Dear Mark

Save Maine Schools

Dear Mark,

You probably don’t remember me, but we were students together at Phillips Exeter Academy fifteen years ago. I was a lower (sophomore) when you were a senior, so our paths didn’t overlap much, but I do believe we had one class together – Latin with Mr. Morante.

I’m writing for two reasons: first, a quick thank you for Facebook. I’ve always enjoyed it as a social tool, but recently I have discovered how powerful it can be as networking tool to gather people around a common cause.  Lately, I’ve connected with parents, teachers, administrators, bloggers, and other activists around the country who are all working passionately toward one goal: getting our local schools back from the powerful corporate and political interests that now strangle them. We share notes and research, triumphs and setbacks, inspiration and outrage, and lately it seems – incrementally at least – that we may…

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The Reformers’ War on Language and on Democracy

Words can kill public schools

Diane Ravitch's blog

Maybe it is just me, but I find myself outraged by the “reformers'” incessant manipulation of language.

“Reform” seldom refers to reform.

“Reform” means privatization.

“Reform” means assaults on the teaching profession.

“Reform” means eliminating teachers’ unions, which fight for better salaries and working conditions.

“Reform” means boasting about test scores by schools that have carefully excluded the students who might get low scores.

“Reform” means using test scores to evaluate teachers even though this practice has negative effects on teacher morale and fails to identify better or worse teachers.

“Reform” means stripping teachers of due process rights or any other job security.

“Reform” means that schools should operate for-profit and that private corporations should be encouraged to profit from school spending.

“Reform” means acceptance of privately managed schools that operate without accountability or transparency.

“Reform” means the incremental destruction of public education.

I am reminded of George Orwell’s lines…

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An alternative to high stakes testing works. New York schools have proven it.

It’s not the kids who are the problem. It’s the disconnect between what we want kids to do and what we have them do.

Seattle Education

consortium

71 percent of English language learners in New York Performance Standards Consortium schools graduated on time in 2015, versus 37 percent across New York City, where all but two of the consortium schools are located.

This is a model that teachers at Garfield High School in Seattle have been studying, traveling to New York to learn how to implement the New York Performance Standards Consortium program described below. This collaborative relationship is highlighted in the film “Beyond Measure.

From the Hechinger Report:

NYC schools that skip standardized tests have higher graduation rates

An interview with the woman overseeing the group defying convention

After almost 30 years at an alternative high school, Ann Cook now heads a consortium of New York public high schools that assess students with little reliance on standardized tests. After almost 30 years at an alternative high school, Ann Cook now heads a consortium of New York public high schools that assess students with little reliance on standardized tests.

The role of standardized tests is one of the most contentious subjects in public education…

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

janresseger

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. …

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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…

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For Whom The Bell Tolls; It Tolls For Rhee

Purheed…

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…

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Bombshell Report Exposes Federal Failure to Oversee Charters

MORE #CharterChicanery

janresseger

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…

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