Archives for category: Stand for Children

Jeannie Kaplan, who was an elected member of the Denver school board, has done an amazing job of investigative research on the money that Denver lavishes on two charter chains: Denver School of Science and Technology and Strive. These two chains get the lion’s share of charter funding. Their charters get the best space; other charters are poor relations.

These two chains together have 20 of Denver’s 57 charters. Denver is very generous to its charters, paying their rent and virtually all their costs. The elected school board never approved the arrangement, but that’s a moot point since privatizers now control 6 of the board’s 7 seats.

How cozy is Denver’s power structure with the privatization movement? Very. Consider this:

“So, there you have it. Equal and more equal. A “Compact” intended to “level the playing field” for charters. But as we can see some charters are more equal than others. And as the numbers of charters increases, connections among various Colorado government officials, “reformers” and the Denver Public Schools become even more important and relevant. Just last month the Mayor’s Chief of Children’s Affairs left the city to become – drumroll, please – the Chief of External Outreach for Strive charter schools. Her previous “reform” job was as Colorado’s first statewide Director of Stand for Children. She is following the former DPS Chief of Staff into Denver’s education “reform” world, the latter of whom left the District to become Colorado’s executive director for Democrats for Education Reform (DFER). Denver’s former Manager of Safety is now the DPS General Counsel, followed by the former Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives who this month started as the Chief Financial Officer for Denver Public Schools. The former Speaker just happened to be the deciding vote moving “teacher effectiveness” legislation, SB-191, out of committee in 2009. Legislators and voters beware. All the players are in place for a Denver Public Schools lead legislative agenda which will undoubtedly try to further this national “education reform” model. And when you add in a 6-1 nationally financed Board of Education, who needs actual mayoral control of your school board? It will be interesting to follow these new careers as more and more taxpayer money goes to “equal” and “more equal” charters. What would the animals think?”

Let’s face it. If Arne resigned, as the delegates to the NEA convention recommended in Denver, teachers would be thrilled to see one of the worst Secretaries of Education go away, but would we get someone worse? Would it be Ted Mitchell, who makes no bones about his love of privatization and for-profits? Would it be the teachers’ nemesis Michelle Rhee? Most reformers make too much money to step down to a cabinet job, so maybe it would be one of Jeb Bush’s Chiefs for Change, like Deborah Gist of Rhode Island or Hanna Skandera of New Mexico or John White of Louisiana? What does it say about Obama that his likely choice would have to be acceptable to DFER, Stand on Children, Bill Gates, Eli Broad, and the other reformers?

One thing we would not miss: Arne Duncan’s affinity for the term “game changer.” Here is parent Matt Farmer of Chicago, remarking on how frequently Arne sees some phenomena as a game changer.

Farmer wrote in 2013:

“Let’s go back to 2010.

That February, Duncan called a proposal for increased funding of student loans “a real game-changer.”

By mid-July, he deemed “shared standards for college-readiness…an absolute game changer.”

His thinking had obviously evolved by the end of July, when he concluded that “the big game-changer is to start measuring individual student growth rather than proficiency.”

August, however, brought another epiphany. Duncan realized that the “big game-changer…revolves around the issue of teacher quality.”

In September, he concluded that the “new [Race to the Top] tests will be an absolute game-changer in public education.”

And Duncan, like a lanky philanthropist filling the tin cups of educational panhandlers, continued doling out change in 2010.

In November, he hit Paris to address the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Arne changed the game so often during that speech his UNESCO audience needed copies of “According To Hoyle” just to keep up with him.

After noting that in “the knowledge economy, education is the new game-changer,” Duncan assured the crowd that the sweeping adoption of “common college-ready standards that are internationally benchmarked . . . is an absolute game-changer.”

The secretary of education then called a “new generation of assessments aligned with the states’ Common Core standards” a “second game-changer,” even though it was actually the third “game-changer” Duncan had offered the assembled UNESCO masses during that difficult-to-diagram, five-minute rhetorical stretch.”

If Arne left, would it be a game changer or would President Obama go back to DFER to get their pock?

The Billionaire Boys Club and their allies are dumping campaign cash into races in Illinois.

Money is arriving from the hedge fund managers and other super-rich who take a keen interest in privatization and in removing any due process from teachers. Democrats for a education Reform and Stand for Children, both with strong ties to the privatization movement, are very interested in picking the winners in Illinois.

Broad-trained Dallas Superintendent Mike
Miles is in big trouble.
He is under investigation for
interfering with bidding for contracts and with internal audits;
several of his top staff have quit; DISD teachers are quitting in
large numbers; Miles’ family moved away from Dallas. But he has
good news: Miles’ special assistant is running for a seat on the
school board. Miguel Solis is not only running for the board, where
he can protect his unpopular and tyrannical boss, he is the Dallas
director of Stand on Children. Stand is a national organization
that was once grassroots but now reflects the interests of wealthy
investors in privatization and high-stakes testing. It will be
interesting to see if he has a credible opponent who cares about
public education. Of course, Stand will provide ample campaign
funds to keep the board committed to its program.

The corporate reform group, Stand on Children, dumped $500,000 into the Boston’s Mayor Race, and selected their candidate, City Councilor John R. Connolly.

It is prepared to spend even more, dwarfing the spending of other candidates.

This follows the pattern of the infusion of large outside money by corporate reformers in races in Louisiana, Colorado, California, and elsewhere.

After reviewing a large field, Stand on Children decided that Connolly was their man, the one who is likeliest to push hardest for privatization of public schools and to emphasize test scores as the highest goal of public education.

Stand began its life in Oregon as a civil rights group, but then discovered that there was a brighter future representing the interests of equity investors and Wall Street.

Subsequently, many of its original members left, but the budget greatly expanded, allowing them to be a major presence in states like Illinois and Massachusetts, where they promote charter schools and the removal of teacher tenure.

In Illinois, they bought up all the best lobbyists and got passed a law that made it illegal for the Chicago teachers to strike unless they got a 75% approval vote.

The Chicago Teachers Union got more than 90% and went on strike, much to the surprise of the big-money funders who thought they had crippled the union.

Edelman boasted at the Aspen Institute Festival about how he had “outfoxed” the teachers’ union by working with the state’s wealthiest hedge fund managers, buying up lobbyists, and winning anti-union legislation.

Stand pretends to be a “progressive” organization. It is, in fact, as Edelman boasts on the Aspen video, a mouthpiece for the 1%: Pro-privatization, anti-union, anti-public education.

The session title was, “If It Can Happen in Illinois, It Can Happen Anywhere.”

 

Rightwing groups have targeted Tennessee as ripe for privatization on next year’s election.

Last election, Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst pumped more than $200,000 into Tennessee races, mostly to Republicans but also to a pro-voucher Democratic legislator.

The pro-privatization groups Democrats for Education Reform and Stand on Children are also likely to add funding to candidates who oppose public education.

These groups want to solidify the control of far-right Governor Haslam and a legislature that is hostile to public schools and professional teachers.

Big corporate and rightwing money can be defeated by an informed public.

The state of Pennsylvania, the School Reform Commission, Governor Corbett, and the Legislature have decided to strip bare the publuc schools of Philadelphia. They are doing to these students what they would never do to their own. They are vandals.

This morning, i received this poem written by a student, Siduri Beckmann. Why is Siduri less deserving of a full education than the children of the city and state’s leaders?

“This poem has brought tears to many eyes in Philadelphia in the last twenty-four hours!

“Siduri Beckman is a ninth-grader at Julia R. Masterman School. She is the city of Philadelphia’s first Youth Poet Laureate. She “felt like it was part of my job and my duty as a Masterman student to write a poem protesting the school budget cuts.”

A Word from the Cripples

I’ve got something

to say.

It won’t take long

Just as long as it took you

to snatch everything away

One fourth of the body is

the leg

You have crippled us

Cursing us to hobble

all of our lives.

I cannot run

cross-country

on just

one leg.

Rip song

off of our tongues

to find songs are not Velcro but flesh

Snap the bows of the violins

in case the students could ever get the idea

that music

is alive

Because then you would have blood on your hands.

God forbid.

You see us as a problem

the classic class problem

INNER CITY streaked like mud across our faces

they’re all on the street anyway.

But leeches don’t suck out the disease

just the lifeblood.

I am angry

But I will not stoop

and hurt you

As you have hurt me

Thrusting fear

into our hearts

Why make us feel

so small

helpless

Forgotten by the people

whose duty it is to remember

Turn your back on your city

that chose not to choose

you

Because they feared

and now do all fears dawn true.

Bust the beehive

We will come out

In droves of wasps

We sting and live

to sting again

We will show ourselves to be

as formidable a foe

as all of those frackers

who you refuse to tax.

But you have also forgot

all of those ink marks slashed

with no faces or hopes or dreams or blood or flesh

Dismiss us

We cannot vote.

But in this country

we can speak.

It is clear by now that there is a very small number of very wealthy people who just don’t like public education. They don’t like teachers who work in public schools and want to strip them of any and every right, privilege, and status. They want to treat them like fast-food workers or salesmen who work on commission.

Given the chance, they would take the public’s money and give it to voucher schools, religious schools, entrepreneurs, to anyone who wants to start a school or an online business, regardless of their experience or qualifications. No one can take seriously their claim that they want to improve education or that they are “doing it for the kids” or they “put kids first” or they want to make kids “globally competitive.”

None of this is true.

Here Mike Deshotels explains who the haters are. They need do do some rethinking about the damage they are doing to our students, our teachers, and our nation.

One of Governor Jindal’s “reforms” is called Course Choice. This is supposed to allow public school students to sign up with private vendors, using public school dollars extracted from their local school. Most of the vendors are online operators.

Course choice and vouchers were the centerpiece of Jindal’s plan to privatize public education, by funding these choices from the state’s Minimum Foundation budget. Unfortunately for the governor and his State Superintendent John White, the state’s highest court said that it was unconstitutional to spend the money dedicated to public schools on vouchers and Course Choice. The court decided by a vote of 6-1, which in the eyes of most people is decisive.

One of the state’s investigative bloggers discovered that some 1,100 students had enrolled– without their knowledge— in an online course offered by a Texas corporation.

How could this happen? Why were Louisiana dollars shipped to a Texas company when the students and their parents didn’t know they had signed up? How did the corporation get their contact information?

Will the legislature provide alternate funding for vouchers and Course Choice?

Will there be a legislative investigation of this curious “choice”?

An interesting detail. The state department of education is in a frenzy trying to identify the leaker of salacious details about their prized programs.

Guess whose schools were closed? The poorest, the neediest, the children of color. Now the charter operators will decide which ones they want. They will take the “strivers.” Who will take the others?

Which children will be left behind in the era of No Child Left Behind?

Which children come in last in Arne Duncan’s Race to the Top?

How will the PR folks spin the mass closure of 50 public schools as a victory in “the civil rights issue of our time?”

It is historic. Never in our history have 50 public schools been shuttered at one time. Rahm Emanuel and Barbara Byrd-Bennett will enter the history books, undoubtedly in a chapter about the corporate assault on the very principle of public education. No doubt, the hedge fund managers and equity investors are clicking their champagne glasses tonight. Quite a victory for them and Stand for Children and Democrats for Education Reform, and yes, for ALEC.

The great social movements of the past 60 years advanced through the mechanism of public education: racial desegregation; gender equity; the inclusion of children with disabilities. And what began in the public schools radiated out into the society as a whole.

The page on which Rahm Emanuel’s name is inscribed in the history books will record this day of infamy, this betrayal of children, this abandonment of an institution that has been so essential to our democracy.
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