Archives for category: Administrators, superintendents

Larry Cuban reposts here the best summary of the dilemmas of reopening the schools during a pandemic.

Trump and DeVos think that they can sit in D.C. and order the schools to open up for in-person instruction or lose funding.

An order is not a plan. School boards and superintendents have to figure out how, when, and whether to reopen, and how to pay for it.

They know that in-person instruction is far superior to remote instruction.

For most, their top priority is to protect the lives and health of students and staff.

Bob Shepherd reacted to the U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn state laws banning public money to religious schools if the state is subsidizing other private schools. Bob lives in Florida, which already funds private and religious schools to the tune of $1 billion a year and has just increased the funding for them. Religious schools in Florida do not take the state tests, do not have to hire certified teachers or principals, and are not accountable to the state in any way:

Post-Espinoza Business Plan 1 (We Put the Duh in Flor-uh-duh):

Come on down to our “Race to the Top of Mount Zion Enrollment Jubilee” in the old K-Mart parking lot this Saturday and sign yore kids up for Bob Shepherd’s Real Good Floruhduh School. You can use yore Florida State Scholarships to pay for it, and so its absolutely FREE!!!! No longer due you havta send yore children to them gobbermint schools run by Socialists whar they will be taut to be transgendered! We offer compleet curriculems, wrote by Bob’s girlfriend Darlene herself, including

World HIStory (from Creation to Babylon to the Rapshure)
Political Science (We thank you, Lord, for Donald Trump; the Second Amendmint; and protecting our Borders from invading hoardes of rapists and murderers)
English (the offishul langwidge of the United States, and the langwidge the Bible was wrote in)
Science (the six days of creation; how to make yore own buckshot; and how Cain and Abel survived among the dinosaurs)
Economics (when rich people get tax brakes, that makes you richer)

And much, much more!!! Plus, you don’t havta worry yore hed about safety, cause all are teachers is locked and loaded!

Bob’s Real Good Florurduh Skool, located across from Bob’s Gun and Pawn right next to Wild Wuornos’s Adult Novelties.

It’s been real good runnin’ this here skool. Free innerprize! So much better then tryin to live on Darlene’s disability! Make America Grate Agin!

Post-Espinoza Business Plan 1 (Akashic Kakistonics, or Opening Heaven’s Gate to Every Child):

Tired of those failing public schools? Want to send your child a true Akashic Academy where he/she/they can receive nourishment for the mind AND the soul?

Then enroll him/her/them in Enlightened Master Bob’s AYAHUASCA SCHOOL FOR LITTLE COSMIC VOYAGERS.

Here at Enlightened Master Bob’s, your child will learn how he or she can skip breakfast, lunch, and dinner and draw nourishment directly from Father Sun in our Solar Temple.

We offer complete holistic health training, using our proprietary textbooks on the Ethereal Body, including uncapping and aligning children’s Chakras so they can download DIRECTLY from the Mother Ship the Cosmic Light necessary for the coming Transformation from Earth-bound Homo Sapiens to Interdimensional Beings.

In our history classes, students will learn all about Atlantis, Lemuria, Camelot and Glastonbury, the Black Rock Desert, and other places of Places of Power throughout the Ages.

Students will also learn how to protect themselves against the forces of the Evil Galactic Emperor Xenu and his band of sometimes invisible, shape-shifting reptilian aliens from Alpha Draconis.

But don’t delay! Soon, as our galaxy moves into proximity to the Pleiades, the vibrational tone of the entire planet will rise to such a pitch that we will either undergo Ascension or explode, and everything—the FATE OF THE PLANET– depends on how many young Lightworkers we can bring into Alignment and Cosmic Consciousness before then!

Of course, all this is absolutely FREE because you can use your State Scholarship Voucher to pay for it.

And best yet, all classes are taught by the Spiritual Wives of Enlightened Master Bob himself!!!!

The National Superintendents Roundtable reports that Texas, Georgia, and South Carolina want to suspend testing next year. Other states may follow their lead. The most important priority must be the health and safety of students and staff.

On June 18, Georgia became one of the first states to seek an assessment waiver. Gov. Brian P. Kemp and State School Superintendent Richard Woods jointly announced their decision to apply for suspension of standardized testing to the U.S. Department of Education.

Continuing with high-stakes testing for the next school year, they said in a joint press release, would be “counterproductive.”

“In anticipation of a return to in-person instruction this fall, we believe schools’ focus should be on remediation, growth, and the safety of students,” the statement said. “Every dollar spent on high-stakes testing would be a dollar taken away from the classroom.”

In South Carolina, the state Senate approved a bill that would seek a waiver from all federal accountability reporting, as well as test suspension, “to help recoup extensive instruction time lost when our public schools closed” in spring.

Texas also moved in a similar direction earlier this month, when state Rep. Dan Flynn announced a resolution seeking a waiver from Gov. Greg Abbott for state accountability ratings, adding that extended closures have historically negatively impacted students’ math and reading achievement.

A growing number of educators realize the uselessness of annual standardized testing.

A group of superintendents from metro Detroit and surrounding counties is urging Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and state Superintendent Michael Rice to seek the OK to suspend state-mandated academic testing during the upcoming school year.

“Every educator’s first and foremost priority will be to work with students individually, assess their needs, and help them readjust to in-person learning,” the district leaders wrote.

The letter was signed by the superintendents of intermediate school districts in Macomb, Oakland, Wayne, Genesee, Monroe, Washtenaw, and St. Clair counties. Intermediate school districts provide a range of services to local districts and charter schools within their boundaries.

The letter asks the state to seek the OK from the U.S. Department of Education to suspend testing. Federal guidelines require annual assessments.

The request comes as districts across the state are working to develop plans to reopen school buildings in the fall, and make accommodations for students who opt to continue learning online. Whitmer next week is expected to release guidelines for the safe reopening of schools.

A group of superintendents from metro Detroit and surrounding counties is urging Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and state Superintendent Michael Rice to seek the OK to suspend state-mandated academic testing during the upcoming school year.

“Every educator’s first and foremost priority will be to work with students individually, assess their needs, and help them readjust to in-person learning,” the district leaders wrote.

The letter was signed by the superintendents of intermediate school districts in Macomb, Oakland, Wayne, Genesee, Monroe, Washtenaw, and St. Clair counties. Intermediate school districts provide a range of services to local districts and charter schools within their boundaries.

The letter asks the state to seek the OK from the U.S. Department of Education to suspend testing. Federal guidelines require annual assessments.

To think that it required a global pandemic to stop the nation’s obsession with standardized testing.

The Tulsa school board went into executive session and talked until 1 am, then voted to extend Deborah Gist’s contract for two years. Two board members voted no.

The vote occurred one week before an election runoff for two board seats.

Gist is a member of Jeb Bush’s Chiefs for Change, which supports charters, vouchers, and high-stakes testing. As State Superintendent in Rhode Island a decade ago, she achieved fame and notoriety for firing the entire staff of Central Falls High School due to low test scores. Central Falls is the poorest district in the state. It still has the lowest scores in the state.

Please join Jen Mangrum in her important campaign for state superintendent of education in North Carolina, a post that has been held by an ineffectual Republican supporter of charters, vouchers, and other Tea Party policies for the past four years.

Jen is an experienced educator and a woman with guts. She ran against state Senator Phil Berger, the most powerful politician in the state in the last election, which she lost. But she has a good shot at winning the race for state chief. She has the support of teachers and parent groups.

Jen is holding a campaign event on June 25. I will join her, virtually.

Please join us and help her restore integrity and leadership in public education in North Carolina.

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I recently had a discussion with Dr. Michael Hynes, the district superintendent in Port Washington, New York.

Our ZOOM discussion was sponsored by the Network for Public Education.

Mike Hynes is unusual because he believes in whole-child education. He is a revolutionary. He doesn’t think that test scores are important. He thinks schools should be places of joy. He believes in collaboration with staff. He shadows children to learn how their days are spent.

He is a different kind of superintendent.

Is he the wave of the future?

This story was first reported in the Los Angeles Education Examiner by Sara Roos.

I mistakenly attributed the initial reporting to parent advocate Carl Petersen .

Roos reported that Superintendent Austin Beutner, a former investment banker, has brought management consultants Bain and Company to provide strategic guidance to the district.

With Governor Cuomo assigning the task of “reimagining” education in New York, and Austin Beutner calling on Bain and Company, it bears mentioning that none of these people are educators.

Los Angeles has an elected school board.

Why is the superintendent turning to a management consulting business with no experience in education to guide the district in these troubled times? Why isn’t the school board, which is Beutner’s employer, making the strategic decisions?

This is “disaster capitalism” (Naomi Klein’s apt term) at its worst. This is another instance of the Pandemic Shock Doctrine.

Beutner works for the board. They should stop him before he outsources the district management to unaccountable and unqualified “experts.”

Dora Taylor, parent activist in Seattle, warns of the dangers of coronavirus capitalism. She notes that some elected boards have granted unusual powers to their superintendents to make contracts. Seattle’s superintendent, she says, has signed some doozies.

It is especially sad to see Seattle in this trouble, as the parents and educators there have been unusually vigilant in protecting their public schools, especially after a Broadie made some terrible decisions.

One inexplicable decision was to hire a “strategy firm” to improve her image at the same time that teachers were being laid off.

Juneau also hired a private strategy firm Strategies 360, while teachers were losing their jobs due to budgetary restraints. Seattle Public Schools has a communications department well established within the district. Why was an additional private firm needed? A former Seattle superintendent, Dr. Goodloe-Johnson, hired the same firm to assist with her public image, but to no avail.

Carl Cohn is a veteran educator who served as superintendent in Long Beach and in San Diego. He has received many awards for his service.

The selection of a new superintendent in Long Beach prompted him to write his thoughts about previous crises faced by the district and about the importance of teachers today. No superintendent can succeed without building relationships of mutual respect and collaboration with trusted teachers.

I first met Carl Cohn when he was selected to clean up the damage done by the first effort to disrupt a school district. That was San Diego. At the turn of the century, San Diego was one of the most successful urban districts in the nation—perhaps the most successful—but the school board decided it needed a massive overhaul. They hired lawyer Alan Bersin to disrupt the district. I described what happened there—including demoralization of teachers, and a philosophy of changing everything all at once because (as the saying then went) “you can’t jump over a canyon in two leaps.” The philosophy of the leadership was that change had to be abrupt, immediate, and “pedal to the metal.” Billionaires sent money. Books were written about the “bold” reforms. The infighting and controversy became so inflamed that the public eventually threw out the “reform” school board. San Diego, however, was the model for Joel Klein’s disruptions in New York City, which were the model for the same in D.C., and on and on.

I spent a week in the district interviewing teachers and principals and school board members. My last interview was with Carl Cohn. I saw him as a calming figure whose job was to restore morale, order, and professionalism. He succeeded.

After the collapse of the disruption era, the San Diego school board hired an experienced educator, Cindy Marten, who had been a teacher and principal in the district. Although she has had to impose devastating budget cuts, she has been a steady hand at the tiller. I met her in 2006, when she was a principal, running a progressive child-centered school. When I visited San Diego a few years ago, she took me for a drive, and I surprised myself for taking a paragliding ride at Torrey Pines. Needless to say, I am delighted that San Diego has such trustworthy, experienced leadership again.

I began my book The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education with the San Diego story. It is a cautionary tale. If you read one chapter in that book, read that one. It ends with my interview of Carl Cohn.

Angelica Infante-Green, the Commissioner of Education in Rhode Island, selected Harrison Peters as the takeover superintendent of Providence.

Peters announced his initial plans, which sound sensible, like implementing restorative justice in schools and assessing which schools need emergency repairs.

However, the article suggests that the big reform plan will be rolled out in April.

Keep an eye on this because Peters is already a member of Jeb Bush’s “Chiefs for Change,” where he has been designated a “future” chief. Chiefs for Change is an organization that adheres to Bush’s harsh ideas about testing, school closings, school report cards, and charter schools. And, of course, Jeb is one of the nation’s foremost advocates for vouchers.