Videos From L.A.

Here are two videos from L.A.

My favorite part of the fists one is the end of number 45, at about 7:30:00.

06-18-13RegularBd – Jun 18th, 2013.

Favorite part of this next one: about 5:34:20, Steven Zimmer talks passionately about class sizes and such.

http://lausd.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?clip_id=58

However, those are only very small parts of both videos; all of both are still absolutely worth watching!

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Video: Parent Trigger Explained

Bah…it’s late and I am sleepy.  Zoe, Quinn and I worked hard on this video outlining what our sense of things is after researching the Parent Trigger as applied in the state of CA.  We read through reams of online pages.  And honestly, there are many sides to this issue…ahem…to this “law”.  It can be applied in ways that make sense.  But what the heck are corporations doing enacting laws regarding education.  If there isn’t a profit to be gleaned, by the very definition of Return On Investment (ROI), no corporation is going to support this kind of law without an expected return.  The ROI here is to turn your children, my children, our children into one of these:

$$$$$$

Children who legally must attend school are not a revenue stream for a public school.  The money that goes with each child to their school in the form of taxes barely covers costs because of what politician’s and elected officials do with it.  But for a corporation, for a corporate charter school system…children become a source of revenue.  A guaranteed source of revenue for 12 years per child.  Corporate America, it isn’t just for selling stuff anymore…now education is business.  How do you encourage parents to ‘see the light’ and put their children into a charter school run by a corporation?  One way is to put corporate money into a front that appears to be all about parental rights, while all along you are just getting them to help your company open up the schoolhouse doors for guaranteed revenue.  When we looked at the website for Parent Revolution and Parent Trigger we were all scratching our heads.  We were sitting there reading it and just flabbergasted.  It is so transparent that it makes no sense that anyone would believe it, let alone be duped into actually trusting it.  It’s a crazy world out there folks.

A Booklet, Protests, Gandhi, MLK and Education in the USA.

Plainly and simply I just want to encourage people to read this…

Booklet for Legislators

It is from Utah.  Put together by these FOLKS.  Why read it if you are not from Utah?  It is chock full of incredible information about what is happening with the Common Core…how it originated.  All of the answers to many of your questions can be found here.  It is Utah specific in some spots.  But really the overall agenda is a national one and it is made clear in this pamphlet written for Utah legislators.

Our Blue Hats are off to these men and women who are working so diligently.  They are super organized!

There is one thing I want to point out though.  It is a problem I have with many anti-common core movements.  It is here, in this quote from the booklet…

“Representing thousands of Utahans, we implore you as legislators to try
freedom. Release school districts from education mandates and let them adopt
whatever high standards they want to set for the children in their care. It’s not
too late to protect Utah and preserve local control of education.”

The problem that I have?  Too many movements are still asking for freedom instead of just reclaiming it.  I hate to sound like an agitator.  But when someone seeks to remove your freedom without asking you…they aren’t likely to ever give it back because you asked nicely.  I asked my local school to let my daughter opt out of standardized testing that was Common Core aligned and they said we were breaking the law.  I  asked nicely more than once…they said no.  Finally…we just behaved within our freedoms, our moral freedoms, and they had to concede.  Gandhi didn’t ask for Britain to leave India alone.  Martin Luther King Jr, didn’t say “please”.  These men led people towards retaking their rightful freedoms and without untold numbers of people being willing to stand up for what was right and not what was “legal”….nothing would have ever changed.  We have a moral imperative to behave in a way that is ethical, peaceful…and that protects the education of our children.  Asking permission to do so, asking for legislators to look out for us AFTER they have sold us down the river, isn’t likely to work.  Parents and teachers and schools must have a coordinated, peaceful, respectful but firm complete shunning of what is NOT working and damn the protests and lamentations of those passing down CCSI on our schools.

Taking back our schools isn’t defiant of us.  It is just returning things to how they were before they began trying to control everything.  What we need, is a new way to stage protests and actions where teachers will not lose their jobs for teaching in ways that are appropriate, creative, and educationally rich.  To be clear, I do find merit in asking and going through appropriate channels.  But at this late stage in the game, a whole new field is required before all is lost.  That is my ten cents worth this evening…

(please forgive any typos…tis late and I am weary!)

-Charlie

A Note From Tami Pyfer

Recently, we received this comment from Tami Pyfer on our blog:

“This video was eye-opening – most states have mechanisms for alternative testing for students with disabilities and I’m wondering why NC does not.

I’m confused about how/why you are connecting assessment issues, like the one in this video, to the Common Core Standards. Standards do not equal assessments. Standards do not equal curriculum. Standards are simply minimum expectations for what a student will learn at each grade level. Some students may achieve more, and some students – especially those with disabilities – may learn less. Effective educational programs will accommodate for both ends of the spectrum. A state may have one adopted set of standards/expectations for all of the schools in the state, but in many (most?) states, the curriculum is left up to the individual schools. In our state, we’ve had minimum standards for decades. Setting the standards and developing the state assessments are the responsibility of the State Board of Education, while the curriculum is developed/designed/adopted by local school districts and charter schools. We also have a completely separate assessment system for students with disabilities like the child in this video.

Lumping the Common Core State Standards in with the inappropriate assessment practices tied with No Child Left Behind and highlighted in this video, doesn’t make sense, although it’s a common tactic being used by people who don’t understand how different states are/are not implementing the Common Core standards. Unfortunately, waiving the anti-Common Core flag is simply a distraction to the (worthy) battle you are waging for the appropriate use, and not misuse of assessment in our schools.”

We did not approve the comment on the blog, and the next day, we received an email from her asking why the comment was not showing up.  I did not approve her message to appear on our blog because something felt funny to me.

When Tami wrote to us again, Zoe and I did a bit of research on Tami Pyfer, and we found a BLOG with an email correspondence between her and someone concerned about the Common Core being applied in the state of Utah.  Here is the link where you can read more about Tami.

Below is the email correspondence, with Tami’s writing in bold italics and Anissa’s just in italics:

Dear Governor & Board,

It is my understanding that there is a way for Utah to get out of Common Core  so that we are free of any strings attached. The ESEA flexibility request window shuts down Sept. 6, 2012.  Does this mean we have to resubmit our waiver request before then, or lose the option of doing loophole option 2 forever?

Is the Board considering this? Now would be the time to decide. Please discuss this at this Friday’s meeting. Please respond to me with more information.

Thanks!

Anissa Wardell

——————————————————————————————————-

Personally, I have no intention of unadopting the new math and ELA common core standards. We are already “string free” and it’s unfortunate that some groups feel otherwise.

Tami Pyfer

——————————————————————————————————-

Tami,

If we really are string free, would you kindly show proof of that? I have done a great deal of research on my own, outside of those you refer to and from what I can see, we are not string free. The math standards are horrible! I am going to have to pay hundreds of dollars this year alone for my 6th grader so that she will be ready for Algebra. Utah’s math standards were already better and were more understandable than what we have just adopted.

While I have this audience, I also want the Board (and everyone else on the list) to know that as a parent I want cursive writing to stay in our state curriculum.

Please provide all of us evidence to back up your understanding.

Thank you,

Anissa

———————————————————————————————————

I appreciate your passion, but the “evidence” has been presented in a variety of public forums numerous times. Your disagreement with the facts does not change them. I will continue to respond to my constituents who are truly looking for answers to their questions regarding our core standards.

Tami Pyfer

——————————————————————————————————–

Tami,

Well thank you Tami. You have not answered my question, and if there is proof I honestly would like to see it. You incorrectly assume that I do not want true answers. If there is this information and it has been provided many times, please tell me where I can find it.

It is answers like yours that are frustrating for constituents. I will continue to ask for answers. I never said we have to agree, I am searching for answers and because you are a board member and you have been entrusted with the mantle to ensure high quality curriculum standards and instruction, and because you are supposed to represent your constituents, I expect you to live up to that.

Anissa

 

———————————————————————————

So, reader, there are many things we could say.  The main and only thing we want to say is that when Tami first wrote to us she did not say who she actually was, and we had a feeling that the comment’s author was someone involved with enforcing Common Core.  Her omission of this fact is why we did not want to approve her comment.  But with the proper context for her comment now clear, we are fine sharing it here.  Zoe and I debated a lot about how to present this or if we should at all.  This is the result.  Definitely food for thought…

Being Jeb…a pretend interview.

Hi, my name is Charlie and I want to present to you a scenario.  For the sake of explaining a portion of what is happening to our public schools, I am going to perform a little magic and transport you to a world where I am Jeb Bush.  But first, a rather lengthy preface…

All of the facts and quotations in this article can be found in the articles referenced at the bottom of this page, written by real journalists who have done the hard work researching and chasing the leads so that we can be well informed. I paraphrase a lot. I plagiarize portions of their work.  So I am saying here that ALL of the things you are about to read are accurate, just presented in a dramatized fashion-and not possible without the efforts of the writer’s cited.  All quotations are actual quotes from the speaker named.  My hope in this presentation style is to offer the information in a distinct and relateable way that may perhaps really put us all into the mindset of the people who are attempting to take over public education.  But I want to stress that all the credit for the research that makes this possible goes to Diane Ravitch, Colin Woodard, William March, and Chris Cousins.

Ready…sitting down?  Okay here we go.

Hi, my name is Jeb Bush…I run a foundation called the Foundation for Educational Excellence.  My non profit organization, is dedicated “To build an American education system that equips every child to achieve his or her God-given potential.”

My organization’s vision is for “An education system that maximizes every student’s potential for learning and prepares all students for success in the 21st century.” Our guiding principles are that:

  • All children can learn.

  • All children should learn at least a year’s worth of knowledge in a year’s time.

  • All children will achieve when education is organized around the singular goal of student success. (0)

So here is how we achieve this vision and forward these principles.  What we do is host what we call Education Summits.  In the words of my employee and spokesperson, Jaryn Emhof, we use these summits as “an opportunity for lawmakers, policymakers, researchers, experts, innovators, and more to gather in one location to learn from each other.”  What are we learning about?  Good question.  At these summits community leaders such as Stephen Bowen, Educational Commissioner of Maine, listens as my organization “advocates for proven policies and innovative reforms that will improve the quality of education … (to) ensure every student has access to the high-quality education experience that best fits them.” (1)

And if you think we are talking about reinventing the wheel and closing schools, you are right.  Because what we basically do is encourage and support and push legislation that makes it harder for public schools to operate.  We coach education leaders in America at these summits about the benefits of doing business with the other stakeholders in on these educational meetings.  We even hold their hands through the painful process of slowing down the funds to public schools, so that my corporate friends can move in and fill the gap when those schools can’t make the grade anymore.  We even help with wording and walking through of legislation that supports the installation of charter schools and enforces the curriculum and test requirements that favor the profitability of stakeholders.(1)

Who are my stakeholders? Corporate donors that support the Summits include:

* Pearson, a $9 billion-a-year media conglomerate which has a $250 million, four-year contract to administer the Florida Comprehensive Achievement Test.

* Amplify, the education division of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., which sells classroom and curriculum software.

* Charter Schools USA, a Fort Lauderdale-based for-profit company that manages charter schools under contract.

* IQity, which sells online learning materials.

The two-day summits include speeches by national figures including myself, along with other notables such as Condoleeza Rice and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan.  Last year’s summit, for example (2012), at the JW Marriott hotel near the White House, included “strategy sessions” on such topics as “Reaching more students with vouchers and tax-credit scholarships”.  The 2011 conference at the historic Palace Hotel in San Francisco — one of the city’s most luxurious, with rooms starting at $350 per night — featured a speech by Rupert Murdoch.

You might think it is strange that no actual educator’s are at these “Educational Summits” where all these plans are made.  Like I said…we are trying to save education, not return to a past where there was no need for saving education.

As Justin Hamilton of Murdoch’s firm, Amplify says… “We’re lagging behind the rest of the world, we have to catch up fast.” And Justin would know, because Amplify sponsors and attends the summits with a sense of  “fostering a robust conversation about improving education in America.”(1)

Essentially, what we do, is determine the future of public school policy, on the dime of the very companies that stand to benefit from the future that they determine.  It’s fairly simple.

Now, what with all the money we spend on these efforts to change laws in favor of corporate benefit you may be thinking of calling us lobbyists, but we aren’t. Want to know why? Because a lobbyist, in state law, is someone employed solely or mainly to influence the government.  My foundation’s Executive Director is actually an employee of her own consulting and lobbying company.  That’s right…Patricia Levesque is a registered lobbyist with Meridian Consulting.  You see…the Foundation for Excellence in Education — we have no lobbyist registered in our ranks whatsoever. Patricia discreetly furthers the mission of the Foundations for Educational Excellence by proxy while consulting for a totally different foundation I also control called Foundation for Florida’s Future.  Ya’ll confused yet?  Because it just gets better.   Patricia is the Executive Director of that Foundation too.(1)

Now if you look at Foundation for Florida’s Future’s tax returns, you can find that Patricia’s lobbying firm, Meridian Strategies,which she runs with Dierdre Finn-who is also deputy director of BOTH aforementioned Foundations…whew.  Hold on a sec, let me catch my breath.  Okay, and then you gotta factor in that these two foundations also share another registered lobbyist, Joanna Hassell. And both foundations have the same address on Monroe Street in Tallahassee.  So while you can’t prove that we are lobbying and no legal connection can be proven, Meridian Strategies did get paid $276,000 by us in 2010.  Or rather, Patricia and Diedre were each paid that amount separately.(1)

But I want to get back to a name I mentioned way back in the beginning. Stephen Bowen, fella from Maine.  Educational Commissioner up there. He came to one of our summits way back in 2011.  Now here he is paving the way, just like we discussed at the Summit.  Besides the fact that he’s put together the whole A-F grading system, choked down spending on public schools while pushing through LD129 so more charter schools can open, LD1524 which affects funding to high schools that offer remedial instruction and LD1510 which allow us to go after failing schools more efficiently (2)…He’s also put into action our whole notion of deregulating online education.  Working with K12 and a subsidiary of Pearson Publishing named Connections Education- Patricia personally worked with Bowen and others in his state to escort legislation that eased the entrance of said companies into the state of Maine.  I mean besides the money that K12 and Pearson put up for the farce, it’s a funny thing…the emails that even show her helping him line all of this up are right there on the internet, but people are so busy that they probably don’t have the time to look.  I really hope no one finds all this out and writes an article about it and has it go viral or something. (3)

It’s funny you know…all that talk about Banks that were too big to fail.  Why are people like me and Pearson able to take over and manipulate public education, and legislation and simultaneously able to convince so many that it is the best thing for them?…it’s simple.  We are too big to fail.  The only thing that could possibly stand in our way is the American people.  If they actually woke up tonight, there would be a revolution tomorrow.

Like right now, in Chicago, they are closing nearly 60 schools.  The largest school closure in one area in US history.  They are claiming that they lacked the funding.  But right under the public’s nose the policy makers earmarked  in 2012, $350 million for the Office of New Schools-an office devoted to developing new charter and contract schools. In 2013, the Chicago Public School system allocated an additional $23 million to fund new charter schools.  Heck, that amount alone is nearly half of what they estimate they will save if they close 80 neighborhood schools.  As a final blow, the United Neighborhood Organization (UNO) successfully lobbied the Illinois General Assembly for an additional $35 million to expand their charter school network in 2012, while at the same time the state cut over $200 million from the public school budget.  You have to admit, that it is a very very good time to be getting into the education business. (4)

Well, I gotta go.  The next summit is in October and I have a lot of educational decision makers to add to the guest list.  I am a busy man..after all…the future of education is at stake.

(0) http://excelined.org/about-us/mission-and-history/

(1)http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/03/jeb-bush-education-foundation_n_2802536.html
Originally by the Tampa Tribune-William March

(2)http://bangordailynews.com/2013/05/10/politics/state-house/democrats-stall-teacher-evaluation-rules-until-lepage-reveals-education-agenda/
Originally by Christopher Cousins

(3) http://www.pressherald.com/news/virtual-schools-in-maine_2012-09-02.html?pagenum=full
Originally published on Sept, 2, 2012 by Colin Woodard

(4) http://dianeravitch.net/2013/03/21/the-futility-of-closing-schools-in-chicago/
Originally by Diane Ravitch