Arthur Goldstein, a high school teacher of English as a Second Language in New York City, explains in this article that good teachers need tenure too.

Goldstein gives examples of teachers who were denied tenure because they stood up for the rights of their students.

When he made demands on behalf of his students, only tenure protected him from being fired.

He writes:

“Shortly thereafter, I requested books for my students. For some reason, they were unavailable. My colleagues could get books, but I couldn’t. By then I had less than one class set, so students had to share them.

“Months later, I learned the United Federation of Teachers contract said the school had to provide supplies. I threatened to file a grievance, something I had never done up to that point. A week after my threat, my kids got two brand-new class sets of books.

“Tenure doesn’t only protect the so-called bad apples, or teachers accused of misconduct or incompetence. It protects all teachers. This is a tough job, and despite what you read in the papers, it also entails advocating for our students, your kids, whether or not the administration is comfortable with it.

“I meet passionate and effective teachers everywhere I go. How many will stand up for your kids when schools don’t provide the services they need? How many will demand deserving kids pass classes even if they fail a standardized test? How many will tell state Education Commissioner John King that failing 70% of New York City’s students is not only counterintuitive, but also counterproductive?

“It’s hard to say. Abolish tenure and that number will drop very close to zero.”

Here is the latest federal government report on fraud, waste, and abuse in the charter sector. It was released in May 2014 by the Center for Popular Democracy and Integrity in Education. The most common type of fraud identified was embezzlement.

CHARTER SCHOOL VULNERABILITIES TO WASTE, FRAUD, AND ABUSE

With the increase in funding that schools are receiving through the Recovery Act, we issued a report that highlighted past OIG investigations involving fraud at charter schools. The report brought to the Department’s attention our concern about vulnerabilities in the oversight of charter schools. Since 2005, OIG has opened more than 40 criminal investigations at charter schools, which have thus far resulted in 18 indictments and 15 convictions of charter school officials. Charter schools generally operate as independent entities that are subject to oversight by an LEA or authorized chartering agency. Our investigations have found, however, that LEAs or chartering agencies often fail to provide adequate oversight needed to ensure that Federal funds are properly used and accounted for. The type of fraud we identified generally involves embezzlement. The schemes that are used to accomplish this are varied. For example, we have found cases where charter school executives falsely increased their schools’ child count, thus increasing the funding levels from which to embezzle. We also identified an alleged grade changing scheme that allowed failing students to pass in order to ensure that the school met Adequate Yearly Progress, which allowed the school to continue operating, thus continuing a funding scheme from which to embezzle. We have also unraveled schemes where owners or employees of the charter schools created companies to which they diverted school funds and misused school credit cards for personal expenditures. Our report provided examples of investigative cases involving charter schools. The Department generally agreed with our observations and expressed interest in working with OIG in determining how to enhance, when appropriate, its policies and monitoring processes involving charter schools.

The regular report from Bob Schaeffer of Fairtest:

The accelerating testing resistance and reform movement is beginning to produce modest victories across the country. Reflecting constituent pressure, more politicians are speaking out against over-testing. A few have established commissions to investigate the problem (and solutions). Several state legislatures have voted to cut back the number of tests and reduced their consequences. Classroom teachers have pushed their national associations to adopt stronger positions. More news stories and opinion columns recognize the failure of test-and-punish policies and examine alternatives. The grassroots movement continues to build power as local activists plan to be even more effective in the 2014-2015 school year.

Of course, much more fundamental changes are needed — an interim goal should be a moratorium on high-stakes testing, allowing time to develop and implement better assessment systems. That, in turn, will require an overhaul of both state and federal testing mandates, which will increasingly be organizers’ focus in the coming year.

California Governor Brown Denounces Testing Overkill

http://www.aft.org/newspubs/news/2014/071114brown.cfm

Colorado Test Review Commission Begins Work

http://co.chalkbeat.org/2014/07/15/as-a-state-panel-convenes-to-examine-state-testing-a-look-at-the-big-issues/#.U8VMp2OTHZc

Critics of D.C. Education Policies Question Reported Test-Score Gains

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/critics-of-dc-education-policies-question-test-score-gains/2014/07/09/fa0cf064-0789-11e4-8a6a-19355c7e870a_story.html

Orlando School Board Member Says Purpose of Florida Test is to Flunk Kids, Build Support for School Privatization

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/opinion/os-ed-fcat-sour-note-myword-071514-20140714,0,5203556.story

Choosing Between Testing and True Learning in Illinois Classrooms

http://www.suntimes.com/news/otherviews/28420660-452/choosing-between-testing-and-true-learning.html#.U8EhwWOTHZc

Kansas Won’t Release Any Scores From Disrupted 2014 State Test Administration

http://www.kansas.com/2014/07/08/3544578/kansas-wont-release-data-from.html

Michigan’s Deceptive Private School Test Scores

http://www.mlive.com/opinion/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2014/07/julie_mack_test_scores_school.html

New Jersey Rolls Back Test-Based Teacher Evaluation Rules; Commission Will Study Role of Exams

http://www.northjersey.com/news/christie-delays-use-of-student-test-scores-in-teacher-evaluations-1.1051272

New Mexico to Correct Flawed Teacher Evaluation Scores

http://www.abqjournal.com/428843/news/corrected-teacher-evals-due-before-school-starts.html

Test Scores Are No Sure Guide to What New York Students Know

http://online.wsj.com/articles/test-scores-are-no-sure-guide-to-what-students-know-1405122823?mod=rss_US_News

Grassroots Revolt Against Test-Driven “Reform” Changes Oklahoma Politics

http://www.okgazette.com/oklahoma/article-21757-education-for-the-pe.html

Portland Oregon School Board to Call for Delay in Common Core Test Based Evaluations

http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2014/07/portland_school_board_poised_t.html

Rhode Island Legislators Did Right Job in Voting for Grad Test Delay

http://www.providencejournal.com/opinion/commentary/20140712-gregg-amore-assembly-did-its-job-in-necap-delay.ece

Tennessee Educators Criticize Use of Standardized Tests as “Be-All, End-All” of Education

http://www.claiborneprogress.net/news/opinion_columns/5218828/Professional-Educators-of-Tennessee-releases-statement-on-TCAP-results

Meaningless Texas Test Scores

http://educationblog.dallasnews.com/2014/07/the-story-of-tom-ratliffs-daughter-one-data-point-about-texas-testing.html/

Number of Required Virginia Tests Reduced

http://www.fauquier.com/news/article/public_schools_ease_pressure_for_students_cutting_number_of_standardized_te

Beyond Bubble Tests: Why We Need Performance Assessments

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/education_futures/2014/07/beyond_the_bubble_test_why_we_need_performance_assessments.html

What Would Mark Twain Think About Common Core Tests?

http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/07/what-would-mark-twain-have-thought-of-the-common-core/374114/

Why is Arne Duncan Still Pushing The Dangerous “Low Expectations” Myth?

http://www.alternet.org/education/why-arne-duncan-still-pushing-dangerous-myth-low-expectations

When Will the Testing Obsession End?

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/finding_common_ground/2014/07/when_will_the_testing_obsession_end.html

One Reason Why Poor Schools Can’t Win at Standardized Testing

http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/07/why-poor-schools-can-t-win-at-standardized-testing/374287/

AFT Escalates Fight Against Common Core Assessments

http://www.politico.com/story/2014/07/american-federation-of-teachers-common-core-108793.html

NEA Advocates Cutback in Federal Exam Mandate — Cyber-Lobbying Link

http://www.nea.org/home/59488.htm

Teachers Unions Latest to Back Away From Common Core Testing Embrace

http://voiceofrussia.com/us/news/2014_07_12/Major-Teachers-Union-Latest-to-Back-Away-from-Common-Core-Support-2363/

Special Education Taken Over By Testing Frenzy

http://www.nj.com/opinion/index.ssf/2014/07/special_education_taken_over_by_testing_frenzy_letter.html

Here’s Why We Don’t Need Standardized Tests

http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/07/09/36jouriles.h33.html

Bob Schaeffer, Public Education Director
FairTest: National Center for Fair & Open Testing
office- (239) 395-6773 fax- (239) 395-6779
mobile- (239) 696-0468
web- http://www.fairtest.org

A group funded by the notorious conservative Koch brothers will host a school choice forum in Nashville on July 22.

Here are their panelists:

“Moderating the talk will be Shaka Mitchell, who works for Rocketship Education, a California-based charter school organization with an East Nashville location set to open this summer. A second Rocketship school in Nashville has been approved to open in 2015.

“Panelists are Jonathan Butcher, education director of the Goldwater Institute; Stephanie Linn, state programs and government relations director of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice; Justin Owen, president and CEO of the Beacon Center of Tennessee; and Steve Perry, principal of Capital Preparatory Magnet School, a Connecticut-based charter school.

“In a statement announcing the forum, the organization applauds Tennessee’s 2010 move to an outcomes-based funding formula for public universities that’s supposed to reward institutions that meet benchmarks. The group says Tennessee’s K-12 public schools, however, have some of the “most high-profile problems in its urban school districts.”

“It alludes to last year’s failed push for school vouchers that would allow public funds to be used for private schooling.”

You can be sure that the panel will not mention Rocketship’s plummeting scores, nor the fact that neither vouchers nor charters outperform public schools. And the word will be mum on recent charter scandals in Connecticut, Ohio, and Michigan.

According to a guest post for EduShyster by high school teacher Keith Benson, The taxpayers of Camden, New Jersey, will spend $82 million to build a practice facility for the Philadelphia 76ers at the same time it is laying off hundreds of school teachers. The new facility will provide 50 low-wage seasonal jobs. This clarifies the priorities of the political leaders of Camden and New Jersey. Education last. Students last.

As Benson writes, “At every turn, the mayor and the *leadership* of Camden start with the assumption that the solution to our city’s problems lies in the hands of outside others. Hence our city leaders are now placing their hopes in corporate-led charter school chains, like Mastery Charter Schools, UnCommon Schools and KIPP (please YouTube some clips of their respective pedagogical techniques), to be staffed with mostly white Teach for America corps members who will only temporarily fill the role of teacher to children desperately needing quality educational leaders and stability. This despite the fact our public schools serve a citizenry mired in generational and concentrated poverty (due largely to historic discriminatory housing and employment policies and inherent structural inequality) that greatly affects students’ scholastic outcomes.”

And so it goes.

Zephyr Teachout, who is opposing Governor Cuomo in the New York Democratic primary, explained her strong opposition to the Common Core standards, which Cuomo supports.

She writes:

“Common Core forces teachers to adhere to a narrow set of standards, rather than address the personal needs of students or foster their creativity. That’s because states that have adopted the standards issue mandatory tests whose results are improperly used to grade a teacher’s skill and even to determine if he or she keeps their job. These tests have created enormous and undue stress on students, and eroded real teaching and real learning. What’s more, there’s sound reason to question whether these standards even measure the right things or raise student achievement. No doubt, many teachers have found parts of the standards useful in their teaching, but there is a big difference between optional standards offered as support, and standards foisted on teachers regardless of students’ needs.

“Widespread outrage from teachers and parents has led Gov. Cuomo to tweak the rules around the implementation of the Common Core and call for a review of the rollout. But Gov. Andrew Cuomo has not addressed the real problem with Common Core.

“The fundamental issue is not the technicalities of how the standards are implemented. It is not even that Gov. Cuomo allowed this regime even as he was stripping schools of basic funding, leading class sizes to swell and forcing schools to slash programs in art and extra help. The root problem with Common Core is that it is undemocratic. It is a scheme conceived and heavily promoted by a handful of distant and powerful actors. Here in New York, it was adopted with insufficient input from local teachers, parents, school boards or students, the very people whose lives it so profoundly affects.

“Bill Gates’ coup is part of a larger coup we’re living through today – where a few moneyed interests increasingly use their wealth to steer public policy, believing that technocratic expertise and resources alone should answer vexing political questions. Sometimes their views have merit, but the way these private interests impose their visions on the public – by overriding democratic decision-making – is a deep threat to our democracy. What’s more, this private subversion of public process has come at the precise time when our common institutions, starved of funds, are most vulnerable. But by allowing private money to supplant democracy, we surrender the fate of our public institutions to the personal whims of a precious few.”

Teachout concludes:

“As did the founding generation in America, I believe public education is the infrastructure of democracy. The best public education is made democratically, in the local community: when parents, teachers, and administrators work together to build and refine the education models and standards right for our children.”

Michelle Rhee is determined to see that every legislature is taken over by hard-right Republicans who support her campaign against teachers and public schools.

One of her current targets is Alabama.

Here is where she is sending money. All but one of those listed below are Republicans, except Patrick Sellers, who challenged a Democratic incumbent and lost. Governor Bentley returned the $5,000 contribution.

As of current reporting, StudentsFirst has contributed a total of $100,000 to nine candidates in Alabama this year. The recipients, as pulled from AlabamaVotes.gov, are here:

Contributor Amount ContributionDate RecipientName

STUDENTSFIRST $15,000.00 05/23/2014 BARRY RAMON SADLER SR. (Sadler outspent incumbent state school board member Betty Peters10-1, and he lost.)

STUDENTS FIRST $20,000.00 11/15/2013 CHARLOTTE BORDEN MEADOWS (Meadows ran for a house seat. She lost.)

STUDENTS FIRST $15,000.00 05/21/2014 CYNTHIA MCCARTY (McCarty ran for open seat on state school board. She won.)

STUDENTSFIRST $10,000.00 06/02/2014 GERALD DIAL (Dial is incumbent state senator. He won primary, faces opposition in November.)

STUDENTSFIRST $10,000.00 05/09/2014 JIM H MCCLENDON (incumbent house member who challenged incumbent Republican state senator and won.)

STUDENTS FIRST $15,000.00 06/01/2014 MARY SCOTT HUNTER (Incumbent state school board member. She won.)

STUDENTSFIRST $5,000.00 04/24/2014 MICHAEL G. HUBBARD (Speaker of the House. He spent more than $1 million on his re-election in june and beat a Republican primary challenger. Faces Democratic opponent in November. Not a friend of public schools or teachers.)

STUDENTSFIRST $5,000.00 05/22/2014 PATRICK SELLERS (aDemocrat who challenged aDemocratic incumbent in Birmingham and lost.)

STUDENTS FIRST $5,000.00 10/11/2013 ROBERT BENTLEY (Incumbent Governor running for re-election. Returned the money.)

STUDENTSFIRST $10,000.00 05/21/2014 STEVE DEAN (Republican challenger to Republican incumbent. Dean lost.)

STUDENTS FIRST $2,500.00 02/21/2013 STORMING THE STATE HOUSE POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE (this PAC is operated by Mike hubbard, speaker of the house. Studentsfirst gave him money on feb. 21 of 2013, and the House passed the Alabama Accountability Act (Alabama’s voucher bill) on Feb. 28, 2013.)

STUDENTS FIRST $15,000.00 05/30/2014 WILLIAM E HENRY (an incumbent Republican who won his race.)

In this short post, David Greene and Glen Dalgleish explain what tenure is, in plain English.

Meredith Broussard, a professor of data journalism at Temple University, was helping her son with his homework, and she made a discovery: he could not find “the right answer” to homework questions unless they were in the textbook. But on further investigation, she learned that the public schools of Philadelphia don’t have a textbook budget. So not only do students not have access to the answers that will be on the test, they don’t have a chance to succeed.

In an article that she wrote for “The Atlantic,” she concluded that after $1 billion in state budget cuts, the Philadelphia public schools had a budget of $0 for textbooks. These students don’t have a chance.

As we all know, the State Senate in Massachusetts voted against lifting the cap on charter schools. This was a shocker.

Here is the inside story, told by Edushyster.

You won’t see this anywhere else.

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