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Thursday, April 4, 2019

We Investigated The Investigator Of All Wrongdoing In LAUSD. Here's What They Think About That: LAist

We Investigated The Investigator Of All Wrongdoing In LAUSD. Here's What They Think About That: LAist

We Investigated The Investigator Of All Wrongdoing In LAUSD. Here's What They Think About That

These were the findings of a KPCC/LAist investigation published earlier this month into how Ken Bramlett ran the Los Angeles Unified School District's Office of the Inspector General — the powerful internal watchdog unit that polices LAUSD from within for waste, fraud or mismanagement.
For L.A. Unified School Board member Nick Melvoin, KPCC/LAist's reporting reflected doubts he'd harbored about Bramlett.
"My assessment of the prior inspector general," Melvoin said in an interview, "was that no, the work product wasn't up to a quality that I would expect."
During a closed-door meeting in June 2018, board members declined to renew Bramlett's contract. Bramlett left LAUSD shortly thereafter. In his interview, Melvoin acknowledged that his concerns about Bramlett's ability to manage the office's culture and caseload played a role in that decision.
Melvoin also noted that the board has already taken action to address those concerns: "We CONTINUE READING: We Investigated The Investigator Of All Wrongdoing In LAUSD. Here's What They Think About That: LAist

Who was at the closed-door DeVos meeting? – TNJTNJ

Who was at the closed-door DeVos meeting? – TNJTNJ

Who was at the closed-door DeVos meeting?

While reporters headed out to set up for a photo-op and gaggle at a Nashville charter school, Gov. Bill Lee and U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos hosted a closed-door roundtable in a conference room in the state Capitol. The specifics of what was discussed were not divulged, but attendees helpfully took photos to give hints about who was there.
Besides the usual suspects of Senate and House leadership, the Beacon Center appears to have been heavily represented with Vice Chairman Joe Scarlett (the retired head of Tractor Supply Co.), board member Fred Decosimo (Lee’s campaign treasurer), and President Justin Owen. Others included Lee Barfield (a former lobbyist and longtime voucher advocate), Victor Evans (of TennesseeCAN), Hugh Morrow (president of Ruby Falls), Bradley Jackson (head of the state Camber), and Mark Gill (president of Rodgers Capital Group). Not pictured is Scarlett’s daughter, Tara.
Seemingly not in attendance? State Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn. (We hear she was out of town on TNReady business)
Recognize anyone else?
UPDATE: Readers suggest that the man at top right, next to Gresham, is Ted Alling of the Lamp Post Group, a co-founder of the Chattanooga Prep charter school. And the on the left, next to Lee Barfield is Glen Gaugh of Madison County, who unsuccessfully challenged then-Rep. Jimmy Eldridge (R-Jackson) in the 2016 Republican primary.

A change to Proposition 13 that homeowners can get behind - Los Angeles Times

A change to Proposition 13 that homeowners can get behind - Los Angeles Times

A change to Proposition 13 that homeowners can get behind

Could a reassessment of Proposition 13 finally be in the wings?
Advocates of the long-needed change have their fingers crossed, now that a measure to revise Proposition 13 has qualified for the November 2020 ballot.
The initiative wouldn’t involve a wholesale review of the 1978 tax-cutting proposition; that’s still considered a politically impossible lift in a state where property tax breaks have become embedded in millions of homes and apartment buildings.
Instead, the measure takes aim at what long has been considered the Achilles’ heel of Proposition 13, namely its treatment of commercial and industrial properties. The idea is to create what’s known as a split roll, in which residences retain their imperviousness to reassessment but business properties don’t.

How long should we allow commercial properties to be assessed at 1975 values, costing local governments and schools billions of dollars?
“My instincts tell me that the split roll is moving into more positive ground,” Los Angeles Assessor Jeffrey Prang told me, “and if next year there is a big Democratic turnout, that is likely to benefit the initiative.”
The proposal would require that commercial and industrial properties be assessed at full market value and reassessed at least once every three years. That’s a big change from the current law, which allows them to be reassessed only upon a change of ownership.
“That’s a ridiculous, outdated, irrational system which causes damage in many different ways,” says Lenny Goldberg, a veteran critic of Proposition 13 who helped craft the new initiative. “We have this huge hole in the heart of our tax system.”
He’s right. Thanks to Proposition 13, massively profitable commercial properties that haven’t changed hands in decades — Disneyland, say — are billed property taxes at 1970s-vintage assessed valuations while homes and businesses around them have much higher bases.

Changing that system could produce as much as an additional $12 billion in tax revenues in its initial years, according to CONTINUE READING: A change to Proposition 13 that homeowners can get behind - Los Angeles Times

The Cure for Boring Curriculum | Teacher in a strange land

The Cure for Boring Curriculum | Teacher in a strange land

The Cure for Boring Curriculum

The New York Times published a story this weekend about an amazing research-based discovery: a way to fix high schools. The writers (Jal Mehta, who teaches at Harvard, and Sarah Fine, who works at High Tech High in San Diego) spent six years traveling the country, visiting 30 public schools, looking for a cure for boredom, since only about a third of students report feeling engaged in high school.
They assumed that kids were bored because the work was too conventional and easy—and that ‘innovative’ high schools and more rigorous core classes were the solution. But no. It turned out that the answer was curriculum and instructional strategies more like ‘electives, clubs and extra-curriculars.’
In essence, two different logics reign in the same buildings. Before the final bell, we treat students as passive recipients of knowledge whose interests and identities matter little. After the final bell — in newspaper, debate, theater, athletics and more — we treat students as people who learn by doing, people who can teach as well as learn, and people whose passions and ideas are worth cultivating. It should come as no surprise that when we asked students to reflect on their high school experiences, it was most often experiences like theater and debate that they cited as having influenced them in profound ways.
Well. Speaking as a former instrumental and vocal music teacher, my first question is: It took six years and 30 schools (and, undoubtedly, a hefty grant) to figure that out?
I have a few additional questions and observations:
  • The authors mention that about ¾ of fifth graders report being engaged in school. So why didn’t they start there? What is it about being 11 that makes school at least moderately interesting, across the board? Does any of this terminal ennui have anything to do with being an American teenager and all that entails?

  • The authors lump all courses that are not ‘core’ (read: not subject to standardized testing) into an ‘after the bell’ category. In fact, lots of elective courses are squarely part of the standard curriculum in any functional public high school: Visual arts, CONTINUE READING: The Cure for Boring Curriculum | Teacher in a strange land

'As society goes, school goes:’ New report details toll on schools in President Trump’s America - The Washington Post

'As society goes, school goes:’ New report details toll on schools in President Trump’s America - The Washington Post

'As society goes, school goes:’ New report details toll on schools in President Trump’s America

In this age defined by the presidency of Donald J. Trump, our nation is increasingly divided and our political atmosphere highly charged. The contentious environment contributes to other societal problems, even as it makes it increasingly difficult to deal with them. America’s schools are not immune from this division and incivility and are similarly challenged to address a range of issues that confront our society.
--From “School and Society in the Age of Trump” report
That is the start of a new report titled “School and Society in the Age of Trump" that looks at how school principals are dealing with — and how students are affected by — social issues that have been prominent during the Trump presidency: 1) political division and hostility; 2) disputes over truth, facts, and the reliability of sources; 3) opioid addiction; 4) the threat of immigration enforcement; and 5) the threats of gun violence on school campuses.
The report, written by researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles’ Institute for Democracy, Education, and Access, details findings from a nationally representative poll taken of hundreds of high schools principals. And it includes recommendations for school leaders to consider..
This post about the findings was written by Mike Rose, a highly respected research professor in the University of California at Los Angeles Graduate School of Education and Information Studies.
Rose is the author of books that include “The Mind at Work: Valuing the Intelligence of the American Worker,” which demonstrated the heavy cognitive demands of blue-collar and service work and what it takes to do such work well. Other books he has written include “Back to School: Why Everyone Deserves a Second Chance at Education,” “Possible Lives: The Promise of Public Education in America” and “Why School? Reclaiming Education for All of Us.”
By Mike Rose
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. 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 nationally representative sample of more than 500 public high school principals from across the country and found this:
*89 percent reported that “incivility and contentiousness in the broader political environment has CONTINUE READING: 'As society goes, school goes:’ New report details toll on schools in President Trump’s America - The Washington Post

Education Privatizers Have Gone Global. So Must We If We Want to Stop Them.

Education Privatizers Have Gone Global. So Must We If We Want to Stop Them.

Education Privatizers Have Gone Global. So Must We If We Want to Stop Them.

In February 2018, West Virginia teachers launched a strike that reawakened a movement. Tens of thousands of teachers from around the country have taken part in what is now the largest strike wave in decades, demanding better public education in the face of years of austerity.
On February 11, 2019, as the U.S. wave continued, teachers union leaders from across Africa gathered in Addis Ababa for a meeting of African Union heads of state with their own demands: to halt the continent’s moves toward privatized education and provide “inclusive and equitable quality free public education for all.”
Though an ocean apart, West Virginia and Addis Ababa are two fronts in the same war. The fight for public education reminds us that working-class struggles around the world are linked—and that international solidarity is the key to victory.
In many U.S. districts, school funding still hasn’t recovered from cuts made during the Great Recession. Teachers are underpaid, classrooms are overcrowded and textbooks are out of date. Rather than increase funding, conservative public figures like Betsy DeVos, Trump’s Secretary of Education, have turned to private and charter schools that deepen inequality and further drain resources from the public system.
At the same time, foreign-owned, for-profit schools like Bridge International Academies and GEMS Education have swept Africa. There is no doubt that the status quo of public education in much of the region is dire: Education systems are largely underfunded, illiteracy remains high and a large gender gaps prevail. But an CONTINUE READING: Education Privatizers Have Gone Global. So Must We If We Want to Stop Them.

Students at school slated for closure face yet another hurdle: no bathrooms | The Lens

Students at school slated for closure face yet another hurdle: no bathrooms | The Lens

Students at school slated for closure face yet another hurdle: no bathrooms

lumbing contractors were digging up Edgar P. Harney elementary school’s lush front lawn on Willow Street Tuesday afternoon while a portable toilet trailer sat on the school’s blacktop playground along busy Claiborne Avenue.
“The bathrooms aren’t working,” one of the workers told The Lens.
A clogged sewer line was initially to blame. But when contractors finally got beneath the Central City school they said they discovered a bigger problem — a dislodged drainage pipe.
“Now, we have to tunnel in to replace it,” he said from the lawn as another worker was standing in roughly a five-foot deep hole.

Orleans Parish School Board spokeswoman Ambria Washington confirmed a line had broken beneath the school. “While repairs are underway, the use of bathrooms inside the school needs to be limited at this time.”
The repairs may take a few days, she explained in an email.
“All repairs are expected to be complete this weekend,” she wrote. “We plan to begin state testing next week.”
On Wednesday afternoon, workers had just begun digging a second hole under the school.
Kishauna Ross’ 14-year-old daughter is in the eighth grade at the 234-student school. She was not pleased with the temporary bathroom trailers because she said the facilities for girls and boys — while they have separate entrances — are housed in the same trailer.

Marta Jewson / The Lens
A portable toilet trailer sits on the blacktop at Harney elementary school in Central City on April 3, 2019. Crews are repairing the school’s drain line and bathrooms are out-of-service while they work to fix a dislodged pipe.
Washington said the portable bathrooms have separate entrances and stalls within them, but she didn’t address adult supervision.
Ross also said she was not informed of the problem.
“I do not like the fact that I didn’t get a letter stating there was a problem with the restrooms at the school,” Ross said on Tuesday.
Nor did she receive a phone call, she said, noting the school often robocalls announcements.
“I really have an issue with it,” she said.
The lack of indoor bathrooms is just one more thing in a long list of challenges for Harney, which CONTINUE READING: Students at school slated for closure face yet another hurdle: no bathrooms | The Lens

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

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

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

Indiana: Virtual School Scams Taxpayers and Students

In every state that has authorized virtual charter schools, these schools are marked by two characteristics: 1. They are very profitable. 2. The “education” they provide is abysmal. Typically, they have high attrition, low graduation rates, and low scores on state tests. The state fails to monitor them for quality. Students and taxpayers are fleeced. The latest example is the Indiana Virtual Scho
Wisconsin: Charters and Vouchers Strip $193 Million from Public Schools

Yes, charters and vouchers take money from public schools, which enroll nearly 90% of students. In Tuesday’s election, a pro-public school slate swept the Milwaukee school board. It will be interesting to see what happens with that city’s heavy dose of privatized charters and vouchers. In Wisconsin, a legislator revealed that school choice removes $193 million in state aid from public schools. “M
“Have You Heard” Interviews Award-Winning Reporter about Arizona Charter School Scandals

Jennifer Berkshire and Jack Schneider interview Arizona Republic reporter Craig Harris about the charter school scandals in Arizona, the “wild west” of charters. Harris was a member of the investigative team that won the prestigious George Polk Award for its coverage of charter schools in their state. You can listen here. Or, you can read the interview here. Here is a small excerpt, where they be
Texas: A Great Day for Public Education!

The Texas House of Representatives endorsed sweeping legislation to fund public schools. Representative Dan Huberty (R-Houston), chairman of the House Public Education Committee, steered the legislation to a nearly unanimous vote. “House Bill 3 would increase base funding for each student by $890, fund full-day pre-K for low-income 4-year-olds in most school districts, compress tax rates for all


Jennifer Rubin: Trump Is Mentally Unraveling Before Our Eyes

Jennifer Rubin was hired by the Washington Post to be its “conservative” columnist, to counterbalance its liberal tilt on national issues (on education, the Washington Post is far-right and pro-privatization, with the exception of Valerie Strauss). But then Rubin encountered Trump, and she was horrified by the hash this man made of her fiscally responsible, conservative principles. In this articl
Massachusetts: Civil Rights Groups, Teachers’ Unions Demand Withdrawal of Racist Test Question

Massachusetts’ Civil Rights groups and teachers’ unions are outraged by a racist question in the state ELA Test. “In response to accounts about racially troubling questions embedded in this year’s 10th-grade English Language Arts MCAS exam, the Massachusetts Teachers Association, the Boston Teachers Union, the American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Education Justice Alli
Fun Fact from Today’s Boston Globe

i get a daily news summary from the Boston Globe and several other newspapers. This arrived this morning: “ In the late 1700s, there were more than 60 million bison roaming North America, but because of commercial hunting and slaughter, there were just 541 animals left 100 years later. Thanks to preservation and rescue efforts, there are about 31,000 in existence today, in national parks and on r
Milwaukee: Progressive Slate Sweeps School Board Election!

A progressive slate backed by the Working Families Party and the Milwaukee teachers’ union swept the school board election in Milwaukee. I received this statement from Rob Duffey of the Working Families Party: “Last night in Milwaukee the Wisconsin Working Families Party won big, electing a slate of five pro-public school champions who flipped the Milwaukee city school board from a pro-privatizat
Houston: Charter Founder Pays Her Companies $17 Million a Year

The board of Houston Independent School District is reviewing three charter networks founded by one woman, who is both the highest ranking employee and pays her “related companies” $17 million dollars. Lois Bullock runs the networks and pays rent to companies she owns. “Over the past half-decade, Bullock’s company has served as the landlord for Energized For Excellence Academy, taking in $10.8 mi
North Carolina: Judge Rules Charter School Requirement of Skirts for Girls Is Discriminatory

A federal judge ruled that Charter Day School’s dress code –which requires girls to wear skirts and does not permit them to wear trousers or shorts–is unconstitutional. “Yes, the boys at the school must conform to a uniform policy as well,” Senior U.S. District Judge Malcolm J. Howard wrote. “But plaintiffs in this case have shown that the girls are subject to a specific clothing requirement that
Arkansas: Why Do Republicans Hate Local Control?

Republicans were once the party that advocated for local control of schools. No longer. Now they support state takeovers. This is the Big Bad Wolf technique. State Control makes it easier to privatize public schools. No need to listen to parents or communities. No raucous school board meetings. No democracy. State control of schools is autocracy in action. In Arkansas, a state that is almost whol
Bob Braun Blasts the Weak-Kneed Charter Expose in New Jersey Press

Bob Braun was a reporter for New Jersey’s biggest newspaper—the Star-Ledger—for fifty years. Now he writes what he wants, without any constraints. In this post , he lacerates the series of articles about charter school corruption and theft of public dollars in New Jersey because it failed to reach the logical conclusion of the evidence it produced. The logical conclusion would be to call off the
New Jersey Expose, Part 5: How to Fix the State’s Broken Charter Financing Problem (NOT!)

This article is the last of a five-part series called “Cashing in on Charter Schools,” published by and USA Today New Jersey and written by Jean Rimbach and Abbott Koloff. The post examines possible fixes for the problems and profiteering described in previous entries in the series. This concluding article in a series that revealed widespread theft of public funds is deeply disapp
Inside Philanthropy: Charters Lose Their Luster in the Philanthropic World

Caitlin Reilly of “Inside Philanthropy” writes that philanthropies no longer see charter schools as the means to transform American education. Although a few have doggedly doubled down on their commitment to charters, there seems to be a broad shift underway. Reilly calls it an “inflection point,” a point where change is undeniable. She writes: “Though charter schools have acquired a powerful all
Randy Rainbow on Betsy DeVos

Randy Rainbow reprises the budget hearings where Betsy DeVos attempts to defend her deep cuts to education. He calls her Cruella DeVos.

APR 02

Chicago Teachers Union on Mayoral Election

The militant Chicago Teachers Union issued a statement following the election of Lori Lightfoot, who was not its first choice. The CTU celebrates the end of the nightmare rule of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Governor Bruce Rauner. And it commemorates the historic leadership of its President Emerita Karen Lewis, who inaugurated a historic awakening of teacher militancy with the Chicago teachers’ strike
California: Who Gave the Charter Reform Task Force to the Charter Industry? Mystery Solved!

Sometimes it helps to solve a mystery when you put it out there for public review. Like posting photos of the “Ten Most Wanted Criminals” in every postoffice. Tips come in. An hour ago, I learned the identity of the person who named the members of the Task Force that is supposed to propose reforms to the state’s notoriously weak charter law. Seven of the 11 members of the Task Force are connected
Los Angeles: Enrollment in Charter Schools Declines While Executive Salaries Soar

Blogger Red Queen in LA (Sara Roos) has combed through tax filings to reveal the exorbitant salaries paid to charter school execitives, demonstrating that the ban of for-profit charter corporations has not limited the raid on taxpayers’ dollarsby charter profiteers. At the same time that charters executives are pulling down hefty salaries, charter enrollments are declining. She writes: “Overall,
New York: NYSAPE Protests Commissioner Elia’s Efforts to Harass and Intimidate Parents to Prevent Opt Outs

The New York State Allies for Public Education issued this statement in opposition to State Commissioner MaryEllen Elia’s efforts to “bribe, coerce, manipulate, and threaten students and parents into complying with a broken assessment system.” NYSAPE has led the opt out movement for several years. About 20 percent of eligible students in grades 3-8 do not take the state tests. About half the stud
California: How Did Charters Gain Control Of Gavin Newsom’s Task Force to Reform Charter Law?

Bill Raden of Capital & Main presents us with this puzzle: how did it happen that seven of the 11 members of Gavin Newsom’s Task Force in charter school reform are part of the charter industry? The Fox is in charge of the henhouse. Since the Task Force is supposed to examine the fiscal impact of charters on public schools, why is the industry judging itself? Shouldn’t the Task Force have been com
New Jersey Expose, Part 4: Cashing in on Real Estate Deals in the Charter Market

This post is part 4 of a series published by and USA Today New Jersey. Written by Jean Rimbach and Abbott Koloff, it is called “Cashing in on Charter Schools.” It explores the many ways that charter operators exploit taxpayers. This post describes how charter operators and real estate developers are cashing in. “ I nterest-only mortgages with rates that grow each year. Multimillio
Garn Press Publishes a Collection of My Most Important Essays

Garn Press, one of the nation’s valuable independent publishers, has compiled a collection of my most important essays. I am grateful for their hard work and dedication in bringing the book to fruition. The book is titled “The Wisdom and Wit of Diane Ravitch.” It contains selected essays published on this blog, the New York Review of Books, Huffington Post, and the Education Week blog that I shar

APR 01

John Merrow: Retirement Sucks!

John Merrow retired as a national education journalist a while back, and he has been trying to figure out how to find a new purpose in life. In this post, he describes his different efforts and how he found an activity that has kept him very busy and satisfied. I should add that Merrow puts a great deal of time into his annual post on April 1. When he wrote about his decision to join the board of
If You Have a Dog, This Is for YOU and Your Dog! If You Don’t, Prepare to Laugh!

What if you could send your dog on a trip? This is it! Even if you don’t have a dog, you will love this video!
Why the British Don’t Like Trump

Bon Shepherd posted this explanation of why the British don’t like Trump: character counts. Someone on Quora asked “Why do some British people not like Donald Trump?” Nate White, an articulate and witty writer from England wrote this magnificent response: “A few things spring to mind. Trump lacks certain qualities which the British traditionally esteem. For instance, he has no class, no charm, no
I ❤️ Randy 🌈 Rainbow

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know I often post the videos of Randy Rainbow. He is one of the cleverest political satirists in the nation, if not the world. This is an interview with him that appeared on ABC, where he explained how he makes his brilliant videos on his computer in his apartment in Astoria, Queens. His cat is his “executive producer. “ He does it all himself, and he
Anderson Cooper on Betsy DeVos’ Inexplicable Effort to Defund the Special Olympics

This isn’t funny but it is classic Betsy DeVos. Either smirking or giving a cold shoulder to the media, surrounded by serveral of her bodyguards. Look how many people protect her! And we pay for them.
Anthony Cody Fact-Checks Betsy DeVos on Class Size, and Jeanne Allen Scoffs At Cody

In this post, veteran teacher Anthony Cody explains how he happened to have a seat directly behind Betsy DeVos at the Congressional budget hearings, and he fact-checks DeVos’ preposterous claim that large classes may be preferable to small ones. No one asked her why wealthy parents who send their children to elite private schools expect and demand small classes. If they listen to our Secretary of
Hilarious! Betsy DeVos Explains the “Benefits” of Large Class Sizes

It’s April Fool’s Day but this is no joke. At the Congressional hearings on the Education Department’s budget, Secretary Betsy DeVos explained the benefits of large classes. When pressed to supply the research that undergirded her claim, she promised to supply it later. Watch this short video so you can understand the next post.

MAR 31

Sally Yates: Barr Should Release Mueller Report in Full, Without Redactions

Sally Yates was Deputy Attorney General from 2015-2017. In this article in the Washington Post, she argues that Attorney General William Barr should release the full Mueller Report as soon as possible, without redactions. She writes: “America’s justice system is built upon one thing — truth. When witnesses give testimony, they are sworn to tell “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the tru
Fred Smith: New York’s Testing Regime is Mindless Disruption

If you want to know why parents in New York have opted out in record numbers for the past few years, read testing expert Fred Smith’s account of the chaos and tumult inflicted on the children of the state by the State Education Department. Disruption! Change! Instability! Smith, who worked for many years as a testing expert at the New York City Board of Education, writes: Latch onto this, folks:
New Jersey Expose, Part 3: How Charter Operators Collected Hundreds of Millions from a Federal Fund for Building Public Schools and USA Today New Jersey are publishing a five-part series of the abuse of taxpayer funds by charter operators. This is part 3 of an investigation called “Cashing In on Charter Schools,” written by Abbott Koloff and Jean Rimbach. “H undreds of millions of dollars in federal aid was steered to New Jersey’s largest charter school management companies over the last decade, helping th
Nicholas Kristof: An 8-Year-Old Chess Champion, Homeless in NYC

Thanks to Nicholas Kristof for writing these stories and for recognizing that the economic and social supports needed for the hero of the story should not depend on philanthropy and charity. Nicholas Kristof wrote about an 8-year-old boy who won the New York State chess championship for his age group. He learned chess only a year earlier at his public school, PS 116, in Manhattan. He and his fami

MAR 30

Bill Phillis: Ohio’s State Takeover Law Should Be Repealed

Bill Phillis, retired deputy state superintendent and passionate advocate of equity and financial advocacy, has written many times about the absurd state takeover law. It gets more insane by the day. He wrires: Chairman of Lorain Academic Distress Commission (ADC) says he ALONE will complete the CEO’s job performance evaluation The Chairman of the Lorain ADC lives 130 miles from Lorain. He was ap
California: The Charter Law is Broken and Adversaries Don’t Agree on How to Fix It

This is part 3 of the Los Angeles Times’ series about charter school dysfunction in California, written by Anna Phillips. Phillips traces many of the problems, especially lack of oversight, to state law. She explains that the billionaires who fund the rapid expansion of charter schools have squared off against the powerful California Teachers Association, andthe two never agree. The resultis That
Beto O’Rourke’s Wife Works for an Organization that Brings Charter Schools to El Paso

I was an enthusiastic supporter of Beto O’Rourke when he ran against Ted Cruz. I regularly sent him checks of $50, $100. I would have loved to see Beto beat Cruz. I heard that Beto’s wife Amy was connected to the charter school movement but decided that was less important than beating Cruz. Now that Beto is running for President, it matters more. I don’t want another Democratic President pushing
New Jersey Expose, Part 2: Millions of Taxpayer Dollars Spent on a Floundering Charter School and USA Today New Jersey are posting a five-part series about how taxpayers are being taken for a ride by the charter industry. Part 2 is about the millions of state dollars spent to bailout a low-performing charter school. Reporters Jean Rimbach and Abbott Koloff write: “B y 2010, four years after it opened, the Central Jersey Arts Charter School in Plainfield was in trouble. “Th
Charter Schools: A Very Horrible, Terrible, Awful Week

This has been possibly the very worst week in the history of charter schools, which have existed for almost 30 years. It is fitting that this week coincided with Public Schools Week, reminding us of the importance of public schools, which are democratically governed, open to all who apply, and accountable, financially and academically, to the public. Consider the trajectory of the charter idea. W

MAR 29

Rhode Island: Under Pressure, Gov. Raimondo Will Donate Sackler Money

The Providence Journal published 20 articles about Governor Gina Raimondo and Sackler contributions to her campaign. It was only $12,500, nothing in the world of hedge fund managers, Raimondo’s former occupation. The publicity finally got to her, and she announced she was donating the money somewhere. Sackler owns Purdue Pharma, major manufacturer of OxyContin, the highly addictive opioid respons
New York: State Teachers’ Union Fact Checks State Commissionerof Education

NYSUT, The New York State United Teachers, issued a blistering fact check of State Commissioner MaryEllen Elia’s claims about the state tests. You have to open it to get the full flavor because NYSUT, not normally outspoken, shreds Elia’s claims. Elia writes in Orwellian Newspeak about value of the tests. NYSUT response: Because of the lack of movement by SED on NYSUT’s suggested changes to the t
D.C. Has Highest Rate of Gentrification in Nation

You may not be surprised to learn that gentrification means rising housing costs, as affluent people move into cities and developers demolish or upgrade low-income housing. Nor will you be surprised to learn that gentrification involves the displacement of low-income people. As they moveor leave the city, city leaders want charter schools so that the new middle-class families can separate from “t
California: Small Districts Make Money by Authorizing Charters in Big Districts with No Oversight

This article is the second of three written by Los Angeles Times education reporter Anna Phillips. The first told the story of charter operators who were making millions of dollars opening subpar charters. This story is about California’s broken system for authorizing charter schools. Small rural districts with small budgets can collect millions by authorizing charters that open outside their dis
New Jersey Exposé, Part 1: How Charters Use Millions of Dollars from Taxpayers for Their Private Property and USA Today New Jersey are running a five-part series called “Cashing in on Charter Schools, written by reporters Jean Rimbach and Abbott Koloff. Follow this series if you care about integrity in spending public dollars. What follows is an excerpt. Open the link to read the story. . Part one. NJ taxpayers are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to construct and renovate cha

MAR 28

The Onion: Innovative Progressive Charter School with No Students

The Onion reports on an exciting and innovative concept in the world of charter schools: a school without students! “One year into its founding as the purported “bold next step in education reform,” administrators on Monday sang the praises of Forest Gates Academy, a progressive new charter school that practices an innovative philosophy of not admitting any students. “We’ve done something here at
California: Now Is the Time to Reform Charter Schools

California has more charter schools and students than any other state, due to its size and its notoriously weak charter law. Add to that a progressive Governor with a blind spot for charters (Jerry Brown opened two when he was mayor of Oakland) and to a gaggle of billionaires in both parties who favor privatization. in the new report by the Network for Public Education, Asleep At the Wheel, Calif
A Teacher in Arizona Reports on the Slow Strangulation of Public Schools

An Arizona Teacher left this comment: “I teach in an AZ public school–title 1 school. The poverty in this school is astonishing. This is my first year teaching in AZ after moving here from another state. I taught almost 20 years in a public school that was also a Title 1 school before moving to AZ. I have a lot of experience teaching in poverty schools. I have never seen anything as dysfunctional
John Merrow: Eight Fixes for the College Admissions Mess

John Merrow noted the intense media attention on the recent college admission scandal, where rich parents found ways to buy higher test scores or pay for guarantees of admissions by pretending they were star athletes or paying off coaches to ask for them to be admitted or hiring a ringer to take the SAT for them. He offers eight ways to repair the college admissions process. Here are a few of his
Tennessee Decides About Vouchers Today

Today is V-day in Tennessee. The Shelby County Board of Education (Memphis) opposes the plan, accurately protesting that the plan would divert dollars from their already underfunded schools. Meanwhile, six charter schools in Memphis have made a deal with the Catholic church to lease space, while pledging not to teach anything contrary to Catholic teaching. ”The Compass Community Schools network s

Texas: New Study Finds That Readability Levels on State Tests are Misaligned

A new study of the STAAR tests in Texas finds that the readability levels are far above the grade levels tested. Professor Susan Szabo and Professor Becky Barton Sinclair of the Texas A&M at Commerce reviewed STAAR tests and 
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