Friday, February 5, 2016

Exposing the Accountability Scam in Education Reform | Western Free Press

Exposing the Accountability Scam in Education Reform | Western Free Press:

Exposing the Accountability Scam in Education Reform

So much ‘accountability,’ so little improvement…

When it comes to education today, the drumbeat is constant: accountability, accountability, accountability.
Private foundations, institutes, and policy centers continually think up “new” ways we can achieve accountability.
Education-based businesses rush to create “new” standards, curricula, assessments, and teacher training programs to facilitate accountability.
Federal and state legislators, governors, and state superintendents and boards of education regularly seek more stringent ways to impose accountability.
Yet, oddly, no amount of increased accountability seems to change a single thing—except to further centralize, standardize, and compromise education.

What’s happening here?

Quite simply, accountability has become part of the crooked word game that is education reform. Standards, testing, rigor, competency, personalized learning, college- and career-ready—these are just a few of myriad words and phrases that reformers in government and private enterprise have quietly redefined in order to circumvent public outcry.
Of the terms assigned new meaning, “accountability” merits special note. In fact, maintaining its deceptive veneer has become crucial to ensuring compliance with an entire program of measures and practices that harm students, parents, teachers, and taxpayers alike.

How does ‘accountability’ deceive the public?

Accountability tends to have positive connotations bound up with responsibility. In fact, most of us make at least four key assumptions when the term is applied to education. While those assumptions are now entirely false, reformers rely on us making them:

Assumption #1: Accountability is local

Today, where it still exists at all, local control—and the local accountability that should accompany it—is increasingly a fiction. In point of fact, centralization and standardization drive the education reform agenda. Federal mandates and initiatives—mirrored and entrenched by state-level policy—have robbed parents and local taxpayers of their proper claim to accountability. Students, teachers, schools, and districts are instead accountable to federal and state governments and preferred partners in private industry.

Assumption #2: Accountability is based on valid measures

The standardized assessments in which federal (and, in turn, state) government roots accountability have zero proven validity. Utah-based clinician Dr. Gary Thompson and others have clearly demonstrated the experimental and potentially damaging nature of Common Core-aligned assessments—though neither the creators nor the administrators of these measures have Exposing the Accountability Scam in Education Reform | Western Free Press:



La. Class of 2015 ACT Scores: State-run RSD New Orleans Drops to 15.6 Average Composite | deutsch29

La. Class of 2015 ACT Scores: State-run RSD New Orleans Drops to 15.6 Average Composite | deutsch29:

La. Class of 2015 ACT Scores: State-run RSD New Orleans Drops to 15.6 Average Composite

As of February 05, 2016, the best place to locate any smatch of consolidated data on Louisiana’s Class of 2015 ACT scores is this July 16, 2015, nola.com article by Jessica Williams, entitled, “ACT Scores Rise for 2nd Straight Year in Louisiana.”
Williams’ title comes from the supposed rise of Louisiana’s Class of 2015 average ACT composite to 19.4 from 19.2 in 2014. Other numbers in Williams’ article are the supposed Recovery School District (RSD) Class of 2015 average ACT composite of 16.6, and the combined RSD-Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) Class of 2015 average ACT composite of 18.8.
Remember these numbers.
In her article, Williams links to her data source, this once-embargoed file from the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE), entitled, “2014-15 Louisiana ACT 12th Grade Results.” The file includes ACT average composite scores by district. What is noteworthy is that the file was publicized in July 2015, after the 2014-15 school year had ended.
What is also worth noting is that as of February 05, 2016, this file is not available on the LDOE website.
There is no reason for LDOE to not have produced a comprehensive file of Class of La. Class of 2015 ACT Scores: State-run RSD New Orleans Drops to 15.6 Average Composite | deutsch29:

Gov. Snyder declines invite to testify on Flint water crisis by House Democrats | MLive.com

Gov. Snyder declines invite to testify on Flint water crisis by House Democrats | MLive.com:

Gov. Snyder declines invite to testify on Flint water crisis by House Democrats


 FLINT, MI -- Gov. Rick Snyder has declined an invitation to testify before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee on Wednesday, Feb. 10.

A statement from Anna Heaton, deputy press secretary for Snyder, said he will be presenting his formal fiscal year 2017 budget recommendations in Lansing on the same day and will be unable to attend. 
The committee including co-chairs U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn. U.S. Rep. Donna F. Edwards, D-Md., and U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint Township, had sent a letter to Snyder requesting his appearance at hearing.
"The ongoing Flint water crisis is a terrible tragedy," reads a letter to the governor by the committee members. "As the Governor of the state of Michigan, the families of Flint and all Americans deserve to hear testimony directly from you on how this man-made crisis happened, and what is being done at the state level to make it right."
Snyder said he was not invited to testify before a House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing on Feb. 3 that included Virginia Tech professor Marc Edwards and state Department of Environmental Quality director Keith Creigh. 
During a Wednesday, Feb. 3 press conference on a request for $30 million to offer water bill credits to Flint residents dating back to April 2014, Snyder said he was not invited to testify but he would "seriously look into" the possibility if Gov. Snyder declines invite to testify on Flint water crisis by House Democrats | MLive.com:

Jersey Jazzman: The Mis-NAEPery of @TeachForAmerica

Jersey Jazzman: The Mis-NAEPery of @TeachForAmerica:

The Mis-NAEPery of @TeachForAmerica





Teach For America is having a big party in Washington, D.C. this weekend to celebrate its 25th year -- and look who's crashing:

Teach for America, the program that places newly minted college graduates in some of the nation’s most difficult classrooms for two-year teaching stints, is holding a summit this weekend in Washington to mark its 25th anniversary.
The list of speakers reads like a who’s who of activists and leaders behind recent changes in education policy around the country, from former D.C. Schools chancellor Michelle Rhee to Eva Moskowitz, the head of the largest chain of charter schools in New York City. The singer Janelle Monáe will entertain at a glittery gathering of an estimated 15,000 Teach For America alumni; the organization’s many donors will also be on hand.
And roaming among them is Gary Rubinstein, a nationally known scold of TFA.
Rubinstein, a former TFA volunteer who is in his 14th year of teaching math at Stuyvesant High School in New York City, says he wants to force an “honest
- See more at: http://jerseyjazzman.blogspot.com/2016/02/the-mis-naepery-of-teachforamerica.html#sthash.I9tMAyK6.dpuf



Chicago Teachers Union Takes Over Downtown In Protest | PopularResistance.Org

Chicago Teachers Union Takes Over Downtown In Protest | PopularResistance.Org:

Chicago Teachers Union Takes Over Downtown In Protest

Chicago Teachers Protest Feb, 4, 2016 Twitter
Since he became mayor, Rahm Emanuel, has been at war with public education in Chicago as budget cuts, school closings, disputes over teach salaries have been ongoing. This Thursday, the Chicago Teachers Union organized a mass protest of thousands of teachers, students, parents and residents of Chicago. They took over downtown Chicago for the day.
The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) describes the reasons for the protest writing:
The march came two days after Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s handpicked Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO Forrest Claypool declared war on public school educators by threatening $100 million in classroom cuts—roughly 1,000 layoffs—and just one day after the CTU withdrew nearly $1 million from Bank of America. The CTU closed its BOA savings account in protest of that bank and other financial institutions that sold CPS toxic interest rate swaps, and are demanding a payout of at least $228 million—almost the exact same amount as cuts enacted by the Chicago Board of Education to schools and special education.
Polls show the CTU has the support of the public:






The protest began at Bank of America of La Salle Street in downtown Chicago. Chicago Now reports that the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) “just sold $725 million in bonds as a Toxic Debt’ Wednesday, a Debt that has a lower chance of being repaid with interest  the CPS rate was at an 8.5% interest rate; that’s 141 times the rate paid on a typical bank Chicago Teachers Union Takes Over Downtown In Protest | PopularResistance.Org:

CURMUDGUCATION: Support Real Education Journalism

CURMUDGUCATION: Support Real Education Journalism:

Support Real Education Journalism



I am here to ask for your support. Not for me-- my brand of faux journalism costs little to produce. Instead, I want you to help out with Jennifer Berkshire's (Edushyster) latest project.

Berkshire is working to fill one of the gaping holes in education journalism. Well, two holes, actually. The first is the need to hear voices that have gone too long unheard. The other is to literally make those voices heard by podcast.

Podcasting journalism done right is neither cheap nor easy. You need equipment, both for gathering material and for putting it in a nice production package. And you need to travel, to go where the people are who need to be heard and who, in many cases, have gone unheard for too long. For example, the first episode of the Have You Heard series, which gives voice to the African-American opt out parents of Philadelphia.

Watch their pitch here. 




I don't make this kind of pitch often, but this is a project I believe in. I believe that there is a need for this kind of journalism in this kind of format, and I believe that Berkshire is just the woman to do it. She has an incredibly deft touch with an interview, and she remains fair and open without giving up her own convictions about public education. In a fair and just world, she would be making the kind of money that the big boys in the Gates-funded thinky tanks pull down. The advantage of the reformsters remains a huge mountain of cash and people who work full time, ready to be dispatched to any corner of the world that calls for them. In this world, Berkshire and French need some help from all of us.

So if you have thought periodically that you would like to do something, something to help the cause of public education in this country, here's a chance to do something that you can accomplish without moving form where you're sitting to read my words. Click on over to the Beacon site and give her a hand.CURMUDGUCATION: Support Real Education Journalism:



HYH: Urban Opt Out Is a Thing



Have You Heard is a new podcast series from Jennifer Berkshire (Edushyster), one of the handful of edubloggers who does the work of a real journalist.

For her first episode, she and blog partner Aaron French have traveled to Philadelphia to talk to some Opt Out activists who are not suburban white soccer moms, but urban African-American parents. It's a group that has been largely invisible in mainstream coverage of the opt-out movement, in particular because the narrative of the Testocrats has been that the Big Standardized Test is an important civil rights tool, opposed only (as famously suggested by Arne Duncan) a bunch of white suburban moms who are mad that the BS Test reveals their children to be less brilliant than they supposed. 

But Philadelphia activists like Robin Roberts, Will Thomas, Shakeda Gaines and Tonya Bah reveal another picture.

Their growth as opt-out activists has been gradual, in part because Philly school authorities denied that opt out exists in PA, that parents have no such rights. The first time Gaines took her opt-out letter to the school and was denied. Says Thomas, "They'll look you right in your face and make you believe that what you're feeling isn't real."Yet Pennsylvania clearly has an opt out law on the books, allowing any parent to opt out of just about any educational activity based on religious objections-- and there is no requirement for them to explain the nature of that religious objection.

These parents see the stakes as large, and throughout the interview it becomes clear that they see the issue of testing as part of a larger assault on their schools. Schools that are already on starvation budgets still keep the testing no matter what the budget cuts. Resources are lost. Thomas asks if 


HYH: Urban Opt Out Is a Thing

Special Nite Cap: Catch Up on Today's Post 2/5/16



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YESTERDAY

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