Wednesday, May 29, 2019

A Teacher’s Scorecard for Democratic 2020 Hopefuls - Progressive.org

A Teacher’s Scorecard for Democratic 2020 Hopefuls - Progressive.org

A Teacher’s Scorecard for Democratic 2020 Hopefuls
This time around, teachers unions have announced their intention to cast a wider net for member opinions. I’m happy to step up.


The 2016 presidential elections were not exactly a high point for the two national teachers’ unions, the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers. Leaders took heat for jumping in with what many believed was a premature endorsement of Hillary Clinton involving too few rank and file voices. So this time around, the unions have announced their intention to cast a wider net for member opinions.

I’m happy to step up. So how should a K-12 teacher score each of the many Democratic hopefuls? We are still many months out from the primaries, so we have plenty of time to settle on some criteria.  

Below Basic

The Below Basic candidate thinks that charter schools are just public schools with the word “charter” in their name. They think a “merit pay” system would be great for teachers and students, and while they understand the problems teachers face in some states that created the conditions for a strike, they wish that the teachers had found some way to express their concerns without disrupting the school year. To get information about education policy, they talk to Democrats for Education Reform. They also consult with right-tilted think tanks like Fordham Institute because they’ve seen that name come up in lots of articles about education policy.
Below Basic candidates also say they understand that high stakes testing can be annoying, but, hey, testing is a part of life, and how else will you know that schools are doing a good job? They don’t have an actual education policy statement, but they do occasionally bring up A Nation at Risk and talk about CONTINUE READING: A Teacher’s Scorecard for Democratic 2020 Hopefuls - Progressive.org

How school segregation affects whether a black student gets labeled as having a disability

How school segregation affects whether a black student gets labeled as having a disability

How school segregation affects whether a black student gets labeled as having a disability

In Florida schools where almost all students are black or Hispanic, 13% of black students were classified as having a disability. Yet in schools where the vast majority of students were white, nearly 22% of black students get classified that way.
It’s a striking divide, and one that researchers say probably shouldn’t exist. The more accurate number is likely somewhere in between.
The result: Lots of black students may be going without services they need, and other black students are getting services they don’t — and potentially being pulled out of regular classrooms in the process.
Those are the findings of a new study looking at special education in the country’s third-biggest state, one that adds important new context to an ongoing debate about race and special education.
Civil rights groups and the Obama administration have backed controversial federal rules designed to address over-representation of some groups in special education — regulations that are being enacted now despite the Trump administration’s continued effort to delay them.
Meanwhile, researchers have been locked in a fraught debate over whether students of color are identified as disabled too often or not often enough. The latest researchsuggests the answer is both, depending on the racial makeup of the school. In other words: School segregation and special education are interconnected.
“The truth is complicated: Black and Hispanic students are over-identified with CONTINUE READING: How school segregation affects whether a black student gets labeled as having a disability

National Education Policy Center on Virtual Charter Schools: Annual Report | Diane Ravitch's blog

National Education Policy Center on Virtual Charter Schools: Annual Report | Diane Ravitch's blog

National Education Policy Center on Virtual Charter Schools: Annual Report


Today the National Education Policy Center released itsannual review of research on virtual charter schools. The bottom line was not good.
The title of the report is “Virtual Schools in the U.S. 2019.” It was double blind peer-reviewed.
The authors write:
The number of virtual schools in the
U.S. continues to grow.
In 2017-18, 501 full-time virtual schools enrolled 297,712 students, and 300 blended schools
enrolled 132,960. Enrollments in virtual schools increased by more than 2,000 students between
2016-17 and 2017-18, and enrollments in blended learning schools increased by over
16,000 during this same time period. Virtual schools enrolled substantially fewer minority
students and fewer low-income students compared to national public school enrollment.
Virtual schools operated by for-profit EMOs were more than four times as large as other virtual
schools, enrolling an average of 1,345 students. In contrast, those operated by nonprofit
EMOs enrolled an average of 344 students, and independent virtual schools (not affiliated
with an EMO) enrolled an average of 320 students.
Among virtual schools, far more district-operated schools achieved acceptable state school
performance ratings (56.7% acceptable) than charter-operated schools (40.8%). More
schools without EMO involvement (i.e., independent) performed well (59.3% acceptable ratings),
compared with 50% acceptable ratings for schools CONTINUE READING: National Education Policy Center on Virtual Charter Schools: Annual Report | Diane Ravitch's blog

Thousands Of Charter Schools Perform Poorly | PopularResistance.Org

Thousands Of Charter Schools Perform Poorly | PopularResistance.Org

THOUSANDS OF CHARTER SCHOOLS PERFORM POORLY

“Performance-based accountability” is a hackneyed, Skinnerian, neoliberal buzz-phrase often repeated dogmatically by charter school promoters in order to falsely claim that privately-operated nonprofit and for-profit charter schools are more accountable and higher-performing than public schools.

But it is becoming clearer to everyone with each passing day that charter school promoters have long vastly over-promised and under-delivered, while rapidly enriching themselves at the expense of students, parents, the public, the economy, and the national interest.
Extensive research, including research funded by billionaire charter school supporters, has consistently demonstrated that poor performance remains widespread in the scandal-ridden low-transparency charter school sector that intensifies segregation.

Year after year, thousands of privately-operated nonprofit and for-profit charter schools, which have been around nearly 30 years, deliver unimpressive results.
Not surprisingly, several thousand charter schools have failed and closed since 1991. At this time, about 150-200 charter schools close each year, leaving thousands of families—mostly African Americans and Latinx—betrayed and CONTINUE READING: Thousands Of Charter Schools Perform Poorly | PopularResistance.Org

Online Charter Schools in L.A., San Diego Counties to Close After Conspiracy, Personal Use of Public Money, Theft Indictment | KTLA

Online Charter Schools in L.A., San Diego Counties to Close After Conspiracy, Personal Use of Public Money, Theft Indictment | KTLA

Online Charter Schools in L.A., San Diego Counties to Close After Conspiracy, Personal Use of Public Money, Theft Indictment


Eleven people have been indicted on criminal charges of conspiracy, personal use of public money without legal authority, grand theft and financial conflict of interest in connection with a network of California charter schools.
At the center of the allegations are leaders of the charter school management corporation A3 Education, a Newport Beach firm whose leaders control 13 charter schools across the state, according to an indictment filed May 17.
A3’s chairman, Sean McManus, and president, Jason Schrock, essentially owned and operated the charter schools at the same time that A3 contracted with those schools, according to the indictment.
McManus and Schrock operated multiple businesses that charged their own charter schools millions of dollars for services. Then they channeled money from those businesses into their own charitable trust and personal bank accounts, according to the indictment.
Read the full story on LATimes.com.
Eleven people connected to online charter schools are indicted - The Morning Call - https://www.mcall.com/eleven-people-connected-to-online-charter-schools-are-indicted-story.html via @mcall

Democrats see energy behind teachers strikes as a force in 2020 :: WRAL.com

Democrats see energy behind teachers strikes as a force in 2020 :: WRAL.com

Democrats see energy behind teachers strikes as a force in 2020

After teachers in California, Kentucky, Oklahoma and a host of other states went on strike for a series of demands in 2018 and 2019, ranging from better pay to more support in the classroom, Democratic presidential candidates and operatives within their campaigns have stepped up their outreach to teachers' unions, hoping to seize on the energy that propelled nationwide teachers strikes.
To do that, candidates are putting policy behind their push for support. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont wants to create a $60,000 salary floor for public school teachers and a ban on new for-profit charter schools. Sen. Kamala Harris of California is pitching an average teacher pay raise of $13,500. And Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts is pledging to name a teacher as her education secretary should she win in 2020.
"Part of how I'm going to make education better is to make sure that we pay teachers more," Harris said in Michigan this month. "And it's also going to be about making sure there are the resources in the classrooms that help you have all the tools you want so that you can discover the wonders of science and math and art and music, and so you can do whatever you want to do."
The American Federation of Teachers, which represents 1.7 million educators across the country, has held public town halls with the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates. Former Vice President Joe Biden will headline a federation event with a town hall in Houston on Tuesday. And over the last few months, Sens. Harris, Sanders, Warren and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio have all participated in the federation town halls.
The National Education Association, which boasts nearly 3 million members, has seen focused attention from nearly every 2020 candidate, including personal meetings with union President Lily Eskelsen García. Candidates, according to a union operative, have solicited the union's ideas on their respective education plans and the union has reciprocated by looking to put candidates in front of audiences full of teachers.
The early and sustained engagement represents a widely held belief inside Democratic presidential campaigns: Teachers unions are fired up, hungry to protest and eager to back a candidate who understands why they walked out of classrooms.
"It's not politics as usual," said Randi Weingarten, the head of the American Federation of Teachers. "No one reflexively votes in a certain way. They may have, but they certainly don't now."
At the federation town hall in Detroit for Harris, Weingarten told CNN that the teacher union vote was awakening for the 2020 election, fueled by the strikes of the CONTINUE READING: Democrats see energy behind teachers strikes as a force in 2020 :: WRAL.com

Media Misreading the Reading Crisis Yet Again – Paul Thomas – Medium

Media Misreading the Reading Crisis Yet Again – Paul Thomas – Medium

Media Misreading the Reading Crisis Yet Again

Several news articlesvideosreports on new state legislation, and commentaries across mainstream media have built a false narrative about a Reading Crisis. That story includes several key elements: Teachers do not know, and thus do not practice, the science of readingbecause teacher education has failed them.
Not only have the mainstream media offered only one narrative, but also, for example, the Education Writers Association chose one of the most prominent misleading articles for a Public Service, small staff award: Emily Hanford’s “Hard Words.”
In 2019, the Reading Wars have begun anew but with different language: Phonics advocates have simplified “the science of reading” to “all students need systematic phonics,” for example. And this round has resulted in dramatic changes in state reading policies.
As literacy educators and scholars, however, we contend that these messages are misrepresenting the Reading Crisis and the science of reading — both of which are far more complicated than being presented by much of the media, dyslexia advocates, and political leaders.

Those Who Ignore History: A Look Back at Reading Crises

The newest misdiagnosed Reading Crisis begs for a truism: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” (George Santayana).
For example, the November 1942 issue of The Elementary English Review CONTINUE READING: Media Misreading the Reading Crisis Yet Again – Paul Thomas – Medium

Kennedy High School seniors await transcripts as charter board investigates ‘malfeasance’ | The Lens

Kennedy High School seniors await transcripts as charter board investigates ‘malfeasance’ | The Lens

Kennedy High School seniors await transcripts as charter board investigates ‘malfeasance’

Ten days after their graduation ceremony, anxious John F. Kennedy High School seniors — still waiting for their high school transcripts — showed up to their charter network’s board meeting Tuesday, hoping for answers amid an investigation into grade inflation at the Gentilly high school. Several students said they need the transcripts as proof of graduation before enrolling in college or finalizing financial aid.
Board President Raphael Gang said he wasn’t aware of the problem with the transcripts. But late in the meeting, he said there may be “implications” for some seniors as a result of the grade-fixing investigation.
Senior Ta’Janique Alphonse, clad in Kennedy blue and gold, waited in the hallway for an hour and a half with at least 25 other alumni, parents and students as the board discussed the investigation behind the library’s doors guarded by armed security guards.
Alphonse wants to attend Xavier University this fall. Her mother, LaToya Banks, said they are waiting for her transcript.
“I’m very upset,” she said. “I think this is very unprofessional.”
The students have endured a tumultuous spring. Months before graduation, students’ grades were called into question by a former employee who said he had evidence that administrators had CONTINUE READING: Kennedy High School seniors await transcripts as charter board investigates ‘malfeasance’ | The Lens

Joe Biden’s education plan, explained - Vox

Joe Biden’s education plan, explained - Vox

Joe Biden’s plan to triple spending on low-income schools, explained
Biden’s education plan suggests he’s breaking with Obama’s legacy.

Former Vice President Joe Biden just announced his first detailed policy proposal of the 2020 campaign: an education plan that calls for a big increase in federal spending on schools and districts serving low-income kids.
The plan, which Biden announced ahead of a forum with the American Federation of Teachers in Houston on Tuesday, would give teachers a raise (an idea previously proposed by Kamala Harris). It calls for universal prekindergarten and for the Education Department to renew its work on desegregation.
Biden’s plan mostly sticks to ideas with a long history of support in the Democratic Party and sidesteps intraparty controversies, such as the debate about the role of charter schools.
Still, the plan is notable for what it leaves out, and the implicit break with Barack Obama that the omissions represent. The Obama administration believed that school and teacher quality could be measured by standardized tests, and that states needed to do whatever they could to hold schools and teachers accountable for both test results and students’ growth — even if doing so alienated teachers, who are typically Democratic allies.
Biden’s plan suggests he, like other 2020 candidates, would take a much more conciliatory approach. The federal government’s role, as Biden sees it, isn’t to push states to hold schools accountable. It’s to be a partner to schools and teachers — and key to that partnership would be a big influx of new cash to even out inequalities.

Biden’s education plan, explained

The heart of Biden’s plan is a call to triple the money the federal government sends to low-income schools and districts from about $16 billion per year to about $48 billion.
Biden’s plan draws clear lines on how that money should be used: Teachers should get a raise, 3- and 4-year-olds should get access to pre-K, and rigorous coursework (such as Advanced CONTINUE READING: Joe Biden’s education plan, explained - Vox

Joe Biden Debuts Education Plan, Then Touts It to Teachers’ Union - The New York Times - https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/28/us/politics/biden-education-plan-2020.html

Biden to Face Teachers Union After Toxic Relationship During the Obama Years | Education News | US News - https://www.usnews.com/news/education-news/articles/2019-05-28/biden-to-face-teachers-union-after-toxic-relationship-during-the-obama-years on @USNews

At teachers' union town hall, Joe Biden releases public education plan to raise teacher pay and invest in schools - ABC News - https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/joe-jill-biden-attend-american-federation-teachers-town/story?id=63319685

Joe Biden's Education Plan: Triple Title I to Boost Teacher Pay and Student Supports - Politics K-12 - Education Week - https://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2019/05/Biden-Education-Plan-Title-!.html on @educationweek

Democratic Presidential Hopefuls Go Big In Defense of Public Education | Politics | US News - https://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2019-05-29/democratic-presidential-hopefuls-go-big-in-defense-of-public-education on @USNews

Biden rolls out plan to hike teacher pay in low-income schools - POLITICO - https://www.politico.com/story/2019/05/28/biden-teacher-pay-universal-pre-k-1479288

Anti-Abortion Legislation and the Perverse Logic of Human Capital Impact + The Opioid Crisis In CT Investing – Wrench in the Gears

Anti-Abortion Legislation and the Perverse Logic of Human Capital Impact Investing – Wrench in the Gears

Anti-Abortion Legislation and the Perverse Logic of Human Capital Impact Investing

If an increasingly automated Fourth Industrial Revolution economic system demands an abundance of poverty data to keep global capital markets moving, it makes sense that those in power might seek to increase births resulting from unwanted pregnancies. I do not believe it is coincidental that provisions for home-visits, widespread ACEs screenings, and early childhood investments are hitting state legislatures at the same time as bills that restrict access to abortion. In a world where abortion is restricted, more pregnancies = more health outcomes data to track. More “at-risk” babies = more children to be channeled through “evidence-based” early childhood interventions.
The impact economy thrives on trauma (see this post on ACEs). The more trauma, the more opportunities to demonstrate “impact,” gamble on life outcomes, and generate profit from privatized social services. According to the twisted logic of late-stage capitalism, there is a real financial incentive to increase traumatic pregnancies. That trauma can be physical, emotional, economic or some combination. Legislation that denies a person bodily autonomy and limits their ability to choose whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term will create tremendous stress, and thus many humans (adults and children) who will likely be identified as needing some type of “evidence-based” intervention.
In the cold, calculating world of social impact investing, the poor, even those still in the womb, exist on a continuum of potential criminality and need. Their perceived value to the system lies less and less in their productive labor, but instead in their willingness to be pre-emptively “fixed” by bureaucratic systems that do not see their innate humanity, just data, data on a dashboard.
Providing unconditional support to those in need is seen less and less as an acceptable option. Instead, society is adopting a mindset where the worthy poor will be separated from the unworthy; where ubiquitous surveillance and Internet of Things tracking will monitor compliance, algorithmically assess a person’s risk profile, and award assistance, or not. In this future, social supports will be ephemeral and conditional. Rights, privileges, and CONTINUE READING: Anti-Abortion Legislation and the Perverse Logic of Human Capital Impact Investing – Wrench in the Gears
The Opioid Crisis In CT: How Family Data Collection Grows Pay for Success Profit

The Opioid Crisis In CT: How Family Data Collection Grows Pay for Success Profit

Connecticut Family Stability SIB
The next logical step in the evolution of pay for success finance is broadening the scope of interventions from individuals to families. Rather than focusing on a child that needs educational support, an incarcerated person planning for re-entry, a veteran’s PTSD, or a substance user’s recovery, investors are developing new models that expand targeted populations and capture “impact” data across MULTIPLE lives. In this way investors will leverage targeted (limited cost) investments in privatized public services to capture more metrics of “success” and thereby increase profit-taking.
An example of this is the Connecticut Family Stability project. This pay for success effort was launched in 2016 and targeted households where a parent was identified as having a substance use problem, and the child had involvement with the state’s Department of Children and Families. The Family-Based Recovery program was used, an in-home treatment developed in 2006 by the Yale Child Study Center in partnership with Johns Hopkins University for the Connecticut Department of Children and Families. CONTINUE READING: The Opioid Crisis In CT: How Family Data Collection Grows Pay for Success Profit