HITTING LEFT ON MIXCLOUD

With guest, Louder Than a Bomb poet Nate Marshall

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What ever happened to pay-for-grades schemes in N.Y & Chicago

Disappearing Act

2008 was the year of pay-for-grades. Remember? It was the hottest idea, heavily touted by the Ownership Society entrupreneurial crowd and headline news in the mass media. Joel Klein spent $40 million on his market worshiping scheme in N.Y. schools. But a new study shows the program was a flop and is quietly being dropped. Accountability? Never with these guys. Exxon-Mobile pushed the program in Arkansas, Alabama, Connecticut, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Virginia and Washington. While in Chicago, Arne Duncan hailed the plan as a "leveling of the playing field." It didn't and now, the plan that made national headlines in 2008, has dropped off the radar screen.

Oh, and BTW, it's 2010. Where did Renaissance 2010 go?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Academic freedom "a core principle..."


Unless of course, it causes "controversy"

CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- The University of Wyoming has canceled a speech by former 1960s radical William Ayers after it raised a slew of objections from citizens and politicians. Ayers -- an education professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago-- was scheduled to speak next Monday on the Laramie campus about social justice issues and education. He was invited by the UW Social Justice Research Center.


In a statement released by the university, UW President Tom Buchanan thanked the center for reconsidering its invitation to Ayers. Buchanan says academic freedom is a core principle of higher education, but he says the visit by Ayers would have adversely impacted the public's confidence in the university. He noted that the Ayers invitation had caused intense controversy.
-- Associated Press

Storm brewing in New Orleans

Arne Duncan has back-tracked, sorta, from his claim that Hurricane Katrina was the best thing that happened to New Orleans education. But the post-Katrina two-tiered school system he endorses, continues under another former Chicago schools CEO, Paul Vallas.

It's a system that is drawing more and more heat from the city's disenfranchised. Yesterday a crowd openly hostile to Recovery School District Superintendent Vallas, used a state board of education meeting to raise concerns about whether charters are leaving the most vulnerable children behind.

When Vallas stated at Monday's meeting at Joseph S. Clark High School,  that charters are doing "a heck of a job" educating public school students, the mostly African-American audience responded with jeers. Many parents expressed fears that many charters are practicing selective enrollment policies.
"Charters don't want anything to do with our children. They're sending them away," said Brenda Valteau, who identified herself as a 1961 graduate of George Washington Carver High School. "We're losing our young people to the streets." (Times Picyune)

Monday, March 29, 2010

It's hard to lose something you were so involved and invested in"

Interview with a Green Dot Animo Justice student and a teacher

I spoke with a teacher and a student from Green Dot's Animo Justice Charter High School, to gather material for a larger piece I'm working on. Green Dot founder, Steve Barr, had earlier told me that the school has been marked for closing by Green Dot's board of directors, on recommendation from the management team, on grounds that it's not cost effective to run the school with 450 students and that the school has been the "lowest performer" among a cohort of Green Dot schools.. The announcement has led to ongoing student protests and an angry response from parents.

Ismael is a 17 year-old senior at Animo Justice and vice-president of the senior class. He's on his way to college in the fall and doesn't have to worry about where he will attend high school next year. But he still sounds angry and frustrated about the closing of his school and was a participant in the student sit-in.
"I was one of the students who built this school from the beginning. I felt like it was my school," Ismael said. "They should have consulted with us and our parents and not just told us they were closing our school. If they told us earlier, maybe we could have come up with some alternatives."
On of the things that angered Ismael the most was that, "the CEO didn't even come to tell us face-to-face, but sent someone else to tell us the school was closing."

When I asked Ismael his thoughts on Animo Justice's "low performance." He responded with praise for Green Dot's teachers and pointed out that the school had been moved three times in three years and had a string of principals. "It's true that our scores should be better, but we aren't a bad school. We could improve if we were given the support we need."

One of Ismael's favorites is science teacher Judy Riemenschneider, who is in her third year at the school. Judy told me that she chose to teach at Green Dot because she wanted a small-school environment, teachers being involved in decision-making, and a union contract. But like Ismael, she was dismayed at the lack of consultation with teachers, parents and students over the decision to close Animo Justice.
"The biggest issue for me was lack of input by teachers, parents and teachers on the decision to close the school. Green Dot says that we are critical to the decision making process. But things don’t happen overnight. By involving people in advance we could have worked to resolve the situation."
While students and teachers have been told they will all be placed at other Green Dot schools, Riemenschneider is not so sure:

"Animo students are guaranteed a spot. There’s a process in place. But they’re laying off teachers from Locke [Green Dot's other cohort]. They’re going to lose some teachers. We'll all be notified on April first who will be lay-ed off and who will stay. So to say that we will all have jobs is somewhat misleading."

When I asked her about the school's dwindling enrollment and lagging performance, she responded:
"We came together. We built the school. But how can a school stay enrolled if you move around so much and have 3 principals in three years? And with all that instability, how do you make an accurate assessment of the school's progress?"
She pointed out that Animo Justice was now competing for students with a rapidly multiplying group of charters. There are now six others in the neighborhood around Jefferson High.

"But I’m passionate about this community we've built. It's hard to lose something you were so involved and invested in," she said.

WEEKEND QUOTABLES

L.A. Supt. Ray Cortines as he cuts more days from school year
"Our people will be asked to do more with less." (L.A. Times )
Herman Brewer, acting president and CEO of the Chicago Urban League
"These folks who have known nothing but prosperity are now in shock because all of a sudden the crisis they have generally associated with poor communities -- with the city of Chicago -- has hit them," Brewer said. "Our funding formula has created disparities so acute, people are starting to see it now." ("Layoffs could top 20,000 in school districts" Sun-Times)
FairTest's Lisa Guisbond & Monty Neill
George W. Bush’s education secretary, Margaret Spellings, often said we need to give state tests every year, because otherwise we would have no way of knowing if students were falling behind. But that’s hogwash, as any teacher, student or parent could have told her.In the classroom of any reasonably competent teacher, student progress is being evaluated constantly, each time he or she looks at classroom work, not to mention frequent quizzes, papers, projects, and discussions. (The Answer Sheet)
Dumb & a moron, both...

Look, down here there are these groups from the far left. Whatever we do, they want to make it look like we are dumb morons. They're very effective, dadgummit. Jefferson's name was taken out of a list of Enlightenment philosophers in world history because he didn't fit the period of the Enlightenment. (Texas school board member Don McLeroy in Globe & Mail)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Taking the fall for Duncan & Daley

Pickens kept pal Arne's secret VIP list

David Pickens was the guy who kept former Chicago schools CEO Arne Duncan's clout list. The list was used to pressure selective-enrollment-school principals into accepting the otherwise ineligible children of VIP's through the back door. Pickens was the buffer between Duncan/Daley and the schools. He was the one who had to deliver the list to the principals. Daley's nephew, Patrick Daley Thompson, was a middle-man in the process and knee-deep in the scandal.  But after Tribune reporter Azam Ahmed, broke the story, Pickens, who is African-American and one of the few black educators in the top rungs of the CPS bureaucracy, knew he would have to take the fall for the untouchable Duncan.

Friday, he resigned quietly. So far, Duncan has let his faithful assistant and childhood friend go under the bus without so much as a peep. Such is the culture at CPS under mayoral control and now the culture at the DOE under Duncan. 
"David was a very honest and loyal lieutenant to Arne Duncan," said Bill Gerstein, a high school principal and longtime friend of Pickens. "He was loyal to a fault and honest to a fault. In organizations, oftentimes the people who do the work and follow through on initiatives — they're the first ones to go."

Before arriving at the central office, Pickens was a seventh- and eighth-grade math teacher and basketball coach at Price Elementary in the Kenwood neighborhood. He was nominated for a Golden Apple Award in 1999 for exemplary services. Pickens was given many tough assignments throughout his tenure with Duncan, including oversight of school closings. Administrators and teachers sometimes referred to Pickens as "Dr. Death" because his presence might signal a school's demise. (Tribune)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Inside Chicago's school "Renaissance"

As the week ends...

I hope Chicagoans are taking note of this bombshell decision by N.Y. State Supreme Court Justice Joan Lobis. Lobis ruled Bloomberg/Klein's closure of 19 neighborhood schools “null and void.”

Arne Duncan is supposed to announce first round winners today in the Race To The Top. I predict Baylor & Kentucky.

The next time someone tells you there's no money for schools, show them this headline

But my favorite Friday headline has to be: Drunk Man Arrested For Trying To Resuscitate Dead Possum.  

Have a nice weekend.

Balancing the budget with teachers' pensions

Like thieves in the night, Illinois Gov. Quinn and machine-boss Mike Madigan, heisted more than $100 billion from the teachers' pension fund Wednesday. Not only that, but the Chicago Civic Committee, calling the heist, "reform," wants more.
"This bill is a small step in the right direction but it doesn't begin to solve the state's urgent fiscal problems," said R. Eden Martin, president of the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago. "The only way to achieve significant cost reductions now is to reform retirement benefits for current state employees prospectively and new hires moving forward."
 Question: Why hardly a peep from the leaders of the state's teacher unions?

More of Rhee's mess to clean up for Anita Dunn

Is she really worried about firing bad teachers?

Here's another problem for Anita Dunn, Michelle Rhee's new million-dollar PR flack.

Supt. Rhee debased the more than 200 D.C. teachers she fired recently, even implying that many of them were rapists and child molesters. Of course her charges turned out to be fabrications and Rhee was forced to recant. Rhee has also been among those yelling the loudest about how difficult unions have made it is to fire bad teachers.

If that's not a big enough mess for Dunn to clean up, how about the fact that Rhee has, at the same time, pushed hard for a voucher system to pay for Catholic school tuition in the District. She has also helped bail out failed Archdioscese schools by making many of them non-union charter schools.

The front-page story in yesterday's NYT revealed that hundreds and possibly thousands of children have actually been sexually abused and molested in U.S. Catholic schools--with full knowledge of church leaders, who covered up the crimes and treated them with a wink and a nod. In one Wisconsin school alone, a priest, Lawrence Murphy, was found to have molested some 200 deaf students. When the abuse was reported to higher ups, Murphy was simply transferred to another school where he spent his last 24 years working freely with children in Milwaukee. You may recall that Milwaukee was the nation's first school district to allow vouchers to be used for parochial school tuition.

It seems that Rhee is not as concerned about firing bad teachers as she claims to be. It is also worth noting that conservative think-tankers like Fordham's Mike Petrilli and Andy Smarick have also taken up the Catholic school voucher/charter cause without a word of concern for the "difficulties" of firing bad teachers.

Dunn has  her work cut out for her.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Inside Chicago's school "Renaissance"

Duncan/Daley's 2-tiered school system

"We didn't want to advertise what we were doing because we didn't want a bunch of people calling." David Pickens, former top aide to Chicago Public Schools chief Arne Duncan

Arne Duncan's favorite slogan this year is, "education is the civil rights issue of our generation." But the current investigation by Chicago's Inspector General, who interviewed Duncan, shows that what the former schools CEO and current secretary of education means by "civil rights" is special back-door admissions for the children of the clout-heavy, into the city's selective enrollment high schools. If you're not connected, it's crumbling, overcrowded, and under-resourced schools for your kids. It seems that Duncan kept a list of clout heavy parents, politicians and possible campaign donors, which he had delivered to magnet school principals.

John Kass in the Tribune:
Does anyone actually believe that political insiders weren't favored at the expense of deserving kids? No. But today, I'm not going to rip on Daley. Instead, let's focus on his brilliance, in creating Chicago's two-tiered public school system. It bound the professional class to him and maintained him in power. The mayor knows how it works. He etched it into Chicago's civic infrastructure years ago, when he took over the public schools.
 More from the Sun-Times:
Daley Tuesday defended the log, which reflected calls about placing kids in a variety of schools, including some offering greater safety. "People are calling," Daley said. "What do you do, just say, 'No?' Arne Duncan said you have to say something." 
 Reason #330 why mayoral control of the schools is a bad idea.

School closings, the new face of reform

As school districts struggle with state budget shortfalls, school closings and mass teacher firings have become the new face of school reform. Central Falls High School in Rhode Island, where an entire faculty and staff were fired, became the poster child for Arne Duncan's so-called Race to the Top, complete with threats to school districts nationwide that only compliance could save them from de-funding.

The latest to comply is Oklahoma City where the school board plans to RIF 75 of 155 teachers at U.S. Grant High School strictly on the basis of flat student standardized test scores.

From NewsOK:  
The reform plan would remove half the staff and the principal if the principal had been there for more than two years. Under the same federal guidelines — and in pursuit of the same grant dollars — a school board in Rhode Island last month announced that every teacher at the failing Central Falls High School would be fired, causing the community to protest.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Green Dot's board

Here's a list of Green Dot board members who made the decision to close the Animo Justice school.
  • Steve Barr – Founder & Chair Emeritus, Green Dot Public Schools
  • Shane Martin – Chairman of the Board, Dean of Loyola Marymount Graduate School of Education
  • Charisse Bremond-Weaver – President & CEO, Brotherhood Crusade
  • Oscar De La Hoya – Professional Boxer, Philanthropist and Businessman
  • Glenn Dryfoos – Senior Vice President - Business Affairs, Univision Communications
  • Susan Estrich – Professor, University of Southern California Gould School of Law
  • Abigail Garcia – President, Asociacion de Maestros Unidos
  • Mike Garcia – President, Service Employees International Union Local 1877
  • Richard Leib – Executive Vice President, Liquid Environmental Solutions
  • Noah Mamet – President, Mamet & Associates
  • Pam Rector – Director of the Center for Service and Action, Loyola Marymount
  • Richard Schaefer – Chief Executive Officer, Golden Boy Promotions
  • Jeff Shell – President, Comcast Programming, Comcast Communications
  • Timothy Watkins – President and CEO, Watts Labor Community Action Committee
  • Ted Mitchell – Chief Executive Officer, NewSchools Venture Fund
  • Don Shalvey – Ed.D. Senior Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Small Schools and Choice Revisited

From Deb Meier

Dear friends,

Sigh! It's not the first time I've noted how even my good ideas can be "corrupted" for quite different purposes than intended. It's the story of many of the political ideals I still hold to. Small schools were a tool, not an end. So was the idea of requiring a super-majority in the Senate a way to prevent the majority from railroading the minority. So too, I guess, is democracy itself. We can all bemoan it at times.
Continue to read on my blog........

GREEN DOT'S PROMISE TURNED INTO A LIE


Green Dot founder Steve Barr originally offered some hope to a struggling L.A. community. He promised a viable alternative to the large, under-resourced, often violent, traditional neighborhood high schools, run by an incompetent, demoralized, stultifying bureaucracy. He also promised that Green Dot, unlike the dozens of other market-driven, privately-managed charter school chains, currently favored under Duncan's Race To The Top reform strategy, would empower teachers and respect their rights, codified in a new, model, union contract.

But this morning, it is clear to hundreds of students, teachers and parents who bought into Barr's promise, that Green Dot is no different and in many ways worse, than any of the other of the new breed of privateer charter school operators who trade in the hopes and dreams of children and their parents for a better future.

Green Dot's money man Marco Petruzzi announced yesterday that the company's Amino "Justice" School is closing and that its students and teachers will be dispersed around the city. To Petruzzi & Co., it was strictly a bottom-line decision. The school wasn't making its enrollment quotas and despite tens of millions in corporate donations as well as huge Broad and Gates Foundation grants, it was running at a deficit. Rather than carry it as a loss-leader, Green Dot's unelected, unaccountable corporate board decided not to throw good money after bad.

The announcement sparked a sit-in by some 400 Amino students and outrage from parents and teachers.
"We had no idea that closing was even a possibility, and then we received the information on Friday morning," said Judy Riemenschneider, who teaches chemistry and environmental science. The ultimatum is at odds with Green Dot's principles, which call for teacher input into critical decisions, she said.

Animo Justice senior class president Eduardo Campos, 17, credits the school for his ambition to graduate and go to college and also for developing student leadership skills. "We built the school from scratch," Campos said. "We chose the name of the school and the colors. And now all of that is being taken away." (L.A. Times)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Huberman's "reform" plan for Chicago

6 more CPS students shot

Chicago's latest school version of school "reform": Increase class size to 37. Continue closing schools and shipping kids to other struggling schools across gang boundaries. Loot the teachers' pension fund. Will union go along?

CEO Huberman hopes to get some traction with Duncan's Race To The Top by closing more schools, turning them over to private management companies, firing teachers en masse, diverting $60 million from classrooms into his goofy "culture of calm" strategy which includes, "using "data" to predict which kids will be shot next and then urging parents to "change their life styles." But I can tell you that there will be no culture of calm with 37 kids packed into high school classes.

Meanwhile, 15 hours after a downtown anti-gun rally, 6 more CPS students were shot, bringing the total for the year to 135. There were 508 CPS students shot during the previous 16-months, enough to fill an entire elementary school.

There's no more mention of the words, "Renaissance 2010." I don't blame them. I'd be embarrassed too.

WEEKEND QUOTABLES

Arne Duncan's partner in school reform
Former Republican House speaker Newt Gingrich said Obama and the Democrats will regret their decision to push for comprehensive reform. Calling the bill “the most radical social experiment . . . in modern times,” Gingrich said: “They will have destroyed their party much as Lyndon Johnson shattered the Democratic Party for 40 years” with the enactment of civil rights legislation in the 1960s. (Washington Post)
Michael Lux, author of "The Progressive Revolution"
We do not get all we pay for in this world, but we are certainly paying for everything we get. We have paid an incredibly heavy price to get to this moment on health care: now is not the time to falter. ("March Madness, D.C. Style")
At the immigration reform rally

Latinos, in particular, have criticized the Obama administration's record on enforcement, as the number of deportations of undocumented immigrants increased 5% to 387,790 in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2009.
Others at the rally were blunt, saying that officials will pay a price at the polls if they ignore the calls from a small but fast-growing electorate. "I can't vote, but I have 60 family members who can," said Elmo Siap, 55, a Filipino businessman who came from Chicago. (L.A. Times)

Cleaning up Rhee's mess

Even clout-heavy, tres expensive PR firm headed by Anita Dunn, won't be able to clean up Michelle Rhee's mess in D.C. Eli Broad is just throwing good money after bad.
Rhee drew extensive criticism for appearing on the cover of Time magazine in late 2008 with a broomstick to symbolize her attempts to overhaul the school system. She touched off a four-day furor this year when she told Fast Company magazine that an unspecified number of the 266 District public school teachers fired in October had had sex with students or been suspended for administering corporal punishment. (Washington Post)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Sunday's march


Sunday's march on Washington for immigration reform connects well with both the health reform bill and proposed school reform legislation. It can't help but raise two questions: 1) Why aren't tens of millions of immigrants covered in the Obama's health bill? 2) Why does Duncan's education reform blueprint, with its focus on privately-managed charter schools, still allow for overt and covert selective-enrollment policies which exclude English-language learners?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Responses to Arne Duncan's "Blueprint"

Code words
Sens. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) pressed Duncan on a
proposal for interventions such as replacing at least half the teachers in a
struggling school, or converting it to a charter school. The options, Enzi said,
"seem to be urban-centered [and] may not work in many areas of Wyoming."

(WaPo)

"Urban-centered"? Does this mean mass teacher firings, school closings, and privatization are OK for them--you know who they are--but not for us? What's the difference between the negative impact of Duncan's "reform" on rural areas and its impact on "urban-centered" Central Falls?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Mayoral Control of Schools Dept.

Mayor Daley's handpicked school board has been under investigation for financial mismanagement and misuse of CPS credit cards ever since the suicide death of board president, Michael Scott. Now we learn that Daley crony and board member, Dr. Tariq Butt is being sued, by guess who?--the city of Chicago.

It seems, the man who plays a major role in making decisions about school closings, teacher firings, and management of a $5 billion school budget, doesn't like to pay taxes and fines to the city. Aside from his seat on the school board, Butt, who runs a private health clinic on the city's west side, is a major Daley fundraiser and also served the mayor as a highly-compensated member of Daley's disastrous Olympic Bid Committee, which forced schools, principals and teachers to take time out from classroom work and campaign openly for the city's bid.


Who's buying Duncan's new NCLB?


"Revolutionizing" education

Arne Duncan has already sold his rewrite of No Child Left Behind to the neocons (yes they are still with us) and to the conservative forces within the Democratic Party. Or should I say--THEY have already sold it to Duncan. Now he is trying hard to sell it to teachers and their unions. But so far, they aren't buying. Duncan claims his blueprint will "revolutionize education."

But leaving his usual hyperbole aside for a moment, "better tests" doesn't speak to the real problem of misuse of testing, as a way to punish schools and individual teachers, rather than as an analytic tool connected to classroom teaching. As to mislabeling thousands of schools as "failures," this has all along been Duncan's favorite tactic to promote widespread school-closing and turnaround strategies in underserved communities.

Duncan continues to label thousands of schools as "dropout factories" and to call for the closing of (depending on his audience) 1,000 to 5,000 schools and mass firings of teachers. If you want to see what Duncan's rewrite of ESEA is all about, just look at Central Falls, R.I. where Duncan openly supported (called it "courageous') and probably helped engineer the firing of the entire faculty and staff of the local high school, without regard for the quality of the teachers or the positive improvements currently taking place at the school.

And it's hard to believe that "opportunites for professional growth" crap when 21,000 teachers are being fired in California and 17,000 in Illinois.

Finally, Duncan's so-called blueprint is designed to replace contractual agreements negotiated between teachers and school districts with federally-mandated turnaround policies, most of which have no research to back them up. This would all but eliminate to role of unions and teachers rights to collectively bargain the contracts under which they work. It would make it that much easier to replace experienced teachers with lower-paid, non-union TFA cadets and privatize the management of public schooling.

Teachers are smart to look at this latest version of NCLB with a critical eye.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Rothstein on Ravitch

Richard Rothstein thinks Diane Ravitch's latest book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System is basically a return to her core values, rather than a conversion. I agree.
Diane Ravitch dropped her support for No Child Left Behind. Read her book, and you will, too.
Read Rothstein's entire review at TNR, here.

Monday, March 15, 2010

WEEKEND QUOTABLES

Ravitch in the L.A. Times
So we're left with the knowledge that a dramatic expansion in the number of privately managed schools is not likely to raise student achievement. Meanwhile, public schools will become schools of last resort for the unmotivated, the hardest to teach and those who didn't win a seat in a charter school. If our goal is to destroy public education in America, this is precisely the right path. ("The Big Idea--It's bad education policy")
Fired principal was victim of bias
“There is no question that this is an important step in the road to her ultimate vindication,” said Alan Levine, Ms. Almontaser’s lawyer. “Up until now, the D.O.E. has really had its way and hasn’t had to answer for its actions.”(NYT)
You've got a friend

George Bush could have not realized how much of a friend President Obama would be to his No Child Left Behind initiative. Obama bashed NCLB when he was running for president, saying that obsession with high-stakes standardized tests was no way to run an education system. But Saturday we learned the vision that Obama and his education secretary, Arne Duncan, have for the post-NCLB era, and, unfortunately, it doesn’t look much different. (Valerie Strauss, The Answer Sheet)
26,000 Calif. teachers to get pink slips

Rosemarie Ochoa, a fifth-grade teacher who's in her third year with the San Lorenzo Unified School District, said she was pulled out of class Monday by a district official bearing a pink slip.

"I smiled at her because I knew what she was there for," said Ochoa, 28, who was among 76 of the district's 640 teachers who got a notice this week. "Then I had to go back to my students and retain my composure."(ABC News)

Friday, March 12, 2010

IN THE MAILBOX

Finally, a victory in the case of Debbie Almontaser

At last ---- a mighty sweet taste of justice! 95% of you receiving this email contributed so much to this victory, and finally finally all of our work, sweat, tears, demonstrating, press conferencing, walking and marching, writing statements and frantically working out logistics brought a measure of victory in the fight against racism, islamaphobia, xenophobia, hate speech and gender bias. As a member of Communities In Support of Khalil Gibran International Academy, I thank all of you for your steadfastness and ongoing support, in the face of some of the worst racism and Islamaphobia, including hate speak from many quarters in City government and the extreme right wing so-called "religious" entities against Debbie and her family.

Carol Horwitz,
Communities in Support of Kahil Gibran International Academy
_______________________________

Press release: EEOC determines that the Dept. of Education discriminated against former KGIA interim acting principal


ARNE'S ARMY


"You can't talk to a man, with a shotgun in his hand" -- Carole King

Well, I finally found out why the DOE needs to purchase 27 new military-order, Remington Model, 870 police 12/14P Mod GRWC XS4 KXCS SF. RAMAC #24587 GAUGE: 12 BARREL: 14" - Parkerized choke: modified sights: Ghost ring rear, WILSON COMBAT shotguns.

Arne Duncan's troops are about to invade Central Falls, Rhode Island.

Actually, they're to replace worn-out shotguns used by the Inspector General's office, says WaPo's Answer Sheet. Damn, why didn't I think of that? But I'm still wondering. Exactly how did those previous 27 shotguns get worn out?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Edweek: Finalists Cram for Race to Top Presentations


Rehearsal for American Idol Race to the Top audition.

With millions of grant dollars on the line, representatives of the 16 state finalists for federal Race to the Top prize money will go to Washington next week to make final, in-person pitches to the U.S. Department of Education for investment in their brand of school reform.

WTF Dept.


Hey Arne! Please explain this DOE purchase order? h/t Ken Libby

QUOTABLES

Tribune Columnist Mary Schmich
Anyone who watches the march with an open mind will see that these young people aren't aliens. They're us. They are Chicago, and the immigration laws are squandering their energy and possibilities. In other words, squandering our possibilities. And her full name, which she finally says is OK to use, is Tania Unzueta. She is undocumented. She is trying not to be afraid. ("Undocumented and unafraid")
Herb Kohl
My feeling is that progressives should advocate a "race to equity" - a multibillion dollar initiative to bring some of the most impoverished schools up to the material and pedagogical conditions of the most effective public schools in the country. (Living in Dialogue)
Teacher of the year, Anthony Mullen
A butcher's bill has come due in Central Falls, Rhode Island and a nation awaits the fate of 93 school employees. Will these teachers and staff be brought to an oak cutting board? Will the visceral remains of teachers be wiped clean from the school district's cutting board and stain a sawdust covered floor? Lines have been drawn, rhetoric spewed, and children await resolve. (Road Diaries)
Fallout from Central Falls
If the firings proceed, the best, most experienced teachers will find jobs elsewhere. Who will replace them? After the headlines fade, the students at Central Falls could be the biggest losers. (Joan Vennochi, Boston Globe)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"We have to stop lying..."-- Duncan

Arne Duncan is still talking that civil rights talk. Only now he's moved the setting over from Robt. E. Lee H.S. in Montgomery, Alabama to a N.Y. session on CNN with neocon talk show host, Bill Bennett.

Some of you might remember Bennett as Ronald Reagan's education secretary. Younger readers may know him more as the gambling-addicted pontificator who wrote his preachy Book of Virtue, or the racist buffoon who liked to tell jokes genocide jokes, like: "[Y]ou could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down."

Sorry Bill. Maybe you thought we forgot and put all that behind us. I haven't.

This is Duncan's version of bipartisanship. After all, the Democrat and the neocon found lots of areas of agreement. Bennett lauded Duncan for supporting the mass teacher firings in Central Falls. They both agreed that No Child Left Behind had been responsible for "lowering standards."

Hey wait a minute! Wasn't it Duncan who praised NCLB to the skies when he was Chicago schools CEO and put the district of a strict standardized testing regimen? And wasn't it Obama, just the other day, who was toasting Duncan's predecessor, Margaret ("NCLB is 99.4% pure") Spellings, as the reform leader who "helped to lead a lot of the improvement that’s been taking place and we’re building on"? Building on, indeed.

And wasn't Bennett previously a big cheer leader for NCLB, especially when his company, K12 Inc., was making millions after it somehow qualified as an NCLB "supplemental educational services" provider, giving Bennett access to huge NCLB grants. As I recall, one of K12's biggest customers at the time was Arne Duncan himself. Duncan and the board even granted K12's virtual school a charter and access to millions in state funding, without making the company go through the normal chartering procedures.

Oh, one more thing they were both certain of--Duncan's new mantra: "This is the civil rights issue of our generation."

I agree with one point Duncan made near the end of his interview.

"We have to stop lying," Duncan added.

Also see " Duncan and Bennett Share Same Forked Tongue" at Schools matter.