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Friday, July 29, 2016

Stand for Children Has $725,100 Ready to Unseat Charter-unfriendly Judge | deutsch29

Stand for Children Has $725,100 Ready to Unseat Charter-unfriendly Judge | deutsch29:

Stand for Children Has $725,100 Ready to Unseat Charter-unfriendly Judge

On September 4, 2015, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that the state’s law regarding charter schools was unconstitutional because it depended upon funding meant for the state’s common schools.
The Court upheld its opinion in November 2015.
The author of the ruling is WA Supreme Court Justice Barbara Madsen, who happens to be up for reelection in 2016.
Of course, those who support charter schools would like to see her gone.
Her opponent, Greg Zempel, is an apparent supporter of charter schools– and it is Greg Zempel who has the backing of Stand for Children WA PAC as an independent expenditure committee led by Stand’s national finance director, Dan Soltesz.
According to Ballotpedia, Zempel is running because the WA Supreme Court is “unpredictable”:
Greg Zempel is the prosecutor in Kittitas County, Washington, and a 2016candidate for the Washington State Supreme Court. He is running against incumbent Chief Justice Barbara Madsen.[1]
Zempel stated that he is running because the state supreme court is “unpredictable.”[2] He said, “[The court is] highly politicized and they are not deferential to other branches of the government or citizens.”[2] Zempel said that he had decided to challenge Chief Justice Madsen rather than a justice who had been on the court for less time because the chief justice is “more responsible” for the tone of the court.[2]
Another contender for Madsen’s seat, John Scannell, has no funding. A primary is Stand for Children Has $725,100 Ready to Unseat Charter-unfriendly Judge | deutsch29:

You Have Until Monday To Submit Public Comment On Damaging Corporate Education Dictator John King – Exceptional Delaware

You Have Until Monday To Submit Public Comment On Damaging Regulations Put Out By Corporate Education Dictator John King – Exceptional Delaware:

You Have Until Monday To Submit Public Comment On Damaging Regulations Put Out By Corporate Education Dictator John King
Hillary and John King OPT OUT.001

 You have until Monday, August 1st to submit public comment on the proposed regulations and rule-making put out by U.S. Secretary of Education John King on May 29th.  After that, no more public comment will be accepted.  You need to go to the Federal Register website, which can be found here.  Read through the regulations.  It is in-depth and monstrous.  But the future of the children of America is at stake here.  If you have been a big fan of the high-stakes testing anti-parental rights shame and label schools, teachers, and students era of education, then sit at home and watch the future of America crumble before your very eyes.  If you want to prevent John King from furthering the bad policies and agendas, first laid out by No Child Left Behind and then magnified a hundred fold under Race To The Top, then please leave public comment.

This was my public comment:
I do not agree with most of these proposed regulations. It is a further attempt to exert federal control over state decisions. Furthermore, many of those in power at the state level have eroded local control to the point of absurdity. It is a parent’s fundamental and constitutional right to opt their child out of the state assessment. Any regulation proposing to punish schools for a parent’s decision is illegal. The ESEA regulations state that all schools must make sure children take the assessment, not that all students MUST participate in the state assessment. That regulation has been perverted over the years to take away parental rights. No state should have to follow regulations formed to serve testing companies and their profits more than the rights of parents, students, teachers, and schools. Education has become You Have Until Monday To Submit Public Comment On Damaging Regulations Put Out By Corporate Education Dictator John King – Exceptional Delaware:

Are Charter Schools Neither Civil or Right? Assessing the Intersection of Voting Rights and Educational Equity – Cloaking Inequity

Are Charter Schools Neither Civil or Right? Assessing the Intersection of Voting Rights and Educational Equity – Cloaking Inequity:
Are Charter Schools Neither Civil or Right? Assessing the Intersection of Voting Rights and Educational Equity
data supports that some measure of political accountability through the electoral process may provide enhanced accountability

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the Louisiana Legislature – to the objection of many in the delegation that represented New Orleans – took control of nearly all of New Orleans’ public schools. The legislature targeted New Orleans – a predominately Black jurisdiction – for public school takeover and vested power and control of the lion’s share of the city’s public schools in the Recovery School District (RSD). The RSD was to be a statewide special school district with governance vested in non-elected officials. On these facts alone, one should question the argument that school choice in New Orleans was designed to enhance civil rights. Even assuming that a state takeover of New Orleans’ public schools would result in a world-class education for public school students in New Orleans, it is concerning that the state takeover of public schools would also replace almost all of the power that the popularly elected and predominately Black school board in New Orleans held with a new, predominately White and non-politically accountable power structure. No politician in this country would ever demand that White, middle-class parents exchange political power for the HOPE of better schools.
Recently, the Hastings Race & Poverty Law Journal published a piece that I wrote addressing the intersection of the school choice movement and civil rights. The piece is titled, “Killing Two Achievements with One Stone: The Intersectional Impacts of Shelby County on the Rights to Vote and Access High Performing Schools.” The paper recounts the inseparable linkage between the right to vote and equitable access to quality educational opportunities for racial and ethnic minorities. The paper sought to evaluate the role of the Supreme Court’s most recent watershed Voting Rights Act case on educational equity. Using the states of Florida and Louisiana as case studies, the paper uncovers a troubling intersection between state takeover districts that remove electoral power from racial and ethnic minorities and the decreased likelihood that governing bodies (state takeover versus popularly elected local districts) will close charter schools. At least in the case of New Orleans, the results of this research indicate that the school choice movement may jeopardize movements towards civil rights and appears to run counter to Are Charter Schools Neither Civil or Right? Assessing the Intersection of Voting Rights and Educational Equity – Cloaking Inequity:

Big Education Ape: New Orleans tries to mix charter schools with democracy: Is this the district of the future? - The Washington Post -

TBF: Charter Schools Tied to Turkey’s Gulen Movement Grow in Texas - The New York Times

Charter Schools Tied to Turkey’s Gulen Movement Grow in Texas - The New York Times:

TBF: Charter Schools Tied to Turkey’s Gulen Movement Grow in Texas 

TDM Contracting was only a month old when it won its first job, an $8.2 million contract to build the Harmony School of Innovation, a publicly financed charter school that opened last fall in San Antonio.
It was one of six big charter school contracts TDM and another upstart company have shared since January 2009, a total of $50 million in construction business. Other companies scrambling for work in a poor economy wondered: How had they qualified for such big jobs so fast?
The secret lay in the meteoric rise and financial clout of the Cosmos Foundation, a charter school operator founded a decade ago by a group of professors and businessmen from Turkey. Operating under the name Harmony Schools, Cosmos has moved quickly to become the largest charter school operator in Texas, with 33 schools receiving more than $100 million a year in taxpayer funds.
While educating schoolchildren across Texas, the group has also nurtured a close-knit network of businesses and organizations run by Turkish immigrants. The businesses include not just big contractors like TDM but also a growing assemblage of smaller vendors selling school lunches, uniforms, after-school programs, Web design, teacher training and even special education assessments.
Some of the schools’ operators and founders, and many of their suppliers, are followers of Fethullah Gulen, a charismatic Turkish preacher of a moderate brand of Islam whose devotees have built a worldwide religious, social and nationalistic movement in his name. Gulen followers have been involved in starting similar schools around the country — there are about 120 in all, mostly in urban centers in 25 states, one of the largest collections of charter schools in America.
The growth of these “Turkish schools,” as they are often called, has come with a measure of backlash, not all of it untainted by xenophobia. Nationwide, the primary focus of complaints has been on hundreds of teachers and administrators imported from Turkey: in Ohio and Illinois, the federal Department of Labor is investigating union accusations that the schools have abused a special visa program in bringing in their expatriate employees.
But an examination by The New York Times of the Harmony Schools in Texas casts light on a different area: the way they spend public money. And it raises questions about whether, ultimately, the schools are using taxpayer dollars to benefit the Gulen movement — by giving business to Gulen followers, or through financial arrangements with local foundations that promote Gulen teachings and Turkish culture.
Harmony Schools officials say they scrupulously avoid teaching about religion, and they deny any official connection to the Gulen movement. The say their goal in starting charter schools — publicly financed schools that operate independently from public school districts — has been to foster educational achievement, especially in science and math, where American students so often falter.
“It’s basically a mission of our organization,” said Soner Tarim, the superintendent of the 33 Texas schools.
The schools, Dr. Tarim said, follow all competitive bidding rules, and do not play favorites in awarding contracts. In many cases, Turkish-owned companies have in fact been the low bidders.
Even so, records show that virtually all recent construction and renovation work has been done by Turkish-owned contractors. Several established local companies said they had lost out even after bidding several hundred thousand dollars lower.
“It kind of boils my blood a little bit, all the money that was spent, when I know it could have been done for less,” said Deborah Jones, an owner of daj Construction, one of four lower bidders who failed to win a recent contract for a school renovation in the Austin area.
Harmony’s history underscores the vast latitude that many charter school systems have been granted to spend public funds. While the degree of oversight varies widely from state to state, the rush to approve charter schools has meant that some barely monitor charter school operations.
In Washington, concern is growing. A number of charter schools across the country have been accused of a range of improprieties in recent years, from self-dealing on contracts to grade-changing schemes and inflating attendance records to increase financing.
Last year, the inspector general’s office in the federal Education Department cited these complaints in a memo alerting the agency of “our concern about vulnerabilities in the oversight of charter schools.”
The Texas Education Agency has a total of nine people overseeing more than 500 charter school campuses. “They don’t have the capacity at the state level to do the job,” said Greg Richmond, president of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers. Even so, the state’s education commissioner, Robert Scott, last year took the unusual step of granting Harmony permission to open new schools outside the normal approval process.
Officials at the education agency said staffing was sufficient to oversee charter schools. They would not discuss Harmony’s contracts, but a check of the agency’s past audits — largely desk reviews of financial statements submitted by the schools — did not find any alarms raised about Harmony contracting.
In April, however, the agency notified Harmony of an unreleased preliminary audit questioning more than $540,000 in inadequately documented expenses, the vast majority involving federal grant money. Neither the agency nor Harmony would disclose Charter Schools Tied to Turkey’s Gulen Movement Grow in Texas - The New York Times:
Turkish Imam Fethullah Gulen Nabs George Bush PR Queen - 

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Six More Officials Are Charged in the Flint Water Crisis - The Atlantic

Six More Officials Are Charged in the Flint Water Crisis - The Atlantic:

More Charges in the Flint Water Crisis

Six officials were charged Friday in connection with the scandal in the city in Michigan.

 Six more Michigan state employees were charged Friday in connection with the Flint water crisis.

Announcing our third legal action of the Flint Water Investigation right now.
State Attorney General Schuette announced the six additional charges at a news conference. Nancy Peeler, Corinne Miller, and Robert Scott, all officials with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, will be charged with misconduct in office, conspiracy, and willful neglect of duty.
Liane Shekter-Smith, Adam Rosenthal, and Patrick Cook, who were with the Department of Environmental Quality, will also be charged. Shekter-Smith will be charged with misconduct in office and willful neglect of duty; Cook with misconduct in office, conspiracy, and willful neglect of duty; and Rosenthal with misconduct in office, tampering with evidence, conspiracy, and willful neglect of duty.

“Each of these individuals attempted to bury or cover up, to downplay or to hide information that contradicted their own narrative, their story … these individuals concealed the truth and they were criminally wrong to do so,” Shuette saSix More Officials Are Charged in the Flint Water Crisis - The Atlantic:

CURMUDGUCATION: Free Marketing Schools

CURMUDGUCATION: Free Marketing Schools:

Free Marketing Schools

Free market fans envision a story something like this:

Finding themselves in a world where the power of the free market is unleashed, charters, private, and public schools all become transparent, competing with each other to be able to publish the finest student outcomes. Empowered consumers/parents study up on the student outcomes published by each school so that they can weigh the merits of each school and make the best selection for their children.

If this fairy tale ever came to pass, education would be the first sector of the free market to ever function in this fashion. Go turn on your television right now and wait for an advertisement that is a factual, data-based account of the effectiveness of the product. Wait for an advertisement that does not try to imbue the product with a personality or identity, even if products corn flakes and cleaning fluids do not naturally display any personality traits. Okay-- you shouldn't actually wait for any of that, because you will get old and die before you actually succeed.

Let me repeat what is perhaps my most-repeated observation on this blog.

The free market does not foster superior quality; the free market fosters superior marketing.

Now we have an academic study from the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education at the Teachers College of Columbia University. "Perceptions of Prestige: A Comparative Analysis of School Online Media Marketing," by Sarah Butler Jessen (Bowdoin College) and Catherine DiMartino (Hofstra University) is a working paper that looks at how marketing plays out in a couple of education markets.

The paper is about setting up a framework for comparing branding and marketing practices, comparing the practices of different types of schools in "choice settings." 

Jessen and DiMartino draw on lots of literature studying the use and practices of branding and 
CURMUDGUCATION: Free Marketing Schools:

A Teacher’s Case For Hillary Clinton | Daniel Katz, Ph.D.

A Teacher’s Case For Hillary Clinton | Daniel Katz, Ph.D.:

A Teacher’s Case For Hillary Clinton


I suppose I ought to front load this:  In the Democratic Party Primary in New York State, I voted for Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.  My reasons for the doing so were various, but they focused heavily upon how well Senator Sanders articulated what I consider to be a genuine crisis in our time: the out of control growth in income inequality and the consequent damage to opportunity and justice that comes with it.  Senator Sanders’ ability to make a genuinely competitive campaign outside of the system of large donor politics was also inspiring, and it pointed to another vital issue – how our campaign finance system grants large donors more access and more voice to the point ofcommanding far more attention than the voters.
In contrast, former Secretary of State and Senator Hillary Clinton, while acknowledging such issues, has spent the last quarter century at or near the very highest offices of political power in the country.  While I did not doubt that she recognizes these as problems, I did question her ability to give full critique to them while running a campaign that is fully enmeshed in big donor politics, especially when given the choice of Senator Sanders’ avoidance of typical large donors.  Further, as an advocate for public education and full-throated critic of the current reform environment, Secretary Clinton’s long standing connections to education reform was, and remains, a real difficulty for me.  Secretary Clinton has been supported by Eli Broad, whose education “philanthropy” has been consistently aimed at aggressively favoring charter schools over fully public schools.  Secretary Clinton’s PAC received a massive donation from Alice Walton, and the Clinton Foundation has been a financial beneficiary of the Walton Family Foundation whose education efforts are geared towards privatization and hostility to teachers’ unions.  “Democrats” for Education Reform, anorganization founded largely by Whitney Tilson in a effort to convince Democrats to support anti-union and pro-privatization policies that are  more typical of Republicans, greeted Secretary Clinton’s campaign with enthusiasm.  Secretary Clinton’s 2016 campaign chair is John Podesta who is President Bill Clinton’s former chief of staff and the founder of the Center for American Progress (CAP).  CAP, while often progressive and innovative on a range of issue, is reliably on the wrong side of education reform. If there is a bad idea being A Teacher’s Case For Hillary Clinton | Daniel Katz, Ph.D.:




In my book Hoosier School Heist, I expose the Mind Trust, formed by once Democratic mayor of Indianapolis Bart Peterson and his charter school director David Harris.  I have also written on the Mind Trust spin-offformerly known as CEE-Trust (and its ties to Bill Gates, George Bush, and Joe Klein), which now goes by the name Education Cities and is operating in at least 24 cities

Before doing a recent NAACP Indy panel on ALEC, the Mind Trust, and school privatization a few days ago, I decided to peek into what Education Cities has been up to. Here are just a few things I found. 

Besides having the Mind Trust’s David Harris and Earl Martin Phalen and corporate school grandfather Howard Fuller (BAEO/Edison connected) as board members, the Mind Trust spin-off Education Cities is being funded by well-known school privatization billionaire organizations like the Walton Foundation, the Dell Foundation, the Gates Foundation, the Kauffman Foundation, and the foundation started by Eli Broad, the Broad Foundation. 
The Broad Foundation is noteworthy because of recent events. 

Started by Obama supporter Eli Broad, the Broad Foundation placed its members in Arne Duncan’s Dept. of Schools Matter: THE MIND TRUST SPIN-OFF IN CINCY AND BEYOND:

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
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Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog: Moral 'defibrillators' battle for the soul of the party.

Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog: Moral 'defibrillators' battle for the soul of the party.:

Moral 'defibrillators' battle for the soul of the party.

"In this season, when some want to harden and stop the heart of our democracy, we are being called like our foremothers and fathers to be the moral defibrillators of our time." --Rev. William Barber
The two most important speeches at the DNC last night were barely covered in this morning's reportage. They came from Rev. William Barber and Gen. John Allen and represented for me, at least, the poles in the struggle for the soul of the Democratic Party and the nation.

Rev. Barber is the head of the N.A.A.C.P and leader of the Moral Monday movement in North Carolina. MMM is a multi-racial movement which has mobilized tens of thousands in this important swing state, to fight form civil rights, public education and social justice. It could hold the key to a Clinton victory in November.

Barber took to the moral high ground, bringing down the house with his call for shocking the system.

“When we fight to reinstate the power of the Voting Rights Act, and we break the interposition and nullification of the current Congress, we in the South especially Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog: Moral 'defibrillators' battle for the soul of the party.:

In Philadelphia, Progressive Education Organizers Fight ‘Disaster Capitalism’ - Working In These Times

In Philadelphia, Progressive Education Organizers Fight ‘Disaster Capitalism’ - Working In These Times:

In Philadelphia, Progressive Education Organizers Fight ‘Disaster Capitalism’

This week, Democrats descended upon the city of Philadelphia, attempting to present themselves as simultaneously progressive enough to be the party of racial, gender, and economic justice, but conservative enough to be welcoming to Republicans turned off by Donald Trump.
In a succinct illustration of some of the contradictions at play during the Democratic National Convention, vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine, the former governor of a Right-to-Work state, spoke proudly of his dad running a union shop. While K-12 public education hasn’t played a prominent role in the primetime speeches this week, it’s another thorny issue for a Democratic party struggling to appeal to unions while also advancing a neoliberal education reform agenda.
The battle over public education is, in large part, a battle over labor, and there’s no better illustration of that than Philadelphia. In 2013, the city’s School Reform Commission (which is appointed, not elected) closed roughly 10 percent of the city's schools, laid off almost 4,000 teachers and other school staff and, in 2014, terminated the teachers' contract to save on health insurance costs. They remain without a contract to this day.
“The union has been under very sharp assault,” says Ron Whitehorne, a retired teacher and organizer with the Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools (PCAPS).
In the years since the closures, Philadelphia teachers, parents and other public school advocates have been organizing.
“Organizing will help us provide a counter-narrative to shift the paradigm in the nation of how people view public education in our daily lives,” says Ismael Jimenez, a history teacher and member of Working Educators, the progressive caucus within the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. To him, what’s happening in Philadelphia is illustrative of the attacks on education going on all over the country, including within the Democratic Party.
“I believe organizing is the only real political tool we have today to combat this two-party system that is beholden to neoliberal interests,” he said.
Jimenez was disappointed that the DNC held up Cory Booker, an advocate of the so-called education reform movement, which promotes public school closures and cheers charter schools, which are often non-union.
“This is a designed, planned strategy against labor,” said Antoine Little Sr., a public school parent and union member of the In Philadelphia, Progressive Education Organizers Fight ‘Disaster Capitalism’ - Working In These Times:

Education funding: A tale of two governors' failures - NonDoc

Education funding: A tale of two governors' failures - NonDoc:

Education funding: A tale of two governors’ failures

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Wednesday’s news that Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin is considering a special session for the purpose of passing a teacher-pay raise reminded me — not for the first time — of just how much she and the governor of my new home state have in common, especially when it comes to funding public education and teacher-pay issues.
Fallin and Gov. Pat McCrory (R-N.C.) are both hapless governors whose most superb political instincts appear to be sticking to their guns until they finally realize their actions have been interpreted as tone deafness or, worse, complete ignorance of reality.
To compensate, they spend an inordinate amount of time frantically backpedaling in an effort to save their political skins. When people haven’t been paying attention (and these governors definitely hope they haven’t), Fallin and McCrory try to pretend like they’ve always been champions of the people’s will. At least, that’s been my takeaway from watching these two political masterminds as of late.

Oklahoma’s education woes

When she became governor in 2010, Gov. Mary Fallin was known for many things, but being a champion of public education certainly wasn’t one of them. She was, however,brazen in her call to cut income taxes, a move that would overwhelmingly benefit wealthier Oklahomans and deprive the state of revenue necessary for delivering quality services to the public. A study released in January showed how income tax cuts over a 10-year period had indeed deprived Oklahoma of more than $1 billion in revenue. State officials, including Fallin, of course, quickly blamed falling oil prices as the culprit.

Will Public Education Survive the Next Administration? – Save Maine Schools

Will Public Education Survive the Next Administration? – Save Maine Schools:

Will Public Education Survive the Next Administration?

Donald Trump has called Common Core a “disaster.” The leaked DNC emails refer to the standards as a “political third rail.”
At this point, however, the controversial standards may be more of a red herring than anything else.
While the pubic remains largely in the dark, a massive upheaval of our public school system is well underway, and recent proposals from both major political parties indicate that the transformation will move full speed ahead regardless of who is elected president this fall.
The new system is designed to expand the education market by allowing out-of-district providers (online programs, non-profits, local businesses, and even corporations) to award credit for student learning.  At the same time, it doubles down on workforce development by aligning educational outcomes to the needs of industry leaders.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, students will “no longer [be] tethered to school buildings or schedules.” Instead, the system will require students to earn “digital badges” that they will display in individual competency-profiles accessible to potential employers and investors.
“By collecting skill-based badges, the record of achievement begun in secondary school becomes the foundation upon which workers build their capabilities and tell their stories to employers,” explains Will Public Education Survive the Next Administration? – Save Maine Schools:

Breaking News: @NAACP calls for national moratorium on charters – Cloaking Inequity

Breaking News: @NAACP calls for national moratorium on charters – Cloaking Inequity:

Breaking News: @NAACP calls for national moratorium on charters

I don’t believe that this has been reported anywhere else. Last week at the NAACP National Convention in Cincinnati, the delegates voted in a new resolution on charter schools. It’s approval as policy will not be official until the National Board meeting in the Fall of 2016. However, this is a big news story that (I suspect because of the political conventions) has not yet entered the traditional media.
Yesterday in the post How will history remember the @NAACP on charters? I discussed the 2010 and 2014 NAACP charter school resolutions. The 2016 NAACP convention voted and approved the following resolution.
Screen Shot 2016-07-28 at 9.30.50 PMScreen Shot 2016-07-28 at 9.33.57 PMScreen Shot 2016-07-28 at 9.31.04 PM
The 2016 NAACP delegates at the national convention called for a moratorium on the proliferation of privately managed charters.
So for those of you who emailed me yesterday saying that NAACP chapters in various places have gone rogue supporting charters— know that the force of the national organization is NOT on their side.
In sum, I believe the NAACP, the nation’s vanguard of civil rights, has AGAIN demonstrated and articulated critical leadership sorely lacking from many other civil rights organizations on the issue of school choice.
For more on what’s going wrong with charters click here.
Please Facebook Like, Tweet, etc below and/or reblog to share this discussion with others.Breaking News: @NAACP calls for national moratorium on charters – Cloaking Inequity:
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Twitter: @ProfessorJVH