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Sunday, February 10, 2019

Charter schools and the damage to real public schools | Arkansas Blog

Charter schools and the damage to real public schools | Arkansas Blog

Charter schools and the damage to real public schools

Charter schools have become a growing political issue nationally (if not so much in Arkansas) as advocates of democraticaly run conventional public school districts come to understand the  perilFor reading, an essay on how charter schools are "pushing public schools to the breaking point."

In Little Rock there's ready evidence of some familiar points in the article: First, the transfer of students to charters with loss of state financial support; the loss of voter support for the eroding public school district in tax elections, and the concentration of less-advantaged students in the public school district. Efficiency is an issue, too. Little Rock, already overbuilt in some neighborhoods, has been losing still more students in those neighborhoods to charters that have taken over old buildings (purchased by the Walton Family Foundation for lease to private operators.

“It’s really not a matter of whether it’s ‘state’ money or ‘locally raised’ money that’s being transferred,” writes Rutgers University professor Bruce Baker in an email. “It’s about the fact that kids are shifting to charters, and money for district schools is declining at a pace whereby the district cannot possibly immediately, efficiently CONTINUE READING: Charter schools and the damage to real public schools | Arkansas Blog

If You Can't Beat 'Em, Lie: The Trump/DeVos Doctrine of Redefinition | Eclectablog

If You Can't Beat 'Em, Lie: The Trump/DeVos Doctrine of Redefinition | Eclectablog
If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Lie: The Trump/DeVos Doctrine of Redefinition

Trump and his Republican enablers, like Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, are beginning to realize that they have approximately zero chance of ever winning another election–if held and run fairly–on the issues, so they are scrambling frantically to redefine these issues in a clumsy and desperate effort to confuse and distract voters.
Here are just 2 examples; one from national security, and the other from education policy:
1. “Border Security”
No one is against secure borders; not Republicans, not Democrats, not Independents…no one. But almost no one thinks a physical wall, fence, or structure will do anything to stem the flow of illegal drugs, or victims of human trafficking, or undocumented immigrants seeking asylum. So what has Trump done? He’s tried to “redefine” his wall as an essential part of “border security,” which it is not. A far better solution, endorsed by virtually everyone who is actually familiar with the situation at the border, is a combination of more border guards, drones, and hi-tech monitoring. But Trump persists in characterizing Democrats opposed to his wall as being in favor of “open borders” (they are not), crime (ridiculous), and mass invasions of rapists, drug dealers, and other criminals across our Southern border (immigrants commit crimes in the US at lower rates than American citizens).
This is nothing more than a blatant attempt to recast “border security” as an existential threat to “homeland security,” when the truth is that immigration at the Southern border is near its all-time low. Put simply, there is no “national emergency” at the border, no one is against “border security,” and there is no need for a wall. This issue, if defined honestly and clearly, is a loser for Trump, and he knows it. So he’s just decided to lie about it, and pretend it’s something it’s not.

2. “Charter Schools and School Choice”
In a fascinating turn of events, the public has begun to realize that the “charter school experiment” has been a colossal failure, and support for traditional public schools is on the rise again. This has been a source of real concern for Trump and his Secretary of Education, Michigan’s Betsy DeVos, who sense that their window to implement their $20 billion private and religious school federal voucher initiative is now slamming shut.
It’s also become something of a political “third rail” for a handful of potential Democratic presidential contenders such as Beto O’Rourke and Cory Booker, who have been longtime supporters of charter schools and school choice, and now see that their shared ideology on these issues with Trump and DeVos is a serious political liability.
(Indeed, Booker and DeVos have been associates for a long time, and allies on the issue of school choice. Booker and DeVos served together on the Board of Directors of pro school choice think tank Alliance for School Choice (AFC), and Booker has been invited by Dick DeVos to speak at the group’s conferences. Sen. Booker has also been complimentary of the initiatives the American CONTINUE READING: If You Can't Beat 'Em, Lie: The Trump/DeVos Doctrine of Redefinition | Eclectablog

Thank You To Everyone Who Made BLM@School A National Success! – Black Lives Matter At School

Thank You To Everyone Who Made BLM@School A National Success! – Black Lives Matter At School

Thank You To Everyone Who Made BLM@School A National Success!

Dear Black Lives Matter at School Family,

On behalf of the Black Lives Matter at School Coalition we are writing to thank everyone for a powerful week of action from coast to coast. Because of the bravery and tenacity of many thousands of educators, students, parents, activists, and organizers, BLM@School week was bigger and more impactful than ever before. 

It is truly stunning to visit #BlackLivesMatterAtSchool on Twitter and see all the photos and stories of communities around the country reclaiming their schools, affirming Black students’ lives, and challenging anti-Black racism.  We were especially moved by the intersectional approach to fighting racism that so many schools engaged in with lesson plans to teach about, queer, transgender, female, and immigrant, Black people. 
At the same time, during our week of action a girl at a Pennsylvania High School was grabbed by the hair and slammed on the lunch table by a police officer.  This incident, the many recent like it, and the on going inequities in the public schools are bitter reminders of work left to do.  It is our hope that the BLM at School week of action can serve to jump start activism and pedagogy to transform the school system and dismantle institutional racism—but we know that this work can’t be confined to week if it is going to be successful.  We must use the week to launch on going initiatives for ethnic studies, restorative justice, hiring more Black educators and counselors, to get police out of the schools, and more. 

Yet there can be no doubt that this movement has begun.  The Black Lives Matter at School week of action reached more than 30 cities; we engaged tens of thousands of students in lessons about the 13 principles of the Black Lives Matter Global Network; we held rallies at local school board meetings and city halls around the four national demands; and we organized forums, youth talent showcases, and speak outs to educate the community and empower young people in the movement.
Below is a round up of some of the many national and local news stories of the Black Lives Matter at School movement from cities around the country.
Thank you for your dedication to Black education for liberation!
Black Lives Matter at School
Thank You To Everyone Who Made BLM@School A National Success! – Black Lives Matter At School

School shooters usually show these signs of distress long before they open fire, our database shows

School shooters usually show these signs of distress long before they open fire, our database shows

School shooters usually show these signs of distress long before they open fire, our database shows

Two years before he lined his schoolmates up against a classroom wall and executed them one by one, the student, who would become the gunman, tried to show his English teacher something important.
He had quietly slid up his sleeves to reveal the cut marks running down his arms. The teacher panicked. A novice educator at the time, she had never been coached or trained in what to do in these situations, what to say or how to help. So she passed the student off to another teacher, who then filed a form with the principal’s office. She felt fairly certain nothing else came of it.
“He was asking for help,” the teacher said in reflecting on the encounter during a recent interview. “If I’d had some training to help him, a five-step sheet to follow, say this, say that, maybe I could have made a difference?”
The story is one of dozens that we have collected over the past two years in our effort toward studying the life histories of mass shooters. It typifies what we believe is one of the biggest challenges that schools face when it comes to averting school shootings – and that is recognizing and acting upon warning signs that school shooters almost always give well before they open fire.
We are both criminologists who study aggression and violence. One of us focuses on mental illness among offenders. The other has an extensive background in group violence.
Together, we have built a database of the 160 mass public shootings that have taken place in the United States since 1966 for a project funded by the National Institute of Justice, the research arm of the U.S. Department of Justice. For mass public shootings, we use the common definition of an event in which four or more victims are killed with a gun in a public place.

Protective measures fall short

The goal of our project is to use data to look for patterns in the lives of mass shooters. The purpose is to develop a better understanding of mass shooters and why they did what they CONTINUE READING:School shooters usually show these signs of distress long before they open fire, our database shows

Don't Act Like You "Care" About School Reform, But Ignore the Life and Death Issues Black People in America Face - Philly's 7th Ward

Don't Act Like You "Care" About School Reform, But Ignore the Life and Death Issues Black People in America Face - Philly's 7th Ward


In recent months, notable people within school reform circles have locked horns over a trifling question: Does the inclusion of social justice activists, people derided as “warriors,” in education reform threaten the bipartisan peace by introducing unrelated issues into the mix?
Are we marginalizing white conservative school reformers by making them confront the life and death issues people of color and other marginalized populations face every day as Americans?
I’ve been asked repeatedly, “Do we really need to include those other issues if our goal is to improve education?”
My response has been, “other issues?”
As if any of us live compartmentalized lives where our hearts, minds, and bodies are only impacted by one institution at a time.
As if we aren’t the sum total of a maddening portfolio of experiences—many of them negative—across institutions that reaffirm the Dred Scott ruling saying Black people have had “no rights which the White man was bound to respect.”
That portfolio of experience comes with compounding interest over the life span of a Black person, and it pays dividends in frustration, anger, and resistance.
If you are without this portfolio of experience you might be inclined to first deny, invalidate, belittle, reframe, obfuscate, and sequester Black pain so you can remain comfortably dispassionate, and plausibly ignorant to the factors CONTINUE READING: Don't Act Like You "Care" About School Reform, But Ignore the Life and Death Issues Black People in America Face - Philly's 7th Ward

Opt-Out Review – Educate Louisiana

Opt-Out Review – Educate Louisiana

Opt-Out Review

Every year around this time, I start to get an onslaught of questions from teachers and parents about state administered standardized tests and whether, or not, students are required to take them. I can only touch on the subject, here. If you want to delve deeper, just use the search feature on this site and search for “Opt Out.”

First, it helps to understand why the tests are administered. Nearly two decades ago, the federal government implemented accountability for public schools. The forces behind it were both Democrats and Republicans. Democrats wanted accountability for the poor performance of students living in poverty, students of color, and students who were non-English learners. Republicans saw education as the largest expense in state budgets and wanted results that justified the spending. It is important to understand that accountability describes what school system are required to do. It is in no way a mandate on students, or parents. Over the years, it has become nothing more than a tool for corporate interests to eliminate teacher tenure, bust teacher unions, and replace public schools with charter schools that have non-unionized teachers and run their schools like a business instead of a public entity that serves the good of every student. So what does all this mean to us?
Many years ago, when I was an elementary student, it was the practice to measure student performance using norm-referenced tests (NRT), and the results were reported in percentiles. To determine level of performance, test results are normed against a random sample to determine the bell curve. Percentile is a statistical norm that essentially means a 50th percentile CONTINUE READING: Opt-Out Review – Educate Louisiana

Rahm Emanuel’s Non-Apology Apology for Being a School Privatization Cheerleader | gadflyonthewallblog

Rahm Emanuel’s Non-Apology Apology for Being a School Privatization Cheerleader | gadflyonthewallblog

Rahm Emanuel’s Non-Apology Apology for Being a School Privatization Cheerleader

Rahm Emanuel’s recent op-ed in The Atlantic may be one of the dumbest things I have ever read.
The title “I Used to Preach the Gospel of Education Reform. Then I Became the Mayor” seems to imply Emanuel has finally seen the light.
The outgoing Chicago Mayor USED TO subscribe to the radical right view that public schools should be privatized, student success should be defined almost entirely by standardized testing, teachers should be stripped of union protections and autonomy and poor black and brown people have no right to elect their own school directors.
But far from divorcing any of this Reagan-Bush-Trump-Clinton-Obama crap, he renews his vows to it.
This isn’t an apologia. It’s rebranding.
Emanuel had been White House Chief of Staff at the beginning of President Barack Obama’s first term. He’s a former U.S. Representative, and senior adviser to President Bill Clinton.
Yet he’s persona non grata.
Now that the extremely unpopular chief executive has decided not to seek re-election, he’s trying to secure his legacy – to make sure the history books don’t remember him as the Democrat In Name Only (DINO) mayor who closed an unprecedented number of schools serving mostly minority students while catering to the will of rich investors. He doesn’t want to be remembered as the lord on a hill CONTINUE READING: Rahm Emanuel’s Non-Apology Apology for Being a School Privatization Cheerleader | gadflyonthewallblog

Who’s Giving In LAUSD5 – redqueeninla

Who’s Giving In LAUSD5 – redqueeninla

Who’s Giving In LAUSD5

There’s a school board race on; VBM ballots are out and LAUSD’s Board District 5 votes at the polls March 5, 2019
This time the “out-of-state billionaires” are “sitting this one out”. And it’s true, there are no outsized, multi-million dollar Independent Expenditure Committees (IEC) overflowing with money from privatizers and the California Charter School Association (CCSA), bankrolling negativedeceitful, messaging-campaigns.

But there are very clear lines to be drawn in the sand by scrutinizing the pattern of giving in this race. The seat vacated by the disgraced Charter School operator, Ref Rodriguez, constitutes a swing vote on today’s school board. At stake is no less than the balance of power between representatives of the Charter School industry (e.g., CCSA, PUC, Alliance, PLAS, Magnolia, Green Dot, KIPP, etc, etc, etc.) {Garcia, Gonez and Melvoin}, and the board’s former-Superintendents {McKenna and Schmerelson, joined variously by Vladovic who has taken considerable money from the CCSA but likes to keep everyone jumping}.
In the void left by CCSA is a different kind of indebtedness.  Political Patronageis a different if not new form of paymaster that three of the candidates are drafting.
Tables 1 and 2 show the distribution of donations reported to the CoLA Ethics Commission prior to 2/8/19 among 9 of the 10 qualified candidates running for LAUSD BD5 (Rivas has apparently reported no donations). Donations have been roughly categorized according to each donor’s character or affinity, e.g. as a charter school teacher or administrator; or, say, as a political consultant or Developer. These are not exhaustive categories and were assigned quickly without deep scrutiny or cross-checking; accuracy is not assured. Individual’s categorization may be requested via email for interest or the purpose of crowd-sourced corrections. “Other” means none-of-the-above, and includes, for CONTINUE READING: Who’s Giving In LAUSD5 – redqueeninla

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Valentine's Edition (2/10)

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Valentine's Edition (2/10)

ICYMI: Valentine's Edition

A handful of worthwhile reads this week. Remember to share!

Defining High Quality Curriculum

Nancy Flanagan wants to know why curriculum is supposed to be so hard for actual teachers.

Charter Schools Are Pushing Public Education To The Brink

Jeff Bryant looks at how badly charter schools squeeze public school finances. (Spoiler alert: pretty badly)

Active Shooter Drills

A reminder, if you need one, of just how badly this business stinks, and how damaging to a school's atmosphere these little death plays are becoming.

A Wake-Up Call To AI Companies

An interview with Anand Giridharadas, a guy you should definitely know about.

What Part of No To Vouchers Do Lawmakers Not Understand   

Arizona lawmakers are determined to just sort of ignore the results of recent elections, decisions, uprising-- you name it.

The Myth of De Facto Segregation    

From the Kappan. Segregation didn't just kind of happen, and the soft bigotry of low expectations is not the major problem.

Third Grade Flunk Laws and Unintended Consequences   

Yes, Nancy Flanagan is on here twice. I can't help it if she keeps writing indispensable stuff.

The Trouble With Test-Obsessed Principals

Steven Singer takes a look at how testing messes with the front office and what that means for everyone else in the building.

Portfolio Governance Creates Unstable Charter Sector    

Firing your way to excellence involves closing lots of schools. That's not really helpful in any district.

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Valentine's Edition (2/10)

Field Guide To Strike Objectors
In my four decades of teaching, I went through a strike twice--once as a first year teacher, and once as the president of the local union. Writing about education, I have followed dozens more. No matter what kind of public support a strike is getting, there are always some familiar tunes you can expect to hear played in opposition to a teacher walkout. Here's your guide to all the classics. Don't

FEB 08

IA: Choice Is Taxation Without Representation
An Iowa state senator has caught on to one of the problematic side effects of many choice programs-- disenfranchised taxpayers. Or, as somebody put it a while ago, taxation without representation. Iowa has long allowed open enrollment; an Iowa family can enroll their student in any public school district, whether they live there or not. Currently the full per-pupil expenditure follows the student-

FEB 07

DC: Charter Leaders Make The Big Bucks
It's a phenomenon noted in many urban education-scapes. The leaders (CEO, Education Visionary, Grand High Muckity Muck, whatever) of a charter operation makes far more money than a) the local public school superintendent responsible for far more students and b) the teachers who work within the charter. But a recent Washington City Paper article by Rachel Cohen lays out some stark examples. The art
Count Them As They Go
I'm asked from time to time (mostly, I think, because some people are curious but reluctant to ask) what it's like to be in my particular spot in life. Retired from teaching, sixty-one years old, raising two babies about thirty years after I raised two other babies-- as my wife and I have said at various times over the last decade, we are kind of off the map here. So my honest answer is that I'm f

FEB 06

Portfolio School Management For Dummies
One of the issues that was hanging over the Los Angeles teacher strike is the idea of portfolio management; the UTLA asserts that Superintendent Austin Beutner already has a plan prepared for converting the LAUSD to a multi-portfolio model. In Denver, the model has already been rolled out, to less than stellar result . It's a challenging issue to discuss because so few people understand exactly h

FEB 05

Hammering the Littles: Are The Kids Really All Right?
The headline says " Kindergarten classes are getting more academic. New research says the kids are all right. " The news is that a big shiny new study shows that the increasingly academic approach to kindergarten is okee dokee. The quick take is that the study followed 20,000 kindergarten students and found that they both achieved academically and their social and emotional development was just fi

FEB 04

Reclaiming Choice
So we just froze our way through School Choice Week, the annual PR blitz in favor of privatizing public education, and I find myself troubled and annoyed by the word "choice." See, I favor choice. In all my years at our tiny small town/rural high school, we'v e graduated students who went on to become doctors, artists, teachers, welders, construction workers, lawyers, telephone linemen, and jobs y

FEB 03

ICYMI: Really Big List Edition (2/3)
Was it the cold? Did we all just have more time to wander the internet? I don't know, but it's a huge list this week. Remember to share-- that's how the word gets out. LA Strike: Charters Are An Existential Threat To Public Education The LA strike was extraordinary in that it addressed so much more than wages and benefits, but also addressed policy as well. Here's a good look at where the LA chart

FEB 01

Measuring Success: A Study in Contrasts
Two items tossed my feed this week that underline contrasting ideas about what constitutes success in education. First, let's go to the Jackson-Madison County school system of Tennessee. At JMCSS folks are pretty excited because they've made such strides with the addition of a unified curriculum. They know this worked because they have all sorts of growth data, much of it exceeding expectations. N

JAN 31

How American Should American Schools Be?
Part of the impetus behind modern education reform is the idea that more of the education system should be operated by businesses. Many merits and drawbacks of that approach continue to be debated, but one aspect is rarely discussed. Modern business is multinational, so we need to ask--how much control of our educational system do we want to send outside of U.S. borders? Charter schools have been