Listen to Hitting Left with guest Bill Ayers

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Cleveland's corporate reform bill signed by Kasich

Ohio Tea-Party Gov. John Kasich and Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson hug after Jackson talked about the agreement that was reached on the Cleveland reform plan. (Plain Dealer)
Privatizers' dream, union goes along

Two things are predictable when states pass school reform laws that only apply to one city. First, that city has a largely poor, black and brown school population and second, the reform is more about privatization, charter schools and "turnaronds" than it is about anything affecting teaching and learning.

Such is the case in Ohio where T-Party Gov. Kasich just signed the Cleveland Plan For Transforming Schools into law. "Cleveland is now leading the way in school reform," Kasich said to cheers from reform supporters and groups that helped create the plan.
After much lobbying and negotiation, the plan -- which applies only to Cleveland as the state's sole district under mayoral control -- was approved by the state legislature last month. -- Plain Dealer
The new law overrides the union's contract and discards previous board-union agreements governing teacher pay and layoffs, does away with tenure, lengthens the school day and year without accompanying compensation, evaluates and pays teachers based largely on student test scores, and pushes the biggest move yet towards privately managed charter schools along the lines of the Philadelphia model. The new law is also an affront to parents, requiring them to attend meetings under penalty of law. It will take badly-needed funds away from neighborhood public schools and line the pockets of politically connected consultants.

 Calling the shots will be corporate reformers based at the Greater Cleveland Partnership, the Cleveland and George Gund foundations, Breakthrough Charter Schools and others.

The worst part of this mess is that it was supported by the Democrats and by the AFT and the Cleveland Teacher Union --not only supported, but hailed as "a model of collaboration" for the entire nation. The last time we heard that kind of talk from state union bureaucrats was here in Illinois after the passage of the anti-union SB-7 bill.

3 comments:

  1. Given our tweets yesterday how do we present this to the rank and file in a tactical way? Or just slam the leadership to bits?
    "The worst part of this mess is that it was supported by the Democrats and by the AFT and the Cleveland Teacher Union --not only supported, but hailed as "a model of collaboration" for the entire nation."
    This is Randi modus operendi all the way forever. I have a photoshop of her on my blog of her nationwide sell-out tour.

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  2. Good question. I don't have easy answer except just speak the truth. Try and set a good example for others in the union to follow. Be good at uniting with those who disagree with you on this or that issue.

    But I do know that broad-brush attacks on the union and its members, or calls for destruction of the union, as we saw from one group last week, won't be credible or taken seriously. Thanks again Norm, for the Tweet exchange.

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  3. As for the items below, you are mostly correct but let me add a few points.

    The new law overrides the union's contract and discards previous board-union agreements governing teacher pay and layoffs;

    That item was part of the original proposal called Fresh Start. After a great deal of hoopla, the CTU negotiated the removal of this far reaching idea that would have scrapped the existing Collective Bargaining Agreement.

    TRUE
    lengthens the school day and year without accompanying compensation:

    I think this section was also removed.

    TRUE
    evaluates and pays teachers based largely on student test scores

    Actually this section remains and it much deeper in that it also removes seniority for layoffs so that a veteran teacher could be easily laid off if they are placed in a lower "bucket" in the evaluation process. The bucket is a combination of classroom evaluation, tests scores and other areas. Teachers are placed in six or seven categories based on their evaluations for purposes of layoff and I think pay. There are many layoffs each year in Cleveland as the student population declines, state aid falls, and property tax worth is lowered. I find the test driven evaluation connected to layoffs quite an attack as well as the changes in tenure.
    Part of the reason for agreeing to these changes by the CTU is that the train had already been moving in this way with their Race to the Top involvement and the new evaluation system required by state law. This legislation really just speeded up these changes.

    This is not true.
    There will be 8 buckets and they are determined solely by your final evaluation score (1-4) using the new TDES system. The buckets are the 1-4 ranking combined with whether your have a continuing contract (tenure). Those with a CC are laid off after those with a limited limited contract for each score, but those with a higher score are last on any RIF list. Seniority is used as the tie-break after that. Test scores do not have a special place in this evaluation system really.

    Pushes the biggest move yet towards privately managed charter schools along the lines of the Philadelphia model

    Actually the changes with charter schools does not really increase the number. It pushes more of the high performing schools to be more directly connected to the Cleveland schools.

    It also sets in motion a Transformation Alliance that will eventually lead to some charters sharing local property tax funds with the District. In the past charters received their basic funds only from the state. This sharing could be a slippery slope for other districts

    TRUE but it's interesting that many charters opposed the creation of the TA because they wanted the least amount of accountability possible.

    Line the pockets of politically connected consultants.

    The legislation does not require a local prope

    The Cleveland plan was framed by the work of Paul Hill and his call for a portfolio of schools, the theoretical background for a lot of decentralized market driven changes across big cities these days.

    This plan was the direct work of the business community in Cleveland through local foundations. It was written by them without any input from teachers, parents, students, local politicians, etc. I wouldn't say anyone's pockets are getting lined because of this deal but it clearly demonstrates the extent that the business community calls the shots in our school district above any other participants.

    There is more to this plan and I will send you another update as it unfolds.

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Agree? Disagree? Let me hear from you.