Tuesday, October 21, 2014

ATRs of the World - UNITE! End Taxation (Dues) Without Representation - Force the UFT/Unity Caucus to Form a Functional Chapter

A new energy has infused the almost decade old ATR situation (beginning with the 2005 contract) with the entry of James Eterno and Francesco Portelos into their world. It is not easy to slime people who have been recognized as great teachers.

(For new readers an ATR is somone whose school was closed or who was excessed from their school and is now forced to rotate each week from school to school while under the gun of almost instant dismissal when 2 principals go after them.)

Many ATRs became so gun-shy and abused they had trouble organizing and acting.

Not much at all since the big Nov. 2008 ATR rally at Tweed, which the UFT/Unity, in alliance with the DOE, tried to undermine - see my video of the wine and cheese fiasco - the video Randi did not want you to see - and by the way for those promoting the sudden New Action interest in ATRS - they were perfectly happy to partake in the wine and cheese and ignore the rally taking place at Tweed - yes I have the unpublished video.
See ed notes wine and cheese reports
Oct 21, 2012
2008 ATR rally at Tweed that caused so much panic at both Tweed and 52 Broadway that the Gang of 2 were forced to come up with an "agreement" the day before followed by the infamous UFT wine and cheese diversion to ...
Jan 28, 2009
That day I went to the rally and it was sickening what happened with the boycott from RW. We waited for her in the bitter cold while she and her people were stuffing themselves with the wine and cheese. By the time she came, ...
(Actually, the event above led Angel Gonzalez, John Lawhead and I to create an ICE committee that turned into GEM.)

James had not been shy about blogging - ICEUFT Blog
ADIOS AVIATION HS; ATR ROTATION BEGINS . The ICE and Ed Notes blogs have been the most persistent voices standing up for ATRS since 2005, along with Chaz's School Daze.

And of course we know Portelos is never shy.

I found out how hard it was to organize ATRs in 2010 or 2011 when Angel and I started holding meetings. At the first one we had over 40 people when we expected 10. I tried to keep listserves, etc until I realized ATRs had to organize themselves. What they were missing was the kind of organizers and leadership that Eterno and Portelos bring to the table - especially with Portelos' tech skills.

What a pleasure to see this happening.
We are organizing the ATRs. We will hold elections for a new ATR coalition and then approach the UFT to be a functional chapter like all these others http://www.uft.org/new-teachers/functional-chapters
Please share widely and tell every ATR you know. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

The great charter school rip-off: Finally, the truth catches up to education “reform” phonies - Jeff Bryant in Salon

Charter school advocates say it's all about choice - except when it isn't - as when 90% of the people in a school district say NO to charters but are force fed then anyway.
Fraud, financial mismanagement, lousy results: Reports highlight awful charter schools and people are catching on---
After Katrina, as NPR recently reported, “an ad hoc coalition of elected leaders and nationally known charter advocates formed,” and in “a series of quick decisions,” all school employees were fired and the vast majority of the city’s schools were handed over to a state entity called the “Recovery School District” which is governed by unelected officials. Only a “few elite schools were … allowed to maintain their selective admissions.” In other words, any bargaining that was done was behind closed doors and at tables where most of the people who were being affected had no seat..... Jeff Bryant, Salon
This article by Jeff (who I had the pleasure of meeting in the press section at the AFT convention this past summer) was posted at Salon on Oct 2, 2014 and I may have even posted it before but it's lurking on one of my tabs so here are a few excerpts.
Last week when former President Bill Clinton meandered onto the topic of charter schools, he mentioned something about an “original bargain” that charters were, according to the reporter for The Huffington Post, “supposed to do a better job of educating students.”

A writer at Salon called the remark “stunning” because it brought to light the fact that the overwhelming majority of charter schools do no better than traditional public schools. Yet, as the Huffington reporter reminded us, charter schools are rarely shuttered for low academic performance.

But what’s most remarkable about what Clinton said is how little his statement resembles the truth about how charters have become a reality in so many American communities.

In a real “bargaining process,” those who bear the consequences of the deal have some say-so on the terms, the deal-makers have to represent themselves honestly (or the deal is off and the negotiating ends), and there are measures in place to ensure everyone involved is held accountable after the deal has been struck.
But that’s not what’s happening in the great charter industry rollout transpiring across the country. Rather than a negotiation over terms, charters are being imposed on communities – either by legislative fiat or well-engineered public policy campaigns. Many charter school operators keep their practices hidden or have been found to be blatantly corrupt. And no one seems to be doing anything to ensure real accountability for these rapidly expanding school operations.

Instead of the “bargain” political leaders may have thought they struck with seemingly well-intentioned charter entrepreneurs, what has transpired instead looks more like a raw deal for millions of students, their families, and their communities. And what political leaders ought to be doing – rather than spouting unfounded platitudes, as Clinton did, about “what works” – is putting the brakes on a deal gone bad, ensuring those most affected by charter school rollouts are brought to the bargaining table, and completely renegotiating the terms for governing these schools.

Charter Schools As Takeover Operations
The “100 percent charter schools” education system in New Orleans that Clinton praised was never presented to the citizens of New Orleans in a negotiation. It was surreptitiously engineered.
----
Further, any evidence of the improvement of the educational attainment of students in the New Orleans all-charter system is obtainable only by “jukin the stats” or, as the NPR reporter put it, through “a distortion of the curriculum and teaching practice.” As Andrea Gabor wrote for Newsweek a year ago, “the current reality of the city’s schools should be enough to give pause to even the most passionate charter supporters.”
Jeff goes into detail on the York City charter takeover and there's lots more meat in his report, so read it all.

He closes with the charter escape from accountability question:
Unsurprisingly, the report got an immediate response from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, arguing against any regulation on charters. That organization’s response cites “remarkable results” as an excuse for why charters should continue to be allowed to skirt public accountability despite the fact they get public money. However, whenever there is close scrutiny of the remarkable results the charter industry loves to crow about, the facts are those results really aren’t there.
Charter Accountability Now
Of course, now that the truth about charter schools is starting to leak out of the corners of the “black box” the industry uses to protect itself, the charter school PR machine is doing everything it can to cover up reality.
Beginning with the new school year, the charter school industry has been on a publicity terror with a national campaign claiming to tell “The Truth About Charters” and high dollar promotional appeals in Philadelphia and New York City.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Saturday With Susan: Randi and UFT Pal Steve Barr in Yet Another Charter Scandal - ho hum

There is a lot of meat in today's report from Susan. Here are some details on another Randi Weingarten good buddy Steve Barr mess.
New Orleans student Social Security numbers found on auctioned-off laptops
Ohanian Comment:

It's 10 o'clock. Do you know where your child's Social Security number is?

Could a school name be more appropriate: Future is Now. They've put kids' data is at risk NOW.

New Orleans, the nation's first all-charter school district, named the Recovery School District (RSD), reported about 1 1/2 years ago that an audit revealed $2.7 million in RSD property was missing--"things like computers and equipment." Superintendent Patrick Dobard said that the audit's finding was misleading, that "70 percent of the items listed as missing have incorrect location codes -- but are still present in schools."

Complete with student data.

When the Future is Now (formerly known as Green Dot America), operated by Steve Barr, took over an historic New Orleans school in 2012 (See Ed Week's version: Steve Barr's Quest to Save a New Orleans High School) it received $800,000 in start-up funding, which Barr promised to use for iPads. When the school shut down just two years later, all the teachers lost their jobs and all the students had to find new schools. Barr attributed this to "supply and demand"--just not enough students to make it profitable. Nobody is saying where the iPads are.

Or the student Social Security numbers.

Answering the Where Is He Now? question, on July 30, 2014, California Democrats for Education Reform announced that with their chair Steve Barr they're going to create a political consensus to reform education. No New Orleans teachers need apply.

Footnote: New Orleans Superintendent Patrick Dobard is a Broad Institute alumnus and the district is featured in a Broad Spotlight, December 2012, calling "the city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana are one of the most vibrant communities for education reform."

But where is that student data?

by Danielle Dreilinger

State officials announced Friday that the Social Security numbers, names and birthdates of 210 students were left on at least two laptops sold at auction Oct. 11. Those laptops were surplus equipment from the Future Is Now charter group sold after the organization ended its program at John McDonogh High in New Orleans..... more
on this
And here's the rest of Susan's report.

I so enjoyed the New York Times 'correction' today that I posted it on Twitter: Bermuda is 670 miles EAST of NC, not WEST.
Thank you for sharing this geography slip-up, NYT. When will you correct worse education errors?

Reminder: The opt out billboard campaign in Colorado needs your donation. This venerable annual campaign urging parents to opt out of the standardized test is truly grassroots, and it is moving--steady increase in opt outs. Be part of the revolution. Send $5 to:
Coalition for Better Education
2424 22nd Ave.
Greeley, CO 80631-8154

This campaign is spearheaded by Don Perl, the first teacher in the country to refuse to give Colorado's test--in 2001. Here's how the Denver Post reported it back then:
http://www.substancenews.net/articles.php?page=4916
This New Yorker cartoon cuts to the bone:
http://susanohanian.org/show_nclb_cartoons.php?id=1052
We are destroying a generation's possibility for encountering school happenings that inspire a love of learning.

Here's a reprise of a golden oldie:
http://susanohanian.org/show_nclb_cartoons.php?id=1051
And this page has three more.

http://susanohanian.org/cartoons.php
Monday is cooking day at the Senior Center. Last minute cancellation from my dessert maker. No problem. I just turned 15 pounds of apples into applesauce and I've got 70 slices of bread getting stale. They should be ready by Monday for applesauce bread pudding. Tomorrow I'll soak the black beans for pumpkin black bean curry soup.
After looking into what Steve Barr is up to these days, I need the applesauce and pumpkin to keep me sane. You may think that you're far removed from what happens in New Orleans and Los Angeles.

You're wrong. Read on to find out why.

Susan

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New Orleans student Social Security numbers found on auctioned-off laptops
 Danielle Dreilinger with Ohanian comment
New Orleans Times-Picayune
2014-10-17
http://susanohanian.org/data.php?id=570
It's 10 o'clock. Do  you know where your child's school has put his Social Security number?

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Big Doubts About Big Data
Emma Uprichard
Chronicle of Higher Education
2014-10-13
http://susanohanian.org/data.php?id=569
Big Data is a bandwagon term that everyone needs to talk about to show that they can play the game

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Jump that Bar; Lift that Bale
Susan Ohanian
blog
2014-10-13
http://susanohanian.org/core.php?id=757
The Duncan communications chief has a new job but he's sticking to the old metaphors.

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To the editor
Susan Ohanian
New York Times
2014-10-17
http://susanohanian.org/show_letter.php?id=1721
This is published online in the hopes that some editor will see that school data collection is a topic worth looking at.

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Tech jobs: Minorities have degrees, but don't get hired
Elizabeth Weise and Jessica Guynn
USA Today
2014-10-13
http://susanohanian.org/outrage_fetch.php?id=1892
Top universities turn out black and Hispanic computer science and computer engineering graduates at twice the rate that leading technology companies hire them, a USA TODAY analysis shows.

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Deasy's Gone: Two Newspapers Tell the Tale
Editorial  and Ohanian Comment
Los Angeles Times & New York Times
2014-10-16
http://susanohanian.org/outrage_fetch.php?id=1891
Superintendents with phony degrees and Gates imprint may come and go, but teachers are the folks who are always there.

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Tulane's Cowen Institute retracts New Orleans schools report, apologizes
Jessica Williams
New Orleans Times-Picayune
2014-10-10
http://susanohanian.org/outrage_fetch.php?id=1889
Here are the people involved in the withdrawn report termed a 'high profile embarrassment.'
______________________________

___________

Friday, October 17, 2014

THROWBACK THURSDAY - NYSUT LAUREN COHEN, MORE

Lauren Cohen throwing  down at the NYSUT election convention in front  of 3,000 NYSUT delegates (and shocking 800 unity members)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

VOTE HOWIE HAWKINS/BRIAN JONES AND GREEN PARTY FOR GOVERNOR

Beth Domino, President of Port Jefferson Station Teachers Association says it as well as can be said. 
Beth Domino
I write to you today about the critical election for New York State Governor next month. I believe that the outcome of this election will have a major impact on all aspects of our lives as teachers and school employees.
We have seen firsthand the damage that Cuomo has done to our school district by imposing an undemocratic property tax cap that has made it impossible for critical programs to continue, an over-emphasis on testing, the narrowing of curriculum and finally the intrusion of the common core, which has done more to frustrate creative and talented teachers than improve instruction.
Cuomo has been a governor who incites communities to doubt school professionals and prefers to blame teachers instead of providing badly needed resources and support. Many believe that Cuomo has done the most substantial damage to our public system than any governor before him.
Challenging the Governor is Westchester County Executive Republican candidate Rob Astorino. While some have taken notice of Mr. Astorino’s anti-common core platform, a simple scratch beneath the surface reveals a candidate who puts all his faith in charter schools and would further decimate schools through a reduction of state aid. Equally alarming is Astorino’s opposition to teacher tenure, as well as, his vow to eliminate the Triborough Amendment.
Fortunately, there is an alternative this year to both Mr. Cuomo and Mr. Astorino. Green Party Candidate Howie Hawkins and his running mate for Lieutenant Governor, Brian Jones have produced an education platform that is completely in sync with what we believe and know to be sound education policy.
Hawkins and Jones believe that:
New York needs to opt out of Race to the Top and the Common Core Standards.
Schools need to return to meaningful teaching and learning and move away from the over-emphasis on testing.
Schools should be allowed to develop authentic assessments that are organic to the learning process.
Zero-tolerance discipline policies are the wrong way to produce responsible and productive citizens.
The state-mandated anti-democratic tax cap must be eliminated.
The State should provide equitable funding for all schools so there can be a reduction of class size and the restoration of music, art, health, and all other vital programs that have been taken away from this generation of students.
In light of these pro-public education initiatives, the Port Jefferson Station Teachers’ Association Executive Council voted unanimously to endorse the Howie Hawkins and Brian Jones Education Platform. Many members have voiced their concerns regarding the anti-union and anti-public education positions of both Cuomo and Astorino. This frustration may lead many to NOT cast a vote for governor in this upcoming election. A vote for Hawkins/Jones represents a vote for education and faith in the job that each of us perform each day in the classroom. A vote for Hawkin/Jones also sends a message to Cuomo that we refuse to let him win by default or inaction.
I encourage you to visit their website at http://www.howiehawkins.org/platform to learn more about Howie Hawkins and Brian Jones. If you agree that we must have leaders in Albany who truly understand the needs and challenges of public schools today, I ask that you investigate for yourself and compare and contrast the candidates’ views on education and spread the word regarding your findings to friends, colleagues and family members.

In Solidarity

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Eva Exposed: Phony Demands for Success Charter Exposed; Stringer to Audit Charters

On average, schools in the Success Academy network were under-enrolled by 7.6 percent.... “This is just the tip of the iceberg,” said public school parent Brooke Parker. “SUNY has knowingly withheld enrollment data for charter schools from the taxpaying public, even though taxpayer dollars bankroll charters.
For years we've challenged charters, in particular Eva's charters, to produce those waiting lists. How much do I love Brooke Parker, parent activist supreme from Williamsburg/Greenpoint District 14. She never gives up.

Leonie just posted this article to her listserve:  EXCLUSIVE: Comptroller will audit City's charter schools

In case you have forgotten, Scott Stringer defeated Eva for Manhattan Borough President I think in 2005, thus helping jump-start her career as a charter operator.

Here are a few focused facts from the article. Use them at future public hearings to challenge the pro-Success people who say there is such demand for more of their schools.
Local public school parents searched through the School Construction Authority’s “Blue Book” and found evidence that more than two-thirds of Success Academy charter schools were under-enrolled in the 2013-2014 school year.

Besides standing in clear opposition to claims of wait lists and need for more schools, drastic under-enrollment is supposed to elicit action from SUNY. If a school falls below 80 percent of its targeted enrollment, the overseer is charged with closing that school.

Last school year, four Success Academy charter schools did not reach that 80 percent benchmark. The four schools — in Fort Greene, Crown Heights, Hell’s Kitchen and Union Square — were under-enrolled by 22 percent.

On average, schools in the Success Academy network were under-enrolled by 7.6 percent.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” said public school parent Brooke Parker. “SUNY has knowingly withheld enrollment data for charter schools from the taxpaying public, even though taxpayer dollars bankroll charters.


More...

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Eva Goes to Washington (Lobbyists)

Gloria Brandman as Evil Moskowitz
These public disputes have made Moskowitz herself increasingly controversial. At a recent meeting regarding Success expansion, one detractor wore a mask depicting Moskowitz' face with a witch hat.... Joy Resmovits, HuffPost
That's our Gloria, making the national news. (Ed Notes, Sept 29, 2014 - MORE Takes a Stand Against Eva Moskowitz at Hearings - Last Monday and Today in Manhattan)

Joy did a nice report on how Eva has hired lobbyists in Washington DC. Read it all here.

The NY Times had a report on the SUNY charter crooks giving Eva more schools. NY Times' Kate Taylor, the reporter who came to the hearing in Brooklyn a few weeks ago did report:
About two dozen people went to a hearing in Brooklyn at the end of September, held at Public School 133 in Boerum Hill. All of the speakers, including teachers in local district schools and a representative for City Councilman Brad Lander, voiced their opposition to opening new Success Academy schools in their areas.
Some cited limited space or competition for funding, and said that charters drew the most involved families, leaving more difficult students in the district schools. Others said Ms. Moskowitz and her donors intended to privatize the public schools. One teacher wore a witch’s hat and a mask of Ms. Moskowitz’s face.
“For the record, everyone here spoke against — no one spoke for — and I’m going to be really shocked to find out that they approved this application,” said David Goldsmith, president of the community education council for District 13 in Brooklyn. “Thanks for caring, Albany,” he added.
Also see Leonie's piece:
Damaging impacts of charters on Harlem's public schools - Empty room at Success charter school taken from PS 175 On October 8. I gave a presentation to the Community Education Council in District 5 on the impact of...
And some of my videos:

Video: Parent/Community Voices Oppose Success as SUNY Approves Eva Moskowitz Charter Scam 

Parents and community voices oppose SUNY authorization of Success Academy charters in Manhattan's Districts 2 and 3 - Part 1

Why doesn't SUNY give them space? There's FIT, School of Optometry - even Downstate... parent testimony
Video from the September 29, 2014 hearing.

For teacher voices see:
MOREistas in the House, UFT Not @ Success Academy ...
and teachers and community/parents at the Sept. 22 hearing in Brooklyn: MORE Takes a Stand Against Eva Moskowitz at Hearin...

Monday, October 13, 2014

Is Pearson Publishing Gravy Train Facing Derailment?

One former Pearson executive argues that “for-profit” organisations in education are “seriously under threat”, and could end up losing their footing altogether.
We can only pray.

Pearson’s dominance of textbook market is under examination

TelegraphBy Katherine Rushton | Telegraph – Sat, Oct 11, 2014 16:58 BST

Most people have, at some point in their lives, felt a bout of nerves as they awaited a crucial set of exam results. Pearson’s chief executive, John Fallon, could be forgiven for having the same feeling.
Next month, the London-listed education giant will face its own version of this peculiar kind of torture, as it learns whether Texas plans to renew its contract for Pearson to provide testing in schools. The deal is a valuable one, worth around $500m (£310m) over five years. It is also a matter of particular strategic importance.
Texas is amongst America’s biggest and most influential states when it comes to education spending – the linchpin in the North American market, which accounts for 59pc of Pearson’s revenues and 66pc of its profits. And it has a long history of doing business with the British company, whose chief executive cut his teeth in the US textbook market, and whose former boss, Dame Marjorie Scardino, is herself American.
Most people have, at some point in their lives, felt a bout of nerves as they awaited a crucial set of exam results. Pearson’s chief executive, John Fallon, could be forgiven for having the same feeling.
Next month, the London-listed education giant will face its own version of this peculiar kind of torture, as it learns whether Texas plans to renew its contract for Pearson to provide testing in schools. The deal is a valuable one, worth around $500m (£310m) over five years. It is also a matter of particular strategic importance.
Texas is amongst America’s biggest and most influential states when it comes to education spending – the linchpin in the North American market, which accounts for 59pc of Pearson’s revenues and 66pc of its profits. And it has a long history of doing business with the British company, whose chief executive cut his teeth in the US textbook market, and whose former boss, Dame Marjorie Scardino, is herself American.
If the educational testing business were an election, this would count as Pearson’s safe seat. Yet there are signs Pearson may be about to lose its grip on its traditional stronghold. An audit of the Texas Education Agency recently found problems with the way the Pearson contract was tendered and managed.
Questions have been raised in a number of different states over the quality of Pearson’s digital courses. An influential religious lobby group, the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund, has meanwhile lambasted the publisher over one of its textbooks, for allegedly drawing exaggeratedly close links between Moses’s Ten Commandments and the US constitution.
Texas has not awarded the testing contract yet, but industry sources fear it will not go Pearson’s way.
The company is large enough to swallow this sort of hit, of course. Pearson, which also owns the Financial Times and a 47pc stake in Penguin Random House, made £871m last year, on revenues of £5.2bn. A $100m-a-year dent is not going to send it into the red.
However, the tussle for Texas follows a difficult 12 months, and analysts fear that it could be the harbinger of more problems to come.
The company has already issued three profit warnings since last April, repeatedly blaming a decline in college enrolments and public spending cutbacks which have battered the North American market. “Our biggest business, North America, is facing the most difficult trading conditions in a decade,” said Mr Fallon earlier this year.
Most of its income in the region comes from the education business, which does everything from publishing traditional college text books to designing interactive digital courses, many of which students can follow at their own speed. Meanwhile, the testing unit under fire in Texas writes and manages the regular assessments used to calculate students’ grades. An increasing number are computer-based.
In August, the business suffered another painful blow. Pearson and Apple were both dropped from a $1bn project to supply digital textbooks on iPads to schools throughout Los Angeles, amid concerns that they were in contact with the schools authority before the contract was awarded.
They will be allowed to apply for the contract again, but Pearson’s odds don’t look good after an official report lambasted the quality of its product. The course fell short of “minimum requirements” because “there were numerous lessons and even entire units missing across every grade level”, the Los Angeles Unified School District said.
Pearson is not the first to be criticised in this way. A number of publishing houses have been reprimanded for the quality of their digital courses — something the industry regards as teething problems.
“In this transition from print to digital, we don’t have all the infrastructure, but directionally things are moving the right way,” a Pearson spokesman said.
“There are short-term headwinds and long-term opportunities. It is not going to be a clear, straight path. It’s hard work. It’s a case of trial and error as you innovate. The question is, ‘How quickly do you learn?’”
They echoed Fallon’s view, that Pearson is grappling with the shift to digital at the same time as it is being buffeted by a confluence of powerful external factors. The budget cuts and reduction in enrolments come hand in hand with increasing political tensions.
“The polarising politics that have already affected everything else, [are now] crossing into the classroom. There is no doubt in my mind that education within the US and globally is going through the biggest transformation any of us have seen in a generation or more,” the spokesman added.
Some analysts argue that Dame Marjorie carefully timed her exit at the end of 2012. Pearson expanded enormously under her tenure, using a series of acquisitions to develop digital products and expand in emerging markets, notably China.
Mr Fallon, these analysts argue, is now unfairly having to grapple with a ragtag bag of companies, shouldering the blame for a combination of changing market dynamics and decisions taken by his predecessor.
Others claim Dame Marjorie is the one being scapegoated. They argue that the FTSE 100 business she led for 16 years is wobbling because of much more recent decisions, and that Fallon has lost key staff and contracts because of a reduction of investment in digital projects.
Whichever interpretation one adopts it is clear that Pearson’s troubles are not all of its own making. Its current turbulence started at a time when the tectonic plates of the education industry were already shifting rapidly. Part of this is down to a redrawing of the battle lines between established rivals. In America, McGraw-Hill Education has lately sharpened its focus on digital products under new chief executive David Levin, the former boss of UBM.
News Corp’s education division has also upped its game, under the guidance of Joel Klein, the former New York City schools chancellor.
But there are also a number of new rivals bearing down on the sector: Some of these are start-ups. We are in the midst of an unparalleled splurge in investment in new digital education businesses. In 2008, venture capital firms ploughed just $200m into the sector. This year, that sum is on course for $1bn.
Meanwhile, established technology giants like Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft and Samsung are all making inroads into the industry, in the hope that they will build loyal audiences to sell other products to down the line. “We’ve handed education to the big software and hardware providers,” says a senior industry figure. “Google is slated to have 20m teachers working on Google apps, and it’s all free. The margins are different because the motivations are different. Google can give away education because it is securing customers for the future.”
At the moment, the big technology companies tend to partner with the traditional players – Apple was supposed to provide the iPads for LA’s $1bn digital project, for example, but Pearson was responsible for the content. However, we have already seen this story play out in other industries. It is only a matter of time before these technology giants start producing their own content, and try to disintermediate the traditional publishers altogether.
“Partnering with one of these guys is like going to bed with a serial rapist,” one senior source says. “It is only a matter of time.”
He identifies Amazon as the biggest single threat. Its motivation is clear. The more educational content it provides, the more likely it is users will become dependent on its ecosystem and use it for future purchases.
Organisations that are not trying to make money arguably pose an even greater challenge, however. In 2011, Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla, ring-fenced between $1.5bn and $2.5bn to fund education projects. The endowment, informally dubbed the Zuckerberg fund, is a relatively low-key operation at the moment, but industry figures speculate that he will end up tackling education, in much the same way as Microsoft founder Bill Gates established the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to improve world health.
Those sorts of initiatives should only ever be welcomed, but they do not make life easier for traditional education companies.
One former Pearson executive argues that “for-profit” organisations in education are “seriously under threat”, and could end up losing their footing altogether.
But the Pearson’s spokesman feels differently. “The private sector has a pivotal role to play,” they say.
Either way, Pearson has reached a crucial moment in its trajectory. Fallon has to whip the ragtag bag of businesses he inherited into a smart, digital company. Otherwise, the venture capital firms could soon start circling and pick-pick-pick it away.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

NYCDOE Teacher Performance Investigator - Education required: A four-year high school diploma or its educational equivalent

Another slug job supporting the criminals at DOE legal. Add this to job description:
Will ignore any info that might show the teacher is innocent.
Will do what it takes to justify the existence of this job even if it means lying, cheating and creating evidence out of nothing.

Thanks to H.E. for sending this.

http://newyorkcity.jobing.com/n-y-city-school-const-auth/teacher-performance-unit-tpu-investigator-employee-discipline-2-2170868

Jobing Description

Tracking Code

Job Description

(Those who previously applied need not re-apply)

Position Summary:

Under supervision, with latitude for independent action and decision, investigates and studies tenured pedagogues misconduct and incompetence. The Investigator will be responsible for supporting the unit head and the staff attorneys in the investigation and preparation of legal and labor matters related to employee misconduct and incompetence.?? The Investigator is responsible for the maintenance and preparation of documents and written reports that are prepared in conjunction with administrative proceedings. The Investigator works collaboratively with the unit head and the other staff attorneys to ensure an efficient and systematic approach to legal services and may serve as liaison to city, state and federal departments, and with other agencies and officials within the Department of Education (DOE).

All personnel perform related work regardless of assignment type or level.

Reports to: ??

Deputy Counsel (Director) of the Teacher Performance Unit and/or designated Staff Attorneys.

Direct Reports: 
May require supervision of other Investigators and/or support staff.

Key Relationships: ??

Legal Services Staff Attorneys and Administrative Support Staff

RESPONSIBILITIES

Assembles and verifies data, records and evidence in response to inquiries from Corporation Counsel and outside counsel.

Manages and maintains case databases and generates case reports.
Examines and analyzes employee records and documents, case files and legal filings necessary to respond to requests for disciplinary hearings; makes recommendations as to course of action.
Utilizes computer systems such as NYCAPS, HRS and EIS to assist in the retrieval of information in connection with various administrative proceedings involving the Department of Education.
Assists attorneys in trial preparation including drafting charges, maintenance and preparation of documents for trial, witness preparation and evidence gathering.
Ensures timely notification of charges to employee to comply with labor agreement deadlines so hearing can proceed according to schedule.
Coordinates disciplinary hearings; organizes trial assignments and arbitrator calendar.
Researches and evaluates tenure status of pedagogic employees; and responds to inquiries as a point of contact for principals.
May require supervision of other Investigators and/or support staff.
Guides subordinates on best investigative techniques to utilize based on each individual case.
Interprets DOE administrative rules and regulations and policies as well as labor contract provisions related to due process procedures.

Qualification Requirements

A four-year high school diploma or its educational equivalent and four years of satisfactory full-time experience in one or more of the fields of accounting, auditing, inspection, investigation personnel administration, and security, or in a major operational area of the employing agency; OR
 

A satisfactory combination of a baccalaureate degree, post baccalaureate degree and/or experience.

Preferred

Strong computer systems skill needed to and maintain case databases and generate case reports using LexisNexis, Adobe Acrobat, and other software.

Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
Strong writing and organizational skills are preferred for the position.
Efficient legal research skills.
Experience utilizing Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Outlook and Power Point).

Salary: $

Please submit a resume and cover letter along with your application.

Resumes will be reviewed on an ongoing basis. We encourage applicants to apply as soon as possible.

NOTE: The filling of all positions is subject to budget availability and/or grant funding.

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Plot Against Public Education: How millionaires & billionaires are ruining our schools by Bob Herbert in Politico

Finally, former NY Times op ed reporter Bob Herbert, who I believe used to by the ed deform nonsense, gets it.

Philadephia Story: Contracts Are Only for Teachers to Follow

Imagine if NYC teachers went on strike over the numerous contract violations going on every day in every school? Taylor Law penalties and an assault on the union and teachers would take place en masse.

With the Philly story playing out the way it is, really, what recourse do teachers have other than to strike? I mean at what point does it get to be too much? The problem is that teachers all over the nation, except in Chicago, have not been prepared politically or ideologically to have even the remotest capability of striking. It took a politically sophisticated leadership in Chicago to do that.

And with a national leader like Randi, who plays footsie (Echos of Vichy: UFT/AFT - Friend or Foe and Mercedes Takes on Randi (Again)) with the other side there is little chance of seeing real resistance - other than, ironically, from students (Phila. students protest canceling of contract.)


Philly School Files



In a stunning move that could reshape the face of city schools, the Philadelphia School Reform Commission voted Monday to unilaterally cancel its teachers’ contract. The vote was unanimous.
The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers was given no advance word of the action — which happened at an early-morning SRC meeting called with minimal notice — and which figures to result in a legal challenge to the takeover law the SRC believes gives it the power to bypass negotiations and impose terms.
Jerry Jordan, PFT president, called the move "cowardly" and vowed to fight it strongly.

Karen Lewis Recovering, Jesse Sharkey Assumes Duties

Karen is an American hero. Every moment I've shared with her I consider a gift. No one has done more to advance the cause of teachers over the last few years than this courageous, brilliant, and really, really funny woman. God bless, Karen. Let's get you through this -- your work isn't even close to done yet..... Jersey Jazzman
Obviously the situation with Karen may seriously affect the mayoral race in Chicago where Karen was/still is expected to challenge POS Rahm Emanuel.

I've had the absolute pleasure of meeting Karen numerous times, including the time when she spoke at the NYCORE conference a few years ago and we picked her and her husband John up at the airport and got to spend an hour talking in the car. The last time I saw her was in Los Angelos at the AFT convention where she looked great. So let's wish she gets well fast.

I don't know Jesse Sharkey real well but I've never heard a bad word about him. Jesse is part of the original crew that organized CORE.

Below is the update from the Chicago Teachers Union blog.

Chicago Teachers Union Statement, Medical Update on President Karen Lewis

by ctu communications  |  10/09/2014
CHICAGO—Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) President Karen Lewis underwent successful surgery yesterday for a serious illness and is recovering well.
During President Lewis’ recovery, CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey will assume the duties of the president according to the rules set forth in the CTU Constitution and By-laws.
“Out of respect to President Lewis’ wishes, the wishes of her family, and their privacy, we cannot provide details on her condition, but we wish her all the best and pledge all of our support—both in aiding her recovery and in carrying on the work of the CTU about which she cares so deeply,” Sharkey said.

ILLUSTRATION: Karen in front of crowd