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

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Mike Feinberg's Lawyers Go After Abused Hispanic Family

In what has to be one of the greatest power disparities in the history of charter school sexual abuse, Mike Feinberg and his high-rolling legal team faced off against a girl and her mother last week at a hearing to determine if the predator KIPP founder will be able to keep his teacher's license after being fired for sexually abusing a middle school child.

Reading the excerpt from the Texas Tribune article below, it's not a tough call.  We will still have to wonder, however, if Feinberg will be able to buy his way clear.
. . . . In a petition calling for the hearing, a TEA lawyer said Feinberg allegedly performed a “yearly check up” on the former student, then a fifth grader attending KIPP in Houston in the late 1990s. While the two were in his office, the petition alleges, he placed his hand inside her shirt and rubbed up and down between her breasts and belly button. He had her “touch her toes while he ran his finger from her neck to her waist,” it says. 
A week or two later, Feinberg is alleged to have told the student he lost the file and had to redo the exam. He “took her back to his office,” closed the door and had her partially disrobe, the TEA petition claims. He inserted a Q-tip into her vagina for a few seconds and then instructed her to return to class, it says. He was a teacher and the principal of the school at the time. 
In testimony at the certification hearing Wednesday, the former student said she “felt confused” after the incidents. She put on her clothes, went back to class, and told her mother about it after returning home. Although her mother was upset, the student asked her not to share the information with her father. “I thought my dad was going to blame me for it and hit me,” she testified. 
Asked why she didn’t tell the school or police, the student responded, “They wouldn’t believe me because of my race.” She said she wanted to leave the school right away, but her mother didn’t know how to explain it to her father. She left a year later. “I wasn’t comfortable” anymore, she said. 
The student’s mother largely confirmed her daughter’s account. 
“I was in very bad shape. I started crying with her,” the mother testified through a Spanish translator. “I wanted to say something, but my daughter didn’t let me. We needed to talk to my husband, but we were scared of him because he was very strict and tough with her and with me.” 
Feinberg’s lawyers [called more than a dozen witnesses and] worked to dismantle the student’s testimony. Feinberg sat pensively observing, sometimes taking notes on a yellow legal pad, during much of the testimony. He winked at his wife as he sat down to testify; they clutched hands after he finished speaking and rejoined his lawyers at their table. 
“That did not happen … absolutely not,” Feinberg responded to detailed questions about the student’s allegations. Asked if he contended she was lying, he gave a long pause: “I contend that what she is saying are not the facts.” Asked why she would lodge the allegations, he said, “That would just be speculation.” . . . .

Bloomberg's Corporate Higher Ed Plan

Quotes from The Intercept:

Who would be tougher on student loan repayment than Betsy Devos? 
The plan also goes backward in some places and would also slash the benefits borrowers receive under an income-driven student loan repayment program, capping the amount that can be forgiven after 20 years for people in income-driven repayment plans. Currently, there is no cap. 
Whose plan would likely devastate enrollment at HBCUs and tens of billions less in financial assistance than Sanders or Biden or Warren?
Another plank of the oligarch’s higher education plan commits to tripling direct federal Title III funding to historically black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, and other minority-serving institutions. But that increase amounts to just $7.5 billion over 10 years, while former Vice President Joe Biden, for instance, has proposed $70 billion in that sort of funding, and Sanders has pushed for $50 billion.

Despite the promise of additional funds, Bloomberg’s plan may rankle HBCUs. When the Obama administration made a similar proposal around free community college, HBCU leaders warned that the alternative would likely be taken by a substantial number of students who’d otherwise have gone to an HBCU, devastating enrollment. Biden’s plan covers community college or provides full grants for two years at an HBCU or equivalent HSI.
Who would use higher ed as a jobs training program to save corporations money?
The plan also includes an apprenticeship proposal that is geared to the private industry, which is likely to anger union leaders. . . .
. . . . Corporations over the previous decades have essentially ended their efforts at workforce development, pawning that off on workers. Instead of offering higher wages to encourage an increase in the supply of labor in particular fields, companies have instead complained about a “skills gap” and pushed for the federal government to subsidize training programs and even the wages of workers. Bloomberg’s plan sympathizes with those companies. 

Monday, February 17, 2020

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

Cheryl Ortega for UTLA Director of Bilingual Education

Maestros Unidos Los Angeles con Oaxaca

Cheryl Ortega’s tireless advocacy and effective activism for students and bilingual education stems from her years of dedication to the same. There is no better choice for United Teachers of Los Angeles’ (UTLA) Director of Bilingual Education. Her vast experience, institutional knowledge, and devotion to providing students bilingual programs is peerless. Let all persons know that I endorse and strongly support her candidacy for reelection.

— Robert D. Skeels, Education Rights Attorney and Law Professor