happy-amateur  asked:

Funny how every one of those senators complaining about how federal power can jeopardize education all voted in favor of Devos. They can't even keep their rice-paper-thin excuses consistent.

I suspect a lot of them are anti-public schools and pro-private Christian charter schools, both of which are in line with DeVos’s own attitudes toward education. 

Mother Jones has a very good article here on the kinds of things that DeVos values and pays for–and the probable results of her policies:

Michigan now serves as one of the most prominent examples of what aggressive, DeVos-style school choice policies look like on the ground, especially when it comes to expanding charters. About 80 percent of the state’s charter schools are run by for-profit companies—a much higher share than anywhere else in the country—with little oversight from the state. In 2011, DeVos fought against legislation to stop low-performing charter schools from expanding, and later she and her husband funded legislators who opposed a proposal to add new oversight for Detroit’s charters.

Detroit, in particular, provides a cautionary tale of what happens when the ideology of market-driven “school choice” trumps the focus on student outcomes. The city’s schools—where 83 percent of students are black and 74 percent are poor—have been in steady decline since charter schools started proliferating: Public school test scores in math and reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress have remained the worst among large cities since 2009. In June, the New York Times published a scathing investigation of the city’s school district, which has the second-biggest share of students in charters in America. (New Orleans is No. 1.) Reporter Kate Zernike concluded that lax oversight by the state and insufficiently regulated growth—including too many agencies that are allowed to open new charter schools—contributed to a chaotic system marked by “lots of choice, with no good choice.”

A 2015 study from Michigan State University’s Education Policy Center found that a high percentage of charter schools also had a devastating impact on the finances of poor Michigan school districts like Detroit. Researchers reported that, under the state’s school choice and finance laws, it was hard for districts to keep traditional public schools afloat when charters reached 20 percent or more of enrollment. While per-student public funding follows kids to charters or other districts, traditional public schools still have fixed costs to cover, like building expenses and faculty salaries. Charter growth also increased the share of special-needs students left behind in traditional public schools, and the extra costs for educating such students weren’t adequately reimbursed by the state.
How Washington Winks at Violent Discipline of Special Needs Kids
The Department of Education is supposed to keep track of such incidents, but it lets schools slide on reporting. Critics fear the situation will get worse under Betsy DeVos.

“[DC] charter schools, which educate close to half the students in the district, operate without guidelines when it comes to restraint and seclusion.”
Perspective | Feds cite D.C. charters for high suspension rates, particularly for black students
A new Government Accountability Office report says suspension and expulsion rates for charters in Washington, D.C., are double the national rates and disproportionately high for black students and those with disabilities.

As we enter a new school year, we’re re-starting the discourse on what direction are our nations schools headed. Unless you’re involved with schools on a daily basis (teacher, administrator, student or parent) it’s hard to be aware of all that is going on.

While this article focuses on charter schools, don’t forget that black students are disproportionately targeted when it comes to behavior and discipline. The charter school model just tends to systematize & streamline the discrimination.

under the Trump administration & a Betsy DeVos Department of Education it is CRITICAL that all americans are aware and show up against harmful trends as they pop up.


Wise Intelligent - Leaders In Our Communities and Public & Charter Schools Failure

unqualified salmon dip

this salmon dip has never worked in schools, doesn’t know the difference between growth and proficiency, and paid Republican senators millions of dollars to ignore its shameless ignorance and proud incompetency

however, it is delicious and just as qualified as betsy devos is to be secretary of education


- 8oz cream cheese (at room temperature unless you want to destroy your mixer, maybe you do, maybe you are as made of money as betsy devos is and the idea of buying a new mixer doesn’t faze you, maybe in that case you should excuse yourself to the bottom of the sea)

- half a cup of greek yogurt (or sour cream, probably creme fraiche would also work but at my house creme fraiche is for eating with a spoon out of the little bucket, not for putting in dip)

- juice of half a lemon

- tablespoon of dill (dried or fresh, probably the amount makes a difference depending on which one you use, but i used dried because I ate all my fresh, because fresh dill is the most delicious thing on earth)

- 4oz smoked salmon, chopped (try not to get the shittiest kind)

- tablespoon of horseradish (i used fresh grated, you can use prepared because maybe you aren’t the kind of person who keeps fresh horseradish around in case they need to make a bloody mary at 9am on a weekday, but maybe you want to be, in which case, i recommend keeping fresh horseradish around)


In a mixer, combine your cream cheese and like a third of your salmon, along with your yogurt, dill, lemon juice, horseradish and salt and pepper to taste. After the stuff is sufficiently infused with delicious creamed salmon and perfectly pasty, dispatch to a serving bowl, stir in the rest of your salmon, and chill for an hour or for as long as you can hold yourself back from consuming this incredible treat in light of the fact that the world is crumbling around us and every moment finds our very existence less certain than the next.

Columns that Will Never Be Read: Eating Your Own Dog Food

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In his book “Kitchen Confidential,“ celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain told the story of what happens behind the scenes of the four and five star restaurants in New York City. One of the great ironies of the book was that the people working at those often world famous eateries never actually ate at them. They would prefer hole-in-the-wall establishments to eat where they said the food was “always so much better and interesting” than the places that they worked at.

I remember a long time ago a nurse that worked at a hospital told me. "If I am ever in an accident please make sure I never get sent there. They call it "Vista Kills” for a reason.“ (It was really named Vista Hills.) He had no confidence in his colleagues to keep him alive in an emergency. He wanted to go somewhere else.

Suppose you saw the two pelons on TV selling Nissans driving about town in Hondas, Kias, or Toyotas. ¡Oralé! What would you think?

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Would you say to yourself “These people are hypocrites?” Or would you think, “Well, they are just looking out for themselves. Good for them?”

“Eat your own dog food” is a saying, originally from the early 20th century, made popular during the 1990’s by Microsoft and among the tech and business crowd: What that phrase means is that a company or the people in an organization should be so confident in its product that they should actually use it. “We need to eat our own dog food.” A person working for Microsoft should, theoretically, be so confident in Microsoft products that they use a Windows PC when working with clients or even at home. The idea of course, is that if the product is good, then at least those that make it would be confident enough to use it. A person selling Nissan cars, if they ate their own dog food would drive a Nissan. A person working at a particular hospital should be confident enough to go to that hospital when they are ill.

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I was thinking about that saying, “Eat your own dog food” when I was talking to some public school teachers about where they send their children to school. Surprisingly, some on the group said that they sent their kids to private schools. When I pushed back and asked why, a whole litany of reasons emerged, from “private schools provide a safer environment” to “better chance of going to a good college,” to “smaller classes.” There were a lot of in-between reasons, like “less bullying” and “they get religion there” but in the end, they all sort of grouped the reasons into “we do what is best for our kids.”

Did you get that? Public school teachers, sending their children to private schools because it is what is “best for them.” These teachers, and many like them, do not eat their own dog food.

Hypocrites or looking out for themselves and their kids?”

While it is hard to blame a parent for looking out for what they consider the best interests of their child, it is an interesting phenomenon that some public school teachers and administrators think that the exact places that they work are not good enough for their own children. And this is not a local phenomenon. A June 2015 study by Knowledge Networks found that 20% of public school teachers send at least one of their children to a private school which is higher than the general population of 13%.

Loyalty to the cause is important in any organization. A soldier that is a pacifist, a priest that is an atheist, or a veterinarian that hates dogs will not last long in their chosen professions if they do not believe in what they are doing. And while it is true that respect and loyalty are earned over time, there has to be some kind of starting point no matter the organization. That starting point has to be that the employee should at the very minimum believe in the purpose and the product of the organization, whatever the organization is. You no doubt have come across employees at some businesses that you can tell right away have no belief in the organization they are working at. Perhaps you have even worked with someone like that. What goes through your mind when you meet or work with a person like that? Do public school educators that believe that private schools, or even charter schools are a better choice for their kids than the ones they work for instill that confidence in the organization? If they do not believe in the product that they themselves are producing, why do they still come to work there each day?

One also has to wonder whether or not these educators understand that by sending their children to private schools, they are hurting the very institution that they are working for. Public schools are funded in part, in Texas at least, on something called ADA, or Average Daily Attendance. That means that the public schools get money for each child that shows up each day. The more “butts-in-seats,” the more a district receives. Less butts, less funding. Less funding means fewer programs. It is not a theoretical exercise to say that a public school employee, sending their child to a private school, for whatever reason, financially hurts the very public school that they work for. And while they may say “a single kid won’t hurt the bottom line,” collectively, over time, the bottom line is affected. There is no way to say it is not.

I once asked a question to a group of teachers that I was conducting a professional development session: “Would you want your child to attend the school that you teach at?” For many in the group, the answer was “No.” I then asked why not, and received back lots of the same answers the teachers gave for sending their children to private schools: Safety, poor teachers, bad administrators, no vision for the campus, etc. I then asked what they were doing to improve the conditions at their campus, to make it a place where they would send their children. I was met with blank stares. Essentially, they had either given up trying, or they had concluded it was someone else’s job.

I am torn as to what to think about this phenomenon. Part of me asks “Why would you be willing to work at a school district but not show support by sending your own kids to the schools. Another part of me thinks “Well, you are the parent, you know the needs of your children better than I.” But then I go back to “Whatever happened to loyalty to your organization?” Whatever happened to eating your own dog food?

In El Paso, the issue will become even more important in the next few years as public charter schools move into town. They are free for parents, so that makes them more attractive than private schools but they pull from the same funding pot so any kid that goes to a charter school is taking ADA away from local public school districts. What happens when public school educators start putting their children into Charter schools but refuse to work at them because they pay less?

You probably wouldn’t by a Nissan from a dealer driving a Honda if they told you “Honda’s are better for me. But that’s just me. For you, Nissan’s are just fine.” or eat at a restaurant of you knew the chefs and cooks never ate there themselves. “We don’t eat there personally, but for you it is just fine.” People from organizations refusing to eat their own dog food leave a bad taste in my mouth.

It’s been a solid decade and I still can’t believe that fencing was such a prominent pastime at my highschool that kids could literally contest grades and write ups by challenging the staff member to a freaking duel.

At the time this was just life, but as a grown person interacting with other professionals? “Oh you never stabbed your principal after being written up because you were caught without a hall pass? Ha ha no me neither hahaha. So weird haha.”

Also I’m confused as to why this isn’t the standard in the education industry.

What does it mean to declare that #blacklivesmatter in education?

Last month the Movement for Black Lives, representing elements of the Black Lives Matter movement and related groups, issued a detailed policy platform denouncing what it called “corporate-backed,” “market driven” “privatization” in school reform, and helped set off a furor over this question.

Under the section labeled “community control,” M4BL called for an end to state and mayoral takeovers of school systems in favor of local, democratically elected boards, more equitable school funding and a de-emphasis on standardized testing. The group also demanded a moratorium on new charter schools, on school closures and on out-of-school suspensions, which they link to the school-to-prison pipeline.

Questions Of Race And Charter Schools Divide Education Reformers

Illustration: LA Johnson and Chelsea Beck/NPR
Analysis | Florida governor is signing K-12 public education bill that critics call a ‘scam’ — at a Catholic school
Critics say traditional public schools will be severely harmed by the measure while charter schools get priority.

Florida’s Republican governor, Rick Scott, on Thursday plans to sign a $419 million K-12 public education bill that has been labeled by critics as “scam” legislation — and he is holding the event at a private Catholic school.

The measure, popular among many but not all Republicans and pro-school choice forces, sparked a tsunami of opposition from parents, school boards, district superintendents and unions. They have argued that it will harm traditional public school districts, threaten services for students who live in poverty and curb local control of education while promoting charter schools and a state-funded voucher program.

When the legislation becomes law, more than 100 traditional public schools given low grades by the state will be converted into charters — even though the charter sector in Florida is deeply troubled; more than 300 have closed as a result of poor performance. Charter-friendly provisions are scattered throughout the bill, such as one that requires traditional public elementary schools to provide recess to students (without resources to expand the school day) but exempts charters from the same mandate.