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

Monday, December 30, 2013

Carmen Farina expected to be appointed Chancellor NYC Schools

A former NYC school administrator Carmen Farina soon to be appointed Chancellor of the NYC Public Schools by Mayor elect Bill de Blasio at a junior high school in Brooklyn.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Pittsburgh school board drops $750,000 Teach For America contract

Here’s some education news that you don’t hear every day: The Pittsburgh school board is rescinding a $750,000 contract with Teach For America, and keeping open an elementary school slated to be shuttered. The board’s four new members, taking a new reform tact, drove the decision to drop the contract by a 6-2 vote with one abstention; in late November, before the new members were sworn in, the board approved the contract 6-3.

 Published: DECEMBER 19, 4:43 PM ET

Monday, December 23, 2013

Teach for America: A voice from Harvard

"For one, I am far from ready to enter a classroom on my own. Indeed, in my experience Harvard students have increasingly acknowledged that TFA drastically underprepares its recruits for the reality of teaching. But more importantly, TFA is not only sending young, idealistic, and inexperienced college grads into schools in neighborhoods different from where they're from--it's also working to destroy the American public education system. As a hopeful future teacher, that is not something I could ever conscionably put my name behind."
By Sandra Y.L. Korn, Harvard Crimson
From: Valerie Strauss, The Answer Sheet
October 24, 2013,The Washington Post

Monday, November 11, 2013

Standardized tests poor indicators of cognitive outcomes

kwheatley comment, the Answer Sheet
Unfortunately, standardized tests are often poor indicators of even the cognitive outcomes we care about because the low-level knowledge and skills are what is easiest and cheapest to test. For example, many "reading tests" don't really test reading comprehension, and faster-climbing scores can actually signal inferior instruction. Ditto for mathematics.

I recommend reading "Standardized Minds" or "The Paradoxes of High-Stakes Testing" or "Making the Grades" for more on the limitations of these tests.

Unfortunately, one of the things we know about human development is that the physical, emotional, motivational, and cognitive are all connected and affect one another reciprocally. The idea that one can successfully improve education while attending to low-level cognitive outcomes but ignoring emotions, motivation, or even health and fitness is too silly for words.

Sadly, the very "reforms" intended to close the test score gap between rich and poor often make the real learning gap wider because the poorest kids get the most impoverished kind of test prep instead of getting a real education.

And no, teachers have not always taught to the test, and in fact, teaching to the test has been considered educational malpractice for much of my time in the field. Teaching to the test is like having a patient drink cold water before taking their temperature, then pretending you've cured the infection that caused their fever.
The Answer Sheet

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The "Systematic Murder" of Philadelphia Public Schools

The "Systematic Murder" of Philadelphia Public Schools
In Philly there is money to build prisons that cost $100 a day to house a prisoner yet public schools allocated $145 million  less in the same period.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

David Coleman and Common core: what's the story?

David Coleman, Common Core Writer, Gears Up For SAT Rewrite Joy ResmovitsAug 30, 2013 from HuffPost NEW YORK -- Growing up in downtown Manhattan as the son of a psychiatrist and a college president, David Coleman never wanted for stimulation. At the dinner table, his parents repeatedly told him that it wasn't his exam scores that mattered, but rather the quality of his ideas and inquiry. "They cared more about the quality of what I did and the engagement with ideas than they did about other measures of success," he said, speaking in his brightly-lit Columbus Circle office, where a black-and-white Martin Luther King Jr. photograph hangs on the wall. When Coleman heard stories of other parents who paid their kids to get high exam scores, he said, "I just thought how lucky I was." Now, Coleman is in charge of the most important test score a student can receive. As president of the College Board, a national education company, he is redesigning the SAT, the standardized test taken by many high school seniors as a part of the college application process. He is also expanding the Advanced Placement program, which offers college-level classes and tests for high school students. Coleman, a playful 43-year-old man who speaks at an urgent clip, is the most influential education figure you've never heard of. He is perhaps best known as the architect of the Common Core State Standards Initiative, meant to bring divergent state learning goals into alignment. Public schools in 47 states will begin teaching the Common Core in English language fields this fall. But as standardized testing comes increasingly under attack, and as teachers and politicians from both the left and right try to roll back the Common Core, Coleman's legacy is a bit up in the air. The controversy over Common Core has become particularly fraught as states adopt its learning goals. In Alabama, for instance, a Republican political activist recently compared adoption of the core to Adolf Hitler's indoctrination of German citizens. Although few states have dropped the Core entirely, several have distanced themselves from the program by withdrawing from the consortia charged with developing assessments to measure student achievement under its rubric. Coleman said he hopes the standards can succeed without full national participation in the consortia, but many Core proponents disagree. "You're going to end up with a bunch of states doing different things," said Andy Rotherham, a friend of Coleman's who worked in the Clinton administration and now leads Bellwether Education Partners, a Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm. "Some of the same issues will persist, which undermines the premise of Common Core." How did Coleman wind up in the middle of the 21st century's curriculum wars? His path started at his parents' dinner table and wended through selective New York public school Stuyvesant High, making an important pit stop at his bar mitzvah. After being asked to perform a deep exegesis of his Torah portion, Coleman extracted a lesson that would guide his career: "The idea that kids can do more than we think they can," he said. Asking 13-year-olds to give a speech is a bold charge, not unlike recommending AP courses to disadvantaged kids who don't see academic aptitude in themselves. "I wish kids could encounter more stretched opportunities like that in school -- all kids," Coleman said. After graduating from Stuyvesant, Coleman attended Yale and was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to the University of Oxford, where he studied English literature. He also met Jason Zimba, a Common Core co-writer and lifelong friend who later taught mathematics at Bennington College, where Coleman's mother, Elizabeth, served as president. Zimba remembers hanging out in pubs and playing Risk with Coleman, who spent the rest of his time studying for exams. Coleman had a competitive streak and often won at Risk. "He's an astute observer of characters, so if he thinks you can handle it, he might celebrate [his victory over you]," he said. Upon returning to New York, Coleman applied for a high school teaching position and was turned down. Instead, he worked for consulting firm McKinsey & Company, where he advised public schools and became a fixture at New York City Department of Education meetings. That's where he met David Sherman, then a vice president at the United Federation of Teachers. After one meeting, Coleman, then in his 20s, approached Sherman. "'I don't know you, but I want to introduce myself, because you seem to be the only person who knew what he was talking about,'" Sherman remembers Coleman saying. They stayed in touch. In 1999, when Zimba and Coleman developed their education startup, the Grow Network, Coleman turned to Sherman to tap into the grassroots involvement of teachers. Sherman became a mentor to Coleman. "I always told him he was too nice, that you need to stand up for what you believe in," Sherman said. And when Coleman began speaking to national audiences, Sherman chided Coleman for treating Washington crowds as if they were New Yorkers. "I said, 'David, you can't curse in front of a national audience, they get offended.'" While working on the Grow Network, Coleman tried to "fill the promise that assessment results could actually improve kids' lives," he said. But he found that educational problems ran deeper: The standards being measured by the tests "were so vast and vague, it's hard to make high-quality assessments." Coleman sold the Grow Network to McGraw-Hill and formed Student Achievement Partners, a not-for-profit that now helps states implement the Common Core. In 2008, he and Zimba co-wrote a seminal paper calling for "math and science standards that are fewer, clearer, higher." Before Coleman and Zimba published their paper, in 2008, the National Governors Association convened a group to create a set of unified national education standards. Because states write their own standards and exams, students who move across state lines might find themselves passing math in one state and failing in another. The governors sought to address this problem by creating common standards. Attracted to Coleman's idea of "fewer, clearer, higher," they tapped Student Achievement Partners to write those standards. "While sometimes I've been called an architect of their standards, I think their true architecture is evidence," Coleman said. "That's the binding secret of the standards." Coleman, Zimba and Sue Pimentel, an education consultant, made sure the standards reflect the skills students need to succeed after high school. While the standards were developed by state representatives, with help from the Gates Foundation, they received a new, powerful -- but in retrospect, potentially detrimental -- boost in 2009. That year, the Obama administration incentivized higher learning standards with billions of dollars in its Race to the Top competition, and recession-stunned states signed on to the Core. "The states were so desperate for money they were willing to just do it," said Andy Smarick, a Republican education policy expert who previously worked for the U.S. Department of Education. "So many states signed on so fast with a push from the federal government and there wasn't a fuss -- until now." As schools begin to implement the Core, far-right and far-left advocates are trying to roll it back. People like Ron Paul, the former libertarian-leaning Republican U.S. congressman from Texas, are waging campaigns against the Core, making the fight a tea party priority. Reached by phone, Paul said that he sees the Core as an "encroachment" that increases the federal government's control. "This is just another step, putting pressure on states to have a one-system, universal curriculum," he said. "This is the kind of thing that should not be permitted." Paul said he had not read "all of the standards, but that's in some ways irrelevant, because the principle is so bad." On the left, advocates such as Diane Ravitch, a former George H.W. Bush education official who is now a leading figure in opposition to the so-called education reform movement, say that the Core could lead to more assessments when students are already overburdened by excessive testing. "The conservative right is using it as an example of government control, a break with states' rights -- but it's voluntary," said Sherman, who now works as a special assistant to Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. "People like Ravitch are saying it has all of the testing and blah blah blah. I don't go along with that, either." Ravitch and other critics, though, also worry about the Core's contents. "There is no evidence that those who study these standards will be prepared for careers, because there is nothing in them that bears any relationship to careers," Ravitch recently wrote on The Huffington Post's blog. A major component of that evidence, according to the Common Core appendix, relies on the ACT's benchmark reports on college and career readiness. To define college and career readiness, the ACT surveyed U.S. colleges and determined how much a student has to know in a given subject to have a 50 percent or higher likelihood of earning a B, or a 75 percent or higher chance of earning a C. The reports follow students who take the ACT's through college. But even the ACT's education director has conceded that the reports are limited because they don't tie the students being studied to data about their life outcomes or careers. "It's like pointing a shotgun at a football field," said Anthony Carnevale, a Georgetown University professor who oversees the school's Center on Education and the Workforce, in an earlier interview. "The things mentioned in the ACT subject exams don't show up in tasks and activities of jobs -- any jobs." That limitation leads Carnevale to believe that the Core's academic focus could ultimately deepen rifts between students who are already on a path to college and those who plan to pursue a career straight out of high school. Those students, he says, could lose interest in more abstract subjects, like higher algebra, and drop out. "[Core proponents] can argue much more persuasively that the standards make you college ready, but not career ready," he said. To rebut arguments such as Carnevale's, Coleman has said that the Core will teach students how to think critically, a crucial skill in an ever-changing economy. Coleman said he thinks that when people like Paul do read the standards, they will support them. It's the substance, he said, that's brought Republicans such as Mike Huckabee and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on board. "Whatever missteps were made in the past with the administration and Race to the Top, the secretary has made very clear, this is and remains state led," Coleman said. "And any state can withdraw at any time, which is being demonstrated." But if more states drop out, the effort could lose momentum. "If it's adopted by a tiny number of states, it ceases to have the meaning it once had," said Tim Daly, president of the teacher placement firm TNTP. As the fight over the Core plays out, Coleman has taken a broader view on education. Last summer, the College Board announced that it would hire him to lead the organization. Since then, he has engaged the organization's members in redesigning the SAT, whose newest iteration will be unveiled in 2015. He's heard from organization members, who have said they want the SAT to test things that are relevant to college success. They've told him that students should be able to read and write clearly, and also have mastered a core set of mathematical concepts. "The core aspiration is to build an exam that much more clearly focuses on the skills that matter most," he said. Instead of obscure vocabulary words, students should be expected to show deep understanding of academic terms such as "synthesis" and "transform." Overall, Coleman hopes the exam will be more relevant to high school learning. "It has to engage teachers more deeply," he said. As students go back to school and stress over college applications this year, they probably don't know about the man with the funny socks in the Columbus Circle office who, in a sense, influences their future. "He's in this position to tie what kids are learning to what colleges are expecting," Smarick said. "Very few people in America today are having a bigger influence on what kids are learning than David Coleman." This story was written in partnership with the Jewish Daily Forward.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

By Kenneth Zeichner During the last few years, The New Schools Venture Fund (NSVF), a major private funder of K-12 charter schools, has been intensely involved in creating and promoting a bill (the GREAT Act) in the U.S. Congress. This bill, if passed, would lead to the establishment of teacher and principal preparation programs that would not be subject to the same level of accountability as other state-approved programs. The bill is a part of a broader movement to disrupt the current system of college and university teacher education and replace it with deregulation, competition, and a market economy. The Answer Sheet Washington post

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Pamela Brown to continue as superintendent 5 to 4 vote

Superintendent Pamela C. Brown is here to stay at least through the 2013-14 school year.

And Lorey Schultz didn't get the support she needed to start her controversial $115,000 top media job with Superintendent Brown.

It was a contentious board meeting held in the Buffalo Common Council Chambers tonight, Wednesday, Sept. 25, where Park District Rep. Carl Paladino motioned to dismiss Superintendent Brown.

School board members Carl Paladino, John Licata, Jason McCarthy, James Sampson voted yes to support her dismissal, while Dr. Theresa Harris-Tigg,  Florence Johnson, Sharon Belton-Cottman, Mary Ruth Kapsiak and Dr. Barbara  Nevergold voted against her dismissal.

On the school board chopping block was the consulting group Cross and Joftus who hired Dr. Mary Guinn. Board member Sampson motioned to end its contract with the district. It was sent to committee for legal department to review. Sampson thinks its contract with district not done right .

West District board member Sampson motion to hold school board meeting every second Wednesday, starting next month passed.

And Sam Radford from District Parent Coordinating Council told board they would appeal to the State Ed folks any board vote to approve district transfer plan tonight.

Dr. J. Elliott responded the State Ed expects the transfer plan to be fully implemented with 2000 seats available by fall 2014.

And a district official of student support services added State Ed expects plan by Sept. 30, and it will not allocate any additional building aid for the plan contending BPS has adequate space. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Lorey Schultz newest Buffalo public schools chief of public relations

Lorey Schultz newly appointed Chief of Public Relations for the Buffalo Schools  two years ago lived in Eggertsville, when Mayor Brown appointed her to his communications staff. A disgruntled citizen complained to the Fiscal Control Board contended  the appointment was politically motivated, the salary too high and wonder if she was going to give up her suburban residence for a phantom apartment in Buffalo though it appeared she sold the house in May the following year.

A Buffalo news story  said Superintendent Pamela C. Brown appointed Schultz  because  she " became convinced that the district needed more resources in community relations because of the volume of requests she gets to speak and respond to the community, Guinn said. “She gets multiple requests on the same day, at the same time, for many, many media and community outreach activities,” Guinn said.

Dr. Mary Guinn is the consultant hired last spring as an interim deputy superintendent brought here by Say Yes another consultant company the Buffalo Board of Education hired to conduct the superintendent search one year ago.

And Carl Paladino Park District School Board member has criticized the hiring of Dr. Guinn and her reorganization work in the district. Her salary at $179, 000, has been questioned as well though initially paid for  by Say Yes and foundation money, it is now coming from a state grant.

Although, Guinn was supposed to have left last June, she is still here, while Paladino complained at last school board meetintg that he had been informed she is supervising central office administrators though Superintendent Brown defended her consultant work for the district described her as a "coach" not a supervisor.  On Tuesday Dr. Guinn accompanied Superintendent Brown to the lecture Dr. Pedro Noguera presented at Westminster Charter School both  leaving later in the district chauffeur car.

Several school board members have criticized the appointment of Schultz to the newly appointed Chief of public relations asking why the position is needed in the first place since there already is a staff in central office  Elena  Cala Buscarino assigned this role.

Others question why Lorey Schultz hired when the public relations office in the central office in  City Hall if it needed another staff member perhaps it would have been more appropriate to appoint somebody who better reflects the demographic make up of the students and community not a former anchor who until one year ago was  a resident of Amherst.

Schultz was the assistant director of communications and marketing in the communications office in the Buffalo City Hall who previouy she worked for 17 years as a reporter at WIVB-TV Channel 4.

Mike Blake's Unbalanced Opinions: Letter to the Control Board re: Lorey Schultz hiring

Friday, September 6, 2013

New bill in congress to limit power of Arne Duncan

It was only a matter of time but it finally happened.
The National School Boards Association  Support for HR1386,  "The Local School Boards Governance and Flexibility Act," is a bill in Congress that limits the power of Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education. It's about time!

This bill is "To support the local decision-making functions of local educational agencies by limiting the authority of the Secretary of Education to issue regulations, rules, grant conditions, and guidance materials, and for other purposes."
02:32 Mar 30, 2013 Jkt 029200 PO 000

Unless specifically authorized by Federal law, the Secretary may not issue a Federal regulation, rule, grant condition, guidance material, or other requirement pertaining to a State educational agency or a local educational agency that—  and so on and so forth......

Introduced on March 2013, if this bill passes, the NYS Board of Regents will have to be rein in too awaken from its deep slumber at the switch limited as well from imposing unrealistic requirements and mandates to the education of NYS children such as abolishing the local high school diploma that has been a major contributing factor for the lower graduation rates in the State  that particularly had an impact on black and Latino students, commencing with the freshman  cohort of 2008.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Buffalo school board voted against recommendations of Superintendent Brown

The Buffalo School Board in an unusual move voted
 3 in favor  to 4 against the recommendations of
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Pamela Brown to extend
the probationary period of four school principals and
deny tenure to one assistant high school principal.
Read more about this story by clicking on the
Link above...

John Hopkins University superintendent of four Buffalo schools

According to a Buffalo news story on Friday, district officials that had been called to Albany to work on four school turnaround proposals successfully completed the plans after an all day session lasting seven hours.

Regent Robert Bennett in talking with the News said,   "The  proposals that were worked on Friday involved a team from Johns Hopkins University (JHU) acting as the operator – or superintendent – of the four schools, while the Buffalo Board of Education will be the monitor, Bennett said.

The four schools cited included Highgate Heights, Buffalo Elementary School of Technology (BEST) Lafayette and East High Schools. 

JHU initially was supposed to be the educational partnership organization or EPO of all the above schools except Buffalo Elementary School of Technology under Global  Partnership Schools, Dr. Rudy Crew headed until 2011 but remained associated with it until the Board of Trustees of The City University of New York appointed him president of Medgar Evers College, CUNY in June 2013.

The Buffalo News school zone blog wrote January 2012 how "the group includes an assortment of high-profile names in education, including Manny  Rivera, former Rochester superintendent; Rudy Crew, former Miami-Dade County superintendent; and McGraw-Hill Education. It submitted proposals for four Buffalo schools, but an advisory committee did not recommend that the group be considered to run the other three schools."

The other partner involved with Crew in the plans to turnaround BEST was Dr. Manny Rivera. He left in July one month after Crew to another post in Connecticut. 
 And a blog called Nancy on Norwalk posted the story that "The Norwalk Board of Education is expected to confirm the contract  to bring Manuel J. Rivera, 61, aboard to lead the school system at its July 9 meeting. BOE Chairman Mike Lyons announced Monday that Rivera and the board had come to a contract agreement and that Rivera would begin work on July 18, 2013.

So it appears JHU is stepping in as the new EPO of BEST since the super star consultants Crew and Rivera found  instead lucrative and steady incomes as the former a college president and latter a superintendent of schools. Rivera confessed he tired having to travel so much to make a living.

So a la John Hopkins University we shall all go as the EPO. JHU has had a presence at both Lafayette and East High schools and the roots planted have been supported and welcomed at Lafayette. And the JHU staff have been embedded at Lafayette since the spring even attending the senior prom this year. It appears their work starting with 7 th grade and 9th grade will at least begin to connect the junior high school students to Lafayette that originally they were moved from  School #45 to make up an International school that never happened.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

School board decides on turnaround plans for East and Lafayette high schools

School board decides on turnaround plans for East and Lafayette high schools
Although funding the option continues to be a problem, the Buffalo School board voted yesterday afternoon at a special meeting to allow John Hopkins University (JHU) to serve as the Educational Partnership Organization (EPO) for both Lafayette and East High School.
The Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) will also partner with JHU to offer career technical training to students at both Lafayette and East High School.
The NYS education Department last month sent a letter to district officials that mandated it partner with BOCES as the EPO for both East and Lafayette.
This option wasn't feasible because  the two high schools had previously formed a relationship with JHU that started  last fall and they wanted to continue it with support from the local community, faculty and the Buffalo Teachers Federation (BTF).
Still, there is the problem of how the JHU program as the EPO will be funded now that the State Ed did not approve the district grant application.
And district CFO Barbara Smith responded the total cost will be between $2.2 million and $5.2 million. News blogger Sandra Tan reported Smith explained the funds will come from "reductions elsewhere in the budget, use grant funding, spend from the contingency budget and use some assigned fund balance for things like unsettled union agreements, contracts, etc., " Also,  the additional funds for five positions JHU requested will come from sources such as building based budgeting, Title 1, III, and Contract for Excellence funds.
When questioned about possibly  funding the JHU project with funds the district set aside for contract negotiations Smith sheepishly responded doesn't think it will happen.
So, JHU prevailed as the EPO though the district  has to find a source for  funding the project.
And new board member Carl Paladino asked  a JHU representative what prior experience they had with the student population over 60% international and ELL enrolled at Lafayette High School.
Since the EPO model hasn't been piloted in other school districts in the state, it will be interesting to see how well it does in an environment not funded by the NYSED.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Speculating on Education » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

Speculating on Education » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

Regents Research Paper required for graduation

Oh my God! What else is the Board of Regents proposing. I was reading the  State Ed site and was surprised  to read that students entering grade 9th on September 2013 will be required to write a Regents Research Paper to graduate with a Regents or Local Diploma!
Remember the 2008 freshmen cohort that graduated in 2012-13, unless a special education student, they didn't have the option of a  Local Diploma that contributed to lower graduation rates across the State especially among blacks and Latino students.
Now, they have to write a Regents Research Paper to graduate because of time constraints on the examination that can't measure writing standards for college and career readiness skills and Common Core Learning Standards. Once again the class of 2016-17, fewer students will graduate. Is there a hidden agenda here?

Regents Research Paper – The Committee discussed proposed regulatory amendments to Commissioner’s Regulations that would establish a Regents Research Paper requirement as an opportunity for students to demonstrate necessary college and career readiness skills and CCLS writing standards that cannot be measured in an examination setting due to time constraints.  The regulation would require the completion of a Regents Research Paper for graduation with a Regents or local high school diploma, beginning with those students who first enter grade 9 in September 2013 or thereafter.  Committee members requested that more detailed information be provided to guide the discussion when the proposed amendment is submitted to the Board of Regents for adoption in September.   [P-12 (D) 1]

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Court removed Superintendent Paul Vallas

A state Supreme Court judge in Bridgeport Connecticut on Friday removed Paul Vallas, the superintendent of schools for not completing a leadership graduate course program. 
He was  required to take the leadership course to meet the requirements to be a superintendent. 
And in May the teachers union complained to the state Vallas violated state law in failing to include the participation of the state required councils in local school governance. 
Previously he served as the superintendent of Chicago schools in the early nineties. His Chief of Staff was US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Buffalo public school low graduation rates, what happened ?

Buffalo Public School system is in the headline news again for having one of the lowest graduation rates second to Rochester, NY.  from among the five big city school districts (Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Yonkers, NYC) in the state. The latest figures the NYS Ed Dept released showed Buffalo Public Schools graduation rate fell below 48%.

Some in the community blamed the low rate on newly appointed Superintendent Dr. Pamela C. Brown such as incoming board member Carl Paladino.

Yet, NYS students  graduating in 2012 (who were 9th grade students in 2008) are the first cohort of students required to take all five Regents Exams with a passing score of 65 and obtain a Regents Diploma in order to graduate.

In the past before the Board of Regents changed the playing field, school districts offered the Local Diploma that nearly 15% of NYS public high school students received in 2009. But the graduates most impacted when Board of Regents eliminated the Local Diploma as a pathway to graduation was the class of 2012. 

So if you entered as a freshman in 2008, unless classified as a student with disabilities, the cohort was not offered the Local Diploma as a pathway to graduation. This is one reason why the graduation rates in Buffalo Public Schools fell below 48%.  

The local diploma as a pathway to graduation must be offered again in NYS.  In 2009, nearly 40% of English Language Learners (ELL) and students with disabilities obtained the Local Diploma, while the overall State figure was nearly 15%.  Now the dropout rates are higher for these students since the 2008 freshman cohort no longer offered the Local Diploma as a pathway to graduation.

Even the appeals process is challenging requiring students to have attained within 3 points of 65, a 95% attendance rate and other such requirements to get a Regents Diploma. While before NYS students had the Local Diploma now all must meet the requirements of a 65 passing score on the Regents Exams  unless it's a students with disabilities still offered a local diploma passing with the old score of 55.

In the BPS other policy changes have impacted graduation rates such as when the School Board eliminated social promotion causing a higher number of students to remain in elementary school until they become overage and drop. Another contributing factor is the School Board policy that required students to stay in school until they complete the school year when they reach 17 instead of the State compulsory age of 16.

Thus, more pathways to graduation  are needed because the cookie cutter one the NYS Board of Regents created aggravated the dropout rates in the State stifling the aspirations and dreams of hundreds of students who otherwise could have graduated. Now the pipeline to prison is more of a reality. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Buffalo school officials and BTF going back to court

The teacher evaluation agreements the NYS Education Department imposed on school districts across the state may have to be revisited after the Buffalo Teachers Federation voted Thursday to challenge the Buffalo school district in court over a dispute about the memorandum of understanding the superintendent and the union signed earlier this year.

Buffalo teacher evaluation plan Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) was among the last ones the State Education Department approved.

This new legal challenge to the district reneging on the MOU to the teacher evaluation agreements may possibly open up a new discussion about the legality of imposing evaluations based on information and documents not readily available to sufficiently evaluate teachers in public school districts throughout the state.

Sadly, the equity firms, banks, and hedge fund investors were the largest donors to politicians including Gov. Andrew Cuomo who sought out Democrats for Education Reform for support and donations.  In return these politicians including the NYS Board of Regents coalesced  to revamp education law and to install state education commissioners sympathetic to their reform agenda.

And it was to weaken the unions especially teachers and rid the system of tenure by copying a system of employee evaluations developed in the private sector where the vast majority are at-will employees.
Even an attempt now to find information on tenure Education law 3020a is impossible on the NYS Education Department website.

As a result of the changes to rid district of tenure a new teacher and principal evaluation system emerged that Gov. Cuomo signed "chapter 103 of laws of 2010 that added a new section 3012c to Education law that established a comprehensive evaluation system for classroom teachers and principals  based on the APPR.

The BTF and district officials should be allowed an opportunity to submit the MOU as part of its agreement if it was not done earlier with the documents it sent to the state to assuage the state education commissioner and the governor.

It's unfortunate that caught in the middle of this tug-of-war between the union, district, SED and the governor are the teachers and the children.

They deserve a less punitive teacher evaluation system, as well as their tenure rights.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

New leadership for Buffalo Teachers Federation

New leadership for Buffalo Teachers Federation
New Buffalo Teachers Federation candidates
Lft-Rt, Roger Aumick vice president, Marc Bruno president,
Partick Foster, treasurer

Thompson names Regent Tisch to chair his mayoral campaign

New York Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch, who helps set education policy statewide and explored her own bid for mayor last year, plans to serve as chairwoman of Bill Thompson’s mayoral campaign.
Just what NYC needs Tisch as chancellor of its school system. Tisch has completely acquiesced and prostrated herself at the alter of the privatization interests in the education reform movement.  The African-American children and community suffered tremendous set backs in education. 

And these privatization interests composed  of a crass financial elite drive the reform movement in education  that benefits more its profit margin under the New Market Tax Credit bill passed during the Clinton administration while investing in projects in under-served communities rather than a genuine interest and concern for the education of poor children.

Thompson an African-American in hoping to attract these wealthy donors from this financial elite driving the reactionary education  reform movement is certainly to alienate sectors of the black community that view the education of their children compromised daily by Tisch and her privatization of public education supporters on the state Board of Regents since at the helm in 2006,  after serving as a Regent in 1996.

In naming Regent Tisch to Chair his mayoral campaign, Thompson not only nailed his own coffin but the move surely energizes the sector in the black community fearful she might become the next chancellor of the NYC schools.

UFT President Michael Mulgrew reelected with 84 percent of vote

UFT President Michael Mulgrew reelected with 84 percent of vote

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Buffalo School Board Elections: Happenings, Forums and Fundraisers

Maria Rosa, Editor-in-chief,
Buffalo City Express News
Interested in attending  a Buffalo School Board Forum or fundraiser for your favorite candidate? Check out the latest updates on the Buffalo School Board Elections: Happenings, Forums and Fundraisers at the Buffalo City Express News and in the Buffalo Niagara Region Tourism Guide.

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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Buffalo School board elections: some endorsements

Buffalo School board elections: some endorsements

Check out as the endorsements are coming in for the candidates running for the  Buffalo Board of Education  elections so far this year. And view the profile pages of three new  candidates in the Park, West and North Districts that appeared on Facebook. Find out what is the most contentious School Board battle ground this year... in the Buffalo City Express News powered by Zoom Village.

Memo widespread test cheating DC schools under Michelle Rhee

Memo warns of rampant cheating in D.C. public schools

As far back as 2009, a memo surfaced warning Michelle Rhee of widespread test cheating in DC public schools when she was chancellor. Instead of investigating the findings of the high erasure rates across the district, Rhee fired teachers and principals for the student low scores on DC assessments.
Rhee was too busy awarding perks and bonuses to those with the highest gains in the assessments that were really erasures according to the newly released reports.
The public wonders when is Michelle Rhee going to be held accountable for this in as much as she still in the limelight as a school reformer through her newly created Students First organization better named Rhee First?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

13 prospective Buffalo School Board candidates filed petitions

The Buffalo School Board elections  jump started with the 13  prospective candidates filing nominating  petitions this week.  Surprisingly, Sharon M Belton-Cottman, Ferry District Rep. is running unopposed though two other candidates had been announced previously.
It appears the charter school proponents are just as aggressive as in previous School Board elections though it's hard to determine who they are except for James Sampson, president and CEO Gateway-Longview/and chairman of the county's control board.  He was a founding member of the West Buffalo Charter School and President of Buffalo ReformED. And he was an unsuccessful former candidate for an at-large School Board seat and board member of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership.
One thing for sure it's a smorgasbord made up of challengers from  the District Parent Coordinating Council, Citizen Action, Buffalo ReformEd and others.
The race is a highly politicized one with prospective candidates either supporting charter schools or for public education.  There appears to be an aggressive move by the charter proponents to carry out their agenda of turning Buffalo Public Schools especially those the state listed as low performing or "priority" schools into charters.
But it's not time to speculate what is going to happen yet in a race where certainly challenges to many of the petitions especially of the newcomers on to the school board races are disqualified for one reason or other.  So expect, the legal battles to play out in court until the candidates are whittled down and the school board forums begin  and until the voters elect either the incumbents or new candidates to the Board in May.

Superintendent Brown launches the "Buffalo Way," looking for a few "chiefs" to add to her cabinet

In her effort to reorganized her central office leadership team, Super Pamela Brown is looking for few good "chiefs" willing to work under an exempt contract status.
Interestingly, Brown is looking at the "exempt" leadership model criticized during the tenure of former Superintendent James Williams for being too top heavy at 28 employees in this category. It provided Williams flexibility to hire a team that he liked but that did not necessarily meet the requirements of the postings, because these positions did not need Buffalo Board of Education approval.
During the tenure of Interim Super Amber Dixon she promised to whittle down the exempt employees, while some left others were shifted to other positions with less pay but contract status in the district. Nevertheless, Super Brown has other ideas to "reduce inefficiencies," and to "do more with less." Her plan involves building a central office leadership team more responsive to the principals and school buildings in her effort to change "inefficiency and low morale."
The present cabinet members term expire in June and Brown and Dr. Mary Guinn, her newly appointed interim Deputy  formerly a Gary Indiana School District superintendent whose term also ends on June 30th is helping interview the prospective newly hired cabinet members for central office. And a national search for candidates for these positions is in the works as well. Also, four newly created positions for "supervising principals" were created with a focus on an earn autonomy model. It's an ambitious plan, so it's now a wait and see what happens to how Super Brown new at being a superintendent of schools herself is successful at molding and shaping the Buffalo Schools in the direction she best believes it should go.

Buffalo teachers step case over Federal Court ruled

The Buffalo Teachers Federation President's Report of March 26, 2013, reported the eight-year-old step case battle is over as per the ruling of the Federal Court. The Buffalo City School District now has over $75 million dollars in its coffers as a result this favorable ruling. The district set aside this money in case the BTF prevailed in its 8-year battle, but they get to keep the money. So there shouldn't be any lay-offs of teachers for 2013-14. With the step case behind us now, it's time for contract negotiations to start again and the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) scheduled sessions for April 22 and 26.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Michelle Rhee a public school parent sends her own to private elite school

Michelle Rhee moved to Nashville, Tennessee closer to ex-hubby a states education commissioner, while She enrolled one of her own children in an elite private school. When an online newspaper asked whether her children attended a public or charter school three months ago, Rhee responded simply that She was a "public school parent."

Public education reformer Michelle Rhee not completely a ‘public school parent’

Sunday, March 24, 2013

EXPERT SEES LITTLE CHANGE IN CITY SCHOOLS How are things going in the Buffalo Public Schools? It all depends on who you ask.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

School board elections update

The Buffalo School Board election is in May. 
New for voters this year was the redistricting of the School Board. So, it's important for voters to be aware of this change to know  their  district and where to vote.
Here is a proposed map. It appears all the incumbents are running except in the Park District.
And the nomination petition drive is underway now.
As of the last week in February aspiring  candidates had the chance to pick up the nominating petition forms at the Erie County Board of Elections or the Buffalo School Board.
Six district seats will be up for grabs this year. And with ex gubernatorial candidate and local developer Carl Paladino announcing he is running for the Park District seat, the School Board race will be a lively one drawing more voters to the polls. The recent media hype about  a security officer  escorting  Paladino out of the last School Board meeting  and later attacking the leadership of Buffalo Teachers Federation President  Phil Rumore  makes what would have been a mundane School Board elections a politically heated one as well.
Here is a letter Paladino sent Rumore on March 6, published in the Buffalo News. And a War of words between the two men on WBFO88.7 Park District Rep. Lou Petruccie,the incumbent, is not seeking a third term. 
West District Rep. Ralph Hernandez recently had a fundraiser so he is seeking a 4th term. 
Other incumbents are: Mary Ruth Kapsiak, Central District, Sharon Belton Cottman,  Ferry District, Rosalyn L. Taylor, East District, and Jason M. McCarthy, North District.
And John Henry Grant announced his candidacy for the Central District through a Facebook page he opened on March 6.
Here is a YouTube video about Grant.
John Henry Grant on Urban Legacy TV - YouTube

Monday, March 4, 2013

Sequester cuts in education

President Barack Obama signed the Budget Control Act of 2011, and on Friday he signed an order authorizing the government to begin canceling $85 billion from federal accounts for this fiscal year. Here what it means for education: Education $633 million cut from the Department of Education’s Special Education programs $184 million cut from Rehabilitation Services and Disability Research $71 million cut from administration at the Office of Federal Student Aid $116 million cut from Higher Education $86 million cut from Student Financial Assistance Here is letter Obama administration Deputy Director for Management Jeffry D. Zients sent to Speaker of House of Representatives John A. Boehner

Obama seeks Democratic control of House to press agenda :

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Teach for America proposal squashed in Buffalo

Buffalo Board of Education meeting last night was heated after security guards had to escort would be board member Carl Paladino out for criticizing the slow response of School Board members to the problems at one of the schools involving sewage backup and the impact the environmental problem is having on the health of students and school employees, teachers from the Math, Science and Technology School that had complained on Wednesday. Also, the contract to hire 60 Teach for America recruits over a two year period 30 starting this summer and 30 more next year was squashed at the School Board meeting last night not enough votes or as Buffalo News education blogger Mary Pasciak wrote about the meeting last night " too many unanswered questions and too little time to resolve them" according to Board members Ralph Hernandez, West District and Jason McCarthy, from the North District. So it's back to the drawing board for M&T Bank Chairman and CEO Robert G. Wilmers who supported the arrival of the young fresh out of college recruits to teach in Buffalo schools. Hernandez is running for a third term in the upcoming school district seats up for grabs this year. The nominating petitions drive started in February and with Carl Paladino throwing his hat into the political arena once again, the Buffalo Board of Education elections will be a lively one. Lou Petrucci, Park District Rep. is not running this year told Paladino when he got a telephone call from the ex-gubernatorial candidate who had won the most votes from the South Buffalo District he plans to run in. Hopefully, philanthropic largess of NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg similar to what he contributed to the Los Angeles California School Board race does not happen in the City of Buffalo. Imagine, Bloomberg gave a $1 million dollar donation to help support his school reform agenda as far away as in California! With donations from these hedge fund loving billionaires the average joe run for a school board seat across the nation will be a thing of the past.

The College and Career Girls Prep Charter High School letter of intent approved expected to open 2014

The State Education Department issued its 2013 Preliminary Review/Approval Round 1 Letters of Intent that have been accepted and invited to submit a full application for a charter school during the month of February 2013. There were 27 letters of intent for charter schools many of them in New York City with several in the upstate NY region Rochester and Buffalo City School District. The College and Career Girls Prep Charter High School in the Buffalo City School District had as a lead applicant Dr. Constance M. Moss and Co-Applicant Marvel E. Ross-Jones. Planned grades and enrollment in each year 96 students in 9th grade 2014-15 up to 364, in 2018-19 by adding a grade level each year. It did not respond to any proposed management or organizational partnership. Also, named as the Applicant Founding Group and Initial Board Members are: Dr. Moss, Mrs. Bradley, Sonia S. Burgin, Dr. Ramelli L. Choate, former school board member, Dr. Catherine Collins, Barbara Davis, Dr. Margarita L. Dubocovich, Elnora B. Grice, Reine Hauser, Joyce Hwang, Rev. Darius Pridgen, Sylvia E. Wright, and Michael V. Wright. The first application the group submitted on February 2011 had been withdrawn and it was suppose to be located in Niagara Falls, NY. The second revised application submitted on February 2012 also was withdrawn for other problems and again revised in July 2012 and withdrawn citing other issues and finally the letter of intent February 2013 resulted in the College & Career Girls Prep Charter High School appearing on the State Ed Website approved to move on to the next phase of the application process. The mission of the charter school is to prepare the female graduates to enroll in higher education. The target population is 81% eligible for free and reduced lunch program, 14.7% students with disabilities and 10% English Language Learners.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Private donors benefit from educational foundation pay- to- play scheme

Wondering why there's so much testing? Here is one reason: A new report sheds light on the influence of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s education foundation and its corporate backers on Oklahoma’s education leaders and latest policies. Through public records requests, a Washington, D.C.,-based advocacy group released a report called “In the Public Interest” that shows the Foundation for Excellence in Education is writing and editing education laws and regulations in six states in ways that could benefit its private funders. The group contends the arrangement is essentially a “pay-to-play” scheme in which corporations can influence policy and then reap the profits.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Mayor Bloomberg's iron grip on New York will be felt in education and development policy years after he leaves office

Friday, February 15, 2013

Mayor Bloomberg's legacy 176 charter schools in NYC.

Gonzalez: Bloomberg's iron grip on city will be felt years after leaving office

Thursday, February 14, 2013

D.C. the new charter school mecca

D.C. charter school enrollment outpaces that of city public schools :

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Obama asking congress to change Higher Education Act

Through tax credits, grants, and better loans, we've made college more affordable for millions of students and families over the last few years. But taxpayers can't keep on subsidizing higher and higher and higher costs for higher education. Colleges must do their part to keep costs down, and it's our job to make sure that they do. So, tonight, I ask Congress to change the Higher Education Act so that affordability and value are included in determining which colleges receive certain types of federal aid.  And -- and tomorrow, my Administration will release a new college scorecard that parents and students can use to compare schools based on a simple criteria: where you can get the most bang for your educational buck. Now, to grow our middle class, our citizens have to have access to the education and training that today's jobs require. But we also have to make sure that America remains a place where everyone who's willing to work -- everybody who's willing to work hard has the chance to get ahead. Our economy is stronger when we harness the talents and ingenuity of striving, hopeful immigrants.

Obama to redesign American high schools to be more high tech

OBAMA: Tonight, I'm announcing a new challenge, to redesign America's high schools so they better equip graduates for the demands of a high-tech economy. And we'll reward schools that develop new partnerships with colleges and employers, and create classes that focus on science, technology, engineering and math, the skills today's employers are looking for to fill the jobs that are there right now and will be there in the future. Now, even with better high schools, most young people will need some higher education. It's a simple fact: The more education you've got, the more likely you are to have a good job and work your way into the middle class. But today, skyrocketing costs price too many young people out of a higher education or saddle them with unsustainable debt. Through tax credits, grants, and better loans, we've made college more affordable for millions of students and families over the last few years. But taxpayers can't keep on subsidizing higher and higher and higher costs for higher education. Colleges must do their part to keep costs down, and it's our job to make sure that they do.

Obama wants to model American high schools after German higher education

Let's also make sure that a high school diploma puts our kids on a path to a good job. Right now, countries like Germany focus on graduating their high school students with the equivalent of a technical degree from one of our community colleges, so those German kids, they're ready for a job when they graduate high school. They've been trained for the jobs that are there. Now at schools like P-TECH in Brooklyn, a collaboration between New York public schools and City University of New York and IBM, students will graduate with a high school diploma and an associate's degree in computers or engineering. We need to give every American student opportunities like this. And four years ago... (APPLAUSE) Four years ago, we started Race to the Top, a competition that convinced almost every state to develop smarter curricula and higher standards, all for about 1 percent of what we spend on education each year.

Early childhood education works boosts graduation rates, reduce teen pregnancy even crime said Prez Obama

Every dollar we invest in high-quality early childhood education can save more than seven dollars later on, by boosting graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, even reducing violent crime. In states that make it a priority to educate our youngest children -- like Georgia or Oklahoma -- studies show students grow up more likely to read and do math at grade level, graduate high school, hold a job, form more stable families of their own. We know this works. So let's do what works and make sure none of our children start the race of life already behind. Let's give our kids that chance.

Prez Obama wants to make high quality preschool ed available to every child

" after study shows that the sooner a child begins learning, the better he or she does down the road. But today, fewer than three in ten 4-year-olds are enrolled in a high-quality preschool program. Most middle-class parents can't afford a few hundred bucks a week for private preschool. And for poor kids who need help the most, this lack of access to preschool education can shadow them for the rest of their lives. So, tonight, I propose working with states to make high-quality preschool available to every single child in America."

Prez Obama wants to attract private capital to upgrade schools

And to make sure taxpayers don't shoulder the whole burden, I'm also proposing a Partnership to Rebuild America that attracts private capital to upgrade what our businesses need most: modern ports to move our goods; modern pipelines to withstand a storm; modern schools worthy of our children.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Education Week: States Lack Data on Principals, Study Says

States lack data on principals training and evaluation

States Lack Data on Principals, Study Says Most states lack data on school leaders' training, evaluation By Sarah D. Sparks While principals increasingly are moving to center stage in national debates over school improvement, a new study finds most states have little or no information about how their principals are prepared, licensed, supported, and evaluated.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Interest on student loans only deductible first 5 years of repayment as of 2012.

The Tax Relief Act of 2010 (“TRA 2010″) carried over the ability to continue to deduct interest without regards to
date the loan was taken out. But, like many of those “extender provisions” passed last year, it is not permanent. After 2012, the tax law will revert back to the pre-EGTRRA rules and interest on a student loan will only be deductible for the first five years of repayment.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Student loans in Australia and United Kingdom not same as USA, Congress should not pass student loan payroll deduction bill

There is a discussion underway in Congress to deduct student loans from payroll deductions alleged to be similar to the United Kingdom and Australia, but the U.S.A. Congressional sponsors of the bill are disingenuous and spreading misinformation about how it works in these  two countries.
There is an income threshold in both countries students have to meet to start paying back the loans. In  the UK its over  21,000 pounds that converts to over $32,000 in USD.
Does Australia Have the Answer? - Brainstorm - The Chronicle of Higher Education
In Australia "Currently, that threshold income is around $45,000 per year and as soon as the borrower meets that threshold, whether it is while the student is still in school or even years after graduation, repayments begin. The monthly payment amount is not based on the size or term of the loan, but instead on the borrower’s level of income, with students at the threshold level paying 4-percent of their earnings in loan payments and those earning higher wages paying no more than 8 percent of their earnings. Unlike in our Income Based Repayment program, interest does not capitalize and the total amount due does not increase just because a longer repayment term is in order (unless the economy is so strong that CPI increases dramatically over that period of time, in which case one would assume that wages would maintain a similar rate of growth). Perhaps most importantly, there are no defaults in the Australian student-loan program. It is the Australian Tax Authority that collects student loan payments, not the Department of Education, and the borrower has the option of either making payments through routine payroll deductions (similar to the way in which Americans pay their FICA and other taxes) or through annual tax assessment."

Hispanic graduation rates increased

Hispanic graduation rates 71% a 10 points increase, the highest from other ethnic groups in NCES most recent figures.
Graduation rates improved for every race and ethnicity in 2010, but gaps among racial groups persist. Asian students had the highest graduation rate, with 93 percent of students finishing high school on time. White students followed with an 83 percent graduation rate, American Indians and Alaska Natives with 69.1 percent and African Americans with 66.1 percent.
National high school graduation rate reaches a four-decade high :

Friday, January 25, 2013

Crisis in DC schools school closures push more students into charter schools

How to privatize a public school system? Hire DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson.
D.C. Council members fear schools near tipping point as students flee :

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Teacher evaluation plans are in so are the charlatans...!

The APPR plans are in as the result of the muscle flexing from both the Commissioner John B. King, Jr. and Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Interestingly, many folks wonder how those inflicting unreasonable educational policies for others to follow moved up the educational hierarchy with questionable qualification themselves. The rhetoric of saying highly qualifed, highly effective or world-class educator and leader in every classroom comes from those that have not achieved highly qualified experiences themselves. NYS Commissioner of Education, Dr. John B. King has been critized for lacking professional experiences as an educator having only taught two years in a charter school before going on to develop one. And he was appointed Commissioner after serving a few years as a managing director of a charter school organization before his appointment as deputy chancellor by former disgraced Chancellor David Steiner. The other "expert" is U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. He only has an undergraduate degree in sociology from Harvard, an ex Australian league basketball player. There are many in the education community wonder if he would know the difference between a highly effective teacher, an effective teacher, a developing teacher or ineffective teacher if asked to observe a few classrooms. He doesn't have a graduate degree so he said it wasn't important no evidence it improves student achievement so teachers shouldn't be rewarded for one. Yet he wants a highly qualified administrator and teacher in the classroom. Now we have an ex-banker heading, the New NY Education Reform Commission Gov. Cuomo established last year to revamp public education. What's the NYS Board of Regents suppose to do while this group is trying to figure out what to do with the public education system in New York State? Oh, whatever happened to Cathie Black, the former Chancellor of the NYS School System? She never taught in a school or had any educational credentials except an undergraduate degree she obtained about 45 years ago. And, there is Mayor Michael Bloomberg the phantom Chancellor of the NYC public schools whose solution to closing the achievement gap is to close schools in the NYC boroughs with high enrollments of poor Latino and African-American students.

California Gov. Jerry Brown criticized state and federal education policy

"We seem to think that education is a thing—like a vaccine—that can be designed from afar and simply injected into our children. But as the Irish poet, William Butler Yeats said, “Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire.” California Gov. Jerry Brown State of the State Address, January 14, 2013

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

New student loan bill automatic payroll deductions

Congress will consider overhauling debt collection in the $100 billion-a-year U.S. student loan program, replacing it with automatic withdrawals from borrowers’ paychecks tied to their income -- a system used in the U.K. Legislation that Wisconsin Republican Representative Tom Petri plans to introduce as soon as this week would require employers to withhold payments from wages in the same way they do taxes. Payments would be capped at 15 percent of borrowers’ income after basic living expenses.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Prince George County students miss morning classes

Prince George’s County continues to struggle with late school buses : 

Should NYC teachers be penalized for Mayor Bloomberg's ignorance of the process...

In analyzing the breakdown, both sides said a major cause was disagreement over how long a plan should be in place before it sunsets, or has to be renewed. City officials said their vision was for any deal to never sunset. City officials criticized the union for seeking such a clause for 2015, just before any potential dismissal process could get under way. They called that bad public policy that they would not enact even if money was to be lost. But Michael Mulgrew, the president of the union, said the process for dismissing a wayward teacher could continue even if the tenets of an evaluation plan subject to collective bargaining were in need of renewal, a position echoed by Mr. King. More than 90 percent of districts whose evaluation plans won state approval had plans that included provisions to sunset after a year. Henry L. Grishman, the superintendent of the Jericho School

NYT: More Money at Risk Over Teache

State Ed still waiting on NYC to comply with submitting teacher evaluation plan.

On Friday, in a letter to Dennis M. Walcott, the city's schools chancellor, Mr. King said he would have no choice but to withhold or redirect federal money unless the city submitted plans by Feb. 15 showing it was working toward putting a new teacher evaluation system in place. Specifically, Mr. King said, the city should focus on training teachers and school leaders in carrying out any new plan - something he said had not been done yet.

Trying to shed the student loan debt, WSJ, 5/2012

However, making federal loans easier to discharge through bankruptcy would be politically thorny, given that taxpayers would pick up the tab if those debts were shed." - You picked up for your American Corporate Greed debts; but you do not want to pick up for your children??

Lo and behold....student loans, , what a scam!!!

Guest Post: A Bankrupt Policy | New America Blogs

Student loans again, sue the goverment for fraud....?

Just about every student has legal standing for suing the US government for negligence, and for violating the RICO statutes. Participating in a known fraud, is a criminal act, and the US government is accessory to it all, because they allowed it, in fact, they made it happen.

Lo and behold it's that student loan debt again!

"If I had been one of the crooks who diverted funds out of a savings-and-loan bank in the 1980s, loans insured by the Feds, I would no longer have any obligation to pay those debts by now --- the statute of limitations would have tolled. Indeed, I could have bankrupted on them at any time. But I borrowed a student loan and have no option until the day I die. Fortunately, inasmuch as I am aging and in poor health, neither the Government nor their collection goons is going to be able to get much out of me. It is a pity that the olnly alternative to debt-slavery is death!"

"Student loan borrowers have been unfairly targeted so that the bankers can profit at our expense. There is absolutely no logically fair reason why Student loan repayment is held to such a high standard. They should be dischargeable in bankruptcy, lenders should have to restructure defaulted loans for those who need it and they damn sure should not be allowed to garnish wages without a judgement! Not allowing any kind of restructuring of loans is utterly stupid and counterproductive. It doesn't get the loan paid back. It doesn't help either party. It's merely punitive towards the borrower who took out the loans in hopes that they would find a decent job once they gained an education. In MANY cases this does not happen. When they stop sending jobs overseas and stop expecting folks to actually live and pay bills on $10 an hour, MAYBE we can buy the BS they're selling. (...and I say "they should stop sending jobs overseas, because the corporate crooks are in bed with the legislators who do nothing to help the folks who put them in office!)"

Oh lord, the student loan debt

....and don't you just love how the government wants to BAIL OUT the private loan companies on top of everything else.... Obviously with taking away bankruptcy and wanting to bail out these companies the goverment obviously doesn't care about its citizens, at least not the ones who TRIED to do the right thing and go to college, but obviously failed in a failing economy.

Oh my...what about that student loan?

The US government has bailed out Wall Street and big business repeatedly at the expense of once again low to moderate income American tax payers. It is beyond time for the predatory student loan industry to crumble while students forced to borrow student loans receive relief instead of government sanctioned knighthood into perpetual poverty and credit unworthiness.
A comment...

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Race harassment case won

Court Upholds $1M Award in School Race-Harassment Case
By Mark Walsh
on December 3, 2012 5:50 PM A federal appeals court has upheld a $1 million jury award against a small New York state school district found to be deliberately indifferent to persistent racial harassment of a high school student by his peers. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, in New York City, ruled unanimously in favor of the family of Anthony Zeno, who is half-white and half-Latino and is described in court papers as "dark-skinned." Zeno was 16 when his family moved in January 2005 from Long Island to the heavily white community of Pine Plains, in Dutchess County, N.Y. At Stissing Mountain High School, where racial minorities were less than 5 percent of the student enrollment, Zeno quickly encountered the harassment, including students calling him "nigger" in the halls and telling him to go back where he came from, according to court papers. A student ripped a necklace from Zeno's neck and referred to it as Zeno's "fake rapper bling bling." There were also direct and implied threats aimed at Zeno, and references to lynching.

Social media tells the truth what happened at Hamburg school district teachers vote down APPR

January 12, 2013- The Hamburg Teacher's Association (HTA) voted overwhelmingly on Friday to turn down the district's APPR plan. The vote results were announced by Superintendent Steven Achramovitch, at special meeting of the Hamburg Central School District Board of Education, at the administrative building, at 4:30 P.M. The substance of the meeting is as follows:

Hamburg teachers say no confidence in super or board

The Vote was a Vote of No Confidence Against
Achramovitch While it is true that the Hamburg teachers are opposed to state testing being used to evaluate them, Achramovitch being the judge and jury in the appeals process and APPR in general, most Hamburg teachers voted against APPR because they do not trust Steven Achramovitch. Achramovitch strong armed the teachers into taking a wage freeze last school year by threatening to "cut teachers." Once the teachers agreed Achramovitch laid off most of the teachers anyway. Achramovitch has demonstrated that he can push around the HTA leadership (Mrozek and Garra) but the teachers followed their real leader, C.C., and drew a line in the sand.

Hamburg teachers say no to APPR

Hamburg Teachers: Stop Threatening Us Posted by dianerav The Hamburg (NY) teachers union has refused to agree to a deal on teacher evaluations that would give all power to the superintendent; they want an independent person to make the final judgment when a teacher appeals a bad evaluation. Negotiations broke down when an administrator threatened that teachers would be fired if no agreement was reached. Remember that the deal is about getting $450,000 for the district to comply with

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