A colleague just pointed out to me that the current Elementary and Secondary Education Act (aka NCLB) allows schools to turn over the names and addresses of students to military recruiters and institutions of higher education.


The same practice is continued in the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Parents of high school students, please note that you may opt your child out if you don’t want them to hear from military recruiters or others. (I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but I hate the name of this new act. Why can’t they just call it the Elementary and Secondary Education Act? Who will be held accountable if every students does NOT succeed?)




From page 847:

MATION.—Notwithstanding section 444(a)(5)(B) of
3 the General Education Provisions Act (20 U.S.C.
4 1232g(a)(5)(B)), each local educational agency re5
ceiving assistance under this Act shall provide, upon
6 a request made by a military recruiter or an institu7
tion of higher education, access to the name, ad8
dress, and telephone listing of each secondary school
9 student served by the local educational agency, un10
less the parent of such student has submitted the
11 prior consent request under paragraph (2).
12 ‘‘(2) CONSENT.—
13 ‘‘(A) OPT-OUT PROCESS.—A parent of a
14 secondary school student may submit a written
15 request, to the local educational agency, that
16 the student’s name, address, and telephone list17
ing not be released for purposes of paragraph
18 (1) without prior written consent of the parent.
19 Upon receiving such request, the local edu20
cational agency may not release the student’s
21 name, address, and telephone listing for such
22 purposes without the prior written consent of
23 the parent.

Mercedes Schneider here offers the latest version of the new federal law that will replace No Child Left Behind. Prepare yourself. It is over 1,000 pages. Look for the titles that interest you. Any law that is so long has all sorts of political compromises tucked into it, and all sorts of favors to lobbyists and special interests. It is a Christmas tree, just in time for Christmas.


In this post, Mercedes analyzes the latest draft, the one that came out of the House-Senate conference committee and will likely be made law.

The public schools of the District of Columbia began their era of radical “reform” in 2007. The City Council, desperate for a quick fix to the low test scores and bureaucratic dysfunction of the school system, believed the much-heralded claims of a “New York City miracle,” supposedly due to mayoral control. The D.C. Council adopted mayoral control, hoping for the same miracle. Hard-charging Mayor Adrian Fenty, acting on the advice of NYC Chancellor Joel Klein, hired Michelle Rhee to be the Chancellor of the D.C. school system in 2007.


Rhee became the national face of the new reform movement. She closed schools, despite community protests. She fired principals and teachers. She ridiculed anyone who spoke of poverty as making excuses. She negotiated a sweeping teacher evaluation system and made war with the teachers’ union. She appeared on the covers of both TIME and Newsweek. She even won plaudits from both Presidential candidates during one of their debates in 2008. According to TIME, Rhee had a plan to fix the D.C. schools. She even predicted she would make it the best urban district in the nation.


Rhee was a lightning rod for admirers and critics. In 2010, Mayor Fenty lost his bid for re-election; Rhee was the central issue. She resigned, and the new Mayor Vincent Gray appointed Rhee’s deputy Kaya Henderson, fearful of offending the powerful supporters of Rhee and her methods. Henderson pledged to continue Rhee’s initiatives, but with a less confrontational style.


So after eight years, how did D.C. students do on the new PARCC test? Recall that D.C. won a Race to the Top Grant and embraced the Common Core standards.


The results are in, and they are appalling.


“District of Columbia officials released results from a recent citywide elementary school exam Monday, and the scores are abysmal. Less than a quarter of students met expectations in either math or English.


“Among all eighth grade students who took the test, just 3 percent met expectations in math, while 8 percent of seventh graders met the math expectations, according to Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test results….


“Of all the D.C. public school students in grades three through eight who took the test, only 25 percent met English expectations, and just 21 percent are on the correct level in math achievement.


“Around half of individual elementary schools didn’t have a single student who exceeded expectations in math….


“In October the test results for high school students showed just one in 10 sophomores is on track to be prepared for college.


“The vast majority of city schools scored flat zeros in math preparedness, with the 10 percent average being largely propped up by two premiere magnet schools with rigorous admission standards.


“Kaya Henderson, chancellor of DC Public Schools, called the test results “sobering,” and called for more “strategic investments” in the city’s failing schools.”


G.F. Brandenburg, retired D.C. Teacher and lose observer of the District’s schools, says the combination of all-testing-all-the-time and putting half the students in unregulated charter schools was not successful.


Eight years of reform and what was accomplished? D.C. reforms cost many hundreds of millions of dollars. Many professionals were fired. There was little or no benefit to students. In Wendy Kopp’s last book, “A Chance to Make History,” she points to D.C. as an example of Teach for America’s ability to reform an entire district. That story line just dissolved.


Who will be held accountable? Who will really put students in the District of Columbia first? If any district can be considered a full-scale trial of the new punitive, competitive, business-style approach to education, it is the District of Columbia. How sad.





Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2015/11/30/less-than-a-quarter-of-dc-elementary-students-prepared-for-school/#ixzz3t2oUCY9b






Today is a new tradition called “Giving Day.” It is a time to support charities and causes that you care about. Giving to others makes you feel good. Give what you can afford.


When Pope Francis arrived in Uganda last week, he said:


“The Gospel tells us that from those to whom much has been given, much will be demanded. In that spirit, I encourage you to work with integrity and transparency for the common good.”


That should be the spirit of #GivingDay.


I would like to share with you the names of the groups that I am supporting. I hope you will consider sending a contribution to one of these groups. All of these organizations support the common good, with integrity and transparency.




The Network for Public Education. NPE is fighting the privatization of public education and high-stakes testing. It advocates for a better education for all children, for the arts and a full curriculum, and for strengthening the education profession. The Network for Public Education Fund is fiscally sponsored by Voices for Education, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The donate button is on this page: http://www.networkforpubliceducation.org




I will contribute to a program I created at Wellesley College to support public education and the common good. The fund, administered by the Education Department, sponsors an annual lecture, student internships in local public schools, research projects, seminars, subsidies for students who can’t afford to pay fees for state certification, and (after my death), an endowed professorship committed to public education and the common good. My hope is that this program will send forth well-educated young women who are prepared to devote their lives to teaching and to the improvement of public education for all, and that in time it will become a center for research to support our precious heritage: free public education. I gave the first lecture in the annual series a month ago; Pasi Sahlberg will be the speaker next year. To donate to this fund, send a check to:



The Diane Ravitch Fund for Public Education

Wellesley College
Development Operations
106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02481




Class Size Matters
Director Leonie Haimson has been a national leader as an activist and researcher for class size reduction, parent empowerment, and data privacy.
You can give here http://www.classsizematters.org/





FairTest has been leading the struggle against the misuse and overuse of standardized testing for decades. It continues to be an invaluable source of information for parents, educators, and policymakers.




I would be thrilled if you support any of these tax-deductible projects. Please let the recipient know that you are donating at my request, and I will send you a personal thank you note for any gift of $100 or more.




I seem to get an unusual number of contacts from people who have left teaching at Success Academy; recently I had a long meeting with someone working at the central headquarters of SA. Everyone wants to clear his/her conscience. I tell them to write it down. Not everyone does. This teacher did.




Why I Left Success Academy



I recently resigned from my teaching position at Success Academy after over a year with the large New York City charter school network. My reason for leaving was twofold: the environment was toxic for children, and, in turn, employees.



As I look back, my biggest regret is not trusting my gut and leaving in the first month.


Upon hire, I was placed in an Assistant Teacher role in a classroom at one of the Success Academy (“SA”) elementary school locations. The teacher I was placed with, a woman who I will call Ms. X, was lauded as having a strong command of the SA teaching model. From the first day that our young scholars arrived, her style was rigid and militaristic. I recognize that every teacher has her own style, and that having order in a classroom is of utmost importance, but I quickly began to feel uneasy with her approach to behavior management and instruction. Multiple children would cry daily because their academic performance was not up to her standards. Corrections and time outs were given for the inability to solve problems the “correct” way. The barking at and scolding of these six and seven year-old children was constant.


Ms. X would refer to certain students as “stupid” during teacher meetings. There was one particular child for which she had little patience. After I felt she was physically rough with this child, I confided in another teacher at the school. This teacher conveyed the incident to the Principal. The Principal immediately met with me. Rather than concern, she expressed frustration at the fact that I had talked to another teacher about the incident. The Principal appeared agitated as she stated she would have to investigate this issue. Despite stating she would investigate, she asked me no questions about the incident. Within a few weeks of this incident, I was moved to another classroom within the school. Nothing came of that incident; I am quite sure it was never mentioned again after that day. I note that Ms. X was promoted in 2015.


The classroom I was moved into was led by Mr. Z. This classroom was a joyous one, and I built strong relationships with the children and parents. Despite the fact that the classroom was joy-filled and the children learned, the leadership team frowned upon Mr. Z’s teaching practice. It was clear that Mr. Z loved children and wanted them to succeed, but he did not fit the SA mold; that rigid, behavior management style where children must sit perfectly straight with locked hands every minute. Mr. Z stayed until the end of the school year, and then found employment at another school.


I did not get to stay with that classroom. In February, the Principal told me she had an “opportunity” for me to help out at another SA location, a struggling school in our Network. I was advised by other teachers that when leadership presents you with such an “opportunity,” you do not say no, as you will be viewed as uncooperative; that this was not an option, but a must.


Thus, in mid-February of 2015, I began teaching fourth grade scholars at another SA location. This particular SA location had gained notoriety throughout the Network for its “unruly” children. Nonetheless, I felt optimistic about having my own classroom; I had received little feedback about my teaching at the first SA location, but had led my second classroom on my own plenty of times and, when I did receive feedback, it was positive.


After seven days of teaching fourth grade, the Principal stated she was concerned about management and moved me out of the position. She had never once observed me teach. I was the fourth teacher to fill that position during the school year. I was left bewildered as to what had gone wrong; I had barely been observed by the Dean, who seemed too “busy” to be bothered, and was given little instruction as to what their vision was for the class.


Thereafter, I became a science teacher for scholars in kindergarten and first grade. Some of the children were labeled as what the Network refers to “BBGLs”: Behavior Below Grade Level scholars, meaning their behavior was an issue. Indeed, there were some concerning behavior issues at the school: children pushing over or throwing desks and chairs, biting teachers, and running out of classrooms. I taught science class alone and often found certain scholars unmanageable. When I asked for support from the Dean, she did not answer calls or texts.


The Dean would intermittently and inconsistently suspend children. Sometimes, if a child ran out of a classroom, he or she would be suspended. But other children were consistently suspended. I could not discern any rhyme or reason to the suspensions. One of my kindergarten scholars, “M”, was suspended constantly, almost every other day of school at times. M’s father had passed away earlier in the year, and he clearly was not dealing well with this change. I do not know how M’s single, working mother, who had other children, dealt with her child being out of school every other day.


I built strong relationships with many of my science students, and they performed well on their science assessments. As a whole, however, my time at this second SA school was difficult and confusing. I and many other teachers felt frustrated and unsupported. During the time I was there, I watched as teachers were mysteriously fired or demoted.


At the end of the year, I was advised by head of Human Resources, Andrew Lauck, that I would be teaching at another SA location in the fall. I was not told there was any particular reason for this move, just that I would be teaching at another location. I had met with Mr. Lauck twice in the preceding year to discuss my trajectory, and at our last meeting in February we had discussed me being a lead teacher in my own classroom for the 2015-2016 academic year.


In the first week of June of 2015, I set up a visit to the new SA location at which I would be teaching in the fall. I met and had a brief, albeit bizarre, conversation with the Principal, during which time she discussed the culture of her school as one where behavior management is a non-issue. I felt unwelcome and uncomfortable during my first meeting with her.


In mid-June, this Principal (Principal “Y”) had the Network reach out to me and ask if I would fill a non-teaching (data management) position. I was confused, as teaching experience was a necessity in my career trajectory. I fearfully declined the position, and reached out to Principal Y for clarification on why she wanted me to move into a non-teaching position. After attempting to contact her three times without response, I gave up.


On August 17, 2015, I began teaching an ICT (Integrated Co-Teaching) class with a co-teacher at Principal Y’s school. Essentially, about 40% of my children had individualized education plans, and are educated with peers in a general education classroom setting. From the first day, I knew I had a great group of children, and was enjoying teaching and getting to know each of them with my co-teacher.


On August 25, after seven school days, I was brought to a meeting with the Principal and the Vice Principal. At this time, Principal stated that I had the “lowest performing classroom” in the school, which consists of approximately 600 students. Notably, the children had not taken a single assessment, and I had been observed briefly on two occasions. Their “low performance” was based not on academics, but on their posture and my “scanning and noticing” as to whether their hands were locked, eyes were tracking, and backs were straight at all times. I was told by Principal Y that the bar was set too low in my classroom; that I was an ineffective teacher; and that I had no passion for teaching and should have taken the data management position she recommended in June. I knew better than to ask questions or try to refute their statements, because I would be labeled “difficult” or unwilling to receive feedback. I was, frankly, worried about losing my job. I informed her that I would like to continue teaching, as I knew I could “turn around” my classroom. I left the meeting with no tangible advice or next steps.


Immediately following the meeting, I received an email from Mr. Lauck asking whether I would like to reconsider the data management position. It became clear to me at that time that Principal Y and Mr. Lauck were trying to push me into a non-teaching position because I did not fit the SA mold, one in which children are expected to have locked hands and straight backs all day.


Notably, the first suspension in my class had also occurred on August 25. One of my scholars, a BBGL, was suspended for “violent behavior by balling his fists up and throwing his papers on the floor.” This decision was made by the Dean, and was one with which I did not feel comfortable. This scholar was subsequently suspended again on September 29 for kicking another scholar. I met with the Dean multiple times regarding this scholar; multiple times she stated that “Success Academy is not for everyone.”


Three other suspensions occurred in my class. One of my special education students was suspended twice. On the first occasion, September 23, he was found being disruptive in the bathroom. His disruptive behavior occurred frequently; he was hyperactive and it was nearly impossible for him to sit still during a lesson, let alone lock his hands. As a result, he racked up corrections and became frustrated daily. It was a Catch 22: if I did not give him corrections, I would be deemed ineffective; if I did, the child became frustrated. So, on that particular day, he was brought to the Dean. When he went to the Dean, he allegedly refused to speak to her. On September 23, he was suspended for “Repeatedly refusing to respond when addressed by leadership.”


In the following weeks, Principal Y scolded my grade team for the amount of suspensions that were occurring. Clearly, there was the overarching concern of increasing the school’s suspension data. Like academic data, the suspension data of each school is tracked by the Network, and schools are ranked against one another. Leaders feared being reprimanded about their suspension data.


In October, leadership began to observe in our classrooms daily. No feedback was given during these visits. The grade team felt tense and nervous; it was not made clear to teachers why leadership was present in rooms daily. Principal Y would enter the classroom, scowling, and said very little. When she did speak, she seemed irritated with children and teachers alike. We had daily team meetings during one of our two prep periods about “pressing” the children.


The environment was toxic. Between September and October, teachers quit, were fired, and were hired. Teachers were moved around classrooms as the staff continued to change. Colleagues wondered why leadership was observing in classrooms daily, and whether they were going to be fired. Teachers would hide in the bathroom and cry; leadership found it funny to say “keep the crying to yourself” or “go cry in the bathroom.”


This environment is challenging for both new and veteran teachers at Success Academy. The time constraints of having only one forty-minute prep during a school day that exceeds nine hours, followed by staying late hours after children were dismissed, led to frustrated teachers that worked late nights and weekends. Teachers’ responsibilities are constantly increased. Additionally, teachers felt nervous and tense with constant observations and negative feedback. Teachers were hanging on by a thread, to say the least.


At SA, there is an emphasis on question-based learning and avoiding direct instruction; direct instruction is indeed a huge “no-no” that will get you in big trouble as an SA teacher (drone?). That said, on the day or days before an internal assessment, teachers will clear schedules to make time to prep for what will be tested on the upcoming assessment. That means drilling students on problems and concepts that will be tested on the assessment. Internal assessments are almost every week; so a large portion of at least one day a week is spent drilling on standards that will be on an upcoming assessment. SA teachers do teach/focus on what will be on the exam. As for state test preparation, that is all testing grade students do come February: prepare for the tests. The entire day is spent on practice tests and questions, and reviewing same. The only breaks are for lunch, recess, and reward/incentive time for students who perform well. Students who do not perform well are corralled into groups to be reprimanded and to re-take their assessments. Teachers are required to come in on certain Saturdays for test prep during this “test prep season,” which lasts for months (February through mid-April).


I knew that this organization was taking advantage of teachers. It became difficult for me to put on the show every day; to act like I was 100% behind their system. I never stopped working hard, but my morale plummeted. While I believed in, and still believe in, Success Academy’s mission of giving children an excellent public education, I could not support their drastic behavioral expectations and discipline policies for children, as well as the way they exploit and demoralize teachers.


I believe my low morale was noticed, and in November, I received a new wave of negative feedback around my “body language.” Leadership claimed I had negative body language not while I was teaching, but while I observed others teaching. I knew that I would never be able to fit the SA mold and could no longer fake agreement with their policies; that they wanted me out; and that they would continue to think of ways to break down my morale. So, I left.


I feel sad that I’ve left the kids and their families. I loved my kids and all of their unique personalities. It thrilled me to watch them learn and grow. I had good relationships with many of their parents, and I feel as though I disappointed them and let them down by abandoning them during the school year. But this was a move I had to make. I could no longer take being a cog in the SA machine, perpetuating what I feel is unfair and abusive treatment of children and employees alike.







Steve Singer, a teacher in Pennsylvania, warns that the standardization movement will crush educators and students. He sees no value in having a single set of national standards. Is there a school that doesn’t teach reading and writing, mathematics and basic skills? No. If there were, taxpayers would soon close it. Should states legislate about evolution? Good grief, no. Either they would legislate not to teach it, or to give equal time to creationism, or they would then think it necessary to legislate their views on every controversial school issue.


Singer sees the drive to standardize the schools as similar to having every restaurant become a McDonald’s.


We shouldn’t want all of our public schools to be uniform. When everyone teaches the same things, it means we leave out the same things. There is far too much to know in this world than can ever be taught or learned in one lifetime. Choices will always need to be made. The question is who should make them?

If we allow individuals to make different choices, it diversifies what people will know. Individuals will make decisions, which will become the impetus to learning, which will then become intrinsic and therefore valued. Then when you get ten people together from various parts of the country, they will each know different things but as a whole they will know so much more than any one member. If they all know the same things, as a group they are no stronger, no smarter than each separate cog. That is not good for society.

We certainly don’t want this ideal when going out to eat. We don’t want every restaurant to be the same. We certainly don’t want every restaurant to be McDonalds.

Imagine if every eatery was a burger joint. That means there would be no ethnic food. No Mexican. No Chinese. No Italian. There would be nothing that isn’t on that one limited menu. Moreover, it would all be prepared the same way. Fast food restaurants excel in consistency. A Big Mac at one McDonalds is much like a Big Mac at any other. This may be comforting but – in the long run – it would drive us insane. If our only choices to eat were on a McDonald’s Value Menu, we would all soon die of diabetes.

But this is what we seem to want of our public schools. Or do we?
There is a bait and switch going on in this argument for school standardization. When we talk about making all schools the same, we’re not talking about all schools. We’re only talking about traditional public schools. We’re not talking about charter schools, parochial schools or private schools.

How strange! The same people who champion this approach rarely send their own children to public schools. They want sameness for your children but something much different for their own.


The strangest contradiction occurs when the same people advocate on one hand for school choice, but on the other for no choice about what children should learn.

The for-profit Chester Community Charter School has been a continual source of controversy. The founder, a lawyer, was one of the biggest donors to Republican Governor Tom Corbett and served on his education transition team. He made millions by supplying the goods and services needed by the school. The charter school, which claimed excellent test scores, drew more than half the students in its district, leaving the public schools teetering on the verge of bankruptcy. By state formula, the charter school is paid more for each special education student than the district is paid, further impoverishing the district since the funding comes out of the district’s allotment of state money. In recent years, teachers have had to work without salary until state aid bailed out the district.


Now the school and its staff stand accused of having systematically cheated on tests.

The Notebook in Philadelphia reports:

A former testing coordinator at Chester Community Charter School, the state’s largest bricks-and-mortar charter with more than 3,000 students, has been sanctioned by the state for “systemic violations of the security of the PSSA exams” over the five-year period between 2007 and 2011.

The school was under scrutiny for testing irregularities by the Pennsylvania Department of Education as part of a statewide cheating scandal that broke in 2011.

CCCS is operated for profit by a company owned by Vahan Gureghian, a major Republican donor and power broker who was among the largest individual contributors to former Gov. Tom Corbett’s campaign and a member of his education transition team. During his term, Corbett visited CCCS to tout it as an exemplar of high-quality education for low-income communities.

Now with two campuses, CCCS has drawn more than half the K-8 students who live in the Chester Upland School District.

The state’s disciplinary action against the former coordinator, Patricia A. Sciamanna, was for violating testing rules during years that CCCS was struggling to meet federal student proficiency targets used for critical decisions, including whether a charter should be renewed.

The Pennsylvania Professional Standards and Practices Commission (PSPC) suspended Sciamanna’s instructional and administrative licenses, as well as her eligibility to work in a charter or cyber charter, for two years….


The school’s statement reiterated its longstanding position that PDE has made no determination against the school itself in regards to cheating.

“The PDE closed its review of CCCS in September 2012, with no finding of wrongdoing by the school,” the statement said.

That month, a letter from PDE sent to CCCS, however, cited “overwhelming evidence of testing irregularities” and required the school to adopt strict testing protocols.

CCCS is now one of nine districts or charters in the state on an “open watch list,” meaning that its test administration continues to be closely monitored and supervised by PDE.

Test scores at the school plunged under new security measures and have remained relatively low since.


Although much of the public attention around adult cheating on standardized tests in Pennsylvania has been focused on Philadelphia schools, the statewide investigation launched in 2011 probed suspicious results in 38 districts and 11 charters across Pennsylvania.


One was CCCS.


In July 2011, the Notebook and NewsWorks reported on a state-commissioned analysis showing widespread test score irregularities at dozens of Pennsylvania schools in 2009. In response, the Pennsylvania Department of Education commissioned a further analysis of PSSA results from 2010 to 2011, then launched an investigation into those whose results was most suspicious. CCCS was flagged multiple times for an unusually high number of wrong-to-right erasures on the test booklets.

The investigation went on for more than a year. The September 2012 letter, sent by then-Deputy Education Secretary Carolyn Dumaresq, recounted how PDE initiated the probe “based on the statistical improbability that the students made these erasures themselves.”

But PDE then allowed the school to conduct its own investigation, “which did not yield clear conclusions notwithstanding the overwhelming evidence of testing irregularities,” the letter said.

In February of that year, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, CCCS attorney Francis J. Catania had written to Dumaresq that the school’s investigation “uncovered absolutely no evidence of testing improprieties or irregularities” – instead establishing that “improvements in PSSA test scoring are the direct result of hard work, innovative educational programming and persistent preparation by the students, teachers, administrators and parents at CCCS, and not some purported nefarious conduct or ‘cheating.'”

Catania suggested the erasures were due to test-taking strategies taught to the students.

Nevertheless, after the school reported the inconclusive results, “PDE returned to complete its investigation,” according to Dumaresq’s letter. PDE then spelled out strict testing protocols that the school said it would follow, including 24-hour security cameras where the tests are stored and in all classrooms in which students take them. In addition, PDE sent outside monitors to supervise all test administrations.

Through its history, CCCS struggled to make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), the test score and performance targets under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. The school made AYP in 2004 but then fell short for four years in a row from 2005 through 2008.

A fifth year of failing to meet targets would have triggered sanctions under NCLB, including a potential change in management.

The scores climbed in 2009, and for three years in a row, through 2011, they were high enough for the school to earn Adequate Yearly Progress status, an indicator that enhanced the school’s credibility in the Chester community. The school’s enrollment saw continued growth.

After the strict test protocols were put in place in 2012, proficiency rates at CCCS plummeted by an average of 30 percentage points in every grade and subject. In letters to parents and the media, the school blamed the drop on budget cuts.

Since then, scores have remained low – similar to scores of some Chester-Upland district schools.

That district has been in dire financial straits for decades, most recently exacerbated by its huge payments to CCCS and two other charters. Due to quirks in the state charter funding formula, the district sends $40,000 for each special education student at a charter, a figure that far outstrips any other in the state and has helped to virtually bankrupt Chester schools.

This fall, when it was unclear whether Chester’s district schools could afford to open their doors, Gov. Wolf sought a rescue plan for the district in which, among other actions, the payments to the charters for special education students would be lowered to $16,000. The charters, including CCCS, agreed to accept a payment of $27,000 per student as part of a compromise plan that was approved by the courts…

The settlement with Sciamanna was the result of a negotiation. The state Department of Education, which brought the complaint in October 2013, had initially sought permanent revocation of her credentials but settled for the two-year suspension.

A review of the state’s website listing disciplinary actions against Pennsylvania educators shows most of those implicated in the cheating scandal in Philadelphia received harsher punishments than did Sciamanna. For example, the five Philadelphia School District teachers identified by the state for disciplinary action in 2014 – Radovan Bratic, Michael Reardon, Phyllis Patselas, Alene Goldstein, and Deborah Edwards Dillard – all had to surrender their teaching certifications.

Mike Klonsky reports the latest talk in Chicago.


Talk of the town: #ResignRahm

New York policy makers saw a problem: too many students were failing the Algebra exam required for graduation. Result: more kids failed. What happens next? The tests will be made harder. What do you think will happen now? Will the policymakers blame teachers? Will the public figure out that making tests harder increases the failure rate? Why do legislators and policy makers think that kids work harder and learn more if the tests are more rigorous? Tests are not instruction. They are measures.


Some students take the Algebra exam four, five, six times. At one school that raised its passing rate on the Algebra test, the school dropped art, music, and health.


I have been reading Andrew Hacker’s “The Math Myth.” He does a good job of demolishing the claims that everyone needs Algebra.


Common sense, anyone?

Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post hates the teachers’ union. It hates the union so much that it blames the union for whatever it doesn’t like. Today, the Post says the massive opt out in New York was controlled by the union. Imagine that: the parents of 220,000 children take orders from the union. Wow, who knew that parents were so easily manipulated?


As the Post sees it, the union doesn’t want teachers to be evaluated at all, so they pulled the puppet strings and the parents did as the union bosses told them. The stronghold of the union is New York City, where the number of opt outs was minuscule. Why didn’t the opt out movement succeed where the union was strongest?


Note to the editorial board of the New York Post: Please meet with the leaders of New York State Allies for Public Education. Let them explain to you why they led the opt outs.


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