Archives for category: Closing schools

Whose schools are closing? Is there a pattern?

Take a look at this graphic.

Tweet it. Share it.

And think about it. What is going on?

“Two roads diverged in a wood,” begins one of Robert Frost’s most famous poems.

In 2011, Arthur Camins described the fateful choice confronting American education. In 2011, he wrote:

“U.S. education is at a transformational moment. The choices we make will determine whether our schools become collaborative and democratic or prescriptive and authoritarian. The policies proposed by the federal government for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act will create some good schools for some students while hurting many more and will do little to improve teaching or learning.”

Now, in 2013, he writes that our leaders are taking us down the wrong road:

“We have traveled much further down the latter road than I imagined even in my most pessimistic moments. Charter schools and school closings, value-added, metrics-based teacher evaluation and pay systems and prescriptive turnaround models have all gained momentum, while so-called reform–minded billionaires have influenced elections and administrative hiring around the nation. Perhaps, most disturbing is that this has proceeded despite persistent credible evidentiary challenges, while scholars from around the world have pointed out that no country has made accelerated improvement by relying on market-based policies.”

Two low-performing for-profit Imagine charter schools in Fort Wayne, Indiana, were supposed to close because of their poor academic records. But instead of closing, they are merging with Horizon Christian Academy, where students will be encouraged to apply for vouchers.

Karen Francisco, the editorial page editor of the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette, says that we now know that school “reform” has nothing to do with accountability as this move enables failing charters to evade any accountability for their performance.

Meanwhile, some public schools in Indiana are closing because of budget cuts.

A reader offered the following comments on the relationship between Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and the Broad Foundation:

“There is no way Duncan limited testing when he was in Chicago because it would have impeded the corporate education reform agenda.

Arne Duncan was on the board of the Broad Foundation while he was the leader of Chicago schools. The modus operandi of Broad Foundation is deception. It is the method of implementing the Broad Foundations anti-democratic agenda.

On Page 10 of the 2009/2010 Broad Foundation Annual Report http://tinyurl.com/6w5sps2
it says:

“Prior to becoming U.S. secretary of education, Arne Duncan was CEO of Chicago Public Schools, where he hosted 23 Broad Residents. Duncan now has five Broad Residents and alumni working with him in the U.S. Department of Education.”

On Page 35 of the same annual report it says:

“The election of President Barack Obama and his appointment of Arne Duncan, former CEO of Chicago Public Schools, as the U.S. secretary of education, marked the pinnacle of hope for our work in education reform. In many ways, we feel the stars have finally aligned.

With an agenda that echoes our decade of investments—charter schools, performance pay for teachers, accountability, expanded learning time and national standards—the Obama administration is poised to cultivate and bring to fruition the seeds we and other reformers have planted.”

A reader (Mom/Speducator) has an idea for President Obama. Instead of going to Mooresville, North Carolina, to talk up the high-tech classroom, she says, how about this:

“Shouldn’t he have instead traveled to Chicago to offer support to the thousands of families whose lives will be in upheaval in a matter of months.”

Paul Thomas analyzes the latest plan to save the D.C. Public schools, this one prepared by a law firm on behalf of City Councilmember David Catania. Thomas finds that it is just as innovative, perhaps even more innovative, than past innovations. On the other hand, it might be somewhat less innovative than past innovations. But what is clear is that it uses all the same tools, the same carrots and sticks, as past innovations. At least, the Councilman says, he is trying. That’s innovative too. Or is it?

Ellen Lubic of UCLA writes in response to an earlier post which asserted that the goal of corporate reform is gentrification, not education reform:

In support of what is being posited here, one only needs to review the landmark Supreme Court ruling in 2005 in the case of Kelo vs. City of New London. It is referred to as the “reverse Robin Hood case where land is taken from the poor and given to the rich.”

In this case a privately owned shopping center was taken by eminent domain and then sold by the city to a private corporation for redevelopment. This happened on the theory that the new development would bring more tax funding for the City.

Now this is extended by Chicago school closings, this appropriated property which indeed can be used for ostensible redevelopment…e.g. gentrification of the South Side.

Last night Charlie Rose interviewed Rahm Emanuel and the Mayor stressed his goals with his top priority being public education. He repeatedly spoke of how difficult it is to make change, but that his intention is to stick with it and keep his policy of school reform.

It is all very disheartening. Who can be trusted to work for The People…all The People?

Today, in Los Angeles, the LAUSD School Board is meeting to do budgeting, mainly of the huge new funding brought into the mix by the windfall of Prop. 30 which caused California taxes to be raised. Our Governor promised to focus distribution heavily in favor of inner city schools. The outcry from the suburbs is resounding. And now, Brown wants to spend the money mainly for implementing Common Core.

All over our county teachers and activists are beginning to emulate Chicago’s brave teachers, and committees and protest groups are being formed. It is a slow awakening in the second largest school district in the nation where Eli Broad has way too much voice and power…but I am hoping it will lead to a giant protest when our city realizes that we have the greatest amount of school closings in America, happening so quietly, fostered by Villaraigosa and Deasy, and leading to the highest number of charter schools .Putting facts before the public is difficult with so much controlled media and only one major newspaper, the LA Times, which Rupert Murdoch is intent on buying.

I know that Howard Blume reads this blog and I hope he will continue to focus on charter scams and Parent Revolution scams, all funded by the free market billionaires, Eli Broad, Rupert Murdoch, the Walton Family Foundation, etc. with the goal of making public education a free market opportunity.

Those hoping that a Senate rewrite of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (now known as No Child Left Behind) would recognize the damage of the past 12 years of federally-mandated high-stakes testing will be disappointed by the Senate Democrats’ proposal, says FAIRTEST. The new proposal completely ignores the grassroots rebellion by parents, geachers, students, and local school boards against the punitive misuse of testing.

Here is the FAIRTEST statement:

FairTest
National Center for Fair & Open Testing
for further information:
Dr. Monty Neill (617) 477-9792
or Bob Schaeffer (239) 395-6773

for immediate release, Tuesday, June 4, 2013

U.S. SENATE EDUCATION BILL FAILS TO REVERSE “NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND” DAMAGE;
IGNORES MESSAGE FROM CONSTITUENTS’ RESISTANCE TO HIGH-STAKES TESTING;
GRASSROOTS BOYCOTTS, OPT-OUTS AND RESOLUTIONS SAY, “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH”

Education legislation unveiled in the U.S. Senate today is “grossly inadequate to undo the damage of the ‘No Child Left Behind’ (NCLB) test-and-punish era,” according to the country’s leading assessment reform organization. “Rather than embracing policies that would improve learning and teaching, the bill drafted by Senate Education Committee Chair Tom Harkin (D – Iowa) follows the counterproductive path of the Obama-Duncan administration,” explained Dr. Monty Neill, Executive Director of the National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest). “It also ignores the growing grassroots movement against high-stakes standardized exams.”

Among the weaknesses in the Senate proposal cited by FairTest:

– This bill maintains NCLB’s testing requirements, which have failed to fulfill the law’s fundamental promises of higher overall achievement and smaller gaps between racial groups.
– Even more testing will be required because states seeking Title II funds will have to include student test scores in teacher evaluation.
– Focusing sanctions on the lowest-scoring schools will lift the worst punishments from most suburban communities while leaving low-income, minority neighborhoods at continued risk.

“The bill House Republicans are developing is no better,” Neill continued. “They may turn sanctions over to the states. But they have no plan for the federal government to provide the support necessary to build stronger schools in low-income communities. They, too, seek to coerce states into judging teachers based on student test scores.”

Neill concluded, “Instead of pursuing ‘more of the same’ failed policies, policy-makers need to listen to their constituents. It is time to replace high-stakes testing schemes with assessment systems that help improve educational quality and equity.”

Anthony Cody gets stronger and sharper with every column he writes.

In this post, he explains how the best defense is a good offense.

He shows how critics of NCLB were tricked in 2008, then tricked again by Race to the Top.

It’s time to stop collaborating with those who want to destroy public education, he says.

It’s time to recognize, he writes, that Common Core is old wine in new bottles. Instead of getting rid of the testing and accountability dragnet, we will be ensnared in it even more deeply.

He writes,

“The Common Core could be called a “High Tech Rehabilitation of High Stakes Tests.” The major goal of the project has been to overcome objections to data-driven school reform, by offering standards and tests that are so new and different that we will not mind having our schools driven by them. They are heavily supported by a coalition of corporate entities that stand to make billions from the privatization of education. If we cannot mount a coherent counterproposal, we will be stuck objecting piecemeal to the worst elements of this regime, just as we did with NCLB. This may give us some small victories, but the entire project will remain intact.”

What would a good offense look like? The first step, as he puts it, is to “discredit bogus claims and false solutions,” as we do here regularly, like the stories about the miracle schools where 100% of the students graduate and go to college (except for those that don’t), or the miracle claims for mayoral control (but forget about D.C. and Cleveland), or the phony claims about privatization and inexperienced teachers.

What else? Read his post.

TIME magazine put Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on its cover and praised him as a new kind of “pragmatic” Democrat, the kind that busts unions, ignores parents, and cultivates the approval of the business community. That is certainly a ne kind of Democrat.

For a critique of TIME’s fawning coverage, read the article by Peter Hart of FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting).

This is my favorite part of Hart’s critique, which shows the blatant bias in the magazine’s coverage:

“Time doesn’t dwell on criticisms of Emanuel’s policies; readers are told that “the Chicago Teachers Union, a power unto itself, loosed its heavy artillery”–which sounds menacing–and that some people “charged that the closures targeted majority-black schools with majority-black faculties.”
Could it be that people “charged” that because it was true? As the Chicago Sun-Times reported (3/6/13), “Nine out of 10 of the Chicago Public School students potentially affected by school closings this year are black.”

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