I WANT TO RETURN TO THE SECOND FRONT OF EDUCATION PRIVATIZATION......K-12 WITH A THANKS TO THE CHICAGO TEACHER'S UNIONS FOR HOLDING STRONG AGAINST CORPORATE EDUCATION REFORM. THIS IS HAPPENING ACROSS THE COUNTRY....ARE YOU SEEING IT ON YOUR NIGHTLY NEWS? WE WANT TO SUPPORT THESE THREATS TO STRIKE FOR AS LONG AS IT TAKES BECAUSE, AS THE ARTICLE BELOW STATES......THIS IS A FIGHT FOR AMERICA'S FUTURE........LITERALLY. THE BUDGET DEFICITS ARE A RESULT OF CORPORATE FRAUD AND TAX EVASION AND THAT IS FROM WHERE THE MONEY NEEDS TO COME.....NOT FROM PUBLIC SERVICES! YOU WILL RECOGNIZE THE COMMENT MADE BY THESE TEACHERS:
VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE!!!
CHICAGO IS HOME TO RAHM EMANUEL, OBAMA'S CHIEF OF STAFF AND 'EDUCATION REFORMER'. ARNE DUNCAN HAS BEEN PRIVATIZING CHICAGO'S SCHOOLS FOR A DECADE NOW. RAHM IS DOING IN CHICAGO WHAT CONSERVATIVE POLITICIANS IN REPUBLICAN STATES ARE DOING.....CHARTERS AND UNION-BUSTING. THE MANTRA FOR REFORMERS IS THAT WE ARE GOING TO DEVELOP OF SYSTEM OF PERFORMANCE BASED PAY FOR TEACHERS....THAT IS WHY THEY ARE DISMANTLING THE CURRENT TENURE STRUCTURE. THIS MANTRA IS HARD TO DEFEND AS CURRENT POLICIES WORK AGAINST MEANINGFUL PAY INCREASES. TYING WAGES TO COST OF LIVING FIGURES WE ALL KNOW ARE SKEWED DOWNWARD AND NEVER MEET THE NEEDS OF PEOPLE....THINK MEDICARE AND SOCIAL SECURITY....SHOW THERE IS NO INTENT ON MAKING PERFORMANCE A TRACK TOWARDS HIGHER WAGES..........HIGHER THAN WHAT? COUPLE THAT WITH THE APPARENT DECLINE IN THE QUALITY OF EDUCATION WITH POLICY CHOICES AND YOU SEE THIS REFORM IS NOT ABOUT QUALITY EDUCATION, IT IS ABOUT PRIVATIZING A CHERISHED PUBLIC ASSET.
WHAT EVERYONE NEEDS TO REMEMBER IN THESE LABOR NEGOTIATIONS........PUBLIC SECTOR UNIONS WERE DEALT AN ONSLAUGHT OF WAGE AND BENEFIT CONCESSIONS THESE FOUR YEARS AND HAVE NOT SEEN A SIGNIFICANT WAGE INCREASE IN THAT TIME. IF YOU ARE GOING TO BASE INCREASES ON PERFORMANCE, THEN YOU WANT THE BASE SALARY AT A HEALTHY LEVEL. WHAT ALL THESE POLITICIANS ARE TRYING TO DO IS BEAT THESE WAGES DOWN TO THE LOWEST LEVEL AND THEN HOLD THEM THERE WITH THESE COST OF LIVING INCREASES THAT ARE INCREDIBLY SMALL. YOU CAN HEAR THEM SAYING NOW....19% INCREASE!!! WHO DO THEY THINK THEY ARE? THEY ARE PEOPLE WHO HAVE HAD THAT MUCH TAKEN AWAY ON TOP OF BENEFIT CO-PAYS ADDED THAT WILL COST A LOT! STOP BUSINESS TAX BREAKS AND SUPPORT YOUR SCHOOLS!!!
Despite Strike Threat, Chicago Schools to Open As Scheduled With no notice of strike action by the union filed yet, Chicago Public Schools will open as scheduled — but a strike notice is anticipated soon.
The Chicago Teachers Union has yet to file a 10 day strike notice, and union President Karen Lewis has said there are no immediate plans to do so — which means students in Chicago will definitely return to school on time on September 4th. However, a strike notice is widely anticipated to occur soon as the threat of an early strike would give the union additional leverage at the bargaining table. They may also wait until the two sides are a little closer together so that the strike could be leveraged into a concrete deal.
At the moment the two sides are still worlds apart on the matters of teacher compensation, evaluation of performance and job security.
According to material presented to the union’s House of Delegates on Wednesday, the district’s latest salary offer is a 2 percent raise in each of the four years of the contract, with merit pay tying wage increases to student performance in the final year. The district also wants to eliminate automatic annual raises tied to experience.
Chicago Public Schools officials said their proposal is 2 percent over each of the contract’s four years and is not tied to merit pay.
By contrast, the union’s counteroffer remains at a heavily front-loaded 22% pay increase over two years; 19% in the first and 3% in the second. The union also wants to create a permanent system for rehiring laid off teachers.
Union leaders, including Lewis and Jesse Sharkey, the Chicago Teachers Union vice president, spent Friday morning at the Red Line stop at 95th Street handing out fliers to local commuters and trying to drum up local public support.
“Good morning brother, support public schools,” Lewis said as she handed a flier to a man walking by.
Joel Hood of the Chicago Tribune reported that the union effort had all the hallmarks of a grassroots political campaign, which is a fairly apt comparison. The union’s key bargaining chip is that of being able to strike. A teachers strike will, however, cause significant disruption to the lives of many Chicago citizens as well as impacting their children’s quality of education. The CTU is working hard to win the hearts and minds of the local community because who the Chicago public blames for the almost inevitable strike will be key to the outcome of negotiations.
“We’re relying on pressure from not only our members but also the public to improve our position at the bargaining table,” union Vice President Jesse Sharkey said. “If the public is calling for many of the same things we’re calling for, a fair contract and smaller class sizes, then that helps.”
CHOICE BASED SCHOOLS IS A POLICY DESIGNED TO MOVE CURRENT STUDENT POPULATIONS OUT WHILE MOVING A NEW POPULATION INTO THE SCHOOL. IT IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND IT INSTILLS A FEELING OF DISCOMFORT ON THE CHILDREN INTENDED AS THE ONES MOVING OUT. THESE ARE THE SAME STUDENTS NEEDING THE BEST ENVIRONMENT FOR SUCCESS AND THESE POLICIES SHOW THAT ISN'T THE MISSION. SCHOOL CHOICE IS AN O'MALLEY AND RAWLINGS-BLAKE FAVORITE AND ALONZO'S CENTRAL POLICY IN MOVING FAMILIES OUT OF NEIGHBORHOODS.
Power Speaks Truth
Jul. 31, 2012 by Jackie Bennett EdWize Blog
Watch the NY1 story »
For years, Bloomberg’s high school admission policies have been concentrating the city’s most at-risk students in certain schools. What with complex, market-driven enrollment policies on the one hand (which favor the families best equipped to negotiate the system), and high-stakes accountability systems on the other (which reward schools that teacher fewer at-risk kids), students have been disenfranchised by Bloomberg’s policies.
The UFT and others (see here, here, and here) have been pointing this out for years, and for just as long, the DOE has denied it. But now it turns out that even as Bloomberg makes his denials, he and the DOE have been scrambling for cover. NYS Education Commissioner John King has put on the pressure, and in May, the DOE sent him a letter claiming they would address the problem, noting that “concerns about situations where our choice-based system may be leading to an over-concentration of students with disabilities, English language learners and/or students that are performing below proficiency in certain schools.”
See an exposé on the issue here. As far as the changes themselves, well, as a parent advocate explains later in the report, it’s too little, too late.
Lost in the School Choice Maze
Emily Berl for The New York Times Radcliffe Saddler, an eighth grader who is an honors student from Brooklyn, did not get into any of the high schools he initially picked. “I feel like I did something wrong,” he said.
By LIZ ROBBINS Published: May 6, 2011 New York Times
ON the last day in March, when most eighth graders in New York City learned where they would be going to high school in the fall, Radcliffe Saddler watched the majority of his classmates rip open thin envelopes and celebrate.
Some students opened thick envelopes just as he did and started crying. Radcliffe, an honors student at Isaac Bildersee Middle School in Canarsie, Brooklyn, was determined to hold in his emotions until he got home.
His trip involved the usual two city buses and took 45 minutes. When he walked into his family’s small apartment in East Flatbush, he showed his mother the letter saying he had not gotten into any of the nine schools he had applied to. Then he ducked into his room and cried.
“I felt like I never worked hard enough,” Radcliffe, 14, said softly a few days later. “To see other people get in, I feel like I did something wrong.”
He may have felt like it, but he was not alone. The Department of Education’s dizzying, byzantine system for students to select a public high school left a total of 8,239 — about 10 percent of the city’s eighth graders — shut out of all their choices, and their parents feeling inadequate, frustrated and angry.
They were told to ponder “What next?” — with just two weeks to research and apply to a new set of schools — even as the bitter question “Why?” still lingered.
The answer is more complicated than the toughest word problem in any high school math class.
In 2004, in an attempt to create more choices for parents beyond the large neighborhood high schools that were seen as dumping grounds, and while trying to make the process more equitable, the Education Department instituted an elaborate process to match students and schools.
Eighth graders are asked to apply to up to 12 schools in order of preference; high schools then rank applicants without seeing where the students ranked them. (This does not include the nine specialized high schools that require separate entrance exams or auditions.)
In some cases, the borough or the district where a student lives gives residents priority. Thirty percent of the city’s schools — usually the most coveted and, therefore, the most competitive to get in — use a screening process with their own criteria: seventh-grade standardized test scores, grades and attendance, plus open-house visits, essays or exams.
A computer then compares the two rankings, using the same algorithm developed to match medical residents with hospitals.
This year, of the 78,747 students who applied, the computer matched 83 percent to one of their top five choices. An additional 7 percent were matched to schools lower on their lists. The rest, like Radcliffe, were unmatched. Over the past three years, officials said, there has been a slight but steady increase in the number of unmatched students, up from 8 percent last year and 7 percent in 2009.
One new variable this year was the department’s publishing of graduation rates in school descriptions, which caused a surge in applications to the best schools, said Robert Sanft, the chief executive of the Office of Student Enrollment. The competition at many of those top schools meant long-to-impossible odds. Baruch College Campus High School, with a 100 percent graduation rate, received the most applications from across the city: 7,606 for 120 seats, giving it an acceptance rate of about 1.6 percent (Harvard, by contrast, accepted 6.2 percent of its applicants.)
But geography was a significant factor for Baruch, especially for those who, like Radcliffe, applied from outside Manhattan. According to Baruch’s principal, Alicia Perez-Katz, the school, created for Manhattan’s District 2, has not accepted out-of-district students in many years, a fact not mentioned in the Education Department’s school profile.
Mr. Sanft said there was no one answer to why so many of the city’s children were unmatched. “It could be a combination of factors,” he said, “listing too few choices, overconfidence at reaching the choices for which they might not have qualified, the information available based on their record.”
Despite hosting admissions fairs and offering application guidelines in the encyclopedic 534-page high school directory, which includes 647 programs at 394 schools, plus the nine specialized schools, the department has acknowledged it needs to make its information more accessible to parents. Claudette Saddler, Radcliffe’s mother, said she had been overwhelmed by the process.
“This is like a big maze and you are the little creatures just walking around,” Ms. Saddler said. “It’s like, ‘Somebody please help me.’ I thought it would be simpler for the parents”
Aiming High to Succeed
The Saddlers stand in the middle of the socioeconomic divide in New York City, between the obsessive upper-middle-class parents who fill out spreadsheets to chart their children’s admissions and the uninvolved parents who leave it to guidance counselors to complete the forms
WE ALL KNOW THIS IS THE LOGIC BEHIND SCHOOL CHOICE.....THE UNDER-SERVED PARENTS WILL OFTEN NOT GET THE GOOD SCHOOLS BECAUSE THEY DON'T KNOW HOW TO NAVIGATE THE PROCESS. THIS IS NOT DEMOCRATIC EDUCATION, IT IS SEGREGATION AND MANIPULATION.
BELOW YOU SEE A TEACHER THAT HITS IT RIGHT ON THE HEAD AS HE DESCRIBES THE PROGRESSION OF TEACH FOR AMERICA. WE HAVE PEOPLE WITH LITTLE TEACHING EXPERIENCE BEING SOLICITED TO RUN CHARTER SCHOOLS AND IN BALTIMORE THEY ARE ON THE CITY SCHOOL BOARD. I HAD SOMEONE TELL ME A MEMBER OF A CHURCH CONGREGATION WAS OFFERED A CHANCE TO RUN A CHARTER SCHOOL. THIS PERSON HAD NO BACKGROUND AND YET THIS SCHOOL WAS TO SPECIALIZE IN READING. THE WOMAN HAD N0T ONE BOOK IN HER HOUSE AND NO PASSION FOR THE WORK.
The Problem With Quick Fixes to Education
Alex Caputo-Pearl, a teacher for more than 20 years and a member of Teach for America's inaugural class in 1990, is on the board of directors of Los Angeles' teachers union and is a co-founder of the L.A. Coalition for Educational Justice.
August 30, 2012
When Teach for America began, and recruited me into teaching, the program was primarily service-oriented -- placing willing people in schools that needed teachers. Today, its most important role is political, and that's a shame. Teach for America and its spin-off organizations, like the New Teacher Project and Leadership for Educational Equity, promote a dangerous “quick fix” model of school reform that is harming rather than helping urban schools.
If Teach for America wants to improve education, it needs to provide stronger preparation to its recruits and demand longer commitments. A huge number of Teach for America alumni -- the majority having taught only two years -- have moved to charter management organizations, education nonprofits, districts and elective bodies. They left classroom teaching before refining their craft, and without participating in sustained schoolwide reform. It is in this context that the “quick fix” approach develops.
Teach for America and its partners wrongly think that it's O.K. to deem teachers "highly qualified" even when they've had little preparation and actual experience. Yet, this is the policy they promote. This leads to clustering of less-prepared teachers disproportionately at schools serving our most vulnerable children, which has been shown to have detrimental effect on students.
These programs promote the quick fix of charter schools. Yet, national studies find that charter schools are more likely to underperform than to outperform their counterparts serving similar children. Moreover, many charter schools -- for example, KIPP, the most historically linked with Teach for America -- systematically push out the most needy students, including special education students, English-language learners, foster children and those who struggle with disciplinary issues.
Teach for America and its partners encourage teacher evaluations based on student test scores, although most of their own members leave the classroom before they are subject to these measures. The most compelling research in the field shows these measures to be invalid and unreliable. Moreover, use of the measures creates disincentives for teachers to collaborate, and to teach our most struggling students.
Some of the most passionate, loving and skilled people I have ever met have come through Teach for America. There is a tremendous opportunity to bring about social change toward educational justice. But it must be based on stronger preparation, longer commitments to teaching and a genuine contribution to equity, not quick fixes.
MY LETTER TO A GROUP OF CONSERVATIVE CORPORATE NON-PROFITS MANY OF WHICH ARE NOW PARTNERED WITH NPR WITH THE CNN/WALL STREET NEWS APPROACH:
I had to respond to the Open Letter you signed intended for journalism schools. I want you to know that the American people are deeply disturbed by the mainstream media capture today.....these professional journalists of which you speak are simply corporate talking heads.....no one respects them. So to suggest that these people mentor and somehow have something to teach future journalists is an insult to the American people. We want our journalism graduates, like all academic disciplines, to be free of corporate influence as this influence stifles free thought and creative growth.....both very important to a democracy and both of which is currently missing from mainstream journalism. Just look at what has happened to NPR to see a disturbing corporate drive to take a stellar news program and turn it into a mediocre version of CNN and a few of these very foundations are sponsors to NPR. They are often located in conservative/corporate states.
Please stop this approach!
Yesterday's News August 6, 2012 - 3:00am By Kaustuv Basu
A group of foundations that support journalism education issued a letter Friday saying that top professionals in the field, not career academics, need to be doing much more of the teaching of journalism students.
As digital media have evolved, so have journalism programs. But the open letter criticized them for not changing quickly enough.
“We believe journalism and communications schools must be willing to recreate themselves if they are able to succeed in playing their vital roles as news creators and innovators. Some leading schools are doing this but most are not,” said the letter addressed to university presidents, and signed by senior officials of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, the Scripps Howard Foundation, the Brett Family Foundation and the Wyncote Foundation.
The letter said that the “teaching hospital” model – where programs not only teach journalism students, but serve their local communities by producing news – has enormous potential. One example of this model is Arizona State University, which houses News 21, an initiative by the Knight Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York to train a new generation of journalists. The initiative began in 2005 with five programs in the country.
But programs taking part in such initiatives may be the exception.
Eric Newton, senior adviser at the Knight Foundation, said that many journalism schools still teach analog broadcasts and treat newspaper, magazine, radio and television as separate components of a program.
“Students cannot be taught in silos such as print, radio, TV or magazine. There are still journalism programs where there is no experiential or service learning involved,” Newton said. As for journalism faculty members from the “pre-web” days, they need to constantly update their skills, maybe even indulge in “reverse mentoring” and learn about digital media from their students, Newton said.
“If you are in a recession, and you decide to cut the school’s website instead of the newspaper, then that is a problem. The schools should be willing to give up the things that should be given up,” Newton said. “We know that most jobs in journalism now involve digital media. These programs should change like society has changed. If you continue to teach things from the 1980s, you are going to become irrelevant."
He said the main purpose of the letter was to call attention to these problems and to point out that there is a tremendous opportunity for those programs that want to make the transition. Those that don’t, Newton said, will find that their graduates are unemployable in the mass communications industry.
According to Newton, four broad areas in journalism education need change: curricular innovation with programs better-connected with the rest of the university, technological innovations with programs serving as incubators, the teaching of an open collaborative model where schools can share resources with outside organizations, and providing content to the community while engaging in a two-way conversation with its members.
There are some journalism schools that are committed to these areas, where students learn by “doing,” Newton said.
Some examples: The City University of New York has an entrepreneurial journalism program that encourages student innovation by partnering with start-ups or traditional media companies, while Mercer University in Macon, Ga., has teamed up with the The Telegraph, a daily newspaper, and Georgia Public Broadcasting for a collaborative journalism center. Columbia University’s journalism school started a digital project called The New York World last year to provide accountability journalism about state and local government, while journalism students at three public universities in Ohio – University of Akron, Youngstown State University, and Kent State University – have been producing news for regional and statewide media through a partnership called The News Outlet.
Administrators at journalism and mass communication schools said they understand the frustrations of the foundations, but they also said programs are trying hard to keep up with changes in digital technology.
Beth Barnes, director of the school of journalism and telecommunications at the University of Kentucky and president of the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication, said that programs can't always change quickly. “We have to weigh in the cost factor, and the challenge for faculty to keep up with these changes,” she said.
Regional accrediting bodies have certain expectations about academic faculty, and their rules don’t make it easy to hire faculty members from professional institutions, she said. “Sometimes we have to make the case to administrators to hire someone who doesn’t have a terminal degree, but has current professional experience,” she said.
The letter urged programs to challenge such roadblocks from regional accreditors and suggested that "competence as the primary concern" for faculty in these programs. If they don't, they would have a hard time raising money from the foundations, the letter said.
Barnes said most j-schools are trying to change. “The changes may not happen quickly, but they [the foundations] should keep pushing us,” she said. “It keeps us honest and gives us some leverage we can use on our own campuses."
She said that the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications, which is currently reviewing changes to accreditation standards, is likely to add more specific requirements, such as multimedia storytelling. “These changes are going to make us more innovative,” Barnes said.
While the letter from the foundations said it supported efforts by the ACEJMC, which accredits 109 journalism and mass communication schools in the United States, to modernize standards, it also suggested that the organization develop standards that highlight the importance of technology and innovation.
Susanne Shaw, ACEJMC’s executive director and a professor of journalism at the University of Kansas, said that one proposed change in standards relates to the number of credit hours a journalism and communications major is required to have outside the major. The previous requirement was 80 credit hours with 65 of those hours coming from the liberal arts and sciences. The proposed new standard would enable 72 credit hours outside the major, but not restricted to the liberal arts and sciences, thus encouraging more collaboration and innovation. “So, for example, those who want to take a business class … we will be able to accommodate those folks,” Shaw said.
Another proposed change in the accrediting standards will let schools offer six hours of credit instead of three for unpaid internships. “Accreditation can only help some of the problems. I also want to help students and faculty get better,” Shaw said. “We are making the changes that the majority of our schools want.”
These proposed changes will be discussed at an ACEJMC meeting later this month, said Shaw, who said the council's members are open to discussing new ideas. Shaw said that the process of revising the standards had been ongoing for a year and a half, while the letter was less than a week old. “The council may want to talk about it. Some people might feel we already address these issues in our standards,” Shaw said, referring to standards for keeping the curriculum “current” and a separate one for equipment and facilities.
She said that the accreditation standards would have to be changed every month if the council were to respond to new technology. “Nothing is perfect. Of course, we are trying to address changes,” Shaw said. Shaw said that the standards already ask for a "current" and "demanding" curriculum and there is a separate standard for resources and equipment.
Susan King, dean of the school of journalism and mass communication at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, can understand the arguments from both sides. King previously was the vice president for external affairs at the Carnegie Corporation of New York and is well-acquainted with the world of funders.
“I agree that it is imperative to prepare the next generation of journalists, and to prepare them [students] for jobs that do not yet exist,” King said. “We have to prepare them for a digital future that might change twice before the end of the decade.”
King said programs have to constantly sharpen their focus and do so without losing their core values, but added that theoretical research is as important as applied research. “Universities have a greater chance to experiment. Businesses cannot experiment as much,” she said.
She said that she expected someone like Eric Newton to be provocative. “There is this myth that journalism professors spend their time telling stories about what they did,” King said, but her experience had been different. “There is a lot of worthwhile innovation going on. The challenge is to attract more schools to do the same. But I don’t think we are your daddy’s journalism school any more,” King said