Thursday, July 30, 2020

NANCY BAILEY: The Gamble: Reflections Concerning School Openings During Covid-19

The Gamble: Reflections Concerning School Openings During Covid-19

The Gamble: Reflections Concerning School Openings During Covid-19



Covid-19 is a trial when it comes to public schooling. Everyone wants their public schools to open safely, for students to socialize, learn about wonderful subjects, play sports, and work with teachers who care for them.
It’s been vividly displayed during this pandemic; how much parents rely on public education. Schools are where children are fed, and where their social-emotional needs are met beyond home.
But it is difficult to resume schooling in a way that is normal during the pandemic. Here are reasons why more time is needed to ensure that schools are safe.

Dr. Anthony Fauci says teachers will be “part of an experiment.” 

In a recent interview with AFT President Randi Weingarten, 
Many look to Dr. Fauci as the voice of reason during this pandemic, but his choice of CONTINUE READING: The Gamble: Reflections Concerning School Openings During Covid-19

Worst Year Ever | Teacher in a strange land

Worst Year Ever | Teacher in a strange land

Worst Year Ever



I was amused to see that 
The best charter schools have made good use of their freedom from old school district rules and biases. Why shouldn’t teachers and principals at regular public schools have a chance to do that, at least during this crisis?
At least during this crisis—and then, of course, we’ll go back to ignoring their wisdom and treating them like cheap, interchangeable cogs in a dysfunctional machine.
I have been reading Mr. Mathews for two decades. I understand that he represents the old guard in educational journalism—the folks who are actually employed by mainstream news outlets, rather than the motley and generally unpaid crew of folks writing from the trenches. The people who work in schools every day.
The point of this blog is not to evaluate how accurately journalists report on truths about teaching and learning vs. those who rely on call-Randi-then-phone-it-in columns. There are plenty of classroom-based bloggers, after all, who cannot see beyond 
Still–there are lots of people writing about the crisis around returning to schools now, and that’s good, no matter who they are  We need to hear all the voices, including CONTINUE READING: Worst Year Ever | Teacher in a strange land

Open schools are the exception, not the rule, around the world - POLITICO

Open schools are the exception, not the rule, around the world - POLITICO

Open schools are the exception, not the rule, around the world
American children are among more than a billion students globally facing a fall without traditional school. Many may never return to the classroom.



President Donald Trump often cites examples from Europe as evidence American schools can reopen in-person this fall despite Covid-19, but he fails to mention one thing: They are the exception, not the rule.
Only a few countries have opened schools nationwide in the manner the Trump administration is pushing. They include Norway, France and New Zealand, as well as Nicaragua, Taiwan and Vietnam. On the other hand, 143 countries have 
“This has become highly contextual,” said David Barth, vice president for International Programs at Save the Children. “We want kids back to school. It’s achievable if you have standards, but do it wrong and you set an entire country back.”
Countries with open schools tend to fall into two categories. Some took swift action against the pandemic in January to minimize disruption. Others were less proactive in the fight against Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, but they prioritized education in their recovery plan, coordinated by the top levels of government. The United States did neither.
That lumps the U.S. in the same ranks as most of the developing world, including large swathes of Africa, South America and Asia, that are keeping children home. According to data from UNICEF and UNESCO, less than one in CONTINUE READING: Open schools are the exception, not the rule, around the world - POLITICO

Mitchell Robinson: Mike Pence Visits a Libertarian's Private School | Eclectablog

Mike Pence Visits a Libertarian's Private School | Eclectablog

Mike Pence Visits a Libertarian’s Private School



Vice President Mike Pence visited a school in North Carolina today, ostensibly to show how the power of 
In an email sent Monday, school officials said Pence will visit Thales Academy K-5 to see how school choice works and to advocate for its further implementation.
Pence also tweeted about how the school, Thales Academy in Apex, NC, was demonstrating how schools could reopen safely.
So what’s the secret at Thales Academy? How can other schools learn from what they are doing at Thales to guarantee a safe reopening? And what kind of school is Thales Academy anyway?

Thales Academy: A Libertarian’s Fever Dream Come True

Thales Academy was the brainchild of Raleigh, NC Libertarian businessman, Bob Luddy. Luddy made his fortune by building kitchen ventilation systems, making him ideally-suited to create a new school from scratch. Frustrated with the regulations that “bureaucrats” in North Carolina required for public schools, Luddy’s first step was to open his own charter school, Franklin Academy.
Franklin Academy, which is still in operation, has had its share of problems over the years–most recently making news for prohibiting their students “from discussing or promoting being homosexual, bisexual or transgender” in the school’s handbook. Facing extreme pressure from the CONTINUE READING: Mike Pence Visits a Libertarian's Private School | Eclectablog

How Trump Politicized Schools Reopening, Regardless of Safety | by Diane Ravitch | The New York Review of Books

How Trump Politicized Schools Reopening, Regardless of Safety | by Diane Ravitch | The New York Review of Books

How Trump Politicized Schools Reopening, Regardless of Safety



One of the most difficult issues of the pandemic is when and how schools should reopen. Parents and teachers are eager for them to reopen, but only if the schools are safe and protected from the disease that is ravaging so much of the nation. Parents want their children back in school. They are tired of pretending to be teachers, organizing their children’s time every day. Teachers are eager to resume in-person instruction, but not at risk of their lives. Even students are eager to return to school, to see their friends, to engage in class discussions, to participate in school activities.
School has resumed in other nations like Denmark, Finland, and South Korea. Those countries that have reopened their schools have added daily temperature checks, reduced class sizes, and provided whatever personnel and equipment was needed to protect the health of students and staff.
US states could follow suit, but for school to resume safely here, two necessities must be in place. First, the pandemic must be under control. Infection rates must be low and dropping. Nations that have successfully opened their schools tamed the coronavirus first. Second, the schools must be able to provide safe conditions, meaning small class sizes, extra nurses, disinfected and active ventilation systems, additional cleaning staff, and personal protective equipment for children and adults. Since every state’s tax revenues have been diminished by the economic effects of the pandemic, school budgets are being slashed at the very moment when they need more resources.
In the United States, the pandemic is surging in the South and in parts of the West. In the absence of federal leadership, each state has been free to write its own rules for CONTINUE READING: How Trump Politicized Schools Reopening, Regardless of Safety | by Diane Ravitch | The New York Review of Books

The Poetry of Teaching | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

The Poetry of Teaching | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

The Poetry of Teaching
Why a poem? Because in writing posts for this blog and for books I have written over the past half-century, I have used expository writing. I describe, analyze, and try to capture school reform, policy-making, and the practice of teaching using facts, evidence, and explanation. It is aimed at the brain, not emotions.
Yet art, dance, drama, short stories, novels, and poetry–even cartoons–can capture features of teaching and learning, particularly what teachers and students feel when in classrooms in ways that exposition cannot.
I am neither a poet nor an aspiring one. I offer these as ones that stirred me, that captured in vivid language what teachers and students feel and do. CONTINUE READING: The Poetry of Teaching | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

CURMUDGUCATION: Diary of a Socialist Indoctrinator

CURMUDGUCATION: Diary of a Socialist Indoctrinator

Diary of a Socialist Indoctrinator



This ran over a year ago at Forbes.com in response to a comment by Trump Jr. and for some reason I never shared it over here. Correcting that now, since teachers are once again teaching students to hate America.CURMUDGUCATION: Diary of a Socialist Indoctrinator


Mr. G for District 3: Chris Guerrieri's Education Matters: Ron DeSantis's big lie

Mr. G for District 3: Chris Guerrieri's Education Matters: Ron DeSantis's big lie

Ron DeSantis' big lie




Liars use two common strategies, make the lie big enough that nobody would believe you would make it up and repeat it over and over again. DeSantis is using both to force teachers and students back into schools.


Over and over again DeSantis has said children are not carriers of COVID-19. This is what the evidence says. 

From the New York Times, 

In the heated debate over reopening schools, one burning question has been whether and how efficiently children can spread the virus to others.
The findings suggest that as schools reopen, communities will see clusters of infection take root that include children of all ages, several experts cautioned.
“I fear that there has been this sense that kids just won’t get infected or don’t get infected in the same way as adults and that, therefore, they’re almost like a bubbled population,” said Michael Osterholm, an infectious CONTINUE READING: Mr. G for District 3: Chris Guerrieri's Education Matters: Ron DeSantis's big lie

NYC Educator: NY Times Trashes Unionized Teachers, Presents Barely Researched Nonsense as Fact

NYC Educator: NY Times Trashes Unionized Teachers, Presents Barely Researched Nonsense as Fact

NY Times Trashes Unionized Teachers, Presents Barely Researched Nonsense as Fact

I'd like to say I was startled by this remarkably unresearched piece of reporting in the NY Times, but alas their agenda is plain to see. The NY Times, the paper of record, has decided to tell the world that unionized teachers a. do not want to go back into schools, and b. don't want to teach online either. The claim itself is pretty spectacular.

Unions are threatening to strike if classrooms reopen, but are also pushing to limit live remote teaching. Their demands will shape pandemic education.

Wow. Those teachers are so unreasonable. They don't want to do anything. This, in fact, is no different than recent claims made in the NY Post. Here's the difference--the Post, at least, ran it on the editorial page, while the Times runs it as a feature. While I don't like either story, at least the Post seems aware of what is and is not opinion.

How they come to conclusions is a little tougher to determine. It's certainly not based on verifiable fact. Perhaps the two (!) reporters on this piece came to an opinion and sought out to prove it. Perhaps they feel their case is valid. However, it isn't.

Let's look at their first assertion--that unions are threatening to strike. Here's what they say:

On Tuesday, the nation’s second-largest teachers’ union raised the stakes dramatically by authorizing its local and state chapters to strike if their districts do not take sufficient precautions — such as requiring masks and updating ventilation systems — before reopening classrooms. Already, teachers’ unions have sued Florida’s governor over that state’s efforts to require schools to offer in-person instruction.

I'm not entirely sure that's anything so drastic. The fact is Florida is exploding in Corona virus. Deaths just spiked to a record high. The MAGA governor claims students are at less CONTINUE READING: NYC Educator: NY Times Trashes Unionized Teachers, Presents Barely Researched Nonsense as Fact

SSPI Outlines Support for Distance Learning - Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

SSPI Outlines Support for Distance Learning - Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Outlines Ongoing Supports to Strengthen Distance Learning and Announces Timeline for Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum during Virtual Media Check-in


SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond on Wednesday outlined ways in which the California Department of Education (CDE) is helping schools implement and strengthen distance learning in the weeks leading up to the new school year, including guidance updates and virtual professional development, and ongoing efforts to connect school districts to resources that can close the digital divide.
“With school starting in a matter of weeks for many districts—and with as many as 97 percent of students expected to begin in distance learning—CDE is leaning into this moment to help make sure our educators are ready,” said Thurmond. “Whether we are helping schools close the digital divide, or providing guidance and webinars to understand new requirements, I am proud of the work our team is leading to help educators have the resources and responsiveness they need to make critical decisions in real time.”
With most of the state’s students beginning the next academic year in distance learning, Thurmond said during Wednesday’s virtual media briefing, the need to ensure all of them have the basic technology to access their learning grows increasingly urgent. More than 700,000 students still lack computing devices and another 300,000 lack hotspots to connect to the internet. The CDE has begun reaching out to school districts across California to ensure they are aware that California schools are receiving $5.3 billion to acquire devices, strengthen distance learning and address learning gaps. This funding makes it possible for most school districts to immediately close the digital divide and remove inequitable barriers to remote learning.
Schools can apply now for their share of the Learning Loss Mitigation Funds, authorized by the 2020–21 state budget. The CDE has posted online each school district’s initial allocation(XLS) of Learning Loss Mitigation Funds and answers to Frequently Asked Questions.
In the meantime, the CDE has released its first set of answers to Frequently Asked Questions regarding distance learning, which are designed to help school districts better understand new state requirements for live instruction, daily participation, and steps for re-engagement when students have not connected with their schools.
During today’s media briefing, the State Superintendent also provided an update on CDE’s timelines and planned recommendations for a revised Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum. The CDE will post its recommendations for a revised Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum on Friday, July 31.
The CDE’s recommendations will be made after reviewing thousands of comments, consulting with ethnic studies subject matter experts and thought leaders, working closely with educators and state leaders, and engaging with students in a series of virtual classroom webinars focused on ethnic studies.
Thurmond said the recommendations will focus on the four foundational disciplines of ethnic studies: African American Studies, Asian American Studies, Chicano Latino Studies, and Native American and Indigenous Studies. He said the recommendations will also include educator resources for engaging in expanded, critical conversations that combat hate, prejudice, and bias by utilizing the History-Social Science Framework to make connections to ethnic studies and broader social justice issues.
“Our recommendations will come at a time when communities across the nation are demanding recognition for the roles and contributions of people of color from the institutions that have been historically designed to minimize them,” said Thurmond. “This has been the central focus of the ethnic studies movement for decades. And the diverse cross-section of students we have engaged in recent weeks through our virtual classroom series have been clear about their expectations for ethnic studies: that racial justice is overdue and should begin in the classroom.”
California is required by law to develop a model curriculum in ethnic studies that can be used as a guide for districts or schools that want to develop their own curriculum. The recommendations will be submitted to the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) for discussion at its next meeting on August 13, 2020, kicking off a new process for public input and recommendations to the State Board of Education, which must take final action on the curriculum guidance by March 31, 2021.
An archived broadcast of the full media check-in can be viewed on the CDE’s Facebook pageExternal link opens in new window or tab..


# # # #
Tony Thurmond — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100
SSPI Outlines Support for Distance Learning - Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

Educators- Day Day of Resistance - Covid-19

Choosing Democracy: Educators- Day Day of Resistance - Covid-19

Educators- Day Day of Resistance - Covid-19

What is the National Day of Resistance, #EquityorElse?
Thousands of parents, students, educators  and school staff that have been on the frontlines fighting for racial justice in the US public school system are joining forces on August 3rd to demand equity and safe conditions before schools are reopened. As the fight against systemic racism and state sanctioned violence has reached historic heights, on the heels of the disparate impact of COVID-19 on Black, Brown and Indigenous families, organizers and union leaders are coalescing around a comprehensive set of demands to ensure that the safety of students and school staff is guaranteed before school doors are opened.  
For more information:   
Take ACTION Now:

Talking Points & Messaging

Who We Are
In this movement moment, our organizations have come together to unite students, educators, parents and community to advance a racial justice agenda in public education, in particular by organizing for police-free schools. We’re working to galvanize a strong and growing student/educator/parent/community voice; a voice that says the government must go much further to provide the resources to ensure a safe and equitable school reopening and must provide for our communities and working families through transformational Common Good demands. Leading organizations include:  

This Moment
We are in a unique moment in our history characterized by:
  
Our Message

Participating Cities:
Chicago, Oakland, Little Rock, Denver, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Baton Rouge, Camden, Newark, NYC, Boston, Massachusetts, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, North Carolina, Dallas, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Orlando, West Virginia, St. Paul and Minneapolis
Demands, Target & Tactics

Demands:
  1. No reopening until the scientific data supports it 
  2. Police-free schools
  3. All schools must be supported to function as community schools with adequate numbers of counselors and nurses and community/parent outreach workers 
  4. Safe conditions including lower class sizes, PPE, cleaning, testing, and other key protocols 
  5. Equitable access to online learning 
  6. Support for our communities and families, including moratorium on evictions/foreclosures, cancel rent and mortgages, providing direct cash assistance to those not able to work or who are unemployed, and other critical social needs 
  7. Moratorium on new charter or voucher programs and standardized testing 
  8. Massive infusion of federal money to support the reopening funded by taxing the billionaires and Wall Street 

Tactics and Targets
  1. Sign-on national letter to Trump, Biden and Congressional leaders outlining our demands as outlined above for re-opening 
  2. Local actions on August 3rd in as many cities/areas as possible, all focused on re-opening conditions/ demands, with local discretion on political and corporate/revenue targets, 
  3. Work with Journey for Justice and other groups to organize escalating actions in cities ready to escalate their tactics, i.e. occupy city hall, take over city property for homeless students, bank occupations
Activities & Action Ideas for August 3rd

Social Media

Check out 
   
Choosing Democracy: Educators- Day Day of Resistance - Covid-19

Jersey Jazzman: How To Stop Magical Thinking In School Reopening Plans

Jersey Jazzman: How To Stop Magical Thinking In School Reopening Plans

How To Stop Magical Thinking In School Reopening Plans




In the past few weeks, a new literary genre has emerged in America's media outlets: the school reopening op-ed. Almost always written by someone who has little to no experience in actually working in a school, these op-eds tend to follow the same form:

  1. Why it's so important to reopen schools. 
  2. Evidence in support of the idea that COVID-19 prevalence is low in children, as is transmission attributable to children.
  3. Grudging admission that adults work in schools and this may be a problem.
  4. Finger-wagging at said adults, telling them that life is full of risk and they shouldn't indulge in fear mongering. 
  5. A set of ideas to reopen schools. Many times, the tone of the presentation suggests the author believes no one who leads or works in schools actually could have thought of any of their plans before they did.
  6. An optimistic call for "creativity" in school reopening plans.
It's always interesting to look at the comments section following these pieces, or to see them debated on Twitter. Skeptics -- often actual educators, but also parents, students, and other stakeholders -- will point out many factors that the authors did not address in their op-ed that make it difficult, if not impossible, to implement their ideas.

Given the severity of this pandemic and the importance of reopening schools, it is not at all appropriate to dismiss these objections out of hand. If some of the most prominent spaces in the media are being reserved for "experts" to offer their ideas for school reopening, the least they should have to endure is a thorough critique of their ideas from the people who will be the most affected by them. 

A serious assessment of school reopening plans isn't simply negative thinking; it's a brake CONTINUE READING: Jersey Jazzman: How To Stop Magical Thinking In School Reopening Plans

Baker - Green: The Post-Espinoza End Game – School Finance 101

The Post-Espinoza End Game – School Finance 101

The Post-Espinoza End Game



Bruce D. Baker
Preston C. Green III
            In 
            Instead of minimizing the impact of the 
            Prior to this latest decision, 
  1. discrimination on the basis of sex (including LGBTQ status) or race;
  2. curricular standards and assessments;
  3. employee professional credentials;
Some states, including Florida, which provides both direct and indirect subsidies for private schools have long included religious schools in those programs and have chosen not to regulate curriculum and standards or discrimination. Investigative reports on those schools show relatively large numbers of schools that 
            But, what if the next domino falls? And what is that domino? Bethel Christian Academy in Maryland participates in the state’s voucher program and openly opposes homosexuality, same-sex marriage, and transgenderism. The school has also chosen not to adopt a state law-aligned CONTINUE READING: The Post-Espinoza End Game – School Finance 101

Infamous John Deasy Resigned under Suspicious Circumstances Again | tultican

Infamous John Deasy Resigned under Suspicious Circumstances Again | tultican

Infamous John Deasy Resigned under Suspicious Circumstances Again



By Thomas Ultican 7/29/2020

April 21, the Stockton Unified School District (SUSD) board accepted John Deasy’s letter of resignation effective June 15, 2020. His quitting mid-contract marked the third straight superintendent position he ended in a similar fashion. All three time, the resignation came with ethical charges and legal suspicions.

Stockton, California, was a gold rush town established in 1849. Situated 75 miles down the San Joaquin River from the Golden Gate Bridge at the north end of the San Joaquin valley, it is the farthest inland deep water port in California. The waterfront scenes for the movie “On the Waterfront” were shot there.

Brando on the Waterfront

Brando “On the Waterfront” in Stockton 1954

Stockton is a small city of about 315,000 people and one of America’s most diverse. The demographic makeup is 42.1% Hispanic, 21.6% Asian, 20.8% White and 11.8 % Black. The city has a more than a 20% poverty rate; however, SUSD reports that 82% of their students live in poverty. The district enrolls 40,000 students into 54 schools.

Why Deasy resigned is not clear. Upon his resignation the 209 Times reported,

“Controversial superintendent John Deasy is out of Stockton Unified School District effective June 15th after agreeing to resign tonight amidst an investigation sources tell us into his actions and possible conflict of interests regarding a contract between board trustee Lange Luntao and the organization he is director of on behalf of Mayor Michael Tubbs, Reinvent Stockton Foundation.”


glen brown: SPRINGFIELD – The following is a joint statement from Illinois Education Association President Kathi Griffin and Illinois Federation of Teachers President Dan Montgomery

glen brown: SPRINGFIELD – The following is a joint statement from Illinois Education Association President Kathi Griffin and Illinois Federation of Teachers President Dan Montgomery

SPRINGFIELD – The following is a joint statement from Illinois Education Association President Kathi Griffin and Illinois Federation of Teachers President Dan Montgomery



Together, the Illinois Education Association and Illinois Federation of Teachers represent 238,000 employees in public and private schools, colleges and universities in the state of Illinois and in doing so we protect the safety of more than 2.5 million students. We believe that some types of in-person instruction can be achieved with health and safety mitigation in any individual community, but absent a practical safety plan that includes a clear line of responsibility and enforcement, we call for the 2020-21 school year to begin with remote learning.


We are working to ensure that any district providing in-person instruction in Illinois is prepared and able to abide by the safety measures outlined by the state, the federal government, and medical professionals. If those measures are not met, we will do everything we can to protect our students and those who care for them – teachers and professors, bus drivers, classroom aides, secretaries, building janitors and everyone in between. No avenue or action is off the table – the courts, the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board – nothing, including health and safety strikes. The entire weight of the IEA and the IFT will be used in whatever way is necessary to protect the students and the staff who educate them.


If a return-to-learning plan is not safe, we will act. Our working conditions are our CONTINUE READING:glen brown: SPRINGFIELD – The following is a joint statement from Illinois Education Association President Kathi Griffin and Illinois Federation of Teachers President Dan Montgomery




John H. Loflin: Indianapolis Public Schools For Sale | Diane Ravitch's blog

John H. Loflin: Indianapolis Public Schools For Sale | Diane Ravitch's blog

John H. Loflin: Indianapolis Public Schools For Sale




John Harris Loflin assembled the following description of the privatization and takeover of the Indianapolis Public Schools by out-of-state interests, aided by local “reformers.”
He writes:
Purchasing the 2012, 2014, and 2016 IPS school board elections
According to the truly transformative IPS Racial Equity Policy and Black Lives Matter Resolution (REP/BLM), racism is social and institutional power combined with racial prejudice. IPS defines racial prejudice as a system of advantage for those considered white, and of oppression for those who are not considered white
The IPS resolution mentions years 1922 (the year the IPS board created Attucks) and 1968/1970 of IPS history (the era when the board was sued by the feds for maintaining segregated schools long after Brown). IPS histories of the Citizens School Committee or 1950s-early 1960s events leading to 1970 lawsuit aren’t noted. And, it skips the 1990’s era and notably, major board changes of the 2010-2020 decade.
The 2010-2020 decade
REP/BLM also states “[IPS] has participated in maintaining a system of racial inequality in Indianapolis through its actions and inactions, policies and practices, budgets and priorities, advocacy and silence, and by too often privileging the prejudice of white parents over the well-being of Black students.”
A review and analysis of “Purchasing the IPS school board elections” shows that the majority of donors to the winning candidate were mainly white wealthy males. Some were very wealthy.
The white money and power represented by the CONTINUE READING: John H. Loflin: Indianapolis Public Schools For Sale | Diane Ravitch's blog