Latest News and Comment from Education

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Turks Can Agree on One Thing: U.S. Was Behind Failed Coup - The New York Times

Turks Can Agree on One Thing: U.S. Was Behind Failed Coup - The New York Times:

Turks Can Agree on One Thing: U.S. Was Behind Failed Coup

ISTANBUL — A Turkish newspaper reported that an American academic and former State Department official had helped orchestrate a violent conspiracy to topple the Turkish government from a fancy hotel on an island in the Sea of Marmara, near Istanbul. The same newspaper, in a front-page headline, flat-out said the United States had tried to assassinate President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the night of the failed coup.
When another pro-government newspaper asked Turks in a recent poll conducted on Twitter which part of the United States government had supported the coup plotters, the C.I.A. came in first, with 69 percent, and the White House was a distant second, with 20 percent.
These conspiracy theories are not the product of a few cranks on the fringes of Turkish society. Turkey may be a deeply polarized country, but one thing Turks across all segments of society — Islamists, secular people, liberals, nationalists — seem to have come together on is that the United States was somehow wrapped up in the failed coup, either directly or simply because the man widely suspected to be the leader of the conspiracy, the Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, lives in self-exile in the United States.
“Whenever something shocking and horrific happens in Turkey, the reflex is conspiracy,” said Akin Unver, an assistant professor of international relations at Kadir Has University in Istanbul.
That response goes back almost a century, to the end of World War I, when the West carved up the defeated Ottoman Empire. A Western plan to divide what became modern Turkey failed after Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the country’s founder, waged war against the occupiers. But the effort forever ingrained in the Turkish psyche a fear of Western conspiracies.
In the case of the failed coup, there is much more at play than fanciful conspiracy theories, many Turks say, because of the nearly universal conviction that it was engineered by Mr. Gulen, who for 16 years has lived in a secluded compound in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania.
In various interviews and statements, Mr. Gulen has strongly denied involvement in the coup. Yet because he lives in the United States, and because of other salient facts — including that a former C.I.A. official and a former American ambassador to Turkey helped Mr. Gulen receive a green card — many Turks believe Mr. Gulen is an American agent. From there, itTurks Can Agree on One Thing: U.S. Was Behind Failed Coup - The New York Times: 

Big Education Ape: KILLING ED: 120 American Charter Schools and One Secretive Turkish Cleric -
Big Education Ape: Reading, writing and religion? Dallas-area charter schools come under fire (again). | Dallas Morning News -
Big Education Ape: United States must extradite Fethullah Gulen to Turkey: Ankara mayor | The Indian Express -
Big Education Ape: Texas Opens Probe Into Gulen Connection to Charter Schools - WSJ -
Big Education Ape: TBF: Charter Schools Tied to Turkey’s Gulen Movement Grow in Texas - The New York Times -
Big Education Ape: Fethullah Gulen: Moderniser or Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing? « CSS Blog Network -
Big Education Ape: Coup-attempting Gülenist group operates near 140 charter schools in US - Daily Sabah -
Big Education Ape: The Gulen Movement’s Collision Course With The Turkish State -

Big Education Ape: US Commander Campbell: The man behind the failed coup in Turkey -

Big Education Ape: Turkey’s Failed Coup Puts Spotlight on a Rural Pennsylvanian Town - WSJ -

Big Education Ape: TBFURMAN: Who's Running These Schools? Part 3 -

Big Education Ape: Turkish rivalry comes to San Jose amid allegations about Magnolia charter schools - Mercury News -

Big Education Ape: Apple Education Services Posts Its Privacy Policy… in Latin | deutsch29 -

Big Education Ape: What Would it Take for US to Extradite Muslim Cleric to Turkey? -

Big Education Ape: Yo Campbell Brown Cat got your tongue? I Guess There is NO Talking Turkey w/ YOU! -

Big Education Ape: TBFURMAN: Who's Running These Schools? -

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

SKrashen: Too little discussion about education

SKrashen: Too little discussion about education:
Too little discussion about education

(Re: California State Election.)

I have dedicated my entire working life to education. As a result, it is particularly important to me, and, I am sure, to all citizens, that candidates for the state senate and assembly include strong and specific campaign statements regarding their views on education.  One of the primary responsibilities of state government is education, but other than pious pronouncements that education is "important," the candidates in my district rarely mention it.

A few candidates argue for increased investment in preschool. Although some preschool programs are very helpful, many other preschool programs these days are very academically oriented, in order to prepare children for kindergarten, now called "kindergrind" by some educators.  There is no evidence that this kind of tough love is effective. In fact, in an article last May, Psychology Today reviewed child development research and concluded that "early academic training produces long-term harm."

Very young children are being pushed into excessive amounts of science, technology, engineering and math ("STEM") regardless of their personal interests, just as university students are, because of the widespread belief that there is a shortage of American experts in these fields. Several studies have shown, however, that this is not so.  

Are the candidates aware of this issue?:

Some candidates propose more funding for technology, another two-edged sword. A  recent major review of computer use in 70 countries done by the Organization for Economic Organization and Development concluded that providing schools with computer technology has no academic 
SKrashen: Too little discussion about education:

Top state education officials detail objections to federal regulations | EdSource

Top state education officials detail objections to federal regulations | EdSource:

Top state education officials detail objections to federal regulations

California’s top two education officials on Monday spelled out their complaints with proposed federal regulations that they said would conflict with and undermine the state’s new plan to help schools improve and hold them accountable for student achievement.
In a 10-page letter, State Board of Education President Michael Kirst and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson stated that the draft rules for the new federal education act, unless changed, “will derail the significant progress being made in our state towards creating a single, aligned system” that would meet both federal and state requirements. Without more flexibility than the rules allow, the state won’t be able to effectively shift from a school improvement system defined by standardized tests results to one that evaluates a broad range of factors, like school climate, that affect student achievement, they said.
The letter was one of a flurry of comments on the final day of a 60-day comment period for the federal regulations proposed under the new Every Student Succeeds Act. Although Kirst and Torklanson said they were writing on behalf of the state’s 6.2 million students, 14 California education advocacy groups also submitted a letter Monday that supported some of the provisions that Kirst and Torlakson criticized. They also blamed the state, not the new federal law or regulations, for not yet developing a unified accountability system.
“Whether inaction on these issues is because the state does not have the will or lacks the technical capacity to address them,” strong regulations are needed to ensure state compliance with the new federal law, the letter said. EdVoice, Children Now, the California Charter Schools Association, United Way of Greater Los Angeles and Education Trust-West are among those who signed the letter.
Congressional passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act in December 2015 reflected a bipartisan agreement to move federal education policy from a Top state education officials detail objections to federal regulations | EdSource:

Mike Pence Set To Strengthen Ties To ALEC And Corporate-Driven Education Reform

Mike Pence Set To Strengthen Ties To ALEC And Corporate-Driven Education Reform:

Mike Pence Set To Strengthen Ties To ALEC And Corporate-Driven Education Reform

Republican vice presidential nominee and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is reportedly scheduled to speak Friday at the annual meeting for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which takes place in Indianapolis, IN, this year. The meeting, which typically determines the legislative priorities of the corporate-funded bill mill for the coming year, runs from July 27 through July 29. Pence was originally scheduled to speak at a July 27 ALEC event co-sponsored by the conservative-leaning Center for Education Reform but later pulled out, citing conflicts with the Trump-Pence campaign schedule. The Indianapolis Star reported that Pence rescheduled his ALEC appearance, however, and will speak at the annual meeting on July 29.
ALEC is a corporate-funded “membership organization that connects right-wing state legislators across the country with model legislation that represents “the principles of limited government, free markets and federalism” and corresponds with corporate interests on a given policy issue. ALEC’s corporate-minded -- and conservative -- model policies tackle issues from K-12 education to “academic freedom” in higher education, as well as tax reform, social programs, environmental and infrastructure policies, and health care. Its corporate-sponsored model legislation on education issues is heavily focused on scholarship tax credits, vouchers, and other “school choice” programs that would lessen support for traditional public school systems. In line with the right-wing agenda, ALEC is also behind so-called “right to work” legislation that severely weakens unions -- including teachers unions -- and has so far been adopted in 26 states, although the law was struck down as unconstitutional by a Wisconsin state court in April.
ALEC is funded by several philanthropic organizations founded or supported by the oil billionaires David and Charles Koch -- including the Charles Koch Foundation, “dark money ATM" DonorsTrust, and Donors Capital Fund -- as well as several other staunchly right-wing private foundations. It boasts having “nearly 300 corporate and private foundation members,” who pay for memberships in order to influence the proposed model policies, and lists partnerships with several right-wing education privatization groups.
Pence’s education policies as Indiana governor have closely mirrored ALEC priorities. In fact, Pence wrote the introduction to ALEC’s annual “Report Card on American Education” in 2014, which graded Indiana highest in the nation for education policy that year. In his introduction, Pence touted Indiana’s school voucher system, which boosts federal funding for students to attend private schools, a long-standing ALEC priority. A recent Mike Pence Set To Strengthen Ties To ALEC And Corporate-Driven Education Reform:

Building California schools now big business, big money and big politics | The Sacramento Bee

Building California schools now big business, big money and big politics | The Sacramento Bee:

Building California schools now big business, big money and big politics

Building and refurbishing the schools that house 6 million California kids has become very big business.
Over the last few decades, the state has issued about $45 billion in school bonds, mostly for K-12 schools, some for colleges, and repaying lenders costs the state nearly $3 billion a year. With interest, retiring the bonds will have cost about twice their face value, or some $90 billion.
Local school districts have issued many billions more in voter-approved bonds to match state grants, and property taxes have been hiked to pay for them.
The school construction tab is likely to increase even more because a $9 billion bond issue has been placed on the Nov. 8 ballot by a coalition of school groups, developers and the construction companies that profit from school contracts.
If it passes, the state’s tab for repayment would increase by another half-billion dollars a year, and Gov. Jerry Brown has been highly critical, saying the system for allocating bond money is fatally flawed.
Pointedly, the bond measure, Proposition 51, preserves an arcane formula that protects developers from having to fully pay for school construction serving their residential tracts as long as the state has bond money.
In a sense, therefore, it preserves a subsidy from taxpayers – or, taking the contrary view, avoids making housing prices even higher than they are now.
Another very questionable aspect of Proposition 51 is that bonds repaid over 35 years may be used for reroofing, air conditioning, playground equipment and other maintenance and operational projects that won’t last nearly that long.
There is another aspect to the school construction picture.
Last week, state Treasurer John Chiang and county treasurers jointly declared that if municipal bond houses – the firms that underwrite bond issues – provide campaign money or other assistance to local school bond issues, they will be barred from doing bond business with the state.
“Not only are these pay-to-play arrangements unlawful, they rip off taxpayers and endangerBuilding California schools now big business, big money and big politics | The Sacramento Bee:

Read more here:

Stand for Tennessee Floods School Board Races with Money | Nashville Scene

Stand for Tennessee Floods School Board Races with Money | Nashville Scene:

Stand for Children Floods School Board Races With Money
The pro-charter group's independent expenditure campaign is responsible for the effort

Pro-charter school group Stand for Children poured more than $230,000 into Nashville school board races in the month of July, according to campaign finance disclosures, an unprecedented independent expenditure into local educational politics.
Stand for Children also lists nearly $160,000 in expenses for polling and advertising not itemized by a particular race. The group has spent another $8,763 on canvassers for school board races.
When reached for comment, Dan O'Donnell, the Nashville director for Stand for Children Tennessee, said that he was not responsible for the spending but would put the Scene in contact with Krista Spurgin, who works for Stand for Children's Independent Expenditure committee and is listed as part of Stand for Children's national staff. O'Donnell made a distinction between the two groups: Stand for Children Tennessee's political action committee has been an advocate for a number of policies, including expanded pre-K as well as charter schools, and has been a longtime presence in Nashville education circles. The Independent Expenditure Committee is run by "someone else entirely" and "I found out about the disclosures when you did."
"These are incredibly important school board races on the most important issue in Nashville and advocacy groups are going to advocate in the best way that they know how," O'Donnell says. "There's nothing unusual about having a political action committee and an independent expenditure campaign."
Highlighting the confusion between the two is the fact that both list 1207 18th Ave. S as their address.
Predictably, the targets of the money were angered by the expenditures.
“My children go to the very schools these crooks are trying to buy,” incumbent Amy Frogge says. “They have spread malicious lies about me, all the while secretly acknowledging that I have an ‘army of moms’ supporting my campaign. They are like Stand for Tennessee Floods School Board Races with Money | Nashville Scene:

Corporate Backed Stand for Children Should Take a Back Seat in ESSA Process

Oregon Save Our Schools: Corporate Backed Stand for Children Should Take a Back Seat in ESSA Process:

Corporate Backed Stand for Children Should Take a Back Seat in ESSA Process

Astroturf lobbying refers to political organizations or campaigns that appear to be made up of grassroots activists but are actually organized and run by corporate interests seeking to further their own agendas. Such groups are often typified by innocent-sounding names that have been chosen specifically to disguise the group's true backers

I woke up the other day to see that one of my favorite bloggers, Peter Greene at Curmdugucation, had written a blog post about Stand for Children. As an Oregon teacher who has worked to improve schools and change out of school factors to help all children succeed since I started teaching here in 1994, Stand for Children is a group I’m very familiar with. I first heard about them when my youngest daughter, who is now 21 years old, was in fourth grade. The class sizes at her school had ballooned to 30 and up (a sad state many, if not most, Oregon classrooms remain in today). Back then, Stand was out there advocating for things like smaller class size and adequate funding and better access to health services. My dad (from here on referred to by name: Rex Hagans) heard about the group and he got involved; so involved that eventually he came to work with their state leadership along with his friend, Tom Olsen. Rex and Tom were both recently retired educators of the PhD variety who had worked at Northwest Regional Educational Laboratories in Portland. Back then we all lived in Canby, a smallish town near Portland. 

Soon after Rex and Tom started working with Stand, they created a local chapter in Canby and I got more involved. With Rex and Tom as Stand liaisons, I worked with Stand and my school district to help get a dental screening program going there. Eventually, I became a Stand member and then chapter leader in Canby. It was right about then that things went wrong. 

I heard that there was a new head of Oregon Stand (I now know her name was Sue Levin). Soon after that, there started to be an uncomfortable push coming from the top of the organization down, asking us to have conversations with people about “teacher quality”. It was a big change in focus from fighting for funding and against poverty. I, as a teacher and proud member of my union, became Oregon Save Our Schools: Corporate Backed Stand for Children Should Take a Back Seat in ESSA Process:

Proposed federal, state accountability systems could again clash | EdSource

Proposed federal, state accountability systems could again clash | EdSource:

Proposed federal, state accountability systems could again clash

Differences in proposed federal and state criteria for intervening in the lowest-performing schools could lead to what California education officials have insisted they want to avoid: two conflicting school improvement systems.
The Legislature required and the California State Board of Education is designing a multidimensional school accountability system that will incorporate measures of school climate and students’ readiness for college and careers. But, according to a new analysis, proposed federal regulations would, in effect, prohibit states from using these and other indicators to determine which schools receiving federal aid require intensive state assistance.
It would be an echo of the decade under the former No Child Left Behind Act, when most California schools gradually improved under the state’s Academic Performance Index, or API, but at the same time fell farther behind under the federal government’s rising proficiency targets under NCLB. The mixed signals confounded educators and parents alike.
Heather Hough, a researcher affiliated with Policy Analysis for California Education, or PACE, a Stanford University-based nonprofit, led the data analysis, which was released Monday, the last day for submitting comments to the U.S. Department of Education on the proposed regulations for the Every Student Succeeds Act, which is replacing NCLB. The 21-page report supports complaints by education officials from California and other states that regulations would be more restrictive than Congress intended in passing the new federal law. Hough is the executive director of a research partnership between PACE and the six California districts, known as CORE, that have independently created their own school accountability system. The partnering organizations used CORE Proposed federal, state accountability systems could again clash | EdSource:

On the Relative Efficiency of New Jersey Public School Districts | School Finance 101

On the Relative Efficiency of New Jersey Public School Districts | School Finance 101:

On the Relative Efficiency of New Jersey Public School Districts

Bruce D. Baker
Mark Weber
Contrary to current political rhetoric, New Jersey’s least efficient producers of student achievement gains are not the state’s large former Abbott districts – largely poor urban districts that benefited most in terms of state aid increases resulting from decades of litigation over school funding equity and adequacy. While some Abbott districts such as Asbury Park and Hoboken rate poorly on estimates of relative efficiency, other relatively inefficient local public school districts include some of the state’s most affluent suburban districts and small, segregated shore towns. And yet these districts will be, in effect, rewarded under Governor Chris Christie’s “Fairness Formula,”[1] even as equally inefficient but property-poor districts will lose state aid.
Findings herein are consistent with previous findings in cost-efficiency literature and analyses specific to New Jersey:
  • There exists some margin of additional inefficiency associated with Abbott status relative to…
View original post 211 more words
On the Relative Efficiency of New Jersey Public School Districts | School Finance 101:

'Island' School Districts: A Story of Haves and Have Nots

'Island' School Districts: A Story of Haves and Have Nots:

'Island' School Districts: A Story of Haves and Have Nots

School districts completely surrounded by a single larger district often have vast disparities.

In the middle of the Columbus, Ohio, school district lies another district serving the small city of Bexley. Only a few thousand students attend Bexley schools, and they're more than four times less likely to live in poverty than their peers in Columbus.
Bexley is somewhat unique in that it's one of 180 school districts across the country completely surrounded by a single larger district. Known as "island districts," they're often characterized by stark socioeconomic disparities compared to their larger neighboring district, according to research by EdBuild, an education reform nonprofit group.
Most island districts were established several decades ago, but they're still being formed today. "There's an ongoing movement from wealthier areas to secede from large urban school districts," said Rebecca Sibilia, EdBuild's CEO. "School district lines should not serve the purpose of segregating wealth."
While some island school districts resemble Bexley in that they're more affluent and possess more resources than their larger districts, it's more common for island districts, particularly in the South, to be poorer than their surrounding districts. Sixty-three of the 180 island districts identified by EdBuild report student poverty rates more than 10 percentage points higher than their surrounding districts. Another 18 districts are wealthier, with student poverty rates at least 10 percentage points less than the larger district.
Inequities tend to be most apparent in areas where school revenue is more directly tied to property taxes. "An overreliance on local funding creates the incentive for these districts to be created or sustained," Sibilia said.
Groups like EdBuild advocate for more funding equity across school districts. To help offset funding disparities, some districts participate in different types of revenue sharing agreements. States like New York, for example, apply funding formulas intended to equalize schools’ revenues. Similarly, some counties levy an additional tax on all residents that’s used to fund lower-income schools. But in other cities, like Bexley, residents don't contribute any property or income tax revenues to neighboring districts.
Island school districts, because they tend to be small, are often the subject of merger discussions. Such attempts are rarely successful, however, as residents aren't keen on ceding local control of their schools. Small districts, accordingly, are widespread throughout not just rural America, but urban and suburban areas as well. A Governinganalysis of federal data earlier this year found about a third of all local districts operate only one or two public schools and just under half of districts serve fewer than 1,000 students.

Island Districts With the Largest Disparities

Some island districts that EdBuild identified exhibit particularly large discrepancies between their 2014 student poverty rate and that of their surrounding district. The following island districts with at least 1,000 students recorded the largest differences in absolute terms. 'Island' districts are listed first and outlined in red on school district maps.
Highland Park (Texas) Independent School District: 5.7 percent student poverty rate'Island' School Districts: A Story of Haves and Have Nots:

#GoOpen Initiative and Collaboration - Year 2016 (CA Dept of Education)

#GoOpen Initiative and Collaboration - Year 2016 (CA Dept of Education):

State Schools Superintendent Tom Torlakson Announces Launch of #GoOpen Initiative and Collaboration in Common Professional Learning Community

SACRAMENTO—California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced the launch of both a new statewide #GoOpen initiative and Collaboration in Common, an online professional learning community and resource exchange platform for all California educators.
In joining the #GoOpen initiative, California becomes the sixteenth state recognized by the U.S. Department of Education for its commitment to support school districts and educators transitioning to the use of high-quality, openly licensed educational resources.
California was recognized for its commitment to a statewide technology strategy that includes the use of openly licensed resources as a central component, developing and maintaining a statewide repository, and participating in a community of practice with other #GoOpen states and districts to share learning and professional development resources. More information on #GoOpen can be found at the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Educational Technology Web site External link opens in new window or tab..
Collaboration in Common resulted from a public-private partnership among the California Department of Education (CDE), the Californians Dedicated to Education Foundation, and the Palo Alto-based technology company Declara. Collaboration in Common runs on Declara's artificial intelligence engine to combine machine learning and crowd curation to allow teachers to find, consume, share resources, and gain insights from peer educators.
Torlakson urged all California teachers to visit Collaboration In Common External link opens in new window or tab. and sign up to become early adopters in the digital community. Early adopters will be among the first to gain access to Collaboration in Common's tools and resources as the Web site is developed.
"Collaboration in Common is a great example of how California looks for innovative ways to improve teaching and learning throughout our diverse state," Torlakson said. "We are leveraging technology and our talented teaching workforce to create a first-of-its-kind professional learning community and resource exchange that will offer professional development and access to new ideas and resources to benefit all of our schools."
Collaboration in Common builds upon the CDE's participation in the federal #GoOpen campaign, which encourages states and school districts to share educational resources and materials without cost and without violating copyright laws.
"We wholeheartedly embrace the #GoOpen spirit and initiative," Torlakson said. "This is a critical effort to provide schools with high-quality instructional resources and the ability to easily share these resources and ideas with teachers and schools across the state and the country."
Many California school districts have already joined the #GoOpen initiative, including Coachella Valley Unified, Coronado Unified, Fallbrook Union Elementary School District, Grossmont Union High School District, Huntington Beach Union High School District, Madera Unified, Mountain Empire Unified, Panama Buena Vista Unified, Riverside Unified, San Diego Unified, and Vista Unified.
"Vista Unified School District values collaboration at every level, and we have found that open educational resources are imperative to accelerate learning as we connect and work with one another across districts and across states," said Vista Unified Superintendent Devin Vodicka.
The Vista Unified School District, which serves northern San Diego County, will host California's first #GoOpen Regional Summit on October 7. The #GoOpen Regional Summit will provide an opportunity for teachers, librarians, instructional coaches, and district and state leaders to explore opportunities to expand the use of high-quality, openly licensed educational resources in classrooms. More information on the summit is available by contacting Erin English
# # # #
Tom Torlakson — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5206, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100
 #GoOpen Initiative and Collaboration - Year 2016 (CA Dept of Education):

Feds propose punishing high opt-out schools

Feds propose punishing high opt-out schools:

Feds propose punishing high opt-out schools

A looming deadline for public comment on proposed changes to federal education policy, including consequences to participation in opting out of testing, has sparked outcry from parents, legislators and education groups.
The new regulations, when adopted, would explain how states and school districts must implement the Every Student Succeeds Act, a federal law passed by Congress in December 2015 to replace the No Child Left Behind Law. The new law was aimed at relaxing federal control of education policy and giving more flexibility to the states.
The proposed amendment to ESSA, drafted by U.S. Secretary of Education John King, the former New York education commissioner, would punish schools with high opt-out rates by having school ratings lowered and require improvement strategies.
Since May 31, when the proposals were made public and days ahead of the Monday deadline, more than 15,800 comments have been submitted for the U.S. Department of Education's consideration.
Rye City Councilwoman Julie Killian, a Republican who is running for state Senate, and Phil Oliva, a Republican who is running for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, protested the amendment, which is proposed to start at the beginning of the 2017-18 school year, at a rally Friday in front of the Westchester County Center.
“This is the federal government and the Department of Education using local schools as sticks to bully parents away from exercising their legal rights,” said Oliva, who is an advisor to Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino.
About 20 percent of the area’s public school parents have opted their children out of the state’s grades 3-8 exams for math and English language arts over the last few years. The test refusal protest is largely against the exams’ alignment with the Feds propose punishing high opt-out schools:

Hillary and John King OPT OUT.001

How The Common Core Hurts Kids As Readers And Writers by Ann Policelli Cronin  - Wait What?

How The Common Core Hurts Kids As Readers And Writers by Ann Policelli Cronin  - Wait What?:

How The Common Core Hurts Kids As Readers And Writers by Ann Policelli Cronin 

Educator, public education advocate and fellow education blogger takes on the notion that the Common Core is good for children in her blog entitled, P.S. How The Common Core Hurts Kids As Readers And Writers.  She writes;
The New York Times, whose writers have seemed to lack knowledge about the Common Core, has been a PR firm for those misbegotten and ill-conceived educational standards. But finally on Sunday, July 24th, the newspaper published, ”The Common Core Costs Billions and Hurts Students” by Diane Ravitch that is critical of the Common Core.
Diane Ravitch, Assistant Secretary of Education under George H. W. Bush and the author of The Life and Death of the Great American School System and Reign of Error, pointed out that the Common Core has accomplished nothing that it promised and does not meet the educational needs of children. Ravitch explained that, as a country, we have spent billions to implement the Common Core, to prepare students to take the Common Core aligned tests, and to buy the technology to administer those tests online. The results are that math scores on National Assessment of Educational Progress  declined for the first time since 1990 and reading scores are flat or decreased, the achievement gaps based on race and income persist, teachers are demoralized, causing teacher shortages, and, most tragically of all, children are receiving an education which harms them.
I would like to add a P.S.
Diane Ravitch writes about the damage that the Common Core does to children with disabilities, English language learners, and children in the early grades. I know that to be true. My Post Script focuses on the damage that 
How The Common Core Hurts Kids As Readers And Writers by Ann Policelli Cronin  - Wait What?:

VP Nominee Mike Pence Brags He Supported ALEC “Before It Was Cool” | janresseger

VP Nominee Mike Pence Brags He Supported ALEC “Before It Was Cool” | janresseger:

VP Nominee Mike Pence Brags He Supported ALEC “Before It Was Cool”

After the Republican convention in Cleveland, Mike Pence, the Republican nominee for Vice President of the United States, went home to Indiana, where he is governor, and made a speech to the annual meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).  Here is a description from James Briggs, a reporter for the Indianapolis Star: “First, Gov. Mike Pence returned home to Indiana from the national campaign trail. Then, he came home to his base. Pence on Friday addressed a room full of kindred spirits at the American Legislative Exchange Council. The free-market policy group concluded its three-day annual meeting at the JS Marriott in Downtown Indianapolis.  ‘You are the model for Washington, D.C., after this election,’ Pence told the room….”
Pence’s description of ALEC as a model ought to terrify anyone who knows anything about the American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC is a sort of dating service that pairs member corporate lobbyists with member state legislators. Too often the corporate lobbyists are the primary authors of ALEC’s model bills.
Here is how New York’s Common Cause describes ALEC in a recent report: “Through the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), some of the nation’s largest companies invest millions of dollars each year to pass state laws putting corporate and private interests ahead of the interests of ordinary Americans. ALEC’s membership includes some 2,000 state legislators, corporate executives and lobbyists.  ALEC brings together corporate lobbyists and state legislators to vote as equals on model bills, behind closed doors and without any public input, that often benefit the corporations’ bottom line.  These model bills are then introduced in the state legislatures across the country….”  ALEC’s effort to undermine government and promote privatization through “model” laws that can be adopted by any state legislature is underwritten by corporations along with some of our nation’s wealthiest political investors, and it pairs state legislators with the corporations that stand to gain from legislation their lobbyists help design.
Briggs of the Indiana Star continues: “Pence’s speech… was light on references to Trump and heavy on ALEC’s bread and butter: state government.  ALEC is an influential policy group that drafts model legislation for statehouses across the country.  Pence joked that he was ‘for ALEC before it was cool.'”  Briggs quotes Pence “telling ALEC members he came to ‘say thank you for the work all of you have done in state legislatures.’ He urged those in attendance to use the November election to make the federal government reflect politically conservative states such as Indiana.”
Writing for PR Watch, Jessica Mason and Lisa Graves describe Pence’s record of pushing ALEC’s priorities in Indiana: “As Governor, Pence appointed an ALEC staffer to his cabinet, and pushed parts of the ALEC agenda into law, such as anti-worker bills like repealing the VP Nominee Mike Pence Brags He Supported ALEC “Before It Was Cool” | janresseger:

CURMUDGUCATION: Cyber Schools Slammed by Charters (Again)

CURMUDGUCATION: Cyber Schools Slammed by Charters (Again):

Cyber Schools Slammed by Charters (Again)

The Thomas Fordham Foundation releases a report today looking at cyber charters in Ohio, and the cover of the report signals pretty clearly where we're headed.

Ouchies! Stock Photo Lad is clearly not prepared to sing the joyous praises of his virtual school, and that bored and contemptuous face pretty much sets the tone for the report (presumably he is a cyber charter student, and not someone who has just tried to read the report).

We should note right up front that Fordham has skin in this game; they have several bricks-and-mortar charters of their own in Ohio. And the bricks-and-mortar wing of the charter school industryhas been getting pretty rough with their cyber-siblings lately. So, let's see how they made out this time.

The report strikes a pair of notes over and over again-- e-learning can be awesome, but cyber schools, not so much. Right off the bat, in the foreward, we get this:

To be certain, the Internet has opened a new frontier of possibilities for America’s K–12 students. Much less sure, however, is whether these new opportunities are actually improving achievement, especially for the types of students who enroll in virtual schools.
So what did Dr. Ahn find? We can cut to the chase, because although the report is fifty-five pages long, the actual meat is pretty short and sweet.

Dr. Ahn used Ohio education department data from 2009-2013 covering K-12 students. By breaking down the data, the following findings emerged.

* Cyber-schools are largely centered around the urban areas, where (the report notes) there are plenty of perfectly good bricks-and-mortar charters. That's an interesting data point; here in PA, cybers take advantage of areas where there is little brick-and-mortar competition, as well as 
CURMUDGUCATION: Cyber Schools Slammed by Charters (Again):