Tuesday, April 16, 2019

What Preschool Isn’t: Waterford UPSTART and Any Other Online Program!

What Preschool Isn’t: Waterford UPSTART and Any Other Online Program!

What Preschool Isn’t: Waterford UPSTART and Any Other Online Program!

No one can deny the importance of early learning. We have years of research by developmental psychologists and early childhood education researchers built on findings to help us understand how preschoolers learn. We need to fund adequate preschools so students get a good introduction to the joy of formal learning.
Researchers have known for some time that preschool is important for learning. In 2003, W. Steven Barnett and Jason T. Husted critiqued studies demonstrating the importance of three preschool programs. The benefits of the High/Scope Perry Preschool program, Abecedarian Early Childhood Intervention program, and the Title I Chicago Child-Parent Centers are well-documented.
Head Start, a federal program created in 1965 to assist children from low-income families has also seen gains in the children it serves, but the program has always been under attack by policymakers who resented paying for the program. While middle class and the wealthy have access to good preschool, the poor struggle to find affordable preschool that give children access to beneficial early learning.
What’s great about preschool? Children get to play and learn with other children. It’s a step beyond a playdate. They collectively acquire knowledge with activities that they CONTINUE READING: What Preschool Isn’t: Waterford UPSTART and Any Other Online Program!

CURMUDGUCATION: Melinda Gates Achieves Peak Epic Cluelessness

CURMUDGUCATION: Melinda Gates Achieves Peak Epic Cluelessness

Melinda Gates Achieves Peak Epic Cluelessness


Sigh. Melinda Gates seems like a nice lady who means well, but her recent interview at the New York Times Magazine is a master class in how living in a very wealthy bubble can leave you out of touch with the rest of the world and an understanding of your place in it.

It starts in the very first paragraph.

“There are absolutely different points of view about philanthropy,” says Melinda Gates, who, along with her husband Bill, heads the charitable foundation that bears their name, aimed at increasing global health and reducing poverty. Its endowment, at $50.7 billion, is the largest in the world. “But we’re lucky to live in a democracy, where we can all envision what we want things to look like.” 

Well, we can all envision what we want things to look like, and then become in a political process to support and elect leaders who then work within a democratic-ish government to pursue that vision. Only a few of us can use our vast wealth to completely circumvent the entire democratic process to impose our vision on the rest of the world.


This woman.
David Marchese, who I'm betting has read Anand Giridharadas's Winners Take All,  opens the door wide for Gates to consider one of the deeper issues of modern philanthropy by asking, "When you meet with other wealthy philanthropists, do you find that anyone is grappling in a serious way with their own culpability for problems, like growing income inequality, that are at the root of issues they’re trying to solve?" Do you get that it's very possible that you are spending money to amelliorate conditions that you have created?

She whiffs.

There are absolutely people thinking about this. Then there are others who, no, they’re comfortable with how they act. But one of the reasons the Giving Pledge has been so CONTINUE READING: 
CURMUDGUCATION: Melinda Gates Achieves Peak Epic Cluelessness


Michigan gave the USA Betsy DeVos. Help us atone for that and make the world a better place. | Eclectablog

Michigan gave the USA Betsy DeVos. Help us atone for that and make the world a better place. | Eclectablog

Michigan gave the USA Betsy DeVos. Help us atone for that and make the world a better place.


Michiganders tried. We REALLY did. We TRIED to warn America about Betsy DeVos. We tried to tell the country that she is the epitome of everything that is wrong about the corporatist and dominionist approach to the destruction of public education. And nobody was more outspoken about her and her horrid goals than the writers here at Eclectablog. We’ve written about her for years, shouting to the rooftops that she is harming our country and, more egregiously, harming our children.
Unfortunately, we were shouting into a void of money and influence and corruption and our warnings came up short.
You can help us atone for that failure by supporting the one site that did more than any other in exposing what Ms. DeVos and her family want to do to end public education as we know it and to turn our schools into profit centers for the already-rich.
None of us here likes to ask for money but it’s your financial support that keeps us going (virtually ad-free) so, once a quarter, we spend a week asking you to join the fight for accountability at Eclectablog and The GOTMFV Show podcast.
You can do that by using the handy PayPal form at the top of the right sidebar to make a one-time donation via Paypal in the amount of your choice. Second, you can send a check (which avoids Paypal taking out a percentage of your donation) to Chris Savage, P.O. Box 32, Dexter, MI 48130. Please make the check payable to “Eclectablog”.
Finally, you can become a monthly sustainer but making a recurring donation each month by using this form:
Want to make a  monthly donation? Michigan gave the USA Betsy DeVos. Help us atone for that and make the world a better place. | Eclectablog

If you simply aren’t able to make a donation of any kind (and we appreciate support at ALL levels), please continue to share our posts and podcasts throughout all of your social media platforms to ensure that the hard work of our most excellent staff is seen by as many folks as possible.
Thank you.
[CC DeVos image by Michael Vadon | Flickr]
Michigan gave the USA Betsy DeVos. Help us atone for that and make the world a better place. | Eclectablog

A Lie All Teachers Should Believe - Teacher Habits

A Lie All Teachers Should Believe - Teacher Habits

A Lie All Teachers Should Believe



What is the most empowering belief a teacher can have? 
That’s a question I was recently asked. A few answers came quickly to mind:
All students can learn.
I make a difference.
The credit belongs to the man who is in the arena.
But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I believe the most empowering belief a teacher can have is a lie.
How, you might wonder, can teachers be expected to believe a lie when they know it’s a lie?
The same way we walk around believing all sorts of lies in spite of knowing the truth.
For example, we believe we’re better than others in all sorts of ways, even though our logical brains know how unlikely that is. Researchers have found that we rate ourselves above average on everything from our driving ability to our academic performance to the quality of our personal relationships.
We persist in the belief that more money will make us happier, even CONTINUE READING: A Lie All Teachers Should Believe - Teacher Habits

Oregon Save Our Schools: Save Money, Gain Time, Dump SBAC!

Oregon Save Our Schools: Save Money, Gain Time, Dump SBAC!

Save Money, Gain Time, Dump SBAC!


Last week the Oregon Legislature’s Joint Committee on Student Success unveiled its plan to increase funding and improve public education. Oregon Save Our Schools would like to suggest a way that the legislature could save a little money and improve education: assess Oregon’s assessment system.

The most egregious problem with the state assessment system is the Smarter Balanced Assessment (also known as SBAC, coming out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium). This is the assessment that students in grades 3 through 8 and grade 11 currently take to fulfill the federal requirement for annual testing.  SBAC is a tremendous drain on time and resources if the vast majority of Oregon’s educators are to be believed.

While there is a federal requirement for annual testing in those grades, the federal government does not require a specific assessment. High school students and families have opted out of SBAC to the extent that the state is considering many other options for the federally required grade 11 assessment but elementary students will still be subjected to the months long annual slog through the Smarter Balanced Assessment if our legislators don’t act to change that.

SBAC consists of two tests for English Language Arts (ELA) and two for Math. It takes an average of 8 hours to complete the four CONTINUE READING: Oregon Save Our Schools: Save Money, Gain Time, Dump SBAC!



Sac Union contract crisis shows what’s wrong with Sacramento and CA | The Sacramento Bee

Sac Union contract crisis shows what’s wrong with Sacramento and CA | The Sacramento Bee

Do the math: Teachers + health costs + insanity = we all lose

Even if you don’t live in the City of Sacramento, or if you don’t have kids in the city public school system on the verge of blowing up, what is happening here affects you too.
Why? Because the demolition of a public school system serving more than 40,000 kids in the capital of California is representative of all that is wrong in the wealthiest state in America – and what is wrong in Sacramento.
We’re talking about places filled with people who talk a great game being “progressive.” Yet two-thirds of Sac City teachers are white; a majority of the leadership of the Sacramento City Teachers Association, their union, is white, too.
Meanwhile, if the school system goes into insolvency, the primary victims will be black and brown kids who make up a majority of the district student population.
Isn’t that the way it always is in Sacramento? You have affluent Curtis Park right across the way of North Oak Park. You have the gracious Pocket neighborhood right across Interstate 5 from Meadowview. Land Park is a world away from Del Paso Heights. Kids in the upscale neighborhoods are privileged because their parents can raise funds for their schools if the district blows up. (And lest you think I’m just lecturing, I include myself in this group.)
OPINION
Or, seeing affluent Sacramento families move their kids to expensive charter or private schools wouldn’t be surprising.
But everybody else will be stuck in schools whose programs will be gutted. And we’re already talking about a district that disproportionately suspends African American students. We’re talking about a district whose elite college prep programs are already lacking in diversity, such as the Humanities and International Studies Program (HISP) at C.K. McClatchy High School.
Why are these programs lacking in diversity? Because a very small number of black and brown students qualify for HISP by the time they reach high school.
Before elaborating on these points, let’s talk about how all of this defies simple logic.
How can the City of Sacramento be booming and California be soaring at same time the Sacramento City Unified District is upside down? It’s facing a $35-million budget deficit. Unless a deal is reached at the end by the end of June, the district could run out of money in the next school year.
It would then have to be bailed out by the state, which would strip local budget control from a locally elected school board members and its hand picked superintendent.
That would hurt Sacramento’s image, damage efforts to recruit businesses to relocate here, result in the unemployment of many unionized workers and – last, but not least – hurt thousands of kids.
Remember the kids? AND NOW THE TEACHER BASHING CONTINUE READING: Sac Union contract crisis shows what’s wrong with Sacramento and CA | The Sacramento Bee



Questions for Ann O’Leary: Why Are You Protecting California’s Corrupt, Wasteful Charter Industry? | Diane Ravitch's blog

Questions for Ann O’Leary: Why Are You Protecting California’s Corrupt, Wasteful Charter Industry? | Diane Ravitch's blog

Questions for Ann O’Leary: Why Are You Protecting California’s Corrupt, Wasteful Charter Industry?



Ann O’Leary is Chief of Staff to California Governor Gavin Newsom. Previously she was education advisor to Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. She is a lawyer and a very accomplished person, with a long history in Democratic politics. She was leading the Clinton transition team right before the election of 2016. For several years, she was a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, which strongly defends charter schools and Obama’s failed Race to the Top program.
During the 2016 campaign, when it was clear Hillary would be the nominee, Carol Burris of the Network for Public Education and I went to see O’Leary at the Clinton headquarters in Brooklyn. We tried to persuade her that Hillary should oppose charters. After all, school choice is a Republican priority. It is supported by the Waltons, the Koch brothers, ALEC, the DeVos family, and every Red State Governor. Democrats should support public schools, we argued, not privatization. We failed. We went back again, after the convention. O’Leary was unmovable. The best we could get from her was a promise that Hillary would oppose for-profit charters.
We knew that was a meaningless offer, because large numbers of nonprofit charters hire for-profit management companies.
We were thrilled when Gavin Newsom and Tony Thurmond were elected, because the charter industry placed its bets on Antonio Villaraigosa for Governor, who ran third, and on Marshall Tuck for Secretary of Education. Tuck’s campaign spent twice as much as CONTINUE READING: Questions for Ann O’Leary: Why Are You Protecting California’s Corrupt, Wasteful Charter Industry? | Diane Ravitch's blog


Congress Should Defund the Charter Schools Program and Invest the Money in Title I and IDEA | janresseger

Congress Should Defund the Charter Schools Program and Invest the Money in Title I and IDEA | janresseger

Congress Should Defund the Charter Schools Program and Invest the Money in Title I and IDEA


The Network for Public Education published its scathing report on the federal Charter Schools Program three weeks ago, but as time passes, I continue to reflect on its conclusions. The report, Asleep at the Wheel: How the Federal Charter Schools Program Recklessly Takes Taxpayers and Students for a Ride, is packed with details about failed or closed or never-opened charter schools.  The Network for Public Education depicts a program driven by neoliberal politicians hoping to spark innovation in a marketplace of unregulated startups underwritten by the federal government. The record of this 25 year federal program is dismal.
Here is what the Network for Public Education’s report shows us. The federal Charter Schools Program (CSP) has awarded $4 billion federal tax dollars to start or expand charter schools across 44 states and the District of Columbia, and has provided some of the funding for 40 percent of all the charter schools that have been started across the country. Begun when Bill Clinton was President, this neoliberal—publicly funded, privatized—program has been supported by Democratic and Republican administrations alike.  It has lacked oversight since the beginning, and during the Obama and Trump administrations—when the Department of Education’s own Office of Inspector General released a series of scathing critiques of the program—grants have been made based on the application alone with little attempt by officials in the Department of Education to verify the information provided by applicants.  Hundreds of millions of dollars have been awarded to schools that never opened or that were shut down: “We found that it is likely that as many as one third of all charter schools receiving CSP grants never opened, or opened and shut down.”  Many grants went to schools that illegally discriminated in some way to choose their students and served far fewer disabled students and English language learners than the local pubic schools.  Many of the CSP-funded charter schools were plagued by conflicts of interest profiteering, and mismanagement. The Department of Education has never investigated the scathing critiques of the program by the Department’s Office of Inspector Genera; neither has the Department of Education investigated the oversight practices of the state-by-state departments of education, called State Education Agencies by CSP, to which many of the grants were made. Oversight has declined under the Department’s leadership by Betsy DeVos.
One of the shocking findings in the Asleep at the Wheel report is that a series of federal administrations—Clinton, Bush, Obama, and Trump have treated this program as a kind of  CONTINUE READING: Congress Should Defund the Charter Schools Program and Invest the Money in Title I and IDEA | janresseger

Louisiana Educator: Local School Systems Should be Able to Choose their own Academic Content Standards and Tests

Louisiana Educator: Local School Systems Should be Able to Choose their own Academic Content Standards and Tests

Local School Systems Should be Able to Choose their own Academic Content Standards and Tests


This bill, by Senator Milkovich which will be debated in the Senate Education Committee this week, would allow each school system to opt out of the state content standards and accountability tests and to choose their own set of content standards for the students in their district. The process would allow the parents of each school district, when a petition is signed by at least 10% of the voters to hold an election to choose the academic standards and tests that would apply to their students.

Senate Bill 128 will be heard at 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, April 17 in the Hainkel committee room. Any interested citizen is allowed to attend and comment on the legislation.

The present Louisiana content standards and state LEAP and End of Course tests are based primarily on the Common Core standards. These standards were never tested by using field trials or any other means before they were adopted by BESE. The Common Core standards were a set of academic mandates for ELA and math for each grade that were arbitrarily written by a set of self appointed academic elites mostly representing testing companies and other college related persons. A huge campaign financed by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation and the Federal government got many states such as Louisiana to adopt the standards and their accompanying tests sight unseen.

The Common Core standards are not appropriate for our students and have resulted in a decline in academic achievement and readiness of our students for life and careers. Louisiana has now dropped to its lowest achievement ranking ever compared to other states.
Please read the following posts, herehere, and here, on the Louisiana Educator blog that give you all the data you need to determine that the common core standards are not appropriate or effective as the best CONTINUE READING:
 Louisiana Educator: Local School Systems Should be Able to Choose their own Academic Content Standards and Tests


Study: There’s no evidence that hardening schools to make kids safer from gun violence actually works - The Washington Post

Study: There’s no evidence that hardening schools to make kids safer from gun violence actually works - The Washington Post

Study: There’s no evidence that hardening schools to make kids safer from gun violence actually works


Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on measures to harden public schools in an attempt to make students safer from gun violence, but a new report says there is no evidence those measures have worked. Instead, it says, they have created “a false sense of security.”
Researchers at the University of Toledo and Ball State University conducted a comprehensive review of 18 years of reports on school security measures and their effectiveness and wrote in their paper, which was recently published in the journal Violence and Gender:
This comprehensive review of the literature from 2000 to 2018 regarding school firearm violence prevention failed to find any programs or practices with evidence indicating that they reduced such firearm violence. Hardening of schools with visible security measures is an attempt to alleviate parental and student fears regarding school safety and to make the community aware that schools are doing something.
Federal data show that 2018 was the worst on record for school shootings and gun-related incidents. The Naval Postgraduate School’s K-12 School Shooting Database says there were 94 school gun-violence incidents, a record since the data started being collected in 1970. The database includes every instance a gun is displayed or fired on campus or if a bullet hits school property for any reason.
The Washington Post has maintained its own school shootings database for several years, and it found that since the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado — in which 12 students and one teacher were killed by two teenagers who then killed themselves — more than 226,000 children at 233 schools have been exposed to gun violence. At least 143 children, educators and other people have been killed in assaults, and 294 have been injured.
The review published in Violence and Gender of 89 journal publications and some media reports was undertaken by James H. Price, professor emeritus in the Department of Public Health at the University of Toledo, and Jagdish Khubchandani, an associate professor of health science at Ball State University.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gun violence is among the leading causes of death for young people. But Price and Khubchandani wrote that little is actually known about how to prevent CONTINUE READING: Study: There’s no evidence that hardening schools to make kids safer from gun violence actually works - The Washington Post

antiracismdsa: Babies, As Young as 5 Months old, Held at El Paso Tent City

antiracismdsa: Babies, As Young as 5 Months old, Held at El Paso Tent City

Babies, As Young as 5 Months old, Held at El Paso Tent City


Gabe Ortiz, Daily Koz 
Hundreds of people, including infants as young as 5 months old, have been detained in “an emerging tent city” at the El Paso Border Patrol Station in conditions that one visiting legislator has described as filthy and totally unfit for families, the Daily Beast reports. “Five U.S. Army tents meant for battlefield hospitals have been repurposed to hold men, women, and children, including infants. Two of the tents were erected over the past week, expanding the facility’s capacity by several hundred people.” Outside, the prison camp is surrounded by barbed wire, with little room to move around. Inside, vulnerable families are languishing for days on end in awful conditions, said Rep. Nanette Barrag├ín of California, who toured the facility last month. She said officials told her their “goal” was to assure people got showers every three days—how generous—but what she saw and heard was “unhealthy.” “One woman had a baby, a five-month-old baby and said she’d been there for five days,” she said. “The baby had filthy clothes. The situation is unhealthy. People are in a confined space, they’re not getting showers, their clothes are dirty, babies are not getting Pampers like they should be. These ladies were crying and telling us their stories and it was just heartbreaking.” These families aren’t sleeping on cots but rather “on a temporary floor that covered the asphalt parking lot beneath, with babies sometimes sleeping on their parents’ legs to avoid the hard floor.” It was just days ago that border officials were forcing detained people to sleep on dirt and rocks in a now-closed cage under a bridge, also in El Paso. Officials were more than happy to allow media to photograph that horror show, as well as to perp-walk children to add some images to the administration’s propaganda campaign.  But now “reporters are forbidden from the facility, leaving The Daily Beast CONTINUE READING: antiracismdsa: Babies, As Young as 5 Months old, Held at El Paso Tent City


NYC Public School Parents: NYC parents tell the Mayor to stop stalling and stop giving charter schools access to student information

NYC Public School Parents: NYC parents tell the Mayor to stop stalling and stop giving charter schools access to student information

NYC parents tell the Mayor to stop stalling and stop giving charter schools access to student information


Video and press release below about our press conference this afternoon.  Sorry for the low quality- it was broadcast on twitter live. 


For immediate release: April 15, 2019
For more information contact: NeQuan McLean, 347-470-4975, educationcouncils@gmail.com


NYC parents tell the Mayor to stop stalling and stop giving charter schools access to student information to market their schools

This afternoon, in front of the NYC Department of Education headquarters, NYC public school parents told Mayor de Blasio to stop bowing to the charter school lobby and halt the practice of giving charters access to student personal information to market their schools.  Instead, they said, he should listen to parents’ concerns, stop violating their children’s privacy, and cease this practice, which by helping charters expand, causes the loss of funding and space from our public schools.
In recent weeks, Chancellor Carranza has repeatedly promised parent leaders, both publicly and privately, that this practice would be discontinued, but the Mayor has yet to make a commitment to do so, and in the last few days he has said that he has not yet made a decision.  
Said Johanna Garcia, public school parent and President of Community Education Council in District 6 in Upper Manhattan:  “It is unconscionable that this practice continues. For more than a decade, parents and advocates have complained to DOE about the privacy violations incurred by allowing charters to access our children’s personal information without our consent.  I filed a FERPA complaint to the US Department of Education about this practice in November 2017.  Moreover, I am not aware of another school district in the country that voluntarily makes this information available to charter schools and undermines our public schools in the process."
NeQuan McLean, co- chair of the Education Council Consortium and the President of Community Education Council in District 16 Brooklyn said: “My mailbox is continually flooded with deceptive promotional materials from charter schools.  As a result of expensive marketing campaigns and the damaging co-location policies of the DOE, my district has been overrun by charters.  The Mayor repeatedly says he listens to parents; we are saying loudly and clearly that he should end this practice now.”
“Not only is personal student information unnecessary for appropriate marketing, providing access to it is an unacceptable violation of student privacy,” said Mark Cannizzaro,  CONTINUE READING: NYC Public School Parents: NYC parents tell the Mayor to stop stalling and stop giving charter schools access to student information