Mamie Till Mobley

"There was an important mission for me, to shape so many...young minds as a teacher. God took away one child but...(gave) me thousands. And I have been grateful for the blessing." Mamie Till Mobley

Sunday, September 7, 2014

State ousting school boards, the New Jersey story.

In 1995, "State education officials took control of the Newark Board of Education's headquarters today, dismissing top school executives and assuming responsibility for the day-to-day operations of New Jersey's largest school district." After the superintendent arrived home in his school district issued limousine, the state took it away.

Buffalo Public Schools and post Katrina school reforms

As the Buffalo Public School District moves forward in implementing a new vision of the schools, it helps to read about the experiences of other school districts  in some of the areas outlined  for an overhaul such as a Recovery School District (RSD), more charters, and vouchers to learn what happened.

 " New Orleans will have only five public schools—those operated by the Orleans Parish School Board. Everything else will be charters. The post-Katrina path to almost 100 percent charter education began with the post-storm shutdown of the city’s struggling public schools and the firing (recently declared illegal) of some 7,500 unionized teachers and other school employees, predominantly African American women. The assault was accelerated by a massive infusion of foundation and entrepreneurial investment in new charter schools, and years of state and federally supported deregulation and privatization."

Today, the  New Orleans Parish schools are privatized made up entirely of charter schools, and research about the experiment indicates that students are no better off  than when it was operated by the Orleans Parish School Board before Katrina hit in 2005.

In a public school system that enrolled 60,000 students today, it's a mere 33,000 and there are thousands of children never enrolled. And "one 2010 study found 4,000 teens, about 10 percent of the city's student population, not enrolled in school at all."

For example, the Recovery School Districts, a statewide school district set up to turn around schools the state labels failing started before Katrina in 2003, when 107 schools out of 128 were transferred to  the RSD.  While,  the state acquired the buildings, bargaining unit teachers disappeared to be replaced by Teach for America recruits and nearly all the charter schools hired teachers from TFA too. Yet, in "2011, 79 percent of these RSD schools were rated D or F."

Once this happens, it is difficult if not impossible to reinstate schools under democratically elected control through elected school boards.

In an attempt to reclaim schools that were not failing back into democratically elected control through the old Orleans Parish School Board, the court rejected its bid. Although the post Katrina law limited schools under the RSD to five years, in 2010, this was amended to allow each charter the right to decide if they wanted to return to local control and most of course opted not to return.

And  children with disabilities were seen as liabilities by the charters that hired inexperienced teachers many of them with limited experience working with special education children such as TFA recruits.

Yet, the 2,500 students awarded vouchers didn't do any better than those in the RSD, while this voucher pilot failed, still it was implemented statewide.

"I tell people that if you believe what has happened in New Orleans is OK—stripping away our right to be self-determined in public education by taking our schools away—are you ready to say that America should not operate on democratic principles? Because that’s where this leads."

New view of Finnish Schools

A new look at Finnish Schools not the top world education many led to believe.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Jail time for Gov. Andrew Cuomo over Moreland Commission fiasco?

" The chickens are coming home to roost" in Albany as the probe continues into Gov. Andrew Cuomo's allegedly interference in the Moreland Commission before he disbanded it after nine months of existence.

Reports are surfacing, Gov. Cuomo continued to keep four staff members of the defunct commission on the government payroll at the tune of $418,000. He quickly reassigned them to other positions when the reports surfaced.

Remember this is the same governor who wanted to cap the salaries of superintendents of public schools back in 2011. Yet, his appointee to head the defunct Moreland Commision was earning $175,000 to keep tabs on a handful of commissioners that in nine months racked up $350,000 in expenses.

When the dust settles after the investigation if he doesn't resign before the probe on the Moreland Commission digs deeper, it may reveal that Andrew Cuomo has been among the most corrupted ever in the history of the state and one of the most unfriendly to public education.

Former Senator and Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada must be jumping for joy in his prison cell waiting for Andrew Cuomo possibly sentenced for his role in corruption as the Moreland Commission fiasco unfolds.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Ogilvie new interim superintendent Buffalo Public Schools

"I am pretty much an open book, they know I'm inclusive." Donald Ogilvie, 7/9/14

Saying he wants to lead this district, " I think can make a difference," former superintendent of BOCES, Donald Ogilvie is thevnew interim superintendent of the Buffalo Schools.

He signed  a contract at the school board meeting tonight, but there were four abstentions by the  African-American women board members disagreed with the selection process though when questioned by reporters said "could have been done in a different way."

 He wants to work with all board members, calling it "bringing the temperature down," and feels empathy for anyone  who feels  not apart of the process.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Common Core media conspiracy

When we think about who owns the media in this country and controls the major political parties, the Common Core hoax becomes clearer. 

And it is how thousands of school districts in the nation got hoodwinked on a curriculum less rigorous than what many had in place before the Common Core Learning Standards stealthily popped out it seems from no where. 

"...Stealth is not a good strategy for pursuing fundamental, sustainable change to 100,000 schools educating 50 million other people's children. " 

Yet it is what the main media had engaged in a conspiracy to allow the corporate influence of the curriculum. 

This  allowed the switch to the Common Core one less rigorous than what many public schools had in place in the nation before the corporate and government complicity to stealthy change it,

"U.S. news outlets mentioned the term Common Core 453 times in 2009 and 1,729 times in 2010--the period during which the standards were first unveiled and during which more than half the states adopted them. Compared to later reporting, that critical early coverage appears pretty sleepy. "

"In 2011, the number of mentions increased to 2,313. In 2012, it more than tripled to 7,800--when the issue had already been settled in most states. Last year, in 2013, the media discovered the Common Core, with 26,401 mentions--or more than ten times the number of stories from 2009 and 2010 combined. " 

Yet, "in 1999, when fewer than 30,000 students were enrolled in voucher programs, there were more stories written about vouchers than were written about the Common Core in 2009, 2010, and 2011combined (when states enrolling more than 41 million students signed on). "

"The standards were rarely covered even as states prepared to alter instruction for tens of millions of students. Now, the media has been making up for lost time."

The information cited on this blog piece came from Rick Hess article March 2014 for Education Week "Did the press do its due diligence on the Common Core?"

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Professor Garrison to speak about education reform at Karpeles

Teachers encouraged to attend an upcoming evening seminar with acclaimed education professor Dr. Mark Garrison.

Dr. Garrison is a professor from D'Youville College who has become nationally recognized as an expert and critic on current issues and reforms in education.  He speaks about a wide range of topics that are impacting students, parents, teachers, and administrators in today's educational climate:  CCLS, Privatization, APPR, and Local Governance structures in education and in our democracy.  

We are privileged to have a scholar like Dr. Garrison as a local expert right here in Buffalo.  This event is completely free for all teachers, and is being conducted completely for free by Dr. Garrison.  It is being sponsored for all teachers by a handful of Buffalo teachers who know Dr. Garrison personally, have taken his education classes, or who had graduated from high school at the same time as him.  

It is the hope of all those involved with this evening that we can build up an audience that is passionate and inquisitive about the current issues.

Please mark your calendars for this great event, Tuesday, June 10th, from 4-6pm, at Karpeles Church at Jersey and Porter Avenue (Corner of Grover Cleveland HS -- behind Kleinhans).  Information submitted by Professor Patrick Foster, Global History at Lafayette High School.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Buffalo School Board endorsement…..

Buffalo School board endorsements

Buffalo Public Schools still searching for Deputy Superintendent amid a looming school board race

The Buffalo Public Schools updated its search for a deputy superintendent, the posting appearing on the website Education Week, TopSchoolJobs.

The position was filled in February, when Superintendent Pamela Brown appointed Dr. Mary Guinn after the Buffalo Board of Education ended its contract with the consulting firm Cross and Joftus last fall.  The firm had a contract for one year costing nearly half a million with Guinn making $290, 359, irking some members of the Buffalo Board of Education alleging it was more than what the superintendent of schools earned.

Previously, Guinn filled the position on a interim basis last March 2013, but at the time she didn't possess the certificate from the New York State Education Department in Albany that she obtained in February 2014, when Superintendent Brown appointed her again.

And the Buffalo News reported two years ago in the fall that the Say Yes to Education organization had contracted Cross and Joftus for $400,000 to develop a new organizational structure for the district, action plans for the superintendent's cabinet, a building based budgeting model to encourage "earned school autonomy" and a model to evaluate the work of the executive cabinet.

Hence it was Guinn's role to supervise the implementation of the new Central Office organization after she ended her temporary duties as the interim deputy superintendent.

Superintendent Brown has been criticized for hiring an executive staff viewed as top-heavy with Central Office administrators similar to her former predecessor James Williams.  In fact, she has done many similar things, yet Williams stayed on for six years, while Brown a female superintendent right or wrong; she has been held to a higher standard than her male counterparts, surviving attempts to oust her as soon as she was appointed.

Moreover, there is an election looming on May 6, three at-large school members will be elected from a slate of 14 candidates, there are two incumbents seeking office, attorney John Licata and Dr. Barbara Seals Nevergold.  Florence Johnson who served for over 20 years is not running for reelection this year.

And it's hard to predicate the outcome of the race that five years ago two whites and one African-American won seats.  If it happens again, two whites and one black, the quorum on a nine-member school board critics of Brown sought will be in place to end her contract.

Yet, something is different about this at-large school board race that happened five years ago and another that didn't happen.

For one thing, big time money is pouring into the race from the unions, wealthy groups and individuals and outside organizations such as StudentsFirstNY, all vying to influence school board policy that governs 57 schools 12 in good standing.

Also, there are racial overtones in the race and a sector in the black community composed of the old-guard individuals and organizations  like George K. Arthur, Frank B. Mesiah,  and the NAACP that view the elections as a threat to the presence of blacks on a school board where they first served for the first time in the early sixties and after the City charter changed to an elected school board in the mid-seventies.

And a good example was the reelection of Mayor Byron Brown though he lost his popularity in the two terms he has been in office among blacks before elected again, African-Americans  came out to keep the Mayor in office for another third term.

Interestingly, Puerto Ricans and other Latinos have become energized too, and for the first time two Latino candidates Ralph Hernandez formerly on the school board and Sergio Rodriguez former Mayoral candidate are both in the at-large school board race this year.

Whether the deputy superintendent position is finally filled depends on this election, as well as, the tenure of Superintendent Brown in the district.

Whitney Tilson (3rd background)

Whitney Tilson (3rd background)
"Let’s be honest: we need a lot more well-off, well-educated white folks with a personal stake in both charter schools and education reform in general if we’re going to take reform to the next level, both politically and operationally.Whitney Tilson, hedge fund manager and major funding angel for the school privatizing Democrats for Education Reform, thinks there’s not enough rich, educated white folks.( Preaprez) click photo to his blog.

Arne Duncan

Arne Duncan
U.S. Secretary of Education, click photo