(photo by Greg Goodman) March 1, 2014 To: Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy Thomas Drummond Montessori School Chicago’s Students United for Education Justice Chapters (SUEJ) stands in solidarity and supports teachers and families at Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy and Thomas Drummond Montessori School, who have announced their intent to boycott the Illinois State Achievement Test (
IFT leader claims ALEC leader Dillard as his champion -- "A strong voice for teachers." Really?
Dillard (left) and Rauner. They're both worse.
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) represents the most reactionary, anti-people, anti-teacher, racist sector of the corporate establishment. They are the architect of Stand Your Ground and a host of recent legislation aimed at restricting the voting rights of black and Latino voters and increasing the black prison population. Then there's Arizona’s punitive SB1070 immigration bill. They are strongly anti-union and have pushed legislation nationally to dis-empower teacher unions and take away collective bargaining rights of all public employees.
The Arizona-based Goldwater Institute and the Michigan-based Mackinac Center between them successfully shepherded five model bills through ALEC’s Commerce, Insurance, and Economic Development Task force — all targeting public sector unions.
The list goes on and on.
The Illinois Charter Quality Act, passed in 2011, expanded the authority to approve charter schools from school districts to an appointed state commission.
INDIANAPOLIS ― American education has been besieged by an onslaught of “hoaxes” that threaten to undermine traditional public schools and demoralize teachers.
That’s the message that New York University research and education professor Diane Ravitch delivered over the weekend to kick off the annual conference of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.
In a far-reaching speech in which she lambasted a variety of players on the educational landscape — from self-styled education “reformers” to Teach for America to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan — Ravitch said American schoolchildren are being shortchanged by an inordinate emphasis on testing.
She took particular aim at teacher evaluation models known as value-added models, or VAMs, that seek to measure teacher effectiveness by the test scores of the students they teach.
“For nearly five years, states and districts have been trying to evaluate teachers by test scores, and it hasn’t worked anywhere,” Ravitch said. “It makes testing too important, promotes teaching to the test, and gaming of the system.
“We know all know this. But the policymakers don’t. Where’s the evidence? It’s a hoax.
“By ‘hoax’ I mean a legislative mandate or a program that you must obey that has no evidence behind it,” said Ravitch, who donned a black T-shirt emblazoned with the words “Where’s the Evidence?” to help underscore her point.
She further criticized calls by Secretary Duncan and others to evaluate teacher prep programs based on the test scores of students taught by program graduates.
“That’s a long stretch and takes ‘value-added’ to a higher level of absurdity,” Ravitch said.
“So those who choose to teach children with the greatest challenges will run the risk of being labeled
There is a confluence of significant events happening in Florida and throughout the country now. In the last few weeks alone:
The documentary “Standardized” continues to be shown nationwide and has been opening the eyes of parents and emboldening teachers to speak truth to power. Testing season is in full gear and parents are on high alert as children are stressed beyond belief, as they are burdened with the adult responsibilities of teachers’ evaluations, school grades and school funding.
Social networks have exploded with the tragic story of Ethan Rediske. Public debate about the issues faced by his family before, when and since he died – has taken off like wildfire. Other states are now calling for their own Ethan Laws.
Beyond the injustice and abuse heaped upon severely disabled children, the mandated tests not only detracted from the quality, and possibly even the length of Ethan’s remaining life, the tests continue to decimate the quality of education for all children by virtue of the high stakes attached to testing. The justifiable outrage of parents is growing every day, nearing critical mass.
We are entering the 2014 legislative session and legislators have come out boldly in support of true reforms to preserve public education. Full transformation may have to wait. We’ll take this… for now.
Parents everywhere are poised to act and we need your help to enlist their support.While we wish that HB 895: The Ethan Rediske Act included broad parental rights to opt out, many experts have said that this is our best chance to open the door and we cannot squander this opportunity to wait for one more year.
On the front lines – We will continue to opt out of testing as an act of civil disobedience and as a moral stand against the destruction of genuine teaching and learning in public schools today.
There are significant Florida legislative actions pending NOW that affect YOUR CHILD.
We urge you in the strongest way possible to write your Representatives and Legislators TODAY.
Insist that your legislators stop this insanity against ALL children.
Let them know how the current policies affect YOUR child.
Tell them you WANT these bills enacted for ALL children’s benefit and protection.
Parents of every political persuasion are standing together for ALL children.
My first teaching contract 19 years ago at a Midwest Catholic high school grossed $15,000. My retirement benefits consisted of a whopping $500 401K. Cutting into my take-home pay was a $1500 annual premium for an inadequate health insurance plan with a high deductible and 80-20 coverage on remaining family medical bills. Money aside, I was a good Christian soldier. I taught a full load with 3 or more preps, moderated the school newspaper, ran the service program, coached baseball, drove the school bus to athletic events, and volunteered for all kinds of school activities. Considering money, I was a naive Christian soldier. I did not think finances mattered all that much. After growing up on the lower rim of the middle class, the $15 grand I grossed in my first year of teaching felt like a million dollars. When the family budget tightened as college loans came due and the family grew, I practiced my own personal “no excuses” policy and doubled down on work by milking cows in the evening and on weekends, painting houses in the summer, and working a variety of odd jobs. While many Americans’ were "moving on up" during the 1990’s, my wife (also an educator) and I shuffled funds around trying to survive on less-than-professional pay. In these conditions, my teaching suffered. My professional goal of getting my masters degree by age 30 came and went. I recycled the same lesson every year. Innovation
Federal Judge Orders Michelle Rhee Suit to Go Forward, will Broaden to Concealment and Fraud ClaimsA US federal judge has denied a Motion to Dismiss by former DC Public School Chancellor Michelle Rhee in a wrongful termination lawsuit over the mass firings of DC Public School teachers back in 2009. Case to be amended to add concealment and fraud claims against Rhee and her CFO Noah Wepman.
Schools Matter: Schools Matter All WeekNewark AFT Members Begin to Suffer Effects of Weingarten DealThe following links and annotations are from Ken Derstine in Philadelphia. We have to wonder how much longer Diane Ravitch will keep her buried while Randi Weingarten makes off with more millions in hard-earned dues from teachers who are losing their jobs because of Randi’s complicity with CorpEd
Distance Learning & Best Ravitch Line from NPE Conference
In the midst of show weekend with my students here in PA, it was interesting to try to follow the Network for Public Education Conference in Austin this weekend. I have two initial takeaways from the experience.
Distance Learning Is Even Worse Than Phone Sex
I followed lots of folks on twitter, watched some of the streamed video, viewed video clips as soon as anyone put them up. This conference left a huge footprint on the interwebs, with #npeconference leading the twitter trend list both days on weekend that included rising tensions in the Ukraine and preparations for tonight's Oscar bash. Beyond getting a few more sessions in front of the live streaming or hiring someone to carry around video devices, I'm not sure how much more digitally covered the conference could have been.
And I have to tell you-- it wasn't nearly enough. I caught some of the meat, got to see the real faces and hear the real speech cadences of many people that I've come to know online, read many of the best lines form the weekend-- but in the end, I still felt like a bunch of my friends had had a really cool party and group experience and I had missed out on it.
Which made me think-- if this was how it felt to try to distance-follow an event in which I was primed to be engaged and which was accessible to me by a whole array of current technology, how
Dillard gains backing from state's two major teachers' unions
Republican gubernatorial candidate Kirk Dillard speaks at a press conference announcing the endorsement of the Illinois Education Association in the 2014 campaign for the GOP nomination for Governor. IEA president Cinda Klickna, left, joins Dillard. (Heather Charles, Chicago Tribune /February 14, 2014)
By Rick PearsonTribune reporter
4:34 p.m. CST, March 2, 2014
The Illinois Federation of Teachers endorsed Republican governor candidate Kirk Dillard on Sunday, giving the state senator from Hinsdale the backing of the state's two major — and politically active — teachers unions.
The move by the IFT, which includes the Chicago Teachers Union, also will help Dillard with campaign cash against deep-pocketed Republican candidate Bruce Rauner. The front-running Rauner has stressed his vow to fight "government union bosses" in his campaign for the March 18 primary nomination.
The decision by the IFT to make a Republican primary endorsement reflects ongoing public-employee union concerns over Rauner's status in the four-man race for the Republican nomination. It marked only the second time the 100,000-member IFT endorsed a Republican governor candidate. It backed then-Gov. Jim Thompson's 1986 bid for-relection.
"We know that Kirk Dillard in the Republican primary is the candidate who is best poised and placed to take Illinois where it needs to go," said Dan Montgomery, the union's president.
Montgomery said the union has 20,000 self-identified Republican members and also expects some crossover support for Dillard in the primary. He also said the union will provide Dillard with an unspecified "six-figure" donation.
"It comes not only with significant resources, obviously, but the hearts and minds of our members who will work, have conversations with families and colleagues around the state to hopefully have Sen. Dillard be the winner in the Republican primary," Montgomery said of the endorsement.
Last month, Dillard gained the support of the Illinois Education Association, which represents teachers outside Chicago, and has received $100,000 from the IEA's political action
The Network For Public Education | PRESS RELEASE – NPE CALLS FOR CONGRESSIONAL HEARINGS: NPE CALLS FOR CONGRESSIONAL HEARINGSMarch 2, 2014 NPE NewsPRESS RELEASEPress Conference to be held in the Thompson Conference Center at 3:30 pm, Sunday, March 2.AUSTIN, TX The Network for Public Education (NPE) closed out its first National Conference here with a call for Congressional hearings to investigate
Modeling the Education They Want To Be: The Great Chicago Teachers Union Transformation: Modeling the Education They Want To Be: The Great Chicago Teachers Union TransformationSunday, 02 March 2014 00:00By Eleanor J Bader, Truthout | Book Reviewfont size Print Email(Book cover via Verso Books)Micah Uetricht's "Strike for America: Chicago Teachers Against Austerity" relates the stirring
Don’t Sit for Testing-Stand Up for Teachers and Children | United Opt Out National: DON’T SIT FOR TESTING-STAND UP FOR TEACHERS AND CHILDRENDo you want to know how to tell the difference between a testing “reformer” and a testing resistor?Easy…. Reformers are paid (and handsomely) to be spokespersons for Pearson, Achieve, PARCC, and the myriad of other corporate interests that have hatched Common
Don’t Sit for Testing-Stand with Chicago | educationalchemy: Don’t Sit for Testing-Stand with ChicagoDo you want to know how to tell the difference between a testing “reformer” and a testing resistor?Easy…. Reformers are paid (and handsomely) to be spokespersons for Pearson, Achieve, PARCC, and the myriad of other corporate interests that have hatched Common Core standards and the new rounds of te
Reform Laws Needed - Gulen Charter Schools: Reform Laws Neededto prevent abuses such as occur at Gulen charter schoolsThis page gives model legislation for charter schools, based on the careful consideration of loopholes that Gulen charter schools and other charter schools have exploited and abused.Lobbying organizations such as ALEC (the American Legislative Exchange Council) and the NAPCS (Natio
Mitch Albom and the N-Word | educarenow: Mitch Albom and the N-WordPosted on March 2, 2014 | Leave a commentThis morning’s Detroit Free Press has an interesting article from Mitch Albom,“Examining the NFL’s Debate for Penalties for N-Word.” In the article, Mitch writes of his discomfort with the NFL’s new rule fining the on-field use of the N-word, while decrying any use of the N-word.There’s lot
Read Across America Tour Rolls Into Oklahoma | NEA Today: Read Across America Tour Rolls Into OklahomaMarch 2, 2014 by twalker Filed under Featured News, NEA's Read Across America, Top StoriesLeave a CommentBy Brenda ÁlvarezAfter covering almost 800 miles of ground, NEA’s Read Across America Cat-a-Van Tour 1 capped off a week’s worth of reading celebrations on Friday in Oklahoma with two school v
Engaging Parents In School… | Going Beyond Parent "Involvement": “Research Findings From Learning at Home: Families’ Educational Media Use in America”Q & A With Lori Takeuchi: Research Findings From Learning at Home: Families’ Educational Media Use in America is from the Harvard Family Research Project. Here’s the part most useful to educators: How can practitioners support families
Marie Corfield: Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. Is My Hero Of The Day!: Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. Is My Hero Of The Day!Thank you, Congressman Donald Payne, Jr.! We need more like this!Good news: as the battle between Superintendent Anderson and the parents, community and teachers of Newark escalates, more elected officials in NJ are realizing that Cami and Christie aren't doing “a heckuva job” in reformy New
CURMUDGUCATION: "If not CCSS, then what?": "If not CCSS, then what?"If not the CCSS, then what?This refrain comes back and back and back again, echoing this morning over the interwebs all the way from the NPE conference in Austin. Today it's Randi Weingarten, but it could just as easily be Dennis Van Roekel (well, if he ever went to anything or spoke to anybody outside of NEA P
Dear President Obama: The Problem's Poverty, Not Absentee Dads | Crooks and Liars: Dear President Obama: The Problem's Poverty, Not Absentee DadsBy Melinda D. Anderson March 1, 2014 6:00 am 86Share2 166Share1 262“My Brother's Keeper” is no substitute for jobs, housing, and access to quality education and training, and it won’t have any meaningful impact on the appalling racism and conditions in th
from the Reformish Lexicon | Bob Shepherd | Praxis: from the Reformish Lexicon The idle FoolIs whipt at school.–from the first textbook published in the Americas, The New England Primer; motto of the Reformish movement in K-12 Education (“Back to the future. I mean way, way back.”)Work on the Reformish (or Rheeformish) Lexicon is proceeding apace thanks to the intrepid work of a great many researc
Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day… | …For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL: “Mythbusters” Music Video: “It’s Time For Science!”Check out this fun Mythbusters music video, made by Melody Sheep:by Larry Ferlazzo / 23min Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Week… 3-1-14 …For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFLarry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day… | …For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFLLARRY FERLAZZO’S WEBSITES OF THE
Jersey Jazzman: Chris Cerf's Final Spin: Mt. OliveSo yesterday was the first day of the rest of Chris Cerf's life: the former NJ Education Commissioner left his post to take a job at Amplify, the Rupert Murdoch-owned company run by former NYCDOE Chancellor (and Cerf's former boss) Joel Klein. Amplify sells tablet computers designed, among other things, to help districts prepare their students for
Union Issues Education Policy | Video | C-SPAN.org: Union Issues and Education PolicyRandi Weingarten talked about issues facing organized labor and teachers unions in 2014. Topics included implementation of Common Core educational standards, teacher testing and assessment, the minimum wage, health care, and the American Federation of Teachers' role in the 2014 midterm elections.C-SPAN Radio’s Nan
CURMUDGUCATION: Selling Is Not Doing: Selling Is Not DoingIn yesterday's New York Times, Suzanne Mettler provided one more explanation of why school choice doesn't-- and won't-- work.Mettler is looking at how college has become the "great unleveler," an education system that reinforces a caste system instead of breaking down walls. That's in no small part because the percentage of househ
The Answer Sheet: Your kid is being bullied at school — but not in the way you thinkHow bad is the standardized testing obsession in public education? Really bad, says James Arnold, the former superintendent of Pelham City Schools in Pelham, Ga., in the following post. A version of this appeared on his blog. By James Arnold Are you defined by a test? If you were born before 1985, chances are the
Pile of Old Books vs. Citizens as Critical Participants in the Great Education Debates | Cloaking Inequity: Pile of Old Books vs. Citizens as Critical Participants in the Great Education DebatesFor a scholar, hiding research behind journal pay walls and subscriptions is safety. As comfortable and warm as cuddling up with a blanket and a book in front a fireplace on a cool fall evening. Should facu
CPS students are among the most over-tested in the nation.Standardized tests waste valuable classroom time and cost school districts millions of dollars.Despite the fact that CPS admits the ISAT is not longer tied to any relevant procedures or consequences, it will still be making students grades 3-8 take this entirely unnecessary test March 3-14.CPS parents are organizing in record numbers to opt
BIG EDUCATION APE - MORNING WINK AM POSTSClick Here to Watch Live!schoolhouseliveThe Best of Public Educationon twitter: #NPECONFERENCE3-2-14 Wait What? All WeekWait What?: Connecticut to end non-credit remedial courses at public collegesNo really…. A Connecticut law passed in 2012 made it illegal for Connecticut public colleges to provide non-credit remedial courses starting in 2014. Long time
Wait What?: Connecticut to end non-credit remedial courses at public collegesNo really…. A Connecticut law passed in 2012 made it illegal for Connecticut public colleges to provide non-credit remedial courses starting in 2014. Long time Wait, What? readers may remember the discussion on the blog. Led by Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy and the Democratic controlled General Assembly, Connecticut
Perdido Street School: Oldie But Goodie: What Eva Moskowitz, Success Academies And Cancer Have In CommonA Perdido Street School post from October 11, 2013:Eva Moskowitz - A Cancer In The School System Eva Moskowitz's charter schools - uncontrolled cancerous growth:Like many public school parents and veteran educators, Lynn Manuell is fed up with the special treatment granted charter schools during
Diane Ravitch's blog | A site to discuss better education for all: Secrets of Test Success at Success AcademyEva Moskowitz, an attorney who served on the New York City Council and was chair of the education committee, opened her own chain of charter schools in Harlem in 2006. Moskowitz is an interesting, brilliant woman with a Ph.D. in history. Her chain initially was called Harlem Success Academy
Fred Klonsky | Daily posts from a retired public school teacher who is just looking at the data.: Sunday reads.12 Years a Slave is my pick for best picture in the Oscars tonight. There’s a Republican Party in Illinois. It’s called the Democratic Party. Rahm should stick to Polar Plunges with Jimmy Fallon and leave the schools alone. Hasn’t he learned? Every time he intervenes, he only make things
Ed Notes Online: Portelos on SCI LiesIf you had sat through the 23 day3020a trial and listened to the evidence, there were many "break out laughing" moments at the farce the DOE was engaging in. But more of that another time.Many people who have dealt with the office of the Special Commissioner of Investigations (SCI), which goes after school employees, don't believe there arehonest brok
"The Terms of our Surrender": "The Terms of our Surrender"byteacherkenFollowI am no fan of Ross Douthat, but this column in today's New York Times is well worth the read. I will not quote much. He begins IT now seems certain that before too many years elapse, the Supreme Court will be forced to acknowledge the logic of its own jurisprudence on same-sex marriage and redefine
4LAKids - some of the news that doesn't fit: The (Woeful) Status Of Adult Education In Lausdfrom the associated administrators of LA weekly update | http://is.gd/s1BvkS 27 February 2014 :: There are currently more than 14,000 adults and concurrent students on waiting lists for classes in the Division of Adult and Career Education. However, there are only ten Adult Education Service Areas present
Documenting Colorado teacher effectiveness: How much is enough? - The Denver Post: Documenting Colorado teacher effectiveness: How much is enough?By Kevin Simpson and Zahira TorresThe Denver PostPOSTED: 03/02/2014 12:01:00 AM MST | UPDATED: ABOUT 6 HOURS AGO7 COMMENTSTeacher Terace Viney works with John Evans Middle School student Nick Consonero, 11, on a pretest in her reading intervention cl
Sacramento City Unified School District, California, Selects Infinite Campus for Its Student Data Management System: Sacramento City Unified School District, California, Selects Infinite Campus for Its Student Data Management SystemThe Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD), located in California’s state capital of Sacramento, has selected Infinite Campus as their district-wide student in
Schooling in the Ownership Society: Rahm and Rauner ride the same money train: Rahm and Rauner ride the same money trainThere's a Republican Party in Chicago. It's called the Democratic Party.Among it's top leaders are Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Republican candidate for governor, billionaire union buster, Bruce Rauner. Both are backed by the same wealthy corporate donors, especially those who are corp
Russ on Reading: Dispatches from the Front: Dispatches from the FrontRuss on Reading goes to the Network for Public Education Conference in Austin, TexasI am feeling so fortunate to be here in Austin with so many passionate advocates for public education. There is literally a public education hero around every corner. Today I met superstar superintendent John Kuhn, author of Test and Punish, which
Student Voice: Twitter Chat 3.3.14 at 8:30PM EST – Authentic Incorporation of #StuVoice into Corporate Work Join us this Monday, March 3rd, at 8:30PM EST using the #StuVoice hashtag to talk about authentic incorporation of #StuVoice into corporate work. This special chat will be joined by corporations live from SXSW Edu to provide insight into the conversation. - See more at: http://stuvoice.org/b
The Network For Public Education | Network for Public Education endorses Ras Baraka for Mayor of Newark, New Jersey: Network for Public Education endorses Ras Baraka for Mayor of Newark, New JerseyFebruary 10, 2014 NPE EndorsementsThe Network for Public Education enthusiastically endorses Ras Baraka for Mayor of the great city of Newark, New Jersey. Mr. Baraka currently serves on the Newark City C
CHARTER SCHOOL SCANDALS: About Gulen charter schools + Gulen 101 webinar video: About Gulen charter schools + Gulen 101 webinar video(Video added 1/30/2014)Some of the videos shown during the presentation have been deleted from the video, but you will find them online.Portion of Gulen sermonPortion of scholar Joshua Hendrick's talk at Gulen conference sponsored by the Rumi Forum Portion of Dr. Oz
Turkey's prime minister says all schools run by arch-rival must close | Al Jazeera America: Turkey's prime minister says all schools run by arch-rival must closeMarch 1, 2014 8:30PM ETErdrogan wants academies run by exiled critic Fethullah Gulen to shutterTopics: Turkey InternationalA Turkish protester holds up a banner with pictures of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish cleri
Getting to the Heart of Education: Listening to the Whole At-Risk Student — Whole Child Education: THE WHOLE CHILD BLOGGetting to the Heart of Education: Listening to the Whole At-Risk StudentFebruary 25, 2014 by Stephen Sroka"Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all." —AristotleMany at-risk students in schools are crying out for help with their real-life iss
The False Markets of Market Based Reforms | School Finance 101: The False Markets of Market Based ReformsPosted on March 1, 20140I’ve not spent a great deal of time talking about “corporate reform,” “privatization” or “market based reform,” mainly because I find these labels unproductive and oversimplified. Most of which occurs in our public and private sectors (also a simplification) and provisio
Coop’s Childhood Part 4 – Boys, Bushes, Baseball & Beyond | Lefty Parent: Coop’s Childhood Part 4 – Boys, Bushes, Baseball & BeyondMarch 1st, 2014 at 15:11Lilac bushes in Almendinger ParkThe brooding and mostly repressed sexuality of America in the 1950s that I was born into, was being transformed by a sexual revolution that was taking form in the early 1960s. The seeds of this insurrectio
Few Great Picks Among Teacher Movies | InterACT: Few Great Picks Among Teacher MoviesMARCH 1, 2014tags: Edutopia, moviesby David B. CohenOver at Edutopia, there’s a discussion brewing about which film would deserve the Oscar for Best Teacher Movie. The conversation spilled over to Twitter a bit as well. Some of the movies are more broadly about education, not just teaching, of course. I have to sa
The truth about ADHD: Over-diagnosis linked to cause championed by Michelle Rhee - Salon.com: The truth about ADHD: Over-diagnosis linked to cause championed by Failed DC Chancellor Michelle RheeResearchers have discovered a disturbing link between over-diagnosis and the proliferation of standardized testingCAROLINE MILLERThere has been a lot of public agonizing lately about the steep rise in diag
James Baldwin said it best: "For these are all our children, and we will profit by or pay for whatever they become."A BIG EDUCATION APE NITE CAPClick Here to Watch Live!schoolhouseliveThe Best of Public EducationTeach For America's unspoken alliance with the one percent | MyFDLTeach For America's unspoken alliance with the one percent | MyFDL: Teach For America’s unspoken alliance with t