Latest News and Comment from Education

Friday, June 17, 2016

CURMUDGUCATION: A Reformster Manifesto

CURMUDGUCATION: A Reformster Manifesto:

A Reformster Manifesto

While they stump for all the usual suspects, the Center for Education Reform is not really a full on reformy group. They are first, last, foremost, and always, a group that pushes hard for charters.

Their founder, president, and chief spokesperson Jeanne Allen  graduated from Dickerson with a degree in political science, then moved on to study political philosophy at the Catholic University of America. She was the "youngest political appointee to serve at the pleasure of the president, Ronald Reagan, at the US Department of Education." She's currently working on an Educational Entrepreneurship masters at University of Pennsylvania in a program that offers what I once called "a degree in soulless profiteering." She announced her intention to step out of the president role in 2013, but no successor was named and apparently, she stayed right in place.

CER is packed with charter groups, charter operators, and investor groups from their board to theadvisors to their contributors. Oddly enough, the smallest group is The Team.  On her LinkedIN page, she describes her organization thus:

With well over 100 million media impressions annually and a national base of grassroots partners and agitators in every state, CER cultivates new reformers daily and cuts the learning curve for those entering reform and sustains strong, challenging advocates for real reforms that ensure choice 
CURMUDGUCATION: A Reformster Manifesto:

Schools Matter: Paul Tough: Directing Attention Away from "No Excuses" Pt. 1

Schools Matter: Paul Tough: Directing Attention Away from "No Excuses" Pt. 1:

Paul Tough: Directing Attention Away from "No Excuses" Pt. 1

Helping Children Succeed was reported and written with the generous support of five philanthropic organizations: the CityBridge Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the Raikes Foundation, theBainum Family Foundation, and the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation.
 –Paul Tough

Paul Tough has written a new book that aspires to put into action a host of bad ideas that Tough advocated in his 2012 book, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character.  In that book, Tough outlined the eugenics-inspired elitist dream to use schooling to alter poor children’s brains and nervous systems so that they, essentially, become academically immune to the effects of poverty—that corrosive malady that Tough’s wealthy patrons have no interest in doing anything about.  And why should they if the segregated urban poor can produce the test scores that are required to grow the wildly lucrative “no excuses” networks like KIPP, Achievement First, Uncommon Schools, Mastery, Green Dot, Rocketship, etc. 

Instead of suggesting that some part of the billions in philanthropic dollars be used to attack the problem of child poverty at its roots, Tough, in that 2012 book, focused, instead, on the virtues of the “no excuses” charter reform schools to develop “performance character,” which he claimed would provide enough grit, self-control, and gratitude to neutralize the damaging effects of poverty on poor children’s low test scores. 

Tough’s first book fantasized about exploiting the neural plasticity of children of the poor, and the KIPP schools were held up as models of successful programs that grind out gritty kids who excel in self-control, gratitude, zest, and the other corporate character virtues that allow for high productivity among students and workers, despite deplorable living and work conditions.  Like most fantasies, Tough’s 2012 book depended upon creating an alternate reality to match his dystopian pipe dream of dredging new neural pathways in children’s brains to improve their performance character, or work habits. 

In Tough’s gritty sci-fi fantasy, he falsely equated higher test scores that KIPP’s unpaid child workers generate under the soul-crushing tutelage of inexperienced teachers as an indication that improved character (grit and self-control) had been achieved.  Like other measures used in Schools Matter: Paul Tough: Directing Attention Away from "No Excuses" Pt. 1:

Mexican-American Studies Summit Takes on ‘Racist’ Textbook « NewsTaco

Mexican-American Studies Summit Takes on ‘Racist’ Textbook « NewsTaco:

Mexican-American Studies Summit Takes on ‘Racist’ Textbook

*It was only text submitted for approval for Texas Mexican-American studies, written by a one-time leader of the Texas conservative education movement.  Mexican-American leaders in Texas call it a racist book. VL

Texas_ObserverBy Patrick Michaels, Texas Observer (3 minute read)
If you’ve read about Mexican-American studies in Texas the last month, it’s probably because of the textbook. You know the one: Mexican American Heritage, published by a one-time leader in Texas’ conservative education movement. It was the only book on the subject submitted for state approval, and since the Observer first reported on the controversial tome in May it has drawn intense ire from Mexican-American history scholars. Houston activistTony Diaz succinctly described it as “a racist textbook.”
The lack of options has frustrated Mexican-American studies advocates who spent months lobbying state officials to issue a call for textbooks. Meanwhile, Republican State Board of Education member David Bradley has found the textbook controversy — the book describes “many” Mexican-American migrants as “poor, undereducated, or illegal” — entertaining. “It’s really kind of amusing,” he told theAustin American-Statesman. “The left-leaning, radical Hispanic activists, having pounded the table for special treatment, get approval for a special course that nobody else wanted. Now they don’t like their special textbook?”
But the State Board of Education’s influence only goes so far. Teachers are under no obligation to use any book the SBOE approves, and as Mexican-American studies courses spread across Texas, educators have been writing and sharing new course materials and lesson plans of their own.
In San Antonio on Saturday, advocates and scholars of Mexican-American studies will gather to share what they’ve learned Mexican-American Studies Summit Takes on ‘Racist’ Textbook « NewsTaco:

The real choice lawsuits filed against the Educational Savings Accounts (ESA)Reno News & Review -

Reno News & Review - The real choice - Left Foot Forward - Opinions - June 16, 2016:

The real choice

The Nevada Supreme Court has announced it will hear oral arguments on at least one of the lawsuits filed against the Educational Savings Accounts (ESA), Nevada’s broadest-in-the-nation school voucher law, on July 8. The arguments relate to a lawsuit filed by parents of Nevada students who object to the voucher program because it violates the state’s constitutional provision of uniform funding. Carson City District Court Judge James Wilson agreed with the parents, but an appeal of his decision was filed, asking the Supreme Court to overturn it.
A district court judge in Las Vegas, Eric Johnson, dealt a harsher blow to advocates of public education when he recently ruled in favor of the ESA. Johnson ruled against a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State that argues the ESA violates Article 11, Section 10 of the state’s constitution because it takes publicly funded education dollars away from public schools, funneling it to private religious schools under the guise of parental choice.
It’s worth noting that Judge Johnson was appointed last year by Governor Sandoval, who signed the law creating the voucher program, a bill championed by Republicans that failed to attract even one Democratic vote. Johnson is currently running to retain his appointed seat after being chosen by Sandoval to fill a Reno News & Review - The real choice - Left Foot Forward - Opinions - June 16, 2016:

Witch Hunt Against Incoming Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Escalates | gadflyonthewallblog

Witch Hunt Against Incoming Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Escalates | gadflyonthewallblog:

Witch Hunt Against Incoming Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Escalates

Screen shot 2016-06-17 at 1.17.51 PM
To be or not to be.
That is the question for incoming Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Anthony Hamlet.
He is set to takeover the district on July 1, but a well financed public smear campaign is trying to stop him before he even begins.
Big money interests oppose him. The public supports him.
Meanwhile the media helps fuel corporate attacks on the 47-year-old African American because of criticisms leveled by a Political Action Committee (PAC) formed to disband the duly-elected school board.
It’s ironic.
Corporate school reformers criticize Hamlet for allegedly plagiarizing a single statement in his resume. Meanwhile they have plagiarizedWitch Hunt Against Incoming Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Escalates | gadflyonthewallblog:

30+ Happy Famous Fathers Day Quotes - Messages - Wishes - Happy Father's day 2016

#30+ Happy Famous Fathers Day Quotes - Messages - Wishes - Greetings ~ Happy Father's day 2016 - # Wishes Quotes Messages #:

#30+ Happy Famous Fathers Day Quotes - Messages - Wishes - Greetings

Hey there are you looking for some of the best father's day quotes for your father on this father's day ? then you are at the right place, we Father's Day 2016 have published the best collection offather's day quotes specially for you.

Hi! Do you want to give your father surprise on the fathers day with the most charming fathers day quotes? then you are at the perfect place to get all the best of best fathers day quotes that will express your highest level of gratitude for your father who has made you the person today you are. As the Fathers day is approaching, We fathers day 2016 have compiled the list of images and quotes that you send or print on a card and show your feelings of love towards your dad. InternationalFathers day is celebrated every year on te third Sunday of June, In this year, Fathers day will be celebrated on 19th of June 2016.

Famous Fathers Day Quotes - Messages - Sayings

Famous Fathers Day Quotes - Messages - Sayings
Famous Fathers Day Quotes - Messages - Sayings
There is an Indian saying "maata, pita, guru, prabhu", which means the first position in a man's life goes to his MOTHER- "MAATA" (in Sanskrit), as she is the one who gave birth to us and introduced us to this world and then FATHER - "PITA" (in Sanskrit), a person who has an equal share in getting us to this world and helping us to grow by supporting us at all the stages in life. Only after our parents the third place goes to "GURU" - TEACHER (in Sanskrit),  who taught us the subject and other values in life and then comes the GOD - "PRABHU" (in Sanskrit), who has a last position in this phrase since all the other three are god like people who guide us and show us the path to reach GOD. they are the living god's for a man's life.

New Infographic: Empowering Trans Students with Super Powers | Schott Foundation for Public Education

New Infographic: Empowering Trans Students with Super Powers | Schott Foundation for Public Education:

New Infographic: Empowering Trans Students with Super Powers

Schott and our partners have been working on this infographic for some time, and it is being released while our nation is mourning and the national narrative around trans students has been singularly focused on bathroom facilities. These current issues only highlight why we need to do more to support transgender students in a more comprehensive way.
The Schott Foundation for Public Education joins the country and the international community in mourning all of the lives lost and injured during the recent shootings in Orlando targeting members of the LGBTQ community specifically, and our humanity more broadly. The hatred exhibited in Orlando calls into question what more our country can do to limit unnecessary gun violence and to ensure the safety and well-being of LGBTQ individuals where they live, work, learn, play, worship, and govern. During this difficult time, Schott reaffirms its commitment to resource advocates and campaigns to institutionalize the policies and practices that create healthy living and learning spaces for all.
We recognize that the threat of homophobic and transphobic violence is very real for many of us, including our children. 
Schott believes that every young person deserves to attend school in a safe, healthy living and learning environment that allows them to thrive and grow to their full potential. For nearly 25 years, Schott has utilized a race and gender lens through our grantmaking and research to understand and address the unique set of challenges facing students across the country that is inclusive of students who also identify as LGBTQ.
"Can we also live for what we believe in? Is that worth more than dying? When do we achieve admiration for our survival? I guess in order for that to happen, people would have to acknowledge just how heroic our survival is. Give us our roses while we're still here."
— Participant in a recent BreakOUT! transgender rights march
Schott and our partners have been focused on the myriad of challenges transgender students and transgender students of color experience every single day beyond the bathroom.
80% of trans students feel unsafe at school because of their gender expression. 49% of trans people reported physical abuse in a 2007 survey. 41% of trans people have attempted suicide. [source] Trans youth of color are especially impacted in a society doubly stacked against them for both their race and gender expression. Students should be able to learn in a safe and supportive public school environment regardless of their gender expression. It's up to all of us to make that happen.
In May 2016, U.S. Departments of Justice and Education released joint guidance to help public schools ensure the civil rights of trans students: when students or their parents notify a school that a student is transgender, the school must treat the student in a manner consistent with the student’s gender identity in every situation, from the restroom to sports. The guidance also suggests schools establish additional privacy options that all students can use for any reason.
Over the past few years, in partnership with the Arcus Foundation, Schott has supported the work of Massachusetts grantee BAGLY, the Boston Alliance of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender Youth, to elevate the voice of trans students in Boston Public Schools. BAGLY youth leaders have identified several key ways that students, educators, and schools can help make our public education system more safe and supportive of trans students — it’s time to support the super powers of trans youth!New Infographic: Empowering Trans Students with Super Powers | Schott Foundation for Public Education:
[Click for a printable PDF]

Helmet of Knowledge: Students need to first be aware of their rights as afforded to them by Massachusetts’ Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) guidelines of inclusion and diversity.
Advocacy Shield: When a student is denied treatment according to MA law and DESE guidelines, they should know what resources to contact in order to obtain the support they need to push back against unfair/unequal treatment (BAGLY can connect students to other resources like lawyers, case management, therapy, etc.).
Cape of Protection: Culturally competent mentors should be available in schools (LGBTQ-identified, trans-identified, etc.).
Power Bolt of Systemic Change: Audit school curricula to include LGBTQ-specific issues and social justice history.
Peer Support Rocket Boots: Increase awareness in the student body — hold assemblies focusing on diversity, including sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.


Connect with these organizations for support, programming, and policy advocacy:



Arrogance: Service, Not Saviors – the becoming radical

Arrogance: Service, Not Saviors – the becoming radical:

Arrogance: Service, Not Saviors

Beyond the obvious—that they are all joined by the field of education—what links the National Reading Panel (NRP) and No Child Left Behind, the edureform documentary propagandaWaiting for “Superman,” Teach For America, and edusavior Steve Perry?
While I count myself among English language arts (ELA) teachers who are skeptical of the Great Books mindset—that we have essential books all children must read—I am moved today to endorse how many of those works remind we puny humans about the folly of pride. Not the “I am proud of you daughter/son” pride, but the arrogance pride.
The “‘My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;/ Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!'”kind of pride.
What on earth possessed politicians to form the NRP to find out what we know about teaching children to read? Did anyone point out that we have had a vibrant field of literacy in the U.S. for a good century? Isn’t it sort of obvious that we have dozens upon dozens of people across the U.S. who know exactly how to teach children to read (and have known for decades)?
But it isn’t just the teaching of reading.
Naive experts, often journalists, every week roll out yet another book in which she or he researches a field in which real experts in that field have been doing authentic work for decades—the history of teaching!, how to teach poor children!, the glory of 10,000 hours of practice!
Paternalistic, self-important, blowhard politicians daily puff up in front of the pubic to be that “Superman” at the center of the great lie documentary noted above that ironically serves as a perfect representation of everything that is wrong with education reform.
But one need not go back to that complete failure of film making. Try within the last week.
Educators and activists Andre Perry and Jose Vilson (see also) have assumed the mantle of speaking truth to the cult of personality that is Steve Perry.
I consider myself a student of Andre Perry and Vilson, as I work to navigate my own white Arrogance: Service, Not Saviors – the becoming radical:
 Black Aesthetic, White Supremacy: Steve Perry’s Tweet Needs Cutting More Than Black Boys’ Hair -

Big Education Ape: How Dr. Steve Perry Sells Black Kids To The Highest Bidder — Medium -

Malloy’s Connecticut – Ripping off Connecticut while keeping citizens in the dark - Wait What?

Malloy’s Connecticut – Ripping off Connecticut while keeping citizens in the dark - Wait What?:

Malloy’s Connecticut – Ripping off Connecticut while keeping citizens in the dark

When Dannel Malloy was running for re-election in 2014 he collected a $6 million+ taxpayer funded Clean Campaign grant from the state of Connecticut with the promise that he would not solicit, accept, coordinate or use private funds to benefit his campaign.
In the following months, not only did he benefit from more than $5 million from an account funded by the Democratic Governors Association, AFSCME and AFT, he and his political operatives directly raised another $5 million, much of it from state contractors, lobbyist and people who have benefited from Malloy’s outrageous corporate welfare program.
The law was clear, if you take money in addition to the state grant, you lose the state grant.
That is, if you take money, you must pay back the $6 million in public funds.
Earlier this week, Malloy’s Democratic Party agreed to a settlement with the Connecticut State Elections Commission in which they paid a fine of $325,000 – or 5 percent – of what the taxpayer were owed.
When it comes to Malloy, fair and proper are two terms that simply aren’t used.
In a stunning, courageous and insightful commentary piece, followed by a CT Mirror story, the lead investigator for the State Elections Enforcement Commission – Charlie Urso –  now retired – explains some of the issues that took place behind the scene.
Charlie Urso’s commentary piece – Malloy campaign law settlement was a mockery and a sham and the CT Mirror’s article – Investigator says Malloy settlement keeps voters in the dark – is a MUST READ for those who really want to about Malloy and themodus operandi that permeates his operation.
While some of the details won’t be new for Wait, What? readers, the two pieces shed Malloy’s Connecticut – Ripping off Connecticut while keeping citizens in the dark - Wait What?:

Test Scores Poor Indicator of Students’ Life Outcomes and School Quality: New Consensus? | janresseger

Test Scores Poor Indicator of Students’ Life Outcomes and School Quality: New Consensus? | janresseger:

Test Scores Poor Indicator of Students’ Life Outcomes and School Quality: New Consensus?

According to Education Next, “Jay P. Greene is endowed chair and head of the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas and a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.” This Arkansas “Department of Education Reform” epitomizes the far-right think tank posing as a university department. For years, Greene has been at the center of education “reform” orthodoxy, and yet today he is questioning one of its primary tenets—the use of short term test score gains as the primary measure of school improvement.  While federal policy in education as prescribed in the new Every Student Succeeds Act continues to prescribe annual testing and the requirement that states develop plans to turn around schools that can’t quickly raise scores, there seems to be growing consensus in the academic world about problems with accountability that is purely test-based.
Here is what Professor Greene posted on his blog on Tuesday:  “I’ve written several times recently about how short term gains in test scores are not associated with improved later life outcomes for students. Schools and programs that increase test scores quite often do not yield higher high school graduation or college attendance rates. Conversely, schools and programs that fail to produce greater gains in test scores sometimes produce impressive improvements in high school graduation and college attendance rates, college completion rates, and even higher employment and earnings. I’ve described at least 8 studies that show a disconnect between raising test scores and stronger later life outcomes.” Greene devotes the rest of his post to describing a new study that replicates these findings.
Greene concludes: “It’s time that people start paying a lot more attention to this pattern of a disconnect between short term test score gains and long term life outcomes. We can’t just dismiss this pattern as a fluke… If we think we can know which schools of choice are good and ought to be expanded and which are bad and ought to be closed based primarily on annual test scores gains, we are sadly mistaken.  Various portfolio management and ‘accountability’ regimes depend almost entirely on this false belief that test scores reveal which are the good and bad schools. The evidence is growing quite strong that these strategies cannot properly distinguish good from bad schools and may be inflicting great harm on students.”
Paul Tough’s new book, Helping Children Succeeddescribes educational research that confirms Greene’s concerns about test-based accountability.  Tough explains the research of Kirabo Jackson: “What he found was that some teachers were reliably able to raise their students’ standardized-test scores year after year… But Jackson also found that there was another distinct cohort of teachers who were reliably able to raise their students’ Test Scores Poor Indicator of Students’ Life Outcomes and School Quality: New Consensus? | janresseger:

Sinking TFA?: Demise in San Francisco – Cloaking Inequity

Sinking TFA?: Demise in San Francisco – Cloaking Inequity:

Sinking TFA?: Demise in San Francisco

 In the post BREAKING: TFA out in San Francisco I first discussed the SFUSD decision to break their relationship with Teach For America. Episode 10 of the Truth For America podcast features an EXCLUSIVE conversation with Lita Blanc, President of United Educators of San Francisco about the demise of TFA in San Francisco.

The podcast includes discussions about the recent decision by the School Board of the San Francisco Unified School District to stop their association with Teach For America. We discuss teacher shortages, alternative to Teach For America in San Francisco, the role of Teach For America in education reform and much more.
Truth For America is a podcast about Teach For America (TFA) that provides voice to educators, parents, students, and other key stakeholders. Truth For America is co-hosted by Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig and Dr. T. Jameson Brewer.
Truth For America is sponsored by the Network for Public Education Action.
For all of Cloaking Inequity’s posts on Teach For America click here.
Please Facebook Like, Tweet, etc below and/or reblog to share this discussion with others.
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Twitter: @ProfessorJVH
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Hear from TFA alums and teachers… binge listen to the entire Truth For America podcast series on YouTube below or iTunes here.
Sinking TFA?: Demise in San Francisco – Cloaking Inequity: