As we see below just as we knew when RACE TO THE TOP was being discussed in Congress----the lowest cost for educating 99% of citizens is online lessons and virtual schools. Now online universities come to K-12.
This is what Baltimore Education Coalition supports----you don't hear a word against this. So, now we hear working middle-class say---oh, those virtual lessons and schools are only for the poor----WAKE UP---this is global corporate campus pre-K -career corporate education.
What started in Silicon Valley---virtual schools is in Chicago heading for Baltimore. Much of lessons in Baltimore's low-income corporate charter schools are online and we all know that is the WORST OF EDUCATION STRATEGIES.
Take These Students, Please
Schools across the country are pursuing an extreme form of online learning: It’s all their struggling students do.By Francesca BerardiKellan Jett
This article is part of the Big Shortcut, an eight-part series exploring the exponential rise in online learning for high school students who have failed traditional classes.
CHICAGO—On a Tuesday afternoon in mid-November, Keith Daniel sat in the main office of Sullivan High School on Chicago’s Far North Side scrutinizing a flier for the cap, gown, and school ring he hoped to buy for his graduation this coming June. “This is my second home,” he said. Yet Daniel, who is 19, has not attended a single class at Sullivan for almost two years. In the spring of 2015, a guidance counselor—noting how far behind Daniel had fallen academically—advised him to transfer to a school where most of the classes would be self-paced and online and where he could make up credits more quickly. The choice wasn’t subtle: Go or fail. So Daniel transferred to Magic Johnson Bridgescape, a for-profit school named after the basketball star who funded it in a joint venture with the company Edison Learning. “Ten more credits and I’m out,” Daniel said.
Daniel has had a lonely high school experience for the past two years. He spends four hours a day at Bridgescape, usually four days a week, and he seldom interacts with peers and teachers. When he struggles with an online test, his “best friend” is Google—something he is not discouraged to use—while teachers are a last resort. His main companions are his smartphone (for listening to music) and his Galaxy smartwatch (which helps him kill the time and stay in touch with his friends). “I can spend an entire day at school and not talk with anyone,” Daniel told me. Sometimes, he returns to visit his old teachers and classmates solely because he misses the warmth and bustle of a traditional high school.
You might call Daniel’s experience online credit recovery on steroids: what happens when a student falls so far behind that he must take all of his remaining high school courses online, not just a few. Programs like Bridgescape’s have been popping up across the country, in Illinois, California, Florida, Louisiana, Georgia, and elsewhere. They vary considerably in quality (some have a significant interpersonal component, while others expect students to work almost exclusively on their own), and they vary considerably in structure (some are for-profit and run by companies that operate in several states, others are nonprofit).
Virtual schools have existed for years, but alternative programs like Bridgescape, where students at risk of dropping out come to brick-and-mortar schools or centers to complete a mostly online curriculum, represent a newer phenomenon.
Nationally, the major for-profit providers include Ombudsman, which runs more than 100 programs in 14 states, including three sites in Chicago; Catapult Academy (a division of the New Jersey–based Catapult Learning), which runs more than 20 alternative high school programs in Georgia and Florida; and AdvancePath, which runs 10 programs (located inside traditional schools) in five states. In Chicago, the main providers are Magic Johnson Bridgescape and Ombudsman, both for-profit, and Pathways, a nonprofit. Last school year more than 3,000 young Chicagoans were enrolled in one of these new programs.
The risk for these students is that rather than experiencing school as a social institution, they “end up living in their own heads,” said Chicago-based activist and educator Michael Klonsky, who teaches at DePaul University. “The sense of community has been lost.”
The new programs have transformed the nature of high school education for thousands of the nation’s most vulnerable teenagers, turning it into a far more individual enterprise, one where socialization isn’t even a secondary goal. More high schoolers are graduating, but the experience in Chicago shows that the country is at risk of creating two separate high school tracks: the traditional one, with all of its variety, strengths, and pitfalls; and a new, mostly virtual track for those students too many high schools have given up on—the very students who most need an engaging educational experience to prepare them for jobs and adult life.
* * *
Bridgescape operates five programs across Chicago, including the one pictured above.Francesca Berardi
There’s one group that is certainly benefiting from schools like Bridgescape: administrators tasked with raising Chicago’s woeful graduation rate.
Under the leadership of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and former Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett, who was recently sentenced to four and a half years in prison for a bribery scandal, the district started contracting in 2013 with private companies like Magic Johnson Bridgescape to address a shockingly high drop-out rate. One of the main arguments was a report released by the school district the year before, when the city counted 56,000 youth who were out of school or off track for graduation.
During Emanuel’s administration, Magic Johnson has become a major player in Chicago’s education world: Bridgescape operates five programs across the city, serving more than 850 students, and as the Chicago Tribune reported, in March 2015 another of Johnson’s companies, SodexoMAGIC, received an $80 million contract to take over janitorial services for several Chicago Public School buildings. Following the contract, Johnson donated $250,000 to Emanuel’s campaign for re-election.
Until four years ago, Chicago had about 30 alternative schools, the majority of them locally operated under the umbrella of the nonprofit Youth Connection Charter School. They have been using online credit recovery courses for years, although according to YCCS administrators, “tutoring and peer-to-peer interaction remain main values.” Now there are more than 50 alternative schools in the city, with at least 15 of the new programs run by private companies that offer an overwhelmingly online curriculum inside centers that look more like co-working spaces than classrooms.
Nationwide, the marriage between online and alternative education has created a cheap and convenient way for districts to push out low-performing students.
“The district is giving high school diplomas for programs that are nowhere near comparable to regular high schools.”
Troy LaRaviere, president of the Chicago Principals & Administrators Association
In Chicago, students who attend the new alternative schools earn diplomas bearing the names of the schools they left or their neighborhood schools, even if they have never set foot in them. This is possible because the district labels these schools as “programs” rather than actual schools, so they can’t issue diplomas. School district officials did not respond to multiple requests for interviews about how the system works, including whether students can be forcibly transferred to the online programs. This school year, the district budgeted about $36 million for its alternative programs. But a recent audit has shown that a significant chunk of this money may be going to waste: One survey found that only 52 percent of students attend the alternative programs on a regular basis, meaning the district could save between $12 million and $15 million if it based payment on attendance rather than enrollment.
Not surprisingly, last September, Emanuel announced that in just five years the high school graduation rate had jumped from roughly 50 percent to 73.5 percent.
Supporters of the trend argue that the new programs are helping scores of students earn crucial high school diplomas, something they will need to move into post-secondary education or the workforce. “Getting a diploma is a golden opportunity for these kids,” said Sullivan principal Chad Adams, who previously taught in a juvenile facility.
But critics say the proliferation of these schools demeans the value of a diploma. “The district is giving high school diplomas for programs that are nowhere near comparable to regular high schools,” said Troy LaRaviere, president of the Chicago Principals & Administrators Association and a fierce critic of Emanuel’s administration. “In some cases, principals now have less incentive to keep students in their school and try to get them caught up with their credits, and more incentive to say to them: ‘Look, you can go to this online school and get your diploma.’ ”
* * *
Daniel’s Bridgescape school offers its students two shifts: 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. or noon to 4 p.m. Daniel prefers the morning so that he has the rest of the day to himself. At his new school, he spends most of his time sitting quietly in the computer lab with his headphones on, working online, although every other day he is pulled away for a 30-minute check-in with a teacher. When he isn’t on site, he rarely does schoolwork.
Daniel, who has a big smile framed by two fake diamond earrings, mostly demurs when asked what he does in his free time, apart from noting that he likes reading horror books and cooking. At night, he sometimes works as a busboy in a downtown restaurant. He has not made friends in the new school, but he still gets together with students from Sullivan.
The Bridgescape site looks like a storefront business. It is located on the ground floor of a brick building sandwiched between a parking lot and a taqueria, in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood on Chicago’s West Side. From the outside, visitors and students can glimpse a security checkpoint at the front door. Inside, there is a single classroom with desks and computers. Natural light comes from a row of tiny windows. In the back, there are a few small rooms for group activities and administration offices. Most of the teachers appear to be in their 20s. On the day I visited with Daniel, officials at Bridgescape declined to be interviewed or provide any information about their program.
Daniel’s Bridgescape school is located on the ground floor of a brick building sandwiched between a parking lot and a taqueria.
Daniel stays out of trouble. But Klonsky, who has served on the academic advisory council for the National Campaign Against Youth Violence, worries that the proliferation of online programs may do little to curb youth violence if students wind up alienated and build their social lives on the streets rather than in school.
“Students with headphones on, sitting in front of a screen all day, need to find their social life in other ways,” he says. “Sometimes they find it in anti-social environments like street gangs, and they engage in anti-social activities like crime,” Klonsky says, adding that while he supports smaller high school settings, the loneliness of computer-based instruction can foster isolation and rage. (Gun violence in Chicago is way up, although experts and law enforcement point out that the reasons are myriad and complex.)
Ray Salazar, who teaches at a high school on Chicago’s Southwest Side, said he’s concerned that the students steered to online alternative schools are those who most need more in-person guidance and instruction, not less. He knows two students who were recently transferred from his high school to alternative schools. They struggled with a lack of direction—including a sense of where to go next—after they earned their diplomas.
“We need to be careful in sitting struggling students in front of a computer for a long time,” he said. “A consistent human element is still necessary to help teach them to think critically and to expand their ideas. My worry is that success is becoming more about completion—getting a diploma—than about growth.”
* * *
For scores of students, the flexibility and independence of the mostly online curriculum is invaluable. Some of them need to work jobs part of the day or are already parents with unpredictable schedules. Others felt so bullied and alienated in traditional school environments that they view these socially siloed schools as a sort of oasis. But for the new programs to work well, students need to be incredibly self-motivated and mature. The shift puts control over education largely in their hands—a risk for teenagers who’ve struggled so hard and so long in more regular settings. In a sense, the new programs lower the accountability for these students since they don’t have to show up as often, have far less interaction with peers and adults alike, and demonstrate their proficiency on online tests that are highly gameable.
Amber Linn Ellis left her previous school, Benito Juarez High School, after developing an eating disorder that made her socially anxious. In her first eight days at Ombudsman, she earned an entire course credit. She likes the program but still struggles to stay motivated.
One November morning, Ellis started getting ready for school at 11 a.m. She typically attends the afternoon shift, which runs from noon to 4 p.m., and she knew that she was going to be late. Ellis sipped a lemon soda and played with her smartphone while her mother fried sausages in the kitchen, her grandfather watched television in his bedroom, and her uncle drifted in and out the living room. Eight people, plus a cat and two goldfish, share the one-bathroom apartment on the city’s Lower West Side (since Christmas, a dog has joined the family). After straightening her purple hair, Ellis tried unsuccessfully to log onto one of her online courses from a tablet she shares with her mother. “I’m computer-dumb, and I’m doing my studies online,” she joked.
Like Daniel, Ellis does not pack books and notebooks. Her purse and a folder with record sheets of her work are all that she needs. But unlike him, she is required to wear a uniform: khaki pants and a white shirt. When she arrived at school more than 30 minutes late, a dozen students were working quietly on their computers on the first floor of the building, a former Catholic church. Ellis’ mother, Shonna Linkowski Hernandez, says it’s “like a library setting, except that there are no books.” Hernandez picks Ellis up every afternoon; she worries that the nearby train station is too dangerous, noting that there have been recent shootings there.
It’s “like a library setting, except that there are no books.”
Shonna Linkowski Hernandez, parentDuring school hours, Ellis can’t use her smartphone, and interaction between peers is discouraged. On one occasion, a teacher reprimanded her and sent her to the principal for talking with a schoolmate who was struggling with an online test.
Although she works mostly alone and online, Ellis takes one English class in a group setting—classes that are known at Ombudsman as “teacher-led instruction,” or a TLI period. Like at Bridgescape, teachers at Ombudsman are young and, although they must be certified, regularly assist students in subjects outside their fields of expertise.
Maureen O’Donnell, a 25-year-old first-time teacher at Ombudsman who serves as Ellis’ adviser, majored in history but helps students with subjects ranging from algebra to French. “I don’t speak French, and we don’t have a French teacher,” she says. “This is probably the most challenging part for me.” O’Donnell adds that she was “shocked” to see how many online alternative programs exist in Chicago, although she supports the model as an option for students who can’t thrive in other settings.
Ellis and Daniel turned to online programs because they felt they wouldn’t get diplomas otherwise. But Ombudsman administrators and students report that a growing number of kids are bypassing traditional schools altogether, enrolling in their schools as freshmen. “Some students who have never been to high school before come straight from eighth grade to this school because they have a sibling enrolled here,” says Ombudsman vice principal Katherine Holzer, a former science teacher from Chicago’s suburbs. She says the school discourages students from spending more than two years at Ombudsman. But due to the lack of clear and transparent regulation of these programs by the district, students increasingly ignore that advice.
That’s a bad idea, according to Ellis. As she describes it, the new model leaves everything “up to you” and does not work for everyone: “There are kids that just hear about Ombudsman, hear how it’s easy to get through it, and they just want to get their credits.” In her view, “Ombudsman is not for them.”
The great majority of the students at the schools Daniel and Ellis attend are low-income and minorities. And their satisfaction with an online program that can be superficial and isolating shows just how little they’ve come to expect from the public schools.
Yet both Daniel and Ellis do want something better—if not for themselves, at least for future generations.
The risk for these students is that rather than experiencing school as a social institution, they “end up living in their own heads,” said Chicago-based activist and educator Michael Klonsky, who teaches at DePaul University.
Despite Ellis’ initial appreciation for Ombudsman, she ended up dropping out over the winter—with just two credits left. She didn’t receive enough help from her teacher, who always seemed to be busy or absent, she said: “I think if I would have been in another school closer to my location with a teacher who is actually about hands-on learning, then I would have graduated.” For the time being, she works for a company that provides maintenance, cleaning, and janitorial services. Ellis’ dream is to open a child care center or work for the police in the child protection department.
Daniel remains enrolled at Bridgescape and still plans to graduate in June. He wants to become a chef and open his own restaurant, maybe in Mississippi, where his family comes from. His specialty is baked goods, but he says he has also created a personal version of Alfredo sauce. Both teenagers say that online schools can serve an important purpose for disengaged youth. But when asked what kind of education they would want for their own children, they had no doubts: the traditional high schools they left.
Where SCHOOL CHOICE was used in Silicon Valley to give corporate K-12 charters the right to CHOOSE their students breaking down several decades of equal opportunity and access education in our public schools------it is the privatization of public transportation in US CITIES DEEMED FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONES that works hand in hand with school choice to force largely low-income families out to NW AND NE Baltimore----BECAUSE the new bus systems no longer cover transportation needs effectively. As in Silicon Valley where poor children were forced to bus across town----the public transportation privatization eliminated the ability to make that transit trip----so families were forced to move out of city center. This is NOT AN UNFORESEEN PROBLEM ---IT IS THE MASTER PLAN of city councils, state assemblies -----which pass all these transportation laws. Yes, Baltimore City council/BAltimore Maryland Assembly pols create this corporate K-12 charter mess-----they create this MTA busing mess saying they were only listening to global Wall Street 'labor and justice' organizations---those pesky 5% TO THE 1% GLOBAL WALL STREET PLAYERS.
What we are seeing in San Fran as coming now to Baltimore is a CONTAINED SYSTEM of global corporate campus private bus services----paid for with public MTA funds. Global GOOGLE did this in San Fran as citizens and public transit protested. What happens for middle-class workers still in the city is-----you must work on a global campus to get these buses and then if you want to use public transportation after hours for pleasure or visiting friends and family-----the core of this system does not work for public benefit.
THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED IN SILICON VALLEY----AND IT IS NOW HAPPENING WITH BALTIMORE'S LINK SYSTEM.
Global Wall Street is now telling us all the breakdown and deregulation and privatization of our US city public transit IS GIVING US CHOICES.
So, as in Silicon Valley---all those 5% to the 1% CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA players being thrown a few million for small business schools---small business transportation ---small business toxic waste removal businesses are telling their 99% COME MOVE OUT HERE!
Transportation Challenges Complicate School Choice for S.F. Students
144 67Google +4 2 3
San Francisco Public Press
— Jan 29 2015 - 2:05pmDistance, funding cuts and travel costs make it hard for students from low-income families seeking city’s best schools
Eight-year-old Karishma Sears started her trek to school with her father in the family car one Thursday in December. It took only 15 minutes to drive from their home near Mount Davidson 4.6 miles to Starr King Elementary in Potrero Hill, where she participates in a highly regarded Mandarin immersion program her parents chose for her. Their jobs are on the Peninsula but both can work from home and help shuttle Karishma to school.
If she had to take mass transit? It would be an hour-long commute each way, even if Karishma were old enough to do that on her own.
While San Francisco’s school assignment system has benefited families with the means to transport their children to schools with the most desirable programs, it creates dilemmas for more disadvantaged students who must travel long distances to school, often without the help of their parents.
Many lower-income students must choose between long commutes on unreliable public transit and attending lower-performing schools closer to home. This may help explain why San Francisco public schools, like those in many cities nationwide, are increasingly resegregating as decades of court-ordered diversity measures recede into history.
At the same time, San Francisco Unified School District data show that most families of all socioeconomic backgrounds travel outside of their neighborhoods for school. There are numerous potential reasons: Their children got into a school they preferred to the one in their neighborhood, or they did not get assigned their neighborhood school because there were too few seats to accommodate nearby residents. But the district lacks solid information about exactly who is trekking across town and why, making it difficult to understand transportation’s effect on school choice.
In a district that lacks robust school bus service, even students who do not get a top-choice school are caught up in public transit headaches when the system assigns them across town.
Chris Collier leaves his home in the Richmond District each morning long before sunrise — nearly two hours before school starts. The ninth-grader first takes a bus on Muni’s busiest line, the 38, more than four miles east to Van Ness Avenue and O’Farrell Street. There, he transfers to the 49 for the final two miles to John O’Connell High School in the Mission District.
Chris, 14, had hoped to attend Washington High School, just half a mile from his home. But he did not get his top choice, or any of his choices in the district’s school-assignment system. And he has no one to drive him across town. So his commute takes 75 minutes, at best. When the 38 is overcrowded and he cannot squeeze in, he risks being late for his first-period English class.
San Francisco Unified School District in 2010 adopted a student assignment system intended to increase diversity and give all families access to the best schools. The policy lets parents select schools they like the most, creating competition. It is a contest that not everyone wins.
Daniel Sears, Karishma’s father, knows his daughter is lucky. A group of recent Chinese immigrant families in Visitacion Valley who wanted to send their children to Starr King could not, because they had no way to get them there. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency — aka Muni — does not offer direct service, and no school bus runs that route.
The district prioritizes bus service for its most disadvantaged students, including those who live in census tracts with the lowest test scores: Treasure Island, parts of the Tenderloin, the Western Addition and most of the southeastern neighborhoods.
But the district does not transport elementary-age students from more affluent areas to schools in low-performing neighborhoods, while the buses that serve most lower-performing schools pick up kids who live in nearby neighborhoods.
So the Visitacion Valley families lose out two times over: their schools perform below average, but not at the bottom, and the school they wanted to attend is in a neighborhood to which the district will not bus their children. Thus, isolation and inequity persist, bus or no bus, for all kinds of students.
“What we’ve heard from families, especially in the southeast neighborhoods, is that while we have choices as to where to send students, getting them there is a barrier that’s too high to overcome,” said Masharika Maddison, executive director of the nonprofit Parents for Public Schools, which advocates on policy for families throughout the school district.
Joel Ramos, regional planning director for the mass transit advocacy nonprofit TransForm and a board member of Muni, said many families simply cannot use public transit to get their children to school.
“Even if you can get into a school that’s performing much better but is on the other side of the city, a trip on Muni might require one, two, even three transfers,” Ramos said. “A lot of people aren’t going to feel comfortable letting their kids do that.”
District data, collected by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, show that few students have changed their commute patterns since 2010–2011, the year before the current assignment system took effect.
At eight of the 25 district elementary schools with below-average statewide academic rankings, the number of students who live within a mile of school has increased over the last four years. With few exceptions, a significantly higher percentage of these students live closer to school than do students at the highest-performing and most-requested schools.
While a number of factors are at play, lack of mobility looms large. Even though families of all socioeconomic backgrounds are traveling long distances, many schools in the most economically disadvantaged parts of town draw the bulk of their students from the surrounding neighborhoods.
Student populations at some of these schools are so imbalanced that the district considers them “racially isolated,” meaning that more than 60 percent of the school’s students are of a single race.
Public transit poor substitute
Rosario Bolos walks her daughter, Jessica, three blocks from their house to Cesar Chavez Elementary in the Mission. She knows it is one of the city’s lowest-performing schools. But she likes its feeling of community, and her top priority when choosing a school for Jessica was, by necessity, its proximity to home.
“We can’t afford a car, and my husband works full time, so this is the only choice we have,” she said. She does not let Jessica, 6, ride Muni alone. “That’s for older kids.”
As part of its effort to align its transportation services with the new student assignment policy, the district cut its fleet to 25 buses last school year, down from 44 buses in 2011–2012. As a result, 20 schools lost all bus service, and service to many others shrank or changed. The district does not plan more cuts or additions, according to school district spokeswoman Heidi Anderson.
As school board member Rachel Norton sees it, every dollar spent on busing is a dollar taken out of the classroom. One bus costs $100,000 to operate and maintain for a year. The money comes out of the district’s general fund, which also covers teacher salaries and operating essentials.
“We don’t have a lot of money, and we have to be careful to invest in the highest-impact strategy,” said Norton, who was first elected in 2009 and now chairs the Ad-Hoc Committee on Student Assignment. “You can pay for a literacy coach and a half with the money it costs to run a bus. Is a bus that carries students to a school without literacy coaches the best strategy?”
Norton said that while the district knows the demographics of students who request transportation, it does not have stop-by-stop data, nor the expertise to design routes that would optimally serve the most students. “We as a district could use some planning assistance,” she said.
Charity buys bus passesMuni in 2013 started offering free passes to low- and moderate-income San Franciscans ages 5 to 18 through a pilot program funded by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. Last February, Google donated $6.8 million to continue the program for two more years. So far, 26,000 kids have signed up.
Chris Collier said it saves his family about $30 per month, and many families praise the program for making the commute to school more affordable.
For families with younger children, who need to be accompanied on public transit, the cost of travel is even more significant because caregivers must pay $2.25 per trip, even if a student qualifies for a free pass. The crowded and delay-plagued Muni system, which gets fewer than 60 percent of buses and trolleys to arrive on time, will bring in millions in new funding to upgrade infrastructure and add service starting this year, thanks to propositions A and B, approved by voters in November. But Muni is not a transit system designed to transport large numbers of students.
As for what families really want, some certainly prioritize community, family history and convenience over test scores when choosing a school. But the district found in a 2012 survey of more than 10,000 families that academic reputation usually trumped proximity to home as a factor. Fewer than half the families responding to the survey included nearby schools in their choices.
And yet, a number of families interviewed for this story chose otherwise. This contradiction demonstrates the difficulty of drawing conclusions about what drives choice patterns in the district.
Data from the 2014 application process shows that half of the 22 schools least requested by families living in their attendance areas are located in the city’s poorest neighborhoods, and eight of them have student populations dominated by a single race.
Further, reports produced by the district show that a higher percentage of African-Americans and Latinos submit school choice applications late than do their Asian and white peers, and by doing so are placed at the bottom of the heap during student-assignment season. This limits their access to the district’s best schools, and can result in assignment to the least-requested schools, which are often in their neighborhoods.
A 2014 report produced by the Denver transit advocacy organization Mile High Connects and U.C. Berkeley’s Center for Cities + Schools, notes that reforming student transportation can be complicated by the sharing of responsibility for busing by local, regional and federal agencies. It can get very political as a result.
Julia Ehrman, a sustainable transportation fellow with San Francisco public schools and a fellow at the Center for Cities + Schools, spent last summer investigating the district’s transportation landscape. She found that there was very little data about how transportation affects families’ ability to take advantage of school choice. But she cautioned against the view that programs intended to promote walking and biking as part of the district’s sustainability goals can replace school bus and transit service for public school students.
“If we only promote walking and biking, then we sort of contradict the premise of school choice: that mobility is a good way to pursue educational equity,” Ehrman said.
Maddison said the biggest problem actually is not transportation. It is the vast disparities among San Francisco schools.
“School choice can never be a replacement for ensuring that all our schools are excellent.”
We already know many US cities deemed FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONES are soaked in municipal bond debt ----here is Obama/Rahm in Chicago----and Baltimore is super-sized to this debt. Of course there is no shortage of city revenue---it simply all goes right to global corporate campuses and their development.
Here is Chicago making sure there is absolutely NO FUNDING for public schools and of course public pensions. This assures all those 'PUBLIC' CORPORATE CHARTERS are handed off to private global education corporations which then partner with global corporate campuses like Johns Hopkins, UnderArmour, Amazon.com.
THIS IS WHAT BALTIMORE EDUCATION COALITION AND ALL BALTIMORE CITY COUNCIL AND BALTIMORE MARYLAND ASSEMBLY POLS WORK TOWARD----as did San Fran/Oakland a few decades ago
Chicago Public Schools borrow $275 million at sky-high interest rate
Chicago 06/19/2017, 08:38pm
The Chicago Public Schools will pay 6.39 percent to borrow $275 million it needs to make a mandatory payment for retiree pensions before a June 30 deadline. | File photo
Lauren FitzPatrick and Fran Spielman
The Chicago Public Schools will pay 6.39 percent — an extraordinary interest rate by short-term lending standards — to borrow $275 million it needs to make a mandatory payment for retiree pensions before a June 30 deadline.
That’s more than four times the interest rate a typical government would pay on the same borrowing deal, financial experts say.
It’s yet another sign of the dire financial condition of the nation’s third-largest public school system, which for months has had a “junk” credit rating from Wall Street financial institutions.
CPS officials secured the $275 million on Monday from J.P. Morgan. It’s the final chunk of cash needed to make the $721 million payment for teacher pensions that’s due at the end of the month, senior vice president of finance Ron DeNard said in a statement.
An additional $112 million that’s needed to fund district operations will be borrowed separately.
After fielding three competing bids, CPS chose J.P. Morgan to provide the so-called “grant anticipation notes,” which will be backed by state block grant money CPS is entitled to — but has yet to receive — in the ongoing budget stalemate. The interest rate will fluctuate monthly.
Matt Fabian, a partner at Municipal Market Analytics, said the 6.39 percent interest rate is about 4.5 percentage points “more than a ‘regular’ issuer would pay, but CPS left ‘regular’ two years ago.
“CPS has no regular market access so the price they pay to borrow is always the product of negotiation,” he added.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has argued that CPS has no choice but to borrow its way out of the financial mess in Springfield that’s affecting school districts statewide.
“You have a situation . . . created by the state of Illinois to create a maximum amount of pressure on the public schools, specifically Chicago,” Emanuel has said. “It’s a short-term solution to a short-term problem created consciously, woefully by the governor to create political pressure.”
“We are saddened that the Chicago Public School district is trading its future financial health for another short term easy fix. It has no one to blame high interest rates on other than the decades of mismanagement that created this crisis. The Governor is hopeful that the General Assembly will spend the next week focused on passing a truly balanced budget that will help school children across our state, including those in CPS,” Gov. Bruce Rauner’s spokeswoman Eleni Demertzis said in an emailed statement.
Fabian has suggested that CPS is already the “main risk to the city from a triage perspective” and, therefore, the city would have been better off “giving” the district the money it needs to get through the school year and make the pension payment.
The city, he’s said, either could borrow the money for CPS or raid the tax-increment financing surplus yet again. “That’s a better option than paying [exorbitant] interest and taking more risk,” Fabian said last month.
The mayor is considering taxing high net-worth individuals, downtown businesses or both to put CPS on more solid financial ground. But the mayor is determined to wait until the end of a special Legislative session next week before determining how large a hole he needs to fill — especially if a larger school-funding solution for Chicago and other school districts can be reached.
Big Education Ape is a good source of REAL PUBLIC SCHOOL education blogging.....San Diego is of course in the same CA school system as Oakland only they are a far-right, global Wall Street BUSH NEO-CONSERVATIVE city. Moving all several hundred billion dollars in public K-12 to global technology corporations and their global labor and education support corporations will push public schools out of business and all 99% of citizens tied to online lessons----virtual schools.
This further alienates WE THE PEOPLE----total isolation except for working 15-18 hours a day-----from pre-K to career.
San Diego Schools Embrace Untested “Depersonalized”
Learning | tultican
Public schools, Education, edubloggers, privatization, daily posts from people who know
“The district is struggling with a projected $124 million shortfall to its $1.4 billion budget, and have issued in the neighborhood of 1,500 layoff notices to full and part-time employees” reports the San Diego Union'.
'Behavior badging in China is explained in this video about gamifying good citizenship. It gives me the creeps; however, behavior modification is already part of digital badging'.
21 Jun San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) is spending lavishly on technology despite their budgets being decimated by California’s unaccountable charter school industry. During the 2016-17 school year, SDUSD bought digital badging and 16,000 new Chromebooks.
“The district is struggling with a projected $124 million shortfall to its $1.4 billion budget, and have issued in the neighborhood of 1,500 layoff notices to full and part-time employees” reports the San Diego Union.
This kind of insanity seems to be a national movement. There is almost no evidence supporting these new theories of technology driven education. Yet, the leaders of financially strapped SDUSD are spending to have their students become experimental subjects for learning products produced by technology companies.
A recent article in the NY Times by Natasha Singer describes how DreamBox (a widely distributed math learning program) is popular with children but not for doing the math but for doing things like spending points to customize their avatar. Singer writes,
“So far there is little proof that such technologies significantly improve achievement. Adaptive learning courseware, for instance, generally did not improve college students’ grades or their likelihood of completing a course, according to a 2016 report on some of these programs by the S.R.I. Education research group.”
“Badges, We Don’t Need No Stinking Badges”
My friend, Tim, graduated for University City High School this year and invited me to attend his ceremony. I went to the school’s website for parking instructions, where I saw this:
The badge image contained a hotlink to the SDUSD website which notifies the reader:
“Starting winter 2016, San Diego Unified will begin awarding achievement by issuing digital badges. Digital badges are virtual tokens issued as recognition of a skill, or behavior demonstrated, or an achievement a student has earned.”
Much of this informational page is little more than a corporate advertisement with a video claiming how wonderful and popular digital badging is. The instructions for getting started say SDUSD offers ninety-five high school badges and 20 elementary and middle school badges. Students and parents are informed:
“Students will be notified of badges through their Gmail email account accessible through their Google apps for education.”
SDUSD also informs us that they won’t just be Cub Scout style merit badges. Soon, students will receive “micro-credentials” that will be recorded in their records kept by University of California San Diego extension.
This all looks harmless enough but it is not! Behind the digital badging scheme is a toxic combination of corporate greed and hubris. As digital badging grows, classical teacher led education will be undermined in all but exclusive high end private schools. It is yet another path to education on-the-cheap driven by profit motives instead of pedagogic expertise.
Additionally, badging is a data mining corporations dream come true. Students will lose all semblance of privacy.
Behavior badging in China is explained in this video about gamifying good citizenship. It gives me the creeps; however, behavior modification is already part of digital badging.
Emily Talmage teaches public school in Maine, where badging started a couple years ago. She describes what she’s learned:
‘“By collecting skill-based badges, the record of achievement begun in secondary school becomes the foundation upon which workers build their capabilities and tell their stories to employers,’ explains the infamous testing-behemoth, Pearson Education.
“Knowledgeworks recently described the new learning system as an ‘ecosystem,’ in which the role of the traditional teacher will soon be obsolete.
“With major investments from Wall Street, leaders in the online learning, ed-tech, and student loan industries, and even celebrity billionaires like Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Reed Hastings of Netflix, the transformation has recently been picking up speed.
Meanwhile, political groups on both the left and right are moving the system forward by lobbying for ‘personalized,’ competency-based policies and ‘innovative’ assessment systems.” [Note: Reed Hastings of Netflix is also owner of DreamBox Learning, Founder of Rocketship charter schools and a board member of California Charter Schools Association.]
“Personalized learning” is the Orwellian name given to computer delivered education. It is isolating and devoid of human interaction. There is nothing personal about it. It truthfully should be labeled de-personalized learning.
Adults Engaged with Students are Key to Intellectual Growth
America’s public education system was wildly successful right up to the advent of modern education reform. There were problems but the creativity of America’s students led to cultural, scientific and economic leadership in the world. No other country comes close to matching the US in either Nobel Prizes awarded or new industries created. The non-coercive (no high stakes testing) learning environment of our public schools allowed students to create wonderful respectful relationships with many adults and develop according to their own personality.
Daisaku Ikeda, the founder of the Soka Schools, discusses the importance of teachers in his book Soka Education, “Recognizing each student as a unique personality and transmitting something through contacts between that personality and the personality of the instructor is more than a way of implanting knowledge: it is the essence of education.” Ikeda also mentions that Socrates likened this to being “kindled by a leaping spark” between teacher and student.
This May, Fredrik DeBoer posted results from a January study by Jens Dietrichson, Martin Bøg and Trine Filges. In his post, DeBoer explains the science behind the study and praises its methodology. He also shares some of the results that are behind a pay wall. The abstract for the report called “Academic Interventions for Elementary and Middle School Students With Low Socioeconomic Status.” states,
“This systematic review and meta-analysis seeks to identify effective academic interventions for elementary and middle school students with low socioeconomic status. Included studies have used a treatment-control group design, were performed in OECD and EU countries, and measured achievement by standardized tests in mathematics or reading. The analysis included 101 studies performed during 2000 to 2014, 76% of which were randomized controlled trials.
This graphic from DeBoer’s post is a comparative graph of the weighted average effect size. The impact of each intervention component is shown in terms of standard deviations on the horizontal axis. The five most effective interventions all require human interaction. If we are led by evidence, then we must admit that the human component in education is crucial.
There are Reasons Education Technology is More Popular than Effective
In 2013, SDUSD created the i21now committee and gave it ninety days to prepare a report on education technology going forward. The committee made up of 104 individuals included Cindy Martin SDUSD Superintendent, several other district executives, seven classroom teachers and thirty-five representatives of corporations and foundations promoting digital learning.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt1
Partnership for Children1
In general, the teachers and IT professionals who volunteer to be on a technology committees are themselves technophiles likely to be biased. Of course, the representatives of the network, software and hardware corporations who comprise an outsized share of the committee membership are there to promote their products.
Project Tomorrow has a representative on the i21now committee. I have written previously about the influence Project Tomorrow had on the school district where I worked (Sweetwater Union High School District). One of the teacher members of our technology committee sent us all data and brochures from Speak Up praising computer based education and de-personalized learning. Project Tomorrow and Speak Up are both part of tomorrow.org.
More than 90 corporations and non-profits are referenced as financial supporters of tomorrow.org. Included amongst the contributors are both the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association.
It is not surprising that the i21now committee mapped a technology path forward that is nearly identical to the positions promoted by large technology corporations and tomorrow.org. The executive summary of their report has 21 bullet point. Here are a few that caught my eye.
“Pursue new funding sources and repurposing current funding by moving expenditures away from textbooks and structured classrooms toward virtual learning, digital content and personalized learning.”
“Provide students with mobile access to broadband connectivity anytime/anyplace, while leveraging resources and partnerships to drive down costs.”
“Ensure sustainable funding to provide access at home and beyond for all students.”
“Support upgraded wireless, wired, and 1:1 environments, plus building systems and VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), while ensuring accessibility with digital dashboards and portals.”
“Incorporate reputable online resources and real-time data to differentiate instruction and engage students with real-world content.”
“Implement competency-based learning and problem-solving-based assessment, aligned with Common Core standards.”
The last bullet point calls for competency-based learning. This is not a new idea and it has failed miserably in both the 1970’s and the 1990’s. The theory is that education can be chunked down into discrete learning standards or competencies.
In the 1970’s this theory was called mastery learning. Soon educators were derisively calling it “sheets and seats.” It failed so miserably as a pedagogical practice that it was renamed. In the 1990’s it was called outcome based education. The new name did not help because the theory was still bogus.
Badging and competency-based learning are yet another incarnation of this behaviorist theory of education. Just because it is being done on a computer does not mitigate the fact that it is based on a bad theory of human behavior.
I do not say that education technology and learning programs have no value, but I have never seen an exemplary learning program. At their core, they all eventually become computer based drill and skill. Teachers have known for a long time that this is a bad pedagogical method widely denigrated as “drill and kill.”
The implementation of technology in the classroom will never reach its potential until that implementation and design is led by educators. Some of my friends believe that the badging and competency-based education are an existential threat to public education. I don’t. It is a bad product and parents do not want their children sitting at computer terminals. They expect them to be in authentic learning environments with competent experienced teachers.
Rich people will never accept this enervated method of education for their children.
If you are not understanding how FAR-RIGHT, AUTHORITARIAN, DICTATORSHIP CORPORATE FASCIST all this is----please educate knowing that MAOIST COMMUNISM is far-right LIBERTARIAN MARXISM----- Here we see this in California public schools with HOMELAND SECURITY NAPOLITANO-----as state superintendent thanks to FAR-RIGHT GLOBAL WALL STREET CLINTON NEO-LIBERAL JERRY BROWN. ONE WORLD ONE FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONE SMART CITY.
San Diego-----that military Foreign Economic Zone first to expose K-12 to these programs.
Propaganda Games: Sesame Credit - The True Danger of Gamification - Extra Credits
Published on Dec 16, 2015
China has gamified being an obedient citizen with the creation of Sesame Credit. It creates a social score that pushes people to behave the way the government wants. Though currently opt-in, it will become mandatory in 2020.
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China has gamified being an obedient citizen with the creation of Sesame Credit. The game links to your social network and gives you a score for doing things that the government approves of, but it also reduces that score for doing things the government disapproves of. Even your friends' scores affect your own, and being friends with people who have a low score will drag your score down as well. This insidious system applies social pressure on people to ostracize their friends with lower scores, either forcing those friends to change their ways or effectively quarantining their rebellious ideas. While many sci-fi visions of a dystopian future have centered around a bleak government that controls through fear, Sesame Credit shows us that a government can use gamification and positive reinforcement to be just as controlling. And it's real. While currently the system is opt-in, the government plans to make it mandatory in 2020. Once mandatory, it may give rewards for good scores or penalties for bad ones. And in the meantime, making it opt-in has already set the tone for the game: people participate willingly, so they find it fun, and they set a very high standard for what the "average" score should be. Already people have begun sharing their scores on social media.