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Maryland is building its privatized K-12 in Baltimore and if it is left to grow, it will be expanded to all of Maryland. Remember, Mike Miller has said he plans to eliminate public education funding in the near future and all pols in Maryland are neo-liberals waiting to do just that!
CASHING IN ON KIDS
-----THE AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS PROMOTES THIS SITE AGAINST EDUCATION PRIVATIZATION
CA Charter Handed $750,000 to Board Member
Lack of oversight isn’t always immediately apparent, though sometimes it eventually becomes apparent months or years later when a crime is reported.* That’s what happened in Orange County, Calif., when prosecutors filed charges against a former board member of the California Virtual Education Partners, an online charter school in California. According to the Los Angeles Times, former board member Jeremy Landau persuaded the board of the charter school chain to give him $750,000, which he would speedily turn into $3 million dollars and return to the charter school. But Landau never returned the money, instead laundering the money for personal gain by moving it through various bank accounts, Orange County prosecutors said. CAVEP’s board became suspicious and hired a private investigator. In November, the investigator presented his case to prosecutors. The district attorney’s office and FBI arrested Landau on Monday. There’s no indication that the rest of the charter school board will face any consequences for lending public dollars to someone promising to three times as much on the $750k in less than a year. *Also see here and here. image via flickr
As we see below charter schools are not doing much better than the public schools they replaced and when they do better it almost always involves selective student processes and private school funding inequity. All of this ends equal opportunity/access and it represents a temporary infusion of money simply to make this charter system look good. You can bet that if these charter schools are made the norm......the model will be profit-driven only. If hedge funds paid taxes and we recovered the massive frauds perpetrated on government coffers, we would have a strongly funded public system.
The idea of using a charter as in incubator for education innovation is not a bad one. What has happened as always is that the concept of charter school has been co-oped for the worse in many cases. We see in Maryland where the Maryland Assembly set a special higher education grant to a charter chain-----KIPP ----for students attending just that chain----even as KIPP is shown nationally to have problems with integrity in reporting, selective practices, and private funding inequity. O'Malley and the Assembly deliberately gave one education business preferential treatment as the rest of K-12 is failing to meet funding goals and public university grants and financial aid are being cut.
November 18, 2013
Is New York’s Charter-School Era Waning? Posted by Derek Kravitz The New Yorker
At Harlem Success Academy 5, one of the newest in the expanding network of New York City charter schools, students can earn “scholar dollars” by staying on their best behavior, turning in assignments on time, and getting good grades. In the school store, students can use these scholar dollars to purchase, among other items, candy (thirty scholar dollars), temporary tattoos (forty-five), and a trip to a nearby Chuck E. Cheese’s (six hundred).
“They are going to be competing for spaces in colleges and universities across the country,” Khari Shabazz, the principal of Success Academy’s fifth Harlem location, told me. “Coming from the socio-economic background that they’re coming from, it’s important to learn to be competitive. And none of us work for free.”
Under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York City has become a powerful incubator for the charter-school movement. The number of charter schools citywide has grown from seventeen in 2002 to a hundred and eighty-three this year. Charter schools now represent an unorthodox second school system where several Wall Street hedge-fund managers sit on boards of directors. (Success is the city’s largest charter network, with twenty-two schools.) Many charters are housed in the same buildings as public schools. The city’s charter schools enroll six per-cent of New York City’s 1.1 million students; that figure is more than twenty per cent in areas of Harlem and the Bronx. Now, though, with Bill de Blasio’s incoming administration talking about capping the number of new charter schools, that pro-charter era could be waning.
Charter schools are independently run but receive funding from the New York City Board of Education, along with other city, state, and federal monies—roughly thirteen thousand five hundred dollars per student last year. Charter schools housed (or “co-located”) in public-school buildings don’t have to pay for rent, utilities, janitorial services, or school-safety officials. (Charter schools not housed with public schools do.)
The public-private connections can be tangled: the C.E.O. of Success Academy, Eva Moskowitz, sat on the City Council with de Blasio for four years in the mid-aughts; Moskowitz chaired the body’s education committee, of which de Blasio was a member, before founding Success Academy, in 2006. But de Blasio, a vocal supporter of teachers’ unions, has said that he would end free rent for some co-located charter schools. At a June forum, when asked about the existing rent-free agreements, de Blasio said, pointedly, “There is no way in hell that Eva Moskowitz should get free rent, O.K.?”
Moskowitz told me that she was surprised when de Blasio invoked her name. “It doesn’t seem mayoral to be personalizing things in that way,” she told me in a recent interview. She added, “I’d prefer, everything else being equal, not to be the punching bag for anyone.”
Since then, Moskowitz has waged a very public fight against de Blasio’s charter-school rent plan. In September, she published an op-ed in the New York Post titled “BILL DE BLASIO'S WAR ON GOOD SCHOOLS,” and, last month, she helped to stage a massive rally at which seventeen thousand people marched across Brooklyn Bridge.
The fight has to do with a philosophical disagreement about the role of charter schools in the New York City school system. Critics say that they pull far too much money away from needy public schools, and that they lack the oversight which applies to traditional public schools; supporters say the public-education system is outdated, broken, and in need of an alternative.
At Success, the school year is ten months longs and the school days stretch from 7:45 A.M. to 5 P.M. for those in fifth grade or higher. Students are encouraged to talk as much as possible. (“We’re not big on hand-raising here,” Moskowitz said.)
Parents with children in kindergarten, first, or second grade sign a contract saying that they will read to them for an hour each night and keep a log tracking their progress. Recently, a science class examined the engineering principles behind the Brooklyn Bridge, and a math class next door used building blocks to teach students abstract “constructivist” math.
This model has been popular with parents. Last year, Harlem Success Academy 5 (better known as Harlem 5) received two thousand six hundred and sixty-five applications for a hundred and twenty-five open seats. That's an acceptance rate of 4.7 per cent, lower than that of any Ivy League university. Like all New York City charter schools, Success-school administrators select students through a random lottery.
The city’s most well-known charter schools also have remarkably high test scores, although it’s hard to make apples-to-apples comparisons. Last year, sixty-four per cent of Harlem 5’s third graders passed the state English exam and eighty-eight per cent passed the state math exam. At P.S. 123, the Mahalia Jackson School, which is located in the same school building as Success, only eighteen per cent of students passed the English test and only five per cent passed the math test. (Citywide, charter-school students outperformed students in traditional schools in math but were slightly behind in English, according to state-exam data from last year.)
De Blasio’s team told me that the mayor-elect doesn’t want to get rid of charter schools altogether. Rather, he plans to reverse many of the bolder changes that Bloomberg made, including closing more than a hundred and sixty low-performing public schools and stressing the use of report cards and data to rate teachers and schools. De Blasio’s most headline-grabbing proposal thus far has been to expand public education through a tax on New Yorkers who make more than five hundred thousand dollars a year, which would pay for citywide pre-kindergarten.
De Blasio and his advisers are still figuring out how much rent to charge well-funded charter schools, his transition team told me. “It would depend on the resources of the charter school or charter network,” he told WNYC, in early October. “Some are clearly very, very well resourced and have incredible wealthy backers. Others don’t. So my simple point was that programs that can afford to pay rent should be paying rent.” (In an October debate with the Republican candidate Joseph Lhota, he put it more bluntly: “I simply wouldn’t favor charters the way Mayor Bloomberg did because, in the end, our city rises or falls on our traditional public schools.”)
On the surface, many of the better-funded charter schools appear to be doing well financially. Success Academy Charter School Inc. had more than eight and a half million dollars in savings and temporary cash investments in 2012, and it spent at least 1.3 million dollars on outreach and consulting services (which, Success officials say, is critical to educating parents about charter schools), according to a tax filing last year. But Moskowitz says that she runs deficits at most of her schools, and that the imposition of rent would devastate the charter-school network’s budget, potentially resulting in cuts to teacher and administrator salaries, special-education services, books and other supplies, and would increase class sizes.
Many of those who oppose charter-school expansion point to the extra financial backing that they get from wealthy private donors. Success Academy, for instance, was started by Moskowitz and two hedge-fund managers, Joel Greenblatt and John Petry. (Success officials say that parent associations at schools in affluent neighborhoods, like Park Slope and the Upper East Side, don’t face the same scrutiny when it comes to fund-raising.)
At Harlem 5, Apple laptops and interactive Smart Boards are in every classroom, and it’s not uncommon to hear Brahms or Dave Brubeck being played in the background during class. Fifth and sixth graders get Kindles. In one classroom I visited, a particularly high-achieving student was allowed to don a paper crown and act as a teaching assistant. She called on classmates and admonished those who weren’t listening. For the most part, the class structure worked; the students paid far more attention to the day’s math lesson than one might expect, even if it was unclear who was in charge.
Did you know that almost all of Balt charters had failing results and that some of them have taken their achievement listings off of websites so as to hide the fact they should be closed? We have a few strong performing charters in Baltimore but most are simply taking away from public schools that are facing the same problems that keep charters from achieving.
What this Race to the Top was designed to do is create a corporate structure for K-12 with charters and education tech businesses so this is why in Baltimore, failing charters do not close..they grow in number. 3 more charters opened in Baltimore this year. The charters that the School Board did close were only meant to channel students out of schools slated for affluent development and then to close leaving these families having to look outside the communities for schools. It was planned.
Citizens around MD who think this is just an attack on poor and working class schools had better wise up. Wall Street is starting with these urban schools because education advocates are captured or silenced for fear of their jobs. If left to take the system and expanding to Prince George's as planned--it will go to all schools. Wall Street running our schools? IS THAT REALLY WHAT YOU WANT? It is neo-liberals enacting a republican plan so simply run and vote for labor and justice to reverse this capture of public education!!!
Baltimore County revokes charter school license Imagine Discovery, the district's only charter school, will continue to be operated as a public school next year
By Liz Bowie, The Baltimore Sun 6:31 p.m. EST, November 6, 2013
After five years of below-average performance, Baltimore County's only charter school will lose its license to operate in July, but will continue as a regular public school next year.
The Baltimore County school board voted Tuesday night to pull the charter from Imagine Discovery Public Charter School, the Woodlawn-area school that families had fought for years to keep open.
Imagine Discovery parents are generally satisfied with the transfer of leadership because they believe the school will remain open with the same principal and teachers, said Charles Sydnor, who is on the school's PTA leadership team.
"We are going to have the same great principal," Sydnor said. "It will be the same school with a different operator and more resources."
In 2012, the board granted Imagine Discovery a two-year extension of its charter, even though school board members at the time described the test scores as dismal. The scores, which rose in some subjects and fell in others, did not improve dramatically during the past school year.
The school still performs above the level of Featherbed Elementary, the closest regular public school in the area.
Charter schools are public schools run by an outside entity such as a nonprofit or for-profit company. A decade after a law was passed in Maryland allowing school systems to hand out charters to operators, they are flourishing in Baltimore City, where 33 have opened in a climate that has been accepting of attempts to try new approaches.
Growth in the suburban districts, where school boards have been less open to the charter applications, has been far slower. Imagine Discovery, opened in 2008, was the first and only charter to open in Baltimore County.
Rhonda Cagle, senior vice president of communications at Imagine Schools, which has 69 campuses in 11 states and Washington, D.C., said Imagine decided not to apply for an extension of its charter after it became clear that the county was not going to allow it to establish other charters. Typically, she said Imagine has clusters of schools in one geographic area so that it can have administrators nearby to provide support. But, in this case, she said, Imagine Discovery was an "isolated campus."
"Our hope was that we could do a cluster of schools. That did not seem to be something that was going to be a priority in the county," said Cagle, adding that Imagine and school officials made the decision collaboratively.
The county appeared to be pleased with the changes that had been made in the last year, she said. "There has been good progress made. We feel that will continue, and we feel very comfortable that the district is going to be able to build on that progress," she said.
Superintendent Dallas Dance indicated in a statement that the school system would continue to operate the school, which sits in an office park near Woodlawn.
"The students, teachers, staff and parents of Imagine Discovery — especially under the leadership of Principal Cathy Thomas — have created a positive school community. It is a school community that cares deeply about student progress and parent engagement. We look forward to supporting this continued partnership," Dance said in the statement.
Parents from the school have actively lobbied the school board over the years, testifying at meetings that they loved the education their children were getting at the school and wanted it to remain open.
Sydnor said the parents still have many unanswered questions about how the school will be run in the future, including how students will be chosen to attend, what the curriculum will be and whether it will remain in the same location. Students apply to the school and are chosen by lottery.
Supporters of Imagine have said in the past that the school system had not given the school enough autonomy, particularly in choosing staff. The school system would not let the charter operator fire the principal after its first two years of poor performance and would not let it hire its own teachers. A new principal was chosen in more recent years.
Charters are simply being used to segregate and gentrify but people who think that is OK had better know that these corporate pols intend to make all of public education private....so the middle-class will not be protected from this policy!
July 15, 2013
A new round of segregation plays out in charter schools By Sarah Butrymowicz
This story also appeared at: Hechingers
In keeping with national demographic shifts, the Twin City suburbs have been growing more diverse in recent years, with an increasing African-American and Hispanic population. But that diversity is not always reflected in the area schools.
At Seven Hills Classical Academy, a charter school in Bloomington, Minn., for instance, 80 percent of the student body is white, compared to 57 percent in the Bloomington Public School District. Indeed, the number of predominantly white charters in the Twin Cities metro area has risen from 11 in 2000 to 37 in 2010.
Click to enlarge
Charter schools and their proponents argue that charters must take any student who wants to attend– and randomly select students through a lottery if too many apply – and, as such, can’t control who enrolls. Yet some experts are concerned that this trend is an example of the next phase of white flight, following a long history of white families seeking out homogeneous neighborhoods and schools.
School choice was once seen as a means of helping to diversify schools in spite of residential segregation. But in practice, researchers have found charter schools to be segregated as well. While much attention and research on charter school segregation have focused on predominantly black schools located in cities, pockets of mostly white charters are popping up in diversifying suburbs.
In the Delaware’s suburbs, for instance, a handful of independent charter schools have attracted large numbers of white families seeking to skirt an unpopular busing program. One study found that nearly all of the state’s charter schools enroll either more than 70 percent white students—or virtually none at all. In the Cleveland suburbs, a charter network known as Constellation Schools, which enrolls a disproportionately small percentage of black and Hispanic students, has grown to more than 23 schools over the past 13 years.
The Civil Rights Project at the University of California Los Angeles, which has documented charter school segregation for years, has found that in several western and southern states white students are disproportionately represented in charter schools. These patterns “suggest that charters serve as havens for white flight from public schools,” according to a 2010 report from the group.
But educators and policy makers are divided over the significance of the trend: Charter critics say the movement has fostered a rise in the number of racially isolated schools while others maintain that schools like Seven Hills are symptomatic of enduring self-segregation throughout America’s education system now manifesting itself through parental choice.
“We have a long history of families and communities segregating themselves,” said Andre Perry, the associate director for educational initiatives at Loyola University’s Institute for Quality and Equity in Education in New Orleans. “It’s somewhat wrongheaded to say that charter schools are an impetus for segregation. The people are the impetus for segregation.”
Still, Myron Orfield, director of the Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity at the University of Minnesota and a prominent charter school critic, says that charters worsen the problem.
“Charters are either very white places or very non-white places,” he said. “[Charters] are an accelerant to the normal segregation of public schools.”
Parents and educators say there’s no simple explanation for why Seven Hills’ demographics do not reflect those of the surrounding school districts. The K-5 school draws from multiple school districts with dozens of elementary schools with varying levels of diversity. Most of the neighboring school systems have a similar or smaller percentage of white students enrolled than Seven Hills does, ranging from 82 percent to 30 percent. Some white parents at Seven Hills said they were concerned about the lack of diversity, but made their decision to enroll based on the academics. “My hope is that the student body will reflect the kids in the neighborhood,” said parent Bryan Quevli, who also is on the school’s board.
Julie Ball, the school’s curriculum director, said she would like to see increased diversity at Seven Hills, but feels hamstrung as to how to make that happen. “You take the children that come to you,” Ball said. “Segregation isn’t a word we even talk about.”
The schools must accept some responsibility, however, in how they present themselves to the general public, said Gary Miron, a professor of education at Western Michigan University who studies charter schools. “They are right—parents self-select,” he said. “But we have to recognize that charter schools also play a role in this.”
Traditionally, Seven Hills has relied on word-of-mouth marketing, meaning parents share information within their own—often predominantly white—networks.
Parent volunteer coordinator Sarah Thomas said she and her husband, who are white, chose the school largely for its curriculum and focus on classical education. The school uses the “core knowledge model,” which aspires to cover everything a citizen should know, from Aesop’s Fables to the geography of Africa. Students learn Latin and penmanship and start working with basic algebraic expressions in fifth grade.
Thomas, who praised the education her children have received, thinks Seven Hills needs to market itself more aggressively to attract a more diverse group of students. Even schools “need to market themselves,” she said.
Administrators say they sent postcards with information about Seven Hills to families in the surrounding areas for the first time this year. No underrepresented populations were specifically targeted, though.
Meanwhile, the younger grades of the school are slowly becoming more diverse, Ball noted. For instance, the 436-student school used to have no English-language-learner students. Now it has 17, all in grades kindergarten through second. Ball said she expects to see the school’s ELL population continue to grow.
The school’s focus on the classics might deter some minority parents, said Perry. “A lot of folks from lower-income neighborhoods…want a curriculum that translates cleanly into a professional career,” he said, adding that it’s up to Seven Hills to make an effort to sell low-income families on the benefits of a liberal arts education.
Moreover, for a variety of reasons, white, middle-class parents often gravitate to schools populated by those who look like them, Perry says.
“Middle- and upper-middle-class families have always tended to—in my opinion mistakenly—connect quality with sameness,” he said. “It could be an explicit effort to segregate, but it’s more likely a result of this notion that diversity is a sign of poor quality.”
It isn’t just white families that self-segregate. Black families are still more likely to enroll in racially isolated charter schools than white families, Miron said.
Most of the research on charter school segregation has focused on this pattern. The Civil Rights Project has found that charters are more likely to be predominantly one race than traditional public schools. Even a critique of the group’s findings by the journal EducationNext, which often supports school choice and charters, found that a higher percentage of minority students in charter schools attended “hyper-segregated schools,” or those that are fewer than 10 percent white, than those enrolled in traditional public schools. But the EducationNext writers argued the disparity was not as large as the Civil Rights Project researchers claimed.
Many of Minneapolis and St. Paul’s charter schools remain racially isolated, whether by virtue of neighborhood demographics or as a result of a school curriculum catering to a specific culture, such as Hmong immersion schools. In the Twin Cities area during the 2010-2011 school year, there were 67 charter schools where more than 80 percent of the students were minorities, according to Orfield’s research. That year, 89 percent of black students in charters went to a segregated school, whereas only 44 percent of their peers in the traditional school system did.
For some parents, such as recent immigrants, having a school where most students are the same ethnicity as their child can be a much-needed comfort. Charter leaders in these schools echo sentiments expressed by staff at Seven Hills: They would like to be more diverse, but don’t know how to achieve that.
Officials at the Department of Education and the Minnesota Charter School Association said it’s not fair to describe a lack of diversity at some charter schools as “segregation” since the latter term implies state-mandated policy. Charters also have a sibling preference in admissions, which means student demographics at the oversubscribed charters can be somewhat self-perpetuating, said Cindy Murphy, director of the Minnesota Department of Education Charter Center. Seven Hills, for instance, has a waiting list at each grade level.
Sixteen states currently have regulations that attempt to make sure charter schools reflect the diversity of the surrounding communities, but such rules are rarely followed with fidelity, Miron said.
In Minnesota’s recent legislative session, a bill was introduced that would let charter schools set aside seats specifically for low-income students. “The bill didn’t go anywhere, but that doesn’t mean it’s dead,” Murphy said. “It’s just a glimpse into some of the trends. We’re paying attention.”
Nationally, there has been a small trend toward urban charters opening with the explicit aim to be racially or socioeconomically diverse. Still, integration is rarely an explicit goal of charters. Until diversity is made a priority at all levels, any changes may only be incremental, said Perry. “We never include diversity into our notion of quality,” he said. “When you don’t measure diversity, you don’t get diversity.”
Letter: Charter school act puts education in corporate hands
Posted: March 23, 2013 - 4:20pm
The proposed Kansas Public Charter Schools Act would basically allow an unlimited number of corporately run schools, which would have the most up-to-date equipment and draw from the elite in the educational field, to compete against the cash-starved public schools for tax dollars. It will allow for preferential treatment of the students of the owners, donors, and staff, with a lottery for everyone else. What parents wouldn’t want to have their student go to a publicly funded, corporately run school that will guarantee success?
It will cause major unemployment of teachers and allied professionals in established public schools throughout Kansas. The act allows students throughout the state to attend any publicly funded charter school. All they have to do to receive preferential treatment is have rich parents donate, like they do at colleges, to the charter school.
This bill is fraught with potential problems, but is reflective of the conservative-controlled Legislature, which hates public employees and advocates for the privatization of government functions.
We are deeply disappointed in such foundations with a mission for family and children as is Casey's mission would pursue education policy that almost every sector of education debunks as failed and harmful. As an academic in Baltimore fighting this movement it is disconcerting that policy groups can have complete control over what almost nobody wants who are residents in the city. I know Ms MacDonald and her advocacy for charters. I also know that she was told she would have to improve student performance or close those charters. You see, Balt's charters are not about quality education, they are about gentrification and development so you will see a vast number of charters in the city adding no more value remaining open while others close according to development plans. As with DC parents, teachers, and communities and soon to be Chicago and NYC..all of this will be going to court for violations of Brown vs Board of Ed and Equal Protection Laws. So why would a foundation whose mission is families and children support what we all know is privatization of American public education into private vocational businesses attached to corporate interests as work training?
Well, I happen to be an alumni of United Parcel Service and know that Casey was founded by UPS. It is true that they have separated for legal purposes but as with the Gates Foundation the motives are corporate.
Baltimore charter school advocate among new crop of Casey Foundation fellows City Neighbors schools founder chosen for leadership program that trains those working with children, families
By Karen Nitkin, For The Baltimore Sun 5:08 p.m. EDT, May 19, 2013
Unimpressed with the elementary school in her Baltimore neighborhood, Bobbi Macdonald set out to create her own. She founded the City Neighborhoods Foundation in 2003, the year her oldest daughter started kindergarten and the state of Maryland began allowing charter schools.
Ten years later, the nonprofit is running three schools: City Neighbors Charter School, City Neighbors Hamilton and City Neighbors High School. All are known for student engagement and attendance rates that top 90 percent.
Though Macdonald is proud of the work she's done for Baltimore school children, she believes she can do more. And the 47-year-old mother of three believes she will learn how as a participant in the Children and Family Fellowship program of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Macdonald is one of 16 people from around the country chosen for the program, founded in 1993, which provides leadership training for people working to improve the lives of children and families. Since its start, there have been nine sessions, and the current crop of fellows brings the total to 109. Other fellows learning alongside Macdonald are from as far away as Seattle, Los Angeles and Omaha.
"Over the past 20 years, we have developed a philosophy, a methodology and a point of view about Casey's brand of leadership development," said Donna Stark, vice president for talent and leadership development. "It's all about understanding the difference you want to make or the results you want to achieve."
In the early years of the program, fellows lived in Baltimore and immersed themselves in the program for nine months, said Stark. Several years ago, the format was modified so participants could keep their jobs and also put their new knowledge to work right away. Now, the group meets 10 times over the course of 20 months, for week-long seminars that take place in locations throughout the country.
Macdonald said her husband and children support her decision to accept the opportunity, even though it involves a fair amount of travel.
The Casey Foundation provides transportation, accommodations, meals and faculty for the seminars. It's a major investment, said Stark, but one that pays off for the participants and for the Casey Foundation. The insights gained during the seminars become the basis for other leadership programs run by the Casey Foundation, Stark said.
The first seminar was held last week in Baltimore, and Macdonald said she's already learned some new things, met some exciting people, and gained inspiration. The fellows broke into groups, she said, and considered the populations they want to serve, and how to change negative trends. They were encouraged to "step way out and notice all the partners who could help achieve that vision," she said.
"After today, I realized what a small role I'm playing in making a difference for kids," said Macdonald. "There are so many people working on it from so many different perspectives. I feel a deeper appreciation for all those partners, and I also feel this urge to strengthen our work."
Macdonald was chosen from about 300 nominees in a rigorous selection process that included two days of interviews with Casey leadership. Macdonald said her philosophy during the interviews was, "I'm going to go ahead and be really authentic about myself and my work at City Neighbors."
Molly McGrath Tierney, director of the Baltimore Department of Social Services, completed the fellowship program in 2001, while she was living in Chicago and working for the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services.
"It was a life-changing experience," she said of the fellowship. "It opened up my consciousness about a community of people in our country who believe we can make it better for vulnerable kids and families."
Macdonald anticipates a similar transformation.
"This fellowship is all about results-based leadership," she said, "and also thinking about broadening your own possibility as a leader, knowing yourself and what is the way you can do your best work."
We are going to see a lot of this especially in Maryland where data is used all the time to say what the powers that be want it to say......bottom line we are not seeing charter schools having any appreciable effect on student achievement and indeed too often see negative results!
KIPP Study is Useful, but It Overreaches Contact: William J. Mathis, (802) 383-0058, firstname.lastname@example.org Gregory Camilli, (303) 492 8391, email@example.com URL for this press release: http://tinyurl.com/cpna3fn
BOULDER, CO (April 30, 2013) – Do middle schools operated by the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) excel in promoting student achievement? A new review gives a second look at a recent study that answered that question “yes.”
In a study released in February, Mathematica Policy Research concluded that, based on achievement test scores, KIPP middle school students had substantially higher test scores than comparison non-KIPP students. A review published today of the Mathematica study finds that while the original evaluation was carefully planned and executed and a positive impact is supported by the evidence, the authors may have overstated the benefits attributable to KIPP.
The study, KIPP Middle Schools: Impacts on Achievement and Other Outcomes, was reviewed for the Think Twice think tank review project by Professor Gregory Camilli of the University of Colorado Boulder. The review is published by the National Education Policy Center, housed at the CU Boulder School of Education.
Using two different approaches, the Mathematica researchers concluded that the KIPP students scored, after three years, higher than comparison students not attending KIPP schools at the equivalent of 11 months of additional learning in math and eight months in reading. Camilli observes that the results are similar in size to those found from some previous educational experiments, including a small experiment with KIPP schools.
Camilli explains that while the KIPP outcomes could be substantial if they were found to persist into later grades, the benefits appear to be overstated in the report.
For one thing, Camilli points out, “translating educational outcomes into ‘months’ of additional learning is an inexact science and can lead to absurd results if taken literally.” Relative to one month of learning from grade 11-12, for example, information supplied by test publishers could be used (in this case misused) to demonstrate that children learn the equivalent of 10 years from kindergarten to first grade. Additionally, reported measures of effectiveness that attempt to take attrition into account are smaller than the estimates used to draw conclusions about the effectiveness of KIPP.
He also finds that the certainty with which the report attributes the effect of KIPP on higher-order reasoning skills is not borne out by evidence – and that that topic “requires additional empirical work to provide greater clarity.”
The Mathematica researchers also found that the impact of KIPP was unevenly distributed across KIPP schools. For example, most, but not all, KIPP schools had a positive impact. Though a few clues emerged from the data, the factors leading to this variation could not be identified. For this reason, Camilli writes that information provided in the report is not complete enough to guide education policy. Finally, Camilli advises that “Future work evaluating the persistence of KIPP impact will be key to drawing a conclusive judgment of the educational significance of KIPP schooling.”
As all teachers who graduated and began teaching in the early 1990s knows there was a deliberate attempt to dumb down US schools as the same elite universities trying to privatize our public system now managed to change the classroom teaching that had American schools and students as best in the world to a teaching style that assured education results would be as they are today. Teachers shouted loudly and strongly against these policies that took textbooks out of classrooms because they stifled creativity allowing children to neglect reading. They enacted rules that allowed children just learning math to use calculators, then all the rage and the then Wall Street market even as we shouted children would not learn basic math. So all of these failures of achievement came from policies pushed by these same elite institutions that are now telling us we need all kinds of education technology and instruction businesses to make the US the best again.
Educators all know that the underserved schools need resources. They need classroom resources that allow for interactive and interesting lessons and they need more people in each classroom as behavior and learning skills are the challenges facing the underserved students. None of this education reform is addressing this, whether charter or public school and Alonzo knows this. We need less chiefs and more Indians!
These charters that are closing need to be returned to the public school status and not completely closed. We have a system of choice now that took these students and families out of neighborhood schools with the promise of better classrooms. Now we see these schools closing and we want an assurance that these students and their families are integrated into schools in their own neighborhoods.
The Freedom Academy downtown had students sent from Margaret Brent and Federal Hill as these schools worked to gentrify existing schools. We do not want these families unable to return to these schools. That is the disparity of the system Alonzo is building. So much of it is based on developers and gentrification that we miss the opportunity to do good work for our children needing the most attention for success.
I want the city's voters to remember next election as Rawlings-Blake is whisked away and City Council members Stokes and Young compete for that job..these pols are the farm team to all of these city policies that harm most citizens and do not represent the future. They represent a very dark period in our history that dismantled a democratic society with a strong quality of life for many and a safety net that worked to this mess we have now. These charter schools and the lack of success represents these failed policies, not student failures.
Charter and independent schools faced financial, academic challenges Schools fighting closures connected to high-profile figures and institutions
By Erica L. Green and Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun 3:21 p.m. EST, February 9, 2013
In response to a system that many believed had long failed young black boys, a school began to take shape seven years ago in a small East Baltimore neighborhood.
The Bluford Drew Jemison Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Academy would educate "scholars" who would wear uniforms and neckties. The school would have 12-hour days and extended school years to cut the time students spent on the streets as they came to embody the "BDJ Way."
But several years later, students lacked textbooks, computers and art supplies, and instructors had to teach geography with a hand-drawn map of the U.S.
Amid years of financial mismanagement and lackluster achievement, Baltimore school officials are now proposing to close the politically connected school, whose co-founders include Baltimore City Councilman Carl Stokes and whose board of directors includes City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young.
Bluford is one of several charter and independently run schools with high-profile operators that the city school board could vote Tuesday to close at the end of the 2014 school year.
"It's a mess," said Stokes, who co-founded the school in 2006 but said he has been separated from day-to-day operations for about three years. "The operators who have the school now have done a number of bad things in terms of changing the vision."
City schools CEO Andrés Alonso recommended last month closing four independently operated schools and bringing two other schools under district control, after a months-long review of their progress concluded they had failed to live up to their promise.
While Alonso has championed the proliferation of charter schools, this would mark the first time he has sought to close any. In 2010, the schools chief revoked one charter license, but allowed the school to stay open.
Among the other schools slated for closure are Baltimore Talent Development High School and Baltimore Civitas Middle/High School — the brainchildren of the Johns Hopkins University's Center for Social Organization of Schools, which for decades has been a leading institution in education research and reform in Baltimore and other urban cities.
In addition, the students of Baltimore Freedom Academy High School — who have marched the streets of Baltimore for slain teen Trayvon Martin and the halls of Annapolis for education funding, and who were also featured on the pages of People magazine to illustrate the abysmal conditions of schools across the country — could soon find themselves displaced.
In a contentious public forum last month, the school operators argued that their students might not fare any better in the public school system, which has its own shortcomings, such as limited resources and stagnant academics.
They said that in some cases, their student achievement data exceeded the district's average and doesn't accurately reflect the difference their unique programming has made in students' lives.
Bluford's board chairwoman asked for patience in turning around the city's most at-risk population, citing barriers to urban education reform.
"You can't educate poor, urban males and do it in the same way, with the same timeline — it takes more energy to acculturate them into a different lifestyle," said Anne Emery, a retired city educator.
"We get children who are foster children or extremely poor, but they look like everybody else because we put them in their uniform, they start to believe that, and achievement follows."
Operators also decried the review process — Baltimore Freedom Academy officials believed theirs was so skewed, they requested it be redone — and contend that some of the standards by which they were measured were inconsistent and unfair.
But Alonso has countered that "charters are supposed to be about innovation and performance. ... They should be about higher expectations. Not about excuses."
"I am offended by how the legacy of low expectations is still with us," Alonso said after the forum. "No one should get away with using the kids as the excuse for mediocrity or arguing that being average in Baltimore is OK. Or that somehow it's the system's fault."
Third Way corporate democrats are working hard in creating a private education system that is cheap and directed strictly towards vocational training in K-college. That is what Race to the Top is all about. When the elite say 90% of education is wasted on 90% of people in the US....they are saying 'no democratic, humanities based education needed for the masses'. Only, that democratic education is what prepares US citizens for lives as political activists involved in their democracy.
Online charters are the goal and we are talking about all public schools not only those for the underserved.
Marylanders need to shout out against charters and online schooling and keep it the exception not the rule!!!
New online-only charter school, Connections Academy, gobbles up New Mexico state
By Danny Weil on February 4, 2013 2:28 pm Daily Censured
This fall public school students across New Mexico could start getting their education completely online by the largest member of the text book cartel, Pearson, out of England. Pearson also recently bought the GED tests many students take in order to graduate from high school and are buttoning up their takeover of public education at alarming speed.
Education Secretary Designate Hanna Skandera recently approved the New Mexico Connections Academy. Connections Academy is owned by Pearson as of last year when the giant text book cartel bought the ´business´. The school still has to get a few more approvals and pats on the back before it opens its retail charter chain operations this coming August. The online ´school´ would be the state’s second virtual charter school retail chain. Connection Academy, however, would blanket the entire state.
The school would be funded based on the number of students attending and the public funds that follow them. This means Connections Academy would get the same funding as a public school — taking of course funds from public schools and putting them in the pocket of the locust Pearson and their executives.
The rancid idea is based on the same deleterious mantra of giving parents and students ¨choices¨or what are now re-termed óptions´ by the sophists, when it comes to education. Although most parents and students are told this is a public school it is not. Pearson aquired Connections Academy, one of the largest online virtual charters, is hardly public. What is public are the funds that support the privatized school but what is private of course, are the profits.
Public Education Department Deputy Secretary of Finance Paul Aguilar, stated what so many minions of the privatizers of neo-liberalism are told to state:
“Some kids learn well one on one. Some have trouble sitting in a regular classroom, and a virtual education is good for certain groups¨ (http://www.kob.com/article/stories/s2918083.shtml?cat=504).
Really? The vacuous statement is meant to conceal more than it reveals and as I wrote back in 2009 in my book, Charter School Movement: history, politics, policies, economics, the virtual charter school is a virtual fraud.
As a former online teacher for years, virtual charter schools promise to decimate mortar and brick public schools by sucking the life out of them through the transfer of public funds into the pockets of private corporations — all bundled up in concern for education and love for learning when the reality is that the concern is for shareholders and the love of profits. Students are mere commodities in the for-profit plan and the approving bodies are simply sychophants looking to coddle favor with the giant corporations.
Back in September of 2012, the Public Education Commission heard the corporation´s proposal and voted against the school in a 6-to-3 vote. Commissioner Vince Bergman echoed concerns found among those who understand that the vicious attack on public education in the name of choice´ and virtual schools is causing a loss in funding for other districts. Leeching is a better term. Below is an excerpt of Bergman’s statements from the meeting minutes:
“If there is a significant negative budget impact in their district, classes are going to have to be cancelled; teachers are going to have to be laid off¨(ibid).
And this is of course all good news for the vulture capitalists and Wall Street who are gobbling up more and more of the $650 billion dollar éducation industry´while beguiling parents and communities with the notion that choice is good for students when in fact choice is based on circumstances, or as Karl Marx noted: ¨We all make choices but we do not all choose the circumstances under which we make them¨.
Connections Academy´s founding board gathered up its silk backed lawyers and appealed and Bergman and the Public Education Commission´s vote was overturned. So much for democracy and much more for autocracy.
Students wanting to attend will have to enter a lottery to be accepted, just as I wrote in 2009. Like contestants for American Idol, students now have to draw straws at what can only be considered a Donner Party in order to get into the new ´school´while those not so lucky enough contestants will be dumped into the vortex of public schools drained of funds and thus resources. This is all part of the plan to privatize education.
Welcome to the age of school ´reform´as the capitalists like to call it. Yet this is not reform, for reform means keeping existing models in place and tweeking them at the margins. No, this is hardly reform it is a revolutionary overthrow of public schools and we see day by day how the Wall Street banksters their corporate counterparts, the well heeled lawyers and the coin operated politicians are engaging in a right wing revolution that promises to dummy down education in an attempt to keep a plutocracy in place.
This can and will only mean that students will be trained in obedience and submission to the existing social order under the auspices of technological revolution when in fact it is the domination of the human mind by the forces of reaction.
For parents who wish to pull-out of the public commons and homeschool this is of course a God send.
As American society deliquesces and the public commons falls prey to the neo-enclosure movement we can expect to see big bucks taken from taxpayers and given to Wall Street bosses along with extraordinary bonuses for their financial backers and hucksters.
Education thrown on-line is a gimmick and one that is surely going to create blunt force trauma to the head for students, in the name of education, while benefiting a few kingpins and their benefactors. All of this is necessary, of course, for thinking is now subversive as America more and more resembles Rome in its hasty decline as an Empire.
Alas, with the corporate media promotingthe script for ´choice´and the public schools being deboweled by privatizers like Pearson and K12.Inc., another hoax perpetrated on an uneducated public citizenry, we can and will see the decimation of learning in favor of earning. This is no surprise: in a huckster society like America where the love of money is what is learned and profits is what is earned this is simply another example of child abuse from the forces of reaction.
THIS COMMENTER HAS IT RIGHT:
Perhaps the charter schools take the most difficult students, the special ed students, the students from broken homes, the students who never score well on the tests, kick them out and then brag about their test scores. I suggest that it's not that they take less shit but that they don't give a shit about these kids.
D.C. charter schools expel students at far higher rates than traditional public schools | The Washington Post
“D.C. charter schools expelled 676 students in the past three years, while the city’s traditional public schools expelled 24, according to a Washington Post review of school data. During the 2011-12 school year, when charters enrolled 41 percent of the city’s students, they removed 227 children for discipline violations and had an expulsion rate of 72 per 10,000 students; the District school system removed three and had an expulsion rate of less than 1 per 10,000 students.”
WE ARE SHOUTING LOUDLY AND STRONGLY THAT WE WANT THESE CHARTER SCHOOLS RETURNED TO PUBLIC SCHOOL STATUS. THERE ARE A FEW THAT ARE GIVING VALUE, BUT MOST ARE DOING NO BETTER AND IN FACT WORSE THAN REGULAR PUBLIC SCHOOLS. WE ARE SPENDING TOO MUCH MONEY EARMARKED FOR EDUCATION ON THIS PROCESS.
Charter school renewals, contract schools debated Amid renewal process, school board pledges tough scrutiny
Erica L. Green 4:05 p.m. EST, November 26, 2012 Baltimore Sun
Today, The Sun published a story about a slew of Baltimore city charter schools are up for renewal this school year, and all agree that it was fine time for the popular schools to have a uniformed, reliable and rigorous evaluation process that will improve their trajectory in the district. You can read more about that renewal process, here.
The story also caught up on some challenges that charters have faced in the district's ever-changing reform climate, and their plans as they look to the next decade (they are marking 10 years since charter law was passed.)
The Coalition of Baltimore Charter Schools explained some of these challenges in a letter read publicly at a city school board meeting in September. But, charter and district leaders are meeting regularly, they said.
But, the future of non-charter schools up for renewal this year have also been a source of debate in recent weeks. A family has become increasingly vocal at city school board meetings about how schools run by outside operators are failing to live up to their promises.
This month, seventh-grader Kelsie Ackers spoke to board members for the second time this school year about her experience at the Montebello Junior Academy, a school run by the for-profit organization Edison Learning.
In 2009, Baltimore city schools CEO Andres Alonso asked the school board to revoke the company’s $16.9 million contract to run two other city schools — Gilmor and Furman L. Templeton elementaries — after officials found that the schools were yielding little results.
The Ackers family was drawn to Montebello’s website, which boasted a host of clubs and activities, but told board members in sometimes-heated testimony that the school made false advertisements.
“I am back again saying there are no sports, no clubs, no foreign language, no honor roll, kids eating the same size lunches as the kindergartners,” Kelsie told the school board. “And not using any of the money spent to fix the desks that collapse on our legs when we move them, and the chairs that rock because the legs are loose.”
Alonso told the family that the school was going through a renewal process and Edison wasn’t “paying attention to what’s going on at these meetings, or there’s a disconnect” that the company would have to explain.
“It’s going to be hard to maintain how they do business with parents coming to the board this way,” he said.
Edison officials said in an interview that they have worked with the family for the past several months to address their concerns.
“Just as we would in any school where we have a management role, any questions, concerns that parents bring up start at the school level, and this school has met numerous occasions with this particular family,” said Edison spokesman Michael Serpe.
“Since there were never any clear-cut issues, it actually elevated to the level of our regional management people. We continue to work with them to try and address their concerns, of which there are many, and never consistent.”
The performance of the system’s transformation schools — schools Alonso created when he arrived — have also disappointed families, a board member said.
According to school system data, the schools lag behind all of the district’s other schools by double-digits — as much as 25 percentage points in some cases — in reading and math on state tests. In 2012, 53 percent of students in those schools scored proficient in reading, down from 57 percent in 2011. In math, 41 percent of students scored proficient this year, up from 38 percent in 2011.
School Board Commissioner Bob Heck said at least one of the schools — Baltimore IT Academy — was failing.
“I know they aren’t [working],” he said. “There are a lot of people in that neighborhood who aren’t happy.”
School board President Neil Duke also vowed that the parents’ concerns would be taken into consideration.
“No one gets an easy ride when it comes to renewals,” Duke said.
Copyright © 2012, The Baltimore Sun
This is what we know about rules surrounding charters. Many of the charters are in neighborhoods that are affluent, or slated to become affluent. If we look below we see stipulations regarding a lottery. We know this is proving selective. There are stipulations for academic results. We know that many are ranked at the bottom for achievement. Parents are often positioned to place a child in a charter due to proximity rather than choice since their neighborhood's public school is gone. This is not choice. Private funding allowed for charters and not public schools give unfair advantage and goes more often to affluent schools. This is not providing level playing field. A charter that allows demographics and operational data to be hidden from the public precludes the label of 'public'.
We know that oversight is not happening as much of the above should not be the case. We want our public schools back.
Charter schools operate with increased autonomy in exchange for accountability. They are accountable for both academic results and fiscal practices to several groups: the authorizer that grants the charter, the parents who choose to send their children to the school and the public that funds them. Charter schools are also governed by Maryland Charter Law. This includes requirements for conducting an admissions lottery for enrollment and maintaining a waiting list
Baltimore charters voice policy progress, funding concerns In letter to school board, leaders outline issues that need tackling
Erica L. Green 4:10 p.m. EDT, September 28, 2012 Baltimore Sun
Representatives of the city's Coalition of Baltimore's Charter Schools presented to city school board members Tuesday, a range of issues they have raised in recent months about district policies and funding challenges that impact their ability to educate the districts 11,000 students--or 13 percent of the student population--they serve.
In a letter, charter leaders said that in recent weeks, they received answers and assurances regarding federal funding for professional development, the charter renewal process, and a lack of communication from district officials about the future of charter budgets--concerns raised since May.
The Coalition also said it had made progress on obtaining Title II funding for professional development from the district, and charters would receive flexibility to amend their applications after the district implements a new rubric and assessment tool. They said the rubric, called the Chicago 5 survey, concerned them because the district would be using the tool well after the charter renewal application deadline.
However, when it came to funding, charter leaders said questions still lingered, and comes after a particularly long stretch of evasiveness on the matter.
"We felt that responses to questions we asked, particularly those related to funding, went unanswered far too long or were at times incomplete," the letter read. "We met with Dr. Alonso last week and he assured us that would change."
Charter leaders said they also were in the process of scheduling monthly meetings to address issues such as transportation, funding, and a new structure under which charters would be paying the district for services it provides to them. And they outlined a slew of other issues that still remain.
"These are all encouraging improvements," the letter said. "At the same time, we think it is important for the board to know that we still have questions and concerns about several funding issues, specifically the impact of the teacher buy-out program, how surplus dollars are allocated, and the implementation of transportation for students with disabilities.
"All of these issues directly impact the per-pupil funding for students in charter schools. They also speak to efficiencies and budgeting practices within the school system that certainly impact all students in Baltimore City Schools."
The Coalition also asked for a regularly schedule time slot to continue to update board members on the progress made on such matters.
THIS IS A COMPREHENSIVE AND SURPRISINGLY HONEST ANALYSIS OF CHARTER SCHOOL PERFORMANCE. YOU'LL NOTICE THAT THE REPORT WAS RELEASED IN 2009 JUST AS THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION RELEASED ITS RACE TO THE TOP PUSHING FOR MORE CHARTER SCHOOLS. MARYLAND ENTERED THE MARKET IN SUPPORT OF OBAMA'S PROGRAM. I SHOW A FEW CLIPS FROM A LONG ANALYSIS. GO TO THE WEBSITE AND READ THE ENTIRE STUDY.
© 2009 CREDO
Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO)
The group portrait shows wide variation in performance. The study reveals that a decent fraction
of charter schools, 17 percent, provide superior education opportunities for their students.
Nearly half of the charter schools nationwide have results that are no different from the local
public school options and over a third, 37 percent, deliver learning results that are significantly
worse than their student would have realized had they remained in traditional public schools.
These findings underlie the parallel findings of significant state‐by‐state differences in charter
school performance and in the national aggregate performance of charter schools. The policy
challenge is how to deal constructively with varying levels of performance today and into the
Though simple in formulation, this task has proven to be extremely difficult in practice. Simply
put, neither market mechanisms nor regulatory oversight been a sufficient force to deal with
underperforming schools. At present there appears to be an authorizing crisis in the charter
school sector. For a number of reasons — many of them understandable — authorizers find it
difficult to close poorly performing schools. Despite low test scores, failing charter schools often
have powerful and persuasive supporters in their communities who feel strongly that shutting
down this school does not serve the best interests of currently enrolled students. Evidence of
financial insolvency or corrupt governance structure, less easy to dispute or defend, is much
more likely to lead to school closures than poor academic performance. And yet, as this report
demonstrates, the apparent reluctance of authorizers to close underperforming
charters ultimately reflects poorly on charter schools as a whole. More importantly, it hurts
Charter schools are already expected to maintain transparency with regard to their operations
and academic records, giving authorizers full access. We propose that authorizers be expected
to do the same. True accountability demands that the public know the status of each school in
an authorizer's portfolio, and that we be able to gauge authorizer performance just as
authorizers currently gauge charter performance. To this end, we suggest the adoption of a
national set of performance metrics, collected uniformly by all authorizers in order to provide a
common base line by which we can compare the performance of charter schools and actions of
authorizers across state lines. Using these metrics, Authorizer Report Cards would provide full
transparency and put pressure on authorizers to act in clear cases of failure.
The charter school movement to date has concentrated its formidable resources and energy on
removing barriers to charter school entry into the market. It is time to concentrate equally on
removing the barriers to exit.
O'Malley is Bloomberg's mini-me on education and you can see the same manipulation of statistics in Maryland's education data as you do with the crime and police data. Take a look at the charters in this article to see that these 'reformers' are trying their hardest to make these charters look good so as to expand them and eventually replace public schools completely. You can believe that once they succeeded in closing public education down the quality in these charters would drop like a ton of bricks. That will be the end result of privatizing public education.
Getting Past the DOE on the 2012 Test Results
Jul. 23, 2012 by Maisie McAdoo EdWize Blog
[Editor's note: This post was authored jointly by Maisie McAdoo and Rhonda Rosenberg.]
Mayor Bloomberg turned the announcement of the 2012 state test results into a promotional event for his “reforms” on Tuesday, despite the fact that an honest appraisal of the scores showed that city students as a group made only modest progress in both math and ELA. The mayor’s presentation ignored or downplayed results that didn’t fit in with his triumphal narrative, including the fact that the racial achievement gap widened last year in a number of categories.
State officials, by contrast, didn’t even hold a press conference, and said publicly only that the statewide results (which mirrored the city’s) showed “some positive momentum” but left too many students unprepared.
The mayor, however, orchestrated a big press function and handed out a shameless PowerPoint that reported highly selective numbers and featured a comparison of charters and new schools founded during his tenure with “traditional” city schools — i.e. the vast majority of schools in the city system.
But the numbers are there for all to see. “His” charters and new schools combined underperform the average school, in fact (see especially slide 6), and they gained only one to two points more than the “traditional” schools in percentages of students meeting standards in math and less than a percentage point in students meeting standards in English. That, according to the mayor, was conclusive evidence for the success of his reforms.
Please. If these test scores — and remember this was the testing round where 30 questions had to be disqualified, the same round that included the “pineapple” passage — if these scores are evidence of Bloomberg’s triumph as steward of the city school system, then pineapples can speak.
Here are some tables and charts on the 2012 tests that may sober up Hizzoner: More »
NEW YORK AND CALIFORNIA HAVE STRONG LABOR UNIONS AND TEACHERS UNIONS ARE NO EXCEPTION. THE HAVE BEEN BATTLING CHARTER TAKEOVERS FOR A DECADE OR MORE. BALTIMORE HAS NO UNION STRENGTH AND AS SUCH, THE TEACHERS NEED TO LOOK TO THESE UNIONS FOR HELP AND ADVICE. WE KNOW THE DISPARITIES FACED BY THE SEGREGATING GOAL OF CHARTERS AND IT IS THE TEACHERS STANDING WITH THE PARENTS THAT WILL FIGHT THIS. THOSE WHO THINK THEY WILL WIN WITH THESE POLICIES WILL SEE THEMSELVES AND THEIR CHILDREN ON THE WRONG END OF A FUTURE EDUCATION POLICY.......PRIVATIZING PUBLIC EDUCATION. THERE IS NO WIN-WIN IN HAVING WALL STREET HEADING THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION.
BALTIMORE TEACHERS NEED TO GAIN SUPPORT FROM NEW YORK AND CALIFORNIA IN YOUR FIGHT TO MAINTAIN A DEMOCRATIC, WORKER FRIENDLY, EQUAL-ACCESS EDUCATION SYSTEM.
Charter School Call-in Campaign is Building Momentum Aug. 23, 2012 by Miles Trager EdWize Blog
Thank you to all of those who have reached out on behalf of New York City Charter High School for Architecture, Engineering and Construction Industries teachers. Our call-in campaign is building momentum and we need your continued support as we enter Week 4.
This week we are targeting board member Robert Burton to help demand justice for teachers at this charter school in the Bronx.
Teachers, parents and other community members are participating in this call-in campaign to support the teachers at AECI.
In January 2010, teachers at AECI formed a union to provide a positive and stable learning environment for their students. They have been working for two years without a contract. Meanwhile, AECI’s administration has engaged in a campaign of intimidation against teachers; they have suspended, terminated and otherwise disciplined union activists and supporters.
Call board member Robert Burton at 917-376-4182 and tell him to respect teachers’ rights.
Demand that the board:
- End all retaliation by administration against teachers and staff involved in the organizing and contract campaign.
- Respect educators’ right to strengthen their school community by advocating for the best working conditions for teachers and learning conditions for students.
- Negotiate a contract in good faith.
Please report back to us through the campaign page above or our Facebook page and pass the word along to friends and colleagues.
Middle School Charters — Suspending Their Way to the Top Aug. 14, 2012
by Jackie Bennett
3 Comments Filed under: Charter Schools
In June, School Stories published the names of the 10 charter schools with the highest suspension rates. Many of these were middle schools and three had suspension rates at least four times above the city average.
Now, the city test results are out, and two additional facts emerge about these schools.
First, students in these schools weren’t just suspended; they also disappeared. Specifically, as classes moved up from one grade to the next, the number of students in them got smaller and smaller. The average reduction was 15% between 5th and 6th grade alone, which is when the size of cohorts is most likely to shrink.
School Grade Span Change in number of students in cohort % Reduction in cohort Harlem VIll. Acad. Ldrshp 5th (2011) to 6th (2012) 96 to 77 -20% Bed Stuy Collegiate 5th (2011) to 6th (2012) 81 to 69 -15% Kings Collegiate 5th (2011) to 6th (2012) 80 to 71 -11% Classes shrink faster at these charters than as just about any other charters in the city. All three, in fact, rank in the top five citywide (and citywide the median reduction from 5th to 6th grade is 6%).1
The second thing we learn about these high-suspension schools from the latest testing results is that as students disappear the passing rates rise dramatically. The average gain between grades 5 and 6 was 21 percentage points.2
School Grade Span % Reduction in Cohort Increase in Number of Percentage Points (ELA) Change in Percent of Students ELA Harlem VIll. Acad. Ldrshp 5th (2011) to 6th (2012) -20% plus 24 33% to 57% Bed Stuy Collegiate 5th (2011) to 6th (2012) -15% plus 20 35% to 55% Kings Collegiate 5th (2011) to 6th (2012) -11% plus 21 37% to 58% So what’s the relationship between high suspension rates, shrinking cohorts and rising passing percentages?
The most benign way to tell that story is to claim that attrition and suspension have absolutely nothing to do with each other. Under this scenario, less school time for troubled kids is actually a good thing, so good in fact that these suspended kids experience terrific academic growth — much better than they otherwise would have — which accounts for the rising passing rates. True the cohorts are shrinking, but that’s only because other students, not these troubled students, are disappearing to lower grades-levels or other schools.3
What seems more likely is that some students with behavioral problems, and possibly emotional disabilities, are being pushed out of these schools by repeat suspensions. If that’s the case, then the students who remain are generally those who arrived more ready to learn and then became even more so after seeing what quick work had been made of their more rambunctious peers. We don’t know if that that’s true, but we do know that many charter schools sanction this approach. In a report from the charter community itself, for example, the writers record what some charter operators see as the happy outcome that results from ridding schools of troublesome kids:
“…By this logic, schools should be full of students who share a common culture of learning, provided that the culture is not defined in an exclusive fashion … a student who leaves one school to find a better fit at another should be considered a success story.”
Was that how we were supposed to be measuring the success of charter schools?
Everyone who works in education understands just how hard it is to create the kinds of school cultures that keep kids focused on their education. And we do not have enough information to know for sure how many struggling students are pushed out of charters by a culture of punishment (though we do have anecdotal evidence). What we do know, however, is that these schools are public schools, and at public schools we take it as our mission to support every student who shows up at the door.
If these charters are suspending students right out of the school, we would not call that a success story.
We’d call it a disgrace.
1Another two middle school charters have similarly high attrition between grades 5 and 6, at 19% and 25%. All five belong to the same two charter networks: Uncommon Schools (the Collegiate schools) and Deborah Kenny’s Harlem Village. In fact, the seven schools with the highest attrition all belong to these networks.
2It should be noted that a fourth charter school, South Bronx Classical, followed the same pattern as these three middles schools — over four times the city average for suspensions, a 39% reduction in size of the cohort, and a 36 point increase in the passing rate. Because this post focuses on middle schools, I have omitted it from the main body of this text.
3While we don’t know for sure that shrinking cohorts indicate that students have left the school altogether, it seems much more likely that they have left than that they have been left back. When students are left back, we expect the class they join to rise in size — or at least to stay the same. But in these schools, the pattern is just the opposite — most cohorts shrink, including the ones that would be receiving students from shrinking cohorts. It seems likely therefore that numbers are shrinking because students left the school.
Keep Up the Fight for AECI Teachers Aug. 9, 2012
by Rob Callaghan
No Comments Filed under: Charter Schools
For those who have already called-in this past two weeks, the educators at AECI thank you. We are certain our message was heard by the board and is having an effect, but we must keep up the pressure.
We want to ask you to once again call another board member to help demand fair treatment for teachers at this charter school in the Bronx.
Read our post from two weeks ago for the background on this campaign.
Call board member Maria M. Ramirez today at 917-807-2273 and tell her to respect teachers’ rights.
Demand that the board:
- End all retaliation by administration against teachers and staff involved in the organizing and contract campaign.
- Respect educators’ right to strengthen their school community by advocating for the best working conditions for teachers and learning conditions for students.
- Negotiate a contract in good faith.
THIS IS A FILM PROMOTING THE IMMIGRANT TEACHER POLICY. IT IS OFFENSIVE TO BOTH THE IMMIGRANTS AND THE CHILDREN ATTENDING BALTIMORE SCHOOLS. THE IDEA THAT YOU MUST GO OUT OF THE COUNTRY TO BRING TEACHERS TO BALTIMORE SCHOOLS TAKES US BACK TO COLONIALISM. THIS IS BIZARRE AND SHOULD HAVE PEOPLE SHOUTING LOUDLY AND STRONGLY. WHAT IS BEING DONE IN BALTIMORE CITY SCHOOLS IS NOT LEGAL.....IT IS AN AFFRONT TO CIVIL RIGHTS, CIVIL LIBERTIES, AND EQUAL EDUCATION TO NAME A FEW. IT IS OFFENSIVE ENOUGH FOR ME TO SAY RACIST.
For everyone who registered for the Redefining Social Capital: Attracting and Supporting New Immigrants that took place at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond's Baltimore Branch on June 7, we wanted to send a reminder for tomorrow's showing of Ramona Diaz's, The Learning. The showing is being hosted by The Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers (ABAG) in their conference room. The award-winning documentary premiered on PBS on September 20, 2011. The film's trailer can be viewed here :http://www.pbs.org/pov/learning/
"The Learning is the story of four Filipina women who reluctantly leave their families and schools to teach in Baltimore. With their increased salaries, they hope to transform their families’ lives back in their impoverished country. But the women also bring idealistic visions of the teacher’s craft and of life in America, which soon collide with Baltimore’s tough realities."
The film's showing is free, but registration is requested. For registration and additional details, please go to the following link: http://www.abagrantmakers.org/events/event_details.asp?id=233077
YOU CAN NOTE THREE THINGS IN THIS LIST OF CHARTERS IN BALTIMORE THAT WE SEE ARE RATING AT THE BOTTOM IN MOST CASES: OVERWHELMINGLY IN UNDERSERVED COMMUNITIES; THEY ARE NEVER CLOSED FOR POOR PERFORMANCE; AND KIPP IS ALLOWED TO HIDE ITS DATA BECAUSE IT WANTS TO CLAIM SUPERIOR RESULTS WHEN IN FACT THEY DON'T HAVE SUPERIOR RESULTS.
WE ARE SEEING IN BALTIMORE WHAT IS THE CASE ACROSS THE COUNTRY.....THESE CHARTERS ARE NOT PERFORMING BETTER. SO WITH THIS DATA, WHY DID BALTIMORE GO WITH CHARTERS AND WHY ARE THEY NOT RETURNED TO OPEN, PUBLIC SCHOOLS? THE ANSWER LIES NOT IN PERFORMANCE, BUT IN COST SAVINGS AND ENGINEERING.
HERE IS RAWLINGS-BLAKE PRETENDING ALONZO AND HIS PRIVATIZATION PLAN IS WORKING. THE REASON SHE DOESN'T WANT THE CITY TO REGAIN CONTROL OF THE SCHOOLS FROM THE STATE AND THE REASON SHE DOESN'T WANT TO ALLOW CITIZENS TO VOTE FOR THEIR SCHOOL BOARD OFFICIALS IS THAT SHE KNOWS PEOPLE DO NOT WANT WHAT IS BEING PUSHED ON THEM! 1000 TEACH FOR AMERICA COMING NOT AS TEACHER'S SUPPORT BUT AS TEACHER'S REPLACEMENT. THESE ARE PEOPLE WITH A DEGREE FOCUS WITH LITTLE PASSION OR TRAINING FOR TEACHING! IT IS A DISGRACE.
VOTE FOR THE BALTIMORE RECALL/TERM LIMIT REFERENDUM WHEN YOU SEE IT!!!
My administration has demonstrated a strong commitment to public education despite historic budget deficits by: Fully-funding the City's obligation to the school system and effective after-school programs, restoring funding for advanced school-based health centers to keep students healthy and in the classroom, fully-funding neighborhood libraries to promote literacy; doubling Baltimore's investment in Teach for America to attract the best and brightest new teachers and maintaining funding to the Experience Corps program to increase volunteers in City schools.
Under the current school governance structure, overall academic achievement has improved since 2007. The dropout rate has been reduced by half. African American males are now a driving force in the improving high school graduation rate--instead of falling through the cracks. Zoned schools have improved while many failing schools have been closed. Dozens of new charter and transformational schools are up and running to provide more choices for families. And, for the first time in decades, enrollment in our public school system has increased two years in a row. There is no evidence to support the notion that an elected school board will result in better academic results for our kids and I do not support any governance structure that could result in losing much-needed additional state funding support for the school system.
SO, JUST AS OUR CITY COUNCIL HAS NO POWER OVER THE BUDGET, THE CITY HAS NO POWER OVER ITS OWN SCHOOLS. O'MALLEY'S DRIVE TO GIVE CORPORATE INTERESTS ALL THAT IS PUBLIC IS BEHIND THIS. DO I SOUND MAD...........YOU SHOULD BE TOO.
CHARTER SCHOOLS / # OF STUDENTS / TEST RATING (1=LOW)
BY EDUCATION .COM
Kipp Harmony Baltimore, MD 21215 Charter / K 125 NO RATING
Collington Square Elementary School Baltimore, MD 21213 Charter / PK, K-8 599 1
Dr. Rayner Browne Elementary School Baltimore, MD 21205 Charter / PK, K-8 280 1
Southwest Baltimore Charter School Baltimore, MD 21223 Charter / K-4 258 1
Baltimore Freedom Academy Baltimore, MD 21231 Charter / 6-12 564 1
City Neighbors Hamilton Baltimore, MD 21214 Charter / K-3 87 1
Bluford Drew Jemison Stem Academy West Baltimore, MD 21223 Charter / 6 82 1
Baltimore Liberation Diploma Plus High School Baltimore, MD 21216 Charter / 8-12 170 1
Baltimore Community High School Baltimore, MD 21224 Charter / 7-10 159 1
Connexions Community Leadership Academy Baltimore, MD 21216 Charter / 6-12 337 2
Bluford Drew Jemison Mst Academy Baltimore, MD 21213 Charter / 6-8 365 2
Imagine Discovery Charter School Baltimore, MD 21207 Charter / K-4 552 2
Baltimore Antioch Diploma Plus High School Baltimore, MD 21218 Charter / 8-10 172 2
City Springs Elementary School Baltimore, MD 21236 Charter / PK, K-8 572 3
General Wolfe Elementary School Baltimore, MD 21231 Charter / PK, K-5 204 3
Inner Harbor East Academy Baltimore, MD 21202 Charter / PK, K-6 312 3
MD Academy of Technology and Health Sciences Baltimore, MD 21209 Charter / 6-12 370 3
Baltimore Montessori Public Charter School Baltimore, MD 21202 Charter / PK, K-4 201 3
Naca Freedom and Democracy Academy II Baltimore, MD 21214 Charter / 6-9 124 3
Rosemont Elementary School Baltimore, MD 21216 Charter / PK, K-8 430 4
The Green School Baltimore, MD 21213 Charter / K-5 139 4
Baltimore International Academy Baltimore, MD 21236 Charter / K-7 323 4
Afya Public Charter School Baltimore, MD 21213 Charter / 6 206 4
Hampstead Hill Academy Baltimore, MD 21224 Charter / PK, K-8 586 5
The Crossroads School Baltimore, MD 21231 Charter / 6-8 152 5
City Neighbors Charter School Baltimore, MD 21206 Charter / K-8 198 5
Patterson Park Public Charter School Baltimore, MD 21224 Charter / K-7 564 5
Northwood Community Academy Baltimore, MD 21218 Charter / K-5 260 5
Independence School Local I Baltimore, MD 21211 Charter / 9-12 103 5
Midtown Academy Baltimore, MD 21217 Charter / K-8 182 7
Kipp Ujima Village Academy Baltimore, MD 21209 Charter / 5-8 374 NO RATING
Coppin Academy Baltimore, MD 21216 Charter / 9-12 333 7
Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women Baltimore, MD 21209 Charter / 6 121 7
Empowerment Academy Baltimore, MD 21216 Charter / PK, K-8 237 8
YOU CAN SEE IN THIS ARTICLE THE SAME SORT OF HUBRIS AND MONOPLY THESE 1% ARE TAKING WITH EDUCATION AS YOU SEE WITH THESE SAME CHARACTERS AND THE FINANCIAL TROIKA....THEY ACT AS IF NO ONE ELSE EXISTS! IT IS ALMOST LIKE A LIVING SURREALIST PAINTING.
An Inside Look At Joel Klein’s War
Against Public Schools And Teacher Unions
May. 18, 2012 6:58 pm by Leo Casey
Over a year ago, the UFT submitted a Freedom of Information request for emails between Joel Klein and other top DoE brass, on the one hand, and the leaders of the New York City Charter School Center, the New York Charter School Association, Democrats for Education Reform and other leading supporters of corporate education reform. As it does with FOIL requests that do not suit their purposes, the DoE stonewalled the request. (Take note of the contrast with the DoE’s eagerness to release the Teacher Data Reports.) Last month, the UFT went to court, arguing that the DoE’s continual delays amounted to constructive denial of the FOIL law. Facing the inevitable, last Friday the DoE began to release the emails, sending several hundred to the UFT and the news media. Another 15,000 emails are still to come, so keep your eyes peeled on this one.
Here are some of the highlights of the emails just released.
- NYC DoE Chancellor Joel Klein takes a personal interest in UFT charter organizing work. When the UFT announced that it had organized the NYC Charter School for Architecture, Engineering and Construction Industries in the South Bronx, Klein emails Charter School Center CEO James Merriman, “U know what this is abt?” Merriman replies, “Nope. But not surprising.”
- When the UFT publishes a report, Separate and Unequal: The Failure of NYC’s Charter Schools to Serve the City’s Neediest Students, Merriman is sending out a response within hours of its release — not surprising given his role as spokesperson for charter school management in NYC. But two days later, the then head of the DoE’s Charter School Office, Michael Duffy, is sending out another critique, using DoE data which is not in the public realm — somewhat strange for an office charged with charter oversight. (The DoE redacted the names of a number of recipients of Duffy’s critique.) Attached to Duffy’s email is an email from Nelson Smith, then President of the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools, who is looking for help in bashing the UFT report after a speechwriter of US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan reaches out to him.
- Roland Fryer, a Harvard professor who assumed the title of Chief Equality Officer at the DoE for a period of time, emails Joel Klein that he is having problems getting charter school principals to participate in a research project. “The basic idea is to understand what makes charters effective,” he writes. “It can’t just be lack of unions, because none of them have unions and some have amazing gains in achievement while others do not.” (What is remarkable is that Fryer is doing this research on charter schools, and does not know the most basic information, such as the fact that approximately 10% of charter schools nationally are unionized, including a number of the best performing schools.) Fryer wants to offer a $100,000 lottery prize to get charter schools to participate.
- James Merriman writes to Joel Klein, explaining that the briefing paper the Center had provided Mayor Bloomberg on the public financial support for charter schools and for district schools had understated the financial benefits charters garnered from being co-located in a DoE building to the tune of 4 to 5%. (For a synopsis of the funding issue, see this Edwize post.) Klein replies: “Spoke to him (Bloomberg). He’s looking forward but wasn’t happy.”
- Yet Merriman is infuriated when the Independent Budget Office’s analysis of the levels of public support for charter schools and district schools supports the arguments of the UFT on this subject. After revealing that he had been given an earlier draft of the report, where the numbers were actually more unfavorable to the charter school argument, he complains that the final report, which went from charters getting more money than district schools to less money, “was an advocacy brief, including quoting the UFT report. Shame on them.” So much for IBO efforts to satisfy him.
- Merriman and Duffy have a dust-up over the DoE’s initiative to create a common charter school application. “When the law says charter schools are independent and autonomous, it means something,” Merriman writes. “When you high-handedly try to superintend them, they will push back…”
- National Heritage Academies, one of two major for-profit charter chains in New York, was very upset about the provision in the law raising the charter school cap which prohibited new charter schools from contracting with for-profit charter management companies. So, too, apparently was Tom Carroll, head of the Brighter Choice charter schools in Albany and a leading figure in the New York Charter School Association.
- There is a major division in charter forces over the passage of the bill increasing the cap on charter schools. Klein emails DFER’s Joe Williams, with regard to New York Charter School Association leader Peter Murphy, who had gone public in the New York Times with severe criticisms. Klein asks, “Any way to walk him off the ledge?” Williams replies, “We have been trying. This is a mess within our coalition.” As the exchange goes on, Williams writes “I think the issue is one of control.” Klein comes back, “You mean we took it over and have a different agenda?” Williams agrees. Klein finishes: “Bad for him to be in Times pissing on…”
- Merriman insists that the law must not require charter school buildings to meet public school code: “there is no way private developers can afford public school code.” Of course, public school code is specifically designed to protect the health and safety of students.
- Worried about the bill and opposition from Murphy and NYCSA, consultant Bradley Tusk tells Klein it “may be good for you to call Murdoch.” In another email, Tusk also suggests how to manipulate Arne Duncan: “Joel presumably will get to talk to Arne before the event and want to make sure he plants the right thoughts in Arne’s head and make sure we plant the right questions with reporters so Arne’s comments help take some of the poison pills off the table.” (Poison pills refer to the provisions in the law which require charter schools to educate more high needs students — especially English Language Learners and students with special needs.)
- Klein and Merriman go ballistic when Regents Chancellor Tisch is quoted in Gotham Schools saying that any law increasing the charter school cap needs to also address issues of co-location and saturation. “Unbelievable; gobsmacked and so angry I could spit,” Merriman writes. At another point, Williams says that Tisch (and UFT President Michael Mulgrew) “are going apeshit.”
- Democrats for Education Reform head Joe Williams gets very nervous every time hedge fund manager Whitney Tilson, a major charter school backer and DFER funder, is on his own with important political players. When Tilson receives a phone call from Regents Chancellor Tisch, Williams admonishes him to not “commit to anything” and worriedly forwards the email to Klein, wondering what Tisch “is up to.” When Tilson meets with the Daily News editorial board, Williams tells him to “keep it general” and not “get into specifics on NY’s cap lift legislation.”
- Joe Williams writes to Joel Klein and Eva Moskowitz, suggesting that someone ask Lou Gerstner, CEO of IBM, to defund the NAACP because of its willingness to work with the UFT and take on Bloomberg and Klein.
- There are a number of email exchanges between Klein and Merriman on a conflict between Opportunity Charter School and Eva Moskowitz over one of her Harlem Success Academies. The DoE co-located the Moskowitz school in the same building as Opportunity, and with insufficient space in the building for Harlem Success to grow, Moskowitz sets her sites on Opportunity. Merriman emails Klein asking to talk about “Opportunity Charter School siting issue (issue is Eva).” In a subsequent email, Merriman follows up. “Anything on Opportunity. The natives are restless and war council’s brewing. Charter v. Charter. Ugh.” Klein replies; “Keep confi but I think this will work out.” Later Merriman writes that Lenny Goldberg, CEO of Opportunity, has “stood down.” But Eva’s knives were soon out again, and this school year the DoE inexplicably put Opportunity on a list of charter schools that it was considering for closure, despite the fact that over half of the students attending the school are students with special needs and Opportunity graduates them at twice the rate the DoE graduates its students with special needs. In its successful battle to remain open, Opportunity had the support of the UFT and local Community Education Council, while the Charter School Center and the Charter School Association remained on the sidelines.
- Concerned about the debate over Race To The Top, Klein writes to Merriman, “How many parents can we get Tuesday morn midtown to protest — we’ve been too silent.” In an email asking Merriman and the Charter School Center to take the lead in planning this astro-turf rally, Klein’s subordinate, Michael Duffy, notes the antipathy of other charter school networks to Eva Moskowitz: “I think that there are schools that would do it if the Center leads, that won’t if Eva does… Eva will be bringing the most bodies to be sure, but it will hurt us if this is just seen as ‘her’ rally.” There are a series of emails between Merriman and DoE School Safety, asking them to facilitate the rally in a DoE building.
- After an angry Panel for Educational Policy meeting over school closures in January 2010, Merriman emails Joel Klein to commiserate. “Fully aware the anger will move toward us (charter schools),” he says. Then, without the slightest hint of irony, he concludes “Interesting that beeps (borough presidents) instructed their reps (on the PEP) how to vote. What happened to independence.” Of course, the school closures passed the PEP because the Mayor had told his appointees, which are a majority of the PEP, that they had to support them. Klein replies: “Predictible if sad. Almost all UFT, lot of charter anger.”
- Writing on a scheme by Eddie Melendez, the recently indicted CEO of Believe High Schools Network, to pay his students $100 a head to recruit new students to the school, Merriman says “it is sleazy but shrewd all at the same time.”
- Not even the conservative Fordham Foundation gets the Klein-Merriman seal of approval. Unhappy with a Fordham report on inequality in school demographics, Klein writes to Merriman “Why not whack them on their charters — low ieps and ells…”
- These four men — Klein, Merriman, Williams and Tilson — are obsessed with women who oppose their agenda. There are numerous email exchanges centered on Diane Ravitch and Debbie Meier, discussing their writings and public appearances in the most insulting terms. Of Ravitch, Klein writes: “She’s so dishonest and platitudinous, it’s scary.” Tilson writes that Ravitch is a “dangerous crackpot” and “deranged,” and proclaims “I really, REALLY hate Ravitch.” Merriman joins in that Ravitch is a “slippery one.” In response to an inquiry from Klein, asking why New York Charter Parents Association head Mona Davids was opposing co-locations, Merriman trashes her as “unstable,” saying that “she is now in the pocket of the union.” And they discuss plans of how to ambush AFT President Randi Weingarten when she appears on the Morning Joe show and at a Houston event.
A RESPONSE TO THE ARTICLE BELOW FROM A BALTIMORE CITY TEACHER
Sadly, as a 25- year special educator there seems be an increasing uptick of un-individualized instruction. Who is really monitoring instruction? (i.e school- site visits not e-mail visits)
For Baltimore schools, special education still a work in progress
Parents, advocates say that despite progress, school system has long way to go after Vaughn G. settlement Imani Frederick, a 19-year-old rising senior at the Friendship Academy of Science and Technology in Baltimore, and his mother, Sharon Jackson, outside the school. The school system has denied Frederick services that his mother says he needs. (Kim Hairston, Baltimore Sun / June 22, 2012)
By Erica L. Green, The Baltimore Sun 6:05 p.m. EDT, June 23, 2012
At 4 years old, Imani Frederick couldn't recognize colors. Even a year later, he couldn't form complete sentences and struggled to count to 10. When he was 6, a neuropsychologist observed the fidgety, easily frustrated boy and diagnosed attention deficit hyperactive and expressive language disorder.
The doctor predicted that he would have difficulty academically and recommended classroom accommodations, such as a seat near the teacher, who would need to repeat directions for him. Imani's school should also establish a behavioral plan for him, the doctor suggested.
More than a decade later, the Baltimore City school district has come to a different conclusion about Imani Frederick. Even though he received special education services in elementary school before going to private school for a time, district officials said they couldn't confirm that he had a disability when he enrolled in public high school.
"Needing services doesn't mean that I'm retarded, but I just have a lot of energy and I don't get things as fast as everybody else," said the soft-spoken Frederick, 19 and a rising senior at the Friendship Academy of Science and Technology.
The Baltimore school system has long been criticized for failing special education students. For a quarter-century, the district has been under increased court and state oversight, the result of a landmark lawsuit alleging that it didn't comply with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the federal law that guarantees students with disabilities an appropriate free education.
As that extra layer of scrutiny comes to an end this year, some of the challenges that inspired the lawsuit remain, The Baltimore Sun found in interviews with dozens of parents, special education experts, and school officials as well as state audits obtained through public records requests.
Frederick's mother, Sharon Jackson, is among a vocal group of parents who contend that special education students aren't getting the help they need in the classroom, setting them back. Parents describe battling a bureaucracy that denies them services or doesn't know how to handle the students. Some say they are called several times a week to pick up their children when teachers give up.
Meanwhile, state officials have continued to flag issues in audits as recently as last year. Among the findings: Many special instructional and testing accommodations recommended in individualized education plans, such as one-on-one help from teachers, weren't provided. And the co-teaching model, which adds a special education teacher to the classroom, isn't used as widely as auditors recommend.
"We are not out of the woods at this time," said Blondelia Caldwell-Harrison, who chairs the district's parent advocacy group, the Special Education Citizen's Advisory Committee. "We must do better than what we're doing today in educating our children."
Statistically, the system has made noteworthy progress: Graduation rates among special education students are up and dropout rates are down, and more students with disabilities are in general education classrooms, rather than being illegally segregated.
Overall, district officials say, schools are more able and committed to serve the population, which accounts for more than 16 percent of the city's 83,000 students. The school system has planned a public forum Wednesday to discuss the progress it has made since the lawsuit.
"For 20 years, under the lawsuit, the district struggled to move the needle on many outcomes," city schools CEO Andrés Alonso, said in a statement. "Then, in the past five years, the needle moved. That happened because of focus, leadership and commitment, openness to criticism, and collaboration. Those things cannot be mandated or legislated, or they would have changed in the 20 years earlier."
But Frederick's experience recalls that of some disabled students when the lawsuit was filed 28 years ago. Back then, school officials neglected to conduct assessments of disabled students in the time frame required by federal law, delaying needed special education services. Moreover, special education advocates accused the school system of shutting out some children by not identifying them as special-needs students.
Still today, parents and advocates suspect that because it is costly to educate special-needs students, some are not being afforded the extra help.
When Frederick enrolled in the academy, district officials said they couldn't find files that would have outlined his individualized education plan — which is required for special education students.
Undeterred, Jackson pressed the district to find her son's files, which were eventually were traced to a warehouse. She also took her son to Kennedy Krieger Institute for an independent evaluation, which not only found he suffers from ADHD but also adolescent depression. Doctors there recommended extensive educational assistance and vocational training.
Nonetheless, the school system has maintained that Frederick doesn't qualify for special education services.
'Grateful' for lawsuit
Problems with city schools' handling of special education students came to light when the Maryland Disability Law Center sued the mayor and city in 1984, on behalf of Vaughn Garris — identified in court records as Vaughn G. — and more than 30 other students.
EDUCATION CoLab Radio / By Nancy Bloom 'Firing Day' at the Charter School
After publishing this piece, a charter school teacher was terminated by her school and escorted from the building -- even though she had already resigned. June 4, 2012 |
I just quit my job as a teacher in an urban charter school. Even though I still don’t have another job and I support myself entirely, it is the best decision I ever made. It was especially liberating to do as my colleagues – and after five incredibly stressful years on the education front lines, my truly beloved friends – waited for the June 1 ax to fall.
Every June 1, the exhausted teachers and staff at my school learn whether they will be rehired for another grueling year. Last year the school gave 43 staff and teachers the you’re-outta-luck-pal letters, including the entire three-man physical education department and the student support genius, Dany Edwards, who somehow made harmony out of the schools’ cacophony of crazy student behavior. This year the school’s three glorious new gymnasiums are largely unused because we have no gym teachers and Dany is dead of unknown causes. Whatever happened to this beautiful young man, firing him didn’t help him live any better or happier for his last few months on earth. And the kids he championed lost his tender, tough, hilarious and real guidance.
This post is dedicated to you Dany, one year after you ran from the building in frantic disbelief, waving your letter as you ran up and down Hyde Park Avenue, looking for people to share your grief. If they can fire you, they can fire any of us. Except they can’t fire me. I beat them at their game.
The first thing you need to know reader, is that there is no job security at a charter school. Even excellent veteran educators, like the three physical education teachers who were fired one year ago, are vulnerable. Between them these men gave something like 35 years to the school. They offered serious nutrition education in their fight against childhood obesity. They miraculously coached kids who have hair trigger tempers through team sports without break-out fights. They taught the kids good sportsmanship and how to represent themselves, their families and the school during games at other schools. They taught yoga, which the kids actually used to calm themselves in class. And they worked the kids hard. Oh how I miss seeing the kids come to class from gym all red and sweaty and happy. This gymless year, the kids seem fatter and more out of breath as they huff and puff their way to the third floor.
To you Michelle Rhee and all you anti-union fanatics, you are wasting your time waiting around for superman. They already fired superman at my school. You see a union would have protected Dany as well as these three talented teachers who provided quality physical education to all of our 1200 students. Meanwhile, some not-so-gifted staff and teachers get to keep their jobs every June 1. At least public schools and their unions have transparent guidelines for tenure and enough respect to let teachers know they won’t be rehired for the next school year by March or earlier. June 1 is late to jump into the teacher hiring season. I suspect the administration keeps it a secret to the bitter end because they don’t trust us to keep working hard. They are suspicious and we are paranoid. It’s part of my school’s culture.
The second thing to know is that we work very hard at my charter school, completing endless tasks that are not designed to instill habits of critical thinking in our students. Rather we are driven like cattle to collect mounds of data, to divvy the data up into tidy and irrelevant skill categories, and finally to create individual action plans to remediate each student’s poor data points. We are required to write lesson plans that note exactly which discreet skills we will be working on during every minute of every school day while delivering scripted programs. It takes hours to make these plans and we don’t use them. Can’t use them. Because kids are unpredictable and surprises happen. Most of us work at least ten hours on every weekday preparing our rooms and teaching. We continue working on weekends. The building is open on Saturdays and during vacations and there are a lot of cars in the parking lot on these days off.
Missing: The Teacher’s Voice
Richard D. Kahlenberg is a senior fellow at the Century Foundation and the author of “All Together Now: Creating Middle-Class Schools through Public School Choice,” and “Tough Liberal: Albert Shanker and the Battles Over Schools, Unions, Race and Democracy.”
Charter schools have long basked in the glory of “bipartisanship,” but like the No Child Left Behind Act, charters are finally experiencing some push-back and deservedly so.
Teachers in charter schools do not have a voice.
On one level, charters offered something for everyone. Liberals liked
providing choice for kids stuck in bad schools that stopped short of private school vouchers. Conservatives liked the union-free environment found in most charter schools. Newspapers featured glowing reviews of high performing charter schools like KIPP.
But as the evidence comes in, the bloom is coming off the rose. Three communities are fighting against the bipartisan consensus: academics, teachers and civil rights groups.
Scholars have discovered that success stories like KIPP are unrepresentative. Stanford University researchers, backed by pro-charter school funders, found that nationally, only 17 percent of charter schools outperform comparable public schools, and 37 percent underperform. Much smaller studies, most notably Caroline Hoxby’s analysis of New York City public schools, have found positive results, but her study has been criticized as methodologically flawed.
Teachers have also soured on charter schools. Education Secretary Arne Duncan correctly notes that the late teacher union leader Albert Shanker was an early supporter of charters. But as I outline in my biography of Shanker, he envisioned charters as a vehicle for enhancing the teacher’s voice and grew disillusioned as they became a vehicle for bypassing union representation. Lacking voice, charter school teachers are 132 percent more likely to leave the profession than teachers in regular public schools.
Civil rights groups are also increasingly concerned given new evidence that charters are even more racially isolated than regular public schools. Charter school supporters respond that today providing a good education advances civil rights, whatever the racial makeup of the school, but that retort ignores the fact that charters rarely provide a superior education.
Indeed, the disappointing academic record of charters is surely linked to longstanding research finding that racially and economically separate schools are rarely equal.
Given these realities, researchers like Diane Ravitch, a former charter school supporter, are right to question the Obama administration’s heavy bet on charter schools. A better alternative is to revive Shanker’s original vision of charter schools as teacher-led institutions that are representative of America’s diversity.
The Economic Vise Jeffrey Henig is professor of political science and education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Luis Huerta is an associate professor of education and public policy there.
Concern about charter schools has been simmering, but until recently New York City had been spared some of the high-octane political battles that have marked the national debate.
Competition for resources is creating friction between public officials and new education “outsiders.”
One reason is that Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein have aggressively welcomed charters, while in other cities school boards and local superintendents have led the charge against them. Another is that charters in New York made their initial inroads during a time of economic growth and high investment in the local schools, defusing fears that they would drain resources from the traditional school system.
The state level cap on the number of charters also dampened resistance; as long as the cap was in place, the prospects of a major shift of students and revenues away from the traditional system was restrained by policy.
So why are challenges to the local charter movement bubbling to a head now?
Shifting economic and political conditions at the state and national level go some of the way toward explaining the more vocal and newly energized critiques of charters. The push-back is exacerbated by local policies that, especially in tight economic times, make the tensions between charters and traditional public schools more palpable.
The recent economic downturn affecting all public services, together with the unfulfilled promise of new revenues from the Campaign for Fiscal Equity court decision that, a little over three years ago, seemed poised to create a revenue windfall, have made it clear that charters and traditional public schools are no longer sharing an expanding pie.
Pressure from the Obama administration to remove charter caps, and to intervene more aggressively to hold failing schools and teachers to account, raise the general level of anxiety about charters taking over. At the same time, local education officials are outsourcing school management to for-profit and nonprofit management organizations. These groups are seeking to establish their brand of management in the wider school reform landscape — and are battling for a bigger share of public school buildings and revenues to meet their economic bottom line.
All of this, combined with the near-dismantling of the familiar community school districts, is scrambling the traditional channels of communication between parents and school officials, while also blurring the boundaries that delineate whom parents can hold accountable for their children’s best interest.
In communities where failing schools persist, the rationing of scarce resources and accompanying policies may be fueling resentment toward two groups: public officials, on the one hand, and new education “outsiders” on the other.
When charter schools are posed as the favored reform vehicle, and especially when they are offered space in a school building that the community considers part of its local fabric, it’s not surprising that things can boil over.
DUNBAR SCHOOL FOR HEALTH PROFESSIONALS
THIS SCHOOL IS LOCATED IN THE JOHNS HOPKINS NEIGHBORHOOD...IF FAMILIES LIVE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD, THIS IS WHERE THEIR CHILDREN WOULD GO TO SCHOOL. IF THEY DO NOT WANT THEIR CHILD TO FOLLOW A HEALTH CAREER PATH.....THE CHOICES ARE OUT OF THIS NEIGHBORHOOD.
BELOW WE SEE THE SCHOOL PERFORMANCE STATS. WHAT I AM SAYING IS NOT A POOR REFLECTION ON THE CHILDREN.......IT WILL TAKE UNDERSERVED CHILDREN SOME YEARS TO CATCH UP IN THEIR EDUCATION SKILLS NO MATTER WHO LEADS THE EFFORT....IT IS IMPORTANT THAT THE EFFORT IS THERE. MY POINT IS THIS:
IF YOU READ ALL THE PRESS ON EDUCATION IN MARYLAND, IT WILL ALL SAY THAT THESE CHARTERS ARE DOING GREAT! MARYLAND EDUCATION IS RANKED 1ST IN THE COUNTRY BY EDUCATION NEWS 4 YEARS STRAIGHT. WHEN AND IF YOU CAN ACCESS THE DATA YOU WILL SEE THAT THE ACTUAL PICTURE IS QUITE DIFFERENT. MOST OF THE HYPE ON CHARTERS IS INFLATED FOR A REASON.........CLOSING PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
WE DON'T NEED SPECIAL SCHOOLS WITH SPECIAL PRIVILEDGES TO RAISE TEST SCORES......WE SIMPLY NEED A PUBLIC SCHOOL GETTING THE SAME ATTENTION THIS CHARTER IS GETTING.....PRIVATE DONATIONS, UNIVERSITY VOLUNTEERS AND RESOURCES....THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN HAPPENING FOR DECADES. WHAT THE JOHNS HOPKINS COMMUNITY RECEIVED WAS A BRAND NEW HIGH SCHOOL FOR THEIR NEIGHBORHOOD AND THE CHILDREN WHO LIVE IN THAT NEIGHBORHOOD MAY BE FORCED TO LEAVE BECAUSE THEIR GRADES FAIL TO MEET THE STANDARD. IT APPEARS THAT SINCE HOPKINS MADE IT AN ADVANCED PLACEMENT SCHOOL, THAT IS THE INTENTION. ALL OF THIS DISTORTS THE PRINCIPLE OF PUBLIC EDUCATION.
HAVING THE PUBLIC TAXPAYERS PAY FOR THIS SPECIALTY SCHOOL MEANS THAT OTHER SCHOOLS IN THE CITY CLOSED
Welcome to MSDE ----MEDIA ACCOLADES FOR MARYLAND PUBLIC EDUCATION! WE ARE READY TO BUILD FOR GLOBAL STUDENTS-----THE BEST OF THE BEST!
For the fourth straight year, Maryland’s public education system received two NUMBER ONE IN THE NATION rankings in 2012—from Education Week and from the College Board for AP performance. This is great news. A strong State education system leads to an even stronger State economy. Maryland is definitely the place to live, work, and receive a high-quality education.
--Bernard J. Sadusky, Interim State Superintendent of Schools
MEDIA ACCOLADES BELOW FOR DUNBAR:
Awards and Recognitions 2008 & 2009 Maryland High School Performance Award 2007 One of the Best High Schools in America, Newsweek 2008 & 2009 US News & World Report Bronze Medal
One of the Best High Schools in America
CHILDREN CATEGORIZED AS PROF. AND ADV. IN READING AND MATH AT A HIGH LEVEL........BUT LOOK AT THE PASS RATE FOR THE SAME SUBJECTS AND SCIENCE. I MIGHT SAY THAT THE PERCENTAGES ARE FALLING BECAUSE THERE IS A POSSIBILITY THE EARLY SCORES WERE INFLATED---THERE HAS BEEN CHEATING AT OTHER SCHOOLS. THESE CHILDREN ARE CLEARLY NOT ADVANCED AND THEREFOR WILL WILL FIND IT HARD TO STAY IN WHAT WAS THEIR OLD SCHOOL.
Adequate Yearly Progress - Reading
2011 2010 2009
% Prof. or Adv. AYP Status % Prof. or Adv. AYP Status % Prof. or Adv. AYP Status
All 84.20 Met 93.50 Met
African American 83.70 Met 93.30 Met
English II Comprehensive HSA-Highest Score Pass Rate
2011 2010 2009
All 2011 ----- PERCENT PASSED 55.31
Adequate Yearly Progress - Mathematics
2011 2010 2009
% Prof. or Adv. AYP Status % Prof. or Adv. AYP Status % Prof. or Adv. AYP Status
All 93.60 Met 99.20 Met
Algebra Comprehensive HSA-Highest Score Pass Rate
2011 2010 2009
All 2011 ---------- PERCENT PASSED 32.74
2010 ---------- 36.08
2009 ---------- 55.40
Biology Comprehensive HSA-Highest Score Pass Rate
2011 2010 2009
All 2011 ---------------- PERCENT PASSED 37.27
2010 ---------------- 49.31
2009 --------------- 62.50