Thursday, October 24, 2019

CHARTER SCHOOL TAKEOVER WAR HEATS UP IN BROAD OCCUPIED OAKLAND USD - Chaos, arrests at Oakland school board meeting – East Bay Times

Chaos, arrests at Oakland school board meeting – East Bay Times

CHARTER SCHOOL TAKEOVER WAR HEATS UP IN BROAD OCCUPIED OAKLAND USD - Chaos, arrests at Oakland school board meeting
One taken to hospital after police barricade rushed, confrontation ensues

OAKLAND — Oakland schools police arrested six protesters during a board meeting at Oakland Unified School District headquarters, authorities said Wednesday.
Around 6:30 p.m., shortly after the meeting was underway in an auditorium at La Escuelita education center, 1050 Second Ave., several people rushed a police-installed barricade that had been set up between the board and a large crowd of audience members, Oakland Unified schools spokesman John Sasaki said.
Six were arrested on suspicion of disturbing the peace and disturbing a public meeting, and one person was taken to an area hospital after a complaint of leg pain during the fracas.
During previous recent board meetings, protesters, most with a group called Oakland Not For Sale alongside other allied organizations, had shut down one and attempted to shut down another as recently as two weeks ago.
“This time they went a bit further,” said Sasaki, who added that the barricade had been brought in to protect board members, including the board president, who is pregnant and was set to take some months’ leave after tonight’s meeting. “We were very concerned about her safety.”
“We appreciate and support people in Oakland and their right to protest. We appreciate that, in some cases, they want to express displeasure with decisions made by the board of education,” Sasaki said.
“At the same time, the board of education has to conduct its business and they have to do it CONTINUE READING: Chaos, arrests at Oakland school board meeting – East Bay Times

Naming race in the school enrollment process - SF PUBLIC SCHOOL MOM

Naming race in the school enrollment process - SF PUBLIC SCHOOL MOM

Naming race in the school enrollment process

Last Monday, I attended an SFUSD Board of Education Ad Hoc Student Assignment Committee Mtg. which is taking on the daunting task of implementing a Board Resolution directing district staff to redesign SFUSD’s Student Assignment System.
I’ll be transparent in stating I have many “feels” about this work, and whether we should be doing it. I didn’t vote for this resolution (I wasn’t on the Board when it was approved. In fact, I stood in agreement with many other parent leaders on parent advisory councils (such as the SPED CAC, AAPAC, and SF Families Union, who have consistently asked the District to focus on investing resources into increasing programs and enrollment in under-enrolled schools.
As you may imagine, there has been decades-long discussion around this topic, which I won’t go into here. If you are interested in recent presentations to the Board, you can find last Monday’s presentation here, and previous presentations here, and here.
The purpose of last Monday’s meeting was to discuss a district definition of “quality schools” called for in the Resolution, which set this whole process in motion and to understand the Commissioner’s priorities on three primary goals outlined in staff’s work: Proximity, Predictability, and Diversity.

We can’t fix it if we don’t talk about it

I found it interesting that in discussing the topic of “school choice,” “quality schools,” and “diversity,” staff seemed to be dancing around the real issues impacting SFUSD’s school enrollment process. Too many families pick the same ten schools, and primarily these choices are made (either intentionally or unintentionally) around the racial demographics of students at the school. I wrote about this observation a while back in a post titled: Most Requested” or Most White?:
When central office staff talk about why some schools are so highly requested (some are harder to get into than Harvard, while others have a Kindergarten class size of 14), many cite parent concerns around the race and socioeconomic status of the children who go there. Often, the challenges we are discussing aren’t really about “parent choice” or “predictability.” On a deeper level, we are talking about segregation and integration and the CONTINUE READING: Naming race in the school enrollment process - SF PUBLIC SCHOOL MOM

Don't Reinvent the Wheel - Reuse It - Teacher Habits

Don't Reinvent the Wheel - Reuse It - Teacher Habits

Don’t Reinvent the Wheel – Reuse It

By Brian Rock
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you may recall the article, Not Every Lesson Is a Lexus. The thrust of the argument was that you cannot – and should not – try to go above and beyond while planning every lesson. It’s not sustainable, and you’ll burn out. Well today we’re going to talk about a corollary to that. Don’t reinvent the wheel – reuse it.
Many teachers are overwhelmed by stress and work. Some of this comes with the territory, but a lot of it is caused by undue pressure from a number of sources.
Lesson plan templates that call for excruciating detail.
Administrators who harp on student engagement and expect every lesson to be as engaging as an amusement park.
New initiatives that call for every iota of content to be relevant and for every task you assign to be high on Bloom’s taxonomy.
The expectation that every piece of student work receives substantive, meaningful feedback.
It’s just not possible.
That’s not to say any of these things are bad. But as the old saying CONTINUE READING: Don't Reinvent the Wheel - Reuse It - Teacher Habits

Students as Writers and Thinkers: Another Grading Dilemma | radical eyes for equity

Students as Writers and Thinkers: Another Grading Dilemma | radical eyes for equity

Students as Writers and Thinkers: Another Grading Dilemma



A high school ELA teacher who completed the certification program where I teach was telling me recently about one of her students. The student, the teacher explained, had submitted an essay that the student worked diligently on, completing multiple drafts.
The teacher noted that the final essay showed marked improvement in the writing, but grading the essay also posed a dilemma because despite substantive feedback on the content from the teacher, the student simply made very little progress in thinking well about the topic.
person holding ballpoint pen writing on notebook
Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash
Having taught high school ELA and then at the college level for 18 years each, I quipped, “That’s what Bs are for,” adding, “Maybe a B+.”
I wasn’t being as cavalier as it seems because I have navigated this problem hundreds of times since most of my teaching of writing has been situated in the lives of teenagers and young adults. Compounding the concern for brain development—that this age group is still developing the CONTINUE READING: Students as Writers and Thinkers: Another Grading Dilemma | radical eyes for equity

Chicago’s Citywide Strike Just Spread to Charter School Teachers

Chicago’s Citywide Strike Just Spread to Charter School Teachers

Chicago’s Citywide Strike Just Spread to Charter School Teachers

More than 32,000 Chicago Public School (CPS) teachers and staff—one out every 100 people in the city—have been on strike since October 17. On Tuesday, the ranks of the striking workers—represented by the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and SEIU Local 73—swelled a little further as nearly 40 teachers walked off the job at Passages Charter School on the city’s north side.
This is the first time that district and charter teachers have struck simultaneously in Chicago, an occasion marked by high energy and a raucous chorus of “Solidarity Forever” on the picket line. The city’s unionized charter teachers all belong to CTU, which represents 25,000 CPS teachers and support staff, following a merger last year. Members of the Association of Flight Attendants’ Master Executive Council, which represents United Airlines workers preparing to negotiate a new contract, also joined the group.
“We feel really powerful today,” Kady Pagano, a pre-kindergarten teacher at Passages who is on the union’s negotiating team, told In These Times. This is Pagano’s first time on strike, after teaching last year at a non-union community center. “The difference is night and day,” she said.
It’s also the fourth time Chicago charter teachers have struck in the last year, with the last strike against two separate operators leading to wins on issues like class-size caps, and staffing and pay bumps for teachers and staff making well below their CPS CONTINUE READING: Chicago’s Citywide Strike Just Spread to Charter School Teachers

CURMUDGUCATION: NC: When Charters Become Orphans

CURMUDGUCATION: NC: When Charters Become Orphans

NC: When Charters Become Orphans

The TeamCFA website promises that the foundation exists "to promote the academic growth and success of each student in each TeamCFA school as well as the growth of the entire network. Each school in the TeamCFA network receives long term, meaningful partnership and oversight from the TeamCFA Foundation, with specific regard to academics, business, and governance through the Affiliate Agreement." But apparently "long term" does not mean what you think t means, because organization's leaders have bailed on the North Carolina charters that they helped birth.

So long. Good luck.
TeamCFA is itself the offspring of John Bryan, a retired businessman in his mid-80s who wanted to spread some free market libertarian love. He's not a fan of unions and repeats the old talking point about how spending money on education helps.He has contributed to plenty of conservative groups, but for some reason (people keep asking, but I've never seen a real answer) has particularly fixated on North Carolina, where he threw a lot of money at passage of the Innovative School District law, another version of Tennessee's failed Achievement School District, a system in which the state takes over schools with low test scores and tries to turn them around (or gives them to charter management groups to fix). The North Carolina just skips straight to the "give them to a CMO" part, but as one writer noted, it's a sweet deal.

TeamCFA had its own chain of charters which it helped launch with big six-figure "forgivable loans."

Now, the leadership at TeamCFA has bailed.

Some changes were not unexpected. In 2017, Bryan announced that he was retiring, and TeamCFA would need to find another money tree. TeamCFA fiddled with its business model, but they had CONTINUE READING: 
CURMUDGUCATION: NC: When Charters Become Orphans


The Chicago Teachers On Strike: ‘Until We Get What Our Students Deserve’ – I AM AN EDUCATOR

The Chicago Teachers On Strike: ‘Until We Get What Our Students Deserve’ – I AM AN EDUCATOR

The Chicago Teachers On Strike: ‘Until We Get What Our Students Deserve’

fter Mayor Lori Lightfoot rejected the demands of the Chicago Teachers Union, 25,000 teachers and 7,000 support staff launched a strike on Thursday, October 17, shutting down the schools for some 300,000 students. Also on the picket line were members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 73, representing Special Education Classroom Assistants.
On day two of the strike, Seattle high school teacher Jesse Hagopian interviewed elementary school teacher Jesse McAdoo about the conditions in the Chicago Public Schools and why he’s walking the picket line for the schools Chicago children deserve.
Chicago educators are asking that everyone who stands in solidarity with the strike wear red and take a photo on Thursday, Oct. 24th and post the photo on social media with the hashtag, #PutItInWriting.
Jesse Hagopian: You’re starting the second day of the strike. What was the mood on the picket line over the last couple of days?
Jesse McAdoo: It has been straight fire. All of my coworkers showed up right at 6:30. We had tables set up, there was food out. Just everybody lifting each other up—amazing energy. And that fire pushed us through the cold morning. Dancing the Cha Cha Cha and the chanting. I mean, we’re having a good time out there. You got to have that good energy and that fire and remember that we’re in this together.
Hagopian: Tell me about what you teach and how long you’ve taught. What are the CONTINUE READING: The Chicago Teachers On Strike: ‘Until We Get What Our Students Deserve’ – I AM AN EDUCATOR

SAC CITY USD BUDGET MESS AND WEAR RED FOR CHICAGO TEACHERS ON THURSDAY

Choosing Democracy
WEAR RED FOR CHICAGO ON THURSDAY

Wear Red for Chicago teachers on Thursday.
Yesterday I was on the picket lines in Chicago with Elizabeth Warren. She took time from the campaign trail to come to Chicago to support the members of the Chicago Teachers Union and SEIU Local 73, who are entering the seventh day of their strike. 


And she’s not the only one standing with them. Bernie Sanders has been at CTU rallies. Cory Booker met with Chicago teachers earlier this week. Joe Biden had a phone call with striking teachers and school staff. And multiple other candidates have tweeted their support. 
and read the post about the Sacramento USD budget below. 

The Mess in the SCUSD Budget

Nikki Milevsky Stands Up tom Sac Bee Bully Marcos Breton
Sacramento, October 17, 2019--This morning the Sacramento Bee posted an op ed from SCTA First Vice President Nikki Milevsky in which she responds to the latest attack from Sac Bee opinion writer Marcos Breton.
You can view her editorial here, or read below:

"Four weeks into this new school year, more than 100 teaching vacancies remain unfilled. Thousands of Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD) students are in classrooms without fully credentialed educators. At C.K. McClatchy High School, one government teacher surveyed her class and found that more than half of her students had a temporary substitute teacher for some of their classes.
How did we get into such a mess?
In February, SCUSD somehow failed to count 730 students in its enrollment figures – which could have been an $8 million per year mistake. Incredibly, the district superintendent and the county administrator charged with overseeing the district’s finances confirmed the error on April 1, but hid this information from the public. Nevertheless, SCUSD plowed ahead in May with layoffs.

While the district reports substantially lower numbers, we know that more than 400 staff were laid off – including 175 certificated teachers – making SCUSD the only major school district in California to implement mass layoffs during a national teacher shortage.
Now the district can’t fill positions. Would you want to work in a school district that lays off dynamic young educators based on dodgy budget numbers?
In March, a top state education finance official, Michael Fine, said he has “no confidence” in the district’s financial data and that he has other serious concerns. District leaders also kept this information from the public and even from members of the school board.
In the face of poorly staffed classrooms, improper budgets and “no confidence” from state officials, what’s the path forward for Sacramento public schools?
Sacramento Bee columnist Marcos Bretón thinks he has the answer: He says teachers should sit down and shut up. Breton believes the Sacramento City Teachers Association (SCTA), which represents district educators, should accept whatever the school board demands. He maintains teachers should agree to set aside the collective bargaining agreement, a contract that was personally negotiated by the superintendent with union representatives and unanimously approved by the school board.
Bretón also says teachers and others who care about our schools should stop organizing, stop talking and stop holding our elected school board accountable.
You are wrong, Mr. Bretón. This situation is too critical to stay silent and, as education activists, we won’t apologize for robustly advocating on behalf of our students and families. READ MORE: 
Choosing Democracy


Betsy DeVos blasts ‘Tinseltown’ for ignoring a movie she likes and calls her critics ‘bullies’ - The Washington Post

Betsy DeVos blasts ‘Tinseltown’ for ignoring a movie she likes and calls her critics ‘bullies’ - The Washington Post

Betsy DeVos blasts 'Tinseltown’ for ignoring a movie she likes and calls her critics ‘bullies’


Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Wednesday used a speech marking the 15th anniversary of a school voucher program to blast Hollywood for not supporting a movie she likes. She also used a new term for her critics: “bullies.”
DeVos appeared at a celebration of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, the only federally funded school voucher program in the country. It uses public money to provide subsidies to more than 1,000 low-income families to help pay for tuition at private and religious schools.

The controversial program was signed into law in 2004 by President George W. Bush but had its funding phased out in 2009 by President Barack Obama before being restored by a Republican Congress.
For decades, DeVos has been a big supporter of vouchers and similar programs that use public money for private and religious education. A leader in the “school choice” movement, DeVos has used her pulpit as education secretary to extol alternatives to traditional public schools. Before she was tapped by President Trump to run the Education Department, DeVos called public schools “a dead end” and has made clear, as has Trump, that the administration’s key education priority is expanding “choice” options.
DeVos and her supporters say many public schools fail students and that families deserve alternatives. Critics say public money should not be used for religious education and that vouchers drain resources from public schools, which educate most of America’s schoolchildren.
Several reports in recent years on school voucher programs throughout the country show students in those programs score lower on standardized tests than their peers who don’t get vouchers. But voucher supporters say these studies don’t account for all of the benefits.
In her speech Wednesday, DeVos described critics who oppose her school “choice” agenda as “bullies.” That agenda includes the administration’s $5 billion Education Freedom Scholarships proposal, which CONTINUE READING: Betsy DeVos blasts ‘Tinseltown’ for ignoring a movie she likes and calls her critics ‘bullies’ - The Washington Post

Dallas Chamber of Commerce Accelerates Attack on Public Schools | tultican

Dallas Chamber of Commerce Accelerates Attack on Public Schools | tultican

Dallas Chamber of Commerce Accelerates Attack on Public Schools



By Thomas Ultican 10/24/2019
Elites living in upscale mostly white Dallas communities are spending heavily to privatize public schools. Dallas demographics are basically a three way split with Hispanics (41.7%), whites (29.1%) and blacks (24%). However, whites living in trendy neighborhoods like Highland Park where Teach For America (TFA) founder Wendy Kopp grew up dominate the business community. In 2012, 16-years after a group of wealthy outsiders failed in their effort to take over Dallas public schools a new privatization agenda was launched.
When reporting on the 2012 takeover effort, award winning columnist of the Texas Observer, Jim Schulze, described that first attempt,
“In 1996, when well-funded, mainly white reformers came in with big manila folders of statistics under their arms preaching about outcomes and incomes, there was open warfare. Board meetings dissolved into riots.
“The New Black Panthers threatened to show up at school headquarters armed with shotguns. Tangles between angry speakers and district security guards were beginning to make board meetings look like Total Nonstop Action Wrestling.
“The New Black Panthers painted the white school board members as bogus crackers. Then a neighbor of one white trustee proved them right by wiretapping the trustee using racial slurs. The superintendent resigned. The next superintendent got sent to the pen. A dismal series of financial scandals ensued. The school district wound up looking like bad fruit erupted in the merciless Texas sun. So here we go again?”
In 2011, the Dallas Chamber of Commerce paid for local political leaders to visit Denver, Los Angeles and Houston to learn more about charter schools. Superintendent Michael Hinojosa and trustee Bernadette Nutall were in the CONTINUE READING: Dallas Chamber of Commerce Accelerates Attack on Public Schools | tultican

CURMUDGUCATION: NYC: Testing Is Still Not Teaching

CURMUDGUCATION: NYC: Testing Is Still Not Teaching

NYC: Testing Is Still Not Teaching

People say dumb things when they're trying to defend bad policy decisions.

Alex Zimmerman at Chalkbeat reports that New York City schools are going to hit third and sixth graders at 76 schools labeled "low performing" by the state with three more tests per year. This is part of a plan to start testing the crap out of students doing formative assessments four times a year. Chancellor Richard Carranza's justification is that the tests are "to help the education department understand whether students are mastering material across the system in 'real time,' allowing officials to direct extra help to schools where students are struggling."


This is a dumb idea. Really dumb. You know what makes students struggle, in "real time"? Having their school year interrupted every other month by days of testing. Having their school year shortened by several weeks that are spent testing instead.

When this dumb plan was initially floated out there, the department didn't offer any details about where the tests would come from, who would create them, or what they would focus on. Mike Mulgrew, president of the city's teacher union, does not always say smart things, but he did this time:

How do you use a standardized formative assessment when you don’t have any sort of standardized curriculum?

Well, you can't, but as it turns out, the district didn't even try.

Instead, they're going to use the NWEA MAP test, an assessment in a box. It's normed (sort of) which CONTINUE READING: 
CURMUDGUCATION: NYC: Testing Is Still Not Teaching


NYC Public School Parents: Our letter in response to the College Board asking for corrections

NYC Public School Parents: Our letter in response to the College Board asking for corrections

Our letter in response to the College Board asking for corrections

Yesterday, we sent a letter to the College Board in response to a letter they sent to us on October 18th, claiming inaccuracies in our petition urging the Attorney General to investigate the College Board's selling of student data, and in the fact sheet we posted that warned parents whose children are taking the PSAT/SAT/ACT/AP exams.

Check out the College Board's letter, as well as our response below.





Kidney stones and employer-based health insurance suck. – Fred Klonsky

Kidney stones and employer-based health insurance suck. – Fred Klonsky

KIDNEY STONES AND EMPLOYER-BASED HEALTH INSURANCE SUCK

Warren-Joins-Striking-Teachers-640x427
Elizabeth Warren and Randi Weingarten in Chicago to support teachers and staff on strike. One supports national health care. One doesn’t.
American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten has been in town supporting the CTU and SEIU strikers.
One of the issues of bargaining is the cost of health insurance to CPS employees.
The thing about employer-based insurance is that it is always an issue of bargaining, which always makes it tenuous as a benefit. Benefits are always a problematic part of compensation. It is easier to take away a benefit than take away direct compensation and it is always a target for “cost savings.”
She prefers a system where the cost of health care must be renegotiated every time there is bargaining and it rarely ends well for the employee.
The other night Jonathan got hit with a painful kidney stone that sent him to the ER.
  Discharge. Turns out, I have a copay. I knew it. If they admit you, the copay is waived. If they don’t, the copay’s a buck fifty. Why should NOT having surgery cost over one hundred dollars?
This is a “health care cost savings” agreed to by my union. The high ER copay supposedly is to discourage frivolous use. But CONTINUE READING: Kidney stones and employer-based health insurance suck. – Fred Klonsky

Petition 2019 | How to complete a California initiative petition



Petition 2019 | How to complete a California initiative petition