Latest News and Comment from Education

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Real Face of Fethullah Gülen - Robert Amsterdam

Robert Amsterdam:


The Real Face of Fethullah Gülen

It is widely known that Fethullah Gülen has invested millions of dollars into creating and sustaining a false public image (the story of how a Foreign Policy poll was rigged is but one example). For the most part, the investment has been successful – the majority of the media reports coming out this past week […]

Statement on Events in Turkey

15 July 2016 – The following statement was issued by Robert Amsterdam of Amsterdam & Partners LLP. Amsterdam & Partners LLP acts on behalf of the Republic of Turkey. According to the latest information I am receiving from my contacts in Turkey, the attempted coup by elements of the armed forces is failing, thanks in […]

Interview with Daily Sabah on the Threat of the Gülen Organization

Today a feature interview with Robert Amsterdam was published on the front page of Sabah newspaper in Turkey. A translated version of the interview is featured on the digital version of Daily Sabah, which can be read here.  Below, an excerpt: The mafia-like network created by the Gülen Movement is a threat to the U.S. […]

Breaking: Rauner says Chicago teachers are illiterate and principals incompetent. | Fred Klonsky

Breaking: Rauner says Chicago teachers are illiterate and principals incompetent. | Fred Klonsky:

Breaking: Rauner says Chicago teachers are illiterate and principals incompetent.

Gov. Bruce Rauner once told some of Chicago’s wealthiest and most influential civic leaders that half of the Chicago Public Schools teachers “are virtually illiterate” and half of the city’s principals are “incompetent,” according to emails Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration released Thursday under a court order.
Rauner made the assertion five years ago when he was a wealthy private equity executive and an active participant in Chicago school reform. His emails were part of a discussion with affluent education reform activists connected to the Chicago Public Education Fund, including Penny Pritzker, now U.S. commerce secretary; billionaire hedge fund manager Ken Griffin; Chicago investment executive Mellody Hobson; and Helen Zell, the wife of billionaire real estate magnate Sam Zell.
“Teacher evaluation is critically important, but in a massive bureaucracy with a hostile union, where 50% of principals are managerially incompetent and half of teachers are virtually illiterate, a complete multi-dimensional evaluation system with huge subjectivity in it will be attacked, manipulated and marginalized – the status quo will prevail,” Rauner wrote in a December 2011 email arguing for a strong system of teacher and principal evaluations in the district. “It’s much more critical that we develop a consistent, rigorous, Breaking: Rauner says Chicago teachers are illiterate and principals incompetent. | Fred Klonsky:

SHAREHOLDER ALERT: Investigation of K12 Inc. (LRN)

SHAREHOLDER ALERT: Bronstein, Gewirtz & Grossman, LLC Announces Investigation of K12 Inc. (LRN):

SHAREHOLDER ALERT:  Investigation of K12 Inc. 

NEW YORKJuly 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Attorney Advertising -- Bronstein, Gewirtz & Grossman, LLC is investigating potential claims on behalf of purchasers of the securities of K12, Inc. ("K12" or the "Company") (NYSE: LRN). Such investors are advised to contact Peretz Bronstein or his investor relations analyst, Yael Hurwitz at or 212-697-6484.
The investigation concerns whether K12 and certain of its officers and/or directors have violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
On October 27, 2015, a study about online charter schools was published by Stanford's Center for Research on Education Outcomes ("CREDO") and explicitly mentioned K12. In the press release, CREDO stated that "[i]nnovative new research suggests that students of online charter schools had significantly weaker academic performance in math and reading, compared with their counterparts in conventional schools."  On that same day, K12 reported poor financial results for the first quarter of fiscal year 2015. Following these releases, K12 stock dropped $1.93 per share, or 15.8%, to close at $10.25 on October 27, 2015.  On that same day, after market hours, K12 filed its 10-Q Quarterly for the same fiscal quarter, and disclosed that it had received a subpoena from the Attorney General of the State of California, Bureau of Children's Justice regarding an investigation styled "In the Matter of the Investigation of: For-Profit Virtual Schools."  Over the next three days, K12 stock dropped a cumulative $0.54 per share, or 5.2%, to close at $9.71 on October 30, 2015.
If you purchased K12 shares or if you are aware of any facts relating to this investigation, you can assist this investigation by visiting the firm's site:!k12/crqwx. You can also contact Peretz Bronstein or his Investor Relations Analyst, Yael Hurwitz of Bronstein, Gewirtz & Grossman, LLC: 212-697-6484 or via email  Those who inquire by e-mail are encouraged to include their mailing address, email and telephone number.
Bronstein, Gewirtz & Grossman, LLC is a corporate litigation boutique.  Our primary expertise is the aggressive pursuit of litigation claims on behalf of our clients.  In addition to representing institutions and other investor plaintiffs in class action security litigation, the firm's expertise includes general corporate and commercial litigation, as well as securities arbitration. Attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee similar outcomes.
Bronstein, Gewirtz & Grossman, LLC
Peretz Bronstein or Yael Hurwitz
212-697-6484 |

 SHAREHOLDER ALERT: Bronstein, Gewirtz & Grossman, LLC Announces Investigation of K12 Inc. (LRN):

Big Education Ape: SF Flex charter school closes - Internal Affairs -

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

Big Education Ape: California 'virtual' academies: Bill targets for-profit operator K12 Inc. - San Jose Mercury News -

Big Education Ape: California Legislators and Governor Brown: No Accountability for Charters | Diane Ravitch's blog -

Charter vs. Charter Fight Heats Up

K12 Inc is feeling grumpy.

Earlier this week we looked at a report co-created by the National Alliance for Public [sic] Charter Schools, the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, and 50CAN in which the bricks and mortar wing of the charter school industry took the cyber-charters to task for stinking up the whole charter sector, and very helpfully offered some advice that involved a whole lot of restrictions and rules that cyber charters should have to follow.

It did not take long for the cyber charter industry to fire back.

K12 Inc, one of the very largest cyber chains. It was founded by banker and McKinsey alum  Ronald Packer and got its initial stake from Michael and Lowell Milken (Michael is famous as the junk bond king who went to prison for fraud) and also a chunk of change from Andrew Tisch, big cheese at Loewe's (his wife served on the reformy Center for Education Innovation board and opened an all-girls school in Harlem in the late nineties). In addition to running their own cyber-empire, K12 has also been the force behind spectacular cyber-failures like the Agora cyber charter chain. Oh, and they are fully unabashedly for profit, like most of the cyber charters.

K12 Inc did not much care for the Cyber Shape-Up report, and they issued a press release to say so.

"Not collaborative," they say of the report. Nobody invited cyber-charters to come participate in the scolding of cyber-charters. Speaking for most public school teachers of the last decade, let me just express our sympathy for how annoying it is when people want to attack your work without even talking to you.

K12 also attacks the study that is most of the basis for the scolding of cybers because the data is old and doesn't include points that the cybers think are important (like why the student left her original 
 Charter vs. Charter Fight Heats Up

Teachers’ union pledges full support for transgender students / LGBTQ Nation #AFT100 #AFT16

Teachers’ union pledges full support for transgender students / LGBTQ Nation:

Teachers’ union pledges full support for transgender students

The American Federation of Teachers union
This week the 1.6 million member American Federation of Teachers met inMinneapolis. Among the many resolutions the delegates passed was a resolution in support of LGBTQ students and staff. As chair of the AFT’s Pride Caucus and a national board member of Pride at Work the fact that my union and America’s teachers are dedicating themselves to protecting students based on sexual orientation and gender identity means a lot.
This resolution does several important things. First, it states “affiliates will support adoption, implementation and enforcement, at the district, institutional and state levels, of policies that support the safety and educational achievement of LGBTQ students in K-12 as well as postsecondary education, that specifically ensure thattransgender students have equal access consistent with their gender identity to sex-segregated facilities and programs.”
This means our union is pledging ourselves to specifically help trans students.  The resolutions goes on to state “will support the Office for Civil Rights guidance and demand its implementation at the district, institutional and state levels at pre-K through grade 12 schools as well as institutions of higher learning.”
The truth is that trans students and educators deserve the dignity and respect that every other student and staff member deserve. Schools are meant to be safe a haven. Trans students and staff deserve the safety of having their teachers and school staff recognize them for who they are and to advocate for them.
As a union, the AFT has always been on the forefront of civil rights.  In the 1950’s we expelled our segregated locals and as a union we submitted an Amicus brief with the US Supreme Court in support of school desegregation during Brown V. Board of Education. In 1993, we negotiated the first domestic partner benefits for LGBTQ public employees in New York City. And today we’re working to make sure our voice is in this fight and that once again we’re on the right side of history.
What we know is that every students is different and every student deserves to be Teachers’ union pledges full support for transgender students / LGBTQ Nation:

Diane Ravitch, state standardized test critic, comes to Atlanta |

Diane Ravitch, state standardized test critic, comes to Atlanta |

School testing critic Diane Ravitch coming to Atlanta

Click on picture to Listen to Diane Ravitch
Public schools advocate Diane Ravitch, a leading critic of state standardized tests, will headline an English teachers’ conference in Atlanta.
Ravitch is an NYU professor who served as assistant education secretary under President George H.W. Bush and as a member of the National Assessment Governing Board under President Bill Clinton. Her most recent book is Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools. She will be interviewed live.
Conference panels will offer many speakers, including authors Ta-Nehisi Coates and Brad Meltzer.
School testing critic Diane Ravitch coming to Atlanta photo
The National Council of Teachers of English conference is Nov. 17-20 at the Georgia World Congress Center.Diane Ravitch, state standardized test critic, comes to Atlanta |

“Suspension of disbelief” Stops Here: Do we need the Republican and Democratic National Conventions? | Reclaim Reform

“Suspension of disbelief” Stops Here: Do we need the Republican and Democratic National Conventions? | Reclaim Reform:

“Suspension of disbelief” Stops Here: Do we need the Republican and Democratic National Conventions?


The American Theater of the Absurd is called the Republican National Convention and the Democratic National Convention. Yes, theater – as in “suspension of disbelief.” Leave reality behind and believe what is advertised.

There is not enough money to fund public schools or Social Security or relief from student loans or keeping water free from deadly pollution or feeding homeless children or providing mental health care clinics or… But, we need conventions.
Hundreds of millions of dollars, out of a total that exceeds over a billion dollars for each of the two major parties, is being fed into the Political Campaign Industrial Complex while we Americans are deprived of the social services that are the basis of a healthy and growing nation.
“America is the greatest country in the world and will be again.” (?????)
“Look how much we have accomplished in the last eight years in spite of opposition, so let’s continue austerity measures for Americans while granting special financial sanctions to multinational corporations.” (?????)

So why have the conventions at all?
(from Robert Reich in TruthDig)
First, because they’re perks awarded to people who worked hard for candidates during the primaries — just as top sales reps in companies are “Suspension of disbelief” Stops Here: Do we need the Republican and Democratic National Conventions? | Reclaim Reform:
 Willie Nelson - The Party's Over 
 Turn out the lights

The party's over

They say that all

Good things must end

Call it a night

The party's over

And tomorrow starts

The same old thing again

Think teachers can’t be fired because of unions? Surprising results from new study. - The Washington Post

Think teachers can’t be fired because of unions? Surprising results from new study. - The Washington Post:

Think teachers can’t be fired because of unions? Surprising results from new study.

How many times have you heard it said it is impossible to fire a teacher with tenure?
Not only do politicians and policymakers say it, but, it turns out, so do people like Whoopi Goldberg. On her TV talk show “The View” in 2014, she said: “Parents are not going to stand for it anymore,” she said. “And you teachers, in your union, you need to say, ‘These bad teachers are making us look bad.’”
Those who think tenured teachers can’t be fired may be interested in new research by Eunice Han, who has a PhD in economics from Harvard University and who spent the past three years as a postdoctoral research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Mass. (You can read the report, “The Myth of Unions’ Overprotection of Bad Teachers,” below.)
Han, who will join the economics faculty at the University of Utah in the fall, found that “highly unionized districts actually fire more bad teachers.” That’s what she told Jennifer Berkshire, author of the Edushyster website, where this originally appeared. Berkshire, who gave me permission to publish this, is a freelance journalist and public education advocate who worked for six years editing a newspaper for the American Federation of Teachers in Massachusetts.
Certainly there are teachers working today in America’s public schools who shouldn’t be, but the new research sheds new light on unions and tenure. Here’s the interview:
EduShyster: It’s a well-known true fact that teachers unions make it much harder to get rid of bad teachers. But you conducted a study for the National Bureau of Economic Research that purports to find the opposite. In fact, you titled your study “The Myth of Unions’ Overprotection of Bad Teachers.” Tell us about what you found.
Eunice Han: What I found is that the facts are the opposite of what people think: that highly Think teachers can’t be fired because of unions? Surprising results from new study. - The Washington Post:

If Democrats Think Mike Pence Is An Extremist, Will They Stop Supporting His Education Policies?

7/21/2016 – If Democrats Think Mike Pence Is An Extremist, Will They Stop Supporting His Education Policies?:

If Democrats Think Mike Pence Is An Extremist, Will They Stop Supporting His Education Policies?

THIS WEEK: The Trump Effect … Racial Bias In Schools … How Charters Hurt Public Schools … Why Segregation Persists … Who’s Re-Segregating Little Rock?


If Democrats Think Mike Pence Is An Extremist, Will They Stop Supporting His Education Policies?

By Jeff Bryant

“For the past eight years, the Democratic Party’s education agenda has chiefly been based on an idea conceived in right wing policy shops then pushed into the party’s most powerful circles by a very small but wealthy group of individuals … Based on this understanding, it’s not a surprise that extremists such as Mike Pence have been eager to adopt much of this agenda. But in calling out Pence as an extremist, is Hillary Clinton signaling there may be shifts in her party’s education agenda?”
Read more …


Why Are Third-Graders Afraid Of Donald Trump?

The Atlantic

“There are reports across the country of what’s been called ‘the Trump Effect’ … Those working in schools with large immigrant populations say kids are actively afraid about what might happen to themselves and their families if Trump were elected. And explaining the American political system’s checks and balances isn’t much help.”
Read more …

How Racial Bias Affects The Quality Of Black Students’ Education

Think Progress

“Decades of racial bias against black Americans and the legacy of slavery are evident in our classrooms … Schools in the U.S. remain very economically and racially segregated … Students’ quality of education suffers in this segregated school environment … Racially biased school discipline contributes to what’s known as the ‘school-to-prison pipeline’ … Black students begin receiving far more suspensions than white children beginning as early as preschool … Black students are also expected to stay engaged and interested in courses that don’t recognize the reality of their lives – and don’t cover the contributions of black political leaders and artists as often as those of white historical figures.”
Read more …

How Charter Schools In Michigan Have Hurt Traditional Public Schools, New Research Finds

The Washington Post

“How do some charter schools affect the traditional school districts in which they are located? Disastrously… ‘Overwhelmingly, the biggest financial impact on school districts was the result of declining enrollment and revenue loss, especially where school choice and charters are most prevalent … The higher the charter penetration, the higher the adverse impact on district finances … As the share of students in the district that are going charters increases, there is a causal relationship of a larger share of the students who are left behind in the district who receive special education services.'”
Read more …

One Reason School Segregation Persists


“Researchers tested a broad range of factors that could explain why parents choose a school … Only three of these factors significantly drove parental choice … high test scores, schools closer to home, and schools where their own child would be alongside more peers of his or her same race and class … White and higher-income applicants had the strongest preferences for their children to remain in-group, while black elementary school parents were essentially ‘indifferent’ to a school’s racial makeup, the researchers found. The findings for Hispanic elementary and middle school parents were not statistically significant … Research – and history – show that left to their own devices, parents won’t desegregate schools.”
Read more …

Charter Schools And The Waltons Take Little Rock Back To Its Segregated Past


Jeff Bryant writes, “Progress on racial integration in schools achieved during the Civil Rights period has gradually eroded, and in many cities, schools are now nearly as racially divided as they were 40 years ago … But lengthy presentations of statistical data and litanies of high court decisions tend to overlook places where the fight to uphold the vision of a pluralistic school system is still very much alive –places like Little Rock [Arkansas] … But now, the actors have changed. This time, those being accused of segregating students aren’t local bigots. Instead, Little Rock citizens see segregation as being imposed upon them by outsiders, operating under the guise of a reform agenda.
Read more …
 7/21/2016 – If Democrats Think Mike Pence Is An Extremist, Will They Stop Supporting His Education Policies?:

Yo Campbell Brown Cat got your tongue? I Guess There is NO Talking Turkey w/ YOU!

What Do the Corporate Reformers and Campbell Brown Have to Say about The Gulen Charter School Scandal

Nothing from the 74 Million Dollar Mouth (Campbell Brown) But finally the Right Wingers are Chiming in (4:04 PM West Coast: 

Turkish Crackdown Puts Spotlight on Education Sector - WSJ - 

WH warns Erdogan: Democracy is essential | Washington Examiner - 

What Everyone Else is Saying 

Big Education Ape: Video shows Gülen urging followers to secretly infiltrate Turkish state institutions - Daily Sabah -

Big Education Ape: Turkey seeks probes of American charter schools it says are linked to Fethullah Gulen - The Washington Post -

Big Education Ape: The Republic of Turkey Wants the State of Texas to Investigate Gulen Charter Schools. | deutsch29 -

Big Education Ape: Gulen versus Erdogan battle spills over into Germany | DWCOM -

Big Education Ape: What Do the Corporate Reformers and Campbell Brown Have to Say about The Gulen Charter School Scandal -

Big Education Ape: Turkish exile sparks questions about Congress travel, charter schools -
Big Education Ape: Turkey widens post-coup purge, demands Washington hand over cleric | Reuters -

Big Education Ape: Fethullah Gulen Should Not Be Operating American Charter Schools. | deutsch29 -
Big Education Ape: Reclusive Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who lives in Pennsylvania, blamed for failed coup in Turkey - LA Times -

Big Education Ape: US would consider extradition request for exiled cleric -

 Big Education Ape: Fethullah Gulen: The Islamic scholar Turkey blames for the failed coup - The Washington Post -

Big Education Ape: Jersey Jazzman: What We Don't Know About Gulen-Linked Charter Schools, And Why That's a Problem -

Big Education Ape: Coup in Turkey: Is Fetullah Gulen Behind It? | Diane Ravitch's blog -

Big Education Ape: KILLING ED: 120 American Charter Schools and One Secretive Turkish Cleric -

 Big Education Ape: Update: Gulen Harmony charter school network accused of bias and self-dealing Dallas Morning News -

Big Education Ape: Turkey Links Texas Charter Schools to Dissident - WSJ -
Big Education Ape: Magnolia Science Academy - A Gulen Charter School: Gulen Magnolia Science Academy links discussed at LAUSD board meeting -

Clinton Hands Trump an Opening: Pence’s Record on Education - WSJ

Clinton Hands Trump an Opening: Pence’s Record on Education - WSJ:

Clinton Hands Trump an Opening: Pence’s Record on Education

Hillary Clinton used a rally of the American Federation of Teachers in Minneapolis on Monday night as another occasion to blast Mike Pence, but the slap came off as a backhanded compliment. The Indiana governor, she said, is “one of the most hostile politicians in America when it comes to public education.”
Donald Trump has been vague on education, and his running mate’s efforts to expand school choice in Indiana have been largely overshadowed by the state’s culture wars. So it is nice to see Mrs. Clinton calling attention to Mr. Pence’s strong record of school reform. The Trump campaign ought to be doing the same.
In 2011, Mitch Daniels established private-school vouchers for low- and middle-income students in public schools, a program that Mr. Pence has steadily expanded by extending eligibility to siblings of voucher recipients, children living in failing public-school districts and those with special needs.
During the past few years, Indiana has also lifted the $4,800 cap on voucher awards, and the state has allowed students to continue receiving vouchers if their parents’ incomes exceed the threshold (150% of the poverty line). This year, Indiana extended the application window so that children contending with bad public schools can transfer at midyear to private schools.
Since 2012, the number of recipients has increased 10-fold to 33,000 students, while state funding has swelled to $132 million from $15 million. Nearly 60% of students in the state now qualify for vouchers. Indiana’s voucher program is the fastest-growing and largest in the country.
Mr. Pence has also knocked heads with the state’s liberal Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz, who has persistently tried to sabotage charters and vouchers. Last year the Education Department complained that she had incorrectly applied federal law regulating Title I funds for low-income students when she cut funding for charters. After a series of court battles, Mr. Pence pressed the legislature to limit her control over vouchers and charter schools.
These school-reform brawls are a good illustration of Mr. Pence’s record as a fighter. They also show conservative policies can help low- and middle-income families. This is a fight Mr. Trump ought to be picking with Mrs. Clinton.Clinton Hands Trump an Opening: Pence’s Record on Education - WSJ:

Big Education Ape: What Did GOP Vice Presidential Nominee Mike Pence Do For Indiana Schools As Governor? Here's A Look : NPR Ed : NPR -
Big Education Ape: “THE PRODUCERS” – Donald Trump and Mike Pence | Reclaim Reform -
Big Education Ape: A Running Mate to Run From - Lily's Blackboard -
Big Education Ape: Republicans and education — where they’ve been and where they’re going -
Big Education Ape: Koch Brothers’ Friends Funding Mike Pence | Hoosier School Heist Blog -
Big Education Ape: Schools Matter: The Real Story Behind Mike Pence’s Charter School Speech -
Big Education Ape: The bigot Mike Pence and his neighbor Bruce Rauner. | Fred Klonsky -
Big Education Ape: BREAKING NEWS - Trump goes with anti-public education running mate - Wait What? -
Big Education Ape: The big trouble in Indiana public schools, as explained by a troubled educator - The Washington Post -

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