ED: No Records on Closed Charters Mentioned in Its “Commitment to Transparency,” CMD Appeals | PR Watch

Back on the eve of Christmas Eve, the Department of Education issued its “Commitment to Transparency,” stating that since 2006 it had spent more than $1.6 billion funding 2,600 operational charter schools, 430 that had closed and 699 that had not yet opened.

The Center for Media in Democracy asked for its data about the closed or not opened schools but ED said it had no such records.

Today CMD appealed.

So much for the agency’s “Commitment to Transparency,” right?

To read the full report go here: ED: No Records on Closed Charters Mentioned in Its “Commitment to Transparency,” CMD Appeals | PR Watch

Detroit Public Schools student explains what’s wrong with Lansing’s plan for her district | from  Detroit Metro Times blog

My name is Imani Harris. I am a very concerned sophomore at Renaissance High School. I am writing this letter because I am appalled. I am appalled at the fact that there was ever a thought that already struggling teachers should work for free while our emergency manager, legislatures, etc. continue to be paid.

I am writing this letter because I am appalled. I am appalled at the fact that there was ever a thought that already struggling teachers should work for free while our emergency manager, legislatures, etc. continue to be paid.

I am appalled that teachers had to resort to striking because they were not taken seriously with just their words. I am appalled that teachers were then shamed for standing out. Is it not their first amendment right to protest peacefully?

I am appalled that adults that have never been to nor had children in a DPS school would dare tell teachers that they are wrong, while they sit at home and receive their paychecks. I am appalled that it took two days of me being at home for there to be some “solution”.

I am dumbfounded at the fact that Bill 710 and 711 were rejected, and then changed to some sick version of what the Senate presented. I don’t quite get why the DEC was taken out of the bill, when all they want to do is help. I am lost as to what the issue with the DEC was, and why we got no clarity on it’s issue. **(Metro Times Note: See below for more information on the Detroit Education Commission that was nixed from the House plan). 

I am confused as to why we have been subjected to some “quick fix” for an issue that has been brewing for years.

I am disgusted at some of the things that are proposed in this “quick fix” approved by the House of Appropriations. Why would teachers have to reapply for their jobs in the new district? So you can fire those you don’t like? So we can lose more teachers? So less people will reapply just because it’s simpler to find another job?

My next question is, why would we get rid of the unions? So their rights are completely eliminated?

The topic I am most heated about has to be this uncertified teacher business. Who in their right mind would think that hiring an uncertified teacher would even REMOTELY fix the problem? You all argue that DPS test scores are too low, how would hiring an uncertified teacher increase those test scores you all love to cry about?

This would NEVER happen at a school in Bloomfield Hills. Is it because we’re black? Or maybe because you think we’re poor? Oh no, I’’ve got it; it’s because we’re just poor black kids from Detroit who don’t have a future anyways. Why promise us anything when we probably won’t live past 18, right? Let’s give them some sick bill that we know they won’t read, so they’ll stop fussing and go back to school right? WRONG! I know my rights, and I know that the color of my skin does NOT give anyone the right to give me any different of an education than a white girl would get.

Everyone’s so worried about how I’m losing my education from 4 sickout days. No one’s taking into account the fact that I went almost a full semester without a real English teacher. Let’s count up those days, and see just how much education: I missed from those MONTHS, while the powers that be took their sweet time finding a teacher that was actually willing to step foot into DPS due to the instability and lack of value of teachers by this state run district. Let’s say I went roughly 3 and a half months without a teacher. That means that I had about 13 weeks with no teacher. Each school week has 5 days, so I went 65 days without a teacher. I missed 65 hours of 10th grade English! While we sit around worried about 4 measly days of sickouts, I think we should worry about the fact that I’m not the only student in this school system going through this. I am just ONE student. All students are dealing with this issue, and we are losing our education due to slow legislation.

In conclusion, the state of DPS is sickening. The fact that everything revolves around money and power is repulsive. The fact that someone I DON’T know, and clearly doesn’t care about me, holds my education in their hands is terrifying.

I feel as if there is no hope. If the current house bills are voted into law I just don’t know what we would do. My future is doomed. All who read this letter please know that there are some students who know the issues, and want to help, but if our future is in the hands of politicians who care nothing about us, what can we do but sit and watch as our educations are thrown down the drain?

“The best way to predict the future is to create it” -Abraham Lincoln.

If we want a change, we have to start acting. The House bills need to be rejected and we need to WORK to pass the Senate bills.

The last thing I have to say is that we need to stand together. If you are fighting for the children, then you are fighting with everyone fighting for the children. Arguing among each other is what is holding us back. We are all in this with each other, and if that’s the case then we need to continue working together, and truly be united and not divided.

Sincerely,

Imani Harris

** Some background on the Detroit Education Commission (DEC), that Imani discusses in her letter. The DEC is something the Senate included in their plan for DPS, but that the House took out. It is a seven-person commission, appointed by the mayor, which would be in charge of overseeing openings and closing of schools. It is viewed by some as a necessary step to help stabilize the city’s education landscape, as right now there are just too many schools (Read our article to learn more about why too much competition has hurt Detroit’s schools, and read this article and this article to learn about how the lack of oversight around opening and closing has meant certain neighborhoods have tons of schools and others have, well, none).

While there is much support for the DEC, there are also camps — interestingly with widely different visions for the district — that have issue with it.

Charter lobbyists — who likely convinced the house to drop it — believe any regulations of charters is bad and have pushed hard to have the DEC nixed. While the Senate plan said the DEC’s opening and closing decisions would be based off letter grades given to schools each year (80 percent based off test scores, and 20 percent based off other factors like enrollment), free-market, charter advocates are convinced there will be some sort of favoritism at play that would hurt charters. On the other side of the spectrum are DPS advocates — an assortment of teachers, professors, parents and citizens — who are for more oversight of the city’s education landscape, but believe the current DEC model is flawed as it is an appointed board. They believe Detroiters’ deserve local control, and that the DEC’s responsibilities are something the elected school board could and should oversee.

Source: This letter from a DPS student explains what’s wrong with Lansing’s plan for her district | Blogs | Detroit Metro Times

From the CURMUDGUCATION blog: The Free Market Does Not Work for Education

Charters close because charter schools are businesses, and businesses close when it is not financially viable for them to stay open.

The free market will never work for a national education system. Never. Never ever.

Follow this link to read the rest of the blog post:

CURMUDGUCATION: The Free Market Does Not Work for Education

Survey: Nearly half of teachers would quit now for higher-paying job

They may be smiling, America, but your public school teachers are a frustrated bunch.

About six in 10 are losing enthusiasm for the job, and just as many say they spend too much time prepping students for state-mandated tests. Nearly half say they’d quit teaching now if they could find a higher-paying job.”

Read the rest of the article here: Survey: Nearly half of teachers would quit now for higher-paying job

In the face of unified opposition to the Michigan House Republican’s “plan” for Detroit schools, there is a better way | reposted from Eclectablog

Eclectablog has posted a new item, ‘In the face of unified opposition to the Michigan House Republican’s “plan” for Detroit schools, there is a better way’, at Eclectablog.com

 

There are several elements that show that House Republicans have no intention of making DPS and the students in the system whole. First of all, there is insufficient funding for their “plan” to even work. Here’s what the Editorial Board at the Detroit Free Press had to say about it:

When is $500 million worth nothing?

When you throw it away on a plan designed to fail, to prove an ideological point that has nothing to do with helping children.

Fifteen hours Michigan Republicans spent, pulling an all-nighter on Wednesday, to work out a plan to “save” Detroit Public Schools. The outcome? A package of bills that provides the framework necessary to execute Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposed reforms — absent the cash required to make the plan work. It’s a set-up, one that allows state legislators to swear that they really tried to help DPS, while all but ensuring that the district will continue to fail.

Where to lay the blame for this legislative failure? Votes on the package broke down largely on party lines. And that means our gaze is focused sharply on Republican House Speaker Kevin Cotter, a leader under whose guidance of that chamber has produced little of value, and whose rhetoric grows more cloyingly sanctimonious by the day.

The House’s plan allots DPS just $467 million to pay down its deficit — that’s not nearly enough to leave the district on firm financial footing.

The House plan also cancels all union contracts and forces DPS teachers to reapply for their jobs. Not only that, it would allow uncertified teachers to teach in DPS schools and non-instructional staff jobs could be outsourced to private contractors. And, just to be sure that teachers are fully screwed, it would institute a merit pay system that ties pay to student standardized test scores for all new hires.

One wonders if uncertified teachers would be acceptable in the schools where the House Republicans children or grandchildren go. I’m guessing probably not. But for poor, mostly-African American kids in Detroit, the GOP says that’s fine.

You may view the latest post at
http://www.eclectablog.com/2016/05/in-the-face-of-unified-opposition-to-the-michigan-house-republicans-plan-for-detroit-schools-there-is-a-better-way.html

Source: In the face of unified opposition to the Michigan House Republican’s “plan” for Detroit schools, there is a better way | Eclectablog

Watch Out for These Smartphone Scams — from the AARP newsletter

Cell phones and smart phones are prevalent among American consumers. Protect yourself from digital scams and cons, and protect your mobile device.

Spam

Nearly 70 percent of smartphone texters say they receive unwanted spam messages, studies show. And people are three times more likely to respond to spam received by cellphone than when using a desktop or laptop computer. That’s particularly dangerous because more than a quarter of text-message spam—such as free gift cards, cheap medications and similar text-message come-ons—is intended to criminally defraud you, compared with only about 10 percent of spam arriving by email. These texts often lead you to shady websites that install malware on your phone or otherwise seek to steal sensitive details for identity theft.

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What to know… go here: Watch Out for These Smartphone Scams – AARP