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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The So-Called Right to Teach - Teacher in a Strange Land - Education Week Teacher

The So-Called Right to Teach - Teacher in a Strange Land - Education Week Teacher:

The So-Called Right to Teach

The stories seem to be everywhere these days: Crisis-level teacher shortages and how to fillthem.  Need-based fast-track pathways to the classroom, for those who just don't have the time or inclination to, you know, seriously study or practice the complex work of teaching. Questioning the need for teacher licenses or advanced certification. And tiresome, never-ending repetitionsof the old "cash cow" canard--that universities invest little in education research, while allowing anyone with a pulse into programs that should be highly selective.
And now, a new catchphrase: The Right to Teach.
While the terminology is novel, the idea certainly isn't. We've been trying to do education on the cheap since Horace Mann rode around promoting the idea that it would benefit the nation to offer free schooling to every child.
We say we want good schools. We say we want an educated citizenry, and a well-trained, nimble workforce. We even say that we want equity, and justice, for our young.
But we don't. We want a simple, cost-effective solution for keeping children off the streets, providing them with basic literacy and introducing them to compliance. Teaching? A low-level jobs program for technical workers, who can follow a script and relentlessly pursue test scores.
Some so-called reformers are now openly backing away from even rhetorical support for equity, justice, honoring diversity and pursuit of integration. Maybe it's not so bad, they suggest, for kids to go to school with "their own kind." After all, solving the seemingly intractable problems of segregation (read: generational racism) and poverty are just "too expensive."
In other words, let's put poor minority children in for-profit schools with inadequately paid, untrained teachers and call it a day. To everything, churn, churn, churn.
In this country, we are fond of polishing our human rights bona fides--life, liberty, pursuit of something like happiness, or at least contentment. It's our absolute right to speak our piece in a public forum or on TV even if it's loathsome. We have the right to vote, to worship or not, to be treated fairly by the justice system, and to live in the way we see fit, as long as we're not impinging on anyone else's rights.
There are (or should be) other automatic rights--rights that feel pretty shaky, right now, in the best country in the world: The right to clean water, and food. The right to basic health care. The right to personal dignity, and safety.
There is, however, no "right to teach," in a public institution, for compensation. None. Nobody has The So-Called Right to Teach - Teacher in a Strange Land - Education Week Teacher:

The Voiceless LAUSD Parent - Change The LAUSD

The Voiceless LAUSD Parent - Change The LAUSD:

The Voiceless LAUSD Parent

Carl Petersen
The LAUSD School Board includes former teachers and school administrators. A student representative is also included in an advisory role. However, not one of the seven Board members has a child who is currently enrolled in the District. With this lack of representation is it a surprise that too many parents feel that they do not have a voice in how the District operates?
The formulation of the school calendar provides one example where the presence of a parent on the Board may have made a difference in the decision making process. Once again our children are returning to school in the middle of an August heat wave. The Los Angeles Daily News reports that a survey found that “19,000 of the roughly 54,200 parents and employees surveyed wanted instruction to kick off after the first Monday of September.” These parent complaints seem to crop up every year, but the August start date remains.
Perhaps a parent would ask the bureaucrats questions that could change the debate and save the District legal costs. While the LAUSD’s Division of Special Education continues to deny that they are in the process of closing the special education centers that serve the most severely affected students, many parents have reported that the choice of attending these schools has been taken away from them during the IEP process. As a result, a group of these parents sued the district and received a favorable ruling from the appeals court. Instead of using this as an opportunity to negotiate with the parents, four Board members, including Monica Garcia, voted to appeal. This was clearly a waste of resources as the court did not accept the appeal.
Sometimes it may not be the decision but the implementation that a parent could change. When schools were forced to close last December because of aterror threat hoax, some parents were left scrambling as they tried to retrieve students who had already been dropped off. Some parents had to take the day off from work as the unexpected closure left them without childcare plans. This was in addition to the anxiety that was caused by the alleged threat and a lack of information that was provided by the District. In the meantime, Board Member Monica Garcia joked before a live television interview and saw the crisis as an opportunity to “be a Mexican Oprah.” A parent on the Board might have been better able to anticipate the problems that others would face and suggest ways that they could be accommodated. This parent would also insist that the closure be used as an example to learn by so that the District will be better prepared to handle emergencies in the future.The Voiceless LAUSD Parent - Change The LAUSD:

Schools Matter: Weingarten Coopts United Opt Out National

Schools Matter: Weingarten Coopts United Opt Out National:

Weingarten Coopts United Opt Out National

Work Hard, Be Hard: Journeys through "No Excuses" Teaching

Since Randi Weingarten put AFT's full weight behind both the Clinton Campaign and the passage of the charter school and CBE stimulus bill that passed through Congress as ESSA in 2015, AFT has been shopping for a new focus to move attention away from the fact that both AFT and NEA are now entirely on board the corporate education reformer gravy train.

By the summer of 2016, it was obvious that the corporate education unions had glommed on to the civil rights initiatives inspired by Black Lives Matter.  AFT's SOS March and DC Talkathon in July featured a number of high profile civil rights speakers, and the choice of the Lincoln Memorial as staging area was intended to symbolize the folding of education issues within a larger, amorphous social justice context.  If AFT could not pretend to lead a march against corporate initiatives that it supported, it could put some big money behind the largely ineffectual protests of Black Lives Matter.

What has become clear since July is that AFT is still on the move to alter the perceptions of many teachers who believe AFT and NEA both have sold dues-paying members down the corporate revenue river.  As a result, Weingarten and NPE have now managed to coopt the agenda of United Opt Out, which, heretofore, has been the only legitimate organization that has stood, until now, against CorpEd since 2009.  Just as Weingarten took over BATs, she has now neutralized UOO, thus 
Schools Matter: Weingarten Coopts United Opt Out National:

Op Ed: There’s No Such Thing as a “Public Charter School” - Post News Group

Op Ed: There’s No Such Thing as a “Public Charter School” - Post News Group:

Op Ed: There’s No Such Thing as a “Public Charter School”

By Ann Berlak

This year, more than a quarter of Oakland’s 49,000 students are attending one of its nearly 40 charter schools, far more per capita than anywhere else in the state. 
Is this something for Oaklanders to boast about?

Not long ago I visited a school in Oakland to read to third graders on “Literacy Day.” On 
the way to the classroom I asked my guide if this was a charter or a public school. The 
immediate and decisive response: “We’re a public charter school.”

On June 14th the LA Times informed the public: “Charters are independently operated, free public schools.”

The California Department of Education makes no bones about it: “A charter school is a public school.”

However, the term “public charter school” was developed by a PR firm to reframe the way we understand schooling in relationship to “public” and to democracy.

The campaign has been wildly successful. However, though the term “public charter school” is increasingly ubiquitous, charters are not public schools.

Public institutions—schools, libraries, zoos—are, at least in theory, funded by 
taxes from all the people in its jurisdiction—local, state and national—and are held accountable to and by those people through that fundamental process we in a democracy call voting.

Most public schools are accountable to an elected school board made up of community 
members. Residents of that community have the right to be present at Board meetings, weigh in 
on votes and debates, and access public financial documents.

Charter schools are run by executive boards, committees or corporations whose members often 
live outside the community in which they are located and are not accountable to parents or 
the taxpayers/community members who fund them.

If you don’t like what your traditional public school is doing, you can make your voice heard by 
addressing administrators, voting for new leadership or taking a leadership role yourself. If 
you don’t like what your child’s charter school is doing and you express yourself, you may be 
asked to leave. There is no democratic mechanism for spearheading policy change.

Public institutions are the motors of democracy. Their purpose is to 
promote and preserve the fundamental values of a democratic society: liberty, equality and 
the public welfare or common good.

Public schools recognize that the welfare of everyone’s children and grandchildren is 
intimately linked to the welfare of all. Through support and oversight by the community, 
public schooling is intended to serve the common good and preserve fundamental qualities that sustain 
democracy beyond getting students “college and career ready.” If public schools have not always lived up to their promise then it is necessary to redouble our efforts to have them do so, not to abandon them.

When students leave public schools for charter schools they take their per pupil expenditures –which in California averaged $9,794 last year–with them, leaving public schools with less revenue but the same overhead.

The federal government also spends millions on charters at the expense of public schools. Taxpayers paid one consulting firm nearly $10 million to the U.S. Department of Education Charter Schools. That’s $10 million fewer federal dollars for public schools.

The law forbids local districts, which in California are the main authorizers for new charters, from taking into account the potentially crippling impact of new charters on district financing when considering approving new schools.

So even if you find an excellent charter to send your own child to, you are reducing the chances of every student remaining in the public school having their own excellent education.

Charter schools’ claim they enhance democracy is disingenuous.

The highly touted freedom of individual parents to choose their child’s school comes at the heavy price of reducing two other essential functions of democracy: providing for the general welfare of a society that requires well funded public schools and insuring equal opportunity for all children.

Competing with traditional public schools for space and funding reduces the quality of the remaining public schools, and ignores patterns of clear advantage for the children of savvy parents, thus assuring that some children will be better schooled than others.

Being publicly funded, charters cannot be considered private. However, their private governance and their marginalization of fundamental democratic values disqualify them as public.

The most accurate label for charters is “Publicly–funded private schools.” Don’t let them abscond with our language. There is no such thing as a public charter school.

Ann Berlak is an author and has worked as a teacher and teacher educator. She lives in Oakland.Op Ed: There’s No Such Thing as a “Public Charter School” - Post News Group:

Jersey Jazzman: Useless Testing "Gap" Analyses and the Newspapers That Love Them

Jersey Jazzman: Useless Testing "Gap" Analyses and the Newspapers That Love Them:

Useless Testing "Gap" Analyses and the Newspapers That Love Them

There is so much wrong with this "analysis" by the The Bergen Record of test scores and other outcomes for the 31 "Abbott" districts -- the (mostly) disadvantaged New Jersey school districts that received additional aid for years (although inconsistently) under a series of court rulings. Among other problems:

  • As Julia Sass Rubin points out, the authors don't include the charter schools, which are a large portion of the student enrollments in many districts.
  • They don't account for changes over time in student characteristics.
  • They assume the proficiency rates consistently measure "proficiency" across time, a huge assumption that, to my knowledge, has never been assessed by the state.
  • They assume the Abbotts got "extra aid," even though, for years, the amount the districts received was not what the state's own law says they need to provide an adequate education (and that amount isn't close to enough to expect equalized school outcomes anyway).
I could go on, but I want to make a larger point about so-called "gap" analyses, and why any attempt, like The Record's, to judge an education policy's efficacy based on "gaps" is fundamentally flawed.

And I'm going to keep this so simple in can be drawn out in Sharpies (click to enlarge):

 Let's say you have two schools: one in a wealthier area, one is a less-wealthy place. The advantaged school starts off with a higher proficiency rate than the disadvantaged school. As time goes on, the disadvantaged school improves -- but so does the advantaged school

After several years, both schools are performing better than they did previously. But the Jersey Jazzman: Useless Testing "Gap" Analyses and the Newspapers That Love Them:

CURMUDGUCATION: Zephyr Teachout Is A Badass

CURMUDGUCATION: Zephyr Teachout Is A Badass:
Zephyr Teachout Is A Badass

Zephyr Teachout is a badass.

You may remember her from the last New York gubernatorial primary, when she humiliated Andrew Cuomo and stomped on his Presidential dreams by making him fight for his life in a primary race that was supposed to be a walk. The Vermont-born law professor is energetic, positive, and a strong voice for public education-- among other things. She's an old-school Democrat, by which I mean she's not dependent on the kindness of hedge fund millionaires. (All of which is why it's one of Randi Weingarten's unforgivable offenses to have conducted last minute phone blitzing for the Cuomo campaign).

Teachout is back at it, campaigning for the 19th District Congressional seat in New York. Teachout's main opposition appeared to be a long-shot GOP John Faso who was trying to fend of GOP Andrew Heaney in the primary-- and then the hedge funders started piling on.

John Faso is a long-time NY pol. He has served as minority leader of the NY State Assembly, and made a run at Governor in 2006. He beat Bill Weld in the primary (yes, the same one who is currently Libertarian VP candidate) but lost to Eliot Spitzer in the general election. Faso is a huge fan of charters and one of the cheif architects of New York's charter laws. And hedge fund guys apparently love him a lot. Robert Mercer, hedge fund manager, contributed half a million dollars to 
CURMUDGUCATION: Zephyr Teachout Is A Badass:

Black families are the losers in NOLA’s nearly uncontested school board elections

Black families are the losers in NOLA’s nearly uncontested school board elections:

Black families are the losers in NOLA’s nearly uncontested school board elections

The stakes are high. So why is involvement so low?

 Democracy is more vibrant when participation is as wide as possible. It’s true on the national stage and it’s true in the New Orleans education arena.

One would think that NOLA’s passion for education — the lawsuits, the big-money elections, the heated meetings and writings —would predict hot contests in the local school board election with thousands eligible in each district.
But that’s not what has happened here in the Crescent City.
Join the conversation later on Andre Perry’s radio show, “Free College,” hosted Tuesdays on WBOK1230 in New Orleans at 3pm Central/4pm Eastern 504.260.9265.
Four of the seven district seats were decided before the November elections with little to no opposition. One of those was declared early due to a disqualification – the most tenured board member couldn’t prove she lived in the district.
There’s a lot at stake in local school board elections. In recent years, state and local districts across the country have played a real life game of capture the flag in which pro- and anti-reform factions typify the teams.
It’s to be determined if the new make up of the New Orleans School Board connotes a winner, but one thing is for sure: everyone loses when elections are not contested.
School board elections at the state and local levels have always been incredibly important on setting the direction of schools. This is whyBaton Rouge businessman Lane Grigsby‘s Empower Louisiana political action committee has been able to raise more than $2 million in 2015 from New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, Laura and John Arnold, Alice and Jim Walton of the Wal-Mart Waltons and Eli Broad. It’s the reason why American Federation of Teachers invested $450,000 into Jefferson Parish School Board election in 2014.
An aside – let’s end the arguments from both sides of that inordinate amounts of money favorsBlack families are the losers in NOLA’s nearly uncontested school board elections:

I hate racial segregation. It’s in my DNA. | Fred Klonsky

I hate racial segregation. It’s in my DNA. | Fred Klonsky:

I hate racial segregation. It’s in my DNA

Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 10.14.07 AM
Back in 1896 the United States Supreme Court ruled that when it came to race in America, separate but equal was the law of the land.
Apartheid was legal in this country until the Court overturned Plessy v. Ferguson in 1954.
The named plaintiff in Brown v. Board of Education was Oliver Brown.
Brown’s daughter Linda was in third grade at the time. She had to walk six blocks to her school bus stop to ride to her segregated black school one mile away. Linda Brown’s daughter was a white school. It was seven blocks from her home.
Linda Brown:
… well. like I say, we lived in an integrated neighborhood and I had all of these playmates of different nationalities. And so when I found out that day that I might be able to go to their school, I was just thrilled, you know. And I remember walking over to Sumner school with my dad that day and going up the steps of the school and the school looked so big to a smaller child. And I remember going inside and my dad spoke with someone and then he went into the inner office with the principal and they left me out … to sit outside with the secretary. And while he was in the inner office, I could hear voices and hear his voice raised, you know, as the conversation went on. And then he immediately came out of the office, took me by the hand and we walked home from the school. I just couldn’t understand what was happening because I was so sure that I was going to go to school with Mona and Guinevere, Wanda, and all of my playmates.
Former Arne Duncan advisor and now Eli Broad funded ed reformer Peter Cunningham complain that the fight against desegregation is too hard and too costly. Better to return to accept the notion of separate but equal. More than accept it, they suggest it as a policy.

Peter Cunningham’s latest apologia for school segregation, in U.S. News & World Report, is basically a defense of current reform policies that have been shown to re-segregate schools. It represents more than just the opinion of a lone education gadfly. Cunningham is paid millions to speak for some of the most powerful and wealthiest 
I hate racial segregation. It’s in my DNA. | Fred Klonsky:

REFORMERS! Watch This Video! It Will Change Your Life and Open Your Mind! | Diane Ravitch's blog

REFORMERS! Watch This Video! It Will Change Your Life and Open Your Mind! | Diane Ravitch's blog:

REFORMERS! Watch This Video! It Will Change Your Life and Open Your Mind!

This is a message to the billionaires, the hedge fund managers, and the politicians–and their paid spokespersons in think tanks and academe— who continually complain about our public schools and their teachers. They think that the solution to America’s education problems is to privatize public schools. They are wrong. They need to expand their horizons and look elsewhere for the causes and the solutions to the problems in our schools and our communities.
Please urge any reformers you know to watch this video. It will change their world view.
It is a TED talk by Dr. Nadine Burke Harris. Dr. Harris is a pediatrician in California who has a master’s degree in public health in addition to her M.D. She is an expert on the relationship between childhood trauma and life outcomes.
Listen to her wisdom. She is on the frontline of addressing our nation’s must urgent problems.REFORMERS! Watch This Video! It Will Change Your Life and Open Your Mind! | Diane Ravitch's blog: