Archives for category: Networkfor Public Education Action Fund

Please read the NPE Action endorsement of Joe Biden for President.

We support public schools.

Donald Trump and his Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, are hostile to the very idea of public schools. They have spent three years proposing deep cuts to public education and attempting to establish federally-funded vouchers for private and religious schools.

In contrast, Joe Biden has proposed dramatic increases in funding to public schools by tripling the amount that Title I schools would receive. He has voiced strong support for more counselors and psychologists in our schools, as well as increased funding for high-quality pre-kindergarten programs. He supports community schools that link social services and the school together to serve children and their families better.

At the Public Education Forum held in Pittsburgh in December of 2019, Joe Biden was asked by NPE Board member Denisha Jones if he would commit to ending standardized testing in schools. His unequivocal response was, “Yes. You are preaching to the choir.” He said to a national audience that “teaching to a test underestimates and discounts the things that are most important for students to know.” He described evaluating teachers by the test scores of their students as a “big mistake.”

At the same public forum in Pittsburgh, he was dismissive of the policies of Secretary of Education DeVos, saying that under his administration, “Betsy DeVos’s whole notion of charter schools…are gone.”

The public statements expressed by Joe Biden encourage us to believe that he does not intend to follow the disastrous education policies of the Obama years included in Race to the Top, which were closely aligned with the failed policies of George Bush’s No Child Left Behind.

We are taking candidate Joe Biden at his word. We believe that he recognizes that Race to the Top and No Child Left Behind were harmful to our schools and our children.

However, if those policies re-emerge, we will vigorously oppose them. We will also continue to be engaged in monitoring the words of both candidates and their parties’ platforms.

We urge our supporters and all friends of public education to go to the polls in November and vote for Joe Biden. The future of our public schools and our democracy is at stake.

In the words of NPE Action President, Diane Ravitch, “We support Joe Biden because he has promised to reverse the failed “test-and-punish” federal policies of the past two decades. For the sake of our children, their teachers, our public schools, and our democracy, Trump must go.”

A letter from Carol Burris, executive director of the Network for Public Education.

First and foremost, we care about you. When we realized the 43% of our registrants were in a higher-risk group for Covid-19, we knew we had to reschedule.

Our conference hotel, the Philadelphia Doubletree, has been a wonderful partner, and within a few days, we will share a new 2020 date.

We ask that you be patient as we finalize plans and create a list of what you need to do. But, we wanted to let you know quickly in case you need to cancel a flight.

We are so disappointed that we will not see you in two weeks, but we look forward to seeing you in the not too distant future. An email with more detail will arrive in a few days.

Stay healthy and take care of those you love.

Jan Resseger, tireless champion for social and economic justice, reflects on the fading reputation of the charter industry. The decision by the Trump administration to axe the federal Charter Schools Program (DeVos’s slush fund for corporate charter chains) is the latest affront to an industry that once was regarded as the great hope for innovation and effectiveness but got overwhelmed by scandals and profiteering.

Resseger credits the dramatic turn in the public reputation of the charter industry to the work of the Network for Public Education and its executive director Carol Burris.

Burris brings to her work the experience of a veteran educator, a teacher and principal who spots scams quickly. Burris also has a rock solid sense of integrity that makes her unwilling to tolerate organizations that are designed to benefit the adults, not the students. She is the quintessential embodiment of the “David” I wrote about in my book SLAYING GOLIATH. She works with passion and dedication because of a sense of mission, not for love of money. She is a mortal threat to the Goliaths who wear the fake mantel of education reform. She can’t be bought and she can’t be stopped. Unlike the hirelings of Goliath, she really does work for the children, for whom she has worked all her life.

Apparently, Ed Deformers—themselves richly endowed with millions and millions from billionaires such as the Waltons, the Gates, Broad, Bloomberg, Koch, etc.—have descended to claiming that the Network for Public Education is funded by “Dark Money” and the big, bad teachers’ unions. Evidently they are troubled to have any dissent to their self-serving narrative that only privatization can “save” America’s children from the terrible public schools and teachers who have educated 90% of all Americans.

Mercedes Schneider performs a compare and contrast here, reviewing the tax filings of billionaire-funded “Education Post” with that of NPE. Of course, a fair comparison would have pitted NPE funding vs. not only “Education Post”, but also billionaire-funded The 74, The Center for Education Reform, Democrats for Education Reform, The City Fund, and the dozens of other front groups that have oodles of money but no members. (NPE has nearly 400,000 followers who pay no dues).

On one side is EdPost:

Started in 2014, Education Post is an ed-reform blog and the brainchild of California billionaire, Eli Broad. Right out of the starting gate, EdPost (actual nonprofit name, Results in Education Foundation) had $5.5M to play with in its first year.

EdPost’s first CEO, Peter Cunningham, was paid $1M for 2 1/2 years of blogging. Moreover, in his position as a founding member of EdPost’s board, Stewart was compensated a total of $422,925 for 40 hrs/wk across 30 months as “outreach and external affairs director.” (To dig into that EdPost history, click here and follow the links.)

Deutsch reviews NPE’s revenues and reports a cumulative total from 2016-2018 of: $659,300.

What a haul!

But oh, those salaries!

In 2016,

Diane Ravitch was president and was not compensated.

Carol Burris was executive director and is the only compensated person listed on the tax form; her total 2016 compensation was $41,108 (40 hrs/wk), most of which was spent working for NPE (33 hrs/wk), and the remainder, for NPE Action (7 hrs/wk).

(Point of fact: Burris actually works at least 60 hours per week.)

But wait! In 2018, Burris’s salary for her full-time job was $55,000 a year. What a scandal!

No one is in NPE for the money.

The most amazing fact about NPE is how much it has accomplished with one full-time staff member and minimal resources. See:

A state-by-state report on support for public schools;

Online learning: What Every Parent Should Know;

Charters and Consequences;

Billionaires hijacking public schools;

The real story in New Orleans;

Student privacy,

School privatization toolkit,

The waste, fraud, and abuse in the federal Charter Schools Program (here and here).

Whoa! That’s a lot of bang for the buck. One full-time employee, two part-time employees (Darcie Cimarusti and Marla Kilfoyle) and all that productivity!

Is ”EdPost,” with all their millions, jealous of NPE?

Or just sore because they have lost the war of ideas, now that their boasts have flopped and Betsy DeVos is the face of their billionaire-funded “movement”?

 

 

Time to register for the best education conference ever! 

Meet your allies and leaders of the Resistance!

I will see you in Philly March 28-29!

 

 

Join your friends, allies, and other members of the Resistance in Philadelphia, March 28-29.

Now is the time to register!

 

 

Now is the time to register for the best conference you have ever attended! 

You will meet the bloggers you read here regularly.

You will meet leaders of the Resistance from across the country.

You will have to choose among amazing panels.

Join me in Philadelphia, March 28-29!

 

Carol Burris, executive director of the Network for Public Education, responds here to critics of NPE’s “Asleep At the Wheel,” the landmark analysis of the deeply flawed federal Charter Schools Program and invites comments and criticisms.

NPE wants readers to scrutinize the report carefully. If there are any errors, we will promptly correct them.

She writes:

Examining a list of nearly 5000 charter schools to determine which were open, closed or never open was a difficult and tedious task. There is no common standard when it comes to state reporting on closed charter schools—some states give lists of closed schools. Others do not. Many states only give a list of currently opened schools. Even those lists are not often up to date and rarely indicate if the school’s name has changed.

 In the case of unopened charters that received federal CSP funds there is no list at all. We (myself along with two part-time staff, Darcie Cimarusti and Marla Kilfoyle), would hunt for school information on the internet if a school in the database was not on the open or closed list and had no NCES number. Some of the schools that never opened had shells of Facebook pages and odd commercial information that is meaningless, but nevertheless pops up.

And then there are charter name changes, takeovers, charters turning into public schools and other complications with which we had to contend. Often we needed to make a judgement as to whether or not the school was indeed the school that had received the grant. We did the best we could, realizing that there would be some errors. We promised we would correct any mistakes we made and we will.

 We also knew that school choice advocates and groups opposed to public education would attempt to discount our work by finding error as a means to convince policymakers to disregard the report.

 On December 12 William Flanders of the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL), a right wing think tank that promotes vouchers and charter schools, and Jim Bender of  School Choice Wisconsin  did just that in their blog on Fordham. They claimed to have found ten schools on our list of 132 Wisconsin closed or never opened schools that were open. They said these were “glaring” errors and it was not an “honest” report and therefore the entire 40 plus page report should be discounted.

 Let’s go through those “ten glaring errors” (they actually list 11 schools) one by one. The first name in bold is the school they say is open. The second name in bold is the school on our list of closed schools. 

Banner Prep of Milwaukee—may indeed be open, but we listed the Banner School of Milwaukee, which according to the list of closed schools on the website of the Wisconsin  Department of Education closed in 2015.

 Class Act Yes that is open. But we do not have it on the list of closed schools.

Etude—Perhaps this is also a different school because the Etude School, which is the name we list, closed in 2011 according to the state list. The NCES number (551365002690) associated with the school that got the grant does not return a school when you search here.

 Island City Academy. That was our error and we will correct it. Island City Research Academy is closed. 

Jedi Virtual K12  We list Jedi Virtual High School as closed. According to the state list it closed in 2011. In 2007 it had 14 students. In 2018 it had 13. Jedi Virtual High School was awarded a $400,000 grant.

 Lincoln Inquiry School. If you pop in the NCES number of the school given the grant, (551668002180) up comes a public school—Lincoln Elementary. It may have once been a charter but the school that received the grant is now a public school.

 Mead Elementary School. According to the school closure list, it closed in 2008. The NCES number returns no school.

 Milwaukee College Prep 36th St. and College Prep North closed in 2016 according to the closed independent charter schools’ list. The first NCES number comes up as no school, the second did not have an NCES number when given the grant. They were independent charters. Milwaukee College Prep 38th St. got a grant but that is not on our closed list. Perhaps the authors got the streets confused.

 Hmong American Peace Academy the school listed by us as closed is HAPA/International Peace Academy. International Peace Academy closed in 2013. This may be a school merger, since the initials fit. If the merger occurred before they got the grant, we will take it off the closed schools list.

 Mc Kinley Academy received a grant and we do not list it as closed. We list McKinley Middle Charter School as closed. According to Wisconsin’s closed schools list. There is a Mc Kinley Middle School that closed in 2012 in one location, and another that closed in 2018. The search by NCES number (551236001631) results in no school coming up.  Mc Kinley Academy has a different NCES number (550861002701).

 You can find a list of closed independent charter schools and closed public schools (district charters are on the closed public schools list) at: 

https://dpi.wi.gov/cst/data-collections/school-directory/directory-data/published-data

 We will remove Island City Academy from our list of closed schools, and further research the school merger.

 We will continue to review our list and keep track of charter failures. We welcome corrections to our lists with documentation which can be sent to info@networkforpubliceducation.org.  We will periodically do updates adding and removing names as information becomes available.

 Here is the bottom line. The Department of Education should report to Congress and the public on its $4.1 billion dollars investment in charter schools by providing transparent listings of schools that never opened, schools that have closed and why those schools failed.  The public deserves transparency and accountability not only from charter schools, but from the program designed to start them. The data that is available, limited as it is, shows a clear and undeniable problem.

 

 

The Network for Public Education Action is one of the pro-public education groups that will participate in the forum on Public Education Issues in Pittsburgh on Saturday.

The event will be livestreamed on MSNBC. 

Since the event was announced, candidates Cory Booker and Michael Bennett have joined the list of speakers.

Each group will have the opportunity to ask one question of one candidate.

Please note that the event will start at 9 a.m.

NPE Action will be there with a stellar group of supporters of public schools.

The Network for Public Education is fortunate to have the leadership and energy of Marla Kilfoyle, former national director of BATS.

She has developed connections with dozens of organizations fighting to protect and improve public schools.

Read her latest report here.

The report includes a call to action to protect student privacy. The deadline for taking action is December 8. Please open the link and join thousands of allies in speaking out against unwanted invasion of student privacy.

The NPE Grassroots Education Network is a network of over 145 grassroots organizations nationwide who have joined together to preserve, promote, improve, and strengthen our public schools. If you know of a group that would like to join this powerful network, please go here to sign on. 

If you have any questions about the NPE Grassroots Education Network please contact Marla Kilfoyle, NPE Grassroots Education Network Liaison at marlakilfoyle@networkforpubliceducation.org

Notes from Marla

CALL TO ACTION FOR ALL ORGANIZATIONS!

Dear NPE Grassroots Education Network – this is a specific call to action that needs to be completed BEFORE December 8th.  The Network for Public Education is sending a letter to the FTC as part of a formal public comment process in which the Commission has asked for input about the potential change in the regulations for COPPA, the Children’s Online Protection Act, originally passed by Congress in 1998. 

 We are urging the FTC NOT to weaken this important privacy law through regulation, as the law wisely provides for parent consent before the online collection of personal data directly from children younger than 13.  Instead, the FTC appears intent on allowing schools and/or teachers to consent on the part of parents when collecting student personal data directly from children. 

 Please read our (brief) letter and if you would like to sign it on behalf of your organization, please enter your contact info and that of your organization on this google form.

 The deadline for signing onto our letter is Dec. 8, as all comments are due to be submitted to the FTC no later than Dec. 9.  You are also encouraged to add your own comments online. You can do so at this link

 For more background on this issue, you can check out the blog post and comments submitted by the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy.

There is also pertinent information about how you can register for the national conference of the Network for Public Education Action in Philadelphia  in 2020.

You will enjoy meeting your friends and allies there.

Registration is open for the NPE Action 6th National Conference to be held in Philadelphia, March 28-29. Seats are limited this year to 500, so DO NOT delay your registration. Go hereto register and book your hotel! Please do not delay, reserve your seat today!  

And there is much, much more from our allies across the nation:

Public Schools Week will be held from February 24th-28th. Start planning NOW by doing the following:

  • Begin to ask your Governor, state and federal lawmakers, Mayor, City Council, or Board of Education to adopt a resolution in support of Public Education. Begin to do this now. You can adopt, edit, or modify this resolution from The School Superintendents Association. If you get a resolution please send it to Marla Kilfoyle at marlakilfoyle@networkforpubliceducation.org and we will forward it along.
  • National organizations please cut a three-minute video that encourages your members to participate in Public Schools Week. Here are the instructions for the video. To see sample videos please go here.  
  • Please share and ask your members to take the pledge in support of Public Schools week. You can do that here.
  • Please consider hosting an event. Starting planning NOW and register your event here  
  • To learn more about Public Schools Week, messaging for 2020 and the #PublicSchoolProud campaign please go here and the toolkit has all kinds of amazing things you can do to support the week on social media.