Latest News and Comment from Education

Monday, January 21, 2019

enrique baloyra: HHS plays shell game with refugee children - YouTube

HHS plays shell game with refugee children - YouTube

HHS plays shell game with refugee children 

Last June I attended a rally outside the children’s internment camp in Tornillo, Texas. At the time, there were a couple of hundred refugee children detained there. That number eventually swelled to over 2800.
First there were reports of child abuse; inadequate healthcare and education services. The kids hated it there. They called it el infierno.
Then in November federal investigators found the contractor running the camp hadn’t been conducting proper FBI fingerprint background checks for its employees working there. The camp released the last of its children January 11.
Remember those surveillance videos last month of staff members hitting and pushing children? That was Southwest Key, a charter school management company that last year scored over $600 million in federal contracts to detain refugee children. They’ve been cited over 200 times for violations at their 16 facilities and are currently under investigation by the Justice Department for paying their executives exorbitant salaries.
They closed two of their facilities last year, and are no longer accepting new children. I guess they figured the charter school industry is less hassle.
Thank goodness, right? Now all those kids can be reunited with their families.
Not so fast.
Last week Health and Human Services announced the juvenile interment camp in Homestead, Florida, will be almost doubling its capacity.
“The news that federal officials plan a significant expansion at the Homestead facility is a clear signal, immigration legal analysts say, that the […] administration is not changing its policy of holding migrant teenagers in detention, but is merely changing the location.”
You remember Homestead. That was where last June HHS blocked a sitting US senator and congresswoman from touring the facility.
DHS Secretary Nielsen has ignored Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho’s requests for clarification about the lack of certified teachers — the same DHS secretary who lied to Congress, saying there were never any plans for family separation a year after recently discovered internal memos prove otherwise.
Co-director of the immigration law clinic at UC Davis Holly Cooper says that Homestead suffers from the same problems as Tornillo. She told the New York Times, “We have received multiple complaints about the facility and will make the investigation of the conditions in Homestead a top priority for the coming month.”
Let me ask you something, Miami, a city that owes much of its success to the hard work of refugees. How much longer are we gonna put up with this cruelty — grounded in racism and greed — in our own backyard?

HHS plays shell game with refugee children - YouTube

'Bulletproof' backpacks OK'd for New Orleans schools; here's why, what to expect -- and what not to | Education |

'Bulletproof' backpacks OK'd for New Orleans schools; here's why, what to expect -- and what not to | Education |

'Bulletproof' backpacks OK'd for New Orleans schools; here's why, what to expect -- and what not to

Parents of public school students in New Orleans may soon be able to send their children to school wearing so-called bulletproof backpacks.
On Tuesday, an Orleans Parish School Board committee gave approval to allowing the optional school gear, following action earlier this year by the Legislature that made the items legal.

Kathy Moss, the school district's attorney, said the board isn't required to pass the policy amendment, but the district would like to give families in New Orleans the option.
"Student safety is of the utmost importance," Moss said. "If that's an option parents believe they'd like to provide for their child, then we're just trying to give clarity in our policy to allow it."
The recommendation will go before the full, seven-member board on Thursday, and the proposal appears to have enough votes to pass.
Before Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the act into law, bulletproof backpacks were banned in Louisiana. In the early 1990s, schools were designated as gun-free zones, and state law prevented students or staff members from wearing body armor.
The law now has an exception to the body-armor ban, allowing backpacks with either a metal insert or whole panels constructed with a material used in bulletproof vests, called Kevlar fiber.
The bill was introduced by Sen. Mike Walsworth, a Republican from West Monroe. During debate on the measure, Walsworth said he was reacting to the Valentine's Day massacre of 17 students and staff members at a high school in Parkland, Florida.

The Parkland gunman used an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, sparking a nationwide debate about stricter gun control laws and CONTINUE READING: 'Bulletproof' backpacks OK'd for New Orleans schools; here's why, what to expect -- and what not to | Education |

PHOTOS: Oakland Teachers Paint, Prepare to Vote on Strike | The California Report | KQED News #Unite4OaklandKids #WeAreOEA #WeAreCTA @OaklandEA #strikeready

PHOTOS: Oakland Teachers Paint, Prepare to Vote on Strike | The California Report | KQED News

PHOTOS: Oakland Teachers Paint, Prepare to Vote on Strike

Oakland teachers will vote at the end of the month on whether they want to go on strike as they remain locked in contract negotiations with the Oakland Unified School District.
"A democratic strike vote by paper ballot at school sites in the Oakland Unified School District will send a message that Oakland educators are serious about ending the teacher retention crisis," said Keith Brown, president of the Oakland Educators Association, who officially called for the strike vote on Sunday.
The union is calling for a 12 percent raise over three years, while OUSD is offering five percent. The vote — which could give union leaders the power to call a strike — will start on Jan. 29 and last four days.
The announcement came at an "art build" event at the union's offices in Oakland. Educators, parents and students came together over three days to make banners in preparation for a strike. The signs were designed by local artists including Favianna Rodriguez and Micah Bazant, as well as artists from Art Build Workers, an artist collective based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Oakland High School teacher Lara Trale says she's still hopeful for a resolution. "We would love to avoid a strike, but for that to happen the district needs to really work with its teachers instead of against them," she said.
Oakland teachers and their supporters are building on a larger movement that includes teachers currently striking in Los Angeles and, before that, in red states like West Virginia and Kentucky.
In a statement, OUSD Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammel said the district is CONTINUE READING: PHOTOS: Oakland Teachers Paint, Prepare to Vote on Strike | The California Report | KQED News

Capitalist-Style Wealth Gap: 1 Tech Guy = 1,000,000 Teachers

Capitalist-Style Wealth Gap: 1 Tech Guy = 1,000,000 Teachers

Capitalist-Style Wealth Gap: 1 Tech Guy = 1,000,000 Teachers
As Charles Koch said, "I want my fair share and that's all of it."
Image result for bezos, Gates, Zuckerberg, Ellison, Page, Brin

As of 01/20/19, the richest six American tech leaders (Bezos, Gates, Zuckerberg, Ellison, Page, Brin) averaged over $80 billion in net worth. Meanwhile, the 25 million Americans just above the median, many of them teachers, have an average net worth of $78 thousand. That's a difference of a million times. 

For anyone questioning this disturbing truth, the following information should be helpful: There are over 4 million preschool, primary, secondary, and special education teachers; the median teacher age is 41; the median elementary school salary is $57,000; the median wealth of a 41-year-old is only $60,000. So it's probably even worse than a million to one. Consider also that about 77 percent of teachers are female, and that females suffer the discrimination of lower wealth, especially Black and Hispanic women, for whom net worth is in the low HUNDREDS. 

The Los Angeles teachers are striking for better pay, smaller class sizes, the addition of nurses and counselors, and the ending of the rash of charter school openings that suck the lifeblood out of the public school system. They could also be striking for a fairer wealth distribution. A technology boss is not a million times more important than an L.A. teacher. 

Do They Deserve It? Fact 1: The Richest Tech CEOs Had Shady Beginnings 

Bill Gates may be a knowledgable man, but for starters he was lucky and opportunistic. In 1975, at the age of 20, he founded Microsoft with high school buddy Paul Allen. This was the era of the first desktop computers, and numerous small companies were trying to program them, most notably Digital Research, headed by software designer Gary Kildall, whose CP/M operating system (OS) was the industry standard. Even Gates' company used it. But Kildall was an innovator, not a businessman, and when IBM came calling for an OS for the new IBM PC, his delays drove the big mainframe company to Gates, who provided an OS based on Kildall's CP/M system. Kildall wanted to sue, but intellectual property law for software had not yet been established. David Lefer, a collaborator for the book They Made America, summarized: "Gates didn't invent the PC operating system, and any history that says he did is wrong." 

To a large extent Mark Zuckerberg also took his ideas from others. Zuckerberg developed his version of social networking while he was at Harvard. Before he made his contribution, Columbia University students Adam Goldberg and Wayne Ting built a system called Campus Network, which was much more sophisticated than the early versions of Facebook. But Zuckerberg eventually prevailed because of the Harvard name, better financial support, and the simplicity of Facebook. A possible fourth CONTINUE READING: Capitalist-Style Wealth Gap: 1 Tech Guy = 1,000,000 Teachers

Teacher Strikes Are Exposing The Corrupt Charter School Agenda | PopularResistance.Org

Teacher Strikes Are Exposing The Corrupt Charter School Agenda | PopularResistance.Org


This week, Republican lawmakers held a press conference on Capitol Hill to kick off National School Choice Week, an annual event that began in 2011 under President Obama who proclaimed it as a time to “recognize the role public charter schools play in providing America’s daughters and sons with a chance to reach their fullest potential.” This year, Democratic lawmakers took a pass on the celebration. You can thank striking teachers for that.
In the latest teacher strike in Los Angeles, the nation’s second-largest school system, some 30,000 teachers walked off the job saying unchecked growth of charter schools and charters’ lack of transparency and accountability have become an unsustainable drain on the public system’s financials. The teachers have included in their demands a cap on charter school growth, along with other demands, such as increased teacher pay, reduced class sizes, less testing, and more counselors, nurses, librarians, and psychologists.
The LA teachers’ opposition to charter schools is just the latest voice in a growing chorus of public school teachers calling on politicians to do more to support the public schools we have rather than piling more dollars and accolades onto a competitive charter school industry. And with the backing of nearly 80 percent of Los Angeles County residents, according to one survey, the teachers likely have the clout to change the politics of “school choice” in California, and perhaps the nation.
#RedForEd in a Blue State
Many of the grievances the LA teachers have are familiar to anyone who followed last year’s startling #RedForEd movement, which resulted in mass teacher walkouts primarily in red states, including West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Arizona. In each of those uprisings, teachers protested inadequate pay and benefits, lack of funding for their schools, misplaced emphasis on testing and standards, and a general disregard for teachers’ voices. Teacher opposition to charter schools, vouchers, and other forms of choice had a presence in these walkouts, but LA teachers are making grievances against charter schools central to their protests.
Union president Alex Caputo-Pearl has declared the district’s pro-charter school policies are “a major theme” of the strike, and on the second day of the strike, teachers descended on the downtown offices of the California Charter Schools Association and surrounded the building.
“We need to throw privatization schemes … into the trash can,” Caputo-Pearl is quoted as saying in a pro-charter media outlet.
“The subtext of the conflict is the issue of charter schools,” writes Glenn Sacks, a Los Angeles teacher. “Charters create numerous problems for [the district],” he argues, citing recent research studies finding charter schools use various methods to “screen CONTINUE READING: Teacher Strikes Are Exposing The Corrupt Charter School Agenda | PopularResistance.Org

What Are We Supposed to Learn from the Covington Catholic High School Boys? | Teacher in a strange land

What Are We Supposed to Learn from the Covington Catholic High School Boys? | Teacher in a strange land

What Are We Supposed to Learn from the Covington Catholic High School Boys?

Maybe you don’t want to read another gush of outrage over those kids who tried—and failed—to humiliate Omaha tribal elder Nathan Phillips. I’ve seen at least two dozen full-scale editorial pieces, in the mainstream and alternative media, plus many more posted on social media with one of the many shaky iPhone videos and a few choice insults in the comments.
Perhaps you have decided that the news cycle for MAGA Boy and the persistently drumming Native American elder has run its course. Maybe you called or emailed the school in Kentucky to express your displeasure. Make a few comments on social media posts—and considering that the event is now over, it goes into the ‘Old Outrages’ file, along with the Hitler-salute Youth in Baraboo, Wisconsin, and the Stanford swimmer who got away with rape, pretty much. Not to mention Michael Brown, Tamar Rice, et al..
Perhaps there are just too many outrages to keep burning, burning, burning all the time. It’s exhausting. But maybe that’s the problem—we get angry, or sad, or sickened by all signs and signals that there’s something really appalling happening in this country. And we feel powerless to do more than comment.
More than that, we’re not really sure who or what to blame. We don’t know how to fix this.
Is this about a spoiled and entitled generation of kids? Is it about Catholic schools, sending teenaged boys on a mission to publicly protest a woman’s right to have control over her own body? Who thought that was a good idea? Or is it really about the adults—a response I’ve heard from many educators—and their failure to step in and stop the reprehensible behavior of the boys in their charge, to point out their disrespect, to yank them back?
I think the fact that virtually all the boys in the video were wearing MAGA hats answers CONTINUE READING: What Are We Supposed to Learn from the Covington Catholic High School Boys? | Teacher in a strange land

MAGA Hat Discord | deutsch29

MAGA Hat Discord | deutsch29

MAGA Hat Discord

On this eve of our nation’s remembering the birth, life, and sacrifice of American civil rights activist, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., my thoughts turn toward perhaps the single most divisive article of clothing one could don in 2019:
The MAGA (“Make America Great Again”) hat.
Yes, this is America, and yes, as Americans, people have the right to choose to wear MAGA hats if they want, but those choosing to wear them run a high risk of either creating or exacerbating a divisive, volatile atmosphere (unless surrounded only by like-minded, MAGA-hat wearers, which, ironically, seems to be the ultimate goal of many who proudly sport the item).

Perhaps the volatility of the MAGA message involves its lack of clarity combined with the over-the-top, controversial, offensive words (also here and here) of its creator, Donald Trump.
On its face, the phrase, “Make America Great Again,” implies the return to some better time, of something being lost. However, the “good old days” were good for certain Americans and bad for others– which is a recipe for discord right from the start. From the August 31, 2017, Voices of America (VOA) article, “Is ‘Make America Great Again’ Racist?”:
Marketing consultant Eva Van Brunt, a critic of the president, says the malleability of the words “great” and “again” are a common marketing trick: using words that sound positive, but lack specific meaning.
“By leaving a definitional vacuum around the word ‘great,’ it became very easy for groups to co-opt it, ascribing to it the meaning they wanted it to have,” Van Brunt says. “The same way a mother rests easy because her CONTINUE READING: MAGA Hat Discord | deutsch29
 Image result for MLK MAGA Hat

CURMUDGUCATION: FL: Guns in Schools Not Going So Well

CURMUDGUCATION: FL: Guns in Schools Not Going So Well

FL: Guns in Schools Not Going So Well

Image result for Guns in Schools
After the murder of seventeen people at Marjorie Stoneman Douglass High in Florida, the state legislature of the gun-happy sunshine state finally considered putting some common sense restrictions   on guns and ammo in the state. No, just fake newsing you-- what they did was decidethey'd better arm more people in schools, because the only solution to a bad guy with a gun is a gunfight in a building filled with children.

That was back last spring. Recently the Tampa Bay Times took a look at how the business of putting a "guardians" in schools was going. The short answer is "not well."

Brevard County was looking for two dozen new employees to be armed guardians. They had six months to find and train these people. Community pushback slowed down the process. They didn't make the deadline.

They weren't alone. Levy County went looking for guardians and couldn't even find people to apply at first. Their superintendent would not give the paper any numbers on applicants since then, saying "You don't want the bad guys to know whether you've got 100 or one." Sure. Okeechobee decided to join in the program, but the sheriff's office won't start training until this month. And the sheriff is not optimistic about the six-to-ten volunteers: "Out of that, I doubt we'll have that high rate of a success rate." Lafayette schools also began the year without their guardians, with a few finishing up their training this month.

Duval County has other sorts of problems. Parents, along with the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the League of Women Voters sued the district in November to keep the "safety assistants" out of schools. It could not have helped the district's cause that one safety assistant was arrested in October for pawning his gun-- twice.

And he has not been the only problem child. A guardian in Hillsborough was showing her chemical spray to students and peppered four of them (she resigned immediately). In Manatee County, a CONTINUE READING: 
CURMUDGUCATION: FL: Guns in Schools Not Going So Well

A Lawsuit Aimed at Civic Education (Beth Rubin) | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

A Lawsuit Aimed at Civic Education (Beth Rubin) | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

A Lawsuit Aimed at Civic Education (Beth Rubin)

The National Education Policy Center publishes briefs about policy issues in U.S. schools in need of attention. Beth Rubin of Rutgers University who has written extensively about civic education did a Q & A with NEPC after a group of Rhode Island parents sued the state for providing inadequate preparation for being an citizen who can vote, serve on juries and engage in civic life fully. This brief was published January 8, 2019.
On November, 14 public school parents and students filed a unique federal lawsuit against the state of Rhode Island: They accused the state’s schools of “failing to carry out their responsibilities under the United States Constitution to provide all students a meaningful opportunity to obtain an education adequate to prepare them to be capable citizens.”

In its 1973 decision San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez, the Supreme Court ruled that children in our country do not have a right to education under the U.S. Constitution. As a result of this decision and because the constitutions of many states do guarantee the right to an education, the battle over student education rights has largely moved to the states. What makes Cook vs. Raimondo, filed in U.S. District Court in the District of Rhode Island, unique is that the plaintiffs do not argue that that children have a (U.S.) Constitutional right to education. Instead, the suit contends that the state’s schools fail to provide students with the education they need to vote, serve on a jury, make informed choices, and otherwise participate effectively in civic activities. The complaint argues that San Antonio v. Rodriguez did leave the door open to this argument by raising (but not responding to) the question of whether students have a right, under the 14th amendment, to the level of opportunity provided by an education that gives them the “basic minimal skills necessary for the enjoyment of the rights of speech and of full participation in the political process.”

In other words, the plaintiffs contend that the Rhode Island schools have violated students’ rights by failing to provide an adequate civics education.
What does research have to say about the outcomes of civics education and its role in our society? What does a high-quality civics education look like?
In the Q&A below, National Education Policy Center Fellow Beth Rubin CONTINUE READING: A Lawsuit Aimed at Civic Education (Beth Rubin) | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice