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.
Monday, July 13, 2015
Sunday, July 12, 2015
First published on Schools Matter on July 11, 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
Deasy not given his due
An EdSource piece by the respected Carl Cohn makes the tired old case for "breaking up" Los Angeles Unified School District. Cohn lists multiple recent missteps in his case — MiSiS cRiSiS and Pearson/iPad scandal among them — but never once mentions the common denominator of all the missteps, perhaps because of EdSource's sources of funding. I addressed Cohn's lack of attribution thusly:
Mr. Cohn, how coy of you not to provide full credit to John Deasy for nearly all of the woes you enumerate above? The Broad Superintendents Academy "graduate" oversaw (read masterminded) MiSiS, iPads, and many more projects that left the district in disarray, nearly bankrupt, with little more than the ability to manage damage control rather than implement any of the forward looking projects you allude to. While some say that Deasy, and all of the Nonprofit Industrial Complex (NPIC) organizations that supported his abject tenure, were following the Andy Smarick roadmap for scuttling school districts (outlined in his "Wave of the Future" essay in the fringe-right EdNext journal), I would posit it sounds more like Broad's meddling.
Dr. Mitchell Robinson's response to Peter Cunningham
Duncan given his due, for the most part
Arguably the doltish Arne Duncan is either the worst Secretary of Education in all of U.S. History, or the best corporate bagman to ever occupy the post. Honestly, he's both. The distinguished Professor Diane Ravitch excoriates the inept education chief in her response to Lyndsey Layton's ham-handed paean to Duncan.
Confronting a corporate reform neckbeard's mansplainin'
I was on Twitter the other day and noticed someone mansplainin' a teacher acquaintance of mine. The offender was none other than former Michelle Rhee minion Eric Lerum. When the teacher made the correct assertion that privately managed charter schools engage in selective enrollment, Lerum made the following bizarre statement:
.@cjnkira A frequently repeated talking pt not supported by evidence + unified enrollment system would actually help protect against that.— Eric Lerum (@ericlerum) July 5, 2015
Incredulous at the neoliberal corporate reformer's statement I provided hard evidence from the Office of Independent Monitor (OIM):
Lerum did not respond to that tweet, presumably because his entire argument rests on ignoring facts. Neither he, nor any other corporate reformer, are able to address the issue. Instead, he kept berating my teacher friend by citing policy papers (as opposed to legitimate research) by the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE), a fringe-right think-tank funded by reactionary ideologues including: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Fund for Educational Excellence, The Joyce Foundation, Laura and John Arnold Foundation, Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, National Alliance for Public [sic] Charter Schools, Walton Family Foundation, and The Broad Foundation.
At one point Lerum stated in regards to the significant under enrollment of Students with Disabilities (SWD), particularly low incident ones, "not enough to look at #s - must also examine cause of #s." Lerum holds a Juris Doctor, and I'm working on mine, so let me make this as simple as possible for him to understand in legal terms. The ostensible reasons why the lucrative charter school industry refuses to educate SWD are not important as this is a strict liability offense. Lack of specific intent, mistake of fact, or mistake of law are no defense here. Charters do not educate every child, and as such, must be held strictly liable for their crimes. Sorry to threaten the charter sector's profits, but that's the reality, and no amount of un-juried policy papers masquerading as "research" will change that.
The teacher then cited the illustrious Professor Antonia Darder's Racism and the Charter School Movement: Unveiling the Myths.
.@cjnkira This piece is all opinion & assertion, weak on facts & evidence. Does include good rhetoric for weighted student funding though.— Eric Lerum (@ericlerum) July 5, 2015
Lerum's maladroit response speaks volumes to his limited understanding of education, and research in general. It is no exaggeration to say that Darder is an intellectual giant in the field of education. Years ago I remember one of my mentors, Dr. John Fernandez, saying "sure you've read McClaren, Macedo, and Giroux, but you need to read Darder, she's the closest thing to Freire." Professor Darder can write a piece like she did in Truthout precisely because she's written dozens of books, and peer reviewed articles. What does Lerum have to his credit? A few poorly composed and fact-free Huffington Post pieces? Yet leave it to the corporately sponsored Lerum to question the veracity of one of the preeminent scholars of our age.
It shouldn't surprise me that a neoliberal corporate education reformer like Lerum doesn't know the difference between peer reviewed works and policy papers. Nor should I be surprised that he didn't have the good sense to avoid insulting a luminary in the field of critical pedagogy. Moreover, while he had tons of mansplainin' on hand for my female teacher friend, as soon as I confronted him with the OIM report, he went silent. His only response to me was to assert that my questioning of CRPE's funders wasn't "substantive". I would posit that his staunch defense of his corporate funders and allies speaks for itself.
Ref Rodriguez watch
Corporate charter sector mogul Refugio "Ref" Rodriguez is under investigation by a number of authorities including the LAUSD Office of Inspector General and the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. Keeping up with all of Rodriguez's financial scandals and possible felonies is difficult, but the following articles and resources should help:
- LAUSD School Board Member-Elect Ref Rodriguez’s Financial Disclosures (And Possible Conflicts of Interest)
- Ref Rodriguez OIG Investigation Disclosure Neighborhood Council Resolution
- Was Refugio “Ref” Rodriguez self-dealing and running front groups?
- The Ref Rodriguez papers: Various documentation of Refugio "Ref" Rodriguez's alleged criminal acts and other sundry ethical lapses.
- Admitting no wrongdoing, Ref Rodriguez and Jacqueline Elliot resigned from all PUC Corporate Charter Boards
The NPIC further undermining LAUSD
The usual Nonprofit Industrial Complex (NPIC) suspects are hard at work in their never ending quest to bankrupt public education in Los Angeles. News that they were dissatisfied with the district's implementation of Local Control Funding Formula/Local Control Accountability Plan (LCFF) would be surprising given how they drove the entire process, except when viewed from the perspective that they never intended for LCFF to do anything but break the district. I had the following to say:
This is somewhat surprising given that UWGLA and their anti-public education CLASS "coalition" (read Eli Broad proxy groups) held so much sway over the entire LCFF process in LAUSD. For a while it looked like all the decisions for LCFF were being coined by John Deasy under the direct supervision of Elise Buik and Maria Brenes.
With more current news that a leading Broad Foundation funded group is suing the district, there's a need to create a community based opposition to the NPIC driving the entire process. Fortunately the folks at Schools Los Angeles Students Deserve are doing just that with their Instituto de Padres / Parent Institute next weekend.
The Non-Profit Industrial Complex’s role in imposing neoliberalism on public education
Originally written at the request of, juried by, and published in Regeneración, The Association of Raza Educators Journal, this essay on The Non-Profit Industrial Complex’s role in imposing neoliberalism on public education has been republished in Professor Henry Giroux's Truthout. Please read, discuss, and share widely.
Friday, July 10, 2015
Jan Resseger's critique of the privatization of the G.E.D. makes excellent use of Professor Mike Rose's work
Tuesday, July 07, 2015
Admitting no wrongdoing, Ref Rodriguez and Jacqueline Elliot resigned from all PUC Corporate Charter Boards
Friday, June 19, 2015
Sent to US News and World Report, June 18, 2015 There is an obvious, inexpensive and very effective way to deal with summer learning loss not mentioned in "Stop the Summer Slide" (June 16, Knowledge Bank): Provide more access to interesting reading material.
Research tells us that those living in poverty have the least access to books and also show the most summer loss, and that those who read more over the summer make better gains in reading achievement.
Let's invest in libraries filled with books and other kinds of material that students will read, as well as librarians who will help children find what is right for them. We are living in a golden age of literature for young people; let's take advantage of it.
University of Southern California
Poverty and access to books:
- Neuman, S. and Celino, D. 2001. Access to print in low-income and middle-income communities. Reading Research Quarterly 36(1): 8-26.
Summer loss and poverty, more reading and gains:
- Allington, R. and McGill-Franzen, Anne. 2012. Summer Reading: Closing the Rich/Poor Reading Achievement Gap. New York: Teachers College Press.
- Heyns, Barbara. 1975. Summer Learning and the Effect of School. New York: Academic Press.
- Kim, Jimmy. 2003. Summer reading and the ethnic achievement gap, Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk 9, no. 2:169-188.
- Shin, Fay. and Krashen, Stephen. 2007. Summer Reading: Program and Evidence. New York: Allyn and Bacon. (Available for free download at http://www.sdkrashen.com).
Monday, June 15, 2015
Ever consider wielding our oppressors’ weapons against them?
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.
Tuesday, June 09, 2015
First published June 4, 2015 on K-12 News Network
Currently under investigation by a number of authorities, including the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Office of Inspector General and the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, Charter industry mogul Refugio "Ref" Rodriguez's innumerable front groups are hard to keep track of. The following articles should help contextualize the situation, and the tweets and documents following are from various parent and community activist sources.
- LAUSD CHARTER GROUP GAVE FOOD CONTRACT TO AN EMPLOYEE’S FIRM: School Board candidate Ref Rodriguez’ PUC Schools partnered with Better 4 You Meals, a company partially owned by one of its employees
- L.A. UNIFIED WILL INVESTIGATE FOOD-SERVICE CONTRACTS AT PUC CHARTERS
Sunday, May 24, 2015
First published on Schools Matter on May 22, 2015
“We believe that this recognition has come about because of the “blatant” move by corporations to take over public education and the creation of these charter schools who are limiting the rights of teachers and the type of education that our children are receiving.” — Juan Orozco
Professor Antonia Darder this weekend in Los Angeles
Dr. John Fernandez writes:
Roosevelt High School and the Boyle Heights community have a long and proud history of fighting for social justice, from the election of Ed Roybal to the Los Angeles City Council in 1949, to the fight against Prop.187, and to the current struggle against the scheduled layoffs of 23 RHS teachers and the struggle to dump PLAS. This video was taken when the Great Recession began and when PLAS came in. In June of 2008, when this video was produced, there were about 240 RHS teachers, now there are only 110 and dozens of classes have been cut. This Saturday, May 23, 2015 at 8:30 a.m., RHS will be having a youth conference. Dr. Antonia Darder will be presenting. Antonia is a world renowned writer on critical education theory, Latino education, and Paulo Freire. I am sure that Antonia will connect theory and practice to the situation at RHS. Please attend this important event. La Lucha Sigue
Charter billionaires buy L.A. school board election
Professor Mike Klonsky's post Charter billionaires buy L.A. school board election is worth the read. I left the following comments:
Thank you for this Professor Klonsky. Poverty pimp Refugio "Ref" Rodriguez has spent his entire career viewing and utilizing school children as ATM cards. Now that the billionaires have installed him at #LAUSD, he has the combination to the entire bank vault.
Karen Wolfe on LAUSD election fallout
Public school parent and member of the Venice Neighborhood Council Education Committee Karen Wolfe wrote an excellent piece looking at the May 19, 2015 Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board elections entitled LA Election Lessons: Anatomy of a Shakeup … in the LAUSD Board Races. I made the following comments:
Thank you for this excellent analysis Ms. Wolfe. Charter profiteer and poverty pimp Refugio "Ref" Rodriguez has spent his entire career viewing and utilizing school children as ATM cards. California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) boasted that they "generated 30% profit margins in subsequent years–with 20-30% lead generation and 20-50% close ratios" when Rodriguez was a CCSA board member. Meanwhile he ran Lakeview Charter in the red for the better part of decade, and oversaw Jacqueline Duvivier Castillo's self-dealing with the now breaking Better 4 You Meals scandal. Now that these right-wing billionaires have installed him at #LAUSD, he has the combination to the entire bank vault. We can only hope that the LAUSD OIG and LA District Attorney's office will indict Rodriguez, but a cover-up is more than likely since José Cole Gutiérrez was one of Rodriguez's employees when Rodriguez sat on the CCSA board.
Professor Julian Vasquez Heilig testifies on Parent Trigger
Professor Julian Vasquez Heilig traveled to Texas to speak truth to Walton Family Foundation funded Parent Revolution's attempts to place a loaded "Parent Trigger" gun in corporate charter hands. Best quote from his testimony: "SB14 is parent empowerment without the empowerment. Parental involvement without the involvement."
Keeping up with Ref Rodriguez's possible crimes
Charter industry mogul Refugio "Ref" Rodriguez is under investigation by a number of authorities including the LAUSD Office of Inspector General and the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. Keeping up with all of the financial scandals and possible felonies by this Rodriguez charter is difficult, the following articles should help.
- LAUSD CHARTER GROUP GAVE FOOD CONTRACT TO AN EMPLOYEE’S FIRM: School Board candidate Ref Rodriguez’ PUC Schools partnered with Better 4 You Meals, a company partially owned by one of its employees
- L.A. UNIFIED WILL INVESTIGATE FOOD-SERVICE CONTRACTS AT PUC CHARTERS
Whitney Tilson does rape culture!
Right-wing hedge fund manager and school privatization pusher Whitney Tilson was quick to jump on the blame-the-victim bandwagon. An email to his cult of fellow neoliberals said "I question her story" of Emma Sulkowicz.
Suing a school district for failing to provide mental healthcare may seem, at first blush, to be a stretch. What part of the 3Rs is mental healthcare? But this is a stretch that is needed – like those stretches people who exercise do before they exercise.
Education is about stretching our little grey cells. It’s about being safe and well and healthy. Maslows’s Hierarchy of Needs: Food, Comfort, Safety.
- You can’t learn if you are hungry.
- You don’t learn if you don’t have a place to live.
- You won’t learn if you don’t feel safe.
Then and only then can we get down to the Rs.
In Compton and in most of the brink o’ th’ apocalypse they inhabit the school nurse is most students’ primary-and maybe-only healthcare professional and medical provider. The school nurses’ office has become the Health Office has become the School Wellness Center – even as the School Nurse has become a vanishing species, repurposed to paperwork shuffling and IEP Compliance Officer – often traveling from school-to-school on a one-day-a-week rotation.
This has all worked out because school health crises: The flu outbreak, the second grader who falls out of a tree, the incident of diabetic or anaphylactic shock – these only occur on the days the nurse is at the school and is otherwise available. I have spent some of the last month reading essays by middle-schoolers about the impact of violence and trauma on their lives. Most need additional instruction on narrative storytelling (and grammar+punctuation) …but the far more pressing need is for mental health professionals to begin to have the conversation with them about their lives.
LAUSD in planning to eliminate some psychiatric social workers in next year’s budget. The bad-news masquerading otherwise is that the District is not going to eliminate as many as first proposed. Nobody in their right mind is proposing to rehire mental health workers previously laid off. But I am.
Post Traumatic Shock Disorder is not just for returning warriors anymore. This is not John Boy’s America. This is not the Bobsey Twins’ America. Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm graduated decades ago and doesn’t come back for the alumni meetings ‘cause she’s scared of the neighborhood. Today’s narrative was written back in 1969: “Oh, a storm is threat'ning / My very life today / If I don't get some shelter / Oh yeah, I'm gonna fade away.”
By ‘75 Bob was feeling better about it than Mick+Keith in ‘69:
“Come in,” she said, “I’ll give you shelter from the storm”
It’s an apt metaphor to duck in under.
Alliance Charter's Judy Burton still union busting
Right-wing extremists Antony Ressler, Richard "Dick" Riordan, and Judy Ivie Burton are still turning children into profit centers, and union busting at the Alliance Corporate Charter Chain. The ongoing struggle for their beleaguered educators to organize themselves continues. Community activists are taking the struggle to the streets, and posted this and other photos on facebook with the following caption:
Attending the Lincoln Heights Neighborhood council asking them to adopt our resolution calling on Alliance to let teachers form their union without harassment ([i]t passed unanimously!)
I left the following thoughts on the photo:
I document Judy Burton's mind-boggling salary in this piece about her fellow charter school profiteer Refugio "Ref" Rodriguez. https://www.laprogressive.com/charter-school-profits/ That obscene $330,400.00 doesn't include the additional six-figure income she gets from CalSTRS+CalPERS. She will go to any length to prevent educators from exercising their lawful right to organize. Any movement to put students and educators ahead of executive salaries and board member sweetheart deals at Alliance Charter Corporation will be resisted with extreme prejudice, as you are already experiencing.
Refugio just dumped gallons of toxins on Santa Barbara for profit. Another Refugio (Rodriguez) is about to do the same to #LAUSD— Robert D. Skeels (@rdsathene) May 22, 2015
Monday, May 18, 2015
Previously: When someone asks me "How's Law School?"
WHAT WENT WRONG WITH L.A. UNIFIED’S iPAD PROGRAM? To put it simply: There was a complete breakdown in the planning and execution of the initiative.
First published on Schools Matter on May 17, 2015
“Of course, the network of power and privilege that eases access to the Ivy League isn’t severed at matriculation—it supports the scions of the superrich throughout. Further emails from the Sony hack show the Lynton nepotism machine gearing up for his elder daughter, Eloise, an undergraduate at Harvard who found herself unable to get into a very popular class with Dr. Jerome Groopman, a New Yorker writer and professor of biology.” — Sam Biddle
Professor Diane Ravitch discussed a recent Daily News piece in her Los Angeles School Board Race: Attack Ads and Lies Aplenty. The Thomas Hines article in question rightly points out that all of Ref Rodriguez's and his California Charter Schools Association's attacks on the Honorable Bennett Kayser have been patently false, but the issues brought up about Rodriguez—like the PUC Lakeview Charter Academy Audit—are true. Of course, not every Los Angeles media outlet has covered the myriad scandals surrounding the billionaire's candidate. I addressed this issue in the following commentary.
I keep wondering when Jamie Alter-Lynton, sibling of the dubious Jonathan Alter, will have her “news” blog — LA School Report — cover either the Lakeview Audit, or the Jacqueline Duvivier Castillo (Better 4 You Meals) self-dealing scandal, or both? Alter-Lynton’s site claims that it practices “journalism in the public interest”, yet somehow misses two of the biggest Los Angeles education scandals of the year, both centering around their candidate: charter industry profiteer Ref Rodriguez.
This quote says it all: “audits… indicated charter officials [i.e. Ref Rodriguez] knew of the alleged conflict of interest” http://4lakidsnews.blogspot.com/2015/05/lausd-charter-group-gave-food-contract.html
The well heeled Rodriguez was PUC Corporation’s CEO, and then their Board Treasurer during both the Lakeview financial malfeasance and Duvivier Castillo incidents. He claims to have known absolutely nothing about either situation, the former occurring for over a decade, the latter for several years now. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, that means Rodriguez is either grossly incompetent, or criminally complicit (there are some that would posit he manages to be both). Neither of those are desirable qualities for a trustee of the nation’s second largest school district.