Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Gates Foundation failures show philanthropists shouldn’t be setting America's public school agenda - LA Times

Gates Foundation failures show philanthropists shouldn’t be setting America's public school agenda - LA Times:

Editorial Gates Foundation failures show philanthropists shouldn’t be setting America's public school agenda


Tucked away in a letter from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation last week, along with proud notes about the foundation’s efforts to fight smoking and tropical diseases and its other accomplishments, was a section on education. Its tone was unmistakably chastened.
“We’re facing the fact that it is a real struggle to make systemwide change,” wrote the foundation’s CEO, Sue Desmond-Hellman. And a few lines later: “It is really tough to create more great public schools.”
The Gates Foundation’s first significant foray into education reform, in 1999, revolved around Bill Gates’ conviction that the big problem with high schools was their size. Students would be better off in smaller schools of no more than 500, he believed. The foundation funded the creation of smaller schools, until its own study found that the size of the school didn’t make much difference in student performance. When the foundation moved on, school districts were left with costlier-to-run small schools.
 Then the foundation set its sights on improving teaching, specifically through evaluating and rewarding good teaching. But it was not always successful. In 2009, it pledged a gift of up to $100 million to the Hillsborough County, Fla., schools to fund bonuses for high-performing teachers, to revamp teacher evaluations and to fire the lowest-performing 5%. In return, the school district promised to match the funds. But, according to reports in the Tampa Bay Times, the Gates Foundation changed its mind about the value of bonuses and stopped short of giving the last $20 million; costs ballooned beyond expectations, the schools were left with too big a tab and the least-experienced teachers still ended up at low-income schools. The program, evaluation system and all, was dumped.

The Gates Foundation strongly supported the proposed Common Core curriculum standards, helping to bankroll not just their development, but the political effort to have them quickly adopted and implemented by states. Here, Desmond-Hellmann wrote in her May letter, the foundation also stumbled. The too-quick introduction of Common Core, and attempts in many states to hold schools and teachers immediately accountable for a very different form of teaching, led to a public backlash.
“Unfortunately, our foundation underestimated the level of resources and support required for our public education systems to be well-equipped to implement the Gates Foundation failures show philanthropists shouldn’t be setting America's public school agenda - LA Times:


CURMUDGUCATION: Death Notice for Neoliberalism?

CURMUDGUCATION: Death Notice for Neoliberalism?:

Death Notice for Neoliberalism?


Neo what? You may not be paying enough attention to political labels and categories, particularly when they don't seem to fit any of the standard Dem-liberal vs. GOP-conservative model.

Neoliberalism was born in the thirties in Europe (where it was also known as the "Middle Way" or the "Third Way"). Its central tenet is that private corporations ought to be free to do whatever they want, and neo-libs love free trade, deregulation, privatization, Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. Wait-- why does this thing even have "liberal" in its name? Because 1930s Europeans were wacky that way, I guess. Or maybe it's because it wants to "liberalize" the movement and accumulation of money.

Neoliberalism is about the idea that the private sector can do everything so much better than the public sector, that competition is the secret to excellence, that a truly free market will create excellence and wealth for all. And as we can immediately recognize, it has been embraced by prominent members of both parties.

It is well-positioned to sell to both right and left. On the right, you can take solace that it makes the government smaller and directs lots and lots (and lots and lots) of tax dollars to private sector interests. On the left, you can take solace that neolibs preserve government programs-- they've just hired some private company to take care of the programs. If something's worth doing, it's worth paying some private company tax dollars to do it.

Groups like ALEC, the legislation mill where private corporations get to tell elected legislators what bill they ought to pass-- well, that's just a natural outgrowth of the neolib philosophy. The public sector really ought to be working for the private sector, not getting in their way, telling them what regulations they must follow, and telling them how to play fair. The worst horror stories you've 
CURMUDGUCATION: Death Notice for Neoliberalism?:


“Stabbed in the back”–How Newark public schools were betrayed by “friends” |

“Stabbed in the back”–How Newark public schools were betrayed by “friends” |:

“Stabbed in the back”–How Newark public schools were betrayed by “friends”

Johnnie Lattner at the school board meeting
Johnnie Lattner at the school board meeting


The head of a grass-roots organization that forced the federal government to intervene in the Newark schools has charged that supporters of the city’s public schools have been “stabbed in the back” by the very political leaders who promised widespread change once the former state-appointed superintendent, Cami Anderson, was removed from office.
“In some ways, we were better off with Cami Anderson,” says Johnnie Lattner, the co-founder of PULSE (Parents Unified for Local School Education), referring to a much despise former schools superintendent ired a year ago. “At least we knew who the enemy was.”
Lattner spoke at the last meeting of the school advisory board and demanded to know why the elected school board–once the voice of anti-state sentiment–was saying nothing about the apparent failure of the administration of state-appointed school superintendent Christopher Cerf to respond publicly to orders from the federal government to remediate civil rights violations caused by Cerf and his predecessor and appointee, Cami Anderson. The co-called “One Newark” and “Renew School” policies were specifically cited in the complaint.
The only response Lattner received was from board lawyer Charlotte Hitchcock who denied any contention that the school system was under orders from the federal government. Hitchcock relied on a technicality to contend the school district wasn’t under a remediation order from the federal government–in fact, the school system agreed to the remediation to prevent any further investigation by the feds.
“They’re lying,” said Lattner of members of the board and school administration. “They should have brought up the federal civil rights complaint and discussed what the schools are doing to correct the problems that were found.”
Sharon Smith, the other co-founder of PULSE, cited three excerpts from an agreement reached between the school administration and the federal government, in which the education department’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) found that policies pursued by Anderson and Cerf violated the rights of Newark children.  Smith cited these excerpts from the education department’s order:“Stabbed in the back”–How Newark public schools were betrayed by “friends” |:

The Charter School Swindle – Selling Segregation to Blacks and Latinos | gadflyonthewallblog

The Charter School Swindle – Selling Segregation to Blacks and Latinos | gadflyonthewallblog:

The Charter School Swindle – Selling Segregation to Blacks and Latinos

Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 4.22.46 PM
Higher suspension rates for black students!
Lower quality schools for Latinos!
These may sound like the campaign cries of George Wallace or Ross Barnett. But this isn’t the 1960s and it isn’t Alabama or Mississippi.
These are the cries of modern day charter school advocates – or they could be.
School choice boosters rarely if ever couch their support in these terms, but when touting charter schools over traditional public schools, this is exactly what they’re advocating.
According to the Civil Right Project at UCLA, “The charter school movement has been a major political success, but it has been a civil rights failure.”
It’s choice over equity.


Why the Education Department’s New Equity Rule Might Not Be So Equal - The Atlantic

Why the Education Department’s New Equity Rule Might Not Be So Equal - The Atlantic:

Why the Education Department’s New Equity Rule Might Not Be So Equal

Teachers and the Obama administration are divided over what the federal government’s role should be in telling districts how to fund their schools.

When Congress reauthorized the United States’s federal education law last year, few observers were interested in changes to a technical part of the legislation known as “supplement not supplant.” A wonky fiscal rule that has been around for decades, it’s intended to make sure schools with high numbers of poor children don’t get less state and local money because of their participation in Title I, a federal program that provides extra money to help academically struggling students from high-poverty areas.
Instead, public reaction focused on testing requirements and generally characterized the new law—the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)—as returning power to the states. But ESSA made an important change to “supplement not supplant,” requiring school districts to explain how they distribute funds across their schools, and to show that they do not give fewer state and local funds to schools because they get extra federal money under their Title I status. This is a major departure from the previous rule, which allowed districts to comply simply by showing that they used Title I money to support “extra” purchases, regardless of how state and local funds were distributed across schools. Now the U.S. Department of Education is regulating this part of the law, and it’s turned into a political firestorm.


 Media coverage has framed the debate in stark terms, with those who care about civil rights and poor children on the side of the Education Department opposed by the strange bedfellows of Senate Republicans protesting executive overreach, teachers’ unions who want to protect seniority-based pay-scales and tenure, and state and district leaders seeking to avoid the administrative hassle of overhauling their budgeting and staffing. What's missing from the story is a deeper dive into what steps districts might have to take to meet the Education Department’s proposed rule, and how those actions could negatively affect school quality for the very students the rule aims to help.

As mandated by the law, the department conducted negotiated rulemaking this spring, where education administrators, school leaders and teachers, and civil-rights groups attempted to hash out implementation of the new “supplement not supplant” rule. The department proposed requiring school districts to spend at least as much in each Title I school (those with high percentages of poor students) as they do on average in their non-Title I schools—and to require these calculations in actual dollars, rather than in staffing allocations. In other words, instead of districts being able to show that every school received one teacher for, say, 25 students, they would have to show that the actual dollar amount going to the schools is the same.
Ultimately negotiators could not reach a consensus, so the department will write the rule itself, and is expected to submit a draft rule for Congressional comment soon. A department official wrote in an email that the department views the proposed rule as essential to overcoming local funding disparities it views as undermining "the intent of federal title I dollars, which are supposed to provide supplemental resources for high poverty schools, not to fill in shortfalls in state and local funding."  
On the surface, the proposed rule sounds like a win for poor kids. As my Georgetown University colleague Marguerite Roza shows in an Education Trust report, school districts often spend fewer dollars per pupil in their higher-poverty schools. The rule aims to end this pattern. However, the practical and policy implications are far less straightforward than they first appear.Why the Education Department’s New Equity Rule Might Not Be So Equal - The Atlantic:

Big Education Ape: CURMUDGUCATION: Is There a Civil War in Education - http://go.shr.lc/1P6hhyS

Big Education Ape: Making Sense of the Left-Right School Reform Divide - Rick Hess Straight Up - Education Week - http://go.shr.lc/24jgOjL


Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog: Tune in this evening for my SOS webinar with Jonathan Kozol

Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog: Tune in this evening for my SOS webinar with Jonathan Kozol:

Tune in this evening for my SOS webinar with Jonathan Kozol



Save Our Schools Coalition Webinar 
Jonathan Kozol
Guest Moderator Mike Klonsky 
June 1, 2016  
8 PM Eastern Daylight Time [EDT] 

JONATHAN KOZOL received the National Book Award for Death at an Early Age, the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award for Rachel and Her Children, and countless other honors for Savage Inequalities, Amazing Grace, The Shame of the Nation, and Fire in the Ashes. He has been working with children in inner-city schools for nearly fifty years. His newest book is The Theft of Memory: Losing My Father, One Day at a Time.

Tune in. Ask questions. Spread the word. 

Please Join Us!

WEBINAR REGISTRATION 

July 8th in Washington, DC&The SOS Coalition Activists Conference July 9th at Howard University

Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog: Tune in this evening for my SOS webinar with Jonathan Kozol:

Civil rights icon James Meredith: ‘We are in a dark age of American public education’ - The Washington Post

Civil rights icon James Meredith: ‘We are in a dark age of American public education’ - The Washington Post:

Civil rights icon James Meredith: ‘We are in a dark age of American public education’

James Meredith, right, attends class for the first time in Peabody Hall on the University of Mississippi campus in Oxford, Miss., on Oct. 2, 1962. (Ed Meeks/University of Mississippi Public Relations via AP)

In 2014, civil rights icon James Meredith launched the “American Child’s Education Bill of Rights,” a 12-point declaration of education obligations that he says the United States owes every child. (You can read that declaration here.) He said that the country was spending too much money on standardized testing and “so-called education reforms.” Now, 50 years after he was shot in Mississippi during his one-man Walk Against Fear to highlight racism in the South and encourage voter registration, he is speaking out again on the state and responsibility of public education in the United States — and the dangers of not changing course.
Meredith spent nine years in the Air Force, was the first black student to graduate from the University of Mississippi, and earned his law degree at Columbia University. In 2013, he was awarded the Harvard University Graduate School of Education’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the school’s highest honor. He is the recipient of the 2014 Richard Wright Award for Literary Excellence. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. placed James Meredith first on his own list of heroes in his 1963 “Letter From a Birmingham Jail,” writing:
“Some day the South will recognize its real heroes. They will be the James Merediths, courageously and with a majestic sense of purpose facing jeering and hostile mobs and the agonizing loneliness that characterizes the life of the pioneer.”
Here is a new piece by Meredith about public education, co-written with William Doyle, a 2015-2016 Fulbright Scholar and the author of several books. Doyle and Meredith are the co-authors of “A Mission from God: A Memoir and Challenge for America.”
By James Meredith with William Doyle
Fifty years ago, on June 6, 1966, while making a one-man Walk Against Fear, I was shot down on a Mississippi roadside.
That episode and the events it triggered inspired thousands of black Americans to register to vote, and helped free many Americans from the tyranny of segregation and fear.
Four years earlier, in 1962, I forced my way into the segregated University of Mississippi with the help of 500 federal marshals and 10,000 American combat troops, an event that helped open the doors of higher education for all Americans.
Today I have a new mission — to improve the public school education of our nation’s children. I Civil rights icon James Meredith: ‘We are in a dark age of American public education’ - The Washington Post:


CAASPP Early Assessment Program - High School (CA Dept of Education)

Early Assessment Program - High School (CA Dept of Education):

Early Assessment Program

A program that assesses students for college-readiness in grade eleven of high school.



Background

Each spring, all grade eleven students in California take the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments for English language arts/literacy (ELA) and mathematics. These assessments, which are administered as part of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) System, also serve as an indicator of readiness for college-level coursework in English and mathematics and are used by the California State University (CSU) and participating California Community Colleges (CCCs) to determine Early Assessment Program (EAP) status.

How Students Can Authorize Release of their Results

All students now participate in EAP by virtue of completing the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments for English language arts/literacy and mathematics. Students must authorize the release of their CAASPP (i.e., Smarter Balanced Summative Assessment) results for each assessment to the CSU and CCC systems.
  • The release of results for both English language arts/literacy and mathematics must be completed separately.
  • Students that do not release their results at the end of the assessments may later submit a copy their score report to the CSU and/or community college in which they have enrolled.  
The release of the CAASPP results will not affect a student’s application for admission. Results are only used to determine a student’s placement after he or she has been admitted to the university.

How EAP Status Is Reported

Students will find their EAP status reported on the front of the 2015–16 Student Score Report. There are four possible EAP status levels, as described below:
    1. Ready 
      Students who score at the highest performance level (“Standard Exceeded” [Level 4]) are considered ready for English and/or mathematics college-level coursework and are exempt from taking the CSU English Placement Test (EPT) and/or Entry Level Mathematics (ELM) exam. These students will be able to register in college degree-bearing courses upon entering the CSU or a participating CCC. Students are encouraged to continue preparation during the twelfth grade.
    2. Conditionally Ready 
      Students who score at the “Standard Met” (Level 3) performance level are considered conditionally ready forEnglish and/or mathematics college-level coursework and are exempt from taking the EPT and/or ELM exam. However, they must take an approved English and/or mathematics course in twelfth grade and receive a grade of “C” or better. Students that do not meet the conditional requirement will need to participate in the CSU’s Early Start Program, unless exemption was met through another pathway.
    3. Not Yet Ready 
      Students who score at the “Standard Nearly Met” (Level 2) performance level are considered not yet ready forEnglish and/or mathematics college-level coursework and will need additional preparation in the twelfth grade. They will also be required to take the EPT and/or ELM exam unless they meet the exemption criteria through another pathway. 
    4. Not Ready 
      Students who score at the “Standard Not Met” (Level 1) performance level are considered not ready for English and/or mathematics college-level coursework. They will need substantial improvement to demonstrate knowledge and skills needed for success in entry-level credit-bearing college coursework after high school
For more information, please see the CSU’s Early Assessment Program Web pageExternal link opens in new window or tab.

Professional Development

The CSU will continue to provide Strengthening Mathematics Instruction (SMI) workshops and training on implementing the Expository Reading and Writing courses (ERWC).

Additional Information

The California State University (CSU) External link opens in new window or tab. 
Information about the EAP in the CSU system.

The California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office (CCCCO) External link opens in new window or tab. 
Information about the EAP and the CCC Chancellor’s Office.
Junior EAP Cover Letter (DOC)
EAP Director describes EAP resources to educators
Junior EAP Flyer (PDF) External link opens in new window or tab. 
Information about how to determine college readiness
Senior EAP Brochure (PDF) External link opens in new window or tab. 
Information about using assessment results to prepare for college level courses
Your Pathway to College Readiness EAP Poster (PDF) External link opens in new window or tab. 
Illustrates multiple pathways to become college ready
Questions:   Carolyn Hamilton | chamilton@cde.ca.gov | 916-323-5765
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Making Sense of the Left-Right School Reform Divide - Rick Hess Straight Up - Education Week

Making Sense of the Left-Right School Reform Divide - Rick Hess Straight Up - Education Week:

Making Sense of the Left-Right School Reform Divide


Last week, Robert Pondiscio wrote a column on the progressive-conservative divide in school reform that triggered a lot of heated back-and-forth. Regular readers know that I've written about this a lot over the years (particularly in terms of the Obama administration), so I'd kind of assumed that my progressive friends had also been thinking about all this. But they seemed surprised and taken aback by Pondiscio's argument that conservative "school reformers" feel marginalized and under assault from their putative allies. The kerfluffle left me thinking that today's "school reform" community bears an eerie resemblance to the education schools that I fled long ago, including a stifling orthodoxy so ingrained that it's invisible to its adherents. Now, as I've noted before, that orthodoxy is not solely (or even primarily) a left-right phenomenon—but there is a big left-right component.
Yet I was struck that the conservative contributions to the back-and-forth were repeatedly framed in tactical terms. They tried to explain why progressives need conservatives if they're to be successful. The conservatives pleaded that they want only to be accepted, in the spirit of diversity and inclusion. That's all fine, but it fails to articulate why—aside from ignorance or prejudice—conservatives might disagree with things that seem so blindingly obvious to the 90% of "school reform" land that's progressive. (If you've any doubt about that 90% figure, survey the next fifty TFA alums, foundation staff, education bloggers, and assorted ed reformers you meet. If more than ten percent voted for McCain and Romney or are Second Amendment absolutists, please give me a holler.)
It's worth taking a moment to understand what conservatives and progressives actually disagree about. We agree on a lot, after all, like the fact that we all want all children to have schools that fire their imaginations, teach critical skills, equip them to be responsible citizens, fill them with joy, and prepare them for life success. We do, however, disagree on how to get there. Moreover, we don't just disagree on tactics; we also disagree on big questions like what kind of society it will take to create those schools and how to make them a reality.
While the tactical disagreements cut along many lines, the big disagreements frequently fall along the left-right ideological divide. Given the tenor of the exchanges to date, it seems like it may be worth taking a moment to review some of the fault lines where folks on the left and right, in good faith, can deeply and fundamentally disagree. We can look at almost any social policy through two broad filters. Progressives tend to see things in terms of structural inequities—particularly race, class, and gender. Conservatives tend to see things in terms of moral agency and personal responsibility. Now, most people instinctively grasp that it's always about both, in various combinations and weightings. Crime, poverty, and unemployment are products of both structural forces and individual actions. This is equally true for school discipline and college-going. I've yet to meet a conservative working in social policy who denies the role of structural inequities or racial dynamics. And I've always been willing to take on faith (even when they fail to say so) that my friends on the left aren't rejecting the import of personal responsibility. The disagreements are always over what to focus on, what deserves more weight, and what to do. When conservatives Making Sense of the Left-Right School Reform Divide - Rick Hess Straight Up - Education Week:
Big Education Ape: CURMUDGUCATION: Is There a Civil War in Education - http://go.shr.lc/1P6hhyS


Gates Says It Still Supports CCSS, But No New CCSS Grants Yet in 2016 | deutsch29

Gates Says It Still Supports CCSS, But No New CCSS Grants Yet in 2016 | deutsch29:

Gates Says It Still Supports CCSS, But No New CCSS Grants Yet in 2016



On May 23, 2016, Gates Foundation CEO Susan Desmond-Hellman broadcast the Gates intention of pushing onward with trying to implement the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).
Pennsylvania teacher and blogger Peter Greene offers some insightful and entertaining commentary on Desmond-Hellman’s Gates-behalf declaration of fidelity toward pushing CCSS down the throat of the American public school classroom.
One stat that Desmond-Hellman cites is as follows:
For too many students today, the bridge to a prosperous and fulfilling life is obstructed and uncertain. In 2015, the ACT Condition of Career and College Readiness study revealed that only 40 percent of students met three of the four college-readiness standards across English, reading, math, and science. And performance was much lower for students of color.
The problems with narrowing educational (human?) value into “college readiness” aside, even ACT is clear that it has not scrapped its own definitions of “college and career readiness” in order to unquestioningly align with CCSS:
The finding that ACT Aspire assessments adequately assess many but not all of the priority content reflected in the Common Core standards is not surprising. Unlike other assessments included in the study, ACT Aspire is not and was never intended to measure all of the CCSS. Rather, ACT Aspire is designed to measure the skills and knowledge most important in preparing students for college and career readiness. This is a significant philosophical and design difference between ACT Aspire and other next generation assessments. ACT has made the choices we have to align with college and career readiness standards, rather than specifically to the Common Core, and we intend to keep it that way. [Emphasis added.]
Desmond-Hellman’s tossing out the “40 percent” ACT stat only shows that as CEO ofthe major CCSS funding source, she did not do her homework on ACT and just assumed that ACT’s usage of the term “college and career ready” must mean that ACT is lock-step, CCSS aligned–which really shows that the term “college and career ready” has lost its usefulness and should be scrapped.
But here is a more important and amazing issue in light of Desmond-Hellman’s Gates Says It Still Supports CCSS, But No New CCSS Grants Yet in 2016 | deutsch29:
 

Ed Reform Propaganda Machine Goes into Overdrive – Save Maine Schools

Ed Reform Propaganda Machine Goes into Overdrive – Save Maine Schools:

Ed Reform Propaganda Machine Goes into Overdrive

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Well now this is just plain creepy.
In 2012, the Vermont based, Nellie Mae Education Foundation-funded  Partnership for Change  developed a one-year, 125k dollar communications plan for the Winooski-Burlington School Districts in Vermont to sell an idea for which there is no sound supporting research.
Using tactics developed by FrameWorks Institute (also with funding from Nellie Mae), the communications plan  uses strategic messaging – including sample talking points, opinion editorials, a speech/PowerPoint presentations, letters to the editor, and even a template sermon for the faith community –  to generate public buy-in for the corporate-driven theory of education  known as “personalized,” “competency-based,” or “student-centered” learning.
“Over time, we will put flesh on this narrative, adapt it for various audiences and time frames, and spread it across the community such that it eventually becomes second nature to the citizens of Winooski-Burlington,” the document states.
According to the plan: “Designated messengers, including superintendents, will give PowerPoint presentations to various groups (e.g., Kiwanis, Rotary, Chamber of Commerce) about the Partnership for Change and its implementation.”
The plan even includes a master calendar of local school and community events to help “the team” to help “identify potential opportunities for carrying the message and building public Ed Reform Propaganda Machine Goes into Overdrive – Save Maine Schools:

Maintaining the Charter Mirage: Progressive Racism – the becoming radical

Maintaining the Charter Mirage: Progressive Racism – the becoming radical:

Maintaining the Charter Mirage: Progressive Racism




As a former (and humbled) recipient of the National Council of Teachers of English’s George Orwell Award, and devoted reader of Franz Kafka, a Twitter debate can often seem surreal—and yesterday’s pushed me to suspect I was a victim of a satire account (but I wasn’t).
Spurred by my posts confronting the Post and Courier (Charleston, SC) embracing both takeovers of traditional public schools and “miracle” claims from a privatized charter chain, I foolishly waded into a charter debate with a self-professed “libertarian” edujournalist who writes for a publication that advocates for school choice and is a research fellow for The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice as well as the superintendent of South Carolina’s Charter School District (if charter schools are public schools why do we have a separate school district for them?).
My Orwellian/Kafkan moments included the edujournalist calling me an “ideologue” and the superintendent bristling at my questioning the value of one year of data on the “miracle” charter school—seems there is no time for accountability for those knee-deep in the pet projects of the accountability movement.
But it became even more ridiculous (the feeling of a satire account even more intense) when the edujournalist began to Tweet horror stories about public schools, suggesting (“come on” was his refrain) that these cherry pickings somehow justified continuing to support the charter school mirage. (You see, the charter/school choice crowd cannot maintain multiple facts in mind at once—that we can challenge the very real failures of traditional public schoolsand recognize that the charter school alternative has been an equally negative failure.)
Because charter schools are without a single controversy—students of color walking out due to a lack of diversity and lack of racial sensitivity, children wetting their pants under the intense focus on testing.
Nope. Nothing to see here in the rosy land of the charter mirage.
The charter mirage is a scam, similar to the entire buffet of education policies embraced during the past thirty years of accountability.
This political scam can be traced to two facts: (1) politically and socially in the U.S. we refuse to identify and confront directly the race, class, and gender inequities that scar our nation and all our public and private institutions, and (2) education policy is driven by ideology and not Maintaining the Charter Mirage: Progressive Racism – the becoming radical:

UPDATE: Failing the Test: A New Series Examines Charter Schools - CAPITAL & MAIN

Failing the Test: A New Series Examines Charter Schools - CAPITAL & MAIN:

Failing the Test: A New Series Examines Charter Schools

Failing the Test
Illustration by Manoel Magalhaes
When the Great Public Schools Now Initiative, the $490 million blueprint to turn half of Los Angeles’ public school system into charter schools, was first leaked to Los Angeles Times reporter Howard Blume, it triggered an uproar among the city’s education community. The Los Angeles Unified School District already has more charter seats than any school system in the country, though at a lower percentage (about 16 percent) of total enrollment than Oakland’s — which, at roughly 25 percent, is proportionally the state leader. And like Oakland, and many other urban school systems in the U.S., LAUSD is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.

See More Stories in Capital & Main’s Charter School Series

This comes at a time when charter-supporting philanthropists, led by the Broad, Walton Family and the Bill and Melinda Gates foundations, have been aggressively pushing charter schools across the country under the banner of “parent choice.” The initiative, which originally surfaced with a cover letter signed by Eli Broad and is often referred to as the Broad Plan, argues its case by charging that the country’s “urban school districts are not serving students. This failure is particularly acute for low-income and minority students who are in the greatest need of a quality education.” But contrary to the plan’s claims, the charters’ overall report card has not been so stellar.
According to University of Colorado, Boulder professor Kevin G. Welner and others, charters have been shown to offer no tangible academic advantages over traditional public schools. Welner, who is director of the National Education Policy Center, told Capital & Main, “If we’re talking about test scores, we’re not seeing any real meaningful differences between charter schools as a whole and noncharter public schools.”
(Photo by Pandora Young)
Photo by Pandora Young
Today there are about 1,230 charter schools statewide (or seven percent of the state’s K-12 enrollment), with 80 new schools opening in the 2015-16 school year alone, 21 of which were in Northern California. The 27 that opened in Los Angeles put it first in the state for growth. The Great Public Schools Now Initiative calls for 260 more charters to be created in the city by 2023. Capital & Main has since learned that charter groups have also been quietly pushing a similar plan to make Oakland’s school district half charter schools and half traditional schools.
If you are talking about going to one-third [or] one-half of enrollment in a place like Oakland or L.A., there are two big worries,” says Bruce Fuller, a professor of education and public policy at the University of California, Berkeley. “One is [that] you start to siphon off the most motivated families out of the traditional system and into the charter system. [Then] the charter system starts to look more and more like a network of private schools. So that kind of creaming process is very worrisome. The second thing is their fragile financial situations — especially Oakland’s. As you drain the dollars out of the mainstream system, the traditional system starts to shrink and implode as it tries to compete.”
Kevin Welner, Director, National Education Policy Center: “If we’re talking about test scores, we’re not seeing any real meaningful differences between charter schools as a whole and noncharter public schools.”
These caveats have led some critics to question not only if charter schools represent a viable or effective solution to improving learning opportunities for the state’s most disadvantaged children, but whether reforming public education is the only driver of charter expansion in the state.
Steve Zimmer, the LAUSD school board president, has his doubts. Zimmer, who has been one of the harshest critics of the Broad Plan, points to the charter industry’s pattern of existing expansion in Southern California. The LAUSD’s 130,000 charter-student population already would make it roughly the 20th largest school district in the country. It also, Zimmer says, represents an overpopulated charter school oasis surrounded by a veritable charter-free desert of even more desperate, high-needs districts like Lancaster, Palmdale, Santa Ana, Pasadena, Lynwood and Compton.
Even if you accepted the argument that choice is the most important lever for change and that charter schools were providing extraordinary opportunity,” he pointed out in an interview, “how could you possibly justify opening a hundred more charter schools — or 10 more charter schools even — in L.A. Unified, when there are districts with lower student outcomes all around L.A. Unified, places where there are no charter schools? The only answer is that it’s not about kids and it’s not about kids who need choice the most. And it’s not even about choice. It’s about what is in LAUSD that’s not in any of these other districts.”
What makes LAUSD a priority target, Zimmer maintained, is its board of education, which has been staunchly supportive of effecting reform within the public school system rather than through privatization, and the influential, 31,000-member United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), the second largest teachers union local in the nation.
Zimmer may have a point. In a section on political strategy titled “Improving Conditions for Los Angeles Charters,” the Broad Plan emphasizes its goal of winning a pro-charter majority on the LAUSD school board, and it spells out the effectiveness — and importance — of lobbying by the California Charter School Association to “improve the political and regulatory landscape.”Failing the Test: A New Series Examines Charter Schools - CAPITAL & MAIN:

Big Education Ape: How California's Charter Schools Are Failing The Test - http://go.shr.lc/283bJkr



Coming:

Wednesday
Failing the Test: Charter Schools’ Winners and Losers - CAPITAL & MAIN - http://go.shr.lc/24j3Fr0

Charter Schools’ Winners and Losers, by Capital & Main Staff (with video)
Yardsticks and Rulers: Measuring Charter School Performance, by Julian Vasquez Heilig
ThursdayThe Charter School Movement’s Powerbrokers, by Capital & Main Staff
Who’s Accountable? Searching for Charter School Transparency, by Bobbi Murray
FridaySchool Solutions and Turnarounds, by Bobbi Murray and Bill Raden
Solutions for Struggling Schools: Nine Takeaways, by Julian Vasquez Heilig
Plus video interviews with John Rogers, Director, UCLA Institute for Democracy, Education and Access.

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