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Saturday, June 4, 2016

@WhiteHouse BATs Request a White House Conference on EDUCATION & EQUITY - Badass Teachers Association #whitehouse

Badass Teachers Association:

The Badass Teachers Association
MARLA KILFOYLE, Executive Director BATs
MELISSA TOMLINSON, Asst. Executive Director BATs

BATs Request a White House Conference on EDUCATION & EQUITY

 The Badass Teachers Association, representing a network of over 70,000 teachers and education activists throughout the United States, formally request a White House Conference on Education and Equity.

Our organization stands firmly against the serious harm being perpetrated to public education by both corporate privatization and right wing fiscal starvation policies.  The current political rhetoric strengthens our resolve to reclaim the rights of all children to a free public education.     

We focus on the many reasons poverty is claiming the lives and health of our children, and we focus on keeping our K-12 schools from privatization and the target of under-funding.  

Our organization  proposes that a White House Conference be initiated immediately.  Like much of the American landscape, Public K-12 Education requires infrastructure overhaul that have been installed to insert barriers that inhibit authentic learning. We do not accept the mendacity that racial and ethnic minorities must fail.

We witness what happens when social justice safeguards are removed by forces that hide inside school choice and free market de-regulation.  Public school teachers are this country’s first responders against the effects of poverty. 

School privatization profits from systemic racism and use their profits to build higher barriers and deeper inequities.  Testing monopolies and “business” style management practices now glean millions exploiting our children and disregard our students with special needs and English Language Learners.  These efforts must not go unchecked. 

Some of these barriers we’ve revealed as part of the Reform/privatization agenda include:

Monopoly control over ill-suited testing; over-testing;denied access to special needs and ELL services;deterioration of facilities that threaten teacher and student health; targeting teachers for speaking out about inequity;placement of the unqualified and inexperienced TFA personnel into districts;school closings/turnovers/receiverships in districts with high minority enrollment for the purpose of   gentrification; funds digressed from public education into charter programs with no accountability;  ‘test and punish’ replacing  humane classroom management practices we believe is child abuse and feeds the school to prison pipeline;  monopoly control over our state licensing, certification  and professional development; teacher bullying; micromanagement of teacher schedules;marginalizing arts curricula;destruction of our library system; subcontracting security, substitute and transportation functions  without concern for qualifications or student safety; Student data manipulation and the selling of student data; Democratically- elected school boards have been taken over by authoritarian privatizers alleging “the business model” and denying, predominantly communities of color, their voting rights as well as their right to democracy;  Acceptance of a disrepute ‘VAM,’ formula to tie teacher evaluation to student test scores.

All these issues and more have become systemic because of educational inequityand the specious, facile blame on teachers and teacher quality. 

This is why we need your support for a White House Conference on Education and Equity.
A White House Conference on Education and Equity will create a sanctioned environment for experienced teachers to posit infrastructural changes that will remove barriers that perpetuate racial, ethnic and societal failure.    

A White House Conference on Education and Equity will bring worldwide attention to our concern that our democracy is being undermined at its heart and its roots. It will give leaders opportunity to fully understand why we must invest in our children as precious resources as part of our democratic infrastructure.  Importantly, it will replace the world view perpetrated by privatizers that our schools are crumbling, and that our teachers, and children, are failures.
Our White House Conference will invite scholarly papers on a list of concerns we have related because the breadth and scope of these issues demand the widest possible support from our brightest and best academic, child welfare, anti-trust, child development, health, nutrition, social justice, technology, journalism, labor, cultural resource, architecture, and grassroots civil rights advocates. These papers will anchor our discussion through the lens of education and equity.  Our plan is to examine extant conditions and recommend new paradigms.  We will invite speakers and participants who are willing to work with us to make Public Education and Equity continue as the foundation of our democratic ideals.

White House Conference Proposal
A White House Conference is the first step.  Equity and Public Education go hand in hand and can never again be separated.  Our public education system is the heart of our country and the foundation of its infrastructure.  Reclamation will need to reflect this as much damage has been done to our students, our communities, and to our profession.  Our profession must move forward.
It is now up to American Public School Teachers to reclaim the mission and intent of American public education from attempts to corporatize, unfund and privatize our schools.  It is time to come together to restore the democratic values and move forward by reclaiming our independence from the yokes of privatization and political gentrification.  Our founding fathers left a stain of racism that has been allowed to fester because the values of their ancestors could not be removed.   We believe that only through education can the stain of racism and ignorance be finally eliminated. Our profession is unique to democracy and our profession must be freed from ancient colonial biases.  Our healing and restoration must be anchored in the promise of democracy -- not by factions and disaggregation created by profiteers, but with the spirit of unity and a belief that our students are our foundation and our future.

A White House Conference will focus on teachers, students, parents, community, and teaching.  We will learn from each other how to rescind the damage.  We will rely on each other's knowledge as we no longer will be forced to buy into what does not work for our students.

We reclaim our professionalism.

Leaders in Education, Education Law, Economics, Civil Rights, Environmental Policy, Child Development, Psychology, Architecture, Health, Labor Law and Journalism will be invited to submit papers that will be reviewed for task force organization and presentation.   The corporate business community must be relegated to a benign position and no longer be in control, guide or influence the work of educators. 
Lobbyists and agents of organizations that have lobbied for NCLB, RTtT and profit makers behind many aspects of the new ESSA will not be invited.

These include but are not limited to:  Teach for America, Eli Broad Educational leadership, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Walton Foundation, and Pearson Education or its affiliates.  Any member of the American Legislative Education Council or its affiliates, or any employee or agent of the Democrats for Education Reform, Wall Street Hedge Fund Managers, individuals such as Campbell Brown, Michelle Rhee, Right to Work supporters, Tea Party, Heritage Foundation, or allies of the Koch Brothers. This White House conference recognizes the intent of these organizations/individuals and the parts they have played in deforming public education.  It will be up to the discretion of the White House conference planning committee to screen all who aspire to submit papers to the conference. 

Focus on Reclaiming Infrastructure through Communication, Advocacy and Understanding
Teachers need a broad and overarching understanding that a clean sweep of the laws that force local education agencies to dedicate public funds to privatization schemes will be relegated to the past.  Anti-Trust Laws must be examined and enforced.  Civil Rights and Censorship rules that govern education policy must be reviewed for their moral governance.  Policies and practices that have been forced upon public education and teachers must now be examined for their impact and moved out of the sphere of influence that govern our schools.
We welcome your response to our request, and attach our proposed framework, as well as our Amicus Brief in the Friedrichs vs. CTA Supreme Court case, for your further consideration.
  It is imperative that we work together to start to rebuild the K-12 infrastructure.

Sincerely yours,
Marla Kilfoyle, Executive Director The Badass Teachers Association
Melissa Tomlinson, Asst. Executive Director The Badass Teachers Association
The Board of Directors – Wilma de Soto,  Dr. Denisha Jones, Terry Kalb, Gus Morales, and Priscilla Sanstead
Steering Committee Directors – Steven Singer, Dr. Michael Flanagan, Tina Andres, Sue Goncarovs, Kathie Wing-Larsyn, Stacy Holcombe, Roberta Reid, Becca Ritchie, Kathleen Jeskey, and  Jamy Brice-Hyde,
Continue Reading: Badass Teachers Association:

What I Hope To Tell My Kids About Muhammad Ali [Be Great] | The Jose Vilson

What I Hope To Tell My Kids About Muhammad Ali [Be Great] | The Jose Vilson:

What I Hope To Tell My Kids About Muhammad Ali [Be Great]

Muhammad Ali is seen at a news conference in Louisville, Kentucky, April 20, 1967, to say he will not accept miltary service of any nature when he is called for induction In Houston on April 28.  He said "I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong," and that the real enemy of his people "is right here" and not in Vietnam or anywhere else.  (AP Photo)

On any given day during the NBA series, my students shout out any number of stats and names, solidifying their argument for who reigns supreme as of that specific game. After Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant dropped 29 points in a summer game in 2011, turquoise-blue and hot orange became the wave, chipping at the LeBron James vs. Kobe Bryant duopoly that held the debates then. Nowadays, some kids flaunt goldenrod and blue, shooting threes in their gym periods from inappropriate distances, yelling “CURRY!” even as the basketball thuds against the backboard. A few of them still flex three fingers to their temples after making an ill-advised fade-away a la Carmelo Anthony, a hopeful sign that the Knicks franchise isn’t completely comatose. As the NBA finals wrap up and we get into the heart of the MLB season (note bene: most of my students are Dominican), there’ll be plenty of baseball talk too. The Red Sox still have a Dominican stronghold thanks to David Ortiz and Yankees fans still rep Derek Jeter two years after he officially announced his retirement.
So when I woke up this morning to the news of boxing legend Muhammad Ali’s passing, one of my first thoughts was  What I Hope To Tell My Kids About Muhammad Ali [Be Great] | The Jose Vilson:




An Administrative Law Judge has ordered the North Star Academy Charter School in Newark to return a middle school student to school after a two-month suspension for a violation of North Star’s discipline code. The order issued by Administrative Law Judge Thomas Betancourt provides critical protections for charter school students who are excluded from school while they undergo special education evaluations.
The lawsuit underscores the express mandate in NJ law affording students in charter schools the same due process protections from suspension or expulsion as would apply to students in every public school. Charter schools such as North Star can adopt their own codes of conduct, which are often highly prescriptive, but they are prohibited from imposing unreasonable or overly harsh disciplinary penalties for infractions.
The North Star student, T.D., was suspended from the charter school for an incident that occurred in December 2015, pending a hearing before North Star’s Board of Trustees. At the Board hearing, T.D.’s mother requested that the school’s child study team evaluate T.D. to determine eligibility to receive special education services. The Board issued a written decision, suspending T.D. for a total of 56 school days and permitting a return to school on March 22, 2016. The Board also granted T.D.’s mother’s request, agreeing to provide T.D. with a special education evaluation.
At the end of T.D.’s suspension, the child study team had completed a portion of the special education evaluation. But North Star claimed that as part of the evaluation the child study team required psychiatric clearance, which had not yet been provided. By letter, the Board advised T.D.’s parents that due to the ongoing special education evaluation, they had decided to extend T.D.’s suspension for an additional 38 school days, through May 20.
Education Law Center represented T.D. and T.D.’s mother in the lawsuit against North Star, part of the New York City-based Uncommon Schools charter chain, claiming a violation of T.D.’s due process rights.  
ELC and petitioners filed a motion for emergent relief as well as a due process petition, arguing that North Star lacked authority to extend T.D.’s suspension beyond the 56-day period imposed by the Board without evidence that T.D. committed an additional code of conduct violation.
Judge Betancourt found that, although T.D. was provided with home instruction throughout the suspension, an extended suspension would cause the student to suffer irreparable harm as T.D. would Education Law Center | LAWSUIT ENFORCES DUE PROCESS RIGHTS OF STUDENTS IN NJ CHARTER SCHOOLS:

Big Education Ape: When “doing God’s work” means firing half a school’s teachers | -

John Thompson: Education legislation creates victories in 'reform wars' - NonDoc

Education legislation creates victories in 'reform wars' - NonDoc:

Education legislation creates victories in ‘reform wars’

reform wars

The 2016 Oklahoma legislative session was awful. The Republican-controlled House, Senate and executive branch ducked their responsibilities, but we can shout for joy about one thing: Oklahoma’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, Joy Hofmeister, quietly led us to three great education policy victories. Moreover, in an age ofirresponsible governance and venomous rhetoric, she exemplified the way to rebuild our schools.

Victory over vouchers

The first of the victories for public education was the defeat of vouchers. Despite the huge cuts that were coming to schools — or perhaps because of the way that funding reductions left schools vulnerable — influential legislators pushed two major voucher bills. Some, but not all, supporters of these “choice” bills saw vouchers as one more way to cripple public education so it could be strangled in the bathtub, but Hofmeister wisely questioned the timing of these bills in such a difficult budget year.
A broad coalition of educators undertook the seemingly impossible task of persuadingbelievers in market-driven schools to back away from vouchers. The educators made policy and financial cases against the bills. A quiet but decisive turning point was an analysis by the state’s Department of Education that found HB 2949 would cost local districts $68.9 million if 3 percent of students participated. The analysis also found thatSB 609 would cost local districts $44.5 million under a similar scenario. It was the professional provision of these facts, not grand debates, that carried the day.

New performance metrics approved

An even bigger and less-heralded victory was HB 2957, which eliminated the requirement Education legislation creates victories in 'reform wars' - NonDoc:

Magnolia Science Academy - A Gulen Charter School: Gulen Magnolia Science Academy links discussed at LAUSD board meeting

Magnolia Science Academy - A Gulen Charter School: Gulen Magnolia Science Academy links discussed at LAUSD board meeting:

Gulen Magnolia Science Academy links discussed at LAUSD board meeting

Killing Ed | Charter Schools, Corruption, and the Gülen Movement in America -

The Gulen Movement is fantastic at advertising, PR, and bestwowing fake honors on their students, politicians, local media and academia. The Parents4Magnolia blog is NOT American parents it is members of the Gulen Movement in damage control mode. Magnolia Science Academy, Pacific Technology School and Bay Area Technology is the name of their California schools. They are under several Gulen NGOs: Pacifica Institute, Willow Education, Magnolia Educaiton Foundation, Accord Institute, Bay Area Cultural Connection. Hizmet aka Gulen Movement will shamelessly act like satisifed American parents or students. They will lie, cajole, manipulate, bribe, blackmail, threaten, intimidate to get their way which is to expand the Gulen charter schools. If this doesn't work they play victim and cry "islamophobia". Beware of the Gulen propagandists and Gulen owned media outlets. DISCLAIMER: if you find some videos are disabled this is the work of the Gulen censorship which has filed fake copyright infringement complaints to UtubeMagnolia Science Academy - A Gulen Charter School: Gulen Magnolia Science Academy links discussed at LAUSD board meeting:

Big Education Ape: Update: Gulen Harmony charter school network accused of bias and self-dealing Dallas Morning News -
Big Education Ape: Turkey Links Texas Charter Schools to Dissident - WSJ -

Bad Teachers | The Patiently Impatient Teacher

Bad Teachers | The Patiently Impatient Teacher:

Bad Teachers

OK folks, the teacher in me can’t resist this one. I have been struck by the parallels I see in two public discourses. Bear with me as outline them. We will then explore some critical questions together (at least as much critical thinking as I can muster during standardized testing week).
People are fat            .
Well I never!…of course you don’t mean me?                        
Well yes, just look at your BMI!
That is a very limited and unrealistic measure that doesn’t consider other health factors.
That sounds like an excuse. You are simply lazy and lack self-control.                                      
What about all the research on the impact of genetics? Of gut biomes? Of environmental factors?
What about the fact that healthy food is more expensive than junk?
Those sound like excuses. You simply eat too much and don’t exercise enough.
Well, I don’t completely agree, but I would like to loose weight. 
Here is an expert program on diet and fitness that can help you loose weight. Thousand of people have bought this program.
But the people who designed that program were never overweight, and there is no evidence this program works. I have an idea of how I can work some exercise into my schedule…
Oh no, we can’t trust you to follow your own plan. Obese people drive up the cost of health care for all of us. You are the reason the heath insurance system is broken.
Wow, sounds like you really hate fat people. 
Oh no, you have it all wrong! We are only trying to help; we want you to be healthy.
Feels more like we are being shamed.
Oh no, no one is shaming you. That is all in your head.
Really? What about all those media messages and those judgmental looks…?
Teachers are bad (and perpetuate systemic racism).
Well I never!…of course you don’t mean me? 
Well yes, just look at those test scores! (Especially for students of color and poor students!)
That is a very limited measure that doesn’t consider other aspects of student growth.
That sounds like an excuse. You just refuse to hold students accountable for high
 Bad Teachers | The Patiently Impatient Teacher:

Strengthening K-12 Education: A Petition to the Democratic Party - NPE Action

Strengthening K-12 Education: A Petition to the Democratic Party - NPE Action:

Strengthening K-12 Education: A Petition to the Democratic Party

To: The Democratic Party
From: Diane Ravitch on behalf of the Network for Public Education Action
Public education is a pillar of our democracy. For the first time in our nation’s history, it is under relentless attack.
On June 1, 2016, in an editorial for the Washington Post’s Answersheet, civil rights icon, James Meredith, declared this to be a “dark age” of American education.
“I stand with groups like the Network for Public Education against education policy governed by the mass standardized testing of children; against the privatization of public education; against mass school closures to save money or to facilitate privatization; against the demonization and de-professionalization of teachers; and against for-profit management of public schools.”
Sixty years after the historic Brown v. Board of Education ruling, we have failed to make education equitable in this country. The practice of brokering the responsibility of educating our children to private operators for profit is a slap in the face to the sacrifice made by those who fought for integrated public schools that serve all children regardless of race, family wealth or disability. Right-wing philanthropy and many elected officials, including Democrats, have turned their back on this mission. The people who can fix our schools–educators, parents, students and communities–are held hostage by the school privatization movement.
Most states now allow the transfer of public funds to privately managed corporations through various means including: vouchers, education savings accounts, for-profit charters, online schools, and corporate charter chains with exorbitant salaries for executives as well as private opportunities for profit. Since 1991, there has been a fast-growing model of for-profit and not-for-profit corporate charter chains, often of dubious quality, that are enriching their owners, executives and operators with taxpayers’ money while draining resources for democratically governed community public schools. Never before in our history have public schools been operated by for-profit entrepreneurs and non-educators. Federal policies, influenced by right-wing interests, wealthy financiers, foundations and big business, have furthered this attack.
To make matters worse, these privatization schemes are highly racialized. Schools are closed in primarily black and brown communities, where “school choice” is a mirage for the absence of choice; parents and educators are robbed of the choice of a strong public school within walking distance of their homes. In cities like New Orleans, Newark and Chicago, parents and students have waged courageous fights to protect their schools. They have engaged in boycotts, sit-ins, filing civil rights complaints, and hunger strikes—and yet the privatization movement continues.
And just as neighborhood schools are under attack, our nation’s teachers have been subjected to unrelenting criticism for conditions beyond their control. They have been subjected to unproven evaluation systems, many judged by the test scores of students they never taught. They are demoralized by low pay and poor working conditions. Veteran teachers are retiring early, and enrollments of new teachers have plummeted. We must restore respect for our teachers and for the profession.
The following policies will strengthen and improve our nation’s educational system. They should be part of the Democratic Party platform.

Eliminate High Stakes Testing

Standardized high-stakes testing is not the answer to school improvement. Testing is a measure, not a remedy. The 2015 PDK/Gallup’s annual education poll found that 64% of those polled believed that there was “too much emphasis on testing.”
Over-testing and the inappropriate use of those tests are wasting billions of taxpayer dollars on testing materials, test prep, and test remediation, all provided by the same few vendors. Policies should:
  • Enable parents to opt their children out of participating in standardized testing if they choose. Regulations should not penalize, poorly rate or mandate special interventions for schools or districts in which there are high rates of opt outs.
  • Encourage states to develop multiple measure approaches to assessment, similar to the New York Performance Standards Consortium and the multiple measures approach of the International Baccalaureate.
  • Reject annual testing. Substitute sampling similar to National Assessment of Educational Progress exams. Sampling is used in Finland, one of the most successful educational systems in the world.
  • Encourage states to move from standardized tests created by testing corporations to those created by practicing educators and to use those assessments for diagnostic purposes to help students, teachers and schools improve.
  • Reject the use of student test scores in teacher and principal evaluations. Support the evaluation of teachers by professionals, not by statistically unreliable student test scores, a practice that has been repeatedly rejected by researchers, including the American Statistical Association.
  • Stop closing struggling schools based on test scores. Make sure that schools receive the resources, supervision and support that they need to improve.

The Opportunity Gap vs. The Achievement Gap

Discussions of the achievement gap are used to justify increased standardized testing, scripted curriculum, zero tolerance discipline policies, and the privatization of public schools. Yet we fail to acknowledge the root cause: the ‘Opportunity Gap’ that exists between students of color, poverty, and those with special needs, as opposed to those who come from well-resourced homes and communities. We need reforms that support disadvantaged and high-needs students, offer opportunities they have been denied, and interrupt the poverty-to-prison pipeline.
As the Seattle and California chapters of the NAACP have concluded, “Using standardized tests to label Black people and immigrants as lesser—while systematically under-funding their schools—has a long and ugly history. It is true we need accountability measures, but that should start with politicians being accountable to fully funding education and ending the opportunity gap.…The use of high-stakes tests has become part of the problem, rather than a solution.” Critical reforms should include:
  • End the use of high-stakes standardized tests that falsely and unfairly label students of color, students with disabilities, and English language learners as failures, as early as age eight, further disadvantaging them and subjecting them to turnaround reforms that include the firing of their teachers, the closing of their schools, rote learning, scripted curriculum and a loss of electives in favor of un-proven remedial courses.
  • Oppose the closing of public schools based on test scores. Standardized test scores are predominantly a measure of family income rather than the quality of the schools. School closures have primarily targeted neighborhood schools in communities that are primarily black and/or Latino, damaging the fabric of those communities and stripping parents of democratic control of their schools.
  • Support early childhood education. The differences in opportunity are especially acute for students of color and students in poverty before the start of formal education. Early childhood education lays the foundation for a strong K-12 education.
  • Oppose “zero tolerance” and “no excuses” discipline policies that disproportionately affect students of color and male students. Create layers of support and restorative justice practices that help students and staff resolve conflicts peacefully, engage in self-reflection that promotes positive behavior, and foster respectful relationships and socio-emotional growth. At the same time, ensure that schools are safe environments for teachers and students.
  • Provide extra resources for schools and districts that enroll students with the greatest needs, so that they can provide smaller classes and more one-on-one attention, similar to the Local Control Funding Formula approach in California.
  • Require that every classroom be led by a teacher who is certified to teach and who is well-supported, especially during the first few years of teaching. Poorly trained and non-credentialed teachers are concentrated in the highest needs schools. Oppose alternative fast-track pathways and programs such as Teach for America that recruit novices for short term stints in schools that enroll primarily poor children. Disadvantaged children need experienced teachers to help close the opportunity gap.
  • Require that schools be democratically governed by members of their community, not operated by mayors, governors, emergency managers, or corporations. School districts that are predominately poor and/or black are far more likely to be under mayoral control or receivership. Rather than improving these districts, taking control out of the hands of voters has too often led to a defunding and dismantling of their public schools. Local oversight is imperative.
  • Promote ethnic studies programs that have a significant positive impact on student success, and are crucial for a better understanding of all students.
  • Support an increase in wrap-around services or full-service schools that serve as a community center for both education and health.

IDEA: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

It’s time the federal government lives up to its promise. It should fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, including:
  • Increase IDEA funding of $11.4 billion in 2015 to $28.7 billion, providing states with more funds so that students with disabilities can receive the extra resources and services they need.

Federal Education Spending

The Democratic Party should support the following federal policies:
  • Provide funding so that all schools can offer competitive salaries to attract the best and most qualified staff.
  • Provide funding for class size reduction, so that students can learn in classes no larger than 18 students per class in K-3, no more than 20 students in upper elementary and middle school classes, and no more than 25 students in high school classes. Smaller class sizes allow students to receive the individual attention they need to help them learn, keep them engaged and develop their critical thinking and creative abilities. Research has shown that students in classes with fewer than 18 students in Kindergarten through 3rd grade graduate from high school in higher numbers and are more likely to go to college, with the greatest gains being made by students who are economically disadvantaged and/or minorities.
  • Provide funding so schools are able to offer a full and rich curriculum to all children, including the arts, physical education, history, civics, foreign languages, literature, mathematics, and the sciences.
  • Support early childhood education, because the achievement gap begins before the first day of school.
  • Support wraparound services for students, such as health clinics and after-school programs, as well as counselors and school nurses and nurse practitioners.
  • Prioritize federal money to support public education over charter school corporations. Federal funding is now creating a dual school system, which has been banned since 1954 by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. the Board of Education. Charter schools have become publicly funded private schools that are resulting in the destruction of democratically governed neighborhood schools. Nowhere in the world has this proven to be effective. It is stunting the improvement of authentic public schools, and reducing the voice of black and Latino communities in school governance.
  • Require that any federal funding for charters prohibit for-profit management and require that such charters enroll the same proportions of high-need students with disabilities and English language learners as nearby public schools. Charters should be regularly monitored to prevent harsh disciplinary and suspension policies and should require open meetings of the board as well as financial transparency.

Student Privacy

One of the most pressing issues in the educational landscape today is the protection of student privacy. Personal data is being increasingly outsourced to for-profit vendors and data-mined for commercial purposes. Nearly 40 states have passed new student privacy laws in the last few years, due to parental concerns. However, the public needs uniform federal protections to strengthen the federal law known as FERPA. After students reach age 18, these rights, including those related to notification and con-sent, should devolve to them. We advocate that students’ privacy right policies should:
  • Require that parents be notified in advance of any disclosure of personal student information to any persons, companies or organizations outside of the school or district. All disclosures to third parties should also require publicly available contracts and privacy policies that specify what types of data are to be disclosed for what purposes, and provide a date certain when the data will be destroyed.
  • Prohibit the selling of personal student data. The use of student data for marketing purposes should be banned. No advertising should be allowed on instructional software or websites assigned to students by their schools.
  • Require the encryption of personal data at motion and at rest, required training for all individuals with access to personal student data, audit logs, and security audits by an independent auditor. Passwords should be protected in the same manner as all other personal student information. There must be notification to parents of all breaches, and indemnification of the same. No “anonymized” or “de-identified” student information should be disclosed without verifiable safeguards to ensure data cannot be easily re-identified.
  • Prohibit disclosures by vendors or any other third parties to additional individuals, sub-contractors, or organizations without parental notification and consent (or students, if they are 18 or older).
  • Require that parents be allowed to see any data collected directly from their child by a school or a vendor, delete the data if it is in error, and opt out of further collection, unless that data is part of their child’s educational records. Any data-mining for purpose of creating student profiles, even for educational purposes, must be done with full parental knowledge. Parental consent must be required for disclosure of personal data, especially for highly sensitive information such as their child’s disabilities, health and disciplinary information.
  • Specify parental notification and punitive fines if the school, district or third party violates the law, their contracts and/or privacy policies.

The Danger Posed by Venture Philanthropists and Big Business Interests

The aggressive intervention of K-12 venture philanthropists and hedge-fund managers is undermining America’s public schools. When Rupert Murdoch referred to K-12 education as a “500-billion-dollar industry waiting to be transformed,” he made his view clear– our children’s education is for sale. The CEO of EXXON, Rex Tillerson, referred to our nation’s children as “defective products.” The interjection of corporate values into public education has led to instability, wasted tax dollars and lack of progress. It creates a two-tiered system of haves and have-nots.
Nowhere is this clearer than with the unregulated growth of corporately managed charter schools. A 2015 study by Green, Baker, Joseph and Mead entitled, “Are We Heading Toward a Charter School ‘Bubble’?: Lessons from the Subprime Mortgage Crisis”, addresses the problem clearly: “Supporters of charter schools are using their popularity in black, urban communities to push for states to remove their charter cap restrictions and to allow multiple authorizers. At the same time, private investors are lobbying states to change their rules to encourage charter school growth. The result is what we describe as a policy ‘bubble,’ where the combination of multiple authorizers and a lack of over-sight can end up creating an abundance of poor-performing schools in particular communities.”
The popularity of charter schools derives not from their success—on average, they get the same results as public schools with many performing worse than the schools they replaced. Their popularity is derived from marketing and propaganda. The Republican agenda has always advocated choice, competition, testing and privatization. Right-wing governors and the extremist American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) enthusiastically embrace charters and vouchers.
The Democratic Party has historically advocated for federal policies that promote equitable educational opportunities for all children as well as policies that treat teachers as professionals. It should do so again. Specifically, the platform of the Democratic Party should:
  • Require that party candidates support public education in every community and commit to ensuring that every public school has the resources it needs for the children it serves.
  • Expect candidates to oppose the oversized role of philanthropic organizations and hedge fund managers in promoting school policies.
  • Expect candidates to clearly articulate their support and preference for democratically governed public schools that serve all of the children in their communities.
The Democratic Party has the opportunity to lead a national discussion on the challenges our K-12 schools are facing and the roadblocks to that success. It is imperative that the platform spell out a clear, well-supported, well-informed plan for K-12 education policy. We expect that the Democratic Party will distinguish itself from the Republican Party and support a pro-public education agenda.Strengthening K-12 Education: A Petition to the Democratic Party - NPE Action:
 Big Education Ape: Sign the NPE Action Proposal to the Democratic Party Platform Committee | Diane Ravitch's blog -

Charter groups bridle at LAUSD's order to 'wand' students to detect weapons - LA Times

Charter groups bridle at LAUSD's order to 'wand' students to detect weapons - LA Times:

Charter groups bridle at LAUSD's order to 'wand' students to detect weapons

Security wand
In this 2001 file photo, a female security officer uses a metal detector "wand" to check for contraband during an impromptu check at Monroe High School in North Hills. (Boris Yaro / Los Angeles Times)
e box of hand-held metal detectors arrived out of the blue and without an explanation in December. Principal Kristin Botello shoved them in a closet and carried on with her work at her South Los Angeles charter school.
Botello later learned the box came with a mandate that requires Animo Jackie Robinson High School to conduct random daily searches of its students with the wands. Los Angeles Unified School District officials say the policy protects students from classmates who might be carrying weapons.  
The charter school and its parent organization, Green Dot Public Schools, have refused to comply with the requirement, arguing that random searches will undermine the safety that comes from strong pupil-educator relationships. 
The charter’s standoff with district administrators has drawn an unlikely ally in United Teachers Los Angeles as both groups joined civil rights organizations to craft a letter that was sent to the district May 25 calling on the district to revise or rescind the policy. 
“We live and work in a community where kids are profiled every day by different forms of authority, whether it’s police on the street or by shop owners,” Botello said.

School administrators support safety, she said, but question whether randomly waving a wand over students will achieve that objective. 
Gun violence at schools – from the 2012 slaying of 20 children and six teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut to Wednesday’s fatal shooting of a UCLA professor by a former student who then committed suicide – has amplified the debate about campus safety measures.
Supporters of such searches say they could help prevent school shootings, but critics argue that innocent children begin to resent the constant threat of electronic frisking by authorities whom they must trust if they’re going to learn from them. They also point to what they characterize as an overreaction to violence that ushered in zero-tolerance policies that led, for example, to the suspension of a 7-year-old Tarzana Elementary School student who was caught with an inch-long toy gun on a keychain. 
“It’s a delicate balance for school administrators and school police leaders,” said Kenneth Charter groups bridle at LAUSD's order to 'wand' students to detect weapons - LA Times:

LA Times Criticizes Gates and Deasy, but Forgets Their Own Role - Living in Dialogue

LA Times Criticizes Gates and Deasy, but Forgets Their Own Role - Living in Dialogue:

LA Times Criticizes Gates and Deasy, but Forgets Their Own Role

By Anthony Cody.
This week the Los Angeles Times published an editorial chastising the Gates Foundation for their role in education reform. The editors wrote:
…the Gates Foundation has spent so much money — more than $3 billion since 1999 — that it took on an unhealthy amount of power in the setting of education policy. Former foundation staff members ended up in high positions in the U.S. Department of Education — and, in the case of John Deasy, at the head of the Los Angeles Unified School District. The foundation’s teacher-evaluation push led to an overemphasis on counting student test scores as a major portion of teachers’ performance ratings — even though Gates himself eventually warned against moving too hastily or carelessly in that direction. Now several of the states that quickly embraced that method of evaluating teachers are backing away from it.
Philanthropists are not generally education experts, and even if they hire scholars and experts, public officials shouldn’t be allowing them to set the policy agenda for the nation’s public schools. The Gates experience teaches once again that educational silver bullets are in short supply and that some educational trends live only a little longer than mayflies.
These are some valuable lessons – especially in Los Angeles, where philanthropists like Eli Broad continue to wield great influence.
But wait just a gol-durned minute.
While the Los Angeles Times takes care to trace the Gates Foundation’s role in education back to 1999, they say not a word about their own foray into education reform in 2010. Then, at the same time the Gates Foundation was gearing up for the release of Waiting for Superman and NBC’s Education Nation, the LA Times published a series of articles on “teacher effectiveness,” and commissioned an economist to create LA Times Criticizes Gates and Deasy, but Forgets Their Own Role - Living in Dialogue:
Big Education Ape: What The Gates Foundation’s Learned About Funding Education Journalism | The Grade | The Washington Monthly -