Archives for the month of: July, 2017

Steven Singer reviews the panicked reaction of the charter lobby to the report by the NAACP demanding charter accountability and an end to profiteering off the backs of children.

What part of the NAACP was so horrendous and unpalatable to the charteristas?

What is so radical about accountability and transparency?

Shouldn’t local communities have the right to reject for-profit charters? Shouldn’t they have a say in whether a charter opens in their district? At present, charters are foisted onto communities whether they want them or not. That doesn’t seem right.

Charter school cheerleaders like Education Secretary Betsy DeVos call their movement School Choice. Shouldn’t communities get to choose whether they want them there in the first place? If the program is based on the free market, let them make their case to the community before setting up shop. They shouldn’t get to make a backroom deal with your congressman and then start peddling their wares wherever they want.

Moreover, if charter schools are, indeed, public schools, why should they be allowed to operate at a profit? They are supported by tax dollars. That money should go to educating children, not lining the pockets of venture capitalists and hedge fund managers.

The “backroom deal” that Singer refers to is usually not with a congressman, but with the state legislature or the state board or the governor, and it usually is the result of campaign contributions. But why should campaign contributions determine what happens to public schools?

Gary Rubinstein assesses the claim that graduates of charter schools have a dramatically high college graduation rate than public school graduates.

He writes:

“On the heels of the latest call by the NAACP for a charter school moratorium, there has been a media blitz started by The 74 about a report called ‘The Alumni’ in which they claim that charter school graduates go on to graduate college at three to five times the rate of low income students who do not attend charter schools.

“Besides being reported in The 74, it has also appeared in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Daily News.

“The 74 article is written by Richard Whitmire (as is The Daily News Op-Ed) who is known for his biography about Michelle Rhee (haven’t heard much about her lately) and also one about Rocketship Charters (haven’t heard much about them lately).

“The summary of the report says that they have tracked the students at nine charter networks and found that graduates of those charters have between 25% and 50% of those students also graduate college. Since a commonly quoted statistic is that only 9% of low income students graduate college, these networks seem to be getting between three and five times the rate of college completion.

“The major flaw in this report — and they admit this in The 74, but not in The Daily News (The WSJ is behind a paywall, if someone can read it let me know if they address it there) — is that while the 9% statistic is for ALL students who enter schools, these 25% to 50% numbers are only for the students who complete 12th grade at the schools (KIPP is an exception, they use data from students who complete 8th grade — I’ll get to that later.)”

The claim, he says, is a lie because there is no way to verify the data.

A great post, vintage Rubinstein. Read it. This is what happens when a vert thoughtful person has a passionate commitment to evidence and accuracy, not ideology or self-interest.

Trump spoke to police officers in Suffolk County, New York, and urged them to rough up suspects when putting them into the “paddywagon” or a police car. Police cheered. The Suffolk County authorities immediately issued a statement insisting that officers were expected to adhere to the law and regulations, an implicit rebuke of Trump.

What went through my mind was the fate of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, who was arrested, shackled, thrown into the back of a police van, not buckled in with a seat belt, and died of a broken spine. Exactly what Trump recommended to law officers in Suffolk County.

Congressman Lee Zeldin represents Suffolk County. He appeared on Chris Hayes’ show on MSNBC after Trump’s speech. Zeldin tried his best to defend Trump. He kept referring to the brutality of murders committed by members of the MS 13 gang. Hayes kept bringing Zeldin back to the question: “Do you agree that police officers should treat suspects brutally?” Zeldin was afraid to disagree with Trump. So he said something like, “I didn’t know I would be brought here to answer this question.” So he kept insisting on the violence of MS 13. Hayes agreed that this gang was terrible, but he pivoted and asked Zeldin, “Are you suggesting that your district is soaked in blood, a dangerous and violent place?” Zeldin realized he had fallen into a trap. So he agreed that his district–one of the most affluent in the nation, including the South Fork (the Hamptons), where the richest, most powerful people in America have fabulous homes–was indeed blood-soaked and dangerous…but, but, but a really nice place to vacation. Nice job, Chris Hayes, pinning Trump sycophant Lee Zeldin to the wall.

The Chris Hayes interview with Lee Zeldin is posted here.

Trump held a rally in Ohio and spoke in vicious language about immigrants as “predators” and “animals.”

John F. Kennedy wrote a book many years ago called “A Nation of Immigrants.”

Trump’s family came from Germany.

My family came from Russia and Poland.

Maybe he is back into campaign mode, where his rants bring applause.

Today in Suffolk County, Trump spoke to an audience of police. He urged them to rough up suspects when they throw them into a “paddywsgon.” After he spoke, the Suffolk County Police Officials released a statement saying that officers are expected to abide by clear standards about how to treat suspects. In other words, officers may be disciplined if they do what Trump recommended.

The man lacks any ethical or moral compass.

And replaced with with General Kelly as his chief of staff

The Mooch wins!

Did Reince find out on Twitter?

Time for a laugh!

Here is a link to Betsy DeVos’ upping her stake in Neurocore, the company that claims to cure ADHD and autism with biofeedback.

“DEVOS BOOSTS STAKE IN NEUROCORE: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has increased her financial stake in a “neurofeedback” company that says its technology treats attention deficit disorder and the symptoms of autism. DeVos reported a new investment of between $250,001 and $500,000 in the Michigan-based Neurocore, according to a financial disclosure form that was certified by government ethics officials on Wednesday.”

Shane Parmely is a middle school teacher in the San Diego public schools. She was driving home and was stopped at a checkpoint by the Border Patrol. The officer asked her if she was a citizen. She refused to answer. She said, “If this a border crossing?” He said no. He repeated the question. She refused to answer. She said that friends and students who were brown were stopped frequently, and she didn’t think it was right. She knew that as a white woman, all she had to do was say “yes,” and she would be waved through. She decided to take a stand. The officers (now there were two) said they were just doing their job. See the video here.

The video has gone viral. We are not accustomed to people standing up and questioning authority. It is easier to be a sheep.

“Citizens?” an agent asked her as she drove up to the checkpoint.

“Are we crossing a border?” Parmely responded.

“No. Are you United States citizens?” he repeated.

“Are we crossing a border?” Parmely repeated. “I’ve never been asked if I’m a citizen before when I’m traveling down the road.”

As the agent continued to repeat his question, Parmely told him that he could ask her the question, but she didn’t have to answer.

“You are required to answer an immigration question,” the agent said. “You are not required to answer any other questions.”

When Parmely refused to answer the question, the agent told her that she was being detained for an immigration inspection.

“So if I just come through and say, ‘Yes, I’m a citizen,’ I can just go ahead?” Parmely asked.

“If the agent is justified by the answer, then yes,” the agent responded.

“So if I have an accent, and I’m brown, can I just say, ‘Yes,’ and go ahead or do I have to prove it?” she asked. “I have a bunch of teacher friends who are sick of their kids being discriminated against.”

“Ok, I’m not discriminating against anybody,” the agent said.

Good civics lesson, Shane.

Since when are people stopped on an American highway and questioned about their citizenship?

Oklahoma has 29 charter schools. The charter law says that charters are not allowed to base enrollment “on a student’s past academic performance, income level or the abilities of their parents.

“However, on their applications, several charter schools in the state require parents to explain their child’s academic abilities in detail, pledge a commitment to volunteer at the school or have the student submit an essay…Oklahoma law prevents charter schools from limiting admissions based on ethnicity, national origin, gender, income level, disabling condition, proficiency in the English language, measures of achievement, aptitude or athletic ability.”

But some charters have found a way around the law.

“ASTEC Charter Schools in Oklahoma City requires that prospective students and parents fill out a 14-page application with over 80 questions, some that ask for short essay responses to questions about the student’s greatest strengths, what causes the student the most problems in life and why they are applying to ASTEC.

“ASTEC’s application also asks for a student’s discipline history, if they have ever received special education services and whether they can write in cursive…

“Some charter school applications are very simple, including Dove Science Academy in Oklahoma City, which only asks for the name and address of the student applying.

“KIPP Tulsa College Preparatory uses a one-page application that only asks for a student’s contact information.

“But Harding Fine Arts charter school in Oklahoma City asks students to submit three essays with their application, including one answering the question, “What makes you a good student?””

The SUNY charter institute oversees 167 charter schools, which it authorized. It doesn’t believe that charter teachers need a traditional certification, the one that other schools in New state must get.

As it happens, SUNY campuses offered teacher education preparing future teachers for their chosen profession and for certification.

The SUNY charter committee is sending a message to its teacher educators that their classes are a waste of time.

Is it wrong to create a shortcut for charter teachers? Shouldn’t all teachers be well prepared? Doesn’t every child deserve a well prepared teacher? If you agree, send an email.