Friday, August 12, 2016

Community Schools — and the organizing it will take to build them | Schott Foundation for Public Education

Community Schools — and the organizing it will take to build them | Schott Foundation for Public Education:

Community Schools — and the organizing it will take to build them

Netroots Nation [link] is 10 years old, and over the past decade has become a preeminent gathering point for people at the intersections of progressive politics, social change, and technology. As such, it’s been interesting to watch various aspects of the conference shift — from keynote speakers, to panel topics, to vendors — as the larger progressive movement has shifted.
Nowhere is that more stark than education. Writers like Jeff Bryant point out how for many years, education wasn’t even on the radar of many progressive activists and organizations — and when it was, they would usually gravitate to the well-funded outreach of corporate reform outfits like Students First and Stand for Children.
But the crisis in public education worsened and the broader progressive community began to see the effects of an inherently conservative ideology in practice, often in the hands of otherwise liberal policymakers: mass school closures in low-income, Black, and Latino communities; slashed K-12 funding, hitting poor districts hardest; the shine wearing off the charter school model as scandals piled up; the astonishingly high rate of Black, Latino, LGBT and disabled students being pushed out of their classrooms and into the criminal justice system; and reformers’ insistence on blaming teachers, parents, and students — anyone but themselves.
Recent Netroots conferences have highlighted inequities in school funding, the school-to-prison pipeline, and this year featured a session on the community schools model led by Schott Foundation grantees and partners: The Real Progressive Solution: How the community schools model supports students and revitalizes entire neighborhoods.
Community schools across the country are already proving themselves to be better solutions to underserved districts than private charter conversions or undemocratic state takeovers. As moderator Kyle Serrette of the Center for Popular Democracy[link] pointed out, cities are finding out that community schools improve the lives of students, teachers, and Community Schools — and the organizing it will take to build them | Schott Foundation for Public Education:

Seattle Schools Community Forum: McCleary Talk From Two Good Thinkers

Seattle Schools Community Forum: McCleary Talk From Two Good Thinkers:

McCleary Talk From Two Good Thinkers


Yesterday, Rep Reuven Carlyle had an opinion piece at Publicola.  He says that Sound Transit and public education funding cannot be done at the same time.  In 2015, he says he supported the financing for the light rail system.  (partial)

And yet, as I review the updated financing plan in more depth, I continue to grapple on a deeply personal level with the genuine burden the Sound Transit proposal places on public education. It is unsettling at best to serve as a state legislator while Olympia is under a contempt order by the Supreme Court for failing to meet the state’s paramount duty of fully funding public education. This is historic and unprecedented and we are recreating our educational finance plan for the next generation in real time. After putting an additional $2.5 billion into K-12 funding over the last three legislative sessions since the McCleary ruling, Democrats and Republicans are struggling to find a final path forward for the last $3.5 billion approximately. It’s virtually impossible to reach that level of new education funding without reform to the state property tax and local school levies. The transportation finance plan makes that difficult but essential project dramatically more complex.

As a state legislator with a passion for building the best education system in the nation, I am unsettled that the package consumes the oxygen in the room on taxes for virtually all other public services at all levels of government for years to come. The plan moves to among the very highest sales tax in the nation along with a major property tax increase. We need to be honest that the ability of cities, counties and the state to utilize the sales tax in the future as a new revenue source is effectively ended with this plan. The impact on property taxes at the city and county level is more uncertain but clearly substantial. In economic terms, the opportunity costs are extraordinary for years to come.
 Robert Cruickshank replies to Carlyle in this piece from The Urbanist.(partial)

As a parent who lives in the 36th District, and therefore a Seattle Schools Community Forum: McCleary Talk From Two Good Thinkers:

How Success Academy Pulled the Wool Over Everyone’s Eyes to Get What They Wanted | Diane Ravitch's blog

How Success Academy Pulled the Wool Over Everyone’s Eyes to Get What They Wanted | Diane Ravitch's blog:

How Success Academy Pulled the Wool Over Everyone’s Eyes to Get What They Wanted


If you recall, Eva Moskowitz was locked in a fierce battle with Mayor de Blasio and the City of New York over a pre-kindergarten program. The city said that the Success Academy charter chain could not have $700,000 in funding unless it signed the city contract, giving the city the right to oversee the program. Eva refused to sign the contract. She said that the city had no power over her charter schools, and that she should get the money without signing the contract. She sued the city, and the city won in court. Thirteen other charter schools signed the city’s contract without complaint.
But all was not lost. Eva still had a powerful friend in Albany: Governor Cuomo. It turns out that in the closing moments of the legislative session, Eva got what she wanted.
The New York Times reported today:
What the Success Academy charter school network could not get through the courts or from the New York State Education Department, it may get from the governor: the ability to run prekindergarten programs without oversight from New York City.
In the final hours of the legislative session this summer, as Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Assembly were pushing to get mayoral control of the city’s schools extended, the Republican-controlled Senate demanded some concessions for charter schools. It introduced a vague provision that appeared to grant the charter schools committee of the State University of New York’s board of trustees new powers to regulate the charter schools it oversees. Charter school supporters claimed that the provision would allow SUNY to waive requirements that limit the number of uncertified teachers that charter schools can employ.
But it turns out that the Senate Republicans, who have received substantial support from wealthy charter school supporters, had other goals in mind, as well.
In a letter to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo dated June 20, and not previously reported, the Senate majority leader, John J. Flanagan, wrote that the intent of the provision “was to provide SUNY with statutory authority to exempt charter schools from rules and regulations that were hampering innovative teaching and learning.”


He urged Mr. Cuomo to direct the SUNY Charter Schools Institute — the administrative entity that supports the work of the charter schools committee — to act quickly to take advantage of the provision. (Mr. Cuomo effectively controls the institute and the committee because he appoints a majority of the SUNY trustees.) Specifically, Mr. Flanagan How Success Academy Pulled the Wool Over Everyone’s Eyes to Get What They Wanted | Diane Ravitch's blog:

Parents sue when third-grade honors students are not promoted to fourth grade - The Washington Post

Parents sue when third-grade honors students are not promoted to fourth grade - The Washington Post:

Parents sue when third-grade honors students are not promoted to fourth grade

President Obama, accompanied by former Florida governor Jeb Bush, right, and Education Secretary Arne Duncan, attend an event at Miami Central Senior High School on in March 2011. (AP File Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

This belongs in the you-can’t-make-up-this-stuff category:
In Florida (you knew it was Florida, didn’t you?), some third-graders — including honor students — are being forced to retake third grade because their parents decided to opt them out of the state’s mandated standardized reading test this past spring.
An undetermined number of third-graders who refused to take the Florida Standards Assessment in reading have been barred from moving to fourth grade in some counties. A lawsuit filed by parents against state education officials as well as school boards in seven Florida counties says counties are interpreting the state’s third-grade retention law so differently that the process has become unfair. Test participation, therefore, is more important than student class academic achievement.
On Friday, Leon County Circuit Court Judge Karen Gievers held a hearing in the suit about the third-grade retention law, which was passed years ago, when Jeb Bush was governor of Florida and at a time when there was no movement among parents to opt their children out of standardized tests. Now the opt-out movement is growing, and officials in Florida as well in other states are trying to figure out how to handle students who won’t take mandated standardized tests. It is unclear how many students in Florida opted out of the 2016 test, though in New York state, 21 percent of public school students did.
Gievers said she may rule as early as next week in the suit, which was brought by parents against Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart, the State Board of Education, and the school boards in Orange, Hernando, Osceola, Sarasota, Pasco, Broward and Seminole counties. Other counties in Florida did not interpret the law as to mean that students had to be retained if they didn’t take the test, and the Florida Department of Education has said it never mandated that students be held back if they opt out of the FSA.
Children and their families learned in June, when they received report cards, that they would be held back, and over the summer, parents organized and raised money so they could file a lawsuit challenging the third-grade retention law. School has started in some parts of Florida, and is about to start everywhere across the state.
That this is happening in Florida is not entirely a surprise, given that the Sunshine State was the leader, under Bush as governor, of test-based accountability systems that made standardized test scores the most important measure of student achievement and school success.
The lawsuit says:
Parents of students who received report cards with passing grades — some of whom were honor roll students — seek emergency declaratory and injunctive 
Parents sue when third-grade honors students are not promoted to fourth grade - The Washington Post


 THE OPT OUT FLORIDA NETWORK
Go to: 

THE OPT OUT FLORIDA NETWORK

Big Education Ape: What's Driving the Opt-Out Movement? | Teachers College Columbia University - http://bigeducationape.blogspot.com/2016/08/whats-driving-opt-out-movement-teachers.html



Teachers union blasts Walmart for its back-to-school promotion - The Washington Post

Teachers union blasts Walmart for its back-to-school promotion - The Washington Post:

Teachers union blasts Walmart for its back-to-school promotion

Elizabeth Davis, the head of the Washington Teachers’ Union, speaks Friday at a D.C. news conference criticizing a Walmart back-to-school promotion. (Perry Stein/The Washington Post)
Retail giant Walmart is running a back-to-school promotion this summer, encouraging customers to nominate their favorite teachers to win school supplies and a $490 gift card — the estimated amount public school teachers spend out of pocket each year on their classrooms.
On Friday morning, members of the Washington Teachers’ Union slammed the competition as “deceitful” and “bogus.” They argued that the Walton Family Foundation, the charitable organization started by Walmart’s owners, has pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into backing charter schools, which they say are undermining traditional public schools.
“It’s a cynical coverup,” WTUP President Elizabeth Davis said at a news conference outside Moten Elementary School in Southeast Washington.
The union’s criticism of the Arkansas-based retailer stems from its concerns with the Walton foundation, one of the country’s biggest financial supporters of charter schools. The foundation says it has poured $1.3 billion into K-12 education over the past two decades, and it announced in January a commitment of $1 billion to help expand charter schools and other school-choice options nationwide.
Critics of charter schools say the foundation is fueling the privatization of public schools. The teachers union represents teachers in D.C. Public Schools.
Davis said the robust charter sector in the District — nearly half the city’s students attend charters — is stripping taxpayer dollars from traditional public schools. She and other teachers argued that if charters weren’t so influential in the District, perhaps the city’s traditional public schools would have enough money to pay for all the supplies classrooms need.
“Walmart is privatizing all sectors, and we need to put a stop to it,” Davis said.
Walmart and the Walton Family Foundation did not respond to requests for comment Friday.
The District’s charters — public schools that are independently operated — have long said they Teachers union blasts Walmart for its back-to-school promotion - The Washington Post:
 

The Sun Also Rises | BustED Pencils

The Sun Also Rises | BustED Pencils:

The Sun Also Rises

BustED Pencils
What an inspiring country!!!!
IMG_3007Guess where I’ve been the last couple weeks. Let me give you a hint: There is virtually no litter, no profanity, no violent crime, no graffiti, and no public smoking. And I’m not talking about just those civil middle class folks (although this country claims that 90% of its people are middle class). Even the homeless people who sleep in the parks make sure to pack up their gear and move to the shadows before the businessmen and tourists pass through in the morning.
Here’s the giveaway: At this moment, I’m riding a Bullet Train (Shinkansen) zipping along at about 170 MPH.
Yes, I’m in Japan! The zoo of the Faithful Elephants, the gardens, the glitz of Ginza, the Cat Cafe, the Owl Cafe; it’s like one big theme park. And everyone is soooo nice. It’s like the Midwest on steroids, if you know what I mean.
Some of you might have been a bit offended (above) by my use of the word, “businessmen.” C’mon people; get with the 21st Century! Here in Japan, there is an order that transcends political correctness. There is beauty, more than beauty, a divinity in the structure of a functional, orderly society. Everywhere we look here in Japan, we can see quiet women enjoying their supportive roles keeping themselves attractive to their soul mates, covering their alabaster skin from the harmful rays of the sun, donning false eyelashes, minding their children and patiently awaiting their men’s return from the bars after a grueling day’s toil and labor at the office.
IMG_3010
Even the children here adhere to a strict code of obedient cheerfulness. We found that whenever we lost our way in Tokyo’s throngs, all we need do is find a flock of teenage girls, cheerfully clad in their school uniforms. We ask them the way to such-and-such and presto, they change course from their appointed destination to lead us 10 blocks out of their way to our trivial tourist spot. They giggle as we walk along while showing off all the English vocabulary they’ve learned through rote school lessons. I swear on a stack of Geisha Memoirs this actually happened to us on our way to Sunshine City, a popular shopping mall in the heart of Tokyo. Yes, the name of the mall is “Sunshine City” where we found the Pokemon superstore. Is this a great place to raise a kid or what?!
At this point, you all should be thinking, “Golly gee wiz, what can we do to make America The Sun Also Rises | BustED Pencils:

Why the election, the economy and how kids do in school are inextricably linked - The Washington Post

Why the election, the economy and how kids do in school are inextricably linked - The Washington Post:

Why the election, the economy and how kids do in school are inextricably linked


As should be obvious to anyone paying attention even the slightest bit of attention, authentic school reform can’t be just about evaluating teachers, creating new tests and setting content standards. Most kids who are sick, tired, anxious, depressed, hungry, distracted or homeless aren’t likely to be high academic achievers. Children’s performance in school is affected by the totality of their lives, and that means that reform has to be about more than just what happens inside a classroom.
This piece looks at the connection between the health of the U.S. economy and the health of kids. It was written by Leslie T. Fenwick,  dean emerita of the Howard University School of Education and a professor of education policy. This article contains excerpts from a policy monograph she authored titled, “Putting Schools and Communities on the Map: Linking School Reform, Neighborhood Revitalization and Community Rebuilding.”
By Leslie T. Fenwick
‎The nation’s economic health is intimately tied to children’s well-being and their shot at school success. A strong economy can provide funding for education and social programs that help kids develop, grow and feel safe. All children benefit when funding is available to support art and music instruction, quality after-school activities, healthy in-school meals programs, Head Start, Title I, and foster care and adoption.
The nation’s economic strength and children’s health and happiness should go hand-in-hand. For this reason alone, presidential candidates’ assertions about the future of jobs, international trade, and stock market performance must be well-informed and achievable. Political promises about the nation’s financial security cannot just be a call to believe in a return to the (presumable) good ole’ days.
Several weeks ago, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump went to Toledo, Ohio (and this week to Detroit, Michigan) promising jobs and resurrection of what used to be. For those of us who grew up in the Midwest, we know what used to be.
When my parents moved our family to Toledo in 1968, it was Glass Capital of the World, and national headquarters for Jeep, Champion Spark Plug, Dana Corporation, Owens Corning and Libby Glass. At that time, Toledo was not unlike other well-to-do cities in Ohio. Akron was Rubber Capital of the World with Goodyear and Goodrich headquartered there; J.D. Rockefeller established Standard Oil in Cleveland; and, Youngstown prospered with US Steel and Good Humor Ice Cream.
The nearby and booming Detroit auto industry meant that glass, rubber, power trains, and spark plugs needed to be made and sold. With jobs in the auto-affiliated industries aplenty Why the election, the economy and how kids do in school are inextricably linked - The Washington Post:

Owed to Washington state students: $100,000 a day in fines for a year without school funding

Owed to Washington state students: $100,000 a day in fines for a year without school funding:

Owed to Washington state students: $100,000 a day in fines for a year without school funding

It’s enough to provide a backpack full of school supplies for every child in the state



Saturday, Aug. 13, marks one year since the Washington State Supreme Court decided that if the state legislature refused to properly fund public education, there would be consequences.

It issued a fine—$100,000 for every day of inaction, or $36.5 million for the year — that has gone unpaid ever since.

Thirty-six and a half million dollars is a lot of money in public education. While the legislature has dithered over how to reform the state’s education funding system, it has racked up debts that could cover a year of schooling for almost 3,000 children. Or 54,000 days of instruction. Or a backpack full of school supplies for every student in the state.

The fine has added a new layer of urgency to a case, called McCleary v. State of Washington, that first challenged the constitutionality of the state’s education funding system over six years ago.  The Supreme Court heard the case in June 2011, and it issued a decision the following January. After two years of little progress, the justices ordered the legislature to produce a plan for fully funding education by April 2014. The deadline came and went, and by September, the court had found the state in contempt — a step unusual enough to merit an article in the Harvard Law Review. Eleven months later, on August 13, 2015, the justices added some teeth to their order with the daily fine.

Related: Column Study calculates low-income, minority students get the worst teachers in Washington State

“While the legislature has dithered over how to reform the state’s education funding system, it has racked up debts that could cover a year of schooling for almost 3,000 children. Or 54,000 days of instruction.  Or a backpack full of school supplies for every student in the state.”Owed to Washington state students: $100,000 a day in fines for a year without school funding:


My Last Conversation with Scott Folsom – Or, ‘What Could Possibly Go Wrong with Education Over Summer Vacation?’

My Last Conversation with Scott Folsom – Or, ‘What Could Possibly Go Wrong with Education Over Summer Vacation?’:

My Last Conversation with Scott Folsom – Or, ‘What Could Possibly Go Wrong with Education Over Summer Vacation?’



 REMEMBERING SCOTT FOLSOM--Decades-long champion for public schools, Scott Folsom, died last week. Howard Blume wrote a beautifulobituary in the Los Angeles Times.  

I had the privilege of sitting down with Scott for the last time a couple of weeks ago. He was troubled not to have written his education homily the week before. He didn’t call it that, but it’s not far off. For years, district officials and parents religiously read Scott’s blog, 4LAkids, every Sunday. Board President Steve Zimmer and Superintendent Michelle King called Scott “the conscience of the district.” Steve said Scott had the ability to see when the emperor had no clothes. 
In this era when so many people have found ways to make money off of public education, Scott gave two decades of unpaid public service.  He was part watchdog, part caretaker. He criticized because he cared -- and he showed great care. His blog was a mix of notes from the many, many meetings he attended, chatter heard-around-the-water-cooler. Scott’s broad educational and cultural references were infused with his wit and intelligence. He had majored in political science in the 60s. If there were song lyrics that fit a situation, Scott included them. When we read Scott’s blog, we understood both LAUSD and the world better. And, with important exceptions, we usually forgave both. 
Scott had called me, hoping I could listen to his thoughts on the week’s education happenings and put them into a blog post. I was operating on hope, too, not only because of my deep admiration for him, but because of my awareness -- growing by the day -- that he was running out of time. He had decided to discontinue cancer treatments, saying he had chosen quality over quantity. But he quibbled about the quality part.
Scott gave this post its title. He had so much left to say and do, and we would all be better for his having said and done it. If I could help in any way, I was going to try. 
So I sat and talked with him for a couple of hours while the Republican National Convention played on the TV in his living room. 
Here is part of what he said between long pauses: 
The process to put these together does not make it easy to narrate or dictate or any of those kinds of “-tates.” 
I would love to be able to turn over a handful of my notes and have you make it whatever you will. The reality is I can never read my notes 24 hours later, and I don’t even know what I meant. I can read and toss ideas. My mind wanders completely. I love where it wanders. And now morphine makes all these new words. 
I guess I could do like Melania Trump and find something that’s pretty damn good and use it. I could probably get away with it longer than she did. 
But our campaign is education, and plagiarism is somewhere along with our sworn enemies. The Trump campaign, on the other hand, has storm-trooped -- not tiptoed -- through the tulips, and created its own reality. It’s born from reality TV -- and there is neither in either. 
I was listening to Melania’s speech. Public education! At least she mentioned public education!
This Trump escapade is such a colossal and monumental failure of ethics. Ethics in government, ethics in journalism. The fact that the Republicans let it go this far. The Democrats let it go this far.
All of us let it go THIS FAR. 
Big Education Ape: Scott Folsom, an official and unofficial watchdog over L.A. schools, dies at 69 - LA Times - http://bigeducationape.blogspot.com/2016/08/scott-folsom-official-and-unofficial.html
RIP: Scott Folsom Blogging 4LAKids - http://4lakids.blogspot.com/

The basics behind state’s new school improvement system | EdSource

The basics behind state’s new school improvement system | EdSource:

The basics behind state's new school improvement system

For the past year, EdSource has followed the development of the new school improvement and accountability system that the State Board of Education is leading. The 10-question primer that follows provides an overview of the work so far and what lies ahead.

What does a state school accountability system do?

Using objective measures of student performance, an accountability system can serve multiple purposes. It can:
  • Identify districts’ and schools’ areas of strength and weakness and gaps of achievement among student subgroups;
  • Let parents know how their school and students subgroups within a school are doing compared with others in their district and the state;
  • Identify lowest-performing schools receiving federal Title I funding for low-income students (those schools must receive extensive assistance to improve under federal law);
  • Help teachers and principals set strategies for improvement;
  • Guide the community in setting priorities and directing funding in their annual budget and planning document, the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP).

Why is California changing its system?

For 15 years, the state used the Academic Performance Index (API) to rank schools and districts based on standardized test scores, which critics considered a one-dimensional view of performance that led schools to focus too much attention on test results. The Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown created a framework for a broader accountability system in 2013 through the Local Control Funding Formula. The law says school districts should pay attention to eight priorities, including school climate, parent engagement and the implementation of new state academic standards as well as student achievement. The The basics behind state’s new school improvement system | EdSource:


Schooling in the Ownership Society: Another 'shift' at the Gates Foundation. More mea culpas.

Schooling in the Ownership Society: Another 'shift' at the Gates Foundation. More mea culpas.:

Another 'shift' at the Gates Foundation. More mea culpas.


“I want the foundation to be the neutral broker...” -- Melinda Gates

I suppose this means that the power philanthropists are now projecting themselves as disinterested reform partners rather than who they are -- the most powerful, top-down, non-governmental (unelected) shapers of global social/economic policies in history. Not to mention, being a shell for tax avoidance for the world's richest man. 

Melinda's quote comes from yesterday's Washington Post, supposedly signaling some introspection and a strategic adjustment of Gates Foundation investments in Common Core. The changes come in the face of mounting criticisms of corporate-style school reform and of the foundation itself. Much of that criticism is coming from black community organizations, the opt-out movement, and from within oppositional forces within the Democratic Party as election time draws near.  

Some are anticipating a shift away from current reform policies with the election of Hillary Clinton. I'm not counting on it. 

It seems like every five years or so, faced with stinging criticism from those most affected by their reform interventions, Gates Foundation leaders go through similar self-adjustments while sticking to their same overall theory of change.They tweak their top-down reform funding strategies, admit they've bet on the wrong horse, leave old projects hanging, and promise next time, to be "better listeners". But how real is their self-crit? It's usually limited being "too impatient" or "too naive" about great amount of time it takes to bring the uninsightful, unwashed masses to buy into their interventions. 

And here's the latest:
CHICAGO — Melinda Gates said she and her husband, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, learned an important lesson from the fierce pushback Schooling in the Ownership Society: Another 'shift' at the Gates Foundation. More mea culpas.:

CURMUDGUCATION: To Save the Village... + Resolve To Breathe

CURMUDGUCATION: To Save the Village...:

To Save the Village...


There's a new documentary out dealing with the history of the Cabrini Green project in Chicago. 70 Acres in Chicago deals with the many complicated issues of race and urban poverty. But as the Slate article about the documentary notes, it underlines another huge issue with the "improvement" of some urban neighborhoods.



The idea behind these housing project upgrades is always pretty simple. Here comes the city to say to the poor folks living in the projects, "Aren't you tired of living like this? We are going to knock these projects down and replace them with something better. Yes, you are going to have to find another place to live, but when we've finished, you'll be eligible to come back here and live in the newer better place."

That seems like a great idea, a straightforward way to improve quality of live for those living in public-assistance housing.

But as writer Dianna Douglas notes, that's not how it works. Mostly, the people who have been displaced by the new project do not come back. The most successful such project in the country was in Atlanta, and that project brought back a whopping 25% of the original residents. The national average "hovers below 19 percent."

Some of this is simply circumstance. Moving is expensive. Doing it twice is way expensive. But some of this is also design. The Cabrini-Green redevelopment will follow the new model of mixing low-
CURMUDGUCATION: To Save the Village...:





Resolve To Breathe



For the next couple of weeks, as the beginning of my school year approaches. I'm going to write to renew my resolve to keep focus in my practice. This is one of that series of posts.

Years ago, when I would take a long trip either by myself or with family, my focus stayed on the destination, the goal. Drive-through restaurants so that we wouldn't "lose" time stopping to eat. No more restroom stops that were absolutely necessary. Eyes ahead, foot to the floor-- let's get to where we are going.

It's easy to start teaching like that. You've got that list, whether it's in your curriculum or your pacing guide or just in your head, and by God, you are going to get through that journey before the sands of the school year clock run out. And then before you know it, you're designing units based not on effectiveness or engagement or possible usefulness to the students, but based on speed. "If I cover the major aspects of Romanticism like this, I can polish that off in a day."

Worse, you start to roll over the students. Hopefully it just stays in your head, but there's a voice saying, "Dammit, kids-- stop asking questions and trying to discuss this stuff. We've got material to get through and we don't have time to waste on your yakkity-yak." You're getting unreasonably irritated with that student who doesn't understand something and makes you go back and re-explain a concept when in your head, you know you're supposed to be moving forward.

When you reach that point, you know you have completely lost your sense of what you're supposed to be doing. You've lost the thread, missed the point.

It's time to breathe.

First, there is no pedagogical value in ripping past a bunch of material at high speeds, turning the 
Resolve To Breathe

Why Unionizing Charter School Teachers is STILL a Bad Idea

Why Unionizing Charter School Teachers is STILL a Bad Idea:

Why Unionizing Charter School Teachers is STILL a Bad Idea

Little red school house with colorful numbers

There is a growing call for teachers in charter schools to get union representation. I disagree. There are too many charter schools that fail, and many are now designed for online competency-based instruction.
I know that there are some good charters. There are also young people who come from fast-track programs, like Teach for America, who are committed to children. But that doesn’t make charters real public schools, and it doesn’t make these young people real teachers either.
We need strong public schools and real career teachers. We need authentic democratic public schools that are owned by the people. Any good charter school should run as an alternative school with oversight by the school district. The school should be owned by the taxpayers.
Here is an updated post from two years ago when I broached this topic. I welcome Why Unionizing Charter School Teachers is STILL a Bad Idea:


Washington - First mandate annual testing, then allocate $9 Million to reduce the “Assessment Burden.” - Wait What?

Washington - First mandate annual testing, then allocate $9 Million to reduce the “Assessment Burden.” - Wait What?:
Washington – First mandate annual testing, then allocate $9 Million to reduce the “Assessment Burden.”


Call it the American Way!
President Obama and a bi-partisan coalition of Republican and Democratic members of Congress used the Every Child Succeeds Act to mandated that no child go untested each and every year, despite the overwhelming evidence that the Common Core standardized testing scheme is unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory, not to mention a waste of hundreds of millions of dollars.
But now, in a yet another blatant effort to be as two-faced as possible, the Obama administration has announced a new $9 million “Enhanced Assessment Instruments Grant program” to assist states in efforts to “reduce the assessment burden.”
Mandate everyone gets tested, then allocate a few dollars to promote alternatives…
The school technology publication called, The Journal, reports that,
The Enhanced Assessment Instruments Grant program is the next step in the president’s action plan to improve the quality of academic assessments.”
The article adds;
The grant program builds on President Obama’s Testing Action Plan released last year. The plan aims to reform redundant standardized tests that are administered too frequently and fail to effectively measure student outcomes. As the next step in the plan, the Enhanced Assessment Instruments grant program, also called the Enhanced Assessment Grants (EAG) program, offers financial support for states to develop and use more effective assessments.
“The President’s Testing Action Plan encourages thoughtful approaches to 
Washington - First mandate annual testing, then allocate $9 Million to reduce the “Assessment Burden.” - Wait What?:

DFERs should be nervous. Serious. Many Thank you’s! – Cloaking Inequity

DFERs should be nervous. Serious. Many Thank you’s! – Cloaking Inequity:

DFERs should be nervous. Serious. Many Thank you’s!


As I discussed in the Storify curation entitled Will @ShavarJeffries chicken out? I discussed how the Shaver Jeffries, President of Democrats for Education Reform (DFER), popped into a conversation about charter schools on Twitter.
Who are the DFERs? Go here.
After he went for a few tweets about parents and choice that most could probably conjure without even having seen them, I challenged him to a debate on choice. Shavar said he would and needed to check his “West coast” schedule. I then offered to pay his way.
Then he said I should show up in Newark. So I offered him dates, October 9 or 10 to be exact. Today he tweeted this:
Screen Shot 2016-08-11 at 8.19.38 PM
:)
I understand his nervousness. It’s rare that education reformers arguments for anti-democratic, top-down, private control and privatization of our public schools are subjected to a balancing perspective in the media and elsewhere. He may have reviewed my prior discussions about charters with Michelle Rhee (here). Or watched my conversation with Steve Perry, charter operator and neoliberal media contributor, at the 2016 National Urban League Convention here:
Or maybe he listened to this week’s live radio discussion with Howard Fuller, Chair of the Walton and Gates funded Black Alliance for Educational Options,
After he backed out, I let Shavar off easy. Well, fairly easy. I’d like to do a few thank you’s along the way.


@TragerUFT @ProfessorJVH find someone serious on the status quo side and I'm happy to debate


One of the most important volunteer roles that I treasure in my life is being a founding board member of the Network for Public Education. It’s been an incredible experience since that day four years ago I was on Diane Ravitch’s sofa in Brooklyn and she asked if I would join the NPE Board of Directors. It’s been such an honor working with Carol Burris, Anthony Cody, Leonie Haimson, Mark Miller, Jitu Brown, Phyllis Bush, Bertis Downs, Xian Barrett, Yohuru Williams, Robin Hiller, Sonya Horsford, Chris Howard, and many others. Thank you Network for Public DFERs should be nervous. Serious. Many Thank you’s! – Cloaking Inequity:

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