We know that public universities are now corporate controlled and from business-sector adjuncts to professors as corporate research and development, all of this makes school access for all but the most connected limited. Public education has been a principle of US democracy from the beginning so this is an attempt to create a third world class system of education and career achievement.
Below you see how they are literally choosing which students go to which schools. I spoke at length about how neo-liberals are trying to create the same system that China has in having the state (in our case, corporation) decide which vocational track your child takes by tests given in pre-school that will tell them skills and ability and they then will decide career track----parents have no choice. This is already happening in Baltimore but because we have no media or public justice we do not hear what is happening all around the country! This is why the public is having no say in public policy----it has been written by corporations.
I think most parents are seeing the disaster that is education reform and fighting it. These neo-liberals are now moving to hide their intentions when campaigning so watch out. Yet, I see the same neo-liberals being endorsed by unions and justice organizations. IF WE DO NOT GET LABOR AND JUSTICE CANDIDATES IN PRIMARIES----WE WILL LOSE THE FIGHT!
MARYLAND POLS ARE ALL NEO-LIBERALS WORKING FOR WEALTH AND PROFIT----SEND THEM PACKING!
Philadelphia School Partnership pushes for private management of student placement
by Helen Gym on Oct 24 2013
Philadelphia Public School Notebook
thenotebook.org CachedThe Philadelphia School District has made a controversial choice for its chief safety officer. ... Public School Notebook. 699 Ranstead St. Third Floor Philadelphia, ...
For months, the Philadelphia School Partnership (PSP) has been working to put in place a new citywide process for placing students in schools. Most troubling is that PSP wants this process to be run by an outside, private entity that is created by PSP and could eventually charge a per-pupil fee from participating systems.
“Universal enrollment,” as it is called, would match students to either a District, charter, or parochial school whenever they decide to transfer, move, or transition to another school level.
The PSP proposal would not only take the current student-placement program out of the District’s hands -- unprecedented in any other city -- it would also include parochial schools and coordinate the selection process with the availability of scholarships, which are now often provided through two controversial, voucher-like business tax subsidy programs in Pennsylvania.
PSP’s audacious plans were unveiled at a briefing before City Council last month. I spoke with several attendees at the briefing, including a member of Parents United for Public Education, and received a copy of PSP's PowerPoint presentation.
PSP, which describes itself as a philanthropic organization interested in the movement of students into "high performing" seats, had aimed to launch a pilot universal enrollment effort this year with parochial schools and some charters. Since the briefing, PSP has now decided to delay the program until next year, when it proposes to assume enrollment responsibilities for all District schools, including special admission schools as well as charter and parochial schools.
The program raises serious questions about students' privacy rights, church-and-state separation, and public disclosure issues. It also potentially weakens the guarantee of a neighborhood school option and removes from District control a central mission and function – all without any meaningful public disclosure, discussion, or oversight.
District officials are distancing themselves from PSP’s independent effort. Spokesperson Fernando Gallard told me the District is using its own enrollment process this year.
“There has been no decision made regarding the high school selection process for future years,” Gallard wrote in an email. “The use of a third party and the per pupil fee is a question that should be answered by PSP since we are not part of that effort.”
Lobbying council on universal enrollment
PSP introduced its independent universal enrollment program in a briefing before City Council on Sept. 18. According to attendees, the presentation sparked controversy, leading to a pointed back-and-forth between a number of Council staff and PSP leadership.
The briefing was led by PSP’s executive director Mark Gleason, a one-time publishing entrepreneur and former South Orange-Maplewood, N.J., school board member. Gleason identified PSP’s chief consultant in the project as Ramsey Green, a real estate investor and consultant from New Orleans, where a similar program has been criticized by a number of public education advocates.
Sources told me that Gleason promoted the new process as a way to “outsource the enrollment and placement” of all students in the city’s District, charter, and, in a surprising twist, Catholic schools. In most cities with a universal enrollment plan, the effort has focused on the public sector, presumably to avoid First Amendment conflicts.
At the Council briefing, Gleason announced that the District in August had pulled out of the universal enrollment process for this year, saying officials have "a lot on their plate right now.” As a result, he said, PSP would take on the effort unilaterally by setting up a separate nonprofit called PhillySchoolApp.
PhillySchoolApp will be overseen by a private entity, the Compact Working Group, whose members represent the Great Schools Compact, a body that includes District and charter school leaders, and which PSP also staffs. Gleason said PSP was already interviewing applicants for the executive director position of PhillySchoolApp.
Private philanthropy would cover the effort for the first three years, after which PhillySchoolApp would charge a per-pupil fee for participating schools. When asked about the potential cost by a Council aide, Gleason said it could be in the range of $10 per student, according to several people who were at the briefing.
According to the PowerPoint presentation made at the briefing, PhillySchoolApp would run a “centralized lottery and school matching service” that would assign each student only one option for a school.
Under the current system, students at the high school level are assured a neighborhood school option, can be admitted to as many as five District schools, and can apply to as many charter and private schools as they want. Under PSP’s proposed system, students would be matched to a single school. Students would have a right to refuse that school, but would lose their opportunity in the selective first round, then bump down to a second- and third-match round, where fewer schools are offered.
The PowerPoint said PSP had intended to secure the participation of “50-plus charter and Catholic schools” this year. Students assigned to Catholic schools would be matched "only if it was determined that scholarship assistance would be available." The tax-credit programs, Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) -- often deemed similar to vouchers -- are increasingly the most common means of scholarship assistance.
Attendees at the briefing said at least one staff aide asked a question about potential church-and-state conflicts.
“The question was asked, but it felt like it wasn’t taken seriously,” said one attendee. “They [PSP] just shrugged it off. They said there was no real conflict and started talking about the nature of the process, and how involved they were, and so on.”
Kristen Forbriger, communications manager for PSP, told me last week that, although the effort has been delayed till next year, the Compact Committee has “developed a common application,” which has been made available to District, charter, and Catholic schools. District officials said they are using their own application that is completely separate from an application through the Compact.
“The goal is to introduce the full system [“PhillySchoolApp”] in the future, hopefully by next year,” Forbriger wrote in an email.
One attendee at the briefing said Gleason asked Council members and staff to support the effort by putting their name behind neighborhood meetings to promote PhillySchoolApp. Forbriger explained over email that the purpose of the Council briefing was to “ensure Council members and staff were fully briefed on the program should it have rolled out this year, so they could share information with families.”
Susan Gobreski, executive director of Education Voters PA, said her organization had supported a common enrollment process, which could deal with inequities. For example, some charters have been flagged for complicated application processes that create "barriers to entry" for some students.
But Gobreski expressed surprise at PSP’s newly forged, independent role.
“While we support the implementation of some form of common enrollment for high school students with an eye on equity, I am very concerned about it being run by a private entity,” Gobreski said. “School placement for public education must be the function of a public entity and changes to our current process need to be thoroughly examined in a public manner with an opportunity to raise questions.”
An untested experiment in school choice
Universal enrollment is another untested reform initiative coming from the Gates Foundation, which has a history of funding experimental, and often controversial, ideas in K-12 education (requiring student test scores as a major part of teacher evaluations, for example) and higher education. The most established universal enrollment programs are in New Orleans and Denver. Newark and Washington, D.C., recently announced they intend to introduce universal enrollment in 2014-2015.
Karran Harper Royal, a New Orleans parent advocate, shared her concerns with me this week about how the universal enrollment program has rolled out in her hometown. Harper Royal said that, in New Orleans, parents are handed a long list of school names with letter grades, which give little information about the quality of school services. Parents have raised concerns that universal enrollment actually limits choice options by directing families into a single computer-generated selection. Parents no longer have the guaranteed option of their nearby neighborhood school, even if it is a few blocks away and desired.
One mother, who lived on the West Bank of New Orleans, only listed schools on the West Bank, which were all full “according to the computer,” Harper Royal said. That parent was assigned to an “F”-rated school on the far east side of New Orleans slated for closure the following year.
“I’d be concerned that this is just another tool to segregate schools and steer some families to some schools and other families to other schools,” Harper Royal said. “This isn’t an informed choice that families are making.”
In New Orleans, where more than 70 percent of students are in charters, the “OneApp” (as it is dubbed) is a daunting 20-page package requiring two to four written pages per child. Notably, PSP’s PowerPoint presentation before City Council included a sample application form from the New Orleans OneApp. One report said that more than one in five families simply don’t participate in the process.
Tomika Anglin, a leadership member of Parents United for Public Education who attended the City Council briefing, said she was concerned that universal enrollment would “further starve already emaciated neighborhood schools.”
“This is another way of telling people to get out of the public schools, and then blaming people if they don’t,” she said.
Anglin said she was most alarmed at the role of a private entity formed by PSP controlling the enrollment process.
“How can parents be assured that this is about my child and not the agenda of PSP?” Anglin asked. “They are creating a process that, once implemented, will render the District and participating schools dependent – and then the bill will come. They have created their own source of profit, and the city’s schoolchildren will be held hostage.”
PhillySchoolApp will have unrestricted access to private student data in order to mine student information to facilitate their placement. A “central database can integrate with every school’s student data system,” one slide of the PSP PowerPoint shows.
Student data systems contain highly sensitive information, including names, addresses, Social Security numbers, grades, test scores, race, students' economic status, special-education status, disciplinary status, and much more. They can also contain information that is appropriate for a school but may not be appropriate for third-party vendors, such as reasons for leaving a school or parental status (custody rights, foster care, etc.). Granting access to such information to a third party outside the School District could violate the confidentiality of such information.
New York City parents, for example, have launched a major battle around privacy rights against a private contractor, which collects student data and has the right to sell that information, recently highlighted in a New York Times article.
Privacy and First Amendment concerns aside, providing meaningful choices to Philadelphia’s families will take more than a clever computer algorithm. Choice advocates make a mistake in presuming that parents have real options when there is a dysfunctional school system that reformers largely refuse to improve.
Harper Royal, in New Orleans, said: “They’re not talking about leveling the playing field. They’re not talking about providing transportation, or dealing with school fees, or addressing quality of services, especially for students with special needs."
“They have hijacked the word choice. This is not choice. It’s the illusion of choice.”
Part 2 coming soon: “Public money, private gain: Philadelphia School Partnership's expanding role in political lobbying”
Helen Gym is a founder of Parents United for Public Education and a Notebook blogger.
THIS IS WHAT MAYOR RAWLINGS-BLAKE AND BALTIMORE CITY HALL ARE DOING AS THEY TOO CLOSE COMMUNITY CENTERS AND PLACE THEM UNDER PRIVATE OVERSIGHT. REMEMEBER, IT IS SCHOOLS AND COMMUNITY CENTERS THAT ALWAYS ACT ON PEOPLE'S VOICES and in Baltimore it is all of the private non-profits staffed by Hopkins and Baltimore Development that keeps organizing and dissent silent.
STOP ALLOWING THE NEO-LIBERAL DNC CHOOSE YOUR CANDIDATES ----RUN AND VOTE FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE CANDIDATE!
That is what placing all of these career and job training processes in public places does-----these are business functions that do not need to be in public spaces.....neo-liberals are simply trying to eliminate all ability of people to gather to speak. THIS IS AUTOCRATIC AND KILLS DEMOCRACY!
Two CCNY Students Suspended as Third Protest Over Closure of Morales-Shakur Center Begins
[Updated] By Anna Merlan Mon., Oct. 28 2013 at 2:22 PM Write Comment Categories: CUNY, Protestors
Photo by CCNY student Aber KawasCCNY students protest outside a campus administrative building. Update, 4:00 p.m.: It appears that CCNY's North Academic Center (NAC) has once again been placed on lockdown, with students unable to enter or leave. Protest group Liberate CUNY Front claims a student was roughed up and arrested by campus police as he tried to leave the building. More information as we have it.
Update, 5:01 p.m.: Liberate CUNY now says the student was not arrested, but detained, cited, and released. CCNY officials have not yet confirmed or denied the detainment. This video has quickly made the rounds; it appears to show campus police carrying a handcuffed man out of the NAC, into another building, and down an escalator.
On Twitter, CCNY responded directly to Liberate CUNY, denying that the lockdown had taken place: "CCNY, including NAC, have been open all day today." But other students tweeted about having to have class outside, only being able to get onto the campus through its Convent Avenue entrance, because the others were closed off, and one posted this photo, of barricades and police officers in front of several campus buildings.
Original item: Looks like the battle between the City College of New York administration and student protesters over the closure of the Guillermo Morales-Assata Shakur Center is still heating up. This morning, two students involved with the protests were abruptly suspended, just before a planned third demonstration on the lawn of an administrative building.
The MSCC, as the students refer to it, was a hub of campus political activity; it was converted into the "Careers and Professional Development Institute" on Sunday, October 22, with no warning given to the student body beforehand. The school has defended that decision, saying the room was simply "reallocated" to "provide additional services to students seeking assistance in transitioning from college to the workplace."
- See also: CUNY City College Students Protest After Morales-Shakur Center, Hub of Campus Political Activity, Is Abruptly Closed
The students are Khalil Vasquez and Tafadar Sourov, both juniors. According to MSCC director Alyssia Osorio, 22, a senior, the two men were both approached by campus police after class, had their student IDs taken, and told that they were suspended, effective immediately. They are banned from campus while the suspension is in effect. (In response to a question from the Voice about the suspensions, CCNY spokesperson Deidra Hill wrote, "City College follows a community standards process in which student disciplinary actions are confidential unless there is a need to know. City College continues to support students' rights to exercise their constitutional rights and to ensure a safe and peaceful environment for the campus community.")
"They were in the center every day just like myself," Osorio says. "It was so much to us. I think it's ridiculous that the CCNY administration has actually stooped this low...What happens to your financial aid when that happens? What happens to your trajectory of graduation? This kind of thing can really mess up your life."
CCNY President Lisa Coico returned this week from a trip to Spain; in a letter to the students, Coico called the expansion "much-needed." We've posted the full letter below.
CCNY's Facebook page had previously posted articles from the New York Post and AM New York supporting the center's closure. This morning, those were taken down, and another message was posted, reading: "Recent articles on student demonstrations that were posted on this page in no way reflect the views of City College, and have been removed." Both articles support the center's closure on political grounds, with the Post saying the center's name is "obscene," as it "honored two murderous fugitives who now live in Fidel Castro's Cuba." AM New York wrote, "Good riddance to a wretchedly misguided idea."
The protesters are also seeing a bit of a backlash from other students. On the popular CCNY Secrets Facebook page, the two sides have been bickering back and forth, with one uninvolved student telling the protestors, "Y'all gotta chill with the protesting shit man ... be like Martin and do that stuff peacefully ... I missed my freaking midterm cause of y'all smh."
The anonymous moderator of CCNY Secrets also seems to be getting sick of the topic.
"Okay guys, let's get some secrets not related to the protests," he or she wrote, late last week. "Submit a secret about what you had for lunch, anything, please. I beg you."
CCNY President Lisa Coico's letter:
The middle-class are being led to believe that all of this charter and choice is about gentrification, not an attack on public schools. It's the poor that are being placed into these vocational schools and tracked into low paying career colleges.
THINK AGAIN!!!! The rich have said that only 10% of Americans need strong education. Right now, that includes those families earning greater than $100,000. This will go up the more control Wall Street has!
The goal is to have only graduates of Ivy League schools having leadership positions in business and government---
Middle Class Children and the Hostage Takers in Corporate Education Reform
Posted on October 14, 2013 by Ken Previti
Your children are the targets for Corporate Education Reform hostage takers. This is no exaggeration or hype. Middle class children in middle class areas. “No, a generation of youngsters is being held instead by pinstriped corporate executives, buttoned-down foundation officers and the local school board officials those aristocrats buy and sell.”
High stakes testing, teacher firing, sequestration, school closings, government shutdown, corporate education reform and the profiteering of vulture capitalist philanthropists. All in the wealthiest nation in the world.
David Sirota explains how the vulture philanthropists actually work.
“This smooth-talking team of bandits is armed with billions of dollars of “charitable” – and therefore tax-subsidized – cash from both brand-name corporate behemoths and individual plutocrats like Microsoft’s Bill Gates, insurance magnate Eli Broad, media titan Michael Bloomberg, Enron billionaire John Arnold and Wal-Mart’s Walton family. With school districts refusing to adequately fund their education systems, and with a tax code boosting the plutocrats’ anti-public-school activism, this rogues gallery is now calling the shots – and demanding ransom. If a community pays the ransom by letting these distant marauders do what they want to the local school, then the perpetrators won’t purposely harm any hostages, even though their policies may inadvertently maim a bunch. But if a community defies these moguls’ wishes, then open threats against the cute little hostages commence.”
“Specifically, corporations offer cash to budget-strapped school districts, claiming they are motivated by an altruistic desire to help preserve educational services for the community. But the cash is often contingent.”
“Less straightforward but equally insidious is the concurrent extortion scheme run by politically motivated foundations. More interested in making local schools petri dishes for their half-baked ‘free market’ experiments and their ideological crusades against unions, these foundations masquerade as apolitical charities, while using their vast tax-subsidized resources to strengthen the already outsized political power of their namesake benefactors.”
You know this is true. Read the full nsfwcorp article, “Hostage-Taking in the Classroom,” HERE for more details. Pass this along to your friends and neighbors. They need to know.
BELOW YOU SEE HOW AN ACTION TAKEN TO SELL EDUCATION TECH JUNK IS BEING FOUGHT IN HOWARD COUNTY----THEY ARE DOING THE SAME THING IN BALTIMORE AND NOT A SOUND!
Did you know that cell phones are used by students for more than lessons? Did you know that even colleges have stop using computers in lecture halls because all the students surfed the web while they taught? Did you know students---those sly youth----have been using texting to give answers on tests and drive teachers to distraction in an effort to keep all these issues neutralized. EVERYONE KNOWS THAT! So, why do Maryland school boards seem determined to keep students connected to technology 24/7?
The education reform that MD is making was written by tech businesses and Wall Street and is only meant to make a market for an education tech bubble. That is all. These corporate types want our children to get used to lessons online because that is what they are moving towards...the cheapest education model is having children sitting in front of canned lessons presented by selected professors. It is a cheapening of education folks with a consolidation of what content is taught and by whom.
Parents understand that the socialization of school is critical. They understand the value of individual instructors with hands on ability and broad subject matter as a tool for teambuilding, communication, and leadership. All that comes with Race to the Top is making education cheap and marketable as charters become businesses and national chains that trade on Wall Street.
Parents start petition for cellphone moratorium at Howard schools
- By Sara Toth, firstname.lastname@example.org 11:16 a.m. EDT, October 24, 2013
An online petition calling for a moratorium on the new rules has gained nearly 200 signatures since it was launched Oct. 1, with parents saying cellphones have no place in the schools, and that they should have been included in the decision- making process to relax the restrictions.
"The biggest concern for us was not just the new rules themselves, which we're not crazy about, but the way parents weren't included in the process," said Ying Matties, a Centennial High School mother of two, who started the petition with some friends. "We learned about it after school had started, when the new rules were already put in place. It was a shock and a surprise, and it shouldn't have been."
The Howard County Public School System this year relaxed cellphone use in schools. Three high schools — River Hill, Mt. Hebron and Long Reach — are piloting a bring-your-own-device program, which allows students to use their own phones, tablets and computers in class. In the other high schools, students are able to use their phones between classes and during lunch, and in middle schools students are able to have their phones with them, but out of sight and silent. In elementary schools, students must keep their phones turned off and in their backpacks. According to the new guidelines, "each school will work toward permitting cellphone use during cafeteria/recess and hallway/transition times by the end of first semester."
The Board of Education this summer approved a new policy outlining responsible use of technology for staff and students. That policy went through the public hearing process and was established by two policy committees that did include parents and students. An administrative action, however, led to the Bring Your Own Device pilot for the three high schools, said Frank Eastham, the system's executive director of school improvement and administration, and the decision to enact it and the new rules didn't include parent input.
"The policy opened up the possibility of devices in schools," he said. "We had to revise the code of conduct so student wouldn't be violating the rules by participating in the pilot."
Schools spokeswoman Rebecca Amani-Dove said the new policy has "a strong emphasis on meeting people where they are and how we communicate. There was resounding support for the policy and the direction it's taking the school system."
Petition-signers say allowing cellphones is schools is distracting, takes away from social and academic learning, and highlights inequities among the students.
"When my kids are home and have free time, they are glued to their electronics," said Karen York, a mother of three, including a daughter at Centennial. "I don't want that to be the case when they're at school. I want my daughter to have access to her phone in case of emergencies, yes, but between classes, at lunch, put your phone away and talk to people."
Beyond cellphones "having no place in the classroom," the new relaxed rules put pressure on families, said Michele Aylaian, a parent of two students at Centennial and one at Burleigh Manor Middle School.
"Kids are going to feel that, if everyone has cellphones, they should have one, too," she said. "That's an unnecessary social pressure for a sixth-grader, to feel that they have to have a phone because everyone else does."
York worries allowing students to use their phones could draw a line between the haves and the have-nots, or kids who have smartphones and those who don't.
"If the county wants the child to have his or her phone in class, the county should provide them," she said. "I shouldn't have to take on the financial burden to buy a phone and pay for service for the county's use. I worry, too, that it will be a form of ammunition. I don't want my daughter ostracized because other kids have the latest, greatest technology and she doesn't."
The Centennial PTSA executive board recently voted in favor of the petition started by Matties (who is an executive board member but abstained from the vote, she said). That vote is not indicative of the parent opinion at the school, said Ann Marie Krahe, a mother of two Centennial students.
"I think it's ridiculous," Krahe said. "The kids were using their phones anyway and to not think so would be naive. Now, if they're allowed to use it in the hallways or cafeteria, there's no reason for them to leave class and go to the bathroom to use it.."
Krahe's daughters don't have smartphones, and they're not going to have smartphones any time soon, but the family "has never worried about trying to keep up with the Joneses," she said, and if students are going to tease others about not having the "latest and greatest," that was going to happen with or without the new rules.
Another Centennial parent, Michelle Berry, said she was happy when she heard about the new cellphone rules. Since the start of the school year, she feels morale among her three children has risen.
"I've always felt that if you told a kid 'no, no, no,' at a certain point, it doesn't work," she said. "Giving them this freedom helps their learning. It helps put them in a better frame of mind to focus in class, and it frees up the teachers and administration to pay attention to the important things, rather than trying to police my kid who's trying to send a text. Before, especially in the middle schools, they were so strict about it. Even if the school day was over, kids would get in trouble for taking out their phones in the hallway."
While the majority of petition-signers are from the Ellicott City area, people from all over the county have signed on in protest. Support for the relaxed cellphone rules also is spread across the county, from parents who said the rules make life easier on them as well as their children.
"I like the idea," said Jackie Coleman, a Hammond High School parent. "My child can call me if there is any emergencies and she can use her phone for any apps or as a calculator (to help with schoolwork)."
Besides, Coleman said, if her daughter isn't having her phone taken away from her, Coleman doesn't have to go to the school and pick it up, as was common practice before this year.
It's a sentiment echoed by Keri Ekert, a parent at Reservoir High School.
"I think it's very convenient for both the parents and the child," she said. "I can send a text without worrying if my child is going to get their phone taken away (if they text back)."