Latest News and Comment from Education

Sunday, July 10, 2016

CURMUDGUCATION: The Dem Platform, Randi, and Charters

CURMUDGUCATION: The Dem Platform, Randi, and Charters:

The Dem Platform, Randi, and Charters

The Democratic platform committee has been working away all weekend, reportedly till well past midnight. We've been fortunate to have some public education advocates there as part of the education committee, including Chuck Pascal and Troy LaRiviere.

Twitter had a little bit of a eruption today over what was finally submitted to the main platform committee regarding charter schools. The whole business is pretty brief and can be found on this gigantic slice of C-Span at about the 31:00 mark. But I've watched it, and if you don't want to, you don't have to.

Chuck Pascal (from Pittsburgh, just up the road from me, so woo-hoo) went to committee armed with many amendments, and this was one of them. He's listed as the sponsor.

First-- here's the original draft language, with additions in blue:

Democrats are also committed to providing parents with high-quality public school options and expanding these options for low-income youth. We support democratically-governed great neighborhood public schools and high-quality public charter schools, and we will help them disseminate best practices to other school leaders and educators. Democrats oppose for-profit charter schools focused on making a profit off of public resources. We believe that high-quality public charter schools should provide options for parents, but should not replace or destabilize traditional public schools. Charter schools must reflect their communities, and thus must accept and retain proportionate numbers of students of color, students with disabilities and English Language Learners in relation to their neighborhood public schools. We instead support increased transparency and accountability for all charter schools.

(Let's just set aside for a moment the issue of the omitted Oxford comma in the amendment.)

Next, Randi Weingarten steps up to speak in 
CURMUDGUCATION: The Dem Platform, Randi, and Charters:

What we never mention | Seattle Education

What we never mention | Seattle Education:

What we never mention

racial violence
We speak of poverty which is devastating, it brings hunger, homelessness, ill health and an inability to focus in the classroom, but we have not spoken about the violence and the threat of violence which pervades the lives of so many children. 
As advocates for public education, we write about poverty and the destructive impact it has on children but what we never mention is that the poverty is derived from deep-seated racism that has been with us since the inception of this country.
This racism is reflected in the lack of opportunities for minorities in terms of acquiring a well-rounded education and jobs, and the high percentage of incarceration of black men including black males beginning at the age of 12 years old.
I have seen racism as a child and even though many who I associate with now and the communities I circulate through, do not reflected such ignorance, it is there for all to see online and in the news.
Last week I saw another side of the impact of racism and that was through the eyes of two children who went through a trauma that most of us will never know or truly understand, that of losing a loved one, for one, the death of a father by way of unchecked violence, and the other, a child, watching a police officer shoot and kill someone their mother loved right in front of their eyes.
How will that child regain a sense of normalcy again? How will they fair in school and in life after such an experience?
In the instance of Philando Castile, there were many children affected by this horrific display of state sanctioned violence, the children who Mr. Castile served lunch to every day at a Montessori school. This has touched people far beyond the closed circle of black victims and their families affected by racial violence.
How does it affect those children who knew this man?
How does it affect black children in classrooms around the country knowing that they are not safe, no matter where they are or what they do?
This is yet another factor ignored by the corporate privatizers who once again victimize black children with no-excuse charter schools promoting “grit” and populated with What we never mention | Seattle Education:



By Doug Martin

When  the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) arrives at the J.W. Marriott in Indianapolis at the end of this month for its annual conference, speakers will include Governor Mike Pence (who headlined ALEC’s 2013 event), Indiana’s U.S. Representative Todd Rokita (not a fan of free or reduced school lunches), online-school K12’s founder William Bennett,  and the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice’s Robert Enlow

Indiana is a good fit for ALEC, a “bill mill” organization which works with corporate lawyers and lawmakers to write and pass anti-public legislation across the country.  Up to 29 Hoosier state lawmakers (some Democrats, too) have had ties with ALEC at any given time.  

And then there’s Eli Lilly, the Indianapolis-based global drug maker and longtime ALEC member. 


Eli Lilly, ALEC, and Mitch Daniels all played a significant part in school privatization in Indiana, as I detail in my book Hoosier School Heist

The former Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy at Eli Lilly and past Indiana governor, Mitch Daniels has schmoozed with ALEC, and his budget director, Chris Atkins, once directed ALEC’s tax and fiscal policy unit. 
When Daniels helped launch Purdue’s Polytechnic Indianapolis High School recently, Julie K. Griffith—once the Private Sector Co-Chair for ALEC in Indiana (see pages 168- 170) and Purdue University’s current Vice President for Public Affairs— became a member of the charter school’sboard of directors
A while back, Greenpeace had this to say about Griffith, who was employed by Duke Energy Indiana from 1997-2011 and was the chair of the board of directors for the American Lung Association in Indiana, at one point, too (page 170):

Working alongside ALEC's State Chairmen in Indiana (Rep. David Wolkins and Sen. Jim Buck) is Duke's Vice President of Government Affairs, Julie Griffith. Beyond the numerous contradictions detailed in this blog, perhaps Ms. Griffith would like to explain her role in ALEC, a notable front for the tobacco industry, and her position as chair of the executive leadership team of the American Lung Association. That and her political work for a company that causes lung damage from coal pollution. Just as in South Carolina, Rep. Wolkins and Sen. Buck chose Duke's Julie Griffith to help them oversee ALEC's operations in Indiana, primarily fundraising.

As for the Polytechnic Indianapolis High School, Eli Lilly and the Eli Lilly Foundation’s Robert Smith was happy to write a letter of approval for its application to Indianapolis mayor Greg Ballard’s Office of Education Innovation.


Some of ALEC’s bills presented in statehouses across the U.S. are worked over by lawyers from Schools Matter: ALEC AND ELI LILLY: MUCH MORE THAN SCHOOL REFORM:

Hoosier School Heist TV is Doug Martin's channel featuring videos of his book tour across Indiana speaking on the corporate takeover of public education. Order Hoosier School Heist at
Follow Hoosier School Heist on Facebook:
Tweet with Doug Martin at:

Defeating The America Killers | Dr. Edward F. Berger

Defeating The America Killers | Dr. Edward F. Berger:

Defeating The America Killers 

For many years, I have blogged about the damage the so-called reform/Libertarian movement has done to America and to America as One Nation. A nation that prospered as WE developed strong communities, one public education system, common values, and true representative government.
Our Nation is endangered by the starvation and planned destruction of neighborhood community schools – public comprehensive schools – and the privatization of public services for profit.
We are now well aware that there are forces that wish to destroy the basic elements that keep America strong: The representative processes, the public schools, community governments, community health systems, public services, and programs for the greater good. Because of greed and crooked ideologies, our public services have been privatized, pirated, and raided by profiteers. This has been done to access, and personally profit from the tax dollars we pay for the things best done when we put our resources together through government. Think roads, water systems, schools, public utilities, libraries, social services, aid to those in need, and safety nets for children and those who cannot help themselves…
Every social program is being attacked and is in danger of being starved out of existence as tax dollars are redirected and profiteers steal from us – the US.
The economic system called “capitalism” has been misused. Childhood poverty and human suffering are increasing at a disturbing rate. More and more human dignity is lost as the failed economic system is perverted to serve only a very few. The American Dream is now beyond the reach of a majority of citizens. Too many children come to school hungry. Many come from broken homes and homes taken by those who have manipulated the system for their own profit. Yet the “reformers” withhold and redirect our tax dollars so our communities and schools cannot help. The America killers then use the travail they caused to claim that American the experience has failed, and that representative democracy must be replaced by totalitarian forms of control. In example, they say that they have the right to set up publicly supported privatized schools and programs, many without certified teachers or complete curricula, so that they can personally profit. Every tax dollar they steal is of no value to our children or our society.
Americans were so unprepared for this attack from those who bought our Defeating The America Killers | Dr. Edward F. Berger:

Schools Matter: Clinton cheerleaders claiming she isn't in the corporate charter camp?

Schools Matter: Clinton cheerleaders claiming she isn't in the corporate charter camp?:

Clinton cheerleaders claiming she isn't in the corporate charter camp?

 “There is not a speck, not a sliced-thin scintilla of evidence to suggest that Clinton will do anything except continue straight down the same road that Bush and Obama took us. And there’s no telling what Trump will do about education, but it’s a safe bet that it will be huge, it will be business oriented, and that it will involve blustery hair-brained ignorance.” — Peter Greene

It's a tough time to be a public education advocate. The fervor over the 2016 election has partisans lashing out with an unprecedented amount of vitriol towards anyone questioning the education policies of mainstream candidates. Worst of the bunch are the supporters of presumed Democratic Party nominee, Hillary Rodham Clinton. Here's an example of the angry denials from one of Clinton's most ardent supporters:
It is also total bullshit that you keep insisting that HRC is pushing charters and ed reform. That is TOTAL BULLSHIT.
Astonishingly, this was written by a teacher member of the Badass Teachers Association (BATs). Never mind that Clinton has deep ties the Walton Family Foundation, ignore her intwinement with Center for American Progress (CAP), her association with the Broads, and all the other obvious red flags indicating that Clinton will double down on Obama's policies. Clinton is on record as completely supporting privately managed charter schools, so-called "school choice," and for that matter, the entire neoliberal corporate education reform platform. Total "BS"? Here's a screen capture right off of Clinton's campaignwebsite, where she lauds ESSA and its support of "high-quality public [sic] charter schools":
Clinton cheerleaders claiming she isn't in the corporate charter camp?
Unequivocal. Clinton has never changed her stance on privately managed charter schools, and that's why the National Association of Public [sic] Charter Schools (NAPCS) features the following on their website. A pro-charter pull-quote by Clinton appears alongside similar ones by Bill Gates, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Arne Duncan. Clinton's mild criticisms of some charter schools a few months back were to placate certain constituencies, nothing more.
Clinton cheerleaders claiming she isn't in the corporate charter camp?
This is the same former Walmart board member who stood before the National Educators Association (NEA) Convention and had no qualms about boasting about her support for the lucrative charter school sector. The same Goldman Sachs confidant who is the favorite of the far-right Democrats for Education Reform (DFER). In sum, corporatist Jeffries of the arch-Schools Matter: Clinton cheerleaders claiming she isn't in the corporate charter camp?:


CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Stock Up on Edureads:

ICYMI: Stock Up on Edureads

ICYMI will be off for the next two Sundays while I am on the road. Use the blogroll in the right column to track down some of the best eduwriting going on while I'm gone. Meanwhile, let me stock you up.

Where Will All the Boys Go

Julia Sass Rubin with charts and actual data to help explain why we can say that the charters of New Jersey are running a big fat scam.

The Kids Can't Read, But They Can Read You

If you are like me, you never miss anything that Jose Vilson reads. But if you missed this, read it now. 

A Shortage of Respect

Rob Miller reminds us, once again, what contributes to the ongoing teacher shortage.

My Final Evaluation, or If I Werern't Retiring, Bot Would I Be Pissed

Just an awesome first person account of being on the receiving end of one more bad evaluation process. 

Dear Michigan Public School Teachers

An open letter that starts out mildly enough, but builds up a good, hot head of steam.

The Greening of American Education

Looking at the big-picture narrative of how reformsters have gone after the 650 billion dollar pile of education money.

So Who Says Competition in the Classroom Is Inevitable?

Easy to miss this because it comes under the heading of Australian education, but it's really for everyone, and hits particularly hard at US education because it addresses the assumption that competition is natural and normal and belongs in our clasrooms. 


CA: K12 Caught Lying and Cheating, Again
K12, one of the giants of the cyber-charter biz, has reached a settlement in California after being slapped for lying about student enrollment and student achievement. K12 and California Virtual Academies collected about $310 million in money from the state over the last twelve years (and those are largely Californis tax dollars diverted to the Virginia HQ of K12); the settlement will cost K12 $16


ALEC's Resolution for Big Brother
ALEC, you may recall, is the fun club for conservative elected officials and conservative corporate folks. They get together, cook up some "sample" legislation , and send those out as templates for various state legislatures to turn into laws. Not only are they not open to ordinary citizens, but they're pretty adamant about keeping away reporters . ALEC is interested in many, many aspec

JUL 08

FL: Rep. Brown Indicted in $800K Scam
That's the old page from the One Door for Education website, a site that isn't so active these days. The scholarship foundation was supposed to be funding education and student scholarships. But since the beginning of 2016, it has been operating under the adjective 'beleagured" That's because it turns out to be a huge scam. Back in January, the Florida Times-News has worked out some of the d
Not Okay
What do you say when you need to say something and there is nothing to say. Well, there's lots to say, but literally everything that could be said has been said, and at this point is has been said over and over. It turns out that when you have too much exposure to the banality of evil, you start having trouble with banality in the response to evil. I can't promise that this will be clear or cogent

JUL 07

Amazon Inspire Off To Rocky Start with Piracy Problems
Amazon Inspire is intended to be Amazon's entry into the teacher resource market , a place where teachers could find "tens of thousands of free lesson plans, worksheets and other instructional material," all accessed through the familiar Amazon interface, complete with searches and starred reviews. As laid out by the NYT, this venture is meant to be the point of the spear for Amazon, dri

JUL 06

Data (7/19)
I am on a two-week vacation, driving cross-country with my wife to spend time with family in Seattle. In my absence, I have dug into the archives and pulled up some reruns for you. Though what I most suggest is that you check out the blogroll on the right side of the page. There are some outstanding bloggers, and if there are some folks you've never sampled, there's no day like today. The unendin
My Election Position : The Trump Clinton Yardstick.
So today's Sign of the Presidential Apocalypse was coming across a facebook argument about whether Trump or Clinton is the more racist. That's where we are-- we're ready to elect a racist as President and all that's left is to quibble over how much of which style of racism. I am fifty-nine years old, and have read and studied history most of my adult life. I'm prepared to call this as the worst pa
Vander Ark & The Trouble with Charters
If you don't already, you should know who Tom Vander Ark is. Vander Ark has one of the oldest membership cards for the Ed Reform Club. He ran education initiatives for the Gates Foundation, then went on to work with investment capitalists, technocrats, and big-name competency based education groups like iNACOL. As reader Les Perelman noted the last time I wrote about TVA, there's a chapter in his

JUL 05

For HRC: Profit Vs. Non-Profit Charters
So this is how we're going to play it. As all the interwebs now know, Hillary Clinton got herself booed at the NEA conference today by mentioning charter schools (she also drew jeers for GOP dumpster-fire/candidate Donald Trump). But in language mimicked by the many folks who read Politico, Politico said The presidential hopeful won back the crowd by making a distinction between charter schools in
Charter Villains
It is one of the reliable tropes of the ed debates (isn't it fun that we've been at this so long we now have reliable tropes). After some negative charter publicity, some reformsters will step up to offer a smattering of defense with a side order of "Why does the media pick on us?" Alexander Russo offers a weak-sauced rendition of this old standard at Washington Monthly, where he tries t

JUL 04

PA: More Charter Christmas
PA House Bill 530 is yet another attempt to make life happier for charters in the Keystone State. As usual, it's a poop sandwich, a simple legislative trick where lawmakers include something in the bill that makes a good PR hook (This bill proposes to give the state the right to punch Mean People in the nose) with the hopes that the PR will cause folks to overlook other details of the bill (This b