Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Legislators want districts to be explicit about how they’re targeting dollars | EdSource Today

Legislators want districts to be explicit about how they’re targeting dollars | EdSource Today:



Behind closed doors in coming days, legislative leaders and Gov. Jerry Brown will decide whether to address a complaint that civil rights and parent groups have about the new state funding law: It does not require districts to spell out how they plan to spend the money they are getting for high-needs students, which include low-income children and English learners.
Al Muratsuchi, chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance. Source: California Channel webcast.
Al Muratsuchi, chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance. Source: California Channel webcast.
Advocacy groups that fought hard for passage of the Local Control Funding Formula argue that the ability to track expenditures for high-needs students is critical to fulfill the law’s promise of funding equity. They want the state to add a category to the statewide financial accounting system so that districts will be required to report the money they received each year for these targeted students and how they used it. Parents could verify that supplemental dollars went to the students who generated the money.
Under the new funding formula, districts receive an extra 20 percent in supplemental dollars for every low-income child, English learner and foster youth they enroll, plus money on top of that, called concentration grants, if they have large proportions of high-needs students.
“Setting clear guidelines on reporting how districts both receive and use the money is simply a matter of giving the public the information they need to hold policymakers accountable,” Jonathan Kaplan, a senior policy analyst with the nonprofit California Budget Project, wrote in a column in the Sacramento Bee on Tuesday.
At the urging of advocacy groups, budget committees in both the Assembly and Senate adopted the same placeholder language indicating they plan to revise the state accounting manual to include supplemental and concentration grants. The exact language will be negotiated with the governor’s office as part of the trailer bill, which contains the technical language explaining expenditures in the state budget.
Persuading Gov. Brown to go along may take some hard bargaining. The 2013 law establishing the Local Control Funding Formula requires that districts increase or improve programs and services for Legislators want districts to be explicit about how they’re targeting dollars | EdSource Today:

Promoting kids who aren't ready. Keeping disruptive students... | Get Schooled | www.ajc.com

Promoting kids who aren't ready. Keeping disruptive students... | Get Schooled | www.ajc.com:



Promoting kids who aren't ready. Keeping disruptive students in class. Any solutions?  


School discipline
School discipline
I wrote earlier today about thenew Georgia Milestones tests, which led to this exchange between posters:
Scott wrote: But to me, the bigger question is what happens when students fail to meet expectations. Do school systems continue to ignore the deficiencies, or are students going to get the math help they need to attain on-level mastery?
ScienceTeacher671 responded: The students will continue to be administratively promoted until they get to high school, at which point they will fail miserably.
A few days earlier, a reader sent me this note in response to myblog about how few eighth graders who are behind ever catch up in high school:
My good friend works in a metro school system as a middle school counselor. Last week he was upset, frustrated and had a look of defeat because the teachers and administration at his school promoted a student to the eighth grade with the following academic history: Student failed 12 out of 16 courses; student failed four out of five subject areas on the CRCT in 2014; student achieved a grade of zero in science the last two terms. Something has to be done, because the kids are being set up for failure.
What happens to students like that when they reach high school? Clearly, many drop out of school. Are any of them saved?
I am off this week and vacationing with five 15-year-olds who just finished their freshman year in high school. I’ve been disheartened to listen to them talk about the challenges of learning in classes with disruptive peers who either don’t get what’s being taught or don’t care. They tell me their teachers are “too nice to send kids to the office.” At the same time, they feel they paid a Promoting kids who aren't ready. Keeping disruptive students... | Get Schooled | www.ajc.com:

Oregon Save Our Schools: Schools Need Vigor, Not Rigor

Oregon Save Our Schools: Schools Need Vigor, Not Rigor:



Putting the Public Back in Our Public Schools!


Schools Need Vigor, Not Rigor






by Joanne Yatvin

Though my years in the classroom are long past, at heart I am still a cranky old English teacher who bristles at some of the neologisms that have crept into public language.  I never tack “ly” onto ordinal number words, or say “myself” when I mean “I” or “me.” I won’t use “access” or “impact” as verbs because I consider them to be only nouns. Even so, I remain politely quiet when others commit such grammatical transgressions. But there is one word I dislike so intensely when used in connection with education that I can’t remain silent under any circumstances.  That word is: “rigor.”  Part of my reaction is emotional, having so often heard “rigor” paired with “mortis.” The other part is logical, stemming from the literal meanings of rigor: harshness, severity, strictness, inflexibility and immobility.

None of these things is what I want for students at any level. And, although I don’t believe that the politicians, scholars or media commentators who use the word so freely really want them, either, I still reproach them for using the wrong word and the wrong concept to characterize educational excellence.

Rigor has been used to promote the idea that American students need advanced course work, complex texts, and longer school days and years in order to be ready for college or the workplace. But, so far, the rigorous practices put in place under the federal Oregon Save Our Schools: Schools Need Vigor, Not Rigor:

Parent Child Preschool Organization Comes Opposes Oregon's Kindergarten Assessment
Kathy Ems, the president of the Parent Child Preschool Organization, a membership organization for cooperative preschools with over 60 affiliated preschools in Oregon and Washington, has come out against the Oregon Kindergarten Assessment. Part of her letter is below. For more go to http://oregonka.weebly.com/May 5, 2014Hello, PCPO parents and teachers,Your kindergartner, upon entering an Oregon p

A Chicago Teacher Questions Martin Koldyke’s “Golden Apples” Program | deutsch29

A Chicago Teacher Questions Martin Koldyke’s “Golden Apples” Program | deutsch29:



A Chicago Teacher Questions Martin Koldyke’s “Golden Apples” Program

June 4, 2014



A few days ago, a Chicago teacher contacted me to make me aware of a program in Chicago, the “Golden Apple” program, one that supposedly rewards good teachers yet seems more like a front to supply a temporary teaching staff in schools that businessman Martin Koldyke has taken control of in the all-too-common corporate reform name of “turning them around.”
This teacher read my book, A Chronicle of Echoes, which has three chapters focused on the history of mayoral control in Chicago. She noted that I did not mention Koldyke, which is true. My book is a 24-chapter survey of corporate reform, and I had to cut information in order to limit its size. (Even with small font, the book is over 500 pages.) Plus, I ran out of both energy and summer vacation. (I wrote the body of the book in a single summer. It needed to be done before the fall and my return to teaching full time.)
In February 2013, I had written about Koldyke as part of my 17-post NCTQ series. In my post, I concluded that Golden Apple looked like a legitimate program but that Koldyke’s connections definitely put him in the category of “corporate reformer”:
Koldyke is also founder and chair of the Academy for Urban School Leadership(AUSL). It is here that I read Koldyke’s name in association with Arne Duncan. I read that this group “manages” 25 Chicago public schools and that AUSL’s partners include the Dell and Gates Foundations; the Walmart Foundation; theALEC-connected Boeing Corporation, and– yep– McGriff’s NewSchools Venture Fund.
Koldyke is a corporate reformer.
If only Koldyke’s AUSL could deliver. Alas, they cannot:
Since the latest Chicago Public Schools “reform” efforts began in 1996, Orr Academy High School in the West Side’s Garfield Park neighborhood has beensubjected to nearly every faddish attempt the corporate reformists 
A Chicago Teacher Questions Martin Koldyke’s “Golden Apples” Program | deutsch29:

Public Education in an Econocracy | educarenow

Public Education in an Econocracy | educarenow:



Public Education in an Econocracy

Is there hope in fighting in the neoliberal agenda for education?  Is there a chance of pushing back against a one-dimensional, market driven approach toeverything, one that most certainly includes education?
An answer lies in Paul Carr and Brad Porfilio’s,  The Obama Education Files: Is There Hope to Stop the Neoliberal Agenda in Education?   This article has been around since 2011. I just stumbled on to it, and it goes a long way in helping to understand some of the underlying forces that are working to dismantle public education- and the bigger picture of how these forces are working to dismantle anything labelled “public.”
The article rests on the assumption that, “The political economy of democracy must, we argue, foreshadow any serious discussion of the role of education in contemporary times.”
And what is the current state of this “political economy”?  The authors refer to this as an “econ-ocracy,” a word which another scholar defines as “…a society where economic efficiency take precedence over all other policy decisions…”  A very fitting definition.
So the context for political decision making occurs within a neoliberal  econocracy, which means that the primary value that determines anything is Public Education in an Econocracy | educarenow:

Gene V Glass: Education in Two Worlds

Gene V Glass: Education in Two Worlds:



A Basis Schools Horror Story





Staci Almager is Executive Director of "Transplants for Children: Keeping Children Alive, Keeping Families Together" in San Antonio, Texas. Basis Schools Inc. is a company that has opened a dozen charter schools nationwide, most recently in San Antonio. US News and World Report consistently ranks Basis charter schools among the top ten high schools in America, in spite of the fact that each school graduates something of the order of two dozen students annually.Staci and her husband recently enrolled their 12 year-old son in Basis San Antonio. What follows is the horror story of that experience, recounted by Staci herself.


Background and Introduction to BASIS San Antonio
We enrolled our son in BASIS San Antonio in June 2013 after an introduction to the school from other parents at our son’s elementary school. At that time, it appeared to be an answer to our prayers. We were struggling with the decision of where to send him for middle school. Our son attended NISD elementary school, Aue Elementary School from 1st -5th grade and it was not been a positive experience. Our son is an exemplary student, never missed a question on standardized tests and a student in the Gifted and Talented “Alpha” program starting in Kindergarten. But, the education he received in elementary school did not match his educational abilities. Starting in the 3rd grade, my husband and I started stressing about where to send him for middle school. We were led to believe from educators in our son’s school that the middle school that he was assigned to attend based on our geographic boundaries was just a continuation of the less than exemplary education that he received in elementary school. We contacted many private schools in the area, considered selling our home in order to move to an area with a higher rated middle school and my husband actually considered transferring to another state with his job. When we learned about BASIS San Antonio, it sounded too good to be true. We attended all the information sessions, did online research about the school and our son participate in the hiring process of the teachers of the school. We felt very fortunate when he was registered in the school.The Education
Our son is a 6th grade student. His education at BASIS included Chemistry, Physics, Algebra, Art History, World History, Biology, Physical Education. Every night starting the first day of school, he was assigned between 3-5 hours worth of homework. Throughout the school year, he gave up all extracurricular activities in order to complete the homework requirements. By the end of the school year, he would come home at 4 pm, open his books and go to bed at 9 pm only stopping to eat dinner. If he did not have his homework completed 100% by the next school day, he would receive a zero on the homework assignment. The homework assignments and projects were also required on Saturday and Sunday.

Challenges
After the first day of school, all communication from the school stopped. Our son was never provided a progress report until the end of the first grading period. No emails sent to the teachers were returned. Calls and emails to teachers and to the Head of School were not returned. The lack of leadership and quality administration of the school was profound. We discovered that the qualifications of the Head of School were not accurate on the website and were misrepresented in writing. The BASIS San Antonio Parent/Community Facebook page was administered by cyberbully parents. According to children attending the school, the students were kind, respectful and courteous but the parents were bullies to each other and the students. By the end of the school year, mandatory detention for any and all infractions was developed and highly enforced with no oversight by the Head of School.

Why our Son Stayed at BASIS – One Single Quality Administrator
We were concerned about the lack of communication, 3-5 hours of rigorous homework per night but there was one single individual who we greatly respected. The Assistant Head of School was the “exemplary” educator that we felt had our son’s best interest at heart. Dr. Abby Hasberrry assured my husband and me that our son was the exact type of student that BASIS tries to find in the public school system. We really believed that the school was the best place for him and she empowered us to help him master the process of the first year at BASIS San Antonio. In addition, our son scored very high on the mandatory “pre-comp” Gene V Glass: Education in Two Worlds:

Nite Cap 6-4-14 #BATsACT #RealEdTalk #EDCHAT #P2



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 CAP




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