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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

New York’s Democratic Primary is a Showdown for Charter School Politics -

New York’s Democratic Primary is a Showdown for Charter School Politics -

New York’s Democratic Primary is a Showdown for Charter School Politics
The upcoming New York primary could redefine the Democratic party in the state—and could mean drastic change for the charter school industry.

The upcoming September 13 primary in New York could re-energize and redefine the Democratic party in the state. It also might mean drastic change for the charter school industry.
Across the U.S., billionaire hedge fund managers have routinely secured support for charter schools through direct campaign donations to candidates, or the simple act of “loading” charter school PACs with millions of dollars, which frightens potential critics into silence.
But public support for charters is waning. The industry took an unexpected beating in a 2016 Massachusetts ballot referendum when voters rejected a proposal to lift a cap on the number of charters allowed each year. Recent pollshave shown declining public support for charter schools, and a litany of scandals surrounding charters have prompted a number of progressive candidates to offer fresh criticism of the industry.
The political friction surrounding charters has dramatically increased in New York, where for years the most visible avatar for the industry has been Success Academy, the largest charter school network in the state. Widely credited by corporate media outlets for raising test scores for traditionally low-performing students, the New York City-based charter chain and its CEO Eva Moskowitz have also been deluged by negative press about heavy-handed discipline and abusive instructional practices.
This summer, things truly went off the rails for Success.

In June, a bill that would have added 100 new charter schools to the statewide cap was declared dead-on-arrival, even though it included an extremely popular repeal for a teacher evaluation law that uses standardized test scores to evaluate teachers.
Just days later, a judge struck down an audacious proposal to allow Success Academy and other charter schools authorized under SUNY’s Charter Committee to train and certify their own teachers. As The Progressive reportedin March, this violated clear legal requirements for minimal training standards and bypassed critical input by the public.

Soon after, there was a “mass exodus” of teachers leaving a Success Academy high school in Manhattan where forty-seven of sixty-seven educators will not return. At least twenty-five quit, nine were dismissed, and the rest were reassigned within the charter network. Some teachers mentioned inappropriate disciplinary policies and lack of respect for teachers, while others cited draconian policies that force students to repeat grades for failing classes.
And news of the charter network’s first graduating senior class brought new criticisms to light. Of the seventy-two first graders who comprised Success Continue reading: New York’s Democratic Primary is a Showdown for Charter School Politics -

Defiant DeVos Ignores Judge's Order, Ends Union Release Time | News of the Week |

Defiant DeVos Ignores Judge's Order, Ends Union Release Time | News of the Week |
Defiant DeVos Ignores Judge's Order, Ends Union Release Time
Plans to Unilaterally Ban Telecommuting Option For Employees

Despite the ruling last month by U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson that struck down President Trump’s May Executive Orders seeking to force Federal unions out of the workplace, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is doubling down in her effort to make the Department of Education a “no-union” zone, according to officials with the American Federation of Government Employees.
As a result, the union said, by Oct. 1 its 4,000 members employed by the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C. and 10 satellite offices will lose the option of telecommuting that’s been available for years.
A Do-It-Herself Pact
Ms. DeVos in March unilaterally declared an impasse and imposed what her agency called “a collective-bargaining agreement” that covered the unionized workers in her agency without negotiating with the union.
The AFGE filed a complaint with the Federal Labor Relations Authority and prevailed in July. The FLRA Regional Director agreed with the union that Ms. DeVos had engaged in an unfair labor practice when her management team walked away from the bargaining table and imposed its “contract.”
But the FLRA currently lack enforcement powers because President Trump has not appointed its General Counsel, who is required to present the FLRA findings to the agency’s full board for final approval.
‘DOE More Recalcitrant’
“Despite the FLRA finding, and now Judge Jackson’s ruling, there’s been no change Continue reading: Defiant DeVos Ignores Judge's Order, Ends Union Release Time | News of the Week |

Brett Kavanaugh White House emails released by Cory Booker cite Cleveland voucher case |

Brett Kavanaugh White House emails released by Cory Booker cite Cleveland voucher case |
Brett Kavanaugh White House emails released by Cory Booker cite Cleveland voucher case
Image result for education against Brett Kavanaugh

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld the legality of Cleveland's school voucher system was cited in emails to and from current Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh released Thursday by New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker.
Booker, a potential Democratic presidential candidate who is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said the committee's Republicans improperly designated the documents he released as "confidential," when they illuminate Kavanaugh's thinking on hot-button issues like racial profiling and affirmative action.
"The public has a right to access documents about a Supreme Court nominee's views on issues that are profoundly important, such as race and the law," Booker said as he released the emails. "This process has demonstrated an unprecedented level of secrecy and opaqueness that undermines the Senate's Constitutional duty to advice and consent."
A few of the emails that Booker released referred to a 2002 Supreme Court decision that allowed public money to be spent on tuition vouchers that Cleveland students were using to attend religious schools The decision said Cleveland's voucher program didn't violate a constitutional prohibition against promoting religion because religious schools were among a variety of secular and religious options available to parents who were frustrated with the city's public schools.

Current U.S. Solicitor General Noel J. Francisco - who was then an Continue reading: Brett Kavanaugh White House emails released by Cory Booker cite Cleveland voucher case |

Geofeedia Touted Surveillance Of Students To Sell Services To Police

Geofeedia Touted Surveillance Of Students To Sell Services To Police


Emails obtained by Lucy Parsons Labs reveal that Geofeedia touted social media surveillance of middle and high school students by its suburban Chicago police customers in an effort to sell their services to Evanston police.
Geofeedia provides law enforcement with tools to monitor social media use by mapping location and other data. It has received funding from the investment arm of the CIA, In-Q-Tel.
The company became infamous after the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) published a report in 2016 on the use of their products by police to monitor demonstrations against police violence.
Geofeedia’s courting of the Evanston Police Department (EPD) goes back to 2013, and as emails show, the company developed a relationship with police at a time when the sale of surveillance technology to law enforcement became ubiquitous.
“Skokie Police has been very successful in identifying drug related crimes as well as monitoring local middle and high schools 24/7,” wrote Jon Newman of Geofeedia in an email to EPD Commander Jay Parrott sent on October 23, 2013.
Parrott responded to that email by writing, “Thanks for the email, and I will speak with our analyst and intelligence officers about setting up a time to look over your product.”
The Skokie Police Department previously denied the existence of any emails between them and Geofeedia for the years 2012 through 2014.
The social media surveillance company was founded in 2011 and moved to Evanston in 2012.
In October 2013, Parrott spoke with Newman at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Philadelphia. Parrott received a follow-up email from Newman  after the conference.
“Thank you for taking the time to speak with me during IACP. Sorry I grabbed you out of nowhere,” wrote Newman. “I just noticed the Evanston on your badge.” He hoped to visit the department to show off his  Continue reading: Geofeedia Touted Surveillance Of Students To Sell Services To Police

A Measure of This Teacher | The Jose Vilson

A Measure of This Teacher | The Jose Vilson

This is how it had to be.
90° weather permeated a musty classroom, untouched since mid-summer when custodians and school aides moved furniture away then into the center to wax the floors. My old room’s furniture found its way into this room as well. The first two days of setting up my classroom involved lifting bookshelves, setting up student desks, the teacher area, and textbook collections (because calling them “libraries” would be an insult to libraries). I wore a dark polo, jeans, and Jordans while dumping curricula older than my teaching career. Shakira and the Carters pushed me through the eight-foot wooden apparatuses in need of tender loving construction and screws. I repaired shelves and mirrors, cleaned out lockers, fixed a quick bulletin board, put up a few posters, and took inventory of the supplies I needed. I folded boxes with the contents of my old desks, dusted every piece of lumber in the place, Lysol’ed the desks, and shook the chairs to see which ones would wobble if and when my students got anxious in class.
This is my fifth classroom in five years. Each time, I’m asked to process, sort, and discard of what was left behind. Each time, I oblige because the kids need an environment where the person in charge of it looks like they care. This time was different. Last year, I walked into work with business attire. This year, I wore sunglasses and a t-shirt. Last year, I was given a room with a broken air conditioner. This year, I had an air conditioner. Last year, I had a teacher improvement plan. This year, I didn’t.
No sweat.
I have every intention of shedding the gripes, too. Teacher improvement plans are as anonymous as they sound, and usually just as capricious. I won’t bother you with the minutiae of every sharp Do Now / warm-up, every activity I presented, every student response, every missed opportunity for deeper questioning, every minutes of lost time due to having a broken clock in my classroom, and every moment of wit and anxiety while children and adults take furious notes with different implications. Each time, I never felt I had to prove my pedagogy, but I had to convince others that the dubious measures of evaluation from the year before weren’t a reflection of my classroom. We use an evaluative rubric that provided plenty of appropriate examples in its dimensions, and plenty of wiggle room for folks to mis- and re-interpret.
But it never tells me why students got love for me. Danielson got nothin’ on that. Or me.
Doubt stung my skin and made welts all over it, and, rather than seeking the appropriate ointment, I let it sting so I could empathize with the hundreds of others I’d watch in the news, the Internet, and the grievance offices down at my union. I had a hard time blaming the people in my building because I knew the numbers were out of their control, but Continue reading: A Measure of This Teacher | The Jose Vilson