Latest News and Comment from Education

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Baker charter school backtracks after telling students they failed, needed to attend summer program

Baker charter school backtracks after telling students they failed, needed to attend summer program

Baker charter school backtracks after telling students they failed, needed to attend summer program

BAKER, La. (WAFB) - Parents of students attending Advantage Charter Academy are fuming Friday night after being told their kids would be held back and would need to attend a 16-day summer school program in order to advance to the next grade.
The summer school begins May 28, leaving parents little time to speak with school officials to understand why their child is being held back.
One parent questioned the legitimacy of the program. In an interview with WAFB she highlighted students would have a shorter time to learn information they should’ve learned over several months throughout the school year as an issue. “What can they get in 16 days?”
Making matters more confusing for her and other parents is a statement provided to WAFB Friday night by Leah Nixon, a spokeswoman for the school. The statement implies parents have input as to whether students will or will not be held back. That decision doesn’t have anything to due with academics, rather the school is allowing parents to choose because of a procedural error on the school’s part.
Parents should have been notified over winter break that their kids would be asked to attend summer school, but instead were not notified until the end of the year.
Read the full statement below:
"When our students make a mistake, we teach them to own it, to apologize, and to fix it as best they can.
We have made a mistake in the process outlined in our student handbook by failing to inform parents in a timely manner of our intent to retain their child. Our handbook states those conversations should have CONTINUE READING: Baker charter school backtracks after telling students they failed, needed to attend summer program

CATCH UP WITH CURMUDGUCATION: + ICYMI: Memorial Day Weekend Edition (5/26)

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Memorial Day Weekend Edition (5/26)

ICYMI: Memorial Day Weekend Edition (5/26)

In my town, we do the whole parade and program in the park business tomorrow. But for today, here are some pieces to read and share.

Did You See The Numbers? Yes, I Have. 

Is there a battle going on inside the NAACP over charters? Nope. Cloaking Inequality has the story.

We're Already Losing the Next Generation of Florida Teachers

The Orlando Sentinel has noticed that Florida is an education disaster area.

L.A. Charters Suspend Blacks and Disabled Students at Higher Rate

Robin Urevich at Capital and Main looks at some disturbing data about Los Angeles charter schools.

Deck Is Stacked Against Black Teachers in Michigan  

A new study shows that Black teachers in Michigan can expect a worse evaluation than their White peers.

The New Secession 

In Baton Rouge, we get a look at the newest version of white flight-- just split off into your own separate White city.

Coddling Charter Schools  

Greensboro's newspaper calls out the North Carolina legislature for trying to tilt the playing field in favor of charters-- even the bad ones.

Twenty Years Later, the Bush A+ Plan Fails Florida's Students

Sue Legg takes a look at the failing mess that is the legacy of Jeb Bush's plan to crush public education. Spoiler alert: there was no Florida miracle.

Cory Booker Was a Foot Soldier for Betsy DeVos 

Jennifer Berkshire takes us back to the days when Cory Booker was an ambitious young politician working hard to promote the reformy agenda.

Silent Strike   

I don't mean to pick on Florida, but they are an example of everything wrong with the reformy agenda. Here's a closer look at how they are losing teachers at a fast (but not unpredictable) rate.

Charter Schools Are Quietly Gobbling Up My District 

This excellent piece from Steven Singer gives an up close look at how charters can destroy a public school system.

Schools of Opportunity

Hey look! It's some schools that are getting it right!

Shortage Denial Syndrome   

Tim Slekar is trying to convince policy makers that there is a teacher exodus, not a shortage. It's not going well.        

Louisiana's VAM: Quantitative Bungling on Display  

Mercedes Schneider takes a look at just a few of the problems with the Value Added measure.

Stuff Journalists Should Know About Charter Schools

Bernie Sanders put charters back in the news, prompting the news to cover the issue, only the news sometimes doesn't know what it's talking about. Here's a quick but useful primer from Jersey Jazzman.

States' Performance After Implementing A-F Programs

Audrey Amrein-Beardsley is back, with a look at research about the effects of those stupid grading schools with A through F programs. Spoiler alert: it does not magically improve education

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Memorial Day Weekend Edition (5/26)

PA: Free To Teach? Who Are These Guys?

Once again, it's time for teachers in Pennsylvania to get a nice mass mailed postcard from our friends at Free To Teach, a group dedicated to reminding teachers that they don't have to belong to that stinky union. I took a look at these guys back in 2015 , but as I look at the two postcards they sent to my home, I think it's time to revisit them. If you're a PA teacher wondering who these guys ar

MAY 24

Betsy DeVos Lets Down Her Hair

You probably saw the quote from Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos equating US public education with Soviet East Germany. That was a good headline ( and great clickbait ), but it's worth it to go and take a look at the full context of that quote. This will be long, but I can't help it-- I find strolling through the inside of Betsy DeVos's head kind of fascinating. I'd love to have her come join me

MAY 23

OH: Union Reps Fired By Turnaround CEO

Lorain City Schools is one of the three Ohio districts that has been subjected to HB 70, a takeover law that replaces both the school board and the superintendent with a single all-powerful CEO. You can get the background of Lorain's troubles here , and see what has been happening in the fight against HB 70 here . The short form for Lorain is this: HB 70 is a terrible piece of law, calling for a C

MAY 22

OH: Do Charters Need The Freedom To Hire Great Teachers?

If there's one thing that charter school advocates never run out of, it's arguments about why charter schools should get to ignore some of the rules of education. Fordham Institute's blog, Ohio Division, recently ran a piece in this genre, written by Jessica Poiner-- " Give charter schools the freedom to hire great teachers ." Poiner graduated from Baldwin-Wallace University with a BA in English (

MAY 21

The Writer Who Couldn't Answer Standardized Test Questions About Her Own Work (Again)!

We are in standardized test season, and all across the country, students are taking the Big Standardized Test by which they, their schools, and their teachers will be judged. How absurd are these tests? Meet Sara Holbrook , the writer who couldn't answer test questions about her own work. Back in 2017, Holbrook wrote an essay for Huffington Post entitled, " I Can't Answer These Texas Standardized

MAY 20

19 Rules For Life (2019 edition)

I first posted this list when I turned 60, and have revisited it many times. Now that my birthday has reappeared. I thought I'd start the practice of annually revisiting and revising it. I will keep my original observation-- that this list does not represent any particular signs of wisdom on my part, because I discovered these rules much in the same way that a dim cow discovers an electric fence.

MAY 19

ICYMI: Birthday Eve Edition (5/19)

Might even eat some cake today just to warm up. You know the drill, folks. Read and share. Read and share. Only you can help amplify voices in the web-o-sphere. A Letter To Journalists About Dark Money A great little primer here from Massachusetts, where dark money tried to make charter schools happen. Curriculum for Profit and Propaganda Alan Singer takes a look at the newfound interest in curric

MAY 18

Center for Education Reform Doesn't Love Bernie

If you have any doubts about the effect of Bernie Sander's education proposals , Jeanne Allen of the Center for Education Reform tossed off a somewhat apoplectic newsletter after Sanders went public. Here's some sample frothing: Sanders’ comments - yelling about transparency (which of course exists) or regulation (which charters have plenty of!) and accountability (which is the very essence of ch
Bernie Sanders' Education Platform Doesn't Suck

The big headline on Friday was that Bernie Sanders was going to call for a ban on for-profit charters , and if the story had stopped there, I would be unimpressed. Hillary Clinton managed to condemn for-profits, and while that's a nice low-hanging fruit for politicians to grab, regular readers of this blog know that a non-profit charter is usually just a for-profit charter with a good money launde

MAY 17

Diane Ravitch's New Book: Scholarship, Activism and History

Diane Ravitch was the first major voice of the resistance to the modern corporate "reform" of education, in part because of her newsworthy turn from the reform ideas and peers she had previously embraced. An education

Department of Education agenda: Reading, writing and religion |

Department of Education agenda: Reading, writing and religion |

Department of Education agenda: Reading, writing and religion
Amid budget cuts, DeVos supports Christian bible classes in public schools
The Trump administration has proposed a 12% cut in Department of Education spending under its yearly budget. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is busily eliminating programs to help public schools and promoting private education efforts under the motto of choice.
Yet somehow, magically, there is support for the growth of teaching Christian Bible classes in public schools.
Once again, we have an out-and-out statement about what is important in this administration—not school shootings, not affirmative efforts to improve public education, not help with student debt or even the pursuit of growing sexual assault on school campuses.
Counseling Today magazine argues, for example, that it has become necessary to lobby seriously to keep federal money for school mental health. The Trump administration’s federal budget proposal cut $8.5 billion from the Department of Education, including the Student Support and Academic Enrichment program. That program supported, among other things, mental health, school security and safety, community engagement — the kind of programs that would address the issues we hear after every school shooting.
Instead, Washington Post religion writer Julie Zauzmer detailed the movement of church Bible classes from churches into public schools. She took us to Kentucky, where a new state law — one of several pending in other states — is encouraging public high schools to teach the Bible, not as part of a survey of religions, but as Bible study.
Through a legislative effort Project Blitz, activists on the religious right, have drafted a law that encourages Bible classes in public schools and persuaded at least 10 state legislatures to introduce CONTINUE READING: Department of Education agenda: Reading, writing and religion |

Michigan: President of State Board Explains Why It Declined to Spend $47 Million for New Charters | Diane Ravitch's blog

Michigan: President of State Board Explains Why It Declined to Spend $47 Million for New Charters | Diane Ravitch's blog

Michigan: President of State Board Explains Why It Declined to Spend $47 Million for New Charters

Casandra E. Ulbrich, president of the Michigan State Board of Education, responded to an editorial in the Detroit News complaining that the State Board rejected $47 million for new charter schools. She explains why the Board declined to spend the money awarded to the state by the federal Charter Schools Program. It doesn’t need new schools or new charters. About 80% of the charters operating in the state are “for-profit.” Furthermore, as Michigan has invested in charters, its test scores have dropped dramatically.
She writes:
This month, the State Board of Education was presented with grant criteria that ultimately could spend $47 million in taxpayer money on new and expanding charter schools. As elected board members, we raised legitimate questions about the need and the nature of these expenditures, following the release of a national research report indicating that over $1 billion of similar grant funds have been awarded to entities that either never opened a school, or opened and then closed.
In the 2002-03 school year, Michigan educated 1,713,165 public K-12 students. Last year, that number fell to 1,507,772. That’s a drop of over 200,000 students. The National Center for Education Statistics predicts that CONTINUE READING: Michigan: President of State Board Explains Why It Declined to Spend $47 Million for New Charters | Diane Ravitch's blog

‘Borderline criminal’: Many public schools teeter on the edge of decrepitude - The Washington Post

‘Borderline criminal’: Many public schools teeter on the edge of decrepitude - The Washington Post

‘Borderline criminal’: Many public schools teeter on the edge of decrepitude

 Each morning for several years, Keri Treadway switched the classroom lights on and stomped loudly to frighten away the mice. She checked the sticky traps. She swabbed tables with disinfectant wipes and cleared droppings from the colorful rug where her kindergarten students sat.
After the school day ended, Treadway rested her legs on a chair to avoid the scurrying rodents. The routine at William Fox Elementary School persisted until the 108-year-old brick building in the city’s vibrant Fan neighborhood was visited by exterminators last year.
Treadway isn’t familiar with much else. She has taught for 16 years in Richmond Public Schools, learning to adapt to deteriorating buildings. But she pauses when she hears from friends who teach elsewhere, in schools that are not rundown.
“You’re like, ‘Wait a minute, clearing up mouse droppings — that’s part of my daily routine,’ ” she said.
There are other routines teachers and students have ritualized to cope with building conditions in the 24,760-student school system.
They dress in layers, bundling up in heavy winter coats and scarves when classrooms become frigid, or peeling off sweaters when rooms are sweltering. They find ways to work around leaky roofs and falling ceiling tiles and mold, windows that don’t open and restrooms without stall doors.
The experience is familiar to schoolchildren in financially struggling districts throughout the country  from Baltimore to Detroit to rural Colorado  who are forced to contend with failing boilers and vermin.
Substandard conditions can compromise students’ attendance and performance, leading to absenteeism and lower achievement, studies show. Parents, students and teachers in some states have sued over neglected school buildings and inadequate resources, arguing, with mixed results, that poor conditions undermine CONTINUE READING: ‘Borderline criminal’: Many public schools teeter on the edge of decrepitude - The Washington Post