Pupil Transportation Bill Clears Michigan House – Fix the mitten


Nick Krieger (@nckrieger):

With all the recent attention focused on House Bill 4822, the third-grade retention bill, you might have missed the fact that the Michigan House of Representatives passed a pupil transportation bill on Wednesday by a vote of 85-21 (see below).

House Bill 5753, introduced by Rep. Amanda Price (R-Holland), would amend the requirements in §1321 of the Revised School Code governing when a public school district that provides busing for its resident pupils must also provide transportation for nonpublic school pupils.  Advocates of the bill claim that it would simply clean up outdated language in the Revised School Code, bringing it in line with current school-funding practices.  In particular, they claim that because school districts no longer receive categorical funding to pay for transportation under the State School Aid Act, the language of §1321(b) needs to be deleted.

But the bill is not necessarily what it purports to be.

Section 1321(b) does not specifically mention categorical funding under the State School Aid Act.  Instead, it broadly references any state aid that could potentially be used for transportation — including the per-pupil foundation allowance.  In short, eliminating the language of §1321(b) would require a school district that offers busing for its resident pupils to provide that same service for nonpublic school pupils regardless of whether the district receives any state funding to pay for it.

What else would House Bill 5753 do?  As passed, the bill would not specifically require school districts to pay for and provide transportation for charter school pupils.  However, the Michigan House education committee, chaired by Rep. Price, tipped its hand when it referred the bill with substitute H-1 earlier this month (read the September 8th committee minutes here).

Although H-1 was not adopted when the bill reached the House floor, the text of the substitute is telling.  Under §1321(c) as presently written, one of the three requirements for providing pupil transportation is…

Source: Pupil Transportation Bill Clears Michigan House – Fix the mitten

CURMUDGUCATION: The Gates Plan for College

The Gates Plan for College

Posted by Peter Greene: 24 Sep 2016

Some days I feel kind of Rip Van Winklesque, as if I went to sleep and when I woke up the world had changed. Apparently while I was sleeping, the electorate rose up and elected Bill Gates the Grand Uber Head of Education. “Please,” a bunch of you non-sleeping people said. “Redesign our entire education system. Redefine what it means to be an educated person, and redefine how a person gets an education. Please do that for us, and now that we’ve asked you to do this, please never ask us for any input on the subject ever again.”

And so we got Common Core and high-stakes testing and Big Data Systems and a whole giant network of astro-turf groups pushing these policy ideas and a decade of corporate dismantling of public education, funded in astonishingly substantial ways by Bill and Melinda Gates.

But apparently while I was sleeping, y’all asked him to do something about redesigning colleges, too.

I’m looking at the most current version of Gates’ Postsecondary Success Advocacy Priorities, which is kind of a non-meaning word salad of a title, but I’m thinking what we have here is what The Gates considers the priorities to advocate of in the process of redefining post-secondary success. Yes, I’ve read it so you don’t have to, but if this is the kind of thing you let happen while I’m asleep, we’ve really got to talk.

The Overview

Higher education is the bridge to success. Well, it used to be, but now it’s a narrow twisty high-priced toll bridge, and that’s a problem. Mind you, the cost of that problem is not to the human beings who wanted to cross the bridge:

Rising costs and debt, stubbornly high dropout rates, and persistent attainment gaps threaten higher education’s ability to meet societal and workforce needs. Recent estimates show that the nation will need 11 million more workers with some form of high-quality post-high school education by 2025 than our system is currently on course to produce.

The Gates strategy is…

Follow this link to read the rest of this post: CURMUDGUCATION: The Gates Plan for College

From NEA’s edvotes.org:Key things to know about the charter school debateSeptember 17, 2016

Guest writer Julian Vasquez Heilig

At separate conventions this summer, the NAACP and the Black Lives Matter Movement—the nation’s oldest and the youngest civil rights organizations—passed resolutions critical of charter schools and the privatization of education. We may have reached a watershed moment for market-based school choice. Here are some key things to consider about the charter schools debate.

School “choice” does not cure the inequality created by markets. Academics who support market-based reforms for education, not surprisingly, neglect to mention that such mechanisms are the very system that created the inequities in American public schools today. Along with other public policies, including redlining, market forces created racial and economic segregation. Instead of making this situation better, school choice has made this situation worse.
The position of the NAACP and Black Lives Matter on privatization is consistent with the views of past civil rights leaders. NAACP co-founder W.E.B. Du Bois, in his essay Negroes and the Crisis of Capitalism in the U.S., extolled the virtues of collaborative social and government action. He railed against the role of businesses and capitalistic control that “usurp government” and made the “throttling of democracy and distortion of education and failure of justice widespread.” Malcolm X characterized market-based public policy as “vulturistic” and “bloodsucking.” He advocated for collaborative social systems to solve problems. Martin Luther King Jr. argued that we often have socialism in public policy for the rich and rigged free market capitalism for the poor.
Is the NAACP and Black Lives Matter position on schools out of touch with civil rights? The NAACP has for years been consistent in its critique of charters schools. At the 2010 convention, the NAACP national board and members supported an anti-charter resolution saying that state charter schools create “separate and unequal conditions.” A review of ten years of research supports their statement. More recently, in 2014, the NAACP connected school choice with the private control of public education.
Educator Julian Vasquez Heilig
While the recent 2016 resolution has not yet been ratified as policy by the NAACP National Board, more than 2,000 NAACP delegates from across the nation did vote for a charter school moratorium based on a variety of civil rights-based critiques such as a lack of accountability, increased segregation, and disparate punitive and exclusionary discipline for African Americans.
Why is more oversight and accountability needed for charters? Proponents of more accountability for charter schools want parents to be able to choose from high-quality public schools. Instead, charter schools have the power to selectively choose students who will perform well. Charter supporters blame a few bad apple charters for expelling too many students, but charter school supporters and their lobbyists consistently support laws that promote lax oversight and regulation. For example, the California Charter School Association has actively lobbied against data collection and accountability for punitive and exclusionary school discipline and teacher turnover in charter schools.
Do charters perform better than public schools? Charter proponents often cite studies produced by The Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University. CREDO studies are not peer reviewed. But charter school supporters and the media point to CREDO’s 2015 urban charter study to say that African American and Latino students have more success in charter schools. Leaving aside the integrity of the study, what charter proponents don’t mention is that the performance impact is .008 and .05 for Latinos and African Americans in charter schools, respectively. These numbers are larger than zero, but you need a magnifying glass to see them. Contrast that outcome with policies such as pre-K and class size reduction with far more unequivocal measures of success than charter schools.
This article was culled from a larger, more detailed piece Heilig wrote for The Progressive, entitled, “10 Things to know about the Charter School Debate”.

Julian Vasquez Heilig is an award-winning researcher and teacher. He is currently a Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and the Director of the Doctorate in Educational Leadership at California State University Sacramento. He blogs at Cloaking Inequity, consistently rated one of the top 50 education websites in the world by Teach100. Follow him on Twitter @ProfessorJVH.

‘Who is this Robert Smith?’: A quiet billionaire makes some noise with $20 million gift to the African American museum – The Washington Post

In 2013, when the founders of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture were seeking donors, people directed them to one man: Robert F. Smith.

“We kept wondering, ‘Who is this Robert Smith?’ ” said Adrienne Brooks, director of development for the museum. Meeting Smith became a priority, said Lonnie G. Bunch III, the museum’s founding director. “We wanted to meet him. And soon,” Bunch said, laughing.

Soon many more people will know Robert Smith by name as the museum celebrates its grand opening this weekend. The private-equity financier was the museum’s second-biggest private donor, with a $20 million gift. Oprah Winfrey was No. 1, with $21 million.

Smith has built a fortune that’s made him one of the nation’s richest men — worth $2.5 billion, according to Forbes — but until now he has kept his work and philanthropy relatively quiet.

Even the website of his company, Vista Equity Partners, does not have a picture of him. Better, he had thought, that investors and executives know him first by his abilities. If they saw only the caramel skin of an African American, he might lose out on opportunities.

Read more here: