Friday, October 25, 2013

Rise and Don't Shine, Kick Some Ass Instead, October 25, 2013

Things to do: Plan on going to the PEP on Weds. Night (Oct 30) to join in the funeral for closed and co-located schools. (More to come later).

Rise and Don't Shine, Kick Ass Instead may become a new feature in Ed Notes. Let everyone else do the writing and I just comment. Actually I prefer "Don't Rise But Stay in Bed with the covers over your head instead." Catchy, got a beat. (Speaking of covers over head, someone just sent me this you tube of Norman.)

So I spent the day yesterday visiting Home Depot shlepping giant shrubs that barely fit in my car plus more lumber for the trellis project I've been working on for months and I'm still not finished planting. Oh my aching lumbar. My wife, on the other hand, spent the day at the Rachel Ray (who she hates but her friends got tickets) cooking show, called me to pick them up at the Sheepshead Bay station at 5, rested for an hour and then went off to her book club meeting. Since I'm usually the one that's out I had no idea what to do. So I ordered Chinese, went upstairs to lay down to watch the World Series and promptly fell asleep around 9:30. The point of all this drivel is that I woke up this morning to see a slew of email, blog posts and more that is worth sharing. But if I did each one individually I'd have to post 10 times today -- and I have to leave around 4 for the Change the Stakes General Meeting
(today is my wife's Mahjong day, a day so sacrosanct that a meteor hitting the earth wouldn't interrupt it).

So here are the gleamings of stuff you should check out - if you don't have a life - that came in since I fell asleep last night -- and I'm just grazing the surface. Gotta run and plant more back-breaking stuff, so read on.

Just read on Ravitch (nothing gets past her) L.A. Supt. Greasy John Deasy to resign.  He can't take the head so he's getting out of the kitchen in February. How interesting that the union election takes place in January and one of our pals, Alex Caputo-Pearl, is running for president. I hope Deasy's resignation is a sign that Alex will win. This would be a big win for real reformers of both unions and education. See my article on the election and send some money: Ed Notes Online: Alex Caputo-Pearl Running for President of LA ...
But Diane just posted an update:
Although the Internet and my email box was ablaze within announcements that Los Angeles Superintendent John Deasy had announced his resignation, and that it was reported by the Los Angeles Times, the resignation was less certain and more conditional by this morning. Did he resign or just threaten to resign or just suggest that he might resign? Or was it part of a negotiation?
Alex -- go get him. (Deasy and fellow scum targeted Alex for his political activity in his school and he is no longer there.)
Quick Hits

Today is the Portelos recall election at IS 49SI. Meaning 1/3 had to sign they wanted him recalled and 2/3 have to vote today to recall him. If they do he will run again. He has all the delicious details here. And his open hearing resumes Oct. 29, .

Bloomberg's small schools sham study
Gotham breathlessly posts links to tainted studies showing small schools graduate higher numbers who go to college. I left comments about the kids who were shut out of these small schools - and also how about how many have been considered "failures" (I never call any school a failure but am using Bloomberg's own words). Ravitch savages:

“Smaller Is Better” When You Exclude OTC Kids

A new study hails the success of Mayor Bloomberg's small schools initiative. The mayor closed hundreds of schools and opened hundreds of schools. This study follows soon after the release of a study by the Annenberg Institute of School Reform showing the Bloomberg small schools excluded large numbers of the "over the counter" students, the late arrivals who often have the highest needs, such as new immigrants. These students were diverted away from the mayor's signature schools and sent to struggling schools that were slated for closure. They were tossed aside. Collateral damage. That's one way of creating a success story: keep out the kids with the highest needs. Fund researchers. Declare victory. Forget about the OTC kids.

James Eterno at ICE published the de Blasio letter to Walcott on co-locos: ICEUFT Blog IS THERE ROOM FOR OPTIMISM UNDER DE BLASIO? - Many of us who work in public education feel a strong sense of gloom and doom because of what is happening in the schools and in the country overall these ...

MORE Blog:
New York State Allies for Public Education Reaffirms Call for NYS Commissioner of Education John King’s Resignation Despite Rescheduled Meetings

“Let’s Get Rid of Step and Lane” Says NEA President
 Another nugget from the other side of the fence from Mike Antonucci at EIA. RBE at Perdido Street School does the Van Roekel takedown. NEA President Says Get Rid Of Step And Lane Increases For Teachers

The Daily Howler howls daily at Amanda Ripley
 I've been trying to follow this assault on Ripley's book which was well received by deformers. He has posted about 10 times on her and I can't keep up with it all. But these posts would make a good companion piece to the Ravitch book. Here is his latest: Raising Minnesota: Ripley responds!

From a pal on the West Coast:

Broad, Fisher (major KIPP funder) donated to illegal "dark money" operation

This San Francisco Chronicle article reports on a penalty imposed on an illegal operation that funneled $15 million in money from secret donors to campaigns on two November 2012 ballot measures.  One of them was No on 30 -- 30 was a tax increase sponsored by Gov. Jerry Brown to boost funding for schools and other infrastructure. The other was Yes on 32 -- 32 was a far-right measure that would have severely curtailed labor unions' political activities. Both of those measures went the opposite way despite the right-wing money: 30 (tax hike) won, and 32 (curtailing labor) lost. The Chronicle reports that the Fisher family (of the Gap) donated $9 million to be funneled as "dark money." The second link reports that Eli Broad also donated $500,000.
Note that despite stated support for schools, both Fisher and Broad secretly donated to a campaign opposing a tax increase that primarily benefits California schools. 
NEW Caucus which captured a majority of EX Bd seats and lost the presidency by 9 votes seems to be having an impact in Newark:
NEW Caucus will not share notes to the Executive Board meeting that took place yesterday.

The NTU leadership has pledged that they will publish the official notes quickly.  We are 
deferring to them, and will share the official version with you all as soon as they are released.

For now, we will simply say that we are cautiously optimistic that change is slowly happening,
and that we are beginning to affect the change we have worked for so long and hard.  More to
follow when the notes are released.

Thanks to all the members who came out to see YOUR NTU E-Board conduct business!

Below are some interesting articles you may have missed:

1)  Brief article about the recent report detailing persistent segregation in New Jersey's schools.

2)  Another on how even private schools are now getting in on the charter school act in Newark.

3)  Article about Bayonne teachers, who have been marching (in the hundreds) EVERY Friday recently to
show their solidarity and win a new contract.  

4)  Great article by a teacher in St. Paul, Minnesota (who we met in Chicago this summer) about how
teachers there are opening negotiations to the public, and shedding light on all the shady things their
board of education is doing.  This is the exact opposite of how most unions (including our own) have
conducted contract negotiations in the past.  

5)  Finally, we saved the best for last.  Jersey Jazzman's scathing critique of the Star-Ledger endorsement
of Christie.  Are you as angry as the Jazzman?  We hope so!  We are too!  Now let's turn our anger
into productive energy, and organize for change!


A Story About Michelle Rhee That No One Will Print

I've had this one around for months re: John Merrow's complaints about the protection of Michelle Rhee by the press. Then he gave up the ghost and seems to have flipped flopped once again with a recent attack on Ravitch and pushing his film showing the New Orleans miracle. [SEE GARY TODAY: 
Anytime there is a press release from the Louisiana Department of Education, I know I have some work to do] 
 Here's Merrow:
Michelle Rhee lobbies across the country for greater test-based accountability and changes in teacher tenure rules.  She often appears on television and in newspapers, commenting on a great range of education issues.  Easily America’s best-known education activist, she is always introduced as the former Chancellor of the public schools in Washington, DC, the woman who took on a corrupt and failing system and shook it up. The rest of the story is rarely mentioned.
The op-ed below has been rejected[1] by four newspapers, three of them national publications. One editor’s rejection note said that Michelle Rhee was not a national story.

A Story About Michelle Rhee That No One Will Print

 I watched the Today show and they were horrified at a school aide who taped a kid's mouth. They didn't think of their ed buddy Rhee who did the same thing.

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