Archives for category: Education Reform

Parents, students, educators and other citizens are invited nvited to learn about the hoax of Amendment 1on the ballot. It is an effort by the far-right to change the Georgia state constitution to allow the state to take over schools with low test scores and give them to charter corporations. Tea Party Governor Nathan Deal says it is for the poor minority kids, whom he wants to “save.”

Please join civil rights activists to learn more about Amendment 1 and the myth of the New Orleans miracle.


The national board of the NAACP endorsed the resolution passed by its 2016 annual convention calling for a moratorium on charter school expansion!

So-called reformers, who falsely claim to be in alliance with the civil rights movement, should read the resolution with care. They should stop closing schools, they should abandon privatization, they should turn their efforts and money to helping improve public schools. They should help to foster desegregated schools and communities. They should insist on health care facilities and fully funded services at every school. They should support social justice for all children and families, not privatization of public services, which generates segregation and inequity.

Here is the statement of the national board of the NAACP:


October 15, 2016

CINCINNATI – Members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Board of Directors ratified a resolution Saturday adopted by delegates at its 2016 107th National Convention calling for a moratorium on charter school expansion and for the strengthening of oversight in governance and practice.

“The NAACP has been in the forefront of the struggle for and a staunch advocate of free, high-quality, fully and equitably-funded public education for all children,” said Roslyn M. Brock, Chairman of the National NAACP Board of Directors. “We are dedicated to eliminating the severe racial inequities that continue to plague the education system.”

The National Board’s decision to ratify this resolution reaffirms prior resolutions regarding charter schools and the importance of public education, and is one of 47 resolutions adopted today by the Board of Directors. The National Board’s decision to ratify supports its 2014 Resolution, ‘School Privatization Threat to Public Education’, in which the NAACP opposes privatization of public schools and public subsidizing or funding of for-profit or charter schools. Additionally, in 1998 the Association adopted a resolution which unequivocally opposed the establishment and granting of charter schools which are not subject to the same accountability and standardization of qualifications/certification of teachers as public schools and divert already-limited funds from public schools.

We are calling for a moratorium on the expansion of the charter schools at least until such time as:
(1) Charter schools are subject to the same transparency and accountability standards as public schools

(2) Public funds are not diverted to charter schools at the expense of the public school system

(3) Charter schools cease expelling students that public schools have a duty to educate and

(4) Cease to perpetuate de facto segregation of the highest performing children from those whose aspirations may be high but whose talents are not yet as obvious.

Historically the NAACP has been in strong support of public education and has denounced movements toward privatization that divert public funds to support non-public school choices.

“We are moving forward to require that charter schools receive the same level of oversight, civil rights protections and provide the same level of transparency, and we require the same of traditional public schools,” Chairman Brock said. “Our decision today is driven by a long held principle and policy of the NAACP that high quality, free, public education should be afforded to all children.”

While we have reservations about charter schools, we recognize that many children attend traditional public schools that are inadequately and inequitably equipped to prepare them for the innovative and competitive environment they will face as adults. Underfunded and under-supported, these traditional public schools have much work to do to transform curriculum, prepare teachers, and give students the resources they need to have thriving careers in a technologically advanced society that is changing every year. There is no time to wait. Our children immediately deserve the best education we can provide.

“Our ultimate goal is that all children receive a quality public education that prepares them to be a contributing and productive citizen,” said Adora Obi Nweze, Chair of the National NAACP Education Committee, President of the Florida State Conference of the NAACP and a former educator whose committee guides educational policy for the Association.

“The NAACP’s resolution is not inspired by ideological opposition to charter schools but by our historical support of public schools – as well as today’s data and the present experience of NAACP branches in nearly every school district in the nation,” said Cornell William Brooks, President and CEO of the NAACP. “Our NAACP members, who as citizen advocates, not professional lobbyists, are those who attend school board meetings, engage with state legislatures and support both parents and teachers.”

“The vote taken by the NAACP is a declaratory statement by this Association that the proliferation of charter schools should be halted as we address the concerns raised in our resolution,” said Chairman Brock.


Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our six “Game Changer” issue areas here.

Lloyd Lofthouse, veteran of the military and veteran teacher, wrote this explanation of the ingredients of school success. He writes that school choice undermines success because it destroys community support for the community’s children.

He wrote in a comment:

The neos (liberal and conservative) are always looking for language loopholes to subvert the constitutions of the states and nations.

How can schools compete unless the students compete because using student test scores to rank schools forcing schools to compete can’t work unless every single student competes by actually paying attention to teachers, what teachers teach, cooperating, no behavior problems, no disruption, and every child reads every day for fun and learning in addition to doing all the work?

Find me a teacher in almost all the public schools who’s taught for at least 10 years and claims that every one of their students has is is always on track and working/learning, and I will show you a liar. If you can’t cherry pick the students and cherry pick the facts, then you can’t be successful with 100 percent of the students.

Choice means the end of a free public education for every child even if the child is a challenge to engage in the process for learning.

The formula for a child’s education takes a village. Schools can’t do it alone. Teacher’s can’t do it alone. Children can’t do it alone. Parents can’t do it alone. They all have to come together and work together for learning to happen.

Choice will never replace the village. That why the community based, locally controlled, democratic, transparent, non-profit, traditional public schools are the only way to allow the opportunity for every child to be offered an education to work.

Children also have a choice when they walk into a school. They have a choice to learn or not to learn and some of them choose not learning when they do not do the work and do not read for whatever reason and there are a lot o reasons why those children do not join the village to learn what teachers teach.

Even Donald Trump was a challenging child to teach. I’ve read that Trump was kicked out of his expensive private school because he was a challenge to teach so his father sent him to a military boarding school, a boot camp school similar to Eva’s Success Academy.

The national board of the NAACP is meeting tomorrow.

Please call as soon as possible to urge them to support their conference’s resolution calling for a moratorium on new charter schools.

The number is: 410 580 5777

The national board will vote on whether to confirm the resolution passed by its convention this past summer calling for a moratorium on new charter schools because of their negative effects on African-American communities. This resolution shook up the billionaire-funded corporate reform movement because it pretends to be in league with the civil rights movement. The resolution stripped away this pretense, as the 1% have never been allies of the civil rights movement. Consider charter school leaders like the Waltons of Arkansas, whose Walmart stores employ over one million people and are resolutely non-union (make that anti-union). The best way for them to advance the rights of black and brown people is to pay them good wages so their children can be well fed and live in decent housing with good medical care.

The NAACP resolution recognizes that charter schools are a distraction from the income inequality that harms children and families. Address root causes. Help schools and children. Don’t close schools and destroy communities.

The Center for Civil Rights Remedies at UCLA conducted a national survey and concluded that charter schools suspend extraordinary numbers of black students and students with disabilities.

“Charter schools suspend students at a much higher rate than non-charter schools, some of which have suspension rates north of 70 percent. But a disproportionate amount of those suspensions fall on black students, who are four times more likely to be suspended than white students, and students with disabilities, who are twice as likely to be suspended as their non-disabled peers.

“Those are just some of the inequities highlighted in a blistering new analysis from researchers at the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at the University of California, Los Angeles.

“Notably, the data was from the 2011-2012 school year, when every one of the country’s 95,000 public schools, including charters, was required to report its discipline data.

“The report, which is the first comprehensive description of the use of suspensions by charter schools, covers 5,250 schools and focuses on out-of-school suspensions at elementary and secondary schools.

“Specifically, it examined the extent to which charter schools suspend children of color and children with disabilities at excessive and disparate rates.

“Among the many finding of the 36-page report: More than 500 charter schools suspended black students at a rate that was at least 10 percentage points higher than the rate for white students. And moreover, 1,093 charter schools suspended students with disabilities at a rate that was 10 or more percentage points higher than for students without disabilities.

“The most alarming finding, the research points out, is that 235 charter schools suspended more than 50 percent of their enrolled students with disabilities.

“In addition, while racial disparities in suspension rates between black students and white students were significant at both the elementary and secondary level, the rate exploded during secondary school, jumping from a 6.4 percent disciplinary gap to a 16.4 percent gap.

“It’s been well documented that the frequent use of suspensions, among many other things, contributes to chronic absenteeism, is correlated with lower achievement, and predicts lower graduation rates, heightened risk for grade retention, and delinquent behavior that often leads to the juvenile justice system.

“The host of findings, the researchers wrote, suggests that the excessive suspension rates are contributing to the school-to-prison pipeline and that at least some charter schools are likely violating the civil rights of students.”

Michelle Obama is a very accomplished speaker. She achieves unusual power in her words because she has the ability to be completely herself as she speaks.

The Los Angeles Times said that her speech in New Hampshire yesterday may have been “a defining moment” of the campaign. Whether that is so, time will tell. But having stayed up very late last night to watch it, I can attest that it is worth your time.

Anthony Cardinale is a third grade teacher who recently met with education commissioner MaryEllen Elia to discuss the Common Core and state testing in New York.  She asked him to evaluate the released passages from the ELA tests.  He found them to be developmentally inappropriate and summarized his finding in a report.

You can download the report at this link:  cc-ela-passage-eval-2016-final-copy

Maura Healey, the Attorney General of Massachusetts, has come out in opposition to Question 2, which would lift the cap on charter schools. Another dozen charter schools would be authorized every year indefinitely. Out-of-State billionaires, including the Waltons of Arkansas, have contributed millions of dollars to privatize public schools in Massachusetts.

I received this email the other day:


We Have the People, They Have (more and more dark) $$! 


Dear Diane,
And what excellent people we have! People like youand Attorney General Maura Healey, who has joined Senator Elizabeth Warren and the ever growing movement to protect public education for ALL students.
“If you say the money follows the student and then you don’t actually reimburse the district – then that’s a problem.” – Attorney General Maura Healey
And in other encouraging news, the Boston and Newton School Committees passed No on 2 resolutions this week, and our total has reached more than164 school committees statewide, including urban and suburban districts.
It’s time to stand up to the out-of-state billionaires and show them what a real grassroots campaign looks like, because when we fight, we win!
There have been countless great commentaries and letters to the editor from our No on 2 grassroots, but I wanted to highlight this commentary by Boston University Professor of Social Studies Education Christopher Martell. Clickhere to read his five thoughtful and clearly presented reasons to vote no.
And don’t miss EduShyster on this week’s big court ruling for keeping the cap and against the folks who argued that lifting the cap is a civil rights issue.
We have victory in our sights thanks to the hard work of people like you, people out knocking on doors, making calls and talking to everyone you know!
Sign up for a canvass shift this Saturday, Oct. 8 near you:
Boston – 10:00 AM
Almont Park
40 Almont St.
Brighton – 3:00 PM
Ronan’s Deli
243 Faneuil St.
Brookline – 1:00 PM
Also Sunday, 11:30 AM
Dunkin’ Donuts
1955 Beacon St., Cleveland Circle
Fall River – 10:30 AM
Fall River Educators Association
178 4th St.
Haverhill – 3:00 PM
Haverhill High School
Parking Lot A
Lowell – 4:00 PM
Riley School
115 Douglas Rd.
Northampton – 10:30 AM
Potpourri Plaza
243 King St.
Norwood – 2:00 PM
Norwood High School
Pittsfield – 2:00 PM
188 East St.
Quincy – 9:30 AM
MTA Office
Worcester – 3:00 PM
16 Alden St.
Click here to see a full list of all neighborhood canvasses. Question 2 is bad for our schools, and it’s time we stand up united to vote NO.
To get in touch with the Save Our Public Schools campaign and learn how to plug in to this important movement, click here.
Lisa Guisbond and Ann O’Halloran
CPS Executive Director and President
P.S. Click HERE to help CPS continue to inform the public on education issues, including charter schools, high-stakes testing and full funding of our public schools. 

Tracy Novick lives in Worcester, Massachusetts, a small city that was hit hard by de-industrialization.

In this article, she explains that the Wall Street backers of Question 2, which would lift the cap on charters, are pitching their propaganda at affluent white liberals. Their slick ad campaign is aimed at white guilt. They say “vote yes for the sake of poor black and brown children.” They pretend that there is plenty of money for two separate systems of schools. There isn’t.

Voting yes, she writes, will inflict “savage inequalities” (Jonathan Kozol”s book title) on public schools across the state, but not in the affluent suburbs, which are not dependent on state aid. They can assuage white guilt, but everyone else will suffer, not their children, not their schools.

She writes:

“Recently, those pushing for cap lift have been piling on the suburban guilt. It was all over the column I referenced yesterday; it was a big part of the Newton School Committee public testimony last night. Some of this is about wealth, a lot of this is about race, but it is all intended to make those who have a lot feel badly about those who don’t and vote for cap lift to make themselves feel better.

“As a parent in one of those urban communities, I am telling you: spare us.

“I am a parent in a community in which the vast majority of our school funding comes from the state. Worcester is unable to fund its schools on its own. Under McDuffy, Worcester, along with Springfield, Fall River, Lowell, and many of the other urban districts, is majority state funded.

“That isn’t true of most of the places the cap lifters are trying to send on a guilt trip. Most suburbs get a minimum 15% of their foundation budget in state aid. They are majority local funded.
And most fund well over the minimum requirement.

“As I’ve said numerous times, to some extent, this is actually required: the foundation budget hasn’t been reconsidered for twenty years, and the districts that can make up the gaps themselves are doing so.

“Many districts cannot.

“This includes mine.

“Should the ballot cap lift pass, and the state suddenly be faced with funding the reimbursements of up to 12 new schools a year, every year, something is going to have to give. There is no plan in the ballot question for dealing with the funding, and there is nothing in the plan to change reimbursement or any other funding rates.

“It will start, of course, with continuing to not fully fund reimbursements. As the number of schools, and reimbursements, and facilities fees get larger and larger, the state’s going to have to look at state education aid.

“When that happens, it isn’t going to be Newton, funded in FY16 at 165% of foundation, or Cambridge, funded in FY16 at 227% of foundation, or–pick a W: Weston? 208% Wellesley? 165%–that get hit.
Will it hurt them if they lose their state aid? Yes.
Will it devastate their budgets? No.

“Worcester and its peer communities have no such local resources, though. Thus their district public school children–which are the vast majority of schoolchildren in those districts–will be those hurt.

“If you start to feel guilty about other people’s children in “those” districts, think about this:

“Keep in mind where most of them go to school.
Remember how those schools are funded.
Remember who will really be hurt by a cap lift.
And vote no on question two.”

The Washington Supreme Court ordered the legislature to come up with a plan to fund the state’s public schools fairly. The legislature has taken a few steps but has failed to comply with the court’s order. The state asked the coutrt to cancel the fines. The court said no.

“No hammer will come down this year as a result of the Legislature’s ongoing failure to come up with plan to fully fund public schools, the state Supreme Court said Thursday.

“Instead, the high court said it will continue fining Washington state $100,000 per day, but will wait to see what progress lawmakers make in the 2017 legislative session before imposing additional sanctions.

“The court’s ruling is the the latest development in the school-funding case known as McCleary, in which the court ruled in 2012 that Washington state was failing to meet its constitutional duty to amply fund basic education.

“In its order, the court directed the state to correct school-funding problems by 2018.

“While lawmakers have added about $2.3 billion to address parts of the McCleary ruling — including funding for all-day kindergarten, school supplies and class size reductions in lower grades — they have yet to come up with a way to fix the unconstitutional way teachers and other school employees are paid, which many lawmakers view as the most complicated part of the decision.

“The court has said school employee salaries are basic education costs that should be borne by the state, and not paid through local school district property tax levies.

“In its majority ruling Thursday, the court criticized lawmakers for not specifying how they plan to take on those costs next year.

“In its latest report, the State continues to provide a promise — ‘we’ll get there next year’ — rather than a concrete plan for how it will meet its paramount duty,” wrote Chief Justice Barbara Madsen, whose opinion was signed by seven of the court’s nine justices.”

Washington State contains some of the richest people in the nation and the world. Why aren’t they leading the fight for higher taxes to fund the schools instead of fighting for charters?

Read more here: