Latest News and Comment from Education

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Tell the Sac City School Board to Put Students First - Action Network #Unite4SACKids #WeAreSCTA #WeAreCTA #strikeready #REDFORED #SCTA #CTA

Tell the Sac City School Board to Put Students First - Action Network

Tell the Sac City School Board to Put Students First

Sacramento City schools are in jeopardy. Superintendent Jorge Aguilar and the School Board have failed to put students first.
Instead, they have:
  • Increased the number of administrators by 63% since 2014;
  • Demanded top executive compensation that exceeds the governor’s pay by 61%.
  • Failed to deliver on promises to expand arts and music;
  • Refused to make much needed improvements for special needs students;
  • Rejected efforts to decrease student suspensions through a robust, bottom-up restorative practices culture that keeps kids in class;
  • Backtracked on signed agreement with teachers to improve recruitment and retention of educators.
We can fix the budget - and stop bureaucratic bloat–by returning the number of administrators to 2014–2015 levels and bringing administrative salaries in line with what the governor of California is paid. Those reasonable adjustments would immediately save the District $16.6 million per year.
Tell the Sac City School Board to Put Students First - Action Network

Substitute Teachers Need to be Designated and Given Migrant Worker Status - La Comadre

Substitute Teachers Need to be Designated and Given Migrant Worker Status - La Comadre

Substitute Teachers Need to be Designated and Given Migrant Worker Status
Many substitute teachers working in various school districts have no adequate labor union representation. Some have no labor unions that represent their specific needs, and many are pretty much fending for themselves, earning peanuts, and getting no respect for grueling, migrant work.
Being a substitute teacher is not easy. It takes courage and commitment to do this job. They must work at schools that are not familiar to them, and certain schools are very tough when it comes to certain student and staff behaviors and attitudes toward subs. Many have to drive, take the bus, metro to get to various schools, under the sweltering sun.
It often takes years of teaching experience to learn certain classroom management and teaching skills. First, you have to be an expert in most subject fields, since you may be assigned to teach math, science, English, or even physics classes.
It can be an unpredictable job, but substitute teachers become nimble, efficient and effective in navigating various public school bureaucracies. Many are courageous since they have to go to areas that have high crime rates and high gang activity.
They are required to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and to pass the CBEST teaching credentialing test. Also, they have to jump through many hoops to become cleared by the governor’s office and pass extensive background checks conducted by the state Department of Justice (DOJ). They need to obtain fingerprint clearance. They have to pay for various required fees that add up such as the Commission on Teacher Credentialing annual fees.
With this in mind, substitute teachers deserve respect and equal pay with certain benefits. They should actually be paid what regular teachers make on an average day. The Los Angeles Unified School District pays close to $190 per day, in some cases more than $190 for long-term substitute jobs. It sounds like a respectable amount, but new substitute teachers rarely get job assignments making it tougher to get by on poverty wages. Substitute teachers only get to work on average eight months or less per year, and many are not able to get teaching jobs during the summer months. Many subs struggle tremendously, but society seems to not really care about the struggles and needs of educators.
It is important to note that substitute teaching has become more competitive since many teachers who were laid off now rely on substitute teaching on a regular basis. Although our economy has made life harder for substitute teachers, these educators take these CONTINUE READING: Substitute Teachers Need to be Designated and Given Migrant Worker Status - La Comadre

THE CHARTER SCHOOL DECEPTION - #Unite4SACKids #WeAreSCTA #WeAreCTA #strikeready #REDFORED #SCTA #CTA #UTLAStrong #DCTAstrong #Unite4OaklandKids #WeAreOEA



The Charter School Deception is a video documentary that exposes the continued expansion of Charter Schools in our public school system in Los Angeles. Share this video documentary with friends. Use social media and make sure that many people watch this video. Thanks!!!

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What will it take for Hoosier teachers to stand up? | Live Long and Prosper

What will it take for Hoosier teachers to stand up? | Live Long and Prosper

What will it take for Hoosier teachers to stand up?

Yesterday the Indiana State House of Representatives passed a budget…without adding more money specifically for teacher pay.
The House included an increase for education funding of 2.1% for the first year and 2.3% the second year. Given the recent inflation rates, this will allow school systems to add next to nothing. The inflation rate for the previous two years, 2018 and 2017, was 1.9% and 2.1% respectively. Republican legislators have suggested that teachers could get more money in their pockets if school systems budgeted better…spent less money on administrators and other “frills.”
Their criticism of school spending has raised the ire of superintendents and educators who say they have little left to cut after years of increasing costs and state revenue that has barely kept pace with inflation.
The test score bonus is still in effect, however, so those teachers who teach in low-poverty schools are guaranteed a cut from an extra $30 million. Perhaps we could cut the millions we waste on the “state test.”
Not all of this paltry increase in education funding will make its way to public school classrooms, however. The House has chosen to spend more on school privatization. They decided that charter schools deserve an increase from $500 to $1000 per student, and have increased voucher costs by adding a new tier worth 70% of state tuition support.
…and we’re still waiting for someone to evaluate the charter and voucher entitlements.
Are students offered a better education in charter schools? That was the original selling point. Charter schools were supposed to improve all schools through competition.
Not anymore…now it’s all about choice. Unfortunately for some children, however, the “best” charter schools refuse to “choose” them.
This country is nearly 30 years into an experiment with charter schools, CONTINUE READING: What will it take for Hoosier teachers to stand up? | Live Long and Prosper

CURMUDGUCATION: What Is Your State's Grade For Data Privacy Protection?

CURMUDGUCATION: What Is Your State's Grade For Data Privacy Protection?

CURMUDGUCATION: What Is Your State's Grade For Data Privacy Protection?

If data is the new oil, then schools are the new Ghawar field. Nearly every single person in a generation passes through a school, and virtually all of them encounter computer-based technology. And everything that a computer assesses, measures, and facilitates, it can also record and store.
You may think that such data is fiercely protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act(FERPA). As originally passed, FERPA did not even allow schools to share student data with other government agencies. But in 2008 and 2011 the law was weakened, allowing student data to be shared with just about any agency or company authorized by the school district, or authorized by a company authorized by the school district--and this sharing can occur without parental permission or notification.
Teachers must now be aware that every use of technology in the classroom represents a possible exposure of student data. Google has been hugely successful in getting its apps into classrooms--but Google has also admitted to mining student data with those apps. School districts have had their data banks hacked and taken hostage. Companies are anxious to gather up all the data about each child; Knewton once bragged that given the access to data, they could tell children what to eat for breakfast on the day of a math test. Some people look with admiration at the Chinese system which stores data from cradle to grave to be used by government and employers to decide a citizen's fate.
Schools are where one thorny modern issue--data privacy--meets our most vulnerable population--students. As a parent, you may carefully monitor your child's phone, her social media use, and all her other online activities. But how well-protected is your child at school?
A new report from The Parent Coalition for Student Privacy and the Network for Public Education (of which I am a member) takes a state by state look at that protection. The 2019 State Student Privacy Report Card takes a look at seven categories and scores each state, then averages those scores for an overall grade. The picture is not pretty; no state earned an A, and 28 states failed with either a D or an F. The report card looks primarily at 99 laws passed in the last five years, considering their thoroughness and quality. Those covered a wide range, from those based on California's landmark CONTINUE READING: CURMUDGUCATION: What Is Your State's Grade For Data Privacy Protection?

Exclusive: The Moral Disengagement of Education Reform | Cloaking Inequity

Exclusive: The Moral Disengagement of Education Reform | Cloaking Inequity

Exclusive: The Moral Disengagement of Education Reform 

This week I blogged about the 2019 International School Choice and Reform conference in Portugal. What I didn’t mention in the post (See FROM PORTUGAL, WITH NO LOVE FROM THE EDUCATION REFORMERS) was the Twitter onslaught and venom from the White neoliberals directed towards Steve Nelson about his research after the conference.

I of course joined in the conversation on Twitter and came to his defense. One of the things that I  often note about their defenders is the fact that the education reformers largely lack of diversity in their conferences, their think tanks, their researchers— and their movement in general— is notable. If they do have diversity, they are typically former Teach For America. I will save the discussion about TFA and POC for another day because I just co-authored a new chapter with Amber Kim and Jameson Brewer about this very issue entitled Planting Toxic Seeds in Fertile Soil: The Knowledge Acquisition, Achievement, and Behavioral Beliefs Inculcated into Teach For America Corps Members of Color. Should be out later this year.
Perhaps this sums up the problem. One response on Twitter from a White Female was that her movement didn’t “bean count” for diversity. I’m glad that the organizers of the International School Choice and Reform conference reached out on Twitter to create a more diverse space for next year’s conference. I made some recommendations. Let’s see if they decide to “bean count.” Excluding people of color from these discussions that primarily impact their communities is immoral.
Also, I recieved a photo this week of the very obvious strategic approach of “union busting” from a source that attended the National Association of Charter School Authorizers conference.

I think denying teachers their right to freedom of speech, their right to organize, and their right to advocate on behalf of their students is immoral.
Recently, California State University Sacramento had a visit from the University Council on Education Administration (UCEA). During the visit, I had the opportunity to talk with Dr. Megan Tschannen-Moran, Professor in the Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership program at William & Mary School of Education, about her students new dissertation. R. Davis Clement, II study is entitled “EDUCATION REFORM AS MORAL DISENGAGEMENT: THE RACIST SUBTEXT OF THE STATE TAKEOVER OF LITTLE ROCK SCHOOL DISTRICT” and it investigates the Moral Disengagement of Education Reform in a southern community. She writes “I think it makes a really important contribution to the work we are doing in education now around issues of race” and sent along the following summary: CONTINUE READING: Exclusive: The Moral Disengagement of Education Reform | Cloaking Inequity

Report: Oakland Unified should pay teachers more, but can't #Unite4OaklandKids #WeAreOEA #WeAreCTA #strikeready #REDFORED

Report: Oakland Unified should pay teachers more, but can't

Report says Oakland Unified can’t afford to pay teachers the 12 percent raise they want to avoid strike
A neutral arbitrator says the district’s finances prevent it from offering teachers competitive pay.

OAKLAND — Teachers here are poised to go on strike Thursday despite the findings of a state-appointed arbitrator that the financially strapped district can’t afford to give them the raise they’re asking for, a dilemma that union leaders say was avoidable.
In a non-binding “fact-finding report” released over the weekend, arbitrator Najeeb N. Khoury acknowledged that the district’s offer of a 5 percent raise over three years won’t keep pace with inflation but also noted the Oakland Education Association’s demand for a 12 percent increase over three years is beyond the district’s means.
Khoury indicated he would like to see teachers get a 9 percent raise over three years — 3 percent a year — because it would make their salaries more competitive with other districts, but even that would “place too much of a strain on the district’s current finances.”
Instead, he recommended a 6 percent raise retroactive to the 2017-18 school year and called for salary negotiations to reopen for the 2019-20 school year, at which time the district might be able to land more money from the state under Gov. Gavin Newsom’s budget proposal.
He also noted Oakland Unified might be able to offer more than 6 percent later if raises are put off for now.
The union’s appointee to the fact-finding team, Charles King, agreed with the 6 percent retroactive raise for the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 school years, but he also wanted the district to lock in a 5 percent raise for the 2019-2020 year rather than reopen negotiations.
“An agreement now gives the district several weeks to build an appropriate budget prospective in their next multiyear projection,” King said. “The Oakland community cannot continue to wait for the OUSD school board and administration to fulfill this promise.”
The district is desperately searching for ways to prevent its funding shortfall from growing to $56.6 million by the 2020-21. The deficit is due in part to a sharp decline in student enrollment over the past 15 years, from 54,000 to 37,000, and district officials’ failure to budget accordingly — a predicament that some critics blame on fiscal mismanagement.
Skyline teacher Donna Salonga said it’s nice that Khoury’s 6 percent recommendation at CONTINUE READING: Report: Oakland Unified should pay teachers more, but can't
Unchecked charter growth is starving our schools of necessary resources. This is why we we're striking against the district's plan to close 24 of our neighborhood public schools.

School board pressures Supt. Beutner for details of reform plans #UTLAStrong #WeAreLA #REDFORED

School board pressures Supt. Beutner for details of reform plans
School board pressures Supt. Beutner for details of reform plans

L.A. schools Supt. Austin Beutner works for the Board of Education, but some board members say they need to know more about where he intends to take the nation’s second-largest school system.
Board member Scott Schmerelson put his concerns on the table at Tuesday’s meeting in a resolution that ultimately led the board to informally rebuke the schools chief for his lack of transparency.
Beutner took his medicine, pledging “100%” cooperation in providing the board with information in the future. He said Schmerelson could expect to see reports from district consultants paid to work on a reform effort within days.

In other action Tuesday, the board rejected a proposal to give schools full control over which teachers they hire. And a board majority chose to name a school after a veteran administrator whose long, meritorious service was marred by his role in allowing an employee accused of sexual misconduct to return to an L.A. Unified campus.
Schmerelson took Beutner to task for not providing the contracts and the work done by consultants who have been advising him on the plan he is developing to restructure the district.
Beutner has said that his overarching goal is to bring decision-making and resources closer to schools to better serve students and cut costs. But so far he has shied away publicly from specifics.
The Times in November obtained information that Beutner was considering a plan to dividethe school system into about 32 networks of schools that would have substantial independence but that also would be held accountable for improving student achievement.

Beutner has been getting advice on his plan from an assortment of outside consultants paid by private donations managed by the California Community Foundation. Because of that arrangement, his staff initially did not provide The Times either the consultants’ contracts or the work they’ve produced.
Schmerelson first asked for that information in early October — and Beutner pledged at a Nov. 13 board meeting that he would provide the materials. But he did not follow through.
Ultimately, Schmerelson put a resolution on Tuesday’s agenda to require Beutner to supply CONTINUE READING: School board pressures Supt. Beutner for details of reform plans

This time, it wasn’t about pay: West Virginia teachers go on strike over the privatization of public education (and they won’t be the last) - The Washington Post

This time, it wasn’t about pay: West Virginia teachers go on strike over the privatization of public education (and they won’t be the last) - The Washington Post

This time, it wasn’t about pay: West Virginia teachers go on strike over the privatization of public education (and they won’t be the last)

This time, it wasn’t about pay.
West Virginia teachers walked off the job across the state Tuesday to protest the privatization of public education and to fight for resources for their own struggling schools.
It was the second time in a year that West Virginia teachers left their classrooms in protest. In 2018, they went on strike for nine days to demand a pay increase, help with high health-care costs and more school funding — and they won a 5 percent pay hike. On Tuesday, union leaders said that, if necessary, they would give up the pay hike as part of their protest. They are fighting legislation that would take public money from resource-starved traditional districts and use it for charter schools and for private and religious school tuition.
“Teachers are willing to forsake their raises for the proposition that public education must be protected and that their voices must be protected,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, who went to Charleston, W.Va., for the strike Tuesday. “This was absolutely an effort to defund public education, and teachers fought it.”
Barely four hours into the strike, with hundreds of teachers packed into the statehouse, the Republican-led House of Delegates voted down the state Senate’s version of the omnibus education bill — despite pressure to pass it from conservative and libertarian groups, including some connected to the billionaire Koch brothers.
It was not clear whether the House vote would put the bill to rest for good, but the episode underscored a growing determination among teachers around the country to fight for their public schools.
“I am DONE being disrespected,” Jessica Maunz Salfia, who teaches at Spring Mills High School in Berkeley County, W.Va., wrote in an open letter (see below) on Monday about why she was going to protest Tuesday.
West Virginia teachers remain at the forefront of a rebellion by educators throughout the country who began striking last year over meat-and-potatoes issues such as pay and health-care costs. But that movement has morphed into something broader: a fight in support of the U.S. public education system that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos once called “a dead end.” CONTINUE READING: This time, it wasn’t about pay: West Virginia teachers go on strike over the privatization of public education (and they won’t be the last) - The Washington Post

Sacramento parents say school trip crosses church-state line | San Luis Obispo Tribune

Sacramento parents say school trip crosses church-state line | San Luis Obispo Tribune

Does this school trip cross line between church and state? Some Sacramento parents say yes
Parents at a Sacramento school have complained to their district about a field trip they say crosses the line between church and state.

Sixth-graders at Crocker Riverside Elementary are scheduled March 4-7 to visit Alliance Redwoods Outdoor Education, a private, Christian-owned campground in Sonoma County that rents its facilities to groups such as schools, universities and technology companies for camps and conferences.
Nature and science camp is a familiar rite of passage for many sixth-graders in the Sacramento region. For decades, parents have sent their preteens off to Sly Park in El Dorado County, or the Marin Headlands overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge.
For the past several years, Alliance Redwoods has also hosted such overnight camps for local school districts including Sacramento City Unified and Elk Grove Unified.
But some parents say there’s a key difference with Alliance Redwoods: They contend its religious affiliation and biblical signage on trail paths cross the boundary between church and state.
Karin Winters, whose older son attended the camp two years ago, said her concerns with the camp are on principle. Her 11-year-old son is set to attend this year.
“I am essentially being forced to support a religious organization,” Winters said. “While it does not teach Christian teachings, their mission is a Christian one and I really have no choice in the matter.”
According to parents, the trip costs each student more than $300.
Alliance Redwoods Executive Director Jim Blake told The Sacramento Bee in a statement: “We respect the non-religious standing of public schools and embrace when they bring their students to the Alliance Redwoods Outdoor Education Program. It would be inappropriate and against our policies to propagate our Christian worldview through the public school system.”
Alliiance Redwoods Camp Grounds is a 120-acre site in the redwoods 20 minutes inland from Sonoma Coast State Park. Purchased by a group of pastors in 1946, and run by the Christian and Missionary Alliance, the Colorado-based global organization says it has more than 500,000 members in 2,000 churches, and runs mission trips, international relief efforts and nearly 20 camps in the U.S.
The campground is home to three sites: the campgrounds, Alliance Redwoods Outdoor Education, and the popular zip-lining Sonoma Canopy Tours.
According to its website, the campground has routinely hosted families and conferences for CONTINUE READING:Sacramento parents say school trip crosses church-state line | San Luis Obispo Tribune

International Study Links Higher Teacher Pay and Teacher Quality - NEA Today

International Study Links Higher Teacher Pay and Teacher Quality - NEA Today
Higher Teacher Pay and Teacher Quality

This week, the New York Times invited a few members of the education policy world to answer the question “Are Teachers Overpaid?” Probably quite a few teachers are incredulous that this question is even being asked. They know that too many educators have been denied competitive, professional pay for too long and that low pay comes at a high cost for schools and kids. A recent analysis comparing teacher pay and student outcomes around the world backs them up.
Peter Dolton and Oscar Marcanero-Gutierrez, two economics professors at the University of London and University of Malga respectively, collected data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) annual Education at a Glance reports, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) to determine the relationship between pay and student achievement. They concluded that – guess what? – better teacher pay leads to teacher quality and that leads to improved student performance.
In their analysis, Dolton and Gutierrez identify two key factors that determine how professional pay enhances teacher quality, particularly as it pertains to attracting new teachers. One, higher pay promotes competition and therefore more and better teaching applicants. Secondly, improving pay increases the “national status” of the profession, again making it more attractive to potential recruits.
Specifically, Dolton and Gutierrez used recent PISA and TIMMS results to draw a clear statistical correlation between higher pay and student performance across different countries (see chart below).

London School of Economics

From this and other data, they conclude that a 10 percent increase in teachers’ pay would produce a 5-10 percent increase in student performance.
“Most obviously, if a government is concerned with educational outcomes,” Dolton and Gutierrez said, “then it should be aware that the quality of its teachers is of fundamental importance. Increasing teacher salaries will help schools to recruit and retain the higher ability teachers that schools need to offer all pupils a high quality education.
“Governments and administrators need to know that there is no ‘free lunch’ here.”
Learn more about educator salary issues at