Evaluate The System Not The Schools

New York plans to use suspension rates to grade schools by Julie McMahon outlines NYSED’s plan to evaluate school performance.

She writes:
“Out-of-school suspension rates are the latest criteria the department has proposed as part of its plan for school evaluations.

The new criteria would be used as early as the 2018-19 school year, according to a report by Chalkbeat New York. The plan is pending final approval by the Board of Regents and the federal Education Department.”

“. . . Education reformers over the last several years have pushed for schools to limit out-of-school suspensions because they are often disproportionately used to punish students of color.

Many districts, including Syracuse city schools, have shifted from relying heavily on suspensions to using alternatives like “restorative justice,” which aims to keep students in the academic environment.”

In a subsequent report, 8 ways NY plans to grade schools beyond tests, graduation rates: Give your feedback, Ms. McMahon reports on the State’s proposal for evaluation.

They are:
*Measure achievement in more than just math and English as is current practice. The plan proposes expanding measures of science, social studies and language acquisition.

*Focus on chronic absenteeism and attendance.

*Give more consideration to August, five-year, and six-year graduation rates. The state now emphasizes the four-year June rate.

*Push schools to reduce gaps among certain populations of students. The plan calls for more emphasis overall on growth and gap closing, not the stringent 100-percent achievement goals of No Child Left Behind.

*Stress parental involvement, including in decisions about how to spend money for school improvement.

*Require reporting per pupil spending and per pupil sources of revenue for each district and school.

*Reward districts for providing advanced coursework.

*Exempt “English language learners” from English language arts tests for one year. The plan calls for more supports for students who are not proficient in English, including state evaluations of district programs and training for teachers.

While we are searching for ways to evaluate our schools there is no plan in place that evaluates our current system of education that normalizes, standardizes and dehumanizes our children.

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Not Here, Not There, Not Everywhere

On July 18, 2017 this blog post by Diane Ravitch was published:

Diane Ravitch and Carol Burris: A Critical Review of the PBS Special “Schools, Inc.”

She writes,

“Public schools, we would argue, are more innovative than private schools and religious schools, and certainly more innovative than for-profit schools, which must cut costs to provide returns for their investors.

Enter a well-resourced public school and you will find many foreign languages taught, robotics programs, a school orchestra, advanced technology, smart-boards, a jazz band, a theater company capable of putting on Broadway plays, physical education programs of extraordinary breadth and academic specialties that most private and religious schools never offer. You will see highly educated teachers, most of them far better educated than the teachers in religious schools and far more qualified than those in charter schools, which are allowed to hire uncertified, inexperienced teachers. You will also see remarkable provisions for students with disabilities and professionals trained to meet their needs — provisions absent from most private schools, which usually reject students with disabilities. And these innovative practices are absent from the schools Coulson glorifies on his “personal journey.”

Unfortunately, in high-poverty, large urban school districts across the nation, their public schools are not “well resourced” and lack the wonderful programs of which Ms. Ravitch speaks. This is also true of poor rural district schools who receive barely enough resources to provide a “proper” education.

It has long been known that resource allocation to public schools is far from equitable since funding depends on the tax base of a city or township.

Money drives the system of education in America, not the educational needs of children.

When we concentrate education on discovering, developing and directing the individual gifts and talents that every child possesses;

When we convince every parent that an excellent education is essential to the future social, emotional and economic success of their child;

When we consider the needs of the child over the cost of educating the child, we will have changed education and made it successful throughout suburban, urban and rural communities.

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Governing Our Governance

New York: Who Is Behind the Effort to Allow Charter Schools to Hire Uncertified Teachers?
By dianeravitch points to the Alan Singer blog titled, Politics And Campaign Dollars Shape New York Charter School Policies, in which he states:

“The finger points at New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Politicians and wealthy business leaders with ties to Cuomo are behind the push to exempt some of the state’s charter schools from hiring certified teachers. It is a move that would weaken University-based teacher education programs, undermine teacher professionalism, and seriously hurt the education of children across the state.

Cuomo has long been a supporter of expanded and minimally regulated charter schools. In 2014, while preparing to run for reelection, Cuomo spoke at a pro-charter rally on the steps of the State Capitol Building in Albany. In his speech he praised charter school groups and Republican and independent Democrats who were joining with him to “save” charter schools, although there was no movement trying to destroy them. Curiously, Cuomo never discussed pulling the children out of school and shipping them to Albany for a staged rally.

In 2016, while no one was paying close attention, the State Legislature with Cuomo’s endorsement extended the regulatory authority of the Trustees of the State University over charter schools. The SUNY Charter Institute, a sub-committee of the Board of Trustees, now claims this legislation empowers them to permit charter schools under their jurisdiction to hire uncertified teachers and train them according to their own guidelines.”

According to Ms. Ravitch, “Cuomo needs the hedge funders to finance the presidential run everyone expects he wants. But, as Alan points out, he also needs the votes of the public so he may be open to persuasion.”

Continuing a system of mis-education that empowers the wealthy while maintaining the impoverished conditions of others can only be stopped by creating a system of education that concentrates on discovering, developing and directing the gifts and talents of all children towards becoming knowledgeable, actively engaged citizens who recognize and vote for the love of humanity over love of money.

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Let’s All Go To The “Lobby”

Recently reported by Diane Ravitch: New York City: Mayor de Blasio’s Capitulation to the Powerful Charter Lobby

“Mayor Bill de Blasio ran for mayor with the promise that he would fight the charter lobby. He was a public school parent and had served on a community school board. I believed him. I endorsed him.

Then after he was elected, the billionaires showed him who runs education policy in Albany. Governor Cuomo, the recipient of large sums from the financial industry, became the charter cheerleader, even though charters enrolled only 3% of the children in the state. The Republican-led State Senate gives the charter industry whatever it wants. The charter industry’s best friend is State Senate Republican leader John Flanagan, who loves loves loves charters, but not in his own district on Long Island. Call him Senator NIMBY.

De Blasio wanted charters to pay rent if they could afford it. The legislature required the City to give free space to charters, even though public schools are overcrowded, and to pay their rent if they locate in private space.

In the recent legislative session, the mayor was told that the only way to get a two-year extension of mayoral control was to revive 22 charters that had been closed or abandoned for various reasons.

Now the mayor is seeking a “truce” with the private charter industry that sucks the students it wants from the public schools.”

Along with Ms. Ravitch, many New Yorkers voted for DeBlasio because he promised to “fight the charter lobby”. Unfortunately Mayor DeBlasio neglected to call on the support of those individuals when it came to fighting the control of the Repubican and Democratic party leaders in the legislature who bullied him into capitulation.

If Mayor DeBlasio believed he had the support of the people, why did he succumb to the demands of the private charter industry?

Charter schools further segregate public schools with some “normal” children being placed in high achieving institutions and others being served in failing institutions. Those students who do not fit into the “norm” are left out completely.

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A Rose By Any Other Name

Federal Register:

Rosa’s Law

Rehabilitation Act
Statute: Rosa’s Law amended the Rehabilitation Act by substituting “intellectual disability” for “mental retardation” in section 7(21)(A)(iii) (29 U.S.C. 705(21)(A)(iii)); substituting “intellectual disabilities” for “mental retardation” in section 204(b)(2)(C)(vi) (29 U.S.C. 764(b)(2)(C)(vi)); and substituting “President’s Disability Employment Partnership Board and the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities” for “President’s Committees on Employment of People With Disabilities and on Mental Retardation” in section 501(a) (29 U.S.C. 791(a)).

Regulations: We have substituted “intellectual disability” for “mental retardation” and “having an intellectual disability” for “mentally retarded” in the following definitions:

Term Section within title 34, CFR
“handicapped person” § 104.3(j)(2)(i).
“individual with a severe disability” § 385.4.
“individual with a significant disability” §§ 361.5 and 373.4.
“individual with handicaps” § 105.3.
“physical or mental impairment” § 361.5.

We have also substituted “intellectual disability” for “mental retardation” in Appendix A to part 104.

Reasons: We have made these regulatory revisions to implement the changes made to the Rehabilitation Act by Rosa’s Law

*The sentences should read “substituting “mental retardation” with “intellectual disability”.

Rosa’s Law is a United States law which replaces several instances of “mental retardation” in law with “intellectual disability”. The bill was introduced as S.2781 in the United States Senate on November 17, 2009, by Barbara Mikulski (D-MD). It passed the Senate unanimously on August 5, 2010, then the House of Representatives on September 22, and was signed into law by President Barack Obama on October 5. The law is named for Rosa Marcellino, a girl with Down Syndrome who was nine years old when it became law, and who, according to President Barack Obama, “worked with her parents and her siblings to have the words ‘mentally retarded’ officially removed from the health and education code in her home state of Maryland.” – Wikipedia

While “Rosa’s Law” is extremely important to the changing the language of the law it does not change the negative attitude we harbor towards individuals who live outside the artificial norm that exists in our society.

When we see every child as gifted and talented it will no longer be necessary to label our children in order for them to receive the excellent education they deserve.

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More Money For Mis-Education

From the Federal Register:

Applications for New Awards; American History and Civics Education-National Activities Grants

Purpose of Program: The American History and Civics Education—National Activities Grants Program promotes innovative instruction, learning strategies, and professional development in American history, civics and government, and geography, with an emphasis on activities and programs that benefit low-income students and underserved populations.

This competition provides funding to support the development, implementation, expansion, evaluation, and dissemination of evidence-based instructional approaches and professional development activities and programs in American history, civics and government, and geography in elementary and secondary schools. This competition includes an absolute priority for projects serving high-need students to help these students improve learning outcomes for these students. This competition includes an absolute priority for projects that show potential to improve student achievement in, and teaching of, these subjects, and that demonstrate innovation, scalability, accountability, and a focus on underserved populations. Additionally, we include a competitive preference priority for projects that leverage technology to support professional development and instructional practice, which may lead to increased student engagement and help accelerate learning.

Type of Award: Discretionary grants.

Estimated Available Funds: $1,700,000.

Estimated Range of Awards: $200,000-$700,000 per year.

Estimated Average Size of Awards: $500,000 per year.

Estimated Number of Awards: 2-7

Eligible Applicants: An institution of higher education or other nonprofit or for-profit organization with demonstrated expertise in the development of evidence-based approaches with the potential to improve the quality of American history, civics and government, or geography learning and teaching.

If you are a corporate entity, agency, institution, or organization, you can obtain a TIN from the Internal Revenue Service. If you are an individual, you can obtain a TIN from the Internal Revenue Service or the Social Security Administration. If you need a new TIN, please allow two to five weeks for your TIN to become active.

Could this be another way of funneling educational tax dollars to Pearson since they are loosing money due to the Opt-out movement?

The history of the United States has never been told truthfully, there can be no demonstration of expertise by anyone.

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Moving Forward To Go Back

From the Federal Register:

Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as Amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act-Accountability and State Plans

“Under the Congressional Review Act, Congress has passed, and the President has signed, a resolution of disapproval of the accountability and State plans final regulations that were published on November 29, 2016. Because the resolution of disapproval invalidates these final regulations, the Department of Education (Department) is hereby removing these final regulations from the Code of Federal Regulations.

On November 29, 2016, the Department published the accountability and State plans final regulations (81 FR 86076). The regulations were effective on March 21, 2017. On March 27, 2017, President Trump signed into law Congress’ resolution of disapproval of the accountability and State plans final regulations under the Congressional Review Act as Public Law 115-13. Section 801(f) of the Congressional Review Act states that “[a]ny rule that takes effect and later is made of no force or effect by enactment of a joint resolution under section 802 shall be treated as though such rule had never taken effect.” Accordingly, the Department is hereby removing the accountability and State plans final regulations from the Code of Federal Regulations, and ensuring the CFR is returned to the state it would have been if this “rule had never taken effect.”

Dated: June 7, 2017.
Betsy DeVos,
Secretary of Education.

This is a long and involved revocation of the 34 Code of Federal Regulations Part 200 and Part 299 amendments.

A State must define adequate yearly progress, in accordance with §§ 200.14 through 200.20, in a manner that—

. . . Is the same for all public schools and LEAs in the State; and

(7) Consistent with § 200.7, applies the same annual measurable objectives under § 200.18 separately to each of the following:

(ii) Students in each of the following subgroups:

(A) Economically disadvantaged students.

(B) Students from major racial and ethnic groups.

(C) Students with disabilities, as defined in section 9101(5) of the ESEA.

In calculating AYP for schools, LEAs, and the State, a State must, . . . include the scores of all students with disabilities.”

More schools will fail, more charters will open, more tax dollars will be wasted, and more children will be discriminated against.

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