legally married in the great state of Utah.
There’s so much history I’m so proud of. And I know some of you are going to be so mad at me that I didn’t include something really important on retirement security and affordable college and health care and a living wage and so many things we’re fighting for…I could go on and on because I love the sound of my own voice, but…we’re supposed to end in 3 1/2…and if I took up all the rest of those 3 1/2 days, I still wouldn’t be at the end of our list of the victories that we won for someone else’s child and someone else’s family.
Our structure at NEA has changed. The people who sit in these seats will change. But our hearts are the constant. And if that has ever changed, it’s only to grow stronger and more determined and more in awe that in our hands—in the hands of someone who knows the names of their students from preschool to graduate school—in our hands is the future of everything.
The NEA is not our building. It’s not the furniture. It’s not the meetings. You are the NEA.
You are the future of everything. And the future is calling on you to act the day you go home from this Representative Assembly. I wish I could give you the day off, but that’s not the way the world works. We will adjourn when business is over on July 6th. We have just received word that on July 7th, the bill that passed out of the Senate committee to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act—or No Child Left Untested—will be brought to the floor of the Senate for debate.
Because of you and your state and local leaders and everyone who signed up on—we flooded senators with our stories of what the insidious, obsessive, obscene focus on a standardized test bubble sheet has done to shortchange our most vulnerable students.
We demanded an end to the toxic testing produced by AYP that limits what it means to teach and what it means to learn to what fits on a standardized test. We told your Senators: Replace that failed one-size-fits-all bubble sheet with a dashboard of multiple indicators of success. On the dashboard in my car, I’ve got lots of indicators. I can tell if the tank’s full. I can tell how fast I’m going. With No Child Left Untested, I’ve got a “check engine light” blinking—and they tell me to put air in the tire.
We want a dashboard of indicators that can tell us if we’re driving in the right direction. We want better information in the hands of a caring, competent educator so we can maximize the Opportunity to Learn for every blessed student. And we told that Senate committee that we wanted something that’s never been in ESEA, although it was the essence of civil rights: We want schools to report on that dashboard evidence of resource equity for all students. What kind of programs and services do the kids in this ZIP code have compared to the programs and services that the kids in this ZIP code? Shouldn’t the public know which kids have access to a school librarian; AP classes? Health services? Counselors? Reading tutors? Recess?
A minor miracle occurred because of you. One hundred percent of the Democrats on that Senate committee and 100 percent of the Republicans on that Senate committee voted to end AYP, include a dashboard of multiple indicators of success beyond the standardized test and require states to report indicators of resource equity—and they passed the bill out to the floor. The full Senate will now debate and vote on the committee bill.
Again, 3 million members are being called on to act to improve the lives of someone else’s child. A generation of students has already suffered 13 years of Test and Punish. We have the opportunity to end the federal nightmare of toxic testing.
Parents are with us. Researchers are with us. Enlightened business leaders are with us. But we must lead…as we have led for 158 years. Now is our moment.
You have a circle of influence waiting to hear you. One in every 100 Americans is a member of the National Education Association. Mother Jones did it without a Facebook page. Without a twitter account. How can you reach 100 people with the truth? You can speak in a way no one can silence you. The people who know you, trust you. They will listen to you. That’s the power that’s already in your hands. Imagine 3 million NEA members simply telling the truth to people who will listen to them and trust them.
I was sitting right there 28 years ago as a new delegate. Twenty-eight years from today, it may be a first time delegate sitting in this room right now who stands up here. Twenty-eight years ago, no one would have picked me. I was so annoying to my delegation. Now I’m annoying to the Koch brothers.
We are what democracy looks like. We are what power looks like. I am an empowered sixth grade teacher from Utah and it wasn’t my superintendent who empowered me. It wasn’t my governor or the Secretary of Education. It was my union…My union saw me as a leader and it was this Representative Assembly that put me on this stage. As it will do for the next generation of leaders. And the next. And the next. For another 158 years.
We are the circulating blood and the beating heart of the cause of public education. We believe in ourselves. Not out of a sense of arrogance. If you don’t believe in yourself, you have not earned the right to ask anyone else to believe in you.
And 28 years later, I still believe in you as much as I did the first time I walked into this room. I’m still electrified by the power waiting to be unleashed. I still get that feeling that nothing can stop us. Nothing can stop the mission that’s written in our hearts the way it’s written in my favorite poem:
Give me your hungry children,
Your sick children.
Your homeless and abused children.
Give me your children who need love as badly as they need learning.
Give me your children who have talents and gifts and skills.
And give me those who have none.
Give them all to me, in whatever form they come,
Whatever color their skin,
Whatever language they speak,
Wherever they find God.
And the people in this public school will give you.
The doctors and the engineers,
and the carpenters.
We’ll give you the lawyers and ministers
And the teachers of tomorrow.
We’ll give you the mothers and the fathers,
The thinkers and the builders,
The artists and the dreamers.
We will give you the American Dream
We will give you the future.
Will you take the power on our hands and fight for that future?
Will you unite our members and the nation?
Will you inspire them to see that we are being called on to act now to end the toxic testing that has poisoned what it means to teach and what it mean to learn?
Will you lead to a future that respects the whole child, the whole community and respects the men and women who know the names of the students and who know what we’re talking about?
Órale pues. Adelante.

In her first speech to the NEA Representative Assembly (RA) as NEA President, Lily Eskelsen GarcĂ­a championed the long history of educator activism and urged the delegates to always remember that “we are what democracy looks like.”
“We are the NEA. We are rabble rousers; the activists; the true believers…and this is how we are going to make our mark on the world…as educators who understand the fearless power of collective action,” GarcĂ­a told the 7,000 delegates gathered this week in Orlando, FL.
GarcĂ­a was introduced to the assembly by NEA Vice President Becky Pringle, who praised “my friend, my sister, my president” for her boundless energy and unwavering devotion to students everywhere.
GarcĂ­a began the keynote by recalling her first NEA RA in Los Angeles in 1987 as a 6th grade teacher in the Utah delegation. Much has changed since then, she said, but children have always depended on their teachers, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, paraeducators and others in their schools to advocate for them.
“Whatever journey brought you to this room, your hearts are wrapped around your students. From the very beginning, our mission has never changed: we wake up every day set on doing whatever we can to ensure that our students have every opportunity to learn, to grow, to succeed,” Garcia said.
GarcĂ­a spoke passionately as she extolled the role NEA has played in improving public education and advancing some of the most important social justice causes over the past century – the fight against against child labor, advocating for federal aid for education during the Great Depression, and lobbying for the GI Bill after World War II. NEA also worked with President Lyndon Johnson in passing the first Elementary and Secondary Education Act and Head Start In 1965 and pushed for the passage of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in 1975.
Despite a legacy of progress we can all be proud, there is still much work to be done, GarcĂ­a told the delegates, to combat the vestiges of racism and poverty that continue 

H.R. 2268 Ending Corporal Punishment in Schools Act of 2015 | POPVOX

H.R. 2268 Ending Corporal Punishment in Schools Act of 2015 | POPVOX:


Bill Summary

Ending Corporal Punishment in Schools Act of 2015

Amends the General Education Provisions Act to prohibit the Department of Education (ED) from providing education funding to any educational agency or institution that allows school personnel to inflict corporal punishment upon a student as a form of punishment or to modify undesirable behavior.

Requires each state to submit a plan to ED, within 18 months of this Act's enactment and every third year thereafter, that describes how the state eliminates the use of corporal punishment in schools and makes school personnel and parents aware of its policies and procedures for doing so.

Authorizes ED to award three-year grants to states and, through them, competitive subgrants to local educational agencies (LEAs) to assist them in improving school climate and culture by implementing school-wide positive behavior supports.

Requires grant and subgrant funds to be used for professional training, technical assistance, research, and outreach regarding positive behavior supports. Requires LEAs to ensure that private school personnel can participate, on an equitable basis, in activities supported by such funds.

Authorizes ED to allocate funds to the Department of the Interior to carry out such activities with regard to schools operated or funded by such Department.

Directs ED to conduct a national assessment to determine compliance with this Act's requirements and identify best practices regarding positive behavior support professional training programs.

Gives Protection and Advocacy Systems the authority provided under the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000 to investigate, monitor, and enforce this Act's protections for students.

Arne Duncan pushes for ‘parent engagement’ — and gets some angry feedback - The Washington Post

Arne Duncan pushes for ‘parent engagement’ — and gets some angry feedback - The Washington Post:

Arne Duncan pushes for ‘parent engagement’ — and gets some angry feedback

Education Secretary Arne Duncan seems to have a new favorite subject for the moment: parents and their engagement.
Seven years into his secretaryship, he recently released what the Education Department labeled “a set of rights to help parents seek high-quality education for their children.” His July Twitter chat was all about parental engagement, but it didn’t go quite the way he might have hoped; parents asked tough questions and he didn’t manage to “engage” them on those queries.
So what are the newly stated rights for parents? Duncan used the occasion of a speech in late June at the 2015 National Parent Teacher Association Convention and Expo in Charlotte to announce them. He said in part:
“I want to describe a set of educational rights that I firmly believe must belong to every family in America—and I hope you’ll demand that your leaders in elected and appointed offices deliver on them. They come together as a set of rights that students must have at three pivotal stages of their life, to prepare them for success in college and careers and as engaged, productive citizens.”
First, every child should have the right to attend a free, high-quality preschool…. Second, I believe all children have the right to high, challenging standards and engaging teaching and leadership in a safe, supportive, well-resourced school….[And]  I believe we must see an affordable, high-quality college degree as every child’s right.”
The announcement, according to the Education Department, “complements work by the Education Department to reach out to parents—from the Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family-School Partnerships, to tools that can help families and students select the best colleges for their needs, to support of Parent Training and Information Centers and Resource Centers.”
Who would argue with those rights? (Nobody I know.) The question for Duncan is what, over seven years, he has done to ensure those rights for parents.
Were his policies geared to achieving educational equity for each student? (No.) Or was his chief policy initiative something called Race to the Top, which forced states to compete for federal funds by promising to implement specific reforms Duncan favored, such as expanding charter schools and Arne Duncan pushes for ‘parent engagement’ — and gets some angry feedback - The Washington Post:

Arne Duncan 'Thrilled' To Close Corinthian Colleges, Not So Ready To Help Its Former Students

Arne Duncan 'Thrilled' To Close Corinthian Colleges, Not So Ready To Help Its Former Students:

Arne Duncan 'Thrilled' To Close Corinthian Colleges, Not So Ready To Help Its Former Students

The Department of Education was “thrilled” to shut down the for-profit chain Corinthian Colleges Inc., Education Secretary Arne Duncan declared Wednesday -- a claim that stands in sharp contrast with his department's frantic efforts last year to save the company.
In fact, the Education Department bailed out the financially troubled operator of schools under the Heald, Everest and Wyotech brands; helped it find buyers for some of its campuses; and publicly worried about the cost of allowing Corinthian to fail.
Duncan’s statement to MSNBC also contradicts his department's continued insistence that many former Corinthian students keep paying off their federal student loans. The department estimates that students took out more than $3 billion in federal loans in recent years to attend Corinthian-owned schools.
“Why would Secretary Duncan be thrilled to shut down Corinthian if there wasn’t systemic fraud?” asked the Debt Collective, a group of volunteers working with some 200 former Corinthian students who are refusing to make those loan payments. “It tells you everything you need to know that his department continues to collect on Corinthian students' debts when he could, under current law, erase it this very moment with a stroke of the pen.”
Dorie Nolt, a spokeswoman for Duncan, declined to comment.
Corinthian filed for bankruptcy in May, following a months-long disintegration amid state and federal allegations that it had systematically deceived students, luring primarily low-income Americans to take on unmanageable debt and leaving them with credentials of questionable value.
Over several months last year, while Corinthian teetered on the brink of failure, the Education Department declined to inform current or potential future students that the company faced lawsuits or pending investigations from about half of the country’s state attorneys general, the U.S. Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The accusations ranged from duping students into taking out unaffordable loans by advertising false graduation and job placement rates, to employing illegal debt-collection tactics.
The department apparently hoped that Americans would continue to enroll at Corinthian’s schools to boost their value to potential buyers. Even as Corinthian's prospects grew dimmer, the department let it enroll as many students as it could --ignoring the demands of a dozen Democratic senators -- and let it encourage those students to take out loans to pay a company that Duncan now claims his department was “thrilled to be able to close down.”
“If Secretary Duncan is ‘thrilled’ Corinthian shut down, why did the department allow students to continue to enroll at the schools, and continue to provide it with federal student loan money, if they knew this school had the ethics of a payday lender?” the Debt Collective said.
Corinthian has steadfastly denied any wrongdoing. The company has blamed federal and state regulators for its abrupt closure.

FAILED DC School Chancellor Michelle Rhee and the D.C. Hunger Games

Jeff Mills’ whistleblower suit revealed rotting food, fraud, and millions of dollars lost. Why is DCPS renewing its contract with Chartwells? - Washington City Paper:

Hunger Games

Jeff Mills’ whistleblower suit revealed rotting food, fraud, and millions of dollars lost. Why is DCPS renewing its contract with Chartwells?

 How does D.C. ignore a multi-million dollar problem year after year? Pretty easily, it turns out.

On June 5, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine reached a $19.4 million settlement in a whistleblower lawsuit against Chartwells/Thompson Hospitality, the public school system’s food services provider. The plaintiff, former D.C. Public Schools Food Services Director Jeffrey Mills, had detailed poor food quality and outright fraud, from misrepresented costs to concealed overpayments.
The city then proceeded to move forward on a renewal of Chartwells’ contract for the next year. Mayor Muriel Bowser and DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson seem determined to stick with it.
It’s the latest in a dysfunctional relationship between D.C. and Chartwells. Chicken nuggets and crates of spoiling milk is one thing. Price-gouging and fraud is another, given that DCPS exercised a renewal option in 2014, after the D.C. Office of Inspector General cited auditor’s findings that Chartwells brought in $19 million less in revenue and incurred $6 million more in costs than promised from 2008 to 2012. Revelations from the lawsuit and a separate employment lawsuit now hover over an arrangement that raised red flags the minute DCPS outsourced food services in 2008.
And city officials appear all too willing to wave Chartwells in for another year.
With the ink barely dry last month on the settlement, Racine seemed relieved to get the matter off his plate: “Chartwells has quite reasonably acknowledged and addressed mistakes it made in administering the contract to provide food and food services to DCPS,” he said in a press release. “In light of [their] acceptance of responsibility, DCPS looks forward to continuing its contractual relationship with the company.”
Added DCPS in a written statement: “We believe any issues regarding the provision of school meals, which relate primarily to the prior contract term, have been resolved. DCPS believes it can continue its relationship with Chartwells/Thompson through the expiration of the current contract.”
Henderson appeared the least bothered by activity that took place under her nose. Quashing any notion of change, she declared, “Food service is a massive operation, my focus is on improving academic achievement.”
Bowser has Henderson’s back. On June 19, she sent a contract renewal to the D.C. Council and said she will rebid it for the 2016-2017 school year. It will be hard to stop the renewal, too; The most vocal critic on the Council doesn’t even serve on the Committee for Education, which won’t hold a hearing until the fall.
To understand just how bad the city’s attempts at privatizing school meals have been, you need to go to Mills, a former restaurateur who came to D.C. passionate about food and left with last month’s settlement and a separate $450,000 settlement following his wrongful termination from DCPS.
Former colleague Joel Metlen puts it this way: “If it weren’t for Jeff’s lawsuit, none of this would’ve been on the radar.”
Jeff Mills was raised in northern Ohio on grandma’s cooking and the free school lunch program. He tended bar to pay for college in Boston, then after graduating, took his knack for business to New York, where he became a successful restaurateur. The nation’s biggest restaurant scene—full of what he describes as unreliable employees and business partners—was ultimately not for him, though. He still wanted to do something food-related, but with more social value.
Enter the nation’s capital.
D.C. has some of the country’s worst rates of food insecurity, hunger, and child obesity. For years, DCPS failed to provide nutritious meals to more than 45,000 students. In 2008, faced with losses of up to $7 million per year, then-DCPS Chancellor Michelle Rhee outsourced the school food operation, based on an internal study that said it would improve student health and save taxpayer money.
School districts are fueled by federal reimbursements for every meal they serve. The more meals served, the more reimbursements. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, roughly 87 percent of large school districts nationwide run food services in-house. Mills had his staff do a district-by-district Jeff Mills’ whistleblower suit revealed rotting food, fraud, and millions of dollars lost. Why is DCPS renewing its contract with Chartwells? - Washington City Paper:

RIGHT WING ATTACKS Hmong Innovating Politics (HIP), SCUSD and Ethnic Studies Now Coalition

Sacramento School: Hey, Let's Dumb Down Education for Immigrants! - Charlotte Hays - Page 1:

Sacramento School: Hey, Let's Dumb Down Education for Immigrants!

A republic such as the one born 239 years ago tomorrow requires a populace capable of citizenship.
Unfortunately, a Sacramento city school district is doing everything it can to prevent children of immigrants from acquiring the skills of citizenship. The Sacramento City Unified School District's Board of Trustees has unanimously agreed to establish an ethnic studies pilot program because, as Drudge put it in a headline that is almost an oxymoron, eighty percent of the students in the school are minorities.
A news report says that the pilot program will be set up "in collaboration with community organizations, local university professors and college students." This is being done because "minority students feel culturally disconnected from the standard curriculum in high school, particularly in literature and history classes."
Of course they feel culturally disconnected: a "significant portion" are "English learners," which is a sly way of saying that they don't speak English. But that is not a reason to foist these vulnerable young people off upon a rogues gallery of professors and other liberal interest groups, who will make it more likely that they will remain “English learners” and practically ensure that they never meet Jane Austen or Nathaniel Hawthorn and learn the facts about their adopted country’s historic development.
That is a travesty. I once had the privilege of reading essays for an English as a Second Language (ESOL) essay contest. Essayists, all recent immigrants, all hard at work mastering English in a program staffed by volunteers, were asked to write about a Founder who had special significance for them. The essay I recall most vividly was by a young man from Africa. The English was halting but the essay nevertheless managed eloquence: James Madison was the essayist's particular hero because Madison stood against the kind of tyranny the young man had known. This was a recent immigrant on the path to citizenship and assimilation. Thank goodness he hadn't gotten sidelined by in a woefully politically-correct Sacramento public school!
Admittedly the Sacramento public school system faces a demanding situation--according to the news report, forty-four recognized languages are spoken by the student body. Logically, that would provide a rationale for assimilation, unifying the student body by placing a premium on English skills rather than furthering cultural fragmentation. But logic is not the strong point of Sacramento School: Hey, Let's Dumb Down Education for Immigrants! - Charlotte Hays - Page 1: