Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Back To School: Congress Takes Up Controversial Education Bill - Bloomberg Politics

Back To School: Congress Takes Up Controversial Education Bill - Bloomberg Politics:

Back To School: Congress Takes Up Controversial Education Bill

Senate, House debate changes in key piece of George W. Bush's domestic legacy.




The U.S. House will try again this week to pass a Republican rewrite of the No Child Left Behind education law, with party leaders seeking to gain support from conservative members who balked earlier this year.
In February, a lack of Republican backing for the measure caused leaders to pull it from the floor. Because Democrats oppose the bill, Republicans can’t afford many defections among their members.
This time, they plan to allow votes on at least two amendments sought by conservatives, which weren’t going to be permitted in February.
 The Senate on Tuesday afternoon began considering its own version of the education bill, which would give states authority to determine to how to hold school districts accountable for student performance.
“The needs of a student in eastern Kentucky aren’t likely to be the same as those of students in south Florida or downtown Manhattan,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said Tuesday on the Senate floor. “This bill would give states the flexibility to develop systems that work for the needs of their students, rather than the one-size-fits-all mandate of Washington.”
The No Child Left Behind Act was a key domestic policy achievement for President George W. Bush, who worked with the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., to enact the law, signed in early 2002, to expand equal educational opportunity to students. Despite its bipartisan origins, No Child Left Behind has become a magnet for criticism. Opponents run the gamut from conservatives to teachers unions, have said it focuses too much on standardized testing and interferes with state and local control of education.

Testing Mandates

The House bill, H.R. 5, is intended to cut back the federal government’s role in K-12 education and would eliminate dozens of programs that Republicans say are duplicative.
One proposed amendment, sponsored by Representatives Matt Salmon of Arizona and Ron DeSantis of Florida, would ease federal testing mandates.
In a letter to fellow Republicans on Tuesday, Salmon said his amendment would allow parents to opt their child out of a test without harming their states’ participation rate.
"This will effectively release the federal testing mandate on students, with no penalties to schools,” he writes.
Another amendment, proposed by Representative Mark Walker of North Carolina and DeSantis, would let states opt out of federal education programs without giving up some funding, and allow them to consolidate some federal funding for other education purposes.
The amendment “frees states of this top-down, one-size-all approach to education and empowers the community to determine how to best use federal funding,” Walker said in an e-mailed statement.

‘Overwhelmingly Oppose’

Second-ranking House Democrat Steny Hoyer of Maryland said Tuesday that his party “will overwhelmingly oppose this bill.”
When Republicans can’t get agreement on a bill, Hoyer said Tuesday, “they move further to the right. They don’t move towards consensus. They move towards greater confrontation.”
 Hoyer said he hopes the Senate version, S. 1177, will incorporate a more bipartisan approach and could be the basis for a final bill worked out in a two-chamber conference.
 “The Senate bill is a basis from which we could certainly start and I think reach agreement over here, as well,” Hoyer said.
The White House budget office issued a statement urging revisions to the Senate measure to “strengthen school accountability to close troubling achievement and opportunity gaps, including by requiring interventions and supports” in low-performing schools.

 ‘Take Action’

“Parents, families, and communities deserve to know that when children fall behind, their Back To School: Congress Takes Up Controversial Education Bill - Bloomberg Politics:

The Non-Profit Industrial Complex's Role in Imposing Neoliberalism on Public Education

The Non-Profit Industrial Complex's Role in Imposing Neoliberalism on Public Education:

The Non-Profit Industrial Complex's Role in Imposing Neoliberalism on Public Education





"In the long run, NGOs are accountable to their funders, not to the people they work among. They're what botanists would call an indicator species. It's almost as though the greater the devastation caused by neoliberalism, the greater the outbreak of NGOs" (Roy, 2004)
Those ruling society have long utilized non-pro ts and similar out ts as a means to further their interests, ameliorate their public image, and disseminate their ideologies. Whether we call them Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), or Non-Pro fit Industrial Complex (NPIC), the era of neoliberalism has seen the role of these private organizations further entrench itself in spaces that used to be that of the public commons. Perhaps the most egregious example of this is in the realm of education policy, where the activities of huge foundations, coupled with the actions of NPIC funded by those foundations, have insidiously begun to displace, replace, and even set the stage for the possible elimination of public education altogether.
Education historian Diane Ravitch opens the chapter entitled "The Billionaire Boys' Club" in her seminal book (Ravitch 195) with a discussion of the Ford Foundation's intervention in the so-called "community control" movement as early as 1967. Considered one of the more socially liberal foundations, Ford's ostensibly good intentioned social engineering ended up exacerbating the problems that undergirded the stuggles at the time. Whatever one makes of Ford's intentions, the fact that they have a long history of being instrumental to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in terms of surveilling social movements is revealing (Incite! Women of Color Against Violence 88). Compared to Ford, modern foundations are far more overt in their political goals—especially their neoliberal agenda, and far more powerful in terms of their in uence.
Taking neoliberalism as the modern term describing the "Washington Consensus" policies of deregulation, austerity, and privatization, we can best describe the current assault on public education as "neoliberal corporate education reform."
While a number of arch-reactionary foundations like The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, The Sarah Scaife Foundation, and the Milken Family Foundation fund neoliberal aims in education, the most in uential foundations in terms of advancing school privatization are those author Joanne Barkan (Barkan, 2011) came to call the Broad/Gates/Walton Triumvirate. An exhaustive survey of what these three mega-foundations have done to undermine public education nationwide (e.g. The Gates Foundation's machinations behind the malignant Common Core State Standards) exceeds the scope of this essay. Instead, we will focus on a single city. Perhaps because of it's size, or it's proximity to The Broad Foundation's headquarters, Los Angeles has been one of the central fronts on which the neoliberal ideologues have waged their war on public education. Evidenced by the staggering amounts the ruling class spends on school board and related elections, the number of well funded NPICs working as a neoliberal axis, and the collusion of the corporate media, those in power see Los Angeles as a high value target. In a word, it is a microcosm of what is happening to education everywhere.
The Neoliberal Emperor of Los Angeles
In the aforementioned Ravitch chapter, she outlines the "venture philanthropists" most responsible for the manifest neoliberal o ensive against education. Discussing track-home real estate mogul, toxic credit default swap purveyor, and Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) bailout recipient Eli Broad (rhymes with toad), Ravitch mentions "He created training programs for urban superintendents, high-level managers, principals, and school board members, so as to change the culture and personnel in the nation's urban districts" (Ravitch 212). The training programs she alludes to are known as The Broad Superintendents Academy and The Broad Residency. Perhaps the most comprehensive resource discussing these programs, The Non-Profit Industrial Complex's Role in Imposing Neoliberalism on Public Education:

Unions Love This New Version of No Child Left Behind

Unions Love This New Version of No Child Left Behind:

Unions Love This New Version of No Child Left Behind. That Should Worry Conservatives.





The Senate has begun floor consideration of a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), currently known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB).
This congress has the opportunity to consider conservative policy reforms that would genuinely restore state and local control of education, yet the proposal as it currently stands has a long way to go before it could be considered to be on a path toward achieving that goal.
Notably, the version that made its way out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) committee has received praise from the National Education Association, which said it “has a lot of things going for it,” and theAmerican Federation of Teachers, although both groups would like to see the proposal move further left.
The AFT applauded the bill for “maintaining the formula that concentrates funding for poor children, by not including portability or block grants, and by keeping maintenance-of-effort requirements.”
Translation: Union special interest groups like the proposal because it keeps spending high, doesn’t include school choice options and maintains super-sized federal intervention in education.
But there is room for improvement. As the legislative process proceeds over the next few days (the House will also consider its reauthorization proposal), members of Congress have the opportunity to advance provisions that would restore state and local control of education and empower parents. Those provisions include:
  • The Academic Partnerships Lead Us to Success (APLUS) proposal would allow states to completely opt-out of all of the programs that fall under No Child Left Behind. States could then use their funds for any education purpose authorized under state law. APLUS—allowing states to completely exit No Child Left Behind—has long been a conservative priority. Over 100 members of the House, including 4 sitting members of the Education and the Workforce Committee, have co-sponsored APLUS over the past few years. A-PLUS would empower states to reclaim responsibility for how taxpayer dollars are spent, moving the decision-making process close to local school leaders and parents. It would also place the responsibility for educational improvement with states and schools, which have the strongest incentive to get policymaking right.
  • Title I portability. Title I funding makes up the bulk of spending under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The roughly $14.5 billion is intended to improve educational outcomes for children from low-income families, but as researcher Susan Aud has found, “complicated, disregarded guidelines result in wide variation in the way that funds are distributed and often result in little or no relationship between a district’s demo­graphics and the amount of money received.” To improve Title I for the disadvantaged children it was designed to help, states should be given the option to make Title I dollars portable, following a child to a public, charter or private school of choice.
  • Reducing program count. Any reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act should reduce program count. The law has morphed significantly from its original 31 pages authorizing spending for Unions Love This New Version of No Child Left Behind:

Secretary Duncan flip on parental involvement a real flop | WagTheDog

Secretary Duncan flip on parental involvement a real flop | WagTheDog:

Secretary Duncan flip on parental involvement a real flop



parent


According to the Educational Testing Service web site, ETS is
the world’s largest private educational testing and measurement organization, ETS develops, administers or scores more than 50 million tests annually in more than 180 countries at more than 9,000 locations internationally.
Back in 2003, ETS released a report that identified factors in and out of school related to student achievement. According to the report, parental involvement and the home environment is just as important as what goes on in the school.
It is generally well recognized, in research as well as in the public generally, that parenting plays a critical role in child development and well-being, as well as in performance in school. It seems logical that, if parents are important, having two is better than having just one—at least on the average…
Research has pointed out that much of the large difference in achievement between children from two-parent and one-parent families is due to the effects of the lower incomes of one-parent families…
The report concludes by making a case  for education policies and practices that focus equally on supporting and strengthening both the school and home environment…
Gaps in school achievement, as measured, for example, in the eighth grade, have deep roots—deep in out of school experiences and deep in the structures of schools. Inequality is like an unwanted guest who comes early and stays late..
Nothing about the impediments to learning that accumulate in a child’s environment should be a basis for lowering expectations for what can be done for them by teachers and schools, or for not making teachers and schools accountable for doing those things.
And denying the role of these outside happenings – or the impact of a student’s home circumstances – will not help to endow teachers and schools with the capacity to reduce achievement gaps.
Also, insistence that it can all be done in the school may be taken to provide excuses for public policy, ignoring what is necessary to prevent learning gaps from opening. Schools are where we institutionalize learning; they are also places where we tend to institutionalize blame.
Fast forward to 2011 and just as states around the country are reviewing and adopting Secretary Duncan flip on parental involvement a real flop | WagTheDog:

Al Franken: What Congress must do for LGBT kids - CNN.com

Al Franken: What Congress must do for LGBT kids - CNN.com:

What Congress must do for LGBT kids

Story highlights

  • Al Franken, Randi Weingarten: Many LGBT students live in fear of harassment, abuse. Current civil laws don't protect LGBT youth
  • They say Congress must include Student Non-Discrimination Act in overhaul of No Child Left Behind Act
Al Franken represents Minnesota in the U.S Senate and is a member of the Senate Education Committee. Randi Weingarten is president of the 1.6 million member American Federation of Teachers.
(CNN)When Kyrstin Schuette, a Minnesotan, and her girlfriend started dating during freshman year in high school, none of the other students — with the exception of a few close friends — knew about their relationship.
But that all changed on a school trip when another student found out and spread the word. Immediately, the harassment began.
Al Franken
Randi Weingarten
Kyrstin's property was vandalized, and students called her names and pushed her around in the hallway. Several times, Kyrstin was threatened and told she should kill herself and that the world would be a better place without her.
Kyrstin started skipping school. She was bullied on social media. She reported the torment to her teachers and the principal. Their response? Sadly, but not unexpectedly: Keep your head down and don't be so open about your sexual orientation.
After two years enduring the bullying, shortly after her 18th birthday, Kyrstin attempted suicide. While recovering, she met other LGBT youth who also faced relentless harassment simply for who they are. Eventually, she finished her education online, became an advocate in the LGBT community, and even helped out with Franken's Senate campaign.
Kyrstin made it, but not every LGBT kid does. In May, after facing years of bullying at schools in Wyoming and California, 16-year-old Adam Kizer took his own life. His family has spoken openly about the bisexual teen's struggle with depression and post-traumatic stress. Like many LGBT students, Adam felt there was nowhere for him to go.
    It's our responsibility as adults to protect all children. And we know that a significant number of young people across the country are being bullied for their sexual orientation or gender identity. In fact, according to the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, more than 30% of LGBT kids report missing a day of school in the previous month becauseAl Franken: What Congress must do for LGBT kids - CNN.com:



    Michigan governor outlines plan to dissolve Detroit public school system - World Socialist Web Site

    Michigan governor outlines plan to dissolve Detroit public school system - World Socialist Web Site:

    Michigan governor outlines plan to dissolve Detroit public school system






    Michigan’s Republican governor Rick Snyder has called for breaking up the Detroit Public School system. The plan is modeled on the Obama administration’s forced bankruptcy and restructuring of General Motors, which created a “bad GM” and a “good GM” to free the auto giant from unprofitable assets and liabilities.
    Under Snyder’s plan, an “old district” would be established whose sole purpose would be to liquidate the long-term debt obligations of the Detroit Public Schools. These debts would be paid from property taxes in Detroit and the diversion of $70 million a year from Michigan’s already depleted School Aid Fund. It is estimated the latter will result in a statewide reduction in the foundation grant of $50 per-pupil. The current elected school board would move to the old company, which would remain under emergency management, according to media accounts.
    A “new district,” called the “City of Detroit Education District,” would also be created. An unelected board whose members would likely be appointed by the governor and Detroit’s Democratic mayor, Mike Duggan, would oversee the operations of this district. The governor is also contemplating the establishment of another oversight board, the Detroit Education Commission, whose members would also be appointed by Duggan and Snyder.
    According to the Detroit News, “That commission would oversee all schools in the city, including charters, and be responsible for monitoring school quality, common enrollment and the opening and closing of schools.” In other words, commissioners would be charged with cost-containment and the acceleration of corporate-backed “school reform,” including the closing of more public schools and the expansion of for-profit charter schools.
    This commission is modeled on Snyder’s Detroit Financial Review Commission, another unelected body armed with dictatorial powers to cancel contracts and labor agreements and carry out the dictates of the bankruptcy restructuring of Detroit for the next decade. Duggan and fellow Democrat City Council President Brenda Jones sit on that board.
    Up to this point, Snyder has run into problems, because Detroit Public Schools owe about $80 million per year to the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS). The banks and bondholders who own the debt consider any shift in structuring as a default, and the repercussions on the credit rating of the state would be significant.
    Snyder told the Detroit News the pensions were not going to be included in his plan because he wanted to deal with them statewide. This statement Michigan governor outlines plan to dissolve Detroit public school system - World Socialist Web Site:

    Sacramento city documents detail Kevin Johnson’s involvement in black mayors’ group | The Sacramento Bee

    Sacramento city documents detail Kevin Johnson’s involvement in black mayors’ group | The Sacramento Bee:

    Sacramento city documents detail Kevin Johnson’s involvement in black mayors’ group






    The city of Sacramento released more than 6,100 emails and more than a dozen documents Tuesday detailing Mayor Kevin Johnson’s past involvement in the embattled National Conference of Black Mayors.
    The involvement by Johnson and his staff was evident in the documents obtained by The Sacramento Bee through the Public Records Act.
    Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson testifies in the arena trial on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 in Sacramento.
    Several individuals who identified themselves as members of the mayor’s staff had sent and received electronic communications about the group. Also included was an electronic PowerPoint presentation that detailed Johnson’s strategy to stage an “Annual Meeting ‘Coup’” to oust the group’s executive director, Vanessa Williams, through vote or legal action.
    The front page of that presentation said it came from the “Office of Mayor Kevin Johnson” and included the city of Sacramento seal, a document first obtained by the website Deadspin.
    Omitted from the batch of documents are 475 emails that the City Attorney’s Office pulled from the public record out of “an abundance of caution,” and in response to a private lawsuit filed by Johnson against the city of Sacramento and the Sacramento News & Review seeking to block their release.
    Attorneys agreed last week to review and parse through the emails to determine which will be released to the News & Review and The Sacramento Bee, which filed separate Public Records Act requests for information this year about Johnson’s communications.
    The emails in question were stored on a city server, and the City Attorney’s Office has deemed them part of the public record, but Johnson says they should be protected by attorney-client privilege.
    The released documents suggest involvement by Johnson and his staff on NCBM matters. But David Pittinsky, a private attorney working with Johnson on NCBM litigation and the mayor’s request to block city release of some emails, said Tuesday on Capital Public Radio’s “Insight” program that NCBM issues had “nothing to do with the city of Sacramento” in arguing for correspondence to be withheld from public view.
    Johnson served as president of the NCBM from May 2013 to May 2014. His tenure was marked by litigation and conflict. Records from Fulton County Superior Court in Atlanta reviewed by The Sacramento Bee, along with city emails previously obtained through the Public Records Act, show that Johnson went to great lengths to take control of NCBM in one of the most vivid examples of his national ambitions. Several members of his mayoral staff worked on NCBM.
    Johnson testified in court in December 2013 that he tasked six people on his City Hall staff or employees of organizations he is affiliated with to work on business for NCBM, a historic group born of the civil rights movement that had lost much of its credibility and clout thanks to years of mismanagement, as detailed by court documents and a federal criminal investigation of the group’s former president.
    Williams, who remains in a legal battle with Johnson over his presidency and her role in the organization, has been accused of spending group money on personal matters.
    A previous Public Records Act request revealed that mayoral staff formed an email group on July 10, 2013, dedicated to working on NCBM affairs. The mayor testified in Fulton County Superior Court that those individuals “were employed by me or the city or an entity.”
    Johnson has since formed a new national black mayors group called the African American Mayors Association.
    The Bee will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.
    Marissa Lang: (916) 321-1038; @Marissa_Jae

    Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/city-beat/article26663299.html#storylink=cpy
    Sacramento city documents detail Kevin Johnson’s involvement in black mayors’ group | The Sacramento Bee:


    Obama Admin Says It Won’t Support Senate ESEA Draft; Higher Ed Wants Those “Higher Standards” | deutsch29

    Obama Admin Says It Won’t Support Senate ESEA Draft; Higher Ed Wants Those “Higher Standards” | deutsch29:

    Obama Admin Says It Won’t Support Senate ESEA Draft; Higher Ed Wants Those “Higher Standards”

    one smiley face


    There is a lot of info in this post. I could not capture it all in the title. All quotes are from Politico’s Morning Education for July 07, 2015, which has much more to it than I highlight in this post.
    Diving in:
    In Politico on July 06, 2015, US Secretary of Ed Arne Duncan continued with the narrative of being pleased with the Senate ESEA draft, which seriously limits the power of the US secretary of ed. Looks like the White House tune is a-changing:
     The White House weighs in: The Obama administration said Monday it’s not supporting the Senate bill — but White House officials stopped short of saying they’d issue a veto threat, as they did over the House bill. More:http://politico.pro/1NMLgME.
    Then comes the whole “civil rights issue”: For some groups, the federal strong arm and annual testing are a must to ensure “civil rights”; for others, those overbearing tests are a civil punishment, not a “right”:
    CIVIL RIGHTS BATTLE COMES TO CAPITOL HILL: A debate is raging in the states over what civil rights means in modern schools — and it’s on a collision course with Capitol Hill, where both the House and the Senate will move on their rewrites of No Child Left Behind today. The problem: Factions can’t agree on what a good civil rights bill looks like. Many Democrats and education reformers embrace the strong federal education system at NCLB’s core, saying it helps protect minority children. But others argue that approach has led to a “test-and-punish” atmosphere in schools, effectively holding minority students back while drowning them in hours of testing each year. Meanwhile, Republicans including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) argue that school choice is crucial for helping minority students.
    Ted Cruz needs to study up on school choice as a means of incredible fiscal scandal, if nothing else. Financial scams only serve the scammers. (See this link for a telling report on charter school scandals.)

    Continuing with testing and “civil rights”:
    — The rift over testing and accountability is shredding ties between groups that are typically allies. “Politically, it’s cannibalism,” said Charles Barone, director of policy for Democrats for Education Reform, which supports annual testing. The Senate bill, which has support from many Democrats who consider themselves strong proponents on civil rights, has lost the support of the county’s largest civil rights coalition, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. The group wants changes to the bill in the form of amendments, which are being hashed out behind closed doors by Democrats 
    Obama Admin Says It Won’t Support Senate ESEA Draft; Higher Ed Wants Those “Higher Standards” | deutsch29:

    Thompson: Remembering The Full Horror of "Death at an Early Age"

    This Week In Education: Thompson: Remembering The Full Horror of "Death at an Early Age":

    Thompson: Remembering The Full Horror of "Death at an Early Age"



    Screenshot 2015-07-07 11.33.30


    Thanks to Alexander and NPR's Claudio Sanchez for reminding us of the 50th anniversary of the firing of Jonathan Kozol for "curriculum deviation."
    Everyone should (re)read this book. 
    Rather than immediately using it to discuss the ways that education and racism has and has not changed in the last half century, we should first focus on the horror of Death at an Early Age.
    Kozol was a substitute teacher in a class of 8th grade girls who were designated as "problem students" because they either had "very low intelligence" or were "emotionally disturbed."  In a 133-word sentence, Kozol recalls his reading of Langston Hughes's "The Landlord."
    No transistor radios reappeared or were turned on during that next hour and, although some children interrupted me a lot to quiz me about Langston Hughes, where he was born, whether he was rich, whether he was married, and about poetry, and about writers, and writing in general, and a number of other things that struck their fancy, and although it was not a calm or orderly or, above all, disciplined class by traditional definition and there were probably very few minutes in which you would be able to hear a pin drop or hear my reading uninterrupted by the voices of one or another of the girls, at least I did have their attention and they seemed, if anything, to care only too much about the content of that Negro poet's book.
    In subsequent years, most of the students forgot the poet's name, but they remembered the names of his poems and "They remember he was Negro."
    Kozol was fired, his students' parents protested, and the career of a masterful education writer began. The details of the dismissal, however, are also noteworthy.


    Kozol was also charged with violating Boston's curriculum policy by using a book from the Cambridge Library, not from the school system's inventory. The bigger sin was failing to use a poem that "accentuates the positive." In particular, he risked the "dangers of reading to Negro children poems written in bad grammar." The official charge explained, "We are trying to break the speech patterns of these children, trying to get them to speak properly. This poem does not present correct grammatical expression and would just entrench the speech patterns we want to break."   
    A key subtheme of Death at an Early Age is Kozol's attempt to understand "the Reading Teacher," who was a liberal supporter of civil rights but who was oblivious to her own racism. She was an otherwise excellent teacher, exuding enthusiasm and an ability to "sell" her lessons to students. But, the Reading Teacher steadfastly resisted Kozol's indictments of the system's racism. This part of the book's This Week In Education: Thompson: Remembering The Full Horror of "Death at an Early Age":

    GUEST: A gifted city teacher says Cerf must never come to Newark | Bob Braun's Ledger

    GUEST: A gifted city teacher says Cerf must never come to Newark | Bob Braun's Ledger:

    GUEST: A gifted city teacher says Cerf must never come to Newark





    By JONATHAN ALSTON
    Jonathan Alston
    Chris Cerf Must Not Become the Next Superintendent of Newark’s Public Schools: He has Already Exploited Us Enough
    (Editor’s Note: Mr. Alston calls this the “polite” version of his incomparable analysis of what is going on in the Newark schools. He has reserved what he calls an “emotionally honest” version for his own blog, The Newark Teacher,  at http://newarkteacher.blogspot.com/2015/07/chris-cerf-must-not-be-next.html.
    I respect that–but want my readers to know I wanted to publish the “emotionally honest” version and would never censor this brilliant voice from the Newark community.)
     Fanon realized that colonialism was a crime scene with evidence everywhere, admission nowhere, and the “authorities” were guilty parties.
    - Lewis Gordon, @lewgord
    Dear NJ State Board of Education:
    Part I
    The State Board of Education should unflinchingly reject Governor Chris Christie’s nominee for the next Superintendent of Newark’s public schools. Former NJ Commissioner of Education Chris Cerf has a history of underfunding, dismantling, and making money off of the very institution he now wants to now lead.
    Like a parody of a shifty, racist politician from the 1950s, Chris Christie went from blatantly saying that he would not let Newark govern itself, to promoting an ugly, dishonest process that will ensure that -on education – Newark will never govern itself. If the State Board of Education is even mildly sincere about the importance of local control, then it must today work directly with the locally elected school board to select Newark’s next school leader.
    In response to growing media coverage of wide spread protests and anger, Governor Chris Christie removed Cami Anderson as Superintendent of Newark’s public schools and started a commission to pretend that he was interested in local control. His commission is rigged to make Newark into a New Orleans style charter district. If the governor cared about starting a process to lead to local control, he would have suggested educators on his commission instead of making the committee’s deciding majority business people and charter school proponents.
    If the governor cared at all about our children, he would have nominated an educator to be the next superintendent of Newark’s public schools. Instead of an educator, Chris Christie nominated a questionable business man, better known for GUEST: A gifted city teacher says Cerf must never come to Newark | Bob Braun's Ledger:

    Marriage ruling may boost school climate for LGBT families and students | EdSource

    Marriage ruling may boost school climate for LGBT families and students | EdSource:

    Marriage ruling may boost school climate for LGBT families and students



    Stick figure drawings of families
    When the U.S. Supreme Court issued a major civil rights decision on marriage in Loving v. Virginia in 1967, striking down a state law banning interracial marriage, Alameda Unified teacher Gene Kahane was a 3rd-grader in Richmond, California, and didn’t hear about it. News of social change travels faster and farther now – and almost immediately into the classroom.
    Across California and the nation, educators say the Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage stands to improve, over time, the way gay and lesbian people are talked about at schools, both in the hallways and in the curriculum.
    “That decision was heard everywhere,” said Kahane, an Alameda Unified School District high school English teacher and district-identified ally for gay youth.
    “I think we’ve crossed a threshold toward acceptance and welcome,” said Todd Savage, president of the National Association of School Psychologists.
    Savage and other educators said the ruling will give new momentum to efforts to make schools safer and more inclusive for gay, lesbian and transgender students, as well as the more than 200,000 schoolchildren nationwide – including at least 30,000 in California – who have same-sex parents.
    Sara Train, coordinator of the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center’s Project Spin, which works with the Los Angeles Unified School District to end bullying, said the ruling is “a path to equality” for gay and lesbian people and “a validation” that will affect school culture.
    “I think we’ve crossed a threshold toward acceptance and welcome,” said Todd Savage, president of the National Association of School Psychologists.
    She referenced the words of Justice Anthony Kennedy in the June 26 Obergefell v. Hodges decision in favor of the right to marry for gay and lesbian couples. “They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law,” he wrote. “The Constitution grants them that right.”
    And she praised the words of President Barack Obama, who called the ruling “a victory for the children whose families will now be recognized as equal to any other.” Obama referred to the struggles of gay, lesbian and transgender individuals who were able to “endure bullying and Marriage ruling may boost school climate for LGBT families and students | EdSource:

    CURMUDGUCATION: Jeb's Ed Backers Revealed

    CURMUDGUCATION: Jeb's Ed Backers Revealed:

    Jeb's Ed Backers Revealed






    Long-time observers of the reformster scene are familiar with the Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE) the advocacy group that was, among other things, supposed to help Jeb Bush leverage his reformy career into a Presidential run.

    At various times they have promoted specious arguments for testing, tried to use aging demographics to sell choice, jumped onthe honesty gap train to nowhere, held a regular reformster-palooza gatheration, and tried to harness fake-ish social media presences to tout the whole reformy package. They are a one stop shop for reformster baloney, sliced to whatever thickness you prefer.

    One thing they have not previously done is actually admit where their funding comes from. Until now.

    In an act that appears related to Jeb Bush's Candidature Data Dumpage, FEE has finally coughed up their donors list. And it is a revelation, a shock, a stunning surprise of-- well, actually, no. It's pretty much exactly who you'd guess would be backing the mess.

    FEE's list now occupies a corner of their website. John Connor of NPR broke the list down to make it a little more searchable.

    It is not an exact list in that donors are organized by ranges. So we know that Bloomberg donated somewhere between $1.2 million and $2.4 million, which is quite a margin of error. But it's still a chunk of change, either way.

    Joining Bloomberg Philanthropies in the Over a Cool Million Club are these folks, a completely unsurprising list:

    Walton Family Foundation (between $3.5 mill and over $6 mill)
    B&M Gates (between $3 mill and over $5 mill)
    Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation (between $1.6 mill and $3.25 mill)
    News Corporation (between $1.5 mill and $3 mill)
    GE Foundation (between $2.5 mill and over $3 mill)
    Helmsley Trust (at least $2 mill)

    The Might Have Hit a Million Club includes

    The Broad Foundation
    Jacqueline Hume Foundation
    Robertson Foundation
    Carnegie Corporation of New York
    Kovner Foundation
    The Arnold Foundation

    Beyond those, we find Florida businesses and a fair sampling of folks who have a stake in the FEE mission, like McGraw Hill and Renaissance Learning.

    FEE's website breaks things down by year, which helps create a picture of FEE's growth. The first reported year is 2007 (that's the same year that Bush's run as Florida's governor ended), and while Bloomberg was still one of the top donors, that was with a 
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