Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Worm Turns on Ed Deform in Indiana as the NEW Status Quo Comes Under Attack

Indiana’s love affair with so-called school reform is cooling. Serious cracks are showing in the relationship between lawmakers and anti-labor, pro-privatization forces that have fueled the so-called reform with millions in campaign contributions.... Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette 
For the last decade we have been attacked as status quoers by the deformers, which was so funny given that some of  us have been fighting the status quo since the early 70s. Joel Klein couldn't get a sentence out with resorting to the mentioning the old SQ while establishing the new SQ. But given that ed deform has been actively been pushed since Chicago, 1994, the deformers are now the SQ and real reformers have been on the counter attack, with new organizations springing up all over the place.
The signs of reform pushback come as no surprise to Phyllis Bush, who retired from South Side High School as an English teacher and department chair in 1999. She became a vocal critic of the school reform movement about two years ago after attending a town hall meeting by an area legislator who seemed to know little about the bills being pushed on schools and instead deferred to one of Bennett’s assistant superintendents to respond.
“A roomful of teachers asked some pretty good questions about charters and vouchers,” Bush said. “I was completely appalled by his smugness.”
After attending a Washington rally for public schools, she mobilized a group of Fort Wayne residents to establish the Northeast Indiana Friends of Public Education. Energized by education historian Diane Ravitch’s appearances in Bloomington and at IPFW’s Omnibus Lecture, the group jumped in to help elect a new state superintendent. Since Ritz’s election night upset, they have continued to monitor so-called reform measures and kept up a relentless letter-writing campaign.
We (our GEM group - Julie, Brian, Lisa D, Lisa N, Gloria, Khem, Alev) met Phyllis Bush when she attended the workshop we presented at that SOS event in DC in July 2011 where they showed our movie. Phyllis went home to help organize the Northeast Indiana Friends of Public Education --- and told us she was using our movie as an education and organizing tool -- and has accomplished a hell of a lot in less than 2 years. Defeating the slimy Tony Bennett as state ed commissioner with Glenda Ritz, a candidate opposed to ed deform -- in Indiana, yet, is a MAJOR victory for all of us.

Yes, it takes individuals to act -- educate, organize, mobilize -- and retired teachers who stood up to ed deform have the knowledge and time to take on these roles.

Hey, how about calling for an election for NY State Ed Comm so we can get rid of John King? I know people worry about the money that comes into an election but Indiana of all places proves we can defeat the deformers even with all their money. Bennett was one of the deform stars that Phyllis and crew helped shoot down.

I wrote a post on worm turning back in Dec. '12:
Dec 10, 2012

Anthony Cody is in the forefront of the NPE. Note the ref to New Zealand, which I visited in Dec. 2011 and had some social media contact with an educator who wanted to see our film (we got a nice donation from the NZ teachers assoc to support the film.)

By the way -- if you haven't watched our film or shared it with your colleagues, help break the UFT boycott just click the tab at the top of this blog.

Volume 1, Issue: #11

June 13, 2013
Inside NPE News
The Worm is Turning
New Zealand Joins NPE
Uncovering the Truth Webinar
10,000 Sign Education Declaration
Tell NPE Your Story

NPE Webinar:

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

Welcome to the eleventh edition of our newsletter. From coast to coast, we are seeing signs of what is being called Education Spring. We have news from Indiana to New Zealand, of the growing movement to take back our schools. Read it all here! And like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and JOIN US at our website.

"The Worm is Turning"
Headlines in Indiana, the "Reformiest State in the Union"

Indiana has been on the front lines for corporate reform for years. Vouchers, charter schools, and more. But a recent editorial in the Fort Wayne Gazette declared that "The Worm is Turning" on education reform. 

Anne Duff, one of the members of the North East Indiana Friends of Public Education who helped select teacher Glenda Ritz to the office of state superintendent of education, offers us this description of a recent visit by Ritz.

After Glenda Ritz beat Tony Bennett last fall for the position of Superintendent of Public Instruction for the state of Indiana, those of us who had been advocating for public education and had been working diligently spreading her name through mailing postcards, changing our Facebook profile pictures to her logo, and talking about her to friends, family and even strangers at the grocery store, were elated by her victory.  Most people know by now that this was not only big news for Indiana, but for the country as well.  Bennett had ten times the amount of money for his campaign, yet Glenda won 52% of the votes, earning more than even the governor, as often stated in the news. 

But once the race was won, we didn't hear much.  We didn't notice many changes, and as the legislative session began, it seemed to be a huge attack on public education.  Vouchers were expanded, budgets were cut, programs were cut, and grading our schools A-F became law.  Those of us who had been writing letters and talking to legislators in support of public education felt powerless as our voices had not been heard and our words written out of passion for our schools had not been read.

Last Wednesday a small glimmer of hope shined over those of us working so hard to effect change for public schools.  Glenda Ritz spoke about her work as Superintendent of Public Instruction at the Future of Education conference held in Fort Wayne, IN. Her words inspired us to continue the fight even though this last legislative session made us feel as if all of our efforts had been ignored.  She is working on eliminating the high-stakes, pass-fail assessments that we are currently using and working on implementing a true growth model assessment so teachers and students know how they are doing and what grade level they are working at; not just whether or not students can pass or fail a grade level test. She is coming up with a new teacher evaluation model instead of RISE that bases part of teacher evaluations on the high stakes tests. She is focusing on student centered learning instead of market-based education. She is a hero for public education.  Slowly, yet deliberately and thoughtfully, she is trying to undo Tony Bennett's iniquities. There is definitely light at the end of the tunnel; there is hope for public education.  What is right for our children and for public education shall prevail. 

NPE's First International Ally: New Zealand's Quality Public Ed. Coalition

From down in New Zealand we learn that corporate education reform is a global phenomenon. 

Bill Courtney 
of the Quality Public Education Coalition, has written to share how people in his nation are facing challenges very similar to ours.  He would like a little help as well, in figuring out some things. He writes:

So, how can you help us?  We'd love to hear from you with feedback and ideas on a few key areas for us:
  • How do we promote stronger parent feedback on issues such as standards, league tables, school reporting, testing and narrowing the curriculum?
  • Charter school analysis and evaluation.  We keep an eye on sites such as School Finance 101 and Mercedes Schneider's excellent insight into Louisiana schooling but we need more insights and stories about charter schools and their impact on the public school system;
  • How do we fight the (Global Ed Reform) GERM agenda in our country and the raft of common policies it seems to generate?
Read more here.

NPE Webinar: Uncovering the Truth About Education Reform: Recording Available
Learn from the Experts!

Are you frustrated when corruption goes on and nobody even seems to notice? Do you want to learn how to uncover the truth about what is happening to our schools? We are presenting a special webinar where two outstanding experts will share tips and techniques.

Michael Corwin, a licensed investigator with twenty-five years of case preparation experience discussed techniques for identifying, locating and using public records in researching public officials.

Mercedes Schneider shared techniques for discerning truth versus "hype" in research on educational reform, including tips on critically reading data and research studies. Her 

 The online webinar was recorded and can be found here.

10,000 Sign Education Declaration to Rebuild America
More than 10,000 people signed the new Education Declaration in the first day of its launch. A statement from the sponsors says,

For too long, our policymakers have engaged the nation's schoolchildren in a grand experiment, with frequent testing, incentive programs and top-down mandates that promised much but delivered little.

Today, after an education spring of protest and dissent, leading advocates, academics, and educators have come together to demand An Education Declaration to Rebuild America.

We invite you to add your name and forward this to friends so that we can grow this movement for real education reform based on what America needs and our children deserve.
You can read the Declaration and sign on here. 

Tell NPE 

Your Story

NPE wants to hear from you! We would like to publish real stories about the effects of misguided school reforms on our Friends & Allies. Please share this and send responses to 

Here is this week's topic:
June  3rd - "Recently there have been major glitches with high stakes testing in Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, and Oklahoma causing enormous issues for students, teachers, parents, and schools. What have been the consequences of testing in your area and/or what has been your experience this year with high stakes testing? Tell us your story."

Please forward this newsletter far and wide! 
In solidarity,
NPE sq
The Network For Public Education

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are welcome. Irrelevant and abusive comments will be deleted, as will all commercial links. Comment moderation is on, so if your comment does not appear it is because I have not been at my computer (I do not do cell phone moderating).