Latest News and Comment from Education

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Movement to opt out of standardized testing is growing

Movement to opt out of standardized testing is growing:

Movement to opt out of standardized testing is growing

Some parents taking other steps to move forward in their education

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. - A movement to ditch standardized testing is growing. Parents are organizing on social media to have their children opt out of the state's assessment and accountability program.
The Opt Out Of Miami-Dade Facebook page has about 1,700 followers, while the Opt Out Of Florida page has nearly 4,000 followers.
Some teachers are also supporting the movement because they feel their teaching can't be creative in order to ensure students pass the exams.
There are only two times, third grade and in high school, when testing it considered "high stakes," meaning it weighs heavily on a decision of whether or not to promote a student to the next grade level. 
If a third-grade student does not take the standardized tests, the school district can use a collection of the student's work from that year to decide whether or not that student will be promoted to fourth grade.
Broward County Public Schools' chief academic officer Daniel Gohl says promotions are never solely based on a test score. "We have a number of mechanisms in Broward County we use to make the very important decision of whether a student will be promoted and we will not be reduced to one single measure," Gohl said.
Last year, in Broward County, only 61 students out of 17,000 didn't have a score for standardized testing. As for Miami-Dade Public Schools, they told Local 10 News they only had a handful of cases last year.Movement to opt out of standardized testing is growing:

Announcements & Current Issues - Charter Schools (CA Dept of Education)

Announcements & Current Issues - Charter Schools (CA Dept of Education):

Announcements & Current Issues - Charter Schools

What's New

PCSGP Planning and Implementation Grant Request for Applications page for Fiscal Year 2016-17 
Access to application materials and pertinent information about the PCSGP Planning and Implementation Grant.
2016-17 Charter Schools Annual Information Survey 
The annual Charter School information page with links to the 2016-17 survey, helpful survey instructions, and a feature that allows the survey to be printed.
Smarter Balanced Assessment Systems Presentation (PDF) 
Charter Schools Presentation on the Smarted Balanced Assessment System.
Charter School Authorizer Webinar 
Guidance and Technical Assistance for Prospective Charter School Authorizers.
Charter School Authorizer Oversight and Monitoring Webinar 
Guidance for the Oversight and Monitoring of Charter Schools by an authorizer.
Charter School Authorizer Oversight - Renewal, Revocation and Closure 
Guidance from the California Department of Education Charter Schools Division for charter school authorizers regarding Renewal, Revocation and Closure.
Charter School Closure Process 
The following page provides information on charter school closures, the handling of documents and notification, record transfer and retention, student transfers, and recommended procedures for financial close-out. The page now includes lists of charter schools that have closed.
Enactment of Senate Bill 1290 
Information on the enactment of Senate Bill 1290 (Chapter 567, Statues of 2012).
Charter School Map of California 
Map of California broken down by county. Click on the county and find a charter school. Non classroom based schools are highlighted in pink and also specified.
Non-regulatory Guidance: NCLB LEA Plans for Direct-funded Charter Schools Receiving Federal Monies 
Information regarding the requirements for completing the Local Education Agency (LEA) Plan required by the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act.
School Accountability Report Card (SARC) 
Information for charter schools to submit a School Accountability Report Card (SARC).
Charter Schools Division Contact 
Phone and e-mail contact information for Charter Schools Division staff by topic and geographic regions.
Sign Up for the Charter School Listserv 
Details on how to subscribe to the Charter School Listserv, access to historic postings on the listserv, and Frequently Asked Questions related to user participation on the listserv.
Public Charter Schools Grant Program 
Information on the Public Charter Schools Grant Program.
Questions: Charter Schools | | 916-322-6029 
 Announcements & Current Issues - Charter Schools (CA Dept of Education):

Image result for big education ape california charter schools

Nancy Carlsson-Paige: Our misguided effort to close the achievement gap is creating a new inequality: the ‘play’ gap - The Washington Post

Our misguided effort to close the achievement gap is creating a new inequality: the ‘play’ gap - The Washington Post:

Our misguided effort to close the achievement gap is creating a new inequality: the ‘play’ gap

“Play is the primary engine of human growth. It’s universal — as much as walking and talking.” That’s what Nancy Carlsson-Paige, an early childhood development expert, wrote in this postabout just how “twisted” early childhood education that ignores the value of play has become. Classes for young children that concentrate on academics and force kids to sit in chairs and do worksheets for hours on end are harmful — and now, there is a risk that a new “play disparity” between kids from poor and better-to-do families is widening and could be exacerbated by a push for universal pre-kindergarten.
Here’s a new post on this issue by Carlsson-Paige, who for decades has been at the forefront of the debate on how best to educate — and not educate — the youngest students. She is a professor emerita of education at Lesley University in Cambridge, Ma., where she taught teachers for more than 30 years and was a founder of the university’s Center for Peaceable Schools. She is also a founding member and senior advisor of a nonprofit called Defending the Early Years, which commissions research about early childhood education and advocates for sane policies for young children.
Carlsson-Paige is author of “Taking Back Childhood.” The mother of two artist sons, Matt and Kyle Damon, she is also the recipient of numerous awards, including the Legacy Award from the Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps for work over several decades on behalf of children and families, as well as the Deborah Meier award given by the nonprofit National Center for Fair and Open Testing.
By Nancy Carlsson-Paige
Soon many of our nation’s young children will be starting school for the first time. What they will likely find is something dramatically different from what their parents experienced at their age. Kindergartens and pre-K classrooms have changed.  There is less play, less art and music, less child choice, more teacher-led instruction, worksheets, and testing than a generation ago. Studies tell us that these changes, although pervasive, are most evident in schools serving high percentages of low-income children of color.
The pressure to teach academic skills in pre-k and kindergarten has been increasing since the passage of the No Child Left Behind act 15 years ago.  Today, many young children are required to sit in chairs, sometimes for long periods of time, as a teacher instructs them.  This goes against their natural impulse to learn actively through play where they are fully engaged–body, mind, and spirit.
Play is an engine driving children to build ideas, learn skills, and develop capacities they need in life. Kids all over the world play and no one has to teach them how. In play children develop problem solving skills, social and emotional awareness, self-regulation, imagination, and inner Our misguided effort to close the achievement gap is creating a new inequality: the ‘play’ gap - The Washington Post:

School Takeover Measures Opening Door to Charter Expansion

School Takeover Measures Opening Door to Charter Expansion:

Educators Mobilize as School Takeovers Open Door For Charter Expansion

This Election Day, Georgia will face a constitutional amendment that asks whether the state’s constitution can “be amended to allow the state to intervene in chronically failing public schools in order to improve school performance?” Their answer will determine whether the Peach State will follow the footsteps of Louisiana, Tennessee, and Michigan, where voters said “Yes.”
To some, the question may sound noble. But Carly Shaw, a middle school teacher for Georgia’s Fulton County Schools, knows better. She wants others to know better, too.
“The language on the ballot basically says the governor would have the right to take over any school that’s low performing,” says Shaw, who is a teacher and vice president of the Fulton County Association of Educators. “But, it doesn’t get to the meat of the matter of what this means.”
If history is any indication of what this could mean, Georgia will be among several states to fragment school authority, disenfranchise communities of color, and ignore parent and community concerns.

A Sleeping Giant

School takeovers are not a new concept. According to The Trentonian, New Jersey took control of Jersey City’s schools in 1989, and is considered “the first state to mount such a takeover.” The state returned some elements of control back to the city in 2007 and 2014. This year, it was announced that the city was expected to regain full control.
What is relatively new, or different, about the takeovers of today is states now can yank individual schools out of their local districts and place them in a state-managed district, which then typically turns them over to charter operators.
“It’s turning it from retail privatization to whole sale privatization,” says Leigh Dingerson, a consultant for the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University, a national policy research and reform-support organization. “Instead of privatizing one school at a time . . . they can take over a whole set of schools in one fell swoop.”
school takeovers fact sheet
The Facts About State Takeovers of Public Schools Source: The Alliance to Reclaim Our Public Schools (Click to Enlarge)
The first model of this kind comes from Louisiana.
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina awoke a sleeping giant: Act 9, a 2003 law that made way for the Recovery School District (RSD). The law gave authority to the state education department to pull low-performing schools out of local control and operate the school itself, or contract with a university or a charter operator.
While the law applied to the entire state, its focus was on New Orleans.
In 2004, one middle school in the city was put under RSD and designated to run as a charter school. Four more schools followed in 2005.
At the time, Dingerson described Act 9 as a “sleeper” that didn’t generate much attention. “But when the storm hit, I think the charter industry recognized Katrina as School Takeover Measures Opening Door to Charter Expansion:

Pledge to Shop union for Back to School - Badass Teachers Association

Badass Teachers Association:

Pledge to Shop union for Back to School

Please join BATs and UFCW as we stand in national solidarity to tell everyone to shop union for Back to School and all year long! 

 Pledge to Shop Union!

 I pledge to shop union and NOT to shop at non-union stores like Walmart or Hobby Lobby.  Many non union stores and their foundations  support the  privatization and destruction of public education

Whereas non union stores have supported

The expansion of for profit charters to the tune of $1 Billion

Teach for America and their program to place unqualified teachers in our most neediest districts (replacing qualified teachers and teachers of color)

An agenda that has been horrific to their workers, women, immigrants, LGBTQI,  and does not allow them to unionize.

Many anti public education organizations as seen here

 School choice which does NOT offer choice at all, it removes it from parents and from communities.

Removal of a teachers right to due process

Be it therefore resolved, on this 23rd day of August, I pledge to shop union for my Back to School supplies and all year round. 

If you wish to sign onto this pledge please sign on this form and we will be transferring names onto this blog daily for the next few weeks.  Check back to see your name added! - Thank you for your support

The Race For LAUSD District Two: A Status Report - Change The LAUSD

The Race For LAUSD District Two: A Status Report - Change The LAUSD:

The Race For LAUSD District Two: A Status Report


In many ways, District 2 is a microcosm of the 2016 Presidential race. I am a Berniecrat running on a platform that supports public education, empowers parents and teachers and stands up for the most vulnerable, including students with special education needs. The incumbent, Monica Garcia is an establishment Democrat who attended the Democratic convention as a delegate for Hillary Clinton and whose Facebook page is titled @iamwithmonicagarcia. Standing in for Trump is Walter Bannister, who even uses the slogan “make our schools great again”. He has tweeted that we should forcibly arm ALL teachers, thatvaccines are ineffective and harmful, blows the dog whistle by calling for the “end [of] compulsory busing” and says that “government ownership, operation, regulation and subsidy of schools and colleges should be ended.” There are also two other candidates who currently have a limited internet trail.
In the 2015 elections, charter supporters spent “nearly $2.3 million” in “the nation’s most expensive school board elections”. This trend is expected to continue as they have already contributed $119,858.40 to Monica Garcia for this year’s election. In return, the charters face limited oversight as the District teaters towards bankruptcy. I propose a new approach towards the charters that recognizes the fact that instead of “partnering” with charters, the law that created these organizations specifies that public schools are supposed tocompete with them. Most importantly, the Charter School Division, which is supposed to regulate the charters, needs to be re-staffed with people who are not former employees of the California Charter School Association. Otherwise, we will continue to see public funds wasted due to “financial shenanigans”.
Special Education and vocational education also will be addressed by the campaign. Monica Garcia has stated that:
I believe that children with special education needs are our own kids too and I will fight to provide them the services that they require. Additionally, while the incumbent forces “college prep for all”, I recognize that all students will not attend college. Therefore, vocational classes, music and art must also be made available. All students should also be required to take a life skills class that includes subjects such as how to balance a checkbook, how credit card interest works and how to participate in government.The Race For LAUSD District Two: A Status Report - Change The LAUSD:

Jersey Jazzman: Chris Cerf's Late Conversion On School Funding and Testing

Jersey Jazzman: Chris Cerf's Late Conversion On School Funding and Testing:

Chris Cerf's Late Conversion On School Funding and Testing

Chris Christie's "Fairness Formula" is so blatantly unfair and illogical that even Chris Cerf -- Christie's former Commissioner of Education and current State Superintendent of Newark Public Schools -- can't support it:

The superintendent appointed by Gov. Chris Christie to run Newark's state-controlled school district said a 60-percent cut in aid projected under a new funding formula proposed by the governor would be "catastrophic" for the district.  
"I don't mind saying explicitly that a reduction in our budget of 60 percent would be catastrophic," said Superintendent Christopher Cerf, a former state education commissioner under Christie, who appointed Cerf to run the state's largest district last year.
Cerf's comment was in response to a reporter's question about the impact on the district of a projected 60 percent cut in aid under the new Fairness Formula proposed by Christie.
The formula, unveiled in June, would dole out precisely the same amount of aid per pupil — $6,599 — to all New Jersey school districts, regardless of affluence, resulting in a savings for 85 percent of the state's property taxpayers, while translating into dramatic cuts in aid to poor districts that rely on the state to fund a much higher proportion of their school budgets. 
An analysis by NJ Advance Media found that aid to Newark and some other poor districts would be cut by 60 percent or more under the governor's proposed formula. [emphasis mine]
As I pointed out last October, this is quite a shift in thinking for Cerf. When he was in Christie's administration, he used to go around the state saying NJ's urban districts were getting way too much money:

Pumping more money into our worst-performing districts has provided us with moral cover, persuading us that we have met our obligation to the students in those districts while allowing us to under serve them.More money has permitted past governors and legislatures to avoid the politically difficult reforms – like implementation of an educator evaluation system, tenure reform, and ending the pernicious “last in, first out” policy – so critical to turning around our lowest-performing schools. And more money has likewise allowed the Department of Education to be satisfied with a role as district compliance-monitor rather than district partner, collaborator, and, where necessary, instigator of seismic reform. [emphasis mine]
Funny how actually running a district causes you to think about this stuff a little Jersey Jazzman: Chris Cerf's Late Conversion On School Funding and Testing:

Between The World and John Deasy - LA Progressive

Between The World and John Deasy - LA Progressive:

Between The World and John Deasy

John Deasy Ta-Nehisi Coates Letter

Dear Professor Ta-Nehisi Coates:
I am writing in response to an open letter that was recently addressed to you asking for your attention and admiration. It was written by the disgraced former superintendent of Los Angeles Unified School District, John Deasy.
I realize, Mr. Coates, that you are not reading this article. I doubt that you read John Deasy’s either. John Deasy did not write it for you. The obsequious screed addressed to you was really for himself and the sponsors of his next “private-public” agenda: Alternative Juvenile Prisons.
So, I will address the same people whom John Deasy was addressing by similarly using you as my pseudo-conduit (NOTE: My exploitation of your name and works is at least honest). I hope you won’t mind being the vehicle for my Public Service Announcement.
John Deasy’s address to you was published in The 74, one of the primary voices of the extremely well-funded Education Reform Movement. Its founder, Campbell Brown, has accrued a number of Republican and wealthy Neo-Liberal Democrats to push their education agenda through its editorial advocacy. John Deasy is one of the stars of this movement.
Professor Coates, as an admirer of your landmark book and your other writings as well (hearty shout out to the new Black Panther comic!), I would like to give you an opposing viewpoint on John Deasy and provide an alternative insight into his selfish, education political agenda.
First off, you should know that I taught in AP English, Philosophy and Film in a high school in LAUSD for over twenty years. I am a National Board Certified Teacher who uses literature and film as a way of expanding the world for my students to inform their own political and cultural consciousness. I am most proud of the fact that so many of my former students have gone on to college and adult life politically engaged, working in areas to promote social justice.

Looking back, the leadership of John Deasy at LAUSD was one of the most arrogantly destructive eras of my pedagogical lifetime.

Looking back, the leadership of John Deasy at LAUSD was one of the most arrogantly destructive eras of my pedagogical lifetime. His tenure at LAUSD was marked by a raging autocratic management style where he took unilateral actions to further the corporate education agenda of Big Business—all justified under a mask of civil rights “urgency.” Indeed “Dr.” Deasy is as adept as the Koch Brothers at appropriating the words of Dr. Martin Luther King to propel the interests of his benefactors, and in the process his own.
This is old news for those of us in LA. But for the uninitiated: Deasy’scurriculum vitae has always defined his policies. It is a Who’s Who of America’s most powerful entrepreneurs.
John Deasy is a man who has enjoyed a whole lifetime of white privilege and the patronage of very wealthy benefactors who have assisted him in every step of his education career. Their names are familiar to all of us: Gates. Annenberg. Broad. There’s hardly a billionaire to whom John Deasy hasn’t offered his services, and been rewarded handsomely.
John Deasy first came to prominence by attending the University of Louisville graduate school of education. He was invited to study there by a professor named Robert Felner.
Deasy’s and Felner’s careers overlapped in Rhode Island, where Felner served as director of the University of Rhode Island’s School of Education from 1996 to 2003 and Deasy served as a local school superintendent from 1996 to 2001.
A year after taking over as superintendent of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District in 2001, Deasy recommended that his school system pay $125,000 for a survey performed by the National Center on Public Education and Social Policy, run by Felner. The survey was later Between The World and John Deasy - LA Progressive:

CURMUDGUCATION: Can We Filter Out Bad Teachers? + Let The Vergara Whining Begin


CURMUDGUCATION:  Can We Filter Out Bad Teachers? + Let The Vergara Whining Begin

Can We Filter Out Bad Teachers?
Last February, Chad Aldeman and Ashley LiBetti Mitchel, working at Bellwether Partners (a right-tilted reformy-favoring thinky tank) released a report that asked the question "Is it possible to ensure teachers are ready on day one?" and answered that question in the title: " No Guarantees. " Now Aldeman is back with a look at some specific tools for filtering out the chaff, rai
Why Are Teachers Burning Out?
It has been half a year since Campbell Brown took over the LA School Repor t, but the site still occasionally publishes something that's not bunk. Reader Bill Spangler brought this next piece to my attention, and it's worth a look. " Why Teachers Are Burning Out " is the second in a five-part series about teacher turnover. The first piece in the series looked at how high the LA turnover
Let The Vergara Whining Begin
Vergara is dead (probably, mostly). The California lawsuit brought by gabillionaire anti-union, pro-charter reformsters has finally had a well-deserved stake driven through its non-existent heart. When the appeals court shot it down, the determined that while one might imagine that in some imaginary alternative universe without tenure laws, students might get better teachers, the statutes do not a
John Oliver on Charter Schools
I hope you've seen this by now. But if you haven't, or you just lost the link, or you were going to get around to it someday, then watch it now. Oliver does not address the philosophy behind charters, the types of charter malpractice like No Excuses, or the ways that charters leech money from public schools. But boy does he nail the corruption, the lack of oversight, and the distinction-without-a-