Amy Moore is a teacher in Dems Moines, Iowa. In this post, she congratulates Donald Trump and explains to him what it means to be a public servant, like her and other public school teachers.

 

“Congratulations on your recent successful interview process. Though I understand that the hiring committee was divided in their selection, you were chosen to run the United States of America. As a public school teacher, I welcome you to the ranks of those of us who are servants to the people.

 

“Knowing that you are used to being served by others rather than being the support to others, I am here to help. Many in the education world believe that having an expert mentor to show the ropes to those who are new is essential to success. While I’d not necessarily call myself an expert, I do have lots of years of practice in the public service sector, and I heard that I might get a little stipend for the extra time spent assisting you, which would really help save up for the amount of money I will need to put my children through college.

 

“Speaking of money, we teachers have another similarity with you. Many of us have more than one job as well! And, while your career in business is able to fund your yachts and mansions and our second jobs often fund our groceries and child care, it’s still a connection. It’s really great that you’re giving up your presidential salary. We have that in common, as many teachers give up a portion of our own salary — although ours is given up to buy materials for our students.”

 

 

According to various news outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, Trump is expected to choose Andy Puzder as Secretary of Labor.

 

President-elect Donald Trump is expected to name fast-food executive Andy Puzder as labor secretary, according to people familiar with the decision.

 

Mr. Puzder, chief executive of CKE Restaurants Holdings Inc., the parent company of the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s burger chains, has been a vocal advocate for cutting back regulations he says have stifled growth in the restaurant industry, which represents 10% of the American workforce.

 

Mr. Puzder, an adviser and contributor to Mr. Trump’s campaign, has criticized the Affordable Care Act and has argued against raising the federal minimum wage higher than $9 an hour. Democrats have called for raising the federal minimum wage for as high as $15.

 

This is a cabinet of deplorables. Billionaires and generals. The most reactionary possible choices in every area. They will compete to see who can do the most damage to the agency and issues for which they are responsible. One will gut healthcare. Another will gut environmental protection. Puzder will diminish the rights and wages of working people. DeVos will attack public education. Is this what the ‘white working class’ wanted? How many millions of his voters will lose their healthcare?

 

Rosann Tung is a parent in the Boston Public Schools and is director of research and policy at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform. In this article, she connects the meaning of the successful campaign to block the expansion of charter schools in Massachusetts and the present moment, where public schools across the nation are under threat. The parent-teacher victory over the out-of-state billionaires was a resounding affirmation of public support for public schools. Please open the article to see the links to sources. Tung’s article is a good reminder of the importance of joining with allies in your district, town, city, or state. Every region has an organization that is supporting public education and opposing privatization. For help in finding your allies, contact the Network for Public Education.

 

Tung writes:

 

On November 8, Massachusetts voters decided to keep the charter school cap by voting “no” on Ballot Question 2, with only 16 (mostly wealthy) towns out of 351 voting “yes.” School committees in over 200 districts passed resolutions against Question 2, because communities want local control over their schools and understand that the charter industry forces them to run two parallel school systems, one of which is not fully accountable to the community.

 

The ballot proposal would have allowed up to twelve new Commonwealth charter schools each year indefinitely. In addition, the proposal would have removed limits on the amount of money that districts can be required to pass through to charter schools, enabling situations in which charter school growth could eventually cause the collapse of urban public school districts due to loss of revenue. Raising the charter cap would have bled our districts of resources necessary for early education, engaging course offerings, and professional development, and crippled the system’s ability to improve public, accountable schools for all students.

 

Not all charter schools exacerbate inequities, but lifting the charter cap would have allowed the creation of more charters that do widen the opportunity gap for students historically marginalized by unequal systems – especially schools that are run by for-profit corporations or charter management chains, that lack transparency and accountability in their governance, or that follow practices such as inequitable enrollment, punitive discipline policies, or excessive focus on raising standardized test scores. Choosing to keep the charter school cap was a win for equity in our state’s public school system.

 

Given the election of Donald Trump as our next president, we need to use this win to continue the strong advocacy for equitable and accountable public schools that the No on Question 2 supporters organized. During the fight for Question 2, charter proponents raised over $26 million to support their cause, primarily from “dark money,” out-of-state, and corporate donors. The aims of these donors are aligned with those of our president-elect; Trump promises to further privatize public schools and reduce government’s role in public education. While Trump’s education platform lacks specifics and details, we know that he has promised to divert $20 billion from school districts and perhaps even eliminate the federal Department of Education.

 

Building on the grassroots victory over Massachusetts Question 2, we need to ensure that his administration’s policies do not succeed in: dismantling federal oversight for students’ rights to quality education; further privatizing public education through private and parochial school vouchers and the expansion of charter school chains dominated by large corporate interests; and traumatizing students of color and immigrant students through a culture of intolerance and government-sanctioned racism and xenophobia.

 

Given Trump’s nomination of Betsy DeVos, a pro-voucher billionaire, as Secretary of Education, the Trump administration will likely allocate Title I dollars to “school choice,” which includes a voucher program for students to attend private and parochial schools and the creation of more charter and magnet schools. This “portability” could reverse what 62 percent of Massachusetts residents just voted for – keeping funds in traditional public schools. Trump’s approach to improving schools through a market-based, competitive approach will reduce the ability of public schools and systems to improve due to funding and resource shortfalls. And it will widen the opportunity gap, since a disproportionate number of Massachusetts’ charter schools have zero tolerance discipline policies and disproportionately low enrollment of English language learners.

 

In the aftermath of Trump’s election, many educators have led emotional classroom discussions to help students process their reactions, which include sadness, fear, rage, and uncertainty. Students who are Muslim, LGBTQ, immigrant, undocumented, Latino, female, and/or of color describe anxiety over their civil rights and their futures in this country. Superintendents in urban districts around the country have tried to reassure students and families with public letters and offers of support and counseling. Now more than ever, under a Trump administration, we must provide civic education that promotes critical consciousness, teaches about structural inequality, and empowers students to voice their concerns, organize, and advocate for humane and equitable policies.

 

In the next four years, with Trump as president and with a Republican Congress, we must continue to demand inclusive, transparent, and accountable public schools that serve each community’s distinct needs and desires, rather than quasi-public, unaccountable charter schools and private schools. We must ensure that our public schools create greater opportunity for all of our students, especially those most marginalized by our inequitable systems.

 

 

 

 

This post is a very interesting analysis of how the newly elected Democratic Governor of North Carolina, Roy Cooper, can use his bully pulpit to pound the legislature, which has passed dreadful laws in the past five years.

Why did McCrory lose? The author credits Reverend William Barber’s Moral Monday for standing strong, pushing hard, and never giving up.

He quotes Tom Jensen of Public Policy Polling with a lesson for all of us:

“(T)he seeds of McCrory’s defeat really were planted by the Moral Monday movement in the summer of 2013, just months after McCrory took office….

“He allowed himself to be associated with a bunch of unpopular legislation, and progressives hit back HARD, in a way that really caught voters’ attention and resonated with them….

“(T)he Moral Monday movement pushed back hard. Its constant visibility forced all of these issues to stay in the headlines. Its efforts ensured that voters in the state were educated about what was going on in Raleigh, and as voters became aware of what was going on, they got mad. All those people who had seen McCrory as a moderate, as a different kind of Republican, had those views quickly changed. By July McCrory had a negative approval rating- 40% of voters approving of him to 49% who disapproved. By September it was all the way down to 35/53, and he never did fully recover from the damage the rest of his term….

“And it’s a lesson for progressives in dealing with Trump. Push back hard from day one. Be visible. Capture the public’s attention, no matter what you have to do to do it. Don’t count on the media to do it itself because the media will let you down. The protesters in North Carolina, by making news in their own right week after week after week, forced sustained coverage of what was going on in Raleigh. And even though it was certainly a long game, with plenty more frustration in between, those efforts led to change at the polls 42 months after they really started.

“Keep Pounding.”

The most important lesson on how to survive the next four years: KEEP POUNDING. NEVER GIVE UP, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER.

Angie Sullivan calls on her colleagues in Clark County, Nevada, to show up for today’s board meeting:

She writes:

There is a CCSD School Board Meeting tomorrow.

Democrats who worked in bipartisan manner to implement #AB394 need to show up. A lot of work has gone into these plans.

#TeacherVoice

#ParentVoice

http://m.reviewjournal.com/news/education/superintendent-pat-skorkowsky-confronts-ccsd-trustees-role-district-overhaul

Superintendent. Pat Skorkowsky does not deserve to be replaced for attempting to implement the law.

I would question a Casino Business Executive and Government Relations Lobbyist for Caesars – a bankrupt casino – being chosen to lead the district.

http://m.reviewjournal.com/real-estate-millions/check-out-the-home-former-las-vegas-mayor-photos

https://www.google.com/amp/nypost.com/2016/08/26/caesars-could-be-forced-into-bankruptcy-after-judges-ruling/amp/?client=safari

What is going on?

All of this worries me.

This is about power and money instead of kids.

Teachers – Time to show up.

Angie.

Today the blog reached 29 million page views (hits). That means that on that many occasions, someone opened the blog to read an entry. It doesn’t mean that there are 29 million separate individuals who read the blog daily.

I decided not to watch the number of hits (page views) on the blog because reaching a milestone is not the purpose of doing what I do, which is like a full-time job. But I happened to notice a few days ago that the blog was nearing the million mark again, and it seemed worth noting, if for no other reason, just to tell myself that the hours I put into the blog every day do not go unnoticed. You are reading, you are commenting, you do (or don’t) find the information and perspectives useful or you wouldn’t be reading this now.

So, thank you for reading the blog, adding your comments, and making this a lively destination for those who want to stay abreast about the latest developments in education and have a place to discuss what is happening in American education and around the world.

The next four years will be challenging, to say the least, for those of us who believe in the ideal of universal public education, open to all, and to our hopes for making all schools far better than they are today. In a better world, billionaires would be helping to strengthen our public schools, not trying to make them compete in a marketplace, not contributing to the growth of a dual system of schools. In a better world, the government would prohibit for-profit organizations from operating schools; the only profit in schooling should be the satisfaction of learning and mastering new ideas, new skills, new appreciations for what is good, beautiful, and just.

We need to stay informed, prepare to join with our allies to work together, and never, never, never give up hope. Hope is what keeps us going. Hope for a better future is essential or we concede defeat without putting up a resistance. Resist we shall when market forces come to take away what belongs to all of us.

Keep reading, join the Network for Public Education to find your allies in your state, and persist. Think about not just the next four years, but about the next 20 years. Plan for the future and join together to make it one that is better for all of our children.

Trump has selected Scott Pruitt, attorney general of Oklahoma and a close ally of the fossil fuel industry, to lead the EPA.

 

This signals an end to efforts to protect the environment.

 

The New York Times writes:

 

“Mr. Pruitt, a Republican, has been a key architect of the legal battle against Mr. Obama’s climate change policies, actions that fit with the president-elect’s comments during the campaign. Mr. Trump has criticized the established science of human-caused global warming as a hoax, vowed to “cancel” the Paris accord committing nearly every nation to taking action to fight climate change, and attacked Mr. Obama’s signature global warming policy, the Clean Power Plan, as a “war on coal.”

 
“Mr. Pruitt, 48, who has emerged as a hero to conservative activists, is also one of a number of Republican attorneys general who have formed an alliance with some of the nation’s top energy producers to push back against the Obama regulatory agenda, a 2014 investigation by The New York Times revealed.

 
“At the heart of Mr. Obama’s efforts to tackle climate change are a collection of E.P.A. regulations aimed at forcing power plants to significantly reduce their emissions of planet-warming carbon dioxide pollution. It will not be possible for Mr. Trump to unilaterally cancel the rules, which were released under the 1970 Clean Air Act. But it would be possible for a legally experienced E.P.A. chief to substantially weaken, delay or slowly dismantle them.

 
“As Oklahoma’s top law enforcement official, Mr. Pruitt has fought environmental regulations — particularly the climate change rules. Although Mr. Obama’s rules were not completed until 2015, Mr. Pruitt was one of a handful of attorneys general, along with Greg Abbott of Texas, who began planning as early as 2014 for a coordinated legal effort to fight them. That resulted in a 28-state lawsuit against the administration’s rules. A decision on the case is pending in a federal court, but it is widely expected to advance to the Supreme Court.”

 

 

Look west for hope!

 

The New York Times has a good article about the new generation of leaders in California who have the dynamism and energy to replace the aging lions, the national leaders who are now in their 70s.

 

The leaders of the party affirmed their intention to ward off the worst of Trump’s policies.

 

Previewing an adversarial relationship between California and the federal government over the next four years, legislative leaders opened a new session on Monday by vowing to preserve California’s liberal agenda and passing a resolution rejecting President-elect Donald Trump’s hardline immigration stance.
Members of both houses directly confronted Trump’s tough-on-immigration rhetoric, which has included calls to deport millions and block immigration by Muslims. Lawmakers passed a resolution that says “California stands unified in rejecting the politics of hatred and exclusion” and exhorts Trump “to not pursue mass deportation strategies that needlessly tear families apart, or target immigrants for deportation based on vague and unjustified criteria.”
“We have all heard the insults, we have all heard the lies, and we have all heard the threats,” said Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Paramount, adding of an undocumented immigrant population that is the nation’s largest, “if you want to get to them, you have to go through us.”
Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, opened his chamber’s business by accepting the election results but rebuffing Trump. He urged Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress to “treat immigrant families and children humanely, with a modicum of dignity and respect.”
“They are hard-working, upstanding members of our society who contribute billions of dollars to our economic activity and tax revenue to our state each year,” de León said.
The immediate challenge to Trump drew criticism from Republican members who said Democrats were demonizing a man who had not yet taken office. Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore, said the tactic “seeks to flare up tension between communities.”
“To throw down a gauntlet and say ‘here we go’ without ever having time to discuss this” is inappropriate, said Assemblyman Rocky Chavez, R-Oceanside.
But dark warnings about the coming Trump administration set the tone, with Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-San Rafael, saying the president-elect had advocated “ethnic cleansing policies.”
With fiery language that broke from his usually staid public demeanor, Rendon said California faces a “major existential threat.” He spurred raucous applause for an apparent dig at Trump aide Stephen Bannon, saying that “white nationalists and anti-Semites have no business working in the White House.” Bannon’s Breitbart website has drawn admiration from nationalists and opponents of multiculturalism as well as criticism for pushing bigotry into mainstream discourse.
“It is up to us to pass policies that would firewall Californians and what we believe from the cynical, short sighted, and reactionary agenda that is rising in the wake of the election,” Rendon said, adding that “unity must be separated from complicity…Californians do not need healing. We need to fight.”

Katherine Crawford-Garrett and Rebecca Sánchez  are professors in the school of education at the University of New Mexico. They wrote the following commentary:

 

 

 

Like so many universities across the country, the University of New Mexico, a minority-serving institution, has experienced a sharp increase in hate-related incidents since the presidential election last week. These events, which have included swastikas being spray painted around campus and the attempt to remove a Muslim woman’s hijab in the library, have triggered responses from departments, colleges, and senior level university officials such as the President and Provost.

 

The chair of the American studies department, for example, immediately sent a note to students inviting them to an informal gathering to process emotions and share thoughts and insights; a colleague who teaches Spanish reported that faculty and administrators in her department were collectively planning a teach-in. A professor in Chicano studies initiated a petition to have the campus designated as a sanctuary for undocumented students. The Provost shared insights about the role of the university in comforting those who “are hurt, scared, and disenfranchised.” As professors in the College of Education, we wondered how our college might respond, aware that our students were not only navigating a treacherous environment on campus but simultaneously working as pre-service teachers in public schools where they were struggling to debrief the election, address issues of bullying and aggression, and ease the anxieties and fears expressed by their students from immigrant backgrounds.

 

As the days passed, we became increasingly confounded by the silence from our college and department and tried sending emails inquiring whether a message would be sent to education students and faculty within our community. Specifically we asserted that, “As the College of Education at a Minority-Serving Institution, we have a moral obligation to acknowledge the events of the past several days, re-affirm our commitments to diversity, and offer our students an opportunity to discuss and process what has happened.” We understand that addressing these issues is difficult and that members of our college community hold diverse political views and experienced the aftermath of the election from a variety of different positions and perspectives. Yet we argue that we have an ethical responsibility to foster dialogue, generate discussion and encourage solidarity. As a result of these convictions, we also attempted to start a conversation among our colleagues directly by sending an email to our faculty listserv. In our message, we posed critical questions about the purposes of teacher education, including the following:

 

    • What does it mean to be critical participants in a democracy?
    • In what ways do we rigorously and consistently engage diversity in our courses, programs and department? 
    • What does it mean to prepare teachers to teach in “these times?” 
    • How do we center human relationships in our work? Both with each other and with our students?
    • How do we stay connected to our vision and values as we negotiate pressures from state and federal sources?

 

While many of our colleagues expressed interest in discussing these questions, we later discovered that certain responses to our email were not distributed by department leaders, including one particularly powerful response authored by a Black, female professor. Lastly, we sought to reach out to the elementary education students enrolled in our program by compiling a comprehensive list of resources to support them as they attempted to confront the numerous issues surfacing in their classrooms in the wake of the election. These resources included links to news accounts of school and university-based violence occurring across the country, guidelines for discussing the election from organizations like Teaching Tolerance and Facing History and Ourselves, a list of our College’s core values which include tenets like social justice, diversity and advocacy, excerpts from U.S. court cases that affirm children’s rights to an equal education, and suggestions on how to move forward collectively in an era marked by deeply divisive rhetoric. Unfortunately, we were denied access to the elementary education listserv (though we are both faculty members in the program) and told the resources we sought to provide did not constitute official business.

 

While we both found creative ways around these obstacles by contacting our individual students directly (a fraction of those we could have reached through the listserv) and working to organize a community forum, which will be held on Inauguration Day, we remain alarmed by the silence and resistance we encountered in our college. What is most damning about this silence is that it subverts the very core of our work as teacher educators. What could be more essential to our profession than helping pre-service teachers conduct meaningful, urgent discussions with students about what it means to live and participate in a democracy?

 

When we finally saw our students in class nearly a week after the election, they had stories to share regarding personal experiences on campus and the conditions they encountered in their elementary and high school classrooms.  One high school teacher was told by her principal that discussing the election with students was unprofessional and would be marked as such on a forthcoming evaluation. An elementary school teacher shared a note written by student who said he wouldn’t be participating in class that day because he was so worried about his family’s impending deportation. Another teacher shared that a group of 5th graders were bullying younger students at the school with the justification that “If the president can talk like this, so can we.” A Middle-Eastern graduate student conveyed fears that if he chose to leave the U.S. to visit his family over the summer, he may not be allowed back in to complete his degree. These concerns serve as tangible and concrete reminders of the necessity of creating the space to have difficult conversations in our classrooms.

 

We still don’t fully understand the silence we encountered within our college and cannot definitively identify its roots, but we believe it may be related to fear — the same fear pre-service teachers often express about raising controversial topics in the classroom, confronting homophobia directly, or discussing race with their students — fears that we connect, at least tangentially, to school reform initiatives that extol compliance over criticality and creativity. Our teacher education program, like those across the country, faces pressure to comply with a host of increasingly meaningless standards and mandates while the potential for real, transformative work is essentially lost. As a teacher education department, we seem to dedicate a tremendous amount of time to discussing assessment, analyzing standards and designing performance indicators but precious little time to the hard work of interrupting hate in K-12 classrooms, on college campuses, and in the world at large. Even when many of us attempt to do this work individually in our own courses and through our research endeavors, how much more powerful and potentially transformative would this work be if it were given the institutional attention that standards and evaluation so often receive?

 

Our nation is clearly at a crossroads and education will undoubtedly play an essential role in how we collectively move forward. If our goal as educators is to develop critically-conscious citizens capable of engaging productively within our democracy, we must live these values as well. We must talk fearlessly with one another, engage in dialogue even when it feels uncertain and uncomfortable, and be willing to affirm one another’s humanity. As Holocaust survivor and scholar Elie Wiesel noted, “To remain silent and indifferent is the greatest sin of all.”

 

Stephen Henderson, editorial page editor of the Detroit Free Press and a parent of children in a Detroit charter school, wrote a scathing critique of Betsy DeVos and her lack of qualifications to be Secretary of Education. He called his article “Betsy DeVos and the Twilight of Public Education.”

 

She is not an educator nor does she have relevant experience, he says. She is a lobbyist for school choice. The chaotic mess in Detroit is her handiwork. The city has many charter schools, and they are no better than public schools.

 

Thanks to her zealous lobbying, he says, Michigan tolerates more low-performing charters that just about any other state.

 

He writes:

 

“In Detroit, parents of school-age children have plenty of choices, thanks to the nation’s largest urban network of charter schools.

 

“What remains in short supply is quality.

 

“In Brightmoor, the only high school left is Detroit Community Schools, a charter boasting more than a decade of abysmal test scores and, until recently, a superintendent who earned $130,000 a year despite a dearth of educational experience or credentials.

 

“On the west side, another charter school, Hope Academy, has been serving the community around Grand River and Livernois for 20 years. Its test scores have been among the lowest in the state throughout those two decades; in 2013 the school ranked in the first percentile, the absolute bottom for academic performance. Two years later, its charter was renewed.

 

“Or if you live downtown, you could try Woodward Academy, a charter that has limped along near the bottom of school achievement since 1998, while its operator has been allowed to expand into other communities.

 

“For students enrolled in schools of choice — that is, schools in nearby districts who have opened their doors to children who live outside district boundaries — it’s not much better. Kids who depend on Detroit’s problematic public transit are are too far away from the state’s top-performing school districts — and most of those districts don’t participate in the schools of choice program, anyway.

 

“This deeply dysfunctional educational landscape — where failure is rewarded with opportunities for expansion and “choice” means the opposite for tens of thousands of children — is no accident. It was created by an ideological lobby that has zealously championed free-market education reform for decades, with little regard for the outcome.

 

“And at the center of that lobby is Betsy DeVos, the west Michigan advocate whose family has contributed millions of dollars to the cause of school choice and unregulated charter expansion throughout Michigan….

 

“The results of this free-for-all have been tragic for Michigan children, and especially for those in Detroit, where 79% of the state’s charters are located…

 

“The most accurate assessment is that charter schools have simply created a second, privately managed failing system. Yes, there are high-performing outliers — a little more than 10% of the charter schools perform in the top tier. But in Detroit, the best schools are as likely to be traditional public schools.

 

“DeVos and her family have not been daunted by these outcomes. It’s as if the reams of data showing just incremental progress or abysmal failure don’t matter. Their belief in charter schools is unshakable, their resistance to systematic reforms that would improve both public and charter schools unyielding.”