Latest News and Comment from Education

Monday, July 11, 2016

CURMUDGUCATION: IL: State Finds Worse Tool Than PARCC

CURMUDGUCATION: IL: State Finds Worse Tool Than PARCC:

IL: State Finds Worse Tool Than PARCC

Well, it's a good day for the SAT marketing team, which has now conned the state of Illinois intoreplacing PARCC with the College Board's flagship Big Standardized Test (or you can follow this link to the state board of education's own website, because the folks at the State Journal-Register have just gone ahead and run the ISBE press release verbatim. Because reporting is hard).

“District and school administrators overwhelmingly agree with ISBE that every high school junior should have access to a college entrance exam, a policy that promotes equity and access and that provides each and every student with greater opportunities in higher education,” State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith said in a statement. “The SAT is aligned with the Illinois Learning Standards and will continue to empower educators to measure college and career readiness.”

Yes, the Illinois State Board of Education is just doing this because everyone asked for itAlso, if you're an anti-CCSS Illinois resident, please note that the SAT can only be aligned with the Illinois Learning Standards if those standards are exactly the same as the Common Core.

Folks indicated that students didn't take the PARCC seriously (which is understandable), though it's not clear why they would take the SAT seriously.On the other hand, it's crystal clear why the College Board would take seriously the opportunity to supplant (not supplement) the PARCC-- big, fat honking market share. Why do all the hard work of selling tests to one customer at a time when you can con a state into buying a round for everyone in the house?

There are, however, several huge problems with this idea.

Some are left-over problems. The SAT can't remotely measure the college-and-career readiness of student whose heart is set on a career in welding or running hotels or the ministry. But neither could the PARCC. But there are other new, special problems that come with substituting the SAT. 

First, it's not remotely what the SAT was 

K-12 Amendments to Dem Platform: Charters, Testing, Curriculum, and Discipline – Cloaking Inequity

K-12 Amendments to Dem Platform: Charters, Testing, Curriculum, and Discipline – Cloaking Inequity:

K-12 Amendments to Dem Platform: Charters, Testing, Curriculum, and Discipline

Will Senator Clinton really support what Democrats set out in the platform for K-12 Education? Does this allow us to read the tea leaves for what kind of person she will pick for Secretary of Education or will the US be stuck with education reformer favorite John King if Senator Clinton wins the election?
Karen Wolfe posted yesterday several platform measures that passed relating to Charters, high-stakes testing, restorative justice and curriculum. You can watch the full discussion on the C-SPAN link.
Usually the platform is quite meaningless and it is not even debated all that much publicly, but at least Bernie appears to have positively impacted the outcome in a variety of areas. Here is what was added for K-12.
AMENDMENT 76 – Testing – passed unanimously
We are also deeply committed to ensuring that we strike a better balance on testing so that it informs but does not drive instruction. To that end, we encourage states to develop a multiple measures approach to assessment and we believe that standardized tests must meet American Statistical Association Standards for reliability and validity. We oppose high-stakes standardized tests that falsely and unfairly label students of color, students with disabilities, and English Language Learners as failing; the use of standardized test scores as a basis of refusing to fund schools or to close schools; and the use of student test scores in teacher and principal evaluations, a practice which has been repeatedly rejected by researchers. We also support enabling parents to opt their children out of standardized tests without penalty for either the student or the school. 
Amendment #77 – A comprehensive curriculum – passed unanimously
We will invest in high quality STEAM classes, community schools, computer science education, arts education, and expand linked learning models and career pathways. We will end the school to prison pipeline by opposing discipline policies which disproportionately affect students of color and students with disabilities and by supporting the use of restorative justice practices that help students and staff resolve conflicts peacefully and respectfully while K-12 Amendments to Dem Platform: Charters, Testing, Curriculum, and Discipline – Cloaking Inequity

Hillary And The Education History That Teachers Can't Forget -

Hillary And The Education History That Teachers Can't Forget -

Hillary And The Education History That Teachers Can’t Forget

When Hillary Clinton was booed at the National Education Association annual convention for a pro-charter statement, teachers weren’t attacking the precise wording of her sentence. They were booing the fact that the candidate was repeating the latest corporate reform soundbite. Moreover, the NEA enthusiastically responded to Hillary’s bridge-building, and it heard her promise to do what teachers want the most from officeholders. We want to be partners. We want to be re-invited by a president to our “seat at the table.” We want a president — not just a presidential candidate — who says and believes, “I have this old-fashioned idea that when we are making decisions about education, we actually should listen to our educators.”
As the Atlantic Magazine’s Emily Deruy explains in the aptly titled “Hours Before Campaign with Obama, Clinton Tries to Distance Herself on Education,” Hillary correctly said “‘We’ve got no time for all these education wars,’” But “the line didn’t go over so well.” By now, we should all agree with the candidate that standardized testing “should go back to its ‘original purpose’ of helping teachers and parents figure out which kids need support,” but we can’t forget the last eight years when bubble-in scores were used as ammunition in an assault by charters and corporate reformers on traditional public schools, the teaching profession, and teachers unions.
To understand why teachers unions, despite our long history as team players in the quest for civil rights, equality, and justice are so worried that we, once again, will be thrown under the bus by Democrats, a little history must be recalled. This tragic story of Democrats caring more about corporate interests than public education unfolded gradually over the last two decades.
In 1999, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke at the NEA and “received wild applause for virtually every point she made and received several standing Hillary And The Education History That Teachers Can't Forget -

Teaching about race, racism and police violence: Resources for educators and parents - The Washington Post

Teaching about race, racism and police violence: Resources for educators and parents - The Washington Post:

Teaching about race, racism and police violence: Resources for educators and parents

Protesters make peace signs during a rally in Huntington Beach, Calif., last week following a string of nationwide police shootings and the slaying of police officers in Dallas. (Eugene Garcia/EPA)

Teaching Tolerance was founded in 1991 as a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center and is dedicated to reducing prejudice and supporting equitable school experiences for all children in America. It provides free educational materials, and its magazine is sent to nearly every school in the country. Teaching Tolerance materials have won two Oscars, an Emmy and dozens of REVERE Awards from the Association of American Publishers. Below is a list of resources that teachers and parents can use to help educate children about race, racism and police violence at a time when the country is reeling from a string of killings of black men at the hands of police in cities across the country, as well as the killing of five white police officers by a black gunman in Dallas. Anyone can access the program’s website here. It is reprinted with permission of Teaching Tolerance.

Editor’s note: This Web package was originally published in December 2014 under the title “Teaching About Ferguson: Race and Racism in the United States.” In the months since we first shared this resource, the number of people of color killed by the police has risen and the number of resources that support teaching about these incidents has grown. In light of this month’s shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, we updated this Web package to include external resources and newer Teaching Tolerance resources that address institutional violence more broadly. If you have suggestions for additional resources, please forward them to
The deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., Eric Garner in New York City, Tamir Rice in Cleveland and too many others — along with the grand jury decisions in the earlier two cases — have caused waves of nationwide protest and appeals for stronger protections against police brutality. These events have also caused educators to seek resources on how to address these subjects in the classroom. These resources can help spur much-needed discussion of implicit bias and systemic racism, but they can also empower your students to enact the changes that will create a more just society.
Teaching Tolerance Blogs
  • #dontshoot. The tragic loss of Michael Brown presents an opportunity to help students connect with our collective humanity.

Are We Being Duped? Why Not End Tax-Supported Charter Schools?

Are We Being Duped? Why Not End Tax-Supported Charter Schools?:

Are We Being Duped? Why Not End Tax-Supported Charter Schools?

Misinformation word cloud concept with abstract background
I just returned from Washington DC where I marched for Save Our Schools (SOS), and where I was honored to speak on a panel with two individuals whom I respect as experts about special education needs. I mingled with many great educators and parent activists who I consider friends. We stood side-by-side to support great public schools.
But while we stood sweating in the hot DC sun for the cause that we believe in deeply, the teachers union (which helped support the SOS meeting), Hillary Clinton, and the Democratic Party were cheerleading for charter schools.
As Schools Matters blogger and author Jim Horn, who has been critical of charters, unions, Republicans and Democrats, and SOS stated yesterday, “What a hangover it must be to wake up in DC this morning to find the privatization protest that you attended yesterday was undercut by the same people who funded the protest. Wow.”
Well, for the record, I paid my own way to the conference, and I donated a little more to Are We Being Duped? Why Not End Tax-Supported Charter Schools?:
Don't Be Fooled -  Vote for Real Democrats

Wendy Lecker: A blind acceptance of the robot teacher - StamfordAdvocate

Wendy Lecker: A blind acceptance of the robot teacher - StamfordAdvocate:

Wendy Lecker: A blind acceptance of the robot teacher

Connecticut seems to accept a constricted vision of education for its neediest children that is never imposed on more affluent districts. The most recent example of this disparity is the recent partnership between the New Haven Public Schools and an outfit called Relay Graduate School of Education, to provide alternative certification for would-be teachers.
Relay was founded by representatives of three charter school chains, Achievement First, KIPP and Uncommon Schools — chains with a troubling record of suspensions, harsh discipline and attrition. It was founded to train charter school teachers. Relay employs not one professor of education.
The Relay vision of teaching is narrow. Its primary goal is to train teachers to raise test scores. Consequently, Relay focuses on giving its trainees a prepackaged set of “skills” that focus mainly on classroom management and getting students to do what teachers want. The contrast between Relay’s methods and goals and those of existing Connecticut schools of education is stark.
For example, UConn’s teacher education program strives to “establish a safe and positive learning environment” and “promote democratic participation and community. UConn’s core practice principles focus on helping prospective teachers learn to use their professional judgment, and to help students develop into independent thinkers. UConn’s principles help teachers develop “strategies, activities and approaches that are responsive to cultural, linguistic, ability and other student differences,” “plan learning opportunities that teach content through inquiry” and “use knowledge of students as individuals and members of cultural and social groups to inform instruction.” The aim is to help teachers meet students where they are and develop each student’s capabilities.
Relay employs the principles of one of its “star” faculty, Uncommon Schools’ Doug Lemov. Those principles focus on control and compliance. For instance, Lemov instructs trainees that “(a) sequence that begins with a student unwilling or unable to Wendy Lecker: A blind acceptance of the robot teacher - StamfordAdvocate:

CURMUDGUCATION: Which Reformy Thing Most Needs To Die 2 ?

CURMUDGUCATION: Which Reformy Thing Most Needs To Die 2 ?:

Which Reformy Thing Most Needs To Die 2 ?

A little over two years ago, I took a look around the reformy landscape to judge which pieces of the Giant Ed Reform Monster were actually the largest threats to public education in this country. Now that time has passed and arguments have shifted, I thought it might be a good time to take another look. Ratings were given in hydra heads, rating to what degree each policy was an Evil Bloodsucking Monster That Must Be Killed scale.


Previous rating: 10 EBMTMBK

VAM remains one of the great threats to public education. And I want to be clear-- when you threaten the professional existence of public school teachers, you threaten public education. If you try to drive all the doctors out of practicing medicine, you are degrading and attacking health care in this country, and when you try to de-professionalize, de-stabilize and de-stroy teachers in this country, you are degrading and attacking public education. At this point, from its rejection by assessment and education professionals, to its defeat in court, VAM has shed any possible pretense of being a legitimate means of evaluating teachers and stands revealed for what it always was-- a way to destabilize the profession and get rid of public school teachers. It remains one of the big threats to public education.



Previous rating: 5 EBMTMBK
Well, I missed this call. I predicted that the modern charter movement would fall victim to its own failures. I seriously underestimated the degree to which charters would use lobbying, marketing, connections and money to keep themselves in business. So now we sit with the cyber-charter industry proving to be an abject failure and under attack even by the rest of the charter industry, and still no law-makers are seriously proposing to just get rid of the hugely expensive failed cyber-school experiment. Charter schools have proven to be cockroaches-- cockroaches that breathe free market fire and chew through all the electrical cables in the basement. In many places, the charter movement poses a threat to our very definition of public education, threatening to turn public 
CURMUDGUCATION: Which Reformy Thing Most Needs To Die 2 ?:

'School Choice' Isn't All It's Cracked Up to Be

'School Choice' Isn't All It's Cracked Up to Be:

‘School Choice’ Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up to Be

Many charter school advocates want public schools to be run like businesses. As the free market fairytale goes, innovative charter schools force neighborhood schools to improve education, while schools that can’t compete eventually close. Parents are “customers” that need more “school choice,” and when a school fails, students simply find another.
But market forces are ripping apart school districts nationwide. Last week, The New York Times detailed how privatization has devastated public education in Detroit, which among American cities has the second biggest share of students in charter schools. Of those schools, half perform only as well, or worse than, Detroit’s neighborhood schools. The schools open and close almost overnight, and teachers and staff come and go just as quickly.
In a city where it’s “easier to find a charter school than to buy a carton of milk,” as the Times put it, there’s “lots of choice, with no good choice.”
In Los Angeles, “school choice” is costing the public school district hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars a year as charter schools continue to grow in number mostly unchecked. Those schools aren’t providing much of a choice to some students—the percentage of Los Angeles charter school students with severe disabilities is less than one-third the percentage of similar students in the city’s neighborhood schools.
But some people want even more choice. Los Angeles’s school system has more charter schools than any other in the nation, but billionaire Eli Broad isn’t satisfied. A man that made a fortune in homebuilding and insurance, not education, wants to enroll half of the city’s public school students in charter schools within the next eight years.
Just last week, the Walton Family Foundation, in the name of “school choice,” announced that it will commit an additional $250 million nationwide to support charter schools. The heirs to the Walmart fortune already loom large over America’s kids—one in every four charter schools have received their foundation’s support—but they want to see 250,000 more children in charter schools in the next decade.
All of the rhetoric about “school choice” only obscures the real choice. Who do we want to control public education?
Communities, teachers, and education professionals, or billionaires and owners of companies like Walmart?

DOJ Files Lawsuit Against NYC Department of Education for Allowing Principal to 'Discriminate Against Every Black Teacher'

DOJ Files Lawsuit Against NYC Department of Education for Allowing Principal to 'Discriminate Against Every Black Teacher':

DOJ Files Lawsuit Against NYC Department of Education for Allowing Principal to ‘Discriminate Against Every Black Teacher’

The U.S. Department of Justice is accusing New York City’s Department of Education of allowing Pan American International High School Principal Minerva Zanca to “purposely target” two black teachers.

Minerva Zanca
Minerva Zanca

New York City’s Department of Education is facing a federal lawsuit after the U.S. Department of Justice accused the body of allowing a Queens, N.Y., high school principal to “discriminate against every black teacher” at the school, a press release from the DOJ notes.
The lawsuit claims that Pan American International High School Principal Minerva Zanca, who was hired by Superintendent of Schools Juan Mendez, used racist language while commenting on two untenured black teachers. According to the DOJ, Assistant Principal Anthony Riccardo also said that Zanca gave both teachers poor reviews even before seeing the lessons she was meant to evaluate.
Zanca allegedly told Riccardo that one teacher, Heather Highwater, “looked like a gorilla in a sweater.” She is also accused of asking Riccardo if he had seen teacher John Flanagan’s “big lips quivering” during a meeting.
She also allegedly made comments about Highwater’s hair,  saying that she could never have “[f–king] nappy hair.”
Another black teacher, who was tenured, was not spared from Zanca’s discrimination, the DOJ charges. The lawsuit says that Zanca cut “the highly successful theater program” that Lisa-Erika James ran, which ultimately meant the cancellation of a student production in the 2012-2013 school year.
When Riccardo called Zanca out for her discriminatory actions, Zanca allegedly responded by having him removed from the school by security, according to the lawsuit, and accusing Riccardo of “sabotaging her plan.”
Zanca then filed two complaints against Riccardo with the Department of Education’s internal investigatory offices; however, it was determined that the allegations Zanca filed did not warrant charges.
Despite all the complaints and allegations brought to the attention of Mendez at the Department of Education, BuzzFeed notes, the department did not take any disciplinary action, and Zanca was allowed to remain in charge of the school even after the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission concluded that there was reasonable cause to believe that the Department of Education had discriminated and lashed out against the only three black teachers at the high school between 2012 and 2013. None of the three teachers returned to the school after the 2012-2013 school year.
“It is nearly unthinkable that, in this day and age, one of the largest and most diverse school districts DOJ Files Lawsuit Against NYC Department of Education for Allowing Principal to 'Discriminate Against Every Black Teacher':

The Classroom Next Time (On My Last Day of School) | The Jose Vilson

The Classroom Next Time (On My Last Day of School) | The Jose Vilson:

The Classroom Next Time (On My Last Day of School)

James Baldwin Library

Over the last week or two, I’ve had a hard time compressing the experience of teaching students over the last year. There’s something disconcerting about teaching 90 students in the beginning of the year to 150 in almost in the blink of an eye. Yet, that’s what happened in December.
But before I speak on that, you should know the intense preparation I undertake to begin the school year. I hop in more than a week early, scrubbing desks, emptying lockers, labeling baskets. I re-order books, wash whiteboards, and toss out scrap material from the prior year. I order multi-colored folders, boxes of pencils, and reams of copy paper. I go through routines and rituals as if they were seated right in front of me then and there. I skim over lesson plans and quotidian First Day of School posts. I test out my teacher voice and blast inappropriate rap music at high volume while doing all of this. I become one with this classroom, the space my students might occupy.
In short order, they are introduced to adults left and right, some who they’ve passed by in the hallway but never bothered to inquire about. Their schedules have rectangular grids with enough space in the text to color-code with fresh neon marker. They’re given a redundant set of behavioral norms. They read their teachers for initial signs of weakness and codes of engagement. Who gives the most homework? Who shouts the loudest? Who’s too strict for their own good? Who’s going to give me that 90?
Meanwhile, I had re-dedicated myself to aligning my inside and outside personas, because I already carried so many multitudes that having one more grew tiresome. My students deserved this new me. The political self. The soulful self. The ebullient self. The serious self. The quixotic (and at times The Classroom Next Time (On My Last Day of School) | The Jose Vilson:

Get a *Legal* College Degree in 24 Hours for $200 | deutsch29

Get a *Legal* College Degree in 24 Hours for $200 | deutsch29:

Get a *Legal* College Degree in 24 Hours for $200

Satisfied customer

This “instant” college degree website is worth a read in its entirety.
It advertises,
Forget fakes– Do it legally!
Private Colleges Want to Graduate YOU!
24 Hour Graduation Service
Fast  Verifiable   Legal
All Documents 100% Verifiable
In 24 hours, you appear in the school’s online graduate database. GUARANTEED!
The site sells “legal” bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees. But, being an above-board short-cut, balanced-on-the-edge-of-technically-legal website, it does offer some cautions:
Note: This is a valuable free service directed at above averagely intelligent people who understand the value of being able to instantly convert their existing knowledge into a degree, quickly and legally. It is essential that you read and understand the FAQ because it outlines exactly what we deliver. If you have any doubts you should not proceed.
The site tells exactly what it’s doing–without stating exactly what its doing:

What can I expect from a Private Degree?

This is a free service, we do not charge you any money. However, we do require you to make a purchase from one of our sponsors. This service is sponsored by services that provide valuable life enhancement services.
The degree granting process is achieved thru the exploitation of LEGAL LOOPHOLES.
We are often asked what this means and the best definition, that neatly encapsulates the concept, is that an institution is legally formed and operating in such a way that it makes the granting of a degree legal, whereas this would otherwise be illegal.
There is only so much that can be done, when you consider that your overall investment is only $200.
 If you do not understand the concept of legal loopholes explained above, do not understand the limitations explained in the main FAQ or you have unrealistic expectations of what can be achieved for $200, then you shouldNOT proceed.
We always prefer to have a happy client that is smart enough to understand what we can and can’t do, than an unhappy client who doesn’t.
Basically, we promise a LEGAL and lower cost alternative to using fake, counterfeit or phony degrees and diplomas.
Got that?
And (surely) to cover itself from those who actually believe that $200 and 24 hours should be able to convert a lie into truth, the site continues by telling those who are entertaining being taken in by its unrealistic, sleight-of-legitimacy that its “degrees” Get a *Legal* College Degree in 24 Hours for $200 | deutsch29:

Jersey Jazzman: How The Charter Cheerleading Industry Is Abetting The Destruction Of Public Schools

Jersey Jazzman: How The Charter Cheerleading Industry Is Abetting The Destruction Of Public Schools:
How The Charter Cheerleading Industry Is Abetting The Destruction Of Public Schools

I know I swore off wasting my time (and yours) criticizing reformy edu-bloggers. But I've been watching a back-and-forth on social media for the past few days that is such a good example of how destructive the charter cheerleading industry has become (fueled with an insane amount of money from ideological foundations) that I have no choice but to comment.

This all started on Tuesday, July 5, when NJ Spotlight (full disclosure -- I write regularly for them) ran an excerpt of an address a graduating senior at North Star Academy Charter School gave to his classmates. Which is fine: all kids should be proud of their accomplishments and their schools (although it's a shame Spotlight has not, to my knowledge, published the excerpts of any other graduating senior's speeches -- especially students graduating in Newark).

So why does that matter? Well, this past month Governor Chris Christie proposed a radical shift in the allocation of state aid for schools -- one that would slash funding and jack up taxes in urban school districts while giving the state's wealthiest districts, already payingrelatively low effective tax rates, a huge infusion of state aid (I wrote about it forSpotlight here).

How did Christie justify such a radical plan? Simple: if urban charter schools, like North Star, had higher graduation rates than their hosting public district schools, that then "proves" the extra funding New Jersey sends to urban districts is going to waste. Here's Christie's very first press conference where he justified his scheme:

Do not let anyone tell you that failure is inevitable for children in those 31 districts or that money is the answer.  The Academy Charter High School in Asbury Park had an 89% graduation rate compared to 66% in Asbury Park; Academy spends $17,000 per pupil while the traditional public schools spend $33,000 per pupil.  The LEAP Academy Charter School has a 98% graduation rate in Camden, while the district has a 63% rate; LEAP spends 16,000 per pupil while the school district spends $25,000 per pupil.  In Newark, the North Star Academy Charter has an 87% graduation compared to the citywide rate of 69%; North Star spends $13,000 per pupil compared to $22,000 per pupil district wide. [emphasis mine]
I'll get to Academy Charter High and LEAP in due time; for now, let's concentrate on North Star. First of all, let's ask the obvious question: is an 18 percentage point difference really Jersey Jazzman: How The Charter Cheerleading Industry Is Abetting The Destruction Of Public Schools:

Schools That Integrate Technology: Silicon Valley | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

Schools That Integrate Technology: Silicon Valley | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice:

Schools That Integrate Technology: Silicon Valley

As complex as it is for an individual teacher to integrate daily use of high-tech devices into routine classroom practices, technology integration at a school level is even more complex. A classroom teacher with 25-35 students can alter the structures of her classroom and create a culture of learning, achievement and mutual respect. Hard as that is, it is do-able. I and many others have profiled teachers who have created such classrooms.
Imagine, however, schools with 30 to 100 classrooms and getting all of those teachers to work together to create school-wide infrastructure and a learning, achieving, and respectful culture–across scores of classrooms that seamlessly integrates computers to achieve the school-site’s goals. A complex task with many moving parts that is fragile yet strong. It does happen but remains uncommon.
I have observed a few schools in Silicon Valley that have integrated new technologies across the entire school requiring teachers to teach lessons using particular hardware and software. These schools vary from one another but tout that they “personalize learning,” blend instruction, and differentiate their lessons to meet differences among students. Invariably, they say they use project-based instruction.  They have created both an infrastructure and culture that subordinates technology to the larger tasks of preparing children and youth to do well academically and socially, graduate, and enter college (and complete it) or enter a career directly.
Considering what I have observed in Silicon Valley, documented nationally in my studies, and retrieved from the research literature on such schools elsewhere in the U.S., what are the common features of such schools?
Here are eight different yet interacting moving parts that I believe has to go into any reform aimed at creating a high-achieving school using technology to prepare children and youth to enter a career or complete college (or both). Note, please, that what I have garnered from direct observation, interviews, and the literature is not a recipe that can be easily cooked and served. Listing these features I have isolated is not an invitation to insert some or all of these into a formula for producing such schools near and far. These schools are rooted in their contexts and context matters.
These features are:
*Recruit and train teachers who have the subject matter knowledge and skills to work with students  before, during, and after the school day.
*Recruit and train school site leaders who have the expertise and skills to lead a school and be a pillow and sandpaper simultaneously with teachers, students, and parents.
*Students have access to non-academic subjects that cultivate the mind, heart, and sensibilities.
*Equip all students with the knowledge and skills not only to enter college,  persist through four years and get a bachelor’s degree but also have the wherewithal to enter a career immediately.
*Organize the school day, week, and month that provides students with sufficient time in and out of class to learn the prescribed material and core cognitive skills to master a subject, acquire the essential skills of planning and assessing their Schools That Integrate Technology: Silicon Valley | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice:

Ohio’s ECOT Charter School Files Lawsuit to Block Attendance Audit and Protect Profits | janresseger

Ohio’s ECOT Charter School Files Lawsuit to Block Attendance Audit and Protect Profits | janresseger:

Ohio’s ECOT Charter School Files Lawsuit to Block Attendance Audit and Protect Profits

Lawyers for the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, Ohio’s largest charter school and one of the nation’s largest e-schools, has employed a new tactic to protect the school’s collection of tax dollars for phantom students. Jim Siegel and Catherine Candisky of The Columbus Dispatchreport that ECOT has filed a lawsuit to block an attendance audit to be conducted this week by the Ohio Department of Education:
“Facing the potential loss of tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer funding, Ohio’s largest online charter school sued the state Friday in an attempt to block an upcoming attendance audit. The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow filed the lawsuit in an attempt to stop the Ohio Department of Education from requiring that the school provide records of daily student log-in times, which the lawsuit calls ‘a bait and switch.’  The state’s preliminary attendance review of ECOT in May raised questions, noting that ‘most log-in times from these files did not substantiate 5 hours per day of log-in time for the students reviewed. The accuracy of attendance figures is crucial because they are the key factor in determining how much state money a school receives. ECOT gets about $107 million per year for more than 15,000 students.” The Ohio Department of Education had scheduled a final ECOT attendance review this week.
Neil Clark, ECOT’s “consultant” and one of Columbus’ best known and most powerful Republican lobbyists, explained on Friday that ECOT signed a funding agreement with the Ohio Department of Education back in 2003.  Clark says the 2003 contract requires only that that ECOT offer each of its students 920 hours of “learning opportunities” in every school year but does not require students actually to participate for five hours every day—all 920 hours.
The Plain Dealer reprinted and expanded the Dispatch story on page A14 in its Saturday, print edition, but a hotlink is unavailable because, the newspaper’s website, did not pick up the story.  The Plain Dealer‘s story provides additional information from the lawsuit itself, in which ECOT alleges: “The General Assembly elected to make this FTE (full time equivalency) calculation dependent upon the number of hours of learning opportunities offered, as opposed to actual time spent logged in by a particular student… Simply put, had the legislature intended to make FTE funding dependent on student log-in time/duration or some other measure of ‘participation,’ it knew exactly how to do so.  Instead it specifically chose to make the (attendance) funding calculation based on learning opportunities ‘offered’ by Ohio’s community schools.” (In Ohio law, charters are termed “community schools,” unlike the rest of the country where “Community Schools” are defined as traditional public schools with added wraparound health and social services located right in the school building.)
Describing the lawsuit’s contention that a 2003 contract agreement with the Ohio Department of Education merely requires ECOT to provide 920 hours of curriculum but does not require that students actually participate, the Plain Dealer report adds: “The agreement was signed by an associate superintendent at the Education Department but his or her signature is illegible.”
Ohio Senate Minority leader Joe Schiavoni proposed a bill earlier this spring that would have very specifically prevented Ohio’s online charters from charging the state for phantom Ohio’s ECOT Charter School Files Lawsuit to Block Attendance Audit and Protect Profits | janresseger:
Big Education Ape: Cyber Charter school tuition criticized as unfair | sharonherald -

Big Education Ape: California Reaches Settlement With K12 Over False Claims Allegations - WSJ -

Big Education Ape: Facing tough questions from Calif. officials, virtual charter school operator settles with attorney general | 89.3 KPCC -

Another victory for government secrecy in Connecticut? - Wait What?

Another victory for government secrecy in Connecticut? - Wait What?:
Another victory for government secrecy in Connecticut?

As background, in 1992 I served as the House Chairman of the Connecticut General Assembly Program Review and Investigation Committee.  In many respects it is one of the most important committees in the legislative branch of government.  The bi-partisan committee and its professional staff are tasked with providing the legislature with the ability to review and investigate administrative agencies, programs and policies and the committee serves as a unique mechanism to counter the power of the Governor and his control over all state activities.
But as a result of their disastrous budget agreement, Malloy and Democratic leaders took a major step toward undermining, even destroying, this important vehicle of transparency.
As the CT Mirror explains;
The fate of the legislature’s chief investigative arm probably will be determined in the next few weeks as top leaders decide whether to impose a cut that would chop the nonpartisan agency in half.
Meanwhile, the House’s longest-serving current member, Rep. Mary Mushinsky, D-Wallingford, insists House Speaker J. Brendan Sharkey’s office assured her the planned reduction to the Program Review and Investigation Committee staff would be significantly muted — in exchange for her support for the new state budget.
But the speaker, who is retiring after this year, said last week his office never made that pledge. And while he said he would try, nonetheless, to ease the fiscal pain, it is doubtful that several of the 12 positions in the investigative office won’t be eliminated.
In the short term, undermining the Program Review and Investigation Committee would derail important legislative reviews including studies into the State’s school desegregation programs; long-term care services; substance abuse prevention services and the state’s Another victory for government secrecy in Connecticut? - Wait What?: