Thursday, February 14, 2019

Love OUR Public Schools: Children & Their Teachers!

Love OUR Public Schools: Children & Their Teachers!

Love OUR Public Schools: Children & Their Teachers!



On this one-year anniversary of the shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School, I am remembering the students and their parents and teachers, especially those who lost loved ones.
MSD represents a great public school. Beyond the sadness of that day, we saw what a good public school can be. We saw loving, supportive parents. We learned that with resources and wonderful teachers, students can grow into beautiful, strong, well-spoken individuals.
Their voices are still heard fighting for school safety!
Unfortunately, while schools are mostly safe, safety issues are still a concern.
To make a great America, we must keep our students safe and invest in the next generation. That includes the 90% of our young people who get public education.
Here are some of the problems still facing public schools. These are not in special order. If I left something out that is a concern to you, please let me know and I will CONTINUE READING:Love OUR Public Schools: Children & Their Teachers!

Schott's 2018 Impact | Schott Foundation for Public Education

Schott's 2018 Impact | Schott Foundation for Public Education

Schott's 2018 Impact 








Most popular 2018 blogposts:

  1. Journey for Justice Releases Stunning New Documentary
  2. Webinar Series: The Safe and Supportive Schools All Children Deserve
  3. New Journey for Justice Report Shows How We're Failing Brown v. Board
  4. Native Youth Education & Health: Is Philanthropy up to the Challenge?
  5. Public School Students Continue to Lead the Nation to a Better Place
CONTINUE READING: Schott's 2018 Impact | Schott Foundation for Public Education




Weaponized Journalism

Weaponized Journalism

Weaponized Journalism
– Austin Beutner
At best, the National Enquirer, published by AMI, is mindless entertainment for people stuck waiting in line at their local supermarket. While stories about aliens and other ridiculous conspiracy theories are harmless, their coverage about celebrities crosses a darker line. Intruding into a person’s private life during times of adversity to sell copies of a tabloid is bad enough when the stories are real. Churning out works of fiction using a real person as the main character shows a lack of any moral center.
This is the type of business that Austin Beutner invested in as the founder and president of Evercore Partners. After a recapitalization Evercore became the controlling shareholder of AMI. He saw a business with a raw material of human pain and focused on the possible financial gain. As parents, is the message “profit above all else” something we would like to teach our children? It is an important question to ask given the fact that Beutner is currently the Superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the second largest school district in the country.
– Jeff Bezos
As exposed during the 2016 election cycle, it has been clear that the CONTINUE READING: Weaponized Journalism

Denver teachers strike: Teachers end strike after big pay raise - Vox

Denver teachers strike: Teachers end strike after big pay raise - Vox

The Denver teachers strike is over. They won.
Denver teachers snagged $23 million in pay raises during a three-day strike.


Denver’s teachers may soon be returning to school.
More than 2,000 educators, who have been on strike since Monday, said they reached a tentative deal Thursday with the local school district.
Details are not yet available, but the deal includes an average 11.7 percent pay raise and annual cost of living increases, according to the school district and the Denver Classroom Teachers Association, a labor union representing more than 5,000 educators in Denver public schools. It will also include raises for school support staff, such as bus drivers and cafeteria workers.
It also addresses the teachers’ biggest concern: the need to overhaul the merit-pay system, which relies heavily on annual bonuses that fluctuate from year to year. The new system will place more emphasis on education and training when considering promotions, while keeping some bonuses in place.
Where will they find the $23 million to pay for this? The district agreed to cut back on administrative costs, and will eliminate about 150 positions in the school’s central office. Five-figure bonuses for senior school administrators will also come to an end.
The pact was reached after an all-night negotiation marathon between the union and school administrators. Henry Roman, president of the union, described it as a “historic” deal. “No longer will our students see their education disrupted because their teachers cannot afford to stay in their classrooms,” Roman said in a statement Monday morning.
Teachers did make some concessions, but the deal represents a remarkable win for Denver’s teachers, who have been picketing and rallying in the streets for the past two days, while school administrators struggled to keep classes on schedule. It’s also a sign of the overwhelming momentum teachers have on their side from months of widespread teacher strikes across the country over school funding cuts and low teacher pay.

Arbitrary bonuses and low pay

Teachers were most upset about Denver’s incentive pay system, which started more than a decade ago. The district pays bonuses based on teacher performance, and to encourage teachers to work in high-poverty schools.
But the union says the bonuses vary too much from year to year, creating financial instability for educators and their families. They also say it’s unclear how the district measures good performance and determines bonuses.
Instead, teachers wanted the district to lower bonuses and increase their base salaries, and to CONTINUE READING: Denver teachers strike: Teachers end strike after big pay raise - Vox

Assemblyman asks state for ‘deep dive’ audit of Sacramento City school district #REDFORED #SCTA #CTA

Assemblyman asks state for ‘deep dive’ audit of Sacramento City school district
Assemblyman asks state for ‘deep dive’ audit of Sacramento City school district


Putting more pressure on Sacramento City Unified School District, under the threat of state takeover as it struggles to correct a $35 million budget gap, the assemblyman representing the district has requested a “deep dive” by the California state auditor into the district’s finances and decision-making.


Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, sent the letter last month to Assemblyman Rudy Salas, chairman of the Legislature’s Joint Audit Committee, and posted it on Facebook last week. In the letter, McCarty echoed a recent independent audit citing a district “leadership issue” as the cause of the crisis, which ballooned after a 2017 deal with the teachers union for salary increases “that the district acknowledged were not affordable without significant budget reductions.”
McCarty said that in addition to a financial analysis by the state auditor, he wanted to know: “What were the district’s key actions that caused the crisis? Who made these decisions? Why were these decisions made?”
He asked that the audit answer whether the district took “reasonable actions” to remedy the budget shortfall, and for recommendations to avoid such problems in the future.
McCarty, who is married to Sacramento City Unified board member Leticia Garcia, is a longtime ally of teachers unions.
According to the district, four entities have reviewed or audited its finances – including the state’s Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team (FCMAT), which presented its findings in December – and district officials have determined that they must reduce spending.

“District staff is now working diligently to develop cost savings solutions to our budget challenges,” said district spokesman Alex Barrios in a statement to The Sacramento Bee. “To avoid a state takeover, our students and families need District staff to continue spending their time focusing on these solutions. We would hope that Assemblymember McCarty’s audit request does not divert staff time away from solving the problem we need to solve to save our schools.”
Most state audits are requested by legislators. While an audit of a school district is considered rare, in 2018, 27 of the 32 total requests to the state auditor were approved. In a statement to The Bee, McCarty said he expects the request to be approved.
After approval, the audit would be scheduled and then typically takes six months to complete. The district has said it will run out of money in November, and will know by this spring whether it will head into state takeover.
The Joint Legislative Audit Committee will hold its hearing on proposed state audits March 6 CONTINUE READING: Assemblyman asks state for ‘deep dive’ audit of Sacramento City school district


Denver Teachers Reach Tentative Deal To End Walkout | 89.3 KPCC #DCTAstrong #RedforEd #edcolo #coleg #copolitics #FairPayForTeachers

Denver Teachers Reach Tentative Deal To End Walkout | 89.3 KPCC

Denver Teachers Reach Tentative Deal To End Walkout


Updated at 10:05 a.m. ET
After a long night of bargaining, teachers in Denver who were on strike over wages and bonuses have reached a tentative agreement with school district officials to end their walkout. The strike began Monday, after 15 months of negotiations ended without a deal.
The teachers are expected to be back in most classes today.
The agreement came after more than half of the district's approximately 4,700 teachers failed to report to classrooms on Wednesday. Administrators and substitute teachers kept most schools open, but some 5,000 preschoolers saw classes cancelled.
"This agreement is a win, plain and simple: for our students; for our educators; and for our communities," Denver Classroom Teachers Association President Henry Roman, an elementary school teacher, said in a statement.
"No longer will our students see their education disrupted because their teachers cannot afford to stay in their classrooms," he said.
Roman says the agreement ensures that educators have a transparent salary schedule and will be less dependent on unpredictable bonuses.
The agreement includes a 20-step salary schedule, clear increases of between 7 percent and 11 percent in base salary, cost of living increases and "an end to exorbitant five-figure bonuses for senior DPS administrators," the teachers association said.
"All week, the nation has looked to Denver with hopeful hearts," Lily Eskelsen GarcĂ­a, president of the National Education Association, said. "We are so proud of Denver's educators and this historic agreement that will provide greater opportunity for Denver students and stability for their schools."
To take effect, the tentative agreement must be ratified by a majority of members of CONTINUE READING:Denver Teachers Reach Tentative Deal To End Walkout | 89.3 KPCC



The Big Lie about the “Science of Reading” | radical eyes for equity

The Big Lie about the “Science of Reading” | radical eyes for equity

The Big Lie about the “Science of Reading”



While something of a Wild West frontier, inordinately dangerous for the most vulnerable, social media can be a powerful window into how we think about and judge education. Recently, the reading wars have been once again invigorated; this time driven often by parents and advocates for students with special needs and accompanied by a very familiar refrain, the “science of reading.”
One problem with public debate about education is that political and public voices often lack experience and expertise in education as well as any sort of historical context.
First, those who have studied the history of education, and specifically the ever-recurring reading wars, know that there has never been a decade in the last 100+ years absent political and public distress about a reading crisis.
However, one doesn’t need a very long memory to recognize that if we currently are (finally?) having a reading crisis, it comes in the wake of almost two decades (nested in a larger four decades of accountability birthed under Ronald Reagan) dedicated to scientifically-based education policy, specifically reading policy driven by the National Reading Panel (NRP).
The NRP was touted as (finally?) a clearing house of high-quality evidence on teaching children to read (although it proved itself to be partisan hokum).
This is all quite fascinating in the context of the current media blitz about CONTINUE READING: The Big Lie about the “Science of Reading” | radical eyes for equity

CURMUDGUCATION: Speedbumps on the Road to Curriculum's Golden Age

CURMUDGUCATION: Speedbumps on the Road to Curriculum's Golden Age

Speedbumps on the Road to Curriculum's Golden Age


Among the recent shifts in reform thought is one to a focus on curriculum and content, and I don't hate it. One of the hugely screwed up features of the last two decades has been the content-stripped focus on hollow skills. Reading is not a set of skills that can somehow be taught and practiced in a content-free vacuum, but that's what we've been trying to do for most of the 21st century, so far.

So this piece by Robert Pondiscio on the Fordham's blog is a welcome addition to the ongoing conversation about education. Pondiscio has been a rich content guy all along, and it's good to see him arguing how strong content can push aside the bad practices of recent years rather than making twisty arguments that Common Core and rich content are somehow two peas in a pod.


There are several points in the piece I want to underline, but I also want to note a huge roadblock or two on the trail to Contentville.

Most important: Under NCLB and Common Core, curriculum is judged strictly on its "alignment."

There are a variety of problems like this, not the least of which is that "alignment" can be completed successfully as a complex paperwork problem. But as Pondiscio correctly points out, alignment doesn't care about content:

“Alignment” also tells us nothing about literary merit, quality, or lasting value. You can explore themes of fratricide and revenge by studying Shakespeare’s Hamlet or Disney’s The Lion King. In no way are they “equal.” A three-star restaurant and Taco Bell may both get “A” ratings from the board of health if they’re aligned (as they must be) to safe food handling standards, but they are CONTINUE READING: 
CURMUDGUCATION: Speedbumps on the Road to Curriculum's Golden Age




We’ll Have to Reduce Test-and-Punish. Talking about Social Emotional Learning Isn’t Enough | janresseger

We’ll Have to Reduce Test-and-Punish. Talking about Social Emotional Learning Isn’t Enough | janresseger

We’ll Have to Reduce Test-and-Punish. Talking about Social Emotional Learning Isn’t Enough


Silly me!  I didn’t realize until a couple of weeks ago that SEL is a thing.  SEL is a new term in educational circles: Social Emotional Learning.  I heard Linda Darling-Hammond—Stanford University emeritus professor, CEO of the Learning Policy Institute, and chair of an Aspen Institute National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development—present the work of the commission, and then I started reading more about Social Emotional Learning (SEL).
It would appear that many of the educational academics promoting SEL are doing so as an effort to shift our schools’ focus away from the incessant drilling on basic language arts and math that has been driven by the high-stakes testing embedded in the 2002 No Child Left Behind (NCLB).  NCLB and Race to the Top, that compounded NCLB’s punitive grasp on our public schools, have created fear-driven pressure to raise scores at any cost. The stakes are high: Schools have been closed or charterized, teachers fired or their salaries cut, and school districts trapped in state takeover.  And worse—in terms of the social and emotional health of children—students whose reading scores are too low at the end of third grade have been retained in grade for an extra remedial year.
The Learning Policy Institute has been intent about trying to help state education departments take advantage of the way the 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) tweaks accountability.  ESSA eliminates direct federal punishments for low test scores by turning accountability over to states, but it says states must have their own plans to hold public schools accountable.  Beyond the required reporting of test scores and graduation rates, states can now add new factors, as long as the new factors are research-based. For example, the Learning Policy Institute has been explaining how research backs up the establishment of wraparound CONTINUE READING: We’ll Have to Reduce Test-and-Punish. Talking about Social Emotional Learning Isn’t Enough | janresseger

Leo Casey: Teacher Insurgency: What Are The Strategic Challenges? | Shanker Institute

Teacher Insurgency: What Are The Strategic Challenges? | Shanker Institute

Teacher Insurgency: What Are The Strategic Challenges?


The following post was the basis for a talk by Leo Casey, the Executive Director of the Albert Shanker Institute, which was delivered at “The Future of American Labor” conference held February 8th and 9th in Washington, D.C. 
There is every reason to celebrate the “Teacher Spring” strikes of 2018 and the more recent strikes in Los Angeles and Chicago’s charter schools. They provide ample evidence that American teachers will not acquiesce to the evisceration of public education, to the dismantling of their unions and to the impoverishment of the teaching profession. A powerful new working class movement is taking shape, with American teachers in the lead. But to sustain the momentum of this movement and to build upon it, we must not only celebrate, but also reflect and think strategically – we must address the strategic challenges this movement now faces. 
Today, I want to focus on two strategic questions posed by this “Teacher Insurgency:”
  • First, how mobilization differs from organization, the changing relationship between the two and what that means for our work; and
  • Second, the relationship between protest, direct action and strikes, on the one hand, and the struggle for political power, focused on elections, on the other, as well as the role both play in our work.
At the outset, I want to be clear that my approach is a broad one, viewing the current movement not only through the lens of labor history and working class struggles, but also as part of the history of protest movements as a whole, with a particular emphasis on the civil rights movement. There are many reasons for this approach, but one particularly compelling reason lies in the intimate connections between the civil rights movement and America’s public sector unions, including teacher unions. We know, of course, that Martin Luther King was an ardent supporter of the labor movement, and was assassinated in Memphis while he was organizing support for striking sanitation workers in an AFSCME local, and that A. Philip Randolph was both a labor leader and a civil rights leader. But what is perhaps less understood is that the leaders of the teacher unions and public sector unions in the 1960s, the period during which they became established, formidable forces, were often veterans of the civil rights movement. And most of these leaders drew upon their experiences as civil rights activists as they organized their unions.
In a similar way, many of the leaders and activists of the Teacher Insurgency are veterans of the protest movements of the last eight years, and in particular, of the movements that have emerged since Trump’s  CONTINUE READING: Teacher Insurgency: What Are The Strategic Challenges? | Shanker Institute
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‘Since Parkland’: A remarkable project by teen journalists about kids killed by guns in America - The Washington Post

‘Since Parkland’: A remarkable project by teen journalists about kids killed by guns in America - The Washington Post

‘Since Parkland’: A remarkable project by teen journalists about kids killed by guns in America

Image result for Since Parkland
12 months
1,200 American kids killed by guns
1,200 stories about the lives they led, reported by teen journalists across the country
That’s the start to a remarkable project, titled “Since Parkland,” which was conceived and carried out by teenage journalists who said they got tired of adult news organizations covering mass shootings en masse but failing to spend enough time or resources chronicling the gun violence that too many American children face every day in their own neighborhoods.
So, as the project’s new website explains, more than 200 teen journalists across the country last summer began researching and writing the life stories of young Americans — from newborns to 18-year-olds — who were killed during a year in this country.
Their stories start on Feb. 14, 2018, the day a gunman walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and killed 17 people, 14 of them students. Those young people were not the only ones to die in America from guns that day.
Among the stories told is that of Christian Robinson, a 14-year-old eighth-grader from Port Richey, Fla., who was shot in the head. His mother donated his organs to help five people stay alive.
This and other stories, and information about the project and biographies of the writers, can be found on the sinceparkland.org website, which launched Tuesday and is still a work in progress.
Take the time and read some of the stories about life in America today.
For the record, multiple organizations supported the teenagers, the website says:
The Trace, a nonprofit news organization dedicated to reporting on gun violence, worked with journalism teachers to provide the students with training and editing. Another nonprofit, the Gun Violence Archive, maintains the running count of shooting incidents from which the project team identified child victims. The  CONTINUE READING: ‘Since Parkland’: A remarkable project by teen journalists about kids killed by guns in America - The Washington Post



Seattle Schools Community Forum: Upcoming Charter School Applications in Washington State

Seattle Schools Community Forum: Upcoming Charter School Applications in Washington State

Upcoming Charter School Applications in Washington State



There were 12 NOIs (Notices of Intent) submitted to the Washington State Charter Commission this fall.

I'd be surprised if more than six even submit an application; it's a heavy lift to get done.

There were some surprises as I researched each NOI.

First surprise?

That the two assistant principals at West Seattle High School, Scott Canfield and Garth Reeves, have submitted an NOI.  That would be for Cascade:Midway High School in south King County to start in 2021.  They are getting help via the Washington Charter Schools Association which accepted them for their School Leadership and Design Fellowship.

 As I said in my email to the Board, it's not a crime to be looking for another job.  Not even for another job that will directly compete against your current one.   But I would hate to learn that they are using time and/or resources at SPS to do that work.

There are several schools in other areas of Washington State including Vancouver, Bremerton, Whatcom, and the Tri-Cities.

There are a couple labelled as opening in Seattle while still others say South King County( and that may include Seattle).

There are a couple that are dual-language-based including Camino:The  CONTINUE READING: 
Seattle Schools Community Forum: Upcoming Charter School Applications in Washington State

Seattle Schools Community Forum: What is the State of Charter Schools in Washington State? - http://saveseattleschools.blogspot.com/2019/02/what-is-state-of-charter-schools-in.html

Wesley Null and Diane Ravitch: The Heart of a School is Its Teachers: Treat Them with Love and Respect | Diane Ravitch's blog

Wesley Null and Diane Ravitch: The Heart of a School is Its Teachers: Treat Them with Love and Respect | Diane Ravitch's blog

Wesley Null and Diane Ravitch: The Heart of a School is Its Teachers: Treat Them with Love and Respect



Wesley Null, vice provost for undergraduate education at Baylor University, and I wrote this piece for the Dallas Morning News.
Texas legislators are revising the state’s school finance laws. We wanted to put before the public the importance of paying teachers well.
Some legislators are enthusiastic about what they call “outcomes-based funding,” which would send more money to affluent districts and less money to needy districts. This would be a huge mistake for obvious reasons. It’s reverse Robin Hood.
Long ago, Texas had visionaries in the legislature who understood that the future of the state relied on having a strong public education system. Current legislators think they can use charters as a substitute for adequate funding.
In 1948, those visionaries proposed a dramatic increase in state funding and equalization. Gilmer and Aiken persuaded their colleagues to raise the state share of funding to 75-80% of costs. This year, the state share will fall to 39%, shifting the burden of financing schools to localities, which favors the richest districts.
We wrote:
The heart of any school is the teacher. The only way to ensure that every Texas child receives a quality education is to place a well-educated, well-prepared teacher in every classroom. That truth will never change.
The attractiveness of teaching, however, continues to decline. The results are tragic. Labor Department statistics reveal that public educators are leaving the profession at the highest rate in 20 years. Low pay and disrespect are key factors in this alarming CONTINUE READING: Wesley Null and Diane Ravitch: The Heart of a School is Its Teachers: Treat Them with Love and Respect | Diane Ravitch's blog