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

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Member of FBI-Raided School Funds Todd Rokita AFTER the Raid

by Doug Martin

I mention Todd Rokita, the Indiana US congressman from the 4th district, in my book Hoosier School Heist because of his role with the Muslim Gulen charter schools recently raided by the FBI (see more on this at the end of this article).
Since Rokita is up for election this year, I decided to peek into his campaign funding ("peek" because I merely touch the surface with what is below). 
Unsurprisingly, Rokita and Tony Bennett have a lot in common.  Rokita is tight with the main players who have turned our schools over to privatizers in Indiana.
First off, in 2010, Fred Klipsch, Walmart and Amway’s main school privatizing operative in Indiana, rolled $1,000 into Rokita’s campaign.  

Simon Property Group’s Herbert Simon gave $1,000 to Rokita in 2011.  Simon Property Group, as I note in Hoosier School Heist, helps run dozens of public schools in its shopping malls across the US so students can incorporate consuming into their course loads.  

George Bush partner and Tony Bennett donor Al Hubbard, who works for Simon Property Group, funded with millionaires IPS board member Caitlin Hannon, and orchestrated many parts of the public school takeover in Indiana with Jeb Bush and Amway’s Betsy DeVos, gave Rokita $2,000 (see here and here for his funding in 2010 and in April of this year).

Then there’s scandal-ridden Mitch Daniels’ buddy Jerry Slusser, who is also in my book.  Slusser loaded Rokita’s campaign chest with $6,600 in 2010 (see here, here, and here). 
When online K12, INC’s founder Bill Bennett wanted to hang out in Indiana to promote his various corporate school projects, Tony Bennett attempted to use Slusser to fly him to a Jeffersonville fundraiser. 
Slusser, besides being very rich, is best known for being fined “$600,000 by federal regulators for defrauding German investors in the late ‘90s.”
Tony Bennett donor and popcorn prince Michael Weaver, also mentioned in Hoosier School Heist, gave Rokita $2,000 (here and here) a few years ago.

Another Tony Bennett mega-donor, Dean White, gave Rokita $5,200 in 2013.
And let us not forget the Muslim Gulenists from Turkey who wine, dine, and buy lawmakers across the country and get millions of our tax dollars.  They operate several charter schools in the Midwest (Indy, too) that have recently been raided by the FBI. 

Hasan Yerdelen, who once ran the Gulenist American Turkish Association of Indiana, handed Rokita $1,000 in 2010. 

In 2010, the Indiana Math and Science Academy’s Aynur Aytekin’s slid Rokita $1,000.

Unbelievably, this year on June 30, Gulen’s main man in Indiana, Bilal Eksili, who has or still sits on several Indiana Math and Science Academy charter school boards in Indianapolis (including its North campus,*) slipped Rokita $2,500.  The FBI raided Gulen's Indiana Math and Science Academy North campus school in Indy on June 4th. 

Indy RTV's Derrik Thomas wanted to interview me about the FBI raid but backed out. We wouldn't want the public to know too much, now would we?


* The Indiana Math and Science Academy North board of directors, according to the group's website, also lists Brenda Shaheed as a member.  Brenda is the mother-in-law of another Indiana Gulen-lawmaker, Andre Carson.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Holy Moses Batman! Arne Met with the Badass Teachers!

The BATS Swoop Down on Department of Education

From With a Brooklyn Accent

The party's over but looks like the Badass Teachers, a group of people who have devoted their lives to educating children, had a meeting with Arne Duncan. The party at the DoE was  a lot of fun and nice to see new faces. The music was particularly good and the speakers, weather and entertainment was just what teachers needed this summer.

Evan Bayh Loves Christel DeHaan and Hedge Funders: CORPORATE SCHOOL ALERT

by Doug Martin

With so many people saying Evan Bayh must come back to Indiana to "save" public education as governor, it is time to set the record straight and let Hoosiers know about the real Evan Bayh.
Here is just a glimpse (after only a few hours of research) into Indiana’s hero, Fox News' on-air contributor, and former governor of and senator for Indiana, and it is not pretty.

Anyone who thinks Evan Bayh is good for public education is either lying or has not been informed.  Let’s inform the unformed now and expose the liars. 

Back in 2002 in an article for the neoliberal Democratic Leadership Council entitled “How Bush Stole Education,” Bill Gates’ operative Andy Rotherham, the hedge fund-funded Democrats for Education Reform's former director, insisted that NCLB was more Evan Bayh and Joe Lieberman’s pet project than it was George Bush’s. 

Rotherham, who plays a role in my book Hoosier School Heist, claimed that “Mr. Bush’s education agenda is largely a New Democratic one…. The new education bill, which is regarded widely as ‘Bush’s education initiative,’ was largely written by Democratic Sens. Joe Lieberman (Conn.) and Evan Bayh (Ind.), along with other New Democrats.”
New Democrats here is a code word for privatizers like Bill Clinton and Bart Peterson, Bayh's past chief of staff.

Bayh, indeed, was a player in NCLB, the bill which set the dominoes in motion to use standardized testing to turn our schools over to private companies, many of them campaign donors.

So, it makes perfect sense that Bayh—in a scratch-your-back moment—now gets a paycheck from Apollo Global Management, the owners of McGraw-Hill Education which includes the CTB/McGraw-Hill division Indiana taxpayers have a $95 million deal with for ISTEP, despite constant errors and problems. Bayh, too, is a board member of McGraw-Hill Education. 

Evan Bayh is also doing lobbying for McGuire Woods, a mega-law firm/lobbying outfit which has represented charter schools in court, has many members on charter school boards across the US, “counsels” charter school bond lenders, and even lobbies for online K12, Inc., the for-profit corporation started by racist Bill Bennett which buys out lawmakers in many states, including Indiana.
In 2011, Bayh joined the board of Fifth Third Bank, a bank also mentioned for various reasons in Hoosier School Heist.

Evan Bayh (who grew up in a small, small town just a coalmine down the street from me, years earlier; just a rabbit-throw down the highway from where Eugene V. Debs is buried) has ALOT of money in his rainy-day campaign closet.  Not much of it comes back home to Indiana.

And Democrats running with no gas money from Bayh or the Indiana Democratic Party on the campaign trail this year should know that, in May, Bayh gave $4,000 (page 11) to Cory Booker’s US senate campaign. 

The former mayor of Newark, NJ, DFER hedge fund-supported Booker is the Walmart/Amway/Bradley Foundation operative who has worked for white billionaire school privatizers since his Black Alliance for Educational Options/Bush years. 

In 2012, Bayh’s election committee dished out $2000 to Andre Carson, Indiana’s DC corporate schooler (page 9). 

Carson met with his Gulen friends a week or so ago, just on the heels of the FBI raiding the Gulen charter school in Indy. 
One of Bayh’s own protégé’s worked at Indy’s Gulen school. Teach Plus’ Patrick McAlister--IPS board member Caitlin Hannon’s campaign manager, former TFA member, and teacher at Gulen’s Indiana Math and Science Academy--got his big break as an intern with Evan Bayh back in 2008. 
But Bayh and Andre Carson have another thing in common, and that is Christel DeHaan. 

When the media and Democratic Party in Indiana painted DeHaan as merely a Republican mega-donor during the Tony Bennett charter school grading scandal, they hushed the fact that DeHaan has given campaign funding to Obama, Joe Donnelly, Andre Carson, and Evan Bayh. 

Since 2011, Andre has received $10,200 from DeHaan (see here, here, here, and here).  Bayh has received $3,000 since 1998 from Tony Bennett’s princess, shockingly even more than Indiana Democratic Party's evil foe Mike Pence did when he was in DC (see Pence's $2,000 from DeHaan here and here).
The Indiana Democratic Congressional Victory Committee is a DeHaan breadwinner, too. It got $10,000 from DeHaan in Sept. 2012.  In 2010, she gave the same group another $10,000.  In 2008, Oprah and Mitch Daniels’ friend DeHaan gave the group $5,000 and another $1,000 in 1998.

If all is this is not enough to shake you, school voucher-supporting Republican School Choice Indiana’s Fred Klipsch, Walmart and DeVos’ main Hoosier front-man, gave Evan Bayh $2,000 in 1997 (scroll down the page here).
Democrat for Education Reform’s hedge fund manager Joel Greenblatt donated $1,000 to Bayh in 2004. 

Former Gotham Capital hedge fund manager Daniel Nir, a good Bayh buddy, has also loaded (see here and here) Evan's campaign chest.  Gotham Capital is thick in the school privatization movement.

Bayh, too, is giving campaign money to DFER’s favorite son, Michael Bennett in Colorado (see page 10 here).

My new research reveals tons.  In fact, the powers-that-be used the Black Alliance for Educational Options and the DFER (both started by many of the same people, and people from Indiana, as I note in Hoosier School Heist) to make it look like the Republicans and Democrats were both on the same page, for once, because school reform was good for children.  That was the hoax.  Then came NCLB. Then came the heist.  Evan Bayh was bought by DeHaan and Klipsch a few years before Bart Peterson was making his move to school-privatize Indianapolis.

Bayh in many ways is as much a grandfather of the corporate school movement as anyone from the rightwing.

As most know, Indianapolis’ first school privatizer Bart Peterson was Bayh’s chief of staff.  Other Bayh people have been and are still part of the heist.

Stan Jones, who Bayh selected for the Higher Education Commission in Indiana, now works for the Bill Gates Foundation.
The board of the Indianapolis Lighthouse Mission Charter School--now part of a multi-state outfit--had three people that used to labor for Bayh on it when the school applied for its charter several years ago. 

Former Bayh and Peterson official Doran Moreland now is employed with the Friedman Foundation, a group funded by the Koch Brothers, the Bradley Foundation, and others highlighted in Hoosier School Heist. 
Moreland runs Rocketship Education in Indiana, the charter school promoted by the Jonas Brothers and other billionaires.


We have some great candidates running for office in Indiana under the Democrat Party name this election, and it's time to support them.

And them only.

Since so many Indiana Democratic corporate school reformers want to run for governor, the Associated Press recently asked if there was a civil war brewing in the Indiana Democratic Party.  Who knows.  But maybe it's time to start one before it's too late.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Now That Education Has Been the "Civil Rights Issue of Our Generation" for a Generation . . .

. . . it's worth asking how's that working out for those duplicitous policy elites who pretend to believe such nonsense.  

Apparently, much more grit is going to required to grind poor and brown children down into that magical stuff that high test scores are made from.  

From Kids Count 2014:

Haslam Continues Ed Policy Based on Secrecy, Favoritism, and Dupliicty

Core concerns: Legislators, educators gather as Haslam meets with county school staff
Washington County School Board member Jack Leonard speaks Friday outside the district's central office as state Reps. Matthew Hill, Micah Van Huss and Tony Shipley listen. (Nathan Baker/Johnson City Press)

Bill Haslam is up for re-election this year, and if Tennesseans can see beyond the ends of the Obama-hating noses, they will send this anti-democratic oligarch back to the corporate offices of Pilot Oil.

His ongoing efforts to go around the public to implement CorpEd's privatization schemes now threatens to balloon into a major scandal.  This is part of a pattern that has characterized the actions of the secret and ethically-challenged Haslam:
Gov. Haslam reduced disclosure requirements for senior executive branch employees, including himself.

Since Gov. Haslam took office, the state has spent millions of dollars to buy a building from his former business partner. He signed legislation benefiting a former business partner, and used personal funds to pay a top political advisor who is also a registered lobbyist, shielding the payments from public records.
The latest from reporter, Nathan Baker, on Haslam's secret government:
July 25th, 2014 11:21 pm by Nathan Baker

Trust, and the lack thereof, was the topic of concern Friday afternoon among a group of teachers, legislators and a school board member gathered outside the Washington County School District central office before Gov. Bill Haslam and Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman arrived for a closed-door meeting with hand-picked school personnel.

The group, concerned that Common Core and other education reforms were being planned out without input from all stakeholders in the education system, held an outdoor press conference in the Jonesborough school administration building’s parking lot to call for openness and transparency from the officials.

“Tennessee’s teachers have trust issues when it comes to the implementation of Gov. Haslam’s and Commissioner Huffman’s initiatives,” Washington County teacher Jenee Peters said, listing the administration’s support of new accountability measures, school vouchers, charter schools and standardized testing, among others.

“He (Haslam) came here today to talk about the good things about Common Core, then he’s going to a barbecue to support a candidate who campaigned on the ills of Common Core,” Peters added, alluding to an invite-only Republican gathering at Washington County Mayor Dan Eldridge’s farm. “I don’t know how he can rectify that in his head.”

County school board member Jack Leonard said he first heard of the governor’s impending visit earlier this week from a group of teachers. When he inquired about the meeting to Director of Schools Ron Dykes, Leonard said he was informed that the governor’s office requested only a select few teachers, principals and superintendents from the surrounding counties and cities attend the informal discussion.

“The school board members were elected by the people to represent them in matters of education actions and policies we felt were right for the district,” Leonard said. “This meeting should have been open, so that we and the people who will be affected by these policies could share their concerns and hear the responses.”

Also among the crowd standing in the July sun were state Reps. Matthew Hill, Micah Van Huss and Tony Shipley.

Hill, who has garnered support this election cycle from teachers unions for his stand in opposition to a proposed and rescinded policy to tie teachers’ licenses to a calculated performance score derived from students’ test performance, questioned the process unfolding in the administration building.

“How do we know they’re getting all the information they should be getting?” he asked. “I believe in transparency. An open process is the best way, and it’s the way we do things in the Legislature.”
On Thursday, Haslam spokesman Dave Smith said the meeting Friday was one of 12 statewide seeking input from districts on the state of education in the state.

The guest list was kept small, he said, to help manage the direction and scope of the conversation.
Haslam and Huffman were whisked into and out of a side door at the central office by security staff, not offering a word to the group at the other end of the lot.

Near the close of the meeting, superintendents and staff from Johnson City, Elizabethton, and Sullivan, Carter and Unicoi counties filed out of the meeting room.

The last person to leave the building, Director Dykes spoke briefly with reporters, but would not comment on the purpose of the group previously gathered outside.

“All of this was organized and requested by the governor’s staff,” he said, noting collaboration between Haslam’s office and the Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents to set the criteria for invitations to the meetings.

“He was seeking input from those in the trenches, he wasn’t seeking a particular group’s philosophy,” Dykes added. “He wanted a candid conversation about certain reform initiatives.”

Without discussion the content, Dykes said he believed the meeting was productive and achieved the governor’s fact-finding goal.

Follow Nathan Baker on Twitter @jcpressbaker. Like him on Facebook at facebook.com/jcpressbaker

Read more: Core concerns: Legislators, educators gather as Haslam meets with county school staff | Johnson City Press http://www.johnsoncitypress.com/article/119115/core-concerns-legislators-educators-gather-as-haslam-meets-with-county-board#ixzz38fsXOrZF

Saturday, July 26, 2014

New Jersey's Hedge Fund Guru In Indiana

By Doug Martin

Even though New Jersey hedge fund guru Sean Fieler likes to fight gay-marriage equality and women’s reproductive rights on the national arena, he spends a good deal of his leisure time buying Indiana politicians. 

Fielder is a big honcho in the school privatization movement in the Hoosier state, although you will never hear a whisper about him in the papers.
Here is the nitty-gritty:

On September 21, 2012, hedge fund manager Sean Fieler tossed district 30 Republican Mike Karickhoff $15,000 (page 10)for his campaign.  

A few days earlier, Fieler dished out another $15,000 to rightwing Alan Morrison, the handful house rep. from district 42 in central Indiana.  

In October of 2012, Fieler gave the Indiana House Republican Campaign Committee $15,000.

These politicians above have all played a role in school privatization in Indiana.  Both Morrison and Karickhoff are Walmart/DeVos lawmakers, Karickhoff having received $16,000 from the Hoosiers for Economic Growth Pac back in 2010 (see page 9).

And Fieler’s assault on Indiana public schools begins here.  Back in September 2010, Fieler gave $70,000 to the Walmart/Devos Hoosiers for Economic Growth PAC which owns education in our state, plain and simple.

Outlandishly, Sean Fieler and his wife have given over $187,000 to Republicans in Indiana, including anti-sign language lawmaker Cindy Noe (see Hoosier School Heist, note 101, page 182-183, for Noe’s role in the Indiana School for the Deaf scandal).

Fieler shares the same God as Mike Pence, so Fieler gave our governor $50,000 in campaign funding in 2011.

Unfortunately, Fieler only has an anonymous mention in Hoosier School Heist, but now I have seen the light.  If you live in the districts (see above) where Fieler has been gassing up the funding machine, as he enjoys his wealth in New Jersey heaven, vote every single one of these bought-and-sold politicians out come November.

Value-Added Modeling (VAM) is pseudoscience, but profitable pseudosciences persist

"While value-added models are intended estimate teacher effects on student achievement growth, they fail to do so in any accurate or precise way. — Professor Bruce Baker"

Back in early April I penned a piece for K12NN on The American Statistical Association's (ASA) paper on Value Added Methodologies [1]. In it I asserted that the "document provides strong support to those who oppose this wrongheaded use of statistics to make high stakes decisions effecting the lives of students, educators, and our school communities." This week I noticed a trackback to a reprint of the article. What caught my eye was the title, which seemingly was entirely out of keeping with the spirit of the ASA's stance: Advocating for a robust value-added implementation.

I read through the VAM cheerleading piece and was gobsmacked by the deliberate manipulation of the ASA document's tenor and tone. This VAM apologetic read less like a legitimate blog posting and more like a corporate press release. Without doing much more research, I typed the following comments:

This quotation from the ASA document sums up the entire issue best: "The majority of the variation in test scores is attributable to factors outside of the teacher’s control". To, as the author above has, try and frame ASA's position as supportive of VAM phrenology takes mendaciousness to breathtaking heights. Rather than considering students as empty receptacles for "knowledge" deposited by a method that can be "measured," perhaps we can start talking about students as agents in their own pedagogical experiences—something that doesn't exist in the current regime of the profitable testing-industrial-complex.

The author's response displayed the same blatant avoidance of issues as the original piece. In fact, it stated some of the long discredited claims of the VAM camp, including Professor Bruce Baker's favorite trope about how "more sophisticated" VAMs address the issues people have with VAMs.

Thanks for your comment. The ASA statement seems to discuss primary drivers of student test scores, not student growth. It is well known that there is a strong relationship between students’ achievement (or test scores) and their socioeconomic/demographic background. However, there is typically little or no relationship between students’ growth and their socioeconomic/demographic background.

Another way to see this is that the most important factor of “current” test scores is prior tests scores and, once enough prior test scores are included in the model, the socioeconomic/demographic factors become relatively small or even non-significant, despite enormous sample sizes.

That said and to your concern about considering students in the context of their own experiences, more sophisticated value-added/growth models, like EVAAS, can follow the progress of individual students over time, so that each student serves as his or her own control.

Aside from being patently wrong, the whole thing smacked of being boilerplate text written in the bowels of a corporate public relations department. That's when I decided to look into this dubious Jennifer Facciolini was and who she wrote for. I should have done that in the first place.

As of 2012, Statistical Analysis System (SAS) Institute Inc., is one of the largest privately owned software companies in the world with revenue $3.02 billion USD (2013). They are the developers of the wildly inaccurate, but highly profitable Education Value-Added Assessment System, (AKA SAS EVAAS) — a VAM implementation used in many districts. Money chasing SAS is all about big fish government contracts, to wit an excerpt from a recent Businessweek piece:

SAS Institute Inc. won a $6,479,583.96 federal contract from the Defense Information Systems Agency, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, for Statistical Analysis System software licenses and support renewal.

When a huge firm like SAS pulling down big dollar defense contracts makes the education "market" their priority, you can believe that they won't let things like facts and evidence discrediting VAM get in the way of them selling and supporting their EVAAS phrenology kit to any and all districts infected by the neoliberal corporate reform virus.

Hiring several white, well educated former-teachers like Nadja Young and Jennifer Facciolini to shill for your product is a smart public relations investment for the VAM behemoth. Given that they were teachers in the south, the chances are that they are making a great deal more money at SAS by simply selling out their former profession to corporate interests. Whether the boilerplate prose in their gushing blog posts is written by them or not isn't all that important. What's important is the appearance that professional teachers actually might think that phrenology and VAM are legitimate sciences. I can only hope that that the prose in these mindless corporate posts isn't written by these former teachers. Students should never be exposed to such nonsensical drivel. A selection of some of their titles should serve to numb the mind of any sentient being:

  • Data-driven education books make great holiday gifts for educators. Yes, really.
  • "March madness" of student course enrollment gets assist from value-added assessment
  • Beyond value-added: Teachers need diagnostic data to improve their practice
  • Student growth measures can be the bridge to new assessments

I'll spare readers further torment. As the preponderance of evidence against VAM pseudoscience like the watershed ASA paper grows, expect profit hungry firms like SAS to keep doubling down on the duplicity and deception. Having an army of former teachers shilling for your defective product is a small expense compared to losing those highly profitable contracts with districts.


[1] In its various permutations we've seen the "M" in VAM stand for Modeling, Measures, Methodologies, and others. The only honest word for last member of the acronym would be "Mendaciousness," since phrenology by any other name is…

Friday, July 25, 2014

Lily Gives Arne a Big Hug

From MicroSoftNBC:
Despite the education secretary’s outwardly nonchalant reaction to the NEA vote [calling for his resignation], García says he seemed “hurt” and “surprisingly confused.” In her estimation, he didn’t realize the level of anger he had conjured up.

“Arne Duncan is not a bad man,” she said. “I think he sincerely believes this stuff.”
Despite their differences, says García, they ended the meeting with a hug.
By Lily's measure, Hitler and Stalin were not bad men, either.  After all, they believed the "stuff" they were doing.

Behning's Corporate School Money Still Flowing

by Doug Martin
(See the important note at the end of this article.

Patrick Lockhart is running against Behning, and needs your support.  Here is his facebook page.  Spread it wide.  It is time to take this to a truly grassroots level.  Pass this article on to your neighbors, your community members and leaders and to the people in Lockhart’s district, many of them in Indianapolis.  It is time to stop preaching to the choir and to get the word out.  Doug Martin)

No sooner than I posted my article on Bob Behning’s corporate school money at the end of April, more handouts from the extremely wealthy fell into the Republican’s campaign lap.  Here is the latest rundown:
Along with his Red Apple Development real estate charter school group (which gave $2,000 on April 30th), Jeb Bush’s buddy Jon Hage at Charter Schools USA handed Behning  $2,000 that same day, sometime after my blog entry was written.   To Behning, the Indiana Chamber Business Advisory Committee handed over $2,500 , and Mike Pence’s campaign threw $5,000 to the career ALEC politician. 

On May 1st, corporate school princess Michelle Rhee’s Students First slid Behning’ s campaign $1,000.  In November of last year, Students First handed Behning $1,000 (page 9).

Tony Bennett and Indiana state board of ed. member Dan Elsener’s former boss Christel DeHaan funded Behning $10,000 more on April 30 when I wasn't looking, after giving him $10,000 on April 19th.

All of this has taken place since my last piece on April 30, tracking Behning corporate school money.
In my first post, I noted the following:

The Hoosiers for Economic Growth PAC, founded by an Amway/Besty Devos/Walmart/Overstock.com/hedge fund front group,  gave Behning $45,000.  Hoosiers for Economic Growth slid him $25,000 at the beginning of this April, too (page 4).  Back in 2013, the super PAC handed Behning $2,000 (page 5). This PAC is where Walmart and DeVos' American Federation for Children unloads its money.
Bush family friend Al Hubbard has thrown $5,000 (page to 2) to Behning’s reelection campaign. Hubbard also gave the Hoosiers for Economic Growth PAC* $75,000 recently.

Theresa  Rooney, whose father was the father of the Indiana voucher movement, has also tossed Behning $5,000 (page 2). 
David Shane, whose wife Anne was a Lilly and Mind Trust water-carrier, gifted Behning $500 (page 3).  Eli Lilly (known for funding the Mind Trust’s temporary teacher workforce) gave money to Republican Behning in 2013, as well (page 7).

Hedge fund and Bill Gates’ supported Stand for Children (highlighted in Hoosier School Heist) dished out $1,000 to Behning recently (page 4).
Bob Behning likes to call himself a family man, but he is a corporate man, undoubtedly. The "traditional values" he shares are the values the billionaires have shared since the beginning of time, and they do not include YOUR family.


Behning's endorser the Hoosiers for Economic Growth has changed its name to throw people like me off-track.  It is now called the Hoosiers for Quality Education (HQE) PAC.
("Like" Hoosier School Heist on facebook, and follow Doug Martin on Twitter)



Haslam's Secret Meeting at Ground Zero of Secret Classroom Camera Project

Last year we were able to uncover details of a Gates-funded student and teacher surveillance plan that gathered classroom video data and dumped it into a corporate Cloud for sharing among, who knows?

Now it seems Governor Haslam is meeting undercover with a group of "educators" in Washington County to find out "what works and what's not."  Wonder if the Gov plans to keep it all to himself once he finds out.  Apparently, the real educators of Washington County want to know when the Governor learns it:

What organizers are calling an outdoor gathering Friday in the parking lot of the Washington County School District’s central office is intended to shed light on a closed-door meeting taking place inside between the governor and selected school officials.

The meeting is one of 12 planned throughout the state, said Gov. Bill Haslam’s spokesman, Dave Smith, each closed to the public and news media to allow candid discussion between the governor and invited teachers and principals.

“The governor wants to hear from those in the room about what’s working and what’s not,” Smith said. “Common Core usually comes up, so do assessments and whatever else is on their minds.”

But the group of teachers and parents planning the counter meeting, which they emphasized is not a protest but a way for all of the stakeholders involved in the education process to encourage openness and transparency, said they’re worried they may not be accurately represented in the private meeting.
“We’re just concerned that there won’t be an open dialogue,” Washington County teacher Jenee 
Peters said. “The people going into this meeting to represent us are not our true representation.”

Susan Kiernan, the county district’s communications director, who said she would be setting up the meeting room, but was not invited to the discussion herself, said she believed the governor’s office made out the guest list.

Smith, of Haslam’s office, said the list of personnel for the meeting was recommended to the 12 districts by the Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents.

“They’ve taken the lead in inviting staff, because we want to keep it to a manageable-sized group,” Smith said.

According to Smith, Haslam has already attended eight such meetings in the state.

Earlier this week, one of those meetings in Bradley County drew criticism from elected school board members, who were shut out of the event by administrators, then informed after the fact by an email that the governor required that neither the school board nor the media be advised of the meeting.
Planning to be present at the outdoor meeting are several Washington County Board of Education members, who said they were likewise left off the guest list.

“We certainly should have been invited,” board member Phillip McLain said. “It’s a meeting about education in the state and we’re the Board of Education.”

McLain said he may not be able to attend the event, but school board member Jack Leonard confirmed his attendance and Peters said David Hammond had also given a verbal commitment to be present.

State Reps. Matthew Hill and Micah Van Huss, both in the midst of campaigning for re-election, are also planning to attend the open event.

“I think we all agree that we’re happy the governor is visiting Washington County,” Hill said from the Jonesborough street corner opposite the old courthouse, where he’d spent most of the day encouraging early voters to mark his name on their ballots. “What we’re doing isn’t adversarial. Both myself and Rep. Van Huss have been getting calls and emails from people worried about this meeting who think they should be included, and we don’t feel their requests are unreasonable.”

Peters said the attendees at the gathering aren’t planning to confront Haslam, but will give speeches outlining their concerns with the way the state Education Department has put in place reforms in recent years.

Teachers from Washington and Greene counties are expected there, as are their counterparts from Johnson City.

The outdoor gathering is scheduled for 3 p.m., about 25 minutes before the governor’s expected arrival for the closed meeting.

Getting to Know KnowledgeWorks, Part 1

Soon after Ted Strickland (D) was elected Governor of Ohio in 2006, he announced that he would rely on the expertise of the KnowledgeWorks foundation to "help shape his administration's education agenda."  Really not surprising, since the CEO for KnowledgeWorks, Chad Wick, served as transition team leader following Strickland's election.  What does Wick, an investment banker, know about education?  Nothing, but his patron, Bill Gates has a whole stable of Princeton and Yale grads who pretend to know everything.
Dr. Chad P. Wick is a General Partner at MAYWIC Select Investments. Dr. Wick is a commercial banking executive and leader of an educational organization in the U.S. He has also built New Tech Network. Dr. Wick co-founded RISE Learning Solutions. He was the Founding President and Chief Executive Officer at KnowledgeWorks Foundation since 1998. Previously, Dr. Wick has served as the President, Chief Executive Officer, and Board member of institutions including Ameritrust, Southern Ohio Bank, and Shawnee Life Insurance Co. Previously, he served as the President at Mayerson Company. Dr. Wick serves as a Director of ACT, Inc. He serves as Trustee at KnowledgeWorks Foundation. Prior to this, Dr. Wick served as a Director of InQBate, Corp from September 3, 2002 to September 2, 2003. He also served as a Director of ChoiceCare Corp. Dr. Wick has served as a Board member on various boards including Student Loan Funding Corp. and Mount Vernon. He served as Chair of Education Transition for Ohio Governor Mr. Ted Strickland and through his role as KnowledgeWorks Chief Executive Officer, impacted Ohio’s education policy. Dr. Wick has been a Chief Executive Officer of commercial banks, large non-profit organizations, and a national foundation for the past 35 years. He has also had significant experience structuring both the buy and sell sides of large commercial transactions. Dr. Wick organized the private acquisition of Southern Ohio Bank and ultimate sale to PNC Bank. He played a key role as Director in the sale of an HMO in the Midwest to Humana and organized and managed the sale of the third largest student loan organization in the country to Sallie Mae. Dr. Wick is a Veteran of the U.S. Air Force and has participated in the Army War College’s Strategic Leadership Forum at Columbia University. He has been accorded many awards for education achievement in Ohio and nationally. Dr. Wick has received Honorary Doctorates from both the University of Cincinnati and Youngstown State University. He received an MBA with high honors from Thunderbird Graduate School and a BS degree from the University of Cincinnati.
Started in 1998, KnowledgeWorks was really "made" with $20 million from the Gates Foundation in 2002, and that handout would be the one of the first of many multi-million dollar infusions into Ohio to mold K-12 education as Bill Gates believed it should.  KnowledgeWorks functions to advise on implementing Gates-endorsed ed schemes, including curriculum, management, and technology.  Oh, don't forget student lending (more on that later).

 From looking at the 990s, Chad is doing pretty well in his new enterprise. Below are 2009 to 2011:

rely on their expertise to help shape his administration’s education agenda. - See more at: http://www.knowledgeworks.org/strickland-seeks-input-education-agenda#sthash.c6c6t5o8.dpuf
rely on their expertise to help shape his administration’s education agenda. - See more at: http://www.knowledgeworks.org/strickland-seeks-input-education-agenda#sthash.c6c6t5o8.dpuf
rely on their expertise to help shape his administration’s education agenda. - See more at: http://www.knowledgeworks.org/strickland-seeks-input-education-agenda#sthash.c6c6t5o8.dpuf

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Our overall scores are unspectacular because of our high rate of child poverty. (WSJ)

Test Scores, Students and Learning
Our overall scores are unspectacular because of our high rate of child poverty.
Published in the Wall Street Journal, July 24, 2014.
When researchers control for the effect of poverty, American scores on international tests are at the top of the world. Our overall scores are unspectacular because of our high rate of child poverty. The U.S. has the second highest level of child poverty among all 34 economically advanced countries. In some big city public school districts, the poverty rate is over 80%. Poverty means poor nutrition, inadequate health care and lack of access to books, among other things. All of these profoundly impact school performance.
This is compelling evidence that the problem is poverty, not teachers, teacher unions or schools of education. This is also compelling evidence that we should be protecting students from the effects of poverty, not investing in the Common Core.
Stephen Krashen
Posted at: http://tinyurl.com/pn594dr

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Why Rhonda's and Lili's Resignations Are More Important Than Arne's

As Weingarten was about to be re-appointed by Saddam proportions (97%) at the recent coronation exercises in Los Angeles, the biggest diversion of the week grew from whether Rhonda would call for Arne's resignation.  Ooh! What sad theatre!

Sadly, if Duncan were to leave tomorrow to play Golden Oldie basketball full time, another fascist water carrier would be put in his place to implement the ed policies set forth by the the the thin lipped drones from McKinsey & Co. for the Waltons, Bill Gates, and Broad.

What could be much more significant are the potential resignations of the top brass in both AFT and NEA, so that advocates for teachers and children and parents could be put in place in leadership positions to carry the battle against the mad dog privatizers, hedge funders, and profiteers.

The same sad diversionary theatre was just staged in Britain, with Duncan's equivalent, Gove, being shoved toward the door.  As the following excerpt from an email I got this morning from a British blogger shows, the questions remain about how this diversion could do anything for children and teachers and parents:

The recent National Union of Teachers strike involved lots of people holding up placards saying 'Gove Out'. Now he's gone do these people really think that the continuing sell-off of our public education system is going to stop? The naivete and ignorance amongst those who really ought to know better is shocking.