Thursday, April 16, 2015

Former DC Whistleblower Principal Adell Cothorne on the Atlanta Verdict | deutsch29

Former DC Whistleblower Principal Adell Cothorne on the Atlanta Verdict | deutsch29:

Former DC Whistleblower Principal Adell Cothorne on the Atlanta Verdict



adell cothorne 2
-Adell Cothorne

Former principal, DC Public Schools


 On April 3, 2015, I posted former DC principal Adell Cothorne’s reaction to the conviction of 11 educators in what has come to be commonly known as the Atlanta cheating scandal.

Cothorne was the whistleblower principal employed under former DC chancellor Michelle Rhee. Cothorne walked in on teachers altering student test scores.
In this post, Cothorne responds to the news of the sentencing.

On April 14, 2015, Judge Jerry Baxter sentenced eight Atlanta educators to a range of one to seven years in jail. Two educators also implicated in the case, agreed to a plea deal and received more merciful sentences. The details of this case have been discussed ad nauseam on social media and both local and national news outlets. Many have weighed in, expressing their disgust that school teachers could be sent to jail simply for “erasing answers”; while murderers are allowed to roam free.
There are three salient points I would like to address regarding the Atlanta sentencings.
Point #1
The act of erasing students’ answers on test sheets has far reaching negative effects that the general public does not consider.
As a former administrator who had to deal with staff members erasing student answers in order to create the illusion of continuous student achievement, I know first-hand the far reaching effect this practice has on but the community as a whole. You see, I witnessed a lack of teaching during my tenure as a District of Columbia principal. Yes, some of my teaching staff were ill-equipped to teach students. They simply lacked the pedagogical approaches to implement effective instruction. I supervised another, much smaller, group of teachers who taught stellar lessons and genuinely cared for their students’ success. Then, there were those teachers who were able to teach adequately. Yet, they chose to literally not teach because they knew that the end result would be a picture of improved student achievement due to practices that were going on behind closed doors after school hours (erasing answers from wrong to right).
So, when people make the argument these educators in Atlanta should not face jail time, I cringe. When others make the argument that killers are allowed to walk free, while these educators face time in prison, I cringe even more. First of all, comparing what a killer does and what these educators perpetrated  is like comparing elephants to apples. Yes, elephants and apples are both living things. That is about where the similarities begin and end. Just as murder and erasing student answers from wrong to right are both crimes; that too is where the similarities begin and end.
Please do not think I am downplaying someone who murders another human being. That is a dastardly act which I believe requires punishment. However, these Atlanta educators  robbed thousands of children of opportunity– the very same opportunity that these same educators were afforded – a sound education which allowed them to attend college and beyond. A sound education that allowed them to create a comfortable life for their families. A sound education that allowed them to have choices.
Let me ask you, what choices does a 15-year-old growing up in the inner city with a functional first-grade reading level have?
Numerous people have focused on the injustice in Atlanta. However, I have yet to hear the groundswell of outrage over the students who were affected by the erasures. Where is the outcry of injustice for them?
Someone recently asked me what I thought would be a just consequence for the Atlanta educators. I said I would like to see them suffer the same fate 
Former DC Whistleblower Principal Adell Cothorne on the Atlanta Verdict | deutsch29:

It's A Movment: PARCC opt out numbers for APS announced | New Mexico News - KOAT Home

PARCC opt out numbers for APS announced | New Mexico News - KOAT Home:

PARCC opt out numbers for APS announced

Nearly 40 percent of APS schools could face downgrade for opt outs





ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —The PARCC test opt out numbers are starting to come in, and nearly 40 percent of Albuquerque Public Schools could receive a lower grade because students refused to participate.
The controversial standardized test was given to New Mexico students, grades three to 11, for the first time this year. It measures reading, writing and math skills using federally mandated Common Core standards.
Overall, about 5 percent of APS students opted out of the exam.
Some schools with high opt out numbers include Chamisa Elementary (36 percent opt out), Jefferson Middle (22 percent opt out), Freedom High (11 percent opt out) and Eldorado High (9 percent opt out).
Documents obtained by Action 7 News show 52 APS schools could see their state grade drop one full letter. The Public Education Department requires the drop for schools that have fewer than 95 percent of students take the exam.
At Washington Middle School, more than 5 percent of its students opted out. If the school got a C this time around, that grade would drop to a D.
The state grades show a school's performance using factors like test scores and graduation rates. Low performing schools can get more money from the state to pay for programs to boost those grades. 

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater: Test boycotters are the new revolutionaries - Opinion - The Buffalo News

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater: Test boycotters are the new revolutionaries - Opinion - The Buffalo News:

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater: Test boycotters are the new revolutionaries



Amy Ludwig VanDerwater for My View
Amy Ludwig VanDerwater for My View 


As a writing teacher and children’s author working in schools for the past 15 years, I have had the opportunity to talk with many teachers and administrators about the Common Core, testing in New York State and related issues. Several of these professionals share the concerns of parents who have chosen to opt their children out of state testing in grades 3-8, yet it is a risk for them to publicly say so.
One special education teacher tells of watching a 9-year-old English language learner with special needs take last year’s ELA test. He colored in the circles, “A-B-C-D-C-B-A” until he reached the end.
A fifth-grade teacher tells how her school has instituted “play therapy” for stressed-out kindergarteners. So now, instead of playing, they take tests. Then, they go to therapy. A local middle school has seen a great increase in students who need therapy, students who are worried, afraid about their numbers. Some primary children make “goodie bags” for upper-grade testers.
One Western New York district has decided that first-graders no longer have time to put on class plays. There is too much testing to be done. Goodbye, tradition. Goodbye, arts.
I never know what to say. But I listen. For these teachers and administrators cannot tell everyone their stories. To speak honestly on this issue places a public educator’s job on the line. Free speech has been muzzled.
Therefore, it is parents’ voices we hear: parents who do not wish for their children to spend countless hours preparing for untested tests and untested standards, parents who believe in kindergarten play, in recess, in addressing childhood poverty before focusing on purchasing one-to-one computers (The Gates Foundation has invested millions in the CCSS) for testing.
Some parents may not see or may not mind the educational shift toward data and away from children, may not wish to read about it in the paper or know that this spring, children whose families opt out of tests may be allowed to read books (except in districts with a “sit and stare” policy). Yet this is what makes a democracy powerful – the willingness of some individuals to speak with their actions, to make decisions others will notice, to attract attention to a concern.
It is the riskers who make change: the revolutionaries, the abolitionists, the suffragists, the school integrators, the marchers in parades, the ones who opt out. The riskers make changes for all of us; in order for change to happen, someone must be willing to go first.
And so, while it may be uncomfortable to know that one’s child may see other children not taking tests, a parent can take this as an educational opportunity, a chance to teach about our great country where people have the right to oppose and to act.
A simple, “Your friend’s family has made a decision that is best for them” is enough for a third-grader to understand. People have different religious beliefs, different beliefs about money, different beliefs about education. We like that here.
We each choose a plot of land on which to stand and fight. Or we don’t. If we choose not to, let us respect and honor the words, choices and actions of those who do.Amy Ludwig VanDerwater: Test boycotters are the new revolutionaries - Opinion - The Buffalo News:

BROAD CLONES ABOUND: Union says SUPES deal just part of 'cloud of unethical behavior' at CPS | Chicago

BROAD CLONES ABOUND: Union says SUPES deal just part of 'cloud of unethical behavior' at CPS | Chicago:

BROAD CLONES ABOUND: Union says SUPES deal just part of 'cloud of unethical behavior' at CPS

Posted: 04/16/2015, 01:19pm | 



The Chicago Teachers Union on Thursday called a no-bid contract awarded by Chicago Public Schools, now under investigation by the FBI, just the latest in a string of insider dealings at the district in recent years.
But Vice President Jesse Sharkey stopped short of calling for the resignation of schools chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett, whose role in the SUPES Academy deal also is being examined, saying he didn’t fully understand what federal investigators were considering.
“Our initial reaction to this is that we’re concerned about the effect this has on the integrity of the district,” Sharkey said at CTU headquarters. “. . . “It’s disappointing that there’s this cloud of unethical behavior that follows our district around. If it was just this one allegation and this one story of federal investigation, that would be one thing. But we’ve been complaining about a pattern of questionable ethical practices for a while.”
Sharkey pointed to Board of Education president David Vitale, who heads a bank while negotiating financial deals for the district. Vitale did not respond to a request for comment. Board member Deborah Quazzo has invested in companies that do business with CPS and with charter schools she has voted to authorize, as the Chicago Sun-Times has reported, and Chief Academic Officer Tim Cawley now deals with the Academy for Urban School Leadership, which used to employ him, Sharkey said. Quazzo did not immediately respond to a request for comment and Cawley could not be reached.
“There’s a culture of conflict of interest that’s extremely destabilizing and hurts the public trust,” Sharkey said before heading to a contract negotiating session with the board.
Chicago Public Schools spokesman Bill McCaffrey declined to comment on the union’s accusations. He confirmed that Byrd-Bennett remains as CEO of CPS, though a source told the Sun-Times she was not seen in her office at district headquarters Thursday.
Two City Hall sources have told the Sun-Times that Byrd-Bennett’s $250,000-a-year contract, set to expire in June, has not yet been renewed, nor will it be unless the investigation is cleared up.
Federal officials are looking into the contract, awarded to Wilmette-based SUPES weeks after nearly 50 schools were permanently closed, and what role Byrd-Bennett played in it, according to a source familiar with the matter. Before Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed her as CEO of the financially troubled district, Byrd-Bennett previously worked for SUPES, which trains school principals. The contract immediately drew sharp criticism for its expense, and principals complained about the quality of the training they received.
Though the union has frequently called for the resignation of board members and other district leaders, Sharkey would not ask for Byrd-Bennett’s resignation. But if she stops leading the district, CPS would have its fifth leader in four years, he said, a lack of stability that he called “damaging.” The next CEO also should come from inside CPS and from a career in public education, he said.
Complaints about SUPES are nothing new, Sharkey said, adding that the appointed school board never should have approved that three-year contract, which “has a smell of not being ethical.”




BROAD CLONES ABOUND: Union says SUPES deal just part of 'cloud of unethical behavior' at CPS | Chicago:



What corporate education reform looks like in Chicago


Corporate education reform in Chicago looks like Barbara Byrd Bennett.

In addition to her role shepherding one of the largest public school systems in the country, Barbara Byrd Bennett is something called an Executive Coach in the Broad Foundation's Superintendent’s Academy. The Academy is the brainchild of Eli Broad, insurance magnate and billionaire philanthropist. It offers crash courses to prepare corporate leaders to take administrative positions--like superintendent of schools--in school districts all across the country. Broad's goal is simple: implement corporate education reform throughout the nation.
Barbara Byrd Bennett carried it out in Cleveland. The wreckage is pretty well known. She was chief academic officer under Robert Bobb when it was done in Detroit. In both cases the city's public schools have hemmorhaged money and lost thousands of children as a direct result of school closings.
And then Mayor Emanuel hired her to do it here. Up to now she's been following to the letter the playbook given by the Broad Foundation: Declare an underutilization crisis; Hold community hearings and make people feel heard; Close schools; Replace with charters.
Now, Barbara Byrd Bennett took a slight misstep with that last one. She didn't follow the rulebook. She promised under no circumstances would closing schools be turned into charters--perhaps throwing a bone to the CTU. Problem is, now she'll have 54 empty institutional buildings that aren't exactly well-suited for much besides being elementary schools. Oops. And she has the Tribune haranguing her about that.
Why doesn't Barbara Byrd Bennett see her involvement with the Broad Foundation as a conflict of interest?
Corporate education reform in Chicago looks like the Chicago Tribune.

http://www.chicagonow.com/chicago-public-fools/2013/04/what-corporate-education-reform-looks-like-in-chicago/






Big Education Ape: Special Nite Cap: Catch Up on Today's Post 4/16/15



Special Nite Cap - Catch Up on Today's Post 4/16/15


Special Nite Cap 

CORPORATE ED REFORM





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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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