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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Newark’s shameful response to Cerf’s charms and lies. |

Newark’s shameful response to Cerf’s charms and lies. |:

Newark’s shameful response to Cerf’s charms and lies.

There was a time–just a year ago–when the way a parent activist like Sharon Smith was treated at Tuesday night’s Newark school board would have caused a storm of protest. But that was before the city’s mayor, Ras Baraka, cut a deal with the governor to allow a national advocate of privately-operated charter schools to become the city’s state-appointed school superintendent. Now Smith–and many others–have been silenced through the charms and lies of one man, Christopher Cerf. Silenced and marginalized.
Not to mention  co-opted and bought out.
Just in time for that governor, Chris Christie, to try to gut the school district by reducing state aid by 70 percent–while increasing state support for public schools in nearby and lily-white Essex Fells by 1,225 percent. Essex Fells–with its $175,000 annual median family income–compared to $39,000 in Newark.
Tearing the heart of the public schools while saving charter schools from reductions.
And did Cerf or anyone on his staff or the Newark school board mention Christie’s class and race war against the people of New Jersey’s cities. Nope.
Cerf just spouted on about the “great progress” Newark has made  “in the last five years”–the years of Cerf and his hireling and protégé, Cami Anderson, now safely ensconced in her own consulting firm.  He called it “building on the progress” since 2011–and not one person raised even an eyebrow to wonder who disasters like Newark’s shameful response to Cerf’s charms and lies. |:

The Brave New World of Student Teacher High-Stakes Evaluation, an update... - Mitchell Robinson: Reforming Reform

The Brave New World of Student Teacher High-Stakes Evaluation, an update... - Mitchell Robinson: Reforming Reform:

The Brave New World of Student Teacher High-Stakes Evaluation, an update...

I read an excellent piece on the status of American education inThe Atlantic recently, and would strongly recommend anyone interested in schools and schooling to click here and take a look at what Jack Schneider has to say about what's really happening in our schools.

On balance, Mr. Schneider offers a very fair and level-headed analysis of American public education, suggesting that the "crisis" in American education has been wildly exaggerated. But the real problem underlying this discussion can be seen in the first 2 paragraphs, in which only 3 persons are identified as “education experts”:

Sal Khan, Campbell Brown, and Michelle Rhee.

To be clear, none of these persons has attended a public school, has a degree in education, has had their children attend a public school, or has ever held teacher certification. And yet they possess the loudest and most strident voices in the education policy arena, dominating conversations on education policy through sheer volume, and absorbing much of the light and heat in the education policy sphere. Aided and abetted by "education publications" like the billionaire-funded Education Post, Brown has become the "moderator du jour" for education reform meetings, conferences, and made-for-TV edu-infomercials.

If the country desired a substantive discussion on health care policy, we wouldn’t turn to “Dr.” Laura, “Dr.” Phil and “Dr." J. 

We would convene task forces of actual physicians and medical researchers, have meaningful discussions on health care policy and practices, and make reasoned, incremental changes in these policies and practices.

But in education, we have allowed edutourists like Rhee and Campbell to be elevated to positions of authority, and technocrats like Khan to be lauded as visionaries, even as the research conducted by actual education experts is ignored, scorned and even repudiated, The Brave New World of Student Teacher High-Stakes Evaluation, an update... - Mitchell Robinson: Reforming Reform:

Disclosing for-profit education reform agenda on 94.1 – Cloaking Inequity

Disclosing for-profit education reform agenda on 94.1 – Cloaking Inequity:

Disclosing for-profit education reform agenda on 94.1 

What do you think the people’s movement should be doing to stop the profit-driven education take-over and create the joyful, engaging schools we all want for our kids?
Julian Vasquez Heilig, Professor and California NAACP Education Chair, speaks with Kitty Kelly Epstein on her Education Today radio show on 94.1 KPFA (6/24) and reveals the complexities and hidden agenda of the corporate education agenda.
Questions Kitty asked:
1. Some people have come in contact with small community based charter schools that are doing some good things. But as you explain the general picture about charters, there is a much more profit driven, anti-education agenda running the national agenda around charters and other parts of education policy. Can you talk about that?
2. I’ve researched and written a lot about the Oakland Public schools, which were the first place eugenics advocate and Stanford Professor Lewis Terman tried out his IQ test to track the Black and Brown kids away from Northern European whites. So public school have not been great for kids of color. How do you respond to that argument when defending public education?
3. During the debate about the new federal law on education, we were given the impression that “civil rights” organizations supported extensive testing. You are the Education chair of the statewide NAACP. Have the organizations you work with taken a different view of testing?
4. What do you think the people’s movement should be doing to stop the profit-driven education take-over and create the joyful, engaging schools we all want for our kids?
I slightly misspoke in a few places. Sometimes you make mistakes when speaking LIVE.:) A couple of clarifications.
  • Community-based charters benefit from the Charter School Association not “School Boards” lobbyists.
  • The worldwide education spending is nearly 7 trillion, not billion.
  • Mayor Rahm Emmanuel closed the traditional public schools in Chicago to build charters.
For all of Cloaking Inequity’s posts on charter schools click here.
Please Facebook Like, Tweet, etc below and/or reblog to share this discussion with others.
Want to know about Cloaking Inequity’s freshly pressed conversations about educational policy? Click the “Follow blog by email” button on the home page.
Twitter: @ProfessorJVH

Click here for Vitae.
Disclosing for-profit education reform agenda on 94.1 – Cloaking Inequity:

Why have so many people accepted the idea that kids need to fail more? - The Washington Post

Why have so many people accepted the idea that kids need to fail more? - The Washington Post:

Why have so many people accepted the idea that kids need to fail more? 

Is it important to allow students to fail in class — or not to fail? How much should teachers allow kids to struggle before helping them solve a problem or understand a concept? These may seem like simple questions, but the answers are complex.
Last year, for example, a Texas high school teacher wrote in this post that she has a large quote on the wall above the whiteboard that says, “In this class, failure is not an option. It’s a requirement.” Her piece was part of a series of essays that emerged from a project in which more than 20 biology teachers across the country addressed this question: “What is the value of letting students struggle in class?” She wrote:
As my students started to learn that first day, I have this quote hanging in my classroom, not because I have a desire to see any of my students fail the class, but as a constant reminder of the powerful learning that occurs when people have to (or are given the opportunity to) struggle through challenging material and fail a few times along the way.
In 2014, veteran California teacher Larry Ferlazzo had a different take, writing that there is a big difference between failing and making mistakes and that it is important for teachers to help students understand the difference. He said:
Failure for a student, I would suggest, is the experience of not making progress towards their key hopes and dreams. One of the many jobs we teachers have, then, is to help them see that challenges they might face are just mistakes, which the dictionary defines as “an error in action, calculation, opinion, or judgment 
Why have so many people accepted the idea that kids need to fail more? - The Washington Post:

Schools Matter: Massive Resistance Required Against NC Taliban

Schools Matter: Massive Resistance Required Against NC Taliban:

Massive Resistance Required Against NC Taliban

The Koch Brothers now own North Carolina state government, and until that changes, the rights of NC citizens will be subjected to any number of schemes to limit free speech, the right to demonstrate, and to express grievances against the John Birchers who would like to return North Carolina to the era of Jim Crow social policy and the politics of McCarthyism. 

From the Charlotte Observer:

Last week, a group of three dozen teachers marched in Raleigh in an effort to draw attention to the appalling lack of basic educational materials available in their classrooms. When Governor McCrory refused to meet with them, 14 of these dedicated educators were arrested for sitting down in the street in protest. Under a new Senate bill, teachers who are arrested for failure to disperse could potentially lose their teaching licenses.

Senate Bill 867’s intent is stricter background checks for teachers applying for teaching licenses in North Carolina. Its current language requires the Department of Public Safety to provide criminal histories on individuals who apply for licensure to the State Board of Education. The board then makes a determination on whether the aspiring teacher has the “moral character required for professional educators” before issuing the teaching license.

The majority of the crimes listed in the bill make perfect sense if the goal is – as it should be – to keep our students safe. Few would argue that individuals who have been convicted of homicide, arson, prostitution, or misconduct in public office should be allowed to mold the young minds of tomorrow.

But the inclusion of Article 36A, which includes the act of remaining “at the scene of ... disorderly conduct by an 
Schools Matter: Massive Resistance Required Against NC Taliban:

Russ on Reading: Choice? Education Reformers Do Not Understand the Word

Russ on Reading: Choice? Education Reformers Do Not Understand the Word:

Choice? Education Reformers Do Not Understand the Word

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. - Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride

I have been thinking a lot about choice lately, especially after the news came out of Florida that children whose parents opted them out of the state standardized test will be forced to repeat third grade. That's right, children who have high grades, as well as good reading and writing and math ability, will repeat third grade simply because they did not take a standardized tests. This policy exposes the hypocrisy of the entire school reform movement. The movement champions choice for parents and children in the form of vouchers and charter schools, but not choice when it comes to taking the tests on which their whole house of cards is built. When faced with parents actually exercising choice the reformers inner-fascist comes out and we are told, "No! No! You must choose the choices that we choose for you, not the choices that you choose to choose." Peter Greene has a terrific take down of this kind of thinking here.

The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines choice as the "opportunity or power to choose between two or more possibilities." Education reformers want to give parents choice when they pick a school for their children, but by making that "choice" parents are apparently expected to forfeit any other choices they want to make. Once children are enrolled in a charter school, parent choice ends. Charters are run by boards that, unlike traditional public schools, are not elected and often not responsive to parent and student concerns. As I reported in an earlier post, the parent of the child who was berated by a Success Academy charter school teacher was told that she could not file a complaint with the NYC Board of Education because Success Academy is a "private entity." Her only recourse was to go to the Success Academy Board of Directors, an appointed group of hand picked Success Academy supporters.

There can be no real "choice" without a real "voice" in the education of your child. Parents choose charter schools seeking the best for their children (as a recent study shows what parents deem best is often determined by factors other than academics), but when they do so they may not realize that they are forfeiting their voice in their child's education. Children attending 
Russ on Reading: Choice? Education Reformers Do Not Understand the Word:

Stop John King's Test and Punish Regulations - Network For Public Education

Stop John King's Test and Punish Regulations - Network For Public Education:

Stop John King’s Test and Punish Regulations

We urge you to take a stand against the proposed regulations drafted by U.S. Secretary of Education John King for implementing the accountability provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  Although the intent of ESSA was to put an end to the “test and punish” regime of NCLB and give more flexibility to the states, in some ways the draft regulations are even more punitive and prescriptive than under NCLB.
For example, although ESSA permits states to pass laws allowing parents to opt their children out of taking the state tests, the draft regulations would require states to harshly punish or label as failing, schools in which more than 5% of students opt out.
The regulations would also require that every public school in the country receive a single grade–based primarily on test scores and other strictly academic factors — even though the law properly leaves it up to the states to devise their own grading systems within certain limits. This would impose simplistic and damaging school grades that have already been found defective in many states and districts across the country.
In short, these proposed regulations would micro-manage the ability of states to create their own accountability systems, and take away the opportunity for parents and educators to have voice in their school accountability system.
It is imperative that we push back now while there is still time to change course. We need you to do two things as soon as you can:
1.     Please cut and paste the comments below the line into the area for comments on the US Department of Education website, which you will find by clicking here – or revise them according to your liking.
2.     Complete our Action Alert and send a letter to your own representatives urging them to block these destructive regulations. We make it easy to do! Just click here.
It is critically important that you take the time to try to improve these regulations, before it’s too late – and stand up for our public schools and students.
Although the comment period is open until August 1, we ask that you take action as soon as possible and preferably by Tuesday, June 29 because the Senate is questioning Sec. King on Wednesday. Thanks for your help!
Please cut and paste the text below here, or revise if you prefer.
Stop John King's Test and Punish Regulations - Network For Public Education:

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Some Must-Reads for June

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Some Must-Reads for June:

ICYMI: Some Must-Reads for June

And not a word here about Brexit.  

The Importance of Parent Voice

Talking about the co-opting of language and  parent voice in Nashville and elsewhere.

The Reading Rules We Would Never Follow As Adults

Those rules we impose on student readers that, as adults, we would never stand for, and what that tells us about the authenticity of reading instruction. 

School Reform Is Really about Land Development

Somehow this sat and stewed for about a month before it got traction. It is an absolute must-read. If you only read two pieces on this list, this should be one of them.

What's Wrong with Christie's Wrongheaded School Aid Plan?

The spectacle of Tom Moran actually calling Christie really wrong.


You can't go wrong with Alfie Kohn, who may not blog often, but every time it's well thought out and deeply important.

CBE and ALEC Preparing Students for the Gig Economy

Competency based education is perfect grooming for the gig economy, where nobody ever has a steady job.

America's Not-So-Broken Education System

This would be the other must-read post from the week. Jack Schneider puts the whole picture in perspective and goes back to the fundamental flawed premise of reform.

North Carolina: The Ongoing Destruction of Public Education

Every so often, it's worth taking a moment to just step back and take in the full breadth of North Carolina's continuing attack on public schools and the teachers who work in them 

When You Dial 911 and Wall Street Answers

Not directly about education, this looks at how Wall Street is taking over basic services like health care, and the miserable side effects for people who depend on those services. It will all seem distressingly familiar.

No Words Can Charm a Computer

A student writes a letter to the editor that beautifully outlines why computer-based scoring is a stupid idea.

Politicians Say They Care About Education: Now Public School Advocates Are Putting Them To the Test

The education planks that should be in every party's platform

Vivian Connell: Her Last Post

Of all the voices that Diane Ravitch has amplified, none has been more moving and heart-wrenching than Vivian Connell, the teacher blogging about her long fight with ALS. This week she made her final post.

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Some Must-Reads for June:

The Truth Behind Grit
In 1955, researchers Emmy Werner and Ruth Smith approached every family on Kauai, HI, who had a child that year. 698 families said yes, beginning one of the longest studies of childhood development and childhood adversity ever conducted.The study is featured in a fascinating article at Mosaic Science by Lucy Maddox. The piece never uses the word "grit," but it looks at the question of re
Time To Speak Up on ESSA Regulations
While the new education law is on the books, it still remains to follow ESSA:The Law with it's even-more-important sequel ESSA: The Regulations. It's the body of regulations that determines exactly what the law means, how exactly the law will influence day to day life in Educationland.So the writing of ESSA regulations is Really Important, and it's an especially big deal this time because Secretar

CBE: Personalized Education & The Indexing Problem
There are plenty of reasons not to like Competency Based Education, which can be found these days shambling about under the nom de guerre "personalized education." It's an appealing name, as it evokes images of a student with her own personal tutor and guide, her own educational concierge. Instead, it's actually a student strapped to a personal computer screen watching a parade of adapti
PA: Cybers Are Delusional
It's been little more than a week since the bricks and mortar portion of the charter school industry took a big, hard swipe at their cyber-siblings. As you may recall, three major charter school groups released a "report" that was basically a blueprint for how to slap the cyber-schools with enough regulation to make them finally behave. The report was rough, noting all of the worst findi
MD: State Super Gets Writing Lesson
Les Perelman is one of my heroes. For years he has poked holes in the junk science that is computer-graded writing, bringing some sanity and clarity to a field clogged with silly puffery.We are all indebted to Fred Klonsky for publishing an exchange between Perelman (retired Director of Writing Across the Curriculum at MIT) and Jack Smith, the Maryland State Superintendent of Schools. Maryland is

JUN 24

OK: An Example for All of Us
Oklahoma has taken its share of lumps in the ed debates. Their legislature is not quite as determined to burn public education to the ground as are the legislatures of North Carolina or Florida. It's not quite as committed to cashing in on the charter revolution as Ohio. But Oklahoma remains in the grip of reformster baloney, and teachers are tired and frustrated. The word 'frustrated" comes
School Accountability Camps
Now that ESSA has opened the door (maybe, kind of) to new approaches to school accountability. What are the possibilities? Mike Petrilli of the Fordham Institute has outlinbed four possibilities in a list calculated to help us all conclude that only one of the possibilities is really legit. The list apparently grows out of the Fordham contest to design a compatibility system; I entered that compet
Do Interim Tests Help?
You know the drill. We have to take the Big Standardized Tests in the spring, so in the fall and winter, maybe multiple times, we're going to take the pre-test, or practice test, or interim test, or testing test test.The plan is that this will get the students ready for the BS Test (because it is such an artificial, inauthentic task that it doesn't resemble any other activity except taking similar

JUN 23

Intangible Greatness
You may have heard by now the satisfying news that the Supreme Court spanked Abbie Fisher in a decision that provides, as Salon put it, "A massive blow to mediocre white people coasting on their racial privilege." Fisher (and her lawyer, notorious affirmative action combatant Edward Blum) argued that as a mediocre white person, she should automatically get preference over a mediocre blac
Attacking the Public in Public Education
Many parts of the attack on US public education have not been subtle or hard to detect. The refrain "our schools are failing" has been so steadily repeated for the past few decades that it is now accepted uncritically, independent of any evidence other than "Hey, I keep hearing people say it, so I guess it must be true." Now we hear it just tossed off as an aside, an assumption

JUN 22

Charterista Faux Teacher Programs Make ESSA Demands of Feds
The damndest things turn up on Twitter some days. Take this document. Entitled "Joint Statement Calling for Transparency of Outcomes to Improve Teacher Preparation and Better Serve Students and Districts," this is a fairly transparent demand by several "alternative path" teaching programs that new regulations give them a better advantage in the Brave New ESSA World.Urban Teache
PA: A Curious Online Learning Bill
I'm not honestly sure what to make of this one, but this bill has actually passed in the PA House, so we should probably pay a little bit of attention. It deals with online learning, so that demands attention as well.House Bill 1915 doesn't even have a snappy name, but its purpose is to establish the Online Course Clearinghouse.The bill was put out there by Rep. Jason Ortitay (R) who indicated tha

JUN 21

Twenty Two Years & Lost Possibilities
Our local newspaper runs a "22 years ago today" item most days, a quick snapshot of what people were up to 22, 44 and 66 years ago. This morning I picked up the paper and saw a name I think about every year.The student was in my class, long long ago. He was what we like to call an "at risk" student, which is such a professional term to use, when the human reality of at risk stu

JUN 20

Live Blogging Ed Reform Marriage Counseling Session
A few weeks ago, Robert Pondiscio wrote what seemed to me to be a fairly well-measured piece about the uneasy and possibly-unraveling collaboration between reformy conservatives and reformy liberals. I even wrote a vaguely thoughtful response. But lots of folks absolutely lost their heads, and the post and various responses to it bounced all over the reformy side of the blogoverse.That seems to ha
Mexico: How Bad Can the Ed Debates Get?
I try to be careful with word choice. I've been reluctant to call the reformster-driven ed debates in this country a "war" or even an "assault" because when we inflate the nature of some conflict, we dilute the meaning of words, words that we may need when something that does more closely resemble an actual war, with fighting and shooting and killing. Which takes us to Mexico.N
CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Some Must-Reads for June: