Thursday, October 4, 2018

Mitchell Robinson: Betsy DeVos doesn't know what she doesn't know about education | Eclectablog

Betsy DeVos doesn't know what she doesn't know about education | Eclectablog

Betsy DeVos doesn’t know what she doesn’t know about education


“Parents, by their very nature, should decide what, when, where and how their children learn,” DeVos said.
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is at it again. Currently on her second “Rethink Schools” tour, “DeVos will swing by four states: Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.”
Two tours of public schools in two years on the job–the poor woman must be exhausted.
And while Ms. DeVos has a few ideas for how we could “improve” education in this country (i.e., school choice, vouchers, charter schools, arming teachers, grizzly bear security guards…), most of her ideas have more to do with dismantling our public schools, lowering or eliminating standards for entry to the teaching profession, busting the unions that protect those demoralized and attacked teachers, and removing the regulations that protect victims of sexual assault on college campuses.
But even amidst the barren, dystopian landscape of Ms. DeVos’ vision of American education, the quote above somehow caught my eye. You have to give it to her: Betsy has a real knack for distilling complicated, complex problems down into a single ignorant, nonsensical nugget of edu-drivel.
And she’s just clever enough to remember who her audience is here–and it’s not teachers, or teacher educators, or the 75+% of parents who are happy with their kids’ schools. No, her audience is the conservative base who believe that nothing public is better than anything private, who refer Continue reading: Betsy DeVos doesn't know what she doesn't know about education | Eclectablog

Teachers Union Accuses Supe Of Cozying Up With Charter Groups | Studio City, CA Patch

Teachers Union Accuses Supe Of Cozying Up With Charter Groups | Studio City, CA Patch

Teachers Union Accuses Supe Of Cozying Up With Charter Groups
The LA teachers union released reports claiming the new superintendent spent more time at lavish meals with charter backers than at schools.


LOS ANGELES, CA — As state mediation efforts continued Wednesday in hopes of resolving a labor-talk stalemate between the Los Angeles Unified School District and its teachers' union, the union accused Superintendent Austin Beutner of holding a lavish series of meetings with charter-school advocates.
Citing information taken from Beutner's official district calendar, obtained following a public records request and lawsuit, United Teachers Los Angeles officials noted that over a four-month period, the superintendent held meetings at restaurants including Pacific Dining Car, the members-only California Club, the Hilton Checkers and the Bel-Air Bay Club in Pacific Palisades.
Union officials said Beutner's calendar revealed 34 meetings at restaurants during the four-month period, compared to 29 visits to school campuses.
Beutner "must explain to the public why he was at these expensive restaurants and clubs during school hours," teacher Victoria Casas said at a news conference at UTLA headquarters.


She also questioned whether district credit cards were used to pay for Continue reading: Teachers Union Accuses Supe Of Cozying Up With Charter Groups | Studio City, CA Patch



Education -- and Betsy DeVos -- are issues in key political races this November - The Washington Post

Education -- and Betsy DeVos -- are issues in key political races this November - The Washington Post

Education -- and Betsy DeVos -- are issues in key political races this November


In Wisconsin, Republican Gov. Scott Walker, in office since 2011, is facing a stiff challenge from Democrat Tony Evers, the state’s superintendent of schools — and education is a key issue. Evers said at a state Democratic Party convention in the summer that he was running because he is “goddamn sick and tired of Scott Walker gutting our public schools, insulting our hard-working educators, and destroying higher education in Wisconsin.” Walker called him “pathetic” for cursing. Evers is ahead in the polls.
In Arizona, where thousands of teachers protested poor pay and insufficient funding of schools earlier this year, the first debate between incumbent Republican Gov. Doug Ducey and his Democratic challenger, David Garcia, was dominated last month by education issues. Garcia accused Ducey of not investing enough in public schools; Ducey accused Garcia of not having an education policy.
While it may not top the list of issues motivating voters to go to the polls, education is a key factor in some big races. (Depending on age, location, political affiliation or time of survey, other matters may come out on top, including the economy, immigration or health care.) And while Education Secretary Betsy DeVos isn’t on the ballot anywhere, her priorities are.
Americans have long cited education as a key concern when asked by pollsters to list issues important to them, but it has never been seen as one that could affect their vote. But for a combination of reasons, including the inevitable swing of the political pendulum, things seem different this year.

Hundreds of teachers and retired educators — an unprecedented number — are running for political office on the local, state and federal levels. There are hundreds of teachers — most of them Democrats — running for state legislative seats alone.
The Associated Press quoted Mara Sloan, spokeswoman for the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, as saying that in at least two states, Maine and Minnesota, teacher candidates could help flip control of state legislatures to the Democrats.
Years of what educators perceive as attacks on their profession by policymakers have taken a toll, and Continue reading: Education -- and Betsy DeVos -- are issues in key political races this November - The Washington Post


Office of Inspector General Again Condemns U.S. Department of Education’s Oversight of Federal Charter School Dollars | janresseger

Office of Inspector General Again Condemns U.S. Department of Education’s Oversight of Federal Charter School Dollars | janresseger

Office of Inspector General Again Condemns U.S. Department of Education’s Oversight of Federal Charter School Dollars

For many good reasons, we are prone to blame Betsy DeVos, our current U.S. Secretary of Education, for weakening regulations in the Department of Education.  She has, for example, eliminated regulations designed to protect student borrowers from predatory for-profit colleges and cut back civil rights enforcement in the public schools.  But a new report from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) once again disparages Arne Duncan, and his lax oversight of federal dollars flowing to charter schools.  The new report documents that when charter schools have closed or been shut down, the Department has failed to ensure that federal dollars flowing to the schools from Title I, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and the federal Charter Schools Program were properly tracked. Further, students’ records from the closed schools were not properly protected.

The report condemns a trend of poor oversight: This is the third major report in which the Department of Education’s OIG has documented poor management of federal dollars flowing to charter schools.  Reports from the Department of Education’s OIG in 2012 and 2016 also disparaged Duncan’s charter school oversight. It is not likely, however, that Betsy DeVos, a libertarian, will improve the Department’s regulatory role.
The new 2018, OIG report examines whether the U.S. Department of Education has a process for adequately monitoring the management of federal dollars and the management of student records and data when charter schools are closed. OIG examined charter school closures in three states between 2011 and 2015.  Defining privately operated charter schools as public schools for the purpose of this report, the OIG notes that in the 2015-2016 school year, there were 98,277 public schools across the United States, among which 6,855 were charter schools.  Between 2011 and 2015, 977 of the charter schools closed.  OIG studied charter school closures in three states: Arizona, which had the highest number of closed charter schools authorized by the same authorizer; California, which had more charter schools than any other state and more students enrolled in charter schools; and Louisiana, which had the highest ratio of Continue reading: Office of Inspector General Again Condemns U.S. Department of Education’s Oversight of Federal Charter School Dollars | janresseger



Advocates Tell FTC: Facebook is violating children’s privacy law | Parent Coalition for Student Privacy

Advocates Tell FTC: Facebook is violating children’s privacy law Complaint says controversial Messenger Kids app doesn’t comply with COPPA | Parent Coalition for Student Privacy

ADVOCATES TELL FTC: FACEBOOK IS VIOLATING CHILDREN’S PRIVACY LAW COMPLAINT SAYS CONTROVERSIAL MESSENGER KIDS APP DOESN’T COMPLY WITH COPPA

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Parent Coalition for Student Privacy signed onto this complaint to the FCC about Facebook’s violation of children’s privacy and the federal law known as COPPA via its Messenger for Kids app.
Contact: David Monahan, CCFC: david@commercialfreechildhood.org; 617-896-9397
BOSTON – Wednesday, October 3, 2018 – Today, a coalition of 17 public health advocacy groups called on the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) to investigate and take action against Facebook for violations of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”). The groups filed a complaint asserting that Messenger Kids, a controversial messaging application for children as young as five, collects kids’ personal information without obtaining verifiable parental consent or providing parents with clear and complete disclosures of Facebook’s data practices.
Messenger Kids is the first major social platform designed specifically for young children. The FTC complaint says that Facebook’s parental consent mechanism does not meet the requirements of COPPA because it’s not reasonably calculated to ensure that the person providing consent is actually the child’s parent. Any adult user can approve any Messenger Kids account, and testing confirmed that even a fictional “parent” holding a brand-new Facebook account could immediately approve a child’s account without proof of identity. The complaint also asserts that Facebook Messenger Kids’ privacy policy is incomplete and vague. The policy allows Facebook to disclose data to unnamed third parties and the “Facebook Family of Companies” for broad, undefined business purposes. The policy does not specify what companies are in the “Facebook Family.” COPPA requires that privacy policies list the name and contact information of any third parties who have access to children’s data.
The complaint was organized by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) and drafted by the Communications & Technology Law Clinic in the Institute for Public Representation (“IPR”) at Georgetown University Law Center. “Despite Facebook’s promises to the contrary, Messenger Kids blatantly violates Continue reading: Advocates Tell FTC: Facebook is violating children’s privacy law Complaint says controversial Messenger Kids app doesn’t comply with COPPA | Parent Coalition for Student Privacy