From the CURMUDGUCATION blog: “Florida: Still Stupidly Punishing Children”

Florida: Still Stupidly Punishing Children
Posted by Peter Greene: 05 Sep 2016 

Sigh.

So you will probably recall that some of Florida’s educational leaders have lost their damned minds , having decided that the full force of districts and state powers must be brought to bear in order to beat a bunch of nine-year-old children into compliance.

In some school districts, administrators had concluded that third grade children who opted out of the Big Standardized Test could not be promoted, not based on their report cards, and not based on alternative assessments like portfolios.
The case ended up in court when parents sought relief from their children’s non-promotion. The details that emerged there were not pretty. Orange County allowed students to advance based on their portfolios– just not this one particular child.

Many districts played Gotcha by not informing children they had failed third grade until the very end of the school year, with no prior notice of deficiency and no attempt to put a remediation plan in place.

And it also became clear that when the state wasn’t hedging and hemming and hawing, it was just plain giving districts advice contrary to the actual laws of Florida.

All of this, mind you, while other counties in Florida had no trouble reading, understanding, and following the law. Meanwhile, to add broader insults to the whole business, the state introduced the contention that…

Read the full blog post here: CURMUDGUCATION: FL: Still Stupidly Punishing Children

MEA-Retired: Frequently asked questions regarding 3% retirement litigation 

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Retirement Litigation (3%)

UPDATED – After a five year legal fight over the 3 percent withheld from school employees’ paychecks – a fight that may not be done if the state appeals the most recent decision in the case – we know MEA members have questions about what this means for them.  So, MEA has developed this frequently asked questions document to address some of those questions to the best of our ability, with the caveat that there are still many unknowns. Stay tuned here for updates as more information becomes available, and for answers to additional questions that come up.

 

1. What happens if you’ve retired?

If we are ultimately successful, it is MEA’s position that all members that had monies taken out of their checks under PA 75 are owed a refund, plus interest, based on the actual amount taken. Different members may have had different amounts taken based on individual circumstances such as retirement dates, leave of absences, etc.  We will also advocate for a full accounting by the state in the trial court.

 

2. Where is the money?

As noted above, the trial court ordered the money at issue to be placed in an interest-bearing escrow account.  The account has a balance of more than $550,000,000.  The money is still being held in that account.  

 

3. If the money is ultimately returned, will it be subject to taxes?

Assuming we are successful in the Michigan Supreme Court, the trial court will likely make decisions about eligibility, payment, and methodology.  The IRS will likely take the position that the returned money is wages subject to taxation.  More information will be provided as we know more. MEA Legal will continue to advocate for our members to receive the quickest and largest possible refund consistent with the court decisions and the law.

 

4. When will I get a refund?

Unknown.  Since the Governor has filed an application for leave to appeal on behalf of the defendants, it will depend on the actions/decisions of the Michigan Supreme Court.  If the Supreme Court does not take up the case, or we win in the Supreme Court, the case will likely be remanded back to the trial court “which shall direct the return of the subject funds, with interest, to the relevant employees.”  Any disputes regarding eligibility, payment, and methodology will be decided in the trial court.  MEA Legal will continue to advocate for our members to receive the quickest and largest possible refund consistent with the court decisions and the law.  It is also possible that the Supreme Court could rule against us.  Under that scenario, the money in escrow would likely be remitted to the MPSERS

 

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From the CURMUDGUCATION blog: “Some Gates Charter Personalized Love”

 

 

Some Gates Charter Personalized Love
Posted by Peter Greene: 03 Sep 2016

Don Shalvey has been pushing charter schools for many, many years. He was serving a superintendent of the San Carlos School District when he launched the first charter school in California.

That was 1992. In 1998 he joined with Reed “Elected Schools Boards Suck” Hastings (Netflix) to for Californians for Public School Excellence, an astroturf group created to push charter school legislation through California.

Shalvey then immediately (with the help of some Hastings money) co-founded Aspire Public [sic] charter management, a chain that has spread across the country, where he was CEO for eleven years. Aspire has attracted attention at various times for ejecting difficult students, spending lots of money on marketing, and operating their own teacher training program based on some questionable practices.

But Shalvey has since moved on to a new job– deputy director of K-12 education at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

So if you have any doubts about where the Gates stands on charters, here’s some more evidence that the foundation is just chock full of charter adoration…Read the full blog post here: CURMUDGUCATION: Some Gates Charter Personalized Love

From the CURMUDGUCATION blog: “Why Charters Love ‘PUBLIC SCHOOL'”


Why Charters Love “Public School”
Posted by Peter Greene: 04 Sep 2016 

The question is up for pseudo-debate once again because of the National Labor Relations Board decided in two separate cases that charter schools are private corporations.
The decision is new, but the fact that charters are private businesses is not. While charter fans are trying to act shocked and surprised., I’m just going to go ahead and link, for the six-zillionth time, to that special occasion when Eva Moskowitz successfully took New York State to court claiming that they had no right to audit her private corporation. Charter operators have always claimed to be private corporations when it suits them.

Neal McClusky of the right-tilted Cato Institute expresses concern that this is part of union efforts to unionize charter schools. That’s understandably a concern, since many charter operators depend on at-will employees that can be hired, fired, and paid as the operator wishes. McClusky’s argument is that charters are public because some public entity has to give them the right to exist. I’m actually wondering if McClusky was badly quoted in the piece, because that seems like a sloppy argument for him– “given the right to exist by a public entity” includes every business that had to meet zoning requirements and every Wal-Mart that got its lot by having local government use eminent domain.

McClusky’s concern about the machinations of the teacher union may be misplaced. Some folks in the teaching biz are a bit leery of unionizing charter schools because that makes the union a stakeholder in that charter. Charter fans may well want to welcome an opportunity to co-opt the unions, even if it means they will have to offer their employees decent pay and working conditions.

Why are charter schools so attached to the word “public,” anyway?

Read the rest of the blog post to learn the answer: CURMUDGUCATION: Why Charters Love “Public School”

Kevin Drum Read the FBI Report on Hillary Clinton’s Emails

Diane Ravitch's blog

Kevin Drum writes here in Mother Jones about the celebrated Hillary Clinton emails.

Unlike most of us, he actually read the full report.

He identifies the most interesting of the emails. One of them is an email to Colin Powell on her second day in office as Secretary of State, where she asks him about using his personal email for State Department business. He responds and warns her to be careful and not to talk about it.

Page 11: On January 23, 2009, Clinton contacted former Secretary of State Colin Powell via e-mail to inquire about his use of a BlackBerry while he was Secretary of State (January 2001 to January 2005). In his e-mail reply, Powell warned Clinton that if it became “public” that Clinton had a BlackBerry, and she used it to “do business,” her e-mails could become “official record[s] and subject to the law.” Powell further advised…

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Dear Writer, How Are You? Plus Shareworthy Reading and Writing Links

Dear Writer, How Are You? Plus Shareworthy Reading and Writing Links
by Suddenly Jamie (@suddenlyjamie)
Dear Writer,

How are you?

Wait. Don’t answer. Take a breath. Pause. Bite back the rote response that jumped to the tip of your tongue before I’d even finished asking the question.

My default answer when someone asks how I am is, “Busy, busy but good.” I cringe each time I let those words slip from my lips. They say nothing, while managing to sound simultaneously pompous and pathetic. Busy, but good … I might as well say, “I’m breathing.”

So, how are you? I mean, really?

Wait. Don’t answer. Let the question settle. Think about what it really means…

Then read the rest of this post! https://nhwn.wordpress.com/2016/09/04/dear-writer-how-are-you/

Live to Write - Write to Live

Dear Writer,

How are you?

Wait. Don’t answer. Take a breath. Pause. Bite back the rote response that jumped to the tip of your tongue before I’d even finished asking the question.

My default answer when someone asks how I am is, “Busy, busy but good.” I cringe each time I let those words slip from my lips. They say nothing, while managing to sound simultaneously pompous and pathetic. Busy, but good … I might as well say, “I’m breathing.”

So, how are you? I mean, really?

Wait. Don’t answer. Let the question settle. Think about what it really means.

Most of the time, “How are you?” is white noise. It’s an anticipated greeting that exists in a kind of conversational blind spot. Most of the time, it doesn’t really mean anything to the person asking. It’s just something to say – an automatic response meant to bridge the gap between…

View original post 881 more words

Our Children at Risk: Parents Across America reports dangers of too much ed tech

Our Children at Risk: Parents Across America reports dangers of too much ed tech
by seattleducation2010
Members of Parents Across America (PAA) hae spent extensive time looking into quantities of writing and research that raise red flags about the impact of the EdTech explosion on our children. This high-pressure movement has brought a mishmash of digital devices and online and other pre-packaged programs into our schools, where they are promoted as […]

Read more of this post! https://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/2016/08/30/our-children-at-risk-parents-across-america-reports-dangers-of-too-much-ed-tech/

Seattle Education

EdTechlogo3

Members of Parents Across America (PAA) hae spent extensive time looking into quantities of writing and research that raise red flags about the impact of the EdTech explosion on our children. This high-pressure movement has brought a mishmash of digital devices and online and other pre-packaged programs into our schools, where they are promoted as “personalized,” “competency-based,” “student-centered,” or “self-directed” learning, terms which we refer to together as EdTech.

What we have found out about the EdTech push alarms us, and should alarm any parent. First of all, there is actually very little research addressing the many news ways that EdTech is being used in our schools — our children are truly being used as guinea pigs. What we do know about children and screen time is based in part on new studies and in part on previous research into children’s use of television, video games and computers, which…

View original post 337 more words

TLAC – there are some “good” things? Really???????? | BustED Pencils

TLAC – there are some “good” things? Really????????
by Peggy Robertson
It never fails – when I share my TLAC blog I am always presented with the Teach Like a Champion argument that “some good things can be found in there.” For the love of god this argument makes me insane. Yeah, so maybe someone found one little good thing in there – but at what cost to the lives of children? And can’t a teacher find some of these techniques in books by actual educators? Doug Lemov is NOT an educator . And – guess what? There is also a helluva lot of bad shit in there too. It is racist as hell. Watch the CD that comes with the book. And actually read the book before putting it in the hands of teachers and/or praising it – which is how it rolls in my former district – people passing out TLAC left and right and they didn’t even bother to read it.

Here is my blog on it: http://www.pegwithpen.com/2015/09/understanding-teach-like-champion.html . I need to do a follow up on it but seriously it makes my stomach churn to write about it so I haven’t gone there yet.

Oh – and one more thing – when you watch the CD – where are all the white children? Huh.

And why do the children look so damn unhappy? Huh.

Plate. Wall.

Peggy Robertson | September 4, 2016 at 1:08 pm | Categories: Uncategorized | URL: http://bustedpencils.com/?p=2946

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Source: TLAC – there are some “good” things? Really???????? | BustED Pencils

Education as if the World Mattered: Belonging and Interdependence as Education’s Purpose

This post was written with Ethan Lowenstein, Director of the Southeast Michigan Stewardship Coalition (SEMI’s). SEMI’s does tremendous work in the development of an educational approach that values, among other things, place and responsible citizenship, grounded in an ethic of Ecojustice. Check them out here.

Chet Bowers asks a question that we should all be considering, especially those of us who serve as educators: “How do we live more interdependent lives based on practices that are less dependent on a monetized world, that are less environmentally destructive?”

So what exactly does such a question have to do with education? Aren’t we supposed to help kids get into college?

Sure. Of course.

But usually the unspoken purpose of getting kids into college is to help them find a nice paying job that allows them to live independently as opposed to interdependently. It allows them to find a nice paying job because of the need to do so in a monetized world. That is, “achievement” is synonymous with “success,” which, in today’s market driven world is synonymous with making a lot of money, of having a “good job,” of acquiring the means to acquire endlessly. And, needless to say, this alienated individualism- the self as separate from relationship and responsibility to community- leads to a consumerism that certainly exacerbates environmental destruction. It seems our current story too often takes us in the opposite direction from that which Bowers’ question is pointing us towards.

We propose a different purpose of education, one that is rooted in practices that reveal our interdependence to each other and to our environment, and that promotes the value of community over the single dimension of the market.
> Follow the link to read the full blog post!

educarenow

This post was written with Ethan Lowenstein, Director of the Southeast Michigan Stewardship Coalition (SEMI’s). SEMI’s does tremendous work in the development of an educational approach that values, among other things, place and responsible citizenship, grounded in an ethic of Ecojustice. Check them out here.

Chet Bowersasks a question that we should all be considering, especially those of us who serve as educators: “How do we live more interdependent lives based on practices that are less dependent on a monetized world, that are less environmentally destructive?”

So what exactly does such a question have to do with education? Aren’t we supposed to help kids get into college?

Sure. Of course.

But usually the unspoken purpose of getting kids into college is to help them find a nice paying job that allows them to live independently as opposed to interdependently. It allows them to find a nice paying job because…

View original post 2,983 more words