Latest News and Comment from Education

Sunday, October 27, 2019

LOIS WEINER: It’s Chicago Educators Versus the Ruling Class

It’s Chicago Educators Versus the Ruling Class

It’s Chicago Educators Versus the Ruling Class
Striking educators in Chicago are showing the country how union power can confront and turn back the abhorrent conditions of the neoliberal era.

Though the media is casting the strike of education workers in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) as (just) another episode in the wave of teachers’ strikes, and the press in Chicago is doing its best to defeat the union, this contract campaign has already set a new bar for resistance to policies on education and the economy in place for decades.Two unions whose members are mostly women, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and the union representing CPS support workers, SEIU Local 73, are directly challenging not only the billionaires who control the GOP and want policies that benefit their profits and strengthen their hold on government, but also the Democratic Party’s shell game of claiming to be friends of labor and education while continuing the disastrous bipartisan policies that have fostered inequality and degraded public education, especially in low-income communities of color.
Since the publication of “A Nation at Risk” in 1983, which launched what in hindsight we know was the US iteration of the global neoliberal project in education, schools and teaching throughout the country have been transformed — supported by liberals, labor, and the education establishment, which bought the rationale that schools and teachers could save the economy by adopting “excellence” reforms and later, privatization. Though groups of activist teachers and parents have been struggling to make schools something more than joyless sorting machines based on standardized tests, austerity has intensified the pain and unfairness of a narrowed curriculum tied to testing. Cutbacks in social services in the schools and in communities have made conditions in classrooms even worse.

Damage is most intense in the low-income Hispanic and African American communities that most depend on schools to be a refuge and help some students climb out of poverty. Chicago is no exception. Its schools are dirty, cleaned less often and less well, often by janitors working for private companies with CONTINUE READING: It’s Chicago Educators Versus the Ruling Class

Obama White House Photographer Suggests Trump Situation Room Photo of Unfolding al-Baghdadi Raid Was Staged

Obama White House Photographer Suggests Trump Situation Room Photo of Unfolding al-Baghdadi Raid Was Staged


The chief official White House photographer for former Presidents Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama suggested the Trump administration was posing for Saturday's stern-faced Situation Room picture in the wake of a U.S. military raid that resulted in the death of a major ISIS figurehead.

Pete Souza, the former director of the White House Photography Office, called the timestamp of the Situation Room picture into question Sunday morning. Souza inferred that it's very unlikely President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and several top administration officials and generals were actively monitoring the raid on ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's compound when the photograph was taken Saturday in Washington.
Souza took the famous photograph of Obama and a shocked then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton intently watching the Seal Team 6 raid on the Abbottabad compound that killed al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in 2011.

The raid, as reported, took place at 3:30PM Washington time. The photo, as shown in the camera IPTC data, was taken at "17:05:24". 

"The raid, as reported, took place at 3:30PM Washington time. The photo, as shown in the CONTINUE READING: Obama White House Photographer Suggests Trump Situation Room Photo of Unfolding al-Baghdadi Raid Was Staged

The Charter-to-Prison Pipeline -

The Charter-to-Prison Pipeline -

The Charter-to-Prison Pipeline
The charter system that often paints itself as a better option for black parents does not acknowledge the harm rigid disciplinary policies can impose on black students.

In late September, headlines flickered across my Twitter timeline about a six-year-old black girl who was arrested at school for a temper tantrum. In outrage and confusion, I opened up the articles to understand how such a thing could happen. 
It turns out that, actually, two six-year-olds were arrested. Their mugshots were taken. Both were charged with misdemeanors. 
Meralyn Kirkland came forward to the media to identify her granddaughter, Kaia, as one of the two children arrested. Kaia has sleep apnea and didn’t get enough rest the night prior, the grandmother explained. When she was taken to the office for being disruptive, she was grabbed by the wrist by a school staffer and began to kick. She was then arrested and charged.
Following public outcry, the charges against the children were dropped and the school resource officer who arrested them was fired. Despite these developments, the fact remains: six-year-olds were arrested.
It takes some digging through all the media headlines to find out, all this happened at a charter school.  CONTINUE READING: The Charter-to-Prison Pipeline - Work Hard, Be Hard: Journeys Through "No Excuses" Teaching eBook: Jim Horn: Kindle Store -

More Eyes Needed To Keep Watch On The Charter School Industry

More Eyes Needed To Keep Watch On The Charter School Industry

More Eyes Needed To Keep Watch On The Charter School Industry
Our oversight is “proactive and responsive.”- José Cole-Gutiérrez, LAUSD Charter School Division

The number of charter schools is growing rapidly. Just three years ago the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) reported that it was “the largest district charter school authorizer in the nation, with about 250 independent and affiliated charter schools serving over 130,000 students.” Today, there are about 320 charter schools being overseen by the district. With the state ignoring the request for a temporary moratorium and the board unwilling to enforce their own, the number of these publicly funded private schools will only increase.

Image result for california charter school growth
As much as the Charter School Division (CSD) aspires to being “proactive” in its oversight, the fact is that they are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of schools that operate under its jurisdiction. Since the money provided by the state does not cover the full cost of providing proper supervision, the district cannot provide the appropriate staffing to ensure that charters are operating within the bounds of the law. As a result, even a school like Granada Hills Charter High School, which is larger than 86% of all school districts nationwide, does not have one person from the CSD who is CONTINUE READING: More Eyes Needed To Keep Watch On The Charter School Industry

CATCH UP WITH CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Nearly Spooky Edition (10/26)

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: Nearly Spooky Edition (10/26)

 ICYMI:  Nearly Spooky Edition (10/26)

Here's the reading for the week. Remember to pass it on.

School Choice Has Not Cured Philadelphia's Ailing System  

The Inquirer takes a look at choice in Philly and the various problems it hasn't fixed.

The History of Privatization

Talking Points Memo takes a look a privatization across a series of articles, including public education.

Teach For America Will Not Save Us 

Larry Lee blogs about one of the "solutions" that will not help with Alabama's teacher shortage.

How To Reduce the Toxicity of Teen Girl Social Media Use 

Some good ideas for blunting the impact of social media on teens. Pretty sure this would work for boys, too.

Could Betsy DeVos Cost Trump the Election

Jennifer  Berkshire has made a few trips to Michigan, and this time she brought back an interesting angle on 2020 elections for the New Republic. To know DeVos is....well, not to love her, exactly, and that could well be cutting into the GOP base.

College Board Under Fire for Selling Student Data

No this isn't an old article from one of the other six zillion times the College Board has caught grief for monetizing young humans. This time it's Non Profit Quarterly noting their well-earned troubles.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn Pushes for USED To Move To Tennessee 

Okay, it's not going to happen, but it's an intriguing little proposal.

DeVos Held In Contempt By Court

Yes, you've already heard about this. But don't you want to read about it one more time?

City Fund Looking To Buy Elections 

Chalkbeat reports that one of the newer reformster groups is throwing large piles of money at local school board elections. Because democracy is just so damned inconvenient.


Taking Back Teacher Evaluations

There's a slowly-rising tide of writing out there focusing on principals and evaluations, quietly returning focus to the idea of making evaluations meaningful. It's a welcome change, because the status quo for the past over-a-decade has been the junk that disruptors stuck us with, in which teacher "evaluation" meant "slap some Big Standardized Test scores together and call that the teacher evaluat

OCT 25

Betsy DeVos Enlists Help Of Kellyanne Conway And American Enterprise Institute To Sell $5 Billion School Choice Program

At the beginning of this month, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway sat down with Rick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute to make one more pitch for DeVos’s Education Freedom Scholarships. The program seems unlikely to succeed on the federal level. What Is She Selling? The EFS are what’s known as a tax credit scholarship. Several states have them, a

OCT 24

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." B

OCT 23

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 Carran
CT: Another Way To Privatize Education

To read press accounts, one must conclude that Ray and Barbara Dalio are not exactly like other billionaire dabblers in education. He is a successful hedge fund manager and the richest guy in Connecticut. She immigrated from Spain fifty-ish years ago and worked at the Whitney before settling into the mom-and-kids track. He has announced that capitalism is not working, and that income gap is a huge

OCT 22

Vouchers And Federally-Supported Discrimination

School voucher programs are becoming one of the major fronts in a federal battle to safeguard discrimination by religious organizations. Some flaps created by private religious schools seem minor, like the pastor at a Catholic school who banned Harry Potter books because he believes the books contain “actual curses and spells.” But earlier this year, the Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis touch

OCT 20

ICYMI: Why I Write Day Edition (10/20)

I have an easier time understanding why some people write than I do understanding why so many people don't. Doesn't everybody need to? But then-- there are many things I don't fully understand, like why some people hate candy corn. While I'm pondering, here are some pieces of writing from the week for you to read and share. Murdoch-Funded Anti-Gerrymandering Group Raises Questions Not about educat

The most shocking and disturbing thing that I saw on line this week had nothing to do with politics. It was a post by a teacher explaining her school's disciplinary system. As with many systems, students have a color-coded behavior level monitored and adjusted throughout the day. Unlike any school I'd ever heard of before, students at this school receive a colored card for their behavior level tha

OCT 18

What Ever Happened To Rebecca Friedrichs?

You remember Rebecca Friedrichs. She was the face of the union-busting lawsuit of 2014 . Supreme Court Justice Alito signaled that he was ready and willing to hear a case that would revisit the issue of union free-riders, and the