Friday, August 16, 2019

District cuts mic on SCTA again in violation of the contract; what Jessie Ryan didn’t want to hear.

 Sacramento City Teachers Association 

District cuts mic on SCTA again in violation of the contract; what Jessie Ryan didn’t want to hear.

Good evening. I’m Nikki Milevsky, the vice-president of the Sacramento City Teachers Association.


Image result for Nikki Milevsky,

Last week, we made a proposal to the District to work around the clock to work on resolving a number of issues that would clear the path toward a more productive relationship with the District.
We want to reiterate our proposal.
In a recent communication from the superintendent, he offered several dates that decision-makers from the District--which we hope includes Superintendent Aguilar and Board President Ryan—are available for negotiations. We would propose meeting on August 22 for the purposes of addressing our most immediate issues:

Finalizing the retroactive payment of the salary schedule arbitration;

Agreeing to an expedited arbitration process to resolve our disagreement regarding the health plan implementation. To date, the District has not agreed to our proposal to have the entire matter heard in a single, expedited arbitration, including the issues raised in the recent complaints issued by PERB.


Filling all the job vacancies in time for the commencement of the school year.


Rescinding the Child Development cuts


Rescinding the cuts to Classified staff


Addressing the more than 30 unfair labor practices that led to the strike on April 11th
And then when those issues have been resolved, the path should be cleared to immediately move into negotiations for a successor contract.


Our discussion may be a little less contentious considering that the District’s budget now not only includes the 730 students who were lost in the spring, but an additional $6.4 million in Special Education funding.

Additionally, we noted that the budget includes an additional $4.1 million for additional staff based on revised enrollment projections. We can’t emphasize how important it is for the District to use accurate enrollment numbers so that our schools are staffed appropriately. We reiterate our offer to work with the District to make sure that it is staffing based on accurate and up-to-date student enrollment data and like many have been frustrated by the wildly inaccurate projections that have been produced.

In addition, we appreciate the school board voting to support the much-needed School and Community First ballot initiative. I’m sure that you have seen that we in CTA, along with the other major supporters of this historic initiative, have decided to revise the initiative and will be re-circulating petitions to secure its place on the ballot. That is an area that we hope District leaders will work us to accomplish that goal.

Finally, in the aftermath of the ICE raids in Mississippi and the continued increased anti-immigrant sentiment flowing out of Washington, we are pleased to announce that we are working with Luis Cespedes and the Cruz Reynoso Bar Association to develop professional learning modules for SCTA educators in how educators can best provide support services to students and their families in this environment.

In addition, we will be working together with them to develop and facilitate the implementation of a restorative practices culture here in our district, something that we first proposed to the District in 2016. As you know, we jointly developed a restorative practices proposal with the Black Parallel School Board, which begins with implicit bias training, that the District rejected in contract negotiations. Even after the contract settled, we continued to advocate for the implementation of a bottom-up restorative practices’ initiative.

Almost one year ago to the day, SCTA president David Fisher and Carl Pinkston from the Black Parallel school board wrote a joint letter to Superintendent Aguilar requesting the opportunity to meet to discuss moving forward with our proposal beginning with implicit bias training for all staff, consistent with school board policy. For reasons unclear, the District never responded. We hope that times have changed.

As part of our new initiative we hope that our joint work with Bar Association will extend to constructive work with the District, beginning with implicit bias training with for all certificated teachers and other staff.

 Sacramento City Teachers Association 

CURMUDGUCATION: Feed A Teacher For A Year

CURMUDGUCATION: Feed A Teacher For A Year

Feed A Teacher For A Year

I get plenty of pitches--news releases from folks who want to help me come up with some content (and who frequently have never actually read what I write) and mostly I ignore them, but this one caught my attention because it involves free food for a teacher for a year.

The company involved is Sun Basket, which touts itself as "the leading healthy eating service"-- another one of those outfits where you sign up and a box full of ingredients shows up on your doorstep, just waiting for you to chef it into some delicious shape. Sun Basket seems to put a lot of emphasis on healthy lifestyle, organic, best choicey ingredients, and features a variety of 11 different subscriptions, from the dubious (Paleo) to the responsible (Pescatarian, Carb-Conscious). The company was founded in 2014 by Adam Zbar, one of those entrepreneurial types who started at McKinsey, and Justine Kelly whose name I gather might mean something to you if you are a foodie (or foodie-adjacent). Did I mention the company is based in San Francisco?

The contest is called Treat Your Teacher, and it's simple. You nominate a teacher living in the US (except for AK, HI, and parts of MT, NM, and ND-- don't complain to me-- I didn't make the rules), explain why they're awesome. Ten of the nominees will win a Sun Basket account that will cover CONTINUE READING: 
CURMUDGUCATION: Feed A Teacher For A Year


Kentucky: The State’s Attacks on Its Teachers Are Outrageous! | Diane Ravitch's blog

Kentucky: The State’s Attacks on Its Teachers Are Outrageous! | Diane Ravitch's blog

Kentucky: The State’s Attacks on Its Teachers Are Outrageous!

Clifford Wallace and Leigh Wallace, a father-daughter team of professional educators, lambaste state officials for their relentless attacks on the state’s public school teachers. 
They begin:
Leadership matters. It has the potential to influence student outcomes. Clearly, there is a lack of leadership in Frankfort. Kentucky State Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis is taking pages from the flawed and unsuccessful playbooks of his neoliberal, pro-privatization counterparts in Louisiana, Indiana, Ohio, and Wisconsin. From no longer requiring master’s degrees for teachers to maintain certification to promoting privatized for profit “charter schools” as the panacea to save the “failing public schools” – our “commissioner” is helping dismantle our public schools – and the teaching profession – in Kentucky.
Lewis continues to disparage professionally prepared – and experienced – educators through diminishing the significance of the complex work they do on a daily basis, insulting their commitment and expertise, threatening their pensions, and cutting programs and budgets. Recently, in addition to painting a negative narrative around our public schools and the professionals that work in them, he proposed a “pay for performance” incentive for Kentucky Public School teachers as a means to motivate them to “work harder” and ensure every student CONTINUE READING: Kentucky: The State’s Attacks on Its Teachers Are Outrageous! | Diane Ravitch's blog

Secretary DeVos is failing her duty to enforce civil rights for all students - Education Votes

Secretary DeVos is failing her duty to enforce civil rights for all students - Education Votes

Secretary DeVos is failing her duty to enforce civil rights for all students

By Amanda Menas
Nearly half of all LGBTQ+ students live in states where they are not protected from discrimination or bullying. They could turn to federal legislation, but with a secretary of education who has time and time again turned her back on them, stripped their Title IX protections, and refused to discuss the high rates of suicide among transgender students, where can they go?
Regardless of how the Department of Education and Secretary Betsy DeVos are failing to enforce protections, LGBTQ+ students to have legal rights under Title IX and deserve a safe learning environment.
The Center for American Progress researched the changes that have resulted from DeVos’ policies.

Complaints or discrimination and harassment against LGBTQ+ students today are nine times less likely to result in any corrective action by the schools. While under the Obama Administration investigations into complaints where still low, changes to Title IX legislation have decreased the likelihood that victims will come forward or that schools will be held accountable.  NEA President Lily Eskelsen García says Secretary DeVos’ changes “deny schools the flexibility and incentives to prevent and address harassment early in age-appropriate ways.”
Today, complaints are more likely to be dismissed. Under the Trump Administration, 91.5 percent of complaints were closed or dismissed as compared to 65.4 percent prior to 2016. With transgender and gender non-conforming students already avoiding sex-segregated areas of campuses, the changes Secretary DeVos has made are simply failing to protect our students. Educators are in a unique position to interrupt abusive behaviors or discrimination against students based on their sex or gender identity but are hindered from acting when cases are closed too soon.
DeVos’s changes to Title IX protections have a chilling effect on students’ interests in filing complaints, which are already underreported, and harms the capacity of those students to have a healthy learning environment. Only 1.8 percent of students who file complaints today CONTINUE READING: Secretary DeVos is failing her duty to enforce civil rights for all students - Education Votes

The growing crisis of homeless kids | Students on the Move | APM Reports

The growing crisis of homeless kids | Students on the Move | APM Reports

The growing crisis of homeless kids
They sleep in cars, motels and relatives' houses, and they're more likely to drop out of school and spend their lives in poverty. Due to the lack of affordable housing, the U.S. has more of these children than ever before.

Savannah is squinting as she thinks. The question she's trying to answer would be easy for most ninth graders: How many schools have you gone to? Savannah has to do some quick mental math.
"About 14 in the last six years," she says.
That's more than two schools a year.
Savannah lives in Spokane Valley, Washington, a sprawling suburb east of Spokane. Her parents split up about six years ago. Then her mom fell behind on the bills, and they lost their place. For several years after that, they were constantly on the move. They slept in cars, hotel rooms or on someone's couch. Most of the time, she was with her mom, but sometimes she stayed with other people: friends, acquaintances, her teenage sister.

"I was kind of everywhere," she says. "Sleeping kind of wherever I could."
Savannah was one of 1.3 million school kids that the U.S. Department of Education tallied as homeless in its most recent count, the largest number ever recorded. The majority of homeless people are adults on their own, but the number of homeless families and kids has grown dramatically as the amount of affordable housing has shrunk in many cities. The number of homeless kids in public schools has increased by about 70 percent over the past decade, according to the Education Department.
Spokane has seen its share of that increase, and that's why the city's Open Doors family shelter is so busy.
The shelter is in the basement of a church in a residential neighborhood close to downtown Spokane. At dawn on a weekday morning this past winter, families were waking up. They had spent the night on the floor on mats spaced a few feet apart. Sixty-five people slept here overnight.
"About half of those are kids," says Joe Ader, the shelter's executive director. "Most of those are under the age of 12." CONTINUE READING: The growing crisis of homeless kids | Students on the Move | APM Reports


Why Educators Need to Vote in 2020 - NEA Today

Why Educators Need to Vote in 2020 - NEA Today

Why Educators Need to Vote in 2020

Teachers need the vote in order to have more schools and better schools…”
Teachers need the vote in order to protect the children of their district from the vicious interests that constantly exploit them.”
Any of this sound familiar? Nearly 100 years after these words were printed, teachers are still fighting to have their voices heard.
Back then, educators’ voices were instrumental in the push for women’s suffrage*, called to action by arguments like the one in this 1915 flyer:

Source: VCU Libraries
So many of the issues educators faced then are still challenging the education profession today, but educators, then and now, deeply care about the political issues that affect their students. They know that if they don’t have their rights protected, neither will their students.
The 99-year anniversary of the 19th amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote (thought the right didn’t extend to women of color until decades later) reminds us that there is a lot at stake for the education world during the 2020 election, and we’ve come up with our own list of reasons why educators need to use the vote they worked so hard to gain.
  1. Betsy DeVos – Do we even need to continue this list after mentioning her? Her lack of experience in public education, strong support for vouchers and online schooling, and attacks on our students’ rights and education funding make DeVos public enemy number one for educators. Our students deserve a Secretary of Education who wants to invest in their future not line her pockets.
  2. Public Service Loan Forgiveness – If educators and other public servants make 10 years’ worth of qualified monthly payments on their federal student loans, they can receive up to $17,500 in loan forgiveness. But that’s not what is happening, because the program is broken. Fewer than 1 percent of eligible public servants who apply actually receive the loan forgiveness they were promised. Educators deserve a government that fulfills their promises to public servants everywhere.
  3. Gun Violence Prevention – NEA members believe schools should be safe CONTINUE READING: 

Shawgi Tell: Persistent Fraudulent Enrollment in Charter Schools | Dissident Voice

Persistent Fraudulent Enrollment in Charter Schools | Dissident Voice

Persistent Fraudulent Enrollment in Charter Schools


While privately-operated nonprofit and for-profit charter schools have long engaged in a broad range of fraudulent student enrollment practices, yet another avalanche of news reports on such dishonest practices has recently appeared.
There seems to be no end to astonishing news in the unregulated and segregated charter school sector. Controversy, scandal, and charter schools have been fellow-travelers for more than 25 years.
Virtual charter schools, perhaps the most unsuccessful and unethical of all types of charter schools, have a long-standing tradition of enrolling “ghost students” (students that do not exist) in order to embezzle millions of public dollars. This, of course, is always accompanied by Enron-style accounting in an attempt to conceal such damaging financial malfeasance.
The latest debacle in the troubled charter school sector is the massive virtual Epic Charter School Network which operates mainly in Oklahoma. It has made headlines everywhere for enrolling “ghost students” and for engaging in other crimes and unethical behavior for a long time.
In related news, two scandal-ridden online charter schools in Indiana were also recently exposed and criticized for engaging in some of the same crimes as Epic and other cyber charter schools. Together, these virtual schools inflated their enrollments by thousands of students to pilfer enormous sums of public funds.
Sadly, many other examples of inflated enrollments and other scandalous CONTINUE READING: Persistent Fraudulent Enrollment in Charter Schools | Dissident Voice

Students Speak on August 15 Education Town Hall – Education Town Hall Forum

Students Speak on August 15 Education Town Hall – Education Town Hall Forum

STUDENTS SPEAK ON AUGUST 15 EDUCATION TOWN HALL

Before DC students head back to school later this month, Education Town Hall is privileged to have in studio four DC public school students, who are serving in a variety of roles both at their schools as well as with the DC State Board of Education (SBOE). Listen to a wide-ranging discussion, as students share their priorities for our schools–and what they would do or change if they were in control of our DC schools.
Show begins at 6:20 mark on this recording —

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L-R: Valerie, Shayla, Alex, Maya Thomas

Shayla Dell is a rising sophomore at Duke Ellington School of the Arts, studying vocal music, and has participated in classical singing competitions. As a student advocate, Ms. Dell has served on the student government association at Duke as well as the DCPS chancellor’s student cabinet and is a continuing member of the student advisory committee of the DC SBOE. (The student advisory committee is consulted by the state board on issues of policy before the board.)
Maya Gray is a rising senior at Benjamin Banneker Academic high school and a returning member of the SBOE’s student advisory committee. Having attended both DC public and charter schools, Ms. Gray has worked as a teen aide with DC Public Library and completed internships with DC government agencies. She is also involved in a variety of sports and looks forward to a CONTINUE READING: Students Speak on August 15 Education Town Hall – Education Town Hall Forum



How the student loan industry lobbied DeVos to fight state regulations - POLITICO

How the student loan industry lobbied DeVos to fight state regulations - POLITICO

How the student loan industry lobbied DeVos to fight state regulations

The Trump administration’s attempts to shield some student loan companies from new state regulations began after the industry waged a furious lobbying campaign, which included the head of student loan giant Navient, emails obtained by POLITICO show.

Jack Remondi, chief executive officer of Navient, personally emailed a top aide to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, urging the administration to “quickly” declare that states lacked the authority to police the companies that, like his, collect federal student loans

Remondi and other industry heavyweights were trying to enlist the Education Department’s help to fend off the growing trend of states considering or passing laws to crack down on student loan servicing companies. The states were responding to allegations of misrepresentations and other abuses in the industry, which manages the student loan payments of the nation’s more than 45 million student loan debtors.

Remondi, who called the timing “critical,” told the top DeVos adviser that he was especially concerned about the licensing fees that companies would potentially have to pay to state regulators.

“Today’s federal student loan program is already overly complex, adding state based rules would not be helpful to borrowers or the cost of the program,” Remondi wrote in the September 2017 email to Jim Manning, who was acting undersecretary of the department.

Several months later, the Trump administration agreed to Remondi’s request — which had been echoed in other emails sent to the Education Department by industry groups like the Student Loan Servicing Alliance and the National Council for Higher Education Resources.

DeVos in March 2018 issued a notice declaring that federal law preempts state regulation of companies collecting federal student loans. The move drew criticism from state attorneys general, state banking regulators and the National Governors Association. Consumer advocates argued that states have the right to oversee companies operating within their borders that collect loan payments from their residents. CONTINUE READING: How the student loan industry lobbied DeVos to fight state regulations - POLITICO

NYC Educator: AFT in Texas

NYC Educator: AFT in Texas

AFT in Texas

Last Tuesday I went with a UFT contingent to McAllen Texas. AFT had requested entry to the detention facility there. The US government, in their infinite wisdom,  not only denied us, but also waited until the day we arrived to do so. AFT kept reaching out and trying to change that, but our time was very limited.

The following morning, we assembled in front of the facility and held a vigil. We were filmed by several people, including someone from Telemundo. I'm not sure whether or not anyone aired it, but if I get a link I'll post it. There's nothing quite like a Wednesday morning rally on a 103 degree day. Members spoke of the unconscionable treatment of children in that facility. Several offered prayers. AFT Executive VP Evelyn De Jesus, among her hundred other titles, is an ordained minister and was in her element.

After a while, a uniformed agent with a gun came out and asked us to move to the sidewalk. After all, who the hell did we think we were, American citizens standing on the grounds of a facility that our tax dollars support? We didn't move. A while later he came out with three colleagues, and explained that we'd be arrested if we didn't move. They had called the police.  I thought we were going to be arrested, and wondered how the hell I would call the DOE. (I haven't been arrested since I was 19. I was hitchhiking in Syracuse. The cop fined me five dollars and told me if I didn't show up for trial my five bucks would be subject to forfeit. I had a feeling a Texas jail would be a little tougher than that.)

At that point though, we moved, along with the cameras. We were still standing with the backdrop of the government building, and it really made little difference. There were questions. How could we treat children like this? What were they doing back there? Were they being fed? Were they being taught? Were they getting adequate care? There were more prayers. We were winding up when our buddies from customs appeared again and told us we would now have to walk all the way across the street. It was kind of odd because I thought sidewalks, kind of like government buildings, were public property.
To underline their determination, the agents had not only summoned the police, but had brought their 
own tow trucks. Who'd have thought that the Border Patrol actually needed their own tow trucks and kept them handy at their facility? We had three vans that they threatened CONTINUE READING: 
NYC Educator: AFT in Texas




This Summer Betsy DeVos Quietly Repealed the “Gainful Employment Rule” on For-Profit Colleges and Trade Schools | janresseger

This Summer Betsy DeVos Quietly Repealed the “Gainful Employment Rule” on For-Profit Colleges and Trade Schools | janresseger

This Summer Betsy DeVos Quietly Repealed the “Gainful Employment Rule” on For-Profit Colleges and Trade Schools

This summer, while we’ve been reading about candidates running for President in 2020, the tragedy of mass shootings, and the Jeffrey Epstein scandal, deregulation has been perking along at the U.S. Department of Education, even though Betsy DeVos has managed to stay out of the spotlight.  Right at the end of June, DeVos and her staff moved along their agenda to deregulate for-profit colleges and trade schools by eliminating an important Obama-era rule. On Friday, June 28, they repealed what has been known as the “gainful employment rule.”
The Associated Press’s Collin Binkley reports: “The agency’s announcement said the rule focused too narrowly on graduate earnings and unfairly targeted for-profit colleges.”
What was the “gainful employment rule”?  Concerned that the federal government was bankrolling—with student grants and loans—shoddy career training programs that left graduates deeply in debt and unqualified to get a job, the Obama Department of Education created a rule to deny federal financial aid to these institutions unless they proved their programs were well enough designed to provide their students the skills that would make them employable upon graduation.
The NY Times’ Erica Green explains: “The so-called gainful employment rule was issued by the Obama administration in 2014 right before huge for-profit chains collapsed, leaving students stranded with debt and worthless degrees. Under the new standards, career and certificate programs, many of which operate in the for-profit sector, would have to prove their graduates could find gainful employment to maintain access to federal financial aid.  It also would have required schools to disclose in advertisements a comparison of the student debt load of their graduates and their career earnings.”
The Washington Post‘s Danielle Douglas-Gabriel reports that the rule has motivated the for-profit higher education sector to clean up its act: “Shortly after the rule took effect, many CONTINUE READING: This Summer Betsy DeVos Quietly Repealed the “Gainful Employment Rule” on For-Profit Colleges and Trade Schools | janresseger

Three Wishes for the New School Year | The Merrow Report

Three Wishes for the New School Year | The Merrow Report

Three Wishes for the New School Year
As public schools open across the country, I have three wishes:  One, that most parents and most teachers will be open to working together.  Two, that most teachers will accept that parents are their children’s primary educators.  And, three, that most parents will accept and embrace that responsibility.  
This is, unfortunately, a tall order. Some parents have gotten accustomed to playing second fiddle, meaning they are reluctant to get involved. As the same time, some educators truly believe that they are children’s principal educators and thus treat parents with disdain.   While in public forums many professional educators may describe parents as “our greatest asset” and “invaluable partners,” how most schools actually treat parents belies their words.  In my experience as an education reporter, many administrators and teachers hold parents in low regard, and their behavior and policies reflect that. Perhaps that’s an inevitable consequence of attempting to elevate education to a high-status profession.  “After all, you wouldn’t expect a heart surgeon to consult with a child’s parents before replacing a ruptured valve and saving the child’s life,” the thinking goes, as if the work of educating a child were the equivalent of complex surgery. It’s not brain surgery; what it is, instead, is a team effort.
Many schools make parents ‘outsiders’ in subtle and not-so-subtle ways.  There’s the once-a-year “Back to School Night” and perhaps a “Parent Involvement Committee’ or a “Parent Advisory Board” that meets occasionally with the Principal.  Many schools expect parents to hold bake sales, auctions and fundraising drives, but that’s not treating parents as partners in their children’s education. Unfortunately, it’s the CONTINUE READING: Three Wishes for the New School Year | The Merrow Report

Big Education Ape: BACK TO SCHOOL: A parent’s guide to K-12 school success -http://bigeducationape.blogspot.com/2019/08/back-to-school-parents-guide-to-k-12.html


Why is union membership bleeding where the Red State Teacher Revolts took place? – Fred Klonsky

Why is union membership bleeding where the Red State Teacher Revolts took place? – Fred Klonsky

WHY IS UNION MEMBERSHIP BLEEDING WHERE THE RED STATE TEACHER REVOLTS TOOK PLACE?

Michael Antonucci is no friend of teacher unions.
He’s a libertarian who has covered the teacher union beat for years. He has his own blog and pens the Union Report for The 74.
When I was a regular delegate to the NEA Representative Assemblies, I would sometimes drop by the reporter coral (they weren’t allowed on the convention floor) and exchange views.
We differed on politics but his facts were dead on. Even a high-level NEA staffer confided in me that they often turned to Antonucci’s reports to find out what was really going on inside the NEA.
His latest data shows that in blue states Janus has had very little impact on union membership.
In red right-to-work states, membership is bleeding.
The biggest losers were Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Each was a right-to-work state or became one during this period.
If some of those states seem familiar to union teachers it is because they notice that some of these states saw major state-wide teacher strikes in recent years.
If that seems contradictory it shouldn’t.
Most of those strikes were organized by militant teachers independently of the NEA CONTINUE READING: Why is union membership bleeding where the Red State Teacher Revolts took place? – Fred Klonsky