Latest News and Comment from Education

Friday, August 26, 2016

The New United Opt Out and Neoliberalsim Part 6 The War Report on Public Education with Dr James Miller

The War Report on Public Education with Dr James Miller:

Pleas e join Internet radio host Dr. James Avington Miller Jr. for a special two hour radio show. The first hour will be devoted to the new United Opt Out and the second hour will continue Dr. Miller's series on Neoliberalism.

Our special guests for the first hour will be Gus MoralesRuth Rodriguez, and Zak Rodriguez - all administrators of United Opt Out. The discussion will focus on the NEW UOO - what is is now and what it will be in the future.

For the second hour Dr. Miller will continue his series on Neoliberalism. Neoliberalism is destroying almost everyone and everything on the planet. Public education, schools, teachers, students, families, and whole communities are being dismantled and abused because of neoliberals, thier programs, and their plans to control the world.

Please tune in and call in this Sunday.

Knowledge is power !

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 The War Report on Public Education with Dr James Miller:


On Sunday, please click on the website below to listen to the rebroadcast.

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A direct listen-in line only
Station 1 - 716-748-0150

The War Report on Public Education with Dr James Avington Miller Jr

A WIN for Education in Florida Today! | THE OPT OUT FLORIDA NETWORK

A WIN for Education in Florida Today! | THE OPT OUT FLORIDA NETWORK:

A WIN for Education in Florida Today!

The Opt Out Florida Network is celebrating substantial victories today with theOrder issued by Judge Karen Gievers.  Mandatory Third Grade Retention is a cornerstone of Florida’s failed Accountability System that tests and punishes our students.  Today was a good day for Florida’s students, but this fight is not over.  Our work to support children being assessed on their 180 days of classroom work, to include the professional teacher as a primary expert in these decisions, continues.
As of today, a Judge rules Florida third grader can be promoted based on a portfolio or a report card, unless their parents have been notified that there is a reading deficiency.
Judge Gievers also confirmed that minimally participating (Opting Out) does indeed satisfy the requirement of the law.
In the coming days, Florida school districts, and the Florida Department of Education, will attempt to appeal and to ask for stays of this order. It could be heard by the Florida Supreme Court shortly.
On behalf of the families who have stood up in this lawsuit, we would like to express our gratitude for the support and generosity of all who have contributed, many repeatedly, to the legal fund. It is worth noting that many, many donations have come from educators all across the country.
While this challenge has the potential to cause statewide change, and offer support to other states looking to do the same, it will come at great expense.
Support the plaintiffs by donating to
The Opt Out Florida Network
For the complete ruling:
Judge Gievers’ Order 082616
From Plaintiffs’ attorney, Andrea Mogensen:
Third Grade Retention Press Release Aug26
Contact: Andrea Mogensen
Tel: (941) 955-1066E-Mail:
August 26, 2016
Judge rules report cards do matter for third grade students
Education officials ordered to accept student portfolios or report cards for kids who opt out of standardized tests
Tallahassee – A Tallahassee judge delivered a decisive blow to Florida’s standardized testing scheme, telling state and local school officials that report cards and classroom participation can be used as an alternative when parents opt out of testing. In a watershed moment for students who were not promoted to the third grade due of their minimal participation in the Florida Standards Assessment test, Judge Gievers granted a temporary injunction allowing some third graders to be promoted where school A WIN for Education in Florida Today! | THE OPT OUT FLORIDA NETWORK:

Personalized learning: corporate reform hijacks another perfectly good idea | Parents Across America

Personalized learning: corporate reform hijacks another perfectly good idea | Parents Across America:

Personalized learning: corporate reform hijacks another perfectly good idea 

Everyone loves choice — it’s so all-American. And we cheer the idea of student-centered learning because it’s so clearly all about the children. And, of course, ALL parents want personalized learning because every parent knows that their child is unique and has special academic needs and interests.
At our parent leadership conference in July, we asked participants what they think of when they hear “personalized learning.” Here’s what they said:
“It’s personal to your child.”
“It is tailored to your child’s needs and interests, like you tailor a garment.”
“It involves one-on-one work with a teacher.”
“IEPs – an individualized learning program required under special education laws to be written and followed for every child identified as having special needs.”
“Relates to every child’s needs and strengths.”
“For the teacher, what does he or she know about the child that can help in teaching that child?”
Well, bad news. That is not what the corporate reformers mean when they say personalized learning. Yes, when the opt out movement checked the reformers’ high-stakes testing strategy, they made a strategic turn toward what their taxpayer-funded* five-star PR firms told them to call “personalized learning,” but which is only personalized like the ads for stuff you just bought that start to pop up on your Facebook or Google search page.
Our “EdTech buzzwords” piece unpacks more of this corporate reform-speak. For example:

Blended learning: Your child will no longer spend his or her day with a caring adult. They will be tied to a digital screen which will replace large chunks of human interaction with prepackaged programming. It’s blended in the same way as Star Trek’s Data was blended – you know, he cried that one time.
Competency-based learning: Competent means efficient and capable but not outstanding, and in this context Personalized learning: corporate reform hijacks another perfectly good idea | Parents Across America:

Will the thing that charter schools love so much be their undoing? - The Washington Post

Will the thing that charter schools love so much be their undoing? - The Washington Post:

Will the thing that charter schools love so much be their undoing?

Image result for big education ape charter schools

John Oliver, on his HBO show “Last Week Tonight” did a funny, biting segment on the charter schools, which educate a fraction of American school children — somewhere around 5 percent — but get a great deal more attention from policymakers then the numbers would predict.
Here’s a new look at charter schools from Carol Burris, a former New York high school principal who is now executive director of the nonprofit Network for Public Education. Burris was named the 2010 Educator of the Year by the School Administrators Association of New York State, and the same organization named her the New York State High School Principal of the Year in 2013. She has been chronicling botched school reform efforts in her state for years.
In a recent post, she explained why putting the word “public” in front of “charter school” — which are funded with tax dollars but sometimes considered private by courts — is “an affront” to people for whom public education is a mission. In this post, Burris looks at whether charter schools can properly be compared with district public schools — as they often are.
By Carol Burris
The New York Post, the charter school cheerleading paper of record, was giddy with delight when New York test scores came out.  Describing charter test scores as “sparkling,” the Postaccused New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio of “dissing” charters when he questioned their tactics. Jeremiah Kittredge, the chief executive officer of Families for Excellent Schools, went so far as to accuse the mayor of kicking little children “in the shins.”
When the mayor refused to back down and said charters have a history of excluding some kids,the Post editorial board jumped into the fray and said his claim was false.
Is the Post or the mayor correct? Are there differences between the kids who go to charters, and those who attend public schools in New York? Are charter scores that much better when you take those differences into account? And perhaps most important of all, are any score bumps worth the scams and scandals that have become a daily feature of charter school news?
New York City charter schools make up 81 percent of the charter schools in the state. Only 4 percent of New York’s charter students are English Language Learners, as compared with over three times as many — 13 percent — of the 3-8 students in New York City public schools. Fifteen percent of charter students in Grades 3-8 are students with disabilities, as compared with 22 percent of the students in New York City traditional public schools.  These differences Will the thing that charter schools love so much be their undoing? - The Washington Post:
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10 Things to Know about the Charter School Debate – Cloaking Inequity

10 Things to Know about the Charter School Debate – Cloaking Inequity:

10 Things to Know about the Charter School Debate

At separate conventions this summer, the NAACP and the Black Lives Matter Movement—the nation’s oldest and the youngest civil rights organizations—passed resolutions critical of charter schools and the privatization of education. We may have reached a watershed moment for market-based school choice.
This article appeared here first at the Progressive Magazine.
Here are 10 things to consider about the market-based charter schools debate:
  • Where did market-based school choice come from? Writing in the 1950s, the libertarian economist Milton Friedman, followed by John Chubb and Terry Moe in the 1990s, argued for a profit-based education system where resources are controlled by private entities rather than by democratically elected governments. They recommended a system of public education built around parent-student choice, school competition, and school autonomy as a solution to what they saw as the problem of direct democratic control of public schools.
  • School “choice” does not cure the inequality created by markets. Not surprisingly, the academics neglected to mention that market-based mechanisms are the very system that created the inequities in American public schools today. Along with other public policies, including redlining, market forces created racial and economic segregation. Instead of making this situation better, school choice made this situation worse. A group of Chilean economists mentored by Friedman, the Chicago Boys, took Friedman’s theories about education back to their home country and to push an education system with universal choice and relaxed regulation and oversight. Over the past several decades, Chile simultaneously became one of the richest countries in South America and the most unequal developed country in the world.
  • The position of the NAACP and Black Lives Matter on privatization is consistent with the views of past civil rights leaders. NAACP co-founder W.E.B. Du Bois, in his essay Negroes and the Crisis of Capitalism in the U.S., extolled the virtues of collaborative social and government action. He railed against the role of businesses and capitalistic control that “usurp government” and made the “throttling of democracy and distortion of education and failure of justice widespread.” Malcolm X characterized market-based public policy  as “vulturistic” and “bloodsucking.” He advocated for collaborative social systems to solve problems. Martin Luther King Jr. argued that we often have socialism in public policy for the rich and rugged free market capitalism for the poor. King and Malcolm X would have recognized the current patterns we see of charters located primarily in urban and poor areas rather than wealthy suburban enclaves. White academics pressing for market-based school choice in the name of “civil rights” ignore this history of African American civil rights leaders advocating for collaborative systems of social support and distrusting “free market” policies.
  • Is the NAACP and Black Lives Matter position on schools out of touch with civil rights? A barrage of criticism has come from market-based school choice proponents and charter operators about the NAACP and Black Lives Matter resolutions. However, the NAACP has for years been consistent in its critique of charters schools. At the 2010 convention, the NAACP national board and members supported an anti-charter resolution saying that state charter schools create “separate and unequal conditions.” A review of ten years of research supports their statement. More recently, in 2014, the NAACP connected school choice with the private control of public education. While the recent 2016 resolution has not yet been ratified as policy by the NAACP National Board, more than 2,000 NAACP delegates from across the nation did vote for a charter school moratorium based on a variety of civil rights-based critiques such as a lack of accountability, increased segregation, and disparate punitive and exclusionary discipline for African Americans.
  • Do families actually choose charter schools? Probably the most prominent argument heard from market-based education proponents is that school choice means that families can choose their own schools. Proponents of market-based school choicehave argued that charter schools were designed to have both more freedom and more accountability. Critics of privately-managed schools point out that 10 Things to Know about the Charter School Debate – Cloaking Inequity:

2016 Delaware Charter School Inspection Shows Severe Lack Of Transparency – Exceptional Delaware

2016 Delaware Charter School Inspection Shows Severe Lack Of Transparency – Exceptional Delaware:

2016 Delaware Charter School Inspection Shows Severe Lack Of Transparency

Many Delaware charter schools failed a recent inspection on financial, organizational, and governance transparency.  No charter school received a perfect score on this inspection.  The ones who failed did so miserably.
Delaware law is very clear about what charter schools are required to do.  Other public meeting laws in Delaware, which have been supported through legal opinions on FOIA complaints, are very clear as well.  Last night, I went through every single charter school website to look for eight things: Their monthly financial information was up to date (July 2016), they posted their last annual audit (2015), they posted their IRS 990 Tax Form (as a non-profit), they posted their board agenda for their most recent meeting, they posted their board minutes (based on when they had their last meeting and were able to approve those minutes), they put an agenda up for their Citizens Budget Oversight Committee, they put up the minutes for their CBOC meetings, and a Delaware Department of Education representative was present at those CBOC meetings.
Most of the Delaware charter schools failed this inspection.  One of them (considered to be a very successful charter school) didn’t pass any category.  Some charter schools feel as though they don’t have to meet during the summer and prepare for the new school year.  There was no charter school that received a perfect score.  I understand things slow down in the summer, but not meeting is inexcusable in my book.  Some charters need to do a lot of work on their websites.  Hunting and pecking to find information is not in the vein of transparency.
The most disturbing aspect is the apparent lack of oversight coming from the Delaware Department of Education.  More specifically, the Charter School Office.  They may monitor the charters, and I’m glad a DOE representative is attending most of their CBOC meetings, but where is the public transparency of that monitoring?  Jennifer Nagourney worked very hard to get this aspect turned around with charters.  I would hate to see her hard work disappear.
The way CBOC laws are written, quarterly meetings are okay.  But some charters meet monthly.  I’m not going to dink you if you don’t meet every single month.  I think districts and charters should have monthly CBOC 2016 Delaware Charter School Inspection Shows Severe Lack Of Transparency – Exceptional Delaware:

How the charter school lobby is changing the Democratic Party - LA Times

How the charter school lobby is changing the Democratic Party - LA Times:

How the charter school lobby is changing the Democratic Party

 At a time when Democrats and their party are, by virtually every index, moving left, a powerful center-right pressure group within the liberal universe has nonetheless sprung up. Funded by billionaires and arrayed against unions, it is increasingly contesting for power in city halls and statehouses where Democrats already govern.
That’s not how the charter school lobby is customarily described, I’ll allow, but it’s most certainly what it’s become.
Next year, the progressive mayors of America’s two largest and overwhelmingly Democratic cities – New York’s Bill de Blasio and Los Angeles’ Eric Garcetti – will each stand for reelection. So far, the only visible challenger to Garcetti’s bid is Steve Barr, founder of the Green Dot charter schools. In New York, de Blasio’s critics have suggested that Success Academy Charter Chief Executive Eva Moskowitz would be the candidate most likely to depose the mayor, though Moskowitz has denied any interest in running.
This abrupt elevation (or self-elevation) of today’s charter school entrepreneurs into tomorrow’s civic leaders may seem surprising, but it’s part of a larger pattern.
In California, political action committees funded by charter school backers have become among the largest donors to centrist Democratic state legislators who not only favor expanding charters at the expense of school districts, but also have blocked some of Gov. Jerry Brown’s more liberal initiatives.
In New York’s upcoming primary, such longtime charter supporters as Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton have given hundreds of thousands of dollars to a PAC seeking to unseat several Democratic legislators who’ve defended the role and budget of traditional public schools.
In future decades, historians will have to grapple with how charter schools became the cause celebre of centrist billionaires – from Walton to Bloomberg to Broad – in an age of plutocracy. The historians shouldn’t dismiss the good intentions behind the billionaires’ impulse: the desire to provide students growing up in poverty with the best education possible. But neither should they dismiss their self-exculpation in singling out the deficiencies, both real and exaggerated, of public education as the central reason for the evisceration of the middle class. 

If Wal-Mart, the corporation from which Walton derives her wealth, hadn’t compelled its suppliers to make their products abroad to reduce the price of their goods, more public school students’ parents might have the kind of stable employment and adequate incomes that foster learning-friendly upbringings. Despite the fact that our traditional ladders of mobility – decent blue-collar and service sector jobs, unions, cross-class marriages – have largely collapsed, seemingly sentient billionaires insist that teachers and their unions are the main obstacles blocking young people’s escape from poverty.
The poor, or their tribunes, don’t necessarily agree. In the past couple of weeks, both the Movement for Black Lives (50 organizations active in the Black Lives Matter movement) and the NAACP passed resolutions declaring that charter schools increase segregation and leave school districts with both fewer resources and a more challenging student body. While many in minority communities dispute these views, there’s clearly some real skepticism about the merits of charterizing education among the very people it purports to How the charter school lobby is changing the Democratic Party - LA Times:

Carl J. Petersen for LAUSD School Board 2017

Carl J. Petersen for LAUSD School Board 2017 (ID# 1384794):

Carl J. Petersen for LAUSD School Board 2017 

 “When we say $1.4 billion for special ed and we only have $700 million from the federal government and the other $700 million are coming from every child in this district, I’m not about defunding special ed. I just know that we have a serious issue to how can we serve our own kids?”

- M贸nica Garc铆a
Carl J. Petersen for LAUSD School Board, District 2 because:
All Kids Are Our Kids!
  • The LAUSD School Board needs a parent's perspective. None of the current Board members has a child enrolled in the district.
  • One size education does not fit all. The District must provide opportunities to all students, not just those who are college bound. We will fight to block the closure of special education centers and return funding to vocational education.Nicole_and_Carl.jpg
  • Eli Broad's plan to privatize education must be stopped. Unlike M贸nica Garc铆a's campaign, this campaign will not be funded by the charter industry. I will answer to the parents and students of the district, not corporate donors.
March 7, 2017

Paid for by Carl J. Petersen for LAUSD School Board 2017 (ID# 1384794)Carl J. Petersen for LAUSD School Board 2017 (ID# 1384794):

CURMUDGUCATION: Guest Post: Is Integration Too Much Bother?

CURMUDGUCATION: Guest Post: Is Integration Too Much Bother?:

Guest Post: Is Integration Too Much Bother?

Image result for big education ape resegregation of our schools

It's my pleasure to feature a guest post from Rita Rathbone, a teacher and blogger in NC. She writes regularly at Patiently Impatient.

The debate over charter schools has slowly spread into wider and wider circles of public discourse. In response to data supported concerns that charter schools are contributing to the resegregation of our schools, theNAACP and Black Lives Matter have expressed concerns. Some charter school advocates have taking an interesting stance in response. They propose that perhaps desegregating our schools is just too hard, too expensive, and too time consuming and simply shouldn’t be a goal or focus of education policy. A good example of this is a recent piece by Peter Cunningham. He leaves the reader with this question:

“So here's the question: Should America spend hundreds of billions more to reduce poverty and should we risk more bitter battles to reduce segregation, or should we just double down on our efforts to improve schools? The liberal in me says we should do both. The pragmatist in me wonders if we can.”

The shear absurdity of the question begs for a piece of satire along the lines of “A Modest Proposal.” This perplexing stance on desegregation, which seems to be held by a number of influential people in the world of education reform, isn’t really all that perplexing—it is the policy corner they have backed themselves into. This is exactly where the rabbit hole of uncritical support for school choice, accountability, and faith in “market forces” leads.


Lets start by addressing two important logical fallacies in this line of thinking. If desegregation is too complex and difficult of a problem for public schools to address, then so is the similarly vexing problem of poverty. If schools have no business solving segregation, then they have no business solving poverty. However, those who advocate education reform often espouse that very idea—that education is the solution poverty. So it is our job as educators to end poverty, but when it comes to segregation, we must throw our hands up in despair because there is nothing to be done. Or just focus on instruction as if poverty and segregation have no impact on CURMUDGUCATION: Guest Post: Is Integration Too Much Bother?:

 Image result for big education ape resegregation of our schools

Boston Globe: FOR Charters, AGAINST Teachers’ Union | Diane Ravitch's blog

Boston Globe: FOR Charters, AGAINST Teachers’ Union | Diane Ravitch's blog:

Boston Globe: FOR Charters, AGAINST Teachers’ Union

The Boston Globe used to be a liberal newspaper. But that was long ago. Now it opposes the teachers’ unions and it supports privatization of public education.
Massachusetts is the highest performing state in the nation, as judged by test scores; you would never know that if the Globe was your only source of information. Corporate reformers were audacious in choosing Massachusetts as their next big battleground to save poor kids from failing schools. Their ambition–to break public education–is outrageous in the nation’s top-performing state. Their promises ring hollow.
Our reader Christine Langhoff gives us an update on the escalation of hostilities as the air war for public opinion heats up.
She writes:
The Question 2 campaign continues to, as we say, “evolve”.
On Sunday, The Boston Globe published an advertorial scolding the Boston Teachers Union that it had better settle contract negotiations pretty quickly because “such changes are necessary to boost the quality of teaching and learning so the school system can compete more aggressively with independently run charter schools, a sector of public education that could grow dramatically in the coming years.”
The “research” comes from the Boston Municipal Research Bureau, whose President Sam Tyler, of course lives in the suburbs. Among the recommendations:
“Supporting and improving teacher quality and adding more time for learning in the BPS should be the mutual objectives of the City and BTU in these negotiations. To that end, the final three-year contract should include the following provisions:
*Teacher Compensation – Adopt a new fiscally responsible teacher compensation system that rewards teachers for performance and additional responsibilities rather than for academic credits and longevity.
* Mutual consent – Reinforce early hiring and mutual consent for teachers and extend mutual consent as the process for hiring paraprofessionals.
* SPC Teachers – Improve procedures for the assignment and evaluation of teachers in suitable professional capacity (SPC) positions in order to improve teacher quality and reduce the number of SPC teachers not hired after a year or who do not apply for positions.
* Teacher Evaluation – Improve the teacher evaluation process based on the BPS’ experience over the last three years.
* Excessing Procedures – Include language for excessing teachers that is consistent with retaining top quality teachers irrespective of seniority.
* Extended Time – Provide more time on learning for students in traditional Boston schools in a fiscally responsible and sustainable manner.”
In other words, credentialed, certified teachers, many with decades of Boston Globe: FOR Charters, AGAINST Teachers’ Union | Diane Ravitch's blog: