All posts by aureliomontemayor

Mathematica, CRPE, and CREDO Condemn Online Charter Schools in Three-Agency Report


You can learn exhaustively about cyber charter schools in the National Study of Online Charter Schools, a major, three-part report released earlier this week.  Significantly, although one of the think tanks presenting the data—the Center on Reinventing Public Education—and the funder of the three-part report—the Walton Foundation—actively endorse school choice and charter schools overall, the report’s conclusions about the giant online academies are scathing.

What are online charter schools?  Mathematica Policy Research, author of the report’s first volume, Inside Online Charter Schools, explains: “Online charter schools—also known as virtual charters or cyber charters—are publicly-funded schools of choice that eschew physical school buildings and use technology to deliver education to students in their own homes.  These schools typically provide students with computers, software, and network-based resources, while also providing access to teachers via email, telephone, web, and/or teleconference.”  Mathematica examines 200 virtual schools that together serve approximately 200,000 students. …

View original post 789 more words

Principal Eric Guthertz of Mission High School in San Francisco (Kristina Rizga)

Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

This is the fourth and final excerpt taken from Kristina Rizga’s new book Mission High. With her permission I have published descriptions of math,English,  and history lessons. In this post, Rizga describes the principal of the school. Mission High School has 950 students with the vast majority coming from Latino, African American, and Asian American families. Seventy-five percent are poor and 38 percent are English Language Learners.

As the head of a school at which students carry passports from more than forty countries, Eric Guthertz probably has one of the most multicultural closets of any principal in the nation. Dressed in his usual getup this morning—slim-fitted, button-down shirt, dark grey slacks, and a large, black walkie-talkie pinned on his belt—Guthertz shows off dozens of his favorite clothing items that he wears throughout the year for various cultural events. Hanging on the wall in his office that doubles as…

View original post 1,419 more words

For Whom The Bell Tolls; It Tolls For Rhee


Gary Rubinstein's Blog

One of the benefits of the Common Core, supposedly, is that we can finally compare the performance of schools in different states.  Originally the dream was that a majority of states would sign on to use common tests from either the PARCC from Pearson or SBAC from Smarter Balanced.

Michelle Rhee-Johnston became chancellor of Washington DC schools in 2007.  As proof that a major problem in education is the absence of standardized test scores in teacher evaluation, Rhee-Johnston frequently said, in speeches, that when she came to DC, only 8% of 8th graders were proficient in math while 97% of teachers were rated as effective.

In a feature on the CNN blog in 2009, it said:

Her plan is ambitious: To completely transform the District’s system within eight years for its 50,000 children. The plan focuses on top-down accountability, quantitative results like standardized test scores and, ultimately, working to close what she…

View original post 480 more words

Bombshell Report Exposes Federal Failure to Oversee Charters

MORE #CharterChicanery


I was once in a meeting where Education Secretary Arne Duncan declared: “Good charters are part of the solution. Bad charters are part of the problem.” Unfortunately, Secretary Duncan has done nothing to increase federal oversight for the purpose of addressing what he called “the problem.”  A new report from the Center for Media and Democracy, Charter School Black Hole, exposes the U.S. Department of Education’s total abrogation of responsibility for oversight of an education sector to which it has granted $3.7 billion since 1995. The federal Charter School Program (CSP) awards grants to state departments of education to encourage charter school expansion.

Who’s in charge?  Really nobody: “The system insulates each element from accountability for what actually happens in charters.” The federal government has relinquished oversight to the states receiving federal grants, states which have then turned over regulation to  charter school authorizers in what the Center for…

View original post 1,214 more words

Is Success Academy Fighting to End Inequality?

School Building

The Success Academies Charter Schools closed down last Wednesday and bussed thousands of their teachers, parents and children to Cadman Square in Brooklyn. All of the participants wore t-shirts that read “I fight to end inequality.” Children and parents carried signs that read “Great schools for ALL” and “Separate and unequal still.” On either side of the stage, giant monitors played text such as “Great Schools Now” and “Every Child, Every Zipcode.” Over the course of four hours, children recited spoken word poems, parents gave speeches shaming the public schools for their failures, and entertainers such as DJ Jazzy Jeff and Jennifer Hudson performed for the crowd.

A friend of mine who teaches at one of the Success Academy schools described this scene to me, and suggested I write about this rally, which was staged by Families for Excellent Schools. After doing some very light research into these two organizations…

View original post 1,161 more words

Don Neilson, the Discovery Institute and Intelligent Design

Seattle Education

23950s4.tif Don Nielson

Don Nielson recently had yet another op ed published by the Seattle Times, a newspaper which has provided many wealthy (white) men with a platform and microphone to share their opinions with the rest of us on public education. This time Mr. Nielson wanted to state that a lack of adequate funding for public schools is not the problem, it’s having an elected school board among other things.

What came to my attention, thanks to my co-editor’s sleuthing, was the fact that the same Don Nielson is also a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute and “chair of the Institute’s program on public education reform.”

discovery instituteThat wouldn’t be too shocking except for two items. First, Don Nielson has had a great influence over Seattle Public Schools in the past and continues to try and influence the public conversation now, and also because the Discovery Institute’s Center for…

View original post 835 more words

How we got the Common Core Standards: Federal Manipulation Through Race to the Top

Seattle Education

race to the top4

From the Truth in American Education, An admission of Federal manipulation through Race to the Top:

Arne Duncan’s former chief of staff pulls back the curtain on Race to the Top

We couldn’t keep up with the enormous load of data that the competition generated—and we learned that we didn’t have to. The public did it for us. State and local watchdogs kept their leaders honest by reviewing and publicly critiquing applications. Education experts provided analyses of competition data. And researchers will be mining this trove of information for years to come.

Joanne Weiss was the director of the Race to the Top program at the U.S. Department of Education and Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s chief of staff. She wrote an essay at Stanford Social Innovation Review that is enlightening in that we finally have a USDED official admit the truth about the federal role in foisting Common Core on…

View original post 1,300 more words

TFA Tries To Marginalize Critical Alumni Voices

TFA partners with #CharterChicanery

Gary Rubinstein's Blog

A few weeks ago the book ‘Teach For America Counter-Narratives:  Alumni Speak Up And Speak Out’ was released.  Edited by T. Jameson Brewer and Kathleen deMarrais, the book features 20 chapters, each written by a TFA critic, many of whom are alumni.  I think this is a great book, and not just because I wrote one of the chapters.

TFA seems to have peaked in popularity about 5 years ago, right around the time I attended the 20th anniversary summit, which was basically a charter school/Waiting For Superman/ Michelle Rhee love fest.  Since that time, criticism has swelled and now TFA is really struggling to recruit as the number of new corps members is a little more than 4,000 compared to around 6,000 just a few years ago.

As an alum, I’m on various TFA mailing lists.  One of them is called ‘TFA Briefing’.  This is a series of summaries…

View original post 518 more words

45K letters & Sen. Legg says “stop harping” about the FSA


Florida public education advocates, you are making an impact! We used our voices this week and sent nearly 45,000 letters telling the Senate Education Committee that the FSA should not be used to grade anyone.  Now an annoyed Chairman Legg wants us to “stop harping.”  Dismissing the real concerns of parents and professionals by saying further discussion about the state’s testing mess is unnecessary does not make it so.  Aside from that, it’s extraordinarily tone deaf.

After decades of micro-managing public education, Legg claims “there’s nothing the legislature can do.”  He goes on to assert that they are “unable to stop” Commissioner Pam Stewart and the Department of Education from setting pass/fail cut scores, issuing school grades or using the flawed scores to evaluate teachers. Legg’s comment lacks credibility. He knows Stewart is an unelected political appointee with an ardent penchant for rule following.  The FSA testing mess was wholly created by the Florida Legislature…

View original post 300 more words

Open Letter to the CA State Board of Education on Release of [False] #SBAC Scores

Bad Data


Screenshot 2015-09-07 12.54.13Dear Members of the California State Board of Education,
Last Spring, 3.2 million students in California (grades 3-8 and 11) took the new, computerized Math and English Language Arts/Literacy CAASPP tests (California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress). The tests were developed by the SmarterBalanced Assessment Consortium, and administered and scored by ETS (Educational Testing Service). Costs are estimated at $360 million dollars in federal tax dollars and $240 million dollars in state funds for 3 years of administration and scoring.

Despite the documented failure of the assessments to meet basic standards of testing and accountability, [invalid] scores are scheduled to be released to the public on September 9th.  According to media reports, the 11th grade scores will be used for educational decision-making by nearly 200 colleges and universities in six states. For detailed documents, see Critical Questions about Computerized Assessments and SmarterBalanced Test Scoresthe SR Education SBAC invalidation report, the…

View original post 1,877 more words