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Monday, July 18, 2016

Ed Notes Online: #AFT100, #AFT16: Waiting for Hillary, Waiting, Waiting, Waiting... and finally she's here

Ed Notes Online: #AFT100, #AFT16: Waiting for Hillary, Waiting, Waiting, Waiting... and finally she's here:

Waiting for Hillary, Waiting, Waiting, Waiting... and finally she's here

I've been in the convention hall since just after 2 PM - with Arthur Goldstein and Jonathan Halabi - check their blogs on my blogroll, 

twitter, and facebook accounts as they are doing a much more serious job than I am - I'm just trying to stay awake. We all have press passes and wanted to set ourselves up in the press section - of which there are 2 and both areas suck. We are behind a platform where camera people are set up blocking our view of the stage - we can watch Hillary on TVs - or we can lean over into the aisle and watch her live.

Ok, here's my day in a nutshell - up at 3:50, AM wife gets up about 5 hours earlier than usual to drive me to airport for 7AM flight. Hit massive traffic jam at entrance to JFK - but have TSA precheck godsend - connect with Jia Lee, Arthur and Gloria for coffee - flight goes well get in at 9 AM central time, get surface transit to hotel, dump stuff in room, go to convention center - run into CTU/CORE's Jackson Potter on way to lunch with CTU crew - Arthur and I join them - then joined by Boston teacher - they ask loads of questions about MORE, UFT elections - WHAT? - retirees vote and almost 50% of total?

Fred Klonsky talks AFT democracy here: Random thoughts. AFT democracy.

Back to convention hall - run into Unity fave - retired Michael Mendel - nice to see him again, get visitor passes - need a delegate - which of course we are not - to vouch for us - grab old pal who is in Unity to do so - wander around waiting to get press passes - tight security so we wait till after 2PM to get checked by secret service at press entrance - we are thrilled to get frisked by secret service - 

Halabi, Goldstein and moi - photo by Gloria Brandman
we are only 3 in the giant hall by 2:30 - it is now 5:40  and Randi is talking followed by a bunch of speakers until Hillary gets here.

Press people just told us we can run up and take some photos of Randi and Hillary when they come out together and after the speech Randi will come back to the press area to talk to us and answer questions - I'm sure she will be happy to see us - but frankly I have nothing I want to ask her -

See George Schmidt on his scooter --

They keep showing archive footage - nice piece on anti-teacher conservative Regan Nation At Risk report that began ed deform - leave out that Shanker and AFT supported many of conclusions of reports - the winners get to rewrite history.

Speakers include Helen Gym from Philly who along with Leonie Haimson founded Parents Across America, Steve Zimmer who beat back millionaire ed deformers in election for LA school board. Rouses crowd with passionate speech calling for Hillary election.

Rod Sherman from NYSUT - retired Pres of Plattsburg union -- says usual stuff.

Meanwhile Arthur and Jonathan are tweeting away with 
Ed Notes Online: #AFT100, #AFT16: Waiting for Hillary, Waiting, Waiting, Waiting... and finally she's here:

AFT President delivers a forceful case for Hillary Clinton in convention speech | LGBT Weekly

AFT President delivers a forceful case for Hillary Clinton in convention speech | LGBT Weekly:

AFT President delivers a forceful case for Hillary Clinton in convention speech

Randi Weingarten

MINNEAPOLIS—Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, today delivered a forceful case for Hillary Clinton, while hailing the 100-year-old union as a vehicle empowering its more than 1.6 million workers at the bargaining table and the ballot box. Speaking at the AFT’s biennial convention in the Minneapolis Convention Center, Weingarten commemorated the AFT’s enduring values and its century of collective action to make the country a more fair and just place, and described the union as a bulwark against public figures such as Donald Trump, Scott Walker and others who exploit Americans’ anxieties “and turn scapegoating into an art form.”
Speaking before more than 3,000 delegates to the AFT convention, Weingarten described this year’s election as “a moment of reckoning for our country,” calling the choice that faces voters this fall “a battle for [America’s] soul and for our children’s future.”
Weingarten, in her remarks, tied the achievements of the AFT in its first 100 years to the challenges currently facing her members and other working Americans. Drawing a parallel between today’s economic climate and that of AFT’s founding years, she mentioned that “in 1916, wealth [in the United States] was the most concentrated on record … until now.”
Clinton ‘the Best Candidate for President’
“Hillary understands the most urgent issues confronting our country,” Weingarten said. “Her bold economic plan puts unions front and center. She will level the playing field for the middle class, raising incomes for hardworking families, creating debt-free college for students, and lifting children out of poverty.”
Weingarten pointed to Clinton’s lifetime of achievements and advocacy—for early childhood education, public education, universal healthcare, human rights and economic opportunity.
“She’s proved time and time again that she is a dreamer, and a doer,” Weingarten continued. “And while I don’t think anyone should vote for her just because she’s a woman, I know from experience that to achieve what she has is harder because she is a woman. How many of us in this audience have been told you sound shrill, don’t yell? You’re not smiling enough? That listening is a sign of weakness?”
Trump ‘Perilously Close to Fascism’
Contrasting Clinton with presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, Weingarten said to the audience that “in my lifetime, we’ve never faced anything like what we’re facing this year.”
“What do you call it,” she asked, “when a candidate for president debases an entire religion, mocks a disabled reporter, refers to women as pigs and calls Mexicans rapists? I call it a threat to civil society, to decency and to the values that underpin our country. Frankly, it is perilously close to fascism.”
Weingarten leveled a broad critique against Trump’s economic ideas, calling them “snake oil” that “will make economic inequality worse.” She blasted Trump for saying “he’s against trade deals that would send jobs overseas” but manufacturing his products at “sweatshops in Bangladesh, China and Mexico,” and noted that “he bankrupted his businesses four times, and while he boasts he was unscathed, his employees, contractors, and vendors were devastated.”
AFT Empowers at the Bargaining Table and at the Ballot Box
“Our founders couldn’t have imagined that their vision would grow from eight locals to 3,500 locals, a union of more than 1.6 million members,” Weingarten remarked. She announced the addition of more than 36,000 members to the AFT’s ranks since 2014—growth that puts the union at a record-high membership of 1,637,412 workers.
“When unions are strong, we set a standard that helps all workers,” Weingarten said. “Union members earn higher wages and are more likely to have pensions and employer-provided health benefits. One of the strongest predictors of how well your children will do economically,” she continued, “is the percentage of union members in your community.”
Weingarten said it is “not surprising that our right to bargain is in the right-wing’s crosshairs. Just remember Friedrichs”—referencing a recent Supreme Court case dealing with union membership—“and how the right tried to use the Supreme Court to decimate us. But bargaining holds the potential to transform and innovate,” she said, detailing numerous examples of such innovative contracts.
Union a Vehicle for Civil and Human Rights
Weingarten paid tribute in her remarks to Philando Castile, the staff member at J.J. Hill Montessori School in nearby St. Paul who lost his life earlier this July. She decried “the disproportionate use of deadly force against black people,” and said that “our justice system needs to be more just.” Weingarten spotlighted recent work by the AFT to bring attention to racial isolation and inequality—offering as an example a 2015 report that “confronts institutional racism and offers concrete steps to create excellent public schools for all students, with a focus on boys and men of color.”
Lamenting the gun violence that claims 33,000 lives in America per year—violence that took the lives of three police officers in Baton Rouge the day before her address—Weingarten said “we must never accept that mass murders or indiscriminate killings are the new normal.” Describing America as “awash in guns,” she argued that “working to make the criminal justice system more just and supporting police are not mutually exclusive. This is a matter of ensuring that everyone feels safe—those who swear an oath to protect us and those they are sworn to protect.”
In closing her remarks, Weingarten referenced the words of Martin Luther King Jr., saying, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” The AFT, she said to the crowd, “is our vehicle in this journey for justice. It was that vehicle in 1916, it is today, and, because of you, it will be in the century ahead.”
Click here to view the full text of AFT President Weingarten’s speech.
AFT President delivers a forceful case for Hillary Clinton in convention speech | LGBT Weekly:

Mayor KJ Who Sued His Own City Over A Public Records Request Ordered To Turn Over Official Emails Stashed In A Private Account | Techdirt

Mayor Who Sued His Own City Over A Public Records Request Ordered To Turn Over Official Emails Stashed In A Private Account | Techdirt:

Mayor Who Sued His Own City Over A Public Records Request Ordered To Turn Over Official Emails Stashed In A Private Account

 Nearly one year to the date from Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson's filing of a lawsuit against his own city and a local journalist to block the release of emails from his personal Gmail account, a judge has ordered him to turn over most of the emails he's been fighting to withhold.

[T]his past Friday, Krueger ruled that Johnson and the city must make public 79 of the remaining 113 emails and records. Ballard Spahr, the firm that represents the mayor pro bono, needs to turn them over by July 18.
Johnson had long argued that emails from his personal account weren't subject to public records laws -- even those in which government business was discussed. And, indeed, the city has no policy in place preventing officials from using personal email accounts to conduct official business. However, that's not the same thing as saying these emails can't be obtained with public records requests.
When that argument failed to keep the emails from being released, Johnson's lawyer raised the good old "attorney-client privilege" as a shield against public disclosure. Judge Krueger shot that down as well.
During the hearing, Humphreys was steadfast in his lobbying to keep some of the records secret. He contested that, since Ballard Spahr had reviewed firsthand many of the emails and attachments in question, they were clearly protected from disclosure because of “attorney-client privilege”—a phrase he repeated ad nauseam.
Eventually, Krueger schooled him on the law. “Every document that an attorney has seen does not fall under attorney-client privilege,” the judge explained—adding that this was legal fact no matter how many times Humphreys made a “talismanic recitation of those words.”
In the end, it's a win for the Sacramento News & Review, which was one the parties named in Mayor Johnson's email-blocking lawsuit. Given the nature of the disputed emails, it's easy to see why Johnson wanted to keep them out of the public's hands. Many of the communications cover Johnson's takeover of the National Conference of Black Mayors -- a leadership position he held tenuously, briefly, and under a considerable amount of criticism.
Johnson's 2015 attempt to obtain an injunction against his own city followed his admission that he had destroyed several public records (in this case, text messages) responsive to requests pertaining to the city's $500 million sports arena.
Even though this legal battle has pried loose a few hundred emails over the past year, it's still only a small percentage of Mayor Johnson's "official business" communications safely stashed away in his personal account.
“We’ve been fighting in court for a year over a small batch of records that ended up in the hands of the City Attorney,” Garvin wrote. “The much bigger problem is the thousands and thousands of emails that Johnson has refused to turn over, which were generated by his OMKJ email accounts.”
Politicians are particularly adept at keeping their communications away from the public. Kevin Johnson is the rule, rather than the exception. Fortunately, the lack of internal policies forbidding this activity isn't preventing courts from finding responsive communications have been improperly withheld. But these findings come at a great expense for public records requesters -- many of which will abandon their requests rather than spend thousands of dollars in legal fees to obtain documents that rightfully belong to the public.Mayor Who Sued His Own City Over A Public Records Request Ordered To Turn Over Official Emails Stashed In A Private Account | Techdirt:
Big Education Ape: SN&R prevails in yearlong First Amendment battle with Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson - Sacramento News & Review -
Big Education Ape: Judge rules in favor of SN&R in Kevin Johnson lawsuit - Sacramento News & Review -
Big Education Ape: The latest on those Kevin Johnson emails - Sacramento News & Review -

Parent Power: Community Organizing as a Parent Engagement Strategy | Schott Foundation for Public Education

Parent Power: Community Organizing as a Parent Engagement Strategy | Schott Foundation for Public Education:

Parent Power: Community Organizing as a Parent Engagement Strategy

 Edgar Villanueva, Vice President of Programs & Advocacy

Parent engagement can take on many forms within schools. Helping a child with homework, attending after school activities, cooking for a bake sale, and volunteering in the school’s office all fall under our general understanding of typical expectations for parent involvement in schools.Parent engagement, however, is often not defined by parents, which sometimes leads to negative narratives about a “lack of engagement” of parents of color or low-income parents. Parents and communities are critical to catalyzing and sustaining improvement in schools, but one of the biggest challenges can be finding ways to engage and support the powerful involvement of parents.

Edgar Villanueva, Schott Foundation; Leticia Barrera, Logan Square Neighborhood Organization; and Roberto Bustillo, InnerCity Struggle
But in some schools, community organizing has creatively transformed parent engagement into something much deeper: parent power. For over 25 years, the Schott Foundation for Public Education has supported parent organizing with the understanding that parents, especially those from marginalized communities, should be central to improving public education. Schott’s core belief is that a grassroots movement - including parents, students and teachers - is critical to systemic change in the disparities that poor children and children of color face in our nation’s schools.
As an advocate for community organizing in building power for change, Schott’s Vice President of Programs & Advocacy Edgar Villanueva facilitated a workshop on “Strategies for Building Parent Power” at the National Family and Community Engagement Conference from June 20 - 22 in Pittsburgh. This workshop profiledInnerCity Struggle (ICS) in Los Angeles and Logan Square Neighborhood Association (LSNA) in Chicago — both are models that communities and organizers could replicate across the country.
InnerCity Struggle, Los Angeles
InnerCity Struggle Parent Organizer Roberto Bustillo highlighted how his organization in Los Angeles uses community organizing to build parent power as a catalyst for positive change in public education. ICS was founded in 1994 by parents, youth, and residents with the goal of promoting safe, healthy, and non-violent communities in the Eastside of LA. ICS’s campaigns identify parent voice as a crucial component of their strategy to reform discipline policies and practices and to provide equitable opportunities for all youth. With the critical support of parents, ICS and its partners recently won a campaign to ensure that the schools with the highest needs in the L.A. school district are first in line to receive the district-allocated funding.
Watch a Schott-sponsored video about how ICS and others community groups organized to win this campaign here:
Logan Square Neighborhood Association, Chicago
In 1995, the Logan Square Neighborhood Association (LSNA) in Chicago developed a program in conjunction with principals and teachers to engage parents in the low-income, immigrant community of Logan Square on the northwest side of Chicago — beyond just the handful of parents who regularly volunteered at the schools.
Beginning in four schools in 1995, within a few years the program quickly doubled to eight schools in the Logan Square neighborhood. LSNA’s full service community school model, with the Parent Mentor Program as a central component, gained attention and interest throughout the city, with community organizations like the Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP) beginning the Parenting Mentoring Program and then CEO of Chicago Public Schools Arne Duncan spreading the LSNA model to 100 schools throughout the district.
In 2010, LSNA and SWOP began the Parent Engagement Instituteto provide training, coaching, and mentoring to spread the Parent Mentor Program model throughout the state with other community partners. The Parent Engagement Institute continues its work within the state, while also offering community organizations and school districts throughout the country to learn about and implement the model. The program now operates in at least 65 schools throughout Illinois with some financial support from the Illinois State Board of Education.
Since the creation of the program, 1,300 parents (mostly mothers) have graduated from the Parent Mentor Program, and today 130 parents work in eight schools. Through this program, parents are assigned to a classroom where they work one-on-one with small groups of children for two hours a day, Monday through Thursday. Every Friday the parent mentors receive extra training around academic instruction, professional development, community engagement, and leadership skills, and receive a modest stipend after completing 100 hours.
The results are clear: engaging parents, especially through community organizing, improves student outcomes. In Chicago, after having a parent mentor in the classroom, schools experienced the following results:
  • Improved Test Scores (increase of 35% of students that meet or exceed on the ISAT in 10 years)
  • Increased Long Term Graduation Rates (between 1990 and 2009, the dropout rate for youth age 16-19 decreased 61% in classes with parent mentor in their early grades)
  • Strengthened Social Capital (Parent mentors more than doubled the network of teachers and parents with whom they communicate regularly).
Also, the parents themselves have been positively impacted — some are now full-time employees of the school system or have gone to college to become teachers.
Watch this NBC Education Nation video "Putting Parents to work in the Classroom" Video on the success of parent organizing in Chicago:
These amazing parents in Los Angeles and Chicago have been able to utilize community organizing to harness parent power to generate concrete change within public schools - and leadership by two exemplary organizations, ICS and LSNA, has transformed schools and scaled reforms, contributing to a national movement for community-centered education justice.
To learn more about the power of parent engagement through community organizing, check out these resources:
Book: Match on Dry Grass: Community Organizing for School Reform (Oxford University Press, 2011) - LSNA chapter available for download. Parent Power: Community Organizing as a Parent Engagement Strategy | Schott Foundation for Public Education:

8 Interesting Facts about the Aftermath of Sac City's School Closures - AACRE

8 Interesting Facts about the Aftermath of Sac City's School Closures - AACRE:

8 Interesting Facts about the Aftermath of Sac City’s School Closures 


1.  4 out of the 7 closed schools have re-opened.

In January 2013, Sacramento City Unified School District and former Superintendent Jonathan Raymond proposed the closure of twelve (12) neighborhood elementary schools. Of those twelve, five (5) were quietly taken off the closure list prior to the final vote on the ‘wrong-sizing’ proposal. In February 2013, only a month after announcing the proposal, the Board voted to close seven(7) neighborhood schools in a controversial 4-3 decision.
In the two years since the school closures, 4 out of the 7 campuses have re-opened either as a charter school or a community center.

2.  Joseph Bonnheim re-opened as a Community Charter School.

The first school site to re-open was Joseph Bonnheim Elementary. Immediately following the closures, parents, teachers and community members came together to save their neighborhood school. To keep their school open, the community needed to come together to establish a community charter school. A small but incredibly passionate coalition of community leaders and parents raised money, passed around petitions and developed an organic proposal to re-open the school as a dependent charter. Finally, in 2014, the New Joseph Bonnheim (NJB) Community Charter opened its doors to a new cohort of students. NJB remains the only public school in Northern California with a special emphasis on agriculture. A week ago, NJB celebrated its second year and we’re thrilled to see students back at Bonnheim.

For over 40 years, La Familia Counseling Center has been a fixture in the South Sacramento community and a hub for Sacramento’s Latino community. In recent years, the expanding number of staff and the growing need for services among Sacramento’s diverse populations made LFCC’s location on Fruitridge Road feel a bit cramped. In July 2015, LFCC confirmed a lease for Maple Elementary School to convert it into their new headquarters. By moving their main office to Maple Elementary, LFCC is better situated to expand its world-class services to the Maple and South Sacramento community.

4.  Washington Elementary re-opens in Midtown.

The only closed school outside of South Sacramento was Midtown’s Washington Elementary. During public testimony to oppose the school closures, one Washington Elementary parent remarked, “it doesn’t make sense to close a school in a community that is growing tremendously. More and more families are moving into the area and we will need a neighborhood school to call our own.” As it turns, she was right. With the population in Midtown exploding and new developments being built throughout the Downtown area, the need to re-open Washington became apparent when neighboring schools became overcrowded. With the help
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