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Sunday, January 27, 2019

JEFF BRYANT: LA teachers make the case that charter schools are an existential threat to public education | #REDFORED #VEA #OEA #SCTA #StrikeReady #SOLIDARITYFOREVER #UTLAStrong

LA teachers make the case that charter schools are an existential threat to public education |

LA teachers make the case that charter schools are an existential threat to public education
Truth is, the financials of charter schools have never added up

Isn’t it reasonable to have some regulations on charters?” asked Ingrid King, a kindergarten and dual language teacher at Latona Avenue Elementary School in Los Angeles. She and two of her colleagues spoke to me from the picket lines during the recently resolved teacher strike in her city. When she and over 30,000 teachers and school personnel walked off the job, it closed the nation’s second-largest school system of nearly a half-million students for six days and filled the streets with huge protests.

The strike ended when the district conceded to give teachers a 6 percent pay raise, limit class sizes, reduce the number of student assessments by half, and hire full-time nurses for every school, a librarian for every middle and high school, and enough counselors to provide one for every 500 students.
But the concessions teachers won that will likely have the most impact outside of LA are related to charter schools. The teachers forced the district leader to present to the school board a resolution calling on the state to cap the number of charter schools, and the teachers made the district give their union increased oversight of charter co-locations — a practice that allows charter operations to take possession of a portion of an existing public school campus.
Los Angeles Unified has 277 charter schools, the largest number of charter schools of any school district in the nation. The schools serve nearly 119,000 students, nearly one in five students. The vast majority of charters are staffed by non-union teachers. (Teachers at a chain of unionized charter schools in the city that joined district teachers on the strike are still on strike.) So the quick takefrom some is the teachers’ union made curbs on charter schools part of their demands because these schools are a threat to the union’s power.
But when you talk to teachers, that’s not what they say. They tell you they want to curb charter school CONTINUE READING: LA teachers make the case that charter schools are an existential threat to public education |

Teaching Through Lockdown | gadflyonthewallblog

Teaching Through Lockdown | gadflyonthewallblog

Teaching Through Lockdown

“Excuse the interruption. We are under a lockdown.”
That was it.
Not an explanation of what caused it.
Not any idea of how much danger we were in.
Not any idea of how long it would last.
Just a vague warning that teachers knew meant to keep all their students in class until further notice.
As an educator, you’re expected to teach.
It doesn’t matter what’s happening around you. There can be yelling or screaming. There can be a scuffle in the next room. The lights may flicker off and on.
None of that matters.
If you have students and aren’t in immediate danger, you’re expected to teach them.
And that’s what I did. Even then.
I teach mostly poor and minority students in a western Pennsylvania school near CONTINUE READING: Teaching Through Lockdown | gadflyonthewallblog

Marie Corfield: UPDATE & ACTION: @GovMurphy Promised To Ditch #PARCC. Is He Going Back On His Word?

Marie Corfield: UPDATE & ACTION: @GovMurphy Promised To Ditch #PARCC. Is He Going Back On His Word?

UPDATE & ACTION: @GovMurphy Promised To Ditch #PARCC. Is He Going Back On His Word?

Update and Action Alert!

Last week I wrote about S-3381, Sen. Teresa Ruiz's bill to change the state's high school graduation requirements that, if signed into law, could have a devastating effect on thousands of New Jersey high school seniors. 

S-3381 now has a companion Assembly bill. A-4957 was posted by Assembly Education Chair Pamela Lampitt, although as of this writing, it has not been assigned to a committee. The Senate bill will be heard in the Senate Budget room tomorrow at noon.

All of this is moving very quickly, and for no good reason. Both bills are expected to be voted on by the full legislature this week, so quick action is needed (see below for specific action items).

Yesterday Save Our Schools NJ posted an extensive update. You can read the full text here. These are the main concerns: 

The NJ Appellate Court indicated that the current high school graduation testing requirements, which were imposed by the Christie Administration in 2016 and ruled illegal by the Court on December 31, 2018, will stay in effect until the Court rules on the Murphy Administration's request that all current juniors and seniors who had partially or fully met those requirements by December 30 2018 be allowed to graduate under the testing options specified in those requirements. In its December 31 ruling, the court had originally indicated that the Christie graduation requirements would be struck down as of January 31. Those testing requirements are available here.
If the Court does not grant the Murphy Administration's request  CONTINUE READING: Marie Corfield: UPDATE & ACTION: @GovMurphy Promised To Ditch #PARCC. Is He Going Back On His Word?

The Headband Obsession With Student Concentration

The Headband Obsession With Student Concentration

The Headband Obsession With Student Concentration

Headbands created to collect information about student attending behavior are the latest trend. Adults monitor and gather information from students’ brains to see if they stay focused on schoolwork.
Here’s the Vulcan Post that discusses Neeuro, from just one company jumping on the headband bandwagon.
This falls into the social-emotional “good behavior” and “self-regulation” learning craze, and school districts will assuredly climb onboard like they do with everything else involving technology.
Like the Santa Anna School District which already promotes tech to monitor whether students are fidgeting while test-taking. One predicts they will be candidates for student headband monitoring.
Watch for headbands used to evaluate teachers. If the data show too many students CONTINUE READING: The Headband Obsession With Student Concentration

Some Early Lessons From The Los Angeles Teachers Strike | PopularResistance.Org

Some Early Lessons From The Los Angeles Teachers Strike | PopularResistance.Org


Corporate media absolutely won’t tell you this, but this year’s Los Angeles teachers strike is the latest chapter in the long running struggle against the privatization of public education in the US. With massive public support, 30,000 teachers have voted a settlement that increases their wages a little, brings back nurses, librarians and counselors to each and every one of the city’s 900 schools, caps class sizes and charter school expansion and more. Striking teachers managed to bring issues to the table that were supposed to be impossible to address, like the manipulation of school board real estate, school closings and charter policies to gentrify neighborhoods, among others.
The facts, which again corporate media has no interest in telling you, are that United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), following and improving on the model of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) leading up to their 2012 strike, raised its membership dues a couple years in advance to hire a research team and a cadre of community organizers. These cadre were charged with forging deep and permanent links between teachers and communities across the city in motion for better housing, against mass incarceration, for equitable transit and most especially with organized parents in every corner of the city who aimed to improve the schools. Childrens’ learning conditions after all, are the teachers working conditions. As in Chicago, these deep organizational and personal links with the organized masses provided them with a degree of immunity from the tsunami of lies coming from corporate media before, during and after the strike. UTLA spent extra money, extra staff time and extra care as well cultivating and educating its own members to support the new policies, to ensure every teacher was contacted repeatedly in the year and longer before the strike, provided with the facts and offered opportunities and chances to weigh in and to take ownership of their union at every level.
For a generation now, privatizing the public schools has been the bipartisan project of America’s one percenters. Democrats and Republicans, Donald Trump and Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, celebrities like John Legend and Magic Johnson, conservative and liberal engines of corporate philanthropy including the Gates, Walton, Broad, Heritage, McArthur and other foundations, Fox News and CNN, black and white big city mayors, hucksters like Al Sharpton and Roland Martin, the lords of CONTINUE READING: Some Early Lessons From The Los Angeles Teachers Strike | PopularResistance.Org

SPOTLIGHT BLOG OF THE WEEK: Wrench in the Gears – A Skeptical Parent's Thoughts on Digital Curriculum

Wrench in the Gears – A Skeptical Parent's Thoughts on Digital Curriculum

Wrench in the Gears – A Skeptical Parent's Thoughts on Digital Curriculum

Stanley Druckenmiller and Paul Tudor Jones: The Billionaire Networks Behind Harlem’s Human Capital Lab

Stanley Druckenmiller, also a hedge fund manager, recruited Gary Cohn of Goldman Sachs for the board of the Harlem Children’s Zone. As board chair, Druckenmiller shaped the leadership of the organization, which came from the highest echelons of New York’s finance sector. Druckenmiller and Geoffrey Canada had gone to school together at Bowdoin in Maine. Druckenmiller serves on the endowment manage
Will We See A Pre-K TARP? (Toxic Assets Relief Program) In 20 Years?

Over twenty plus years, HCZ grew from a one-block pilot offering integrated social service delivery to a vast enterprise overseeing 20,000 children and adults within a ninety-seven block area. Under the leadership of Geoffrey Canada, hundreds of millions of dollars flowed from finance interests into HCZ’s programs, including Promise Academy Charter Schools, which were prominently featured in the
Could “Community Schools” Be Today’s Sugar Refineries?

Global finance has not underwritten “cradle to career” interventions to empower the poor or eliminate the source of their suffering. No, the intent of the 168 pages of calculations paid for by Paul Tudor Jones and the Robin Hood Foundation is to harness the human capital of oppressed communities so it can be scrutinized for “impact,” thus creating a poverty-mining pipeline to enrich themselves an
Interoperable Data To Fuel Human Capital Hedge Funds

An influential network of economists and billionaire-backed foundations have laid out this nefarious plan for a futures market in human capital data with the help of complicit academics and think tanks ( here , here , here , here , and here ). They did it piece by piece, so gradually that few realize the dangers that loom on the horizon. Sitting in oak-paneled rooms and minimalist C-Suites, these
Accounting Ledgers Connect The Dots: From Jamestown To Harlem And Beyond

168 pages 168 pages of calculations 168 pages assessing people as commodities 168 pages estimating economic returns on “investment” in the poor 168 pages of financial depravity, inequality, callousness 168 pages of too few with too much and too many with too little 160 pages built on the trans-Atlantic slave trade 400 years from Jamestown’s ledger books 400 miles between Jamestown and the Harlem

JAN 23

Could Newsom’s “Choose Children” Budget Advance Digital Slavery in CA?

In the aftermath of the well-funded “Choose Children” campaign, we are left to ponder what Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposed 2019 budget really means for California’s children. Will he use his position to do the will of the people, or instead sacrifice the state’s youth on the altar of technological surveillance and venture capital? I see alarming connections between elements of his budget, early

JAN 15

What Could Be Wrong With The “Community School” Model? Revisiting A November 2015 Piece, Post-FEPA

I wrote the piece below in November 2015 during the lead up to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which passed the following month and cemented into place “Pay for Success” finance of education delivery in the United States. The Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools hosted that post, since I had not yet started my own blog. I am thankful for the hospitality they extended to me then. I want

JAN 08

Is Universal Pre-K Legislation A Set Up For “Lifelong Learning?”

I’m worried about universal pre-k. Let me repeat. I’m VERY worried about universal pre-k. I worried when Michael Bloomberg and John Arnold supported it in Philadelphia. I worried when I learned about social impact bonds and “pay for success” finance. I worry few people know about these new methods of intrusive pre-k data collection: vests holding digital recorders that count words spoken to babie

JAN 04

When “Community Foundations” Go Global (Or Coastal)

Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Part Five Here for the introduction and parts one , two , three , and four . Community foundations were established a century ago to aggregate assets from individuals, families and businesses and advance the activities of nonprofits operating in a particular geographic area, hence the “community” designation. The first example is generally considered to be The
Charter, Public Health, and Catholic Charity Interests Help Launch “Disruptive” Pay for Success Program

Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Part Four Go here for parts one , two , and three . In a 2013 interview for the Mission Investors Exchange publication, “Community Foundation Field Guide to Impact Investing,” Chief Giving Officer Ellen Clement Glass stated there had been talk of exploring impact investing as early as 2006, before the Silicon Valley Community Foundation had even been officiall
Philanthropy’s lesser known weapons: PRIs, MRIs and DAFs

Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Part Three Go here for parts one and two . Last year, the 800+ community foundations in the United States held a combined total of over $91 billion in assets and awarded $8.3 billion in grants. As non-profits are incorporated into the “evidence-based” impact agenda, it is important to keep in mind $8 billion+ buys a lot of influence. All you need to do is spen
To Serve Man: It’s A Cookbook!

Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Part Two Go here for part one. Not only is the Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) among the largest foundations in the country, it is also situated in the belly of the beast. The Bay Area is where vast amounts of venture capital have combined with public and privately funded research to propel advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning,
Silicon Valley’s Social Impact Deal Maker

Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Part One Here for parts two , three , four and five. Feature image is from this New York Times article . The Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) has been a key player in outcomes-based contracting test cases emerging in the Bay Area over the past five years ( here for more information). It is the largest community foundation in the United States with as

Toxic Philanthropy Part Three: The Silicon Valley Community Foundation

I spent quite a few hours over winter break exploring various aspects of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s (SVCF) operations and have prepared a series of posts documenting what I have found thus far. This series is 

Wrench in the Gears – A Skeptical Parent's Thoughts on Digital Curriculum