"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

. . .a pupil attitude factor, which appears to have a stronger relationship to achievement than do all the “school” factors together, is the extent to which an individual feels that he has some control over his own destiny. James Coleman, 1966

Friday, July 03, 2015

Uninformed about learning to read

Comment posted in response to: How Phonics is Taught Can Affect How Well a Child Learns To Read (the THE Journal).
July 3, 2015
Stephen Krashen

An article in the THE Journal reports on a study involving adults learning “made up scripts”: For one script, learners were asked to link each embedded letter to a sound within the word (known as a "grapheme-phoneme mapping" in learning parlance). For another script entire words had to be memorized.” Sounding out letters activated the left hemisphere, memorizing whole words the right hemisphere. The sounding out group did better reading new words.
Of course, in this study “reading” = pronouncing. And of course the THE Journal article and the researchers conclude that this is evidence for a phonics approach.

My brief comment, posted on their website:

The study described here compared two highly inefficient methods of teaching reading: explicit phonics and memorizing whole words. 

Not mentioned is the leading hypothesis about how children learn to read, developed by Frank Smith and Kenneth Goodman: by understanding what is on the page. A small amount of basic phonics instruction can sometimes help in making texts comprehensible, but there are severe limits on how much phonics can be 
learned and applied because of the complexity of many of the rules.

posted at: http://thejournal.com/articles/2015/07/02/how-phonics-is-taught-can-affect-how-well-a-child-learns-to-read.aspx?admgarea=pro.development

this note posted at: http://tinyurl.com/ptwb6ga



Wednesday, July 01, 2015

UPDATE ON THE MICHIGAN FAMILY BUYING INDIANA, FLORIDA, AND OKLAHOMA EDUCATION


By Doug Martin,  the author of Hoosier School Heist (find it on Facebook)
cross-posted at the Hoosier School Heist Blog
Without a doubt, Betsy DeVos and her family members are some of the biggest players behind school privatization in Indiana (and several other states, so see the end of this piece).

Betsy DeVos is the wife of Richard (Dick) DeVos, Jr., the Christian Right leader of Amway and Right-to-Work  supporter who ran for governor of Michigan in 2006 and almost won.   As I explain in my book  Hoosier School Heist, Richard, in a video a few years back, detailed the family plan for Indiana public education and school privatization across the country.
Betsy DeVos’ brother Erik Prince founded the Christian military force Blackwater, known for its massacre, threats to a U.S. investigator, and big government payouts in the War on Terror.

Along with Walmart’s Walton family, Betsy DeVos heads the American Federation for Children, a front-group operating in several states, which funneled money into the Hoosiers for Economic Growth PAC which in turn handed tons of campaign donations to Indiana Republicans to pass anti-public education bills to benefit for-profit charter operators and rightwing Christian schools.
Besides giving Tony Bennet $10,000 directly, the DeVos family has handed $940,000 to the American Federation for Children.

Mike Pence has received just $20,000 in campaign donations from the DeVos family.

In 2014, the group gave the Hoosiers for Economic Growth PAC (now the Hoosiers for Quality Education PAC) $175,000.
The American Federation for Children is still very actively raising money in Indiana through Citizens United lawyer James Bopp, Jr.’s Terre Haute office, with Jim Walton giving close to $40,000 this year alone.  So far, the school privatization money is flowing into Florida and Oklahoma, but it’s a sure bet it  will find its way to the Indiana statehouse doorsteps soon, too.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Eli Broad and the Clintons


By Ken Derstine

June 28, 2015




The Broads and the Clintons at the pre-ball dinner hosted by Eli Broad at the Inauguration of Barack Obama on January 20, 2009. Click here to view more photos from the event.


For some people, sleep seems incidental. If you’re one of them, I envy you. Bill Clinton, who I have known since he was governor of Arkansas, sticks out in my mind as someone who does exceptionally well with very little rest.

While he was president, he invited me to stay at the White House. It had been a long day and I was tired, so I went to bed a bit early. At 11:30 PM, I woke up to a knock on the door. The president’s usher poked his head in and informed me the president was in the solarium and wanted to chat. There wasn’t much I could say except, “Sure.”

President Clinton came in, sat down, and began talking about everything–the Russian election, the Taiwan Strait, Israel, and why Kentucky was the best of the Final Four in that spring’s college basketball playoffs. We ended up going to bed not long before dawn.

            From The Art of Being Unreasonable by Eli Broad
            John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2012   p. 40, 41

During his presidency, Bill Clinton started the controversial practice of inviting political supporters to spend the night in the Lincoln Bedroom of the White House. Nearly 1000 White House guests gave more than $10 million in the 1990’s towards his reelection campaign and later to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 Presidential bid. One of the contributors was Eli Broad who gave more than $162,500. From January 1, 1995 to December 31, 1996 Broad gave $100,000 and listed his corporate affiliation as Truman Arnold Companies. Truman Arnold Companies is a $2.2 billion Texarkana, Texas petroleum marketing company. Clinton’s assistant District attorney, Webster Hubbell, who was convicted on corruption charges in 1994, was on the payroll of Truman Arnold and Sun America, Inc., “a California financial services company controlled by Eli Broad, a close Clinton friend who, like Rapoport and Arnold, stayed overnight at the White House.”

Eli Broad started accumulating his riches from a real estate company that he began with his wife’s cousin on borrowed money in 1957. Riding the crest of the expanding real estate market after World War II, particularly with the growth of suburbs around urban areas, Broad began building his millions, later to be billions, when he acquired Sun Life Insurance Company of America in 1971. In 1999, he sold SunAmerica to the American International Group (AIG) for $18 billion. For those who see accumulating wealth as the measure of a man, Broad became an icon fulfilling the American Dream’s Horatio Alger myth of the self-made man becoming incomprehensibly rich.

Fortunately for Eli Broad, his myth could remain intact during the real estate and financial market crashes in 2008 because his affiliation with his real estate business and financial company was years in his past. He stepped down as CEO of Kaufman & Broad in 1974 and CEO of SunAmerica in 2000. AIG was given $182 billion in taxpayer funds in 2008 to prevent the company, and the financial system, from collapsing during the financial market collapse brought on by the real estate market collapse.

In 2000, Broad and his wife Edythe created the “philanthropy” The Broad Foundations. The “philanthropy” became a means for the Broads to bring their Horatio Alger myth to the arts and to education, having no background in either, and, along with other major “philanthropists” like the Gates Foundation and the Walton Foundation, he begin the reshaping of public education in the United States to fit a neoliberal agenda in the interests of the financial oligarchy the 1% is trying to form in the United States.

Bill Clinton’s all night White House meeting with Eli Broad, occurred as Clinton, under the guise of a progressive agenda, was advancing a neoliberal agenda during and after his presidency. Though he claims many of the reactionary laws during his Presidency were due to Republican intransigence, the Democrats controlled both legislative bodies during Clinton’s first term when most of these reactionary laws were passed. He continued with the policies of the Reagan years that were a counter-reform undermining the gains of Roosevelt’s New Deal and the Civil Rights movement of the ‘60’s. Corporate and financial interests had given these concessions because of fears that labor unrest in the 30’s and urban unrest in the 60’s would lead to a political movement that threatened the interests of the 1%. The repeal of the Glass-SteagallAct of 1932 benefited Clinton’s many White House guests and others in the 1% and have led to historic levels of wealth for the 1% even as it has impoverished the 99%. Clinton’s Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 led to an expansion of Reagan’s “War on Drugs” which creation a prison population that is the largest per capita in the world and an expansion of the death penalty for the low-income population. His Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, known as “welfare reform”, was to lead to an explosion of homelessness and low-income or no-income families falling into a poverty not seen since the Great Depression. The North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) opened up corporations to low-wage workers in the developing world and gutted manufacturing in the United States. It is under these conditions that Eli Broad launched his “philanthropies”, including the Broad Superintendents Academy in 2000, to train and insert superintendents in school districts all around the United States who would advance a privatization of public schools agenda. Based on the right-wing economic theories of economist Milton Friedman corporate education reform began a fascistic agenda designed to reshape public schools financially and ideologically for the one percent.

Playing a central role in promoting Clinton’s neoliberal agenda was the Democratic Leadership Council. Formed in 1985 after the defeat of Walter Mondale and the reelection of Ronald Reagan, it became the think tank for many of the rightwing neoliberal policies promoted by Clinton. Clinton was head of the DLC in 1990 until he became President in 1992. A key player shepherding the neoliberal agenda during the Clinton Presidency and after was Bruce Reed who became head of the Democratic Leadership Council in 2001.

“Mr. Reed was policy director when Mr. Clinton, then the governor of Arkansas, was chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council. Mr. Reed also served as deputy chairman of policy for the 1992 Clinton-Gore campaign, then worked in the White House for all of the Clinton administration.
As head of the Domestic Policy Council, he had a leading role in overhauling welfare in 1996 and in developing initiatives on education, crime, health, tobacco and more. In 2006, back at the Democratic Leadership Council, Mr. Reed and Rahm Emanuel, now the White House chief of staff but then a congressman and Mr. Reed’s friend from their years in the Clinton administration, wrote a book called “The Plan: Big Ideas for America.” It was intended as a platform for the Democrats’ takeover of Congress that year.”

Files in the National Archives show that Reed was heavily involved in developing the Clinton neoliberal education agenda. Files from 1997 – 2000 in 133 folders in 9 boxes “includes material pertaining to national standards and testing; the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and the 1999 efforts to reauthorize the act; 100,000 teachers and class size; charter schools and vouchers; education events and forums; social promotion; Goals 2000; Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally (HOPE) Scholarships; Pell Grants; the Education Flexibility Partnership Act of 1999 (Ed-flex); education funding and budgets; and various school and teacher issues.” 

In the final months of the Clinton administration, another controversy erupted over favoritism for wealthy supporters of the Clinton’s neoliberal agenda. Hillary Clinton played an active role in efforts to give tax breaks to private foundations and wealthy charity donors at the same time as donations were being solicited for Bill Clinton’s presidential library. Bruce Reed, who was Clinton’s chief domestic policy advisor at the time, dismissed the controversy saying, Clinton "wanted to give a break to working people for putting a few more dollars in the plate at the church. Not for any other far-fetched reason." Months before proposing the tax breaks, Clinton White House officials had proposed holding a September, 1999 conference to celebrate “philanthropy heroes” who had donated large gifts. The list included “Microsoft's Bill Gates and his wife, Dell computer founder Michael Dell and investors George Soros and Eli Broad”.

In July of 2005 Hillary Clinton was appointed by the Democratic Leadership Council to define the party’s agenda for the upcoming 2006 and 2008 elections. Reed assured an interviewer on NPR that she was on board with the neoliberal agenda but her appointment had nothing to do with a political run for President in 2008. 

Despite his endorsement of Hillary Clinton in the 2008 election, Eli Broad was thrilled with the election of Barack Obama. The 2009/2010 Annual Report of the Broad Foundation (page 5) says,

The election of President Barack Obama and his appointment of Arne Duncan, former CEO of Chicago Public Schools, as the U.S. secretary of education, marked the pinnacle of hope for our work in education reform. In many ways, we feel the stars have finally aligned.
With an agenda that echoes our decade of investments—charter schools, performance pay for teachers, accountability, expanded learning time and national standards—the Obama administration is poised to cultivate and bring to fruition the seeds we and other reformers have planted.”
Arne Duncan had been on the board of the Broad Foundation until he became Secretary of Education (2009/2010 Broad Report page 25) and, according to this Report brought five Broad Residents and alumni with him to the Department of Education. Also on the board (2009/2010 Broad Report page 25)   the Broad Foundation is Larry Summers who served as top economic advisor in the Clinton and Obama administrations. Among the many former officials in the Clinton administration joining Obama’s administration was Bruce Reed who became Vice President Biden’s chief of staff. On March 22, 2010 he also was appointed executive director of President Obama’s bipartisan commission to reduce the national debt.
On November 13,, 2013, Bruce Reed left as Biden’s chief of staff to become the first President of The Broad Foundation. The website Inside Philanthropy said this appointment made him “one of the powerful people in education philanthropy.” In an interview in the Los Angeles Times on March 13, 2014, about his agenda with the Broad Foundation, Reed gave the standard boilerplate of corporate education reform. This is someone who has never taught a day in his life at any grade level nor had any background in pedagogy or education.
After announcing her run for President on April 12, 2015, Hillary Clinton met with the leadership of the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association in June. She sought to distance herself from her support of No Child Left Behind when she was a Senator in 2001. While she was an early critic of standardized testing, her position seems to shift by which way the political winds are blowing. Given her history with the Broad Foundation, can there be any illusions that she will continue the neoliberal attack on public education? It has been reported that 181 Clinton Foundation donors lobbied the State Department when she was Secretary of State. The two top donors were leaders in corporate education reform: The Microsoft/Gates Foundation ($26,000,000) and the Walmart/Walton Family Foundation ($10,500,00).
Nor can the union leaders be trusted to represent the interests of their members. Randi Weingarten in particular has a history with the Broad Foundation going back to 2002. This collaboration has continued ever since.
In the 2009/2010 Annual Report (Page 10), the Broad Foundation said,
Teacher unions have always been a formidable voice in public education. We decided at the onset of our work to invest in smart, progressive labor leaders like Randi Weingarten, head of the United Federation of Teachers in New York City for more than a decade and now president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). We partnered with Weingarten to fund two union-run charter schools in Brooklyn and to fund New York City’s first incentive-based compensation program for schools, as well as the AFT’s Innovation Fund. We had previously helped advance pay for performance programs in Denver and Houston, but we were particularly encouraged to see New York City embrace the plan.” 
In 2010 she collaborated with the Gates Foundation to develop a teacher evaluation system based on standardized tests, testifying before Congress three times in support of the effort. A recent study noted the increasing convergence of the goals of Bill Gates and Eli Broad. Randi Weingarten has been collaborating with both. For several years, she has been a leader in the Clinton Global Initiative conferences that bring together corporate and union leaders to foster collaboration in promoting a neoliberal agenda nationally and internationally.
Unless the 99% gets its act together and launches a serious political challenge to the two-party system with a party with a program that represents the interests of the 99%, the November 2016 election will once again be a choice between the lesser of two evils. The problem is the evil just keeps getting worse.


Saturday, June 27, 2015

IN CORPORATIZATION THEY TRUST

polyp_cartoon_Corporate_SchoolHow many of us get the big picture about what is happening to American Education?
How many of us have seen the grand scheme? Scholars have followed the attempts to privatize education, one of the biggest industries in America, for 100 years. John Bellamy Foster wrote a paper in Monthly Review (referenced below) about that. But up until now these attempts were not successful.
What is different now is that this movement has become successful and it will take everything we have to hold it off. We must fight with every ounce of strength and try to capitalize  on our numbers, not just in voicing our concerns on social media but also by financially supporting efforts to fight their media machine by supporting pro public education documentaries so they can be screened at well known film festivals.
I recommend these two as starters.
Bill Baykan’s “The Public School Wars” (http://www.publicschoolwars.com)
As we know, commercial concerns look constantly for new markets and areas of activity. In the last quarter of the twentieth century there was strong pressure to ‘roll-back’ state regulation, and to transform non-market and ‘social’ spheres such as education into arenas of commercial activity.
According to Colin Leys, such a transformation – the making of a market – entailed the meeting of four requirements:
1. The reconfiguration of the goods and services in question so that they can be priced and sold.
2. The inducing of people to want to buy them.
3. The transformation of the workforce from one working for collective aims with a service ethic to one working to produce profits for owners of capital and subject to market discipline.
4. The underwriting of the risks to capital by the state.
What we have here is a process of commodification – and the development of attempts to standardize ‘products’ and to find economies of scale.
Do those four look familiar?
In the 1980s, a powerful conservative political coalition, led by corporate interests, was organized against the public schools. Ronald Reagan sought to institute school vouchers, while frequently indicating his desire to abolish the U.S. Department of Education—established as a cabinet-level department during the Carter administration. Reagan appointed a National Commission on Education, which issued its report, A Nation at Risk, in 1983. Its message was that the U.S. education system was failing due to its own internal contradictions. (No mention was made of slowing economic growth, increasing inequality, growing poverty, etc.) In the words of A Nation at Risk: “If an unfriendly power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war. As it stands, we have allowed this to happen to ourselves….We have, in effect, been committing an act of unthinking, unilateral educational disarmament.
The Reagan administration, which initiated a huge Cold War military buildup while cutting taxes on the wealthy and corporations, used the rhetoric of reducing the skyrocketing federal deficit to justify jettisoning federal support for schools—including a 50 percent cut in federal Title I funding for schools in low-income districts.28 The late 1980s and 1990s saw the first dramatic shifts toward more rigid standards, accountability, and assessment systems, backed up by coercive mechanisms, in states like Kentucky and Texas (the latter under Governor George W. Bush). This general approach to educational reform was pushed forward within the federal government in the George H.W. Bush and Clinton administrations, and materialized as a major bipartisan national program for the transformation of elementary and secondary schooling in the presidency of George W. Bush.

Friday, June 26, 2015

How Corporate Takeovers in Newark and Montclair Spawned a New Solidarity Movement Against CorpEd

Terrific piece at Rethinking Schools by Stan Karp on how corporatization pushes in Newark and Montclair have brought poor and middle class parents and teachers together to save public education, children, and the profession.

If you thought corporate takeovers of public schools was just for poor districts, this is a must read.  A clip:
. . . in the summer of 2012, as Cami Anderson was hollowing out Newark, Montclair hired a new superintendent. Penny MacCormack was new to the state, had never been a superintendent, and wasn’t known to many in Montclair. But those who track state education politics knew she had been a district official in Connecticut who was recruited by Cerf to be an assistant commissioner in Christie’s DOE. The department had received several grants from the Eli Broad Foundation and was staffed with multiple Broad “fellows.” MacCormack, Cerf, and Anderson all have Broad ties.

MacCormack was at the N.J. Department of Education for less than a year when she suddenly resurfaced as the new Montclair superintendent without any public vetting, a clear sign the board knew this was a controversial hire.

Her welcome reception began with a video about the origins of the magnet system in the struggle to integrate the town’s schools. Some honored town elders who had played key roles were in the audience. MacCormack awkwardly attempted to connect her vision to the compelling town history framed in the video. Despite the town’s commitment to equity, she said, wide “achievement gaps” remained, and addressing those gaps would be her No. 1 priority.

MacCormack didn’t pledge to restore the equity supports that had been eroded in recent years or challenge Christie’s budget cuts. Instead, she announced that the Common Core standards and tests, and the state’s new teacher evaluation mandates, would “level the playing field” and “raise expectations for all.” “And,” she said, “I will be using the data to hold educators accountable and make sure we get results.”

After she finished, a latecomer took the floor and told the audience how lucky Montclair was to have MacCormack come to town. It was Jon Schnur, the architect of the Race to the Top. He also lives in Montclair. We later learned that Schnur was MacCormack’s “mentor” in a certification program she enrolled in after being hired without the required credentials to be superintendent.

In Montclair, there was no formal state takeover and no contested school board elections. Instead, the long reach of corporate education reform had used influence peddling, backdoor connections, and a compliant appointed school board to install one of their own at the head of one of the state’s model districts. . . .

Chris Hedges on Education Privatization

Here is a small clip:
The demonizing of teachers is another public relations feint, a way for corporations to deflect attention from the theft of some $17 billion in wages, savings and earnings among American workers and a landscape where one in six workers is without employment. The speculators on Wall Street looted the U.S. Treasury. They stymied any kind of regulation. They have avoided criminal charges. They are stripping basic social services. And now they are demanding to run our schools and universities.

Fascists Stage Takeover of Ohio Schools

And so the War begins in earnest.
In a bold move that has the potential for booting teachers unions from schools, stripping local voters of their authority over their school districts and turning operations over to for-profit companies, the Ohio legislature introduced and passed legislation in a matter of hours with no opportunity for the public to deliver opposition testimony.

The bill began innocuously in the House as an effort to help communities turn schools into comprehensive learning centers for the neighborhood. The bill passed from the House to the Senate a month ago with an overwhelming 92-6 vote.

Almost everyone liked it — until Wednesday.

The Ohio Federation of Teachers, one of the state’s unions representing teachers, was prepared to testify in favor of the bill as it headed for a committee vote.

But Melissa Cropper, president of the union, got wind of the amendment that could disenfranchise unions and voters and turn operations over to private interests.

When it came time for her to speak, she attempted to oppose the new provision, but was told that the amendment had not yet been offered, so she could not address it.

She sat down. The amendment was introduced and four men in line behind her who had traveled from Youngstown stepped up to give favorable testimony.

They were Youngstown State University president Jim Tressel; Youngstown Diocese Bishop George Murry — whose organization of parochial schools would become eligible to receive state payment for children attending his schools; local chamber of commerce President Thomas Humphries; and Connie Hathorn, a former Akron school administrator who — as superintendent of Youngstown City Schools — has failed to turn around the struggling school system and will quit to take a job in Arkansas at the end of the month.

The bill quickly passed out of committee, went to the Senate floor where it passed with no support from Democrats and some opposition from Republicans — 18-14 — moved late at night to the House for concurrence, and again passed with opposition from both sides and a vote of 55-40, far different from its initial support.

Within 12 hours of introduction, it went to Gov. John Kasich for his consideration.

His office was supportive.

“Children in chronically failing schools don’t deserve to be abandoned, they need our help, badly,” said Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols. “These long overdue reforms to Ohio’s support system for failing schools will bring hope to these kids, parents and educators. And the governor applauds the local and state leaders who had the courage to stand up and help lead these needed changes.”

Youngstown first target
The discussion centered on Youngstown, which has been guided by an academic distress commission since 2010. The change has the potential to accelerate school choice, sending more children and public dollars to charter and private schools.

Lorain, the other Ohio school district in academic distress, must perform poorly another two years before it falls under the new provision, Ohio Department of Education spokesman John Charlton said.
Because the bill passed so quickly and state reports cards won’t include all the required information until next year, it is not clear how many other districts could be affected.

Last-minute maneuver
Sen. Peggy Lehner, a Kettering Republican and chair of the Senate Education Committee, was the one who attached the plan to the otherwise popular House Bill 70 Wednesday morning.

Teachers are decrying the bill’s privatization of the public education system.

Democrats voiced disapproval on the Senate floor, saying the change does little to address the root cause of social, economic and educational issues in the struggling Mahoning Valley town.

Youngstown has the highest poverty rate among Ohio’s 10 major cities and it is eighth in the nation for poverty among more than 550 ranked cities.

“It appears that it’s blaming the teachers, that it’s blaming the administrators in Youngstown, when we all know that the challenges in Ohio’s urban cores go beyond what a teacher or administrator can do,” said Sen. Cecil Thomas, D-Cincinnati.

“Haste makes waste and mistakes,” said Sen. Charletta Tavares of Columbus. She said this was a last-minute insertion in a bill designed to expand a Cincinnati-area program where community, health, private and public agencies offer wraparound services in schools to address the adverse impact of poverty.

“We are changing the state policy on education that applies to every school district in the state, not just Youngstown,” Sen. Michael Skindell of Lakewood said of the potential for the program to spread. “It seems to incentivize students to go from a failing public school to a failing charter school.”

He added: “Gosh, I wish we would be moving as fast on the failing charter schools in this state.”
The Ohio Department of Education, in conjunction with the governor’s office, has been working on this plan for months.

“I know that ODE has participated in discussions and in the drafting of the legislation,” said spokesman John Charlton, who noted the program is “somewhat unprecedented.”

Academic Distress Commissions have been in place since 2007, Charlton explained, but have not made significant progress in Youngstown.

“Bottom line,” Charlton said, “is that it is not fair to the students and parents who trust their schools to provide for their educations, the local educators and community leaders who have played by the system’s rules, or the communities whose futures depend on educated, skilled citizens. It’s time for a change. Kids in academically struggling schools can’t wait any longer; we need to make immediate improvements to the support system.”

Schools that receive three consecutive ‘Fs’ on state report cards will be taken over by the revamped academic distress commission, which consists of three members appointed by the state superintendent, another by the local mayor and a teacher selected by the local school board president.
The commission then hires a CEO, who doesn’t have to be an educator but must have “high-level management experience.” The CEO is paid up to $150,000 directly by the Ohio Department of Education.

The academic distress commission also can hire an “independent entity” — possibly a for-profit company — to oversee and promote local charter schools. The state’s private school voucher program also opens up to any student who would otherwise attend the academically distressed school district, regardless of how well the nearest school building in that system performs.

Schools can get out of academic distress if they earn a C grade on the report card and no more Fs in the next two years. Though overall grades aren’t out yet, 59 percent of all grades given last year to Ohio’s eight largest and poorest urban school districts were Fs.

When tested, students who live and attend public school in Youngstown rank low. One in seven students, however, attend school in neighboring suburbs through open enrollment, a process that skews the district’s performance.

Studies by the Mahoning County Educational Service Center and the Beacon Journal show that students who left Akron or Youngstown tended to be higher performing students. Students who lack personal transportation to attend a neighboring district generally are those who score lower and depress the district’s overall grade.

Doug Livingston can be reached at 330-996-3792 or dlivingston@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow on Twitter: @DougLivingstonABJ.

Ravitch Rationalizes NEA/AFT/NPE Pro-Charter Position

The anti-reformy groups and self-promoting individuals that crouch under the Ravitch umbrella, along with the bloggers who are kept in line by NPE's censorious Anthony Cody and Jon Pelto, go about their business pretending that the corporate unions are allies of corporate education resistance.  Nothing could be further from the truth. 

In fact, Ravitch's latest gloss on the NEA and AFT embrace of corporate charter schools provides a perfect example of how dangerous Ravitch is to those are not amused or appeased by the her corporate ass kissing. 

Here she pretends that 1) NEA/AFT love for corporate charter chain gangs is something new, and 2) there is some positive aspect to this anti-public school position.  Unadulterated crap:
The NEA and AFT are actively trying to organize charter teachers. This is challenging because of high teacher turnover and often hostile charter management. As the numbers show, they have had limited success, but Cohen says that the unions have softened their opposition to charters in hopes of establishing unions in more charters.
Indeed, the AFT and NEA chiefs have never given a damn about the ideologies of the charter privatizers, just as long as their oppressed and oppressive teachers are allowed to cough up hundreds of dollars each year to continue to build the corporate union empire of traitorous lawyers and pretend teachers. 

As the NEA and AFT are presently constituted, they serve as the greatest asset of the billionaires who want to destroy the profession of teaching and turn public schools into corporate welfare "broken windows" training camps for the poor.

Of course, Ravitch's umbrella NPE could not operate with AFT and NEA cash.  A perfect symbiosis of self-serving egoists and corrupt collaborators.

What a Real Teachers Union Looks Like--It's About More Than Money