Archives for category: John King

Brilliant reader Chiara, who lives in Ohio, wrote this timely observation:

“U.S. Education Secretary John King on Wednesday weighed in on a swirling schools controversy, criticizing what he called “arbitrary caps” on the growth of high-quality charter schools, publicly funded but, in many cases, privately operated K-12 schools in 42 states and the District of Columbia.

Appearing at the National Press Club, King said the USA is “fortunate, I think, as a country, to have some high-performing charters that are doing a great job providing great opportunities to students — charters that are helping students not only perform at higher levels academically, but go on to college at much higher rates” than students at similar neighborhood public schools. “That’s good. We should have more schools like that, and I think any arbitrary cap on that growth of high-performing charters is a mistake.”

Obama Administration continues their 8 year practice of advocating exclusively for charter schools and completely ignoring the existence of public schools.

King’s statement is nonsense. He has it backward. Obama and DC REQUIRED states to arbitrarily lift caps on charter schools regardless of quality in order to receive federal money. They made no distinctions on ‘quality’ or which states- they cheerled every single charter school expansion in all 50 states.

They just handed 71 million dollars to expand the worst charter sector in the country in Ohio. They weren’t even aware that Ohio’s charter sector is a disaster.

This isn’t about “quality”. It’s about an ideological preference for privatized schools and outright hostility to existing public schools and it permeates DC.

None of these people ever talk about improving public schools. It is all charters all the time in the echo chamber. They couldn’t be bothered to act as advocates for public schools when state after state gutted funding during Obama’s terms. Not a peep out of any of them. But, threaten charter schools and the whole gang rises up in anger!

Ridiculous that they’re all public employees. Public employees who oppose public schools. They should find work in the private sector.

Standardized tests produce results normed on a bell curve. The students who cluster in the bottom half of the bell curves are predominantly poor, children with disabilities, and children of color. The bell curve, by design, never closes. That is why it is fundamentally wrong to rank students, teachers, and schools by a measure that favors the most affluent.

Secretary of Education John King is releasing regulations that will punish education programs if their graduates teach students whose scores are low. “Reformers” are supposed to be aware of the power of incentives, but not Secretary King. He thinks he can scare education programs to focus more on raising test scores. More likely is that teachers will get the message to avoid teaching in schools that enroll students who are impoverished, and that their preparation programs will encourage them to steer clear of the neediest children.

This is the report that appeared this morning in politico education (http://go.politicoemail.com/?qs=70112e1be3cf7964cb8f83700178acc6d2452a022573f96620522e9d5cbe9274):

TEACHER PREP RULES OUT TODAY: The Obama administration unveiled its long-delayed final regulations governing teacher preparation programs today. The rule preserves much of the administration’s original proposal from 2014, and requires states to develop a rating system for teacher-preparation programs.

– The rule will also eventually punish low-performing programs by cutting off their access to federal TEACH grants that help students pay for teacher training.

– The final rule retains a particularly-controversial component, which holds teacher-preparation programs accountable, in part, for how their graduates perform as teachers, based upon their students’ academic success. However, states will have flexibility in determining how to measure student learning.

– Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, sharply criticized the regulations, saying in a statement that although the department “has made minor tweaks, the flawed framework remains the same.”

– Weingarten said it was “ludicrous to propose evaluating teacher preparation programs based on the performance of the students taught by a program’s graduates.” And she said the rules ultimately punish teacher prep programs that send graduates into the highest-need schools.

– Chris Minnich, executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers, said in a statement that the group was “pleased the department listened to feedback and made these regulations stronger.”

– Kate Walsh, president of the National Council on Teacher Quality, said she’s impressed with how much the department kept with its original intent, “which was to insert far greater accountability for program quality.” She added that the effectiveness of the rule “very much depends on states doing their bit to hold programs accountable for quality.”

– “I told people they would never see the light of day,” Walsh said of the rules. “I’m happy to be wrong.”

– Education Secretary John B. King Jr. will be speaking about teacher preparation at the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education today. Watch the USC event live, starting at 1 p.m. ET, here.

– Read the regulations here

Click to access teacher-prep-final-regs.pdf

Vermont is the smartest state in the nation. Not because of test scores, but because the officials in charge of education actually care about children and about education. When they look at the state’s children, they see children with names and faces, not just data. When they think about their schools, they see them as places where children should experience the excitement and joy of learning.

Vermont did not apply for a Race to the Top grant, meaning that it never was compelled to adopt Arne Duncan’s ideas about how to reform schools (which he failed to do when he was superintendent in Chicago).

Vermont never enacted charter school legislation. Vermont has its own kind of school choice program. If a district or town does not offer a public elementary or high school, students may receive a voucher to attend a private (non-religious) school. Such vouchers (called “town tuitioning”) are available only when there are no public schools available.

Vermont education officials think for themselves. Read their brilliant letter to Secretary of Education John King, advocate of high-stakes testing and privatization of public schools, about the inadequacies of ESSA and his proposed regulations.

They say:

The logic of ESSA is the same as NCLB. It is to identify “low performing schools.” Its operating theory is pressuring schools in the belief that the fear of punishment will improve student learning. It assumes poor achievement is a function of poor will. If we learned anything from NCLB, it is that that system does not work. It did not narrow gaps and did not lead to meaningful improvements in learning. If ESSA is similarly restrictive, we can expect no better.

This thinking perpetuates a disabling narrative about public schools. We ask for leadership from Washington that celebrates the glories of what we can accomplish rather than unrelenting dirges.

We are dismayed that the federal government continues to commoditize education and support charter and private schools which segregate children and show no particular learning advantage. We are disturbed that the federal government continues to underfund its commitment to our most vulnerable children, who are disproportionately served by public schools. We are disappointed that the federal government could not embrace and promote a more expansive understanding of the purpose and value of public schools in creating a strong citizenry.

We take note of the $1.3 billion budget cut approved by the House Appropriations Committee. While you have recently called for a broader “well-rounded” education, you suggest that these initiatives be paid for out of the funds that were just slashed. The federal government is ill- credentialed to call on more from states while providing less.

The Vermont State Board of Education feels it is time we commit to attacking the underlying challenges of poverty, despair, addiction and inequity that undermine school performance, rather than blaming the schools that strive to overcome the very manifestations of our greater social troubles. In the rules and the implementation of ESSA, we urge the federal government to both step-back from over-reach and narrowness; and step-up to a new re-framing, broadening and advancing of the promises of what we can achieve for the children and for the nation.

The letter can be found here.

The U.S. Department of Education wants schools to offer a well-rounded curriculum. But it is not letting up on the pressure to raise test scores in math and English. John King has long believed in closing schools with low test scores and firing teachers who don’t raise test scores. So why should anyone take him seriously when he says he wants students to have a well-rounded curriculum? Next thing you know, he will suggest testing all those subjects too.

From Politico:

HELP WITH THE HUMANITIES: The Education Department today is releasing a Dear Colleague letter as part of the Obama administration’s push [http://bit.ly/29A4ne7 ] to help schools, districts and states deliver a more “well-rounded” education to students. That means teaching not only math and English, but also including art, music, civics, world languages and more. The letter is meant to help states and districts when it comes to using federal funds to improve teaching of the humanities, such as the study of history, philosophy, literature and languages. The department says in the letter that states and districts can use federal funds to purchase humanities-focused materials or devices, provide teachers with professional development in the subjects or better serve students with disabilities or English language learners through humanities courses. The letter: http://politico.pro/29LTFVX.

Pass the bread, here comes the baloney (or bologna, if you please).

Mike Klonsky writes tonight about John King’s efforts to circumvent the intent of the ESSA law and restore the punishments of NCLB.

Governor Jerry Brown wants to use multiple measures to judge schools, and King does not approve. He wants to impose an A-F letter grade, based primarily on test scores, a simplistic idea invented by Jeb Bush.

The schools that suffer most are those that enroll poor children and children of color.

“King claims it has to be a “simple” rating system so that parents can understand it. He thinks parents are too stupid to understand that there’s more than one way to tell how their schools and their children are doing. His approach is what led to the mass parent opt-out revolt in N.Y. under his administration.

“This is the same line we heard under Bush’s No Child Left Behind. It turned out that NCLB testing madness was just another form of social reproduction. Or more simply put, a way of replicating and enforcing existing inequalities by punishing schools and districts with the neediest kids. Testing mania only reinforced school segregation and hurt poor kids and children of color the most.

“Not to mention the discredited role of the use of standardized tests as a valid measure when it comes to evaluating teachers or schools.”

King claims he is merely enforcing the law, but Senator Lamar Alexander (who led the writing of the law) doesn’t agree with him.

King is trying to assert power he does not have. Senator Alexander is not going to let him get away with it. In a stand-off between a lame-duck Secretary of Education and the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, my money is on the Senator.

Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio is a Democrat, and he is known as a progressive. He has also been known in the past as a supporter of charter schools.

However, even Senator Brown had a wake-up call as charter scandals multiplied in his home state. He could not help but notice the multiple editorials appearing in newspapers across the state, as well as news stories in national media about the charter owners who were becoming multimillionaires by donating to Republican politicians and getting more funding and less scrutiny of their charter schools.

He wrote a letter to Secretary of Education John King expressing his concern with the U.S. Department of Education’s award of $71 million to Ohio to open more charter schools (a grant put on hold because of outrage from Ohioans), as well as the embarrassing performance of the state’s charter sector. If Senator Brown has had his eyes opened, at last, that is a big step forward.

The letter can be read here.

When the Every Student Succeeds Act was passed, there was a bipartisan majority that agreed on reining in Arne Duncan and the U.S. Department of Education.

Race to the Top, which was not a law but a program, gave the federal government unprecedented power to dictate what happened in public schools across the nation.

ESSA is flawed in many ways but one point is clear: It is intended to empower districts and states to make decisions (about some things, but not about annual testing, which is still mandated).

Many observers think it is wrong to take power away from the federal government because states and districts have not always been diligent in protecting the rights of children.

Apparently John King, the Secretary of Education, agrees that the federal government should hold onto the power that Congress has taken away. He is writing the regulations for implementation of ESSA, and the regulations appear to nullify parts of the law.

He got his first grilling today, before a House Committee. Representative Kline let him know how unhappy he and the committee are.

King will also appear before the Senate HELP Committee (Health, Education, Labor and Pensions), chaired by Senator Lamar Alexander. Senator Alexander will demand fidelity to the law. King apparently thinks that Congress can be ignored, bypassed, or fooled. Senator Alexander was Secretary of Education from 1991-1993. He will not be patient with obstruction.


To say the least, John King had a rocky tenure as Commissioner of Education in New York. He managed to alienate parents with his abrasive, top-down style and his unwavering commitment to the Common Core.

 

Reporter Jaime Franchise spoke with leaders of the Opt Out movement, and all expressed astonishment that he was nominated and confirmed for the post as Secretary of Education in light of his performance in New York.

 

“Jeanette Deutermann, a Long Island parent, founder of the Long Island Opt-Out Info Facebook page, and co-founder of nonprofit New York State Allies for Public Education, blasted King’s ascension Tuesday via her popular Facebook page.

 

“It is inconceivable that a man synonymous with failed education policies could be promoted to the highest education post in our nation,” she slams. “The incompetence of John King as New York’s SED Commissioner was epic, and New York will be cleaning up the mess he made for years to come. The silver lining may be the igniting of an education uprising across the country the way his leadership, or lack thereof, ignited New York.”

 

“That “ignition’ is the robust, pro-public education and anti-Common Core movement that sparked parents, educators, and students to organize, protest, and take action against the education reforms they believed were undermining public education.

 

“Michael Hynes, superintendent of Patchogue-Medford schools, finds the idea of King as U.S. Secretary of Education “beyond appalling.”

 

“It’s really scary to think that that gentleman, and I’m being kind by saying that, has the potential to reframe or to move forward with what Arnie Duncan has started,” he told the Press in January. “This is a guy who is pro-charter, his kids go to Montessori school. I really believe he doesn’t know anything about public education. And now potentially will set policy nationwide.”

 

 

 

 

I don’t know who wrote this song, but it is terrific.

 

You don’t have to live in New York to get the insanity of rating teachers and principals by test scores. Follow the singer as he explains the bureaucratic rabbit-hole that he falls into as he tries to comply with a state law that can compete with anything in “Alice in Wonderland” for sheer nuttiness.

 

Follow the the song and see if you can figure out what all this mumbo-jumbo jargon has to do with children or education. And the kicker is that teachers in charter schools are exempt from the maze of regulations that every public school teacher and principal must comply with.

 

By the time the song concludes, you too will sing, “APPR is how we rate, teachers in New York State.”

 

Towards the end, you may recognize Carol Burris, the principal who led the rebellion against APPR.

 

And you will surely recognize John King, soon to be Secretary of Education, who loved APPR.

John Ogozalek is a high school teacher in upstate New York. He has taught for nearly 30 years.

He writes:

Secret Service agent Jerry Parr died Friday. He was the agent who on March 30, 1981 shoved President Reagan into the armored limo amid a spray of assassin’s bullets. But more importantly, it was Parr who recognized moments later that the president had actually been shot, then diverted the limo to the nearest hospital It was that quick thinking that is credited with saving Reagan’s life. Parr also broke the rules that day.

“Doctor Ruge, President Reagan’s personal physician, later told me that he probably would have gone in three or four minutes if we hadn’t gotten him to the hospital,” Parr later recalled. “So the decision was right to take him to the hospital when everything in your training says take him to the White House where it’s safe, don’t take him to the hospital where you don’t know what’s going on.”

A real education involves teaching not just the rules but helping our students learn the wisdom to recognize when it’s time to break those rules, too. That’s what agent Jerry Parr understood back in 1981. And, this is the vital concept that many of the so-called school “reformers” seem to have missed as they create a one-size-fits all, top-down, standardized school system. John B. King, the new Acting Education Secretary for the entire nation, seems particularly wedded to an authoritarian model of education, where students are taught to obey without questioning, without ever breaking the rules. Suspend ’em all! See Diane’s “A Revealing Looking at John King’s Roxbury Prep Charter School” https://dianeravitch.net/2015/10/07/a-revealing-look-at-john-kings-roxbury-prep-charter-school/ Also, https://dianeravitch.net/2015/10/09/charles-p-pierce-of-esquire-gets-it

And, it’s not just our children who are being muzzled in this brave, new educational world. How many of us teachers have been told by the “reformers” to just shut up and follow their orders? Read the module, parrot the script, give the test, all in lockstep. And, of course, anyone who questions this top-down authority is marked for career destruction. Too many teachers have been bullied into submission. What a sad lesson for our students.

It’s also not the sort of lesson previous generations of Americans were taught. Take, for example, the evidence in Stephen Ambrose’s account of front line GIs during World War II, Citizen Soldiers. What really won the war, according to Ambrose, wasn’t the top line generals, sitting comfortably far away from combat. It was the independent thinking and willingness of the typical citizen soldier to sometimes even break the rules that made the difference.. The “Greatest Generation” was smart and tough. Many of those soldiers were also wise asses. I can only imagine how they would mock us because of the SNAFU we have created in our public schools today.

The United States of America was created by rule breakers. It’s right in the Declaration of Independence: ” But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security”

Of course, this is NOT the sort of independent thinking that John B. King will be promoting anytime soon. No, John King is such a good….follower.