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Friday, November 25, 2016

How Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos could gut public education.

How Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos could gut public education.:

How Trump Could Gut Public Education

He wants to redirect federal funds toward school vouchers—and his choice of education secretary shows he’s serious.

Image result for School-choice philanthropist Betsy DeVos
School-choice philanthropist Betsy DeVos is set to become Donald Trump’s secretary of education. The school choice movement that Trump has embraced is bipartisan; centrist Democrats and Republicans both tend to support public charter schools. But DeVos, a former chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party, represents the most conservative corner of the movement. She and her husband have funded a series of efforts to turn public school funding into vouchers for students to attend private schools. They have also fought to prevent charter schools, including for-profit charter schools, from being more tightly regulated.
The DeVos appointment signals that Trump is serious about the $20 billion school voucher plan he rolled out on the campaign trail. The proposal would redirect huge swaths of the federal education budget away from school districts and toward low-income parents, allowing them to spend a voucher at a public or private school of their choice, potentially including for-profit, virtual, and religious schools.
On the plus side, families like having choices. In cities with strong regulations on who can open a public charter school and how it operates, such as New York and Boston, school choice has driven achievement gains for kids. Some private school voucher programs have even produced mild reductions in the racial and socio-economic segregation of poor students of color. Still, the potential downsides are significant. Recent studies of voucher programs in Louisiana and Ohio found that students who use vouchers to attend a private school score, on average, lower on standardized tests than demographically similar students who do not use vouchers. In New Orleans, two years after winning a private school voucher, the average student had lost 13 points of learning in math. The reasons why point to the shortcomings of the Trump proposal. The modest size of the voucher, about $5,500 in Louisiana, was not large enough to persuade the most exclusive private schools to accept a more challenging student population. Many of the private schools that did accept vouchers had experienced previous enrollment declines, indicating they were unpopular with parents who could afford to pay tuition on their own.
Public school student achievement in New Orleans has improved in recent years, in part because of increased family choice among nonprofit charter schools. But according to Douglas Harris, an economist at Tulane University and director of the Education Research Alliance for New Orleans, “We’ve never seen an effect as negative as the private school voucher program.” Harris doesn’t expect this evidence to dissuade Team Trump. “Of all the ideas I’ve heard bandied about in various policy areas, this is the one most likely to happen. Trump is talking about it and clearly thinks it’s a good idea. Republicans love this. Most policy is going to be driven by Congress, probably even more so under Trump than any previous administration. This is what they want to do. The stars are aligned.”
Trump first rolled out the voucher plan out in early September, on the day he visited the Cleveland Arts and Social Sciences Academy, a for-profit charter school that received grades of D and F on a 2014–15 state report card, for failingHow Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos could gut public education.:

Group Funded By Trump's Education Secretary Pick: 'Bring Back Child Labor' | The Huffington Post

Group Funded By Trump's Education Secretary Pick: 'Bring Back Child Labor' | The Huffington Post:

Group Funded By Trump's Education Secretary Pick: 'Bring Back Child Labor' 

A think tank funded by Donald Trump’s Secretary of Education pick recently advocated for putting kids back in the workforce.
The Acton Institute, a conservative nonprofit that is said to have received thousands of dollars in donations from Betsy DeVos and her family, posted an essay to its blog this month that called child labor “a gift our kids can handle.”
“Let us not just teach our children to play hard and study well, shuffling them through a long line of hobbies and electives and educational activities,” said the post’s author, Joseph Sunde. “A long day’s work and a load of sweat have plenty to teach as well.” 
Child labor isn’t universally forbidden in the U.S.― actors and newspaper deliverers are two exceptions― but it is tightly regulated. 

Betsy DeVos-funded Acton Institute argues for abolition of child labor laws, says mining wld be "exciting life" for poor kids. Seriously.
DeVos was a member of Acton’s Board of Directors for 10 years and while it’s unclear how much influence she currently has on the organization, its homepage now prominently features a message congratulating DeVos on her nomination. 
The essay raises serious questions about the woman who would potentially be in charge of U.S. public schools. Education advocates have already expressed concern about DeVos’ history of supporting school voucher programs.
“In nominating DeVos, Trump makes it loud and clear that his education policy will focus on privatizing, defunding and destroying public education in America,” American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten said
“She has lobbied for failed schemes, like vouchers — which take away funding and local control from our public schools — to fund private schools at taxpayers’ expense,” the National Education Association said. “These schemes do nothing to help our most-vulnerable students while they ignore or exacerbate glaring opportunity gaps. She has consistently pushed a corporate agenda to privatize, de-professionalize and impose cookie-cutter solutions to public education.”
Trump’s team did not immediately return a request for comment.Group Funded By Trump's Education Secretary Pick: 'Bring Back Child Labor' | The Huffington Post:

Black Friday leftovers. | Fred Klonsky

Black Friday leftovers. | Fred Klonsky:

Black Friday leftovers.


Now that Betsy DeVos is set to be our next Secretary of Education, we have a few weeks to unpack some of her intriguing associations.
We already know the basics– DeVos is a rich patron of the GOP establishment, DeVos wants vouchers very badly, and DeVos wants tax dollars to flow freely to white Christian schools. If you want to now what DeVos policies look like in practice, simply look at Detroit, where she has largely gotten her way.
DeVos money is used to support many organizations, some of which are already well-known, but some of which, like the Acton Institute, are not so familiar. But a look at the Acton Institute gives us a good look inside the DeVos mindset. Curmudgucation
(Trump) also complained about photos of himself that NBC used that he found unflattering, the source said.
Trump turned to NBC News President Deborah Turness at one point, the source said, and told her the network won’t run a nice picture of him, instead choosing “this picture of me,” as he made a face with a double chin. Turness replied that they had a “very nice” Black Friday leftovers. | Fred Klonsky:

Thunderclap: #NotMySOE - Badass Teachers Asso

Thunderclap: #NotMySOE:


by Badass Teachers Asso 


Donald Trump has chosen a true enemy to public education to head the USDOE.  We are asking all teachers, parents, and supporters of public education to call your federal lawmakers NOW and tell them to say NO to Betsy DeVos.  The children of this nation deserve someone who is an advocate for public education not an advocate for privatization.  
Here is the list of numbers and emails for federal lawmakers.  Commit to calling them this week http://https// 
Here are some links about DeVos; Please share them and fight her appointment.  



Thunderclap: #NotMySOE:

CURMUDGUCATION: FL: Another Charter Fiasco

CURMUDGUCATION: FL: Another Charter Fiasco:

FL: Another Charter Fiasco

Folks will be looking at Michigan (particularly Detroit) for the immediate future, as it's the state where Education Secretary-in-Waiting Betsy DeVos has purchased the power to implement many of her beloved education reforms, in particular, the unfettered proliferation of charter schools accompanied by little or no oversight. But it's not the only place where DeVos has helped spread the charter love-- as a friend of Jeb Bush and his Foundation for Excellence in Education, she also had a hand in turning Florida into the mighty education trash fire that it is today.

Let's look at just one example of what you get when you let any shmoe open a charter school and nobody ever tells him, "Hey, you can't do that!"

Let's travel to the Eagle Arts Academy in sunny Palm Beach.

Male model Gregory James Blount

To talk about Eagle Arts Academy, we have to talk about Gregory James Blount, because Eagle Arts Academy is his show, top to bottom. Greg (that is apparently what he goes by-- I may have corresponded with some folks on the scene) became an Eagle Scout in 1987, which is apparently the source of the charter school's name. Blount graduated from the University of South Carolina-Columbia in 1991 with a Bachelor of Applied Media Science, Film Production / Fashion Photography.

He then moved to New York City to begin a modeling career, signed to the "then-famous" (actually, it looks like they were the ten-years-earlier-famous) agency ZOLI. After a few years of that he went to work for the Peter Glenn Publishing company, and then bought company. He later branched out into becoming an independent producer and a motivational speaker-- that was right after he declared personal bankruptcy in 2010.

Clearly the next move was to open a charter school.

Though his LinkedIN account lists his founder/executive director credit for Eagle Arts as starting in April of 2011 (the same month he launched his motivational speaker career), the school didn't open until the fall of 2014. And Blount immediately ran into all sorts of trouble.

Andrew Marra of the Palm Beach Post has been covering this story like a boss, and the story is loaded with special Only In Florida flavor. Blount had managed to pull off two of the more common 
CURMUDGUCATION: FL: Another Charter Fiasco:

How Trump’s education secretary pick showered lawmakers with cash to kill charter school oversight

How Trump’s education secretary pick showered lawmakers with cash to kill charter school oversight:

How Trump’s education secretary pick showered lawmakers with cash to kill charter school oversight

Betsy DeVos, whom President-elect Donald Trump has tapped as his future education secretary, is sure to be highly controversial with public schools advocates — and not just because she’s been a longtime advocate of charter schools.
As Stephen Henderson of the Detroit Free Press explains, DeVos has worked to make sure that charter schools in Michigan aren’t held to any real standards, thus giving grifters and scam artists free rein to rip off unsuspecting parents.
According to Henderson, the laws and regulations surrounding charter schools in Michigan are incredibly lax, and they allow just about anyone to set up a school and run it as they see fit.
“If I wanted to start a school next year, all I’d need to do is get the money, draw up a plan and meet a few perfunctory requirements,” he explains. “I’d then be allowed to operate that school, at a profit if I liked, without, practically speaking, any accountability for results. As long as I met the minimal state code and inspection requirements, I could run an awful school, no better than the public alternatives, almost indefinitely.”
The Michigan state legislature had geared up to finally subject these schools to the same level of oversight that applies to public schools. However, the proposed standards were quickly gutted after the DeVos family rushed in to shower Republican lawmakers with campaign cash.
Henderson has found that five days after the charter school oversight provisions died, “several members of the DeVos family made the maximum allowable contributions to the Michigan Republican Party, a total of roughly $180,000” and then “the next day, DeVos family members made another $475,000 in contributions to the party.”
And that was just the start — in total, Henderson says that the DeVos family went on a donations binge that eventually grew to $1.45 million to different GOP candidates through this past July.
How Trump’s education secretary pick showered lawmakers with cash to kill charter school oversight:

Federal officials audit California’s rising high school graduation rates | 89.3 KPCC

Federal officials audit California’s rising high school graduation rates | 89.3 KPCC:

Federal officials audit California’s rising high school graduation rates

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The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) is probing the calculation and reporting of graduation rates by California education officials.
The office revealed the audit in a report outlining the OIG’s forthcoming work in the 2017 fiscal year.
The report said the office is looking into whether state education officials “have implemented systems of internal control over calculating and reporting graduation rates that are sufficient to ensure that reported graduation rates are accurate and reliable. We are continuing our work at the Alabama State Department of Education and the California State Department of Education.”
News of the audit was first reported by Education Week.
High school graduation rates in California hit 82 percent for the 2014-15 school year, the latest figures available. Nationwide, 83 percent of students reached high school graduation.
California’s rate rose five percentage points over four years, while the U.S. rate rose four percentage points over the same time.
The California Department of Education said the higher graduation rate was the result of increased state spending on schools and the creation of more engaging classes in science, civics, arts, and career technical education.
State officials would not give details of the federal audit.
“We welcome the interest of the Office of the Inspector General into California’s high school graduation rates, which have increased for six consecutive years to a record high,” said department spokesperson Peter Tira in an email.
A spokeswoman for the OIG said the office would not talk about the audit to protect the integrity of the investigation.
The audit comes after previous investigations found problems with states’ reporting of graduation rates, including over-counting of graduates and using reporting methods that didn’t meet federal guidelines.
“I can see why they’d want to investigate the biggest state in the country [to see] if these rates are real and if there’s anything that could be contributing to their rise other than real improvement,” said University of California, Santa Barbara Professor of Education Russell Rumberger.
Few in California know about and scrutinize the state’s graduation and drop-out rates as much as Rumberger.
But Rumberger also said he's puzzled by the audit.
“I know of nothing specific going on and I’ve looked at the data pretty carefully," Rumberger said. "Other than a few districts here and there that had some kind of dramatic changes, I don’t think the increases seem out of line."
One practice that could have generated the scrutiny, he said, is school districts’ use of credit recovery programs that allow students to make up, in an accelerated way, classes they’ve failed. That’s helped some school districts quickly raise their graduation rates and contributed slightly to the state increase, he said.
Rumberger believes that in some cases the quality of credit recovery classes is not as good as the quality of the traditional classes.
However, the focus on how many students graduate, Rumberger said, misses an important part of students’ educational experience that graduation rates don’t capture: the quality of education.
“It’s a pretty low bar because it doesn’t tell you what their grades are and it doesn’t tell you what the content is,” he said.
He’d like to see California issue a separate diploma for students who graduate with a more rigorous set of classes under their belt.
California schools do issue a Golden State Seal for students who’ve earned As and Bs in academic subjects and have scored well in standardized tests in those subjects.Federal officials audit California’s rising high school graduation rates | 89.3 KPCC:

After Two Decades, California Restores Bilingual Education : NPR Ed : NPR

After Two Decades, California Restores Bilingual Education : NPR Ed : NPR:

Bilingual Education Returns To California. Now What?

Language barriers

Voters in California officially ended the era of English-only instruction in public schools and lifted restrictions on bilingual education that had been in place for 18 years. Proposition 58 passed by a 73-27 percent margin. What happens next though, could get complicated.
Classrooms won't change this school year because the measure doesn't kick in until July 2017. Until then, state and school district officials need to figure out three big things:
1. How many schools will actually begin to offer bilingual or dual language instruction?
State Senator Ricardo Lara, a Democrat from the Los Angeles area and the main sponsor of Proposition 58, says the new law does not mandate bilingual education.
Katie Falkenberg/LA Times via Getty Images
2. Will it cost more for schools to have this offering?
3. Where will schools find the bilingual teachers they need?
This third question is perhaps the most important question. A teacher shortage is a very real possibility because during the 18 year restrictions on bilingual education, most certified bilingual teachers left the state.

State senator Ricardo Lara, a Democrat from the Los Angeles area and the main sponsor of Proposition 58, says the new law does not mandate bilingual education. So it is way too early to know how many schools will offer new programs or how many certified bilingual teachers will be needed.
English-only programs will continue to be an alternative pathway for English language learners to become proficient in English.
But it'll be up to school districts to decide locally whether they want to offer bilingual education or not, based on parents' demand for it. Under the new measure, if at least 20-30 parents want bilingual instruction for their children, their school will have to provide it. Even if only a few parents want it — less than 20 — that could put pressure on schools to make and force school district officials to intervene and come up with an accommodation.
The main change under Proposition 58 is that parents no longer have to sign a waiver in order to enroll their children in a dual language or bilingual classroom. Under English-only policies, teachers were prohibited from making any recommendation on bilingual education, so that could change too.
Overall, it'll be easier now for the California's 1.4 million English language learners — about a fifth of the states' total student enrollment — to enroll in bilingual classes in which kids are taught in their native language and gradually make the transition to English. They would also have the option of enrolling in dual-language programs in which students are taught all their courses in two languages at the same time.
The demand for dual language immersion programs has in fact seen a dramatic increase in California in the last few years, especially among affluent Anglo parents who see bilingualism as academic enrichment.
As for the cost, sponsors of Proposition 58 say that based on their financial analysis, restoring bilingual ed won't cost the state more money. Instead, local districts will have full discretion to shift the money they already have to pay for new programs.
Finally, let's not forget that California has been under lots of scrutiny because of its shortcomings in educating ELLs under English-only policies. In 2015 the U.S. Justice Department found that California had failed to address the high failure rates of tens of thousands of ELLs. As a result, state education officials agreed to new training and monitoring procedures to ensure that districts provide the necessary services and interventions required under the federal Equal Educational Opportunities Act.
To that end, bilingual education and dual language instruction will now become part of the mix of instructional options educators will have to appease parents and improve the quality of instruction ELLs receive on their way to English proficiency.After Two Decades, California Restores Bilingual Education : NPR Ed : NPR:

Mother Crusader: Betsy DeVos: Conflict of Interest Concerns Arise on Future Secretary's Twitter Account

Mother Crusader: Betsy DeVos: Conflict of Interest Concerns Arise on Future Secretary's Twitter Account:

Betsy DeVos: Conflict of Interest Concerns Arise on Future Secretary's Twitter Account

So it's done.

"Betsy DeVos is a brilliant and passionate education advocate,” Trump said in a statement. “Under her leadership we will reform the U.S. education system and break the bureaucracy that is holding our children back so that we can deliver world-class education and school choice to all families."
When I first heard the news I took to Twitter to check out her account. Here's the first thing I noticed. 

I am honored to work with the President-elect on his vision to make American education great again. The status quo in ed is not acceptable.

Let's play a little game for a moment to try and lighten the mood. Did you catch the missing word in that tweet? The missing word is public. Our new Secretary of Education can't bring herself to utter the word public in the same sentence as education while announcing that she will soon oversee the education of 50 million American students in public schools.

Here's what I noticed next. Her header photo.

At  first glance this just looks like a lovely photo of DeVos in conversation with a student. But huh, isn't it a little odd that there is a carton in front of each of them? And not just any carton, a carton of water. That's not something you see everyday.

It looks like a product placement, doesn't it? But nah, she's savvy enough to keep any products her family business may be associated with far away from the Twitter account where she's tweeting about her appointment, right? She can't be involved in that company, that would look like a conflict of interest! 

So let's just get on with our story.

DeVos is from Michigan. Betsy and her husband, Dick, have funded countless Republican candidates in Michigan, going back to the 1990s.

Nowhere has the family made its presence felt as it has in Michigan, where it has given more than $44 million to the state party, GOP legislative committees, and Republican candidates since 1997. "It's been a generational commitment," Anuzis notes. "I can't start to even think of who would've filled the void without the DeVoses there."
Governor Rick Snyder has been the recipient of the DeVos family's largesse.

Employees of Blue Cross/Blue Shield are the biggest funding source for the governor so far, having donated $112,131. Fifteen members of the DeVos family have contributed $85,600. They are followed by employees of CMS Energy, $82,975, and DTE Energy, $75,800.
The DeVos family uses their money and influence for any number of vile endeavors; vouchersright-to-work lawsanti-gay marriage efforts, etc. But school choice is Betsy Devos' bread and butter.

But they are perhaps most ardent about their support for Mother Crusader: Betsy DeVos: Conflict of Interest Concerns Arise on Future Secretary's Twitter Account:

Never Thought I Would See This in My Lifetime: Fascism in America | Diane Ravitch's blog

Never Thought I Would See This in My Lifetime: Fascism in America | Diane Ravitch's blog:

Never Thought I Would See This in My Lifetime: Fascism in America 

Image result for Fascism in America

The New York Times depicted an extraordinary spectacle: the gathering of a group of people wearing swastikas and giving the Nazi salute, convening in a federal office building to celebrate the election of the new President.
They call themselves the “alt-right.” But when people give the “sieg heil” salute, when they babble about the racial inferiority of nonwhites,  when they use German expressions, they are neo-Nazis at best.
Their leader, Richard B. Spencer, spoke in familiar terms:
But now his tone changed as he began to tell the audience of more than 200 people, mostly young men, what they had been waiting to hear. He railed against Jews and, with a smile, quoted Nazi propaganda in the original German. America, he said, belonged to white people, whom he called the “children of the sun,” a race of conquerors and creators who had been marginalized but now, in the era of President-elect Donald J. Trump, were “awakening to their own identity.”
As he finished, several audience members had their arms outstretched in a Nazi salute. Mr. Spencer called out: “Hail Trump! Hail our people!” and then, “Hail victory!” — the English translation of the Nazi exhortation “Sieg Heil!” The room shouted back…
Mr. Spencer’s after-dinner speech began with a polemic against the “mainstream media,” before he briefly paused. “Perhaps we should refer to them in the original German?” he said.
The audience immediately screamed back, “Lügenpresse,” reviving a Nazi-era word that means “lying press….”
“America was, until this last generation, a white country designed for ourselves and our posterity,” Mr. Spencer thundered. “It is our creation, it is our inheritance, and it belongs to us.”
But the white race, he added, is “a race that travels forever on an upward path.”
“To be white is to be a creator, an explorer, a conqueror,” he said.
More members of the audience were on their feet as Mr. Spencer described the choice facing white people as to “conquer or die.”
Of other races, Mr. Spencer said: “We don’t exploit other groups, we don’t gain anything from their presence. They need us, and not the other way around.”
This is America. There is free speech for all, even for the speech we deplore. But let’s get the terminology right. “Alt-right” is a weasel word. Just call them fascists.Never Thought I Would See This in My Lifetime: Fascism in America | Diane Ravitch's blog: