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

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sherman Alexie "Arizona has made our books sacred documents now."

"A deepened consciousness of their situation leads people to apprehend that situation as an historical reality susceptible to transformation." — Paulo Freire

Resist Arizona Book Burnings and Racist Attacks on Ethnic StudiesThe Progressive has been compiling the responses of authors whose books were banned by Arizona bigots and arch-reactionaries Tom Horne and John Huppenthal's racist HB 2281, which, among other things, banned Ethnic Studies in Arizona schools. Of course Huppenthal and Horne's vicious legislative colonization didn't actually ban ethnic studies, it just limited Arizona's curriculum to the oppressive historical narrative of "wealthy white male studies."

Today former Schools Matter contributor Kenneth Libby tweeted the response from author Sherman Alexie, which is among the most brilliant I've seen in response to the cultural sterilization and oppression that is Arizona's pogrom against brown peoples:

Let's get one thing out of the way: Mexican immigration is an oxymoron. Mexicans are indigenous. So, in a strange way, I'm pleased that the racist folks of Arizona have officially declared, in banning me alongside Urrea, Baca, and Castillo, that their anti-immigration laws are also anti-Indian. I'm also strangely pleased that the folks of Arizona have officially announced their fear of an educated underclass. You give those brown kids some books about brown folks and what happens? Those brown kids change the world. In the effort to vanish our books, Arizona has actually given them enormous power. Arizona has made our books sacred documents now.

Sherman Alexie is a poet, short story writer, novelist, and filmmaker. His book "The Lone Ranger and Tonto's Fist Fight in Heaven," was on the banned curriculum of the Mexican American Studies Program.

New York Principal's Heroic Stand

Zeppie said Gov. Andrew Cuomo's recent implementation of standardized testing reviews is unhealthy and wrong.

"I don’t believe in stressing kids out so that they have no childhood," Zeppie said. "Sooner or later it will trickle down and lead to more suicides in children."

RYE, N.Y. - Osborn School Principal Clarita Zeppie announced in a letter to schools Superintendent Ed Shine and the Osborn School staff that she would be retiring as principal at the end of the 2011-12 school year.

For most people, retirement signals an exit from the spotlight, but for Zeppie it's the exact opposite.

"It was a difficult decision because I really do love what I do, and I do love Osborn," Zeppie said. "But the actual reason I'm retiring is because I'm very disappointed in the direction of education, and I want to dedicate myself to fighting education reform."

Zeppie said Gov. Andrew Cuomo's recent implementation of standardized testing reviews is unhealthy and wrong.

"I don’t believe in stressing kids out so that they have no childhood," Zeppie said. "Sooner or later it will trickle down and lead to more suicides in children."

According to Zeppie, the increased emphasis on standardized testing for third, fourth, and fifth graders has forced the Osborn School to cut interesting and valuable programs.

"These children are going from nursery school to a rigorous academic program that allows for no growth," Zeppie said. "It's taking away the main purpose of education, which is learning."

Zeppie has been in touch with several advocacy groups around the country but has a special interest in getting involved with the advocacy campaign for "the Race to Nowhere", a film that attempts to expose the "silent epidemic in our schools."

According to Zeppie, there has been a large outpouring of community support for her decision.

"I have support from parents, from all of the teachers, and many of my colleagues who are administrators," Zeppie said. "Many people agree with me, but unfortunately many do not have the luxury to retire and pursue what they think is right, but ill be carrying the word for them."



Gray Continues in Fenty's Corrupt Tradition by Hiring Charter Loan Company to Research School Closures

Last summer DC's Mayor Gray selected a real estate consulting and loan outfit from Illinois to "study" the public schools of DC to determine which will live and which will die.  Yep, the pick to do the "research" was the non-profit Illinois Facilities Fund that funnels tax credited corporate cash to favorite charity ventures by the plutocrats. 

For instance, the Walton kids have shoveled IFF $8.625 million to privatize education through voucher efforts and charter schools. In fact, the Waltons pitched in $100,000 to fund the "study" of which DC schools to close.  We can only wonder how much they pitched into the Gray Re-election Fund.

Well, the "study" is done, and Chancellor Henderson has expressed her appreciation for this new data. Any guesses on the major findings? 

You're right, the "research" by the charter loan company supports the conversion of 36 more public schools into, yes, charter schools.  Bill Turque at WaPo:
A new study commissioned by D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray recommends that the city turn around or close more than three dozen traditional public schools in its poorest neighborhoods and expand the number of high-performing charter schools.

( Read the full text of “Quality Schools: Every Child, Every School, Every Neighborhood” )

The findings of the study by the Chicago-based IFF, to be made public Thursday, are likely to rekindle impassioned debate about possible school closures and the future of public education in the District. The study also signals the start of an unprecedented attempt to coordinate decision making between two school sectors that have operated independently and at times competed for funding and other resources.

More than 40 percent of the city’s 78,000 public students attend publicly funded, independently operated charter schools, the largest concentration in the nation outside of New Orleans. At current rates of growth, a majority of the city’s public enrollment could be in charters within three to four years.

Some advocates of traditional public schools have raised questions about possible bias in the study. IFF, which provides financial support and real estate consulting to nonprofit organizations, has made more than $57 million in loans to charter schools, according to information it provided the District. The study was underwritten by a $100,000 grant from the Walton Family Foundation, one of the nation’s leading benefactors of charter schools. Walton is also a major private donor to D.C. Public Schools. Company officials have said that their work looks at both school sectors objectively.

The study could also eventually serve as the basis for another major round of traditional public school closures, a politically and emotionally bruising process last undertaken by then-Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee during Mayor Adrian M. Fenty’s administration. Although traditional public school enrollment has leveled off at about 46,000 after decades of decline, the system still has an excess of capacity. More than 40 schools have 300 or fewer students, many of them struggling academically.

City officials said that decisions about any major restructuring will not be made for at least a year and only after close consultation with affected communities.

Gray (D) said Wednesday that there is no basis for concerns that he will hand the city school system over to charter schools, especially given the hundreds of millions of dollars the District has invested in renovating and rebuilding traditional school campuses.

“It’s ludicrous,” he said. “I believe very strongly in both sectors, and I’m looking for the best education solutions."
De’Shawn Wright, the deputy mayor for education, said the plan is to meet with Chancellor Kaya Henderson, who heads the school system, and charter school leaders to map out a scenario for meeting the needs of underserved neighborhoods.

The report is organized as a supply-and-demand analysis that divided the city into 39 groups of neighborhoods.
Using a formula based on standardized test score trends and projections to 2016, it separated eligible public schools into quartiles, or four performance tiers. Schools without adequate test data were excluded from the study.

In schools designated Tier 1, anywhere from 60 to 100 percent of students tested at or above grade level and showed the steepest improvement curves.

Researchers then looked at student populations in each neighborhood cluster to determine which communities had the largest shortage of seats in top-tier schools.

The biggest shortage — about 27,000 seats — is concentrated within 10 neighborhood clusters, most of them south and east of the Anacostia River in wards 7 and 8 and others cutting across portions of wards 1 and 5 in Northeast and Northwest Washington. More than half of the shortfall is for kindergarten through fifth grade.

The bulk of IFF’s findings are not new, but they place in bolder relief than ever the dearth of good schools in the city’s poorest neighborhoods. Of the 45 schools assessed by IFF as Tier 1, just six are in wards 7 and 8. All are public charter schools. Of the 39 schools in Tier 4 — the lowest rating — 22 are in wards 7 and 8. Eighteen are traditional public schools; four are public charters.

Among the areas identified by IFF as having the greatest need is the group of Ward 8 neighborhoods that includes Congress Heights, Bellevue, Washington Highlands and Bolling Air Force Base. Only two of the 14 schools studied in those neighborhoods are in Tier 1, and they are both charters: Achievement Prep and Friendship Tech Prep. The firm recommended attempting to turn around or close all four traditional public schools in Tier 4 — Simon, Patterson, Terrell-McGogney and Ferebee-Hope elementary — and closing two bottom-rung charter schools, Center City Congress Heights (pre-K to 8) and Imagine Southeast (pre-K to 5). It also suggested investing more resources into improving a Tier 2 charter, Friendship Southeast elementary.

The report says that any closures of traditional public schools should be offset by new charters or building new traditional schools.

Most of the other surveys of the 10 critical neighborhood clusters follow the pattern. In all, 38 traditional public schools and three charter schools were recommended for turnaround or closure.

In the report, IFF urges the city to consider expanding the footprint of charter schools in the 10 targeted neighborhood clusters. It calls for the D.C. Public Charter School Board to authorize about 6,500 new charter seats (current enrollment is about 32,000). It also recommends that the board “actively recruit the highest performing charter school operators and ask them to replicate their performing school model” in the top 10 clusters, using former public school buildings as incentives.

It’s virtually certain that city officials will tinker with IFF’s recommendations. The report lists for turnaround or possible closure, for example, schools that have received tens of millions of dollars in capital investment, including the new H.D. Woodson High School in Ward 7.

Wright said the IFF study would be just the beginning of a lengthy review requiring “lifting the hood” over each underserved area for a close look at its needs.

“This is complicated work,” he said, “and it’s got to be done on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis.”



Monday, January 30, 2012

Further Confessions of an Outlier

Further Confessions of an Outlier

About five or so weeks ago, I made this confession:
"I graduated high school eighth in my class, and then proceeded through undergraduate and graduate school to achieve a doctorate, almost exclusively making As along the way and being regularly praised for my academic ability. But let me pause for a moment about those K-12 years.
"To this day, I cannot recall really trying in school—not time spent studying or finding anything asked of me being that difficult. In fact, especially when I took standardized tests, I always felt I was doing something wrong; it felt like cheating to zip through tests and score in that rarefied air of the 99th% percentile."
The point of that confession was to confront and reject the rugged individualism myth that drives much of the "No Excuses" Reformers' narratives about students, teachers, and schools; they suggest that those who succeed earn that success, and that those who fail also deserve that failure. The dividing line, for them, is simply effort.

This confession focuses on the role and influence of teachers since "No Excuses" Reformers and a whole host of politicians, including President Obama, are beating the teacher quality drum—notably citing a recent study on value-added methods for evaluating and rewarding teachers (linking teachers to student test scores) that has not been peer-reviewed and has been widely challenged for the conclusions drawn by the researchers and the media.

Teachers Matter: Beyond Measurement and Data

As I noted in my first confession, I was always a top student from first grade through earning a doctorate—always earning B+ and A-range grades in my classes and usually being identified as scoring in the 99th percentile on standardized tests. What I want to emphasize here is that over thirty years of being a student, my grades and standardized tests scores were amazingly stable despite my having a wide range of quality among my many teachers (yes, gasp, I had some bad teachers).

Teachers never impacted significantly my grades or tests scores for three decades, but the individual teachers greatly influenced my learning, my interests, and even my course in life—none of which can be found in any of the data linked to my learning.

I may be able to name every teacher I ever had, in fact. Ms. Landford, Ms. Townson, Ms. Westmoreland, Ms. Parks—these were the first teachers I had and I recall many moments from their classes to this day, although I began school in 1967 in the South where integration had just begun (the adjacent county to my childhood home did not fully integrate until the early 1970s).

And I vividly recall having had five African American teachers and administrators in my public school life: Ms. Parks (who confronted the entire class about racial slurs and planted an important seed in my young mind), Ms. Haywood, and Mr. Scipio (my high school science teacher who inspired me so deeply I left high school to major in physics) as teachers and Mr. Washington and Mr. Blackman as administrators.

But my high school English teacher, tenth and eleventh grades, Mr. Harrill, took the initiative to say to me, "Paul, you should think about being a teacher." Then, I laughed and even scoffed at this idea, but just six years later, I stood in the exact room Mr. Harrill left to move to the district office and was the English teacher. About a decade later, I entered the same EdD program Dr. Harrill completed, and by 2002, I was holding the tenure track position Dr. Harrill left to return to public education.

If someone wants to give credit to someone or something for my good grades and test scores, I have some clues: the accident of my mother and father conceiving and birthing me, the magnificently supportive and vibrant life and household my working-class parents provided me (this hint cannot be expressed here as much as it should be), and hundreds of books I consumed (including the 7000 comic books I collected throughout junior high and high school).

Grades and test scores, however, don't tell anyone much about my education, and about the dozens and dozens of wonderful, bright, kind, and compelling people who I am honored to have called "teacher"—Ms. Simpkins, Mr. Bailey, Ms. Dula, Ms. Olive, Ms. Neal, Mr. Kitchens...Dr. Moore, Dr. Predmore, Dr. Anderson, Dr. Kridel, Dr. Holt...

Teaching matters and teachers matter, but not in any ways we can measure and trap in data. For the many reformers who claim otherwise, they are insuring that we will soon ruin the very aspects of teacher that genuinely create high-quality teachers.

At the end of January 2012, I had a birthday and attended the annual conference for the South Carolina Council of Teachers of English (SCCTE). On my birthday, my Facebook wall was covered with happy birthday wishes—most of which came from former students. As I walked around the SCCTE convention, I realized about a dozen teachers there had at one time been students of mine (some of them, by the way, think I was wonderful, and a few, not so much).

These are the things of being a student and a teacher. Not VAM data, not merit pay, and not schemes to fire the bottom 25% each year while cramming 40 students in so-called top-teachers' classes.

Robert D. Skeels: How Administration Tries to Cow Teachers Into Submission

Talk by PESJA/CEJ activist and District 2 LAUSD Trustee Candidate Robert D. Skeels at the Support Cadre Resisting Administrative Maltreatment (SCRAM) Caucus Meeting at CTA State Council of Education on January 29, 2012.

Special thanks to John Cromshow of KPFK and SCRAM for arranging the event.



Robert D. Skeels is a social justice writer, public education advocate, and immigrant rights activist.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

21st Century Teachers: Easy to Hire, Easy to Fire

21st Century Teachers: Easy to Hire, Easy to Fire

Detroit rises to the status of a major character in Jeffrey Eugenides's Middlesex. About a fifth of the way into the novel, the narrator, Calliope/Cal Stephanides makes this observation about the arrival of the automotive industry in the Motor City:
"Historical fact: people stopped being human in 1913. That was the year Henry Ford put his cars on rollers and made his workers adopt the speed of the assembly line. At first, workers rebelled. They quit in droves, unable to accustom their bodies to the new pace of the age. Since then, however, the adaptation has been passed down: we've all inherited it to some degree, so that we plug right into joysticks and remotes, to repetitive motions of a hundred kinds.
"But in 1922 it was still a new thing to be a machine.
"...Part of the new production method's genius was its division of labor into unskilled tasks. That way you could hire anyone. And fire anyone."
This is a chilling passage about the dawning of the assembly line era of American manufacturing, but equally as chilling is that this passage offers a clue to where we now are heading in U.S. public education and the fate of the American teacher.

A Teacher Is a Teacher Is a Teacher...

Like Henry Ford, Bill Gates has ushered in a new era in U.S. public education, shifting the already robust accountability era that began in the early 1980s and accelerated in 2001 with the passing of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) from focusing on student accountability for standards and test scores to demanding that teachers be held accountable for student test scores addressing those standards. Gates has been assisted by Michelle Rhee and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan as the "No Excuses" Reformers have perpetuated narratives conjuring the myth of the "bad" teacher, which Adam Bessie has confronted by suggesting we hire hologram teachers in order to remove the greatest problem facing education: Humans.

Just as the assembly line rendered all workers interchangeable, and thus, easy to hire, and easy to fire, the current education reforms focusing on teacher accountability, value-added methods (VAM) of evaluating teachers, and the growing fascination with Teach for America (TFA) are seeking the same fact for teachers: A de-professionalized workforce of teaching as a service industry, easy to hire, and easy to fire.

All of the following are both key elements of the "No Excuses" Reformers' plans and steps to eradicating teaching as a profession in the U.S.:

• Secretary Duncan leads the chorus of "teachers are the most important factor in student achievement" despite ample evidence that teacher influence on measurable student outcomes, tests, is only about 10-20%. This refrain serves two purposes for the "No Excuses" Reformers: (1) Deflect attention from the 60-80% influence that out-of-school factors play in student achievement, and (2) insure that teachers are de-professionalized, thus creating a cheap labor force for a privatized education system.

• The propaganda continues to increase calling for TFA recruits to serve high-poverty schools. The evidence on TFA recruits is sparse, but what exists doesn't support using uncertified and inexperienced teachers to address the problem faced by many high-poverty schools: A lack of certified, experienced teachers. Thus, TFA recruits can only be attractive because they represent the Ford ideal of workers easy to hire and easy to fire (exceptionally easy to fire, in fact, because they leave of their own accord in a short time).

• From The New York Times to President Obama in his 2012 State of the Union Address, VAM propaganda remains powerful, calling for holding teachers accountable for their students' test scores. Yet, after careful examinations of the study, any claims that VAM is effective remain unfounded. Again, we must conclude that seeking ways to quickly hire and fire teachers is more important than if any method achieves the claimed goals of seeking higher student achievement. VAM is a terrible tool for identifying and rewarding excellent teaching, but, like the assembly line, it is an effective tool for reducing any worker to a cog.

• While 50 states have implemented accountability, standards, and testing without satisfactory results, "No Excuses" Reformers are committed to national standards, and the expected national tests to follow. While there is no national or international evidence that standards and testing improve education, this call for federalizing standards and testing proves to be an important lever for removing completely teacher autonomy and creating the platform upon which teachers are easily fired.

• And now a long-time mantra coming from self-proclaimed reformers wedded to school choice ideology—"All parents deserve the same choices as the wealthy" (a mask for their real intentions, privatizing schools, and a perverse idealizing of "choice"—is being bolstered by the rise of parent-trigger laws and legislation aimed at giving parents direct oversight of what is being taught: "The trouble with the consumer movement as embodied in the New Hampshire law is that it makes public schools vulnerable to the whims of fringe groups." The medical profession has already seen what happens when professionals abdicate their expertise to the consumer when the overuse of antibiotics created MRSA and other "superbugs." [1] But parental oversight, again, is not about doing what is best for students; it's about using free market rhetoric to create teaching as a service industry.

The ultimate evidence that "No Excuses" Reformers want to de-professionalize teaching, however, is the issue of professional autonomy. Accountability must be preceded by autonomy; otherwise, accountability is tyranny. Instead of creating professional autonomy for teachers, however, every aspect of the "No Excuses" Reform movement is bent on removing autonomy from teachers while reducing further all student achievement to tests so that teacher quality can be easily and quickly quantified as well.

In the wake of Obama's State of the Union speech and the prospect of where "No Excuses" Reform will go next, I think it isn't much of a stretch to consider the possibility of this sentence coming to pass:

Historical fact: teachers stopped being professionals in 2013.

It is the path we are on, and it is a path that must be avoided.

[1] DeBellis, R. J., & Zdanawicz, M. (2000, November). Bacteria battle back: Addressing antibiotic resistance. Boston: Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Science. Retrieved 13 September 2009 from http://www.tufts.edu/... ; Ong, S., et al. (2007, September). Antibiotic use for emergency department patients with upper respiratory infections: Prescribing practices, patient expectations, and patient satisfaction. Annals of Emergency Medicine, 50(3), 213-220.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Teachers Tired of Being Bullied to Death

We're not going to take it!

Recently, in Chicagoland, a story hit the papers about a teacher committing suicide. She wrote in her suicide note that the major reason for this drastic act was work-related. According to her colleagues, this woman took her own life because of the bullying and fear she experienced at her school.

As I discussed this event with a friend who is a current CPS teacher, he mentioned that in the comments section of the article many non-educators were shocked and horrified at this tragic happening but were also quick to assume that the woman must have been "soft" or had some kind of underlying mental health problem. But, he quipped, when many CPS teachers heard about the incident, they just shook their heads and said, "Yeah, I can see that happening."

Truth is, so could I. When I think back to my measly one year of teaching at a horribly-run CPS elementary school, I can very easily imagine that scenario unfolding with a number of my colleagues and yes, even with myself.

Did you all catch that? Suicide is not considered shocking in the realm of teaching in CPS.

And I don't think the general public understands the toll that years of working in an increasinlgly horrible environment coupled with the latest wave of teacher-bashing actually takes on the people who do the hard work of education.

Let me try and paint you a picture:

Imagine you've had one of the worst weeks of your life. You haven't slept in months, you have money troubles building, your relationships are failing, you feel unheard and unappreciated at home and at work, you worry daily about your future and whether or not you will have a job next year or even next week, and the idea of getting up to go to work the next day is practically unbearable. You need a moment to catch your breath, a moment to clear the clutter of worry, failure and fear from your clouded mind. But you don't get it. There is too much to get done. And all the while, you think, if I don't get it done, I am failing these kids. I have no choice but to keep pushing.

Now add onto that a vindictive, power-hungry boss who would fire you as soon as look at you, and colleagues at work who are themselves so tired, afraid and overwhelmed that they are one bad day from breakdown.

And then there are your students. God you love them. But some of them have problems you simply do not know how to fix. Or, even with the interventions you know to do through experience and training, you also know it will take all of your mental energy to implement them. You don't have that kind of energy left. Some of your kids are currently homeless and show up to school unbathed and with dirty clothes. Others have developed significant behavior problems and despite your best efforts, they continue to fight, curse, and act out in class. Some of them are so embarrassed they can't read that they throw books off their desks and rip up their hand-outs. You know deep down that most of the difficulties your children face arebeyond your control. But still, most days you come home and cry because of the guilt and helplessness.

You also know that your job is on the line if you don't get these kids to perform on some silly test. You know the tests are a joke, that they do not capture the intelligence, wit, humor and spark that live within your students. But still they hang there, always lurking in the shadows. Time is slowly marching until the day you must administer the dreaded test and seal your fate.

Now imagine turning on your TV or flipping through the Tribune or Sun-Times to see yet another story loudly proclaiming that the problem with America's schools is, well, you. "More teachers must be fired!" they scream. "Teachers are the ones failing the kids, we need to hold them accountable!" "Teachers are lazy and need to work longer, harder, for less pay!" "Teacher pensions are destroying our economy!" (Whoa, did I miss the part where newspapers yelled at the people who caused the financial crisis that is slashing education budgets around the country? Are the mortgage brokers, big banks and financial industries getting demeaned every five seconds? How about the corporations not paying their fair share of taxes which help schools? And don't forget the politicians and their horrible education policies. Surely no one reading the news is believing this baloney, are they?) And every time you hear the insults or name-calling you think to yourself, "Well what the heck are any of you doing to help these kids..." The unfairness of it all burns.

Now stretch that one terrible week into nine months. Welcome to CPS.

Of course, the great irony is that as the powers that be complain about "quality" teachers they create teaching environments where it becomes impossible to be great. Teachers at my old school started to look liked the walking dead as the stress and fear accumulated. The increased "accountability" robbed us all of the very qualities which would make us great teachers: our passion, kindness, drive, energy, camaraderie and humor.

And then there are people, like our lovely mayor, who seem to enjoy kicking you while you're down. Rahm would have us believe that something like extending the school day is so easy. Oh, that smurk on his face as he seems to say "How dare you expect to be paid for your extra time!" And "Sure, you've been working this whole year close to breakdown, barely scraping by, without any resources and with abnormally large class sizes, but I'm sure you can come up with 90 extra minutes of activities for your kids. Oh, and if you really cared, you'd do this willingly and for free. And stop asking for paper to make copies or books for them to read, you greedy teachers. And no, we are not going to fix your school building, give you the resources you say you need, or help you in any way, shape, or form. You suck, your school sucks, and we are just biding our time until we can shut the whole thing down."

Sigh...

Now, maybe not every school and every teacher has as bad a time as that, but I know I did. And I know too many other teachers out there who are experiencing that same fear, intimidation, and stress. Teaching under these unacceptable conditions has become the rule, not the exception. I recently came across a blog post which described something called "compassion fatigue" which is "a combination of physical, emotional, and spiritual depletion associated with caring for patients in significant emotional pain and physical distress." The author goes on to say:

Like nurses, teachers confronting these pathologies [such as abuse, abandonment and alienation] are forced to perform triage. But teachers still have to somehow find the time and energy afterward to teach the subject matter they were hired to do. The debilitating effects on them are cumulative. It's little wonder, therefore, that teachers in inner-city schools have a higher rate of absenteeism and turnover than their colleagues in the suburbs. It's also not at all surprising that teachers who are faced with the challenge often find themselves drawing away from their students. The same sadness and despair that nurses report also affect teachers.

Now, if you've been paying attention to the education reform debate at all in recent years, you will know that this is the place in the story where the corporate reformers of the nation, you know, the Michelle Rhees, Bill Gates, Arne Duncans, and yes, Rahm Emanuels, would jump in and say something ridiculous like "no excuses" or "poverty is not destiny." They will fill your ear with talk of "the soft bigotry of low expectations" while completely ignoring the hard bigotry of poverty, racism and crippling income inequality. Their ignorance of the reality of life for students and teachers alike in the inner cities is frankly, criminal.

No more I say.

This post is for all my teacher colleagues out there. It's time for us to fight back. It's time to take back our profession. Teachers, use your natural inclination to educate and start teaching your friends and families about the hard realities of our profession. And don't be afraid to sing our praises. What we do is good work and it needs to be protected and cherished.

And while you're at it, don't forget to teach as many people as possible about the true nature of corporate reform and how it's left behind entire neighborhoods. Let people know about the ridiculous goals of No Child Left Beind and the evils behind high-stakes testing. Tell the truth about charters, that they are not, in fact, miracles. Speak up about the reality of Teach for America -- how placing untrained novices in classrooms with the hardest to educate students is unjust and wrong. Make people start to at least question the hype!

More than anything, make the act of teacher-bashing unacceptable. We know that when we are overwhelmed, upset, fatigued, demoralized and stressed out beyond our limits, we will be no good for our students. Remember, fighting for teachers isfighting for students.

So fight for the kinds of teaching environments which benefit kids. Fight for workplaces where teachers do not flee, breakdown, or God forbid take their own lives. Fight for a steady and strong group of committed professionals who actually stick around long enough to bring the slow change that is needed in our schools. Fight for the respect we deserve. Fight for the autonomy to make decisions on curriculum, implementation, and assessment that help the kids sitting in front of us. Fight for equity in resources so we have the tools to acutally do the difficult job of teaching. Fight for the mental health that we need to be the excellent educators kids deserve.

By fighting, we can beat back some of the hopelessness and exhaustion. We need to stop blaming ourselves, alone and guilty, and instead get angry at the forces that are hurting us and the important work we do. And all you non-educators out there need to get angry right alongside us. So sing along with me:

~*~
Katie Osgood is a special education teacher at a Psychiatric Hospital in Chicago. Before that, she taught in a Chicago Public School and in Japan.

Friday, January 27, 2012

GUEST BLOG: IDOE–Shrinking State Power to Expose Your Tender Underbelly (UPDATE)

IDOE–Shrinking State Power to Expose Your Tender Underbelly (UPDATE)

by Douglas Storm

[UPDATE in the body of the text]

Indiana is at the forefront of a concerted and aggressive drive to weaken state power.  That sounds good to so many of us, especially those who believe there is a libertarian with a good heart out there.  But here’s the trick.  The agents of the state of the terms of Mitch Daniels (at least) have worked to make the State itself an onerous body that commits one bad act after another.  The government that hates government is in charge of the government.  In turn, the people hate the state as well and scream for liberty and freedom and so approve of the measures the state offers for “choice” such as voucher systems and selling public schools to corporate charter groups.

All this does is diminish the capacity of the state as a protector against unequal wealth and power.  While we scream about the .01% owning the world and screwing us we are letting our state sell us to those very folks and we are thanking them for it.

An example of the way this is happening:

Today a memo went out to all Indiana Public School District administrators.  The memo, titled “Assessment Opt Out Guidance” was authored by the State General Counsel Matt Voors and sent out under the Office of the Chief for Assessment (a chief for change!), Wes Bruce.

The gist, don’t let parents opt their children out of state assessment tests.  However, as the memo makes clear, the state has no policy on this particular option.  Oddly, the lawyers treat this as if that alone creates the impetus to not allow it.  Anyway, as there is no way to make the opting out illegal (currently–one assumes we should look for legislation asap) the tactic suggested by the state is to threaten parents, teachers and school communities with untoward ramifications.  We can’t stop you, they say, but we’re going to make your life as hard for you as we can if you do this.

Here is the full text.
M E M O R A N D U M 
TO:                 Indiana Superintendents and Principals
FROM:           Wes Bruce, Chief Assessment Officer
Matt Voors, General Counsel
DATE:           January 25, 2011
TOPIC:          Assessment Opt Out Guidance
In recent weeks, we have had several inquiries from schools and corporations about  parents who have requested—or in some cases demanded—to opt out their students from participating in state assessments (ISTEP+, IMAST, IREAD-3, ECAs, LAS Links) . There are several social media sites that are promoting the idea of opting out in Indiana.  These sites imply that parents may opt out  their children from state testing.  Indiana law has no such provision.
The following are points you may want to discuss with parents considering opting out their students:
  • Test scores provide a valid measure of how well students have mastered grade level standards.
  •  ISTEP+ test scores allow us to estimate how much students have grown each school year     by comparing the achievement patterns of students with very similar patterns of content mastery.
  •  At the high school level, opting out denies students the opportunities guaranteed to them by law to demonstrate the needed mastery of Algebra I and/or English 10 required to earn  a high school diploma.
Below you will find our policy on the topic of opting out of state assessments, as well as important reminders for parents and for schools.
Indiana Standardized Testing Policy Regarding Opt-out and Absences
Unless a student falls within the very narrow exemptions for homebound instruction and/or medical necessity, Ind. Code  20-32-2 provides that all students enrolled in an Indiana-accredited school are required to participate in state assessments.  Indiana does not have an opt-out policy.  If a student is absent on the scheduled testing days but attends school on any other days in the test window, the school shall test the student as a “make up.”
Parent Reminders
Parents should be reminded of Indiana’s Compulsory School Attendance Laws, Ind. Code 20-33-2.  Specifically, section 28 of the compulsory school attendance chapter provides that it is unlawful for a parent to fail, neglect, or refuse to send the parent’s child to school for the full term, and section 27 of the statute provides that it is unlawful for a parent to fail to ensure that his/her student attends school as required under the compulsory school attendance chapter and establishes the process of initiating an action against a parent for violation.   Finally, section 44 provides that violation of the compulsory school attendance chapter is a Class B Misdemeanor.   Any absence by a student on scheduled testing dates for the purpose of avoiding testing constitutes an unexcused absence and may constitute a violation of the compulsory school attendance laws.
School Reminders
Schools should be mindful that student participation in state assessments is part of the calculation for A-F category designations. Moreover, lack of participation by any subgroup may have particular negative consequences for accountability calculations.
For additional information, please contact the Office of Assessment at
317-232-2050. 
  
UPDATE: This number in the document goes to FSSA, Revenue Recovery, NOT the Office of Assessment.  One is unsure how to respond to this.  If intentional it seems somewhat obscene as a prank.  Either way, here is the Office of Assessment Chief’s contact information off the IDOE site:
ph: 317-232-9050
fx: 317-233-2196
email: wbruce@doe.in.gov
Let me suggest you call them in order to GIVE THEM additional information, not to get it.  Unless the question is Where do you get off?

So, let’s recap: Opt Out and the school suffers, high school kids will have their diplomas withheld, parents can be thrown in jail for 60 days or fined $1k if they trespass the truancy laws.

Nice.  That’s called the Bully Policy.  But we expect nothing less from Indiana Government.  Teachers, may I suggest when you give your mandatory anti-bullying workshops that you use the state as an example of the biggest bully (well next to the Military, the Banks and the federal government that serves them).

Yesterday, we received a newsletter from our school about the upcoming testing schedule.  Among the Facts the Gradgrinds sent us was this:
The IREAD 3rd grade test is new this year.  We’ve not seen the assessment piece and do not know what the cut scores will be.  X discussed this at the family literacy night.  3rd graders who do not pass this test will be retained.  They can be retained for up to two years.
What happens after those two years if they don’t pass?  Is it like unemployment stats?  You know they remove from the numbers anyone who’s “stopped” looking for work.  (That keeps the stats lower than they are in reality, don’t you know–so that 9% unemployment is really close to 22%.)

More coercion.  The primary goal of any of this is simply to amass data as a weapon.

The state is now corrupt in all ways and has only one intention–disbanding all public accountability.  In what they must feel is a clever ruse they “pretend” testing and “measurable” assessment  is about accountability.  Rather, it’s a chance to weaken the ability of the state to protect its citizens.  All the policy behind the education reforms create assessment standards that will automatically Fail as many as 1/3 of public schools.  The state will “take-over” these schools and then sell them to corporations.  Then corporations will be allowed to be, well, corporations.  They will write the very rules that govern them and the state will passively approve.

This is the Corporate plan.  The state that cannot protect its citizens–cannot fund its programs–will willingly sell itself to the corporation.  Laws have already been passed to protect private property and not people so that one will not even be able to bring civil charges against these actions.   The men and women in positions of power in the state now are not your representatives.  They are servants of corporate power and they are destroying your one protection against the coercion of wealth and property (we call this a “market ideology”).  The state’s agents are selling the state’s power out from under us.

This is and was a Long Con and it is nearing its end.

All of this puts me in mind of this scene in Blade Runner:
Leon: I kinda get nervous when I take tests.
Holden: Don’t move.
Leon: Sorry.
He tries to move, but finally his lips can’t help a sheepish smile.
Leon: I already had an I.Q. test this year… but I don’t think I ever had a…
Holden: Reaction time is a factor in this so please pay attention. Answer as quickly as you can.
Leon: Uh… sure…
Holden: One one eight seven at Hunterwasser…
Leon: Oh… that’s the hotel.
Holden: What?
Leon: Where I live.
Holden: Nice place?
Leon: Huh? Sure. Yeah. I guess. Is that…part of the test?
Holden smiles a patronizing smile.
Holden: Warming you up, that’s all.
Leon: Oh. it’s not fancy or anything.
Holden: You’re in a desert, walking along in the sand when…
Leon: Is this the test now?
Holden: Yes. You’re in a desert, walking along in the sand when all of a sudden you look down and see a…
Leon: What one?
It was a timid interruption, hardly audible.
Holden: What?
Leon: What desert?
Holden: Doesn’t make any difference what desert… its completely hypothetical.
Leon: But how come I’d be there?
Holden: Maybe you’re fed up, maybe you want to be by yourself…who knows. So you look down and see a tortoise. It’s crawling toward you…
Leon: A tortoise. What’s that?
Holden: Know what a turtle is?
Leon: Of course.
Holden: Same thing.
Leon: I never seen a turtle.
He sees Holden’s patience is wearing thin.
Leon: But I understand what you mean.
Holden: You reach down and flip the tortoise over on its back, Leon.
Keeping an eye on his subject, Holden notes the dials in the Voight-Kampff. One of the needles quivers slightly.
Leon: You make up these questions, Mr. Holden, or do they write ‘em down for you?
Disregarding the question, Holden continues, picking up the pace.
Holden: The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs trying to turn itself over. But it can’t. Not with out your help. But you’re not helping.
Leon’s upper lip is quivering.
Leon: Whatya means, I’m not helping?
Holden: I mean you’re not helping! Why is that, Leon?
Holden looks hard at Leon, a hard piercing look. Leon is flushed with anger, breathing hard, it’s a bad moment, he might erupt. Suddenly Holden grins disarmingly.
Holden: They’re just questions, Leon. In answer to your query, they’re written down for me. It’s a test designed to provoke an emotional response.
Sure, Leon’s a replicant, a creature made by man, a lesser being (oh, wait) and he’s about to blow away Holden (the only recourse here available to the outlaw–the outsider to the law–the one the law turns out) and he’s definitely creepy, but the test will find him out and then he’s doomed…

How do you determine teacher effectiveness?

How do you determine teacher effectiveness?
Sent to USA Today, Jan. 26, 2012

“States weaken tenure rights for teachers” (Jan. 25) emphasizes the importance of evaluating teacher effectiveness.
A major problem is that these evaluations are often based on students gains on standardized tests, called “value-added” measures.
A number of studies have shown that value-added measures are very unstable: Teachers' ratings based on previous years are weak predictors of test scores at the end of a year with new students. A teacher who succeeds in boosting scores with one group will not necessarily succeed with others. Different tests can result in different scores for the same teacher.
Value-added evaluations also ignore the huge impact of factors beyond the teachers’ control. Finally, there are ways of pumping up test scores without student learning, including teaching test-taking strategies and making sure weak students don't take the test.
Nobody objects to teachers being evaluated on their effectiveness. Using gains on standardized tests is a bad way to do it.

Stephen Krashen
Professor Emeritus, University of Southern California

Sources:
Not stable: Sass, T. 2008. The stability of value-added measures of teacher quality and implications for teacher compensation policy. Washington DC: CALDER. (National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Educational Research.) Kane, T. and Staiger, D. 2009. Estimating Teacher Impacts on Student Achievement: An Experimental Evaluation. NBER Working Paper No. 14607 http://www.nber.org/papers/w14607;
Different tests result in different value-added scores: Papay, J. 2010. Different tests, different answers: The stability of teacher value-added estimates across outcome measures. American Educational Research Journal 47,2.

Original article:
http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/story/2012-01-25/teacher-tenure-rights-firings/

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Tennessee State Board Set to Further Demoralize Teachers and Open the Floodgates to New Lawsuits

Update 9:34 AM Jan. 27:  Last evening the State Board of Education pulled the "Scarlet Letter" reprimand action item from today's agenda.  

The commentary below was provided Knoxville, TN educators who prefer (for now) to remain anonymous:

In light of the planned action by the State Board of Education (download pdf from state website here complete with red ink), Knox County educators are bracing for the next shoe to fall from the Haslam/McIntyre(Broad)/Huffman nexus of destabilization, deprofessionalization, and corporatization of public education in the state of Tennessee.

Already, teachers in Knoxville schools administered by quislings from McIntyre’s Leadership Academy are reporting increasingly Orwellian levels of administrative surveillance regarding teacher activities both on and off the clock, with explicit threats of reprimand for any number of murky, undefined “unprofessional” or “unbecoming” activities.

Rumors abound regarding the intent and extent of McIntyre’s office, as well as what offenses might bring a reprimand. [Thus far the State has provided no list of offenses that might yield a public reprimand].  One version  to have teacher’s driver’s licenses flagged in order to be informed of possible moving violations committed by KCS employees, as well as of intentions of certain administrators to rid the teaching pool of staff members whose personal, private life choices, or physical appearances may conflict with the values held by fear-fanning politicians or moneyed individuals in the larger community.

Not only do we have the punitive, unproven, critically-flawed, multi-million dollar Milken Brothers TEAM evaluation system (combined with Broad-Stooge McIntyre’s pet project of pay-for-performance APEX program) to marginalize, demoralize, deprofessionalize, and ultimately drive out seasoned, professional educators (those most likely to speak out against the wrongs currently being perpetrated against their students and communities in the name of “reform”), we now have the beginnings of a 19th-century throwback policy by which public school educators can be censured, publicly humiliated, and blacklisted without the benefit of due process for as yet unspecified indicators of “unprofessionalism” and “moral turpitude.”

By using that most dog-eared page from the reformer’s playbook of “getting tough on teachers.” while simultaneously pandering to the most intolerant and prejudiced segments of the local population with the hot-button, evangelical issue of “morality,” McIntyre has demonstrated his commitment to diligently promote the Business Roundtable’s agenda by any means necessary.

Which leaves the educators of Knox County to wonder: What will be the NEXT reason that some Knox County teachers--most likely tenured veterans near the top of the pay scale--will find themselves “out of alignment” with McIntyre’s “vision,” and acted against accordingly?  A speeding ticket?  A bankruptcy? Holding hands in public? Unsubstantiated allegations related to a divorce or custody dispute?  Complaints from a disgruntled parent?  Being seen consuming a glass of wine at a restauraunt?

Welcome to the New Dark Ages, brought to you by this generation's efficiency zealots and supporters of plutocracy.

Local story by WATE reporter, Hana Kim:
By HANA KIM
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The State Board of Education could pass a new rule this week that would allow it to publicly reprimand a teacher for misconduct.

However, the initiative is creating some fear that teachers' personal rights would be infringed upon.

If the board passes the agenda on Friday, it will give the board the option to publicly reprimand a teacher for bad behavior. That reprimand will be on the teacher's record permanently so that every school district in Tennessee could find out about it.

School districts are required to turn over a teacher's case for evaluation if there's a misconduct problem.

The board can either suspend or even revoke a teacher's license, depending on the case. The state says a public reprimand would be something in the middle, given out for an offense that is not worth a suspension, but still frowned on.

General Counsel Dannelle Walker deals with most of the state's licensing cases and came up the initiative.

"We have pretty much a small hammer and a big hammer. We want to have like a screwdriver to make it a little bit better, and we are not pulling out the big hammer for such small offenses," Walker said.
However, the initiative is stirring a lot of confusion.

Sherry Morgan, president of the Knox County Teacher's Union, says there isn't a clear definition of what violations would warrant a public reprimand.

For example, could a bankruptcy, a domestic issue or a first time DUI offense be enough for a reprimand?

"They have their professional life. They have their personal life, and are they going to infringe on their personal lives? I honestly think it could ruin their careers," Morgan said.

"It's not going to be frivolous or arbitrary," Walker said. "It has to be in precedent of what we've done before."

Walker says teachers would not be unfairly targeted for bankruptcy or minor issues. . . .

Wanted: Computer of Apple Quality Not Made in Poisonous Factory by Slave Labor

Yesterday I was at the gym watching on closed caption the story of Apple's cash problems.  Seems they have almost a hundred billion bucks (more than most European countries) that they don't know what do with, except to hold it for the next inevitable bankster-inspired economic depression.  

Looks like they could at least afford haz-mat suits for the Chinese peasants who get paid pennies to polish their expensive Apples in plants where suicide provides an attractive alternative to a life of hell. 

I've been an Apple user for a long time, but I am definitely looking for another option that doesn't run on Gates.  

A tiny clip from the NYTimes:
. . . . the workers assembling iPhones, iPads and other devices often labor in harsh conditions, according to employees inside those plants, worker advocates and documents published by companies themselves. Problems are as varied as onerous work environments and serious — sometimes deadly — safety problems. 

Employees work excessive overtime, in some cases seven days a week, and live in crowded dorms. Some say they stand so long that their legs swell until they can hardly walk. Under-age workers have helped build Apple’s products, and the company’s suppliers have improperly disposed of hazardous waste and falsified records, according to company reports and advocacy groups that, within China, are often considered reliable, independent monitors. 

More troubling, the groups say, is some suppliers’ disregard for workers’ health. Two years ago, 137 workers at an Apple supplier in eastern China were injured after they were ordered to use a poisonous chemical to clean iPhone screens. Within seven months last year, two explosions at iPad factories, including in Chengdu, killed four people and injured 77. Before those blasts, Apple had been alerted to hazardous conditions inside the Chengdu plant, according to a Chinese group that published that warning

“If Apple was warned, and didn’t act, that’s reprehensible,” said Nicholas Ashford, a former chairman of the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health, a group that advises the United States Labor Department. “But what’s morally repugnant in one country is accepted business practices in another, and companies take advantage of that.” 

Apple is not the only electronics company doing business within a troubling supply system. Bleak working conditions have been documented at factories manufacturing products for Dell, Hewlett-Packard, I.B.M., Lenovo, Motorola, Nokia, Sony, Toshiba and others. 

Current and former Apple executives, moreover, say the company has made significant strides in improving factories in recent years. Apple has a supplier code of conduct that details standards on labor issues, safety protections and other topics. The company has mounted a vigorous auditing campaign, and when abuses are discovered, Apple says, corrections are demanded. 

And Apple’s annual supplier responsibility reports, in many cases, are the first to report abuses. This month, for the first time, the company released a list identifying many of its suppliers. 

But significant problems remain. More than half of the suppliers audited by Apple have violated at least one aspect of the code of conduct every year since 2007, according to Apple’s reports, and in some instances have violated the law. While many violations involve working conditions, rather than safety hazards, troubling patterns persist. 

“Apple never cared about anything other than increasing product quality and decreasing production cost,” said Li Mingqi, who until April worked in management at Foxconn Technology, one of Apple’s most important manufacturing partners. Mr. Li, who is suing Foxconn over his dismissal, helped manage the Chengdu factory where the explosion occurred.
“Workers’ welfare has nothing to do with their interests,” he said.. . . .

What the Hell Is the Tennessee State Board of Education Doing?

 First they came for the teachers.  See below:
Tennessee State Board of Education Agenda January 27, 2012 Final Reading Item: IV. G.
License Denial, Suspension, and Revocation Procedure Policy
The Background:
Pursuant to State Board of Education Rule 0520-2-4-.01(9)(b) the State Board of Education may revoke, suspend or refuse to issue or renew a license for several reasons listed in the rule. 
Currently under the policy, there is no option for the State Board to issue a public reprimand for a license holder who engages in conduct which may not rise to the level of a suspension, but should be discouraged nonetheless. Amending the policy to include public reprimand as an option would ensure that those instances of misconduct are not only recorded with the State Board of Education, but are also reported to the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) Clearinghouse.

The Master Plan Connection:
This item supports the Board’s Master Plan principles of effective school leaders and effective teachers by ensuring that varying levels of misconduct will be actionable. 
The Recommendation:
The SBE staff recommends adoption of this item on final reading. 
Text Box: TENNESSEE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION  
LICENSE DENIAL, PUBLIC REPRIMAND, SUSPENSION & REVOCATION PROCEDURE  5.501



Procedure for License Denial, Public Reprimand, Suspension & Revocation
Board Rule 0520-2-4-.01(9) governs denial, public reprimand, suspension and revocation of a Tennessee teaching license.  Reporting and recording of action taken on licenses is coordinated with the Department of Education’s Office of Teacher Licensing and local education agencies.  
Below is a general outline of the procedure followed in cases of possible license denial, public reprimand, suspension or revocation.  Requests for restoration of suspended or revoked licenses are handled in accordance with Board Policy 5.500, License Restoration Requests. 
Reporting
Board Rule 0520-2-4-.01(9)(e) requires superintendents to report to the Office of Teacher Licensing whenever a teacher or administrator is “suspended or dismissed, or [has] resigned, following allegations of conduct which, if substantiated, would warrant consideration for license suspension or revocation under” the rule.  Superintendents are also required to report “felony convictions of licensed teachers or administrators.” These reports must be submitted “within thirty (30) days of the suspension, dismissal or resignation” or “within 30 days of receiving knowledge of the [felony] conviction.”
Procedure
After receiving a report, the following procedure should be followed: 
For Automatic Revocation
1.    The Office of Teacher Licensing (OTL) flags the individual’s file (license or license application)  on a database available to Tennessee LEAs.  Before hiring new teachers, LEAs should check the potential employee’s license status on this database to determine the reason for the flag.
2.    The OTL creates a file with the superintendent’s report and the teacher’s license information to Board counsel. 
3.    Board counsel obtains a certified copy of the criminal record showing the conviction for one of the offenses at T.C.A. § 40-35-501(i)(2) or 39-17-417 (including conviction on a plea of guilty or nolo contendere).
4.    Following receipt of the certified record, Board counsel informs the individual that his/her teaching license is subject to automatic revocation at the next Board meeting.  Notification is sent at least 30 days prior to the Board meeting at which the revocation is scheduled to occur.


 For Denial, Public Reprimand, Suspension or Revocation
1. The Office of Teacher Licensing (OTL) flags the license file on a database available to Tennessee LEAs.  Before hiring new teachers, LEAs should check the potential employee’s license status on this database to determine the reason for the flag.
2. The OTL prepares a file with the application materials or the superintendent’s report and transmits the file to Board counsel. 
3. If another proceeding could affect the decision by the Board, Board counsel may wait for:
a. The conclusion of any LEA investigation and/or termination proceeding or
b. Entry of a final order in any criminal or civil proceeding (including DCS findings) related to the events giving rise to the report.
4. A three person panel of Board staff reviews the file to determine whether disciplinary action (denial, public reprimand, suspension or revocation) should be pursued, or if additional investigation is necessary.  This panel consists of the executive or deputy executive director, counsel to the Board, and at least one other staff member.
a. If the panel decides not to investigate further or pursue disciplinary action, counsel to the Board directs the OTL to unflag the file.
b. If the panel recommends that the Board impose disciplinary action, then
5. Board counsel then notifies the individual of the Board’s intent and the individual’s right to a hearing. Counsel may also include a proposed agreed order.
a. If the individual waives the right to a hearing, Board counsel submits the proposed disciplinary action to the Board for roll-call vote at its next meeting.  Counsel includes a proposed order for the Board to approve.
b. If the individual requests a hearing, then Board counsel schedules a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) from the Secretary of State’s office, sitting on behalf of the Board.
6. Board or ALJ action:
a. No disciplinary action:
i. If the Board votes not to impose discipline, Board counsel informs the individual of the decision and directs the OTL to unflag the file.
ii. If the ALJ, sitting on behalf of the Board, finds that suspension or revocation is not warranted, Board counsel directs the OTL to unflag the file.  The Board may, however, appeal the ALJ’s decision at its discretion.
b. If the Board votes to impose discipline, counsel sends a copy of the order (signed by the Chair) to the individual, and copies the OTL.
c. OTL records the disciplinary action and the grounds on the national clearinghouse (NASDTEC).

NOTE: Suspended licenses are subject to expiration.
A visual representation of the procedure is included as an attachment to this policy.