Education

7 Billionaires Pouring Money into Pro-Charter School Candidates for Los Angeles School Races and California Legislature

September 25, 2020 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican / Sept. 20/ 2020

Unlike 2018, fewer of the wealthy class appear to be spending so freely to control California school policy, but their spending still dominates campaign spending.

Large amounts of money are being spent in an attempt to regain political control of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and there appears to be a concentration of money directed at key county school boards. They are also spending liberally on California state senate and assembly races.

In this election cycle, the three PACs mapped in yellow [above] appear to be the main conduit for billionaire money going to independent expenditures. These expenditures are unlimited as long as no coordination can be shown with a candidate’s campaign. The wealthy real estate developer from Manhattan Beach, California, William E. Bloomfield is pouring his money directly into private campaign companies normally hired by the PACs to produce their media and campaign mailings.

The Campaign Company Group shown above is a fictitious company showing the total funding Bloomfield has spent with seven different companies to produce campaign materials for candidates he supports or opposes.

The Battle for LA

LAUSD is by far the largest school district in California and nationally it is second in size only to the New York City School District.

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School Choice Is a Harmful Fraud

September 16, 2020 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican

Birthed in the bowels of the 1950’s segregationist south, school choice has never been about improving education. It is about white supremacy, profiting off taxpayers, cutting taxes, selling market based solutions and financing religion. School choice ideology has a long dark history of dealing significant harm to public education.

Market Based Ideology

Milton Friedman first recommended school vouchers in a 1955 essay. In 2006, he was asked by a conservative group of legislators what he envisioned back then. PRWatch reports that he said, “It had nothing whatsoever to do with helping ‘indigent’ children; no, he explained to thunderous applause, vouchers were all about ‘abolishing the public school system.”’ [Emphasis added]

Market based ideologues are convinced that business is the superior model for school management. Starting with the infamous Reagan era polemic,

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Center for Reinventing Public Education – the Billionaires’ Advocate

August 28, 2020 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican / August 26, 2020

In 1993, Political Science Professor Paul T. Hill established the Center for Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) at the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs on the University of Washington campus. The research group Hill founded is steeped in public school failure ideology. On their web site Hill let it be known “The Center has a definite point of view.” Among the points listed are:

“The ineffectiveness of big city public schools clouds the futures of millions of children.”

“Incremental efforts to improve urban public education without disturbing the school boards, unions, and central office administrators have failed, largely because roles, missions, and interests of those organizations are incompatible with effective schooling.”

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Charter School Myths and Promises

August 19, 2020 by Source

Charter School Experiment Failure Documented Again

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican / August 17, 2020

Marketing and lack of oversight have obscured the failure of the charter school industry. The latest research reported by Carol Burris and her team at the Network for Public Education (NPE) documents the atrocious going out of business rate among charter schools.

The United States Education Department (USED) has invested more than $4 billion promoting the industry but has not effectively tracked the associated fraud, waste and failures. After 25-years of charter schooling, Broken Promises is the first comprehensive study of their closure rates.

Former American Federation of Teachers (AFT) union President, Albert Shanker,

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Going Back to School in the Midst of a Global Pandemic:  Fear, Loathing, and ‘Virtual’ Learning

August 17, 2020 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

It’s hard to imagine a worse way to start a school year, from top to bottom. As with his dreams of a glorious economic “reopening,” President Trump’s authoritarian fantasy of forcing the nation’s return to school has backfired in a big way, with polls everywhere showing a majority of parents and students unhappy with the idea of being bullied into the classroom whether that be in K-12 or higher education.

Also, it turns out, that many local school districts have refused to play along, listening to public health experts rather than the go-back-to-work-and-die crowd. In places where schools have reopened, we were immediately greeted with outbreaks of COVID-19.

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School Choice and White Supremacy Like Two Peas in a Pod

August 11, 2020 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican / August 9, 2020

In Overturning Brown, – as in the US Supreme Court case “Brown v Board of Education” – , Steve Suitts provides overwhelming evidence for the segregationist legacy of “school choice.” He shows that “Brown v Board” has been effectively gutted and “choice” proved to be the white supremacists’ most potent strategy to defeat it. In the 21st century, that same strategy is being wielded to maintain segregation while destroying the separation of church and state. (Note: In this article references to Overturning Brown given as Suitts page#.)

Defeating Brown

On May 17 1954, the United States Supreme Court handed down a unanimous decision in the case of Brown versus the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. Chief Justice Earl Warren stated, “In the field of public education the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place.” He added it is “inherently unequal” and plaintiffs were “deprived of the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the 14th Amendment.”

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More Than 97,000 American Children Tested Positive for Covid-19 in Last 2 Weeks of July

August 10, 2020 by Source

By Christina Maxouris / CNN / August 10, 2020

More than 97,000 children in the US tested positive for coronavirus in the last two weeks of July, a new report says.

The report, published by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association, said in those two weeks, there was a 40% increase in child cases across the states and cities that were studied.

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Reopening Schools: Issues and Evidence

July 22, 2020 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican / July 21, 2020

The President of the United States and his Secretary of Education have demanded schools open with in-person classes five days a week. Many parents are not confident their children will be safe and significant numbers of teachers are profoundly frightened. How does the rhetoric square with credible scientific evidence concerning the Covid-19 pandemic?

President Trump has tweeted,

“In Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and many other countries, SCHOOLS ARE OPEN WITH NO PROBLEMS. The Dems think it would be bad for them politically if U.S. schools open before the November Election, but is important for the children & families. May cut off funding if not open!”

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The Widder Curry: ‘Opening the Schools During the Pandemic Is Absolutely Insane and Is Child Abuse’

July 15, 2020 by Judi Curry

As a former educator – Teacher, Principal, Inservice Director, Assistant Professor, Deputy Director, etc., I cannot understand all the controversy about opening or not opening the schools during this pandemic.

I also cannot understand why the schools have to be opened in August – one of the hottest months of the year. I remember when school didn’t start until after Labor Day, and why it was changed is a mystery to me. If I had my druthers, I would suggest that school end June 30th, and not begin again until October 1st. The reason for that is also some of the reason that I think opening up the schools in a few weeks is ludicrous.

Number one is that when it is hot students do not learn as well.

Granted that some schools are air conditioned; but an equal number are not.

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Jiving Kids by Reopening Schools Just Would Not Be Cool

July 14, 2020 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

The orange faced man in the White House is talking about reopening schools and, in my way of thinking, that just would not be cool.

Jiving aka bullshitting children is something we should never do and opening their schools would be saying to them that everything is cool.

It seems like my work in this area is not yet done as I spent 37 years in San Diego City Schools opposing shining young folks on.

It wasn’t my intention to take on such a task when I began teaching. It was something that came to me out of the blue one day back in the early 60’s when my sixth graders and I were sitting at a school assembly.

A South African exchange student from a high school nearby had us literally “oohing and aahing” as she showed us slides of breathtaking mountains and glistening coastlines and splendid waterfalls and forests and deserts and grassy savannas.

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‘America Is Not Ready to Open Schools. We Blew It.’

July 8, 2020 by Source

Don’t Sacrifice Teachers and Students to the Neoliberal God

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican / July 8, 2020

The US is not ready to open schools. We blew it. Let’s face reality squarely and quit making outcomes in our country even worse.

New York’s Michael Flanagan Ed. D. wrote,

“The pressure to reopen schools, and return to work, will continue to intensify, no matter how many new cases of Covid-19 there are each day, and the numbers are growing. Businesses, politicians and even health professionals are in the process of trying to convince us that sending our kids back to school will be safe.”

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Fraud at Sweetwater? Maybe But Unlikely

July 2, 2020 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tulican / July 1, 2020

For the past week, local San Diego TV and Print media have been filled with damning headlines like the NBC affiliate’s, “Audit of Sweetwater Union High School District Finds Evidence of Fraud” or the online publication Voice of San Diego’s “Audit Finds Sweetwater Officials Deliberately Manipulated Finances.” Every local news outlet published the story with some version of these headlines.

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Reopening Schools and Debunking Demagoguery

June 23, 2020 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican / June 21, 2020

Education professionals throughout America are feverishly engaged in preparing for the first school year in the unprecedented Sars-Cov-2 era. Simultaneously, demagogues are pushing an often uninformed agenda.

For example, congressmen Jim Banks of Indiana and Tom Tiffany of Wisconsin have introduced legislation to force all schools to open with in-person classes by September or else lose federal funding.

At the same time McKinsey and Company, the 74 and other school privatization friendly groups are loudly proclaiming that an education gap disaster will devastate Black and Brown children if we do not reopen brick and mortar schools immediately.

Education Leaders are Getting Ready for Fall

Across California and the whole of the US, parents, students, teachers and administrators are involved in intense school reopening discussions with less than two months to go in some cases. County Health Departments in both Los Angeles and San Diego have indicated that masks will be mandatory for all students and school personnel.

California’s second largest school district, San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD),

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Our San Diego Schools Must Reopen in August Despite Real Fears Amid Coronavirus

June 18, 2020 by Source

By Colleen O’Connor / Times of San Diego / June 16, 2020

The warnings are dire. The options limited. The fears real. But keeping schools closed the remainder of the year may be a mistake.

Why open up in August? The reasons are obvious and many.

First, San Diego education leaders warn of financial calamity. If even a small number of parents choose not to send their children back to traditional schools, it could trigger a funding crisis and threaten the link between neighborhoods and schools.”

Public schools, as libraries, are often the cornerstones of safety in many neighborhoods.

Yet, some parents will seek out alternative education sites: private schools, charter schools, academies, tutors and home-schooling options — further eroding the tax base allotments for the public ones—as those funds are calculated on a daily head count in every district. No one can blame parents for wanting to keep their children safe.

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Billionaires and the Origins of California’s Charter School Movement

June 17, 2020 by Source

Organized to Disrupt

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican / June 10, 2020

The New Schools Venture Fund (NSVF) is the Swiss army knife of public school privatization. It promotes education technology development, bankrolls charter school creation, develops charter management organizations and sponsors school leadership training groups.

Since its founding in 1998, a small group of people with extraordinary wealth have been munificent in their support. NSVF is a significant asset in the billionaire funded drive to end democratically run public schools and replace them with privatized corporate structures.

1990’s Silicon Valley was a Happening Place

Like elsewhere in America, every little strip mall in San Jose, California had a Blockbuster video rental store. In 1997, Reed Hastings and Netflix co-founder Mark Reynolds came up with a disruptive idea that put Blockbuster out of business. For a monthly fee, they offered DVD’s by mail with no late charges. Blockbuster did not adapt fast enough and went bankrupt.

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CREDO’s New Study Biased against Public Schools

May 19, 2020 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican / May 14, 2020

The Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) started releasing the results of its new Cities Study Project in mid-2019. It is not a coincidence that the cities chosen for the study have long been targeted for public school privatization.

The ten cities selected are: Indianapolis; Baton Rouge; Camden; Kansas City; Memphis; New Orleans; Oakland; St. Louis; San Antonio; and Washington DC. This CREDO study is even more opaque and biased than its previous efforts.

Who is CREDO?

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‘I was in a sit-in at UCSD when we heard about the killings at Kent State.’

May 4, 2020 by Source
Thumbnail image for ‘I was in a sit-in at UCSD when we heard about the killings at Kent State.’

Originally posted May 4, 2009.

By Dr. Anonymouse

May 4th, 1970, is forever etched in my brain and memory cells. I was a student at UCSD, and we had just taken over the 5th floor of Urey Hall – a Science building – in protest of the University’s complicity in the Vietnam War, when we heard the bad news from Kent State. It came over a small radio someone had perched on a chair out on the balcony overlooking the Quad. …

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Federal Charter Schools Program a Fountain of Corruption and Disruption

April 24, 2020 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican / April 19, 2020

Last year, the Network for Public Education (NPE) published two investigations of the federal Charter Schools Program (CSP).

The first one called “Asleep at the Wheel” came in March. In it they made several claims including that hundreds of millions of dollars had gone to schools that never opened or were shut down.

The authors, Carol Burris and Jeff Bryant, stated, “Therefore, we recommend that Congress end funding for new charter grants coming from CSP.”

Betsy DeVos, the Secretary of Education, harshly criticized the report to Congress saying, “It makes sweeping conclusions without supporting data or methodological rigor.”

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New Guides for Education Researchers, Bloggers and Parents

April 14, 2020 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican/ April 2020

Two new sources provide guidance for researching and decoding education jargon.

At the beginning of the year, Teacher College Press published Diane Ravitch’s and Nancy Bailey’s EdSpeak and Doubletalk; A Glossary to Decipher Hypocrisy and Save Public Schooling.

Near February’s completion, Garn Press published Mercedes Schneider’s new book, A Practical Guide To Digital Research: Getting the Facts and Rejecting the Lies , in which Schneider explains the investigative tools and techniques she uses plus provides examples from her own work.

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San Diego Schools to Close Down Monday, March 16 and Re-Open April 6

March 13, 2020 by Source

Teachers’ Union Had Called for Closures

San Diego Unified School District is closing to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

The school district made a joint announcement Friday morning with the Los Angeles Unified School District. Both school districts will shut down Monday, March 16.

The two largest school districts in California serve more than 750,000 students combined.

Superintendent Cindy Marten of San Diego and Superintendent Austin Beutner of Los Angeles issued the following joint statement:

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10th Annual Skate for Kids Day Is a Fundraiser for Ocean Beach Elementary – Sunday, Feb.9, Robb Field

February 5, 2020 by Source

The Ocean Beach Elementary PTA is hosting the 10th Annual Skate for the Kids fundraiser on Sunday, February 9, 2020. The fundraiser for Ocean Beach Elementary marks its tenth year of, as they say, fostering a love of skating in local school kids while contributing to their education.

It all happens from 12-3 p.m. at Robb Field Skate Park.

The PTA is partnering with the Ocean Beach Surf & Skate Shop for the event.

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Enrollment Mismanagement Plagues Palomar College

February 4, 2020 by Source

By Richard J. Riehl / Riehlworld / Feb. 4, 2020

After a campus visit, a state-funded agency, the Fiscal Crisis Management Assistant Team (FCMAT) issued its November 8, 2019 report, describing Palomar College’s financial position and management practices. The news wasn’t good.

The report gave the school’s Fiscal Health Risk Analysis a 44.5% rating, indicating the school’s probability of insolvency in the near future. According to FCMAT, in two years the school will have drained all its reserves, forcing it to borrow $6.5 million from an external source to stay solvent.

Here’s but a sample of what FCMAT found:

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Taking a Cue From Schools, Doctors and Hospital Should Color-Code Their Patients’ Conditions

January 22, 2020 by Source

By Richard Riehl

Twenty years ago the California State Legislature passed the Public Schools Accountability Act, leading to the creation of an Academic Performance Index. Each year, every public school was to be assigned an API score, ranging from 200 to 1000, to measure its success. Proficiency in English and Math, based on standardized test scores, were the primary measures of a school’s API.

The goal of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002, passed by Congress, was for all school children to become proficient in English and Math by 2014. After the failure of both of these well-intentioned efforts, the California State Board of Education has teamed up with the California Department of Education to launch still another plan to measure the quality of public schools.

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The Company That Sells Failed 50-Year-Old Math and English Lessons to School Districts

December 5, 2019 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican / Nov. 23, 2019

i-Ready sells digital math and English lessons to school districts.

It provides diagnostic testing which recommends interventions for struggling students that it then provides. i-Ready’s pedagogy embraces competency based education (CBE) a theory promoted by the US Department of Education and blended learning theory also financially supported by the federal government.

CBE is the latest name for an education theory that failed in both the 1970’s and 1990’s. Blended learning theory is an experiment with almost no research supporting it but lots of research pointing to its health risks. Students dislike i-Ready.

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Ghost Guns, Armed Teachers, and School Shootings: A Deadly Recipe

December 2, 2019 by Source

By Richard Riehl / Riehl World

There was another school shooting last weekend, this time in a grade school parking lot in Union City, California, 30 miles from San Francisco. Two boys, 11 and 14 years old, were shot to death while sitting in a parked van at 1:30 AM on a Saturday morning.

This was not a typical school shooting, of course. It took place after school hours, with the shooter, or shooters, still unknown.

But nine days earlier, a student at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, California, a suburb of Los Angeles, celebrated his 16th birthday by assembling his own .45 caliber handgun and shooting five of his classmates. Two died, before he turned the gun on himself.

The common denominators in these tragedies were guns and children dying. I wanted to know more about how a teenager was able to obtain gun parts online, together with do-it-yourself instructions on how to assemble it. Here’s what I found

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Ocean Beach Elementary Places Among Top 20% in School District for Math Scores

November 26, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

O.B.E. Is No.31 of 152 Schools

From Hoodline comes this positive story : Ocean Beach Elementary School has a math proficiency rating that places it No. 31 among the 152 elementary and community schools in the San Diego Unified School District.

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Trying to Help Children Create a Peaceful World

October 29, 2019 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

Trying to help children create a peaceful world is difficult, to say the least. The reason being, I suppose, is because war seems to be the default way human beings have chosen, over time, to solve problems between nations.

Children are groomed to accept armed conflict in such a world.

I mean I grew up in the 40’s running around with my buddies, loudly mouthing the whistling and booming noises of bombs exploding and the rat-a-tat-tat sounds of war we learned how to playfully mimic at the movies on many a Saturday afternoon.

We were grunts and swabbies and jarheads and flyboys all wrapped in one, anchoring aweigh and flying off into the wild blue yonder and storming beaches and rolling those caissons along, practically every day.

Nobody ever said “Hey, haven’t you children ‘play killed’ enough people today?”

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A Boy’s Dream Come True

October 16, 2019 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

It was a dream come true when I first stepped into a classroom of my own in 1962.

A dream born on my first day of kindergarten, as I sat at a desk going out of my mind, as there’s only so much “See Spot run” a five-year-old, who can already read, can take, for goodness sake.

Not to mention that school had barely begun when I heard a loud “Whack!” which was the sound of the school principal, Sister Mary Benedict, grand slamming my knuckles to kingdom come with a yardstick, like Willie Mays hitting a game winning homerun – because I had dozed off at my desk.

Needless to say that woke me up. Talking about “not seeing it coming.”

But how do you not cop a nod in a non-air-conditioned classroom in late August or early September in Tucson – freaking, Arizona?

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Is Inspire Charter School the Next to Be Indicted?

October 15, 2019 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican / Oct.9, 2019

Inspire Charter School mirrors the methods of A3 Education. It employs practices strikingly similar to those that led to the 67-count indictment in May against A3’s leaders. Furthermore, the California Charter School Association (CCSA) took the unusual step of sharing concerns about Inspire and A3 with California authorities.

Both are virtual schools that concentrate on obtaining authorization from small school districts. These systems have a similar structure in which a central organization controls the schools that are contracting with it and they transfer funds among multiple organizations making it difficult to monitor their activities. Students at Inspire and A3 struggle academically.

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A Town In Need of a Public Library

October 10, 2019 by Staff

By Joni Halpern

Dear Ohio,

There is a little town about 772 miles from the southern border of Ohio. The people there have been poisoned, and I am writing to warn that the poison has spread. You must take precautions. It can be fatal.

In Clinton, Arkansas, a rural community of about 2,500, in which almost one-fourth of the residents live below the poverty line, the majority of voters have become blind to the economic, social, civic, or spiritual sense of spending taxpayer money on endeavors that help their fellow human beings.

The people of Clinton don’t want a public library. It’s a waste of money. They don’t want government services even for the very poor.

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