Thursday, March 21, 2019

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: CONSERVATIVES' BIGGEST BOOEYMAN - Diane Ravitch's blog | A site to discuss better education for all

Diane Ravitch's blog | A site to discuss better education for all

I wrote a post about my very pleasant experience meeting the wonderful, charming, brilliant Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in Jackson Heights



I wrote a post about my very pleasant experience meeting the wonderful, charming, brilliant Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in Jackson Heights, and I described her as “warm, comfortable in her skin, somewhat taken aback by her sudden fame, and unpretentious.” I said that she paid attention, and that she came to listen and learn. Everyone at the meeting was thrilled to meet her, and she took the time to shake hands, take selfies, and give generously of herself to all of the people who crowded in to meet her. She is a superstar, deservedly.
I noted that “It was a bit jarring to hear AOC say that she was treated in the Yorktown schools as in need of remedial education because she was Hispanic, not mainstream, but, she said, “a-high-stakes standardized Test” revealed she was in the 99th percentile. No one stopped to point out that she could not be referring to any high-stakes test used for accountability purposes because they don’t rank by percentile. They classify students as 1, 2, 3, or 4. Her teacher must have given her a no-stakes individual test that produces a percentile ranking for diagnostic purposes. Well, she can’t know everything about everything. None of us do.” I was not criticizing her but pointing out that she probably took an Iowa test or some other kind of test that gives percentile rankings, which NCLB tests do not. When you are a student, when you are in elementary school, you are not likely to know what kind of test you are taking, whether it is an Iowa test or a Pearson test or some other kind of test.
Imagine how surprised I was to see that a number of right-wing blogs claimed that I accused AOC of “lying.” Nothing could be further from the truth.
This was picked up by another blog.
And yet another blog, which attacked me too, for my writings about Afrocentrism from nearly 30 years ago.
And yet another blog, called “Liberty Redux.”
This was repeated by another blog.
Probably it is continuing to spread through the fevered CONTINUE READING:  Diane Ravitch's blog | A site to discuss better education for all

A lifelong teacher | Phyllis Bush's lessons will be remembered long after her Tuesday passing| The Journal Gazette

A lifelong teacher | Columns | The Journal Gazette

A lifelong teacher

Phyllis Bush's lessons will be remembered long after her Tuesday passing




KAREN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette


Teaching mattered to Phyllis Bush. The retired South Side High School teacher, who died Tuesday after a long battle with cancer, taught English and so much more.

Close readers of our opinion pages recognize her name as an ardent supporter of public schools. Area lawmakers knew her as a formidable and persistent critic of vouchers and other education privatization efforts. Her students knew her as a dedicated, caring and creative teacher – the kind whose lessons resonate long after graduation.

Broadcast journalist Kathy Hostetter is among the latter group. She recalled a memorable creative-writing assignment in Bush's senior English class in 1987:

“I decided to write a first-person narrative in the 'voice' of my autistic brother, who was a year behind me,” wrote Hostetter in an email. “My effort threw some serious shade at fellow classmates for bullying him. It may not have been creative, but man it felt good!

“We all had to read our efforts aloud, and I may have – well, fired some shots across the bow with lines directed at some of the offenders, who were in class with me. At the end, there was stunned silence. Mrs. Bush asked who I had written about, and one of the students answered for me. Mrs. Bush remarked, I hope you all listened to that. School can be really hard for some, and here, some of your actions are personified in words. Knock. It. Off.”

Hostetter, now news director for the CBS affiliate in Pittsburgh, said the experience helped her find her voice in both written and spoken words.

“I wouldn't be where I am without Mrs. Bush's drive and encouragement to work hard, respect literary works, and always, always WRITE.”

After Phyllis retired from her 32-year teaching career – 24 years at South Side – she jumped into a second career as a public school advocate. A letter to the editor she wrote in 1999 is as relevant today:

“Take the millions of dollars being wasted on testing and inject them into ensuring smaller classes for all students, not just those that are academically at the top or at the bottom,” Phyllis wrote. “Require schools to clearly state what their focus is and then stick to it. Is it to create a better workforce? Is it to create higher standardized scores? Is it to help at-risk students or the non-mainstream students to feel more able to function in a world they increasingly view as dysfunctional? Is it to create an atmosphere in which thoughtful, caring human beings can learn and grow?”

Bush took on standardized testing, low teacher pay, block scheduling and more in her letters. But she CONTINUE READING: A lifelong teacher | Columns | The Journal Gazette

STEINBERG AND SERNA: Sacrifice and compromise necessary to avoid insolvency, protect Sacramento schools #Unite4SACKids #WeAreSCTA #WeAreCTA #strikeready #REDFORED #SCTA #CTA #UTLA

Sacrifice and compromise necessary to avoid insolvency, protect Sacramento schools
Sacrifice and compromise necessary to avoid insolvency, protect Sacramento schools
BY DARRELL STEINBERG AND PHIL SERNA SPECIAL TO THE SACRAMENTO BEE



EDITOR'S NOTE: DON'T WANT TO THROW ANY SHADE AT THE GOOD MAYOR BUT... WHEN YOU WERE IN A POSITION TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS PROBLEM WHAT DID YOU DO?

Some local governance challenges were never meant to be addressed alone. Such is the case with the crisis currently plaguing the Sacramento City Unified School District as it attempts to avoid fiscal insolvency and a looming state takeover.





Though neither of us serves as a school district trustee, we’re nonetheless using our voices to emphasize the urgent need for compromise and workable solutions. We do so because of what’s at stake: our children and the people whose vocation and passion it is to teach them. Both are critical to our future.
Despite months of on-again, off-again negotiations, the district continues to be tens of millions of dollars shy of balancing its budget, which means it’s only a matter of time before relatively unsympathetic state agents balance the district’s budget – and charge an expensive interest rate.
Gone will be any direct local authority or oversight mandated by voters when they elected district trustees. The school board’s most important hire, the superintendent, will be shown the door. Should this unfortunate circumstance materialize, all parties involved may find the outcome unpleasant at best.
Students and parents may face larger classroom sizes and less individualized attention. Those teachers able to maintain their positions may be even more overworked and underpaid.
OPINION
And scholastic achievement may be the greatest casualty, triggering a regrettable feedback loop and inspiring dissatisfied parents to place their children in educational environments outside of the district. This, in turn, could negatively affect average daily attendance, making it that much more difficult to secure financial stability.
It could be a debilitating and long-term hit for all of us, as evidenced by the fact that the average duration of other district takeovers statewide is over 17 years.
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Darrell Steinberg
Phil Serna
Phil Serna
We’re not attempting to purposefully frighten anyone here. We’re simply trying to be forthright about the possible outcomes should the district fail to avoid insolvency.
As a mayor and a county supervisor, we’re speaking out to ensure our common constituency understands the gravity of the situation, as well as the added challenge it forebodes for our children, families and teachers.
But penning cautionary essays isn’t enough. We have an obligation to try to help both sides come to agreement and stave off a worst-case scenario that could adversely affect our community for generations.
We encourage both sides to rejoin productive negotiations and explore all options, understanding that neither the district nor the Sacramento City Teachers Association will preserve or achieve everything they want. Sacrifices must be made.
Both sides should start by mutually acknowledging that a state takeover, by its very nature, disenfranchises voters, parents, teachers and organized labor. It comes at extraordinary cost, but with no guarantees.
The district needs to approach any opportunity to negotiate productively by respecting outstanding sensitivities to administrative cost drivers. At the same time, the SCTA needs to acknowledge the high cost of its health plan benefits. And both need to work together as if the ship they’re on together is sinking, because it is.
As your mayor and supervisor, we’ll be damned if we’re going to watch from afar as it slips beneath the waves.
We stand ready to help, and we implore both sides to take us up on the offer to do so immediately. Our kids and our teachers deserve everyone’s best efforts, and we owe it to our community to fight hard for progress.
Darrell Steinberg serves as mayor of the City of Sacramento. He served previously as the California State Senate President pro Tempore. Phil Serna serves as a member of the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors, representing the First District.

Sacrifice and compromise necessary to avoid insolvency, protect Sacramento schools


Mitchell Robinson: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Let's "turn the ship around" on education policy + BETO'S CHARTER PROBLEM| Eclectablog

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Let's "turn the ship around" on education policy | Eclectablog

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Let’s “turn the ship around” on education policy


A lot of public school advocates have become pretty disillusioned trying to find a politician from either party who seems to actually “get it” when it comes to public education. So many teachers and parents are yearning for a candidate who supports traditional public schools, recognizes charter schools as an expensive, unnecessary, and dangerous distraction, and reject all efforts to privatize our schools via vouchers, or “education tax credits,” or “education freedom scholarships,” or any other patriotic-sounding euphemism the neo-liberal ed reformers come up with.
But who are our options?
Cory Booker? No.
Beto O’Rourke? No.
Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders? Unclear.
So, reading this recap of a recent meeting of public school parents and activists in New York City was an astonishingly fresh breath of air. I’m sure it didn’t hurt that Diane Ravitch, perhaps the most vocal defender of public schools, teachers, and students today, was on the panel:
(Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) nodded in agreement when Diane Ravitch, historian and author of The Death and Life of the Great American School System, criticized anti-democratic efforts to privatize public goods and encouraged parents to resist by refusing standardized testing for their children. When AOC had the floor, she made a strong call to “turn the ship CONTINUE READING: 
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Let's "turn the ship around" on education policy | Eclectablog




 Beto O’Rourke’s Charter School Problem: Hint–It’s His Wife

Image result for Beto O’Rourke’s  Wife


I keep reading about how Amy O’Rourke, Beto’s wife, is a “long time educator“. I may be overly sensitive about this, but to be considered a professional “educator” I believe that a person must have earned a degree (or multiple degrees) in education, have held valid state teacher certification at one time, and have experience as a certified, qualified classroom teacher of some sort.
Kind of like how most of us would consider someone who claimed to be a “physician” would have to have a medical degree, hold a valid medical license, and be a practicing doctor.
Or a person who claimed to be an “attorney” would need to have a law degree, pass the bar, and be a practicing lawyer.
Here’s what we know about Amy Sanders O’Rourke…
College degree: bachelor’s degree in psychology from Williams College–no education degree.
Teacher certification: according to the state of Texas, Ms. O’Rourke has never held a valid teaching certificate.
Capitalizing on that scant teaching experience, Ms. O’Rourke then became the principal of La Fe Preparatory School in El Paso, and now runs a non-profit that’s trying to attract more big charter CONTINUE READING:  Beto O’Rourke’s Charter School Problem: Hint–It’s His Wife

John Engler and Me | Teacher in a strange land

John Engler and Me | Teacher in a strange land

John Engler and Me


Long-time Michiganders, especially those of a certain age, have probably seen the latest news blast about our hefty ex-governor, John Engler. No, not the incident where he, in his role as Interim President of Michigan State University, accused sexual predator Larry Nassar’s victims of ‘enjoying the spotlight.’  And not the story about of the Engler’s unauthorized offering one of those victims a quarter of a million dollars, later claiming he was engaging in a ‘philosophical discussion’ about how much money would satisfy them.
The latest on John Engler is his non-appearance at investigative interviews being conducted by Michigan’s Attorney General, about the Nassar affair. Engler has been claiming he’s out of town, but then turned up courtside at an MSU basketball game.  The AG, Dana Nessel, sent a letter to the MSU Board President:
“We must lead from the top. The reluctance of the former interim president of the University to cooperatively participate in a law enforcement investigation into the largest sexual assault scandal in the history of higher education — yet happily sit court-side to watch the men’s basketball team on multiple occasions — speaks volumes about allegations of a culture of indifference on campus.”
Today, his lawyers sent Nessel a letter saying that nope, he’s not coming in for any interviews, unless and until Nessel recuses herself. Because she doesn’t like him. That’s right. Specifically—“You have prejudged Mr. Engler’s veracity and motives without ever talking to him. You have launched unfounded attacks and besmirched Mr. Engler…” 
It goes on like this at some length, besmirching Ms. Nessel herself, calling her CONTINUE READING: John Engler and Me | Teacher in a strange land



John Thompson: During OKCPS transition, community should be patient

During OKCPS transition, community should be patient

During OKCPS transition, community should be patient

OKCPS

Now that Oklahoma City Public Schools’ Pathway to Greatness transformation plan has been approved, I hope we can all take a deep breath, calm ourselves down and act deliberatively in order to improve our schools.
Throughout the P2G planning process, I found myself changing my appraisal of the school closure plan on a daily basis, often after listening to the arguments of district leaders and members of the community who I respect. Too often, however, I would then read between the lines of their positions, and switch sides during my next conversation on the issue. I can now say with certainty, however, that most closures and the concrete “trade-ups” that they will allow are necessary.
At the same time, I also believe OKCPS overreached. The question is whether the possible missteps that went along with the P2G process will undermine further progress, or whether we can unite and build on the plan’s strengths.
A recent analysis of similar, ambitious school closures around the country lends support to the common sense assumption that teaching and learning will decline next year in OKCPS. Closing more than a dozen schools will increase the “churn,” the transiency and unpredictability that undermines the consistency required in urban education. But will this transitional period prompt a new exodus of patrons from the district, or will the OKCPS suffer a necessary and temporary downturn that sets the stage for future growth?

Take time to do it right

I readily admit that teaching in and working with an urban school district has made me more risk-adverse. Throughout my classroom years, my schools would improve CONTINUE READING: During OKCPS transition, community should be patient



Do You Want an Out-of-State Billionaire to Put Money into Your Local School Board Election? | Diane Ravitch's blog

Do You Want an Out-of-State Billionaire to Put Money into Your Local School Board Election? | Diane Ravitch's blog

Do You Want an Out-of-State Billionaire to Put Money into Your Local School Board Election?



Three political scientists have written a book about billionaires putting money into local school board elections. Typically, they are not writing checks for their own school board elections, but even if they were, they are able to swamp the spending of others.
The book is titled Outside Money in School Board Elections: The Nationalization of Education Politics. It was published by Harvard University Press. The authors are Jeffrey R. Henig of Teachers College, Columbia University, Rebecca Jacobsen of Michigan State University, and Sarah Reckhow of Michigan State University.
They examine the role of outside money in five districts: Denver; Indianapolis; New Orleans; Bridgeport; and Los Angeles.
On this blog, we have frequently noted this kind of activity in many districts. People like Michael Bloomberg, the Waltons, the DeVos Family, Reed Hastings, the Koch brothers, and Eli Broad, and groups like Democrats for Education Reform and Stand for Children (carrying money on behalf of wealthy donors) have intervened in local school board elections, always in favor of charters, vouchers, and high-stakes testing. The Network for Public Education Action Fund examined the intervention of wealthy elites in several districts in its report called “Hijacked by Billionaires: How the Super Rich Buy Elections to Undermine Public Schools.”
Here is where the NPEA report and the Henig book disagree. NPEA believes that the intervention of billionaires into local school board elections is fundamentally anti-democratic because it undermines the ability of local citizens to make their own choices. NPEA knows that the goal of the billionaires is to privatize public schools via charters and vouchers. Our view is that those who spend vast sums of money distort democracy and are trying to impose their views by the power of their CONTINUE READING: Do You Want an Out-of-State Billionaire to Put Money into Your Local School Board Election? | Diane Ravitch's blog

Cartoons on Leadership | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

Cartoons on Leadership | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

Cartoons on Leadership

Leadership, leadership, leadership–the word is everywhere. Across schools and universities, corporations, foundations, and–of course–government, just-in-time leadership will solve all problems. The idea of the man or woman who can rescue an organization from its low performance is (and has been) prevalent in a capitalist democracy where the individual reigns supreme. And so, getting the right leader and practicing “good” leadership continues to grip management science as well as popular prescriptions for ending failure and achieving success.
Let’s see what cartoonists with their wicked pen and ink have said about leaders and leadership. Enjoy!

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Sacramento Unified School District on Verge of Insolvency While Super Takes $35K Junket to Harvard - California Globe #WeAreSCTA #WeAreCTA #strikeready #REDFORED #SCTA #CTA #UTLA

Sacramento Unified School District on Verge of Insolvency While Super Takes $35K Junket to Harvard - California Globe

Sacramento Unified School District on Verge of Insolvency While Super Takes $35K Junket to Harvard
District refuses to cut admin staff


Sacramento City Unified School District is teetering on insolvency. And now the Sacramento City Teachers Association has voted to authorize a strike, demanding salary increases to deal with the surging cost of living in California’s urban centers, the Bond Buyer reported. But it appears that this strike is more of an attention-getting move with a tone-deaf district.
The district is under the threat of state takeover as it wrestles with a $35 million budget gap.


Assemblyman Kevin McCarty

Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) requested an audit of the district citing a “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.” The Joint Legislative Audit Committee approved the audit performed by California’s State Auditor Elaine Howle.
“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?’” the Sacramento Bee reported.
California Globe contacted McCarty’s office to discuss the audit request with him, but did not receive a call back by publication.
Notably, McCarty is married to Sacramento City Unified Board member Leticia Garcia, “a longtime ally of teachers unions,” the Bee reported.
As all of California’s public school districts face large mandatory teacher pension contribution increases, and volatile and low revenue reserves, threats of recession will spell disaster. Additionally, throughout California, enrollment continues to significantly decline at the state’s 1,200 school districts.
Expensive Junket to Harvard
Even with these financial warning signs, after the Sacramento City School District ended the 2017-18 fiscal year with an $11 million deficit and just days after Superintendent Jorge Aguilar submitted the 2018-19 budget projecting another $22 million deficit (which was rejected CONTINUE READING: Sacramento Unified School District on Verge of Insolvency While Super Takes $35K Junket to Harvard - California Globe

Does affirmative action help or hurt Asians who don’t fit the model-minority stereotype? - The Washington Post

Does affirmative action help or hurt Asians who don’t fit the model-minority stereotype? - The Washington Post

Does affirmative action help or hurt Asians who don’t fit the model-minority stereotype?



If you are driving east on Florin Road toward Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, you will pass under a pedestrian bridge that has a message permanently affixed to it: “If you dream it, you can do it.”

It’s the kind of message I have seen in neighborhoods where aspirations far surpass resources — and in that way it is fitting. More than three-quarters of students at Burbank qualify for free lunches. A fifth of students come from households where Hmong is the primary language. The school has one of the highest concentrations of Hmong students in the city.

It was here, last year, that school counselor Janet Spilman and teacher Katherine Bell dreamed up a scheme: They would get every eligible senior to apply to college — any college. “It wasn’t just the 4.0s,” Bell told me in December, sitting in the light-filled front office. “It was the 2.0s and everyone who was within one year … of being eligible” to apply. In the end, they wrangled about 400 students into the school’s two computer labs, sat them down and walked them through the application process.

The massive undertaking taught Spilman and Bell a lot about what was keeping students from making post-high school plans: Many Hmong students had no idea they were “college material.” Some said they had thought about college but no adult had ever spoken to them about it. Others fretted about the finances and negotiating with parents who expected them to remain home.

When Students for Fair Admissions sued Harvard in 2014 over its race-conscious admissions policies, only one member of the organization was described in detail, a young man who, according to the lawsuit, deserves a seat at the university. He is the son of Chinese immigrants, attended one of the nation’s top high schools, was captain of the tennis team and got a perfect score on the ACT. By contrast, Hmong students at Burbank come from a community with a childhood poverty rate of about 40 percent statewide.

“Some Asian Americans came to the United States to escape communism, authoritarianism, war, and poverty, while others simply sought out greater opportunities. Some Asian Americans come from highly educated families, but many others do not,” Students for Fair Admissions noted in its complaint. But Harvard officials, the group went on, “lump all Asian Americans together in the admissions process” by taking into account race when whittling down the roughly 40,000 applicants for a class of 2,000. In an effort to create a diverse student body, Harvard holds Asian Americans to a higher standard than other races, the group argued. The result is “a remarkably low admission rate for high-achieving Asian-American applicants.”

Harvard says that its admissions process considers race in the context of CONTINUE READING: Does affirmative action help or hurt Asians who don’t fit the model-minority stereotype? - The Washington Post


Students Bring Problems of Trump’s America with Them When They Come to School | janresseger

Students Bring Problems of Trump’s America with Them When They Come to School | janresseger

Students Bring Problems of Trump’s America with Them When They Come to School


Mike Rose, the education writer and UCLA professor of education who has profiled vital and challenging American classrooms, the work of teachers, and the role of public schools to extend opportunity, added a post to his blog this week about new research from a group of his colleagues at UCLA:  School and Society in the Age of Trump.
Rose explains why he believes this report is so important: “Schools are porous institutions—what happens in society at large plays out in classrooms and hallways—so the disturbing findings of a masterful new report, School and Society in the Age of Trump should not surprise us.  But they do, in their scope and severity. John Rogers and his colleagues (Michael Ishimoto, Alexander Kwako, Anthony Berryman, and Claudia Diera) at UCLA’s Institute for Democracy, Education, and Access surveyed a representative sample of over 500 public high school principals from across the country and found that 89% report that ‘incivility and contentiousness in the broader political environment has considerably affected their school community.'”
The report isolates current social issues and problems that are increasing pressure across American high schools for students, teachers, and school administrators:
  • political division, incivility, and hostility;
  • disputes over truth, facts, and the reliability of sources;
  • the impact of the opioid crisis on families;
  • the threat of immigration enforcement; and
  • the threat of gun violence in schools and neighborhoods.
When the researchers surveyed high school principals and compiled the data, they discovered that today’s political atmosphere is undermining the climate inside the school: “In eighty-three CONTINUE READING: Students Bring Problems of Trump’s America with Them When They Come to School | janresseger

Charter Infiltration Ends With Social Filtration – redqueeninla

Charter Infiltration Ends With Social Filtration – redqueeninla

Charter Infiltration Ends With Social Filtration



It’s time to collect some straight-forward demographics on charter schools. How many are aware of just how pervasive they are in the District, and how pernicious in co-locations? A District official recently claimed there were “just” 72 co-located LAUSD schools. Data downloaded from LAUSD’s website on 3/18/19 about LAUSD’s 2018-19 charter schools refutes the claim.

Number of charter schools operating in LAUSD, 2018-19 with their own “location code”, aka budget:  275
Number of charter schools started in LAUSD in 2018:  12            Number of new conversion charters:  2            Number of new start-up charters:  10
Number of charters with “split locations” between one or more school sites:  47            Number of charters split across exactly two locations:  36            Number of charters split across exactly three locations:  7            Number of charters split across exactly four locations:  4
Number of fiscally affiliated charters:  50
Number of fiscally independent charters:  225Number of conversion charters:  61
Number of start-up charters:  214
Percentage of charters that are start-ups or fiscally independent:  82%
Count of LAUSD-chartered schools according to 
start-up status and fiscal affiliation

Total Number of charter school sites:  322 (some schools co-locate with LAUSD  CONTINUE READING: Charter Infiltration Ends With Social Filtration – redqueeninla
SAME STORY IN OAKLAND 
Big Education Ape: How Charter Schools Became Such a Big Player in California's Education System | The California Report | KQED News - http://bigeducationape.blogspot.com/2019/03/how-charter-schools-became-such-big.html


https://docs.google.com/document/d/18der2D2inCn9SpWtnc1MbGB_mLCDjIwbwATf1qtKz8E/edit
Graphic: A steady decrease in public school enrollment is matched by a similar steady increase in charter school enrollment. (Elena Lacey/KQED)