Friday, September 04, 2015
“We can get the same information from low-pressure testing of small samples of students every few years, each student taking only a part of the test, and extrapolating the results to larger groups. This will save taxpayers’ money, reduce testing anxiety, and give teachers more time to teach. When you go to the doctor, they don’t take all your blood. They only take a sample.” — Professor Stephen Krashen
The Honorable José Lara is a teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District and the Vice President of the El Rancho Unified School District. He is the Coordinator for ethnicstudiesnow.com and recipient the National Education Association's 2015 Social Justice Activist Award.
Open Letter to Parents on Common Core Testing Results
Soon California will release the results of your child’s Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, or SBAC tests. These tests are also known and the new Common Core test that California and states across the country implemented last year.
Please know that as you receive the results of your child's SBAC scores our child’s results may show up as failures. This does not mean that your child is not intelligent, that your child's teacher is doing a poor job or that the school your child is attending is failing. However, it does mean that the SBAC test is achieving expected results. You see, the SBAC test is a failure by design.
The testing company, who was hired to design the SBAC tests,with no input from educators, has purposely designed it to produce a high failure rate. This is so those same testing companies can now sell your child's school the "new" curriculum, test prep materials, intervention programs, textbooks, apps, technologies, etc.to bring up test scores. Not only that, they also hope to fool enough people that they start demanding "better" schools (mind you the problem is the test not the school). Corporate Charter Schools can then come in and takeover. All the while the fat cat CEO's of these corporations make a killing off of our tax dollars.
This moves hundreds of millions of dollars from the public to the private sector where the focus is not in educating our children, but instead making a profit. After all, that is purpose of the business model.
So I write you to take heed of the your child’s results. The results are not a true measure of anything except that the test is working, as it was designed to produce failure. Do not be fooled.
I write to you as a parent of two public school children and as a teacher to warn you of what is coming and to tell you that, no your child is not a failure and yes your child is more that just a test score. A test does not teach students anything, but teachers and schools do.
Lastly, if you are as upset as I am of this planned failure and the enormous about of money that is being wasted on this tests, then join me in opting out of school testing. There is a growing national movement to stop to over testing of our children and you actually have the right to opt out to have your child in a meaningful educational experience instead of testing. It is time to join this quite revolution against wrongful and over-testing of our children.
You can find more information about on the website here at www.unitedoptout.com
First published on Schools Matter August 29, 2015
“Our rulers don’t just want exclusive control over the governance and finances of our schools, they want to control both what is taught and by whom.” — Robert D. Skeels
On the average week I answer a few inquiries regarding various education issues. This week I received two that I felt deserved publishing. The first was addressed to a group of us on facebook, the second was a private email. In both cases the identity of others is removed in order to protect them.
Anyone ever hear of blended schools network or global personalized academics?
They are for-profit firms, both held by Sibling Group Holdings, Inc. (OTCQB: SIBE). The former is associated with Gooru, a 501c3 funded by right-wing donors including the Gates and Hewlett Foundations. The latter is Florida based and apparently has worked with privately managed charters associated with Jeb Bush and Joe Biden's brother. They "empower" students by profiting off of them staring mindlessly at computer screens.
A [reporter] from LA School Report contacted [redacted] today. I told her I've heard that LA School Report is very bad - biased..possibly part of corporate ed reform agenda.
More than one person has told me this about LA School Report.
What are your thoughts?
The LA School Report blog (LASR) is owned and operated by Jamie Alter-Lynton, sister of corporate reform cheerleader Jonathan Alter (cf. his attacks on Professor Ravitch), and wife of elitist Sony CEO Michael Lynton.
Alter-Lynton is a wealthy reactionary who sits as a board member on former Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Superintendent John Deasy’s LA Fund slush 501c3, and a number of other neoliberal corporate education reform outfits. They used their insider status with Deasy to know when to sell off all of their Pearson PLC stock before it took a big hit when the FBI investigation of LAUSD was announced.
They are virulently anti-labor, hate the public commons, and are against elected school boards. She's sort of a West Coast Campbell Brown, except she was doing this first. The Sony leaks reveal they are connected to all of the worst neoliberal corporate education reformers in the country. She funded the right-wing Coalition for School Reform SuperPAC to the tune of $100,000 once, and continues to support charter industry profiteers taking over our public school boards.
I could go on and on, but nothing sums these wealthy, white hypocrites up like this:
Let me know if you need any more on them.
Donald Trump's proposal is one that we as the Legalization for All Network (L4A) cannot and will not support. As fighters for immigrant rights across the country, we have asked many to respond to Donald Trump's costly and outrageous proposal.
And while the majority of our responses are against Donald Trump, we would also like to shine light on Republican Candidate and Governor of New York Chris Christie's recent proposal. Christie's immigration proposal promises to treat immigrants like FedEx packages, tracking them with bar-codes; instead of treating them with equality. These same 11+ million undocumented, and mixed-status immigrants are forced into migration by U.S.A. policies like NAFTA/CAFTA, or coups in places like Honduras.
Deporting all of the undocumented and bringing back only a few chosen ones or stalking them like FedEx property, is no solution for any immigrant.
"Donald Trump and other Republican presidential candidates call to overturn the right to citizenship for the children of immigrants echos the call made by Russel Pearce, author of the anti-immigrant Arizona SB1070. The same call to strip citizenship from the Nisei, the American-born children of Japanese immigrants during World War II, and also Chinese Americans who were targeted by the anti-Chinese movement in the 1870s and 1880s. This issue was settled by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1898, in the case of the US vs. Wong Kim Ark, where the Supreme Court ruled that the 14th Amendment to the constitution meant what it said, that everyone born in the United States are citizens. The 14th Amendment was passed in 1868 to guarantee rights to African American slaves and their children, and to overturn the 1857 Dredd Scott vs. Sanford Supreme Court ruling that African slaves and their children had no rights to citizenship. By calling for the end of right to citizenship, Trump and other Republicans are in effect raising the banner of the Slave South. Just as we fought to ban the Confederate battle flag, we must fight Trump and others who want to take this country back 200 years. Masao Suzuki is a member of the San Jose Nihonmachi Outreach Committee (NOC) that organizes and educates around World War II concentration camps for Japanese Americans."
- Masao Suzuki Economics professor at Skyline College. San Jose, California
"Donald trump promueve el odio y el racismo, y contra ese tipo de personas no se puede utilizar la razon, hay que derrotarlos con la organizacion y la mobilizacion. Como latino hoy mas que nunca debemos luchar por la legalizacion de todos nuestros herman@s indocumentados, Legalizacion para todos ahora."
- Edward C Tolentino, activist. Tucson, AZ
"Since Trump announced he would be running for President, the Latino community has become Trump's obsessive target for discrimination and hate-speech. As a consequence we immigrants have to deal with this continued attitude of disrespect and hate. In stores we are treated with a disrespectful attitude. As mothers, we are getting sued for not being able to pay our medical bills after giving birth. We are getting mistreated and taken advantage of at our work-places, and our kids continue to experience discrimination at their schools. Regardless of our citizenship status, we as immigrants will continue to feel repression if Trump wins. Trump's plans promise to continue targeting us as immigrants - and myself as a Mexican immigrant- but we are only becoming wiser and stronger. And we will fight back!"
- Citlalli Martinez, undocumented mother of two. South Carolina
In the beginning of his "Presidential Campaign", Donaldo attacked the Mexican people. My tíos y tias. Mis primos. Mis abuelos y mi padre. Calling them rapist and violent when I've know them for all my life and those two things don't describe them. Words like loving, honest and trabajadores come to mind when I think of them and the Mexican people. But now, Donaldo has attacked me and the Chicano Nation of Aztlán! He threatens to take our citizenship but what he does not understand that even before the 14th amendment and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and even before the Spanish conquest and inquisition, the Chicanos people have been here! Out blood, sweat and tears are engraved in this land. So go ahead Donaldo, try to take our citizenship away, pero no llores when the Chicano Nation comes to take yours!"
- Bryan Orozco, activist. Tucson, Az
"What we are seeing here is straight up racism. These people, Trump, Walker, Bush, and those who follow them, claim to be very patriotic. They stand to 'defend America from foreigners'. In reality, they just hate people of color, specifically Latinos, with a flaming passion, with no real education on who we are. These people need to turn off CNN and get to know their gardeners, maids, janitors, and the people who prepare their damn food. I'm not going to reduce my people to just those positions, cause we are everywhere. We are teachers, scientists, and doctors. This country doesn't run without us. People like Donald Trump live in their own little world. They're more scared of us, then we are scared of them. Remember, we are everywhere. Try to deport us all, and you will have a revolution on your hands. We Latinos can do anything we put our minds to. There's a Mexican proverb that says 'They tried to bury us, but didn't know we were seeds.'. Also, while we are talking about stripping citizenship from immigrants, have you renewed your passport yet, Mr. Bush? "
- Adrian Romero, Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement. Salt Lake City, UT
"Not only is this plan unrealistic, it's is in humane. Trump's slogan is "Make America Great Again", but who is he trying to make America great for when immigrants are the backbone and powerhouse that runs this country everyday? He cannot deport 11 million people!"
- Maria Belen Sisa, DACAmented student, worker and activist. Gilbert, AZ
"Trump's racist comments against Mexican immigrants are another of the ongoing attacks on our community. These attacks usually intensify during elections and economic crisis. We are all united in denouncing these racists attacks; especially now since the other Republican presidential candidates are taking them up. Lets stand strong in our fight for legalization for all!"
- Carlos M. Montes, Brown Berets Co-founder and Board Member of Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council. Boyle Heights, Los Angeles
"Trump's plan to deport all undocumented immigrants in the U.S. is inhumane and won't happen. This country needs the labor of those immigrants and they are humans that have to be treated with equal respect. His massive deportation plan will lose him the Latino vote. However if he somehow wins the presidency, immigrant rights organizations across the country will stand up and resist any massive deportations."
- Oscar Hernandez student and immigrant rights community organizer with YES!. Milwaukee, WI
On Behalf of Board member Scott Schmerelson, please join us next Thursday, Sept 10 from 4:30-7:30pm to celebrate the Grand Opening of Scott’s District Headquarters. This is a good opportunity to meet some of the Valley’s School District leadership, school principals, parents, students, teachers, staff, supporters and community members. Light refreshments, light music and light hearts.
Sunday, August 23, 2015
Friday, August 21, 2015
"The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress."—Frederick Douglass
If you’re a social justice minded person in Los Angeles, with at least two years of college credit, consider Peoples College of Law (PCL). PCL offers a four-year evening Juris Doctor program to accommodate working students. Successful completion of the Juris Doctor (J.D.) program provides qualification to sit for the California State Bar exam. From their site:
Our recruitment and admissions policies are strongly directed toward socio-politically conscious Native American, Asian Pacific Islander, African-American/Black and Latina/o students. Our goal is to have a student body that is at least half women and two/thirds Third World People. Peoples College of Law affirmatively recruits LGBT applicants.
Thursday, August 20, 2015
From the August 24, 2015 issue of Update
The Los Angeles Times reported earlier this month that the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation is leading an effort to expand the number of charter schools in LAUSD. The Broads are being joined by the Walton Family and the Keck Foundations, among others. The expansion of charter schools is supposed to decrease the number of children attending what the charter industry calls failing schools or those with lower test scores. The aim is to get at least 50% of these children in the privately-run charter schools which could potentially be located on District sites. LAUSD already has about 100,000 students attending charter schools, more than any other school district in the country. In an email to LA School Report, the officials from the Broad Foundation wrote, “Too many of our school children still aren’t getting the quality of education they deserve, which is why tens of thousands of students are currently on public charter school waiting lists. We are in the early stages of exploring a variety of ideas about how to help give all families—especially in low-income communities of color—access to high- quality public schools and what we and others in the philanthropic community can do to increase access to a great public school for every child in Los Angeles.”
Officials from charter organizations, such as ICEF and Green Dot, are, understandably ecstatic about the proposal as it will generate more dollars for their programs. The foundations could provide funding for early administrative costs of new charters and for teacher training. Board Member Mónica Garcia said she is open to the foundations’ plans and says that her district could benefit from additional charter schools. However, not everyone is happy about this expansion. Because charter school teachers are not unionized, UTLA is not supportive of these independent schools and feels that input of teachers is disregarded. In a call to members, Alex Caputo-Pearl, UTLA President, vowed to fight the plans of the foundations, saying they are “out to destroy collective bargaining.” Board President Steve Zimmer is concerned that the charter schools will continue to be selective about who they enroll, leaving those students who require more specialized services and resources at the District schools. A mass exodus of students to charters will also severely decrease state and federal funding for the traditional schools.
As has been noted before, Eli Broad, the Waltons and other billionaires have been active in LAUSD politics for many years and have supported controversial efforts for reform. Financial resources have been provided candidates for the Board of Education that AALA has not supported and who have been strongly procharter. It should also be noted that Dr. John Deasy, former LAUSD Superintendent, was a graduate of the Broad Superintendent Academy and is now the Superintendent-in-Residence for the Broad Center. In fact, it has been reported that Eli Broad said that John Deasy was the best Los Angeles superintendent in memory. That, in and of itself, should give us all a reason to pause and look at this expansion plan with a critical eye.
Monday, August 17, 2015
Friday, August 14, 2015
Stoner Elementary community to hold protest against charter school co-location that has taken resources from home school
Press release – Stoner Elementary community to hold protest against charter school co-location that has taken resources from home school.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
On Monday, August 17, 2015, the first day of school, from 7:30-8:30AM, the Stoner Elementary School Community and local Del Rey neighborhood will be holding a protest against the co-location of ICEF Vista Charter School on the Stoner ES campus. Stoners parents are upset that the co-location has taken resource rooms including: music, special education, and language therapy among others. Local residents are upset because the co-location will bring traffic and safety issues to their neighborhood.
WHAT: Stoner Elementary Community is holding a:
RALLY TO SUPPORT STONER ELEMENTARY AND OPPOSE THE CO-LOCATION
WHEN: Monday, August 17, 2015 at 7:30 – 8:30 AM
WHERE: on the corner of Stoner Avenue and Lindblade Street, 90230.
Media is invited to attend.
There will be speakers. There will be signs. There will be chanting and drums.
Most importantly, there will be calls for better schools, a safer neighborhood, and unity in the community.
ICEF Vista Elementary, a neighboring school that is located two blocks from Stoner on the campus of the defunct St. Gerard Majella Elementary School, has taken classroom space at Stoner. To many people in the neighborhood, ICEF is seen as ‘the school at the church’ and many ICEF families take pride that their school provides benefit to the local parish. However, ICEF wants to expand and that means leaving the church grounds. Part of ICEF’s expansion plan includes co-locating at another campus to open up space at the St. Gerard campus.
ICEF is “stealing from Peter to Give to Paul”
Stoner ES parents are outraged that ICEF Vista’s will be co-locating this year and has taken set aside rooms that are used for music, art, parents center, and computer lab at Stoner so that ICEF can open up space on the St. Gerard campus to have room for an art room, parents center and computer lab. ICEF is literally taking away resources from Stoner ES to give those same resources to the ‘school at the church.’
The Stoner parents and local residents are mad about the colocation and are fighting back
In February 2014 when the proposed co-location was announced, Stoner community leaders addressed the ICEF board and asked them to reconsider their co-location plans. In March 2014, Stoner families and local residents sent over a hundred letters and emails to ICEF and LAUSD Boards urging them to not have the co-location at Stoner. In April 2014, when a final offer was made for the co-location, the Stoner and local community held a protest in front of the ICEF Vista campus urging them to not co-locate.
The Stoner and local community will be holding a protest on the morning of the first day of school Monday August 17 to let ICEF families know about our concerns with the co-location. More protests are planned for later in this school year.
WHAT DO WE WANT:
We want to let the ICEF community know the damage this co-location is causing and the harm it is bring to our community children. The Stoner parents are asking family of ICEF Vista to not support the co-location by selecting another educational option. We are encouraging the families of the 20 ICEF students who pertain to Stoner to consider sending their children to their local community school. We are asking parents from outside the area to consider their local schools or choose a non-colocated charter.
Adam C. Benitez
President, Friends of Stoner Avenue Elementary School
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
The activists comprising Voices Against Privatizing Public Education, whose efforts were recently highlighted on Professor Diane Ravitch's blog, are holding a rally/protest in front of the Broad Foundation's headquarters. This is in response to Broad and his fellow reactionaries' announcement of plans to privatize more than half the Los Angeles Unified School District within the next few years. Given the money these plutocrats have dumped into their profitable privatization projects, the Broad/Walton threat to eliminate public education is a clear and present danger. Join the rally/protest, sign the petition, and get involved with turning back the tide of school privatization by helping overturn avaricious billionaire Reed Hasting's 1992 California Charter School Act. For more on Eli Broad and school privatization, see the section entitled "The Neoliberal Emperor of Los Angeles" in this essay. — rds
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
Join us in showing your support for public education. Public schools are OUR schools, not Eli Broad's
The LA Times announced that the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, along with the Walton Family Foundation and the Keck Foundation met to discuss plans to have half of Los Angeles students attending charter schools over the next eight years. http://www.latimes.com/local/education/la-me-lausd-charters-20150808-story.html
We say no more billionaire and corporate takeover of our public schools!
Charter schools cherry pick students, falsify records, commit enrollment fraud, close down public schools in predominantly low income areas, destroy jobs, bust up unions, appoint private school boards unaccountable to the taxpayers, and segregate student populations based on income and race.
Separate but equal has no place!!
A recent report entitled “Fraud, Waste and Lies: Charter Schools Cheating Communities out of Millions of Dollars” cited hundreds of millions of public education dollars being wasted due to fraud and other abuses in the charter school sector. Read here: http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/04/29/fraud-waste-and-lies-charter-schools-cheating-communities-out-millions-dollars
The charter school industry is a cancer on our public education system. The only solution is to repeal the charter school laws in California once and for all.
Come to the rally - defend our public schools against the attack by greedy profiteers.
Please show your support for placing a statewide ballot initiative to repeal charter school laws in California by signing petition here: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/repeal-charter-school-act-of-1992-in-ca-ballot
Please read more at: https://notocharterschools.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/defend-public-ed-statement.pdf For more information about this rally call us at: (415) 282-1908
Make your voices heard and be part of the solution to save our public schools!
Saturday, August 08, 2015
Antioch University Friends of Education Speaker Series - Wayne Au will talk about various issues with high-stakes testing and organizing against the tests. Au is an Associate Professor in the Education Program at the University of Washington, Bothell, and he is an editor for the social justice magazine, Rethinking Schools. Most recently, he co-authored the article, "Rethinking schools: Enacting a vision for social justice within US education" for Critical Studies in Education and co-edited Pencils Down: Rethinking High-Stakes Testing and Accountability in Public Schools.
Join Voices Against Privatizing Public Education's efforts to repeal the California charter school law
There is a small grass-roots group that has been working diligently to create a ballot proposition to repeal the charter school laws. While a seemingly daunting task, there might not ever be another chance to do this before the privatizers eliminate public schools altogether (Eli Broad just announced his plans to cut LAUSD's public schools in in half). The group has an online petition that now has over 600 signatures. They also have a facebook group. Both of which are linked here:
Most importantly, they have picked up a handfull of key labor leaders and organizations:
- AFT Local 6161 (Palomar Faculty Federation)
- North County Labor Alliance
- Escondido Public School Advocates
- Bill Freeman- NEA Board member for California
- Alita Blanc- United Educators of San Francisco
The coalition is working hard to get several more organizations on board, including local Democratic party clubs in several large cities. Please consider getting involved, and perhaps even endorsing the efforts of the group.
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
Friday, July 17, 2015
Wayne Au, Associate Professor in the School of Educational Studies at the University of Washington Bothell; an editor for Rethinking Schools.
Public education is currently seen as one of the last great “prizes” for proponents of neoliberalism as a large market for potential profit. In this talk Professor Wayne Au analyzes how the neoliberal restructuring of the state relative to public education has resulted in a shift from democratic government to an increase in non-democratic network governance by corporations, non-profit organizations, and philanthropies. Drawing from his upcoming co-edited collection, this talk offers a framing for the rise of neoliberal network governance in education and share different examples of social network analyses illustrating such governance in the U.S. Chile, and elsewhere.
Thursday, July 16, 2015
From the July 20, 2015 issue of Update
Just when we thought there could possibly be a light at the end of the dark and winding MiSiS road, the LAUSD community now faces another hurdle—faulty transcripts. Superintendent Cortines confirmed that there have been reporting issues with graduation requirements for students in the Class of 2015 resulting in potential errors on as many as 7,500 transcripts. For some reason, several transcripts show that students had met graduation requirements when they didn't and vice versa for other students. In other cases, summer school grades just disappeared from the system, affecting credits earned and matriculation to the next grade level. While it was announced that these most recent problems have been resolved, those in the field claim there are still inaccuracies. Several additional steps for school site and local district office staff have been put in place, most of them entailing checks and balances to ensure the accuracy of the information in MiSiS.
The issue with transcripts is not new. The same problems were occurring last October as seniors were preparing their college admissions applications. The District at that time hired retired educators to come in and verify by hand that the transcripts were correct and students were asked to compare their new transcripts with their old report cards. Several more millions of dollars were allocated to fix the problem then, so it is unsettling to see that the same thing is reoccurring now.
Superintendent Cortines had hoped that the system would be operating correctly by now, but recently admitted that it may take all of 2015-16 to get it fully functional. Last week, the MiSiS log of unresolved problems still exceeded 350. School staff members report that as soon as one problem is resolved another pops up. And now as we are less than a month away from the start of the new school year, administrators, counselors and teachers are holding their breaths that students will have accurate class schedules, that attendance reporting will be correct and enrollment counts can be taken.
Instituto de Padres / Parent Institute
Saturday, July 18, 2015
12:00 to 4:00PM
3303 Wilshire Blvd., 8th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90010
[The Education Trust-West] and many of the cited sources in the 14-15 ETW/LAUSD Case Study are noted School [R]eformers aligned with Secretary Duncan, the Broad/Gates/Waltons — and the then superintendent John Deasy — whose [Local Control Accountability Plan] LCAP this was. The Walton Foundation is thanked for their support. — Scott M. Folsom (4LAKids)
The Nonprofit Industrial Complex (NPIC) and their billionaire backers saw Governor Brown's wrongheaded Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) proposals as a "double-play" against public education. On the one hand elimination of categorical funding would further expose the most vulnerable (e.g. Students With Disabilities—(SWD)) to inequitable funding at the whim of those controlling the LCFF/LCAP process, on the other it would further the designs of those wanting to destroy the public commons as per the Andy Smarick roadmap.
The NPIC drove the entire Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) LCFF/LCAP process. Authentic community, family, and educator voices were drowned out by a cacophony of corporate voices in the guise of "engagement" that only the well-funded NPIC can wield. The United Way of Greater Los Angeles (UWGLA), and its smaller NPIC allies like Community Coalition, and their man in LAUSD—Eli Broad trained Superintendent John Deasy, controlled the LAUSD LCFF/LCAP process from start to finish, with a blitzkrieg series of forums, surveys, public relations, and more. However, no one should be surprised that Community Coalition is now the front group suing the district on behalf of their funders. That's how to create a crisis part of neoliberalism, so well described by Naomi Klein, works.
A chance for community to drive the process
The activists behind the Schools Los Angeles Students Deserve (SLASD) movement have organized an Instituto de Padres / Parent Institute forum to train authentic parent and community leaders to advocate for students in their communities. Here's an excerpt from a note sent to me by a parent leader discussing the event:
I urge you to encourage adult student leaders in the community to learn about the new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP). We are having a Parent Institute on Saturday, July 18th. Please see attached flyers in English and Spanish. Khallid Al-Alim, LAUSD parent activist, will explain this budget process. It is crucial that we understand this, if we are to effectively push back against the NPIC that you so clearly describe.