Monday, December 31, 2018

L.A. school district hires hundreds of substitutes(scabs) to prepare for major teachers strike - The Washington Post

L.A. school district hires hundreds of substitutes to prepare for major teachers strike - The Washington Post

L.A. school district hires hundreds of substitutes to prepare for major teachers strike

With teachers vowing to strike on Jan. 10 if a new contract is not reached with the Los Angeles Unified School District, officials are taking steps to keep schools open, including hiring hundreds of nonunion substitute teachers to fill in for educators walking picket lines.
Superintendent Austin Beutner, a former investment banker, said the district, which is the country’s second largest, with more than 640,000 students, was hiring about 400 substitutes to keep schools open. The Los Angeles Daily News quoted him as saying:
“We have hired substitutes, we have made plans as to alternate curriculums for days that there is a strike but our goal is to make sure  schools are safe and open so kids continue to learn. My concern first and foremost is the safety and well being of  our students.”
United Teachers Los Angeles, the union representing some 34,000 educators (including substitutes) in the district, bashed the move, releasing a statement that says in part:
It is outrageously irresponsible for Supt. Austin Beutner to force this strike when the district holds $1.9 billion in reserves and it is even more irresponsible to think that 400 substitutes can educate more than 600,000 students.  We believe that it is illegal for the district to hire people outside our bargaining unit to teach in LAUSD classrooms.
The district and the union have been negotiating for a new contract for more than 1½ years. UTLA has accused the district of claiming to have fewer resources than it really has and is demanding, among other things, a 6.5 percent pay raise; more money for schools; a boost in the number of counselors, nurses, social workers and librarians; a reduction in standardized testing; and an expansion of community schools. Beutner’s administration says the district cannot afford many of the concessions and warns that the district could be insolvent in a few years.
A fact-finding panel tasked with trying to find a resolution to the contract impasse agreed with both sides on some points, saying that teachers do deserve a raise but that the district can afford only the 6 percent being offered. A report, written by the one neutral member of the panel (the other two represented the union and the district), said that the district should dip into its reserves to cut class size and hire more nurses, counselors and other needed staff.
The union is calling for a cap on charter schools, which are publicly funded but privately operated, but a CONTINUE READING: L.A. school district hires hundreds of substitutes to prepare for major teachers strike - The Washington Post

Is Sarah Huckabee Sanders Looking for Her Own “Rebrand” (aka WH Exit)? | deutsch29

Is Sarah Huckabee Sanders Looking for Her Own “Rebrand” (aka WH Exit)? | deutsch29

Is Sarah Huckabee Sanders Looking for Her Own “Rebrand” (aka WH Exit)?

Heads up: It’s political!

It’s New Years Eve, and here I am, thinking about Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
Sanders is the daughter of former Arkansas governor, Mike Huckabee, who in 2014 called for states to “rebrand” Common Core in order to sell it to the public. (Once he was running for president and Common Core support clearly threatened his political aspirations, in 2015, Huckabee circulated a petition to “kill” Common Core.)
It seems that daughter Sarah is hoping to do some rebranding– to her career. However, like her father’s attempt to repackage Common Core, that might be easier said than done.
According to Raw Story, it seems that Sanders wants to leave her position as White House press secretary but cannot find another job.
Furthermore, Sanders’ colleague, deputy press sec Raj Shah, has allegedly secured a position with newly-installed Supreme Court justice, Brett Kavanaugh, Inquisitr reports.
In his role as Sanders’ sidekick, Shah has been less visible (and less controversial in his statements, one might argue), and this limited visibility is likely to Shah’s advantage.
Sanders, however, has melded her career (how long this melding will last in the public memory, one can only guess) with the incredible, controversial mess that is the Trump White House. Arguably, anyone hiring Sanders drags that mess into their venue because her very public persona as Trump Defender Number One cannot simply be shaken off with a mere change of venue.
Hints of a Sanders-Shah White House exit first appeared in this June 14, 2018, CBS exclusive:
Press secretary Sarah Sanders and principal deputy press secretary Raj CONTINUE READING: 
Is Sarah Huckabee Sanders Looking for Her Own “Rebrand” (aka WH Exit)? | deutsch29

California Attorney General Calls for More Charter School Transparency | KQED News

California Attorney General Calls for More Charter School Transparency | KQED News

California Attorney General Calls for More Charter School Transparency

A legal opinion from the office of the California Attorney General saying the state’s charter schools should be subject to the same transparency laws as regular public schools is getting a mixed response.
Attorney General Xavier Becerra's non-binding legal opinion finds that California charter schools should have open meetings and make their financials available to public scrutiny.
"It's likely to be persuasive to some of the legislators who will be considering potential legislation on issues of conflict of interest and transparency around charter school governance," said California School Boards Associationspokesman Troy Flint. "A mantra of the charter school movement is that charter schools are public schools. And if that's the case, then they should be subject to the same laws."
In a statement, Brittany Chord Parmley, spokesperson for the California Charter Schools Association, said the vast majority of charter schools in California already comply with these laws.
"The California Charter Schools Association has supported charter schools operating in transparent manner consistent with these laws and has been actively engaged in legislative discussions over these issues," Parmley said. "However, we are concerned that a wholesale application of these laws to charter CONTINUE READING: California Attorney General Calls for More Charter School Transparency | KQED News

NYC Public School Parents: How corporate reformers have become embedded in the Office of District Planning

NYC Public School Parents: How corporate reformers have become embedded in the Office of District Planning

How corporate reformers have become embedded in the Office of District Planning

Recently Stacie Johnson, a sharp-eyed NYC parent, pointed out to me in an email how the DOE Office of District Planning (originally the Office of Portfolio Planning) is populated by many administrators who were formerly associated with charter schools.  She wrote:
I was planning to reach out to someone about enrollment at my daughter's school and came across the name of a few people in DOE's strategic planning department and noticed a trend. It seems like the people who are in charge of planning, at least in my area, are all coming from a Teach for America and/or Charter School background. I've read about how the TFA and their affiliate Leaders for Educational Equity (LEE) are working to infiltrate their members into elected and policy positions, but I didn't realize this was so pervasive in Brooklyn. Is this news to you?
I hadn’t noticed this but decided to look into it.
District Planning was originally called the Office of Portfolio Planning under Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein, and was headed at various times by officials who, after a short stint of teaching,  jumped onto the fast track towards power and influence.  Two former heads of Portfolio Planning were John White (now State Superintendent of Louisiana) and Marc Sternberg (now head of Education for the Walton Family Foundation.)  Their main qualifications for this job seemed to be able to portray no emotion during contentious and emotional public hearings, when teachers, students and parents begged them not to close their schools or force them into smaller spaces because of co-locations.
The office was created to pursue the portfolio model  of school improvement, first developed by Paul Hill of the Gates-funded Center for Reinventing Public Education.  It is based on the notion that parents should be given a wide “choice” of different types of schools, including charters and district public schools.  The district will then decide which schools should be closed depending on their test scores, parent demand,  or enrollment, with other schools created to take their place, many of them privately-run charter schools, in a process of continual change  and disruption, like the buying and selling stocks in an investment portfolio.   
There is much controversy as to this strategy’s effectiveness and rationale, as can be seen in a recent debate between Linda Darling-Hammond  of the Learning Policy Institute and Diane Ravitch and Carol Burris of the Network for Public Education.
After Bill de Blasio was elected Mayor, and Carmen Farina appointed Chancellor, they changed the name of the office to District Planning, presumably because de Blasio had CONTINUE READING: NYC Public School Parents: How corporate reformers have become embedded in the Office of District Planning

Network For Public Education - The goal of NPE is to connect all those who are passionate about our schools – students, parents, teachers and citizens. We share information and research on vital issues that concern the future of public education at a time when it is under attack. : Network For Public Education -

Nineteen For 2019: Choose This, NOT That, to Save Public Education in the New Year!

Nineteen For 2019: Choose This, NOT That, to Save Public Education in the New Year!

Nineteen For 2019: Choose This, NOT That, to Save Public Education in the New Year!

1.  Kindergarten NOT The New First Grade
Kindergartners should be treated like the four and five-year-old students that they are and not pushed to be first graders. The activities and instruction for this age group are well established.
Real educators should take charge and ensure that there’s much free play and age appropriate activities.
2.  School Systems NOT “Portfolio of Schools”
For years, corporate reformers have unfairly claimed that school systems fail. They want privatization through a portfolio of schools involving charters, private schools and choice. This will end public education.
We need efficient school systems for traditional public schools only, that serve all children.
Taxpayers don’t need to fund unproven portfolio schools they don’t own or control.
3.  School Boards NOT Privatization Partners CONTINUE READING: Nineteen For 2019: Choose This, NOT That, to Save Public Education in the New Year!

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Arbitrary Marker Of Time's Inexorable Passage Edition (12/30)

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Arbitrary Marker Of Time's Inexorable Passage Edition (12/30)

ICYMI: Arbitrary Marker Of Time's Inexorable Passage Edition (12/30)

Yeah, I'm not big on the whole New Year celebratory thing. I will occasionally give in to the urge to do an end-of-year/beginning-of-year style post, but sometimes I think it's just as well to keep on keeping on. So here's this week's batch of worth-your-while readings.

Beware Silcon Valley Santas in the School

Michelle Malkin and I share little in the way of either style or beliefs, but if you want to see how the same hard-right folks who hated Common Core are now coming out swinging against Personalized [sic] Learning, here you go.

Charter School Cash Spent in Connecticut Elections

Man, democracy is just so inconvenient. Hence the periodic attempts to smother it under piles of money, like the last election cycle in Connecticut. Here's who came to play.

12 Educational Headlines You Probably Won't See in 2019

Short, but cute.

Homework App Worth Three Billion

If you want to see what education looks like when it's been stripped of all actual education and reduced to simply the appearance of education, the Chinese are the folks to follow.

 The Waltons and Their Charter-Choice “Inroads”: Making Strategic Purchases 

Oh, those wacky Waltons.


Mary Holden left the classroom, and then she came back. Here's a lovely seasonal piece about what she's grateful for.

About That Nephrologist On DeSantis Transition Team

You may remember that we looked at Florida's governor-elect and his transition team for the dismantling of public education. A couple of those names were mysterious, but here's one figured out.

Asking If Early Childhood Education Is Worth It Is The Wrong Question

This is a ball I refuse to take my eye off of.

Arne Duncan Still Pushing Privatization

Nancy Bailey takes a look at Duncan's most recent attempt to push the same old baloney.  

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Arbitrary Marker Of Time's Inexorable Passage Edition (12/30)


A Call for Hong Kong Reform

Philip Yeung was educated at Oxford and the University of Toronto, but he has made his living in China. He's been an academic consultant, a senior communications manager, and currently is with English for Emergencies (my new favorite company name) where he does ghostwriting . He's also an opinion writer for the South China Morning Post , which is where we find him today . Here's a message for eve
Elon Musk's Special School

There may be few Very Rich Guys who can top Elon Musk for confidence that is boundless and groundless , so it should come as no surprise that Musk started a school. Unlike other wealthy meddlers in the education world (and, that matter, unklike Musk when it comes to other enterprises), Musk has kept the not-for-profit school, created in 2014, mostly under wraps. That's because his goal has not bee
ICYMI: Arbitrary Marker Of Time's Inexorable Passage Edition (12/30)

Yeah, I'm not big on the whole New Year celebratory thing. I will occasionally give in to the urge to do an end-of-year/beginning-of-year style post, but sometimes I think it's just as well to keep on keeping on. So here's this week's batch of worth-your-while readings. Beware Silcon Valley Santas in the School Michelle Malkin and I share little in the way of either style or beliefs, but if you wa

DEC 28

Why Teachers Don't Use The Software Their Districts Paid For

Ryan Baker (University of Pennsylvania's Center for Learning Analytics) unleashed a small surprise last month with a report indicating that the vast amount of software licenses purchased by school districts are simply never used . There are points on which we might quibble, including the smallish sample size of districts (48) and the very small sample size of data management companies (1). But th
Defining Reformy Terms Is Everything

EdChoice has released their annual report about education , with a particular focus on reformy stuff. It's a survey of teachers, parents and the general public, and a look at attitudes and beliefs about many aspects of education. I've read it, but this time I am not going to run through the whole thing for you, because I want to focus on the power of definitions in framing these kind of discussion

DEC 27

AZ: Proposed Teacher Gag Law Part of National Push

The proposed teacher gag law in Arizona may look like a piece of small time revenge legislation, but it is actually part of a larger movement to silence teachers in and out of the classroom. When Arizona teachers walked out on strike, it led to a legislative move to increase education funding by $400 million. But it also led to an expectation that some legislators would seek some vengeance on the

DEC 26

PA: State High Court Will Hear Anti-School Tax Lawsuit

Can a court overrule an elected school board when it comes to taxation? The Pennsylvania State Supreme Court is one step closer to deciding just that in a lawsuit that has been kicking around for a couple of years now. I wrote about this case in some depth back in 2016, and I'm going to quote liberally from myself. Fun fact: One of Lower Merion's most famous alumni The short version of the story
Will Education Suffer (Again) In 2020

I have about as much desire to start working on the 2020 Presidential election as I have to jab pointy sticks covered with habanera sauce into my soft fleshy parts. But I am beginning to suspect that we have little choice. You can see the problem by looking at the early "favorites" for the Dems. Consider, for instance, Cory Booker. Booker is charismatic and s already working on his ground game . A

DEC 25

For Your Christmas Listening Pleasure

It's family time here at the Curtmudgucation Institute, but for your holiday enjoyment, if you've had enough of the same old same old on the radio, here is a big mixed bag of holiday music for you.

DEC 23

ICYMI: The You're Probably Not Reading This Edition

Yes, we're right in the thick of it, so many of you are busy with a hundred things other than your usual internet diet of education goodies. But the world keeps spinning, so here are some pieces to look at while you're enjoying vacation. Can Charters Be Reformed? Should They Be? Carol Burris offers five reasons that charter schools cannot become a productive part of the education landscape. Pa Cha

DEC 22

8 Reasons Not To Love Personalized [sic] Learning

As we roll into 2019, it becomes increasingly clear that much of the education debate is going to center on Personalized [sic] Learning. I've poked at various parts of PsL at length, but I'm going to respond to someone who just wanted me to lay out the problems in a simple list. Challenge accepted. First a note on terminology. We're going to have to start distinguishing between Personalized [sic]

DEC 21

The 13th Clown and Best Classroom Practices

Many leading voices of the ed reformist movement have started calling for an emphasis shift from policy to practice. That makes a certain amount of sense; the last two decades provide plenty of evidence that policy can interfere with practice far better than aid it, and ultimately students are educated by classroom practices, not by policy. But when discussion among edupolicy wonks turns to the u

DEC 20

At The Risk Of Repeating Myself

It can be frustrating to repeat yourself. In a long-running debate such as the one surrounding education, it is easy to find yourself pushing out the same points again and again. Lately, I've heard several folks on the pro-public side (The Resistance, if you like) expressing their frustration (most notably the absolutely awesome Audrey Watters ). I get that. I've put up (checks notes) over 3100 po
Will Indiana Clean Up Its Cyber Charter Mess?

It has been over a year since Chalkbeat published a Shaina Cavazos story about virtual schools in Indiana., making clear what a huge mess it has on its hands. Now there's noise that next year the legislature might do something about it. Not counting on this guy. The state of cybers in Indiana should come as no surprise-- even CREDO, a charter-friendly organization, found that cyber schools are lit

DEC 19

OK: Another Rich Amateur Assault On Education.

Hechinger Report elevated my blood pressure with a story that is a near-perfect microcosm of the state of public education and, really, democracy in 2018. Looks like a fun guy. Paul Campbell is a successful business guy . He put in over a decade with Rolls-Royce in Indiana, rising to the level of VP of customer business. He put in a few yers with Capstone , a manufacturer of micro-turbines. Then h

DEC 18

PA: The Importance of District Wealth In One Chart

Pennsylvania is close to the bottom of the nation in state financial support for public education. For years, we've hovered around 35% of school funding coming from the state. That means that the effects of local wealth are heightened in the state. Rich districts can afford to pony up tax dollars to make up the difference, and poor districts struggle. In other states, state dollars might obscure t

DEC 17

PA: The Good News You May Have Missed

Pennsylvanians may remember our old buddy John Eichelberger, GOP State Senator from Blair County. He ran the Senate Education committee, and... well, he was not a friend of public education. Eichelberger was an upstart candidate, running against the GOP establishment and goosed along by the infamous late-night legislator pay raise. His attacks on teachers and public ed were many . He was the DeVos
How To Avert A Strike

It's an odd thing-- we almost always talk about teacher strikes as if they are a choice of teachers and their unions. Yet, the power to avert a strike lies on the other side of the table. Here's what management needs to understand. Teachers don't want to strike. No union committee sits down and says, "Well, the board is ready to talk to us with a batch of proposals to get this contract under way--

DEC 16

ICYMI: Sleeping In Edition (12/16)

Since you don't get the whole day to read through the list, I'll keep things relatively short. The Cautionary Tale of Correspondence Schools Some edu-history of an oft-forgotten chapter with interesting implications for modern reform ideas like personalized [sic] learning. A long read, but an fascinating one. Christmas Time: A Minefiield for Teachers Nancy Flanagan reminds us why the holiday seaso
A Book About Rural Ed: No Longer Forgotten

Andy Smarick and Mike McShane, they of the AEI-Bellwether-Fordham axis of reformerdom, have put together a book about "the triumphs and struggles of rural education in America," and I grabbed a copy because rural education A) is hardly ever part of the Education Debates and B) is mostly where I've spent the last fifty or so years, both as student and teacher. This collection of eight papers essays

DEC 14

In Praise of Inconsistency (TL;DR)

At my school, there was an academic question that would come up fairly regularly-- should all teachers use the same style guide for writing essays and papers? The argument in favor of consistency is that it's easier on the students. Not only that, but with only one set of rules to learn, they might actually learn how to use it properly. It would also create a sense of unity across the classes and

Has it been six years? It seems forever, and yet it seems yesterday. There will be many retro pieces today, looking at the events at Sandy Hook, the children, the families, the killer, the damaged whack jobs who have denied its existence, and of course many reflections about the turning point where we chose as a culture not to turn. I'll leave all of that to others. I just want to imagine. Imagin

DEC 12

Why What Works Doesn't Work

One of the dreams of reformerdom has been to identify classroom practices that are solid, successful, even foolproof, and to send them out into the world so that every teacher can use them in her own classroom. Students learn, angels sing, and education is one step closer to being neat, scientific and efficient, and one step further away from being a big higgledy piggledy mess. This may strike you
Chris Cerf: Who, Us?

After Robin Lake decided to reject the "reformy" mantle, Chris Perf has decided to add his two cents, but I'm not sure that his two cents is not overpriced. Cerf came up in the Klein-Bloomberrg overhaul of NYC pubic schools, by virtue of having taught at a private school for a year, then working as a lawyer in Joel Klein's law firm. The arrangement was a curious one-- his salary was paid not by th

DEC 11

FL: DeSantis Tabs Team To Crush Public Ed

It is always difficult to say just which state is the most hostile and inhospitable to public education, but no matter how you slice it, Florida is always working hard to stay at the top of the big, smelly heap . And the administration of Gov-elect Ron DeSantis is committed to finding ways to make Florida worse. The new public school cafeteria There's Jennifer Sullivan, the 27-year-old homeschoole

DEC 09

ICYMI: The Tree's Up Edition (12/9)

The tree is up, but we're waiting to see how the board of directors does with it before we add ornaments. Tis the season. In the meantime, here's some reading from the week. Remember to share. Cashing in Immigrant Children The warehousing of immigrant children has been a gold mine for one business. And guess what-- charter schooling is part of the business plan. Dora Fisher: Down The Dark Money Ho

DEC 08

KY: Setting More Bad Goals for 2019

Oh, Kentucky. A state slowly being beaten down by the usual gang of mediocre businessmen masquerading as public servants. Big data , charter entrepreneurs , voucher fans , pension vultures , testocrats -- they've all taken a shot at grabbing tax dollars from Kentucky taxpayers with a great deal of patience and varying degrees of success, even if Kentucky's teachers did raise a fuss (prompting Gove
Inducing ADHD

"Maybe you should consider testing him. You know. For ADD." That was my son's kindergarten teacher. His mother and I were in for yet another conference because he was "a problem." The nature of the problem? Well, because of my schedule, he arrived 15-20 minutes before school officially started. His teacher's expectation was that he would sit at his desk, still and quiet, while she finished getting

DEC 07

MI: Baldfaced Power Grab

Lansing is witnessing one of the most extraordinary power grabs ever attempted, and one of the targets of these lame duck Republicans is the state board of education. Several actions are being attempted by the legislature, and they include an attempt to complete supplant the constitutionally established and democratically elected state board of education . The move to overturn the democratic proce

DEC 06

The Disordered Order of Competencies

Competency Based Education (or Proficiency Based Learning, or Outcome Based Education, or Mastery Learning, or whatever new name appears next week) is the up-and-coming flavor of the week in education, even though it is neither new nor well-defined by the people who promote it (or the people who are implementing it in name only). But the basic principle is simple and, really, fairly common sensic
Guest Post: Why Tests Are Boring

It's Guest Post day here, and my guest is William Bryant . Bryant is currently an edupreneur with a company focused on helping students get ready for college, but he spent a decade working in test development for the folks at ACT. He has some interesting insights to offer about why tests end up the way they do; important to understand not just because of the tests themselves, but because of the t

DEC 05

Real Stupid Artificial Intelligence (Personalized Learning's Missing Link)

Good lord in heaven. Intel would like a piece of the hot new world of Personalized [sic] Learning, and they think they have an awesome AI to help. And they have concocted a deliberately misleading video to promote it. In the video, we see a live human teacher in a classroom full of live humans, all of whom are being monitored by some machine algorithms "that detect student emotions and behaviors"
Education, Bad Leadership, and Harvard

We have a problem with bad management, pretending to be leadership, in this country. And it has infected education. Even in a small area like mine, the symptoms have been plain to see. A major local oil business was put under the leadership of a man who had previously run a soap company and a toy company. He was not good for the company. In my town, the mining machinery company that employed both
FL: What Competition Gets You

Florida is supposed to be the Great Exemplar of ed reform. Charters, vouchers, ESAs-- every brand of reform under the sun runs free and unfettered under the bright Florida sun. There may be no state that has more effectively set loose the Invisible Hand or market forces and competition. And what does that get you? Well, it gets you unqualified scam artists like Eagle Arts Academy charter school ho

DEC 04

Children's Insurance Headed the Wrong Way

From the file of Things That Are Going To Affect Education Indirectly, we get this : Roughly 276,000 more children were uninsured in 2017 than the year before, bringing the total to more than 3.9 million, according to a report released Thursday by Georgetown University's Center for Children and Families. We are far short of the disastrous high in numbers of uninsured children back in 2008, but the
College Board: Help Us Market Our Product

Right down to its name, which sounds like some sort of non-profit official education oversight panel, the College Board has a history of marketing its product while trying not to look like a company whose life depends on its ability to sell a products. In recent years, the market has tightened up, what with the ACT competing effectively and some schools dropping the SAT as an entrance requirement

DEC 03

Florida Contemplates Putting Fox In Charge of Hen House

As a legislator in Florida (Motto: Why sell swampland when you can just rob schools), Richard Corcoran was determined to make sure that public tax dollars were directed to enriching private school operators at public school expense. Sorry about your future, kid Corcoran pushed the Schools of Hope program , a program that allows charters to prey directly on public schools. And after asking charter

DEC 02

ICYMI: Here's December Edition (12/2)

Oh, that month again. Here's some reading from the week. Remember to pass along what speaks to you. Common Core Creator Slammed Reading Teachers for Having a Research Gap-- How Ironic Nancy Bailey sounds the irony alert on a critique of teachers and research. Why New Educators Resent "Reformers". Let's hear from the newest generation teachers-- the ones who grew up with reformster policies shaping

DEC 01

A Glossary for the Next Big Thing

I'm a big Nancy Bailey fan, and her post today inspired me. S he writes about the language used to sell ed tech solutions as the profit-based and data-gathering wings of reformerdom race toward the Next Big Thing-- Personalized Competency Based Proficiency Mastery Mass Customized Algorithm Driven Learning Education Stuff. As with any sales job, part of the trick is to use terms that have meanings