Tag Archives: education reform

Debate Etch-A-Sketch: Will the real Mitt Romney please stand up! | Education Votes

6 Oct

Did Mitt Romney’s Etch-A-Sketch makeover burst into full public view last night?

Viewers of the first presidential debate might have been confused at the Romney who was on stage versus the one who’s been out on the campaign trail. Gone were the claims that class size does not matter, that the nation does not need more teachers and that educator-led unions are the villains of public education.

“I don’t know who was there (at the debate), but it wasn’t the Mitt Romney by his past actions and words,” said Arizona high school math teacher Dennis Van Roekel. More…

via Debate Etch-A-Sketch: Will the real Mitt Romney please stand up! | Education Votes.


Why Public School Advocates Boycotting Viola Davis’ New Film | Madame Noire | Black Women’s Lifestyle Guide | Black Hair | Black Love

25 Aug

If that is not enough to get your goat, Rita Solnet, founding member of Parents Across America, who had attended an advance screening of the film, said “Within the first few minutes, projected on the screen in large letters are the words, “Inspired By True Events.” That conveys the message that parents and teachers took over and ran a school somewhere in our nation. That never happened. I suppose that sells better than opening the film with, “This is Fictitious.” Continue reading

Parents United for Responsible Education » Guess what Arne’s lying about now

19 Aug

We’ve caught him lying about turnaround schools and charter schools, and his overall track record.

But apparently this bad habit has former Chicago Public Schools CEO and current Education Secretary Arne Duncan mythologizing himself, too. A friend alerted me to this recent New Jersey Star-Ledger interview where Duncan makes this claim:

When I was in high school in the South Side of Chicago, my friends could drop out and get a decent job in the stockyards or steel mills, and own their own home and support a family.

For those who may not be aware, Arne attended the very expensive, very exclusive University of Chicago Laboratory School, where President Obama’s daughters went to school and Mayor Rahm Emanuel currenlty sends his children.

The Lab School is in Hyde Park which, while it is indeed located on the south side of Chicago, is generally not considered “the South Side of Chicago.” You know, where Big Bad Leroy Brown lived.

Arne was 7 years old when the stockyards closed.

Read the rest of the article, if you can stomach it – he’s still lying about school reform, too.

via Parents United for Responsible Education » Blog Archive » Guess what Arne’s lying about now.

Chicago Teachers Union Vs. Astroturf Billionaires (Preview) – YouTube

17 Aug

The Chicago Teachers Union is currently on the front lines of a fight to defend public education. On one side the 30,000 members of the CTU have called for a contract that includes fair compensation, meaningful job security for qualified teachers, smaller class sizes and a better school day with Art, Music, World Language and appropriate staffing levels to help our neediest students.

On the other side, the Chicago Board of Education—which is managed by out of town reformers and Broad Foundation hires with little or no Chicago public school experience—has pushed to add two weeks to the school year and 85 minutes to the school day, eliminate pay increases for seniority, evaluate teachers based on student test scores, and slash many other rights.

via Chicago Teachers Union Vs. Astroturf Billionaires (Preview) – YouTube.

Parents United for Responsible Education » Blog Archive » Dear Meryl

10 Aug

Ms. Meryl Streep

c/o Leslee Dart

Dart Group

sent by facsimile

212 277 7550

If you really appreciate teachers, please pull out ofphony “Teachers Rock” event promotingthe themes of the “Won’t Back Down” movie:public school privatization and wholesale teacher firing

Dear Ms Streep:

I am writing to ask you to reconsider your participation in the “Teachers Rock” event next week. As parents, we are concerned that this event is part of a larger propaganda campaign to force privatization on public schools. The movie, “Won’t Back Down,” is just the latest and most intensive move in this effort.

While we have been unable to view the entire movie, we have seen the trailer and read promotional stories that are already being published. We also know that the producer, Walden Media and Philip Anschutz, were behind the “Waiting for Superman” documentary whose one-sided and often misleading content created a great deal of controversy among those of us who strongly support our nation’s teachers. Even Roger Ebert eventually rethought his positive “Superman” review. Continue reading

Teacher union boss bends to school reform winds | Reuters

4 Aug

Reuters – In the maelstrom of criticism surrounding America’s unionized public teachers, the woman running the second-largest educator union says time has come to collaborate on public school reform rather than resist.

Randi Weingarten, re-elected this week for a third term as president of the American Federation of Teachers AFT with 98 percent of the vote, wants her 1.5 million members to be open to changes that might improve public schools.

That willingness to engage, she says, could win over parents, taxpayers, voters, well-funded pressure groups and cash-strapped cities that have blamed unionized teachers for high costs and poor performing schools.

“We have to unite those we serve and those we represent,” Weingarten said in an interview with Reuters at the AFT convention in Detroit. “And we have to think … what’s good for kids and what’s fair for teachers?” Continue reading

Privatizing Public Schools: Big Firms Eyeing Profits From U.S. K-12 Market

2 Aug

NEW YORK, Aug 1 (Reuters) – The investors gathered in a tony private club in Manhattan were eager to hear about the next big thing, and education consultant Rob Lytle was happy to oblige.

Think about the upcoming rollout of new national academic standards for public schools, he urged the crowd. If they’re as rigorous as advertised, a huge number of schools will suddenly look really bad, their students testing way behind in reading and math. They’ll want help, quick. And private, for-profit vendors selling lesson plans, educational software and student assessments will be right there to provide it.

“You start to see entire ecosystems of investment opportunity lining up,” said Lytle, a partner at The Parthenon Group, a Boston consulting firm. “It could get really, really big.”

Indeed, investors of all stripes are beginning to sense big profit potential in public education. Continue reading

House Panel OKs Bill to Scrap Race to the Top, SIG, i3 – Politics K-12 – Education Week

19 Jul

President Barack Obama’s signature education programs would be scrapped under a bill approved this morning by the House Appropriations Committee panel that oversees education spending.

The measure would cut about $1.1 billion from the U.S. Department of Education’s roughly $68 billion budget, according to an analysis by the Committee for Education Funding, a lobbying coalition. The bill covers fiscal year 2013, which starts on Oct. 1. The Senate Appropriations Committee has already passed a similar measure. More information about both bills here.

The measure approved by the House appropriations subcommittee would get rid of funding for most of the programs that make up the core of the Obama administration’s education redesign agenda, including Race to the Top, the Investing in Innovation grants, and the School Improvement Grant program. It would eliminate a number of smaller, more targeted programs, including Advanced Placement, School Leadership, and Arts in Education, according to CEF.

Many other programs—including Title I grants to districts and Career and Technical Education—would be level-funded. But the panel approved a big, $500 million boost for special education state grants, bringing the total to $12.1 billion.

Meanwhile, even though this is a spending bill, not a policy measure, it’s reignited an interesting debate on the highly qualified teacher provision in the No Child Left Behind Act. Under NCLB as originally drafted, highly qualified teachers must have a bachelor’s degree in the subject they are teaching, and state certification. But some argue the law isn’t clear on whether teachers in alternative certification programs meet that bar.

The Bush administration said, essentially, yes, that being in an alternative certification program makes you highly qualified, and it issued a regulation to that effect. But the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, in San Francisco, struck the regulation down in 2010. More background on the ruling here.

In reaction to the court ruling, Congress approved language in an omnibus spending bill that would allow teachers in alternative certification programs to count as “highly qualified” through the 2012-13 school year, as long as they are working toward certification and are part of a recognized program, essentially going back to the Bush administration’s regulation.

The House version of the spending bill keeps that exception in place for another two years (until the end of the 2014-15 school year.)

The Senate Appropriations Committee’s version of the bill doesn’t include the extension. But the idea seems to have support in the chamber. U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations panel that oversees K-12 spending, also heads the committee that oversees K-12 policy, the Senate Health, Education Labor, and Pensions Committee. That panel included a similar extension in a bipartisan ESEA reauthorization bill it approved last fall.

Dozens of organizations, including Teach for America, the New Teacher Project, Chiefs for Change, the Council of the Great City Schools, and the NewSchools Venture Fund are very happy to see the House bill extend the provision. Without the language, they argue, students would lose access to many excellent teachers.

Here’s a snippet from a letter they sent yesterday to lawmakers in charge of education spending:

If the current HQT law is not extended, hundreds of thousands of tremendously gifted teachers who have a significant positive impact on students will not be able to continue to teach. That is a cost this country simply cannot afford to bear.

But dozens of other organizations, including the Council for Exceptional Children, the National Education Association, the National Center for Learning Disabilities, the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, and the NAACP, would rather not see the provision extended. They’re worried that could mean that more low-income students and students in special populations will be taught by folks who aren’t certified. They also sent a letter up to the Hill, dated July 15.

Here’s a bit of that letter:

Absent expiration of the problematic provision … low-income students, students with disabilities and English-learners will continue to be disproportionately taught by teachers-in-training and that fact will be masked from parents and local communities.

The upshot? This is an interesting debate, but soon, it might not matter quite as much in many states, at least as long as the department’s NCLB waiver plan is in place. The conditional waivers allow states to move away from many of the highly qualified teacher requirements, as long as they adopt a system of teacher evaluations that takes student achievement into account. So far, more than half of the states have been approved for waivers.

Of course, some big ones, including California, Pennsylvania, and Texas, are still not on board the waiver train. So we’ll see where Congress eventually goes with this.

via House Panel OKs Bill to Scrap Race to the Top, SIG, i3 – Politics K-12 – Education Week.

Activists: Chicago school ‘reforms’ violate minority students’ rights – Chicago Sun-Times

23 Jun

Parents and students from seven cities are joining those in Chicago in filing civil rights complaints against school closings, phase-outs and other “rampantly horrible” reform upheavals they contend have disproportionately victimized minority communities, school activists said Thursday.

The group called for a “national moratorium’’ on the kind of school reform shakeups that they say began in Chicago under former Schools CEO Paul Vallas; ramped up under his successor, Arne Duncan, and have spread nationwide during Duncan’s tenure as U.S. Education Secretary. Continue reading

Michelle Rhee’s Group Asks Teachers Unions To Promote Reform Policies At State Level

21 Jun

The day after Michelle Rhee’s education lobbying group, StudentsFirst, got dumped by progressive petition site Change.org because of intense pressure from teachers’ unions, StudentsFirst waved a thorny olive branch of sorts at the nation’s two largest such unions.

On Wednesday afternoon, StudentsFirst, along with other education groups such as Democrats for Education Reform, Students for Education Reform and Hispanic CREO, wrote a letter to Dennis Van Roekel and Randi Weingarten, presidents of the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, asking for a “new opportunity to collaborate to improve public education for kids.” Continue reading

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