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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

About That School with the Shooter-Resistant Curved Walls | Teacher in a strange land

About That School with the Shooter-Resistant Curved Walls | Teacher in a strange land

About That School with the Shooter-Resistant Curved Walls

It’s been all over the news—state and national—recently: Fruitport Community Schools, in Muskegon, Michigan are building a new, state-of-the-art high school addition and revamp, designed to thwart an active shooter. There are curved hallways, and ‘wings’ (protrusions with no structural purpose) to disrupt sight-lines. There are hidey-holes all over the place, in halls and classrooms, special impact-resistant glass, and deluxe alarm and lockdown systems. You can do a walk-through with Kate Snow and the school district’s superintendent, Bob Szymoniak, here.
Feedback on this has generally been negative— a ‘What is this world coming to?’ response. The sub-head in the Daily Mail reads:  School officials in Fruitport, Michigan, spent $48 million to make sure the school would provide greater safety in a catastrophe.
But that’s not precisely true. Voters in the Fruitport district had to approve a tax bond issue for that $48 million—and in Michigan, bond issue money can only be used for buildings and equipment. If schools want to improve staffing, instruction or curriculum or offer special courses, they can only use the state-provided per-pupil grants. (Michigan uses a complex and unusual formula to fund schools, not based on property taxes.)
Michigan also offers district-to-district school choice. If a school in Muskegon wants to offer something special to act as magnet, to bring students outside Fruitport CONTINUE READING: About That School with the Shooter-Resistant Curved Walls | Teacher in a strange land
School officials in Fruitport, Michigan, spent $48 million to rebuild the local high school discreet security features to protect against an active shooter entering a building that's been around since the 1950s

Thomas Ultican: Billionaire Eli Broad’s Academy Is All About the Destruction of Public Education

Billionaire Eli Broad’s Academy Is All About the Destruction of Public Education

Billionaire Eli Broad’s Academy Is All About the Destruction of Public Education



By Thomas Ultican / Tultican
In 2002, the billionaire, Eli Broad, established his own education leadership training program. Although he is the only person ever to create two Fortune 500 companies, Broad, who attended public school, has no other experience or training in education.
However he is so rich, he can just institute his opinions such as his belief that education knowledge is not needed to run large urban school systems; consultants can be hired for that knowledge.

Peter Greene, the author of the popular blog Curmudgucation, framed this absurdity in his own snarky fashion:
“But Broad does not believe that schools have an education problem; he believes they have a management problem. School leadership does not need an infusion of educational leadership– they need business guys, leadership guys.
And so Broad launched the Superintendent’s Academy by ignoring completely the usual requirements for Superintendent certification or program accreditation. The Board Superintendent Academy exists by its own force of will. It’s kind of awesome– there is no external governing or certifying board of any sort declaring that the Broad Superintendent’s Academy is a legitimate thing, and yet, it exists and thrives.
“I myself plan to soon open the Curmudgucation Academy of Brain Surgery, or maybe a School Of  Fine Art Production. I have everything I need to make these highly successful, with the possible exception of enough power and money to get people to listen to me whether I know what the hell I’m talking about or not.”
In Pasi Sahlberg’s and William Doyle’s new book Let the Children Play, there are many anecdotes CONTINUE READING: Billionaire Eli Broad’s Academy Is All About the Destruction of Public Education

More Than 300 Privately-Operated Ohio Charter Schools Have Closed In 20 Years | Dissident Voice

More Than 300 Privately-Operated Ohio Charter Schools Have Closed In 20 Years | Dissident Voice

More Than 300 Privately-Operated Ohio Charter Schools Have Closed In 20 Years


Across the country, thousands of charter schools have closed in under 30 years. Corruption and poor academic performance are two key reasons for the high failure rate in the charter school sector.
Between 1998 and 2019, 306 charter schools closed in Ohio. On average, that is more than one charter school closing per month for 20 years.
Ohio is often called the “Wild West” of charter schools because of the intense chaos, anarchy, and violence in the charter school sector in that state. Ohio’s charter school laws are notoriously antisocial and charter school–friendly. Accountability and transparency are essentially zero in Ohio’s charter schools. Endless stories involving embezzlement and fraud in Ohio’s charter school sector abound. Bad charter school news is relentless and 
continuous.

Unfortunately, the entire segregated charter school sector is much like this.
Chaos, anarchy, and violence are not unique to Ohio’s charter schools. Disarray and destruction in the charter school sector is mostly a question of degree, that is, of how intense such chaos and anarchy are. In cities like Detroit, New Orleans, Chicago, and Washington DC, the charter school sector is plagued by turmoil and instability.
This chaos, anarchy, and violence will not disappear until the ideologies of individualism, consumerism, and competition are banished from a public CONTINUE READING: More Than 300 Privately-Operated Ohio Charter Schools Have Closed In 20 Years | Dissident Voice

Schools Matter: Extinction Rebellion (XR) Spawns Learning Rebellion (LR)

Schools Matter: Extinction Rebellion (XR) Spawns Learning Rebellion (LR)

Extinction Rebellion (XR) Spawns Learning Rebellion (LR)


This will sign you up to the XR Educators newsletter, including further information about getting involved in actions inside and outside of educational institutions. Read more at http://learningrebellion.earth

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Schools Matter: Extinction Rebellion (XR) Spawns Learning Rebellion (LR)
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A California hit to the gig economy and my days as a taxi driver. – Fred Klonsky

A California hit to the gig economy and my days as a taxi driver. – Fred Klonsky

A CALIFORNIA HIT TO THE GIG ECONOMY AND MY DAYS AS A TAXI DRIVER


News out of California this morning.
The California Senate passed a bill that will expand the number of Californians classified as employees. The law requires companies to treat those who have been classified as contract workers as employees.
That would be those who work in what is called the gig economy.
The best known companies are Uber, Lyft, Postmates and Doordash. But the gig economy is huge.
The California bill is expected to pass the Assembly and Governor Gavin Newsom is expected to sign it into law.
My first thought was trying to guess when such a law will pass the Illinois legislature and be signed by Governor Pritzker.
How about soon?
In the time frame between the exodus of basic industry, good-paying union jobs from CONTINUE READING: A California hit to the gig economy and my days as a taxi driver. – Fred Klonsky

New Ohio Report: Cupp-Patterson Plan Creates Adequate School Funding but Must Be Corrected for Equity | janresseger

New Ohio Report: Cupp-Patterson Plan Creates Adequate School Funding but Must Be Corrected for Equity | janresseger

New Ohio Report: Cupp-Patterson Plan Creates Adequate School Funding but Must Be Corrected for Equity


Ohio’s legislature will soon hold hearings on a new, much touted, desperately needed, bipartisan school funding plan. The plan was developed and proposed by Rep. Robert Cupp (R) and Rep. John Patterson (D), and has now been formally introduced as House Bill 305.
Ohio’s current school funding formula is so dated and so badly underfunded that 503 of the state’s 610 school districts are currently either capped or on guarantee; they have been receiving from the state just what they got last year and the year before and the year before that.  The new Cupp-Patterson plan was designed to flip that situation and restore the awarding of formula-calculated funding to at least 510 districts.
The new formula was developed to establish a base cost per enrolled student, an amount which every district would receive through combined state and local funding. Everybody agrees that the new formula would begin to create an adequate funding floor.
But huge concerns have arisen since last spring when the formula was first announced. Once the computer runs were released to show how the new formula would treat each of the state’s 610 school districts, it became apparent that many of the state’s very poorest districts—especially poor urban districts with concentrated poverty and rural districts—would end up with meager funding increases, or, in some cases, no additional funding at all, while some of the state’s wealthiest exurban school districts would receive huge increases in state funding.
While the new Cupp-Patterson Plan produced an adequate school funding floor, it failed to achieve equity. Part of the reason is obvious: the outer ring suburbs are rapidly growing, and CONTINUE READING: New Ohio Report: Cupp-Patterson Plan Creates Adequate School Funding but Must Be Corrected for Equity | janresseger

Jersey Jazzman: The State of New Jersey's Teachers, Part 2: A Failure To Achieve Diversity

Jersey Jazzman: The State of New Jersey's Teachers, Part 2: A Failure To Achieve Diversity

The State of New Jersey's Teachers, Part 2: A Failure To Achieve Diversity


I'm breaking down my new report for the New Jersey Policy Perspective on New Jersey's teachers in a series of blog posts:

Part 1: Teachers, Aging, & Pensions



* * *

This graph is from the "short" version of my new report on New Jersey's teachers:


About 1 in 5 students in New Jersey is a white female -- but two-thirds of NJ's teachers are white females. Our teaching corps looks nothing like our student population.

Before I dive deeper into the data, let me first answer the obvious question: Why should we care? Does it matter that our teachers are overwhelmingly white women? 

In fact, we have more and more evidence that it does, and I share a short summary of this evidence in my report. Among the studies I cite:

Colette N. Cann, 2013: This article has an excellent review of the research on teacher-student racial alignment:
In the area of race matching, Dee (2004) examined how the racial background of CONTINUE READING: Jersey Jazzman: The State of New Jersey's Teachers, Part 2: A Failure To Achieve Diversity

Louisiana Educator: BESE Election Guide, Part II; Find Out Which Candidates Deserve Our Votes

Louisiana Educator: BESE Election Guide, Part II; Find Out Which Candidates Deserve Our Votes

BESE Election Guide, Part II; Find Out Which Candidates Deserve Our Votes

An unholy alliance of non-educators now controls BESE
I believe my previous posts on this blog have made it clear that the takeover of BESE by the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI)  and out-of-state billionaires, who have chosen to experiment with our school children, has been nothing short of a disaster. These captive BESE members are the ones who appointed John White, a non-educator from New York who implemented a plan stripping our teachers of all autonomy and ability to teach in any creative manner and imposed a system of constant test prep in all our schools. 

Basically all of their so called "reforms" have failed. Almost no practicing teacher today would recommend that her/his own children go into the teaching profession, and many of our best teachers are retiring early. The teaching profession has been demoralized and stripped of all decision making authority. The ability of teachers to maintain discipline in their classrooms has been undermined by pressure to coddle misbehaving students so they can be graduated without regard to performance. Our students are performing at the lowest level ever on the national comparative tests, despite the fact that many of our classrooms have been converted into boring test-prep factories. Our graduation rate has been artificially inflated by promoting all students to the next grade with little or no evidence of learning and by handing out diplomas to functional illiterates. All done to create a phony image of success.

John White and the other reformers "believed" that if we just focused all education on standardized testing designed by college CONTINUE READING: 
Louisiana Educator: BESE Election Guide, Part II; Find Out Which Candidates Deserve Our Votes


How NY State Ed Department is trying to weaken student privacy by allowing the selling & marketing of personal data | Parent Coalition for Student Privacy

How NY State Ed Department is trying to weaken student privacy by allowing the selling & marketing of personal data | Parent Coalition for Student Privacy

HOW NY STATE ED DEPARTMENT IS TRYING TO WEAKEN STUDENT PRIVACY BY ALLOWING THE SELLING & MARKETING OF PERSONAL DATA

The New York Board of Regents is currently considering whether to approve a radical weakening of the state student privacy law, which would allow the College Board, the ACT and other companies that contract with schools or districts to use the personal student information they collect for marketing purposes – even though the original New York law that was passed in 2014 explicitly barred the sale or commercial use of this data. Parents and all others who care about protecting children’s privacy should send in their comments to the state now, by clicking here or sending their view to REGCOMMENTS@nysed.gov. Deadline for public comment is Sept. 16. More on this below.
Starting in 2014, many states, including New York, approved legislation to strengthen the protection of student privacy, due to a growing realization on the part of parents that their children’s personal data was being shared by schools and districts with a wide variety of private companies and organizations without their knowledge or consent. The US Department of Education had weakened the federal student privacy law known as FERPA twice over the past decade, rewriting the regulations during the Bush and Obama administrations to allow for non-consensual disclosures for different purposes.
At that time, few parents were aware how federal law had been altered to allow their children’s information from being passed into private hands. Then controversy erupted over the plans of nine states and districts to share personal student data with a comprehensive databank called inBloom, developed with more than CONTINUE READING: How NY State Ed Department is trying to weaken student privacy by allowing the selling & marketing of personal data | Parent Coalition for Student Privacy

Mike Klonsky's Blog: Cunningham's response to the devastation of black communities? Bring in 'new people'.

Mike Klonsky's Blog: Cunningham's response to the devastation of black communities? Bring in 'new people'.

Cunningham's response to the devastation of black communities? Bring in 'new people'.

Just when you think we've heard the last from the disastrous duo of Arne Duncan and Peter Cunningham, they become media go-to guys on (of all things) gun violence and community development.

Remember, this was the pair that ran the Chicago Public Schools and the U.S. Dept. of Education for years, promoting austerity, mass school closings, privatization and uncapped expansion of privately-run charter schools in black communities. Their policies helped lead to the devastation of urban school districts and contributed to school re-segregation and the push-out of thousands of black and poor families from cities like Chicago.

Why media would turn to them for meaningful solutions to the problems they helped create is beyond me. But here we are.

Cunningham's Sun-Times commentary yesterday (To revive declining South and West Side neighborhoods, import people) was the most egregious. The headline says it all. Now that 300,000 African-Americans have been pushed out of Chicago over the past few decades, Cunningham sees their replacement with thousands of "new, middle-class people" as the city's salvation.

How unoriginal. I have referred to it as the whitenization of the cities. But it's deeper than that.

CUNNINGHAM QUOTES VITO...

Cunningham asks, just how do you attract the gentrifiers into formerly segregated, disinvested CONTINUE READING: Mike Klonsky's Blog: Cunningham's response to the devastation of black communities? Bring in 'new people'.


“Proving the impossible”: Teacher’s union president Mercedes Martinez on the mass uprising for justice in Puerto Rico – I AM AN EDUCATOR

“Proving the impossible”: Teacher’s union president Mercedes Martinez on the mass uprising for justice in Puerto Rico – I AM AN EDUCATOR

“Proving the impossible”: Teacher’s union president Mercedes Martinez on the mass uprising for justice in Puerto Rico

Jesse Hagopian spoke with Mercedes Martinez, president of the teachers union Federaci贸n de Maestros de Puerto Rico, the Teachers Federation of Puerto Rico or FMPR, as it is known, on July 26, one day after former Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rossell贸 announced his plan to resign amid mass protests and strikes sparked by revelations of his corruption and bigotry.
Protesters had many accumulated grievances, but what ignited the uprising was a series of text messages leaked by Centro de Periodismo Investigativo, the Center for Investigative Journalism. In the leaked messages, Rossell贸 and his associates insulted people who died during Hurricane Maria and made sexist and homophobic comments.
Martinez, a longtime movement leader, speaks about the ongoing struggle of Puerto Rican educators to defend the schools from privatization, colonial policies, and disaster capitalism that has harmed so many. But importantly, they focus their conversation on the great uprising that not only toppled Rossell贸 but is leading to radical new democratic organizing on the island.
Q: It’s incredible to see working people rise up and fight back at a truly massive scale after all the work that you’ve been putting in for years to organize your CONTINUE READING: “Proving the impossible”: Teacher’s union president Mercedes Martinez on the mass uprising for justice in Puerto Rico – I AM AN EDUCATOR