Jeff Bryant writes that TIME has lost prestige and readers and now recycles rightwing cliches.

On Salon, Bryant says that TIME has become an “embarrassing Internet troll,” with its cover story slamming teachers as the latest example of supermarket sensationalism.

TIME put Michelle Rhee on its cover un 2008 and implied that she knew how to transform America’s schools. She fired hundreds of teachers and principals without transforming DC schools.

And now we have another sensational anti-teacher cover, this one privileging tech millionaires as knowing how to fix teaching. Bryant writes:

“Astonishingly, since 2008, Time has learned nothing about the problems besieging teachers and their schools and the much-ballyhooed promises of “education reform.””

“The article (behind a pay wall) is written by a journalist who seems brand-new to the scene, reporting about a Silicon Valley tech tycoon, David Welch, who is behind a lawsuit, Vergara v. California, that seeks to rewrite teachers’ job protections. Nothing new here.”

“The article quotes all the usual suspects: Beltway operatives from right-wing think tanks – Michael Petrilli of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and Michael McShane at the American Enterprise Institute. Why no teachers?”

Wouldn’t it be appropriate to interview teachers for an article about teachers?

According to the Bluff City blogger, Memphis parents and teachers have reached the boiling point. They are angry about the annual ritual of takeovers of their public schools. Things are not going well for the Achievement School District (ASD). It absorbed the state’s lowest performing schools and promised they would become high-performing schools within five years. The clock is ticking. Now parents, teachers, school officials and communities say they don’t want to lose their public schools. They are tired of empty promises. Even some charter operators have backed off, aware of public outrage. The blogger says it is a true revolt. Outsiders rearranging their lives and their schools, without listening to the community. Enough is enough. People don’t like pointless disruption of their communities. reports that out-of-state campaign cash has turned funding of Minneapolis school board race from a raging sea to a tsunami of cash.

“The sea of cash being poured into a Minneapolis School Board race just officially became a tsunami. According to campaign finance disclosures filed Tuesday, spending in the blazing hot four-way race for two citywide seats likely has surpassed $500,000.

The most astonishing donations on the disclosures, the last due before next week’s election: The Minneapolis Progressive Education Fund has received $100,000 from former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, $90,000 from Teach for America board member Arthur Rock and $25,000 from Jon Sackler, who sits on the boards of the education advocacy groups 50CAN and Students for Education Reform.”

New York Badass Teachers Association
For Immediate Release – October 29, 2014
Information Contact
Marla Kilfoyle, General Manager
Melissa Tomlinson, Asst. General Manager


The New York State Badass Teachers Association, an organization of over 2000 educators, was enraged today to read comments made by Governor Cuomo to the Daily News editorial board […/cuomo-vows-bust-school-monopoly-…]. It was reported that Governor Cuomo stated emphatically that he would “break” the state’s public school system. His plan to end this “public monopoly” would include expanding charters, tougher teacher evaluations, and a continued agenda to punish the children and families who choose to attend New York’s public schools.
We have already endured a roll-out of evaluations Cuomo himself has called “a disaster.” Its byzantine algorithms fraught with inaccuracy and called “arbitrary and capricious” are in a legal challenge announced this week. Even more absurdly, the current evaluations actually attribute student test scores in Math and English Language Arts to teachers of other subjects, such as music, art, gym, foreign language, and others.


Schools that struggle with high poverty rates have been hit hardest under Cuomo’s education agenda. This needs to be investigated fully as a civil rights violation mandated by Cuomo towards our children that attend these struggling schools.


NY teacher Jamy Brice Hyde stated, “Public schools are not a business therefore not a monopoly. The monopoly is in the Charter school movement where public tax dollars go to private business. THIS IS TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION.”


“Charters do not in any way get held accountable by any objective evaluation or standard–nor are they compelled to follow Common Core or any other state mandate. That’s like having a race where one runner has to carry a cannon ball while the other gets to use roller skates,” stated former NY teacher Steve Corso.
Bronx teacher Aixa Rodriguez and BAT DREAM Manager commented strongly, “Cuomo is once again giving into special interests and attacking public education, teachers unions, and therefore parents and children.”


Cuomo’s choice of words shows a distorted understanding of public versus private enterprise. Matt Steiniger adds “To call public education a monopoly is to presume that education is a marketplace. The implication here is that there is profit to be gained. Education is a public good. The only people that should be allowed to exploit education for personal gain are the students.”


Finally, NY BAT Sue Parla commented, “ I wonder why Cuomo is fighting so hard against teachers when he could be opening a dialog with us to find out what will truly help our schools. The underlying issue is those who are funding his campaign. He puts their desire to make money off privatization over the needs of children.”


New York teachers go to the polls on Tuesday to vote. No teacher in New York State should vote for Cuomo. NY BATs have officially endorsed the Hawkins/Jones Green Party ticket for their support of public education, its children, parents, and teachers. VOTE GREEN!

John Thompson reviews Anthony Cody’s néw book THE EDUCATOR AND THE OLIGARCH. The book recapitulates Cody’s five-part debate with the Gates Foundation. Thompson says Cody demolished their spokesmen.

Thompson writes that Cody won the debate, hands down:

“They probably didn’t expect a mere teacher to assemble and concisely present such an overwhelming case against their policies. But, who knows?, perhaps they were completely unaware of the vast body of social science that Cody drew upon, and they blamed the messenger for the education research he brought to the table. The Educator and the Oligarch explains how the failed Gates reforms could create an education dystopia.”

Best of all is Thompson’s summary of Cody’s proposal for how Gates ought to be evaluated.


“Since Bill Gates, more than any other person, is responsible for the absurd evaluations that are now being imposed on teachers, Cody wonders if Gates’ practice as a philanthropist should be evaluated. If so, what would it look like? Cody makes a strong case that in the tradition of the Danielson and Marzano teacher evaluation frameworks, an abbreviated version of his evaluation would look like the following:

Standard 1: Awareness of the Social Conditions Targeted by Philanthropy

Rating: Below Standard

… Actions and statements by him and his representatives indicate ignorance of the pervasive effects of poverty, and the overwhelming research that indicates the need to address these effects directly.

Recommendation for Professional Growth: We recommend Bill Gates take a year off from his work as a philanthropist, and work as a high school instructor in an urban setting. …

This study was released this morning by Rutgers University researchers Julia Sass Rubin and Mark Weber:

New Jersey Charter and District Schools Educating Very Different Populations of Students, Finds Study by Rutgers Researchers

Charter schools across New Jersey educate a very different population of students by income, language proficiency, special needs, race and even gender than their sending district public schools, finds a report released Wednesday by two Rutgers University researchers.

The report documents that New Jersey charter schools educate significantly smaller percentages of economically disadvantaged students, English Language Learners, and special education students than do the public school districts from which the charter schools draw their students. The special education students who enroll in charter schools also tend to have less costly disabilities.

The report’s authors, Rutgers doctoral student Mark Weber and Associate Professor Julia Sass Rubin, point out that the lower rates of economically disadvantaged, Limited English Proficient, and special education students in charter schools result in those students being concentrated at higher rates within the host district schools. This increases segregation and impacts the quality of education that districts can provide and the financial resources available to pay for that education.

The severity of demographic differences between charter and district schools varies. Hoboken’s district schools, for example, educate almost five times the percentage of economically disadvantaged students as Hoboken’s charter schools (49% vs. 10%) while Paterson’s district schools educate approximately twice the percentage as Paterson’s charter schools (90% vs. 46%).

Demographic differences between district and charter school students also are evident in the suburbs. For example, 19% to 27% of the students who attend Teaneck’s seven district schools come from families with incomes at or below 130% of the poverty line, versus only 3% of the students at Teaneck Community Charter School.

Some of the most dramatic demographic differences between district and charter schools are in the percentage of English Language Learners, who make up approximately 2% of charter school students statewide but close to 10% of sending district student populations.

Weber and Rubin point out that the New Jersey Supreme Court has consistently held that the New Jersey Commissioner of Education, who authorizes charter schools, must consider the demographic and financial impact of any authorizing decision on the host district and must use the full powers of that office to avoid segregation. The report’s findings suggest the Commissioner is not sufficiently meeting this legal obligation.

Weber and Rubin make a number of recommendations for bringing the population of New Jersey charter schools in line with the demographic composition of their host districts.

These include:

Have the NJ Department of Education conduct the lottery process for all charter schools, with one application deadline, to increase lottery and waiting list transparency and to make it easier for economically disadvantaged and Limited English Proficient families to apply

Use weighted lotteries to make it feasible for charter schools to admit higher percentages of economically disadvantaged, Limited English Proficient, and special education students

Require charter schools to replace any students who leave and, whenever possible, to do so from comparable demographic categories in terms of economic disadvantage, Limited English Proficiency and special education.

Tie demographic parity in terms of economic disadvantage, Limited English Proficiency, and special education to a charter school’s funding, so that charter schools that fail to match at least 90% of their host district’s demographic composition on these variables would receive a lower reimbursement rate per student
The report, the first of three in-depth examinations of charter and host district public schools, was made possible by a grant from the Daniel Tanner Foundation. The two forthcoming reports will evaluate staffing and financial issues, and examine student outcomes. The authors base their analysis on publicly-available data, making it feasible for other researchers to validate the results.

The report was released in conjunction with the grassroots, pro-public education organization Save Our Schools NJ. The report and additional demographic information for individual charter schools and their host districts are available on the Save Our Schools NJ website

Iris Rotberg, Research Professor of Education Policy at George Washington Policy, critiques the endless search for the silver bullet that will close the test score gaps among children from low-income and high-income groups.

In 2009, a study claimed that attendance at a charter school in New York Cityfor several years would virtually close that gap. We now know, Rotberg shows, that this was an exaggeration and in fact, based on the latest state tests, untrue.

She predicts that Common Core will turn out to be yet another distraction.

“The supporters and opponents of the Common Core are now engaged in an escalating debate about whether the Common Core will strengthen U.S. education or, instead, become a dangerous intrusion by the federal government to control the content of the curriculum. Most likely, as in the case of previous reforms of curriculum standards, it will turn out to be irrelevant to any real change in the opportunities available to low-income students, and it is certainly unlikely to become the silver bullet that narrows the achievement gap.

“It is often assumed that the Common Core’s emphasis on reasoning will make it difficult to cram for and, therefore, test preparation will no longer be useful. That is the claim initially made by the College Board when cram courses were first used to prepare for university entrance exams (College Entrance Examination Board, 1965). The SAT, GRE, LSAT, and MCAT all emphasize inductive and deductive reasoning, yet affluent families figured out how to cope: They spent thousands of dollars on their children’s cram courses or tutors because they saw that the preparation was effective in raising test scores. If we continue to reward and punish teachers based on the test scores of their students—even if these scores are based on Common Core tests—educators in low-income communities will continue to have little choice but to narrow the curriculum to give more time for test preparation. Rather than reducing the achievement gap, the risk is that the Common Core test, like those that preceded it, will lead to fewer opportunities for children in high-poverty communities. And the rhetoric surrounding it will continue to detract attention from the policies needed to address the societal inequities that have led to the achievement gap.”

She concludes:

“It has been argued that to critique current policies is equivalent to saying that nothing can be done for low-income children. Just the opposite: we know that economic, social, and educational policies in areas of employment and wages, taxation, housing, health, school integration, school finance, and access to higher education can be effective in addressing the fundamental problems of poverty. Meanwhile, however, we can work to ensure that our current policies do not make matters worse for the most vulnerable students.”

Bob Schaeffer of FAIRTEST summarizes the fast-moving events of the past week in the burgeoning movement to stop high-stakes testing:

An explosive week for the testing resistance and reform movement. Nationally, pressure is mounting on President Obama, Secretary Duncan and members of Congress to cut back on federal mandates which help drive standardized exam insanity. At the same time, grassroots campaigns are forcing local officials to overhaul the testing policies they control — today’s summary includes stories from 19 states as well as several excellent commentaries.

Revolt Against Common Core Testing Goes National

Eleven National Civil Rights Groups Urge Obama Administration to Drop Test-Based “Accountability”

Arne Duncan Blows Standardized Smoke

Does Arne Duncan Think “Suburban Moms” Are Really That Gullible?

California Moving Rapidly Toward Post-NCLB Accountability

What Are Delaware Schools Teaching? Test Prep

Florida State House Candidates Agree: Too Much Testing

Florida Should End School Testing Factory Driven By Extremist Ideologues

Chicago Schools Seek to Delay Start of New Illinois Common Core Tests

No One Wants to Give Illinois PARCC Test But Every Student Will Be Required to Take It

Indiana’s Failed School Grading Experiment

Feds Nix Kansas Plan to Reduce Testing

Massachusetts Teachers’ Head Testifies Against “Excessive and Corrosive Focus on Standardized Testing”

Parents, Educators Criticize Massachusetts School Testing Culture at Public Forum

Only One of Nebraska’s 248 School Districts Meets NCLB Standard

New Hampshire’s New Way to Assess Learning Could Reduce Standardized Testing

As Common Core Testing Draws Near, New Jersey Concerns Grow

New Mexico Parents Opt Children Out of Standardized Testing

New York Gov. Cuomo Pledges “Not to Use Common Core Test Scores For At Least Five Years . . .”

Local Education Leaders Give State School Board Failing Grades

Ohio Teachers Say High-Stakes Testing Leads to More Tests, Less Teaching

Parents Opt Kids Out of Ohio Testing Due to Pressure Anxiety

Oklahoma Wants Its “No Child Left Behind” Waiver Back

New Oklahoma Testing Company Leads to New Testing Problems

Why My Children Won’t Take Oregon’s Smarter Balanced Tests

Oregon Opt Outs Illustrate “Ludicrous” Testing System

Pearson May Lose Huge Texas Testing Contract

Owners of Texas-Based NCLB Tutoring Firm Plead Guilt to Fraud

Utah Super: Too Much Testing, Not Enough Assessment for Learning

West Virginia Tests Don’t Build Students’ Skills: Teachers Do

As Student Testing Mounts, Growing Chorus in Wisconsin Says It’s Too Much

Wisconsin Professor: Repeal NCLB to Improve Education

Students Are “More Than a Score” on Standardized Tests: Book Review

Are Common Core Standards and Tests Developmentally Appropriate? Experts Weigh In

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

Laurel M. Sturt, education activist, explains here why she is voting for the Green Party this November. In New York, where she lives, the two major parties have become indistinguishable.

She writes:

“In the last decade, the Democratic party has become increasingly indistinct from the Republican, both parties in virtually impervious thrall to the siren of money. As exacerbated by the Citizens United and McCutcheon Supreme Court decisions, the–for all intents and purposes–wholesale prostitution of both parties to special interests has forced the true agenda of today’s elected officials into the light: the sacred civic duty supposedly embodied in a position called, after all, “public service,” has been exposed to be less motivational than the perks and influence inherent in a position of power. While we watch, haplessly marginalized on the sidelines of integrity, these unworthies blithely ply their incompetence–via obstructionism (McConnell), corruption (Rangel), or any number of ignominious affronts to decency, or democracy. This laser-focused drive to maintain a privileged position, moreover, comes with the most flagrant, arrogant dismissal of accountability. We came very close, after all, to electing a president with the hubris to trumpet the slogan “Country First” while simultaneously exposing us to the possibility of governance by Sarah Palin–and Rod Serling wasn’t even in the room when that decision was made! Indeed, her very choice as a running mate was a perfectly indicting metaphor for a system whose morality has gone AWOL, in a scenario increasingly where an elected official is not a bonafide public servant but simply playing one on tv. As such, our national script has abandoned the dignified legacy of John Adams, alas, in favor of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

“The convergence of the two political parties in a shared embrace to protect the power status quo–enabled by money overriding principle–has been nowhere more evident than in the attack on public education. No Child Left Behind, despite its feel-good soundbite of education as a civil right, has been revealed to be a privatizing agenda from conservatives not compassionate but impassioned, in fact, by the prospect of public dollars pouring into private coffers. Indeed, the tools for this, among them a pervasive culture of high-stakes testing, have had the added bonus of busting teacher unions, the last inhibition to fully exploiting the education cash cow, a trillion dollar business opportunity here and abroad. Yet far from coming to the rescue of public education, Obama and likeminded Democrats such as New York’s Governor Cuomo have taken up their own torch and pitchfork with alarming alacrity: Race to the Top, and its proponents, have seized on the malevolent premise–and promise–of NCLB, simply ramping it up with steroids. Between the Common Core and other elements designed to privatize a public good, our education system is on the verge of devastation; incredibly, both parties have proven to be equal opportunity plunderers not just of any resource but that most precious of all, our children, the very future of our nation. We could use a Patriot Act, alright, one expressly for education.”

Let’s face it. Andrew Cuomo doesn’t like public schools. He sneers at teachers. If he is re-elected, expect the attacks on public education and teachers to escalate.

Don’t vote for the lesser of two evils. In this race, there is no lesser.

Vote Green.


More information contact:

Eric Mihelbergel (716) 553-1123;

Lisa Rudley (917) 414-9190;

NYS Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE) –

Parents and Educators Erupt in Anger Against Governor Cuomo’s
Vow to “Break” Our Public School System

In comments to the Daily News editorial board [], Governor Andrew Cuomo infuriated the members of NYS Allies for Public Education, an organization that consists of over fifty parent and educator advocacy groups across New York State. The Governor vowed to “break” the state’s public school system, which he called “one of the only remaining public monopolies.” He said he would do this by expanding charter schools, competition, and imposing tougher teacher evaluations along with punitive sanctions: “The teachers don’t want to do the evaluations and they don’t want to do rigorous evaluations.” He condescended to parents by implying that the only reason parents erupted in protest was that teachers got “parents upset last year about this entire Common Core agenda.”

Eric Mihelbergel, Erie County Public School parent and founding member of NYSAPE, “The governor’s anti-public school and anti-parent rant has only confirmed what many parents have suspected for quite some time. This governor has no respect for our public schools, parents, or teachers. He is a bully, plain and simple.”

Nancy Cauthen, a New York City public school parent, pointed out, “Despite previous statements in which Cuomo absolved himself from the responsibility for imposing fundamentally flawed Common Core standards, curriculum, and high-stakes exams, and tried to blame this entirely on the State Education Department, it is clear that he continues to believe in this damaging agenda. As several polls recently showed, the majority of New Yorkers are opposed to the Common Core; and yet he continues to defend it and reveals he will push it even harder in a second term. The governor has revealed himself to be completely out of touch with what parents and communities want for our schools.

According to Marla Kilfoyle, a Long Island parent and educator and one of the leaders of the national organization known as the BATs, “Governor Cuomo’s continued war on the teaching profession and public education is a direct assault on children and their families. He continues to cut funding, disrespect parents, insult teachers, and hurt our children. Enough is enough!”

“Once again, Cuomo has put hedge fund managers, corporate interests and his charter school cronies above public school students and their families. Truth be told, parents see the devastating impact of the Common Core on our children every single day around our own dinner tables. We know that Common Core is failing our students and Cuomo is failing New York’s children,” said Anna Shah, Dutchess County public school parent.

Lisa Rudley, a Westchester public school parent and Education Director of the Autism Action Network commented, “In his rant, Governor Cuomo calls public educators ‘the only remaining public monopoly.’ Would the governor consider firefighters and police officers a monopoly? Will he call for competition and sanctions based upon unreliable metrics for health care workers and other public service professionals? If so, it appears that his real goal is to dismantle our public schools to garner more support from his financial backers.”

“Governor Cuomo’s assertion that competition leads to better schools is ludicrous,” noted Ulster County public school parent, Bianca Tanis. “If he thinks that the answer to a lack of adequate funding for our schools is charter schools, competition, and test-based ranking and sorting, he is calling for a Hunger Games regime that will disadvantage all students, but especially those most vulnerable – our special needs students and children living in poverty.”

Before going to the polls next Tuesday, New Yorkers can see the education positions of all four gubernatorial candidates, including Governor Cuomo, on NYSAPE’s website.




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