A whopping 80% of special-needs kids who enroll as kindergartners in city charter schools leave by the time they reach third grade, a report by the Independent Budget Office released Thursday shows.In Columbus, Ohio, 17 charter schools closed in 2013:
Nine of the 17 schools that closed in 2013 lasted only a few months this past fall. When they closed, more than 250 students had to find new schools. The state spent more than $1.6 million in taxpayer money to keep the nine schools open only from August through October or November.Meanwhile, Michelle Rhee's StudentsFirst once again released its education report card, which measures states not on their educational outcomes but on whether they have corporate education policies in place. That means you get gems like Louisiana getting a B- while Connecticut got a D+, even though Connecticut's educational outcomes are substantially better than Louisiana's. Hilarious, isn't it, how the people who scream the most loudly about accountability when it comes to teachers tasked with educating the most challenged students absolutely reject accountability when it comes to their own policies?
But while 2013 was unusual, closings are not rare. A Dispatch analysis of state data found that 29 percent of Ohio’s charter schools have shut, dating to 1997 when the publicly funded but often privately run schools became legal in Ohio. Nearly 400 currently are operating, about 75 of them in Columbus.
More stories on labor and education below the fold.
- Sarah Jaffe has a fascinating in-depth story about how Walmart organizers turned the internet into a shop floor:
AssociateVoices is just OUR Walmart’s latest effort to connect Walmart workers with each other online, however. According to Suelzer, the group has been using social media to that end for the last three years or so. Facebook's targeted advertising allows OUR Walmart to run ads directed at the thousands of users who list Walmart as their employer. Those ads send workers to OUR Walmart's page, where they are then able to connect with other Walmart associates. And then, Suelzer says, these conversations around workplace issues go offline.
“We've seen that when workers talk to one another it doesn't just stay on the Facebook page,” Suelzer says. “Those relationships become real, in that they're talking offsite. Most of our online work is worker-to-worker. We have a couple of organizers who oversee and provide feedback to workers, but so much of it really is a substantial number of online leaders who are really taking initiative and reaching out to other workers.”
- Seven reasons we don't want "fast track" trade deals.
- Robert Reich: Fear is why workers in red states vote against their economic self-interest.
- A Massachusetts IHOP owner was fined $100,000 for forcing waitstaff to pay when customers walked out on their bills.
- The war on workers is heating up in Pennsylvania.
- Advanced Placement teachers in Lee, Massachusetts, returned merit pay, writing:
As a union, we strongly oppose “merit pay” on both philosophical and ethical grounds. First, the notion of “merit pay” suggests that high achieving students are more worthy of a teacher’s time and effort than average achieving students or those who struggle. Refusing to accept the “merit pay” has allowed us to put the money back into our departments to enhance the learning of all our students. We will buy much-needed items, such as supplies, textbooks, and technology, and also fund field trips and SAT preparation classes for students lacking the means to pay for them themselves.Bravo.
Second, “merit pay” for certain teachers of certain students in certain classes is inequitable to professional educators. In our view, it is a way to undermine union efforts to ensure fair and equal pay for equal work, education, and experience. Before students arrive in an A.P. class in 11th or 12th grade, they have already been in school for at least 10 years. It is faulty logic to assume that the efforts of one A.P. teacher were the only cause of high scores. Earlier teachers, parents, and community members all help contribute to the success of our students.
- Let's just say that education has not been an area of progressive strength for the Obama administration:
Stevens said her group was “troubled by what we’ve seen so far” from the Obama Education Department, citing a 2011 Harvard Business Review essay by Joanne Weiss, Secretary Arne Duncan’s then-chief of staff, which stated that “the adoption of common standards and shared assessments means that education entrepreneurs will enjoy national markets where the best products can be taken to scale.”
Stevens argued that the essay suggested Weiss, who had led Obama’s Race to the Top program, “was so excited about Common Core not necessarily because of its impact on students, but because of the opportunities it opened up for the marketplace, and for for-profit companies that could quickly scale and take advantage of a national market.”
- Poor kids shouldn't just be told to go to college so they can make more money. Learning is also a good thing.
- This may be the one time Matt Yglesias has been correct about anything related to corporate education policy: Michelle Rhee's Twitter Q&A did not go well. For Rhee, anyway. More here.
- Karoli pretty much nails it on Rick Berman and his new attack on AFT President Randi Weingarten:
When corporate interests want an attack dog, they turn to Rick Berman, the verbal hitman for hire to the highest bidder.
Instead of attacking teachers' unions, someone on the right has hired paid public relations bully to go after AFT union president Randi Weingarten personally. The lastest attacks on Weingarten are intended to put a face on the more amorphous "teachers unions" and create an image in people's minds of someone they can focus their fear and loathing upon.
- A former Teach for America "corps member" says that when he joined TFA, "I had no idea that my belief in social and economic justice was about to be cynically exploited by the corporate class."