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What Progressives Can Do to Stop the War on Public Education

Complete video of the session plus Q&A, and bios of the panelists. Watch live streaming video from fstvnewswire at livestream.com

K12NN Site Admin June 15, 2012 June 15, 2012 Diane Ravitch, John Jackson, Kenneth Bernstein, Netroots Nation 2012, NN12, Public Education
Vermont Resolution Against High Stakes Testing

Vermont was known for administering its state standardized test in October, which I thought was brilliant. It truly made the test diagnostic, because teachers and parents had the information from tests to work on all year long. Now Vermont has taken another bold step: in late July, 2014, it announced the State Board of Education had approved a resolution that rejects high-stakes testing under NCLB and instead urges that “multiple and qualitative assessments” be used to evaluate student work. So why don’t more states adopt this resolution? I’ve attached below and linked to the pdf of the resolution.

K12NN Site Admin September 18, 2014 September 18, 2014 State Board of Education resolutions, Vermont
2014 – 2015 Florida State Lawmaker Emails, House & Senate Ed Committee

Florida House and Senate Ed. Committee member email addresses:   alan.williams@myfloridahouse.gov bob.cortes@myfloridahouse.gov bruce.antone@myfloridahouse.gov charlie.stone@myfloridahouse.gov Chris.sprowls@myfloridahouse.gov colleen.burton@myfloridahouse.gov cynthia.stafford@myfloridahouse.gov dan.raulerson@myfloridahouse.gov dennis.baxley@myfloridahouse.gov dwayne.taylor@myfloridahouse.gov elizabeth.porter@myfloridahouse.gov erik.fresen@myfloridahouse.gov fred.costello@myfloridahouse.gov heather.fitzenhagen@myfloridahouse.gov irving.slosberg@myfloridahouse.gov janet.adkins@myfloridahouse.gov jose.diaz@myfloridahouse.gov joseph.geller@myfloridahouse.gov keith.perry@myfloridahouse.gov larry.ahern@myfloridahouse.gov larry.lee@myfloridahouse.gov larry.metz@myfloridahouse.gov manny.diaz@myfloridahouse.gov marlene.otoole@myfloridahouse.gov mia.jones@myfloridahouse.gov mike.miller@myfloridahouse.gov richard.stark@myfloridahouse.gov ross.spano@myfloridahouse.gov shawn.harrison@myfloridahouse.gov shevrin.jones@myfloridahouse.gov Gaetz.don@flsenate.gov Montford.bill@flsenate.gov Bullard.dwight@flsenate.gov Galvano.bill@flsenate.gov Legg.john@flsenate.gov Ring.jeremy@flsenate.gov Simmons.david@flsenate.gov Stargel.kelli@flsenate.gov Detert.nancy@flsenate.gov Benacquisto.lizbeth@flsenate.gov Brandes.jeff@flsenate.gov Clemens.jeff@flsenate.gov Garcia.rene@flsenate.gov Sobel.eleanor@flsenate.gov Compiled by Cindy Hamilton

K12NN Site Admin January 26, 2015 January 27, 2015 Contact Your Representative, Florida, House & Senate Ed Committee
Education as a Right-Wing Wedge Issue—and How to Stop It

Complete Storify notes of the panel discussion with Q&A and bios of the panelists.

K12NN Site Admin June 15, 2012 June 15, 2012 conservative ed reform, Jose Vilson, Karran Harper Royal, Martha Infante, Public Education, public schools, Sabrina Stevens
California: SSPI Tom Torlakson’s Greatness By Design vision of the teaching profession

In 2012, when the state of California was only just starting to emerge from the depths of the Great Recession and our millionaire’s tax ballot initiative to fund public education had not yet passed, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson issued the results of a study he conducted that identifies the ways he plans to improve the career path for teachers at public schools. The long-term study is a plan to introduce more steps on the career ladder for teachers so that they can be recognized as master teachers in the classroom and also master teachers of other teachers. It’s called Greatness By Design. Torlakson explored best practices in several high-achieving countries that have student/family demographics similar to that of California. He gathered and sifted all the information together to drive forward a new vision of the teaching profession and the ways the state of California could support and develop new and seasoned teachers. Diversity, retention, reliance on research-backed and proven best practices, peer mentoring, resources to support teaching professionals, and continuing reflection on and perfection of one’s craft are central to Greatness By Design. See below for the full report. California Department of Education: Greatness By Design

K12NN Site Admin September 19, 2014 September 19, 2014
Model School Board Resolutions: Sacramento City Unified School District

Note incorporation of “tolerance and acceptance over hate speech,” and  “allocating adequate resources necessary to support diversity, inclusion, and the values of a multicultural society.”

K12NN Site Admin February 8, 2017 February 8, 2017 Sacramento City Unified School District, safe haven resolution
Whose Law Is It Anyway? ALEC’s Influence on State Legislatures and What We Can Do About It

Complete Storify notes and video of the panel, Q&A, and discussion of ALEC. Not solely about education, but very much relevant as ALEC-pushed bills are the template for corporate takeover of public education in state legislatures.

K12NN Site Admin June 15, 2012 June 15, 2012 ALEC, American Legislative Exchange Council, corporate-backed laws, right-wing legislative clearinghouse
California’s two student privacy laws 2014

California has the strongest student data privacy laws in the nation. Should we model the federal Student Digital Privacy Act on them? Find out what’s covered.

K12NN Site Admin October 3, 2014 June 30, 2015 student data, student data privacy, student privacy
#Ferguson, MO Commission Report

[From Forward Through Ferguson, A Path To Racial Equity, a report by the Ferguson Commission.] CHILD WELL-BEING AND EDUCATION EQUITY Working Group Co-Chairs: Commissioner Becky James-Hatter Commissioner Grayling Tobias (December 1, 2014 – April 13, 2015) Desired Changes: Build a region that ensures that all children and youth, ages 0-25, are thriving in their daily lives by: • Growing and developing to their full potential; • Retaining the ability to be children; and • Preparing to become fulfilled and contributing adults Secure educational achievement, fairness, and opportunity for all youth by: • Setting high expectations; • Recognizing unique differences and developmental stages; • Advancing outcome-based approaches; • Aligning and coordinating customized services; and • Producing college-ready and career-ready students Topics Explored: • School District and School Accreditation • Hunger and Food Instability • Public Education Funding • College Access and Affordability • Human Capital in Education • Social Service Coordination with Schools • Caring Adults (mentors, coaches) • Early Childhood Education • Parent Education and Engagement • Childhood Health Review the full list of calls to action from this working group in the “Calls to Action” section of the report. Sept 14, 2015 Forward Through Ferguson: A Path Toward Racial Equity by k12newsnetwork

K12NN Site Admin September 15, 2015 September 15, 2015 BlackLivesMatter, education equity, Ferguson, racial justice, whole child
Why Are State Budget Cuts to Education the “New Normal”?

When the housing bubble ginned up by Wall Street went into freefall some time around 2007-2008, housing values plummeted and with them evaporated crucial state funding for K-12 schools based on residential real estate valuation. The Center for Budget Policy and Priorities has said that for 2012-2013, the budgets of thirty states will continue to reflect shortfalls in funding and that this graph shows how losses might not be made up until 2019 at the earliest: Consider that in 2010, a number of corporate reformers plotted a hostile takeover of public education and assessed their efforts so far. In 2010, billionaire donors like the Waltons, DeVos and Gates families gathered in Houston, Texas at a Philanthropy Roundtable meeting to discuss ways to create “breakthroughs” in public education. After patting themselves on the back for promoting organizations like Teach for America and KIPP, as well as recognizing Joel Klein and Michelle Rhee, they looked to the future. As they were brainstorming things to note in the current landscape, AEI’s Rick Hess suggested that unions could be co-opted by being encouraged to move from an industrial model to a “professional model”, and then offered this: The fiscal condition of states and towns will open up opportunities, too. “There’s going to be a sustained window of four to five years or longer where you’re going to find local districts with very tight budgets,” Hess said. “This is a huge moment of opportunity for funders to step up to the plate and say, ‘We’re going to help you out—but there’s a quid pro quo.’”[emphasis in the citation] That would be a textbook example of Shock Doctrine education reform right there, funded by the same billionaires who created and continue to maintain the fiscal condition of states and towns. Those same billionaires are now spending hundreds of millions of dollars to keep that window forced open while they work to shift public opinion away from traditional K-12 education into for-profit models that will present “opportunities” for a quid-pro-quo deal. Consider it a multi-pronged approach. Drive a stake into the heart of teachers unions and put proposals in front of them that will need to be “jammed down their throats”, demonize those same teachers in order to manufacture a “crisis” based primarily on flawed testing and unproven evaluation metrics. Add the online education movement amplified via ALEC and state legislatures, where online education isn’t simply an option, but is required in several states. Mix it up with a pinch of teacher humiliation, and the odor of “education deform” begins to permeate and bubble in every community. The tragedy that was Hurricane Katrina for the city of New Orleans was so textbook a case of Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein spent  a lengthy chapter detailing how the public school system was immediately replaced by for-profit charter schools. In the excerpted introduction to her book of the same name, Klein describes a conversation she had with some New Orleans residents who were at a temporary shelter: The news racing around the shelter that day was that the Republican Congressman Richard Baker had told a group of lobbyists, “We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn’t do it, but God did.” Joseph Canizaro, one of New Orleans’ wealthiest developers, had just expressed a similar sentiment: “I think we have a clean sheet to start again. And with that clean sheet we have some very big opportunities.” All that week Baton Rouge had been crawling with corporate lobbyists helping to lock in those big opportunities: lower taxes, fewer regulations, cheaper workers and a “smaller, safer city” – which in practice meant plans to level the public housing projects. Hearing all the talk of “fresh starts” and “clean sheets”, you could almost forget the toxic stew of rubble, chemical outflows and human remains just a few miles down the highway. Over at the shelter, Jamar could think of nothing else. “I really don’t see it as cleaning up the city. What I see is that a lot of people got killed uptown. People who shouldn’t have died.” He was speaking quietly, but an older man in line in front of us overheard and whipped around. “What is wrong with these people in Baton Rouge? This isn’t an opportunity. It’s a goddamned tragedy. Are they blind?” A mother with two kids chimed in. “No, they’re not blind, they’re evil. They see just fine.” One of those who saw opportunity in the floodwaters of New Orleans was the late Milton Friedman, grand guru of unfettered capitalism and credited with writing the rulebook for the contemporary, hyper-mobile global economy. Ninety-three years old and in failing health, “Uncle Miltie”, as he was known to his followers, found the strength to write an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal three months after the levees broke. “Most New Orleans schools are in ruins,” Friedman observed, “as are the homes of the children who have attended them. The children are now scattered all over the country. This is a tragedy. It is also an opportunity.” There, in essence, is the Shock Doctrine: your tragedy is my opportunity. Please do read the supplemental materials Klein provides, including the Milton Friedman newspaper editorial that proposes “vulture capitalism” as the way to rebuild New Orleans schools. This is why K12NN’s number one priority, and the priority of anyone who genuinely cares about strengthening public schools, is to fully fund existing public schools. We must repel the carrion-feeders who capitalize from misfortune, and if no natural disaster strikes, they ensure that man-made ones enacted through state legislatures’ austerity budgets, continued chronic underfunding, and cuts and triggers become the “new normal.” If hedge fund and billionaire philanthropists — who openly rub their hands in glee at the prospect of turning public schools into factory-like information delivery systems to children who are little else than sources of data — have their way, the impact of the 2007 Great Recession could be prolonged by deliberate political inaction into 2019 — long enough for profiteers to finish their hostile takeover of public schools. We cannot allow this to happen. We must continually remind each other that scarcity benefits profiteers. All cuts, no taxes ever is NOT the “new normal.” We must look to the ways that schools can and should be funded: by increasing revenue streams. Fund our public schools, or face losing a generation of young people and a vital pillar of our civil society.

K12NN Site Admin June 21, 2012 June 21, 2012 disaster capitalism, Hurricane Katrina, Naomi Klein, New Orleans, public schools, shock doctrine, state K-12 budgets

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