Search results for: "laura chapman"

The Center for American Progress is identified by the mainstream media as a “liberal think tank” and as the think tank of the Democratic establishment. It protects the Obama legacy, including the toxic legacy of Arne Duncan’s failed Race to the Top. Billions were squandered for a program that was built on the foundation of George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind. Twenty years have been wasted by investing in high-stakes testing and charter schools. CAP refuses to acknowledge this education disaster and continues to peddle the same tired Bush-Obama remedies.

Our reader Laura Chapman writes here about CAP’s May 27 event, featuring charter school leaders, even the executive director of the hedge funders’ charter advocacy lobby, DFER.

Please read! Take her advice and send in your questions. Ask them why they support the DeVos agenda. Let’s hope that CAP and its neonservative allies do not influence Joe Biden.

Laura writes:

“DeVos has a long and notorious record of using agency guidance and regulatory action to undermine equity.”

Yes. And this power is why, in addition to getting rid of Trump and DeVos, voters who care about public education must pay attention to Biden and who he is courting for advice. We need to let him know that more attention must be paid to public schools, not charter schools

Charter schools have a non-stop campaign for money, with a major pitch that they are the only schools that care about black and brown children. That is non-sense. Charter schools originated in and perpetuate racially segregated schools.

Here is an example of that campaign pitch, from Center for American Progress, founded by Hillary Clinton’s John Podesta, and an outfit that also gets money from both teacher unions. It is not a supporter of public schools. It is an apologist and promoter of them,

If you have nothing better to do, submit some questions for CAP’s May 27 event, staged with speakers who love charter schools. The title is “Beyond the Talking Points: Charter School Policy and Equity. Ensuring a Quality Education for Every Child Web Series.”

Here is the pitch
“Charter schools have been the source of some contentious debates in the education policy space, often centered on the growth of charters and their impact on traditional public school systems. Yet beyond these debates are a number of issues and policy choices that have deep impacts on the equity effects of charter schools.”

“This interactive conversation will cover a range of issues, with a focus on less commonly discussed topics in charter school policy such as
–enrollment issues around student backfill policies,
–lottery systems, and
–the perceived notion that charters are able to self-select students for attendance.”(This in not merely a perception. )

“Additionally, the discussion will explore operations issues that affect equity in charter schools, such as
–transportation for students to and from school,
–participation in meal programs, and
–how schools receive and use funding for facilities and resources.
(Operations issues are those wherein charter schools want to raid public schools fund even though they are supported by billionaires and have been gifted special federal funds from ten-yacht Betsy DeVos).

Finally, the panelists will discuss the ability of charters to serve all populations of students, particularly those who need additional services such as students with disabilities, English learners, and foster or homeless youth.” (This is just shy of an admission that charter schools, unlike public schools, may choose not to serve students with special needs).

“Please join the Center for American Progress to discuss charter policy in a broader context than the often debated talking points. This discussion aims to step back and examine the current state of the charter debate and where we might go from here, with an emphasis on how equity can be infused more holistically into charter policy.

“We would love to hear your questions.
Please submit any questions you have for our panelists using the hashtag #QualityEdChat on Twitter or via email to CAPeventquestions@americanprogress.org.

There certainly are issues with charter schools, a whole bunch. The CAP sponsors seem to think those listed above are “less commonly discussed.” If so, the sponsors are too much involved in cheerleading for charters and repeating talking points from the billionaire-funded 74Million news. They may also be indifferent to scholarship about charter schools especially the evidence-based criticisms in Diane Ravitch’s latest book Slaying Goliath: The Passionate Resistance to Privatization and the Fight to Save America’s Public Schools, or her earlier Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement, the Danger to America’s Public Schools, and then another, The Death and Life of the Great American School System.

The discussants in this affair are cheerleaders for charter schools who seem to have some mental inventory of criticisms of charter schools, are floundering, and also pondering “how equity can be infused more holistically into charter policy.” Informed critics will see through this promotional exercise with participants who claim to be MORE concerned with “equity” and in greater measure than supporters of traditional public schools.

Panelists:
Sharhonda Bossier. Deputy Director, Education Leaders of Color (EdLoc), prior work with Education Cities, a national promoter of charter schools
Laina Cox. Principal, Capital City Public Charter Middle School (for about 8 years). Holds a Master in Education in Teaching and Curriculum from Harvard University.
Shavar Jeffries. National President, Democrats for Education Reform, a PAC that promotes charter schools and stricter teacher evaluations. Lawyer, board member fro KIPP, ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Newark, NJ.
Joshua P. Starr. CEO of PDK International former Superintendent of Schools in Montgomery County, MD; Stamford CN. Also worked briefly for NYC Department of Education, served one month on Board of Directors, Center for Teacher Quality.
Moderator:
Neil Campbell, Director of Innovation, K-12 Education Policy, Center for American Progress, former director of Jeb Bush’s FEE–Foundation for Excellence in Education, Broad resident 2009-2011 while serving as Education Program Analyst with USDE.

Beyond the Talking Points: Charter School Policy and Equity

I hope that readers of this blog will submit a generous supply of questions. I will submit one: Why is there so much documented fraud, waste, and abuse in the charter school industry?

Laura Chapman reports on budget cuts to schools in Ohio, which hurt public schools but protect charters and vouchers.

She writes:

Bad news from Ohio again. Not quite Lord of the Flies (fiction or non-fiction truth)

This week, Governor DeWine is proposing $355 million in K-12 education cuts with $300 million coming out of foundation aid to local school districts from the current state budget that expires in July.

While public education accounts for about 42% of state expenditures, it will absorb about 45.8% of the loss.

He has not asked private schools that take public funds to sacrifice anything. This proposed cut will exacerbate the underfunding of public schools in favor of EdChoice vouchers that raid public school dollars for private schools.

In addition public school funds should not be supporting charter schools that are the pet project of billionaires who think they are entitled to raid public dollars for their preferred undemocratic system of education.

This proposed cut will shift a large portion of public school funding from the state to local districts. I have not looked at all of DeWine’s proposed budget cuts but these sure look like they are designed to hit public schools and favor private schools as well as charters schools that have declared they are eligible for small business loans, these likely to be foregiven.

If you are in Ohio, please open the link below and follow-up with emails to the people who are planning for this cut to be passed well before school starts. Start with this link:

https://mailchi.mp/ac594ace4a33/action-alert-355-million-in-education-cuts-in-ohio?e=ba8653e702

Our reader Laura Chapman explains what the phrase “the money follows the child” really means. It’s another way of saying that every child should have “a backpack full of cash” strapped on them, to be spent anywhere. Another way to see it is as a jackhammer to destroy our democratically-controlled system of public schools and turn children over to the tender mercies of the free market. The billionaires—the Waltons, Bloomberg, Koch, Gates, Broad, Hastings, Anschutz, Sinquefeld—love the free market. They think it’s best for everyone.

Chapman writes:

The new phrase for money-follows-the-child policies favored by those who want privatized education is this:

We have a “pluralistic system of education.” That phrase is already being used in promote subsidized choice, with everyone eligible for federal funds and expansion of state-level choice programs.

Pluralistic education means that the great American way to educate children will support–
homeschoolers,
free-lance education service providers,
charter schools,
private schools,
religious schools,
traditional public schools,
online instructional delivery,
pay-for-success ventures,
specialty programs for the talented and those in need of therapeutic support (whether in homes, commercial facilities, or brick and mortar schools).
and other possibilities.

In this pluralistic system, market forces and innovative forms of instruction flourish, unimpeded by regulation. Federal subsidies are “fair” when money follows the student.

Proponents claim that all of these flavors of education can and should be subsidized with public funds, eithe in proportion to their market share or their performance on the optional “normative pluralistic standards and curriculum.”

Examples of optional “normative pluralistic standards” are those present in current federal and state legislation, in national campaigns for standards and tests such as those launched to support the “Common Core State Standards,” and the proliferation of rating schemes such as those at GreatSchools.org, US News and World Reports, and EdWeek’s “Chance of Success” reports.

This Pluralism R-US meme is being promoted by EdChoice, the organization once known as the Milton & Rose Friedman Foundation, also Jeb Bush and his Chiefs for Change organization, and scholars.

Key scholars are at the Walton funded University of Arkansas Department of Education Reform; Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes; the University of Washington Bothell’s Center on Reinventing Public Education; Harvard University’s Program on Education Policy and Governance; and Johns Hopkins School of Education Institute for Education Policy.

For a brief look at the rationale for this meme and the policy agenda see
“Pluralism in American School Systems,” https://edpolicy.education.jhu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/PluralismBrief-Jan2018.pdf

For a look at other promotions, see this recent 74 Million.org call for the use of stimulus money for “all types of schools.”

Bradford: $13B in Stimulus Money for K-12 Schools Is a Good Start. But All Types of Schools Will Need More Help From the Feds in Order to Reopen


Our regular reader and diligent researcher Laura Chapman writes:

It is not difficult to see who is busy publicizing and brokering ideas for federal action on pre-K-12 education and who is not. The active players are all in for school choice and they have a “perfect” opportunity to dismantle and starve brick and mortar public schools. Federal policies will jumpstart what happens in states, districts, and communities.

The transition from NCLB to ESSA took longer than expected. Most states put their new DeVos-approved plans for accountability and school improvement in place during 2019-2020, later than expected.

Those plans have been pruned by the pandemic. Since April 3, 2020, every state is eligible for a range of ESSA waivers including tests and how state education agencies “permit LEAs (local education agencies) to use Title IV, Part A funds to best meet its needs without regard to customary requirements for
–content-areas,
–spending limits on technology infrastructure, or
–completing a needs assessment.”
In addition, “the definition of professional development” is modified to allow LEAs s to provide effective teacher training for distance learning. https://oese.ed.gov/files/2020/04/invite-covid-fiscal-waiver-19-20.pdf

Although these flexibilities are in place now, no one has a clear idea about how the pandemic will shape the 2020-2021 school year, or what proposals presidential candidates will put into play for reshaping ESSA and the scheduled reauthorization of ESSA after the 2020-21 school year.

I think that the accumulated national debt will lead to massive budget cuts for federal and state funding and full-out marketing of choice programs.

The choice advocates have a clear policy package in the works, and big bucks now from the billionaires to market it. Bellwether Partners is playing a role in this work, and so is the 74Million, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, California Community Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, Charles Strauch, Doris & Donald Fisher Fund, Gen Next Foundation, Karsh Family Foundation, Park Avenue Charitable Trust, The City Fund, Walton Family Foundation, and William E. Simon Foundation.

The pandemic and special federal legislation to shore up the social safety net, including grants to schools, has accelerated the activity of groups intent on expanding federal support for choice in education.

Here is an example: “FEDS MUST HELP ALL TYPES OF SCHOOLS REOPEN: The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act will support millions of workers and industries hard-hit by COVID-19. About $13 billion from the bill will make it to K-12 schools across the country for uses such as classroom cleaning and teacher training.” … “State governments, at the urging of Washington and epidemiologists, have closed all schools, public and private. This is an unusual (and necessary) instance of equal treatment for schooling sectors that normally operate under different rules. But all schools, and all sectors of out pluralistic system of public education, will need support when they are allowed to reopen; a coherent policy that supports non-public schools and homeschoolers — along with charters and traditional districts that already receive public funds — will not be a luxury. It will be an essential element of how the country’s children recover from the COVID-19 disruption.” https://mailchi.mp/the74million/t74-virtual-charters-targeted-in-school-closures-equity-access-the-federal-stimulus-video-keeping-college-bound-students-on-track-virtually?e=5cdda43764

This marketing campaign for “our pluralistic system of public education” is gibberish for choice in education, including private and religious education. This agenda has been reinforced with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ March 27, 2020, proposal that Congress provide “Continue to Learn Microgrants” to disadvantaged students whose schools have “simply shut down.” Federal funds would be allocated for “educational services provided by a private or public school” with the priority for students in special education and eligible for food stamps. Funds could be used “to buy computers and software, internet access, and instructional materials like textbooks and tutoring. For children with disabilities, the grants could be used for educational services and therapy.”

This proposal is a variation on her push for “Education Freedom Scholarships” authorizing federal tax credits to people who donate to school scholarship programs for private school tuition and other education expenses. https://www.the74million.org/devos-proposes-microgrants-amid-coronavirus-school-closures-continuing-push-for-school-choice/

Then there is news on this blog and elsewhere that charter schools are eligible for “Small Business Loans,” if, they affirm they are a “non-government entity.” That affirmation is a non-trivial and legal redefinition of charter schools with implications for how these are marketed, authorized, and supported (or not) by billionaire foundations and Congress, whether Republican or Democrat. Charters that have been profiteering from public dollars will probably move into double dipping (once for students, another as a small business) with little fear of legal action.
https://www.publiccharters.org/cares-act-low-or-no-cost-lending-programs-charter-schools

Over multiple years, experts in “follow the money” have identified major ‘idea brokers” and the federal policies that have emerged from their work. Some legacy brokers from the Obama Administration are still at it—promoting digital learning, charter schools, pay for success contracts, alternative certifications, and more. If the pandemic accelerates I think that the de-professionalization of education will accelerate along with the unschooling of instructional delivery. In that case, many brick and mortar buildings once known as public schools are likely to repurposed or rot, except in wealthy suburban communities.

The munificently-funded Thomas B. Fordham Institute, based in D.C., controls Educatuon Policy, graduation requirements, curriculum, and testing in Ohio. Mr. Fordham, for whom the institute is named, had no known interest in education, but his namesake is part of the rightwing ALEC nexus, where contempt for public schools, hatred for unions, contempt for gun control and environmental regulation are reflexive.

Laura Chapman, who lives in Ohio, writes:

 

This numbers game is routinely pushed by the Ohio arm of Thomas B. Fordham Institute/Foundation. Oped’s written by employees at criticize the Fordham routinely criticize teacher unions for pointing out the debilitating affects of poverty on students. In a typical rhetorical move, the Fordham “expert” will find one exceptional school with an “A” rating of the state report card rigged to ensure few schools are rated A. Then when you read in detail, you will see that the most exceptional thing about this school is really rare. The same principal has been there for 18 years, lives in the community, and has an uncommon level of trust from her community, the teachers, and students. Test scores were a byproduct of that not the aim of her work as an educator.

In Ohio, the writer most responsible for this misleading journalism and “research” is Aaron Churchill, the Institute’s Ohio Research Director. The Institute says this: Since 2012, Aaron has worked on “strengthening” Ohio policy on standardized testing and accountability, school evaluation, school funding, educational markets, human-resource policies and charter school sponsorship. He writes for the Fordham’s blog, the Ohio Gadfly Daily and contributes op-eds to the Columbus Dispatch, Cleveland Plain-Dealer, Dayton Daily News, and Cincinnati Enquirer. Aaron previously worked for Junior Achievement.”

He has not an ounce of documented experience in teaching or studies of education as an undergraduate or graduate student. He gets a free pass on almost everything he submits to the Columbus Dispatch, Cleveland Plain-Dealer, Dayton Daily News, and Cincinnati Enquirer. These local newspapers are shrinking and have few if any staff available for questioning this “throughput” of misleading but ready to post news.

Trump proposes to eliminate the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, which are very small appropriations, but which Republicans have always hated. I seem to recall that he wants to eliminate NOAA so the weather service can be completely privatized, and the public will have to pay to find out what the weather is and might be.

Laura Chapman adds:

In addition to the cuts to education programs, consider these cuts too.

Cuts the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by $2.8 billion Can’t have the EPA telling us we should be able to drink lead and contaminant-free water, breath clean air, save the land from more degradation from fracking, stop save the oceans from oil spills and micro plastics and so on.

Eliminates National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Grants and Education programs (-287 million) Can’t have full staffing of the agency that keeps information flowing about climate change. Can’t have scientists perpetuating “fake” news or predicting where hurricanes might fall, fires may flair, forests threaten by disease.

Eliminates the Institute of Museum and Library Services (-$229 million) “Musing” is dead. Move fast and break things. While you are at it trust the internet for all information, never trust a librarian. Nobody but a few elitists want to preserve these programs with full staff.

Eliminates the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (-$455 million) Everyone knows that this is a LIBERAL, news and entertainment outfit and that billionaires can fund it.

Laura Chapman writes:

“EdReports, an independent curriculum review nonprofit, rates curriculum on three gateways: Text Quality, Building Knowledge, and Usability. Amplify CKLA earned a green rating in all three.”

This should not be regarded as a trustworthy endorsement. Here is Why. Recall that the Common Core State (sic) Standards were first marketed as if they were not intended to be about curriculum (but they were), because the owners of the CCSS soon offered up “publisher’s criteria” for curriculum materials (2011). Those criteria morphed into a system for reviewing curricula, based on absolute compliance with the CCSS, including grade-by grade alignments. In 2013, the initial criteria for reviewing curriculum materials for compliance with the CCSS were called “drop dead” (meaning comply with these criteria or do not waste the time of reviewers). A year later, the language was softened to the idea that materials had to meet “gateway” criteria (2014), but with the same meaning,—comply or else the reviewers will not bother to look at anything else.

By 2015, the promoters of the CCSS had set up a non-profit called EdReports.org to function in the capacity of a consumer-reports of newly published math and ELA materials. The purpose was to rate publications that claimed to be in compliance with the CCSS.

EdReports is said to be the result of a meeting at the Annenberg estate of “the nation’s leading minds in math, science, K-12 and higher education.” I have not been able to find a list of participants in that meeting or the sponsors, but in 2014 professionals in branding and communications were hired to promote EdReports. You can see the strategy and their pride in getting coverage in national news, http://www.widmeyer.com/work/edreports-org.htmlincluding from Peter Greene at http://curmudgucation.blogspot.com/search?q=EdReports

In August 2015 the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gave $1,499,988 to EdReports for operating support followed in 2016 with $6,674,956 for operating support. The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation gave EdReports.org $1.5 million in 2015 and $2 million in 2016.

Ed Reports.org is also funded by Broadcom Corporation (Board member from Broadcom is with EdReports), the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Foundation, the Helmsley Charitable Trust, the Overdeck Family Foundation, the Samuel Foundation, the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation, and the Stuart Foundation.

You can find more about the quest for absolute continuity from the writing of the CCSS, largely funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to current efforts to impose “approved curriculum materials” for any state that has adopted the CCSS… https://www.edreports.org/about/index.html

EdReports is a Gates funded review process initially marketed to ensure that “approved” curriculum materials were in compliance with the common core. Any curriculum materials that did not pass muster with three gateway “drop dead criteria” would not be subjected to further review.

Amplify does not want you to know the history of this phony system of rating materials. Bob Shepard has offered another excellent history of this absurdly wrong effort to standardize ELA curriculum.

I see that Margaret Spellings, former Secretary of Education, has found a position at Amplify. She also serves on the board of Gates’ relatively new lobby shop. She is not competent to make judgments about education, but that seems to qualify her to be a crony of the disrupters who will do almost anything to please a billionaire.

Laura Chapman, intrepid researcher, reports on Bill  Gates’ next adventure in education.

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Gates is not finished with meddling in public education. Far from it. In case you missed it, here is the new twist on how he will be spending money.

In June of 2019, Alex Gangitano of The Hill reported “Bill and Melinda Gates launch lobbying shop.” The new Gates Policy initiative will lobby for the same issues as the foundation, including “ US education and outcomes for black, Latino and rural students specifically.”

This will be 501(c)(4) initiative led by the current director of the Gates Foundation, Rob Nabors, who was White House director of legislative affairs for President Obama. According to Nabors, “the group” hopes to avoid giving to political groups, but will focus “almost exclusively on legislative outcomes and the lobbying effort.” According to Nabors, they hope to “accelerate outcomes” without getting too “wrapped up into broader political types of issues.” “They are interested in learning what works and what doesn’t work.” Nabors said the lobby shop will be using data the Gates foundation has collected from programs it has funded.

Organizations designated as 501 (c) (4) are supposed to promote “social welfare” and may directly engage in some political activities. For details on the limits and advantages of the Gates 501(c)(4) tax structure, see https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/other-non-profits/life-cycle-of-a-social-welfare-organization.

Valerie Strauss at the Washington Post noted that Gates has a long history of influencing legislation without having a lobby shop. https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2019/06/19/bill-melinda-gates-have-spent-billions-drive-their-agenda-education-other-issues-now-they-have-created-lobbying-group-push-even-more/#comments-wrapper

And there is ample evidence that Gates has failed with most of his education projects (from small high schools, to the Common Core, to identifying “effective” teachers) with many of these failed ventures the result of placing his foundation staff in the US Department of Education, and vice versa.

Gates has launched a new method of trying to have his way. So far, there is very little news about this lobby shop dubbed the Policy Initiative. Nicholas Tampio, who has a higher education blog, has some ideas about Gates lobby shop, timing of the announcement, and why the initial focus may well be on post-secondary education. Tampio thinks the announcement of the lobby shop (in April) and a very low profile since then makes sense because Gates wants Congress to pass legislation that will do a triage on public university programs. See more of his reasoning at https://www.higheredjobs.com/articles/articleDisplay.cfm?ID=1988

I think Tampio is right about timing and initial focus. Gates has been pushing for legislation that will do a triage on publicly funded postsecondary programs, including four-year and graduate degree programs. He wants to see programs defunded, whither, and die if they produce a poor return on investment for students who complete them (or don’t, or take too long to complete them).

In May 2019, Gates put together a “Postsecondary Value Commission” whose charge is “to define the value of postsecondary education in the US.” This 30-member commission includes Dr. Mark Schneider, Director of the Institute of Education Sciences USDE who was commissioner of the Commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and now has oversight of NCES. All members of the Commission are DC insiders or academics who know perfectly well that they will be tweaking recommendations and data points already in use or easy to get. The Commission’s work will be completed in June 2020. The efforts of the Commission will produce rankings of best economic value degrees and credentials. https://www.postsecondaryvalue.org/members/

This Postsecondary Value Commission is set up to push years of Gates-funded policy work, especially “A Blueprint for Better Information: Recommendations for a Federal Postsecondary Student-Level Data Network (2017). This is a summary of Gates-funded work since 2015, work that included 11 commissioned policy papers justifying specific “metrics” (p. 10) for tracking student’s personally identifiable information (PII).

Data attached to PII are essential for linking progress from high school into postsecondary programs, completion of those programs, and ultimately to calculations of economic returns. Economic returns are tracked through IRS data, financial aid, loans and loan repayment rates, and measures of cost-effectiveness of online programs with “personalized” instruction versus course credits and seat time. http://www.ihep.org/research/publications/blueprint-better-information-recommendations-federal-postsecondary-student

Specifically, the new Gates lobby shop may be able to influence the “College Transparency Act,” (S.800) co-sponsored by Elizabeth Warren and now in committee. Among other provisions, S.800 gives the Commissioner of National Center for Education Statistics extraordinary power to use databases that include student’s personally identifiable information (PII). The Act is rationalized as necessary to address the student loan crisis. It does nothing about that but S.800 does empower the Commissioner of NCES to appoint an “advisory committee” to oversee implementation of the College Transparency Act.

I am confident that Gates would like to help populate that “advisory committee.” Moreover, if S. 800 passes, I am confident he would love to introduce amendments that would permanently allow federal agencies to use PII, cradle to career.

Gates yearns for his free use of PII for linking data on education–conditions, “Interventions,” and outcomes of interventions–from infancy to workplace.

He is a data guy. He thinks data should be the ONLY basis for judgments and policy formation. His ambition is far greater than his wisdom. He thinks he can and must “accelerate” change in education and his other ventures, he hopes to move fast and if he break things, he has already said that he will try something else.

Last night there was a grand event at the Kennedy Center where veterans of the Bush and Obama education world joined together to wring their hands about the crisis at hand. The crisis is not the mess they made of American education for the past 20 years. The crisis is that the tests are not hard enough, the punishments are not tough enough, and the nation needs to buckle down and keep on testing and firing and demanding more from everyone. Except them. Of course.

Our reader Laura Chapman explains what was behind the big party:

“I wanted to look past the PR for this one event. The event is a launch for a new campaign capitalizing on “stagnating” NAEP scores and persistent gaps among students “who have been underserved.”

“The reformists are calling for “evidence based” methods of teaching using only “high quality, standards-aligned, content-rich curriculum.” Suddenly these reformists think “deficits in content-knowledge” matter. But these reformists are really fans of the Common Core and have a lonh history of ignoring much else worthy of study, content in the arts and humanities for example.

“In addition to being sponsored by the Collaborative for Student Success, this “new literacy campaign” is sponsored by Achieve, The Alliance for Excellent Education, The Thomas B. Fordham Institute, Learning Heroes, Literacy Now, National Association of Elementary School Principals, National Council on Teacher Quality, National Urban Alliance, National Urban League, Military Child Coalition, and The Education Trust. These have been supporters of the Common Core, and many love high-stakes tests.

“The Collaborative for Student Success is a multi-faced project of the New Venture Fund. It is supported by: Bloomberg Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, ExxonMobil, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. The website markets three of the Collaborative’s favorite math programs, but it also features “campaigns” of the Collaborative. Each campaign has a separate website. All campaigns are based on the premise that states are not living up to the requirements of ESSA. Truly, the sponsors of the Literacy Initiative are die-hard defenders of the Common Core and ESSA. Here are the camaigns in progress.

“A web-based “Assessment HQ” offers test scores and demographic breakouts for test scores “for more than half of states in grades 3-8.” This campaign is designed to claim that state assessments are not tough enough or fully reported to parents. The Collaborative scoops up state assessment results in math and ELA and puts these together in an interactive map. The Assessment HQ is actually sluggish and out of date. It is presenting data from the 2014-15 school year and it was designed to push PARCC and Smarter Balanced tests.

“The “Check State Plans” campaign offers ratings of the state plans for ESSA based on their strict conformity to ESSA. The Collaborative asked 45 reviewers to judge state plans, back in 2017, at about the same time that Bellwether Education Partners also put together a panel to review state ESSA plans. The Collaborative wanted to see “the following principles” honored in state plans. “Set the bar high for what students need to know and understand; Focus on closing the achievement gap in math and English; Ensure that parents and communities have access to meaningful data; Have a real plan for helping those schools that have been historically failing.”

“The “Educators for High Standards” campaign has offered about 12 fellowships to teachers willing to voice enthusiasm for ESSA, along with “partners” from the following groups, all known to push for high-stakes tests and the Common Core: The National Network of State Teachers of the Year, Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, PARCC, Teach Plus, Student Achievement Partners (Achieve the Core), National Board of Professional Teaching Standards, Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), Hope Street Group, The New Teacher Project (TNTP), Teach for America, Center for Teacher Quality, and Educators4Excellece.
The” Military Families for High Standards” campaign features the work of advocates for schools serving military families. Among the resources is an article from the Center for American Progress titled “How the Common Core Improves Education for Military-Connected Children.”

“The Honesty Gap” campaign asserts that states must take NAEP’s definition of “proficiency” as the standard for judging the “honesty” in state tests. State tests that claim students are “proficient “are dishonest unless the state standard is the same as for NAEP tests. The “honesty gaps” for each state are shown on an interactive map. The explicit message is that schools are often lying to parents about student achievement. The website should be called Arne Duncan’s BS. https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=246201831
The “Understanding ESSA” campaign provides news about USDE activities (up-to-date) and links to state actions that comply with ESSA.

The whole website is devoted to belligerent judgments of states, districts, and schools while bolstering advocacy groups who will insist on “strict fidelity” to ESSA in state plans.

These birds of a feather intent on repeating the misery of two decades of top down reform.

 

 

Laura Chapman, our loyal reader and diligent researcher, writes:

 

If you want to get past the Dintersmith rhetoric, carefully contrived to make an appealing plausible story (with some help from Frameworks Institute.org), you need to look at the website Education 2020 (ED 2020) to see the underling incoherence (hot air) in Dintersmith’s project, and who is supporting it.

About Education 2020: “We (partners) have come together to advocate for a shared vision to advance a comprehensive education agenda that promotes universal inclusion and access to ongoing learning opportunities for everyone living in America. We call on all 2020 Presidential candidates to develop comprehensive education proposals aligned to this shared vision.”

Our coalition members (partners) include: Alliance for Excellent Education, American Federation of Teachers, Autism Society-, Center for American Progress, Children’s Defense Fund, Community Change Action, Institute for Educational Leadership, Learning Policy Institute, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, National Center for Learning Disabilities, National Disability Rights Network, National Education Association, National Public Education Support Fund, National Women’s Law Center, Reach Higher-, Save the Children Action Network, Save the Children-, Teach Plus-, The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Education Task Force, The Education Trust-, The Institute for College Access & Success, The Partnership for the Future of Learning, The United State of Women, UnidosUS-, Young Invincibles-, ZERO TO THREE.

Education 2020 offers a “Briefing Book” for this promotional activity aided by Dintersmith’s article. The briefing Book includes brief “policy pitches” offered by each of the partners, presented in alphabetical order. These policy pitches are brief, and they do not add up to a “comprehensive agenda” or reflect a shared vision. For example, there are pitches from Teach Plus and the Education Trust, both unsupportive of unions along with pitches from both teacher unions, AFT and NEA.

The Briefing Book includes this idea from the Center for American Progress: “High-quality charter schools are a valuable strategy to increase the number of good public school seats for students. But the growth of charter schools should not be an end in itself, and there are legitimate critiques of the sector that must be addressed. The next administration should take a nuanced approach to charters that includes both the expansion of good school options and the coordination across the traditional district and charter sectors to avoid potentially negative impacts.”

The Learning Policy Institute calls for these actions among others: “Monitor, support, and enforce ESSA’s equity provisions. Key indicators of opportunity and outcomes can be used to inform “equity audits” for low-performing schools to support improvement and effective targeting of resources. “ also “Provide federal funding to support state and district efforts to create greater socioeconomic and racial school diversity and fund the Magnet School Assistance Program at a minimum at parity with the Charter School Program, currently funded at $440 million.”

The Briefing Book for this promotional activity also says: Education 2020 is a coalition housed and supported by the National Public Education Support Fund (established 2009, EIN 26-3015634).
Next question: what do we know about the National Public Education Support Fund? Here is what the fund does according to IRS form 990 for 2017.

“The mission of the National Public Education Support Fund (NPESF) is to promote equitable opportunities for all children to receive a high-quality education from birth through college and career. NPESF is a network hub for EDUCATION PHILANTHROPY, policy, advocacy and practice focused on equitable systems change.” What does “system change mean?” Systems change means reforms favored and charted primarily by billionaire-funded non-profit foundations, as if these tax havens are also sources of superior wisdom about education. The National Public Education Support Fund–a network for education philanthropy”–has the following projects in motion.

A. Partnership for the Future of Learning. Previously called the New Models Working Group. This working group dates to 2009. It was launched by Bill Gates to push the Common Core and aligned tests. The working group of participating foundations had quarterly meetings in DC). The current version funds organizations that offer “a forward-looking vision and policy framework for a 21st century public school system” (more and deeper learning, grounded in the core values of equity, democracy, and shared responsibility to ensure all children are prepared for college, career, and citizenship). Progress over the year: launched a STORYTELLING and NARRATIVE CHANGE effort with a microsite and about 50 partner organizations; publication of a community schools playbook and toolkit; and expanded participation to over 100 partners across dozens of education organizations.

B. We sponsor Education Justice Network. With six national education nonprofits advocating for greater education equity and opportunity with “alignment among the partners to amplify their work on policy, research, and advocacy.” Over the past year, members have created a governance structure for the network and its activities (e.g., working groups on community schools, school finance, redesigning districts, narrative shift, and democratizing knowledge).

C. Education Funder Strategy Group. Includes more than 30 leading foundations focused on “education policy and systems change from early childhood to college and career readiness and success.” Four quarterly meetings were held on the topics of FRAMING THE NARRATIVE on public education, resource equity, systems change…8 monthly calls were held on a variety of topics.” “A special dinner was held with leaders from the OECD focused on expanding access to high quality early learning. Working groups continued to self-organize around issues including “racial equity, using research evidence for change, and social-emotional learning.” (This as the current version of the New Models Working Group started by Bill Gates.)

D. Grantmakers for Thriving Youth: We are the fiscal sponsor for foundations/funders who are investing in “non-academic youth outcomes” such as “social and emotional learning and character development.” A majority of the funders “decided to continue this collaboration over the next two years.”

There is more. The 2017 Form 990 form identifies the Alliance for Excellent Education (all4ed.org) as a related organization whose work advances …”the goal of remodeling US public education.”

Indeed. all4ed is supported by many foundations known to support public funding of privately managed schools. These are named: Anonymous, AT&T Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, GE Foundation, James Irvine Foundation, Kern Family Foundation, National Public Education Support Fund, Nellie Mae Education Foundation, State Farm, Stuart Foundation, William & Flora Hewlett Foundation.

If you want a deep dive into the policies favored and promoted by all of these interrelated projects and organizations, look at the “issues” section of the all4ed website. These are the topics for which there are recommendations.
Accountability, Adolescent Literacy, Assessments, Brown vs. Board, Career & Technical Education, College- and Career-Ready Standards, Deeper Learning, Digital Learning and Future Ready Schools, Economic Impacts, Every Student Succeeds Act, High School Reform, International Comparisons, Linked Learning, Personalized Learning, Science of Adolescent Learning, Teachers and School Leaders.

Dintersmith’s article is an example of the relatively new strategy for selling ideas, marketed by Frameworks Institute.org with a focus on inventing stories, and forwarding narratives calculated to distract attention and elicit favorable responses to hidden-from-view power players. Many of the same “philanthropies” who have promoted failed policies for schools in the last two decades are still at it with Dintersmith trying out a refreshed story line.

This is indeed revelatory of the funding behind this “vision.”

My personal view, based on the rigorous research of the Network for Public Education into the federal Charter Schools Program, is that this program should be completely abolished. The NPE report, Asleep at the Wheel:How the Federal Charter Schools Program Recklessly Takes Taxpayers and Students for a Ride, found that at least one-third of the charter schools funded by CSP had either never opened or closed soon after opening, for a loss of about $1 billion in federal funds. The CSP is currently funded at $440 million. Betsy DeVos asked for $500 million. She is using that money to underwrite the expansion of national charter chains like KIPP and IDEA and to flood states like New Hampshire, Alabama, and Texas. Given the massive funding of charter schools by foundations, no federal funding is needed. Ongoing research by NPE shows that in some states, as many as 40% of charters were failures. Every presidential candidate should be asked if they will eliminate federal funding for new charter schools and direct the funding to Title I or other programs that meet genuine needs, not satisfy billionaires’ egos.