Archives for category: Klein, Joel

 

Gary Rubinstein admits that he misses the big names of reform whose stars have flickered out: Michelle Rhee, Joel Klein, Arne Duncan, Cami Anderson, and those others whose words could be picked apart and ridiculed.

Gary says the successors to the golden oldies are not nearly as much fun. He explains by quoting at length from the current leader of Teach for America, whose prose is flat, bland, and blah. She even quotes George W. Bush on the “soft bigotry of low expectations.” How low can you go? Well, maybe some day she will quote Donald J. Trump to inspire the troops.

He writes:

“The disappearance of the reform rock stars and replacement by this new breed of bland understudies was a first step in the collapse of the reform movement. Trump and DeVos surely have not helped Democrats continue to embrace ‘school choice’ as a viable solution. Then, you knew it had to happen eventually, Bill Gates recently came out and admitted that teacher evaluation reform didn’t work as well as he had predicted so he is going to instead work on curriculum development. Whether or not the reform movement is merely ‘playing possum’ right now and playing dead while really planning their next wave of attack (some are giddy about the upcoming Janus Supreme Court case), I suppose we will find out in the years to come.”

 

Fred Smith is a testing expert who knows how test scores can be manipulated and statistics can be twisted into data pretzels.

In this post, he calls out Mayor de Blasio for hyping the numbers to make the gains far larger than they were. Leave aside for the moment that test scores are a ridiculous way to measure the quality of education. Leave aside the fact that using them as measures of progress feeds into the privatizers’ narrative. Smith caught the Mayor juking the stats for Political gain.

He writes:

Ignore that tall man behind the curtain as he cranks up the volume.

Bearing a strong resemblance to Mayor de Blasio, he is there to proclaim that, “Since 2013, English proficiency has increased by 54 percent and math proficiency has increased by 27 percent.” But the noise machine can’t hide the fact that there is little substance in all the thunder.

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So, the mayor’s Tuesday press release leads with huge gains in reading and math scores—the major, if-you-don’t-remember-anything-else point he wants us to take away as he seeks re-election.

But the percentage gains are statistical smoke that befogs the mayor’s already clouded efforts in education. And, frankly, they raise questions about the incumbent’s honesty.

Three tricks prop up the testing headline:

1. The DOE press release emphasizes percentage gains, which are current results minus previous results divided by previous results. Evidently, the increase in English scores of 14.2 percent (26.4 percent to 40.6 percent) from 2013 to 2017 wasn’t good enough news. Nor was the 8.1 percent gain (29.6 percent to 37.8 percent) in math. So, the press office reaches into its bag of tricks and insists there has been a 54 percent gain in English proficiency under de Blasio—14.2 divided by 26.4 and a 27 percent boost in math—8.1 over 29.6.

Now, can you imagine the mayor doing this if there had been an increase in the murder rate. Let’s say homicides were up from 6 to 7 killings per 100,000 New Yorkers. Would de Blasio say that murders rose by one percent or by 16.7 percent? You know he would minimize the negative outcome.

2. – De Blasio’s spinners also present 2013 as their baseline year. But Mayor Bloomberg owned the 2013 results and most of 2014’s, as well. De Blasio didn’t arrive at City Hall until January 1, 2014. The English test was given on April 1, 2014.

Why would they go back to 2013? It allows de Blasio to start his story the year the ELA and math results tanked–creating a fictional narrative of tremendous achievement. For 2013 was the year the Common Core-aligned tests descended on the schools and rained rigor down on 440,000 New York City students. De Blasio wants to embrace Bloomberg’s bottomed-out, third-term school years as his starting point, because things could only improve after that.

Had the Mayor begun his account with the 2015 results, he would still have a 10.2 percent increase to boast about in English proficiency (from 30.4 percent to 40 percent6 percent), but only a 2.6 percent gain to show in math (35.2 percent to 37.8 percent) under his control of the schools. That would be nothing to brag about.

Ironically, as he notes, Joel Klein too tried to claim credit for test score increases that occurred before he took office.

Sad that test scores are now a political talking point. Just proves how meaningless they are.

Leonie Haimson writes here about the disastrous legacy that Joel Klein and Michael Bloomberg left to the New York City public schools.

https://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com/2017/08/fair-student-funding-atr-system-two-bad.html?m=1

One is called the Absent Teacher Reserve, wa pool of teachers who had been left jobless because their school closed or they were awaiting disciplinary proceedings. Now hundreds of teachers are in the lowly ATR pool, where they are treated disdainfully regardless of the reason they are unassigned.

The other policy is Fair Student Funding, which Leonie explains in her post.

The ATR pool costs the city more than $150 million per year. The Department of Education says it will assign these teachers to schools even if the principal doesn’t want them (most are experienced and thus expensive).

Arthur Goldstein thrashes the website Chalkbeat for demonizing ATT teachers. Klein used to use the very existence of the ATR pool to denounce tenure, seniority, and the union.

http://nyceducator.com/2017/08/reformy-chalkbeat-deems-paying-teachers.html?m=1

He attributes Chalkbeat’s coverage of ATR’s to their funding by Walton and other anti-teacher foundations.

The legislature in New York is close to a final deal to permit mayoral control of the public schools for another year.

When Michael Bloomberg became Mayor of New York City, one of his first goals was to take control of the school system. He claimed he could get better results because of his experience as a businessman. The Board of Educationconsisted of seven members, one appointed by each of five borough presidents, and two appointed by the Mayor. The Mayor controlled the budget, so he was not powerless. The city was divided into 32 local community school districts, each of which had its own board. The community boards listened to parents’ complaints, but they didn’t have much power.

The legislature granted Bloomberg complete control of the school system. He got to appoint 8 of 13 school board members, who were told to follow the Mayor’s orders. He got to appoint the Chancellor of the school system, and he picked someone who knew as little about education as the Mayor, lawyer Joel Klein. The legislature gave him seven years of control. When the seven years expired, the legislature gave him another generous grant of power.

Mike Bloomberg is a very smart guy. He was the single biggest contributor to the campaign funds of the Republivan-controlled state senate.

After Bloomberg steps down, having served three terms, Bill De Blasio is elected. Unlike Bloomberg, he did not give money to Senate Republicans. He even tried to help fellow Democrats take control of the State Senate, and the Republican leaders never forgave him. Unlike Bloomberg, he was not a devotee of charter schoools. So the Senate gave him a one-year extension of mayoral control. They forced him to accept more charter schools and even to give them free space in the public schools that they competed with.

Now, once again, the State Senate is prepared to give De Blasio a one-year extension of mayoral control. But the head of the state senate, John Flanagan of Long Island, wants more charter schools. Flanagan loves charter schools, so long as they are not in his district. De Blasio said no. The State Assembly said no.

But according to Politico, a deal may be near. What the charters really want is the power to hire uncertified teachers. Think of it: the charters want the power to hire uncertified teachers, and THIS IS CALLED “REFORM”?

John Flanagan, whose district has no charters, is able to get what he wants for the charter industry every year by holding mayoral control hostage.

Anyone who thinks that mayoral control is a panacea should be sure to check out Cleveland and Chicago. Both have mayoral control, and both are struggling.

Peter Goodman says that if mayoral control dies, the one person responsible is Eva Moskowitz. It’s her way or the highway.

https://mets2006.wordpress.com/2017/06/23/who-is-responsible-for-the-demise-of-mayoral-control-eva/

Andrea Gabor recently attended an invitation-only event in New York City to meet Joel Klein at Teach for America headquarters in lower Manhattan, where he reflected on his legacy.

She writes:

How did Klein feel about his legacy—what was he most proud of, what would he do differently—especially in light of the policies of his successor?

This would be the second question of the evening posed to Klein. And the former schools chancellor’s response, at first, surprised me.

What he most regretted: “We never got teachers on our side. We didn’t communicate and listen well enough.”

However, Klein quickly followed with what he was most proud of: Opening 200 charter schools.

And, where he saw the biggest problem in New York City schools: The teachers union “polarized” the teachers.

Here, in a nutshell is the contradiction—even the tragedy—of the Bloomberg/Klein regime: Klein, a child of a “dysfunctional inner-city home”, who saw public school as his refuge and claims that his teachers made the difference in transforming his life, sees the proliferation of charter schools, not the improvement of public schools, as his most important legacy. (A biography, incidentally, not unlike that of former Education Secretary John King, another reformer who prioritized privatization and carrot-and-stick policies for teachers.)

It is hard to remember now how disliked Klein was by teachers, not just the union. He turned the schools into a test-and-punish experiment where teachers were expendable. He closed many schools, closed almost every large high schools, fired most of the city’s principals or drove them away, including some of the best veterans. He gave preferential treatment to charter schools, especially Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academies.

It is hard to know why Klein dislikes public schools as much as he does. It wasn’t based on his experience as chancellor. He came into the job with a strong conviction that the public schools were a disaster and it would take business thinking to fix them. He reorganized the system at least four times. He brought in Michael Barber (Sir Deliverology, now the Chief Academic Officer at Pearson) to advise him. He boasted about “reforms” on the day he launched them, then overlooked them when they silently disappeared. He surrounded himself with young business school graduates and lawyers, not educators, and invented new titles to enable them to serve (“chief talent officer,” “chief knowledge officer,” etc.)

After he left the school system, he joined Rupert Murdoch and urged him to buy Wireless Generation, a tech company that had worked for the Department of Education. Murdoch bought it for $300 million or so, and invested about $1 billion in Klein’s tech company called Amplify. Amplify planned to revolutionize education through technology, and it built its own tablets and curriculum. I hear the curriculum was good, but the tablets had many technical problems (the screens cracked, the plugs caught fire, etc.) A few years ago, haviglost hundreds of millions, Murdoch dumped the company, which was bought by allies of Klein. Klein soon was pushed out, and he is now at an online healthcare business called Oscar, owned by Jared Kushner’s brother.

After he left the NYC schools, Klein continued to rail against public education. He wrote articles decrying the high cost of teacher pensions (but when he left office, he immediately filed to collect a pension of $34,000 a year for life based on his eight years as chancellor).

The piece-de-resistance of his anti-public school activism was a report that he and Condoleezza issued, under the sponsorship of the Council of Foreign Relations, claiming that America’s public schools are so dreadful that they are a risk to national security. Their cures: Everyone should adopt the Common Core, and every state needs charter schools and vouchers.

Why does he hate public schools so? He often claimed that his own life was changed by his public schools and teachers. But he wanted to move in a world of elites where no one ever went to public schools and where it was conventional wisdom that public schools stink. He reflected not his own experience, but the class into which he aspired to belong.

Phil Cullen, an educator in Australia who writes a blog called Treehorn Express, wrote the following about “Kleinism” in Australia.

 

 

http://treehornexpress.wordpress.com

 
KLEINISM IN AUSTRALIA. WILL IT GO AWAY?

 

 

A REVIEW

 
The summer holidays are over ‘down under’, and Australia will commence the new school year under the most peculiar circumstances. We’d like to start a new year of school learning with high levels of confidence in our pupils’ abilities to do as well as they can and with our own usual high level of teacher zest for teaching young people how to go about it. In the long run, we’d like to see Australia at the top of the pole for schooling excellence and our country amongst the leaders of commercial enterprise because of our business expertise in fundamentals and our ability to solve problems, innovate productively and enjoy challenges. Sadly, these fundamental characteristics of a successful schooling system have to be held on hold for some years; replaced by a testing regime invented by a New York curriculum incompetent, teacher-hater, ex-lawyer; once in charge of a school district there.

 
We aren’t allowed to start the school year down under with high hopes and positive attitudes. We are obliged to maintain the ridiculous; to start as early as possible with heavy preparation and intense practice for our annual standardized blanket testing program called NAPLAN, held each May. Its clone is called NCLB in the US. As educators at the chalk-face, we have no option, no choice, no say. Our system is controlled by testucators, disciples of Kleinism….a fear based system of schooling that was imported in 2008 by Julia Gillard, later our Prime Minister; then federal minister for education. It was one of the biggest mistakes a government representative ever made.

 
Following the 2007 federal elections, she was charged by her senior colleague Kevin Rudd, new to the job as PM, to reform the Australian education system almost immediately, because his fellow neo-cons were telling him that teachers were making a mess of it and that most Australian children couldn’t spell or calculate. He used serious threatening language in his instructions to the teaching force and to her, to find something better than what we had. The Business Council of Australia and the ‘Four Pillars of Australian Banking’, both organisations of neo-liberal persuasion, roundly approved, despite both politicians being known within their temples of wisdom, as ‘lefties’. It was a peculiar liaison….and became a weird time in our history. Dutifully, she booked her flight to find a place somewhere in the world that had a reputation. Actually, Australia had a reputation itself for being amongst the world’s best at the time, but anti-school fanatics were the preferred mouthpieces of the local press – especially the Murdoch press. No. She didn’t select Finland, South Korea or nearby New Zealand whose schooling achievements were beyond the ordinary. Her first stop was New York. As macabre as the scenario appears, on her first day, she visited Rupert Murdoch, a requirement of all Australian leaders when they travel overseas….. to get their riding instructions. He arranged for her to attend a cocktail party being organized by the Rockefeller Foundation where she was introduced to Joel Klein, a fellow lawyer who, as strange as it seemed to Australians, was in executive charge of a large school district in New York. His system had a reputation. Indeed. It had a really big reputation – not for learning or teaching or anything to do with the realities of schooling, but for threatening learners and teachers and principals and schools to do as they were told and, if they didn’t measure up to his requirements, they were out of a job or the school was closed. He sweet-talked our Julia into the effectiveness of this sort of approach to school leadership and,…..within minutes…..Australia had a new system.
She didn’t request a study of the effects of high stakes testing on schooling, nor check the credentials of the New York operators. She was conned, big time. Rupert and Joel Klein rubbed their hands with glee, because they were in the publishing, programming business, worth billions.

 
Not long later, Klein openly boasted to the world that his test-based scheme was well established in Australia. He was correct. Although it is based on fear and deceit and child abuse, Australia still has it. The big boys, of the kind that were at the cocktail party, will not allow our government to have any other kind. Their colleagues in the BCA and banking fraternity keep vigilant. That’s clear. Julia felt that she had found the ultimate touchstone of school control, and was able to persuade the Australian banking community to pay the cost of a visit by her ‘pin-up boy’, as she called co-lawyer Klein, to speak to them in their own fortresses in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra. Despite some ethical uncertainties which she later modified by capturing the ‘approval’ of the principals of all Australian schools with a very swift, cunning and deceitful maneuver. They had to carry the can for professional ethics, once they pronounced their approval of kleinist naplan. Indeed, they dutifully suspended their professional ethics and still do….adopting an attitude that disappoints proud principals of the present and past wondering how this happened to organisations that were once stalwart and proud of their protection of children’s rights. Federal and state education bodies, once citadels of wholesome schooling, succumbed to the use of fear and the abuse of mental health of children for whom they are supposed to be responsible…..and….as Aussies say: “She was in with Flynn”. No blood on her hands.

 
She established a special unit called the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority a sort of third level of government power, a sort of bundestag that now completely controls schooling; and she made sure that it was staffed with expert measurers whose experience in schooling and teaching and learning was severely limited. This incongruous mis-match between knowledge of testing and knowledge of learning between people running the show, has had profound consequences. After all, whoever controls the schooling system, controls the country’s future. The outcomes of constructing testing devices that contain inbuilt pupil dislike and distaste for particular school subjects and for school itself …and doing so in a most rigid manner….has had effects that run counter to the faith that she and ‘pin-up’ Klein had in improvement of PISA and NAPLAN raw scores. They flopped, failed, flunked all neo-con expectations as schools are doing in countries that are overdoing the fear base; and, it must be noted, run counter to the expectations of parents for schoolies to do the right thing. Despites their attitude to childhood, they’d like their kids to do well. Australia, after eight years of kleinism is heading downhill fast.

 
The last few years in the US and in Australia have clearly demonstrated that no schooling system can progress while its most outstanding features at the chalk-face, each capable of gynormous damage, include

 

Fear of failing

 

Deceit

 

Abuse of mental health.
all deliberately imposed by forces beyond the classroom. Office-based testucators of known kleinish measurement calibre have no idea of what happens in the classroom. They just mass-produce tests, send them to schools, gather the data, pat themselves on the back, blame teachers when things don’t go so well.

 
But, hold! Now, a breath of fresh air. A hopeful start has been made in the US education circles, our major mentors, in December 2016, by reducing the ponderous effects of centralised control. Releasing states from their fearful obligations is a small step, but it is a step in the right direction. Maybe, one day, control of the learning act will seep down through the numerous know-it-all hierarchies to the real learning centres in all countries where the teaching/learning experts reside, now being wrecked by the corrupting influences of kleinism – fear, deceit and abuse.
Down under, we’re notoriously slow to examine the effects of imports from up over. The big boys there and here do not like it, when educators reveal the truth….that the problem lies within the testing itself. We can’t expect any improvement to learning in our schools in 2017. Both places have a devil-may-care attitude towards children and their schooling; and basic timidity prevents us from sticking up for kids.

 
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Jelani Cobb graduated from Jamaica High School, as did many other distinguished Americans. In a powerful story that appeared in The New Yorker, Cobb tells the history of Jamaica High School as a paradigm for the clash between race and reform. Jamaica High School was long considered one of the best high schools in New York City in the 1980s. As the city adopted reform after reform, the school went from an integrated model to a highly segregated school; it enrolled growing numbers of students who were learning English or had disabilities. Other schools lured away top-achieving students. When the Bloomberg-Klein regime took over, Jamaica’s days were numbered. The staff and the local community fought for the survival of the school, but Bloomberg-Klein gloried in closing large high schools and stuffing them with multiple small schools with multiple principals. The school that once enrolled over 3,000 students held its last graduation ceremony in 2014, with a graduating class of only 24 students. This is a very sad story about the abandonment of schools that suffered from the reformer conceit that low scores=bad schools. Jamaica in its final years was serving the neediest of the city’s students; it was put to death by the authorities.

Cobb writes:

Underscoring the indignities that attended the school’s last days was a difficult irony: for much of its time, Jamaica was a gemstone of the city’s public-education system. In 1981, the schools chancellor, Frank Macchiarola, decided to take on the additional role of an interim high-school principal, in order to better appreciate the daily demands of school administration. He chose Jamaica, and was roundly criticized for picking such an easy school to lead. Four years later, the U.S. Department of Education named it one of the most outstanding public secondary schools in the nation. Alumni include Stephen Jay Gould, Attorney General John Mitchell, Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, Walter O’Malley, Paul Bowles, and three winners of the Pulitzer Prize: Gunther Schuller, Art Buchwald, and Alan Dugan. Bob Beamon, who set a world record for the long jump in the 1968 Olympics, graduated with the class of ’65. The school’s closure felt less like the shuttering of a perennial emblem of stagnation than like the erasure of a once great institution that had somehow ceased to be so.

Jamaica had become an institution of the type that has vexed city policymakers and educators: one charged with serving a majority-minority student body, most of whose members qualified as poor, and whose record was defined by chronic underachievement and academic failure. Even so, word of the school’s closure angered students and their families, the community, and alumni. I was among them—I graduated with the class of ’87—and for me, as for many former students, the school was a figment of recollection, frozen in its academic glory. George Vecsey, the former Times sports columnist and a member of the class of ’56, accused Joel Klein, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s schools chancellor, of “cooking the books,” to make schools slated for closure appear worse than they were, and compared the Department of Education’s closure policies to the nihilism of Pol Pot. Vecsey later apologized for having slighted the suffering of Cambodia, but he held to his contention that Klein ruled by dictatorial fiat. He wrote, in a blog, “The city destroyed a piece of history because of its own failure.”

Julian Vasquez Heilig combed through the Podesta emails released by WikiLeaks in search of education-related comments. He found quite a few.

Reach your own conclusions.

I don’t think he included this one, where the Clinton campaign reacts to a question from the AFT about whether Joel Klein is involved in the campaign.

Education Week reported the story here.

Klein’s company Amplify lost about $500 million, when it was owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. Murdoch dumped it, and Laurene Powell Jobs picked it up for the Emerson Collective, probably for a song.

But Klein is still in the money. Despite the epic failure of Amplify, Rupert Murdoch is paying him $4.6M per year to sit on the News Corp board. (And don’t forget that he filed for a pension from New York City for the eight years he spent as Chancellor, closing schools and opening charter schools.)

Klein is now working as “chief strategy” officer for the failing Oscar health insurance company, which is also losing millions fast. Klein has not had much luck in the business world. This company was co-founded by Josh Kushner, the brother of Trump’s son in law, Jared Kushner.

This morning, Amplify laid off two-thirds of its staff–some 800 people. Amplify is a division of Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp. Its CEO is education reformer Joel Klein. Murdoch invested $1 billion in Klein’s Amplify. NewsCorp has been trying to find a buyer for Amplify since it has never earned a profit in the five years of its existence. This past year it lost $371 million.

“In a tweet this morning, Alex Modestou wrote that Amplify Education laid off 800 employees today. The Observer has reached out to the company to confirm. NewsCorp has been looking for an investor to take over the division, as the Observer previously reported.

“Multiple sources inside and outside the company said that most of its staff lost their jobs today, effective immediately, at around 10:30 a.m.

“Mr. Modestou told the Observer in a phone call that he worked part time on the math curriculum for the company in its Durham office, before being let go today at 10:30 a.m. Mr. Modestou wrote the tweet, he told us, because full time employees had been offered three months salary in a lump sum in exchange for signing a non-disclosure agreement. He did not sign because he was not offered any kind of package.

“He said, “This is like the cold, inhumane hand of capitalism at work, and it seems wrong that they could stay in the shadows.”

“The 800 employee figure was based on an estimate Mr. Modestou made based on documents he’d seen before leaving. When Amplify announced it was first looking for a buyer, he said that people in the company had warned staff to expect layoffs of a sixth of the company. That rose to half over time. If 800 people were laid off, that would be roughly two-thirds of the reportedly 1,200-person company.

“Another source told the Observer in a phone call that employees in New York City were taken to meetings in the company’s Manhattan office and its Dumbo offices today. Employees in the Manhattan office were told that they were either keeping their job or they would be staying longer to help with the transition, in some new role.

“Mr. Modestou said that he and his fellow employees were told by Amplify CEO Joel Klein and Amplify Learning President Larry Berger via a conference call. We’ve also heard that this is how employees sent to the Brooklyn office were told. Mr. Modestou described the call for us, saying that “They didn’t say anything but ‘we’re letting you go’ in very lawyerly terms.”

“He added that the pair added a note of appreciation for their service and an apology that they had let the company grow larger than its revenue could support.”

One of the major initiatives of Mayor Bloomberg’s Department of Education was the development of a new IBM computer system called ARIS (Achievement Reporting and Innovation System).

According to a story by Ben Chapman in the Néw York Daily News, the city DOE is killing the system because so few parents and teachers use it.

The $12 million contract to maintain the system was held by former Chancellor Joel Klein’s Amplify, a division of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation.

When Klein was chancellor, he awarded a contract to fix ARIS to a company called Wireless Generation. Soon after Klein stepped down as chancellor, Murdoch bought Wireless Generation for $360 million.