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

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Lee County Board Member, Mary Fischer, Wants to Change Her Vote at 8:30 AM Tuesday Morning

Clip from News-Press.com:
Opt-out may be a thing of the past.

Lee County School Board member Mary Fischer said Friday afternoon that she changed her mind about the benefits of opting out, calling for the board to rescind the motion at a special school board meeting.

Fischer, who served as the tiebreaker at Wednesday's 3-2 vote, called for the meeting to discuss repealing the sweeping decision. The meeting will be held at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday at the Lee County Education Center.

The school board often needs four votes, known as a "super majority," to rescind a decision. But district spokeswoman Amity Chandler said Tuesday's motion can be passed with the regular three votes, per Robert's Rules of Order. . . .
Tell the Lee County School Board to stay strong.  Send Mary Fischer an email to let her know what you think about her wanting to renege on her vote to opt out of state tests:

MaryBF@leeschools.net

KIPP Must Get "Municipal Solid Waste Development Permit" Before Opening New School

In 2013 KIPP San Antonio bought a former sewing factory that was located on a solid waste disposal site as the venue for its next San Antonio corporate reform school.  KIPP paid the company that owned the toxic site over $3 million in money that was funneled through a holding company in Delaware. 

Below are two pages from the agreementNoteworthy is the bolded language on the second page, which releases the seller from liabilities for all varieties of environmental problems affecting the property.  

We may guess this was not talked about with poor parents sending their kids for exposure to who knows what, notwithstanding the 2 feet of clay used as a barrier between toxic building waste and KIPPsters.





























KIPP never bothered to tell potential parents of this issue, and now the community is rightfully concerned as KIPP attempts to explain why it would 1) spend $3 million for a toxic site, and 2) never tell potential parents about it.

Below is the local news story from KSAT in early August:

SAN ANTONIO - Parents, grandparents and guardians of children who will attend KIPP San Antonio’s newest school this year attended a public meeting Monday to get their questions answered about health and safety concerns regarding the location of the school.

At 4343 West Commerce, the school was built on top of an old landfill that was used to dump construction materials, according to KIPP, and was covered in 1959.

“What was in the landfill was metal, glass, concrete,” said KIPP San Antonio CEO, Mark Larson.
“Its a matter of physical protection for our child and whether they would be in a safe environment daily,” said Isa Gonzalez, whose child will attend the new KIPP school during his senior year.

Larson says KIPP purchased the property last May and conducted thorough environmental testing prior to the purchase that showed no danger.

"Of those 56 sites, all of them came back with no methane detected,” he said. “We have 106 monitors inside the school to make sure that kids are safe at every turn.”

Those monitors are used to detect methane and function similar to smoke detectors, Larson added.

In a true layman’s comparison, Larson shared with those attending the meeting that human flatulence emits more methane than was detected in recent testing at the site.

Some parents in attendance were troubled that they weren’t given more notice regarding the environmental issue, especially since the school is set to open Aug. 11.

“We've been notified by mail about many things and I wished that they had notified parents in that manner given that most parents don’t speak English or have access to computers in their home,” said mother Vedette Padilla.

Officials with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality were on hand at Monday’s meeting at KIPP Headquarters at 731 Fredericksburg Road to answer questions and explain the permit process KIPP must go through in order to operate the school.

Larson expects KIPP will be granted the Municipal Solid Waste Development Permit.

Monday was the last chance for public comment on the environmental concerns and the TCEQ must make the decision whether to grant KIPP the permit within five days.

"We were really working to make sure that we navigated the TCEQ process the appropriate way and I think that by doing that we were not as proactive about communication to parents as we could have been,” Larson said. “And if I had gone back, we would do it differently.”

The new KIPP school is a permanent location for the prep school and will be home to K-2 and fifth to 12th grades.



Citizen Jack's compendium of teacher reviews of Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy Empire

"They don't tolerate what we tolerate," she said several times. What is it HSA doesn't tolerate? According to my co-worker: disruptive children and parents who don't play an active role in their child's education. — Brian Jones

"Jack," a frequent commenter on Professor Diane Ravitch's site, sent me the following compendium of reviews from a website that allows employees to rate their workplace. The workplace in question is reactionary Eva Moskowitz's corporate Harlem Success Academies (HSA). Ravitch did mention the site, and also referenced an article discussing the staggering turnover rates of teachers, with HSA being the most egregious offender.


Hey, why don’t we hear from the current and former instructors at Eva Moskowitz' SUCCESS ACADEMY Network? Thankfully,  we can actually do that, and hear the unvarnished truth that they have anonymously shared, thanks to the "Glass Door" website that provides employees an opportunity to share the good, the bad, and the ugly about the people for whom they work, and the workplace culture that they've experienced.

(Get it?  The "glass door" gives transparency.) 

Finally... FINALLY (!!!) in post-Michael-Winerip era, there is a free and independent entity that is beyond the control and clutches of Eva and her ruthless multi-million dollar PR leviathan.  Indeed, Glass Door's posted motto or promise is:

"Your trust is our top concern, so companies can't alter or remove reviews."

http://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Success-Academy-Charter-Schools-Reviews-E381408_P2.htm?sort.sortType=OR&sort.ascending=true

I just cut’-n-pasted the first 24 teacher reviews from the site above (settle in, it’s a long read if you care to read it all.)

Often I found myself asking the question, “Did I just read what I THOUGHT I read?"

For example, “FORMER SUCCESS ACADEMY TEACHER NO. 11” said that Eva banned any administrators or even teachers from writing letters of reference for SUCCESS teachers---current or former---who wished to teach elsewhere.  As this teacher put it put it:

“They will not give you reference letter; its against company policy."

What is this?  The Hotel California?  “You can check out any time you like but you’ll never be able to work again as a teacher…. that is, if I, Eva Moskowitz, have anything to say about it.”  It’s like… “If I can’t control you---i..e. you leave or I push you out---I won't help you with continuing your teaching career elsewhere.”

In my two decades of teaching in the traditional public schools, I’ve never heard of a administrator acting like this.

Some of them are even "LEAD TEACHERS"---NO. 17 is both a "CURRENT TEACHER" and a "LEAD TEACHER."

A common refrain is that the 60-80 hour weeks make it utterly impossible to have any kind of personal life or "work-life balance", and how they "work you until you are sick" and don't care about your well-being.  

Oh, and the workload and lifestyle make it impossible to have a family or children.  But hey, wait a sec.  Eva was allowed enough time that have and raise her three kids.  As Orwell put it in ANIMAL FARM... "All of us are equal, but some are more equal than others."  And she makes over $ 480,000 / year.

Perhaps my favorite comment came from a teacher comparing Eva’s personality and behavior to that of a Meryl Streep movie villain (from a few years back).  "FORMER TEACHER NO. 14 compared working at SUCCESS ACADEMY to...

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" 'THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA' --- except not funny and you actually can damage hundreds of kids lives in the process.

"Any advice will fall on deaf ears because hers is a method that works well. Google 'sick system' and you will find SUCCESS, in its shiny, primary colored glory."
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To jar your memory, here's the trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zicgut4gpwU

And the sad thing is… Eva would be flattered by this comparison, taking it as a compliment… "You’re damn right I’m like that, and if any o’ you teachers, parents, or kids got a problem with that, you can all go SUCK IT!" (not an actual quote... just a little humor)

The reviews have three criteria:  PRO’s, CON’s, and ADVICE TO MANAGEMENT.  I omitted the PRO’s as they were so trivial (i.e. healthy snacks and the printers work”)

I can just picture Eva in her posh Upper East Side digs reading this, and thinking, "What a bunch o' lazy wimps and whiners!  I don't want them teaching at my schools, anyway.  I wish there was a way to find out who those "CURRENT" teachers posting are, so I could fire all of 'em!"

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FORMER SUCCESS ACADEMY TEACHER NO. 1:

1 * STAR (out of 5)

“The most miserable experience I've ever had. ”

CON's:

"One personal day, horrible work-life balance,
--- micromanagement of employees,
--- no chance for professional or personal growth,
--- dictator-like school."

ADVICE to Management:

"I think it's too far gone."

Does NOT Recommend --- Negative Outlook - Disapproves of CEO
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FORMER SUCCESS ACADEMY TEACHER (& LEAD TEACHER) NO. 2:

“Do your research before accepting a job here.”

1 * STAR (out of 5)

CON's:

"Unethical treatment of students and teachers,

 --- competition at all costs,
 --- little support for students with disability,
 --- retains an average of less than 50% of students,
 --- retains an average of 30% of staff,
 --- leadership and staff are replaced with no communication or explanation,
 --- humiliation used as main motivational tool for both students and staff,
 --- students struggle with anxiety,
 --- very little emotional or social support
 --- students stay silent 80% of the day, silent hallways in upper grades,
 --- young students told to stop crying when dealing with personal trauma,
 --- no work-life balance,
 --- CEO is in constant conflict with city government which causes ongoing location uncertainty,
 --- network is rapidly opening new schools while neglecting to fix all of the other dysfunctional sites first."


Does NOT Recommend --- Disapproves of CEO
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FORMER SUCCESS ACADEMY TEACHER NO. 3:

1 * STAR (out of 5)

“Toxic Enviorment, Developmentally Inappropriate Abusive Culture of Fear ”

CON's: "Worked for one of the highest performing schools in the network in the Bronx.

"--- Entire school focused on remaining at top of network schools assessment wise while pushing students in completely developmentally inappropriate and emotionally ABUSIVE ways.

" --- When I brought up that Eva and the network and research disagrees with practices at my location, I was told the network didn't know what they were talking about, haven't I seen our top assessment scores, and that my primary responsibility was to make sure my classroom assessment data was up.

" --- Teachers openly MOCKED 6 year olds with learning disabilities telling them they would see them in the same grade again next year because they were neither smart nor hard working and hopefully would not be in their student again- in front of the entire classroom.

" --- Left work every day feeling angry at the school until I left permanently."


ADVICE to Management:

"Teacher culture needs to be totally reformed-
 --- experienced total lack of professionalism by newer teachers in front of children we were meant to be models for."

Does NOT Recommend --- Negative Outlook - No Opinion of CEO
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FORMER SUCCESS ACADEMY TEACHER NO. 4:

1 * STAR (out of 5)

“The mission provides so much potential, but falls short in practice ”

CON's:

"Employees are seen as dispensable and the environment is toxic.
 --- Leaders rule through fear and intimidation.
 --- At the network office, pay is low for the hours worked.
 --- Turnover is extremely high.
 --- The organization has grown too fast.
 --- There are other rewarding education organizations that treat their employees better."

Does NOT Recommend --- Disapproves of CEO
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FORMER SUCCESS ACADEMY TEACHER NO. 5:

“Will not shape you into the the teacher that you want to be. ”

1 * STAR (out of 5)

CON's:

"Lack of support.
 --- Militaristic style of teaching to the test.
 --- Students did not learn content.
 --- Teachers had no work-life balance."

Does NOT Recommend --- No Opinion of CEO
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FORMER SUCCESS ACADEMY TEACHER NO. 6:

1 * STAR (out of 5)

“Great mission, terrible culture ”

CON's:

"The leadership team is more interested in making political statements than about choosing the right growth strategy for the organization."

Does NOT Recommend --- Disapproves of CEO
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FORMER SUCCESS ACADEMY TEACHER NO. 7:

1 * STAR (out of 5)

“I was an Associate Teacher ”

CON's:

"Everything.
 --- Extremely high turnover due to many reasons, just a few of which are listed here.
 --- Hours are insane,
 --- management doesn't care about the employees,
 --- the style of teaching and discipline is horrifying,
 --- I didn't like who I became after working here,
 --- there are unrealistic expectations of teachers (like I need to log every phone call I make to a parent!?),
 --- and the feedback is ALWAYS negative without any sense of "you can do it" or "we can do this together",
 --- it's "Get your f*cking sh*t together!"

ADVICE to Management:

"You'll have a much happier staff if you recognize that employees are PEOPLE who want to have lives outside of work, don't want to be micromanaged, and will see better results if you approach criticism in a more constructive way rather than beating up your teachers."

Does NOT Recommend --- Neutral Outlook - Disapproves of CEO
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FORMER SUCCESS ACADEMY TEACHER (& LEAD TEACHER) NO. 8:

1 * STAR (out of 5)

“Overworked and unreasonable expectations on staff, micromanaging”

CON's:

" --- 1. Micromanaging by leadership

"--- 2. No autonomy in your classroom, it's like they're making all their teachers into replicas of the one model they're looking for

"--- 3. Overworked school day - I would arrive by 6:45 am and I felt like I was running behind already.

 --- I would work till 5:00 pm at school, then bolt out the door to get home to my family.
 --- I would tirelessly grade papers while on the subway, try to respond to the absurd amount of emails and constantly changing meetings, expectations, etc.
 --- I would work on school work for extra hours at night and it was never enough.

 --- If this had been my first teaching job out of college, I would have hated teaching.

 --- Luckily I had 6 years experience in a great school district in a different state.

"The stories I had to tell about this job made everyone in my life tell me to quit. There was so much stress and anxiety going into each week of the job."


Does NOT Recommend --- No Opinion of CEO
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CURRENT SUCCESS ACADEMY TEACHER NO. 9:

1 * STAR (out of 5)

“Very low morale”

CON's:

"All teachers are extremely overworked.
 --- 12-hour work days are the norm.
 --- Very, very little prep time during the day, as meetings are held during "prep" periods.  --- Management encourages bizarre competition between teachers, and as a result, morale is low.

" --- Students are pushed out of the school if they exhibit any negative behaviors or if their data is low.
 --- In either case, management will meet with the family to tell them that this school is 'just not the right fit for them'.
 --- If that doesn't work, they will suspend the child ad nauseum or even push them down into a lower grade, so that their exhausted parents give in.
 --- It's absurd that this school is publicly funded when it does not serve the population it purports to serve.
 --- It is honestly more a school for gifted students than a school working to close the achievement gap.
 --- I include this in my review because it contributes to the low morale of the school - your students who you love are constantly being kicked out."

Does NOT Recommend --- Negative Outlook - Disapproves of CEO
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FORMER SUCCESS ACADEMY TEACHER NO. 10:

1 * STAR (out of 5)

CON's:

"

ADVICE to Management:

"Value your teachers more by making their workday more manageable.
 --- This will lead to teacher retention.
 --- 6:30am - 6:30pm is not sustainable, as the teacher turnover rate clearly attests.

" --- Also, value the children who are told they don't belong at our school.

"If we can't help them, what are we doing in the education business?"

Does NOT Recommend --- Negative Outlook - Disapproves of CEO
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FORMER SUCCESS ACADEMY TEACHER NO. 11:

1 * STAR (out of 5)

“Not fulfilling, will not help you with career. ”

CON's:

"I worked exceptionally hard and efficient, and they rewarded me by not hiring me after the internship ended saying "There was not enough work to be done". There was not enough work to be done because I completed all the tasks. 1 month later surprisingly they found enough work again to open up the position.

" --- They will not give you reference letter, its against company policy.

" --- You spend days working on projects that they themselves do not want to work on. Some of which include creating thousands of addition and subtraction problems.

" --- You're supposed to work with the Math team however they are never in the office, and you are left alone to do meaningless tasks.

" --- You get paid terribly, and not treated as part of the company or team.

" --- They exclude interns from meetings, both company and team.

" --- Terrible pay despite working you to the bone."

ADVICE to Management:

"Recognize talent and hard work.
 --- Be honest about work performance instead of hiding behind HR."

Does NOT Recommend --- Positive Outlook - Disapproves of CEO
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FORMER SUCCESS ACADEMY TEACHER NO. 12:

1 * STAR (out of 5)

“High Turnover, Poor Work Life Balance, Unprofessional Managers ”

CON's:

"Unprofessional Directors and poor work-life balance. Focus on test scores and nothing else.
" --- Staff usually stay less than one year.
" --- There are so many HR/Recruiting positions available because the staff turnover is so high,
" --- they are constantly searching for other candidates."

ADVICE to Management:

"Look at the Enrollment and Talent/HR Team and Teacher Dept turnover. Why do certain directors have extremely high turnover and are not being held accountable?"

Does NOT Recommend --- Negative Outlook - Disapproves of CEO
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FORMER SUCCESS ACADEMY TEACHER NO. 13:

1 * STAR (out of 5)

“High Turnover, Poor Management ”

CON's:

" --- 1. Poor Management: Management tends to fire those who voice opposition. Look at the turnover data for the Network office...team Ops, team Enrollment...etc.

" --- 2. Mostly young, inexperienced staff. The poor management is directly reflective of inexperienced staff.

" --- 3. Unrealistic work expectations with no additional compensation or concern for staff well being. In a "no excuses" environment, even being ill with cancer is no excuse for taking a day off.

" --- 4. I cannot stress enough how poor the management of department directors and other senior staff is. My manager was the most unprofessional, unqualified person I had worked with in my career.


ADVICE to Management:

"Examine the high turnover rate and be honest about it. There are several directors whose turnover rates for their departments should be analyzed."

Does NOT Recommend --- Neutral Outlook - Disapproves of CEO
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FORMER SUCCESS ACADEMY TEACHER NO. 14:

1 * STAR (out of 5)

“Abusive, panic-driven environment justified with high reward potential ”

CON's:

"--- Erosion of any work/life balance - actually highly, HIGHLY discouraged in culture
 --- Constant environment of panic maintained to encourage high effort and self-doubt
 --- Eva is abusive and no one is willing to admit it
 --- Recommended to young individuals who believe in giving 115% for "the cause," and have not yet developed concept of "self-boundaries" or "self-care"
--- Upon school visitations, their very strict classroom rules for students also border on abusive
 --- While building critical reading and writing skills in kids, also severely stamps down on self-expression or autonomy (punishments are plentiful, harsh, and unexplained)
 --- Absolute silence in hallways, even teachers are discouraged from speaking
 --- Teachers are kept in constant fear of surprise visits and sample collections for evaluation."

ADVICE to Management:

"To management? Why bother? The network team waited weeks to "introduce me" to the Director, waiting for the right moment. WEEKS. I began to wonder if I should chew on a leaf in an office corner until she became accustomed to my scent. This is how afraid her staff members are, or at the least, this was the culture they tried to project.

"Her direct inferiors are constantly insulted, sent to run on impossible tasks, validated for their submission to her, or ridiculed/fired if not. I had extreme difficulty maintaining any hard boundaries -- much less soft ones -- during my time there. The literacy team is stressed out beyond belief; they put so much work into what they do but it is never good enough. It was incredible to watch.

'THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA' --- except not funny and you actually can damage hundreds of kids lives in the process.

Any advice will fall on deaf ears because hers is a method that works well. Google "sick system" and you will find Success, in its shiny, primary colored glory."

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"My advice goes out to the staff.

" --- The high turnover occurs because those able to identify the system for what it is and recognize that when faced with self-respect/self-care vs. 'the cause,' they should choose to protect what's left and move on.

" --- In addition, once you step quietly back from the whole thing, you will learn that 'the cause' has gotten lost in politics, panic and upkeep. 'The cause' is potentially damaging to the students that attend the school.

" --- If 'the cause' is yourself -- meaning, you are a young, vibrant, 20-something year old who wants to feel that you've single-handedly changed the world -- this is probably a better place for you than the ACTUAL NYC education system, which can be disheartening, without guidance or such ripe upward mobility. Here you've got micromanaging overhead, and if you 'survive' long enough, you can really take your experience everywhere.

"Dear prospective employee: In many aspects, teaching is like social work. Social Work institutions highly, highly encourage you to maintain self-boundaries and self-care. Otherwise you will burn out in a ruthless, demanding, draining career of unrequited love.

"The same way many social-work industries can take advantage of the big hearts and self-validating determination, so can 'well-intended' charter schools. Once you find yourself in a position where you have to negotiate your 'non-negotiable' (I highly recommend you walk in with one) on a consistent basis, consider stepping back for a long, long moment. Breathe. You will probably ride a cycle similar to breaking up from an unhealthy relationship, but I promise you your quality of life is not worth it.

"In any case, they can replace you so quickly. I think that is what scares everyone the most."

Does NOT Recommend --- Positive Outlook - Disapproves of CEO
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FORMER SUCCESS ACADEMY TEACHER NO. 15:

1 * STAR (out of 5)

CON's:

"---Culture - the tone of the organization is driven top-down. Eva and her direct reports are unafraid to bully others and do not show appreciation for those working for them. That trickles down through the organization in a very significant way.


" --- Highly-political / not-business minded - Though the organization is a non-profit there is ZERO business sense in making decisions which is sorely needed. Decisions are almost always motivated by political motives.

" --- Physical work environment - the actual office is pretty terrible. They signed a 10 year lease on a space that they outgrew in about a year and a half. Some of us were in the former storage spaces with no actual desk phones or any natural light. Some people are in satellite offices with significantly longer commutes.

" --- Extremely high turnover with no institutional memory - because people leave so often and the organization does not do a good job of standardizing procedures or capturing information there is a lot of reinventing the wheel that happens when someone comes into a job."

ADVICE to Management:

"Listen to what your employees are telling you - both current and former - and actually try to take some steps to make a change!"

Does NOT Recommend --- Neutral Outlook - Disapproves of CEO
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CURRENT SUCCESS ACADEMY TEACHER NO. 16:

1 * STAR (out of 5)

“The worst---I repeat---The WORST teaching job I have ever had in my life! ”

CON's:

" --- Long hours (minimum 60 hours a week...if your lucky). They have no regard for work-life balance.
--- Awful management-Management (Principals, Vice Principals, etc) are trained to run schools like factories and they do.
--- Employees are treated like they are just another number not like human beings.
--- They have no intrest in teacher retention.
--- If you don't believe me, Google the turnover rate for thier schools.
--- Some are at 60%! Lastly, at time the expectations are unrealistic."

ADVICE to Management:

"Learn how to manage people in a way that makes them want to work for your company for the rest of their lives. I have seen some of the most passionate teachers quit this job.

Does NOT Recommend --- Neutral Outlook - Disapproves of CEO
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CURRENT SUCCESS ACADEMY TEACHER (& LEAD TEACHER) NO. 17:

1 * STAR (out of 5)

“Too miserable to stay, no matter how much you are there "for the kids" ”

CON's:

"--- Arrogant young management
--- ZERO personal AND ZERO sick days
--- little prep time when accounting for extra meetings
--- leadership talks to teachers like they are students


ADVICE to Management:

"I LOVE the mission of Success Charter Network. I love the kids there.
--- But I simply cannot stay on board with the unprofessional tone of leadership and the unrealistic demands on us as teachers.
--- Working 80 hour weeks and still not completing my 'assignments' at a high level tells me there is something wrong with the model. \
--- I actually wish the work environment was better so I could stick around for the kids and their families. I am a well educated professional and a highly effective teacher that should not be talked down to by a 26 year old supervisor.

"Until major changes are made, I will look for another charter network... "


Does NOT Recommend --- Neutral Outlook - Disapproves of CEO
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FORMER SUCCESS ACADEMY TEACHER NO. 18:

1 * STAR (out of 5)

“Bad Work Environment”

CON's:

"Working longer school years, longer school days (7 AM - 5 PM is mandated... and that includes a flexible prep time... some days you have all of your prep, other days you have none), with less pay.

"Couple this with no tenure, no unionized safety, no days off.
--- There are no substitute teachers; if a teacher is absent, you lose your prep time to cover a class.
--- And there is no compensation (of time or money) for this. As a result, the average worker sticks around till 8 PM. 7 AM-8 PM = a schedule that is not conducive to most people's lifestyles.

--- Clubs are practically mandated for certain teachers. No choice in this privatized industry.

"This job is not good for anybody who wants to do anything outside of Success. This includes having a family."

ADVICE to Management:

"Consider changing your mentality towards teachers. Yes, students come first, but so do our personal lives. Make it more family friendly, and maybe there will be less of a teacher turnover in future years."

Does NOT Recommend --- Neutral Outlook - Disapproves of CEO
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CURRENT SUCCESS ACADEMY TEACHER NO. 19:

2 ** STARS (out of 5)

“Great Company...if you prefer ambiguity and lack of work/life balance ”

CON's:

"Few standard operating procedures
--- Unclear organizational structure
--- Poor work/life balance
--- Zero opportunities for mentorship and coaching due to youthful management, which leads to
--- Young managerial staff with limited experience

ADVICE to Management:

"Stop reinventing the wheel.
--- Develop basic policies and procedures.
--- Hire competent, experienced staff."

Does NOT Recommend --- Negative Outlook - Disapproves of CEO
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FORMER SUCCESS ACADEMY TEACHER NO. 20:

2 ** STARS (out of 5)

“Good schools, terrible work environment (unless you are a teacher). ”

CON's:

"Toxic work environment
--- culture of fear
--- you could lost your job at anytime, work harder.

Does NOT Recommend --- Disapproves of CEO

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FORMER SUCCESS ACADEMY TEACHER NO. 21:

2 ** STARS (out of 5)

“Mission driven, but a cult of personality ”

CON's:

"High turnover,
--- low employee satisfaction,
--- incredibly top-down,
--- poor upper and middle management,
--- over-promotion,
--- young workforce that exudes professional immaturity,
--- heavy test prep that no one speaks of outside of the organization,
--- layers of mismanagement and heavily politicized environment,
--- doesn't care about teacher turnover.

"Teachers are not trusted to do their jobs,
--- staff on all levels are micromanaged,
--- scaling and expanding too quickly without an adequate strategy or plan in place.

"The CEO, while an incredibly dynamic and intelligent woman, is too heavily involved with the day-to-day instead of focusing on higher level strategy and management of the organization. The organization runs on a cult of personality that revolves around pleasing her, which makes me skeptical that they can truly scale this model of education."


ADVICE to Management:

"Change your policies towards teachers:
--- Try to retain them,
--- give more flexible time-off/sick day policies,
--- place more trust in their abilities and truly develop them.
--- Improve internal communication skills,
--- treat employees like they are human,
--- stop micromanaging and empower employees to do their jobs well.

"When you are leader and you constantly complain about the incompetencies beneath you - well, the apple never falls far from the tree. The culture starts at the top."


Does NOT Recommend --- Disapproves of CEO
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FORMER SUCCESS ACADEMY TEACHER NO. 22:

2 ** STARS (out of 5)

“Great benefits and salary, good mission, poor execution ”

CON's:

"Not a lot of autonomy;
--- conflicting feedback and management styles;
--- too many managers;
--- poor work/life balance;
--- poor employee culture (encouraged to backbite and compete rather than collaborate)

ADVICE to Management:

"Streamline management of lower level employees:
--- teachers do not need and suffer under 4 different managers, particularly when they have varying styles of management and conflicting advice;
--- too frequent observations actually contributes more to stress than to accountability."

Does NOT Recommend --- Neutral Outlook - Approves of CEO
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CURRENT SUCCESS ACADEMY TEACHER NO. 1:

2 ** STARS (out of 5)

“Very Low Morale.”

CON's:

"Depressing environment.
--- Unreasonable workload.
--- Teachers have low morale and are stressed.
--- No work/life balance.
--- Uncertain how much school cares about kids (it's more about the numbers).

ADVICE to Management:

"The turnover rate is high.

"There are people who want to quit, but can't because they
---  1) care about the kids,
--- 2) need the money,
--- 3) signed a 2 year commitment contract,
or
--- 4) can't get a day off to go on another interview.

"Management should be worried about the long-term viability of this organization.
--- No one can work at this pace for 10 years.

"Management should invest in retaining their employees instead of hiring new ones constantly.
--- Intellectual capital cannot be replicated.
--- The hours are terrible. 6:30 am- 7pm stresses everyone out, including the kids.
--- One has to wake up four or five am depending on commute and try to get to sleep early for the next day.

"However, the work never ends so there is never enough time to get everything done. You never feel as if you're doing your job well enough. Ever."

Does NOT Recommend --- Negative Outlook - No Opinion of CEO
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FORMER SUCCESS ACADEMY TEACHER (& LEAD TEACHER) NO. 23:

2 ** STARS (out of 5)

“Well-funded, high expectations, don't value their employees ”

CON's:

"I felt completely taken advantage of as a teacher.
 --- Way overworked (even relative to a prior career that was extremely demanding),
 --- felt very little respect from network.
 --- Didn't care about my work-life balance, personal health, emotional well-being.
 --- Was assigned way more tasks than what I believe a teacher should be asked to do (which resulted in lower quality work in the classroom).
 --- Extremely micromanaged, which was forced upon me in my work, and forced upon students as well.
 --- Little creativity encouraged in learning."


ADVICE to Management:

"It's been noted that the network doesn't care about employee turn over--but this school turned me off from teaching.
 --- Literally worked me until I was sick.
 --- Actually care about your employees well-being and sanity--work smarter, not harder.  --- Allow kids to be kids, and let the teachers teach.


Does NOT Recommend --- Neutral Outlook - Disapproves of CEO
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 CURRENT SUCCESS ACADEMY TEACHER NO. 24:

2 ** STARS (out of 5)

“The Reality is Nothing Like the Image ”

CON's:

"Employee happiness is on the bottom of the priority list.
 --- The model seems to be based on bringing in young, idealistic men and women ready to put up with anything and asking them to work around the clock and devote their lives to the job.
 --- Few last longer than a year, which weakens the culture...some people don't bother learning colleagues' names since turnover is so high.

"Vast majority of senior staff are not good managers.
 --- Just so many terrible management practices that make no sense.
 --- Management seems to have no respect for employees.
 --- We are kept in the dark about major issues affecting us,
 --- management does not solicit employee opinions,
 --- huge discrepancies in salary between the top tier and the rest.

"Huge focus on testing and test scores.
 --- The image of multi-disciplinary 'whole-child' curriculum just isn't true in Grades 3 and up, when the students spend months on end preparing for the state tests."

ADVICE to Management:

"Employee happiness might not seem like a pressing problem, but a model based on constant turnover undermines the organization.
 --- Some respect toward the employees goes a long way (and I don't mean casual Friday or free snacks).

Does NOT Recommend --- Approves of CEO
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Saturday, August 30, 2014

I Wish Richard Kahlenberg Could Be Right, But . . .

In the August 30 NYTimes, Richard Kahlenberg and Halley Potter offer us a pipe dream of a high performing charter school world, one with diverse student populations and unionized faculty, where pedagogical innovation and shared governance are realities of everyday life.   Sadly, Kahlenberg and Potter offer a thinnest sprinkle of evidence that either integrated or unionized charter schools are anything more than wishful thinking, and they cite exactly 2 out of 6,000 that are both integrated and unionized. 

I like Richard Kahlenberg's work on the importance of social capital and the power of diversity in schools.  He carries the banner of James Coleman pretty well in most cases, but his and Potter's venture into fantasy is a disservice to the hard truth that Coleman never shied away from.

What Coleman knew is that economic integration is more important than funding or teacher quality in raising achievement, and he also knew that integration bred hope among the poor, and it was that "pupil attitude" of authonomy and hope--the belief in the ability to affect the present and future--that was more important than all the other school level factors combined in raising achievement.

Unfortunately, hope is in the shortest supply in the KIPPs and the thousands of charter schools that emulate the bare-knuckled system of "no excuses" penal pedagogy and authoritarian personnel management that reigns supreme in charterland.  If the paternalistic, condescending, segregated, and abusive reform charter schools disappeared today, there would be no more than a handful of charters left in the entire nation.  Hardly the solution that Gates, Fisher, or the Walton clan had in mind.  And with the AFT and NEA, themselves, entirely silent about the reality of segregated and child-abusing charters, who does Kahlenberg think is going to make his fanciful thinking anything more than sweet-sounding words?  Anyone, anyone?

Obama Awards Contract to Student Loan Predators Who Swindled 60,000 Veteran Families

Sallie Mae has a long, dirty history (here, here, here, here, here, here, and here) of preying on those dependent upon student loans for a college education.  Recently, the dirty bastards spun off a company, which according to Forbes, is really the old, rotten version of Sallie Mae that we have come to hate:
The new company which is being spun out – Navient – is equivalent to the old Sallie Mae. It will continue to service the existing loans in the Sallie Mae portfolio, as well as service new loans via contracts with the Department of Education. It will also focus on servicing private student loans, as well as asset recovery (or getting students to pay something, or handle wage garnishments or other ways to recover old loans). 
In May of this year, Sallie and its new spin-off had to pay $139 million for stealing money from veterans.

Now Team Obama has decided to double down with its business philosophy of "why fix something that is already broken" with more money to keep the billionaires happy.

You can read the whole sordid story here at HuffPo:
The Obama administration plans to reward Navient Corp, the student loan specialist formerly owned by Sallie Mae, with new business some three months after federal prosecutors accused the company of intentionally cheating troops on their federal student loans, according to three sources familiar with the administration's plans.

The move is likely to stoke comparisons to recent multi-billion-dollar settlements reached between big banks and federal authorities over financial crisis-era misdeeds. Banks agreed to pay sizable sums, but public interest groups have criticized the settlements because the banks suffered few business consequences and their executives escaped criminal and civil charges.

"It's very disappointing," said Jason Collette, national organizer for Alliance For A Just Society, a network of state-based advocacy groups. "Until a company loses its federal contracts or a senior executive is punished, these fines are just the cost of doing business." . . .




Friday, August 29, 2014

PBS Higher Ed Series Reeks of Gates and Lumina

from Pando Daily
It's easy to understand how PBS and NPR can remain commercial free, once you accept the fact that they are heavily sponsored by billionaires and their foundations who get their commercials worked into the news stories, themselves.  Call it the latest in product placement.

Over the past 8 years, NPR has received millions from the Gates Foundation to “to expand NPR education coverage and broaden its audience’s engagement on the issue,” as the scroll read in 2013, when NPR landed $1.8 million. 

In June 2014 it was revealed that "Teaching Channel Presents" for PBS was really an opportunity for Bill Gates to advertise the virtues of the Common Core to unsuspecting teachers and parents and to build support for new product lines from the Microsoft/Pearson collaboration.

It's no surprise that this week's PBS News Hour "Rethinking College" series on the future of higher ed for the poor follows the same pattern, while pretending to oh-so objective.  It is funded by
  1. the Lumina Foundation, whose empire was built on the backs of poor kids borrowing money from predatory lenders like Sallie Mae.  Today Lumina's task is to promote college for all, especially those who have to borrow big to make it happen; and, 
  2. American Graduate: Let's Make it Happen, which is dominated by that familiar outfit, the Gates Foundation, and corporate America's high tech ed interests, the Alliance for Excellent Education.
As reported in the CHE series on advocacy philanthropy in higher ed last year, Lumina and Gates have an established pattern of philanthropic investing to serve their own business and political interests, which include low income student borrowers and high tech solutions for those same low income borrowers:
. . . .money from the two largest philanthropic supporters of higher-education reform, Gates and Lumina, tends to converge on the same group of recipients. These include colleges, like the competency-based, online Western Governors University (the recipient of $8-million in grants from the two foundations); nonprofits like Jobs for the Future ($59-million from both) and Complete College America ($10-million); and research shops, like the Institute for Higher Education Policy ($10-million) and the New America Foundation ($4-million).
Lumina has been particularly aggressive in working with the American Legislative Exchange Council to shape model laws for states that will advance their paternalistic interests.  This is detailed in a research piece by Hall and Thomas, who presented their paper at AERA a couple of years back.  The paper is a must read--here is a sample on the Gates and Lumina phenomenon:

So it is not surprising to see segment after segment of "Rethinking College" focused on high tech solutions to college affordability and paternalistic corporate efficiency solutions to managing colleges.  Never mind that those students ending up with big college debts are more likely to have worthless degrees and the same economic disadvantages facing them as they did when corporate higher ed began engineering their paths to lives of indentured servitude and underemployment.

Finally, on the MOOCs segment.  PBS never mentions their "Rethinking College" has been re-thought by Lumina and Gates, and, yet, when presenting research during the MOOC segment that challenges the pedagogical value of MOOCs, PBS could not resist the need to mention that the research was paid for partially by a teachers' union.  That's the kind of fair and balanced that PBS wants to portray for those foolish enough to send them money during their endless pledge drives. 

By the way, here is the video that offers some highlights of the research on MOOCs:




















Common Rotten Core


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Unseat the Bad Cuomo: Vote Teachout


Hold Your Booing--Michelle Rhee Has Left the Stadium


One of the employees from Michelle First sent out an email to subscribers that included this observation:
"In the end, Michelle’s critics weren’t demonizing her because they were horrible people."
How true. The real reason is that Michelle is a horrible person!  

A farewell from Salon, with an assessment of Rhee's legacy. 

Little Eva Moves to Wall Street

from Juan Gonzalez at the Daily News:

Eva Moskowitz, the firebrand chief of the city’s fastest growing charter chain, isn’t just backed by Wall Street, she’s officially moved there — with Wall Street-type salaries to boot.

Last November, Moskowitz, who for years boasted of opening her Success Academy Charter Schools in the city’s poorest neighborhoods, quietly shifted her corporate headquarters from Central Harlem to 95 Pine St. (aka 120 Wall St.).

The new offices will cost her organization $31 million over 15 years, according to its most recent financial report.

The same report shows Moskowitz received an eye-popping $567,000 during the 2012-2013 school year. That’s a raise of $92,000 from the previous year, and more than double the $212,000 paid to Schools Chancellor Carmen FariƱa.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/gonzalez-eva-moskowitz-isn-backed-wall-street-moved-article-1.1918293#ixzz3Bh2VGDJL

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Lee County, Florida First to Opt Out Entire System From State Standardized Testing

Lee Schools made history Wednesday night when they voted to become the first school district in the state to opt out of all statewide, standardized tests.

"TeacherTown" Now Paying Charters Over $80 Million Per Year in Projected Enrollment Cash

Not only is Shelby County and the State coughing up over $80 million each year for corporate reform schools whose test scores are, for the most part, the same or worse than the schools they replaced, but almost $20 million of that is for enrollment that never materialized.  

In 2013-14, the profiteering charters over-estimated their enrollment to collect millions they use to make more.  When they do not pay it all back, as in the case with KIPP Memphis and Willie Herenton's crumbling charter empire, the County has to go to the State to get its money back

Here is a chart from the Shelby County Schools (click to enlarge). It shows charters overestimating their enrollment by over 2,000 students in the school year just ended:

Meanwhile, the TFA alum and Broad alum, Chris Barbic (now ASD superintendent) has penned a guest column for the Commercial Appeal with the lawyer superintendent of Shelby County Schools, which fantasizes about when Memphis will be TeacherTown, USA.  

Yes, Memphis, where the child poverty rate has gone from 36% to 44% over the past 6 years, where rental rates have soared and you can't give away houses in neighborhoods doomed by lack of hope and segregation.  Memphis, where the airport is shrinking and it costs, on average, almost $300 more to fly to New York or Boston than it does to fly from Nashville.  Memphis, where the real jobs base has long gone, and even the Hostess Cupcake factory had its union crushed before closing and re-opening as non-union.  Memphis, which is now surrounded by five boutique suburban school systems where property prices and no affordable housing guarantees another generation of segregation.  Yes, Memphis, which has the 10th largest jail in America.

Yes, that Memphis, where salary schedules have been traded for bonuses based on test scores and where teachers no longer have can appeal a supervisor's observation conclusions. Memphis, where the Walton Foundation, Gates, and Broad spend millions each year to make sure that white Eastern missionaries from TFA replace real teachers with experience.  

From Barbic and Hopson's fantasy column:

So yes, teachers of the world, put on your best gritty optimism and come to Memphis, where teachers are hired and fired at the whim of a school CEO, where teacher autonomy is traded for straightjacket pacing guides based on constant testing, where teachers are evaluated by using unreliable, invalid, and unfair test scores, where children are herded and hounded like prisoners, where teachers are turned into inhumane robots from a Stanley Milgram experiment, where school libraries, art rooms, music classes, and guidance counselors are rare as hen's teeth, where special education IEPs are routinely ignored, and where teachers and students alike work inside pressure cookers. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Economic Performance and Its Zero Correlation to Test Scores

The next time you hear one of the pencil-necked corporatists like Kevin Carey spew about our low test scores and competing economically, point him to this one chart and explain it to him.


The High Cost of Resegregation: Charters Cost PA Taxpayers Billions for Worse Test Results

Erica Frankenberg has some fascinating research on charter enrollement costs and resegregation via charter schools in Pennsylvania.  Below are a three charts worth spending a few minutes on letting the data soak in.  Bottom line:  
1) charter schools are more segregative than traditional public schools (TPS)
2) charter schools have cost Pennsylvania taxpayer over $4 billion over 6 years (that's more than the entire amount of cash included in Race to the Top)
3) a large majority of charter schools have lower test scores than their public sending schools.
What a deal!  But wait--there's more! Plus, the State has passed the entire weight of paying for charters to local governments!  

Sign up for your new charter school today!!




Klein Doing Damage Control for Deasy While Selling His Own Tablet Solution

Ole McChoakumchild, himself, Joel Klein, had his media mothballs removed long enough this morning to go on CBS to pretend to defend "Dr." John Deasy's slimeware that he provided for Apple hardware  and Pearson software to complete the Los Angeles IPad fiasco deal.  What he was really for is to get Murdoch's Amplify tablets under the national spotlight.

And what a salesman Klein is!  A rather feisty report on the panel at CBS told Klein she had read that much of what kids "learned" on screen was retained for a very short time.  How do you make sure that is not happening? 

Klein's answer: you give them informal assessments more often, beginning immediately after they read something.  That's Rupert's boy!

From the LA Times:
. . . Emails and other documents, some of which were released under a California Public Records Act request Friday, showed detailed — and numerous — contacts between Deasy, Deputy Supt. Jaime Aquino and the corporate executives.
It appears that the officials began discussing the school system's effort to supply students computers equipped with online curriculum at least two years before the contract was approved.

In one email, from May 24, 2012, Aquino seems to strategize with higher-ups from Pearson on how to ensure that it got the job.

"I believe we would have to make sure that your bid is the lowest one," wrote Aquino, who was an executive with a Pearson affiliate before joining L.A. Unified.

Deasy was one of the last to participate in that email exchange and made his comments after Aquino's, which covered several topics.

"Understand your points and we need to work together on this quickly," Deasy wrote. "I want to not loose [sic] an amazing opportunity and fully recognize our current limits."
On Sunday, Deasy said that the conversations were only about a "pilot program we did at several schools months before we decided to do a large-scale implementation. We did work closely on this pilot."

Deasy said he recalled that Aquino also offered another major vendor, Amplify Education Inc., a similar opportunity.

"Nothing was done in any inappropriate way whatsoever," the superintendent said. "Of course I talk to people. I would be expected to."

Aquino left L.A. Unified at the end of last year and has not responded to interview requests. . . .

Monday, August 25, 2014

Why Feinberg's Kids Will Never Go to KIPP

Corporate cult leaders, Mike Feinberg and David Levin, are their own biggest fans, and to prove it, they gave themselves 80 minutes onstage at the recent million dollar summit in Houston to answer some puffball questions for the KIPPnotized KIPPsters in the auditorium.  

Oops, someone got this embarrassing question through: 

Will you send your own kids to KIPP?  

At about 54:00 on the video, Levin begins to scramble with how to answer.  He passes the baton to Feinberg, who delivers this priceless one and a half choice minutes of fabrications and dissembling:

Feinberg: Gus and Abadit [Feinberg's two children] are not going to go to a KIPP school [begins rubbing his face], 

and that's actually for--there are several reasons for that. I mean, you get into, for, you know, with a 10 thousand kid waiting list, um, my kids have options, I don't want to take away a seat from another [more beard rubbing] family that doesn't have options, that's, um, part of it,


but at, with my parent hat, I want most for Gus and Abadit.  I would put them in a bunch of our primary schools in a heartbeat, knowing what a great education they would get, how well they would get taken care of [makes a strangling motion with his hands]. 

It would be unfair, I think, to Gus and Abadit, cuz' in a KIPP school, they wouldn't be Gus and Abadit, they would be Feinberg's kids, and I don't want them--I want them to grow up, and being in a school, being Gus and Abadit, and not be a fishbowl parent.  

And I've seen this happen with other leaders' kids, where, um, ah, within five minutes of being put in timeout, the school is talking about the kid being in timeout.  I just want them to have a chance to be Gus and Abadit and, uh, as I said, Gus, you know, he wants to be [begins scratching his face], 

to wear a KIPP shirt, with, with pride, and he wants to be a KIPPster [starts rubbing his hands together], he wants to come and tutor, and things like that, to find other ways to get him plugged in to Team and Family [looks over to Levin as to say, please, god, get me out of here!] E
End of segment.

Fortunately for Feinberg, no one at the million dollar summit asked to see that mythical waiting list with 10,000 kids on it.  If that were anywhere near the truth, we may wonder why KIPPs like Memphis are having to pay back money for enrollment overestimates based on projections that never matched reality?  Surely Feinberg could find one of those many under-enrolled KIPP schools where teachers are sent out regularly with their clipboards to beat the bushes like missionaries to find warm bodies to put in desks (or on the floor).

Notice, too, how Feinberg wants to protect the privacy of his children when they mess up at school, even if he is the co-designer of a system of KIPP paychecks that guarantee that every teacher of any KIPP child knows when he has been good or bad by checking the paycheck each KIPPster carries with him from class to class.  Remember, too, that public humiliation is standard operating procedure at KIPP, but protection from that is only important for Feinberg's children and the children of the corporate whales the fund KIPP.  I understand your quandary, Mikey.


Feinberg's fumbling rhetoric and transparent body language cannot conceal the condescending corporate paternalism that is a defining characteristic of KIPP's abusive corporate reform school testing camps.  Despite the lame effort,  how that paternalism shows through:  Feinberg has choices for his kids, but he wants to make sure that the children of the poor have a single option once the testing machine has closed most of the urban public schools.  Poor children need KIPP, rich kids don't.

What happened to the advertised concept of choice for the poor?? Pure malarkey.  The new paternalism demands that elites like Feinberg and Levin should decide what the poor must learn and how they should learn it and how they should prove that they do learn it.  In the end, passing tests is less important for that distant abstraction called college than it is for the Feinbergs and Levins of the world to know that these kids and their parents are towing the line that has been drawn for them by the Fisher family and the other coroporate overseers who pump hundreds of millions into these chain gangs for the poor.

Feinberg's child, Gus, will have to find another way to become part of "Team and Family."  He can wear his KIPP shirt (while inside the auditorium, for god's sake), and he can maybe come tutor the poor kids and perhaps tell them some of the neat things he is learning out there in the world where children have choices.  

Nah, forget that last part--the KIPPsters can't afford to have any distractions--they have to prove their sponsors and handlers intentions are noble ones.

Palm Beach School Board Member: "Sometimes It Takes An Act of Civil Disobedience to Move Forward--We Cannot Allow Fear to Hold Us Back"

Edited by Dr. Rich Swier, from Palm Beach School Board Meeting August 20, 2014:


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Teachers Must Have Parents' Help to Protect Children from Testing Abuse

Read this if you are a parent or grandparent.  And then act.

Bloomberg's Impoverished Poverty Eradication Plan

Since finally leaving his New York mayor's throne to someone far less princely, Mike Bloomberg is spending his time jetting around the world playing big shot with his bags of cash and, like all bullies, an unhealthy disdain for anyone who disagrees with him. These days he claims to be all about giving away all his dough before he dies, but if Forbes is right, Bloomberg obviously plans to live on in perpetuity: last year he gave away $465 million and his wealth grew $6 billion to top out at over $32 billion.  But then not many of our 401Ks average have the kind of inside track to "earn" a 25% return like Bloomberg's billions.

One of Bloomberg's thought disorders that he put into action before leaving New York was an unadvertised plan in Memphis to pay the poor to do things for themselves that middle class folks do as matter of course.
. . . a new kind of anti-poverty push, less a movement than a technocrat’s dream, is quietly being tested here, a modest experiment that could help redefine a static national conversation about how to deal with intractable poverty of the sort that not only has overwhelmed the old projects like Foote Holmes, but also afflicts even the shiny new places like Cleaborn Pointe. Three years ago, Gordon-Cole was one of 600 people (most of them single mothers) selected for the Memphis Family Rewards Program, a widely watched trial that provides cash incentives to poor parents and their high school-age children for completing tasks that seem, at first glance, absurdly second nature for middle-class families. A student who compiles an acceptable school attendance record gets $40 a month, showing up for an annual dental or medical check-up means a $100 check, grades are monetized ($30 for an A, $20 for B, $10 for a C) and taking a college entrance exam like the ACT gets you a $50 check. Parents are also rewarded: Adults get a $150 monthly bonus, up to $1,800 a year, simply for working full-time.
Even though Bloomberg's one or two million per year for this novelty poverty boutique plan is not enough to even pay for the upkeep on his private jet, it is enough to earn him 8,000 words or so with Politico.  It's enough, too, to keep the corporate welfare and political pumps primed in Memphis for the next gush of cash that might appear any day from the Big House well.

Meanwhile, the impoverished recipients of Bloomberg's drips and drabs thank God or Bloomberg for the extra money to pay the rent when the transmission goes out.  Otherwise, that $1,800 a year bonus could be lost for losing that job they haven't found quite yet.

Imagine what could be done if Bloomberg, Walton, Gates, Broad, and Hyde monies were committed to creating jobs in Memphis, rather than supporting predatory privatization plans to add even more wealth to the hedge funders who are making more money than Bloomberg and his pals can give away for their own benefit.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

What's It Worth to Jesse Register to Corporatize Nashville's Public Schools?

In June a corporate reform school outfit called STRIVE, which is headed by a former TFA cult member, had its application rejected unanimously by Metro's school board.  With the help of CorpEd crony superintendent, Jesse Register, that all changed last week.  From Joey Garrison at the Tennessean:
. . . .STRIVE, a middle school, is cleared to open next fall, joining five other new charters already approved.

Board members Elissa Kim, Michael Hayes, Jo Ann Brannon, Anna Shepherd and Chairwoman Cheryl Mayes voted for the school. Pinkston, Amy Frogge and Jill Speering voted against it.

Pinkston attacked Register’s leadership on the issue. He read a litany of concerns the administration cited with STRIVE’s application before its original rejection in June, shortcomings school officials said STRIVE has since addressed.

Pinkston also noted that last fall Register and Alan Coverstone, who oversees charters for Metro Nashville Public Schools, helped draft the very set of charter priorities that STRIVE — which he called a “recalcitrant operator” — ignored. He wondered aloud what had changed between then and today:

“I suspect what it was. But I’m not going to cast aspersions today. I’ll wait for another day.”

Frogge and Speering questioned the precedent of setting aside priorities the board had passed via resolution. Frogge went further, contending that by “disregarding” them, the administration had disrespected the board.

“I’ll just add on a personal note, really, this entire process has felt very dishonest to me,” Frogge said. “I’ve lost trust in our administrators.” . . . .

KIPP Memphis Collegiate $230,000 In Debt to Shelby County As State Test Scores Crater

Today's Commercial Appeal reported in the print edition that KIPP Collegiate Schools owe Shelby County Schools $229,443.42 for overpayment based on KIPP's projected enrollment or for failure to pay teacher retirement benefits, utility bills, etc. to the County.  There is no link because the story has been scrubbed from the Commercial Appeal website.

Shelby County is asking the State "to allow it to reduce payments to the schools to cover the shortage." 

Judging by KIPP Memphis state test scores below, there is reason to keep researchers off the premises.  The state website's 2014 School Level Data show the schools' scores backing up as time moves forward.

Below are scores for the three Memphis KIPP schools that are available from the website. (Click any chart to enlarge).  See here a former teacher's account of working with what seemed to this teacher "almost like a cult."