Archives for category: Administrators, superintendents

New York City’s CSA (Council of Supervisors and Administrators) passed a unanimous vote of no confidence in Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza for their poor leadership during the public health crisis and asked the state to intervene to help the public schools reopen safely.

CSA represents the city’s public school principals.

Dr. Jennifer McCormick, state superintendent of education in Indiana, is a hero of public education. She has steadfastly sided with public schools and defied her own party’s embrace of charters and vouchers.

Blogger Steve Hinnefeld reports that Superintendent McCormick has endorsed Democratic candidates who support public schools instead of members of her own party aligned with the Mitch Daniels-Mike Pence privatization agenda.

Hinnefeld writes:

There was a time when Indiana Republicans supported public schools; at least, they supported their local public schools. The shift came in 2011, when Gov. Mitch Daniels got the GOP-controlled legislature to adopt school vouchers and expand charter schools. Today, many Hoosier Republicans have come very close to embracing the late economist Milton Friedman’s vision of a “universal” voucher program of unrestricted state support for private schools.

But McCormick, former superintendent of Indiana’s Yorktown school district, has been an outspoken advocate for public schools. Every time she spoke out for public school districts, you could see Republicans edging further away. When she announced in 2018 that she wouldn’t seek re-election, she implied that she was being elbowed aside. Legislators promptly changed the law so Indiana’s governor will appoint the state’s next chief education officer, starting in 2021.

Yes, support for public schools used to be bipartisan. Indiana has a long tradition of valuing public schools. But party leaders followed the Pied Piper, Milton Friedman, and determined to promote private school choice while defunding the public schools that enroll the vast majority of the state’s children.

Meanwhile, Hinnefeld writes, McCormick has endorsed Democrats because they, like her, believe in the importance of public schools.

I hereby add Jennifer McCormick to the Honor Roll of the blog, for her principled support of public schools and the common good and for her uncommon courage.

Veteran educator Nancy Bailey has some very clear ideas about the next Secretary of Education. All her proposals are premised on Trump’s defeat, since billionaire Betsy DeVos would want to hang on and finish the job of destroying public schools and enriching religious and private schools.

Let’s hope that the next Secretary of Education has the wisdom and vision to liberate children and teachers from the iron grip of No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, Every Student Succeeds Act, High-stakes testing, privatization, and a generation of failed federal policies.

Bailey begins:

During this critical time in American history, that individual should be a black or brown woman, who has been a teacher of young children, and who understands child development. She should hold an education degree and have an additional leadership degree and experience that will help her run the U.S. Department of Education.

Children deserve to see more teachers who look like they do, who will inspire them to go on and become teachers themselves. A black female education secretary will bring more diverse individuals to the field and set an example. This will benefit all students.

Many individuals, including accomplished black men, have brilliant minds, and understand what we need in the way of democratic public education. Leadership roles should await them in the U.S. Department of Education, in schools, universities, or states and local education departments.

But with the fight for Black Lives to Matter and for an end to gender inequality, a knowledgeable black woman with a large heart to embrace these times should take this spot. The majority of teachers have always been women, and while men are critical to being role models for children and teens, it is time for a black woman to lead.

We have had eleven education secretaries, and only three of them have been women, including Shirley Hufstedler, Margaret Spellings, and Betsy DeVos. None of these women were educators or had experience in the classroom. Only two African American men have been in this role, and neither of them could be considered authentic teachers and educators. Both had the goal to undermine public schools.

The time is now for a black female education secretary who will set a positive example and be the face of the future for children from all gender and cultural backgrounds.

Blogger T.C.Weber, aka “Dad Gone Wild,” thinks there is something amiss in Tennessee. The State Commissioner of education Penny Schwinn is holding down two full-time jobs. He thinks that is odd. Does anyone else? She founded a charter school in California, where she is still listed as executive director. Interesting. Superwoman?

He writes:

Capital Collegiate Academy was founded back in 2011 by one Penny Schwinn. In the past, I’ve talked about Schwinn’s tenure with the St. Hope Foundation, the charter network founded by Michelle Rhee’s husband and former Mayor of Sacramento Kevin Johnson. I think it’s a safe assumption that in opening her own school, Schwinn benefited from her relationship with Johnson. It worth noting that Penny’s husband Paul, also worked for the St. Hope Foundation. Stick around, you’ll notice a pattern here.

Returning to Sacramento and opening a charter school was a self-professed dream of Schwinn’s. Per an article in a journal produced by the California Charter School Association, “Her goal was to return to her home town and start a charter school in an under-served community. Her vision was to provide strong standards and high expectations for all students.” Schwinn would assume the role of principal of the school that first year, before 9 months later she would assume a seat on the local school board followed 14 months later by becoming Assistant Superintendent of Sacramento City Unified School District, overseeing the very school she founded.

You may remember back in the Spring when Schwinn tweeted out for principal day how much she loved being a principal. Well, who wouldn’t love to be a principal for a school that only housed 60 Kindergarten students? Per their website, “Capitol Collegiate follows a slow growth model, which means we add an additional grade level each year. Our founding scholars started Kindergarten in 2011 and will graduate from 8th grade in 2020. CCA currently serves students in Transitional Kindergarten (TK) through 8th Grade.” ​

If you look at state achievement scores, that initial class of 2011 seems to be doing quite well. Last year, as 7th graders, 58.2% performed at or above expectations in ELA and 47.06% did the same in Math. I’d say that qualifies for celebration.

The only caveat that I would add is to point out that a class that started out having 60 students held 22 students last year and is now down to 15. So a little math will tell you that out those 22 students, 13 are on grade level or above and 9 are underperforming. That’s not quite as much cause for celebration. With such a small class, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect higher achievement levels.

Right now, I wouldn’t blame you for thinking, “This all very interesting, but Penny lit out of there on a fast train nearly a decade ago. What’s all of this have to do with today?”

Ah, but the question is, did Ms. Schwinn truly depart Capital Collegiate Academy? You might be surprised to find out that the Commissioner is still an active board member of the charter school, a seat she has held since inception.

“How does she do it”, you might ask, “Surely there are expectations about attending board meetings.”

Rest assured that when Ms. Schwinn can’t make it in person, she participates via teleconference from 710 James Robertson Parkway, Nashville, Tennessee. In case you don’t recognize that address, it’s where her office, supplied by Tennessee taxpayers, is located.

Here’s where things get even more interesting. You see Penny wasn’t just a board member, she was also the Executive Director of the school from 2015 – 2019. Currently, the organization doesn’t appear to have an executive director. Though I hear Paul’s doing nothing…never mind, I’m sure they’ve already thought of that.

While serving as CCA’s executive director, Penny was serving as an associate superintendent in both Delaware and Texas, and in 2019 she became the Commissioner of Education for Tennessee. You wouldn’t be remiss in thinking, “There is no way she could have done both jobs simultaneously”. But she did, and was paid a pretty penny – pun intended – for it.

Lotta ching, huh?

So now you might be thinking that Ms. Schwinn cut some kind of deal, and arranged a ceremonial position due to her status as a “founder” in order to receive payment long after she split to explore greener pastures. A fair assumption, unfortunately not an assumption not backed up by documentation from the Capitol Collegiate Academy charter application where the duties of the Executive Director are extensive and clearly spelled out.

That seems like a lot of work to be doing from the East Coast while also serving as Delaware’s Chief accountability officer. I know the irony, right?

If this has you scratching your head in puzzlement, don’t consider yourself alone. In 2015, CCA was up for renewal and the SCUSD School Board had some questions themselves. They list a number of promises the school made that they’d failed to keep. Also noting that “the current Executive director fills her role as a part-time position. She is employed as an education official, in another capacity, on the East Coast of the United States. Clearly, they were as perplexed as we are.

Somebody should have pointed out to board members that the school’s IRS filings have Schwinn down as working a 40-hour week. Quite the go-getter this one is. And Mr. Schwinn, what was he up to in Delaware. He was hired as the Director of Leadership Development for the Delaware Leadership Project, which is funded by the Delaware DOE, Rodel, and Vision. Seeing the pattern yet?

There’s more.

Ms. Schwinn works for a pro-voucher chum of Betsy DeVos. Curiously Republican legislators wonder about her multiple jobs but Democratic legislators don’t. Read on to understand this puzzling situation.

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?