Wednesday, May 4, 2016

WTF: As a South Bronx School Prepares to Close, Tensions Rise - NY City Lens

As a South Bronx School Prepares to Close, Tensions Rise - NY City Lens:
As a South Bronx School Prepares to Close, Tensions Rise


A Rough Day
A woman with scratch marks across her right cheek and left arm sat in a small backroom at the New York Police Department’s 40th Precinct building in the South Bronx on March 28, waiting to file a report regarding the chaos that had started earlier inside the Mexicocina restaurant on Jackson Avenue. After a particularly rough day of work at the school across the street, Aixa Rodriguez, a teacher, had sought to take the edge off with a margarita at the quaint corner venue. She had barely indulged in a moment’s peace with her drink when a fight broke out between two teenage girls at another table and dishware began to fly, pelting the restaurant’s terracotta tiled floors with pieces of blue and white porcelain.
 Rodriguez said that the situation triggered her teacher instincts and she at once stepped in to break up the fight. After leaving the premises, one of the girls began kicking cars parked outside. When Rodriguez ordered the girl to stop damaging private property, she headed for Rodriguez and challenged all of the sturdy 38-year-old’s strength, scratching, kicking, and spitting in her face. Police who discussed the case with Rodriguez said that the girl even spit in officers’ faces and that the mother informed them her daughter was on several medications for bipolar disorder.

Rodriguez’s father had been on the phone with her when the first dish was thrown and she screamed. He immediately ran to the restaurant from his house a few blocks away, along with a colleague who rushed over from the school. Police said that the teenage girl was arrested for assaulting Rodriguez. But the next day, it was Rodriguez who received a surprise notice from the Department of Education (DOE) saying that she had been reassigned, effective immediately. She would no longer teach any of her classes at the Foreign Language Academy of Global Studies high school, and would instead finish out the school year working in a DOE administrative office. The department has 60 days to inform teachers of the reason for reassignment. She hasn’t received an explanation yet.   
A Rougher Year
That raucous spring afternoon came on the heels of a year rife with tension at the school across the street, where a month earlier, teachers, students, and parents at the school received their own surprise: a notice from the DOE proposing to close FLAGS, as the South Bronx high school is called for short, by the end of the school year. FLAGS is co-located with a K-12 public school in a three-story building that spans an entire block and faces the largest park in the Bronx. The education department also put forth a separate proposal to allot the space currently occupied by FLAGS to a more academically successful charter school, which would then co-locate with the K-12 school.
The school has been in trouble. Enrollment decreased 74 percent over the last five years from 388 students to just 99 students, and only 19 out of 44 seniors graduated last year. Consequently, on April 20, the DOE’s Panel for Education Policy unanimously passed both proposals at a public meeting. FLAGS will be the fourth public school to close under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration. New York City schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña emphasized that the school’s performance issues and low enrollment numbers simply could not sustain the As a South Bronx School Prepares to Close, Tensions Rise - NY City Lens:

Why the Carnival Barkers of Factory School Reform Continue to Have an Audience and a Megaphone - Lily's Blackboard

Why the Carnival Barkers of Factory School Reform Continue to Have an Audience and a Megaphone - Lily's Blackboard:
Why the Carnival Barkers of Factory School Reform Continue to Have an Audience and a Megaphone




Oh! What a tangled web we weave
When first we practice to deceive!
A little dated, but still timely, is this verse to teach children that lies build on lies until they are so interwoven they can’t be pulled apart. 
That’s timely because of the new report just published by Media Matters that helps explain the echo chamber of lies that continue to bounce off the crumbling walls of the famously failed factory model of education “reform.”
In a true and honest marketplace of ideas, the factory-model pillars of Privatize (vouchers, charters); Standardize (scripted lessons, test-score focus); De-Professionalize (Teach for Awhile, Easy-Pass Alternative Certification) would have been put to shame years ago.  There is no country that is regarded as our global competition (Singapore, Finland, Canada) that is propped up by any of these pillars. There is no evidence after 14 years of national Test & Punish under No Child Left Untested that any of it worked to improve teaching and learning.
They used to tar and feather snake oil salesmen because snake oil wasn’t just useless – it made you sick. 
But the Media Matters report explains why the carnival barkers of factory school reform continue to have an audience and a megaphone to invite the public to “step right up and see the amazing three-headed troll.” The report highlights which billionaires, which foundations and which corporate empires are providing the web of money and manpower to keep the lies tangled and tight.education-not-for-sale
There’s a simple pattern to the lies. First, they defund schools in our most challenged communities so that ceilings leak; technology is trashed; educators are demoralized; and programs in the arts and sports and clubs are slashed. Then they “bait and switch.” They lie to parents that vouchers, tuition tax credits, and other privatization schemes will save their children and provide them a “choice” to move to a better school. But the truth is, they want to hand public money over to private schools that have no accountability to taxpayers or to parents.  Those “choice” schools choose the students they decide to serve.
The Media Matters report shows just how deeply entrenched these well-financed groups are in corporate education reform – and how tied together they are. As an NEAToday article points out, the connections are enough to make Why the Carnival Barkers of Factory School Reform Continue to Have an Audience and a Megaphone - Lily's Blackboard:

Seth Meyers shreds Detroit’s shady school system: You have to pay your teachers for teaching

Seth Meyers shreds Detroit’s shady school system: You have to pay your teachers for teaching:

Seth Meyers shreds Detroit’s shady school system: You have to pay your teachers for teaching

Seth Meyers stands with Detroit teachers (Screen capture)

Detroit teachers are getting royally screwed, and Seth Meyers won’t stand for it. Like the Flint water crisis, Detroit’s schools have come under the rule of Gov. Rick Snyder’s emergency manager that was appointed by the state. Not long after that, $30 million disappeared.
That’s why teachers are staging a “sick-in,” meaning they all called in sick to protest the fact that they won’t be getting paid for the months they already worked. This isn’t even the first time they have walked out. Teachers in Detroit protested building code violations that make it either unhealthy or dangerous for students. In one school the playground and the gym are both closed. When asked how he even teaches gym class, the teacher says the kids run up and down the halls.
“We’ve already worked and earned this money, and it’s gone,” Meyers showed one teacher saying about the disappearing budget.
“We have already worked for this money,” another teacher echoed. “This is not money they’ve given to us. We have already worked. So, if we continue to work it will be like we are working for free. What profession works for free?”
“We shouldn’t be forcing people to work for free!” Meyers agreed. “They’re not college basketball players. But this illustrates a broader problem about how we think about education in this country. We often expect teachers to work for less and in worse conditions than we would expect for ourselves. We think of teachers almost like volunteers!”
Meyers concedes that many teachers do what they do because they love it and are committed to educating children, “but they should also be able to make a decent salary doing it.” Or, you know, one at all.
Some states haven’t given school teachers a raise in years. So, if you factor in inflation it has their salary actually falling. North Carolina, Indiana and Michigan are all the worst states in the country with teacher salaries falling 13.3 percent, 13.7 percent and 8.4 percent respectably. The only other people whose salaries have fallen more than that in the last 20 years are people like MySpace executives, POG developers and people who specialize in “The Rachel” haircut, Meyers said.
The average teacher has a bachelor’s degrees and ten years of experience yet the salary is less than an auto-repair worker. This forces some to even work outside of class at a second job just to make ends meet. Yet, when teachers stand up and demand more they’re shut down, and so-called “tough love” politicians like Chris Christie are heralded for telling them no.
When a charter school in New York tried out an experiment to pay teachers an substantial salary, test scores were significantly better. In fact, after just four years at the school, “students learned as much math as they would have learning 5.6 years elsewhere.”
“The point is this,” Meyers closed. “Teachers should be paid more. But even if we can’t do that, let’s agree that we should pay them for the work they’ve already done.”
Check out the smackdown below:




 Seth Meyers shreds Detroit’s shady school system: You have to pay your teachers for teaching:

A possible solution for Connecticut’s budget crisis – “Throw the bums out…” - Wait What?

A possible solution for Connecticut’s budget crisis – “Throw the bums out…” - Wait What?:

A possible solution for Connecticut’s budget crisis – “Throw the bums out…”


 Watching a horrible car crash take place would be less traumatic than witnessing Governor Dannel Malloy and the Connecticut General Assembly careen toward their constitutionally mandated deadline of midnight tonight (May, 4, 2016.)

While a Special Session of the Connecticut Legislature will undoubtedly be needed to “clean up” a state budget plan that was developed behind closed doors and remains a mystery to the people of Connecticut, and most of the legislators who will be voting for or against it in the coming hours, the sad reality is that most of the Democratic members of the Connecticut State Senate and State House of Representatives appear to be willing to vote for a state spending plan that continues to coddle the rich while instituting unprecedented cuts to vital human services, Connecticut public schools and other critically important programs.
As Connecticut’s media outlets report, details about the budget are “scarce.”
In fact, it would be impossible for most legislators to have a real understanding of how the Democrat’s “compromise” budget will impact the state, their districts or the people they have sworn to represent.
The media headlines paint a disturbing picture of the mismanagement that continues to mark Dannel Malloy’s time in office.…
A true snapshot of the problem becomes evident as the CT Mirror reports;
Democratic legislators ended a tense day of negotiations with the governor Tuesday by announcing a deal on a new state budget that the General Assembly will race to adopt Wednesday before the constitutional adjournment deadline of midnight.
Passage will require the cooperation of the Republican minority, an uncertain prospect after House Speaker J. Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden, and Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven, exchanged insults outside the Capitol pressroom.
Sharkey and Senate President Pro Tem Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven, largely glossed over the spending cuts necessary to balance the budget, 
A possible solution for Connecticut’s budget crisis – “Throw the bums out…” - Wait What?:

Government reports drop in overall crime in nation's schools | McClatchy DC

Government reports drop in overall crime in nation's schools | McClatchy DC:

Government reports drop in overall crime in nation's schools

FILE - In this Aug. 29, 2010, file photo, a security camera hangs on the side of the Skyline School in Portland, Ore. The latest government snapshot of school crime paints a picture of safer schools with declines in violent crime, bullying and harassment because of sexual orientation. The report indicated that schools are taking steps to reduce crime. About 75 percent used security cameras during the 2013-2014 school year and more than 9 in 10 controlled access to their buildings.
FILE - In this Aug. 29, 2010, file photo, a security camera hangs on the side of the Skyline School in Portland, Ore. The latest government snapshot of school crime paints a picture of safer schools with declines in violent crime, bullying and harassment because of sexual orientation. The report indicated that schools are taking steps to reduce crime. About 75 percent used security cameras during the 2013-2014 school year and more than 9 in 10 controlled access to their buildings. Rick Bowmer, File AP Photo

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/national-politics/article75483472.html#storylink=cpy





The latest government snapshot of school crime paints a picture of safer schools with declines in violent crime, bullying and harassment because of sexual orientation.
Still, about 3 percent of students ages 12 to 18 said they were victims of crimes at school in 2014. About 1.3 million students were suspended for at least one full school day for alcohol violations, violence or weapons possession.
Middle school students were more likely to be bullied than high school or elementary school students, said the report, released Wednesday by the National Center for Education Statistics and the Justice Department.
On college campuses, the number of sexual attacks more than doubled from 2001 to 2013. "There's really no way to say whether those increases reflect an increase in actual forcible sex crimes or just that more people are coming forward and reporting them," said Lauren Musu-Gillette, an author of the report.
Overall, the report showed progress, said Peggy G. Carr, acting NCES commissioner. "Bullying is down, crime is down, but it's not enough," she said.
Even before the report was issued, Ken Trump of the National School Safety and Security Services cautioned about reading too much into federal statistics on school crime.
"Federal and state stats underestimate the extent of school crime, public perception tends to overstate it and reality is somewhere in between," he said in a presentation to the Education Writers Association national conference in Boston.
He said in an interview that there is no mandated crime reporting for elementary, middle or high schools.
However, NCES' Musu-Gillette said the report was a nationally representative sample of school crime, taken in large part from surveys of students.
The report indicated that schools are taking steps to reduce crime.
About 75 percent used security cameras during the 2013-2014 school year and more than 9 in 10 controlled access to their buildings. Schools also required students to wear IDs and mandated dress codes to try to make campuses safe.
"Our nation's schools should be safe havens for teaching and learning, free of crime and violence," the report said. "Any instance of crime or violence at school not only affects the individuals involved, but also may disrupt the educational process and affect bystanders, the school itself, and the surrounding community."
Trump called security cameras a quick fix that leads to a "false sense of security," and said there has to be a balance between the hardware and the human element of school safety. That includes having counselors and psychologists on hand and training staff to deal with bullying, verbal abuse and other threats.
He said too much focus is on the rare possibility of a shooting, rather than incidents that may occur daily. He asked, for example, whether schools know how to deal with a non-custodial parent trying to pick up a child.
"School administrators are a lot more proactive about security than they were a decade ago," he said. He said social media and an overall awareness have made it "harder to hide things that occur in schools."
The federal Clery Act requires colleges and universities to report and distribute data on campus crimes.
The report said the number of criminal incidents on college campuses declined 8 percent in 2013 from the previous year. The most common type of crime was burglary. There were 23 murders on campus that year.
Despite efforts to improve security, schools still see violence.
The New Jersey Institute of Technology reported Monday that a student was fatally shot Government reports drop in overall crime in nation's schools | McClatchy DC:

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/national-politics/article75483472.html#storylink=cpy

But Will It Be Amazing? What Donald Trump Has Said About Education - Politics K-12 - Education Week

But Will It Be Amazing? What Donald Trump Has Said About Education - Politics K-12 - Education Week:

But Will It Be Amazing? What Donald Trump Has Said About Education





 Real estate executive Donald Trump has taken a huge and possibly decisive step towards becoming the Republican nominee for president, after winning the Indiana GOP primary Tuesday and seeing his chief rival, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, suspend his campaign.

What's less certain? Trump's views on education policy. He hasn't spoken at great length about the topic at any one time, and he doesn't have the kind of record on the issue that say, a former governor would. But over the course of the campaign, we have followed his statements about K-12. Read on for a round-up of our reporting on Trump as a presidential candidate. 
Trump has baffled education wonks: Back in March, we asked a bunch of K-12 policy experts how a President Trump would handle education. For the most part, they threw up their hands.  
Conservatives like Michael Petrilli of the Fordham Institute and Andy Smarick of Bellwether Education Partners, for example, said they were worried that Trump might empower the federal government and not states when dealing with public schools. 
Meanwhile, Carmel Martin of the left-leaning Center for American Progress said Trump would roll back important civil rights protections in education. She also called his plan to get rid of the U.S. Department of Education a dangerous and potentially very damaging one for both K-12 and higher education.
Speaking of the Education Department ... Yes, Trump has said more than once that he thinks the department either needs to be cut "way down" or eliminated altogether. However, he also claimed in a March debate that education should be one of three top priorities for the federal government. Those aren't necessarily contradictory views, but they also don't represent a clear platform.
He's very clear about the Common Core State Standards, however. Trump says he hates the common core, and says he'll get rid of them. But, thanks in part to the Every Student Succeeds Act, the federal government does not have the power to do that. 
By contrast, Trump has praised the power of local school boards. That's pretty unusual for a presidential candidate, Bellwether's Chad Aldeman told me.
American kids' test scores? They're lousy, Trump says: In a speech earlier this year, Trump said that for the amount of money the U.S. spends on education, students' scores on international tests are pretty bad. In fact, he said "third world" countries beat American students on tests, although that's a questionable claim.
"The Donald" has provided money to educational causes through his charitable foundation.Some of those donations, however, are tied to his work the "Celebrity Apprentice" in which contestants directed their cash winnings to certain groups. He has given to Teach for America, though, independently of "Celebrity Apprentice." He's also a fan of the Police Athletic League and charities associated with New York Yankees that do work with kids. 
electionslug_2016_126x126.jpgIs there a doctor in the house? In a GOP debate in March, Trump said thatBen Carson would be "very involved in education" in Trump's presidential administration, as my colleague Daarel Burnette II reported. Carson is a former 2016 GOP presidential hopeful and retired pediatric neurosurgeon, 
Gun-free school zones? Get rid of them, Trump says. He claims they're just"bait" for people looking to do harm to children. But contrary to Trump's stated plans, he won't be able to get rid of them without an act of Congress.
Some claim Trump's rhetoric has made students feel unsafe. That's according to a report from the Southern Poverty Law Center, which surveyed 2,000 K-12 teachers about the possible "Trump effect" on students. However, as my colleague Evie Blad noted, the survey is unscientific.
Trump has also weighed in on autism and vaccines. In a GOP debate, Trump said that autism has become an "epidemic" and said that he wants vaccines to be given to children in smaller doses over a longer period of time. That's a reference to the claim that there's a link between vaccines and autism, although as my colleague Christina Samuels pointed out, the former does not cause the latter.
Photo: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, seen speaking at a rally in Valdosta, Ga., has yet to lay out a detailed education platform. Andrew Harnik/AP

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President Obama Honors 2016 Teacher of the Year

President Obama Honors 2016 Teacher of the Year:

President Obama Honors 2016 Teacher of the Year, Thanks All Educators

President Obama Teacher of the Year
President Barack Obama honors the 2016 National Teacher of the Year Jahana Hayes of Connecticut and finalists during an event in the East Room of the White House on May 3, 2016 . (Photo by Olivier Douliery/Pool/ABACAPRES.COM)
At a White House ceremony coinciding with National Teacher Day on May 3, President Barack Obama honored the 2016 National Teacher of the Year Jahana Hayes and public school educators everywhere.
“Every year on this day, we say publicly as a country what we should be eager to say every day of the year, and that is: Thank you,” Obama said.
Obama saluted Hayes, a social studies teacher in Waterbury, Connecticut, not only for her talent but for her perseverance. Being a teacher was the furthest thing from her mind when she was growing up. In fact, there were times when Hayes didn’t even want to be a student. As a teenager, Hayes became pregnant and probably would have dropped out of school, but thanks to her teachers she finished her studies.
“Her teachers saw something. They saw something in her,” Obama said. “And they gave her an even greater challenge, and that was to dream bigger and to imagine a better life. And they made her believe she was college material and that she had the special gift to improve not only her own condition, but those around her.”
As a teacher, Hayes understands how and why students bring their own challenging circumstances into the classroom. “She meets them where they are,” Obama continued. ” And she sees a grace in them, and she sees a possibility in them. And because she sees it, they start seeing it. That’s what makes Jahana more than a teacher; she’s a counselor and a confidant. That’s how a woman who became a teenage mom is now a mentor to high schoolers in the same city where she grew up.”
“I know what it feels like to have a dream and exist in an environment where nothing is expected to thrive,” Hayes said. “I know what it feels like to struggle to find sunlight and constantly be met with concrete barriers. I see myself in every one of those students, and I carry my own experiences as a reminder that as a teacher I have to be better.”
As the 2016 National Teacher of the Year, Hayes, whose career as an educator goes back 13 years, will spend a year traveling the nation to represent educators and President Obama Honors 2016 Teacher of the Year:

Union Urges Detroit Teachers to Return to Work After Second ‘Sickout’ Day - WSJ

Union Urges Detroit Teachers to Return to Work After Second ‘Sickout’ Day - WSJ:

Union Urges Detroit Teachers to Return to Work After Second ‘Sickout’ Day

Detroit Federation of Teachers said it received assurances they would be paid after June

Detroit teachers protested in front of Detroit Public Schools headquarters on Tuesday. Their union Tuesday evening said it received a letter from the district’s transitional manager, assuring that teachers will be paid after June.
Detroit teachers protested in front of Detroit Public Schools headquarters on Tuesday. Their union Tuesday evening said it received a letter from the district’s transitional manager, assuring that teachers will be paid after June. PHOTO: BILL PUGLIANO/GETTY IMAGES


 The Detroit Federation of Teachers urged teachers on Tuesday evening to return to work after effectively shutting public schools for two days, saying the union received assurances that teachers will be paid after June.

The teachers union was protesting statements made this weekend by the district’s state-appointed manager, who said it wouldn’t be able to pay teachers and other staff after June, or conduct summer school, if the state Legislature didn’t pass a $715 million package to restructure the district and erase its debt.
But by Tuesday evening, the union said it received a letter from the district’s transition manager, Judge Steven Rhodes, assuring the union teachers will be paid after June. In the letter, a copy of which was provided by the union, Judge Rhodes said the district would honor its contractual obligations to pay teachers and other staff.
“We’re happy to return to the classroom and finish the school year with our kids,” the union’s interim president, Ivy Bailey, said in a statement.
Judge Rhodes said in a statement that he looked forward to working with the union following the end of their two-day action.
On Tuesday, there was also progress in moving legislation forward. A a House committee passed measures that would include about $500 million to clear the district’s debt and about $33 million to fund the operations of a newly created district.
Gideon D’Assandro, a spokesman for Republican House Speaker Kevin Cotter, said the full House could take up the measures as soon as this week. He said he believed the Senate, which passed the $715 million package in March, would now be open to the House version.
Tuesday’s “sickout” was the 14th day during this academic year that some of the district’s schools were forced to close, said Michelle Zdrodowski, a spokeswoman for the Detroit Public Schools. She said 94 of the district’s 97 schools were closed.
Earlier protests by the city’s teachers focused on conditions in schools, including class sizes and the disrepair of some buildings that teachers said had become a health hazard.
The sickouts have drawn criticism from Judge Rhodes, as well as some lawmakers and Republican Gov. Rick Snyder.
Rep. Cotter called the sickouts selfish and misguided and said they only made it harder to move legislation forward. He said that more than a million hours of instruction have been lost due to teacher sickouts. “These egotistical teachers have lashed out at the children who rely on them and accomplished nothing but disrupting their students’ education,” Rep. Cotter said in a statement.
The union took issue with those comments, with Ms. Bailey saying teachers were being advocates for students.
“You cannot in good conscience ask anybody to work without a guarantee that they are going to be paid,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, parent union of the DFT.
Judge Rhodes criticized the sickouts’ disruption to the families of the nearly 46,000 students who attend the city’s public schools.
“Many parents may have been forced to take a day off from work without pay,” Judge Union Urges Detroit Teachers to Return to Work After Second ‘Sickout’ Day - WSJ:

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