Introducing Louisiana’s New Accountability System

Introducing Louisiana’s New Accountability System

If you’re like me, you have trouble deciphering all the different symbols, letters, stars and numerical scores associated with Louisiana’s various Accountability systems.  Every year the Louisiana Department of Education changes something in their Accountability system, ostensibly to make it more understandable to you and me.  Every year I get more perplexed.

For a while we had stars “*” associated with our schools.  I guess the more you had, the better (like when you’re reading the newspaper to see what movies you should go see.  You don’t want to go to a one popcorn icon bag movie anymore than you want to send your kids to a one star school I guess. )

Now we have letter grades I think.  I know an A is good and an F is bad, but what does that mean I’m good or bad at exactly?   When I try to look at the numerical scores I see a lot of 70’s and 80’s and a few 90’s.  That seems good, until I start noticing the 103’s and 123’s.  Do those schools get bonus points for kissing up to the superintendent or something?  Oh wait, I find out that the scores are actually out of 200 points.  (I saw something about a 150 point scale coming out soon but that totally blows my mind and I can’t keep up with that so I’m ignoring that for now and focusing on the 200 point scale for our recently released scores.)

Anywho, anything above a 120 to a 200 is an A according to this chart.  That comes to a 60% of the possible points for the lowest possible A.  (When I went to school a 60% was the lowest possible passing grade on a generous 10 point scale but i guess things have changed since then?)

So what does this mean?  It’s a numerical score with a letter grade attached that looks like a grade one might get on a report card (where even our top performers would be failures anywhere else.)

So how does this score get calculated?

Maybe that will answer my questions?

Well, here’s something LDE uses to explain the scores.  Apparently Most of our SPS scores are based on test scores.  Other factors are attendance, dropouts, and something called a graduation index.

Now I know exactly how this works!

But, wait, what test scores?

What are those other things and how do they translate to these percentages of something else?

I can’t use any of this to figure out how my score gets created, or how I can improve my score.  Am I graded on some sort of curve where a 32% passes the class?

Who determines this curve anyways?

Maybe if I look at some scores and grades it will make more sense?

Oh no!  Now there are pluses and minuses!  Well they are letter grades so I suppose that makes sense?

I will just send my kid to the best letter grade school in my district.  But there are two 113.3’s with different scores!  One has a B- and one has a B.  Could that be a rounding issue?  How Does Midland High School have a B- with a score of 118.9 and  Iota middle school have a B with a 105.5?  And then there is Mire elementary with a 104.9 and a C-?  Holy crap, what a difference .6 points make????  But how does North Crowley merit a full-fledged C with a 91.1?

It’s as if the LDOE was trying to be purposely confusing. . . . Most of the executives working up there have almost two full years of education experience under their belts, so they should be familiar with how to make things easy to understand for various stakeholders, but this system seems anything but (and it’s merely the latest incarnation of a long line of scores and grading systems. )

It’s almost as if. . .  you don’t think. . .  maybe they are trying to mislead parents and the general public?  I mean really, why would you develop a grading system on a 200 point scale?  I’m no math wiz, but it seems like you could simply divide a number by 2 and put a 200 point scale on a 100 point scale most people could have understood. . .   Is LDOE simply putting the proverbial lipstick on a pig by assigning letter grades of A and B to schools that managed to rack up 60% or less of the total possible points?

And I found out something else.  The tests they are using don’t assign letter grades to the students taking them.  They categorize students in categories such as Basic, Approaching Basic, Mastery, etc.  Why can’t we simply see the total counts of students taking the tests and the students in those various categories and make our own inferences?

Why create something complicated called a graduate index and including that in the scores?   (I could include some info on how that and dropouts are calculated but you’d be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of crap that goes into them.  Those rates can also be fooled and manipulated and LDOE does not audit the raw data that comprises any of the add-on to scores like attendance, dropouts, and graduate index, so they are easy to abuse if one had the need to.)

These scores are designed in such a way to tell whatever story LDOE wants to tell.  They can be troubling scores, when LDOE wants to force charter schools and voucher schools down your throats.  They can be outstanding scores with across the board improvement when John White’s contract is up for review, or he needs a raise, or he needs to build public support for his latest lame-brained corporate sponsored idea.  These scores can (and are) tweaked to reward the obedient and punish the questioning.  They can be capricious and counter-productive since a tenth of a point can be the difference between a B+ and a C-.  Accountability scores are anything but accountable.  They hold the wrong folks “accountable” and allow our leaders, who should truly be the ones held accountable, to write their own rule books, sing their own swan songs, and sow their own diversionary seeds of discontent.

Anyways, as promised.  Enclosed is an early release of Louisiana’s new accountability system.  I think this one will be easier than most of the other ones to understand at least.

Defunding and Defrauding Public Education – PART II

Defunding and Defrauding Public Education – PART II

I’ve been trying to explain to people since last March that the vouchers and charter schools are funded in a way designed to destroy public education and public education funding.  While the Jindal administration is not taking local funding directly, what they are doing is taking a double helping of state funding.  This means that school districts lose approximately twice as much funding as they would normally get per student..  I built a graph to represent what will happen to per student funding in public school districts assuming no increase in state aid.  For this example I estimated an approximate five thousand dollar state and 5 thousand dollar local contribution.  This is fairly close to the average for districts in Louisiana.   Since local dollars are not dependent on student population i allocated a fifty million dollar pot of money for ten thousand total students.

When Voucher and Charter school population equals traditional public school enrollment, public schools are slated to get zero state dollars.

Note: My percents should read 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 instead of 1, 2, 3, but they are being difficult today.

This is not designed to be a level playing field.  This is designed to destroy public schools, and make private schools and charters very profitable.  This will also end up costing tax payers quite a bit more money to sustain. Many charter school operators get to take over school buildings being paid for by the school district, and still being paid for while a charter lives there, from their same diminishing pot of money.  These school districts must also make retirement payments for what was once a much larger pool of teachers, from an every shrinking pool of teachers and dollars.  This will force school districts to go bankrupt or default on their obligations to already retired teachers, or new exhorbitant local taxes will have to be levied to make up the difference.

Lawsuits will be triggered soon.  Teachers who are retired will have no choice.  It will be lawsuits, where local taxpayers have to pick up the tab, or thousands of retired teachers out on the streets.  Teachers paid their whole lives into Teacher’s Retirement or the State Retirement system and they will not qualify for Social Security in most cases.  Maybe they will be able to get Medicare, when the school districts can no longer to afford to pay for their health insurance?  Meanwhile charter operators will be sailing their yachts in the America’s cup, and stashing their profits in the Cayman islands.  Maybe some students will get educated along the way, but without any accountability of any sort, I kind of doubt it.

This is the next bubble in America, or at least for Louisiana.  Soon every town and parish will be as financially bankrupt as our governor is morally bankrupt.  But at least we don’t have to pay 4 more cents for cigarettes.  Thanks a Bunch, Bobby!

Defunding public education

Thanks Dianne! I’ve been trying to get people to understand this since March. This method of defunding could result in schools getting zero dollars in state aid and it also applies to charter schools, not just vouchers! Not sure what the state would do when the calculation resulted in a net negative payment to school districts. Would they get sent a bill instead of an MFP check?

Diane Ravitch's blog

Voters in one of Louisiana’s high-performing school districts are angry that their public schools will lose funding to pay for Governor Bobby Jindal’s harebrained voucher scheme, which sends students to backwoods fundamentalist schools that teach religious doctrine.

Jindal insisted that this could not possibly be true, that the vouchers were drawing money from someplace else, not from local taxes. Where does he think taxes come from? Is there a reserve fund in the bayou?

This blog calls him out for trying to hoodwink smart people. In fact, the schools of St. Tammany Parish stand to lose more than $2 million to satisfy the governor’s ideological wishes.

Apparently stung by a series of public meetings in St. Tammany Parish, during which school board members laid out the damage that Gov. Bobby Jindal’s education agenda is causing to public schools, the governor “launched an offensive last week to say local tax dollars…

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Follow the education money

This guy shows us the money

Diane Ravitch's blog

There are few investigative writers in education journalism these days. It is disturbingly rare to find writers who look behind the press releases, the hype and spin.

One place that cries out for investigative journalism is Louisiana, the locus for the most extreme privatization schemes. The governor is now imposing the New Orleans model on the entire state, and many hold up New Orleans as a national model. That means wiping out public education.

So here is an excellent article that does what journalists are supposed to do: Matthew Cunningham follows the money. He looks closely at the money flowing into the state school board races. In 2007, the total spent was about a quarter million dollars. In 2011, it was multiplied by ten times, to $2.6 million. Read the article to see where the money came from.

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A listing of some of LDOE’s dirty little secrets

A listing of some of LDOE’s dirty little secrets
Dirty Secrets or White Lies?


St James Science and Math Academy is part of both Lutcher and St James High Schools

St James Science and Match Academy is a shadow school split between two other high schools.  This post includes Maps, addresses, info from website and the summary of why LDOE is probably letting some schools get away with this while preventing the larger “markets” such as Jefferson, EBR and Caddo from doing this. Orleans would have been treated likewise if it hadn’t already been wiped out.  Orleans served as the gateway from Hades, letting all the charter school demons and devils into the state in the first place.

Iberville: MSA West + White Castle = White Castle

MSA West and White Castle are the same school according to the admin folks at Iberville.   Their website had them operating as an independent site since 2008. White Castle would have already been taken over if not for this charade, so to that extent they were successful.

Iberville: MSA Eest + East Iberville = East Iberville

MSA East is the exact same school housed entirely within East Iberville (like a program in Ruston) according to Iberville. However I have the pictures of the school grounds and directions to and from the two separate campuses. (Google maps has the addresses a little messed up, but I found the correct schools by scanning the area.)  This school has also been operating since 2008 according to their own website. East Iberville would also have been taken over by now if left on its own.

I think it’s worth noting that parents of students as East Iberville and White Castle seem confused as to why the test scores are going up, but the schools seem to be terrible.  One parent reported that a teacher told her son he didn’t need to study because he was smart and could get by.  I trolled a few opinion sites related to White Castle and East Iberville so it was interesting reading.  None of the parents posting on the school review sites seemed aware that these magnets were being merged with the schools their kids were attending.

Some of my original expose’ work on MSA East and West.

This post includes charts from LDOE, excerpts from Iberville’s website, as well as some background on what happened at LDOE when i first discovered these schools and how the issue was swept under the rug (again.)  Apparently this is a recurring issue.

Excerpted definition of a shadow school (haven’t finished my log of issues to address yet)

I started a log of various education issues that need a champion in our state.  I haven’t had a chance to document them all, but everyone has to start somewhere.  I have sketched out the topics and started an entry for the shadow school situation.

Shadows schools is a term I invented so don’t go looking for in anywhere else. I discovered “shadow schools” while working at the Louisiana Department of Education but I have reason to believe what i discovered is just the tip of a very large and growing iceberg. A shadow school is a schools which operates from the shadows, off the official books reported to the state, federal government and judicial agencies. That’s not to say the school districts don’t know what’s going on at these shadow schools. Like the Mafia, they have two sets of books (or possibly more.) This allows the school district to manage personnel and students at a building level, but report those same students and teachers from other schools that are defined. Some people have been confused as to why someone would want to do this. Is this really a big deal, if the student and teachers all get reported? Louisiana’s former superintendent of Accountability actual made this argument in a meeting I was in, in front of a political appointee that appeared to want to sweep this situation under the rug. He knew full well what this meant/means but he also knew if he made a big deal about it he would be gone. He’s still gone (that was going to happen anyways) but by ignoring issues like this he was able to avoid making waves and stayed a bit longer than most.

Answer to – why create shadow schools?

Why indeed?  Once word of how this works gets out all our school districts will realize they only need to have one school, and all the current sites can be closed and relisted as programs underneath the single district “school.”  That will prevent the state from taking them over and giving them to charter operators that don’t take care of the properties or the students in their care.

Shadow Schools introduced – excuses DOE would make on their behalf

I bet they might even make an argument that what Iberville is doing doesn’t hurt anyone so why not let them do it?  Please ask them how much crack they have been smoking if they make that argument.


John White is afraid to release this data because then he would be forced to deal with it. He’s hiding this to protect allies in the northern part of the state. Just ask him for it. I’ve prepared a file to do the asking. I think everyone should send it.  Corporal punishment Data Request Spreadsheet all ready to go!

John White wants schools to beat children, especially the disabled ones.  He wouldn’t have to do it if those deaf kids would just listen the first time.

Virtual Schools Truancy Fiasco

Some interesting decisions from everyone’s favorite LDOE group, Parental Options.  This describes how LDOE knows kids are not logging in and producing any work but won’t let the virtual charters drop them.  Take our money please!  Kids can get a free computer and internet connection to surf the internet and never go to school again.  Well, it’s not exactly free.  It will cost taxpayers about 10-15 k  year to pay 90+% of MFP amount, plus the costs of educating or incarcerating these uneducated kids once LDOE finally allows them to drop out and they have no employment options.

Accountability; and the Lack thereof due to political meddling

Loaded with great ideas like using a Special Education test to test “voucher” students to show how well they do and labeling failed/taken over schools as “T” (rather than a nifty letter grade) and perpetually assigning them to new charter operators until one of them succeeds – without ever revealing how poorly they are doing.  This post also describes lying about school sizes so evade reporting responsibilities, manipulating data and terms to circumvent the ESEA/NCLB waiver.

It’s not how well you do, but who you know that leads to real school improvement, at least as far as SPS scores and letter grades are concerned.  Why else do you think they hide the formula that calculates these scores and all the special “adjustments” they make behind the scenes.  If you are a favored LEA, meaning you kiss John White’s. . . well lets just say you can get a “special adjustment” if you know how and who to ask.

The little 504 secret LDOE doesn’t want to address

Namely, that we have lots of data on 504 kids.  From that data we know that a number of districts shirk their responsibilities under section 504 of the American’s with Disabilities Act.  That law’s only been around since 1973 so I’m sure they will get around to enforcing or addressing the inequities sooner or later.  Since we still don’t see any reports on this data I’d wager it will be much, much later.

Our Persistently Dangerous School definition is a joke

 As part of the NCLB act states were supposed to develop a definition of a “persistently dangerous school.”  Students enrolled in such schools are eligible to transferred out upon request.  Many of our alternative schools are very very dangerous by most accounts and statistics.  This definition was crafted so no schools can every meet the definition.  There is no profit to be made in identifying dangerous schools, and there are additional regulatory responsibilities for LDOE to take on in regards to monitoring these schools – so me made sure there will never be any such schools defined.  We almost had a few one year, so the definition was changed retroactively.  I wonder if John White would consider this an adult issue or a children’s issue?

Dropout Number Farce

Louisiana has been reporting a decrease in dropouts year over year, but only because they have decreased their auditing to stop districts from exiting students to undocumented non-dropout reasons like transfers to non-publics or out-of-state.  Our population has been increasing and very little increase in grads, while half as many dropouts year over year is not possible.  LDOE knows this, but doesn’t want to spoil a good thing.  Additionally LDOE adopted a loophole in the dropout definition, over my protestations, to allow student attending adult education centers to be excluded from dropout calculations while they are attending.  LDOE does not verify this is occurring, leaving this up the school districts to report.  Districts are supposed to report when these kids stop attending adult education centers, but they don’t.  I estimated this would lead to about 5000 unreported/accounted for dropouts every year.  Based on the stats I’ve, I may have underestimated that total by quite a bit.

SSN’s cannot be required.  If everyone stops providing them this could cause the Value Added system to collapse

This is something local superintendents and parents can do to fight back.  Value Added is a steaming pile of statistical junk.  It can reveal trends and tendencies when looking at large sample sizes and quantities of data.   Whomever came up with the idea of using VAM to evaluate teachers should have been strangled or at least had their statistical credentials revoked.  Corporations are pushing for this so they can take over school systems and Republicans are pushing this so they can destroy teachers unions.  Value Added does not help children, and actually hurts them by removing and demoralizing really good teachers.

Value Added (what they are using to evaluate teachers) is massively flawed

Value Added is junk math and was only barely suitable for generalizing teaching programs on average, not individual teachers.  It leaves out many variables and mostly punishes good and great teachers along with some bad ones.  It is erratic and unreliable.  It is designed to decimate public schools, so charters can come in and fill the void and so states can ignore the single greatest indicator of student performance – poverty.  This will also lead to a drastic teacher shortage and force school districts to increase class sizes to make use of the available teachers, or to resort to virtual schools which have virtually no limit on class sizes, or profits for their owners.

Anti-Bullying Failures

John White embraced the agenda of Gene Mills to exclude bullying reason codes.  Act 861 removes any obligation for charter schools to report or address bullying.  Even before this legislation passed Erin Bendilly, head of Parental Options and support staff and an early Jindal appointee, repeatedly told the charter schools they did not have to report or comply with the law – over the advice of our chief legal counsel.  I guess she gets her wish, and meanwhile children die at charter schools from bullying and John White makes more false claims about how he cares about children.

What LDOE knows of the charter practices for excluding less desirable students from charter schools

You’d think LDOE would try to address some of these things, but by ignoring them they make it easier to make a case that public schools are failing and charter schools are succeeding – even if the data actually hasn’t backed that assertion up to date.  Instead much of the research they had me do confirmed these accusations and suspicions, but was kept hushed up and confidential while they worked to settle the lawsuits.  Why taxpayers should have to foot that bill rather than the charters who are discriminating against students with disabilities is a good question.  Ask Jindal in a few years when he returns to our state for a hurricane or when Bayou Corne finally blows up.  Once they get a public school entirely composed of disabled and 504 students they may finally have the proof they need that public schools do worse than charter schools.

I have more, but this seems like a good start for anyone interested in how messed up public education is with John White at the helm of LDOE and Jindal in charge of BESE.

A tragic story you never heard of – made even more tragic by a hate group named the Louisiana Family Forum

A tragic story you never heard of – made even more tragic by a hate group named the Louisiana Family Forum

Last year, three Louisiana students were bullied until they took their own lives in three separate parts of the state.  Out of this tragedy an even more tragic Tesa Middlebrook Anti-Bullying Act was born.

Tesa Middlebrook was a talented artist, who had just received a full scholarship to Arizona State University. An active participant with the Arts Center in New Roads, Tesa had told directors there she was being harassed by other students because she wouldn’t “talk ghetto”. The Pointe Coupee Central High senior had lost her mother to cancer earlier in the school year, and while her grandmother had complained to the school about the alleged bullying, none of the school officials noticed that Tesa was not in classes that fateful Friday afternoon. She had hanged herself from the football bleachers during lunchtime. Her body was discovered after school was dismissed for the day.

Before Tesa, there was Hannah Pauley of Lake Charles. Her father, Len, says the night of October 25, 2011, will haunt him forever.

“I went out to eat with a friend of mine, and I got home about 9:30 to 9:45 that evening,” Pauley says. “I had gone into my room, and I noticed my drawer—where I kept my pistol—was open. And I walked upstairs. She was in her room, laying on the floor, with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.”

Pauley says his 16-year-old daughter had been raped by her stepbrother, and was being taunted—in person and on Facebook—about the assault. He says boys and girls were daily accusing her of having invited the attack.

Hannah Pauley shot herself after being taunted

Danielle Cox of Bossier City ended her life May 20, 2011. The 15-year-old student at Parkway High School was diabetic, and being regularly ridiculed about her weight. She reached out to one friend, who posted a message asking Danielle’s other friends to text her messages of encouragement. One boy sent her over 150 messages —encouraging her to kill herself. He is awaiting trial for alleged cyber-bullying and assisting with Danielle’s suicide.

Danielle Cox committed suicide after being bullied

What these three children have in common is that the Louisiana Family Forum capitalized on their deaths to rewrite the states anti-bullying laws.  Some well-meaning legislators proposed some legislation to improve the outreach for children experiencing bullying in schools.  A Tesa Middlebrook Anti-Bullying Act was introduced and a number of child welfare groups backed the measure as originally written.  However one group proved more influential that the rest.  The Louisiana Family Forum  led by the Reverend Gene Mills.   Gene has made it his personal mission to persecute gay children.  Year after year  after year  after year he has worked to whittle away at protections for the LBGT community.  Even as I type this, their front page proudly displays a crusade to persecute any who even discuss this segment of our society in an academic setting.

State Senator Rick Ward, (D-Port Allen), is the author of the “Tesa Middlebrook Anti-Bullying Act. He says it was named for his former constituent because her story disturbed him greatly.

“I thought something needed to be done to address the problem, and make sure there was a process in place if somebody was facing bullying issues,” he says

Th original bill that was offered by Rep. Smith and Sen. Dorsey-Colomb (originally filed as HB 407 and SB 619), the bill that included the enumerated list of personal characteristics that are often the motivating factors for bullying, was never named after Tesa Middlebrook.

So what happened with this latest Gene Mills intervention?  Gene saw these deaths as an opportunity to rewrite the anti-bullying statutes.  He and his “legal shill Michelle Ghetti” provided some new legislation for Senator Ward to submit as Act 861 which included Tesa’s name (without consulting her family.) and removed protections for the LBGT community as well as students enrolled in charter schools.  Rather than spend resources on trying to reach children in desperate need of help and intervention, Mills took this tragedy as a sign from “his god” that the time to strike back against gay children – was now.

I don’t know if Ward intended to sully Tesa’s memory by introducing a bill that permits bullying gay children to death, and all children in charter schools like the one Tesa was enrolled in, but he should have done more research.  He should have talked to her family and asked them about their wishes.  As a legislator, he should have done more than rubberstamp a twisted person’s evil agenda.

The Louisiana Department of Education was collecting reason codes for students being bullied.  One of the those reason codes was for sexual orientation.  Other reasons were as follows:

ELEMENT NAME: Hate/Bias-Related Motivation Code


FORMAT: Alphanumeric

BATCH RECORD LAYOUT(S) and POSITION(S): Student Perpetrator and Instance, 74; Non-Student Perpetrator and Instance, 74

Last Revised: 10/01/2011

Implementation Date: 08/01/2011

DEFINITION: This is the code indicating what group was begin targeted if Event was motivated by hate or prejudice against a specific group of individuals.

Code Values:

01 – Appearance (Hippies, Goths, Skaters, Punks, Cheerleaders, Athletes, etc.)

02 – Gender

03 – Religion

04 – Disability

05 – Race or Ethnicity

06 – Sexual Orientation

07 – Home Circumstances

08 – Medical Condition

09 – Poverty

99 – Other

Thanks to good ‘Ole Gene the Louisiana Department of Education will be removing all these reason codes.  Believe it or not, many children are bullied for sexual orientation reasons that are not actually gay.  The new language of the law permits bullies to claim “freedom of speech” as a valid defense of their bullying.  If a bully makes this claim, the law is essentially eviscerated.  It does not outline  under what circumstance a student can make this claim or what types of harassment are allowable.  Since the law states it is not the will of the legislature to “infringe on the right of any school employee or student to exercise their right of free speech,” it would appear any student could simply make a free speech assertion and the school  would be barred from disciplining a student for any harassing behavior.  All this law will do is force traditional public schools to undergo all sorts of training and paperwork that will be useless in the face of a freedom of speech assertion.

From Act 861

2) Nothing in this Section is intended to infringe upon the right of a school employee or student to exercise their right of free speech.

It’s difficult to see how a judge, hearing an appeal of any anti-bullying action, couldn’t interpret this to mean that if a student decides to shout anti-gay hate speech at a student in the hallway, and carrying signs stating they were going to burn in hell for all eternity, that this wouldn’t be considered “free speech.” We allow anti-gay activists to shout hate speech outside military funerals in the name of free speech.

File:WBC 20051202 sacco-topeka5.jpg

But the real icing on the cake is the last little change Mills had put in to the bill.  The  Tesa Middlebrook Anti-Bullying Act specifically excludes charter schools.  Charter schools do not have to follow any part of this new law, wheras they did before, but LDOE just didn’t enforce their participation.  Tesa Middlebrook committed suicide on the campus of her newly opened charter school in Pointe Coupee parish  – a school that was opened up over many strenuous objections of most of the members in that community.

I hear Tesa’s parents are suing the charter and the state.  If I was them, I would sue too, but I would add the Louisiana Family Forum and Gene Mills to the suit.

While it’s never ok to bully students because they are gay, it’s not just gay students that get bullied for that reason. I was a victim of bullying for much of my elementary and middle school years  as well as when I initially went to college to live in the dorms. Like Tesa, I was a transplant from another state, so I was bullied for talking funny, being quiet, trying hard in school, and because I was shy around girls – I was bullied for being “gay” as well. But mostly, I was bullied because I was an easy target and there was no one around who could help me. There were many days when I thought seriously about killing myself, or killing my tormenters, which made me feel sick and evil and want to die for feeling that way.  I even tried taking my life a few times.  Looking back from the perspective of a few decades separation, from perspective of adulthood, those feelings seem almost silly now, but it was all very serious and very hopeless seeming at the time.  Unfortunately these children will never have the privledge  I have, of retrospection.

Bullies never grow out of bullying on their own, they simply grow up – into creatures like Gene Mills and Mitt Romney that make it a life mission to mischaracterize their bullying ways as helpful to society. Even in death, they these children can’t escape abuse of their names and stories for political gain.

To despicable people like this I have nothing to say.

To Danielle, Tesa and Hannah I say this.

I will fight for you.

John White only knows better than black parents. . . apparently

Apparently John White does think he knows what’s best for children, at least if the parents and children are poor and black.

Maybe it’s just white parents that know better than him?

“To me, it’s a moral outrage that the government would say, ‘We know what’s best
for your child,'” White said. “Who are we to tell parents we know better?” – John White

Diane Ravitch's blog

Two months into the school year, the head of the Recovery School District abruptly fired the principal of Walter L. Cohen High School as well as several teachers and announced that he was turning the school over to a charter operator called the Future Is Now.

Students reacted angrily and protested the disruption in their school. They issued their own demands, which included the funds to repair the building, reinstatement of the fired staff and a full report from the charter about its record, its test scores, suspensions, police reports, graduation rates, attrition rate and other data about its performance.

The Future Is Now is a charter chain led by Steve Barr (formerly of Green Dot in California) and real estate developer Gideon Stein of New York City, who has been associated with Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy schools.

The following exchange of letters between Tracie Washington, a prominent civil…

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The United States of ALEC

ALEC owns Louisiana too. This is a good post to see a summary of their education “reforms” and some good links to see the breadth of the problem this organization poses to our states and democracy.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Because I was traveling in Texas over the weekend, I didn’t see Bill Moyers’ report on ALEC. I watched it last night, and I hope you will too.

If you want to understand how we are losing our democracy, watch this program.

If you want to know why so many states are passing copycat legislation to suppress voters’ rights, to eliminate collective bargaining, to encourage online schooling, to privatize public education, watch this program.

ALEC brings together lobbyists for major corporations and elected state officials in luxurious resorts. In its seminars, the legislators learn how to advance corporate-sponsored, free-market ideas in their state. Its model legislation is introduced in state after state, often with minimal or no changes in the wording.

Watch Moyers show how Tennessee adopted ALEC’s online school bill and how Arizona is almost a wholly owned ALEC state. Watch how Scott Walker followed the ALEC template.


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Recommended reading

Very, very nice post and comment by Michael Goldenberg.

Am adding this post to my recommended reading list. 🙂

Assailed Teacher

The “Obama Phone” lady is the latest viral video on the net. Here it is for those who have not seen it:

Not surprisingly, the likes of Rush Limbaugh have already jumped all over it as proof of Mitt Romney’s “47%” comment. One of my favorite comedic radio shows had one of the hosts ranting for 30 minutes about how the woman in the video represents the “entitlement” mindset common to most Obama voters. It is tough to see the planet on which these people are living.

The equation for Rush Limbaugh, the aforementioned comedy show host and the rest of their ilk seem to be the following. Obama is black. Therefore, most black people support him. In return, they believe they will get increased entitlements like welfare, food stamps, public housing and now, cell phones. The fact that black people have been slipping ever deeper into poverty since…

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