Latest News and Comment from Education

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Russ on Reading: Don't Look Behind the Curtain: The Education Reform Switcheroo

Russ on Reading: Don't Look Behind the Curtain: The Education Reform Switcheroo:

Don't Look Behind the Curtain: The Education Reform Switcheroo

If you haven't yet read the New York Times article on what school choice has meant for the children of Detroit, please do. I could not read the piece without tears coming to my eyes and my blood coming to a boil. As I have said in previous posts and as many others have been saying for years, school choice will destroy public education. It has already done so in Detroit.

The Times piece lays bare the true motivation of corporate education reform: to try to get people to focus on schools as the problem, so that they won't look behind the curtain at the real problem facing the country - income inequity. As the historian and social theorist, Michael Katz, put it in the 2003 update to his great book, The Irony of Early Education Reform, "education has been used in America as a way out of public dilemmas - as a painless substitution for the redistribution of wealth." Education reform always fails because it is not meant to succeed; it is only meant to distract us from the real issue. 

I have been in education long enough to have been through several reform movements. In 1976, I was appointed to a Pennsylvania commission called Project 81. Project 81 was a five year plan aimed at strengthening high school graduation requirements in the state through "competency-based education.". The governor and legislature of Pennsylvania, had determined that schools were not being held accountable enough and that graduation requirements needed to be strengthened (sound familiar?). As a representative of my school district on the commission, I attended conferences, met with teachers from across the state, listened to the best minds on competency -based education and assessment, wrote reports and 
Russ on Reading: Don't Look Behind the Curtain: The Education Reform Switcheroo:

Subtle factors combine to fuel school-to-prison pipeline - NonDoc

Subtle factors combine to fuel school-to-prison pipeline - NonDoc:

Subtle factors combine to fuel school-to-prison pipeline

prison pipeline
A graph from the Oklahoma Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights highlights racial incongruity in school suspensions. (Provided)

The Oklahoma Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has published a study examining the civil rights impact of school discipline and juvenile-justice policies.
The study explains how excessive and disparate suspensions of students “may lead to high rates of juvenile incarceration” — particularly among youth of color, boys and students with disabilities — in what has become known as the school-to-prison pipeline.
In its report released this month, the committee issued a number of commonsense recommendations ranging from better professional development of teachers, of school law enforcement officers and of juvenile-justice workers to a repudiation of “zero-tolerance” disciplinary policies.
The committee recommended that the department “impose mandatory reforms to disciplinary policies for schools that demonstrate significant disparities in disciplinary actions on the basis of race, color, or disability,” but that’s not as ominous as it might seem.
I emailed Melissa Wojnaroski, civil rights analyst with the commission, for clarification.
“The U.S. DOE in collaboration with the U.S. DOJ has already issued ‘best practice’guidance for reducing disparities in school discipline on the basis of race, color, sex and disability,” Wojnaroski wrote in her reply. “The recommendation is to make some of these Subtle factors combine to fuel school-to-prison pipeline - NonDoc:

Jury orders Phila. schools to pay firm $2.3 million in bias suit

Jury orders Phila. schools to pay firm $2.3 million in bias suit:

Jury orders Phila. schools to pay firm $2.3 million in bias suit

A federal jury entered a $2.3 million judgment against the Philadelphia School District and the late Superintendent Arlene C. Ackerman on Monday, finding that she discriminated against a Bucks County company by steering a $7.5 million no-bid contract to a smaller, minority-owned firm that had not sought the work.
Newtown-based Security & Data Technologies Inc. (SDT) filed the racial discrimination suit after, it said, Ackerman and the School District "deselected" it in 2010 for a contract to install surveillance cameras at 19 schools that the state had deemed "persistently dangerous."
The company, which had begun preliminary work, said Ackerman changed course and ordered the emergency contract be awarded to IBS Communications, which was not on a state list of companies eligible for no-bid contracts.
Ackerman told several administrators at a meeting in September 2010 that she was sick of the district's giving work to contractors who she said did not look like her.
John Byars, a former top district procurement official, said Ackerman also said at the meeting that she would make sure that "all these white boys didn't get contracts." She asked why "a black firm [couldn't] get it," and directed that the job be given to IBS.
The case is one of four - and the second that the School District has lost - stemming from a 2010 Inquirer report that Ackerman pushed SDT aside to give the project to IBS.
"My client has been struggling with this fact of being rejected for a contract because of race for nearly six years," said attorney Michael Homans, who represented SDT with Melissa Kay Hazell. "It's been a long, hard journey. Justice was served."
District spokesman Fernando Gallard said Monday night, "We are extremely disappointed with the outcome."
Jesse C. Klaproth, who represented the School District and Ackerman's estate at trial, said he and his clients "plan on exploring our appellate options."
The eight-member panel - consisting almost entirely of white jurors - took four hours to reach a decision following a weeklong trial.
The jury found that the School Reform Commission, which was also sued by SDT, was Jury orders Phila. schools to pay firm $2.3 million in bias suit:

How Traditional Nonprofits Run Into Problems Trying To Tackle Poverty | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

How Traditional Nonprofits Run Into Problems Trying To Tackle Poverty | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio:

How Traditional Nonprofits Run Into Problems Trying To Tackle Poverty

Poverty is not uncommon in the Washington region, nor are there shortages of organizations trying to cure it. Some question whether efficiency is lost in the scramble.
 Poverty is not uncommon in the Washington region, nor are there shortages of organizations trying to cure it. Some question whether efficiency is lost in the scramble.

There are almost 50 million people living in poverty in the United States. almost 15 percent of the population. And as long as there have been poor people, there have been others trying to help them. But it’s usually an uphill battle; it’s oftentimes hard to find any difference that all that effort makes. This week WAMU’s Kavitha Cardoza is bringing us a series focused on poverty. She spoke with Morning Edition host Matt McCleskey
Kavitha Cardoza (KC): All this week we’re looking at a program that’s trying something different with poverty. But today, I want to talk about some of the underlying challenges. We live in D.C., one of the most powerful places in the world. And it really stood out to me how rarely we get to meet poor people and hear their stories. And I say that as someone who grew up in India, where you interact with tons of poor people every day. But here, poverty is so hidden. Think of people who work minimum wage jobs — office cleaners come in overnight; if you have a maid at home, she comes in when you’re at work. And if you think of say, a McDonald's, everyone is wearing a uniform and looks the same. We have sanitized poverty.
Matt McCleskey (MM): And people also feel so ashamed, they cover it up, right?
KC: Absolutely. So a few years ago I did a series on the 30 million adults in the U.S. who struggle with basic literacy — they can’t read a menu, a pay stub or a bus schedule. That’s when I met Shirley Ashley three miles from the U.S. Capitol.
"I used to say 'Lord find me a school where I can learn for people that’s on my level.'"
Ashley’s 55 years old and when she joined the program a few years ago she tested on the kindergarten level. Today, she’s brought along a big folder.
"We’re looking at one of my recipes for… I can’t see, I don’t have my glasses," she says.
It wasn't a recipe, but a bill for groceries.
"See where it says macaroni, cheese? I don’t have my glasses. OK, I can’t read because I don’t have my glasses."
Asked whether they were downstairs, Ashley demurred. "No I forget it at home because I was rushing out the house."
KC: It took me several minutes, Matt, before I caught on. This wasn’t about her glasses. This was one of the ways Shirley Ashley hides the fact she can barely read.
MM: And it’s not just that she’s not trying really hard.
KC: We tend to see poverty as fixed when it’s really fluid. Of course it’s about not having enough money, but we tend to forget all the challenges that go along with that. It becomes about food and housing and transportation and healthcare. And each of those problems leads to more problems.
A few years ago I spoke with Blossom Ojukwu, who found herself in a very different financial situation when she was 12. Her father, a lawyer, was arrested for fraud. Overnight she went from living in a very comfortable middle class family to struggling. Her mother was suddenly a single parent, supporting three children.
During that summer, the bills were so high so it was either: we wouldn't have any food or we had to get rid of our electricity and our water for some time. We all slept in a bed in our basement because it was the coolest room in our house. We’d have to go out to maybe the Safeway across the street or the Chik-fil-A to use the bathroom sometimes.
MM: That sounds very hard. But one thing we sometimes her is, “If that person is so poor, how come he’s got a cell phone?” Or how come he’s got fancy new sneakers... or a widescreen TV.
KC: Well, think about it. The TV may be the only entertainment your family ever has; it may even be too dangerous for the children to go outside to play in some neighborhoods. The cell phone, you need a way for someone to contact you if you’re looking for a job. Or if you need to call the shelter and find out if there’s a bed available that night. Or if you need to check on your children. And the fancy sneakers? I spoke to Greg Kaufmann about that. He’s the editor of a website called Talk Poverty. He says: put yourself in a poor parent’s place.
People don’t want their children to seem poor, they don’t want to seem poor. Clearly, we have so much stigma attached to poverty. Kids get teased. Again as a parent, you can’t get what middle class kids get — the sports camp or the music class, and so wouldn’t you want to try to do something for your kid? And maybe actually that pair of sneakers is the cheapest thing you could do.
MM: OK, well that makes sense. In terms of helping people in poverty aren’t there lots of charities helping people like that?
KC: Absolutely. There are more than 14,000 in the Washington Metro region alone that are what’s known as “human services organizations.” They help with say food, shelter, healthcare. But most of them are too small to have a measurable impact; they have a budget of less than $25,000.
MM: And I guess there’s also overlap in mission too.
KC: Yes. And more important, there isn’t a lot of incentive to collaborate. During the recession a few years ago, several nonprofits were really struggling and at risk of closing down, especially those dependent on government funds. And so they were encouraged to share back-office staff like say a business manager. But I remember someone telling me it was difficult to even get nonprofits to share a printer! Part of it is each has different ideas about tackling the same problem, they want to do it their way and they all have different governance structures. And different ways of measuring success.
I spoke to Bruce McNamer, president and CEO of the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, which works with lots of human services organizations throughout the area. He says the biggest challenge is charities compete with each other for funds.
"And that does sometimes create incentives for people not to work as closely or to be jockeying among themselves for the attention of funders," he says.
So doesn’t this make nonprofits very inefficient?
"Yes, it does. And the funding models that are in place to fund nonprofits in some sense encourage that inefficiency. They don’t fund things at scale. Every funder wants to do something innovative or unique. What board of directors wants to go out of existence in the name of efficiency? Not many do. What executive director wants to give up their job in the name of efficiency? Not many do."
MM: Well, Kavitha. Clearly lots of issues there about coordination. The program we’ll hear about later this week is trying to address that, right?
KC: Yes. But I do want to say there’s no easy answer. And two, we don’t know as yet. It’s a three-year program and the results aren’t in. But they’re trying something new, something creative, at the local level. And that’s what I’ll be focusing on every day this week. I went into this not knowing what the outcome would be because I really agree with something I once heard Katherine Boo say on air.
MM: She’s the former Washington Post reporter, right?
KC: Right. She wrote "Behind the Beautiful Forevers" — a book about poverty in Mumbai.
She’s covered poverty for years. And she said journalists often cover poverty by going to a nonprofit and doing a story on someone who is doing well, they’ve had challenges, now they’re fine. The story ends with everything tied up in a neat little bow. And Boo said that’s doing listeners a disservice because then they think that’s how it is. There are no relapses, no challenges, no one who doesn’t make it. And that’s just not true.
MM: Its more complicated than that. Thanks, Kavitha. I’m looking forward to the rest of your series.
KC: Thanks Matt.
Come back the rest of the week as Kavitha reports on a nonprofit that is taking a different approach to poverty.
This report was produced with support from the journalism nonprofit the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, a journalism nonprofit dedicated to reporting on inequality.How Traditional Nonprofits Run Into Problems Trying To Tackle Poverty | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio:

Charter Schools Get $250 Million Boost - WSJ

Charter Schools Get $250 Million Boost - WSJ:

Charter Schools Get $250 Million Boost

Initiative from Walton Family Foundation aims to help the schools secure facilities

 Aiming to boost the growth of charter schools in cities nationwide, the Walton Family Foundation plans to announce a $250 million initiative Tuesday to help charters build and expand their sites.

A major obstacle to starting charters is finding space, and many divert money from instruction to pay for facilities. Foundation officials said most of the money will go toward low-interest loans, offered by nonprofit lenders, for which charters will be able to apply—funding that can otherwise be hard for them to get.
The foundation anticipates the plan will help add charter seats for 250,000 U.S. children by 2027. Charter officials and advocates say they currently serve about three million children, including 120,000 in New York, 41,500 in New Jersey and 9,300 in Connecticut.
Supporters hailed the philanthropic investment as a boon for families demanding quality choices. But it is sure to spark an outcry from teachers unions and other critics who say charters siphon resources from their home districts and often fail to serve their fair share of the hardest-to-teach students.Charter Schools Get $250 Million Boost - WSJ:

In the search for better graduation rates, schools are fudging the numbers - LA Times

In the search for better graduation rates, schools are fudging the numbers - LA Times:

In the search for better graduation rates, schools are fudging the numbers

High school students
Students walk through the halls of a high school in Philadelphia in 2013. (Matt Slocum / Associated Press)
 In 2014, the Los Angeles Unified School District announced a spectacular improvement in its graduation rate: Fully 77% of students who had come in as 9th graders four years earlier were now going to graduate as seniors. But there was a bit of a trick behind the number: It included only students who attended what are called “comprehensive” high schools. Those who had been transferred to alternative programs — the students most at risk of dropping out — weren’t counted. If they had been factored in, the rate would have been 67% — still good, but not nearly as flashy a number.
Here’s another example of a misleading number: In May of this year, the California Department of Education reported a rise in the statewide graduation rate, to 82%. But one reason for that was the cancellation of the high school exit exam, which used to be required for graduation and which students could pass only if they had attained a modicum of understanding of algebra and English skills.
In a time when most middle-class jobs require at least some training beyond 12th grade, raising the number of high school graduates is considered essential. Dropouts are not only more likely to be unemployed, but more likely to be imprisoned. That’s why the newly passed federal education law, optimistically titled the Every Student Succeeds Act, requires states to hold high schools accountable for improving graduation rates.
The question, though, is whether schools will bring those numbers up the hard way, by improving the quality of education – or by falling back on shortcuts and gimmicks. Early indications suggest that they’ll do a combination of both. States and school districts, not just locally but across the nation, have already come up with a wide array of ways to make graduation rates look good on paper:
-- When large numbers of students across the country failed high school exit exams over the past decade, states made it easier for them to pass. California devised a simpler test; in New Jersey, students who failed were permitted to take a far easier exam that asked them only one question for each subject area. And if they still failed, they could appeal by doing an essay or another project. Last year in Camden, N.J., after nearly half the students In the search for better graduation rates, schools are fudging the numbers - LA Times:
This piece is the second in a two-part series. Read part one here.



Caveat Civis

We know the phrase "caveat emptor," rendered loosely as "Let the buyer beware."

If you are buying an authentic Rollex from a guy on a streetcorner, it's on you to make sure that it's an actual functioning watch. If you have bought a used car that turns out to be a four-wheel abomination, while there may be some lemon laws that give you a shot at recovering your losses, it's still on you.

It's annoying for emptors to have to caveat. If you're buying a house and the seller says to your face when asked directly, "No, we never have problems with rainwater pouring down the driveway and into the garage," it's annoying that later, as you're shop-vacking the pond in your garage, you have to kick yourself for actually trusting a fellow human being. It's annoying to realize that you've been suckered by an advertisement that lies, and that the law says that the puffery was so obvious that it was on you to nkow that you were being lied to. It's time-consuming to have to examine every single thing you buy before you put down your money, and there's a certain slow-building corrosiveness to operating under the assumption that you can't trust your fellow humans.

I am always mystified by crooks, by people who make a living doing things like calling little old ladies and conning them into handing over their bank account information. There's something extra discouraging about having to explain to an older relative that she must stop trusting people, but should just assume that anyone who calls her on the phone is probably a liar and a cheat unless proven otherwise. 

But we accept all of these things as the price of doing business in a messy, imperfect, human-inhabited world. Caveat emptor.

But we mostly don't expect to have to live by the phrase "Caveat civis"-- let the citizen beware.

Our elected officials, and particularly the people the hire to do the day to day work, who keep the wheels of government and cities and towns turning-- we're supposed to be able to trust those people. Yeah, we know the big shots may very well be crooked, and bureaucracy can be dull and thick-- but the rest of the government is supposed to keep things running smoothly.

We assume, for instance, that when we go to drive across a bridge, it won't collapse. We assume that large objects like cars have been checked by someone to make sure they won't kill us under ordinary circumstances. And we figure mostly when we turn on a water tap, the water will be fit to drink.

As much as we bitch about our government, we still trust it in the small-but-important ways. We expect the lights to be on. We expect the roads to be passable. We expect our currency to be worth something. And when things have been certified by The Authorties to be safe for our use, we assume they are so.

Betrayals like the discovery, first in Flint and now all over, that the water flowing from the tap is poisoned are doubly troubling because we trusted these guys. When we come home after a long, 

Without Black Culture There Would Be No American Culture | gadflyonthewallblog

Without Black Culture There Would Be No American Culture | gadflyonthewallblog:

Without Black Culture There Would Be No American Culture

Screen shot 2016-06-28 at 12.10.37 AM
“We’ve been floating this country on credit for centuries, and we’re done watching and waiting while this invention called whiteness uses and abuses us, burying black people out of sight and out of mind while extracting our culture, our dollars, our entertainment like oil – black gold, ghettoizing and demeaning our creations then stealing them, gentrifying our genius and then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit.”
With these words, Jesse Williams absolutely floored the crowd at the BET Awards Sunday night.
His acceptance speech for the Humanitarian Award was jaw dropping.
Here was a black actor on “Grey’s Anatomy” just telling it like it is on national TV.
He wasn’t afraid a business dominated by white people would take offense (and some white people did). Or if he was, he wasn’t going to let it stop him.
The activist who recently produced a documentary “Stay Woke: the Black Lives Matter Movement” said, “The burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander… If you have a critique for the resistance… then you better have an established record of critique of our oppression.”
No more tone policing. No white fragility. Just if you’re with us, stand up – otherwise, sit down and shut up.
It was beautiful. And it got me thinking.
There are so many obvious truths about our country’s relationship with race that Without Black Culture There Would Be No American Culture | gadflyonthewallblog:

Activists Challenge Plan for NAEP to Assess Student "Mindsets" | Truth in American Education

Activists Challenge Plan for NAEP to Assess Student "Mindsets" | Truth in American Education:

Activists Challenge Plan for NAEP to Assess Student “Mindsets”


The National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) that governs the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) has announced it will expand beyond assessing students’ academic content knowledge to also include subjective, non-cognitive, socioemotional parameters. Such factors will include “grit,” “desire for learning,” and “school climate.”Assessing “mindsets” of students potentially will allow the government to determine and possibly reshape children’s moral and religious beliefs about controversial social issues.
American Principles Project, Eagle Forum and Education Liberty Watch along with five additional national organizations, as well as, 69 state organizations in 29 states have joined Liberty Counsel to object what they see as illegal changes to the NAEP. (Disclosure: This author is among those who have joined Liberty Counsel.)
As Liberty Counsel demonstrates in its letter to three congressional committees, if these factors are assessed as part of the NAEP test itself, their inclusion violates federal law prohibiting assessment of “personal or family beliefs and attitudes” via 20 USC section 9622. If they are instead part of the background survey given to students, their inclusion violates the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment, 20 USC section 1232(h), which requires that such material be made available for parental inspection before administration.
Liberty Counsel attorney Richard Mast, author of the letter, wrote in part:
The NAEP is poised to violate federal law by collecting extremely sensitive 
Activists Challenge Plan for NAEP to Assess Student "Mindsets" | Truth in American Education:

Steve Barr– Who Ditched His New Orleans School Renovation Commitment– Wants to Become Mayor of Los Angeles | deutsch29

Steve Barr– Who Ditched His New Orleans School Renovation Commitment– Wants to Become Mayor of Los Angeles | deutsch29:

Steve Barr– Who Ditched His New Orleans School Renovation Commitment– Wants to Become Mayor of Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Times reports that Green Dot charter schools founder Steve Barr plans to run for mayor of Los Angeles in 2017.
The Times considers Barr a long shot– unless current Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti lands a position with Hillary Clinton (assuming Clinton is elected president in 2016).
Barr is a greaseball. I wrote about him in my first book, Chronicle of Echoes, for his assisting Ben Austin in launching Parent Revolution, the astroturf group that manufactures faux-grass roots discontent enabling so-called parent takeover of schools so that said schools might be turned over to charter operation.
Barr also was supposed to manage and renovate a New Orleans school, McDonogh Senior High, and after two years of doing nothing, Barr bailed on the project. No big deal to him, of course, since New Orleans is 1,900 miles from Los Angeles, and any bad press from bailing on a New Orleans school did not touch is Los Angeles-based life.
Below are both my Barr excerpt from Chronicle of Echoes as well as a brief recap of Barr’s shafting the McDonogh Senior High community by bailing on his long-distance commitment to New Orleans.
From Chronicle of Echoes (pages 328-329). (For end note references, see the excerpt as published in the book):
Although promoted to be adopted as ALEC model legislation, the parent trigger originated in California with a group called the Los Angeles Parents Union, whose web address is, and whose leader is Ben Austin.  Austin was already in the privatization business associated with Green Dot Charter Schools. In January 2010, the parent trigger barely passed the California legislature (by one vote in each branch) in an effort to garner Race to the Top money. However, the positioning of the Los Angeles Parent Union/Parent Revolution was happening in the years prior to passage of California’s parent trigger legislation.
Before being connected with PR, Austin was associated with Green Dot charters. Indeed, via Green Dot, Austin takes credit for “transforming” Locke High School, “the worst school in Los Angeles into a college preparatory model of reform.” In 2006, Eli Broad announced that he would invest $10.5 million in Steve Barr’s Green Dot Education Project. Sadly, Locke High School became a casuatly to Barr’s amply-funded “experiment.” Austin was able to benefit from Locke’s undoing. In 2007, Austin was paid $95,000 by Green Dot for “consulting” If a “model of reform” involves dividing a school into several smaller schools, closing and reopening these smaller schools multiple times, and finally putting some but not all back together into one school again, all inside of five years, the yes, Locke is a “model of reform.” Teacher and 
Steve Barr– Who Ditched His New Orleans School Renovation Commitment– Wants to Become Mayor of Los Angeles | deutsch29:

"We are Oaxaca" - Badass Teachers Association

Badass Teachers Association:

"We are Oaxaca"

Seattle - The Washington Badass Teachers Association (WA-BATS) strongly condemns the serious acts of repression by the Mexican government in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico, which has massacred 12 people and injured several dozens more members of the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE). CNTE members were protesting the education reform of President Enrique Peña Nieto.

In 2013, Peña Nieto introduced an education reform as part of a set of 11 neoliberal reforms.

“The controversial law imposes teacher evaluations in order to determine which applicants will be chosen to fill open posts in the public school system nationwide. Critics say the testing only justifies mass layoffs and does not effectively measure teaching skills, like the special knowledge and demeanor needed to teach in rural areas and Indigenous communities.” (teleSUR, 2016)

This is not the first time the Mexican government under Peña Nieto has silenced the voices of educators through executions and violence. On September 26, 2014 student teachers from the Ayotzinapa Normal School were attacked by the government of Iguala, Guerrero. There they killed 43 student teachers and until this day their families have not received justice nor have they been able to provide them with a proper burial as the bodies were never found.

We refuse to continue to do nothing as our educator sisters and brothers are executed a border away.

WA-BATS are calling for action by condemnation in solidarity with Washington Education Association and the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, all other unions, the U.S. State Department, Secretary of State Kerry, Secretary of Education King, the U.S. Department of Education, President Obama, the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, the United Nations, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch.

We stand in solidarity with CNTE in their demands for an end to violence, an open ongoing dialogue, Governor Cue’s immediate departure from office, the resignation and/or impeachments of Peña Nieto, Interior Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio Chong and Education Secretary Aurelio Nuno and for the intervention of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

We are Oaxaca, we are Ayotzinapa. Todos Somos Oaxaca, Todos Somos Ayotzinapa.

#TodosSomosOaxaca #TodosSomosAyotzinapa #Solidarity #AquiSeRespiraLucha #EstoyHartoDeEPN #CNTE

Badass Teachers Association:

Seattle Schools Community Forum: The Future of Ed Reform

Seattle Schools Community Forum: The Future of Ed Reform:

 The Future of Ed Reform

 I actually had not meant to sit down and write this one but I had so many articles piling up on this subject, it seemed the right time.  

To be clear (as I am certain that 99% of adults in the U.S. would agree), all is not well with public education.  There are many reasons for that.  Now, if you just looked at white and many Asian students, the U.S. is doing as well as most top-level countries.

But the U.S. is a very heterogeneous country that tests all public school students.   We are also a country that seemingly is accepting that nearly 25% of our children live in poverty.  Anyone who thinks that a good teacher is going to overcome institutional racism, poverty and inconsistent/low funding is wrong. 

Also, when I speak of education reform in the U.S., I mean corporate ed reform.  I'm not saying change isn't needed; I'm saying what is being pushed is not really working and, at the end of the day, seems to be serving to allow some people to make high salaries and some companies to make a lot of money. 

I keep up with Education Next which is leans right but usually has some pretty solid thinking.  One of their contributors is Michael Petrilli who I generally don't agree with but again, offers more than happy talk.

In April, he wrote this piece, Policy change is not the only path to school reform.

It strikes me, and several others with whom I’ve spoken in recent months, that education reform is at a turning point. It’s not just the new federal law, the Every Student Succeeds Act, which sends key decisions back to the states. It’s bigger than that—a sense of exhaustion with policy as the primary driver of educational change.
He goes on to say the ed reformers still need to fight for "teacher accountability" and expanding "high-quality charter schools" and other "parental choice" (see vouchers) et al.

He quotes Rick Hess, another conservative public education write, who also is