Archives for category: Propaganda

The Daily Howler covers the media. In this post, it points to the daily dose of propaganda meant to distract and impress the public, when the government is in fact lying. The lying is facilitated by media protocols that encourage deference to the authorities. That’s why you seldom see a White House reporter say simply, “but that’s not true” or “that’s not what you said last week.”

Consider the way Commander Trump, and the media suits, have brought us our own North Korea.

If we were the rational animal, everyone would have realized, long ago, that something seems to be badly wrong with Commander Trump. Everyone would have taken the unfortunate measure of such statements as this:
“You have 15 people, and the 15, within a couple of days, is going to be close to zero.”
The commander said that on February 26. Yesterday, one month later, the actual number was at least 82,000. It was likely much greater than that.

In a rational world, it would have clear, a long time ago, that something was and is wrong with our bold commander.

There may be an issue of mental health. There may be an issue of cognitive impairment. There may be illness and impairment. But this would have been clear long ago.

In a rational world, rational people would have discussed these obvious possibilities. In our world, press corps elites declared that we mustn’t conduct such discussions.

We can finally taste the fruits of such conduct. We’ve ended up, all this week, watching North Korean TV.

What happens in North Korean TV? In our version of the system, useless elites find the craziest person in the society and put him on prime-time TV. They do it day after day after day.

The cases of coronavirus in the U.S. passed 100,000 in Friday, the most of any country in the world. But don’t worry. It’s all under control. The craziest person in our society said so.

Jennifer Senior has been one of my favorite writers for many years. Her columns are always incisive and intelligent.

She is now an opinion writer for the New York Times. In this column, she expresses the extreme frustration I feel whenever I watch Trump speak to the press, surrounded always by people chosen for their obeisance and loyalty.

She writes about a recent press conference. A friend who used to work on Wall Street told me that the market was rising that day, but as soon as Trump began boasting and misleading, the stock market dropped 1,000 points.

What Trump makes clear in this time of national and international crisis is that he is utterly incapable of empathy or compassion. Whatever the topic, he demands adulation.

Senior writes:

In a time of global emergency, we need calm, directness and, above all, hard facts. Only the opposite is on offer from the Trump White House. It is therefore time to call the president’s news conferences for what they are: propaganda.

We may as well be watching newsreels approved by the Soviet Politburo. We’re witnessing the falsification of history in real time. When Donald Trump, under the guise of social distancing, told the White House press corps on Thursday that he ought to get rid of 75 to 80 percent of them — reserving the privilege only for those he liked — it may have been chilling, but it wasn’t surprising. He wants to thin out their ranks until there’s only Pravda in the room.

Sometimes, I stare at Deborah Birx during these briefings and I wonder if she understands that this is the footage historians will be looking at 100 years from now — the president rambling on incoherently, vainly, angrily, deceitfully, while she watches, her face stiff with the strangled horror of a bride enduring an inappropriate toast.

If the public wants factual news briefings, they need to tune in to those who are giving them: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, whose addresses appear with English subtitles on Deutsche Welle. They should start following the many civic-minded epidemiologists and virologists and contagion experts on Twitter, like Harvard’s Marc Lipsitch and Yale’s Nicholas Christakis, whose threads have been invaluable primers in a time of awful confusion.

These are people with a high tolerance for uncertainty. It’s the president’s incapacity to tolerate it — combined with his bottomless need to self-flatter and preserve his political power — that leads, so often, to his spectacular fits of deception and misdirection. At his Thursday news conference, a discussion of chloroquine and other experimental therapies formed the core of his remarks, when those drugs and therapies are untested and unproven and, in some cases, won’t be ready for several months, as NBC’s Peter Alexander pointed out the following day.

“What do you say to Americans who are scared?” Alexander pressed.

“I say that you’re a terrible reporter,” Trump answered.

Only a liar — and a weak man with delusions of competence — would be so unnerved by the facts.

Compare this to Cuomo, who takes questions at his news conferences calmly and systematically — and, more to the point, has a substantive response when asked the same questions about anxiety. He hears it. He relates to it. He says it’s real.

“People are in a small apartment, they’re in a house, they’re worried, they’re anxious. Just, be mindful of that,” the governor said Friday. “Those three-word sentences can make all the difference: ‘I miss you.’ ‘I love you.’ ‘I’m thinking about you.’ ‘I wish I was there with you.’ ‘I’m sorry you’re going through this.’ ‘I’m sorry we’re going through this.’”

On Friday, Cuomo said something else that was quite striking, as he was issuing his executive order for nonessential workers in New York to stay home, other than to run errands or exercise outside. “If someone wants to blame someone or complain about someone, blame me,” he said. “There is no one else who is responsible for this decision.”

Cuomo is nothing if not politically shrewd. He knows full well how this comment compares to Mr. Trump’s “I don’t take responsibility at all.”

But telling the media that they’re peddling fake news is straight from the playbook of the political gangsters of the last century. So many of Trump’s moves are.

Having each of his cabinet members fulsomely thank him for his leadership and congratulate him for his “farsightedness” before each of their remarks: Check. Making sure each one stays on a message, even if that message has nothing to do with his or her purview: Check.

(Alex Azar may have been the worst offender, speaking Friday to the urgency of closing the southern border. He’s the secretary of health and human services, not homeland security. Yet he was parroting Trump’s message about the coronavirus, one specifically tailored to the base: We’re keeping brown immigrants from spreading it.)

How about Orwellian doublespeak? Ooooooh, check. Trump and his team are continually deploying words and phrases that disguise a reality that suggests the opposite. Vice President Mike Pence talks about a “strong and seamless” partnership with the states, when at the same time Mr. Trump is trolling the states, telling Cuomo to get his own respirators.

Pence speaks relentlessly of a “whole-of-government approach,” when in fact the government is hollowed out — defunded to fight pandemics, denuded of experts — and broken in shards, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sidelined in this fight, and the president’s task force now mutely competing with a shadow group run by the president’s son-in-law.

On Friday, Trump said he cherished journalism, and his secretary of state complained about disinformation on Twitter. There are simply too many two-plus-two-is-five moments to count.

But most dangerous of all is Trump’s insistence that things are fine, or will be shortly, that they’ll be stronger and better and greater than ever. We don’t have any evidence that this is true, and the president finds any suggestion to the contrary quite rude. When a journalist pointed out to him on Thursday that the economy had all but ground to halt, Trump cut him off.

“What’s the rest of your question?” he snapped. “We know that. Everybody in the room knows that.”

Here’s the truth: Things might be hard — unfathomably hard — for months, perhaps even north of a year. Anyone who’s reading or listening to other sources of news besides the president knows that. It takes sensitivity and strength and intelligence to speak truthfully to the public about imminent hardship, the prospect of enduring pain.

So I listen to Justin Trudeau, a sci-fi experience, a dispatch from an alternate universe that prioritizes the needs and anxieties of the middle class. He speaks about concerns: The kids will be all right. There’ll be food. You won’t be booted out of your home. Not how our president is speaking right now, but it’s a road map for the Democratic presidential nominee in 2020 to follow.

And I listen to Cuomo, who says the same thing. His news conference on Friday was about the practical things, knowing the entire state — country, globe — had just taken a precipitous slide down Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, with food, shelter and safety now topmost on many people’s minds. No one can evict you for 90 days. We’re getting hospital beds. We’re recruiting doctors and nurses in training to fight this fight, and we’re coaxing medical professionals out of retirement.

Then he spoke from the heart. One of his daughters was in quarantine. “To tell you the truth, I had some of the best conversations with her that I’ve ever had,” Cuomo said. She was alone for two weeks. “We talked about things in depth that we didn’t have time to talk about in the past,” he continued, “or we didn’t have the courage or the strength to talk about in the past — feelings I had, about mistakes I had made along the way that I wanted to express my regret and talk through with her.”

He was expressing fallibility. Imagine that.

By now, the California Charter Schools Association knows that they are harming public schools, where 80-90% of California’s students are educated.

By now, the CCSA knows that charter schools do not get higher test scores than public schools.

By now, they know that their industry is rife with corruption and fraud, and some of its leaders are serving jail time or on the lam.

By now, they know that charters do not have a secret sauce.

By now, they know that all they fight for is survival and power.

But they are pouring millions into the four contested seats on the Los Angeles Unified School District races, hoping to regain control so they can continue to do the bidding of Eli Broad, Reed Hastings, Michael Bloomberg, and Bill Bloomfield.

Here is the latest from the LA Education Examiner in the closing days of the campaign. 

See here for the money dump in the closing days of the campaign, with nearly one million going to a charter candidate running against Scott Schmerelson.

Here is Howard Blume in the Los Angeles Times, reporting on the ugly smear campaign against Scott Schmerelson. 

Charter supporters are angry at Schmerelson, first because he supports public schools, but also because he revealed that more than 80% of the LA charters have vacancies.

Blume writes:

A million-dollar attack campaign is underway portraying Los Angeles school board member Scott Schmerelson as greedy, corrupt and determined to score fast cash by exposing children to deadly vaping and McDonald’s French fries.

One mailer — which included a cartoonish image of Schmerelson, who is Jewish, bedecked with a gold dollar-sign chain and holding a cigar and fistful of cash — came under fire as anti-Semitic and its use was halted.

Behind the surge of negative mailers in this West San Fernando Valley board district is an intense effort by charter school supporters to defeat Schmerelson and elect Marilyn Koziatek, a district parent who works at a local charter school managing community outreach efforts.

The pivotal race could tip the board majority toward the protection and expansion of charter schools, which enroll about 1 in 5 district students. Charter advocates are especially concerned about a new law that will soon give school boards more authority to reject new charters.

Blume reports that the charter industry has stopped sending out its antiSemitic image of Schmerelson but that’s a meaningless gesture since it was already sent out in a mass mailing.

 

Five years ago, Kevin Welner and Gary Miron explained why you should not believe claims about charter “wait lists.”

At the same time that they released this caution (2014), the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools [sic] put out a press release claiming that more than one million students were wait-listed to get into charter schools.

Five years later, the New York Times cited this press release by NAPCS to substantiate a statement that “hundreds of thousands” of students were on charter wait lists. On the other hand, Los Angeles school board member Scott Schmerelson posted on his Facebook page that more than 80% of the charter schools in LA had vacancies.

Welner and Miron gave nine reasons not to believe unverified claims about hundreds of thousands of students waiting to get into charter schools.

They posted this caution after the NAPCS [sic] claimed in 2013 that precisely 902,007 students were on wait lists for charter schools.

Here are nine reasons to be skeptical of the numbers offered by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

Reason #1: Students Apply to Multiple Charter Schools

The NAPCS estimate is complicated by the fact (acknowledged by NAPCS in its 2013 announcement) that “families often apply to multiple charter schools….” Because of this practice, NAPCS downsizes its own topline number by over 400,000 students. That is, instead of the 920,007 waitlist students given as the 2013 topline number, NAPCS later adds: “at a minimum, more than 520,000 total individual students – many of whom are on multiple charter school waitlists … are on waitlists across the country.” In practice, many families may apply to one or more charter schools along with district-run schools or programs. Such students receive offers at a variety of schools (multiple charter and/or district options) but may choose a district school option. In short, a given charter school application may not reflect a student’s first choice.

Reason #2: The Waitlist Numbers Cannot Be Confirmed

Even the NAPCS 520,000 estimate is problematic. For most jurisdictions,2 it is derived from unaudited and unauditable numbers reported to NAPCS through a survey it administers annually. The survey apparently asks for the number of applications received, as well as the number of available seats. The waiting list numbers are then calculated as applications minus seats.

There is no state or federal indicator that is called “waitlist.” Instead, this is a statistic developed by NAPCS and others who hope to advance the argument that, “With such demand, it is up to our elected officials to remove the facilities and funding barriers that exist to ensure that every child has the option to attend a high-quality public charter school” (Nina Rees, NAPCS president and CEO).3

Open the link to read the other seven reasons.

 

Gary Rubinstein is the Myth-Buster of the Resistance. He has achieved this eminent position because of his intolerance for hype, propaganda, and lies.

In this post, he bust the myth that low-income charter school graduates have a dramatically higher college graduation rate than low-income public school graduates.

In fact, he shows, charter school graduates have the same college graduation rate as their mothers!

Education Reform propaganda at The74 would try to make you believe that while low income students generally graduate from college at a rate of about 9%, charter school graduates complete college at a rate of 3 to 5 times that.

The main flaw in any comparison between the college graduation rates of charter school graduates to low-income students, in general, is that the charter school students do not represent a random sampling of the general population of low-income students.

In The Alumni, Richard Whitmire says that charter schools that have 5 times the expected college completion rate are ones that only counted their students who persisted until 12th grade in their charter schools.  Since for some charter schools, this only represents about 25% of the students who started in that charter school, this even more of a biased sample.  But, Whitmire explains, the one network that has the most valid way of doing a fair comparison is the famed KIPP network.  Since KIPP counts, in their data, any students who enrolled in KIPP, even if they left soon after starting.  And he says that KIPP students, including ones who didn’t persist at KIPP, graduate college 3 times the expected rate.

Reform supporting billionaire John Arnold commissioned Mathematica, a data analysis company, to study the college enrollment and college persistence of KIPP students.  Instead of comparing KIPP students to the general population, they compared KIPP students to students who had applied to the KIPP lottery but did not get into KIPP through the lottery.  This is a much more valid way of measuring the impact of KIPP.  The big takeaway, as I wrote about in my previous post, was that students who applied to KIPP, whether or not they got into KIPP, had a college persistence rate of about 3 times the general low-income population and that students who applied but didn’t get into KIPP had about the same college persistence as students who applied and did get into KIPP.  So students to apply to the KIPP lottery are the ones who, on average, were much more likely to persist in college — something that Whitmire never mentions in The Alumni.

But this Mathematica report includes some other relevant data that I didn’t pick up on when I wrote the last post.  Fortunately there was a discussion among some readers who commented on the last post which pointed this out.

In 2018 the National Center For Education Statistics published a report called ‘First-Generation Students College Access, Persistence, and Postbachelor’s Outcomes.’  In it they say that about 70% of students who have a parent who completed college also complete college compared to about 35% of students who do not have a parent who completed college.  This confirms what most people would expect for so many reasons and this is why we celebrate when students are the first in their family to graduate college.  It means that the descendants of those students will also be more likely to go to college…

At this point, Gary displays a graph from the Mathematica study.

Notice that last line.  It says that of the students entering the lottery about 27% of them had mothers who finished college.  This makes the fact that about 30% of the students in the study (which includes students who got into KIPP and also students who did not get into KIPP) have persisted in college through four semesters even less surprising.

 

Gary Rubinstein has a deep aversion to hypocrisy, hypes, and propaganda.

He read a widely publicized report saying “research shows” that graduates of KIPP have higher college completion rates than their peers.

But then he discovered that the research shows no significant difference between KIPP students and their peers in college completion rates. 

His post debunks Richard Whitmire’s erroneous claim that KIPP students finish college at a rate three to five times greater than students who went to public schools. It is also a valuable lesson in reading and interpreting research findings or claims that “research shows.”

He begins:

The way reformers misuse data follows a very simple and predictable plan:  First they get some skewed data, then pick a ‘researcher’ to interpret the skewed data.  The ‘researcher’ then writes a report which gets touted in The74, EduPost, and eventually even makes it into more mainstream publications like USA Today and The Wall Street Journal.  Since the report is filled with nonsense and half-truths, within a few weeks the truth comes out and the report is discredited, but not before the damage was done and the spin has made it into folklore.  When this happens, the reformers will then ‘move the goalposts’ and get some more skewed data and start the process over again.

An example of this is the July 2017 report by Richard Whitmire called ‘The Alumni‘.  Whitmire has written books about both KIPP and about Michelle Rhee so I think you get the idea of what his point of view is.  In this poorly researched project he concludes that “Data Show Charter School Students Graduating From College at Three to Five Times National Average“.

This was probably the easiest report I ever debunked.  The biggest flaw was that for most of the charter schools, they were only counting the percent of graduating seniors who persisted in college and then comparing that percent to the overall percent of all low-income students — an apples to oranges comparison.  Whitmire acknowledges this in another post about the methodology in which he says that only KIPP counts students who leave the school before they graduate and that their numbers are much lower, but still at 38% which is at least triple the expected graduation rate for low income students.

A second flaw, and this one is very difficult to compensate for, is that charter school students are not a random sampling of all students since many families choose no to apply to them.  So you get a biased sampling even if you do count all the students who get into the charter school and not just the ones who make it to graduate from the charter school.  And even though I and others have discredited his report, it is something that still gets quoted in the main stream media.

Just recently, however, I learned of a report generated by Mathematica and funded by the John Arnold Foundation.  I think that Mathematica is a very reputable company and even though reformers often hire them to produce reports, sometimes those reports reach conclusions that reformers were not expecting.

In this case, the report called “Long-Term Impacts of KIPP Middle Schools on College Enrollment and Early College Persistence” , reached a result that completely contradicts Whitmire’s claim that “Charter School Students Graduating From College at Three to Five Times National Average”.

Read on to see just how overblown is the KIPP myth about the college success of their students

Here’s the relevant summary of what they found:

Screen Shot 2020-01-04 at 5.07.25 PM

 

 

 

In this post, Peter Greene reviews Edspeak and Doubletalk, the glossary co-written by me and Nancy Bailey.

This is the book you need, the scorecard, to identify the players in the fast-moving world of reform propaganda and over-hyped programs.

This resulting book, Edspeak and Doubletalk: A Glossary to Decipher Hypocrisy and Save Public Schooling, is exceptionally useful as a quick-reference resource. If you are a regular reader of this or other education blogs, you know that there is a forest of acronyms, a Grand Canyon’s worth of program names and purposes, and enough different edu-focused organizations to pave a road to the moon and back. This book makes for a quick and easy reference for it all, and more. Chapters are organized by general topic, such as Charter Schools and Choice, English Language Learners, Technology, and Separation of Church and State. There are guides to the various players, both in the chapter on Groups Fighting Corporate “Reform” and School Reform Groups and Terms, or “Money Talks.”

Greene writes:
The book comes with an on-line supplement–an e-book– and the promise of online updates to come. It’s enlightening to browse the book– I’ve already encountered many terms and programs and policies that I had never heard of before (Paideia Program, anyone?)– but I’ve also already used it as a substitute for my usual research assistant (Dr. Google) to look up a couple of terms and organizations. 
 
Explanations are short, clear, and to the point, which is half the battle, since eduspeak relies on a cloud of smoke and fuzz to obscure what’s really going on. Well, Bailey and Ravitch know what’s really going on in debates that have become “highly politicized.” This book will be useful to the general reader, but I’d recommend it for every teacher. Keep a copy in your desk drawer and every time a communique comes across your desk that makes you think, “What the heck is this? Who are these people anyway, and what the heck are they talking about?” just pull out your copy and start translating. 

John Thompson, historian and retired teacher in Oklahoma, writes here about the use and misuse of NAEP scores to advance disruption in the schools.

 

A new wave of “misnaepery” is heading towards Oklahoma and other states. After most or all of the corporate reform agenda became law in about 90 percent of states, reading scores dropped so much that even a reform true believer dubbed NAEP as “National Assessment of Educational Stagnation and/or Decline.”

https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/07/24/37naep.h32.html
https://podcasts.google.com/?feed=aHR0cDovL2VkdWNhdGlvbmdhZGZseXNob3cubGlic3luLmNvbS9yc3M%3D&episode=NzEzNTA2MzJjMDI0NDA0YmJmMjM4NjVhNzAwODE4NzE%3D&hl=en

After test-driven, market-driven reform was implemented, from 2013 to 2019, the nation’s 8th grade math scores for African-Americans dropped by five points. But I would argue that 8th grade NAEP reading scores are the most important and reliable metric, and they dropped seven points in six years for African-American 8th graders.

Today, Oklahoma’s 4th grade NAEP reading scores have dropped to four points below the 1990s pre-HB1017 tax increase level. And since accountability-driven, competition-driven reforms were supposed to improve outcomes for our poorest children of color, it is shocking that from 2013 to 2019 black student 8th grade scores dropped 15 points!

https://www.educationnext.org/make-2019-results-nations-report-card/

https://fordhaminstitute.org/national/commentary/worst-news-naep?utm_source=Fordham+Institute+Newsletters+%26+Announcements&utm_campaign=f22e67acec-20160918_LateLateBell9_16_2016_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5fa2df08a3-f22e67acec-71894457&mc_cid=f22e67acec&mc_eid=3095764e3b

Rather than admit their mistakes, reformers have retained their original meme that was used to justify hurried and risky reforms to blow up the education “status quo,” so that “disruptive innovation” can spark “transformative change.”

Two contradictory misnaepery themes are being rushed into the breach by the Fordham Institute. The smiley-faced meme is that teachers and students will naturally rise to meet far more “rigorous” standards. On the other hand, the conservative Fordham Institute has been blaming states like Oklahoma for supposedly hurting student performance by ending high school graduation exams. It is also arguing that we should return to the punitive policies of the former Chief for Change State Superintendent Janet Baressi and retain even more 3rd graders based on reading tests. 

First, ignoring the damage done by their experiments, accountability-driven, competition-driven reformers argue that radically higher testing standards will produce transformative improvements. State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister was a leader in the reaction against Baressi’s privatization agenda, so I can’t be too critical when she has to adopt some policies pushed by Education Next and other “astroturf” think tanks. Rightly or wrongly, she revised the state’s standards and assessments. There are no stakes attached to these metrics, and they allow the State Department of Education to say, “Oklahoma’s new standards [are] one of only 17 ‘A’ grades in the nation, up from the previous rank of 47th and a grade of ‘D.’”

So, for instance, Oklahoma’s 2017 8th grade math tests set a proficiency level which is at the NAEP proficiency level, basically comparable to around a 300 on that rigorous standard. The only groups in the United States were average scores reach that level are white and economically advantaged students in Massachusetts, a state where per capita income is nearly 50 percent greater. Oklahoma’s NAEP scores currently correlate with a level just above Kazakhstan.  Advantaged students in Massachusetts perform at the level of the counterparts on PISA and TMMS in the top performing states and nations, except for South Korea.

https://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/studies/naep_timss/profiles.aspx
https://www.oecd.org/pisa/PISA-2015-United-States-MA.pdf
https://www.epi.org/publication/bringing-it-back-home-why-state-comparisons-are-more-useful-than-international-comparisons-for-improving-u-s-education-policy/#_note11

Of course, now that we listened to conservative reformers at the Fordham Institute and raised our expectations, Oklahoma students will soon join students at the top of the world’s education systems …

Fordham and other national reformers are also launching a second round misnaepery memes.  The 2015 NAEP was its first test of 4th graders after Oklahoma’s Reading Sufficiency Act required the retention of 3rd graders who don’t pass a reading test. Once Chief for Change Baressi was defeated by a pragmatic Republican, Hofmeister, educators were allowed more judgment in deciding whether to retain students. Until last year, however, little funding was available for interventions to assist struggling readers, much less adequate training and supports for inexperienced and emergency teachers in early elementary grades. (Oklahoma has hired more than 3,000 emergency certified teachers in a year.)

The 2015, 4th grade test scores increased by 2-1/2 percent. A conservative Republican reformer claimed they “were attributed to the 2014 implementation of a law that barred students from being promoted to the fourth grade if they read at lower than a second-grade level.” Those gains disappeared during the next two NAEPs. So, it is argued that more teeth needs to be restored to the retention policy.

But we also need to ask what really prompted the one-year jump in test scores. As in other states, the retention of low-performing readers can provide a temporary boost in NAEP scores. If you add up the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders who would have been in 4th grade during 2015, but who were retained, the total comes to about 9,000. Before the RSA, the more typical number of retentions was about 4,000. That means that about 5,000 more of the lowest performing students were missing from the 2015 4th grade class of about 47,000. The retention of more than 10 percent of the tested class could explain the one-time test score boost. As those students subsequently entered 4th grade, test scores dropped back to normative levels.

https://ocrdata.ed.gov/DistrictSchoolSearch#
https://oklahomawatch.org/2018/12/14/oklahoma-nearly-tops-nation-in-holding-back-early-grade-students/
https://journalrecord.com/2019/11/07/free-market-friday-student-results-continue-to-decline/

And what happened to that year’s economically disadvantaged students when they took 8th grade tests in 2019? Their scores were down by 2-½ percent in comparison to their 2015 8th grade peers.

Who knows what will be Fordham’s next misnaepery-driven attack on public education. After all, they were one of the think tanks who argued that the No Child Left Behind Act, which was enacted in 2002 deserved credit for the NAEP gains of the late-1990s! And now it is proclaiming an “Agincourt-level disaster” is the result of weakening NCLB accountability. The thing we know is that the Fordham spin will be picked up, amplified, and used by rightwing lobbyists throughout the nation to slander public schools.

The Mind Trust is funded by billionaires to advocate for privatization of public funds and public schools.

Now it is going after parents.

Of course, the best person to make the case to parents is an education entrepreneur.

Dear Friends,

I deeply believe that those most impacted by systemic injustice are also the people who are best positioned to lead the fight to create a more just and equitable society. This is one of the many reasons why we are so excited about the work our Education Entrepreneur Fellow Ashley Virden is leading to empower Indianapolis parents to create the changes they deem necessary to dramatically improve our education system.

Read on for more about a recent event that Ashley hosted and how you can support her. You will also find information on our most recent Education Tour and a call for applications for our fourth cohort of Relay National Principals Academy Fellowships.

With gratitude,

Brandon Brown

CEO

Education Entrepreneur Fellow Ashley Virden leads parent organizing meeting

On November 7, our Education Entrepreneur Fellow Ashley Virden led a community meeting for parents looking to become more involved in their children’s education. She is developing an independent parent advocacy nonprofit that will empower parents to create necessary change for children and communities across Indianapolis.

Virden is specifically searching for a group of parents who are interested in receiving training in leadership, community organizing, and advocacy. If you or someone you know might be interested in supporting the work she is doing to uplift the voices of Indianapolis parents, please reach out to her at avirden@themindtrust.org.

“Parents deserve to have a voice in our city’s education system and in the schools our kids attend. I am excited to start building a community of empowered parents who want to be advocates for all students in Indianapolis.”

Ashley Virden, Education Entrepreneur Fellow

Education Tour series visits IPS Newcomer Program

On October 22, The Mind Trust hosted an Education Tour, formerly called Education Bus Tours, featuring IPS’ Newcomer Program. The Newcomer Program serves nearly 400 students in grades 3-9 who are new to the United States within the last year. Their students learn English alongside receiving core content instruction to prepare them for a successful transition to the school of their choice. In 2018-2019, the school served students from 33 countries, who spoke 22 different languages.

Now accepting applications for Relay’s National Principals Academy Fellowship

The Mind Trust is accepting applications for the fourth cohort of Indianapolis school leaders to participate in Relay Graduate School of Education’s National Principals Academy Fellowship, a nationally-recognized fellowship that provides school and school systems leaders with powerful instructional and cultural professional development. We are grateful to the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation for a grant of $990,000 to help sponsor the next three cohorts fellows.

A few of our staff and Fellows volunteered at School on Wheels, filling backpacks with school supplies for students who utilize their programming. School on Wheels provides tutoring and wraparound academic support for hundreds of Indy children and families impacted by homelessness.
Our School Supports team partnered with the Lavinia Group to bring a literacy focused professional development to our Fellows and other Indianapolis school leaders. The training focused on building independence in reading to unleash student potential.

The Mind Trust In the News

10 new schools are seeking innovation partnership with IPS via Chalkbeat

Mind Trust Adds Lewis to Board via Inside Indiana Business

IPS Study Abroad Program To Relaunch As High School At Arlington via WFYI

New teacher residency program launches in Indy: ‘It will lead to a better retention’ via Fox 59

Church’s money management lessons lead to transformation in impoverished neighborhoodvia Faith & Leadership, Duke University

Schools were quick to downplay ILEARN results, but experts stand by the test. Here’s why.via Chalkbeat

The Mind Trust
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Guy Brandenburg offers a graph of 8th Grade scores on NAEP from 1992-2019 for four jurisdiction and invites you to find a miracle , if you can.