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Mike Klonsky writes that Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Governor Bruce Rauner have brought the city and state to their knees with their austerity budgets.

“Mayor 1% finally made his long overdue payment to the teachers pension fund, but not without extracting his pound of flesh — 1,400 teachers being laid off and another $1B in borrowing, another windfall for his bankster patrons and another attack on the teachers union and teachers’ collective bargaining rights.

“Aside from the hardship the layoffs will bring to the teachers and their children and families, think about what the loss of so many union jobs means to the community and the continuing destruction of the city’s middle class.

“Think also about spiraling class sizes and program cuts in city schools and what that will mean, especially for the neediest of students who need personalization more than ever. It also makes another teachers strike that much more likely.

“By my figuring, 1,400 teacher jobs lost means minimally, about $84 million in yearly taxable income that won’t be spent in neighborhood groceries, auto dealers, hair salons and shoe stores. That translates to hundreds more lay-offs from local businesses, millions more in lost revenue for the city and state and the further pauperization of the community’s working class and small businesses owners.”

“Likewise for our sociopathic billionaire governor who will shut down the state government, with an even greater civic toll, rather than taxing his corporate and LaSalle St. cronies even one penny more on their speculative windfall profits.”

Connecticut’s Governor Dannel Malloy vetoed legislation requiring the state education commissioner to have educational experience and qualifications.


He said it encroached on the governor’s authority to name anyone he wanted, regardless of qualifications.


Mayor Bloomberg took that path when he appointed publisher Cathie Black as schools chancellor. She lasted three months.


Will Governor Malloy be comfortable if the pilot of his next flight has no experience? Will he go to a hospital where his surgeons are fresh from college with no training or experience?

Thanks to successful lobbying by representatives of higher education, the Obama administration has backed away from one of its loopiest ideas: rating every college and university in the nation.

No one loves Big Data more than the U.S. Department of Education. No federal agency understands less about the limitations of Big Data than the U.S. Department of Education.

A few days ago, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that the voucher plan adopted by the school board in Douglas County was unconstitutional. It was a split decision. It is puzzling that it was a split decision, because the Colorado state constitution explicitly prohibits any public funding of religious institutions.
Text of Section 7:
Aid to Private Schools, Churches, Sectarian Purpose, Forbidden.


Neither the general assembly, nor any county, city, town, township, school district or other public corporation, shall ever make any appropriation, or pay from any public fund or moneys whatever, anything in aid of any church or sectarian society, or for any sectarian purpose, or to help support or sustain any school, academy, seminary, college, university or other literary or scientific institution, controlled by any church or sectarian denomination whatsoever; nor shall any grant or donation of land, money or other personal property, ever be made by the state, or any such public corporation to any church, or for any sectarian purpose.


s Hess at the American Enterprise Institute writes in the National Review that the U.S. Supreme Court might well decide to throw out this part of the state constitution because it was written in the late 1870s as a Protestant ban on funding Catholic schools. Such amendments, found in 2/3 of the states’ constitutions, are known as Blaine amendments for James G. Blaine of New York, who led the movement to keep public money out of religious schools.

The Nevada legislature recently passed one of the most sweeping voucher programs in the nation. Every child in the state is eligible for a grant of $5,000 so long as they previously attended a public school for at least 100 days.


Make no mistake, this is a voucher program. Most students will use these vouchers to attend religious schools, which has been the experience of other states.


And yet, the Constitution of the state of Nevada clearly states in Article 11:


Sec: 9.  Sectarian instruction prohibited in common schools and university.  No sectarian instruction shall be imparted or tolerated in any school or University that may be established under this Constitution.

Section Ten.  No public money to be used for sectarian purposes.  No public funds of any kind or character whatever, State, County or Municipal, shall be used for sectarian purpose.
[Added in 1880. Proposed and passed by the 1877 legislature; agreed to and passed by the 1879 legislature; and approved and ratified by the people at the 1880 general election. See: Statutes of Nevada 1877, p. 221; Statutes of Nevada 1879, p. 149.]


The Nevada legislature clearly is violating the state Constitution by enacting a program that allows public money to be transferred to sectarian schools. The language could not be clearer. It is not ambiguous.


This voucher program in Nevada is not conservative; conservatives don’t ignore the explicit language of the Constitution. Conservatives don’t destroy traditional institutions that are integral to a democratic society.


The voucher promoters should be rebuked by public opinions, editorials, and the courts. They are violating the spirit and the letter of the Nevada Constitution.



Arthur Camins, director of the Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J., has a warning for Democrats that school choice is a bad choice.

He omits Republicans because they have become the party of school choice and privatization.

School choice is an alluring term, but the reality is far different from the rhetoric.

He writes:

“In our culture the “the right to choose” suggests an almost inalienable individual right, making for powerfully resonant political rhetoric. However, behind the easy-to-swallow positive connotation of choice, there is underlying message in its use in the context of education. If stated explicitly, the message might cause a little indigestion: Be out for yourself and don’t worry so much about your neighbors or community…

“However, what is moral or sensible for an individual does not make for sound or just education policy for a society. The moral burden falls not on parents, but on those who knowingly advance the wellbeing of the few at the expense of the many….

“Supporters of equity and democracy must depend upon and develop agency and hope for community solutions because when there is only despair, the only rational course of action is individual survival. Ideological supporters of privatization understand this and actively undermine democratic participation and the promise of collective solutions. That is why since the 1980’s they have followed an explicit starve-the-beast strategy to defund public institutions in order to undermine quality, public trust, and confidence. That is why they favor private charter boards over elected school boards.
I have come to believe that the struggle for equity must include a tandem strategy of opposition and advocacy.
Friends of equity need to oppose funding charter school, not because choice is inherently a bad idea but because the spread of charter schools is morally corrosive and drains money from other local schools. Since funds are always limited, the opportunities for the few come with the sacrifice of others. “They are stealing your child’s future,” might be an appropriate opposition slogan. …

“Progress requires an opt-in campaign for local public schools based on community rather than individualist values. Advocacy should highlight the fundamental characteristics of effective public schools both in the U.S. and abroad and contrast these with prevalent market-based solutions….

“Candidates need to hear from the public: There are better choices than school choice to improve education.”

A confession: an anthology that I edited in 1990 is on the Common Core recommended reading list. It is titled “The American Reader.” It has songs, poems, and speeches (thus, a mixture of “literature” and “informational text.” The CC reading list does not mention my name as the editor. I didn’t discover this until I began to receive royalty checks for this book, published 25 years ago.

Regardless, I will continue to criticize the Common Core. I don’t think a group of self-appointed educrats should tell the nation’s teachers what percentage of their time should be devoted to literature or nonfiction

I was born July 1, 1938, at 12:01 am at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Houston, Texas. I was my parents’ third child. We lived in a tiny house on Dunlop Street. Five more children followed over the next 10 years. We would eventually be five boys and three girls.


I went to public schools from K-12. Then, encouraged by my rabbi and his wife, I applied to Wellesley and was accepted. Going east to college changed my life.


Birthdays make you think back on your life as you get older. When you are young, birthdays make you either want to party or think about the future.


I’ll save the look back for my memoirs, if I ever find the time.


I’m still looking forward. The struggle to save public education against privatization and to protect kids from test-mania will grow stronger. The opt out movement will spread across the nation. Researchers will continue to demonstrate the failed policies of high-stakes testing and privatization.


You can help. If you want to make a gift for my birthday, join the Network for Public Education. Give as generously as you can. The Network helps grassroots activists across the nation and connects them to allies.


Here is the contact information: The Network for Public Education. Open the link to learn how to contribute online and/or become a member. This organization is fighting for public schools, for students, parents, teachers, and all other citizens who care about the future of our democracy.


If you want to send a check, here is the address:


Network for Public Education
P.O. Box 44200
Tucson, AZ



When Congress returns from its Independence Day recess on July 7, the U.S. Senate is scheduled to take up bipartisan legislation to overhaul “No Child Left Behind.” The bill the Senate will consider significantly reduces federal test-based accountability requirements but continues the federal mandate to test every child every year in elementary and middle school. Grassroots pressure on your two U.S. Senators can make the federal government follow the lead of many states in reversing policies that encourage standardized exam overuse and misuse.

National Help Roll Back Federal Testing Overkill — Urge Your U.S. Senators to Support the Tester Amendment Now!

Major Education Groups to Congress: Get Rid of “No Child” Law Already

California Principal Backs Down From Punishing Students Whose Families Opted Out of State Tests

Delaware Lawmakers Overwhelmingly Approve Opt Out Bill, Forward to Governor for Signature

District of Columbia How Standardized Tests Are Impeding Learning

Florida No Word on Penalties for Test Maker After Computer Exam Problems

Florida School Board Says State Downplaying Extent of Computer Test Foul Up Impact

Indiana District Supers Say Don’t Evaluate Schools With Unsound Test Data

Massachusetts Support of High-Stakes Exams Misses the Immeasurable

Minnesota Testing Faces Big Cuts

Missouri Districts Still Waiting for Delayed Testing Results

Montana Feds Should Not Punish State for Testing Company Screw-ups

Montana Two Teachers Run for State Education Superintendent to Reign In Testing

New Jersey One Step Closer to Banning K-2 Standardized Tests

New Mexico 10,000 Opted Out Statewide Because They Know the Score About PARCC Tests

New York Relaxes Gag Rule Preventing Teachers From Discussing Test Questions

New York Reasons to Be Hopeful for Assessment Reform

Ohio School Testing Metrics Punish Disadvantaged Districts and Students

Ohio Poised to Drop PARCC Test

Oregon Signs Bill Making Test Opt Outs Easier Despite Arne Duncan’s Threats

Oregon New Law Could Lead to More Opt Outs

Pennsylvania Local School Board Passes Resolution Urging State to Ease Up on Testing

Pennsylvania Spanish Speaking Students Say “No” to Standardized Tests

Tennessee: Are Test Statistics a True Measure of Learning in Public Schools?

Virginia Meeting Testing Goals Harder as Number of English Language Learners Soars

Washington Test-Makers Blame Scheduling Problems for Scoring Delay
Washington Graduation at Risk for 2,000 Due to Political Stalemate on Testing

University Admissions: June SAT Timing/Scoring Error Leads to Calls for Summer Retest, Refunds, and Rebates

Bob Schaeffer, Public Education Director
FairTest: National Center for Fair & Open Testing
office- (239) 395-6773 fax- (239) 395-6779
mobile- (239) 699-0468

For two years, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has shredded Mayor Bill de Blasio’s legislative agenda and imposed his own wishes on the city. De Blasio tried to rein in the free-wheeling charter sector, and Cuomo responded by expanding it and forcing the city to give free public space to charters or pay their rent in private space. This year, de Blasio sought permanent extension of mayoral control. He ended up with only one year.


Until today, de Blasio has faithfully supported Cuomo, despite the rebuffs and slights. He helped Cuomo get the nomination of the Working Families Party, which threatened to endorse Zephyr Teachout. He gave the premier nominating speech for Cuomo at the State Democratic convention, showing progressive support for a governor who has governed as a conservative.


Today, de Blasio finally let loose on Cuomo.



“Mayor Bill de Blasio, in candid and searing words rarely employed by elected officials of his stature, accused Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Tuesday of stymieing New York City’s legislative goals out of personal pettiness, “game-playing” and a desire for “revenge.”


“In an extraordinary interview, Mr. de Blasio, appearing to unburden himself of months’ worth of frustrations, said that Mr. Cuomo — who, like the mayor, is a Democrat — “did not act in the interests” of New Yorkers by blocking measures like reforming rent laws and allowing a long-term extension of the mayor’s ability to control the city’s public schools.


“I started a year and a half ago with a hope of a very strong partnership,” Mr. de Blasio said of the governor, whom he has known for two decades. “I have been disappointed at every turn. And these last couple of examples really are beyond the pale…..


“I’m not going to be surprised if these statements lead to some attempts at revenge,” Mr. de Blasio said, his voice even. “And we’ll just call them right out. Because we are just not going to play that way.”


Teachers know how vindictive and petty Cuomo can be. He fancies himself qualified to dictate how teachers should be evaluated, a subject about which he is totally uninformed.


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