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.