This is exactly what will become routine procedure in Baltimore as this student placement is already happening with a limited number of students. Remember, the goal with education reform is to create the same education structure as in China----with vocational tracking of children from pre-K to career college and as in China, it is testing that determines how private student placement corporations will track children in Baltimore and as this article shows, Philadelphia is on its way. So, parents and students won't choice what they would like for their future-----these tests will show a child's strengths and weaknesses and that will determine how that student is tracked. This is the Wall Street structure that is tied with Race to the Top and it is why they are installing all of this testing----as with the pre-K testing. None of this has anything to do with quality schools---it simply hands corporations complete control as to what K-college will look like.
How does this meet the 1997 agreement to hand Baltimore City Schools to the state? Well, yet again, none of this meets the need for providing quality education. It simply takes control of this process that Wall Street knows all citizens will hate and gives it to corporate politicians like O'Malley and Rawlings-Blake. Larry Hogan is a neo-con and Bush is the one working with corporations to write this mess----so Hogan will continue to allow Johns Hopkins----also a neo-con----to continue to make education completely autocratic. I spoke with a Catholic priest in Baltimore asking him if he really thought Wall Street was going to continue to allow religious schools---because the Catholic Church is the biggest supporter of privatizing public schools in Baltimore. He knew the likelihood wasn't there and it had been a concern for the church. So, we have the Baltimore Education Coalition created to promote all of this privatization and filled with Hopkins private education non-profits, charters, and Teach for America pushing these policies and we have a school board appointed with the very people who will push this,with an education research group working with Hopkins providing data that all this is good policy and things are looking up for the children in Baltimore public schools.
HERE COMES BILL GATES AND THE EDUCATION PRIVATIZERS AND ALL THAT MONEY THEY DON'T PAY IN TAXES!
I'm telling you Maryland, this is coming and is already starting to be used in Baltimore!
YOU KEEP VOTING FOR THE POLS ALLOWING THIS!!!!! RUN AND VOTE FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE
Philadelphia School Partnership pushes for private management of student placement
by Helen Gym on Oct 24 2013 Notebook
For months, the Philadelphia School Partnership (PSP) has been working to put in place a new citywide process for placing students in schools. Most troubling is that PSP wants this process to be run by an outside, private entity that is created by PSP and could eventually charge a per-pupil fee from participating systems.
“Universal enrollment,” as it is called, would match students to either a District, charter, or parochial school whenever they decide to transfer, move, or transition to another school level.
The PSP proposal would not only take the current student-placement program out of the District’s hands -- unprecedented in any other city -- it would also include parochial schools and coordinate the selection process with the availability of scholarships, which are now often provided through two controversial, voucher-like business tax subsidy programs in Pennsylvania.
PSP’s audacious plans were unveiled at a briefing before City Council last month. I spoke with several attendees at the briefing, including a member of Parents United for Public Education, and received a copy of PSP's PowerPoint presentation.
PSP, which describes itself as a philanthropic organization interested in the movement of students into "high performing" seats, had aimed to launch a pilot universal enrollment effort this year with parochial schools and some charters. Since the briefing, PSP has now decided to delay the program until next year, when it proposes to assume enrollment responsibilities for all District schools, including special admission schools as well as charter and parochial schools.
The program raises serious questions about students' privacy rights, church-and-state separation, and public disclosure issues. It also potentially weakens the guarantee of a neighborhood school option and removes from District control a central mission and function – all without any meaningful public disclosure, discussion, or oversight.
District officials are distancing themselves from PSP’s independent effort. Spokesperson Fernando Gallard told me the District is using its own enrollment process this year.
“There has been no decision made regarding the high school selection process for future years,” Gallard wrote in an email. “The use of a third party and the per pupil fee is a question that should be answered by PSP since we are not part of that effort.”
Lobbying council on universal enrollment
PSP introduced its independent universal enrollment program in a briefing before City Council on Sept. 18. According to attendees, the presentation sparked controversy, leading to a pointed back-and-forth between a number of Council staff and PSP leadership.
The briefing was led by PSP’s executive director Mark Gleason, a one-time publishing entrepreneur and former South Orange-Maplewood, N.J., school board member. Gleason identified PSP’s chief consultant in the project as Ramsey Green, a real estate investor and consultant from New Orleans, where a similar program has been criticized by a number of public education advocates.
Sources told me that Gleason promoted the new process as a way to “outsource the enrollment and placement” of all students in the city’s District, charter, and, in a surprising twist, Catholic schools. In most cities with a universal enrollment plan, the effort has focused on the public sector, presumably to avoid First Amendment conflicts.
At the Council briefing, Gleason announced that the District in August had pulled out of the universal enrollment process for this year, saying officials have "a lot on their plate right now.” As a result, he said, PSP would take on the effort unilaterally by setting up a separate nonprofit called PhillySchoolApp.
PhillySchoolApp will be overseen by a private entity, the Compact Working Group, whose members represent the Great Schools Compact, a body that includes District and charter school leaders, and which PSP also staffs. Gleason said PSP was already interviewing applicants for the executive director position of PhillySchoolApp.
Private philanthropy would cover the effort for the first three years, after which PhillySchoolApp would charge a per-pupil fee for participating schools. When asked about the potential cost by a Council aide, Gleason said it could be in the range of $10 per student, according to several people who were at the briefing.
According to the PowerPoint presentation made at the briefing, PhillySchoolApp would run a “centralized lottery and school matching service” that would assign each student only one option for a school.
Under the current system, students at the high school level are assured a neighborhood school option, can be admitted to as many as five District schools, and can apply to as many charter and private schools as they want. Under PSP’s proposed system, students would be matched to a single school. Students would have a right to refuse that school, but would lose their opportunity in the selective first round, then bump down to a second- and third-match round, where fewer schools are offered.
The PowerPoint said PSP had intended to secure the participation of “50-plus charter and Catholic schools” this year. Students assigned to Catholic schools would be matched "only if it was determined that scholarship assistance would be available." The tax-credit programs, Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) -- often deemed similar to vouchers -- are increasingly the most common means of scholarship assistance.
Attendees at the briefing said at least one staff aide asked a question about potential church-and-state conflicts.
“The question was asked, but it felt like it wasn’t taken seriously,” said one attendee. “They [PSP] just shrugged it off. They said there was no real conflict and started talking about the nature of the process, and how involved they were, and so on.”
Kristen Forbriger, communications manager for PSP, told me last week that, although the effort has been delayed till next year, the Compact Committee has “developed a common application,” which has been made available to District, charter, and Catholic schools. District officials said they are using their own application that is completely separate from an application through the Compact.
“The goal is to introduce the full system [“PhillySchoolApp”] in the future, hopefully by next year,” Forbriger wrote in an email.
One attendee at the briefing said Gleason asked Council members and staff to support the effort by putting their name behind neighborhood meetings to promote PhillySchoolApp. Forbriger explained over email that the purpose of the Council briefing was to “ensure Council members and staff were fully briefed on the program should it have rolled out this year, so they could share information with families.”
Susan Gobreski, executive director of Education Voters PA, said her organization had supported a common enrollment process, which could deal with inequities. For example, some charters have been flagged for complicated application processes that create "barriers to entry" for some students.
But Gobreski expressed surprise at PSP’s newly forged, independent role.
“While we support the implementation of some form of common enrollment for high school students with an eye on equity, I am very concerned about it being run by a private entity,” Gobreski said. “School placement for public education must be the function of a public entity and changes to our current process need to be thoroughly examined in a public manner with an opportunity to raise questions.”
An untested experiment in school choice
Universal enrollment is another untested reform initiative coming from the Gates Foundation, which has a history of funding experimental, and often controversial, ideas in K-12 education (requiring student test scores as a major part of teacher evaluations, for example) and higher education. The most established universal enrollment programs are in New Orleans and Denver. Newark and Washington, D.C., recently announced they intend to introduce universal enrollment in 2014-2015.
Karran Harper Royal, a New Orleans parent advocate, shared her concerns with me this week about how the universal enrollment program has rolled out in her hometown. Harper Royal said that, in New Orleans, parents are handed a long list of school names with letter grades, which give little information about the quality of school services. Parents have raised concerns that universal enrollment actually limits choice options by directing families into a single computer-generated selection. Parents no longer have the guaranteed option of their nearby neighborhood school, even if it is a few blocks away and desired.
One mother, who lived on the West Bank of New Orleans, only listed schools on the West Bank, which were all full “according to the computer,” Harper Royal said. That parent was assigned to an “F”-rated school on the far east side of New Orleans slated for closure the following year.
“I’d be concerned that this is just another tool to segregate schools and steer some families to some schools and other families to other schools,” Harper Royal said. “This isn’t an informed choice that families are making.”
In New Orleans, where more than 70 percent of students are in charters, the “OneApp” (as it is dubbed) is a daunting 20-page package requiring two to four written pages per child. Notably, PSP’s PowerPoint presentation before City Council included a sample application form from the New Orleans OneApp. One report said that more than one in five families simply don’t participate in the process.
Tomika Anglin, a leadership member of Parents United for Public Education who attended the City Council briefing, said she was concerned that universal enrollment would “further starve already emaciated neighborhood schools.”
“This is another way of telling people to get out of the public schools, and then blaming people if they don’t,” she said.
Anglin said she was most alarmed at the role of a private entity formed by PSP controlling the enrollment process.
“How can parents be assured that this is about my child and not the agenda of PSP?” Anglin asked. “They are creating a process that, once implemented, will render the District and participating schools dependent – and then the bill will come. They have created their own source of profit, and the city’s schoolchildren will be held hostage.”
PhillySchoolApp will have unrestricted access to private student data in order to mine student information to facilitate their placement. A “central database can integrate with every school’s student data system,” one slide of the PSP PowerPoint shows.
Student data systems contain highly sensitive information, including names, addresses, Social Security numbers, grades, test scores, race, students' economic status, special-education status, disciplinary status, and much more. They can also contain information that is appropriate for a school but may not be appropriate for third-party vendors, such as reasons for leaving a school or parental status (custody rights, foster care, etc.). Granting access to such information to a third party outside the School District could violate the confidentiality of such information.
New York City parents, for example, have launched a major battle around privacy rights against a private contractor, which collects student data and has the right to sell that information, recently highlighted in a New York Times article.
Privacy and First Amendment concerns aside, providing meaningful choices to Philadelphia’s families will take more than a clever computer algorithm. Choice advocates make a mistake in presuming that parents have real options when there is a dysfunctional school system that reformers largely refuse to improve.
Harper Royal, in New Orleans, said: “They’re not talking about leveling the playing field. They’re not talking about providing transportation, or dealing with school fees, or addressing quality of services, especially for students with special needs."
“They have hijacked the word choice. This is not choice. It’s the illusion of choice.”
Part 2 coming soon: “Public money, private gain: Philadelphia School Partnership's expanding role in political lobbying”
Helen Gym is a founder of Parents United for Public Education and a Notebook blogger.
When I attended a meeting of education policy groups in Baltimore having the new Baltimore City School Superintendent from Milwaukee -----Dr Thornton on hand one thing the leader of this education privatization group had to say about Dr Thornton is that he spent time up in Philadelphia and was familiar with what schools there were doing. As we saw above-----Philadelphia was implementing this student tracking system and indeed Thornton was aware of this. Milwaukee is home of Scott Walker of the Tea Party crowd and very conservative. As this article shows they found Thornton and gave him the job because of his willingness to privatize the public school system. Thornton is known as a hatchet-man in having no trouble down-sizing schools and union teachers and that is the task given him by Johns Hopkins and Baltimore development----the institutions controlling Baltimore City School Board.
The NAACP in Milwaukee says that an all-out war on public schools -----draining resources-----just as in Baltimore.
New Baltimore schools chief navigated complex terrain in Milwaukee
He has led the district during a challenging time
Gregory Thornton addresses students and staff during a ceremony… (Mark Hoffman, Milwaukee…)February 22, 2014|By Erica L. Green, Liz Bowie and Jean Marbella, The Baltimore SunMILWAUKEE — —
Newly named to head Baltimore's public schools, Gregory E. Thornton has unfinished business in the district he is leaving behind after 31/2 tumultuous years.
Wearing a red T-shirt, he arrived Friday at a school where, to peals of laughter, the 59-year-old would join kids in a "jump rope-a-thon." But, as so frequently happened during his tenure, there were political hoops to jump through first.
"How are we doing?" Thornton asked a state senator he spied in the welcoming crowd.
It was not so much a pleasantry as a pulse check: How are we doing, he meant, in thwarting two bills that would close public schools and sell empty facilities to private schools that accept vouchers?
In a brief exchange, the senator mentioned a potentially worrisome legislator, and Thornton said he'd already talked to her the previous night. And then, it was time to "make some noise" as he exhorted the school crowd who had gathered to jump rope in honor of a phys ed teacher who started the tradition 35 years ago.
It was just another day navigating the complicated terrain of Milwaukee Public Schools.
Critics and admirers alike say Thornton is energetic, deliberate in his decision-making and ultimately caring toward the children in the 165-school system. They also say that he has headed the district during a particularly challenging time — when, as one parent put it, "hating MPS has been a regional pastime."
Where they differ is in assessing how he has negotiated the many political and budgetary land mines in his path.
"I think he was trying to think creatively in the context of a complicated situation," said Keisha Krumm, lead organizer with the community group Common Ground, which worked with Thornton on improving a tutoring program in the schools. "He's not an ideologue. There was an energy and passion to his work, but also a pragmatism."
He was hired in 2010, just as the Milwaukee mayor was trying to wrest control of the district from the school board. Soon, the state's governor would cut hundreds of millions of dollars in education funding and dismantle the collective bargaining rights of teachers and other public employees.
Meanwhile, conservative groups were increasingly successful in pushing their privatization agenda — expanding a voucher program that allows students to use public funds for private school tuition, and turning failing schools over to outside operators and companies to run as charters.
By many accounts, Thornton proved adept at negotiating this fractured environment, a pragmatist who would find a middle path through conflicts — while both sides would sometimes emerge not knowing where he personally stood.
But detractors would argue that even if he was hamstrung by a political situation not of his own making, he could have done more since taking over the Milwaukee schools.
"I think most everyone would agree that his tenure was short and without a significant accomplishment," says Charles Szafir, education policy director at the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, a nonprofit advocating for limited government, free speech and education reform. "He was toeing the line of the education status quo."
Szafir's assessment, though, is hardly unchallenged. In fact, he represents what many believe is part of the problem: a shift of more students toward private and charter schools robbing conventional public schools of much-needed funds, enrollment and attention.
"There is an all-out war on the public schools, an effort to undermine public schools, to drain resources," says James H. Hall Jr., president of the Milwaukee chapter of the NAACP. "And it is not letting up."
Indeed, the percentage of children going to conventional Milwaukee schools is dropping 1 or 2 percentage points every year, said Alan Borsuk, a senior fellow in law and public policy at Marquette University Law School who has been tracking the trend.
Only about 60 percent of Milwaukee students attend regular public schools. About 25,000 students use publicly funded vouchers to attend religious and private schools. Additionally, students can transfer out of the city schools into suburban schools if there are slots available, and there's a broad range of charter schools.
In Baltimore, by contrast, 75 percent of the district's students attend regular public schools.
Thornton took fire from both sides of the public-private debate. Privatization advocates complain that he blocked charter schools and in one widely publicized issue, refused to sell an empty public school to a charter that wanted to expand into it. On the other hand, public school supporters complain that he was all too quick to turn a failing school over to a company or outside operator to convert into a charter.
Below you see the goals of this idea of school choice. As in Baltimore what sounds like a democratic process is never meant to be that. It is a gentrification tool that favors parents that are proactive in their children's lives. That might not be a bad thing if it did not lead to the next step----and as we see with this article is is the education privatization family of the WalMart fame---the Waltons that are funding this school assignment process. Keep in mind how Wall Street would go from people simply waking up and helping their child leave for a school a few blocks away-----to tracking them with vocational tracking from pre-K to career college and this article shows you the steps. That is what all this progression is about----and Baltimore City is right in their with the craziest of Wall Street neo-cons like Louisiana's Jindal. Keep in mind all of this is happening with neo-conservative Johns Hopkins telling a Governor elected as a Democrat and a Baltimore City Hall filled with pols elected as Democrats. This education is the most corporate and Republican----although I do not believe even Republican voters want someone assigning a vocational track and schools for their children to attend. So, this is simply global corporations remaking US schools modeled on the Chinese tracking of students. It isn't Republican or Democrat -----BUT IT STINKS!
We see the issue of Catholic Churches and separation of church and state-----the issue of vouchers that Republican states have adopted, but none of this is the goal---it is simply a transition. Corporations will own these once public schools and children will be tracked by testing to any number of corporate K-12s that specialize in training for their employees. So, religious schools and vouchers will not be in the picture----national charter chains tied to a career path will. As the parent below states----none of this even makes sense----it has nothing to do with building quality schools or giving parents choices----
IT SIMPLY HAS A GOAL OF DISMANTLING AND GETTING PEOPLE USED TO NOT HAVING LOCAL PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
While Bill Gates is paying for the Philadelphia student tracking program----in Louisiana it is the WalMart Waltons. In Baltimore, not doubt NYC Mayor Bloomberg will donate to build this Wall Street platform!
New Orleans “Parental Choice” and the Walton-funded OneApp
July 5, 2013
A common cry of corporate reformers involves their oft-professed desire to “give parents a choice.” It sounds so noble, so altruistic. In reality, corporate reformer “choice” is a daunting, messy, confining process absent the sparkle and shine of the ultra-brite ideology advocated by well-dressed, young non-educators posing as student advocates.
I feel the need to apologize in advance for what my audience will experience in reading this post. This post is long. It is tedious. It is confusing. It is exhausting.
Just like the New Orleans version of parent choice.
In New Orleans, both RSD and OPSB direct-run schools are now “open enrollment,” which means that their enrollment is no longer based upon students residing in a given area and automatically attending a community school. Thus, the “parental choice” of selecting a school by moving to the neighborhood is moot. That choice exists no more. Now, parents must apply to the schools they would have their children attend– even if they live right next to the school.
Ahh, school choice is anything but convenient. It now involves a detailed application process, with one application necessary per child within RSD and OPSB direct-run schools, and a different consolidated application (no guarantees here) for some (not all) OPSB charter schools. And even though the RSD/OPSB direct-run application notes that siblings are given priority for attending the same schools, there are no guarantees there, either.
For the 2013-14 school year, it is possible for parents to have to complete multiple applications for multiple schools for their children to possibly attend schools in New Orleans funded with taxpayer money– and possibly for only a single school year.
The plate tectonics of New Orleans public education.
The application used by most public schools in New Orleans (by RSD in 2012-13 and adding OPSB direct-run schools in 2013-14) is called OneApp; it was paid for by the pro-privatizing Walton Foundation. The application reminds me of completing my taxes– tedious and detailed, and involving numerous contingencies.
The headline below shows what the citizens of Baltimore must bare as false praise gives rise to false data and much of what looks like gains end up untrue. Alonzo did nothing for quality in schools----he was assigned by Bloomberg and Wall Street to create a school as business structure and that is all he did. The idea that standardized tests having made significant gains ----when everyone agrees that a few percentage points can be simply margin of error. Again, this is not the children's fault or the teacher's fault---Baltimore has been plagued with disparity in education funding and the worst of education reforms that lead to NO GAINS for all but a few schools. I specifically audited several school's achievements over several years and watched as scores fell over 3 years of Alonzo's term. These score postings were removed and it is now very hard for the public to access these scores.
Here is a Baltimore media blurb: Note that the graduate rate and dropout rate rose because of a change in what categorizes graduation and dropout---they relaxed the requirements so no real gains happened.
'Alonso's six-year tenure at the helm of city schools has made him one of the longest-serving big-city school district superintendents in the country. During that time, the district has seen a reversal in four decades of enrollment decline, an increase in graduation numbers and a decrease in dropouts by more than half. Standardized test scores have made significant gains at elementary and middle schools, the achievement gap was narrowed, and he was able to settle a decades-long special education lawsuit'.
Here are the real test results====take into consideration that what Alonzo did was force an emphasis on reading in all schools to the detriment of other subjects and parents were angry at this policy----and this is why scores did rise in Baltimore in reading. All other subjects suffered. This article asks why Baltimore always seems to see a rise in achievement WITHOUT SHOUTING THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM-----THE EDUCATION POLICY IN BALTIMORE STINKS.
MARYLAND IS SECOND TO LAST IN THE NATION ----THAT'S THE STAT YOU NEVER HEAR. So, how do they keep pretending improvements are being made? THEY JUKE THE STATS------WHOLE LOT OF LYING GOING ON.
Test Scores Rise for Maryland Schools, but Achievement Gaps Remain
Despite score gains MD, get D+ on new report
November 13, 2014 by Mark Newgent
Urban Student Performance Shows Persistent Disparities
While Maryland’s overall test scores increased in the decade 2003-2013, low-income, minority students did not fare as well as their peers.
The report ranked the states according to the performance of low-income students in large city schools.
Maryland ranked second to last in the nation, just ahead of Michigan, with only 10 percent of students in large cities scoring proficient or better on the 2013 NAEP fourth-grade reading assessment. These students only showed a 2-point score gain on the assessment.
The disparities are readily apparent in Baltimore City where only 10 percent scored proficient or better on the Trial Urban District NAEP fourth-grade reading assessment. Baltimore City’s eighth-graders fared a little better with 14 percent scoring proficient or better on the Trial Urban district assessment.
Why is the achievement gap widening while Maryland’s student test scores are improving across the board?
A REALITY CHECK! This is the problem and solution for citizens of Baltimore wanting to break from this state control of our school board. There is plenty of data out there that shows what these reports assign as improvements do not exist. Rewriting policy to boost graduation and dropout rates and claiming success is bogus. We simply need to take the truth to the state and prove that this partnership has done nothing for the Baltimore City schools. Even the amount of money we get from the state has fallen so much as the Thornton funding formula has lost all relevance with no inflation increases. Baltimore has plenty of money for funding schools it simply hides it away for developers and profit-making deals by Johns Hopkins.
City students improve in reading, lag in math on national test
Baltimore in bottom third of cities that took part in TUDA assessments
December 18, 2013|By Erica L. Green, The Baltimore Sun
Baltimore's fourth- and eighth-graders posted significant gains in reading on a rigorous national exam, but math scores declined and student achievement still lags significantly, according to results released Wednesday.
Baltimore's performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress provided what city school officials call a "reality check." The results come as the district is starting to teach the Common Core, a new set of tougher standards being implemented in Maryland and 45 other states.
This is the problem we have with politicians working for Hopkins---suggesting a mayor-appointed school board as if that is what the citizens of Baltimore would want. This idea is so bad----it plays right into the hands of Hopkins who we all know controls the mayors. Abolishing the entire school board structure and forget about election school board members.....this Hopkins neo-conservative wants to hand complete control to corporations. This is why he is a Baltimore Democrat in the Maryland Assembly....to push neo-conservative policies.
Again, a Baltimore pol states progress has been made----Alonzo has done a good job when no one in the city believes that. This policy presented by Keiffer is the goal of Hopkins. He's right about the finger- pointing.....almost 30 years and no stability in Baltimore City Schools-----closing 100 schools does not count as stability. Mitchell thinks that a mayor should not be voted out because of the failures of a school board he/she does not control. Mitchell doesn't seem concerned that everyone in the city HATES THAT THE MAYOR ALREADY HAS THE POWER SHE HAS NOW. MITCHELL KNOWS JOHNS HOPKINS AND BALTIMORE DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION CONTROLS BALTIMORE'S MAYOR.
City delegate proposes mayoral control of city schools
Keiffer Mitchell resurrects effort to abolish city school board, says it would create more accountability
October 07, 2011|By Erica L. Green, The Baltimore Sun
A state legislator is proposing to abolish the current structure of the Baltimore school system and return its reins to the mayor under legislation due to come before the Maryland General Assembly in January.
The bill, pre-filed last week by Del. Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr. of the city's 44th District, would designate the mayor as the chief decision-maker of the school system, which would be operated under a mayor-appointed superintendent and the superintendent's Cabinet. The school board's responsibilities would shift from a governing body to an advisory role.
The move would shake up the structure of the school system that was established in 1997 when the city relinquished power over its beleaguered schools for a large infusion of cash from the state. Under the partnership, the state and city share the responsibility of funding the city schools, and the governor and mayor jointly appoint the school board that governs the system.
"There was a partnership established, but no accountability," Mitchell said. "And since then, one of the biggest frustrations has been the pointing of fingers."
"The mayor controls every other major entity in the city, except the schools, which are tied to everything," he said. "Now is the time to have that conversation. The City of Baltimore has to have control of our destiny with regard to how our schools are run."
Mitchell said he's looking for the level of accountability that's seen in districts like that of Washington, D.C., where the mayor may have lost an election last year over his decisions about how to run the school system, including appointing its long-embattled former chancellor,Michelle Rhee.
Mitchell said that the legislation did not reflect his beliefs about the performance of current schools CEO Andrés Alonso. "Dr. Alonso's a reform agent, and doing a good job, but he's not going to be here forever," he said. "This is beyond Dr. Alonso."
A spokesman for Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said she does not support the move, given the absence of an analysis of its impact on the school system's funding, about 70 percent of which comes from the state. Ryan O'Doherty said the mayor believes that "seeking to change the governance structure inside a vacuum without full consideration of all factors is unwise."
"[The mayor] is only concerned about improving academic results for students — and that very much depends on continued state funding support," he said.
Mitchell said the state is constitutionally obligated to fund the school system, so that wouldn't be a factor.
A spokeswoman for Gov. Martin O'Malley would not comment because his office had not seen or analyzed the bill. However, O'Malley championed a similar platform when he was mayor of Baltimore.
The legislation resurrects an effort by Mitchell in his last term on the City Council in 2006 — the year the city school system noted a devastating $58 million deficit, nearly depleting the city's rainy-day fund — and in his education platform in his 2007 run for mayor, which he lost to Sheila Dixon.
"To this day no one has been held accountable for almost bankrupting the city," Mitchell said.
While the system has made notable progress since the city-state partnership and in recent years, Mitchell said, questions about whom to hold accountable for its lingering shortcomings still remain.
Mitchell said he does not support an elected school board, a topic discussed every year in the General Assembly, because it would be too political. He said the proposed school board structure, in its advisory role, would also need to be a more diverse mixture of parents and policy voices.
Neil Duke, president of the city school board, said the current structure has brought more stability to the system than it has seen in years. He also worried about how a new structure would affect the system's funding.
"To rehash talking points from prior administrations, prior boards, isn't the most fruitful conversation and ignores the progress that we've made over the last few years," Duke said. "If we were still producing 2006 results, then I would get it. But that's not the story of Baltimore City right now."
Flash forward to Baltimore City Schools and how we get control of our Baltimore City School Board and break the power of the mayor's office. As I said-----the agreement in 1997 clearly states the transfer of our schools to the state was meant to provide something better than existed in 1997 -----and names things like student achievement and funding---management etc. Well, almost 30 years later and parents in Baltimore can say that they see almost no improvements in many of these issues and the solutions provided with recent education policy had nothing to do with improving quality no matter how many charts and statistics they throw up. We know the stats are juked----we know the corporations assigned to provide assessments are in collusion with corporations pushing this privatized structure. We know the pols in office are simply tools of Johns Hopkins doing what they are told---they are not leaders.
Believe it or not the citizens have plenty of ammunition to take to the state showing the failure of this school board capture......they have the public's and teachers' outcry over these reforms as well. We do not have to allow this system of corporations writing policy----corporations creating private non-profits to support those policies-----corporations calling in corporations to create data that says these policies are working.
IT IS CRAZY FOLKS! TAKE A STAND AND SHOUT THAT NONE OF THIS IS GOOD AND NONE OF WHAT IS BEING SAID IS TRUE!
All the citizens of Baltimore and Maryland need to do is run and vote for labor and justice in all primaries----City Hall, Maryland Assembly, Governor and EASY PEASY----
WE TURN THIS AROUND. MAKE MARYLAND ELECTIONS FREE AND FAIR!
Below you see what we are up against in Baltimore City. The pols that are pushed are always those ready to work for the power corporations and not the citizens. This pol will support any school policy pushed by Johns Hopkins. Look how he can to office. He is replacing the guy sent to head Baltimore Development Corporation -----and Cole is the mirror image of Martin O'Malley. They send Cole up a little before elections so this Costello can be appointed and be an incumbent when elections come. There is Jack Young------doing anything it takes to get the person Hopkins wants in office even if it involves lying, cheating, and stealing. This is what has to stop. Federal Hill has engaged people with voices of the middle-class and they need to lead in cleaning up this crony political and economical culture if they want a future in Baltimore. Like a city prosecutor is not working for the power in Baltimore-----if Jack Young is fighting for you-----you are a stooge. Below you see the cronyism that can be wiped out by citizens engaged in politics! Kraft says----if the residents hate Costello it must mean Costello will work for corporations.
'City Councilman James Kraft said the community outcry over Costello's nomination actually strengthens his support for him'
City Council nominee a polarizing figure in Federal Hill Eric Costello, nominated for the City Council, is pictured in the Leadenhall neighborhood which he thinks needs improvement.
(Algerina Perna, Baltimore Sun) By Luke Broadwater,, The Baltimore Sun
To his friends and supporters, Eric T. Costello is just what the City Council needs: a smart, hard-working community president with financial experience that could save taxpayers money.
To his critics, however, Costello is just what Baltimore doesn't need: an ambitious, sometimes volatile leader more interested in pleasing the powerful than his neighborhood's residents.
Costello, 33, a New York native, has been a magnet for controversy during his relatively short tenure in Baltimore. He was at the center of a heated community battle in Federal Hill over a proposed beer garden. Now he's been nominated to fill a council vacancy through a process critics say was a sham.
"He's had a rough period as president of the Federal Hill Neighborhood Association. There's no question about that," said city prosecutor Mark Jaskulski, Costello's friend and president of a nearby community group. "But some of the things people say about him, they're just not valid. Eric is smart enough — and has enough of a backbone — that he's going to vote for what's right. I can't see him siding with people in power instead of the community."
Baltimore City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young has come under fire as critics contend that he pushed Costello through a committee charged with nominating someone to fill the vacant 11th District council seat, which represents downtown, Bolton Hill and Federal Hill.
A committee of community leaders, appointed by Young, listened to more than four hours of testimony last month from 14 candidates — and in less than five minutes agreed to nominate Costello, an information technology auditor for the federal government. He was the only candidate with as many residents writing in opposition as support.
On Monday, the City Council is expected to vote on whether to confirm Costello's nomination for the seat formerly held by William H. Cole IV, who left to become director of the Baltimore Development Corp. At stake is a potential swing vote on the council between the sometimes competing budget interests of Young and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. More than 100 residents have signed a petition urging the council to reject Costello's nomination.
In an interview, Costello said he hoped people wouldn't judge him by the process through which he was nominated. Asked whether he believed the process was fair, he declined to comment. He has pledged to be independent despite Young's support and said he intends to run for the seat in 2016.
"If given this opportunity to serve, I'm looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and immediately getting to work," Costello said.
Documents released by Young's office show Costello was one of five candidates who met with the council president before the nomination — though several candidates have complained they sought meetings and were not granted them.
Costello says his critics are wrong about him. He's not a stooge for businessmen or city officials