Los Angeles: Charter Teachers Protest Big-Spending Principal

Diane Ravitch's blog

El Camino Real Charter High School used to be a public school. It was always a good school. But now it’s embroiled in a financial scandal because its principal used the school credit card to charge lavish indulgences, including first class air travel, meals, hotels, and other items connected to his other job as a talent scout for a major basketball team.

The teachers are not happy.

Taxpayers should be picketing too.

http://www.dailynews.com/social-affairs/20160928/el-camino-real-teachers-stage-silent-protest-over-credit-card-spending-controversy

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Georgia: Jack Hassard on the Money Behind the Vote to Create a Phony Opportunity School District

Diane Ravitch's blog

Jack Hassard is a Professor Emeritus of Science Education at Georgia State University. A former high school teacher, he usually blogs about science education. But he has seen through the hoax of the Governor Deal’s constitutional amendment this November. The ballot asks voters whether the state should have the authority to intervene to help failing schools, yes or no. Readers of this blog know that this is a hoax, intended to deceive voters. The real purpose is to creat a special non-contiguous district consisting of the state’s lowest performing schools. They will be removed from their district and handed over to state control. The state will then transfer them to charter chains.

Every so-called opportunity school district has failed. This is a hoax and a fraud. The governor must know this. Since when were conservative politicians concerned about “saving” poor kids? Note that this reform is a substitute for reducing…

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Wendy Lecker on That Disappointing Judicial Decision in Connecticut

Diane Ravitch's blog

Wendy Lecker, civil rights attorney, explains here how disappointing the recent Connecticut funding decision is.

“As noted in my previous column, CCJEF trial judge Thomas Moukawsher refused to order the state to ensure adequate resources in schools, though determining constitutional adequacy was his responsibility. By contrast, the judge freely issued sweeping directives regarding educational policy.

“The judge issued far-reaching orders involving elementary and high school education and teacher evaluations. He also aired abhorrent views toward children with disabilities, which several commentators already addressed.

“This column addresses his orders regarding elementary education. I will address the others in subsequent columns.
Moukawsher observed that the educational disparities in secondary school begin in elementary school. (He actually acknowledged that they begin before elementary school, but declined to rule that preschool is essential.)

Moukawsher’s “fix” for elementary school was to order the state to define elementary education as being “primarily related to developing basic…

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Arkansas: Judge Rejects Effort to Block State Takeover of Little Rock Schools, Expansion of Charters

Diane Ravitch's blog

Plaintiffs in Arkansas sued to block the state takeover of Little Rock public schools. Plaintiffs argued that the expansion of charters was racially discriminatory because the public schools are predominantly black, and the charters are predominantly white. The judge rejected their request.

“The plaintiffs, led by civil rights lawyer John Walker, had sought to reverse both the takeover of the LRSD and the granting of permission to Little Rock charter schools to expand their student populations. The suit named as defendants the state Board of Education (which gave final authorization to the takeover and the charter expansions), Education Commissioner Johnny Key and the Arkansas Department of Education. Marshall said the plaintiffs had failed to make a case against the state, though the school district itself must still face a trial on the merits of a complaint about unfairness in facilities.”

The plaintiffs didn’t prove that the plan was intended to…

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Reform Selling Reform: Chiefs for Change Promoting Relay Graduate School of Education

deutsch29

Chiefs for Change (C4C) is a corporate-reform-promoting organization that began under the direction of Jeb Bush; as of March 2015, C4C is its own nonprofit.  Under Bush, C4C’s membership of state ed superintendents was dwindling. (In February 2015, C4C had only four members.) Still, according to Bush’s nonprofit, Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE), C4C received over $1.5 million in 2014 from FEE for “program support for Chiefs for Change, a coalition of reform-minded chief state-school officers.”

In March 2015, Louisiana state superintendent and corporate-reform class act, John White, took charge of C4C.

The rebirthed C4C has extended its membership to include local as well as state ed chiefs. It’s even willing to pick up as many former chiefs as possible to boost its appearance of a notable membership. As of this writing, C4C only includes five active state ed superintendents. The rest of its 24 members are local…

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Are P-TECH Students College Ready?

Gary Rubinstein's Blog

Perhaps the most overrated school in reformer folklore is the Pathways in Technology Early College High School, or P-TECH, in Brooklyn, New York.

Since opening five years ago, they have been featured in national news reports, visited by President Obama, and touted by President Obama in a State of The Union address.

Though a partnership with IBM, students at P-TECH, so the theory goes, go to school there for 6 years and earn a high school diploma and an associates degree in some kind of technology field.  Qualified students get job offers at IBM.

I’ve tracked this school for several years and out of all the miracle schools I’ve ‘debunked’ over the years, this was the simplest one to do.  Despite all their claims, I was able to easily find on the New York City public data site that P-TECH’s Regents scores are some of the lowest in the city

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Gary Johnson: Another Aleppo Moment

Diane Ravitch's blog

On MSNBC, Chris Mathews asked Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, who was his favorite world leader. He was silent. Asked again, any country, any continent, he couldn’t think of one. Johnson said, “I’m having another Aleppo moment.”

Sad. Why is this man running for President?

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US Department of Education Releases Another $245 Million for Privatization of Public Schools

Diane Ravitch's blog

John King awards $245M to charters incl $8M to the Uncommon Schools charter chain, a chain he previously ran that is known for outrageously high suspension rates. Jersey Jazzman called him the King of Student Suspensions. (His own children never attended a no-excuses charter school; when he lived in New York, they were enrolled in a Montessori school.)

http://jerseyjazzman.blogspot.com/2015/10/john-king-new-seced-is-king-of-student.html?m=1

Research accumulates that charters don’t necessarily outperform public schools. That they drain resources from public schools, thus harming the great majority of children who attend public schools. That they fail to be accountable or transparent. That their sponsors and advocates are funded by billionaires and hedge fund managers. That even the best of them, according to a new study by Dobbie and Fryer, have no long-term effects. That they open and close with alarming frequency. That many are abject failures.

Yet John King is using his brief tenure to hand over…

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Don’t Vote for Gary Johnson

Diane Ravitch's blog

If you care about public education, don’t vote for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate.

Johnson told Politico that he does not believe in public education. He does not understand that the entire community must pay for education, and no one will vote for a bond issue

GARY JOHNSON’S EDUCATION IDEAS: The Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson is selling himself as the golden alternative in an election year of unpopular major-party presidential candidates. Double-digit poll numbers and a couple of newspaper endorsements have brought unprecedented attention to the former governor of New Mexico – a self-professed “fringe” candidate campaigning on a platform of small government and social liberalism. On education, Johnson’s most popular proposal is to disband the Department of Education entirely. POLITICO’s Mel Leonor caught up with Johnson to talk about his education proposals and the Libertarian ideal for American schools: http://politico.pro/2c85QJC

– We asked Johnson what the federal government’s role…

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Georg Lind: Standardized Testing is Bad for Education and Bad for Democracy

Diane Ravitch's blog

Georg Lind is an educational researcher and professor of psychology in a German university who has studied the moral implications of standardized testing. His bio is at the end of this post. He sent me the following short essay on the negative consequences of standardized testing:

Leviathan: The Anti-Democratic Effect of High-Stakes Tests.

We ought to think about high stakes tests in wider contexts than we usually do, namely in the context of human functioning and in the context of human rights and democracy:

(a) All tests which are based on classical test theory (CTT) and its off-springs (e.g., item-response-theory, Rasch-scaling) are essentially statistical artifacts. Their hidden psychology is at odds with our knowledge of psychological processes underlying human behavior. These tests are built on a false postulate which says: each and every human response to a test is determined only by one disposition, namely the competence or personality under…

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