Sunday, February 1, 2015

5 facts about charter schools you won’t hear in the ‘National School Choice Week’ propaganda

5 facts about charter schools you won’t hear in the ‘National School Choice Week’ propaganda:


5 facts about charter schools you won’t hear in the ‘National School Choice Week’ propaganda
LAURIE LEVY, ALTERNET
29 JAN 2015 AT 10:34 ET 







Wow! Check out the fancy website for National School Choice Week. It’s polished, it’s colorful; it features kids of all races with bright smiling faces. They even have their own dance! The videos are tearjerkers, reminiscent, in emotional value, of the highly touted documentary film, Waiting for Superman, which propelled school choice advocates into the national conversation back in 2010.
I must confess that when I first watched that movie, seeing the tears of kids who lost the charter lottery and were doomed to attend terrible public schools hit me right in the gut. It struck me as so unfair that they’d have to miss out on… hold on a second. Something didn’t feel quite right. Was I being manipulated? Why did those kids and their parents have to gather in an auditorium to be publicly devastated by not being selected for their choice school, anyway? Wouldn’t a letter or email have done the trick?
Turns out, I was totally taken in by a slick, well-made film that played a bit loose with the facts about school choice. Given how much Americans love the idea of choice, I’m sure I’m not the only one. So in honor of National School Choice Week, here are a few actual facts about charter schools you may want to consider before jumping on the bandwagon.
1. There are no data that support the idea that charter schools are superior to public schools. Even using data from the high-stakes tests school choice folks admire so much. According to Data First, an initiative of the Center for Public Education, on math assessments 17% of kids in charter schools perform significantly better than their peers in public schools. But 37% perform significantly worse. For the rest (46%), scores were comparable. According to a national study by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO), “less than one hundredth of one percent (<0.01 percent) of the variation in test performance in reading is explainable by charter school enrollment.” Not exactly proof of a winning formula, no matter how you slice it.
2. Unlike public schools, charters can pick and choose their students. Children with special needs are not chosen. Children with behavior problems are expelled. According to Julian Vasquez Heilig, “KIPP and other charters faced a federal lawsuit in New Orleans for not serving special populations and/or doing so poorly.” According to Diane Ravitch in her book, The Myth of the Charter School, some charter schools “counsel out” or expel students just before state testing day. Lower-performing students tend to mysteriously drop out. Throws that “better performing” 17% into serious question, doesn’t it?
3. Children who are better resourced with more family support are the winners in the school choice game. Children from disorganized families don’t even enter the lottery. Children with significant special needs are not well served in charter schools that lack the appropriate resources. The privatization of our schools puts public schools at a huge disadvantage, stranding the least advantaged and disabled in underfunded, under-resourced schools. Much like Lady Liberty, public schools welcome all who end up on their shores:
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me….”
Just don’t send them to a charter school.
4. It’s family income, stupid. Ravitch and many others have pointed out numerous studies linking income and test scores. One study demonstrates how SAT scores favor students from wealthy families. Another study at Washington State University confirms the correlation between parental income and ACT and SAT scores, while a different 5 facts about charter schools you won’t hear in the ‘National School Choice Week’ propaganda:
Big Education Ape: Got Choice? Ubetcha! - ALL The RIGHT People Celebrate National $chool Choice Week http://bit.ly/1z2lai7

Principal: What I’ve learned about annual standardized testing - The Washington Post

Principal: What I’ve learned about annual standardized testing - The Washington Post:



Principal: What I’ve learned about annual standardized testing






 The U.S. Congress is — eight years late — taking up the rewriting of No Child Left Behind, and one of the key issues under discussion is just how big the federal footprint on local public schools should be. No Child Left Behind requires that students take an annual standardized test for purposes of holding schools “accountable” from Grades 3-8 and once in high school. Whether such annual testing is now being hotly debated. Here’s a post looking at this issue, by Principal Carol Burris of South Side High School in New York, who was named New York’s 2013 High School Principal of the Year by the School Administrators Association of New York and the National Association of Secondary School Principals. In 2010, tapped as the 2010 New York State Outstanding Educator by the School Administrators Association of New York State. Burris has been exposing the botched school reform program in New York for years on this blog. Some of her pieces are listed after the post.

By Carol Burris
“My experience in the education world is that there are really two worlds in it. One is the world of contract and consultants and academics and experts and plenty of officials at the federal state and local level. And the other is a world of principals and classroom teachers who are actually providing education to students. What I’m hearing from my principals’ and teachers’ world is that the footprint of that first world has become way too big in their lives to the point where it’s inhibiting their ability to do the jobs they’re entrusted to do.”
 So began Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat from Rhode Island, at the January 21st Senate education committee hearing to rewrite No Child Left Behind. His thoughts, which were given at the end of the hearing, were the perfect bookend to the remarks of Sen. Lamar Alexander, the Republican from Tennessee, who chairs the panel and who opened the hearing on a similar theme.
Earlier, Alexander reminded those in attendance that the Department of Education should not be “a national school board.” He said that the overreach of President Obama’s Race to the Top education funding competition is inhibiting the work of states to create challenging standards. Alexander closed with an excerpt from my letter to him, which originally appeared here on the Answer Sheet. That letter talked about the steady decrease of democratic control of our schools, as well as the ineffectiveness of test-based reforms.
Although these two senators, Whitehouse and Alexander, sit on different sides of the aisle, they both expressed clear discomfort with the federal Principal: What I’ve learned about annual standardized testing - The Washington Post:

West Virginia Legislation Would Criminalize Teaching Social Problems First | Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community

West Virginia Legislation Would Criminalize Teaching Social Problems First | Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community:



West Virginia Legislation Would Criminalize Teaching Social Problems First

(Photo: Melinda Shelton/cc/flickr)

Attention West Virginia civics teachers.
Legislation was introduced this week in the West Virginia House of Delegates (HB 2107) that would prohibit the teaching of “social problems, economics, foreign affairs, the United Nations, world government, socialism or communism until basic courses in American state and local geography and history are completed.”
And if the teacher teaches “social problems” first?
He or she will be charged with a misdemeanor crime and fined.
And then fired.
The bill was introduced by Delegates John Overington (R-Berkeley), Geoff Foster (R-Putnam), Eric Householder (R-Berkeley), Kelli Sobonya (R-Cabell), Michel Moffat (R-Putnam), Ruth Rowan (R-Hampshire), Cindy Frich (R-Monogalia) and Jim Butler (R-Mason).
The legislation requires one and a half years of study in the history of the United States and the founding documents of the country, including “the study of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States with an emphasis on the Bill of Rights, using the historical, political and social environments surrounding each document at the time of its initial passage or ratification and shall include the study of historical documents such as the Federalist Papers and the Anti-Federalist Papers to firmly establish the historical background leading to the establishment of the provisions of the Constitution and Bill of Rights by the founding fathers for the purposes of safeguarding our Constitutional republic.”
That must be taught first.
The bill makes clear that “before students may participate in secondary level courses involving the study of social problems, global economics, foreign affairs, the United Nations, world government, socialism or communism, pupils shall first have completed basic instruction in geography, United States history, United States government and the government of the State of West Virginia, local governments in West Virginia, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitutions of the United States and the State of West Virginia.”
What if the study of the history of the United States involves the study of social problems, like slavery?
Is the teacher charged with a crime?
What if the study of the U.S. history involves the study of global economics?
Will the teacher be fired?
What if the study of U.S. history involves the study of a U.S. president, Woodrow Wilson, who first proposed the League of Nations?
Will the teacher be dragged out of school?

An outstanding music teacher tells Governor Cuomo why his reform plan is a bad idea | Round the Inkwell

An outstanding music teacher tells Governor Cuomo why his reform plan is a bad idea | Round the Inkwell:



An outstanding music teacher tells Governor Cuomo why his reform plan is a bad idea

By carolcorbettburris, January 31, 2015




 Doreen Fryling is a remarkable teacher of music, as well as a public school mom.  She is does not support Cuomo’s efforts to make test scores 50% of a teacher evaluation.  Although Cuomo now mocks the present APPR system, he helped create it. He said it was “one of the toughest in the country”.  And now he says it is baloney, so he wants to put some crushed glass in the sandwich.

Here is what Doreen wrote.  I am so proud to be her principal.
Dear Governor Cuomo,
I am compelled to write to you regarding your proposed changes to the New York State Teacher Evaluations. This letter is an attempt to offer you a teacher’s perspective of your new evaluation proposal.  I have been impressed by your willingness to explore multiple perspectives on other issues facing the people in the great State of New York.  I write with the hope that you are indeed a reasonable leader who really does have good intentions.  I offer this letter publicly because I believe it is an opportunity to inspire others to generate ideas that can help students.
Governor, there are those who say that you have fabricated a crisis in education because you have been bought or that you are settling a political score with the teacher’s union for not endorsing you in the last election.  I will leave the speculation to others and merely address your current proposal and how it affects my children, my colleagues, my students, and me.
I teach in a school district on Long Island, one that consistently excels in all it does for all of its students.  We are not a failing school district, nor are we in crisis.  Unfortunately, changes made by your administration in the past, and certainly your new proposal, threaten the very stability and excellence that we currently provide to our students.  I see this threat in the school district in which I teach and also in my children’s schools.
There are negative consequences to your teacher evaluation program.  Curriculum is being narrowed to focus more on test prep in math and English.  Students have less access to a broad exposure to the arts, social studies, sciences, and languages.  Teachers are becoming demoralized, as the profession they entered out of a love for learning is slowly eroded into become a singular effort to raise standardized test scores.  When you propose to make 50% of a teacher’s effectiveness score based on these tests, you shift the priority of teaching for the sake of An outstanding music teacher tells Governor Cuomo why his reform plan is a bad idea | Round the Inkwell:

Why Rescue the Latest, Failed "Chief for Change?" | John Thompson

Why Rescue the Latest, Failed "Chief for Change?" | John Thompson:



Why Rescue the Latest, Failed "Chief for Change?"








 Why would Tulsa even think of hiring embattled Chief for Change Deborah Gist as superintendent? Oklahoma voters recently rejected Chief for Change Janet Barresi and her devotion to test, sort, and punish. Students, parents, teachers, and administrators have risen up in a grassroots rebellion against the bubble-in mania of Gist and Baressi, and the voters overwhelmingly elected a State Superintendent, Joy Hofmeister, who is making good on her promise to bring civility and collaboration back to our schools. So, why would Tulsa hire a charter member of an organization dedicated to destroying local school governance and the professional autonomy of teachers, as well as our unions?

This is a national issue, not just a threat to Oklahoma schools. Why would Tulsa hire an ideologue who pioneered the mass dismissal of teachers in order to stifle dissent?
As in other states at the depths of the Great Recession, Oklahoma was given an offer it could not refuse. We could forfeit millions of federal dollars and remain under the micromanaging of the discredited No Child Left Behind regime, or we could agree to the Gates Foundation's risky, experiment for using test scores to fire teachers. To be eligible for federal grants, we had to embrace Arne Duncan's School Improvement Grant (SIG) system of removing at least ½ of the teachers in high-challenge schools and/or labeling teachers who oppose teach-to-the-test as "culture killers," and "exiting" them.
But, now, why would Tulsa hire Gist, who made her name as a blood-in-the-eye "reformer" by rushing to the head of the line, and helping to fire all teachers in Rhode Island's Central Falls High School? Why would Tulsa hire a Chief for Change who is being run out of her own state?
Six years ago, it made sense for Tulsa to apply for a pilot project grant to test some of Bill Gates' pet theories. Even then, scholars and practitioners who sought to use high-stakes tests and a not-ready-for-prime-time statistical model to evaluate teachers were few and far between, but only in retrospect did we learn that Gates would demand such complete fidelity to those hypotheses. Back then, we did not know that Arne Duncan would fill his Department of Education with Gates Foundation staff, and that Bill Gates' untested preferences would soon become the law in almost all of the nation.
The Gates/Duncan value-added models, which were promoted by Gist, have now been proven to be biased against teachers in high-poverty schools. Now, we understand that the full implementation of Gates' theory would prompt an exodus of its top teachers away from schools where it is harder to meet their growth targets. So, why would an 80% low-income district hire Gist, a last true believer in punishing schools and individuals for not meeting quantitative goals (even though they have proven to be impossible in neighborhood schools that serve everyone who walks in their doors?)
The Gates/Duncan/Gist value-added evaluations are collective punishment of teachers who commit to high-challenge schools. It is now clear that they always were a club to beat down teachers and unions who opposed test-driven accountability. So, Why Rescue the Latest, Failed "Chief for Change?" | John Thompson:

Hot fundraising produces hot water for Sacramento’s Crocker/Riverside school | The Sacramento Bee The Sacramento Bee

Hot fundraising produces hot water for Sacramento’s Crocker/Riverside school | The Sacramento Bee The Sacramento Bee:



Hot fundraising produces hot water for Sacramento’s Crocker/Riverside school

01/31/2015 3:51 PM 
 01/31/2015 10:05 PM
Actor and environmentalist Ed Begley Jr. right, signs a lunch box for Zoe Reese, 10, at Crocker/Riverside Elementary School during an event to celebrate Earth Day in 2008. The school in an affluent city neighborhood is seeing tension between two parent fundraising groups this year.
Actor and environmentalist Ed Begley Jr. right, signs a lunch box for Zoe Reese, 10, at Crocker/Riverside Elementary School during an event to celebrate Earth Day in 2008. The school in an affluent city neighborhood is seeing tension between two parent fundraising groups this year. AUTUMN CRUZ ACRUZ@SACBEE.COM

Parents at Crocker/Riverside Elementary School in Sacramento’s Land Park neighborhood are seeing the downside of raising large amounts of money to enhance their children’s education.
While many Sacramento City Unified schools struggle to raise funds in one parent-based organization, Crocker/Riverside now has two groups that combined generate more than $100,000 annually. This academic year, the campus has seen increasing tension between the school’s parent-teacher association and the fledgling Land Park Schools Foundation, which formed last year as an alternative to the traditional fundraising arm.
The disharmony went public nearly two weeks ago when Principal Daniel McCord and PTA leaders were stymied in their effort to replace the PTA with a new parent-teacher organization. They were accused of being secretive, and one parent affiliated with the Land Park Schools Foundation filed a formal request seeking copies of McCord’s communications and PTA records.
It’s an uncommon state for the parents of Crocker/Riverside, where the emphasis has long been on campus advocacy and cordiality. In recent years, the well-heeled Land Park neighborhood redoubled its fundraising efforts as state funding declined and Capitol leaders steered more money to campuses with underprivileged students.
“Our school is very close-knit,” former PTA President Anne Hawley said. “You know how families are sometimes. You have little squabbles and you kiss and make up. At the end of the day, I think everyone wants what’s best for the kids.”
A few blocks north of William Land Park in a neighborhood where homes routinely sell for more than half a million dollars, Crocker/Riverside has the smallest share of low-income elementary school students in the city district. Less than 15 percent qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, compared with 73 percent for the entire Sacramento City Unified School District, according to state data.
Since 2012-13, Crocker PTA members have exceeded $100,000 annually in their fundraising for the 650-student campus. At Crocker, the money has helped in multiple ways, such as buying school supplies, reimbursing teachers, helping fund the library and holding science fairs.
So what’s the problem?
Ask that question in Land Park and the answer stems from a years-old discussion. PTA members a few years back looked for ways to shore up their liability insurance for successful off-campus fundraisers where alcohol was served.
The statewide PTA collects a share of the locally raised PTA dollars and provides insurance. But that insurance doesn’t cover alcohol service.
One proposed solution has been to establish a parent-teacher organization and disband the PTA. That would mean no money going to the statewide PTA and greater ability to hold events with alcohol.
The conversation about a parent-teacher organization had been off and on when some parents chose to create a PTA Booster Club. That approach would protect the PTA and the school, parent Michael B. Sullivan wrote in a 2013 email to parents. But the PTA, he wrote that same year, pushed back with “attitudes ranging from friendly but dismissive to suspicious and surly.”
PTA leaders, in their own emailed responses, said at the time they wanted to resolve the alcohol issue without creating a second organization.
By February 2014, Sullivan and several others created the nonprofit Land Park Schools Foundation, a group with a stated mission to raise money for schools in affluent sections of Land Park but also campuses serving low-income housing projects near Broadway.
In its first year, the group raised about $14,000, all for Crocker/Riverside, according to Konrad von Schoech, president of the Land Park Schools Foundation.
Soon after McCord became Crocker principal in 2013, discussions about creating an independent parent-teacher organization resumed, he said in a letter two weeks ago to parents. Creating a new group and transitioning from the old PTA would reduce costs, resolve insurance issues and ease paperwork demands, he wrote.
“I think we can do better for ourselves,” he told parents. He said the executive committee of the PTA had approved a plan for the Crocker/Riverside Parent Teacher Organization, and the issue would go to the general PTA membership on Jan. 20.
But the PTA meeting took a different tack.
McCord apologized to those in attendance for pushing the idea, saying he should have first done more outreach. He apologized, he said, to “anybody (who) felt like this was a secretive process or felt left out.”
Von Schoech, the Land Park Schools Foundation president, said, “I haven’t heard anybody talk against the idea of PTO. It’s against the process.”
The same day, Sullivan, treasurer of the Land Park Schools Foundation, wrote a Public Records Act request to the school district seeking “files, memorandums, letters, notes” tied to the PTA and the proposed PTO for the last 17 months. He also sought all emails exchanged between theHot fundraising produces hot water for Sacramento’s Crocker/Riverside school | The Sacramento Bee The Sacramento Bee:

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/education/article8873084.html#storylink=cpy









Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/education/article8873084.html#storylink=cpy

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