Leonie Haimson, one of the nation’s leading champions of student privacy, posted a detailed description of the Summit/Facebook platform, now in use in more than 100 schools (mostly public schools), and soon to be found in your own district or school, whether it is public or private.

She writes:

Summit is sharing the student personal data with Facebook, Google, Clever and whomever else they please – through an open-ended consent form that they have demanded parents sign. A copy of the consent form is here.

I have never seen such a wholesale demand from any company for personal student data, and can imagine many ways it could be abused. Among other things, Summit/Facebook claims they will have the right to use the personal data “to improve their products and services,” to “conduct surveys, studies” and “perform any other activities requested by the school. ”

The Terms of Service (TOS) limit the right of individuals to sue if they believe their privacy has been invaded:

As the Washington Post article points out, the TOS would force any school or party to the agreement (including teachers) to give up their right to sue in court if they believe their rights or the law has been violated, and limits the dispute to binding arbitration in San Mateo CA – in the midst of Silicon Valley, where Facebook and Google presumably call the shots. This is the same sort of abuse of consumer rights that that banks and credit card companies have included in their TOS and that the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is now trying to ban.

–The CEO of Summit charters, Diane Tavenner, is also the head of the board of the California Charter School Association, which has aggressively tried to get pro-privatization allies elected to California school boards and state office, and has lobbied against any real regulations or oversight to curb charter school abuses in that state.

You will not be surprised to learn that the big money behind this privacy invasion venture is Bill Gates and Laurene Powell Jobs.

In my view and that of many other parents, the explosion of ed tech and the outsourcing of student personal data to private corporations without restriction, like this current Summit/Facebook venture, is as risky for students and teachers as the privatization of public education through charter school expansion. In this case, the risk is multiplied, since the data is going straight into the hands of a powerful charter school CEO – closely linked to Gates, Zuckerberg and Laurene Powell Jobs, among the three wealthiest plutocrats on the planet.

Gates has praised Summit to the skies, has given the chain $11 million, and has made special efforts to get it ensconced in his state of Washington; Zuckerberg is obviously closely entrenched in this initiative, and Laurene Powell Jobs has just granted the chain $10 million to launch a new charter school in Oakland.

Don’t let them data-mine your child.

Get informed. Contact Leonie or other privacy advocates. Leonie’s email address is included in her post.

One of the great all-time Broadway shows was Mel Brooks’ “The Producers,” starring Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane (based on the movie with Zero Mostel). The two men were failed producers who came up with a brilliant idea: raise lots of money to produce a really terrible play, which would quickly close as a flop. They would raise money by promising investors a large share of the ownership, totaling more than 100%. They would keep the money as soon as the play closed and get rich.

The play they picked was a musical called “Springtime for Hitler,” a concept so ludicrous that Bialystock and Bloom were sure it would close after the first performance. But audiences thought it was a parody, and they loved it. To the producers’ shock, their terrible play was a huge hit.

In this spoof recreated by Broderick and Lane, they are now political consultants trying to find the worst political candidate for President and raise millions that they could pocket after he flopped.

I promise you: This is hilarious!

It’s only flaw is that it can’t compete with real life, which is beyond parody!

The NAACP’s decision to call for a moratorium of charter school expansion until laws can be revised to provide accountability and transparency. This decision sent shock waves inside the corporate reform echo chamber. Would they still be able to call themselves leaders of the civil rights ipissue of our time if the NAACP disagreed with their aggressive efforts to privatize public schools?

The right wing reform headquarters called the Center for Education Reform in D.C. put out a press release accusing the NAACP of caving in to pressure from teachers’ unions. Of course, that implies that the corporate-funded conservatives at CER care more about black children than the NAACP and its national convention. Hard to believe.

Then Shavar Jeffries of the Democrats for Education Reform (the hedge fund managers’ pro-charter advocacy group) issued a statement saying that the great African-American scholar W.E.B. DuBois would be shocked to see the NAACP turn against charter schools and privatization.

Jersey Jazzman calls out Jeffries for apparently never having read DuBois. JJ points out that DuBois was clear about his commitment to an elite education for “the talented tenth.” Maybe Jeffries was acknowledging that charters are only for a small elite (which Mike Petrilli called “the strivers”). If so, that case should be stated openly and clearly, instead of pretending that charters could save “poor kids in failing schools.”

JJ also notes that DuBois was a Marxist and it was unlikely that he would support the privatization of public education. Or that he would be able to tolerate an alliance with Wall Street and hedge fund managers.

The national board of the NAACP decided last Saturday to endorse the resolution passed at its general convention, calling for a halt to charter expansion until charters meet the same standards of accountability and transparency as public schools. This was a reasonable decision. It was not anti-charter, it was pro-accountability. It was a responsible decision, made with great courage; after all, both the New York Times and the Washington Post had written editorials urging the board to reject the resolution passed by its general convention last summer and to protect the freedom of charters to ignore accountability, cherrypick students, kick out students with low scores, and live by different standards from those imposed on public schools that accept all students.

Some in the charter advocacy sector responded with rage and attacked the NAACP, even though it is the nation’s most important civil rights organization. It is absurd for charter advocates to say they are fighting for civil rights, then to trash the organization that has been fighting for civil rights for over a century.

Peter Greene writes here about the response of some leaders of the charter industry. They belittled the NAACP for its decision, instead of listening and paying attention to what it actually said. This is the same disrespect that whites have shown to blacks for centuries in this country. At least, read their resolution and think about it before denouncing the NAACP or charging that it was bought by the teachers’ unions. At least, give the board and the members the respect of assuming they acted from experience and conviction, not from nefarious motives.

Greene writes:

If I had to guess (and, of course, I do), I’d say the freak-outery is that this is a PR set-back. The charter movement depends a lot on the ability of the rich white guys pushing charters to be able to gesture at some Actual Black Persons who support charters and agree that charters are the best thing that white folks have ever done for them. This whole holleration is not about policy or politics, but instead centers on their bastard child, PR optics.

It may be simpler than that. Many of the charter backers are in it to make money. A moratorium on launching new charters would hurt their bottom line, and they are simply businessmen who have hit an obstacle to expanding their business revenue. It’s PR perhaps with a side of money-grubbing.

But charter fans do have options here. They could, instead of arguing that the NAACP can be dismissed because they are now ignorant dupes, actually listen to what they’re saying.

I say this as someone on the Support Public Ed side of the debate, where many of us really blew it in the early stages by suggesting that support for charters among parents of color was only happening because they had been misinformed and duped. But they weren’t. They were responding to what looked like the best available solution to the problem of underfunded, under-resourced, just generally crappy poor schools.

The lesson for some of us? It’s a mistake to dismiss someone’s concerns just because you disagree with their method of addressing those concerns. If someone comes running out of a building wearing a tin hat and shouting, “I’m wearing this tin hat because the building is on fire,” discussing the anti-fire efficacy of tin hats is useful, but denying the flames shooting out of windows is not.

So if charter fans were smart, they would look at things like the NAACP resolution and say, “Well, we clearly have some problems that need to be addressed, because these folks are certainly responding to something that they see going on.” They could look at this as something more than a lost skirmish in a PR battle, but an opportunity to gather some actual information.

Or Allen and her posse can keep trying to write off the NAACP as a group of ignorant dupes, blame it all on the teachers’ union, and keep wondering why, even though they’ve thrown away their tin hats, everything feels so very warm.

The Arizona Republic is a conservative newspaper. Since, 1890, when it was founded, it has never endorsed a Democrat for President. Until now. It published an editorial endorsing Hillary Clinton and said that Donald Trump was neither conservative nor qualified.

Then the death threats began. On her show tonight, Rachel Maddox put this into context. Forty years ago, she said, an investigative reporter for the newspaper was murdered by a bomb placed in his car. Now, the callers invoke the name of the assassinated reporter, Don Bolles.

This was the response of the newspaper’s publisher to the death threats. It is magnificent. It gives us hope for the survival of basic democratic values long after this vicious, degrading election is over.

Please read it.

Watch Elizabeth Warren skewer The Donald in this video.

I read/heard two interesting reflections on the election this morning.

First, I heard someone (name unknown, surely a Democratic spokesperson) ask the question on the radio: Why is breaking into the email of John Podesta different from the Watergate burglary where Republican operatives broke into the Democratic National Committee offices to steal its documents and plans?

Then I read this article in the Washington Post written by a professor of international relations who read the transcripts of Clinton’s speeches to Goldman Sachs and found them unremarkable.

Since the future of our nation is at risk, I can’t stop thinking about what is at stake if a sociopathic billionaire wins the Presidency, and what is at stake as he crisscrosses the country telling his followers that our electoral system is “rigged.” He offers a choice: Elect me and I will jail my opponent, or if I lose, the entire electoral system is a sham.

This is an attack on America. I heard Douglas Brinkley, the historian of the presidency, say this morning that Trump has turned against democracy itself. He is now in a rule-or-ruin frame of mind.

But I return to the original point about Watergate. When a group of conspirators broke into DNC offices, they were trying to help President Nixon get re-elected. When their identities were revealed, as well as their ties to the Nixon re-election campaign (CREEP–Committee to Reelect the President), the media went into overdrive and public opinion joined in outrage. How dare they break into the files of the opposition party?

What is the difference between the Watergate burglars and Wikileaks today?

Brendon Cunningham is the Democratic candidate for State Assembly in District 9, Suffolk County. He is running against an incumbent who is not a friend of public schools or teachers.

Brendon graduated college in 2015. He is currently Deputy Director of Communications for the Town of Babylon. He is a graduate of the Babylon public schools. Both of his parents are public school teachers.

He promises to make education his top priority if elected.

He has the youth, energy, optimism, and knowledge that is needed in Albany.

If you live in his district, I urge you to work for him and vote for him.

P.S. I have it on good authority that his father is a BAT. Another reason to elect Brendan!

Perhaps you read the editorial in the New York Times a few days ago, blasting teacher education programs and approving John King’s new regulations to judge them by the test scores of the students who graduate from them. The editorial cites the Gates-funded National Council on Teacher Quality’s claim that 90% of teacher education institutions stink. NCTQ, you may recall, publishes rankings of teacher education programs without ever actually visiting any of them. It just reads the catalogues and decides which are the best and which are the worst, based in part on their adherence to the Common Core and scripted reading programs.

I agree that the entry standards for teacher education programs must be higher, and I would love to see online teaching degree programs shut down. But King’s new rules don’t address entry standards or crummy online programs. Their main goal is to judge teacher education programs by the test scores of the students who studied under the graduates of the programs. They will discourage teachers from teaching in high-needs districts. They will allow the U.S. Department of Education to extend its test-crazed control into yet another sector of American education. This is federal overreach at its dumbest.

John Merrow, who knows much more than the Times’ editorial writer on education (the same person for the past 20 years or more), has a different and better informed perspective.

He writes that the problem is not teacher education but the underpaid, under-respected profession.

The federal government thinks that tighter regulation of these institutions is the answer. After all, cars that come out of an automobile plant can be monitored for quality and dependability, thus allowing judgments about the plant. Why not monitor the teachers who graduate from particular schools of education and draw conclusions about the quality of their training programs?

That’s the heart of the new regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Education this week: monitor the standardized test scores of students and analyze the institutions their teachers graduated from. Over time, the logic goes, we’ll discover that teachers from Teacher Tech or Acme State Teachers College generally don’t move the needle on test scores. Eventually, those institutions will lose access to federal money and be forced out of business. Problem solved!

Education Secretary John B. King, Jr., announced the new regulations in Los Angeles. “As a nation, there is so much more we can do to help prepare our teachers and create a diverse educator workforce. Prospective teachers need good information to select the right program; school districts need access to the best trained professionals for every opening in every school; and preparation programs need feedback about their graduates’ experiences in schools to refine their programs (emphasis added). These regulations will help strengthen teacher preparation so that prospective teachers get off to the best start they can, and preparation programs can meet the needs of students and schools for great educators.”

Work on the regulations began five years ago and reflect former Secretary Arne Duncan’s views.

John Merrow says that the Department is trying to solve a problem by issuing regulations that will make the problem worse. Teacher churn and attrition are at extraordinary high levels. The regulations will not encourage anyone to improve teaching.

He writes:

Strengthen training, increase starting pay and improve working conditions, and teaching might attract more of the so-called ‘best and brightest,’ whereas right now it’s having trouble attracting anyone, according to the Learning Policy Institute, which reported that

“Between 2009 and 2014, the most recent years of data available, teacher education enrollments dropped from 691,000 to 451,000, a 35% reduction. This amounts to a decrease of almost 240,000 professionals on their way to the classroom in the year 2014, as compared to 2009.”

Merrow writes, in the voice of wisdom, a voice that has been non-existent in Washington, D.C., for the past 15 years:

I am a firm believer in the adage, “Harder to Become, Easier to Be.” We need to raise the bar for entry into the field and at the same time make it easier for teachers to succeed. This approach will do the opposite; it will make teaching more test-centric and less rewarding.

This latest attempt to influence teaching and learning is classic School Reform stuff. It worships at the altar of test scores and grows out of an unwillingness to face the real issues in education (and in society). While it may be well-meaning, it’s misguided and, at the end of the day, harmful.

Listen up, New York Times editorial writer!

Mercedes Schneider dissects the decision by the national board of the NAACP to call for a moratorium on new charter schools until charter schools agree to transparency and accountability. As she points out, the New York Times education editorial writer chastised the NAACP in advance for expecting charter schools to be accountable.

The Times acknowledges that some charters are disasters, and that more than half the students in Detroit are in charters, with no discernible benefit.

It is worth noting that the same person has been writing the Times editorials on education for the past 20 years. He loved No Child Left Behind, he loved Race to the Top, he loves charters. He loves tests and the Common Core. Once when he was on vacation, the Times ran a reasonable education editorial.

Who is out of touch?

Mercedes writes:

“It is not good enough to note that when charters excel, they’re great, or tossing off the charters “are far from universally perfect” line (which the NYT does in its op-ed) and that failing charter schools “should be shut down”–another pro-charter, clichéd non-solution that only leads to unnecessary community disruption– disruption that could be curbed if there were stronger controls in place to begin with.

“As is proven by its “misguided” editorial, the NYT editorial board is ‘reinforcing an out of touch impression,’ not the NAACP.”