Wednesday, November 26, 2014

U of Memphis President David Rudd Sells Out Education Students and Faculty to Wall Street Hedge Funders

Posted earlier at Schools Matter:

I'm imagining coming in to work tomorrow morning to find out the president of my university has cut a deal with some Wall Street investors to give space in our department to sell a corporate freak show packaged as a teacher education program. 

Oh, you didn't notice because you are out of town for the holidays or a conference?  

That's the way President David Rudd planned it.  From the Commercial Appeal:

Relay Graduate School of Education, a partner in a new undergraduate teacher training residency the University of Memphis plans to offer, has filed an application with the state to offer 11 master’s degree programs starting next summer.

The university offered Relay free classroom and office space, at least initially. Instruction would be provided by a program dean whom Relay intends to hire, plus four or five adjunct professors.

The Commercial Appeal obtained the 448-page Relay application through the Freedom of Information Act.

Relay’s approval is central to the university’s plan to offer an alternative certification program geared to undergraduates entering their junior year. The university and the philanthropists envision attracting bright, dedicated students from other majors on campus and from schools around the nation who would be interested in teaching in the city’s high-need schools.. . .
My advice to U of M education students: Get your signs made and your speeches written: December will be about more than shopping.  

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Suck It, Green Dot!

posted at Schools Matter

Goes to show what concerted public protest can accomplish.  The task is not over, but just begun.

From the Commercial Appeamoments ago:
Shelby County Schools will keep Raleigh-Egypt High School next year, a major change for the community, which has been protesting since late October the state’s plan to take over the school next fall.

Green Dot Public Schools was the charter assigned to the takeover. . . 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Barbic Boasts, Hopson Shuffles

Posted earlier at Schools Matter:

The corporate school takeover model in New Orleans that has failed everyone except for corporate socialists is not going down so well in the attempted replication in Memphis.  The lawyer/superintendent, Dorsey Hopson, who was put in charge of coordinating the giveaway of Memphis schools to the corporate welfare kings and queens of the charter school/real estate industry, is finding his task a bit more complicated than delivering the closing argument that he anticipated would win the day for the corporate reform schools.  

At this point, parents, teachers, and students in Memphis don't know which liar to believe less, as Hopson and ASD superintendent, Chris Barbic, bob and weave and blame one another in order to avoid getting hammered by citizens with hard questions.  Parents want to know why some their schools are being given away, at least the ones with better facilities--the ones that the profiteers want to confiscate for their charter school prison programs.  

Parents and teachers want to know why SCS plans to crowd hundreds of their children into surviving public schools so that a handful of charter school students can occupy entire school buildings, one class at a time. 

They want to know why, if there is an education crisis in Memphis, that KIPP and Yes Prep and the other corporate reform schools are given four years to get a whole school up and running.  

They want to know which politicians are getting paid commissions for every child handed into into the charter chain gangs.  

They want to know why a segregated straight jacket model of school is being imposed only on their children. 

They want to know why they are being manipulated and disrespected by being talked down to by the paid corporate lackeys from the dissemblers from Stand for Children and the Uncle Toms and Aunt Thomasinas from BAEO.  

They want to know why the SCS superintendent is calling their schools "bad" based on junk test scores that reflect the low income of the neighborhoods.  

They want to know why caring, mature teachers are being replaced by white corporate missionaries who learn to teach on their children before moving into new jobs in the Central Office.  

They want to know why SCS has replaced every educator in Central Office with people without leadership or school administrative experience.  

They want to know why investment banker and school board member, Chris Campbell, is so prominent in this giveaway of public resources.

They want to know why the Governor allows the corporate hoodlum, Chris Barbic, to strut around the communities and make such ridiculous and mean-spirited threats:

“I think it’s important to remind everyone that a lot of things we are doing are by choice.  If we wanted to, we could take over all 85 schools next year." 

Meanwhile the confused and deep-into-the-weeds, Dorsey Hopson, seems to think that his best route is make more appearance and tell more lies more prominently in the community.  He has spent the last year and half surrounding himself with more Huffman-like drones from TFA, and now he has this to say in the Commercial Appeal:
"The last six to seven months have been tied up in building an academic team," Hopson said, adding that his focus now will be on community engagement.

"We are going to go out and have discussion about the schools, and about the data and what it means. I am going to ask board members to participate and really make sure the community knows if the data at your school is low, that means you are not attending a good school.
Can a person put in charge of so many children's educational fate really believe that people are as stupid as he pretends they are?  

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Which Liar Do You Believe?

In October, Dorsey Hopson told this to the SCS Board about ASD hit list of schools:  “SCS has no say in the matter of takeovers."

A day or so ago, Smalley from ASD said this:  "The main thing here is clearing up confusion around how the extra six performance criteria were created—this wasn’t done unilaterally by the ASD, but collaboratively with Shelby County."

The Inside Story on 80-90-100

Posted yesterday at Schools Matter.

In a Commercial Appeal story about cuts to teacher raises on April 22 of this year, this came at the end of story by Jane Roberts:
If the board agrees to the goals [Goals 2025], the district has made it clear that the community will have to play a larger role in how they are achieved. It has joined forces with StriveTogether, a Cincinnati-based network that aligns nonprofits, college and other education partners with specific district goals. With parental permission, SCS and the Achievement School District have agreed to share student test scores with organizations here working to lift scores, college access, third-grade literacy rates and kindergarten readiness, hoping they can tailor their programs to help meet specific academic need.
The board did agree, and today Shelby County stands on the brink of another corporate foundation plan to “improve” educational outcomes in Shelby County.  The plan is called 80-90-100, and it has been developed by StriveTogether and EdWorks, both non-profit corporations that are subsidiaries and under the direction of KnowledgeWorks, another non-profit corporation that was created in 2002 by a grant from another non-profit corporation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  Gates continues to partner with KnowledgeWorks and to give generously in order to help implement the Gates Foundation vision under the label of the dummy company, KnowledgeWorks.

All of these vastly wealthy non-profit folk want your children’s data to serve as a basis for a coordinated plan to steer education policy from pre-K through college, in every town in America, if they can.

The Gates Foundation, of course, is run by the for-as-much-profit-as-possible former CEO of Microsoft, Bill Gates, who you will remember started the demolition of Memphis schools in 2009 with a 90 million dollar money bomb. 

Since Gates started “giving his money away” a few years ago, his wealthy has strangely ballooned by almost $30 billion dollars, so that today Gates is worth $82.4 billion.

But I digress.  Here is a slide below from the plan, Goals 2025, which was developed by many interconnected Gates clones and handed over to their stooge, Supt. Dorsey Hopson.  Memphis has turned into a hive of these TFA alums and Econ majors, now living in Memphis hoping to find the perfect latte and to strike it rich in the growth industry of turning over public schools to the corporate welfare predators lined for a piece of the action. 

KnowledgeWorks, StriveTogether, and the other subsidiaries are to be on hand to give Barbic his marching orders, too, and to make it all look like a state and local government operation.  In a sense, it is, since taxpayers are paying the entire bill.  Just ask the investment banker on the SCS Board of Education.

Oh, did I say that KnowledgeWorks CEO is a graduate of the Broad Superintendent Academy?  Small world.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Taking It to ASD

Neshellda Johnson at a meeting with the corporate clones from ASD last week.  From BadAss Advocates for Kids.

More on Coalition Meeting to Stop ASD

First posted at Schools Matter.

from Chalkbeat Tennessee:
The Shelby County Teachers Coalition meeting will take place at Southside Middle School at 5:30 p.m. [on November 13] and is open to the Memphis community. The coalition bills itself as an effort to inform parents about the process in which the state takes over low-performing schools and hands them over to charter schools or directly runs them.

. . . the coalition accuses the Achievement School District of “hijacking our schools,” “stealing public education funds,” “giving their friends our buildings” for “private” charter schools that “select the students that they want to attend their schools.” They also accuse the charter schools of “firing and replacing our teachers.”
The ASD has pointed out that it, too is a governmental organization using public funds in an effort to improve public schools. Only non-profit charter schools can run charter schools in Tennessee. ASD schools cannot under the law select the students that attend its schools. And while teachers in schools that have been taken over by charters do have to reapply to stay at the schools, several of the charter networks guarantee teachers interviews, though not positions.

Coalition leaders also point out that some of the schools’ test scores have dropped since being taken over by the ASD.
“People need to be aware of that,” said one of the coalition’s leaders who didn’t want her name used out of fear of retaliation.  “They need to do something with the schools they have first.  Then if you’re helping our students, then possibly.  But you’re still gobbling up schools. Do something with what you have.”

The ASD has said that it picked schools to take over based on their recent test scores, their feeder patterns and a slew of other factors agreed upon by the district and the Shelby County Schools officials. They also point to increases in some of their schools’ test scores and acknowledge that their model is not perfect.

Teachers formed the coalition earlier this month after two charter organizations pulled out of the matching process because of capacity concerns. Since the start of the matching process, several politicians and community leaders have spoken out against the ASD’s expansion citing the district’s inability to reach its own stated goal of moving the bottom 5 percent schools to the top 25 percent in five years.

This past weekend, the ASD held a fair for parents and teachers to learn more about the matching process and the charter schools involved but only a few dozen people showed up.

Two of those people were the members of the Shelby County Teachers Coalition who placed the flyers advertising this Thursday’s rally under attendees’ windshield wipers. After entering the fair, they were immediately greeted by ASD superintendent Chris Barbic.

“Chris and I we have a friendly relationship in terms of expressing our view points,” one of the members told Chalkbeat later on. “We’re on opposite ends. but he’s open and available. He didn’t tell me nothing we didn’t know. I respect him but he didn’t change my mind. We know what his agenda is: to take over the schools.”

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Ravitch Backs AFT Corporate Innovation Fund Grants to Keep Common Core Alive

For those who have denied the danger that Diane Ravitch represents to the testing resistance  movement, have a look at this latest attempt to garner support among for Weingarten's latest efforts to keep alive the maggot-infested body of Common Core. 
Despite the efforts of the Gates Foundation and others to treat the Common Core standards as an iron-clad document, as tablets chiseled in stone, which may be added to but never changed, the American Federation of Teachers has awarded grants to its affiliates in New York and Connecticut to review, and where necessary, rewrite the standards. The same thing could happen in every state where teachers have concluded that the CC standards are developmentally inappropriate, misaligned with the needs of children with disabilities, or suffer from other defects. This move on the part of the AFT both bolsters the chances of CC to survive and undercuts  its ability to be considered “national standards,” since teachers in every state will see different ways to revise them. Teachers will determine whether the standards need revision or whether the implementation was problematic. Let the revisions begin!
Gentlemen, start your pencils!  Etc. 

First, Ravitch assumes that everyone agrees with her, Weingarten, and CorpEd in thinking that one set of standards and one curriculum for the nation are good ideas, and all that CC requires is some "reviewing" and maybe some re-writing "where necessary."

Thinking people resent this, just as they resent the whole idea of monoculture that is bred by the insistence on having a unitary approach to knowledge and understanding.  We need diversity of thought in order to respect our differences and to solve our common problems, not everyone on the same page at the same time of day in the same textbook, from Buffalo to Biloxi.

Secondly, Ravitch assumes that because Weingarten has spent a few thousand dollars to lubricate two AFT subsidiaries (both corrupt) with dirty money provided by the oligarchs for "innovation grants," then the rest of the AFT and NEA world will follow suit, and that a thousand different versions of Common Core will come to bloom. 

As long as there is a Common Core, there will be a common set of national standards, and tests to go with them, notwithstanding Ravitch's spin.  Is she really this naive or deluded to believe that teachers will, 1) trust Rhonda Weingarten, 2) be assuaged by some foggy notion of a some-day chance to review and/or revise something not worth revising, and 3) cease and desist in a growing rebellion against standardized testing, standardized curriculum, and standardized corporate thinking?

Thirdly, Ravitch assumes that, without any melting of Hell, teachers voices will suddenly be heard.  Does she have some insider knowledge that would change the entire course of education reform history, since it has never been the case in the past been that corporate-federal policymakers have paid any attention to what teachers think.  Talk about magical realism!

Fourthly, Ravitch assumes that because she says it okay for Weingarten to use Broad pocket change to try to bribe teachers, then it must be okay.  After all, Ravitch said so. 

The level of hubris and delusional arrogance that comes with these pronouncements leads me to think that something is not right.  Badly not right.  We know that Ravitch has been building a containment vessel for the resistance since she and Cody started their "Network," getting almost everyone in the resistance to sign on.  I guess it was inevitable that cards be put on the table at some point.

I think this has gone far enough. 

Southside Middle School November 13 5:30 PM

Be There!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

KIPP Putting Problem Students in Basement During High Profile Visits

The story here.

Jon Alfuth Leading Parade for ASD and Haslam

Posted here

ASD Tries Massages and Cupcakes

Chris Barbic is back in action and was answering questions at an ASD Neighborhood Fair yesterday, where a total of 64 souls showed up for cookies and massages and propaganda messages.

The big news is, however, that the resistance will meet at Glenview Community Center on Wednesday at 5:30 PM.
. . . .Barbic answered questions from The Commercial Appeal during the ASD Neighborhood Schools Fair at the Shelby County Schools Teaching and Learning Academy. Partly a student-recruiting event, the fair made available to parents the representatives of about 10 charter schools which will be running 29 Memphis schools near. That’s up from 22 this year.

The ASD schools fair offered Lenny’s sandwiches and cookies for lunch, free massages and cupcakes for parents and teachers, and activities for children. But only 64 people had signed in two hours into the three-hour event.

“It wasn’t as many as I would have liked to have seen,” said Regenia Dowell, a member of the Achievement Advisory Council. She and other council members play a role in matching charter organizations with schools. They attended Saturday to learn from prospective ASD parents what kind of school they want for their children.
And what does Reginia Dowell know about matching schools?  She is a retired Memphis health worker who has been successfully "massaged" by the ASD into pretending to be an ally of parents.  Don't be fooled.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Raleigh Egypt High Students and Parents Rally for Schools on ASD Hit List

The Great School Awakening continues in Memphis, where parents, students, and teachers of Raleigh-Egypt High School rallied Friday to demand that the corporate predators from Green Dot Schools stay clear of school property and the property of other local schools on the ASD hit list for next year.  A clip:
As 20 students held signs telling the charter school assigned to take over Raleigh-Egypt High to “Go Home!!” and “Go Away,” community leaders staged a press conference to push for an alternative: iZone school status.

iZone schools — short for Innovation Zone — are turnaround schools run by Shelby County Schools and get extra money from a school improvement grant. The program is an alternative way to improve academic performance.

State Rep. Antonio Parkinson led the rally just off the school grounds Friday afternoon, saying he and others have had behind-the-scenes conversations with the state Department of Education and the Achievement School District officials. Among those standing with Parkinson were Shelby County Schools board member Stephanie Love, Rev. Elliot Shelton of Promise Land Church and Rev. Sammie Holloway of Breath of Life Christian Center. . . .

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A Retreat from Corporate Welfare Charter Schools in New York

New York City Drops Loser School Strategy

In a clear repudiation of everything that Gates, Broad, and the Waltons stand for, New York City officials have returned to some semblance of sanity after a long reign of educational terrorism.  

May the contagion spread.  From the NYTimes:

SCS Picks Another Non-Educator for Chief Academic Position

With Hopson surrounded by people who are clueless about school culture, children, parent relations, pedagogy, or leadership, Carol Johnson has found the perfect candidate to fill out his cabinet: a person who has never been a teacher or principal but with the necessary experience to know all the players of the corporate foundations.  She also has the added asset of a reputation for top-down management, and she survived two years in Milwaukee schools before they gave her an award to leave.

Monday, November 3, 2014

What Can Memphis and Nashville Learn from RSD in New Orleans?

A clip from Tennessee Education Report, which reports here on a presentation this past weekend in Nashville on the Recovery School District in New Orleans:
Among the statistics presented by Buras:
  • In 2011-12, 100% of the 15 state-run RSD schools assigned a letter grade for student achievement received a D or F
  • 79% of the 42 charter RSD schools assigned a letter grade recieved a D or F
  • RSD schools open less than three years are not assigned a letter grade
  • Studies of student achievement data have shown no impact on overall student achievement and some even show a widening of the achievement gap

Teach for America Teachers Produce Lower Math and Reading Scores

Posted earlier today at Schools Matter:

I talked with a TFA recruit last week in Memphis, and she had 20 days of working with kids last summer as her teacher preparation for working with children this year who need the most experienced and professionally prepared teachers.  If she makes it for two years, she will then go on to a career, while continuing to congratulate herself on what a fine thing she did for the poor children of Memphis.  She will continue, too, to be inundated with propaganda from the TFA home office that will try to recruit her into service at one of the total compliance chain gang schools like KIPP or Uncommon Schools or YES Prep.  If she says yes, she might end up as a high level admin type for Kevin Huffman, who also is a TFA alum.

Meanwhile, more professional teachers of color within the poor communities will be "excessed" and discarded, thus perpetuating the income inequality that is eating Memphis and other urban centers alive.  And children in these poor communities will remember school as comprised of a successive string of temporary young women who were clueless about their lives and communities.

If a more racist and classist system could be contrived, I am not sure what it would be.   And to top it all off, the TFA cult members are not doing as well raising math and reading scores as the "failing" teachers they are replacing.  What's wrong with this picture?

Below is a clip from the Executive Summary of the TN report from this year:

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Top 12 Reasons for Charter Schools

Posted earlier at Schools Matter:

1) Charter schools allow corporate foundations and billionaires to impose a draconisn kind of paternalism on economically disadvantaged children who are thought to be in need of cultural and moral repair.

2) Charter schools allow for the imposition of schedules, curriculums, and behavioral control techniques that are not subject to public scrutiny.

3) Charter schools are cheaper because they reduce teacher salaries, health benefits, learning materials, and retirement plans.

4) Charter schools make it easier to segregate schools based on race, economics, gender, and ability.

5) Charter schools allow for dumping of problem students, special education students, ELL students, and those whose behaviors or academic abilities are out of compliance.

6) Charter schools reduce teacher professionalism and job security, thus making them cheaper and easier to control.

7) Charter schools put education decision-making and control in the hands of unelected executives.

8) Charter schools require minimal public investment in building and transportation infrastructure.

9) Charter schools make for easier to ignore and hide problems related to poverty by focusing on a small number of schools with high test scores.

10) Charter schools (not for profit types) allow corporations and foundations to reap tax benefits and real estate bonanzas.

11) Charter schools (for profit types) expand business opportunities for profiteers of the education-industrial complex.

12) Charter schools make it possible to move state tax dollars from urban charters and use the savings to enrich suburban public schools.

ASD Run By Liars

With Chris Barbic out of action, the ASD is being run by serial liar, Elliot Smalley.  Smalley is trained by the Broad Foundation to do whatever is necessary to advance the corporate welfare agenda of replacing public schools with segregated corporate reform charter chain gangs.  Smalley was a recipient of a 2013 Bunkum Award from NEPC for his unique mishandling of data to portray a reality of ASD success in Memphis where none existed: 

The 'It’s Just Not Fair to Expect PowerPoints to Be Based on Evidence' Award

The “It’s Just Not Fair to Expect PowerPoints to Be Based on Evidence” Award goes to Elliot Smalley of Tennessee’s Achievement School District and Patrick Dobard of the Louisiana Recovery School District.

For years, Jeb Bush’s “Florida Miracle” has been unmatched as the most bountiful wellspring of misleading education reform information. But Florida and Jeb have now been overtaken by the Louisiana Recovery School District, which serves the nation as the premier incubator of spurious claims about education reform and, in particular, the performance of “recovery school districts,” take-overs, portfolio districts, and charter schools.

Superintendent Patrick Dobard has taken his suitcase of PowerPoints on the road, touting the Recovery School District’s performance.  Nothing has stood in his way. Not the dramatic post-Katrina change in student composition. Not the manipulation of student achievement standards in ways that inflate performance outcomes. Not the unique influx of major funds from foundations, the federal government and billionaires. And not the unaccounted-for effects of a plethora of other relevant factors.

But Dobard is not alone.  Elliot Smalley, the chief of staff for the Achievement School District in Memphis, flexed his PowerPoints to show his school district’s “Level 5 Growth.” This certainly sounds impressive—substantially more impressive, for instance, than, say, Level 3 Growth. But this growth scale is unfortunately not explained in the PowerPoint itself. What we can say is that a particular school picked by Smalley to demonstrate the district’s positive reform effects may not have been a good choice, since the overall reading and math scores at that school went down. Picky researchers might also argue that more than seven schools should be studied for more than two years before shouting “Hosannah!”

As was the case with the Florida Miracle, the Bunkum Award here is not for the policy itself—serious researchers are very interested in understanding the reform processes and outcomes in these places. Rather, the Bunkum is found in the slick sales jobs being perpetrated with only a veneer of evidence and little substance backing the claims made.

In order to have some semblance of public input, CorpEd in Memphis has selected an Achievement Advisory Panel comprised of yes men and women to rubber stamp the corporate foundation school selections for hostile takeover each year.  There is not one educator in the bunch.

Smalley and his team of advisors from Broad and Gates will need all the lies they can conjure in the coming days to beat back the determined and reasoned resistance to the hostile corporate takeover of Memphis schools.  The key will be to continue to remind local, state, and federal politicians and the media that this corporate welfare plan will not go forward.

Parents and teachers and students must continue to say SKIP THE KIPP and NO to YES PREP and to put a big RED LIGHT IN FRONT OF THE GREEN DOT.

Let Mr. Smalley know his outfit, the ASD, is not good enough, smart enough, and nobody likes it!!