Indianapolis Will Lose Lone Critic on School Board; Full Steam Ahead for “Reform”

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The lone critic on the Indianapolis school board has decided not to run for re-election. Gayle Cosby asked critical questions about the board’s “reform” policy of eliminating neighborhood public schools and working closely with charter networks. Board members expressed relief that she is stepping down. Low-income residents will have no voice on the board.

 

A victory for the corporate reformers. Domination is never enough for them. They want total control, no dissent.


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Tributes to Joe Bower, Dead at 37

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There has been an outpouring of tributes to Joe Bower, the cheerful, conscientious progressive educator in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada, who recently died of a massive heart attack at the age of 37.

 

Through his blog and on his Twitter feed, Joe inspired many people who never met him. Many people have expressed their gratitude to him in comments on this blog, and tributes continue to arrive on other blogs.

 

His last post showed the difference between assessment and measurement. He shared a chapter from a book he co-edited with Paul Thomas on de-testing and de-grading schools. We can all learn much by browsing through Joe’s posts on his blog “For the Love of Learning.”

 

Joe was only 37, but he was greatly admired and loved.

 

 


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Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education Calls for Reversal of Nevada Decision

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The Foundation for Excellence in Education, founded by Jeb Bush, but now run by Condoleeza Rice, called for an immediate reversal of the Nevada decision halting the state’s voucher program. They said it would cause “irreparable harm” to the less than 1% of the state’s students who signed  up for vouchers.

 

 

ExcelinEd Calls for Immediate Reversal of Nevada Education Savings Account Program Injunction

 

Tallahassee, Fla. – Today, Carson City District Court Judge James Wilson granted a preliminary injunction that orders the State Treasurer to stop implementing Nevada’s new education savings accounts pending further court deliberations.

 

 

Patricia Levesque, CEO of the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd), released the following statement.

 

 

“Today’s action by a Nevada District Judge to block the groundbreaking new Education Savings Accounts program will harm Nevada families and their ability provide a great education for their children. Every child deserves access to the education that will empower them to succeed. And parents should be able to choose the best education option for their children. Today’s action will cause irreparable harm, disruption and uncertainty for Nevada families and the 4,100 children who were counting on these accounts for their education. ExcelinEd calls for the immediate overturning of this Judge’s harmful action.”

 
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Statement from @ExcelinEd calls for immediate reversal of injunction in Nevada. Read here:http://bit.ly/1mSCzZr #NVed #NVleg
Today, Nevada judge granted injunction to stop implementing ESAs. @ExcelinEd calls for immediate reversal http://bit.ly/1mSCzZr #nved


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The Nevada Voucher Decision

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Yesterday, a district judge in Nevada ruled that state’s “education savings accounts” (aka vouchers) to be unconstitutional. Here is an analysis of the opinion by some of the legal team for the parents who sued the state.

 
Here is the link. It contains a link to the decision itself.

 

COURT DECLARES NEVADA VOUCHER LAW VIOLATES STATE CONSTITUTION

PUBLIC SCHOOL PARENTS WIN INJUNCTION TO STOP IRREPARABLE HARM

 
January 11, 2016

 

 

Judge James Wilson of the First Judicial District Court of Nevada (Carson City) held in Lopez v. Schwartzthat the state’s school voucher law (SB 302) enacted last summer by the Legislature violates two provisions of the Nevada Constitution. Judge Wilson issued a preliminary injunction to prevent the State from implementing the law.

 
The case challenging the voucher law was filed by parents of Nevada public school children from across the state. They argued that the program would divert scarce funding from public schools, triggering cuts to essential programs and services for their children and all other children attending Nevada’s public schools. 

 
The Court explained that the Nevada Constitution requires the Legislature to appropriate funds for the operation of the public schools, which “must only be used to fund the operation of the public schools.” [Nevada Constitution, Article 11, Sections 6.1 and 6.2.] However, the Court continued, under the voucher law, if implemented, “some amount of general funds appropriated to fund…the public schools will be diverted to fund” the vouchers for private school tuition and other uses. 

 
Judge Wilson further found that the parents “have [proven] that SB 302 violates Article 11, Sections 6.1 and 6.2, and that irreparable harm will result if an injunction is not entered. Therefore an injunction will issue to enjoin Treasurer Schwartz,” who is charged with implementing the law, from doing so.

 
“This is a clear victory for the 460,000 children attending Nevada’s public schools,” said David G. Sciarra, ELC Executive Director and member of the legal team representing the plaintiffs. “We’re pleased that Judge Wilson found that the Legislature cannot take funding designated for the operation of the public schools and transfer that funding to private schools and other private education expenses.”
The Court will next schedule a trial on the merits. 

 
The pro bono counsel representing the parents in their lawsuit include Education Law Center in Newark and Las Vegas; Wolf, Rifkin, Shapiro, Schulman & Rabkin LLP based in Nevada; and, Munger, Tolles & Olson in Los Angeles.

 
The Attorney General is representing the State of Nevada and defending State Treasurer Dan Schwartz. 

 

Also- this is from Educate Nevada Now

 

 

JUDGE WILSON RULES IN FAVOR OF NEVADA PARENTS

Grants Preliminary Injunction To Block

Unconstitutional Private School Voucher Law

 

 

LAS VEGAS, NV (Jan. 11, 2016) – Today, Judge James Wilson in the First Judicial District Court in Carson City issued an order halting implementation of Nevada’s unlimited voucher program. The ruling is a clear victory for the children attending public schools all across the state.

 
Educate Nevada Now (ENN), powered by The Rogers Foundation, stands fully behind these parents’ efforts to safeguard Nevada’s public schools.

 
Judge Wilson’s ruling grants a preliminary injunction to halt implementation of Senate Bill 302 (SB302), a private school voucher law that would have otherwise diverted funds from public schools beginning as early as February. 

 
“Not only the plaintiffs won today,” said Sylvia Lazos, ENN’s Policy Director. “Judge Wilson’s ruling is a victory for all 460,000 public school children in Nevada, their parents, teachers, administrators and school board members. We are thrilled with the decision and look forward to continuing dialogue focused on improving our state’s education systems.”

 
Today’s decision upholds the important legal principle that the Nevada Constitution protects the educational rights of all children. It also affirms the Constitutional requirement that public school funding, once earmarked by the Legislature, can only be dedicated to supporting public education and nothing else.

 

 

The legal team representing Nevada parents in this case are working pro bono. The team consists of: Tamerlin J. Godley, Laura Mathe, Samuel Boyd and Thomas Clancy of Munger, Tolles & Olson, LLP; Don Springmeyer, Justin Jones and Bradley Schrager of Wolf, Rifkin, Shapiro, Schulman & Rabkin, LLP; and David Sciarra and Amanda Morgan of the nonprofit Education Law Center, a partner of ENN and The Rogers Foundation.

 
For more information, visit http://www.educatenevadanow.com or follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 
About Educate Nevada Now

 

Educate Nevada Now, powered by The Rogers Foundation, is a multi-year campaign aimed at securing school finance reform and improving education outcomes and opportunities for all of Nevada’s public school children. The campaign raises awareness about the need for school funding reform, engages parents, students, and community and statewide stakeholders in the effort, conducts critical research, proposes policies to address funding and resource deficiencies, and ensures the effective and efficient use of resources in schools and districts. A centerpiece of the Educate Nevada Now strategy is to break legislative gridlock and move the focus to the rights of children. For more information, visit http://www.educatenevadanow.com.

 
About The Rogers Foundation

 
The Rogers Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Founded in 2013 by James E. and Beverly Rogers, The Rogers Foundation awards scholarships to individual students in Southern Nevada and grants to educational institutions, artists and organizations that support the arts in Southern Nevada. For more information, visit http://www.therogers.foundation.

# # # 

Media Contact:

Jeff Wagner Agency

Ryan Marquardt

ryanm@jeffwagneragency.com

309-531-7464

Michelle Loosbrock

michelle@jeffwagneragency.com

702.287.4130


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First-Year Evaluation of Louisiana Voucher Program: Student Achievement Declines

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In the first evaluation of the Louisiana voucher program, the results are negative for the students involved. It is an evaluation of only the first year, so perhaps things will get better in the future. But given the low quality of many of the voucher schools, that doesn’t seem likely. The best private and sectarian schools accept few or no voucher students. Many of those that accept vouchers are struggling to survive.

 

Here is the take-away:

 

This comparison reveals that LSP participation substantially reduces academic achievement. Attendance at an LSP-eligible private school lowers math scores by 0.4 standard deviations and increases the likelihood of a failing score by 50 percent. Voucher effects for reading, science and social studies are also negative and large.

 

 

 

Atila Abdulkadiroglu, Parag A. Pathak, Christopher R. Walters

 
NBER Working Paper No. 21839
Issued in December 2015

We evaluate the Louisiana Scholarship Program (LSP), a prominent school voucher plan. The LSP provides public funds for disadvantaged students at low-performing Louisiana public schools to attend private schools of their choice. LSP vouchers are allocated by random lottery at schools with more eligible applicants than available seats. We estimate causal effects of voucher receipt by comparing outcomes for lottery winners and losers in the first year after the program expanded statewide. This comparison reveals that LSP participation substantially reduces academic achievement. Attendance at an LSP-eligible private school lowers math scores by 0.4 standard deviations and increases the likelihood of a failing score by 50 percent. Voucher effects for reading, science and social studies are also negative and large. The negative impacts of vouchers are consistent across income groups, geographic areas, and private school characteristics, and are larger for younger children. These effects are not explained by the quality of fallback public schools for LSP applicants: students lotteried out of the program attend public schools with scores below the Louisiana average. Survey data show that LSP-eligible private schools experience rapid enrollment declines prior to entering the program, indicating that the LSP may attract private schools struggling to maintain enrollment. These results suggest caution in the design of voucher systems aimed at expanding school choice for disadvantaged students.


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New York Times: Supreme Court Seems Likely to Rule Against Unions

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The New York Times reports on today’s hearings about the Friedrichs vs. CTA case and says that questioning did not appear favorable to the public sector unions. If the unions lose, workers who do not join can enjoy the benefits of collective bargaining without having to pay their fair share.

 

Adam Liptak wrote:

 

The Supreme Court seemed poised on Monday to deliver a severe blow to organized labor.

 

In a closely watched case brought by 10 California teachers, the court’s conservative majority seemed ready to say that forcing public workers to support unions they have declined to join violates the First Amendment.

 

A ruling in the teachers’ favor would affect millions of government workers and culminate a political and legal campaign by a group of prominent conservative foundations aimed at weakening public-sector unions. Those unions stand to lose fees from both workers who object to the positions the unions take and those who simply choose not to join while benefiting from the unions’ efforts on their behalf.
The Supreme Court ruled narrowly in the case, with the majority 5-4 opinion written by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.
Under California law, public employees who choose not to join unions must pay a “fair share service fee,” also known as an “agency fee,” typically equivalent to members’ dues. The fees, the law says, are meant to pay for collective bargaining activities, including “the cost of lobbying activities.” More than 20 states have similar laws.

 

Government workers who are not members of unions have long been able to obtain refunds for the political activities of unions like campaign spending. Monday’s case asks whether such workers must continue to pay for any of the unions’ activities, including negotiating for better wages and benefits. A majority of the justices seemed inclined to say no.

 

By the way, I received an email with a Facebook posting by the President of the Santa Ana, California, Education Association, who knows one of the plaintiffs. She posted this on Facebook and asked that it be shared widely:

 

“I normally don’t post my frustration against people but I will make an exception. I [met] Peggy Searcy when I was working at Lathrop. She is now one of the plaintiffs in the Freidrichs vs CTA case. When Peggy was working, she was able to transfer from Franklin to Lathrop and Lathrop to Greenville because of the protections bargained by SAEA; between 2008 and 2012 she did not have furlough days thanks to the work of SAEA and is currently enjoying a wonderful pension which was fought for by CTA! She is now working hard via the Friedrichs case to destroy the unions as we know them! She wants to ruin it for all of us who are still working! Shame on you Peggy!”
–Susan Mercer


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Los Angeles Picks Michelle King as New Superintendent

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The LAUSD board voted unanimously to select a veteran educator in the system as its new superintendent.

 

Michelle King, a 30-year veteran, will succeed Ramon Cortines. She will be the first woman and the first African-American to lead the school district. She was previously a respected high school principal, and served as deputy superintendent under both John Deasy and Cortines.

 

Board members said that she impressed them in their long interviews behind closed doors. They said they appreciated her knowledge of L.A. Unified, which, they concluded, would allow her to tackle the school system’s problems without delay.

 

The board will eventually have to confront Eli Broad’s effort to take control of half the children in the district by opening 260 charter schools.

 

The big showdown will come in the school board elections in 2017, when the billionaires can be counted on to pour millions into school board races in an effort to gain control of the board.

 

In the meanwhile, Michelle King will have her hands full trying to steady the district after years of disruption, budget crises, and declining enrollments.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Nevada: Judge Issues Preliminary Injunction to Block State Voucher Program

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At least two lawsuits have been filed to stop Nevada’s sweeping “education savings account” legislation, which would allow parents to use public funds to enroll their children in private or religious schools or for home schooling. Today, District Judge James E. Wilson, Jr., ruled in one of those cases. He issued a preliminary injunction against the law, in that it does irreparable harm to the parents who sued by diverting public funds from public schools.

 

I will post more tomorrow on this decision.


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The Man Who Poisoned Children in Flint Criticizes Teachers’ “Sick-Out”

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Darnell Earley, emergency manager of the Detroit public schools, complained about teachers’ sick-out to protest abominable conditions in the schools. Earley said teachers were hurting children. Earley was previously the emergency manager of Flint, where he shut off safe water to save money and poisoned children.

 

Who should parents trust? Their children’s teachers or Earley?

 

Who has the best interests of Detroit’s children at heart?

 

Would children in Detroit’s tony suburbs be subjected to the same overcrowded classes and rat-infested buildings?


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Michigan: The Man Who Poisoned Flint Gets a Raise

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Reader Chiara reports that Darnell Earley got a raise after his brief stint in Flint, where he saved money by shutting off the safe water supply, which caused lead poisoning to many children.

She writes:

“[Governor Rick] Snyder gave him a a raise- he’s making $40,000 additional in the new job:

“Earley, who starts immediately, said he’ll earn a salary of $221,000 annually. He earned $110,000 in Saginaw and $180,000 per year as Flint’s emergency manager, according to his contract with the state.”

“It looks like he’s the 4th emergency manager the schools have had in the last 6 six years. Complete and utter chaos. No one has a chance to “improve” anything- they’re replaced constantly.”


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