I sent yesterday's blog regarding the commerce clause to all of Maryland's justice organizations because, after all these international trade laws are an attack on the people's ability to legislate! Why do we not hear Public Justice, Civil Justice, PIRG MD, Common Cause MD, Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition, or ACLU MD shouting loudly and strongly about what is happening behind the scenes? Do you think these justice organizations are captured? Who appoints the leadership? That's right.....Governor Martin O'Malley, a favorite of the Third Way national caucus.
I don't know that Alonzo is working within the parameters of the law....we will be going to court over this process whether it is the disagreement with closings or the $2 billion structured financing.
I would like to pivot to education as that is the focus of this New Economy being thrust upon us. Vocational K-college is the new global education industry after all and your incumbent is working hard to move this forward.
VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE!!!!!! THESE PEOPLE ARE DESPICABLE!!!
Below you see my response to a WYPR article that shows how closely these corporate media people work with this privatization effort. They tell us over and again that no one attends or speaks out on this Building Schools for the 21st Century, you will see the Baltimore School Board pretend to do copious outreach, but if you actually talk to the parents they are frantically trying to be heard. They are feeling intimidated, harrassed, and silenced as they are fearful of speaking out because it may affect their ability to get their children into any school in the city. THE SCHOOL SYSTEM IN BALTIMORE FEELS LIKE A AUTOCRATIC TAKEOVER THAT HAS NO COMMUNITY INPUT. ALL OF THE INPUT COMES FROM THESE HUGE NON-PROFITS LIKE BALTIMORE EDUCATION COALITION WHO BACK ALL OF THE POLICIES NO ONE WANTS.
If you are middle-class and think this open gentrification is good for your future, you had better look at New York City where the middle-class are targeted with removal as much as the poor. That is the goal of these developers and what is being used against the underserved now will be used on the middle-class soon enough. YOU DO NOT WANT TO SUSPEND DEMOCRATIC EDUCATION TO ADVANCE DEVELOPMENT BECAUSE IT DOES NOT COME BACK!!!!!
The Baltimore City School Board has been so disingenuous in how it promotes its plan and the public input for this school development mirrors the process in the community outreach for the neighbor design development.....these meetings are always tilted towards a plan that is already in place and any public input is ignored. The public is given 3 minutes to speak about a project that has profound impact on their neighborhoods and almost everyone testifying states that NO ONE IS LISTENING OR INCLUDING THEM IN THIS PROCESS.
It is easy to disguise this captured approach when it is framed as 'rebuilding Baltimore's dilapidated schools'....everyone wants that. Again, they are simply choosing Enterprise Zones as the development scheme so that successful schools like Poly Western that is now fully underserved students will be closed to make way for affluent development. That means choosing a quota of poor to attend an affluent school. They keep telling me this is 'public' education/schools. THIS IS HAPPENING ACROSS THE COUNTRY AND IT IS THE POLICY OF OBAMA AND THIRD WAY CORPORATE DEMOCRATS SO WE MUST RUN LABOR/JUSTICE CANDIDATES AS WE
VOTE OUR INCUMBENTS OUT OF OFFICE!!!
Keep in mind what you aren't hearing in media. You are not hearing about the outrage, the injustice, the skewed approach to the decisions. We were glad to hear from leaders in the black community that have been silent thus far. I was able to make my points regarding the funding of this project through Wall Street financial instruments and the fact that the city has plenty of revenue slated to come to Baltimore for underserved development and schools that will more than pay to rebuild schools in Baltimore in a democratic way!!!! Some neighborhoods are empty and schools not well-attended.
That comes with blight. But there are few schools that meet that criteria.
IT IS PITIFUL THAT OUR INCUMBENT HAVE ALLOWED OUR SCHOOLS TO BECOME CORPORATE PAWNS.....REMEMBER, IT STARTED WITH CLINTON ALLOWING SCHOOL CURRICULA TO BE DUMBED DOWN......'DO NOT USE TEXTBOOKS FOR READING AND ALLOW CALCULATORS FOR MATH WAS THE POLICY.......REALLY?????
I attended the school board meeting last year where the middle school in Federal Hill was closed. This is almost all underserved students in an area wanting to gentrify to affluent so closing the middle school met that objective. When the parents asked where they were supposed to go the school board said just go over to Francis Scott Key. The parents said but Francis Scott Key already told us they were full so we can't go there. So these parents were left with the 'choice' of moving out of Federal Hill, which is the point, or placing their children on buses for long bus rides to school every day. That is not school choice.
I spoke recently to parents as part of a survey of data I'm collecting for the lawsuit we will have and they are telling me that in East Baltimore every time a school is rebuilt/upgraded they underserved watch as their public school is changed to a charter school and they are forced to attend that charter even as they don't want to. We know there is a system being put into place by Johns Hopkins and Baltimore's 1% that want to create a tiered system of education that has the poor and soon to be middle class attached to a K-college vocational training tracking of schools attached to businesses. This is Alonzo's goal as he works for Wall Street and corporate interests intent on turning America's public education system into simply a vocational tracking on par with China's system. None of this has anything to do with public education or equal access/equal opportunity. For those middle-class people who don't care about the fate of the poor families tracked into these lower tiers of education, the plan is to expand this to all public schools......yes, the middle class. The 1% have famously declared that 90% of all education is wasted on 90% of all Americans and it will be the elite class leading at all levels so why does the lower/middle class need a democratic education?
Baltimore School Board's Hearing on the Plan for Schools' Construction December 12, 2012
No one testified against the proposed 10-year plan to rebuild Baltimore’s schools at last night’s school board hearing on the issue. The $2.4 billion plan calls for the closure of 26 schools, with four closing at the end of this year. If the plan is approved by the board on Jan. 8, some residents plan to challenge the closures in the courts. WYPR’s Gwendolyn Glenn attended the hearing and has this report.
Last night’s hearing was the first of two scheduled for this week on the 10-year building plan. A large turnout was expected, but only a handful of residents showed up. Only one person testified, Kim Trueheart, who lives near Garrison Middle School. The building plan calls for Garrison to close at the end of this school year because of low academic performance and low enrollment. Trueheart told the board she supports the idea.
“The fact that its’ capacity is 721 and we’ve got 163 students enrolled, to me is wasteful. For that reason alone, I think that this board’s recommendation to close it is probably a wise one. My underlying concern is for the 163 students who are currently enrolled.
School officials say there are other middle schools nearby that can handle Garrison’s displaced students. Parents will get a close look at some of them at the district’s choice fair on Dec. 15 at the convention center. Representatives from 64 middle and high schools will be on hand to talk to parents about their programs. City school’s chief of staff Tisha Edwards says they will provide extra assistance to parents of students at the four schools slated to close, before and after the fair.
At each of these schools, we are also having buses at the schools to take the parents and the students to the choice fair so that we can ensure engagement of those of this particular population of students and we have staff that will be going back out to the schools to work with parents on an individual basis to make sure that they are fully engaged and fully informed as we prepare for the transition if the board does approve staff’s recommendation.
A large turnout is expected Thursday at the final public hearing on the building plan. Alumni of Northwestern High School are planning a rally before the 6 p.m. hearing to voice their opposition to the plan. Under the building plan, Northwestern will close in 2015 because of its low enrollment and poor academic achievement. Rita Carlin is president of Northwestern’s alumni association.
If our name does not come off the list and they go ahead with the proposal for the closure, I am prepared to take it all the way to court.
School officials say it would cost $48 million to bring Northwestern up to modern standards. Carlin disputes that figure and says the school has had renovations, including a new athletic field in recent months. She says in a lawsuit, they would charge that closing Northwestern violates Title 6 of the Civil Rights Act. Title 6 prohibits discrimination based on race in programs that receive federal funding.
Being that they’re dealing with predominately black students in school, they’re hindering their education by closing the school.
Schools Superintendent Andreas Alonso does not think they have a strong case.
Dr. Andreas Alonso
We’re working under the parameters of the law. We have enormous support of the rest of the city and what I hope is that the people in Northwesters who are great supporters of our schools, that they see what this means for the city as a whole.
Dr. Alonso says he supports the alumni association’s right to file a lawsuit and understands their attachment to the school. But says,
We have to make decisions that are about the future, that are about all the kids, and is about doing what we can do so that all of our kids are in great schools.
A report last year revealed that most city schools lack basics such as adequate heating and air conditioning and that only 65 percent of the space in school buildings’ is being used.
I’m Gwendolyn Glenn reporting in Baltimore for 88 1, WYPR.
Let's be clear about this new push towards data and accountability in school achievement. Everyone wants schools/students to achieve but we recognize that achievement declines were the result of education policy sent to us by these same elite schools back in the early 1990s fundamentally changing how teachers taught in the classroom. Reversing these policies are all that is needed to return to the best in the world classrooms and achievement..it is very simple regardless of what the education technology industry wants you to believe. In the 1990s teachers were told, and I was one of them, to stop using text books in the classroom...they stopped creativity and innovation we were told. We were also told to allow children to use calculators in class even as teachers protested that the students would not learn basic math if they simply tapped into calculators. Education leaders at the national level ignored concerns and this is why we have children who cannot read or do math. It was deliberate education policy by these same elite schools now telling us we need all of this education technology and data collection to improve education. It is simply a Wall Street tech bubble.
The evaluation of student/teacher are not necessarily bad. Almost all academics agree is that these tools have not had time to be developed and accessed and do not provide useful information at this point.
I LIKE THIS PARENT'S COMMENT:
I'm a parent, and I think all the accountability BS is simply that. The MSAs and HSAs are a total waste of taxpayer money. I hate the fact that my children's valuable time is wasted on them to make a bunch of politicians and overpaid administrators (and newspaper editorial writers) feel useful. NONE of this accountability BS has improved education in Maryland. It's all sham and show. MSA results are worthless. The ONLY thing that matters is hard-working, creative teachers doing their thing. The SPI is nothng but a boondoggle mandated by the federal government and created by a bunch of near-innumerates at MSDE who couldn't pass a freshman statistics class.
Maryland's new school metric Our view: A new method of measuring school progress crunches lots more data, but is it too complex and difficult for parents who aren't mathematicians to comprehend?
12:20 p.m. EST, December 19, 2012 Baltimore Sun
The new system for measuring school progress announced by the Maryland State Department of Education this week is being touted as a great advance over the one it replaces. State officials say the School Progress Index aims to cut in half the percentage of students who fail to score proficient or better on standardized tests by 2017 and that it sets more realistic targets for what schools can achieve. Yet its complexity and the lack of transparency regarding how school performance is calculated are enough to raise questions about whether the new system really represents much of an improvement over the old.
Maryland developed the School Progress Index in order to receive a federal waiver from the requirements of the Bush-era federal No Child Left Behind Act. Under that law, schools were judged to be failing if they didn't make "adequate yearly progress" in boosting test scores in reading and math, leading toward 100 percent proficiency in both subjects by 2014.
No Child Left Behind's greatest success was to focus national attention on the quality of American schools compared to those in other leading countries. But it also had a number of unintended consequences that undermined its usefulness, including encouraging states to lower standards and, in some instances, pushing teachers and principals to resort to cheating in order to show progress.
When it became apparent that even many otherwise high-performing schools — not just in Maryland but around the country — were in danger of being labeled failing because they couldn't meet the law's requirement for 100 percent proficiency by 2014, Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced he would grant waivers to states that agreed to embrace the Obama administration's school reform goals. In May, Maryland became one of 34 states whose applications for waivers have been approved.
Maryland's waiver allowed it to develop its own standards for evaluating schools, and the system it came up with breaks the process down to three key indicators: achievement, growth and gap reduction. The first measures the percentage of all students scoring proficient or better on standardized tests who are on track to meet the targets set for that school. The second indicator, growth, measures the change in student performance from year to year; and the third, gap reduction, measures how much progress a school has made toward reducing the performance gap between its highest- and lowest-performing students and groups of students.
Breaking down the factors that go into assessing each school's overall performance gives educators a far more granular view of where schools are succeeding as well as where improvements are needed. But it also requires some mighty data crunching to yield the weighted numerical indexes used to score each school's performance, and not everyone will find their meaning easy to grasp.
Calculating the School Progress Index for a single elementary-middle school, for example, involves manipulating a matrix of no fewer than 49 separate data points which, when run through the system's computers, produce an overall score expressed numerically as a value between 0 and 1. Parents who aren't professional statisticians could easily drive themselves crazy trying to figure out what the numbers mean for their child's fourth-grade reading class.
And they shouldn't have to. There are few things more frustrating than being presented with a barely comprehensible statistical measure that tells people little about what they really want to know. Of course, as people become more familiar with the new system and how it works, those concerns may fade. Parents are pretty resourceful when it comes to judging whether the school their kids attend is doing its job, and to the trained eye of an educator, the numbers paint a much more detailed and in-depth picture of a school's strengths and weaknesses while pointing to multiple paths toward needed improvements.
The importance of the new metric may still boil down to the same kinds of questions the No Child Left Behind law set out to answer: Are students making steady progress toward proficiency in math and reading? Are they developing the skills they will need to graduate and be successful in college or the work world? Are the achievement gaps along racial, ethnic and class lines being reduced? Given the choice between the overly simplistic No Child Left Behind pass/fail system and one that may prove too complex, we'll take the latter. It at least provides useful tools for administrators, principals and teachers to improve performance. But we hope state officials will work to translate its findings in a way that is readily accessible to parents and students, too.
Education Choice is a Republican policy that was years in the making and it took Third Way corporate democrats to make the push towards what is a step towards a tiered education system. We see Choice in urban areas where gentrification is in process and with that goes an imbalance in how schools are funded, how real the admissions process holds to 'open lottery' format, and it places a burden on low-income and poor families who 'choose' to go across town to a better school rather than simply having a good school in their own neighborhood. That is what school choice does to a uniform, equal access, equal opportunity democratic education. Remember, the cities schools are so poor in performance because of decades of underfunding and declining resources so all that need be done is bring money from one of the most wealthy states in the country to Baltimore's schools. We have the money to make all Baltimore's schools resource ready we simply need to end the distorted way revenue moves in the state of Maryland.
We had the best schools in the world from 1950s -70s because they were neighborhood schools tied to the families living nearby; they were well-funded and well-rounded in having access to all educational pursuits. Students were exposed to variety and that sparks choice. We lost the achievement in the 1990s when school became a no text book zone with calculators for math.
VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE!!!!
Baltimore City ranks among top 10 'choice districts' Baltimore County ranks 22nd in report published by Brookings Institute
Erica L. Green 2:36 p.m. EST, December 11, 2012
The Baltimore city school system was named among the top 10 districts of choice in a national ranking published by the Brookings Institute on Tuesday.
Of the 107 districts examined, the system received a grade of B-, and tied for the number seven spot with Milwaukee and San Diego. The Institute examined the policy and practice of districts with diverse school portfolios, and whose philosophies foster competition.
The districts were ranked according to an "Education Choice and Competition Index," which scored school systems in 13 categories, from the accessibility of school information to offerings of alternative programs, like virtual schools.
The districts of New Orleans (now called the Recovery District), New York City, and Washington D.C. rounded out the top three highest scores.
Baltimore County schools ranked 22nd, and received a grade of "C." In the county's profile, which can be found here, the district performed well in funding its schools, and accessibility to online information about them, but the Institute found the district had taken few measures to restructure its portfolio.
In Baltimore city's profile, the Institute noted that while it had taken measures to restructure the district to create more viable school options--clearly a trademark of city schools CEO Andres Alonso's administration--it still struggled with offering alternative programs.
On Saturday, the city will host its annual school-choice fair at the Baltimore Convention Center, from 9-2 p.m. More information can be found here.
THIS IS A GREAT ARTICLE THAT LOOKS AT THE DEVELOPMENT ISSUE FROM THE PROSPECTIVE OF THE CITIZENS IN THE COMMUNITIES. NO ONE KNOWS BETTER THE DANGERS AND MISDIRECTED POLICY THAT SIMPLY MOVES PEOPLE OUT OF ONE PLACE AND INTO ANOTHER. IT NOT ONLY PLACES PEOPLE IN CONFLICT WITH ONE ANOTHER, IT MOVES POVERTY AND CRIME TO THE NEXT COMMUNITY UNADDRESSED, AND THE NEXT COMMUNITY IS USUALLY LESS ABLE TO FUND A RESPONSE.
NOTICE THIS ARTICLE IS IN AN ALTERNATIVE MEDIA AND YET IT SPEAKS TO MAINSTREAM CONCERNS. THE ONLY PRESS YOU GET IN THE BALTIMORE ON EDUCATION SUPPORTS THE CORPORATE REFORM AGENDA.
Why Baltimore children deserve more than shiny new school buildings Youth Stand Against Local Injustices Credits: GCOMM Media Co Independent newsletter Related topics
Territorial disputes and neighborhood gangs should be the determining factor of any new school plan
In the 1989 hit 'Field of Dreams', Shoeless Joe Jackson (voice of Ray Liotta) said, “If you build it, he shall come”; which is commonly misquoted as 'they shall come'; and this seems to be the mindset of our local leaders in Baltimore City, as they invest incredible political capital in unveiling a $2.4 billion strategy to revamp the city school buildings.
This valiant effort spearheaded by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, coupled with an expanding Vacants to Value housing program to revitalize 3,000 vacant properties throughout Baltimore, seems to be in line with the vision she laid out before the voters of Charm City last year - that ultimately seeks to attract 10,000 families by 2020. The daughter of one of the most savvy and intellectually respected politicians in the history of Baltimore, Rawlings-Blake has consistently raised doubts as to her family roots with policies that seemed aloof and mispirited at best; yet, in a town that has consistently been ranked one of the deadliest, dirtiest and most dilapidated urban cities in the country, these efforts should certainly be applauded and accepted – within reason.
Her misguided statement regarding parent concerns, about “people having emotional attachments to buildings, but we should have a stronger attachment to our children”, sounded good in theory; but based on it being the furthest thing from what these parents meant, it should be rethought and rescinded. What the Mayor and other educational officials are missing is, that while they close down these dilapidated buildings and move these children 'across the tracks', they will be possibly endangering the lives and physical safety of these children who will be entering an almost different time zone. Why? Well, anyone from say Park Heights knows that anyone from 'up top' coming 'down bottom' would be in a world of trouble, based on this being a city of neighborhoods that, as newly appointed police commissioner Batts has already figured out, is separated and controlled by its gangs. (See attached video where the Mayor confirms my point)
Therefore, any attempt to ship the kids from Northwestern over to let's say Forest Park area, will have a safety issue before they even get to the educational one. And while the 'Build it and they shall come' theory sounds good on paper, and even while selling this plan to legislators who have absolutely no clue as to the street politics of Baltimore City neighborhoods; what it doesn't answer is, what happens once they get there? Will they continue to get the same sub-par, secondary education we've seen lead to dismal test scores and illiterate graduates? Will our children's behavioral problems all of a sudden disappear; or the gaping learning gap somehow magically dissipate? Most parents don't think so, which is why you will see such reluctance to this move from any parent not affiliated with groups getting paid to see this happen.
School CEO Andres Alonso has said that 'this plan is right for kids and necessary to take their progress to the next level'; yet, despite his greatest efforts over the past few years, no one in the African American community of Baltimore has much faith in his 'plan of action'. And I'd be very interested to hear exactly what the kids believe is right for them, not some filtered version from an adult who tend to always think they know what's best for children – without ever seeking their input? Closing 26-schools – after already shuttering at least ten in the past few years that I can remember – while 'consolidating and renovating' more than 100 more, may sound good as a sound byte or campaign slogan; but the reality of what these kids will be facing while these adults play 'Russian Roulette' with their education, should at least be taken into consideration by the 24-members of the Baltimore City delegation – and the remaining 157 state legislators.
Baltimore City remains the highest funded jurisdiction in terms of operational education dollars coming from the state of Maryland; yet, they consistently ignore their own children by decreased alternative and after-school learning funds while putting all their interests and finances into public safety. However, now they are asking those same state funders to give them more money to waste in school buildings, i.e. capital projects, that they themselves show no interest in investing in? I wholeheartedly agree with our children – as my son goes to city public schools – deserve the very best environment and resources needed to learn at the level of other jurisdictions; however, I – and probably a good majority of city parents – have absolutely no faith in our local leaders to see that plan become a reality. Just because someone offers you a shining new toy, doesn't necessarily mean that it will remain shiny and operational for long; as another often repeated saying that I tend to live by is: 'The pathway to hell is paved with good intentions...'
MY COMMENTS TO THE BALTIMORE CITY SCHOOL BOARD:
A comment on the Baltimore school building meetings on Wednesday which were well attended:
I reminded the school board that the city has plenty of revenue sources already owed and as such there is no need to enter into a financial agreement with what we know to be a bad public policy of funding public schools with Wall Street financial instruments at a time when the banks have placed the economy in the same leveraged and endangered position as 2007. I reminded the school board that we have $700,000 won through a settlement for subprime mortgage fraud last year that somehow went into the State general fund rather than to the underserved communities hit with the fraud....this will fund the school rebuild for those schools stated to closed with the school board plan. Then I reminded them that the Algebra Project won a $800,000 settlement with the state for underfunding Historically Black Colleges and Baltimore City Schools and that can be applied to the school rebuilding. Finally, I reminded the school board that the $1 billion settlement for mortgage fraud last year was only an interest payment on $600-800 billion in fraud and as the Maryland AG said, this first settlement will be followed by billions more coming to Maryland. This will come to underserved communities and will be used for school rebuilding. So, there is no need to enter into a financial agreement with what we all know to be a criminal entity and there is no need to close many of the schools slated to close. The audience all approved of these comments! A lawsuit would be in order to make sure this good plan to rebuild our schools is funded properly.