In light of the recent news that MNPS administrators had already cut a back room deal to convert Inglewood Elementary School to a charter school operated by KIPP-Nashville, we have been reviewing what we've been told along the way by MNPS leaders, like Alan Coverstone, Office of Innovation. On September 13, 2014, in Inglewood, Mr. Coverstone was gracious enough to travel to East Nashville to address parents who assembled after learning for the 1st time on September, 9, 2014 that Dr. Jesse Register intended to turn all East Nashville schools into "all choice" schools, aka the "third way."Here is what Mr. Coverstone said near the outset of the meeting:"I can say for a fact Dr. Register doesn't believe and I sure as *heck* don't believe that anybody at Bransford Avenue can draw up a plan, give it to you, so it's gonna create this kind of school. So, we're not gonna do that. That's not what we've done."This is a contradiction of what the story linked above reveals, and that is on August 26, 2014, the deal to convert Inglewood Elementary to KIPP-Nashville wascemented. As the stories below further illustrate, converting Inglewood Elementary to KIPP-Nashville was the deal long before anyone knew there was going to be a deal.We sent a public records request to MNPS back on September 22, 2014. A copy of the requests we made can be found here: http://eastnashvilleunited.org/?page_id=110. As of this moment, MNPS has not turned over any documents. There was a story out yesterday explaining the delay, as submitted by MNPS http://bit.ly/1pVxuKA. Here is what the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government has to say about the speed the government should have in returning public records to the public http://tcog.info/law-says-promptly-comes-public-records-requests/For background information, please see links to stories below:East Nashville United Blasts Register's Inglewood DeceptionKIPP Charter school decision expected by DecemberIf you would like to volunteer your time, please send us an email to EastNashvilleUnited@gmail.com. If you haven’t signed our petition, please do so: http://bit.ly/EastNashUnitedOn behalf of East Nashville United, thank you!P.S. We are just volunteers with kids, jobs, and families trying to get the word out to parents, families, and community members. So, it is vital that you "like," "comment," "SHARE" or tweet any information about this issue across the social media platforms you use daily. We want to HEAR from YOU. We try to keep the website up-to-date with fresh information, so please check it out http://eastnashvilleunited.org/
Thursday, October 30, 2014
Look at what happened in Memphis this week, and then tell me that teachers, students, and parents standing up together doesn't matter.
Within minutes after parents and teachers lined up to express their disgust with the planned corporate takeover of their schools, Hopson came up with a new scheme, this one hardly better than the first one.
Hopson’s and board Chairwoman Teresa Jones’ comments came shortly after more than 20 parents and teachers accused board members of allowing schools to be taken over by the state and charter schools.
“It’s time for you guys to do your jobs,” said Kenneth Ingram, a parent at American Way Middle School. “Put a stop to this. Another charter school coming from another state and taking over our school? We’re not going to allow that to happen. Please do your job.”
Neither the board nor the Shelby County Schools administration has legal control over the Achievement School District’s takeovers of low-performing public schools, Hopson and board members repeatedly reminded the public Tuesday. The takeover process has led to contentious protests at several community meetings this week.
Hopson said he will propose to board members in the coming weeks closing several schools and merging them into one school that would join the iZone. Similar to charter schools, iZone schools are given waivers from state laws, require teachers to reapply for their jobs, and receive extra resources to try innovative strategies to improve test scores. Unlike charter schools, the iZone schools remain under district control.
If Hopson and the Shelby County School Board want to match some schools, they should start matching economically disadvantaged schools with those that are not. Mix the schools so that no more than 40 percent are poor, provide professional development for teachers and principals, infuse new resources, and then give it three years to see if improvements don't materialize.
Meanwhile, the entire process of labeling schools should be audited to determine whose politcal machinations are involved to make sure that only black schools get set up for closure, when mixed schools like Cordova have weaker test scores. Cordova, in fact, is on neither the Priority or the Focus list of low-testing state schools. Who's pulling the strings to make sure the new penal system of pedagogy only comes to black schools?
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Can you get any lower than all 1s, with only a single exception??
Are these schools chosen to make it easier for the corporate reform schools to look better in their new building when the takeover is complete. Can't happen here!
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Not only was Bibbs endorsed in her School Board race by the enemy of public education, Stand on Children, but she is employed by Green Dot Charter Schools as Director of Community Engagement. Conflict of interest? Ask Ms. Bibbs.
Two significant items on tonight's agenda were contracts for a company, Cynthia Alexander Mitchell Academics, which is owned by Associate Superintendent, Cynthia Alexander Mitchell. The contracts are worth $60,900 and $130,000, respectively. The larger contract is for Mitchell to "train" 13 teachers at the corporate outfit, The Center for Better Schools. How sweet a deal is that!
Tonight was the first night I spoke at a Shelby County School Board meeting. The protocol calls for three minutes, but the Board, with so much business, cut the speaker time to 30 minutes. And this is in the middle of a charter reform school takeover of 10 Memphis schools. So we got 1.5 minutes. I used a little more and was escorted from the podium by one of Memphis's finest. I will post my comments tomorrow.
Teachers at South Side Middle School protested the takeover process last week, sending a letter to government officials and the media arguing that their scores had improved in the past year.
KIPP said the protest didn’t play into its decision to pull out of the process.
Really, Jamal? You doing the reflection?“We view the matching process as just that, a matching process,” said Jamal McCall, the executive director of KIPP Memphis Collegiate Schools. “With me doing our reflection, I was looking at where we are as a network, and my focus right now is on the quality of our current schools and ensuring that we continue to commit to those we currently serve and serve as we expand grade levels.”
Meanwhile, KIPP Collegiate Middle remains on the state priority list of ASD's lowest performers as it continues to look for teachers who are willing to martyr themselves for a lost cause.
|Achievement School District||Corning Achievement Elementary**|
|Achievement School District||Westside Achievement Middle School**|
|Achievement School District||Frayser Achievement Elementary**|
|Achievement School District||Whitney Achievement Elementary School**|
|Achievement School District||Georgian Hills Achievement Elementary Schoo**|
|Achievement School District||Cornerstone Prep - Lester Campus**|
|Achievement School District||KIPP Memphis Preparatory Middle**|
|Achievement School District||Aspire Hanley #1**|
After yesterday's angry meetings at Raleigh-Egypt High School and at American Way Middle, the ASD's profiteers are reeling.
Yes Prep had to pack up and go home after parents would hear none of the corporate plan to turn American Way Middle over to inexperienced and unprepared non-teachers and their CEO school "leaders."
At Raleigh-Egypt High, where the Green Dot profiteers (backed by Eli Broad) are lined up to feed, parents and students gave warning that they will not send their children to Green Dot's corporate chain gang if the H3 plan moves forward.
Monday, October 27, 2014
If there is reason to doubt the sanity of closing South Side Middle for a worse KIPP school, then there is every reason to take Wooddale Middle off the list as well. Presently Wooddale is scheduled to be turned over to the Green Dot charter profiteers from California.
Below are the numbers from the State website that clearly indicate that Wooddale cannot be in the bottom five percent of schools in Tennessee.
Sunday, October 26, 2014
At a press conference Umbridge assured reporters that regardless of which of the many new terms are adopted by individual states, all versions will remain true to Susan Ohanian's characterization: “a radical untried curriculum overhaul” combined with “nonstop national testing."
Hat-tip: Peggy Robertson
Saturday, October 25, 2014
October 26 I'll be discussing Wall Street banker Marshall Tuck on Dr. James Miller's The War Report on Public Education radio
Sunday, October 26, 2014 at 14:00 PST (2:00PM)
The War Report on Public Education
Call in number: (888) 627-6008
Host: Dr. James Miller
Co-Host: Lucianna Sanson
Guest: Jonathan Pelto (2:00PM) Democrats vs. Democrats vs. Teachers
Guest: Robert D. Skeels (3:00PM) Experienced educator Torlakson vs. business banker Tuck, the SPI race in California
I'll be discussing how Wall Street banker Marshall Tuck is supported by anti-public school billionaires and charter industry moguls. Moreover, I'll be discussing the various violations exposed by the MALDEF and Public Counsel cause of action filed against Tuck in the context of his vicious war on students and their families.
Friday, October 24, 2014
Re: Taking on Teacher Tenure, Time, November 3, 2014
"Unassuming" tycoon David Welch is also unformed. He claims he prefers a world of "concrete facts" but still maintains that the American education system is "failing" because of bad teachers who can't be fired.
The concrete facts are these: When researchers control for the effects of poverty, American students score near the top of the world on international tests. Our unspectacular (but not horrible) performance on tests is because of our high child poverty rate, about 23%, second highest among 34 economically advanced countries, according to UNICEF. High-scoring countries such as Finland have a child poverty rate of about 5%.
Poverty means, among other things, poor nutrition, lack of health care, and little access to books. All of these have powerful negative effects on school performance. The best teaching in the world has little effect when students are hungry, ill, and have little or nothing to read.
Our main problem is not teaching quality, unions, or the rules for due process. The main problem is poverty.
Control for poverty: Payne, K. and Biddle, B. 1999. Poor school funding, child poverty, and mathematics achievement. Educational Researcher 28 (6): 4-13; Bracey, G. 2009. The Bracey Report on the Condition of Public Education. Boulder and Tempe: Education and the Public Interest Center & Education Policy Research Unit. http://epicpolicy.org/publication/Bracey-Report. Berliner, D. 2011. The Context for Interpreting PISA Results in the USA: Negativism, Chauvinism, Misunderstanding, and the Potential to Distort the Educational Systems of Nations. In Pereyra, M., Kottoff, H-G., & Cowan, R. (Eds.). PISA under examination: Changing knowledge, changing tests, and changing schools. Amsterdam: Sense Publishers. Tienken, C. 2010. Common core state standards: I wonder? Kappa Delta Phi Record 47 (1): 14-17. Carnoy, M and Rothstein, R. 2013, What Do International Tests Really Show Us about U.S. Student Performance. Washington DC: Economic Policy Institute. 2012. http://www.epi.org/).
Child Poverty: UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre 2012, ‘Measuring Child Poverty: New league tables of child poverty in the world’s rich countries’, Innocenti Report Card 10, UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, Florence.
Expressing her determination to turn back the assault on the local schools by the Shelby County School Board and the corporate foundations, Toni Jackson said during the meeting, "we've got to stand up--we are fighting for our lives."
All affected parents and teachers are urged to join this group of teachers and parents on Monday at South Side Middle School, where KIPP, Inc. and Shelby County school board officials are sure to face tough questions and determined resistance. Parents and teachers do not want their school turned into a corporate reform school chain gang.
On October 20, DESE released “Design Principles and Policy Options” for a “reimagined license system.” DESE has contracted with TNTP1 and the Keystone Center2 to hold “town halls,” ostensibly to get stakeholder feedback on these options. Members who attended the first session reported that the conversations were controlled and participants were not given the option of challenging the faulty premises being promoted by DESE. Meanwhile, DESE plans to issue proposed policy changes in the spring of 2015 and to have built a “performance-based licensure system” that includes “a link between licenses and district work assignments” by October 2015.
The policy options include a number of ideas about how to change the licensure system for those entering the profession as well as for those who are already licensed and experienced teachers. Based on a preliminary analysis, the most alarming proposals are the three options for “License Renewal and Advancement for Teachers” that are the subject of this position statement.
All three options, called Models A, B and C, would link license renewal and advancement to performance as determined by different means. We urge MTA members to demand “none of the above” as an option. Here are some highlights.
Model A: One provision: “License A automatically renewed for all educators with summative performance ratings of at least Proficient each year and at least moderate student impact rating each year.”
In other words, the Student Impact Rating – based on MCAS growth and DDM scores – could be used to deprive you of a license to teach and drive you out of public school employment forever if that rating was less than “moderate.” What happened to the state’s promise that these questionable, yet-to-be-implemented ratings would only be used to help determine the length of an educator’s growth plan? Such a provision would make the high stakes attached to mandated tests even higher. Why would DESE even consider this option at a time when educators and parents across the state are saying that there is already far too much emphasis on standardized tests? How does this benefit students?
Model B: One provision: “If educator fails to demonstrate to the state [emphasis added] progress towards growth identified in the Educator Plan, the license may be conditionally extended for one additional year if LEA [school district] or its designee(s) provides additional coaching.”
In other words, DESE – which claims it doesn’t have enough staff to regularly answer routine licensing phone calls – could be given the job of analyzing the plans of some 80,000 educators for the purpose of determining whether they have made progress toward meeting their goals. How many millions of dollars would this cost and, cumulatively, how many thousands of hours would teachers have to spend complying with such a requirement rather than teaching students? Why should the state have any role whatsoever in reviewing or analyzing an educator’s locally developed growth plan? How does this benefit students?
Model C: One provision: “Educators may renew a license by completing (or demonstrating) any two of the following:
• Recommendation from the employing LEA for license renewal
• Satisfactory results based on Student Feedback through a survey or other means
• Successful and Effective Parent Engagement….”
There are eight bullets altogether, but the first three give an idea of the direction. Under this model, the yet-to-be-implemented student feedback systems could play a role in determining whether you keep your license. This is a perversion of the stated purpose of obtaining student feedback. Why would DESE want to further undermine the validity and usefulness of an evaluation system that is already subject to deep and sustained criticism by educators? How would students benefit?
We strongly oppose all three models under consideration by DESE.
• Linking licensure to evaluation is wrong. No other profession links job performance with licensure. Of course, the license of any professional can be pulled for grievous offenses, but not for employment-related performance reviews. Evaluations relate to educators’ employment status, not to their licenses. Linking performance measures to licensure puts vocal and activist teachers – indeed all teachers – on notice: Be careful or you will not only lose your job, but the ability to teach in Massachusetts.
• The state’s role is to determine if an educator is qualified. The appropriate role for the state is to determine whether an aspiring educator has met the education, training and experience requirements for obtaining a license and whether a practicing educator has met the professional development requirements for renewing a license. To link licensure to job performance would further extend the state’s reach into the choices educators make in the classroom.
• Too many mandates on top of too many mandates. It is outrageous that these proposals are being made at a time when even top state education officials have acknowledged that the state and federal governments have imposed too many mandates and new initiatives on educators. State Education Secretary Matt Malone has described the current mandate madness as akin to educators “trying to drink water from a fire hose.” And yet now the state is proposing a controversial new mandate that is strongly opposed by the field – with no clear explanation of why it is so urgent to impose these burdens at this time or how students will benefit. Stop the mandates! Let us teach!
1TNTP was found by Michelle Rhee in 1997 as The New Teacher Project.
2The Keystone Center has been mostly an environmental and energy consulting firm, with Dow Chemical, Monsanto, Dupont, Duke Energy, Pacific Gas & Electric (the utility company in the movie Erin Brockovich), Coca-Cola and General Mills as clients. Keystone is becoming a player in education issues. Will it have equivalent corporate sponsors?