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Sunday, March 24, 2019

California: An Alert for Supporters of Public Schools! | Diane Ravitch's blog

California: An Alert for Supporters of Public Schools! | Diane Ravitch's blog

California: An Alert for Supporters of Public Schools!

A reader in California asks for help to fix one of the charter reform bill that has a big loophole.
He writes:
“Thank you for all you do for public education. In California right now are 4 assembly Bills – AB-1505 – AB-1508.

“AB-1508 in particular is intended to enable local school districts to consider the financial, program and facilities impacts when approving/denying new charter petitions. This leaves a huge gap for districts to have a say in renewing charters that were imposed on the districts by the California State Board of Education despite denial at the local and county levels.
“Would you be able to alert your readers in California to contact the bill’s authors before it goes to the floor for a vote to add language to AB-1508 to apply to charter renewals as well as new petitions?
“If enough Californians can respond, we may be able to make this proposed law even stronger to bring back local control over the 1323 charter schools in operation in the state.
“AB-1508 sponsors are CA Assembly Members Kalra (author), Bonta, McCarty, O’Donnell, Smith and CA Senators Beall and Skinner.”
California: An Alert for Supporters of Public Schools! | Diane Ravitch's blog

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Assemblymembers O’Donnell, McCarty, Smith, Bonta, Joined by Educators, Administrators, School Boards and Labor Partners, Intro Bills to Fix Broken Laws Governing Charter Schools, Hurting Students

Four Bills address local control over authorizing new charter; clarifying site and location of new charters; facilities, academic and fiscal impact on students; and a cap on growth of charters

Contact: Claudia Briggs at 916-325-1550
SACRAMENTO – A concerned group of lawmakers, educators, administrators, civil right organizations and classified personnel have come together to address many of the issues surrounding California charter schools by fixing the laws governing charter schools that have negatively impacted students attending neighborhood public schools. Assemblymembers  Patrick O’Donnell, Kevin McCarty, Christy Smith and Rob Bonta and introduced AB 1505AB 1506AB 1507 and AB 1508.

AB 1505 by Assemblymember O’Donnell ensures all matters related to charter schools’ authorization, renewal and other key decisions be made by the local governing board—those who actually know and manage the school district.

AB 1506 by Assemblymember McCarty establishes a cap on growth of charter schools. The removal of the cap that was included in the original charter school law has led to destabilizing school districts and the law has not kept pace with the growth of unregulated corporate charter schools and the groups behind them.  AB 1507 by Assemblymember Smith closes a loophole in current law which allows a charter school to operate outside of its authorizing district. AB 1508 by Assemblymember Bonta would allow authorizers to consider facilities, fiscal and academic impact on the district when considering new charter school petitions.

SB 126 by Senator Connie Leyva and Assemblymember O’Donnell which cleared the Senate last week is making its way through the Assembly this week. SB 126 ensure all corporate charter schools are held to the same transparency and accountability as neighborhood public schools.

“Charter school reform is long overdue. These bills will provide school districts the ability to make responsible and informed decisions regarding authorization and renewal of charter schools, which are critical for student success and taxpayer accountability,” said Assemblymember O’Donnell, Chair of the Assembly Education Committee. 

“AB 1506 will put a cap on the number of charter schools in California yet allow some capacity for charter schools to expand when schools are phased out or shut down,” said Assemblymember Kevin McCarty. “This will give some much needed financial stability to California school districts — many of which are challenged with declining enrollment and other cost pressures.”

“I am proud to author AB 1507 which restores the right of individual districts to have oversight of schools located within their boundaries,” said Assemblymember Smith. “I am pleased that AB 1507 is a part of a broader package of measures creating greater transparency and accountability for our taxpayer dollars, while improving public schools for every student.”

“School board members have a fiduciary duty to ensure the fiscal health of their district,” said Assemblymember Bonta. “They know the needs of their schools the best and should be able to consider the fiscal impact on their students and district when considering whether to approve a new charter school."

Additional lawmakers are considering legislation to impose a moratorium on charter school growth similarly to what the NAACP recently called for and also agreed upon between the Los Angeles Unified School District and United Teachers Los Angeles in its strike resolution agreement earlier in February.

“It is clear that Californians want significant changes in the decades-old laws governing charter schools that have allowed corporate charter schools to divert millions away from our neighborhood public schools, allowed for waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars at the expense of our students,” said California Teachers Association President Eric Heins. “We need the Assembly to support SB 126 this week to ensure transparency and accountability at corporate charter schools. Fixing these laws will put us on the right path to making sure all schools are held to the same standards for the sake of our students.”

California Federation of Teachers President Josh Pechthalt said:
“These common-sense measures will empower local communities to decide whether charter schools are the right choice for their students. Placing decision-making powers back in the hands of local communities will mean more accountability and better outcomes for all of our students.”

California School Employees Association President Ben Valdepeña said:
“Public schools are designed to lift all students. Nobody, including charter schools, should be exempt from laws that protect local control and a fair playing field for all students. These bills are good public policy and are a positive step towards education equity.”

Max Arias, Executive Director, SEIU Local 99 said
“SEIU members share a commitment to strengthening public education as a foundation of the California Dream for the next generation.  We believe every child in California should have access to a quality education within walking distance of their home and that we must have a strong system of accountability to protect our investment in their future.”

Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig, California NAACP Education Chair said:
“In 2016, the national NAACP called for a moratorium on the rapid expansion of charter schools. Charter schools, as currently operating under law in California, are lacking public transparency and financial accountability. As a result, the California NAACP stands in solidarity with legislative efforts that call for a charter moratorium.”

Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card

School Funding Fairness
Is School Funding Fair?  A National Report Card

The ability of state school finance systems to fairly deliver resources to students is an essential precondition for the delivery of high quality education. States must provide a sufficient level of funding that is fairly distributed to address the additional needs generated by poverty, English language learner status, student disabilities, and other special needs. Schools educating students with these needs require additional funding to support the programs and services that will provide all students with the opportunity to succeed. 
Rigorous school finance research is needed to provide convincing evidence that fair school funding is the central building block of an effective school system. Such research needs to clearly establish the relationship between state funding systems, the equitable distribution of school resources, and student outcomes.
In recognition of this need, researchers at Rutgers Graduate School of Education and Education Law Center created the “Is School Funding Fair?” project to:
      • provide tools for advocates and policymakers to effectively communicate rigorous research to
        influence positive changes in state school finance policy;
      • provide researchers with open access to the datasets that are the foundation of the school finance research on this site and encourage further exploration;
      • build consensus on the methods for evaluating and comparing state school finance systems and the resulting inequalities in resources and outcomes

On this website you can find: the award-winning report, “Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card” and all related materials, such as interactive reports, press releases, and media mentions; related publications on school finance equity; and open access to compiled data sets and code for further analysis.

7th edition of "Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card" available now.

New report "The Real Shame of the Nation" available now.

School Funding Fairness

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: My Brother's Birthday Edition (3/24)

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: My Brother's Birthday Edition (3/24)

 ICYMI: My Brother's Birthday Edition (3/24)

It's my brother's birthday today. I'll have to tell you my brother's story someday-- it's an object lesson in how predicting a child's future when they are still in school is, in fact, a fool's game. In the meantime, here is your weekly batch o'reading.

If More Teachers Were Men   

Another way of looking at the issues surrounding teacher policy as the result of teachers being mostly women and teacher policy writers being mostly sexist. One of those "you may not agree with everything  but it's something to think about" articles.

Can We Recommend Teaching As A Career

One more Floridian voice contemplating the wretched mess that is Florida education policy

Ohio Charters Need a 22% Raise? Really?

As Ohio charters shift from "We can do more with less" to "We need more money," a blogger looks at some of the numbers behind that request.

New York's Testing System Is Broken

As Black and Brown students are once again shut out of NYC's top high schools, Jose Luis Vilson takes a look at how messes up the system is.

Parents Are Part of the Problem

Looking at the issues of academic anxiety for teens, and how parents are making it all worse.

Here's What Betsy DeVos Has To Say About Indiana's Failing Virtual Schools   

Almost everyone agrees that Indiana's cyber schools are a mess crying out for serious intervention. Guess who thinks they're just swell.

Arts Should Be Core Education, Not Optional Add-ons

From Commonwealth magazine, an argument for arts education .

Trump Is Trying To Change the Meaning Of Instructor, and It's Not Good 

From Forbes (and not by me), this looks at another troubling trend on the federal level.

How Do We Know It Won't Work?   

A look at the historical record on public-private funding of schools.

Code of Conduct for Politicians and Test Makers 

If we're going to worry about accountability, Steven Singer has some thoughts for an oft-overlooked group.

Blaming Teachers Easier Than Addressing Poverty   

Somebody should point out how wrong Eric Hanushek is at least once a month. Here's this month's entry.

Campbell Brown's Union Busting Organization Is Dead   

And here with the autopsy is the indispensable Mercedes Schneider.

Atlanta Votes To End Democratic Control Of Schools

Thomas Ultican looks at how Atlanta's board decided to go portfolio.

John Engler and Me

How much of a freakin' jerk is Michigan's education-busting former governor. Nancy Flanagan has a story. Spoiler alert: it will not make you like him more.

Reasons That Children Have Reading Problems That Reformers Don't Talk About   

What! You mean it's not just that teachers don't know how to do their jobs properly?? Nancy Bailey takes a look.

A Lifelong Teacher

Public education lost a dear friend and tough advocate with the recent passing of Phyllis Bush. Here's a beautiful tribute from the Journal Gazette

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: My Brother's Birthday Edition (3/24)

Goodhart's Law And The BS Test
When discussing the problems of test-based accountability, we've long used Campbell's Law as the go-to framer of the related problems. For the absolute top of the field, get a copy of The Testing Charade by Danielk Koretz . Campbell's law is not very pithy, but it illuminates beautifully: The more any quantitative social indicator is used for social decision-making, the more subject it will be to
Stop Talking About Student Achievement
If I told you that my student had achieved great things in school this year, what would you imagine I meant? Maybe she started reading longer books with heavier vocabulary and deeper themes. Maybe she not only read them, but spent time thinking about the ideas they contained. Maybe she improved her technical facility and musicality when playing her flute. Maybe she conducted an impressively compl

MAR 22

Foolish Canadian Grit
Proving that dumb knows no national boundaries, Ontario's Education Minister Lisa Thompson this week defended the plan to increase class size by making this observation : This woman. "When students are currently preparing to go off to post-secondary education, we're hearing from professors and employers alike that they're lacking coping skills and they're lacking resiliency," Thompson told CBC Rad

MAR 21

TN: Taxation Without Representation
Tennessee's Governor Bill Lee has set a brick on the gas pedal of the school privatization bus, and that bus is driving right through the powers of democratically elected school boards. Lee's very first budget proposal was unveiled at the beginning of the month, supported by Lee's deep, insightful observation "Choice is good." The budget has big money for vouchers; Lee is going with the education
What Education Reformers Get Wrong
Hard to believe that it took until now for a big voice in the reformster world to write a post entitled " What education reformers believe, " but last week Mike Petrilli (Fordham Institute) did the job. It's not entirely thorough (we'll get to that). To start, Petrilli himself notes that there's been a lot of reformster angst about using the term "reformer ," but he's willing to take a shot at cla

MAR 20

Bill Gates Thinks The Textbook Is Dying. Is He Right?
The annual Bill and Melinda Gates letter features nine "surprises," including one trend sure to affect classrooms--if it really happens. "Textbooks," says Gates, "are becoming obsolete." What he's really describing is how computer-driven mass customized personalized learning can supplant some aspects of traditional classrooms: Suppose you’re taking high school algebra. Instead of just reading a c

MAR 19

Play Unlocks The World
I will beat this drum until my knuckles crack and collapse-- small children do not need academic acceleration, they do not need test prep, they do not need soul-sucking worksheets. They need to play. The folks at Defending the Early Years have another excellent video that drives the point home. Kisha Reid speaks for just a couple of minutes here, but there are a couple of lines that really jump ou

MAR 18

DeVos Voucher Tour Hits Iowa
Secretary of Education Betsy "The Federal Government Shouldn't Meddle In State Education Affairs But I Have This Policy I Really Really-- Oh What The Heck I Can Make Peace With Federal Overreach When It's In The Service Of Something I Want" DeVos has decided to get out there and stump for her Education Freedom Scholarships . For those of you late to this party-- EFS are one more shade of lipstick

MAR 17

A Huge Problem With Personalized Learning In One Sentence
You know there's going to be trouble when you see the headline of the article on eSchoolNews-- "T aking personalized learning to scale. " But then, this is a business that regularly uses the oxymoron " mass customization " without irony. But two paragraphs in, Dr. Monica Burns , curriculum and educational technology consultant and founder of,, is quoted from a webinar: When it co
An Open Letter To TFA Re: Strikes
We appear to be between teacher strikes at the moment, so this might be a good time to draw attention to Seth Kahn's open letter to Teach for America. When the Oakland teachers walked out, there was some question about what TFAers should or should not do . A previous open letter from TFA alumni suggested that guidance from TFA leadership was that honoring a strike would cost the TFA members. TFA w
ICYMI: Ignoring St. Patrick's Day Edition
The Irish contribution to civilization is huge and their history in America is instructive, but don't get me started on the wearing of the green. At any rate, I have your weekly reading list handy. Remember to share! Southwest Key Schools, Charters and Immigrants How to make money from the misery of children, and how charters tie to the detention of immigrants. A charter operation makes millions,