Monday, March 23, 2015

Not My Daughter – One Dad’s Journey to Protect His Little Girl from Toxic Testing - Badass Teachers Association

Badass Teachers Association:



Not My Daughter – One Dad’s Journey to Protect His Little Girl from Toxic Testing

 By:  Steven Singer

Originally posted on his blog:  https://gadflyonthewallblog.wordpress.com/2015/03/20/not-my-daughter-one-dads-journey-to-protect-his-little-girl-from-toxic-testing/
FATHERS-AND-DAUGHTERS
I’ll admit it – I was scared.
I’m a nationally board certified teacher with a masters degree in education. I’ve taught public school for over a dozen years. But I’ve only been a daddy for half that time.
Would making this call get my little girl in trouble?
I didn’t want to rock the boat. I didn’t want my daughter to suffer because her old man is making a fuss. I didn’t want her teachers and principal giving her a hard time because of something I did.
But I couldn’t deny what I know.
Standardized testing is destroying public education. It’s stressing kids out by demanding they perform at levels they aren’t developmentally ready to reach. And its using these false measures of proficiency to “prove” how bad public schools are so they can be replaced by for-profit charters that will reduce the quality of kids’ educations to generate profits.
No. There was no doubt about it. I had to make this phone call.
I used my most professional voice on the line with the principal.
“Hi, Mr. Smith. This is Steven Singer. I’m Amy’s father. I know she’s just in kindergarten but it’s come to my attention she’s taking standardized tests, and I’d like to opt her out.”
Before my little girl started school, I hadn’t even realized there were standardized tests in kindergarten. She takes both the DIBELS and the GRADE test.
He seemed surprised, even a bit fearful, but he quickly suggested a meeting with me, my daughter’s teacher, the councilor and a few others to get it done.
It was my turn to be surprised. I had expected to be asked to review the tests before writing a formal letter citing my “religious” reason for refusal. But I guess things are different before students reach third grade. Without legislation mandating a formal process, we needed to meet and discuss like adults.
And a few weeks later, here I was waiting for that meeting to begin.
It wasn’t long before my daughter’s teacher arrived. We chatted briefly about a fire drill and how my sweetheart hadn’t been afraid. Then the councilor, principal and others came in and ushered us into the conference room.
Most of the space was taken up by a long rectangular table surrounded by black leather chairs on wheels. It looked like the kind of place where important decisions are made – a bit imposing really.
We sat down and Mr. Smith introduced me to the team and told them I Badass Teachers Association:

Thar's Gold in Them Thar Charter Schools: Walton and Gates Foundations Edition | The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch | Tucson Weekly

Thar's Gold in Them Thar Charter Schools: Walton and Gates Foundations Edition | The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch | Tucson Weekly:



Thar's Gold in Them Thar Charter Schools: Walton and Gates Foundations Edition



COURTESY OF PHOTOSPIN


 When the Walton Foundation—the ultra conservative WalMart fortune foundation which pours close to two hundred million a year into "education reform"—teams up with the Gates Foundation—Bill Gates' reasonably apolitical foundation which believes that every problem has a business model solution and also spends hundreds of millions on education initiatives—to put on a conference about education, it's worth taking notice. On March 10, the two groups hosted  "Bonds and Blackboards: Investing in Charter Schools" in New York. The purpose of the get-together was to let investors know they can make money lending to charter schools.

With the explicit intent of helping investors "Learn and understand the value of investing in charter schools and best practices for assessing their credit," the event featured experts on charter school investing from Standard & Poor's, Piper Jaffray, Bank of America, and Wells Capital Management, among others.

[snip]

Hedge funds and other private businesses are particularly interested in the growth and success of charter schools. The growth of charter networks around the US offer new revenue streams for investing, and the sector is quickly growing. Funding for charter schools is further incentivized by generous tax credits for investments to charter schools in underserved areas.

"It's a very stable business, very recession resistant, it's a high demand product. There are 400,000 kids on waiting lists for charter schools ... the industry is growing about 12-14% a year," David Brain, former President and CEO at EPR Properties, told CNBC in 2012.

"It's a public payer, the state is the payer on this category," he added in support of the highly safe investing opportunities in charter schools.
As safe as an investment in charter schools may be, Ducey and the AZ Lege want to make it safer still by creating a $24 million pot of collateral, which Ducey calls the "Arizona Public School Achievement District plan," to guarantee the loans. Details about the plan have not yet been announced, but if I read it right, it's a win-win for charter schools and investors. The only ones at risk are Arizona taxpayers. The collateral brings down interest costs because the loans are secured. Great for charters. Investors know they'll get their money no matter what. Great for investors. But if a charter fails, the state is left paying off the loan and holding the bag. Not so great for the state budget and the taxpayers who fund it.Thar's Gold in Them Thar Charter Schools: Walton and Gates Foundations Edition | The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch | Tucson Weekly:




PARCC postponed as N.J. school district's network 'held hostage' for bitcoins | NJ.com

PARCC postponed as N.J. school district's network 'held hostage' for bitcoins | NJ.com:

PARCC postponed as N.J. school district's network 'held hostage' for bitcoins








 Swedesboro-Woolwich school district's entire computer system network was hacked over the weekend preventing its four elementary schools from administering the PARCC exams.

The school district's technical services operators noticed the problem Saturday morning and have been working throughout the weekend and into Monday to correct it, according to Superintendent Terry Van Zoeren.
"There's basically no tech service happening in Swedesboro-Woolwich right now," he said. "Essentially our network has been taken over and has been made nonoperational."
The hackers have asked the school district to send bitcoins in order to free up their system.
This has affected the district's entire operations from internal and external communications to its point-of-sale for school lunches.
It also has prevented any students from taking the scheduled PARCC exams, which are entirely computerized.
"We are operating as if it's about 1981 again," Van Zoeren said. The network administrator received a message with complex directions to forward $500 in bitcoins -- a digital currency popular on underground online markets.
Technicians are working to rebuild Swedesboro-Woolwich's system without paying the ransom, and the district is hoping it will be fixed by Tuesday morning.
While it can often be very difficult to find out who is responsible for hacking into the system, the district will pursue the culprits "to the greatest extent possiblePARCC postponed as N.J. school district's network 'held hostage' for bitcoins | NJ.com:

Special Nite Cap: Catch Up on Today's Post 3/23/15


Special Nite Cap - Catch Up on Today's Post 3/23/15


Special Nite Cap 

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