Monday, December 23, 2019

7 Great Things that Happened in 2019, thanks to public education activism - Education Votes

7 Great Things that Happened in 2019, thanks to public education activism - Education Votes

7 Great Things that Happened in 2019, thanks to public education activism



By Amanda Menas
After more than a decade of deep education cuts and lagging teacher salaries, a renewed commitment to public schools is emerging because of educator advocacy and voter turnout. At #RedforEd rallies, phonebanks, and in voting booths, educators spoke up for students and public schools, making sure their legislators listened to their concerns. In 2019, educators have a lot to show for their efforts.

1. Educators rallied behind #RedForEd across the country

Indiana educators rallied for higher pay, increased school funding, and to highlight the growing teacher shortage. North and South Carolina educators rallied to demand legislators reinvest in their schools and to protest the chronic underfunding. Educators from Maryland and Texas showed up in the thousands to talk about below national average teacher salaries and per pupil funding, advocating for legislation in Maryland that would add $325 million in new education spending for teacher salaries, community schools, special education and pre-K, plus a commitment to add $750 million in fiscal year 2021. In Colorado, the educators took to the streets for fair, livable pay. Virginia educators vowed to hold legislators accountable for funding. Minnesota, Massachusetts, California, and Nevada also saw wins following rallies.
The state that saw the most drastic funding turnaround, however, is Oregon, which saw a historic funding victory. In August, Gov. Kate Brown signed into law the Student Success Act, a corporate tax program that invests an additional $2 billion for public education.

2. Educators took on DeVos to protect online college students– AND WON

Thanks to the determination of NEA and its allies, a federal court ordered Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to implement much-needed protections for U.S. students in online college programs.The DeVos administration’s defeat in federal court—the latest in a string of judicial strikeouts—marks another blast by NEA and its partners to DeVos’ anti-public education, pro-deregulation agenda.
This particular defeat stems from a lawsuit filed by three California educators with the support of NEA, the California Teachers Association (CTA), and the National Student Legal Defense Network (NSLDN). The plaintiffs pointed to DeVos’ rollback of federal protections for online students, specifically the “state authorization rule” that requires the Department of Education to share information with students about online higher education programs.

3. Public education champions won critical elections in 2019

Across the country, educators organized grassroots events, empowered members, and ran targeted member-to-member digital campaigns to highlight the important education issues in the 2019 elections. In Kentucky, educators worked hard to help elect Andy Beshear and Jacqueline Coleman as the state’s next Governor and Lt. Governor. Kentucky’s students and public schools were central to their campaign, and Beshear acknowledged educators’ hard work in his victory speech. Educators re-elected Gov. John Bel Edwards, who proved to be a partner to students, educators, and public schools in Louisiana.
NEA President Lily Eskelsen García shared the news of Virginia electing a pro-public education legislative majority, “Across the commonwealth, voters understood that the future of Virginia’s public schools was on the ballot. By electing public school champions, Virginia’s voters spoke loudly in demanding that every student has the opportunity to attend a quality public school and that CONTINUE READING: 7 Great Things that Happened in 2019, thanks to public education activism - Education Votes

The Billionaire Boys and Girls Club | Diane Ravitch's blog

The Billionaire Boys and Girls Club | Diane Ravitch's blog

The Billionaire Boys and Girls Club



NEW YORK — The Bloomberg Billionaires Index tracks the world’s 500 richest people on an almost continuous basis. 
The number and power of billionaires became an issue in the 2020 campaign, because both Senators Warren and Sanders have proposed a wealth tax aimed at billionaires to pay for their expansive social programs.
Bloomberg News updates the figures that feed its list after the close of every trading day at the New York Stock Exchange.
This is a list of the 500 richest people in the world. The list does not include Michael Bloomberg because the website he owns does not report on his wealth or political activities. If he were included he would be about #19 in the world with a net worth in excess of $50 billion.
Jeff Bezos was #1 until he divorced his wife and gave her $35 billion. Now he is #2  ($111 billion), almost tied with Bill Gates, who is #1 ($112 billion). The two are so close, they may change places on any given day.
Billionaires with less than $4 billion are not listed among the top 500 in the world. The list was copied on December 19, so the rankings may have changed slightly since then.
The three members of the Walton family–Jim, Alice, and Rob–are collectively worth more than $150 billion. They CONTINUE READING: The Billionaire Boys and Girls Club | Diane Ravitch's blog

GreatSchools Ratings Are Skewed (Matt Barnum, Gabrielle LaMarr LeMee) | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

GreatSchools Ratings Are Skewed (Matt Barnum, Gabrielle LaMarr LeMee) | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

GreatSchools Ratings Are Skewed (Matt Barnum, Gabrielle LaMarr LeMee)

Ranking and evaluating schools across the country is a blood sport. Superintendents prize high ratings for their schools and look closely at those labeled below average. Realtors advertise homes by including highly ranked schools as part of the appeal for the property. And parents ready to move into a new neighborhood look at schools with “A” grades and avoid schools “average” or worse. The premier organization that rates schools today is an independent, nonprofit founded in 1996 by Bill Jackson called GreatSchools. This Chalkbeat report points out that ratings of schools enrolling largely minority students get lower ratings than schools housing wealthier and white students. This report appeared December 5, 2019.
What’s the right way to judge a school?
Across the country, states and school districts have devised their own systems of letter grades and color-coded dashboards based on test scores and graduation rates. But arguably the most visible and influential school rating system in America comes from the nonprofit GreatSchools, whose 1-10 ratings appear in home listings on national real estate websites Zillow, Realtor.com, and Redfin. Forty-three million people visited GreatSchools’ site in 2018, the organization CONTINUE READING: GreatSchools Ratings Are Skewed (Matt Barnum, Gabrielle LaMarr LeMee) | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice



10 Ways to Support & Help Students with Anxiety in School - Teacher Habits

10 Ways to Support & Help Students with Anxiety in School - Teacher Habits

10 Ways to Support & Help Students with Anxiety in School


By Gigi Ward
Anxiety disorders affect millions of children each year, ranging from children experiencing panic attacks to disorders such as “school refusal” anxiety. 
According to recent statistics, 31.9% of adolescents, aged 13-18 in the US currently struggles with anxiety, around 7% of Australian children experiencing some type of anxiety disorder, 4.4% of 11-16 years old in the UK also having some kind of anxiety disorder, which is why it is imperative to tackle early signs and symptoms of anxiety in schoolchildren.
As a teacher, understanding children who experience anxiety in school while providing support and helping them to manage feelings of fear and panic are essential.

Common Causes of Anxiety in Schoolchildren

Children experience anxiety for a variety of reasons, often stemming from change, the fear of failure, or the fear of being unable to connect with their peers. Because each child is likely to experience anxiety for CONTINUE READING: 10 Ways to Support & Help Students with Anxiety in School - Teacher Habits

Top Posts of 2019 | radical eyes for equity

Top Posts of 2019 | radical eyes for equity

Top Posts of 2019


You’ll notice a trend around the “science of reading” Reading War that gained momentum in 2019. Since I spent so much of the past year writing about that topic, I am now using much of that work to compose a new book for IAP: How to End the Reading War and Serve the Literacy Needs of All Students: A Primer for Parents, Policy Makers, and People Who Care. Hoping to have this to the publisher early in 2020.
As always, I am thankful for those who visit this blog and read my work. It is the focal point of my writer life, my advocacy, and my scholarship.
At this writing, my blog has 10,400 followers, and in 2019, had 122,746 visitors with 175,492 views.
I learn a great deal sitting at my laptop and composing several days each week. Without an audience, I must wonder if I am a writer, so those who read, again, are very important to me.
Top 10 posts of 2019:
Not quite Top 10, but want to give these an additional bump:
16. Dog in the Sink 590
Top Posts of 2019 | radical eyes for equity




Behind The Lens episode 61:'Even if a school is not performing well, parents generally don't want to see this overturn every year.' | The Lens

Behind The Lens episode 61:'Even if a school is not performing well, parents generally don't want to see this overturn every year.' | The Lens

Behind The Lens episode 61:'Even if a school is not performing well, parents generally don't want to see this overturn every year.'

This week on Behind The Lens:
Charters for two New Orleans schools will not be renewed next year – and one of those schools will return to Orleans Parish School Board control. Marta Jewson has the story.
Also, the governing board of the Morial Convention Center deferred a vote to approve an architect for a half-billion dollar capital improvement plan. Michael Isaac Stein explains.
And two months after the Hard Rock Hotel collapse, local unions and community members petition City Hall, demanding better laws to protect workers.



Behind The Lens episode 61:'Even if a school is not performing well, parents generally don't want to see this overturn every year.' | The Lens





Some Kennedy HS students move on, others still working toward diplomas


In a way, Dwayne Crenshaw was one of the lucky members of the John F. Kennedy High School class of 2019. Unlike dozens of other Kennedy students, when he walked at graduation last May, he actually graduated. 
As a result of pervasive mismanagement, about half the members of the class of 2019 were found ineligible to graduate on time, though the majority didn’t find that out until about a month after the graduation ceremony. More than half a year later, some are still trying to finish high school. Some finished, but months later than they had expected. 
Some experienced a bit less disruption to their lives. They got their diplomas over the summer and, in many cases, just finished their first semester of college. Crenshaw is in that group. 
That’s not to say he looks back fondly. 
“I feel like I have completely washed my hands of the school. I do not affiliate myself with them,” he said of his high school. “They could have handled it more professionally and handled it with more empathy.”
Crenshaw had planned to attend North Carolina A&T State University in the fall. But he’s CONTINUE READING: Some Kennedy HS students move on, others still working toward diplomas

Education Law Center: A Graphic Display of the Battle to Preserve Public Funds for Public Schools in 2019 | Diane Ravitch's blog

Education Law Center: A Graphic Display of the Battle to Preserve Public Funds for Public Schools in 2019 | Diane Ravitch's blog

Education Law Center: A Graphic Display of the Battle to Preserve Public Funds for Public Schools in 2019

The Education Law Center created this graphic and explanatory information about the battle to keep public funds in public schools. The graphic shows the state of the voucher movement and identifies which states have advanced or repelled efforts to privatize public funding to religious and private schools via vouchers. It is heartening to see the number of states that rejected voucher legislation, especially when such legislation was defeated by a coalition of rural Republican legislators and urban Democratic legislators, as was the case in Texas and Arkansas. Thanks to all those who are joining forces to keep public funds in public schools.
pic1pic2
PRIVATE SCHOOL VOUCHERS: ANALYSIS OF 2019 STATE LEGISLATIVE SESSIONS


For a larger version and a text description of this map with a list of the states in each category, click ​here​.
In anticipation of states’ 2020 legislative sessions, this is the first in a series about the fate of private school voucher proposals during 2019 sessions.
Introduction
Despite the continued promotion of school privatization by U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, as well as support from a number of governors, legislatures, and well-funded advocacy organizations across the country, only two states enacted new private school voucher programs during their 2019 legislative sessions. Although some states expanded existing voucher programs, most passed no voucher legislation at all, and the majority of those that did made small-scale changes.
2019 Legislative Session Highlights:
  • Bipartisan majorities in Georgia, Kentucky, and West Virginia rejected voucher proposals supported by those states’ newly elected governors.
  • Although 22 states have full Republican control, only Florida and Tennessee were able to pass legislation creating new voucher programs in votes largely along party lines.
  • In Nevada, just a few years after the nation’s most expansive Education Savings Account (ESA) voucher law was passed, a new governor signed a bill repealing the program, which had never been implemented.
2019 Legislative Session Lowlights:

Tier one and tier two and fixin’ to die. – Fred Klonsky

Tier one and tier two and fixin’ to die. – Fred Klonsky

TIER ONE AND TIER TWO AND FIXIN’ TO DIE

We have a Honda CRV that we bought in 2013.  Anne and I are both 71 and we don’t want to buy another car. Living in the city means there are plenty of transportation alternatives that don’t involve trying to find a parking spot after six in evening in Logan Square. Which is already impossible to do.
But we are hanging on to this one for as long as we can.
We take good are of the car so that it will last. Last week I took it in for a scheduled oil change and maintenance service. I change the wiper blades with the oil change even if they seem to be working okay.
Yesterday I received a customer survey and the final demographic question had to do with my age.
Most forms end with “65 and above,” which I think is stupid since there is a great deal of difference between a 65 year old and an 85 year old and I found it a little disturbing to be in the final category when I hit 65.
Honda’s last category ends at 49. Nothing above that.
I’m hoping my Honda CRV lasts a long time. It seems Honda does not hope the same for CONTINUE READING: Tier one and tier two and fixin’ to die. – Fred Klonsky

Charter Schools, Harrisburg & Mayor Peduto Created Pittsburgh Public Schools’ Budget Deficit | gadflyonthewallblog

Charter Schools, Harrisburg & Mayor Peduto Created Pittsburgh Public Schools’ Budget Deficit | gadflyonthewallblog

Charter Schools, Harrisburg & Mayor Peduto Created Pittsburgh Public Schools’ Budget Deficit

Where did all the money go?
Superintendent Dr. Anthony Hamlet has asked for a 2.3% tax increase to cover the shortfall, but school directors ended up approving his spending plan without approving the tax increase.
The school board will meet on Friday to decide whether to ultimately raise taxes or make cuts including possible staff furloughs.
But in the meantime, city residents are left wondering why the measure was necessary in the first place.
After all, student enrollment has gone down at the second biggest district in the state CONTINUE READING: Charter Schools, Harrisburg & Mayor Peduto Created Pittsburgh Public Schools’ Budget Deficit | gadflyonthewallblog

9 Poems in 2019 | radical eyes for equity

9 Poems in 2019 | radical eyes for equity

9 Poems in 2019
Writing poetry is a distinctly different process for me when compared to blogging or traditional scholarly writing such as essays for journals, chapters for books, or complete book volumes. Poetry, as I tend to explain, simply comes to me for no conscious rhyme or reason.
Often, I quickly type out those first bursts in Notes on my smartphone, mailing that draft to myself. Some days, I revise on that Notes draft because my brain is frantically working before I am unable to find a space to stop in front of the laptop and properly draft.
Poems typically are revised over several hours while I drift back and forth between that draft and other work, writing, or such.
2019 included 9 completed poems, included below. They are good representations of how my poetry tends to focus on relationships (my deceased father recurs in the poems below), playing with and being fascinated with language and grammar (many of these poems began with obsessing on a specific word), and body parts. I always must share that I am deeply indebted to those works that inspire me—new music, novels, etc.
9 poems of 2019:

9 Poems in 2019 | radical eyes for equity

CURMUDGUCATION: WI: Pre-K Cyberschool Shenanigans

CURMUDGUCATION: WI: Pre-K Cyberschool Shenanigans

WI: Pre-K Cyberschool Shenanigans

A few Wisconsin legislators have a dumb idea for a law. They'd like to spend $1.5 million on cyberschool-- on line computerized instruction-- for pre-schoolers.

This is just layers and layers of dumb.

First, cyberschools in general have proven to be lousy. Spectacularly lousy-- and that's in a study run by an organization sympathetic to charters.. Students would be better off spending a year playing video games lousy. So bad that even other charter school promoters won't defend them lousy. In short, outside very specific sets of special needs, there is no evidence that cyberschooling works.


Second, while there is still considerable debate, the general consensus is that screen time for littles should be somewhere between very small amounts and none at all.

Third, academic studies are a lousy idea for littles, unlikely to yield real benefits even as they may create real harm.

But education committee chair Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt is either unaware or unconcerned-- well, I don't know how he can be either. The man has an elementary education degree (from Martin Luther College) and taught for some time at Winnebago Lutheran Academy. Now, yes-- MLC has as its purpose the cranking out of witnesses to the Lutheran faith (and playing sports). And yes, WLA is a private religious school that exists to "glorify God" (and play sports). But I've known plenty of Lutherans, and there's nothing about being Lutheran that CONTINUE READING: 
CURMUDGUCATION: WI: Pre-K Cyberschool Shenanigans

Chaz's School Daze: The Podcast School Colors Is An Interesting Listen

Chaz's School Daze: The Podcast School Colors Is An Interesting Listen

The Podcast School Colors Is An Interesting Listen

Image result for School Colors

School Colors is a podcast that focuses on District 16 schools in Brooklyn and while I don't agree with many of their conclusions, I still believe it is an interesting listen.

The podcast has eight episodes and follows a chronology.   It starts with the Ocean Hill-Brownsville  experiment that resulted in the longest teacher strike in NYC history and ends with the attempted integration of Bedford-Stuyvesant.  The episodes are as follows"

Episode 1:  Old SchoolEpisode 


2: Power to the PeopleEpisode 

3: Third StrikeEpisode 

4 Agitate! Educate! Organize!Episode 

5 The Disappearing DistrictEpisode 

6 Mo' Charters, Mo' ProblemsEpisode 

7 New Kids on the BlockEpisode 

8 On the MoveInterview: Night at the Library


I believe that no matter what side you are on the podcast is a must listen.



Chaz's School Daze: The Podcast School Colors Is An Interesting Listen