Friday, February 12, 2016

Guest columnist: Privatizing our schools

Guest columnist: Privatizing our schools:

Privatizing our schools



Just Like Michelle Rhee's Students first only BETTER


Astroturf lobbying refers to political organizations or campaigns that appear to be made up of grassroots activists but are actually organized and run by corporate interests seeking to further their own agendas. Such groups are often typified by innocent-sounding names that have been chosen specifically to disguise the group's true backers

Several NC news outlets recently ran a guest editorial from Darrell Allison, president of Parents for Education Freedom in North Carolina, indicating that there is a grass roots parent revolution demanding vouchers and charter schools as “schooling-choice options,” particularly for low-income families.
Factual examination reveals no parent revolution that ordinary families are leading. Three organizations, Parents for Education Freedom in North Carolina (PEFNC), Partners for Educational Freedom in North Carolina, and North Carolina Citizens for Freedom in Education Independent Expenditure PAC, lead the school privatization movement in NC. They share the same Raleigh address and have overlapping staff.
PEFNC is a nonprofit established in 2005 to advocate for public school privatization and charter school expansion, funding derived from the Walton Family Foundation, according to tax documents. Tax records show Allison received $107,889 for his work running the non-profit in 2010, $156,582 in 2012, and $167,085 in 2013. The NC Governor’s salary is $142,265 and State Superintendent of Public Instruction earns $125,676. In 2015, HB 535 proposed allocating $1 million a year to PEFNC to distribute taxpayer dollars to new charter schools in our state. Giving an independent nonprofit the discretion of allocating tax dollars without public oversight did not make the final budget but is expected to rise again.
Partners for Education Freedom in NC (PEFNC2) is a “social welfare” nonprofit. Allison is also president of PEFNC2. 2013 revenue was $500,000, all of it from American Federation for Children, a Washington, D.C. nonprofit that advocates for school privatization. PEFNC2 manages a political action committee that makes contributions to NC candidates for state office. All four members of PEFNC2 serve on the board of PEFNC. PEFNC2 pays for lobbyists, political contributions, TV and radio ads, and outreach to promote vouchers and charter schools.
North Carolina Citizens for Freedom in Education Independent Expenditure PAC (PAC) was formed in 2010. Information about this PAC is limited. What is known? The president of PEFNC serves as its custodian of books and PAC contributes to lawmakers who support vouchers and charter schools.
The work of these well-funded entities, supported by some lawmakers and Gov. McCrory, resulted in a budgeted voucher expansion, funneling more than $40 million in taxpayer funds into unaccountable private schools that may discriminate in their admissions policies. Charter schools receive over $366 million in taxpayer dollars. Charter schools are growing in number but are less accessible to children in poverty and children with special needs. Charter schools do not have to offer transportation or lunch to students. Duke University professors in a 2015 study reported a troubling trend of resegregation in charter schools.
Two online charter schools operate in our state, NC Connections Academy (owned by the British multinational corporation Pearson PLC) and Virtual BAcademy (part of Virginia-based K-12, Inc.) Both have lost 19-20 percent of total enrollment. Virtual schools were allocated $14.3 million in public funding. Their funding is based on a one-day count of student membership. Student withdrawals do not affect funding to Guest columnist: Privatizing our schools:



Report offers strategies to create successful community schools | EdSource

Report offers strategies to create successful community schools | EdSource:

Report offers strategies to create successful community schools

California’s new school finance system and the state’s rules regarding Medi-Cal are making it easier for low-performing schools to transform themselves, according to a recent report.

Some of those schools are becoming community schools, which emphasize student and community engagement and work with outside partners to provide health, social and other services to students and their families. Across the country, about 5,000 community schools serve about 5 million students, according to the report, “Transforming Struggling Schools into Thriving Schools,” released this month by The Center for Popular Democracy, theCoalition for Community Schools and the Southern Education Foundation.
The report — which highlights Social Justice Humanitas Academy, a high school in the San Fernando Valley, as a model community school — recommends six strategies that schools can employ to transform themselves. One of the strategies is providing on-campus resources for students, such as health and dental care and mental health counselors.
California supports that strategy in two ways. The state allows on-campus health clinics to accept Medi-Cal payments for health services for low-income students. Medi-Cal is the state’s version of the federal health care program, Medicaid. And the Local Control Funding Formula — which provides extra funding for low-income students, English learners, and foster and homeless students — allows districts and schools to funnel some of those funds into mental and physical health services.
At the Social Justice Humanitas Academy, a mobile health van comes once a week offering health, dental and eye care. Students with significant mental health problems such as depression have access to mental health counselors on campus. A student women’s caucus and a student men’s group meet each Report offers strategies to create successful community schools | EdSource:


United Opt Out National Fifth Annual Event in Philadelphia, Feb. 26th - 28th

PRESS RELEASE from United Opt Out National for Immediate Release: February 12, 2016: Fifth Annual Event in Philadelphia, Feb. 26th - 28th - UNITED OPT OUT: The Movement to End Corporate Education Reform:

United Opt Out National Fifth Annual Event in Philadelphia, Feb. 26th - 28th

UNITED OPT OUT: The Movement to End Corporate Education Reform
United Opt Out National is hosting their fifth annual event.  This year’s sold- out conference, “Transcending Resistance, Igniting Revolution,” takes place in Philadelphia from February 26th to 28th. Keynote speakers include  Antonia Darder, Chris Hedges, Bill Ayers, Stephen Krashen, and Jill Stein. In an effort to include the greater Philadelphia community, a pre-conference United Opt Out Town Hall will take place on Thursday, February 25th. Place and time will be posted on the website.
United Opt Out, vehemently opposed to the components of the Every Student Succeeds Act ( ESSA) that are tantamount to a Black Friday sale of public education,  will take this opportunity to voice concerns and refine plans to push back against the privatization efforts this bill attempts to secure.  Unfortunately, it continues the failure to secure an equitable learning environment for all children as it continues the damaging ranking, sorting, and maligning of children.  During this conference, attendees will dig into each component of the bill, clarify its purpose for the public, and brainstorm demands and direct actions to advocate the changes needed to end the continued punitive and exploitive aspects of the federal law. Additionally, the conference will organize a diverse body of educators, support staff, students, parents, and citizen volunteers into working groups to devise solutions that promote healthy curricular innovations, that promote the attraction and nurturing of qualified and career focused people into the education field,  that promote the implementation of appropriate and safe technology infusion, that promote wrap around support services, abundant materials support, and symbiotic public/private partnerships absent of one-sided exploitation.  Philadelphia, one of the hotbeds of the privatization effort, is the perfect locale to critique current legislation and brainstorm for direct actions that coordinate with the following organizational goals adopted by United Opt Out administrators:
1.  Push legislators to embrace “the original intent of ESEA, which was to facilitate equitable, thriving, and successful public education for all schools via distribution of funding free of strings attached other than need and a comprehensive and viable game plan for success.
2.  Push for the collection of data that reveals how well resourced and integrated individual schools, districts, and states are, in an effort to appropriate state and federal funding that negates the harmful effects of racism and poverty.
3.  Push for protections for the teaching profession and public school funding that ESSA policy attempts to tear down via the implementation of faulty alternative teacher certification programs and the unregulated charter industry.
4.  Continue to develop and engage in opt out campaigns with a special focus on engaging non-whites, students with disabilities, second language, and impoverished communities and assist parents and students in the resistance to Competency Based Education (CBE) that involves too much unsafe student engagement in screen time, too much opportunity for data collection and privacy violation, and too much sub-par pedagogy.
5.  Educate established civil rights groups as to the underlying harm in supporting policy created by those who serve a corporate agenda that ultimately harms students and their educators and encourage them to join the resistance that fights for creative, non-status-quo inventiveness coming from those most impacted: teachers, non-Whites, women, and special needs, second language, and impoverished students.
6.  Join the campaign to end Citizens United, the unrestrained corporate spending used to tear down democratic thought, action and any semblance of a country which believes in the common good; facilitate election campaigns for school boards, federal and state legislative bodies, PTA /PTSA, union leadership, and local community leadership; and join with other like-minded organizations to alert local, state, and national groups to vote in leaders who support public education and demand that ESSA be returned to its original intent.
Over the last four years United Opt Out has been successful in making Opt Out mainstream. It has not done it alone.  It is only through collective effort and unyielding resistance to the corporate take-over of public education that an equitably funded, democratically based, anti-racist, desegregated public school system for all Americans that prepares students to exercise compassionate and critical decision making with civic virtue can be realized.
 PRESS RELEASE from United Opt Out National for Immediate Release: February 12, 2016: Fifth Annual Event in Philadelphia, Feb. 26th - 28th - UNITED OPT OUT: The Movement to End Corporate Education Reform:



Posted on February 12, 2016
Contact: United Opt Out National
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Jersey Jazzman: "Success"

Jersey Jazzman: "Success":

"Success"


Looks like Eva Moskowitz has yet another p.r. disaster to contend with, courtesy of the New York Times: a one-minute video of a Success Academy teacher ripping into her first grade student because... well, honestly, I can't tell. Clearly, the girl in the video gets something wrong on her math problem -- but it's also clear this burst of anger from the teacher was a long time coming.

Of course, what Charlotte Dial does in this video is really horrible teaching; even she admits that. If Success Academy knew that she had behaved this way even once, they should have intervened and let her know in no uncertain terms how unacceptable what she did was. And if she did it again, she should have been removed from the classroom.

The fact that Dial is white and the student is black makes this especially troubling. I'm all for teachers being authoritative, but too many students of color are living a school experience where they are dehumanized by teachers of a different race. To be clear: I don't think this is confined just to "no excuses" charter schools; we've seen far too many examples of bad behavior against students of color in public district schools to pretend that it's only the charters that are guilty of perpetuating a hidden curriculum.

That said, I'm not about to say, on the basis of a one-minute video, that Dial should be fired immediately. If any teacher tells you that they've never said anything to a student that they later regretted, they're either lying, deluded, or a living saint.

Teaching is hard, frustrating work -- especially if you actually give a damn about your - See more at: http://jerseyjazzman.blogspot.com/2016/02/success.html#sthash.TtRgWt2j.dpuf




Special Nite Cap: Catch Up on Today's Post 2/12/16



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