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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

CURMUDGUCATION: LAUSD: More Cyber-shenanigans

CURMUDGUCATION: LAUSD: More Cyber-shenanigans:

LAUSD: More Cyber-shenanigans

Karen Wolfe has continued to pay attention to what Los Angeles schools are up to, a necessary activity as LAUSD is under constant siege by folks who would like to see it dismantled and the parts used to feed the LA charter industry. The extra challenge is that many of those folks are working form inside the district itself.

Another batch of consultants heading for an LAUSD board meeting.

Witness the latest growing mess that Wolfe and others have brought into the light with a series of posts. I'm going to give you the bold strokes, but I strongly recommend that you read about this issue herehere, and here.

LAUSD has some previous experience with tech-driven fiascos. There was the ipad disaster, in which a reality-impaired faith in tech power was yoked to some insider dealing ending up in the waste of huge mounds of taxpayer money. And its district-wide student information system (MiSiS) which turned out to have no actual capabilities other than making vendors rich. People love to sell big expensive computer-driven tech systems to LAUSD because-- well, that's a customer with a lot of money.

So here's LAUSD's latest tech initiative:

Some of these seem innocuous enough. Money for phone and connectedness upgrade? Sure.Enterprise reporting-- wait? LAUSD needs to spend $8 million on a system to get reports out of data systems they already have? What the hell kind of data systems do they use that don't actually generate reports?

Learning management system? Okay, all the kids are getting these nowadays, and none of them are great, but they are largely a fact of life. Except that this one (Schoology) is touted as being a huge success in Uruguay. Fun fact: Fred Baxter was once the ambassador to Uruguay, but he was also an international investment banker before ending up on the board of Alliance, a charter chain in LA (the one fighting against unionization by teachers with the help of millions in dark moneydonations). Baxter also has had a Family Foundation that is right in there with the Broad Foundation, helping seed the ground for charters in LA through moves like paying for education coverage in the LA Times.Okay, we may be playing a little too much connect-the-dots, but in LA, as with many other hotbeds of charter-choice promotion, it's hard not to feel that there are well-moneyed wheels within other well-connected wheels. And we should note, not for the 
CURMUDGUCATION: LAUSD: More Cyber-shenanigans:

Teachers seek to form union at California charter school chaired by Michelle Rhee - The Washington Post

Teachers seek to form union at California charter school chaired by Michelle Rhee - The Washington Post:

Teachers seek to form union at California charter school chaired by Michelle Rhee

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Michelle Rhee, the former chancellor of D.C. public schools, made a name for herself as one of the nation’s chief critics of teachers unions and a prominent evangelist for charter schools, which are for the most part union-free. Now, Rhee leads a small network of California charter schools — and its teachers are seeking to form a union.
A majority of teachers at Sacramento’s St. Hope Public Schools — founded nearly 15 years ago by Rhee’s husband, former NBA star and Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson — have signed a petition asking to join the Sacramento City Teachers Association, according to the association’s John Borsos. The Sacramento local is affiliated with the powerful California Teachers Association (CTA) and the National Education Association, the nation’s largest labor union.
Kingsley Melton, a government teacher at St. Hope’s Sacramento Charter High School, said that he and his colleagues are concerned about what he described as unsustainably high teacher turnover. As much as 40 percent of teachers leave and must be replaced each year, according to Melton, who partly blamed the uncertainty of year-to-year contracts and compensation that can fluctuate unpredictably from one year to the next. The Washington Post could not independently confirm the turnover rate.
“We’re all at-will employees, we have no rights, and our payment swings by $10,000 based on the observations of one often overworked and inconsistent principal,” Melton said. “If you’re young and planning a family, it’s very difficult to gain stability.”
Melton also said he and other teachers have not been able to get clear information about school budgets, and he hopes a contract will improve financial transparency.
In response to a request for comment on the teachers’ complaints and their petition to organize, St. Hope Public Schools released a statement: “The fact the CTA has brought outside media attention to this shows that their priority is on creating national political theatrics. While that’s unfortunate, the focus of St. HOPE Public Schools will remain on students and ensuring they get the education they deserve.”
Rhee, who has served as chair of the St. Hope board since 2014, did not respond to a separate request for comment. She previously founded and led StudentsFirst, an organization that gave her a national platform to advocate for the kinds of policies she pushed for in D.C. and that drew ire from unions, such as evaluating teachers in part based on test scores, firing teachers who perform poorly and giving financial bonuses to those who exceed expectations.
St. Hope is composed of several campuses that together employ roughly 100 teachers, according to the Sacramento union, and that serve more than 1,600 children in kindergarten through 12th grade. St. Hope focuses on preparing low-income and minority children for college.

Charter schools are publicly funded but privately run, and most employ non-unionized teachers. In 2012, 7 percent of charter schoolteachers nationwide Teachers seek to form union at California charter school chaired by Michelle Rhee - The Washington Post:
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Image result for big education ape rhee union

Teachers union opens a front on former Sacramento mayor's charter schools - LA Times

Teachers union opens a front on former Sacramento mayor's charter schools - LA Times:

Teachers union opens a front on former Sacramento mayor's charter schools
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eachers at a network of Sacramento charter schools founded by former Mayor Kevin Johnson are trying to unionize, citing growing discontent over the schools’ management and high staff turnover.
The four schools, which are operated by St. Hope Public Schools, are a desirable target for a union for political and strategic reasons. Although Johnson no longer oversees them, his wife, Michelle Rhee, is the chairwoman of the organization’s governing board. As the former schools chancellor in Washington, D.C., Rhee was one of the most public faces of a campaign to change how public schools are run and a favorite target of teachers unions.
On Tuesday, the Sacramento City Teachers Assn. announced that more than half of the teachers, psychologists and school counselors at St. Hope Public Schools had signed a petition asking to be represented by the union, an arm of the California Teachers Assn.
If their effort is successful, it could pose a challenge to the charter organization’s leadership. Charter schools, which are publicly funded but operate without many of the restrictions placed on traditional public schools, typically are nonunion.

It would also mean that a majority of the 15 charter schools operating within the Sacramento City Unified School District would be unionized, said John Borsos, executive director of the Sacramento City Teachers Assn.
Borsos said St. Hope teachers had periodically expressed interested in unionizing over the years, but a majority tilted in favor only in the last several months. He declined to say how many signatures the union had gathered.
“We expect we’ll inspire others to follow their lead,” he said, suggesting that staff at other charter schools might make similar attempts. “The more success we’ve had in being able to make improvements in other schools, the more likely educators who are similarly situated are going to see the benefits.”
Kingsley Melton, a teacher at Sacramento High School, which is part of the St. Hope network, said some teachers had decided to unionize after attempts to resolve disputes with the organization’s leadership failed. He said frequent turnover of teachers and administrators and a general “lack of transparency” had fueled the push.

“Our desks are old, we have to fight for resources for kids — and when we asked where the money’s going, we never get a full answer,” he said.
St. Hope officials did not respond to requests for comment. Chief of Schools Shannon Wheatley emailed staff this week to express his disappointment in what he called a “small group of employees who want to form a union.”
Wheatley told them he had worked for a traditional public school “that prioritized the needs of adults before those of children.”
“I came to St. Hope so that I didn’t have to deal with union politics and adult issues dominating the day,” he wrote.Teachers union opens a front on former Sacramento mayor's charter schools - LA Times:
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