Friday, February 7, 2020

Anger at OUSD | East Bay Express

Anger at OUSD | East Bay Express

Anger at OUSD 
The school district says Oakland has far too many schools for a city of its size. But efforts to redirect some resources into other priorities are drawing fire.

Image result for Oakland Not For Sale
A small group of angry parents, students, and teachers gathered outside Oakland Technical High School last Thursday to denounce the closing and merging of schools, and to publicize a signature-gathering campaign to recall city school board President Jody London.
Never mind the fact that London is already stepping down at the end of the year after 11 years in office, or that a special election could cost the Oakland Unified School District, which already faces a $21.5 million deficit, between $785,000 and $1 million, according to the city clerk's office.
The activists, who call themselves "Oakland Not For Sale" and have won the backing of the city teachers union, were looking for blood — or accountability, as the case may be. Their efforts were largely in response to the Board of Education's ongoing efforts to reduce the city's relatively high number of schools and redeploy those resources elsewhere.
Their discontent and distrust of district administrators is also rooted in the district's long history of financial troubles, including annual deficits that have prompted cuts and audit findings in recent years that have found fiscal mismanagement by district officials.
"We are doing the recall because it is time for accountability," said Saru Jayaraman, a district parent and veteran political organizer leading the recall effort against London. "Not just for Jody London but every Oakland school board president to realize their actions will not go without consequences, that there will no longer be school closed, after school closed, after school closed and charters put in their place without consequences."
In particular, recall advocates were outraged by the impending closure of the Henry J. Kaiser Elementary School campus in the tony Hiller Highlands neighborhood and the planned merger of Kaiser's well-performing program into the under-performing and under-enrolled Sankofa Academy in the flatlands of North Oakland.
District officials say the move is intended to make a quality program CONTINUE READING: Anger at OUSD | East Bay Express

American Federation of Teachers: Three Years of Betsy DeVos Has Been Bad for Education | Teen Vogue

American Federation of Teachers: Three Years of Betsy DeVos Has Been Bad for Education | Teen Vogue

American Federation of Teachers: Three Years of Betsy DeVos Has Been Bad for Education
In this op-ed, members of the American Federation of Teachers explain how their union views the tenure of Education Secretary Besty DeVos on the anniversary of her 2017 confirmation.

Betsy DeVos has been the Secretary of Education for three years, making her one of President Donald Trump’s longest-serving Cabinet members (no small feat in a cabinet with such high turnover). Who can forget her infamous Senate confirmation hearing, where she talked about grizzly bears and was confused about the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, which helps special education students, or when Vice President Mike Pence cast a tiebreaking vote to confirm her appointment after she got more “no” votes than any education secretary nominee ever? How the time flies!
But in three short years, the damage she’s done is already legendary. Since her confirmation, DeVos has waged a full-blown crusade against the students and communities that her office should be serving. She has used her position as education secretary to pursue her own political agenda — protecting corporate interests at the expense of the very schools, students and educators she was appointed to protect. Her tenure is marked by repeated efforts to take away rights from teachers, protections from students, and resources from public schools; her pattern of malpractice has put the future of public education and higher education at risk.
Here are a few of the ways we’ve seen DeVos hurt students, educators, and communities during her three years in office so far:

1. She's tried to cut school programs that actually help kids.

DeVos has actively pushed for slashing the Department of Education’s budget by $9 billion. Through her tenure, she, at various times, has proposed cuts to funding for civil rights investigationsafter-school and school lunch programs, and even the Special Olympics.
For three straight years, DeVos and Trump have proposed eliminating the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative, which provides high-quality after-school programs to students nationwide.

2. Under her watch, the administration has rolled back rules to protect women, LGBTQ students, and students of color.

The Trump administration cut protections for transgender students during DeVos’s first month in office. She has made it harder for victims of sexual harassment and assault to seek justice by changing campus sexual assault polices,  CONTINUE READING: American Federation of Teachers: Three Years of Betsy DeVos Has Been Bad for Education | Teen Vogue

CURMUDGUCATION: NY: Police State High School Is On Line

CURMUDGUCATION: NY: Police State High School Is On Line

NY: Police State High School Is On Line



A while back, I wrote about Lockport, NY, where for some damn reason, school officials had decided that what the district really needed was facial recognition software watching the students. As with most expansions of the surveillance state, the excuse was the old "This is for your own good."

Facial recognition and tracking software will add an unprecedented level of security at the schools. District officials have decided locked entrance doors, bullet-proof glass and sign-in registers at the front desk are not enough.

Baloney. Back in 2018, official were promising that this would just be keyed to a database of Naughty People so that the school would know if any of them approached. It would totally not include photos of students. Well, not unless, you know, unless there's "a good reason."




Parent Jim Shultz fought the move, even published an op-ed in the New York Times. The picture he paints is not flattering for the district. After Sandy Hook, a security consultant approached the district with the offer of a free threat assessment and -- surprise-- suggested some pricey upgrades. For just $1.4 million the 4,400 student district could purchase the Aegis software suite from SN Technologies. "A lot of money," said the district. "You can use the grant for technology education under the 2014 Smart Schools Bond Ac t," he said. The security consultant, Tony Olivo, pocketed a nice sum mfor his own firm, CSI Risk Management ($95,450 a year for five years was negotiated, but nobody will say what he ended up with). Shultz said the district had one public meeting about this-- in August.

The state okayed the system, but held up flipping the on switch until some protocols were in place and in the fall of 2019, it was still not online. Olivo has been busy repeatedly portraying Aegis as CONTINUE READING: 
CURMUDGUCATION: NY: Police State High School Is On Line

Privatizing Oakland Schools | PopularResistance.Org

Privatizing Oakland Schools | PopularResistance.Org

PRIVATIZING OAKLAND SCHOOLS


Eli Broad (rhymes with “toad”) conconcted a scheme to privatize Oakland’s public schools and produce a revenue stream for his billionaire cronies.

Operating unethically and illegally, Broad managers used their training to cripple and plunder Oakland’s schools.”
Eli Broad is a liberal Democrat. He opposes Trump’s Muslim ban, immigration policies and withdrawal from the climate change treaty. In fact, like Democratic billionaires Tom Steyer and Michael Blloomberg, Broad opposes Trump’s entire right wing agenda. However, just as the Trump Foundation created the Trump University scam, the Eli Broad Foundation created the Broad Superintendent Academy, an educational enterprise that has become so successful that it is now associated with the home of the Skull and Bones Society, Yale University. But despite its aura of respectability, the Broad Superintendent Academy is no less a scam than Trump University.
Billionaires Want More
Eli Broad created two Fortune 500  companies, Kaufmann-Broad Homes and SunAmerica Bank. With an estimated net worth of $6.7 billion, Eli Broad ranks as Forbes  Magazine’s 78th wealthiest man in the United States. But like many billionaires who create mechanisms to increase their wealth, Broad created a “non-profit” academy as his entré into the private education market. The Broad Superintendent Academy attracts applicants who willingly pay exorbitant tuition fees for the chance to get placed in a top management public education position. Broad academy applicants do not need educational degrees or teaching certificates. Neither are they experienced teachers or successful CONTINUE READING: Privatizing Oakland Schools | PopularResistance.Org


Call Me a Hippie, but I Still Believe Love Can Change the World - SF PUBLIC SCHOOL MOM

Call Me a Hippie, but I Still Believe Love Can Change the World - SF PUBLIC SCHOOL MOM

Call Me a Hippie, but I Still Believe Love Can Change the World




Watching recent coverage on the impeachment trial and subsequent acquittal makes me miss my mom and dad. At times like this, I wish could have their help in processing all that is currently going on in our country. My parents met during the civil rights protests of the mid 60’s and 70’s, at a time when our country was facing a similar wave of racial terror, political upheaval and societal uncertainty.
My parents got married at a time when interracial marriage was not fully legal across the United States. My grandparents on my mother’s side did not come to their wedding, because they didn’t condone their marriage. They liked my dad but said they couldn’t support my parents’ marriage out of concern for their future children.
Their children would turn out to be ME.
Being mixed has been difficult at times. (I can’t tell you how many times strangers had the gall to ask me as a child if I was adopted.) Nonetheless, it is a critical part of who I am.
Being biracial has given me the gift of knowing what it means to be a part of a community and an outsider all at once. I know what it means to be the “only Black girl in class”. I know what colorism is and have personally experienced the benefits of light-skin privilege. I know what it feels like to be the “expert” on Black culture in a room full of White folx. I know how it feels to not know which racial box to check in the demographics portion of a standardized test.



These pictures (above) resurfaced after I discovered a cardboard box of old photos my mother had collected before she died. Despite the many challenges I and my parents faced, these photos remind me that previous generations have also faced racism. These photos remind me that fighting CONTINUE READING: Call Me a Hippie, but I Still Believe Love Can Change the World - SF PUBLIC SCHOOL MOM

NCTQ on States’ Teacher Evaluation Systems’ Failures, Again | VAMboozled!

NCTQ on States’ Teacher Evaluation Systems’ Failures, Again | VAMboozled!

NCTQ on States’ Teacher Evaluation Systems’ Failures, Again


n February of 2017, the controversial National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) — created by the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute and funded (in part) by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as “part of a coalition for ‘a better orchestrated agenda’ for accountability, choice, and using test scores to drive the evaluation of teachers” (see here) — issued a report about states’ teacher evaluation systems titled: “Running in Place: How New Teacher Evaluations Fail to Live Up to Promises.” See another blog post about a similar (and also slanted) study NCTQ conducted two years prior here. The NCTQ recently published another — a “State of the States: Teacher & Principal Evaluation Policy.” Like I did in those two prior posts, I summarize this report, only as per their teacher evaluation policy findings and assertions, below.
  • In 2009, only 15 states required objective measures of student growth (e.g., VAMs) in teacher evaluations; by 2015 this number increased nearly threefold to 43 states. However, as swiftly as states moved to make these changes, many of them have made a hasty retreat. Now there are 34 states requiring such measures. These modifications to these nine states’ evaluation systems are “poorly supported by research literature” which, of course, is untrue. Of note, as CONTINUE READING: NCTQ on States’ Teacher Evaluation Systems’ Failures, Again | VAMboozled!

Sacramento City Schools can see a way to financial solvency | The Sacramento Bee

Sacramento City Schools can see a way to financial solvency | The Sacramento Bee

The good news: Sacramento City schools might not go broke after all. Just make a deal.

Sacramento is actually closer to saving its public school system than it has been in years.
For this unexpected development, Assemblyman Kevin McCarty deserves a great deal of credit. Long known as a close friend to the state teachers union – he takes a lot of money from them – it was McCarty who asked state auditor Elaine Howle to analyze why the Sacramento City Unified School District was in economic distress.
I have to admit that I thought this was a stunt. I thought that the district had already been audited enough and that Howle shedding any light on a district teetering on the verge of insolvency was unlikely.

When you’re wrong, you’re wrong. And I was. I owe McCarty and Howle an apology.

Her audit, released in December, offers a clear road map for how SCUSD got in over its head on teacher pay and pension obligations over the years.
OPINION
In the audit, Howle avoided going down the rabbit hole of counter allegations hurled back and forth between SCUSD and the Sacramento City Teachers Association – a labor fight that for too long has dominated news stories that should have been focused on the 41,000 school kids at Sac City.
These kids are our future workforce, our future leaders, and if we in Sacramento are really as progressive as we claim to be, than we’ll put their interests over those of adults every time.
I’ve continued to write about this issue because of what it says about us in Sacramento. More than half of SCUSD’s school kids are African American and Latino. If we fail them, then we don’t really believe in equity as say we do. We don’t really believe in diversity. We don’t really believe in public education.
In her own way, Howle gave a shout-out to diversity, equity and public education by spreading blame for district financial woes between SCUSD administrators and union leaders. At Thursday night’s SCUSD school board meeting, Howle will stand before administrators, union leaders and parents while giving a deep dive on her findings.
As I wrote last December: “According to Howle’s audit, SCUSD has the highest average salary of CONTINUE READING: Sacramento City Schools can see a way to financial solvency | The Sacramento Bee

National Education Policy Center: The Dangerous Case of Espinoza v. Montana, Now Before the US Supreme Court | Diane Ravitch's blog

National Education Policy Center: The Dangerous Case of Espinoza v. Montana, Now Before the US Supreme Court | Diane Ravitch's blog

National Education Policy Center: The Dangerous Case of Espinoza v. Montana, Now Before the US Supreme Court


The future of public education hangs in the balance. The US Supreme Court has shifted far to the right, with the addition of religious zealots Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. The case, Espinoza v. Montana, would permit them to eliminate the line of separations between church and state, abolishing every state constitutional provision that bars public funding of religious schools. The Court has already ruled that religious “freedom” makes it permissible for a place of business to refuse service to someone based on their sexual orientation, if that refusal is based on sincere religious beliefs. Will we one day learn that racial discrimination is permissible so long as it is based on sincere religious beliefs? The possibilities for destroying basic principles of civil rights and liberties in the name of religious freedom are frightening. I am reminded that when Jeb Bush wanted to eliminate the no-aid-to religious-schools in Florida, he gave his replacement the deceptive title of “the Religious Freedom Amendment.” Voters turned it down 55-45 in 2012. He and the legislature went ahead to create multiple voucher programs, despite the clear language of the state constitution and the will of the voters.

Mike Klonsky's Blog: Me and Limbaugh, Ohio 2012

Mike Klonsky's Blog: Me and Limbaugh, Ohio 2012

Me and Limbaugh, Ohio 2012


So DT got Melania to give racist oinker Rush Limbaugh the Medal of Freedom, the country's highest civilian honor. It's one that was awarded in earlier, less bizarro-world times to the likes of Mother Theresa and Rosa Parks (BTW, happy birthday to Mrs. Parks on her 110th). That's at least two former winners a-mouldering in their graves.


Nothing he does shocks me anymore and I would expect nothing less from the racist grifter that occupies the WH. But I was a little surprised to hear some liberals, including one of my media FB friends, Bruce Dumont, longtime host of Beyond the Beltway, defending giving the award to Limbaugh. 


RUSH LIMBAUGH has been
awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
For those who object to Rush
do not understand the impact
of the man on American politics.
Perhaps they are blinded by their hatred or pure ignorance.

I’ve checked the very long list of past winners:
Tennessee Ernie Ford?
Lorne Michaels?
Barbara Mikulski?
Bill Cosby?
Give me a break!

I won't waste space countering Dumont's assessment. @AOC, in USA Today, does a better job of that than I could.

But as far as impact on American politics goes, I really do understand it as well as anyone because it has hit me directly a few times. I'll recount one of them here from a 2012 column I wrote that reposted at NEPC.


Driving through southern Ohio to speak to students at Kenyon College and Bowling Green University I hear the steady stream of right-wing radio and see the dozens of anti-Obama billboards paid for by Clint Eastwood and his wing-nut super PAC. In the towns, there's more of a mix of Obama and Romney signs and of course, the university towns are mostly Obama. Those in the know think that Obama will narrowly win Ohio. I'm not so sure.
The main media spokesman for the Republican Party and for national conservatives is, of CONTINUE READING: Mike Klonsky's Blog: Me and Limbaugh, Ohio 2012

Ohio House Passes Emergency Amendment Which Would Solve Some EdChoice Voucher Problems | janresseger

Ohio House Passes Emergency Amendment Which Would Solve Some EdChoice Voucher Problems | janresseger

Ohio House Passes Emergency Amendment Which Would Solve Some EdChoice Voucher Problems

Ohio’s House Speaker Larry Householder is leading his chamber expeditiously to address the crisis over school vouchers which emerged last weekend, when negotiations between the Ohio Senate and the Ohio House entirely broke down over the state’s EdChoice voucher program. The Ohio House passed an emergency amendment to Senate Bill 89 on Wednesday afternoon to redesign the EdChoice program. The new House amendment will be sent back to the Ohio Senate for consideration next week.
Speaker Householder has expressed growing concern about injustice, not only in the state’s EdChoice Voucher program, but also in the mass of punitive school turnaround policies Ohio has been imposing on its poorest school districts. Given decades of research correlating standardized test scores with the aggregate income of families and neighborhoods, Householder seems to recognize that state must grapple with the underlying causes—poverty and the urgent need for equitable school funding reform. He is pushing the state to support rather than punish its poorest school districts.
The Plain Dealer‘s Laura Hancock describes Householder’s comments earlier this week at a Columbus, Ohio Associated Press event: “‘It’s become a class problem,’ Householder said. ‘And I don’t mean classroom. I mean a class problem.’  For years, low-performing schools were in Appalachia or urban areas where most of the kids were African American, Householder said. People didn’t seem to care that public schools were deemed failing and losing money when the students enrolled in private schools, he said. This year, 700 new schools—up from the CONTINUE READING: Ohio House Passes Emergency Amendment Which Would Solve Some EdChoice Voucher Problems | janresseger

With A Brooklyn Accent: The Bronx's Revival Shows Why Sanctuary for Immigrants is Sound Policy

With A Brooklyn Accent: The Bronx's Revival Shows Why Sanctuary for Immigrants is Sound Policy
The Bronx's Revival Shows Why Sanctuary for Immigrants is Sound Policy




From the early 1970’s, when an arson and abandonment cycle destroyed almost a quarter of the Bronx’s housing stock, through the Crack Epidemic of the late 80’s and early 90’s, which caused the borough’s murder rates to soar, the Bronx  served as a cautionary tale for everyone seeking to explain what went wrong in the nations cities. While scores of other cities in the Northeast and Midwest from Buffalo and Baltimore  to Youngstown, Gary and East St Louis would experience the same cycle of abandonment and decay, the Bronx was the example etched in everyone’s minds.

  Today, however, the Bronx  immortalized as an landscape of urban decay in films like “Fort Apache” and novels like “ Bonfire of the Vanities” is nowhere to be found! Every stretch of abandoned land where apartments and factories once stood has been filled with town houses, shopping centers and apartment buildings, the murder rate has plummeted to a fifth of what is was during the crack years, and hundreds of new churches mosques and restaurants have opened up.

      What has happened to turn the Bronx from a symbol of Urban Decay into the nations Great Urban Success Story. Some of this is a result of enlightened urban policy by New York’s state and city governments, some as a result of New York’s dramatic revival as a center of global commerce, but much of it is a result of the Bronx becoming a destination of choice for hundreds of thousands of CONTINUE READING: With A Brooklyn Accent: The Bronx's Revival Shows Why Sanctuary for Immigrants is Sound Policy

Two CA-30 Congressional Candidates Answer Questions About Federal Education Policy

Two CA-30 Congressional Candidates Answer Questions About Federal Education Policy

Two CA-30 Congressional Candidates Answer Questions About Federal Education Policy


I will introduce or support legislation that addresses the issue of underfunding IDEA through reforming allocation, funding and distribution mechanisms of resources to public schools”

– CJ Berina




The last time incumbent Brad Sherman had to run in a competitive race he physically assaulted his opponent on the debate stage. With that race won, Sherman has largely lost his passion. On foreign policy, he is a right-leaning Democrat who mirrors Republican talking points against Obama’s Iranian deal during his town halls. Overall, he is a moderate Democrat who supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic primary.
Having won his recent elections by wide margins, Sherman does not even appear to be putting any effort towards campaigning to retain his seat. In fact, his website does not even appear to have been updated since 2018. The site says  “Talk to me. I’m listening.” However, while he may be interested in hearing what constituents have to say, this does not mean that he wants to have a conversation. As in 2018, I asked my Congressman questions about federal education policy but did not receive a response.
As he has for the past two election cycles, Tea Party Republican Mark Reed is challenging Sherman. Reed was also sent these questions, CONTINUE READING: Two CA-30 Congressional Candidates Answer Questions About Federal Education Policy

CURMUDGUCATION: PA: DeVos Stumps For Trump, Masters Lying

CURMUDGUCATION: PA: DeVos Stumps For Trump, Masters Lying

PA: DeVos Stumps For Trump, Masters Lying


So this is apparently the school choice lie that Trumpists are going to lean on:

“They want government control of everything — your health care, your wallet, your child’s education,” DeVos said. Democrats “want complete control over where, how, and what American students learn,” she said. “They want to close every charter school, take away every educational option from low-income families, limit choices everywhere for everyone.”


That was Betsy DeVos, the actual secretary of education, out on the campaign trail instead  of in her office again Wednesday. A government official raising the specter of government doing things, because thats where we are now, being represented by people whose most fervent desire is to burn down the house they've been given stewardship over.

It must be noted that this is also lying, a thing we used to generally agree was bad until we entered the current era in which whatever Dear Leader said is accepted as Truth by about a third of the nation. But a lie, nonetheless. There is not a single Democratic candidate for President who has proposed closing or even cutting off funding for currently operating charter schools.

DeVos was in PA with Vice President Mike Pence and I suppose that since we only narrowly went for Trump in 2016, we're going to be subjected to much more of this.

Politico also offers this insight--

Jeanne Allen, a DeVos ally and chief executive officer of the Center for Education Reform, said CONTINUE READING: 
CURMUDGUCATION: PA: DeVos Stumps For Trump, Masters Lying

Schools and Classrooms a Century Ago | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

Schools and Classrooms a Century Ago | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

Schools and Classrooms a Century Ago

Here are photos of schools and classrooms from the 1920s in cities and rural districts. While there are now 13,000-plus districts in the U.S. now, a century ago, there were over 100,000. Rural consolidation of schools and migration to cities during the Great Depression and especially after World War II reduced dramatically the number of one-room school houses as age-graded schools became the “new” normal across the nation.
The 1920s were also the years that the Progressive movement expanded school functions such as serving lunch, providing doctor suites to examine children’s eyes, ears, and body, taking field trips, and other innovations–small group teaching– showed up in various–but hardly all–schools.
Looking at these photos reminds me anew about how stability and change mark tax-supported public schools over the past century.



CONTINUE READING: Schools and Classrooms a Century Ago | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice