Wednesday, April 8, 2015

California high schools violating graduation cap and gown fee law | 89.3 KPCC

California high schools violating graduation cap and gown fee law | 89.3 KPCC:

California high schools violating graduation cap and gown fee law









Hundreds of thousands of California seniors are getting ready for their much-anticipated public high school graduation ceremony, though many don’t know it's against the law for their schools to require them to buy a cap and gown without offering a set to use for free.
The practice violates the free public schools guarantee in the state constitution.
“The reason why this is important is to not create a two-tier system of education where those with resources and money are able to buy a better — and have a different — educational experience,” said ACLU lawyer David Sapp.
Sapp led a 2010 lawsuit that alleged public schools illegally charged parents fees for educational activities, including high school graduation ceremonies.
He says many schools are complying with the law: Los Angeles Unified School District sends its students a letter that uses the state’s wording on caps and gowns. In Norwalk-La Mirada, the school district allows all graduation seniors to use loaner sets.
However, in interviews with 12th-graders and their parents and a review of the documents that schools provide, it's clear that some districts leave many students in the dark about their options.
‘The activities director said you have to wear a cap and gown for graduation ceremony because it’s a very special event in your life and why wouldn’t you want to be wearing a cap and gown,” said Long Beach Poly High School senior Julia Jaynes.
Materials in her school’s graduation packet didn’t say whether caps and gowns are required for the graduation ceremony or whether the district will provide one to students for free.
Her parents are professionals, and can afford her senior year expenses. The yellow cap and gown they purchase will be a keepsake for her.
“My mom graduated from Poly 30 years ago and then I’m going to be walking at veterans stadium across the stage, too, and graduating. So it’s really cool,” Julia said.
Her father said the list of senior expenses is long and he wonders how families struggling to get by can afford the many graduation-related costs.
That’s the kind of financial pressure Hilda Rodriguez Guzman (no relation to this reporter) is feeling as her 12th-grader graduates from Wallis Annenberg High School, a charter campus in South LA.
“I feel horrible as a parent if I can’t give her a good experience and to celebrate all her accomplishments in the midst of everything that she’s been going through with her health,” she said.
Her daughter is graduating despite debilitating arthritis that keeps her on medication and at home some days.
Rodriguez Guzman recently learned that the state of California prohibits schoolsfrom charging a mandatory cap and gown fee.
Annenberg High, a charter within the Los Angeles Unified District, did not respond to a request for comment on whether its communication to students violated state law.
Long Beach Unified's high school packets also don’t explain the cap and gown options to seniors. But after KPCC asked officials for comment, they said they would send all 12th-graders a clarification that reads, in part:
“If you paid for a cap and gown but no longer wish to use one and would prefer to be reimbursed, please contact your school. Our high schools also make free caps and gowns available for students who wish to borrow them. Please also keep in mind that graduation dress codes will apply in the absence of a cap and gown.”
A letter sent to Pasadena High School seniors also fails to explain the cap and gown options to seniors as recommended by the California Department of Education. Half a dozen students at Pasadena's Muir High School said school officials told them caps and gowns were required and students would have to pay for them.
“First of all, we want to thank you for finding that out,” said Pasadena Unified spokesman Adam Wolfson.
He said students district-wide will likely be sent a letter clarifying that they can get a reimbursement from Jostens, the cap and gown company.
“We’re setting up a system with Jostens so if someone purchased a gown for California high schools violating graduation cap and gown fee law | 89.3 KPCC:

Opinion: PARCC Is Part of the Problem, Not Part of the Answer for NJ Schools - NJ Spotlight

Opinion: PARCC Is Part of the Problem, Not Part of the Answer for NJ Schools - NJ Spotlight:



OPINION: PARCC IS PART OF THE PROBLEM, NOT PART OF THE ANSWER FOR NJ SCHOOLS

Complex online tests can’t address chronic school underfunding, segregation, and poverty


mark weber (use)
Mark Weber
Is it just me, or are the cheerleaders for PARCC coming across as increasingly desperate?
PARCC -- Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers -- is the new, computerized, statewide test administered to students in New Jersey, 11 other states, and Washington, D.C.
Our state just finished the first round of PARCC last month. Parents and teachers gauged the reactions of their children and students as they struggled through these assessments. Many of them had already evaluated the tests based on sample questions made available online, or at the many “Take the PARCC” events across the state.
Now the reviews are coming in, and a good number of stakeholders -- students, parents, and teachers alike -- are less than impressed with PARCC. So much so that, according to the state’s largest teachers union, the NJEA, there were more than 50,000 refusals during the first administration of the test.
Given what I’ve heard from parents and students, that number is likely to grow during next month’s testing cycle. Parents are complaining that the sample questions they’ve reviewed are confusing and age inappropriate. High-school students are grumbling that the tests are poorly written and don’t match their schools’ curricula.
Russ Walsh, a professor of education at Rider University and expert on literacy, agrees with this evaluation. Many of the sample items Walsh tested were far above grade level in their difficulty and needlessly complex.
It’s little wonder, then, that both social media and mainstream press reports are full of anecdotes about students deliberately tanking the tests. Normally, this would raise serious concerns; however, the validity of the test results was already in question. Some school districts suspended their local exams in favor of PARCC, creating unequal incentives across the state for students to do well on the new tests.
Education Commissioner David Hespe and his staff are now in a panic, as the growing number of opt-outs threatens the May administration of PARCC. Together with their allies in the We Raise NJ collation, they’ve attempted to blame the growing dissatisfaction with the tests on a campaign of misinformation.
The truth, however, is that Hespe, his staff, and the other PARCC cheerleaders have no one to blame but themselves. Rather than judiciously roll out the new tests and acknowledge their limitations, NJDOE officials confidently claimed that PARCC was afar superior assessment than NJASK, and would transform New Jersey schools for the better.
In reality, we have little idea if PARCC is a more reliable assessment or if it predicts real-life outcomes better than any other standardized test. Even the PARCC consortium, in a white paper found on its own website, admits that it doesn’t know if test results vary with the quality of instruction students receive.
Most likely, PARCC, like NJASK, will be heavily biased by socioeconomic status: average scores for schools will rise and fall based on the number of students enrolled in the federal free-lunch program.
Ironically, this is the latest argument that PARCC cheerleaders have taken up: The tests are necessary to show how schools that serve larger populations of students in economic disadvantage are “failing.” Opting out, in this construction, is a luxury for suburban parents that inner city parents can’t afford.
It’s true that standardized tests have laid bare an inexcusable gap in performance between students of differing social classes. Of course, we could see this in the results of NJASK; it’s not as if PARCC is going to give us a new insight into the intense segregation that is pervasive throughout New Jersey schools.
It’s also true that more opt-out activity appears to be taking place in the suburbs than in New Jersey’s largest cities. But that’s probably because parent, student, and community protesters are busy fighting a much larger battle over charter school Opinion: PARCC Is Part of the Problem, Not Part of the Answer for NJ Schools - NJ Spotlight:

Failing as a starter jump-started Reynolds' career - The Orange County Register

Failing as a starter jump-started Reynolds' career - The Orange County Register:

Failing as a starter jump-started Reynolds' career



One of the top relief prospects in the Angels' farm system, Danny Reynolds will start the season at Double-A Arkansas.
MORRY GASH, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
TEMPE, Ariz. – It is probably not a stretch to say that almost every reliever in the majors was a starter who just needed to fail enough to discover where he was meant to be.
If Danny Reynolds continues on the path he discovered last year, he will be able to look back and realize his demotion in Class-A was the blessing that changed his career.
Reynolds, now one of the top relief prospects in the Angels system, went from being an organizational roster filler to a holding coveted spot on the 40-man roster within a span of 15 months, all because he got squeezed out of the rotation.
Class-A Inland Empire was shortening its rotation for the playoffs in 2013. Reynolds, who was languishing with a 5.39 ERA after his fourth season in the organization, was the odd man out. The Angels stuck him in the bullpen.
“We saw a low-90s fastball jump to mid-90s, with what at times can be an electric breaking ball,” General Manager Jerry Dipoto said. “We thought, ‘We’ve tapped into something here.’”
 A former sixth-round pick out of Durango High in Las Vegas, Reynolds returned to Inland Empire in 2014, but he wasn’t there long. He had a 1.80 ERA in 20 innings, with 19 strikeouts, and was bumped to Double-A Arkansas. At Arkansas, he posted a 3.60 ERA in 40 innings, with 41 strikeouts, which earned him a promotion to Triple-A.

All told, Reynolds had a 2.90 ERA for the season, and he gave up just 54 hits in 62 innings, with 63 strikeouts. His fastball reached 101 mph.
Reynolds was the classic example of a starter whose stuff improves when he can let it all go for a short burst, rather than worrying about maneuvering through 100 pitches.
“A lot of times when you shorten a guy, you find their stuff takes a big jump,” Dipoto said.
Reynolds, a 6-feet, 170-pounder with a baby face that has caused teammates to kid about being the bat boy, also contorts his slender frame into an unorthodox delivery. Even if he had the stuff to start, his arm probably couldn’t have taken the strain, Dipoto said.
Having discovered his future path to the big leagues, Reynolds was considered close enough that the Angels placed him on the 40-man roster. He will start 2015 at Double-A only because the Angels have so many veteran relievers with big league experience at Triple-A.
Despite his assignment, he’s still just a phone call from the majors. The Angels recalled pitchers Michael Roth, Cam Bedrosian, Drew Rucinski and Jairo Diaz from Double-A to the majors in recent seasons.
“If you would have told me when we got here in 2012 that Danny Reynolds would make the progress that he has to this point and the work habits and maturity would come as far as they were, I’d say sign me up,” Dipoto said. “And he’s delivered.”

Have you gotten a call from Ready Washington about the wonders of Common Core Standards and the SBAC? If so, this is why | Seattle Education

Have you gotten a call from Ready Washington about the wonders of Common Core Standards and the SBAC? If so, this is why | Seattle Education:



Have you gotten a call from Ready Washington about the wonders of Common Core Standards and the SBAC? If so, this is why

bill-gates
Ready Washington Coalition… of the bought
Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction
Partnership for Learning, the education arm of the Washington Roundtable. From the Gates Foundation website. received $499,492 “to support the Ready Washington Coalition and stakeholder groups to improve communications and outreach around the Common Core State Standards”.
Stand for Children Washington (Gates)
Washington STEM (Gates)
Excellent Schools Now, from their website, The steering committee of Excellent Schools Now consists of: League of Education Voters, Partnership for Learning, Schools Out Washington, Stand for Children Washington and Tabor 100. Received money through the League of Education Voters to the tune of $1,499,543 for the “Purpose: to continue public engagement and action project to advance the policies and priorities of A+ Washington through the Excellent Schools Now (ESN) Coalition.
Washington State PTA (Gates money)
Council of Presidents
State Board for Community and Technical Colleges
Department of Early Learning
League of Education Voters (Gates)
ReadyNation (Gates)
Democrats for Education Reform (Gates and corporate money)
Puget Sound Educational Service District (Who brought us Race to the Top and data mining of our students’ information)
State Board of Education (populated with the usual suspects)
The Parents Union (Gates)
College Spark Washington
Schools Out Washington (Gates)
Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession
Washington Association of School Administrators
Washington Student Achievement Council
Washington Roundtable (Big money)
Renton Technical College (?)
Consider the source.
Most of these faux roots organizations and even some who are not, including the Washington State PTA, receive money from Bill Gates.
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The Silencing of the Educators: A Shocking Idea, and Trending |

The Silencing of the Educators: A Shocking Idea, and Trending |:

The Silencing of the Educators: A Shocking Idea, and Trending








 In a recent post I published titled, “New Mexico UnEnchanted,” I described a great visit I recently made to Las Cruces to meet with students, parents, teachers, school board members, state leaders, and the like. In this post, I also described something I found shocking as I had never heard of this before. Under the “leadership” of Hanna Skandera — former Florida Deputy Commissioner of Education under former Governor Jeb Bush and head of the New Mexico Public Education Department — teachers throughout the state are being silenced.

New Mexico now requires teachers to sign a contractual document that they are not to “diminish the significance or importance of the tests” (see, for example, slide 7 here) or they could lose their jobs. Teachers are not to speak negatively about the tests or say anything negatively about these tests in their classrooms or in public; if they do they could be found in violation of their contracts. At my main presentation in New Mexico, a few teachers even approached me after “in secret” whispering their concerns in fear of being “found out.” Rumor also has it that Hanna Skandera has requested the names and license numbers of any teachers who have helped or encouraged students to protest the state’s “new” PARCC test(s), as well.
One New Mexico teacher asked whether “this is a quelling of free speech and professional communication?” I believe it most certainly is a Constitutional violation. I am also shocked to now find out that something quite similar is occurring in my state of Arizona.
Needless to say, neither of our states (or many states typically in the sunbelt for that matter) are short on bad ideas, but this is getting absolutely ridiculous, especially as this silencing of the educators seems to be yet another bad idea that is actually trending?
As per a recent article in our local paper – The Arizona Republic - Arizona “legislators want to gag school officials” in an amendment to Senate Bill 1172 that will prohibit “an employee of a school district or charter school, acting on the district’s or charter school’s behalf, from distributing electronic materials to influence the outcome of an election or to advocate support for or opposition to pending or proposed legislation.”
The charge is also that this is a retaliatory move by AZ legislators, in response to a series of recent protests in response to serious budget cuts several weeks ago. “Perhaps [this is] to keep [educators] from talking about how the legislature has shortchanged Arizona’s school kids by hundreds of millions of dollars since the recession, and how the legislature is still making it nearly impossible for many districts to take care of even [schools’] most basic needs.”
In addition, is this even Constitutional? An Arizona Schools Boards Association (ASBA) spokesperson is cited as responding, saying “SB 1172 raises grave constitutional concerns. It may violate school and district officials free speech rights and almost certainly chills protected speech by school officials and the parents and community members that interact with them. It will freeze the flow of information to the public that The Silencing of the Educators: A Shocking Idea, and Trending |:

Special Nite Cap: Catch Up on Today's Post 4/8/15


Special Nite Cap - Catch Up on Today's Post 4/8/15


Special Nite Cap 

CORPORATE ED REFORM



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No Limits for Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust
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2015 National Conference – Chicago

The Countdown to Chicago Has Begun!

The Network For Public Education | 2015 National Conference – Chicago 


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