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Wednesday, February 5, 2020

NANCY BAILEY: The Science of Reading Plot to Replace Reading Teachers with Phonics on a Screen

The Science of Reading Plot to Replace Reading Teachers with Phonics on a Screen

The Science of Reading Plot to Replace Reading Teachers with Phonics on a Screen


Not only are school districts spending huge sums on laptops with little research to indicate students learn better on computers, they’re also pushing children to face screens to learn the most serious subject, how to read. They’re doing this alongside efforts by corporate reformers to kick teachers out of the classroom, and by promoting the idea that teachers don’t understand a Science of Reading.
The Science of Reading (SoR) refers to explicit systematic or structured phonics. This argument has been around for a long time, but it recently resurfaced, and it seems a bit different. Now phonics is on a screen.
Commercial programs in reading and phonics have always been sold to school districts for teachers to use. In the past, this process usually involved a vetting process where parents and teachers would help choose the district program. Sometimes there has been controversy over those programs. 
The difference today is that those programs are increasingly digital with embedded digital assessment. Phonics fits into software well. Think of it as worksheets on a CONTINUE READING: The Science of Reading Plot to Replace Reading Teachers with Phonics on a Screen

NYC Public School Parents: FAQ for parents and teachers on Regents "exit exams" and why they should be eliminated

NYC Public School Parents: FAQ for parents and teachers on Regents "exit exams" and why they should be eliminated

FAQ for parents and teachers on Regents "exit exams" and why they should be eliminated


The Board of Regents and the New York State Education Department are re-examining the use of Regents "exit exams" as a requirement for high school graduation, and are holding a series of regional public sessions to gather input from parents, teachers and other stakeholders before making any changes to the current policy.  These meetings will be held in Brooklyn Feb. 26-27;  Queens on March 10, and Staten Island on March 11, with sessions to be added soon in Bronx and Manhattan.   The list of sessions statewide is posted here, along with times and locations.
NY State Allies for Public Education and Class Size Matters have prepared the following fact sheet to inform parents in preparation for these sessions.  It summarizes the research showing the negative impact of exit exams on drop out and incarceration rates, and the fact that in recent years, most states that once required them have now eliminated them.

If you want your voice heard on this critical issue, please attend these meetings while bringing copies of the fact sheet to share with other parents, and/or email the State Education Department to express your views at GradMeasures@nysed.gov.  Thanks!


NYC Public School Parents: FAQ for parents and teachers on Regents "exit exams" and why they should be eliminated

Shawgi Tell : Waste and Failure in Cyber Charter Schools | Dissident Voice

Waste and Failure in Cyber Charter Schools | Dissident Voice

Waste and Failure in Cyber Charter Schools

While waste, corruption, and failure have plagued the segregated and nontransparent charter school sector for decades, privately-operated-owned cyber charter schools, even by the admission of the most dogmatic supporters of charter schools, are the worst of the worst.
The academic performance of cyber charter schools is consistently abysmal; they have a very high failure rate. Most students enrolled in online charter schools receive a low-quality education. For this reason, many online charter schools often close, leaving many families high and dry. Along with this, many in the charter school sector are angry because the consistently awful performance of cyber charter schools makes poor-performing brick-and-mortar charter schools look extra bad.
Theft and waste of public funds in privately-operated-owned cyber charter schools is also notoriously high and possibly even worse than in brick-and-mortar charter schools. Endless news reports of high-profile corruption cases have rocked the online charter school sector in recent years. With the CONTINUE READING: Waste and Failure in Cyber Charter Schools | Dissident Voice


Racist dress codes in schools are the new ‘whites only’ signs

Racist dress codes in schools are the new ‘whites only’ signs

Dress codes are the new ‘whites only’ signs
How else to interpret the policing and controlling of black bodies?

Ever since enslaved blacks arrived on the shores of the English colony of Virginia in 1619, white legislators at various levels of government have designed laws to explicitly control and suppress black people. In 1857, in its Dred Scott decision, the Supreme Court decided that black people were not citizens and did not have the right to sue in federal court. Our bondage continued even after the abolition of slavery in 1865: Southern states legislated black codes immediately after the Civil War, denying black people the right to vote and restricting their movement. In some municipalities, called “sundown towns,” blacks were not allowed to enter after dark. “Whites only” signs littered public spaces throughout the 20th century. It was illegal in so many ways for black people to simply be in a country supposedly built on the unalienable, natural rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

When racism is the overarching, unwritten law of the land, any and every rule can and will be used to control black people. Those who would have us return to a period of legal segregation don’t need to bring back signposts to separate us when they can discriminate in other ways, simply on the basis of how we look, how we dress, and how we wear our hair. When dress codes reinforce white norms, being black becomes a violation. CONTINUE READING: Racist dress codes in schools are the new ‘whites only’ signs

Graduation Requirements: Should We Move the Bar Upwards? | Ed In The Apple

Graduation Requirements: Should We Move the Bar Upwards? | Ed In The Apple

Graduation Requirements: Should We Move the Bar Upwards?


Occasionally at the end of a class when a kid was leaving room s/he would say, “Gee Mr. G; that was really hard.” I smiled; I knew I was doing my job.
I knew if students came to my class every day, and stayed engaged, the Regents Examination would be a breeze.  In my first period class I would bring a box of donut holes, enough for half the class, first come, first served: I had surprisingly good attendance at 8 am.
The Board of Regents (BOR) and the New York State Department of Education (NYSED) are engaged in a lengthy review of high school graduation requirements, called Graduation Measures: view the webpage here.
Regional Meetings will be held across the state from now until April, see the date, time and location of the meetings here.
The format of the meetings will be tables of attendees, facilitated by the host district, discussing five questions. Read a thorough description of the process here,

Harvard Propaganda Supports Mind Trust Madness | tultican

Harvard Propaganda Supports Mind Trust Madness | tultican

Harvard Propaganda Supports Mind Trust Madness


By Thomas Ultican 2/4/2020
Ivy League schools are losing their luster to the stranglehold of billionaire money. The Program on Education Policy and Governance at the Harvard Kennedy School produces Education Next. It is not the kind of objective journal expected from an academic institution. Influenced by super-wealthy people like Bill Gates and the Walton family, Education Next’s reform ideology undermines democratic control of public schools. It promotes public school privatization with charter schools and vouchers. The contributors to their blog include Chester E. Finn, Jay P. Greene, Eric Hanushek, Paul Hill, Michael Horn, Robin J. Lake and Michael Petrilli. Robin Lake’s new article The Hoosier Way; Good choices for all in Indianapolis” is an all too common example of Education Next’s biased publishing.

The Propaganda Source

The portfolio model was a response to John Chubb’s and Terry Moe’s 1990 book, Politics, Markets, and America’s Schools, which claimed that poor academic performance was “one of the prices Americans pay for choosing to exercise direct democratic control over their schools.” It is interesting that the late John Chubb was a committed conservative living in Charles Koch’s hometown of Wichita, Kansas. His widow, Angela Kennedy-Toon, still lives there and is a Managing Partner at an Ed Tech company. Her company profile lists Angela’s close education follows as Chester Finn, Michael Horn, Frederick Hess, Wendy Kopp and Jeanne Allen.
It was a social scientist Paul Hill who developed the portfolio model of school management.
Paul Hill studied political science at Seattle University then completed a Masters in political science at Ohio State in 1966. With the election of Richard Nixon in CONTINUE READING: Harvard Propaganda Supports Mind Trust Madness | tultican

The Challengers In The CA-29 Congressional Race Answer Questions About Federal Education Policy

The Challengers In The CA-29 Congressional Race Answer Questions About Federal Education Policy

The Challengers In The CA-29 Congressional Race Answer Questions About Federal Education Policy


We believe that quality education is a human right.”– Angelica Duenas


Barring a cataclysmic event, Tony C├írdenas’ “solid Democratic” seat in the United States House of Representatives is safe. A lawsuit was filed on April 27, 2018, which “alleged that C├írdenas sexually abused a 16-year-old girl in 2007”. Even with that allegation, he won reelection with 80.6% of the vote.
Ballotpedia describes C├írdenas as “an average Democratic member of Congress.” They define as being expected to “vote with the Democratic Party on the majority of bills.” However, it could also describe his political strategy – keep your head down and do not make waves. He is a career politician who has also been elected to the California State Assembly (1996-2002) and Los Angeles City Council (2004-2012). Despite being in the House since 2013, he only sits on one committee, Energy and Commerce.
Like in 2018, C├írdenas’ did not respond to a request for information about his views on federal education policy. When a candidate is expected to win, why take any chances by letting your constituents (or CONTINUE READING: The Challengers In The CA-29 Congressional Race Answer Questions About Federal Education Policy

2020 Medley #4: Vouchers, choice, and the misuse of tax dollars | Live Long and Prosper

2020 Medley #4: Vouchers, choice, and the misuse of tax dollars | Live Long and Prosper

2020 Medley #4: Vouchers, choice, and the misuse of tax dollars




School choice fails, Students give up rights,
Tax dollars for discrimination,
Choice and segregation,
Pilot “choice” programs are a trap
“…to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical…” — Thomas Jefferson, Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom.
INDIANA’S VOUCHER PLAN
Indiana’s voucher program began as a plan for low-income students to “escape” their “failing schools” and go to the private schools that wealthier people have always been able to afford. In order to qualify, then-governor Mitch Daniels insisted, a student must have spent at least one year at a public school.
Since its inception in 2011, it has changed into a middle-class entitlement program. Most students who get Indiana “scholarships” are students who have never attended a public school. A third of students who get Indiana “scholarships” are students who do not qualify for free or reduced lunches. Less than one percent of Indiana’s “scholarship” students are “escaping” from a “failing school.”
The purpose of Indiana’s vouchers has changed. Supporters in Indiana no longer talk about helping poor kids get a better education. Instead, taking DeVos talking points, it’s all about “choice.” Parents will choose the best school for their children.
Finally, Indiana schools that accept vouchers don’t have to be accountable for the CONTINUE READING: 2020 Medley #4: Vouchers, choice, and the misuse of tax dollars | Live Long and Prosper

Wisconsin Gave DeVos and Pence the Cold Shoulder for “School Choice Week”! | Diane Ravitch's blog

Wisconsin Gave DeVos and Pence the Cold Shoulder for “School Choice Week”! | Diane Ravitch's blog

Wisconsin Gave DeVos and Pence the Cold Shoulder for “School Choice Week”!

Sorry to have missed this great story when Jan Resseger posted it. i happened to have been down and out with the flu. This is a story I wish I could include in SLAYING GOLIATH. The perpetrators returned to the scene of their crime and are shunned!
Jan Resseger writes:
Wisconsin and Ohio have the oldest school choice programs in the United States.  Milwaukee’s voucher program is 30 years old and the Cleveland Voucher Program is 24 years old.  Both states have expanded vouchers statewide beyond the two cities where they began. It ought to be a red flag that in these two states with the oldest programs, National School Choice Week may have been more contentious than anywhere else in the country.
National School Choice Week in Wisconsin
Last week Vice President Mike Pence and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos went to Madison, Wisconsin’s capital city, to honor National School Choice Week, a celebration of vouchers and charter schools that was established and is promoted every year by groups like the American Federation for Children—the group DeVos herself helped found and to which she has regularly donated generously—and Jeb Bush’s ExcelinEd.
Pence and DeVos were not welcomed by Wisconsin’s CONTINUE READING: Wisconsin Gave DeVos and Pence the Cold Shoulder for “School Choice Week”! | Diane Ravitch's blog

RAND Study Affirms the Importance of Ameliorating Family Poverty as a School Reform Strategy | janresseger

RAND Study Affirms the Importance of Ameliorating Family Poverty as a School Reform Strategy | janresseger

RAND Study Affirms the Importance of Ameliorating Family Poverty as a School Reform Strategy


New research from the RAND Corporation confirms that Community Schools—schools with wraparound social, medical, and enrichment services right in the school building—support children’s well being and enhance their engagement and progress at school.
The Washington Post’s Laura Meckler describes RAND’s new study of New York City’s extremely ambitious expansion of full service Community Schools: “The Community Schools program…. seeks to use the school as a community gathering place where children can get counseling, eyeglasses or dental care; where after-school programs help with homework and keep kids engaged; and where parents can get involved with schools, take a class or pick up extra groceries… The program costs about $200 million a year and is funded with federal, state and city dollars… Studies have generally found modestly positive effects. But the idea has never been tried—or evaluated—on the scale found in New York, where some 135,000 students attend a Community School. Over three years, RAND studied 113 New York schools and measured their results against similar schools not in the program. The program found several statistically significant improvements and no areas where things got worse.”
The RAND report itself describes the program in NYC: “There is a growing body of research suggesting that Community School interventions are a promising strategy to improve student outcomes through coordinated services and collaborative leadership practices… The Community School strategy entails an integrated focus on academics, youth development, family support, health and social services and community development with strategic partnerships among the school and local organizations and community members… To date, the largest implementation of the Community School strategy occurred in New York City, where Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2014 designated $52 million to create 45 Community Schools just after taking office. By the 2018-2019 school year, the New York City Community Schools Initiative… expanded to include more than 200 Community Schools with a total budget of CONTINUE READING: RAND Study Affirms the Importance of Ameliorating Family Poverty as a School Reform Strategy | janresseger

NYC Educator: Post Editorial Board Full of Racist Scumbags

NYC Educator: Post Editorial Board Full of Racist Scumbags

Post Editorial Board Full of Racist Scumbags


I don't know who writes NY Post editorials, but this one is particularly disturbing to me. Ostensibly, it's about one of many corrupt, hypocritical administrators. I have no issue with that. Bad administration is a plague here in NYC and needs to be rooted out at the source. The source, incidentally, is largely Michael Bloomberg, who established a Leadership Academy that specialized in persecuting teachers for any or no reason whatsoever.

On the surface, the editorial condemns the principal for accepting expensive gifts against DOE policy. That's worthy of criticism, and this principal sets a terrible example. I've returned gift cards to students because I didn't want them to feel they had any influence on me. If my principal were sitting in his office full of clothing and jewelry given to him by parents (he isn't), well, I'd do the same thing, but I'd feel a little stupid about it.

The issue with the Post editorial is not its justifiable criticism of the principal. It's that they use it to tie into and ridicule social justice, utilizing scare quotes in the title just in case readers don't get the message. Social justice, for Post editors, is simply a hysterical punchline. Ha, ha, students of color want to be treated fairly! How hilarious!


As one parent summed it up: “I find it hypocritical that Principal Lacey supports social-justice activism against ‘white privilege’ but gladly accepts our green dollars.”
That’s a reference to a December student sit-in that Lacey supported and praised — triggered by the school-wide ruckus over supposed faculty racism after one student (eavesdropping on a private conversation) overheard another complaining about being wait-listed for a top university while others with lower test scores got in.


What a trivial concern. Some kid wants to get into a top university. Screw that kid. How dare the principal stand up for that kid? Since she takes expensive gifts, she ought to just CONTINUE READING: 
NYC Educator: Post Editorial Board Full of Racist Scumbags

solidaridad: Cheryl Ortega for UTLA Director of Bilingual Education

solidaridad: Cheryl Ortega for UTLA Director of Bilingual Education

Cheryl Ortega for UTLA Director of Bilingual Education


Maestros Unidos Los Angeles con Oaxaca

Cheryl Ortega’s tireless advocacy and effective activism for students and bilingual education stems from her years of dedication to the same. There is no better choice for United Teachers of Los Angeles’ (UTLA) Director of Bilingual Education. Her vast experience, institutional knowledge, and devotion to providing students bilingual programs is peerless. Let all persons know that I endorse and strongly support her candidacy for reelection.

— Robert D. Skeels, Education Rights Attorney and Law Professor

solidaridad: Cheryl Ortega for UTLA Director of Bilingual Education


YONG ZHAO - PISA Peculiarities (4): High Test Scores, Low Life Satisfaction - Education in the Age of Globalization

Education in the Age of Globalization » Blog Archive » PISA Peculiarities (4): High Test Scores, Low Life Satisfaction

PISA Peculiarities (4): High Test Scores, Low Life Satisfaction

PISA has many peculiar and surprising discoveries…
PISA wants to offer advice on anything and everything considered important to students in the world so it has decided to jump on the bandwagon of student well being. Life satisfaction is a very important aspect of well being because it “is closely associated with happiness, and can enable the kinds of healthy habits and attitudes that lead to a successful, fulfilling life.” Thus PISA wants to “help educators, schools and parents promote positive development amongst youth, and identify and support students who experience emotional or behavioural distress” “[b]y providing insights into adolescents’ self-perceptions about how satisfied they are with their lives” (OECD, 2019, p. 154).
Below are some interesting findings PISA has uncovered from its 2018 round regarding life satisfaction and reading scores.
First, “students in low-achieving countries tended to report higher levels of life satisfaction than students in high-achieving countries… Moreover, in most East Asian countries and economies, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang (China) (hereafter “B-S-J-Z [China]”), Hong Kong (China), Japan and Macao (China), students scored above the OECD average in reading, but reported lower levels of life satisfaction than the average 15-year-old student in OECD countries” (OECD, 2019, p. 160).
Second, “students who were classified as ‘very satisfied’ with their lives scored 16 points lower in reading CONTINUE READING: Education in the Age of Globalization » Blog Archive » PISA Peculiarities (4): High Test Scores, Low Life Satisfaction

A Room Is Enough | The Jose Vilson

A Room Is Enough | The Jose Vilson

A ROOM IS ENOUGH


I should have known the minute my students tried to reroute me from my classroom.
It was my first year of teaching. At the time, someone might hand you a box of chalk and a contract to read, but the rest of the rules you learn by breaking them. I learned, for example, that bulletin boards need to be updated every month, have a rubric and an exemplar on them, and display a small but notable range of tasks to showcase student mastery and teacher feedback. I barely updated it because I was too busy learning how to teach. I had stacks of ungraded papers and half-baked lesson plans all over my desk, and every lunch I ate had a chalky after-taste.
I also had a mild but stubborn case of oppositional defiance disorder stemming from years of activism and the George W. Bush era. A bulletin board seemed quaint in comparison to my other pressing duties.
But on January 24th of that school year, my 7H3 students decided to reroute me on multiple occasions from getting to my room. My assistant principal and the math coach were also in on it because they made our small talk longer talk. By the time I caught onto the jig, I let it happen. The window on my classroom door was dark. The student desks were pushed to the walls. The student who kept rerouting me guided me into a loud room where students yelled “SURPRIIIISE!”
I wasn’t expecting much of anything for my birthday, but the rice and beans and Dominican cake CONTINUE READING: A Room Is Enough | The Jose Vilson

Tapping private money to build schools is playing with fire - StamfordAdvocate

Tapping private money to build schools is playing with fire - StamfordAdvocate

Tapping private money to build schools is playing with fire

Sometimes being the first to do something isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Remember Friendster, the original Facebook? It shuttered in 2015 after years of obscurity. Back in 2003, its founders refused $30 million in Google stock, which would be worth a billion dollars today.
Stamford, Conn., is considering becoming the first jurisdiction in the nation to use a public-private partnership to finance the construction of public schools. This is a risky gamble that could end up a costly mistake, and here’s why.
State and local governments in the United States have long experimented with using public-private partnerships — in other words, private financing — to build and maintain infrastructure, such as toll roads and prisons. The results have been mixed, with several high-profile financial blunders putting taxpayers on the hook for decades.
There was Indiana’s Interstate 69, spearheaded by then-Gov. Mike Pence, which failed in 2017 as the private investors that financed it slid toward bankruptcy. Subsequent analysis found it was $137.3 million more expensive than if the state had used traditional public financing.
There was Long Beach, California’s courthouse, which may have been as much as $160 million more expensive because the city used a public-private partnership.
There was Chicago’s hasty decision to lease parking meters to Wall Street investors and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, who could make at least $11.6 billion in total over the life of the 75-year deal, 10 times what they paid up front to the city.
The problem often lies in how little information about the proposed contract is released to the public before the ink is dry. Stamford’s residents and public officials need to know exactly what they’re signing up for, especially since many public-private partnerships stretch for decades.
Private equity financing is more expensive than going the traditional route, tax-exempt municipal bonds — and sometimes vastly so. The government must be certain a public-private partnership is worth the added cost of paying investors returns on their investment. The underlying math comparing procurement methods should be part of a robust public discussion CONTINUE READING: Tapping private money to build schools is playing with fire - StamfordAdvocate