Archives for the month of: November, 2012

Count on Jersey Jazzman to catch the flaw in the CREDO study of charters in his home state.

It purports to study schools but in fact it compares matched students, not taking into account the peer effects.

Like, if you go to a school that has weeded out or excluded the troublemakers, you learn more. Where do we go with that?

J. Crew is raising money to help Teach for America, which has $300 million in assets and many high-level employees with six-figure salaries.

Why don’t they use the proceeds to hire nurses and librarians for public schools in cities like Chicago, Philadelphia and Cleveland.

Like, you know, poor kids?

Jeb Bush claims the mantle of King of Education Reform.

He touts the Florida Miracle.

His ingredients for success: testing, testing, testing, school report cards, privatization, charters, vouchers, and big investments in online learning.

Here is one careful review of the Florida “miracle.”

Here is yet anothergood analysis of the Florida Miracle.

Bush is pushing the digitization of schooling pretty hard. His Foundation is funded by technology companies. Tony Bennett of Indiana and Tom Luna of Idaho carried the Bush banner in the November elections, and both got whipped.

There is neither research nor any evidence that kids learn more or better if they are doing it online. But this was not mentioned this at the big Bush conference in DC (Arne Duncan was the keynote speaker, boosting Bush’s credibility as an education reformer and a candidate in 2016).

Question: Will Jeb Bush’s Florida Miracle go the way of George W. Bush’s Texas Miracle?

Can we survive another such miracle?

Hmmm. A nation of digitized children.

USA Today has done it again. Last year, an investigative team of reporters broke open the cheating scandal during Michelle Rhee’s tenure.

Now, Greg Toppo reveals that the virtual charters are wasting millions of dollars on advertising to boost their enrollment and their coffers.

He has identified about $100 million of lost taxpayer dollars.

They recruit for two reasons: one, to add more dollars to their bank account. Two, because they have a high dropout rate and must keep replacing students.

This is a huge waste of taxpayer dollars. Money spent by taxpayers to pay for art classes be reduce class size is instead being paid to ad rise the wares of shoddy online schools.

This is money diverted from its intended purpose. This is money taken from schools across the state. It should be illegal.

More proof that these schools, as presently constituted, are a fraud.

In Washington, D.C., where charter schools now enroll over 43% of the public school population, DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson recently announced her plan to close 20 more public schools at the same time that charter school operators were seeking fast-track approval for up to 10 new campuses.

Peter MacPherson, the former president of the Capitol Hill Cluster School PTA (DC Public Schools), wrote the following letter to Mayor Gray, calling for Chancellor Henderson’s resignation. Like many public school parents who volunteer for school improvement committees, he lobbied Chancellors Rhee and Henderson and former DC Council chair, now mayor, Gray for school modernization and technology upgrades. This past spring, he organized a city-wide campaign to stop Henderson’s plan to lay off several dozen school librarians. It met with little response from the chancellor, though a member of the city council introduced legislation that would require a librarian in every school.

His letter expresses the widely-felt frustration of many parents, when they realize that their efforts to work with school officials are either ignored or met with disingenuous responses.

McPherson wrote this public letter in response to Chancellor Kaya Henderson’s plan to close more public schools and open more charters.

When those responsible for public schools give the order to abandon them, it is a public admission that they have no ideas about how to improve them. If they truly are bereft of their own plans, they should not be in charge. Public schools need leadership, not people in charge working to shut them down.

Leaders of public schools who don’t fight to strengthen them are working for the competition.

Valerie Strauss here writes about DC Chancellor Kaya Henderson’s plan to close more DC public schools and hand off more students to charter operators.

Ironic that one of the possible charters is K12, the online for-profit charter corporation that has a 22% graduation rate in its Colorado Virtual Academy and may lose its charter in Georgia for the poor services it provides to special education students.

It’s clear that Henderson, a protege of Michelle Rhee, is not competing with charters. She is throwing in the towel.

This is not competition. The public schools have no leader in this battle for survival.

EduShyster invites tips, and she got a big one.

An official at one charter school made a usurious loan to another charter school.

When stuff like this happens, it reminds you that charter schools are not public schools.

Public schools are regulated and supervised.

They could never get away with stuff like this.

The Walton family has made billions of dollars as owners of Walmart. Some family members use this vast wealth to promote privatization of public education and union-busting in US schools.

The Walton family could find better uses for its wealth

This came in my email:

If you already received this, sorry. As I’ve been reading about Walmart & the Waltons in your respective blogs, I’d been thinking about this–I saw it once on the news, & nothing in our newspapers. 100 years ago–Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire–146 dead.

This is why we have unions.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Claiborne D.,
Date: Tue, Nov 27, 2012 at 6:50 PM
Subject: Walmart could have prevented this horror
To: C

112 workers died brutal deaths in a massive fire in a Bangladesh textile factory. The emergency exits were locked so they couldn’t escape. Inspectors for Walmart had designated the factory to be “high risk”, but did not enforce greater safety procedures.

Tell Walmart it must join an independent fire safety inspection program to prevent tragedies like this.


Last week, a fire tore through a garment factory in Bangladesh. With the emergency exits locked, hundreds of workers — mostly women — were trapped inside the nine-story factory. 112 people were killed.

And in the ashes of the fire, a local community leader discovered the burned labels of Walmart-brand clothes.

Walmart is claiming it has no responsibility for the deaths, even though it was purchasing garments made in the very factory that burned down. Worse, Walmart knew the risk to workers. Inspectors working for Walmart gave the factory “high risk” and “medium risk” safety ratings just last year, and this year’s follow-up report was never performed.

Tell Walmart it must join an independent fire safety inspection program supported by Bangladeshi and international labor unions, to prevent tragedies like this.

In the wake of this disaster, Bangladeshi garment workers are taking to the streets. They are demanding that brands take responsibility for fire safety conditions in factories. Walmart has a key role to play in meeting the workers’ demand for a safe workplace, and we can join together to demand that Walmart act.

Walmart is the largest retailer in the world, and the largest buyer in Bangladesh. If Walmart joined the fire safety inspection program already adopted by PVH (owner of Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein) and German retailer Tchibo to ensure that all its suppliers enforced basic safety regulations — and then worked with suppliers to ensure that they were followed — it could raise the standard for working conditions across Bangladesh, and, in the process, prevent the potential injury or death of thousands of workers.

Or Walmart could brush this off as nothing more than a minor PR disaster. The company — which said it ended its relationship with this supplier over the tragedy — could simply move on to the next rock-bottom supplier, and the next, leaving more tragedy in its wake.

But Walmart is nothing without its customers and potential customers. That’s why it is up to us, using our power as citizen-consumers, to pressure Walmart to change and force improvements in Bangladesh.

Click here to add your name to our petition to Walmart to sign onto the fire safety inspection program that other international brands have already signed.

Just over 100 years ago, a nearly identical story played out in New York City, at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. A fire broke out, and in the chaos, the workers found all the exits to be locked. 146 people, mostly immigrant women, died that day.

In the wake of that tragedy, citizens rallied together and forced factory owners to adopt important safety guidelines to protect workers. Let’s band together now to make sure real change comes out of last week’s disaster, by pressing Walmart to protect workers throughout its supply chain.

– Claiborne, Kaytee, Paul and the rest of us

P.S. We know we’ve been beating the drum about Walmart a lot lately, but the truth is it is the largest company in the world, and it can afford to treat its workers fairly across the entire supply chain. But Walmart won’t listen unless we make it — so join us in calling for Walmart to ensure its suppliers protect workers’ safety in all the factories in its supply chain.

Further information:

Salon: Walmart’s connection to firetrap Bangladesh factory, 26 November, 2012

SumOfUs is a world-wide movement of people like you, working together to hold corporations accountable for their actions and forge a new, sustainable path for our global economy. You can follow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook.

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Citizens of Ohio have launched a new organization to support strong public schools.

Is there an organization like this in your community or state?

Please let me know.

I will compile a list and circulate it to everyone.

From Ohio comes this good news:

Ohio’s Teachers, Parents, Superintendents, School Board members and Citizens have launched a new movement ~ Strong Schools / Strong Communities

Strong Schools Strong Communities is a non-partisan movement dedicated to informing and engaging Ohioans at the community level to understand, appreciate and support our system of common public schools.

Visit our website at
Friend us on Face Book at :

You may recall that Thomas Friedman of the New York Times proposed that Arne Duncan should become Secretary of State and extend his Race to the Top internationally.

Leonie Haimson of Class Size Matters in New York City sees the implications:

“Close &/or privatize embassies that are struggling in terms of diplomacy & conflict resolution?”

Any readers with better ideas?