Friday, August 31, 2012

John King's Priority Schools Classification Scam

It makes me all the more uncomfortable when that unilateral disregard for existing law is being used in a coercive manner - using access to federal funding to coerce states to adopt reform strategies that the current administration happens to prefer. The precedent at the federal level that legislation perceived as inconvenient can and should simply be ignored seems to encourage state departments of education to ignore statutory and constitutional provisions within their states that might be perceived similarly as inconvenient.  ---schoolfinance101
I want to follow up on our earlier post:

Insanity Reigns: Priority Designation of Schools Will Lead to Further Destruction of Neighborhood Schools and Privatization with some great follow-up stuff.

RBE takes a good shot: Obama NCLB Waiver Process Even More Damaging To Schools Then NCLB
Under the No Child Left Behind waiver the state received from the feds, the lowest performing schools must undergo major overhauls or be closed and turned into new schools. 



Leonie pointed to another brilliant post by Bruce Baker of Rutgers blogging at School Finance101. NCLB Waivers worse than NCLB? Bruce writes:


Implicit in these classifications - and the proposed response interventions - is the assumption that priority schools are simply poorly run schools - schools with crummy leaders and lots of bad, lazy, pathetic and uncaring teachers... who have thus caused their school to achieve priority status.

Really, having such amazing forces like Bruce Baker doing this work on our side is heartening. Here's the first part of his post in full -- click the link below it to read the rest.

Ed Waivers, Junk Rating Systems & Misplaced Blame: Case 1 – New York State

I hope over the next several months to compile a series of posts where I look at what states have done to achieve their executive granted waivers from federal legislation. Yeah... let's be clear here, that all of this starts with an executive decision to ignore outright, undermine intentionally and explicitly, federal legislation. Yeah... that legislation may have some significant issues. It might just suck entirely. Nonetheless, this precedent is a scary one both in concept and in practice. Even when I don't like the legislation in question, I'm really uncomfortable having someone unilaterally over-ride or undermine it.
It makes me all the more uncomfortable when that unilateral disregard for existing law is being used in a coercive manner - using access to federal funding to coerce states to adopt reform strategies that the current administration happens to prefer. The precedent at the federal level that legislation perceived as inconvenient can and should simply be ignored seems to encourage state departments of education to ignore statutory and constitutional provisions within their states that might be perceived similarly as inconvenient.
Setting all of those really important civics issues aside - WHICH WE CERTAINLY SHOULD NOT BE DOING - the policies being adopted under this illegal (technical term - since it's in direct contradiction to a statute, with full recognition that this statute exists) coercive framework are toxic, racially disparate and yet another example of misplaced blame.
States receiving waivers have generally followed through by using their assessment data in contorted and entirely inappropriate ways to create designations of schools and districts, where those designations then permit state officials to step in and take immediate actions to change the governance, management and whatever else they see fit to change in these schools (and whether they have such legal authority or not).
Priority schools are the bottom of the heap, or bottom 5% and are subject to the most aggressive, and most immediate unilateral interventions (seemingly with complete disregard for existing state statutory or constitutional rights of attending children, their parents or local taxpayers, as well as explicit disregard for existing federal law).
Implicit in these classifications - and the proposed response interventions - is the assumption that priority schools are simply poorly run schools - schools with crummy leaders and lots of bad, lazy, pathetic and uncaring teachers... who have thus caused their school to achieve priority status.
They clearly must go... or at least deserve one heck of a shaking up!
Couldn't possibly be anyone else's fault. After all, the state must have clearly already done its part to provide sufficient financial resources, etc. etc. etc. It must be the bad teachers and crappy principals. That's all it can be! Therefore, we must have immediate wide-reaching latitude to step in and kick out the bums - and heck - just close those schools and send those kids elsewhere, or convert those schools to "limited public access, privately governed and managed institutions" (privately manged charters) where layers of constitutional rights for employees and students may be sacrificed.
New York State's Waiver Hit List
New York State Education Department released their hit list of schools recently. 
 READ MORE
 

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