Monday, August 12, 2019

State Labor Board Finds Sac City School District Violated Law in Failing to Follow Health Plan Agreement - Sacramento City Teachers Association

State Labor Board Finds Sac City School District Violated Law in Failing to Follow Health Plan Agreement - Sacramento City Teachers Association

STATE LABOR BOARD FINDS SAC CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT VIOLATED LAW IN FAILING TO FOLLOW HEALTH PLAN AGREEMENT

Sacramento, August 12, 2019–The California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) issued another complaint against the Sacramento City Unified School District because the District “failed and refused to meet and negotiate in good faith” with the Sacramento City Teachers Association (SCTA) and “also interfered with the rights of bargaining unit employees to be represented” by SCTA. You can view the complaint here.
Specifically, PERB detetermined that SCUSD and SCTA have a collective bargaining agreement that mandates “that any savings accomplished by making changes to the health plans would be applied, after negotiations, for the exclusive benefit of the bargaining unit.”
Contrary to that collective bargaining agreement which was negotiated in November 2017, PERB determined that: “On or about April 2, 2019, [SCUSD] implemented a new change or interpretation of Section 13.1 by refusing to negotiate and apply any such savings solely for the benefits of the bargaining unit.”
PERB also found that the SCUSD withheld significant information related to how it makes staffing decisions: “a compilation reflecting enrollment, staffing, and class size data, which is used by [SCUSD] to revise staff assignments and to evaluate the need for, and determine the extent of, certificated layoffs.”
Emails that have recently come to light, and as reported in the Sacramento Bee, from the State of California’s Fiscal Crisis Management and Assistance Team (FCMAT) have been sharply critical of the District’s fiscal mismanagement and lack of transparency, including potential Brown Act violations. Additional emails also show that the District misled the public about being on the brink of fiscal insolvency while keeping secret a $16 million budget mistake. The PERB rulings are consistent with FCMAT expressing “NO CONFIDENCE” in the District’s administration. You can view the actual emails here.

PERB’s initial determination originates from an unfair labor practice charge filed by SCTA in April 2019. SCUSD provided a written defense to the allegations. Upon review of both documents, PERB determined that SCTA’s charge has merit and issued the complaint. The issue will now go before a PERB administrative law judge.
This is the second complaint issued by PERB on the District’s illegal activity related to its refusal to honor its contract with SCTA related to health plan changes. PERB also issued a complaint on May 8, 2019, which you can view here.
“Once again, state officials have issued a complaint that alleges Sac City administrators violated the law,” said David Fisher, the President of the Sacramento City Teachers Association and a second grade teacher and parent of two students in the District. “We negotiated an agreement in which we agreed to work with the District to achieve health plan savings that would be used to lower class sizes and improve services to students. Instead, the District continues to unlawfully attempt to use those taxpayer dollars to cover up its fiscal mismanagement and bureaucratic bloat. It’s time that Superintendent Aguilar and Board President Ryan honor the contract and obey the law.”

Gallup World Poll: Americans See Fewer Opportunities for Children

Americans See Fewer Opportunities for Children

Americans See Fewer Opportunities for Children
Majority in U.S. (74%) say most children have opportunities to learn and growU.S. has dropped from 31st in the world to 69th
Aug. 12 marks International Youth Day, which this year focuses on efforts to make education more relevant, equitable and inclusive for all the world's youth. This analysis is one of two that looks at how people around the world view opportunities for children in their countries to learn and grow.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As children across the U.S. begin a new school year, a majority of Americans (74%) continue to believe most children in their country have the opportunity to learn and grow every day, but they are solidly less likely to think so today than they were a decade ago.
As a result of this downturn, the U.S. has dropped from 31st to 69th in the world on this measure since 2008, putting its current ranking well behind those of many wealthy economies and global competitors, including China.


No single U.S. demographic group is chiefly responsible for the decline. Americans from almost every walk of life are less likely to see opportunities for most children in the U.S. to learn and grow than they were 10 years ago.
However, attitudes among U.S. women, Americans with college degrees, rural residents and the wealthiest 20% of Americans have worsened the most, all dropping by more than 10 percentage points within that 10-year time frame.




Interestingly, the demographic groups with the biggest declines over the past decade are not necessarily the areas where the biggest divides exist within the U.S. population. For example, little currently separates the attitudes of the wealthiest 20% and the CONTINUE READING: Americans See Fewer Opportunities for Children

Fifty Years Ago | Teacher in a strange land

Fifty Years Ago | Teacher in a strange land

Fifty Years Ago

I graduated from high school fifty years ago. As graduation years go, it was a pretty dramatic time.
Richard Nixon was sworn in as President in January–and just as the Beatles were winding down, Led Zeppelin released their first album, forming my personal soundtrack in that summer-to-fall of 1969. She’s leaving home. Good times, bad times. Give peace a chance.
It was the first year that the tally of casualties in Viet Nam went down, rather than up—but already too late for some of my older schoolmates. The summer of 1969 was a series of stunning incidents: The Stonewall riots. The Cuyahoga River catching fire. Chappaquiddick. Hurricane Camille. The Manson slayings. Woodstock. The Apollo landing, and the moon walk.
Me? I was working at a Kentucky Fried Chicken. In the space of one summer, I had a meteoric rise from dishwasher and kitchen cleaner, sluicing grease into floor drains, to salad maker, cashier and eventually shift supervisor, in three short months.
On the night of the Apollo landing, I drove to the beach with friends after work. We lay on our backs in the still-warm sand, and looked at the moon—and dreamed of a world where rivers would run clean, politicians would be honest, senseless crime and war would be eradicated, and the moon would merely be our first stop in exploring the universe.  In spite of what now seems like a tsunami of unusually bad news, there was a sense that there really would be a time when we would be free to love whomever we chose, bomber death planes would turn into butterflies, yada yada.
All we had to do was hang on, keep the faith. And—for me— get out of Dodge.
I could not wait to leave my hometown. It’s not like I was headed anyplace unique—a regional state university a couple of hours away, where I had a substantial music scholarship and a work-study. On August 15, 1969, I hitched a ride to Central Michigan CONTINUE READING: Fifty Years Ago | Teacher in a strange land

Charter school cap efforts gain momentum

Charter school cap efforts gain momentum

Charter school cap efforts gain momentum

From California to Wisconsin, efforts to stop charter school growth are gaining momentum. In the April 2019 mayoral election in Chicago, both candidates say they want to halt charter school expansion.
Financial issues lie at the core of these efforts.
Schools were hit particularly hard by the 2008 recession. Many states cut education funding. As a scholar of school finance, I would argue that charter school expansion is making this bad situation worse.

Trends in school finance

In my home state of Pennsylvania, schools watched US$1 billion disappear when former Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican, both cut state funding and refused to replace federal stimulus funding.
A similar pattern unfolded across the country. In 2015, 29 states were still providing less money per pupil than before the recession began. In most states, state aid is designed to assist districts with high needs and low wealth. As a result, high-poverty districts were hurt the most by state cuts.
School finance scholars often consider school funding systems fair when they give additional funds to districts with the greatest needs. For instance, in conjunction with the Education Law Center of New Jersey, Bruce Baker, an education finance scholar at Rutgers University, has developed a measure of school funding fairness. In a majority of states, Baker found that funding fairness declined in the five years after the Great Recession.

Why funding disparities matter

A number of politicians, such as Education Secretary Betsy Devosreformers, and punditsclaim that education spending does not impact student learning. They are wrong.
Over and over, rigorous research has shown that money matters and that increases in funding for low-income students have a positive impact on outcomes. No matter how we define those outcomes – from scores on standardized tests to the probability a student will experience poverty as an adult – the results are consistent. Anyone who says otherwise is misinformed.

The impact of charter expansion

The details of how charter school funding is structured differs by state, and even by districts within a given state. Despite this variation, a number of studies have shown that charter CONTINUE READING: Charter school cap efforts gain momentum


Check it out: Teach For Côte d'Ivoire - International Institute for the Rights of the Child

Teach For Côte d'Ivoire - International Institute for the Rights of the Child

Teach For Côte d'Ivoire - International Institute for the Rights of the Child 

VISION

"One day, in Côte d'Ivoire, all children, regardless of their social background, will have the opportunity of a quality education."

GOAL

Change the life path of millions of children through education and by reducing poverty.

AIM

Teach For Côte d'Ivoire aims to help end the inequalities in the Ivorian education system, and allow every child living in Côte d'Ivoire, regardless of social background, to have access to quality education so that they can choose the profession and the social path that suits them.

MISSION

Teach for Côte d'Ivoire's mission is to enlist, train and mobilize as many of the country's promising future leaders as possible, in order to build a network of change-agents with both the conviction and perspective needed to promote equality and excellence in education.

TAKING UP THE CHALLENGE

Leadership is the key to the organization's strategic approach to change. The main activities are:
  1. The recruitment, selection and enlistment of the most promising national leaders of tomorrow from top universities, nationally and abroad;
  2. The initial training, coaching and ongoing support of the selected leaders to create transformational teachers;
  3. The two-year placement of leaders, selected and trained as full-time contract teachers in secondary schools (public and private) where there is real need for qualified teachers;
  4. The establishment of a network of former participants committed to fighting inequality in education.

CONTACT

Teach For Côte d’Ivoire
09 BP 4251 Abidjan 09
République de COTE D’IVOIRE
Telephone: 00225 48010224 / 00225 (0)4498976
E-mail: nguettiakob@live.fr
Facebook: TeachforCI
Twitter: @TEACHforCI
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Badass Teachers Association Blog: The Welcome Back Letter I’d Love to Give My Students – But Can’t by Steven Singer

Badass Teachers Association Blog: The Welcome Back Letter I’d Love to Give My Students – But Can’t by Steven Singer

The Welcome Back Letter I’d Love to Give My Students – But Can’t by Steven Singer
I have reasonable autonomy, opportunities to collaborate with my co-workers and strong union protections.
Yet even after counting all my blessings, I still can’t do whatever I want. I can’t even do everything that my years of academic training and experience tells me would be best for my students
Every year I have to watch out for this data metric and do that CONTINUE READING: Badass Teachers Association Blog: The Welcome Back Letter I’d Love to Give My Students – But Can’t by Steven Singer

Six Problems with a Growth Mindset in Education | gadflyonthewallblog

Six Problems with a Growth Mindset in Education | gadflyonthewallblog

Six Problems with a Growth Mindset in Education
Sometimes the truth is not enough.
That seems to be the main problem with a growth mindset.
It’s one of the trendiest concepts in education today, and – though it’s based on an authentic insight into how kids learn – it’s been shackled and monetized into an excuse to support a sterile status quo.
The basic idea goes like this: academic ability isn’t something students have or do not have. It’s a skill that gets better depending on how hard they work at it.
And up to that point, it’s correct and valuable.
But when we try to take that insight and weave it into current education policies, it CONTINUE READING: Six Problems with a Growth Mindset in Education | gadflyonthewallblog

DECENCY | Real Learning CT

DECENCY | Real Learning CT

DECENCY


A friend gave me a button to wear on my shirt. It is a plain white button with black letters. It has just one word on it: DECENCY.
I wear the button as my statement for the 2020 Presidential campaign. DECENCY is what it’s all about. Of course, the candidates have to talk about health care, immigration reform, and gun control. Those issues cry out for resolution. But Democrats in the debates and in their stump speeches must pivot back to our country’s underlying need: DECENCY.
Brooks says, “This election is about who we are as a people, our national character. This election is about the moral atmosphere in which we raise our children. The Democrats have not risen to the largeness of this moment. They don’t know how to speak on this level. They don’t even have the language to articulate what Trump represents and what needs to be done. Democrats believe they can win votes by offering members of different groups economic benefits and are perpetually shocked when they lose those voters.”
Brooks agrees with Marianne Williamson when she said in the last debate that “racism, bigotry, and the collectivized hatred that the current President is bringing up in this country” is the real issue in the 2020 campaign for CONTINUE READING: DECENCY | Real Learning CT

When Traditional Public School Educators Set Public Policy and Speak for Public Schools, It Makes a Difference | janresseger

When Traditional Public School Educators Set Public Policy and Speak for Public Schools, It Makes a Difference | janresseger

When Traditional Public School Educators Set Public Policy and Speak for Public Schools, It Makes a Difference

If you are a proponent of the Jeb Bush-“Chiefs for Change” model of corporate school reform, you conceptualize school governance in terms of tough management overriding the interests of local educators who are said to be unable to handle the inevitable and often competing pressures within a community.  In its formula for state takeover of low-scoring school districts, Chiefs for Change prescribes: “unflinching” appointed leadership; the appointed leader’s absolute autonomy to control staffing, teachers, and school culture; the appointed leader’s capacity to demand and get results or fire staff; and the appointment of an “unbiased” third-party consultant “external to the school system.”
Traditional educators understand the role of public schools very differently. Working with a community and building collaboration are skills practiced by traditional school administrators.  Last Thursday, for example, the PBS NewsHour‘s Jeffrey Brown interviewedTony McGee, the school superintendent in Mississippi’s Scott County Public Schools when Brown wanted to learn about the how Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids had affected families and children in Scott County.  Superintendent McGee told Brown: “We had approximately 154 students across our district, mainly Hispanic and Latino… that were absent from school today.  And so we have started reaching out to those families to find out about boys and girls—where they’re at or how they’re doing—just making sure that they know school is a safe place for them—it can be a safe harbor for boys and girls—and that we’re here to care for those kids… We have a lot of organizations in Scott County that are deeply rooted into the Hispanic community. And so they came to lend support to our school people… and making sure that everybody felt safe… On our end, especially in the community and the school, we had no prior knowledge. And so it was—it was pretty—pretty shocking. It was really a tough day emotionally for our educators and students and families.”

There is an ongoing battle of values and language that shapes the way we think about and talk about education.  The current threats across several states of state takeover of school districts are perhaps the best example of this conflict.  According to the Chiefs for Change model, the CONTINUE READING: When Traditional Public School Educators Set Public Policy and Speak for Public Schools, It Makes a Difference | janresseger


MARK NAISON With A Brooklyn Accent: White Supremacy: A Trigger for Mass Murder

With A Brooklyn Accent: White Supremacy: A Trigger for Mass Murder

White Supremacy: A Trigger for Mass Murder

When I think of the ideology of white supremacy, which has affected everything in US History from immigration policy, to citizenship, access to voting rights, marriage laws, ability to
play in professional sports leagues, and much much more, what makes the largest impression, in the context of the El Paso shooting, is how it provided justification for mass murder.
In addition to legitimizing the more than 3,000 lynchings of blacks in the US between 1890 and 1910, white supremacist ideology led to three documented racial pogroms in the early 20th Century ,the Slocum Massacre in East Texas in 1910 ; the Elaine Massacre in Eastern Arkansas in 1919; and the Tulsa Riot of 1921 which destroyed the wealthiest Black community in the US - known as Black Wall Street- and killed over 200 people and left thousands homeless. In each instance, it was the threat of Black economic success which drove whites to slaughter their black neighbors-, either black farmers accumulating property and controlling the marketing of their crops, or blacks owning large homes and prosperous businesses.
The basic tenet of White Supremacy as translated into popular ideology, was that black self-assertion and economic independence threatened all white people. This is what Ida B Wells argued when explaining the prevalence of lynching; it lay behind every racial pogrom in 20th Century United States.
If you want to find analogues for that in the present, think about sources of the huge popular resentment of the Obama presidency among blue collar and middle class whites, which Trump tapped into in his use of birther ideology to pave the way for his presidential campaign. In short, the ideology of white supremacy has always lay behind instances of white terrorism and still does today
With A Brooklyn Accent: White Supremacy: A Trigger for Mass Murder

La. BESE’s Kira Orange Jones: Shifting Residency, Missing Ethics Filings, and Profound Meeting Absences | deutsch29

La. BESE’s Kira Orange Jones: Shifting Residency, Missing Ethics Filings, and Profound Meeting Absences | deutsch29

La. BESE’s Kira Orange Jones: Shifting Residency, Missing Ethics Filings, and Profound Meeting Absences

In both 2011 and 2015, corporate-reform-promoting millionaires and billionaires purchased the majority of seats on the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE).
One of their purchases is Teach for America (TFA) executive director, Kira Orange-Jones.
IMG_1561
Kira Orange-Jones
Even though Orange-Jones has been BESE District 2 representative for almost eight years, she has yet to file her annual disclosure reports for 2017 and 2018.
One critical bit of information on the annual disclosure is the representative’s physical address. On this point, Orange-Jones’ actual address becomes a bit cloudy.
On the last annual disclosure that Orange-Jones filed– for 2016— Orange-Jones identifies her address as on Laurel Street in New Orleans. On the same disclosure report, Orange-Jones also acknowledges her marriage to Christopher Ruszkowski, who was at the time deputy secretary of education in New Mexico. In 2018, Ruszkowski became “secretary designee” at the NM Department of Ed when he replaced Hanna Skandera. It seems that Ruszkowski exited by 2019.
On Ruszkowski’s 2017 and 2018 financial disclosure reports, he lists a NM address. Orange-Jones’ residence remains unclear. (One can search those forms here by looking up “ruszkowski” and selecting “2017” and “2018.”)
Since Orange-Jones has not filed the required financial disclosures for 2017 and CONTINUE READING: La. BESE’s Kira Orange Jones: Shifting Residency, Missing Ethics Filings, and Profound Meeting Absences | deutsch29



Are Suspensions Necessary? Overused? Signs of Implicit Bias? Pipelines to Prison? Or, Evidence of Inadequate Teacher Preparation, Absence of Early Interventions and Social/Emotional School Supports? | Ed In The Apple

Are Suspensions Necessary? Overused? Signs of Implicit Bias? Pipelines to Prison? Or, Evidence of Inadequate Teacher Preparation, Absence of Early Interventions and Social/Emotional School Supports? | Ed In The Apple

Are Suspensions Necessary? Overused? Signs of Implicit Bias? Pipelines to Prison? Or, Evidence of Inadequate Teacher Preparation, Absence of Early Interventions and Social/Emotional School Supports?


The teacher reprimands a student; the student mumbles something under his breath, the teacher asks, “What did you say?” According to the teacher the student becomes “belligerent” and “threatening” and the teacher demands that the student be suspended.
Not an uncommon scenario.
Is removal from class for a specific length of time the appropriate response of the principal? Are there acceptable alternatives?
The Fordham Institute, a conservative think tank, published a study of school discipline practices, actually results of a survey of “more than 1200 teachers.”
The Fordham Institute article begins,
The debate over school discipline reform is one of the most polarized in all of education. Advocates for reform believe that suspensions are racially biased and put students in a “school-to-prison pipeline.” Opponents worry that softer discipline approaches will make classrooms unruly, impeding efforts to help all students learn and narrow achievement gaps.
One of the problems with the concept are the unaddressed core questions: Why are Afro-American boys being suspended at higher rates than other students? Do suspensions lead to better behavior for the suspended students? Or, are suspensions a “pipeline to prison,” Is the anti-social act that led to the suspension the beginning of the pipeline? And, do suspensions, removal of students from a class, actually increase outcomes for the remainder of the class?

NEA leaders obstruct efforts that would end endorsements of NRA-backed politicians. – Fred Klonsky

NEA leaders obstruct efforts that would end endorsements of NRA-backed politicians. – Fred Klonsky

NEA LEADERS OBSTRUCT EFFORTS THAT WOULD END ENDORSEMENTS OF NRA-BACKED POLITICIANS.

Trisha Connolly and Clare Kelly are teachers and members of the Illinois Education Association and the National Education Association. Both were elected delegates to the state and national Representative Assemblies.  They wrote this in reaction to NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia’s statements about gun violence in the wake of the Dayton and El Paso mass shootings.
We’ve  endured 255 mass shootings involving assault rifles already this year and the NEA leadership (National Educator’s Association) continues to defend funding and endorsing of candidates who promote the NRA’s agenda.
We presented New Business Items (NBI’s) at the NEA National Representative Assembly (RA), this summer and last, calling on the NEA to not endorse candidates who’ve solicited or taken NRA money.
The NEA is the largest union in the nation and as such the NEA has the potential and muscle to impact legislation to stem the flow of assault rifles in our communities. To most this seems like a no brainer – the largest educational association in the country would, of course, take a firm stand to not fund candidates who promote the proliferation of assault rifles in our neighborhoods, especially in light of all the school shootings.
Not so.
NEA leadership strategized aggressively against these NBI’s both years. They didn’t CONTINUE READING: NEA leaders obstruct efforts that would end endorsements of NRA-backed politicians. – Fred Klonsky


Students and Educators Work Together to Create Inclusive Environments for LGBTQ Students

Students and Educators Work Together to Create Inclusive Environments for LGBTQ Students

Students and Educators Work Together to Create Inclusive Environments for LGBTQ Students


In 2008, the children’s book “And Tango Makes Three,” triggered a controversy in Loudon County, VA, that led to it being taken off the shelves in school libraries. “And Tango Makes Three,” which highlights the true story of two male penguins at the Central Park Zoo that raised a chick together, was charged with “promoting the gay agenda.”
In 2019, fourth grade teacher Susan Hayden now includes books that incorporate LGBTQ characters in her own classroom library.
What changed in Loudoun County?
In February, the board, in a tight 5-4 vote, approved a policy affirming equal opportunity, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, to a safe and inclusive educational environment. Two years ago, the board failed to pass a similar motion.
Hayden, whose ties to Loudoun County Public Schools are not only as an educator but as a mother of a transgender student, immediately understood the positive impact the new policy would have.
“It was such good news, I almost couldn’t believe it,” said Hayden, “We are making progress. It’s going to be better for kids next year, and the year after that.”


More inclusive policies to create safer, more welcoming LGBTQ environments have taken hold in other school districts this year.
In May 2019, Hamilton Southeastern Schools in Indiana also voted to update their anti-discrimination policy to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Activists in Jefferson County Public Schools in Colorado have passionately fought for an improvement in anti-discrimination practicesprotecting LGBTQ students and staff.  While a decision on implementing the policy has yet to be reached, activists are determined to fight until the CONTINUE READING: Students and Educators Work Together to Create Inclusive Environments for LGBTQ Students