Latest News and Comment from Education

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Fla. GOP extorting local school boards - YouTube

 Fla. GOP extorting local school boards - YouTube

Fla. GOP extorting local school boards

Ever since Jeb Bush started peddling his school privatization schemes as governor twenty years ago, Florida Republicans have starved local school districts of funding, blocked them from raising taxes to keep up with rising costs, and siphoned off $billions in capital outlay intended for renovations and new construction.
Last year over a dozen Florida school districts, struggling to keep up with all the mandates coming from Tallahassee, like computer testing and hardening of schools, proposed local referenda to increase property taxes so that public school teachers could get a raise. Every single one of them passed.
All the while, charter school operator remained silent, even encouraging their parents to vote No. Because school boards and their superintendents made it clear they weren’t going getting any of the money.
But now a bill filed by House Ways and Means Committee Chair Bryan Avila would allow the state to withhold funding from districts that don’t share their referendum money with charter schools.
The Hialeah Republican says, “Teachers are teachers.” But charter schools are businesses and can pay their employees as they want.
“Apparently their business model needs another injection of taxpayer money at the expense of the traditional public schools.
“The claims by Republican legislators that they are only trying to be fair to all teachers ring hollow. They won’t raise taxes, and they won’t adequately fund public schools.”
The measure, of course, has no oversight to ensure that charters actually use the money to increase teacher pay, as the voters intended.
But when Orlando Representative Anna Eskamani proposed to amend the bill adding accountability — you know, so, like, the tax payers don’t end up paying for CEO bonuses, instead — that amendment failed.
Funny how the same people demanding accountability from teachers shrug it off when it comes to their corporate masters.
Critics say the bill amounts to extortion. “Either pay, or your neighborhood public school gets it.”
This week the bill advanced through committee along party lines, on the heels of a report published by the Network for Public Education detailing how how the US DOE wasted over $billion on charter that never taught a single student.

 Fla. GOP extorting local school boards - YouTube

LAUSD Board Special Election Candidate Q&A: Jackie Goldberg: LAist

LAUSD Board Special Election Candidate Q&A: Jackie Goldberg: LAist

LAUSD Board Special Election Candidate Q&A: Jackie Goldberg

Voters in northeast and southeast Los Angeles will go to the polls on May 14 for a special election to fill an open seat on the L.A. Unified School Board.
The race in LAUSD's Board District 5 is taking place on the heels of a historic strike by the district's teachers union.
"The strike aroused the public," candidate Jackie Goldberg said. "They are now committed. They want something to happen. And I think being on the school board is the place to do it from."
A former member of the City Council and the California Assembly, Goldberg is a fixture in L.A. politics. Her career in elected life began in 1983, when she was elected to the first of two terms representing District 5. Now, she's hoping to win that seat again.
Goldberg is facing off against Heather Repenning, a former aide to L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, in the May 14 special election. Both candidates spoke recently with KPCC/LAist.

The following is a transcript of KPCC/LAist's hour-long Q&A with Jackie Goldberg. Her answers and our questions have been edited or condensed for clarity and length, so directly quote from this story with caution.


Kyle Stokes (KPCC/LAist): Do you think that the teacher strike impacted this race in any way?
Jackie Goldberg: I do. It raised the level of consciousness of an awful lot of people in Southern California, about the conditions in the public schools. See, I think people remember — particularly people in their 40s and 50s and 60s — they remember that things were better. And they still think that's how it is.
I remember talking to people when we were standing out on the sidewalk, and they'd say, "Why are you striking?" I'd say, "Well, there's this school here that I'm standing in front of with the CONTINUE READING: LAUSD Board Special Election Candidate Q&A: Jackie Goldberg: LAist

Betsy DeVos and the Koch brothers must be so proud: Michigan teacher salaries down 16% from 2009 | Eclectablog

Betsy DeVos and the Koch brothers must be so proud: Michigan teacher salaries down 16% from 2009 | Eclectablog

Betsy DeVos and the Koch brothers must be so proud: Michigan teacher salaries down 16% from 2009

It’s taken years of concerted effort but, at long last, Betsy DeVos and the Koch brothers can finally claim victory: Teachers in Michigan are now paid less today in both real and corrected-for-inflations dollars. In 2009, the average teacher salary in our state was $63,025. In 2017, the most recent year for which we have data, the average was only $61,908. Adjusted for inflation, that’s a whopping 16% drop in just 8 years.
What happened between 2009 when the country was just emerging from the worse economic castastrophe since the Great Depression and 2017 when the economy had been on an upward climb since President Obama took office? Well, Michigan voters elected a governor who mistakenly believed he could run a state government like a business and a state legislature that was gerrymander-packed with anti-union corporatists who passed a massive tax cut for corporations, took billions of dollars from school funding, and spent enormous amounts of energy demeaning teachers by blaming them for poor educational outcomes that were the result of elements completely out of control (poverty, education disinvestment, and parental disengagement, for example.)
So now that the corporatist “education reformers” have gotten their way, putting teachers in their place by reducing their pay and slashing their benefits, things must be humming along pretty well, right? Actually, not so much. As anyone with a couple of brain cells to bang together could have predicted, Michigan now faces a teacher shortage:
Michigan is battling a persistent shortage of teachers early in the school year, prompting CONTINUE READING: 
Betsy DeVos and the Koch brothers must be so proud: Michigan teacher salaries down 16% from 2009 | Eclectablog

Laura Chapman on the Latest Reformer Inititiative: A Mushroom | Diane Ravitch's blog

Laura Chapman on the Latest Reformer Inititiative: A Mushroom | Diane Ravitch's blog

Laura Chapman on the Latest Reformer Inititiative: A Mushroom 

Reformer groups and programs and projects pop up so often that I’m tempted to call them mushrooms, although stinkweeds would work too. I met Matt Gandal, described below, when he worked for Checker Finn at the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation. As long as the foundations keep pumping money into their hobby, there will be more mushrooms. She wrote this comment a month or so ago:
Laura Chapman describes the latest Reformer mushroom:
Meanwhile, the self-appointed members of the “Education Strategy Group” will command the National Press Club March 8 for a launch of “Level UP, Aligning for Success.”
The program will focus on “how we are collectively working to improve student preparation and increase success in postsecondary education and training,” especially “the preparation of students of color, students from low-income backgrounds and first-generation college students.”
Level Up is described as a coalition, a collaboration, and effort to provide “a playbook of high-impact strategies that K-12 and higher education leaders can collaboratively use to increase student success.”
The Founder (2012) and President of the Education Strategy Group, Matt Gandal, is not embarrassed to offer a brief resume that reveals his 20 year association with perfectly terrible policies for education. He was as a senior advisor to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan where he led the “Reform Support Network” created as an enforcement arm for compliance (implementation) of Race to the Top.
Before that job, Gandal claims to be a founder and executive vice president of Achieve—infamous for its promotion of the Common Core State Standards—and the antecedent American Diploma Project. If you have not read Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools by Mercedes Schneider please do so. If you know the history of those bad ideas just be aware that CONTINUE READING: Laura Chapman on the Latest Reformer Inititiative: A Mushroom | Diane Ravitch's blog

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Finish Those Taxes Edition (4/14)

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Finish Those Taxes Edition (4/14)

ICYMI: Finish Those Taxes Edition

Personally, mine are already mailed in. My circumstances changed so much this year I have no idea whether I took a bigger hit or not. But regardless of your tax status, here are some pieces from the week for your edification. Take a read, and support these writers by passing on their stuff. Remember-- when you amplify a news media piece about education and it garners more hits, you help convince editors that it's worth their time to cover education.

Most Vouchers Go To Students From Wealthier Districts

This is not a new piece, but it's a reminder that in Arizona, where vouchers have bloomed, they are rarely used by poor students to "escape" terrible schools. Good to keep in mind as vouchers enjoy a new push across the country.

The Plot Against America: Inside the Christian plan to "remodel" the nation. 

A deeper dig into the UDSA Today piece about copy-paste bills. And it does get to education and vouchers.

If We Don't Work On Pedagogy, Nothing Else Matters   

Not sure I agree with every single word of this essay from Robin Pendoley, but it's at the very least a place to start a discussion.

Betsy DeVos Can't Be Bothered 

Mary Sanchez at the Orlando Sentinel has kind of had it with the typical Betsy DeVos Congressional hearing performance.

The Toll College and Career Ready Education Has Taken On Students

Nancy Bailey talks about the damage done by this policy obsession.

LeBron James Opened a School That Was Considered an Experiment

Remember how King James was going to throw his weight and money behind a public school? Erica Green takes a measured, thoughtful look at how that's going. Worth reading not just for the work of the school, but to remember what journalism that is neither puffing up a miracle school nore tearing down an edu-disaster looks like.

DeVos's Staff Blocked Researchers

Jan Resseger looks a little more closely at how the department tried to thwart research about their spending on charter schools.

Beverly Cleary's Birthday

Not strictly an education story, but the woman turned 103 this week. Damn! Here are some nice birthday pieces from OprahSouthern Living, and Scary Mommy.

Ron Desantis Has Big Hairy Audacious Goals For Florida Education

An excellent overview of just how very much trouble public education is in in Florida.

Betsy DeVos Quietly Making It Easier for Dying For-profits To Stick It To Students  

DeVos remains a fan of business; of students bilked by business, not so much. Here's one small, quiet way she's looking out for the former by sticking it to the latter.

Benchmark Assessments Don't Actually Do Any Good

Some thoughts about repeatedly weighing the pig.

Softly Killing Public Education

Add the St. Louis Dispatch to the list of newspaper editorial boards that have figured out that the push for vouchers is a push to kill and replace public education.

Bad Ideas and Educational Scripture  

Should we listen to the experts or to teachers (trick question).

Putting The Pieces Together   

The Momma Bears connect the voucher push of guys like Governor Lee to the drive to kill public education.

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Finish Those Taxes Edition (4/14)

Obstacles To Building Better Writers
Writing well is one of the great uber-skills, a quality that will open an infinite number of doors in a student's life. Unfortunately, we are living through a golden age of bad writing instruction, driven by high stakes testing and shrunken, meager ideas about the very purpose of education. In 39 years, I had some success in teaching students to be better writers. If you are a teacher intent on b

APR 12

DeVos Pushes Questionable Charter Research
The New York Post headline is pretty definitive: " Case Closed: Charter schools deliver more education 'bang' for the buck. " Writers Patrick Wolf and Corey DeAngelis are plugging their new paper, and Betsy DeVos is on Facebook plugging it some more . DeAngelis we've met befor e. He's a Fellow for the Cato Institute , policy adviser for the Heartland Institute, and a Distinguished Working-on-his-P

APR 11

AZ: Kelly Townsend Wants To Shut Teachers Up
Arizona's #RedForEd movement was long overdue. The state has been one of the nation's top playgrounds for charter profiteers , but at the same time, they have starved public schools for resources, with low and stagnant teacher pay along with the worst level of per pupil spending in the country. The state was lucky that its teachers walked out en masse last year , because they were already walking

APR 10

IN: Go Ahead And Shoot Teachers
When the story first broke that teachers at Meadowlawn Elementary School in Monticello, Indiana had been shot with pellets--execution style--as part of an active shooter drill , I decided not to get in to it here. The sheriff's department had agreed to knock it the hell off, the legislature had already moved to ban the practice, and the whole business was so clearly over the line, so obviously unn
Five Reasons Your District's Strategic Plan Failed
Somewhere in school district offices all across the country, there are beautiful strategic planning documents, carefully bound, sitting on a shelf, gathering dust and having absolutely no effect on how the school district functions from day to day. They have utterly failed. Honest. I am absolutely a horse. It doesn’t have to be that way (read Andrea Gabor’s After the Education Wars for examples o

APR 09

Freedom and Indignity
The ed reform movement has always had a language problem, starting with the word "reform," which does not really adequately describe a movement built on privatization and corporate takeover. There have been other casualties along the way. I've railed long and fruitlessly about the continued use of "student achievement" and "teacher effectiveness" when what we really mean is "high scores on a narro

APR 08

WV: Lukewarm Charter Baloney and The Questions To Ask
West Virginia remains one of the untapped market for the ed reformster business, and privatizers are determined to keep hammering away. The most recent attempt involved a little bit of legislative extortion, as lawmakers tried using teacher raises as the sweetener in a bill intended to finally open West Virginia to both charter schools and education savings accounts (aka vouchers). West Virginia t

APR 07

ICYMI: Hello, April Edition (4/7)
It's practically like spring here in Northwest PA, but I still have some-- well, many-- choice items to share this week. Remember, these writers depend on you to boost their work, so if something here speaks to you, help push it out into the world! I Asked USED Three Questions Jeff Bryant just had three questions for the Betsy DeVos Department of Education, but they "created havoc" for the staff.

APR 06

Don't Be Fooled By This Proposal To End Testing
Tom Vander Ark has a long and checkered past in the ed reform biz , and he is ready to cash in on the next big thing (he's been ready for a while), which is why we find him at Forbes proposing an end to standardized testing . Just to be clear from the jump-- that's not a good thing. The article comes in two parts-- a pretty good take-down of the Big Standardized Test, and a pretty weak argument fo

APR 05

MO: Bipartisan Fight Against Charter Expansion
Rep. Rebecca Roeber (R) of Lee's Summit, Missouri has proposed a bill to expand charter reach ; the state has basically confined charter schools to the Kansas City and St. Louis districts. But response to the bill has not been exactly a slam dunk. The bill would allow charters to open in communities of greater than 30,000 people or an accredited-without-provisions school district. The feelings abo

APR 04

College Board's AP Rate Hike Backlash
The College Board, the company behind the dreaded SAT and popular AP courses has made changes to the registration for the AP exams . AP courses and the exams that go with them are supposed to provide students with a leg up on college applications. Though the changes, which amount to an increase in cost, were announced over a month ago, they now add to the conversation the nation is suddenly havin

APR 02

MT: Meat Widgets And Personalized Learning
In Montana, the connection between Personalized [sic] Learning and vocational training has been made pretty explicit. There, some leaders are throwing support to PL not because it would be good for students or would solve educational problems, but because it would solve workforce development problem s. Solving workforce shortages one widget at a time. State Rep. Llew Jones, R-Conrad, recently show

APR 01

Accountability Beyond the Bubble
Accountability has always been an educational buzzword, and the modern reformy era has put accountability on a high, if somewhat cockeyed pedestal. Testing? Not testing? Running test scores through models soaked in magic VAM sauce? Regular school visits, inspections and audits? Administrators an