Tuesday, January 22, 2019

National BLM@School Webinar: Jan 25th 8pm Eastern – Black Lives Matter At School

National BLM@School Webinar: Jan 25th 8pm Eastern – Black Lives Matter At School

National BLM@School Webinar: Jan 25th 8pm Eastern


Please join the Black Lives Matter At School coalition on January 25th for our last webinar before the week of action in our schools from February 4-8th. This webinar will feature BLM at School organizers from several different cities around the country to highlight some of the amazing organizing that is going on and answer questions for people that want to join the movement.
Don’t miss this important opportunity to learn more about the the growing effort to transform education by uprooting institutional racism!
Webinar Information:
Topic: National BLM @School Week of Action Webinar Time: Jan 25, 2019 8:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting https://zoom.us/j/889104288
One tap mobile +16468769923,,889104288# US (New York)+16699006833,,889104288# US (San Jose)
Dial by your location  +1 646 876 9923 US (New York)  +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose) Meeting ID: 889 104 288 Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/agvy0F8Kf



Children of the Gun: How Lax Firearm Legislation Affects My Students | gadflyonthewallblog

Children of the Gun: How Lax Firearm Legislation Affects My Students | gadflyonthewallblog

Children of the Gun: How Lax Firearm Legislation Affects My Students

Tanisha was just 6-years-old the first time she was in a shooting.
She was home in the kitchen looking for a cookie when she heard a “pop pop pop” sound.
Her mother rushed into the room and told her to get down.
Tanisha didn’t know what was happening.
“Hush, Baby,” her mom said wrapping the child in her arms and pulling her to the floor. “Someone’s out there shooting up the neighborhood.”
That was a story one of my 8th grade students told me today.
And it was far from the only one.
For the first time, my urban school district in Western Pennsylvania had an ALICE training for the students.
The program helps prepare schools, businesses and churches in case of an active shooter. Its name is an acronym for its suggested courses of action – Alert, CONTINUE READING: Children of the Gun: How Lax Firearm Legislation Affects My Students | gadflyonthewallblog

Sabrina Joy Stevens: What’s Next for Public Education in 2019

What’s Next for Public Education in 2019

What’s Next for Public Education in 2019

Day after day this week, the streets of Los Angeles hosted an increasingly familiar sight: a wave of striking teachers and their supporters clad in red, marching to strengthen public education by demanding smaller classes, reductions in high-stakes testing, better pay and more support staff. Defying the rain for multiple days of their strike, they held signs declaring themselves “ON STRIKE FOR OUR STUDENTS,” implicitly affirming that the #RedForEd movement revived by striking teachers in 2018 remains alive and well in 2019, too.
From surges in teacher organizing to Trump administration attacks on students’ safety and dignity, 2018 offered examples of both the best and worst in public education. On the hopeful side, last year, teachers – particularly in states long beset by anti-union policies, chronic underfunding and low pay – launched powerful and effective strikes. Although in its Janus v. AFSCME decision the US Supreme Court’s conservative majority rewarded decades of corporate attacks on public sector unions, teachers and other public employees in many places are sticking to the union. Nevertheless, the Trump administration continued to weaponize the US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) against the very youth whose rights OCR exists to protect, bringing the culture war to schools by serving up marginalized students’ rights and dignity at school as red meat for Trump’s political supporters. Under Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the administration has also given cover to predatory for-profit colleges and had to be sued in order to begin forgiving student loans held by borrowers who’d been scammed by such institutions.
But important opportunities exist amid the cruelty and chaos imposed by Trump, DeVos and like-minded people around the country. It’s worth remembering that the Trump administration does not wield absolute control over our country’s schools, and they’ll be out of power in the less-distant-than-it-feels future. Though we’re still in the earliest days of 2019, Election 2020 is already heating up, which offers a chance to make sure federal candidates know we demand their full support for education justice. Our next president must not only pledge to respect America’s diverse student body but prove it by appointing a well-qualified and compassionate education secretary who’s ready to shred CONTINUE READING: What’s Next for Public Education in 2019





LAUSD teachers union and school district reach tentative deal to end strike - Los Angeles Times #UTLAStrong #StrikeReady #March4Ed #WeAreLA

LAUSD teachers union and school district reach tentative deal to end strike - Los Angeles Times

LAUSD teachers union and school district reach tentative deal to end strike

Image result for tentative deal
Los Angeles teachers are poised to end their first strike in 30 years after union leaders reached a tentative deal Tuesday with the L.A. Unified School District.
The Board of Education is expected to move quickly to ratify the deal, which must be officially approved by United Teachers Los Angeles through a vote of its members.
Union leaders have said they will not end the strike until their members ratify a contract, but also said they have a system in place that could allow members to vote within a matter of hours. That means teachers are likely to be back at work on Wednesday.
Regardless, schools will be open on Tuesday, managed by skeleton staffs of administrators and employees who are not on strike, just as they were last week. More than two-thirds of students did not come to campuses during the first week of the strike.
The final key details of a tentative deal were worked out during an all-night bargaining session that ended at 6:15 a.m.
Less than an hour later, teachers held another rally at a school complex within walking distance of district headquarters.
The union had planned to have members march to district headquarters after a 10:30 a.m. rally at City Hall, but canceled the march after the agreement was reached.
The tentative pact was announced at a 9:30 a.m. news conference at City Hall by L.A. schools Supt. Austin Beutner, union President Alex Caputo-Pearl and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, who mediated the final negotiations with members of his senior staff.
“Today is a day full of good news,” Garcetti said in announcing the agreement, which he said came after a “21-hour marathon that wrapped up just before sunrise.”
“Everyone on every side has worked tirelessly to make this happen,” the mayor said.
The tentative deal includes what amounts to a 6% raise for teachers, although details of how it will go into effect were not immediately available.
It also includes some help to reduce class sizes and removes a contract provision that allows the school district to increase class sizes in times of economic hardship. It was not immediately clear how that issue would be dealt with going forward.
But, said Caputo-Pearl: “We have started down a real path to address class size.”
Beutner said the agreement marked the beginning of a community conversation.
“Public education is now the topic in every household in our community,” he said. “Let’s capitalize on that. Let’s fix it.”
From the beginning, the strike was about larger issues than pay raises.
Caputo-Pearl framed it as a fight over the future — even the survival — of traditional public education. Beutner framed the negotiations as a matter of what the nation’s second-largest school system could afford to do within the limits of its resources.
Whether the union made progress in that battle is open to question, but its leaders will take to their members a deal that they say will improve working conditions for teachers and learning conditions for students.
In its last offer before the strike, the district proposed class size reductions that fell short of the dramatic changes the union wanted and said it would provide a nurse five days a week in elementary schools and a full-time librarian for all middle and high schools. The district also offered to add an academic counselor at high schools, although the student-to-counselor ratio would remain high.
The union criticized this proposal because the district did not commit to keeping these positions longer than one year.
District officials said the union demands were far more than the nation’s second-largest school system could afford.
The union had put forward a lengthy proposal that touched on a wide range of issues important to its various members, including teachers at all grade levels, and those who teach early education, adult education, bilingual education and children with disabilities.
Though raises will help all members, some items on the union’s original expansive list of demands dropped off the table even before the strike.
The union could have held out longer — and some insiders originally envisioned a longer strike. But public support, which has been strong, might have eroded if the effort dragged on.
Because negotiations took nearly two years, much of the new deal covers a time period that already is past. The agreement, if approved, will expire at the end of June 2020, meaning that it soon will be time to bargain again.
LAUSD teachers union and school district reach tentative deal to end strike - Los Angeles Times


Newsom promises to take up charter transparency :: K-12 Daily :: The Essential Resource for Superintendents and the Cabinet #UTLAStrong #StrikeReady #March4Ed #WeAreLA

Newsom promises to take up charter transparency :: K-12 Daily :: The Essential Resource for Superintendents and the Cabinet

Newsom promises to take up charter transparency


(Calif.) There may be surprises on the horizon for the California charter movement this legislative session, but Gov. Gavin Newsom signal last week that he would support new transparency regulations on the non-traditional schools isn’t one of them.
After all, Newsom was targeted during last year’s primary by a group of wealthy charter supporters in a series of attack ads that some pundits saw as hitting below the belt. It was the sort of tactic that can backlash on an interest group and in this case probably has.
“We want a charter transparency bill,” Newsom said during his inaugural budget press conference earlier this month. “I’m not bashing charters here, but I made a commitment and I’m going to follow through with that commitment.”
Operational transparency has been an issue that has dogged charter advocates almost since lawmakers authorized the new educational concept in 1992.
Although publicly-funded, the operators of charter schools have been given wide discretion on how to go about providing educational services and are not required to abide by most of the state’s education code. That freedom includes requirements placed on most other public agencies related to good governance laws—the right of the public to open meetings, and access to public records and conflict of interest disclosure.
Officials at the California Charter School Association, which took no known role in the negative ads that ran in the June primary against Newsom, have repeatedly said they do not oppose transparency requirements.
“We stand ready to work with the governor, legislative leadership, and other stakeholders to codify CONTINUE READING: Newsom promises to take up charter transparency :: K-12 Daily :: The Essential Resource for Superintendents and the Cabinet

A Deal In The LA Teachers Strike — Now, Union Members To Vote : NPR #UTLAStrong #StrikeReady #March4Ed #WeAreLA

A Deal In The LA Teachers Strike — Now, Union Members To Vote : NPR

A Deal In The LA Teachers Strike — Now, Union Members To Vote



On the sixth day of the Los Angeles teachers strike, the school district and union leaders announced that they've reached a tentative agreement.
Teachers meanwhile remain on strike. The tentative deal won't become official until union members vote on the agreement, which United Teachers Los Angeles President Alex Caputo-Pearl said will happen Tuesday afternoon and evening. If teachers approve the deal, they'll head back to class on Wednesday, Caputo-Pearl said.
Teachers went on strike on Monday, Jan. 14, after about two years of contract negotiations and over a year of working without a contract. As teachers took to the streets, talks went on hold. The school district and the union resumed negotiations on Thursday, ahead of the holiday weekend. The city's mayor, Eric Garcetti, facilitated negotiations, including a 21-hour session that ended in the early morning hours on Tuesday.
According to Garcetti, they made "tremendous progress."
UTLA — which represents more than 30,000 teachers and school support staff — is striking for smaller classes, and more nurses, counselors and librarians in schools. District leaders previously said they just didn't have the money to pay for that.
The week before the strike, Beutner visited the state Capitol in Sacramento to ask for more funding for the district, and in many press events since, he's emphasized that 90 percent of the district's funding comes from the state of California.
At a Tuesday press conference, Caputo-Pearl and Beutner did not share details of the tentative deal.




Los Angeles, is home to the country's second-largest school district and serves almost a half-million students. Most schools have remained open throughout the strike, staffed by administrators, volunteers and substitutes teachers.
However, attendance has been low during the strike, with less than a third of the students coming to school on some days, according to the district.
That's a problem because district funding from the state is linked to attendance. Each day of the strike means an estimated net loss of about $10 to $15 million dollars.
A Deal In The LA Teachers Strike — Now, Union Members To Vote : NPR


Do Suspensions Work? A Tool to Improve Student Behaviors and/or a Pipeline to Prison? | Ed In The Apple

Do Suspensions Work? A Tool to Improve Student Behaviors and/or a Pipeline to Prison? | Ed In The Apple

Do Suspensions Work? A Tool to Improve Student Behaviors and/or a Pipeline to Prison?


Once a month a thousand or so teacher unionists file into Shanker Hall at the United Federation of Teachers for the monthly Delegate Assembly, the elected delegates are incredibly diverse, by gender, race and ethnicity. After the president’s report the meeting moves to a question period, one delegate asked, “My principal asked me to raise an issue, a student came to school with a knife, the Department of Education would only allow a short in-school suspension because the knife was only 4” long, shouldn’t we be able to impose a longer out of school suspension? The kid has to learn a lesson?” The union president agreed, the Discipline Code , the size of a phone book, might be overly restrictive, and then asked, “Shouldn’t the question be why he brought the knife to school?”
On one side: “School is a pipeline to prison, suspensions are racist and must be eliminated,” on the other, “There must be consequences for inappropriate behavior and suspensions must be one of the options.”
The suspension question is complicated, and, the “sides” are deeply entrenched.
There are 14,000 school districts, fifty states and thousands of charter schools, all of whom have a discipline code, plus, the Department of Education (USDE).
Some school districts employ “exclusionary suspensions,” meaning out-of-school suspensions while others, including New York City, only have in-school suspensions.
Some districts employ “zero tolerance” policies, suspensions for low level behavioral infringements while others, including New York City, require a ladder CONTINUE READING: Do Suspensions Work? A Tool to Improve Student Behaviors and/or a Pipeline to Prison? | Ed In The Apple



CURMUDGUCATION: My Support for Charter Schools

CURMUDGUCATION: My Support for Charter Schools

My Support for Charter Schools


In the last few weeks, I've been tagged once again as someone who will never support charter schools no matter what. This is not accurate, and School Choice Week seems like the perfect time to once again explain when I do, in fact, support charter schools. These are the characteristics that need to be in place.

Financial Honesty

Virtually all of the major charter/choice systems set up in this country are founded on a huge lie-- that a community can run multiple school district with the same amount of money it used to spend on just one district. That is simply never going to be true.


Charter fans object to the assertion that charters drain resources from public schools. "We don't say that a neighboring district drains resources from your local district," is the new argument. But in fact, we say that all the time. In Pennsylvania, we bitch non-stop about how Philly and the Burgh drain money from everyone else. And, with our 550 school districts, we've had a fifty-year conversation about how much better it would be for taxpayers if some of those districts merged.

Multiple, redundant school systems are financially inefficient. Of necessity, they increase the amount of total excess capacity that taxpayers are paying for. They duplicate pricey items like administrators, and they frequently remove resources from the public school without removing a matching level of cost. Opening charters financially destabilizes public schools.

Any honest attempt to open charters needs to be honest about the finances involved. There needs to be an honest discussion of how much more this will cost the taxpayers, whether that extra cost is to be made up by philanthropists supporting the charters or by the public school cutting programs. A really honest approach to opening charters would be to talk to the taxpayers and say, "We can have CONTINUE READING: 
CURMUDGUCATION: My Support for Charter Schools


It’s National School Choice Week. What is that? (Possibly not what you think.) - The Washington Post

It’s National School Choice Week. What is that? (Possibly not what you think.) - The Washington Post

It’s National School Choice Week. What is that? (Possibly not what you think.)



This is National School Choice Week, an annual occasion that features (literally) tens of thousands of independent events around the country that celebrate the “school choice” movement. Its website says this:
These celebratory events raise public awareness of the different K-12 education options available to children and families while also spotlighting the benefits of school choice.
NSCW recognizes all K-12 options, including traditional public schools, public charter schools, public magnet schools, private schools, online academies, and homeschooling.
Most, if not virtually all, of the events planned for the week are staged by schools and organizations and people who support alternatives to traditionally operated public school districts. Those include charter schools, which are publicly funded but privately run, sometimes by for-profit companies, and various programs that use public funds to pay for private and religious school.
National School Choice Week is an organization as well as a week, and came into existence in 2011. School choice proponents say that alternatives to traditional districts are necessary to give families options, especially in places where traditional public schools have failed. School choice opponents say that school choice is aimed at privatizing the public education system and that many of the choices being offered are not well-regulated, sometimes discriminatory and siphon funding away from local school districts. (You can be sure that this week’s events won’t mention the many charter sectors around the country that are riddled with scandal.)
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is a big fan of school choice and National School Choice Week, appearing at events in years past (as you can see in the picture above). DeVos has been advocating for alternatives to traditional school districts for decades and called traditional public schools “a dead end” before she became education secretary. She has stated that her mission as the nation’s top education official is to expand school choice.
This post about National School Choice Week is written by Carol Burris, a strong critic of school choice. She is a former award-winning New York high school principal who serves as executive director of the Network for Public Education, a nonprofit advocacy group.

Burris was named the 2010 Educator of the Year by the School Administrators Association of New York State, and in 2013, the National Association of Secondary School Principals named her the New York State High School Principal of the Year. Burris has been chronicling problems with modern school restructuring and school choice for years on this blog.
By Carol Burris
This week is National School Choice Week. Despite its image of a grass-roots celebration of every imaginable alternative to neighborhood public schools, the week is a carefully crafted public relations campaign designed to remind lawmakers of the financial muscle of its sponsors.
Children, wrapped in bright yellow scarves, will dance and sing to inspire legislative and financial support for CONTINUE READING: It’s National School Choice Week. What is that? (Possibly not what you think.) - The Washington Post




Teachers in Los Angeles Confront Privatization—the Heart of Today’s Neoliberal Conventional Wisdom | janresseger #UTLAStrong #StrikeReady #March4Ed #WeAreLA

Teachers in Los Angeles Confront Privatization—the Heart of Today’s Neoliberal Conventional Wisdom | janresseger

Teachers in Los Angeles Confront Privatization—the Heart of Today’s Neoliberal Conventional Wisdom


Almost a decade ago, I was sitting in the audience at a national meeting when a prominent Democrat endorsed neoliberalism—the idea that the private sector can do better than the government.  I might have expected this speaker to defend government services, but instead he expressed what sounded to me like the conventional wisdom as it might have been voiced at an Aspen Institute cocktail party of the so-called “theory class.”  There was no reasoning, no sense that evidence was necessary. He merely assumed we all agreed: “We can’t support vouchers,” declared the speaker, “but charter schools are OK because they  aren’t really a form of privatization.”
In their book, American Amnesia, the political scientists Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson describe how such conventional wisdom can somehow become acceptable despite plenty of contradictory evidence.  Writing about the emergence of a bipartisan neoliberal consensus beginning in the Reagan era and continuing today, they write: “These changes did not go unnoticed or occur without pushback. Yet those who sought to defend or resurrect the ideas under siege found themselves caught in what communications experts call a ‘spiral of silence.’ In such a spiral, opinions become dominant because of acquiescence as well as acceptance. Even if individuals do not agree with an idea, their sense that it is shared broadly makes them reluctant to voice dissent. In time, this anticipation can create self-fulfilling cycles—a ‘spiral’—in which conflicting ideas are pushed to the periphery. When alternative understandings are no longer voiced confidently, we collectively forget their power.” (American Amnesia, p. 198)
“Corporate school reform” is what we often call it—the idea that schools can be made more efficient by business school principles like accountability, determined through the data set of aggregate standardized test scores. Further, de-regulation will make schools more innovative and teachers will be motivated with financial incentives to work harder to raise scores. The other part of the theory is support for privatization.  When they talk about privatization of  CONTINUE READING: Teachers in Los Angeles Confront Privatization—the Heart of Today’s Neoliberal Conventional Wisdom | janresseger





Badass Teachers Association: Op-Ed: THERE SHOULD BE NO STRIKE #UTLAStrong #StrikeReady #March4Ed #WeAreLA

Badass Teachers Association: Op-Ed: THERE SHOULD BE NO STRIKE

Op-Ed: THERE SHOULD BE NO STRIKE


Leaders and Board members of Los Angeles Unified School District would like the public to believe that the looming teachers strike is all about salary. Indeed, it could easily be: teachers have not received a raise in three years, the request by the Union (and the offer from the district) doesn’t even cover inflation, and the fact is that teachers leaving LAUSD for neighboring districts often receive salaries $10,000 to $20,000 higher than they received in Los Angeles.
But it has never been about salary. It is and always has been a demand that the district actually invest in our schools and our children. We want LAUSD schools to be schools to which parents want to send their children. Schools that offer a caring, nurturing, safe environment, and opportunities to excel.
The primary mechanisms to achieve these goals?
• A full-time librarian at all schools.
• A full-time nurse at all schools.
• Lower class size
• Reduced district testing
In addition to the salary request, these four items represent the bulk of our demands.
The request for full-time librarians and nurses may come as a surprise. Most parents probably assume that is the norm, but it is far from it. Nurses are usually dividing time between different locations such that at some schools, a nurse may be on campus only one day per week. Librarians often fare worse: some schools closed their libraries permanently.
Reduced testing is something that may be hard for some to understand. We are not asking for reduced state testing. We are asking for fewer tests mandated only by LAUSD, due to the fact that these tests provide teachers no additional information and do nothing more than take up instructional time that could be put to far better use. The LAUSD-mandated testing is also quite expensive, though it is common knowledge that district leaders never met a program or expense they wouldn’t spend (waste) money on, whether it benefits students … or not. That is the CONTINUE READING: Badass Teachers Association: Op-Ed: THERE SHOULD BE NO STRIKE



Tell Congress: I Choose Public Schools - Network For Public Education #UTLAStrong #StrikeReady #March4Ed #WeAreLA

Tell Congress: I Choose Public Schools - Network For Public Education

Tell Congress: I Choose Public Schools



This week is National School Choice Week, a multi-million dollar campaign funded by right-wing groups like the Koch Brothers, The American Federation for Children, ALEC and the Walton Foundation. The endgame is to replace public education with privatized systems of schooling. Read what I have to say about School Choice Week and its billionaire funders herein the Washington Post. Here are two easy things that you can do.

1. Send a letter to your congressional representatives telling them that you support public education, not privatized education with vouchers, voucher-like tax credit schemes, charters and online schools. In just a few seconds you can send that letter by clicking here.

2. Go here to put the statement frame on the image below on your Facebook profile picture for the week.  

Here is the real choice we face.
Either we support public schools governed by our elected neighbors or we let state governments dole out tax dollars to parents to shop for schools.
We can’t have both. 
Please do your part and get the message out this week. Thanks for all you do.
Share this link to this email
on social media and by email.  Let’s tell our friends and neighbors know that the right choice is public schools.

Tell Congress: I Choose Public Schools - Network For Public Education

Austin Beutner Must Go #UTLAStrong #StrikeReady #March4Ed #WeAreLA

Austin Beutner Must Go
Austin Beutner Must Go


– LAUSD Board Member Scott Schmerelson
On Beutner’s handling of the labor dispute
Either Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Superintendent, Austin Buetner, is a pathological liar or he is utterly clueless. He began the week by telling the press “that about 3,500 people were taking part in pickets at the schools”. Meanwhile, tens of thousands gathered in the pouring rain to march from City Hall to the District headquarters. He has insisted that “students are safe and learning,” while the union representing his principals states that “Everything is not copacetic at all of our schools. Some schools have over 200 students with [just] one credentialed person.” His statement that “the safety and wellbeing of our students, families, and employees is our top priority” is eclipsed by the fact that District lawyers told a court that the health and safety of students with special education needs would be jeopardized if the teachers who serve them were allowed to strike.
All of these statements prove that parents cannot trust the information that is being released by the LAUSD. In order to make decisions during CONTINUE READING: Austin Beutner Must Go