A Brief Audit of Bill Gates’ Common Core Spending

Gates bought us VAM, an absurdly ridiculous teacher evaluation system; InBloom, an outrageous privacy thief and child slavery evaluation system; and CCSS terrible untested mentally manipulative federal curriculum. Can someone please take away this man’s checkbook? Being obscenly rich does not make you an expert or God. Will everyone please stop treating this college dropout, preaching the importance of college readiness, as One?

deutsch29

This is a post about Bill Gates and his money, a brief audit of his Common Core (CCSS) purchases. Before I delve into Gates accounting, allow me to set the stage with a bit of CCSS background.

A Bit of CCSS Background

It is important to those promoting CCSS that the public believes the idea that CCSS is “state-led.” The CCSS website reports as much and names two organizations as “coordinating” the “state-led” CCSS: The National Governors Association (NGA), and the Council for Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). Interestingly, the CCSS website makes no mention of CCSS “architect” David Coleman:

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).  The standards were developed in collaboration with teachers, school administrators, and experts, to provide a clear and consistent framework to prepare our…

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For those who missed the live WBOK show on 8/26/13: here is the link and summary

For those who missed the live WBOK show on 8/26/13: here is the link and summary

Summary and links to articles you might find relevant to topics discussed.

Once you load the Imperative page you will have to click on the circled portion to listen to the audio portion from the 8/26/13 show.

http://theneworleansimperative.org/2013/03/07/the-new-orleans-imperative-next-show-march-11-2013/ <======

Introducing Savvy Squash – Who needs BESE? Apparently not LDOE. . .

Introducing Savvy Squash – Who needs BESE? Apparently not LDOE. . .

Ok, now I think people are becoming inspired or starting to make fun of my Crazy Crawfish motif! I’m not sure if I should be flattered or insulted? No matter, Savvy Squash is here to explain some of the nuances and private backdoor deals of Louisiana’s Accountability system. It appears the system is changing again, but this time entirely secretly, even from a BESE that rubberstamps everything DOE does.  The only reason I can see for doing this is to conceal what they are doing from the public and the US Department of Education.  It also appears they are not turning over the list of AUS schools in a prompt manner and formulating realistic alternatives for students so as to leave children no other “choices” but Course Choice which has no standards, no evaluation methods, no requirements for certified teachers (or requirements for having teachers at all), and actually no money to fund it as many students who tried to apply this year found out the hard way.  Admittedly I was having trouble conveying what I was being told so I asked for some contributions to tell it like it is. Without further ado, allow me to present the latest Crazy Crawfish Blog contributor, Savvy Squash.

Who needs BESE? Apparently not LDOE. . .

The LDOE appears to be by-passing BESE and creating/implementing policy (all on their own.) This is shocking not because it’s occurring but because BESE has rubber-stamped almost everything LDOE has sent there way so one must ponder why there are some policy issues LDOE just doesn’t bother to take to BESE.

Fake Policy: Academic School Choice for AUS schools

LDOE sent out letters which inform school districts that the content of the instructions in the letters are now policy “which took effect July 2012, supersedes all other related policies.”. A summary of the letters in comparison to BESE policy is outlined below: [this is a secret policy LDOE created last year that was never approved by BESE or USED and which has been expanded upon and reiterated this year . Ccf]

  July 2012 letter from LDOE July 2013 Letter from LDOE Bulletin 111 (as of June 2013) ESEA waiver
Who develops the plan? The Louisiana Department of Education developed the following selection criteria for Public School Choice for local school districts.  The Louisiana Department of Education has developed the following process to ensure Public School Choice for any student attending a failing school. §2501.An LEA must develop a school choice policy for schools that are academically unacceptable.

 

Not mentioned
What is the objective/purpose? In recognition that Louisiana’s children deserve access to a high quality education regardless of family income and zip-code, all children enrolled at F schools must be provided the opportunity to transfer to a higher performing public school within their local school district.  Local school districts must provide students who qualify for NCLB School Choice with the opportunity to attend any school in the district irrespective of geography or zoning. The list of options must include all unfilled seats in all non-failing schools. AUS 1  (Year 1) (notified Aug. 1) – AUS 3 (Year 3) Remedy School Choice For those schools failing to achieve AMOs and meaningfully progress, multiple consequences or interventions will be used. These include:

(b) school choice;

What are the plan requirements? 1.       Local school districts must develop a listing of available enrollment slots at higher performing receiving schools broken down by school by grade level.  Higher performing schools for the purposes of Public School Choice are non-F schools. 

2.       Local school districts must place children attending F-schools at a higher performing school based upon the following criteria:

a.       Develop list of all students attending F-schools.  The list must be broken down by grade level.

b.      Students attending the lowest performing F-schools, as determined by School Performance Scores (SPS), will be given the highest preference.

a.       For each request form, match students with the highest performing school with available enrollment slots.  If parents rank multiple receiving schools, match students to their top request at which there is an open seat.  If no match is made, students will remain at their current school.

                                                   i.      Follow this process in ascending order until all choice request forms from all F-schools are reviewed.

4.       Notify families in writing on the status of their request form within a reasonable time period.

 

1. Local school districts must develop a list of available enrollment slots at higher-performing receiving-schools arranged by school and grade level. Higher performing schools for the purposes of Public School Choice are non-failing schools (i.e., letter grades of D or higher).

2. Local school districts must notify parents of children attending failing schools, of all higher performing enrollment options within the school district within ten days of receiving notification from LDOE.

3. The local school district must review choice requests from parents of the district’s failing schools in the following order to ensure that Louisiana’s lowest performing students are provided access to higher performing schools:

a.       Begin to review the Choice Request forms of children attending the lowest performing failing school.

b.      For each request form, match the student with the highest performing school with available enrollment slots.

c.       If parents rank multiple receiving schools, match them to their top request for which there is an open seat.

d.       If no match is made, the student will remain at their current school.

e.      Follow this process in ascending order until all Choice Request forms from all failing schools are reviewed.

4. Notify families, in writing, on the status of their request form.

5. Local school districts should also inform parents of Course Choice as an option for their child.

a.       Course Choice is a pilot program that provides educational opportunities to students across the state that are currently denied the ability to enroll in the high-quality courses necessary for college or career preparation because they are not available at their local school.

b.      For more information, please contact Ernise Singleton (ernise.singleton@la.gov).

 

§2501.

1. An LEA must offer more than one choice to eligible students, if more than one school is eligible to receive students.

2. The LEA must take into account the parents’ preferences among the choices offered, or the LEA may allow parents to make the final decision.

§2503. Student Eligibility

A. An LEA must offer choice to all students in an eligible school until the school is no longer identified as AUS except:

1.       if an eligible student exercises the option to transfer to another public school, an LEA must permit the student to remain in that school until he or she has completed the highest grade in the school and shall provide transportation to the student.

§2505.Transfer Options

A. An LEA may consider health and safety factors in determining the transfer options. Should the LEA have concerns for health and safety factors, the LEA will need to find ways to provide choice consistent with their obligations to provide a healthy and safe learning environment.

B. An LEA that is subject to a desegregation plan is not exempt from offering students the option to transfer.

1.       An LEA should first determine whether it is able to offer choice within the parameters of its desegregation plan.

2.        If it is not able to do so, or if the desegregation plan forbids the LEA from offering the choice option, the LEA needs to seek court approval for amendments to the plan that permit a transfer option for students.

C. Students may not transfer to any school that is academically unacceptable or that has been identified for school improvement 1 or higher for subgroup component failure.

D. If there are no schools to which students can transfer, parents must be notified that the child is eligible for choice. The notification will further indicate that no choice options are currently available.

 

Not mentioned
What is the timeline for notification? Eligible families must be contacted and offered Public School Choice by their local school district within ten business days of receiving such notification. Eligible families must be contacted and offered Public School Choice by their local school district within ten business days of receiving notification from the Louisiana Department of Education that one of their schools is at-risk of becoming a failing school. §2501.Beginning with the 2003-04 school year, an LEA shall notify parents of their school choice options not later than the first day of the school year for the schools that must offer choice.

 

Not mentioned
How is notification to be made? Notify families in writing on the status of their request form within a reasonable time period.

 

Communication may include a phone call, but must include a formal notification letter. Not mentioned Not Mentioned
What are the Policy References? This policy is in effect for the school year starting on July 1, 2012 and supersedes any other written document you may have received prior to today’s date.  This policy, which took effect July 2012, supersedes all other related policies. Bulletin 111; Chapter 25, Sections 2501, 2503, and 2505  

From January of 2012 to August of 2013 there was only one instance of policy revision to Bulletin 111’s academic school choice policy. The references in the letter to new policy as of July 2012 appear to reference final approval of ESEA. The problem is the ESEA waiver only vaguely mentions choice as a sanction for failing schools and doesn’t even mention a change in the process for how choice is to be carried out. The process change appears to be entirely created and deemed policy by LDOE.

There are 3 major concerns with these letters masquerading around like policy:

1. There does not appear to be any BESE or ESEA-waiver policy which dictates the school choice processes outlined in the letter

2. The “policy” seemingly evolves from year to year

3.  The one-size fits all model doesn’t consider local restraints

So what’s the big deal?

 1.       Policy should be vetted and run through the policy making board, not created and enforced LDOE

Policy is written, understood, it maintains a level of knowledge and stability. What happens when LDOE decides their own policy? Take a look at the letters. From July 2012 to July 2013 somehow policy miraculously changed to require that Districts peddle LDOE’s course choice program. In essence, Districts are being asked to try and sway their students, in a failing public school, to begin taking classes via course choice, which to date has no data to support that it would be a quality program that if measure would not be deemed academically unacceptable. Additionally, why would a District want to promote courses that they have no control over yet are responsible for in accountability? If I’m a district and I want to reform my failing school, the first place I’m not going to consider is an outside provider with no measures of success with no local control yet I would ultimately be responsible for the outcomes.

Now, bottom line, students should NOT have to attend a failing school. The failing of a public school is the failure of a school district to provide an equal and acceptable arena for learning. There should be no need for school choice, however since there are failing schools there should be state policy guidelines which consider that the way to carry out school choice should be left up to districts discretion or, at the very least, the process should be vetted in a public forum where districts could speak to the course of action.

Why do districts need a voice in school choice? I’m sure there are many reasons but I will just vent a bit about two.

2.       Logistics

The fake policy LDOE propagated in their letters is arguably a good option for students. It’s feasibility in a district is logistically challenging, however. Take for example a district with a large geographical spread where a failing school may be located 29.7 miles away from a higher performing school which has 1 open seat in grade K and 1 open seat in grade 4. According to LDOE, policy says the district must let those 2 students transfer and the district must provide transportation. I don’t know what line of thinking LDOE is using but there simply isn’t a plausible logistical way to transport two students across opposite ends of the district – it requires 1 bus, 1 bus driver, and a ride of anywhere between 1-2.5 hours each way for the student. So the student in grade K is conceivable riding a bus with only 1 other student and being picked up at 6am and not returning home until 5:30 pm. Are there compromises? Sure; but since LDOE never bothered to bring this to the policy making board there was no opportunity for districts or board members to propose one.

3.       Desegregation Orders

If a district is operating under a desegregation plan, or if the district has gained unitary status, the decisions about school choice transfer may reach a level when judicial input is necessary to insure compliance with an active or closed plan.  Under LDOE’s fake policy there is no consideration for district to modify the choice process to comply with desegregation orders.

On a related note:

For the second consecutive year, LDOE has not publicly released the list of preliminary AUS schools that are required to offer choice. The release of this information publicly is necessary for

1.       Transparency – parents and the public at large have a right to know which schools in which districts are deemed academically unacceptable. Without this information being public, it is not possible for parents to know, until sometime in October when final SPS scores are officially released, whether they should have been offered a choice transfer. This is not to say that I think districts will ultimately not offer choice to students, however, this is a public process and the public has a right to know and ensure they are being offered what they are entitled to by BESE policy.

2.       Checks and Balances – Without a public preliminary list of AUS schools, it is not possible for the public to measure the growth or decline of failing schools; to make decisions about moving into different attendance zone/districts; to know which RSD schools are F and which are masquerading as T; or to know if any schools identify as F in July are no longer identified as F in October.

Why should we care do you ask?

1. This isn’t policy.

2. If this was policy, it’s not good for districts.

3. Districts under desegregation orders – LDOE should be producing the preliminary list much earlier than the last week of July and they should be sending the information to desegregation districts and CC [carbon copy] the judge so that a proper plan can be worked out for choice.

4. The one-size-fits-all approach by the state doesn’t work in all districts.

If this went to BESE, districts could make a case that if the state wants this policy then perhaps we compromise – perhaps we offer a minimum of two options with transportation and then offer every other available seat across the district without transportation. For car riders and parents who work near other schools that’s feasible.

Sincerely,

Savvy Squash

Don’t forget to tune into WBOK 1230 AM today from 10 – 10:30

I will be invading the airwaves today at 10:00 am on WBOK 1230 AM, for the New Orleans Imperative radio hour.

Many thanks to Dr. Raynard Sanders for allowing me a chance to reach a new audience and to continue to fight the good fight.

http://www.wbok1230am.com/

You can listen live over the internets with this link: http://www.wbok1230am.com/player.html

Feel free to tell me how awesome or horrible I was!

Everything but the Squeal – A sequel

Everything but the Squeal – A sequel

At the turn of the last Century, Upton Sinclair wrote a novel that horrified the nation with its depiction of the meat packing industry. As part of his research for this novel, The Jungle, Sinclair spent over 6 months working in the industry and documenting their practices. His intent was to reveal how immigrants were treated but what captured the attention of the nation was his matter-of-fact recounting of pigs hoisted into the air by their feet as their throats we slit to spew their lifeblood in assembly line efficiency, tales of employees falling into the rendering vats, dying and not being retrieved, and shovels full meat scraps, rats and feces being methodically swept and shoveled into meat hoppers storing meat scraps to be made into sausages.

There was never the least attention paid to what was cut up for sausage; there would come all the way back from Europe old sausage that had been rejected, and that was moldy and white–it would be dosed with borax and glycerine, and dumped into the hoppers, and made over again for home consumption. There would be meat that had tumbled out on the floor, in the dirt and sawdust, where the workers had tramped and spit uncounted billions of consumption germs. There would be meat stored in great piles in rooms; and the water from leaky roofs would drip over it, and thousands of rats would race about on it. It was too dark in these storage places to see well, but a man could run his hand over these piles of meat and sweep off handfuls of the dried dung of rats. These rats were nuisances, and the packers would put poisoned bread out for them; they would die, and then rats, bread, and meat would go into the hoppers together. This is no fairy story and no joke; the meat would be shoveled into carts, and the man who did the shoveling would not trouble to lift out a rat even when he saw one– there were things that went into the sausage in comparison with which a poisoned rat was a tidbit. There was no place for the men to wash their hands before they ate their dinner, and so they made a practice of washing them in the water that was to be ladled into the sausage. There were the butt-ends of smoked meat, and the scraps of corned beef, and all the odds and ends of the waste of the plants, that would be dumped into old barrels in the cellar and left there. Under the system of rigid economy which the packers enforced, there were some jobs that it only paid to do once in a long time, and among these was the cleaning out of the waste barrels. Every spring they did it; and in the barrels would be dirt and rust and old nails and stale water–and cartload after cartload of it would be taken up and dumped into the hoppers with fresh meat, and sent out to the public’s breakfast. Some of it they would make into “smoked” sausage–but as the smoking took time, and was therefore expensive, they would call upon their chemistry department, and preserve it with borax and color it with gelatine to make it brown. All of their sausage came out of the same bowl, but when they came to wrap it they would stamp some of it “special,” and for this they would charge two cents more a pound.  (from Chapter 14 of The Jungle by Upton Sinclair)

The phase, “Everything but the squeal” was documented in Sinclair’s work as a prominent and prideful boast of meat processors – testament to their ability to extract every last bit of value from the farm animals they had groomed to exploit and process and a favorite claim of one of the chief pioneers of assembly line animal disassembly Gustavus Franklin Swift. Of course as you can see below, not much has changed today for the animals (this is one of the least horrifying pictures of slaughterhouse processing I could find), although conditions for workers improved over the next decades with the creation and ascendency of trade and labor unions in the early 20th century and sanitation was improved with the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act (which paved the way for the creation of today’s FDA) in large part due to the success and outrage over Sinclair’s signature debuting muckraker novel.

Pigs begin the process of being liberated from their fleshy confines

Nevertheless, the claim was both impressive and valid. Some of the products produced in addition to meats and sausages were oleomargarine, soap, glue, instrument strings, fertilizer, hairbrushes, buttons, knife handles, and pharmaceutical preparations such as pepsin and insulin. Low-grade meats were canned in products like pork and beans.

Early charter school model


This was capitalism performing at its finest, employing thousands of workers methodically slaughtering and sorting animals and animal pieces and by-products to support millions of people. While even today most of us would turn away and be disgusted by the practices of slaughterhouses, nevertheless the basic model invented at the turn of the 19th century is still employed today in the 21st century. These methods are used to supply billions of people with food and byproducts for countless industries. As a society and people we have come to accept that there are basic differences between the rights of animals, and products, and the rights of people. (Although before labor unions the rights of immigrants and generationally poor people were sometimes indistinguishable from the rights, or lack thereof, we afforded animals.)

Today we are much more civilized. We treat our immigrants that we depend upon for harvesting and producing our food supply well, seldom eating them if they fall into vats of rendering solutions and we almost always retrieve them from the fields if they expire while picking our fruits and vegetables for less than minimum wage. If we had immigrant labor unions, immigrants would have to be paid living wages, sanitary work conditions, time-wasting perks like work breaks and lunches, and they would probably face competition from American born workers who might be inspired to pick up a shovel instead of a welfare check. Obviously the marginalization and elimination of labor unions has been a boon for our illegal immigrants as well as our stomachs.

When capitalism is unshackled, everyone wins. That is why some of our most brilliant and moneyed minds of the 21st century have shrewdly focused in on the opportunities, efficiencies and profits to be made in the education sector.

The public education sector is quaint, but antiquated. For centuries Americans have resisted the impulse to turn schools into production facilities, and to treat children as valuable resources that can be turned into products and traded like commodities. At least 19th Century Americans had an excuse, child labor and prostitution allowed them to extract something of value from children. As so called “civilized” societies passed laws that prevented child slavery a great deal of wealth was left untapped and children became valued as something other than resources. As a result the birth rate in our country dropped off precipitously, as children became resource hogs, rather than resources in their own rights.

Today’s school reformers and entrepreneurs have wisely recognized the nascent value we’ve overlooked for so long – but no longer. Today’s students are both more challenging but potentially rewarding that any we’ve had before. The key is in perfecting and refining the value extraction process. There may be more than one way to skin a cat (although I’m not sure why you’d want to) but there are virtually infinite ways to make money off of children and the public education system. I can’t hope to cover them all in a single piece, but I have jotted down a few.

Charter/child processing school/facility (Many charters have learned how to use the “whole child”)


One of the latest profit extracting innovations is the charter school. (Frankly you have to be pretty incompetent not to make money off of children with a charter school.) Charter schools get their facilities for free, (usually rent free while the home district is still making payments on the bonds issued to build them), insurance free, and with plenty of grant money to fix them up into tip top shape (or pocket if they find the shape they are in is tip top enough for their liking.) Numerous private donors line up to give “grants” and donations to new charter schools. In turn, many of these charter schools are free to contract with their “donors” for professional services paid for by state or federal funds that cannot go directly to a charter. While some may see this as a kickback, these arrangements are perfectly legal in most cases so long as there is no documented quid pro quo. And even if they aren’t, who would be able to look at that kind of thing? Charter schools can partner with IT shops and vendors, or form their own subsidiary companies to take advantage of the millions of dollars in e-rate technology grants and special purpose department of Ed grants. It’s no coincidence that many of the biggest donors to the charter movement are IT companies or heads like Michael and Susan Dell and Bill Gates. (Can you say captive hardware and software clients and increased market share?)

The last time I checked the largest company in terms of market capitalization was Google. Google makes its money by collecting data on everyone, by sending robot cars up and down everyone’s streets endlessly taking pictures and selling and aggregating that data and targeted advertising. What Google gathers over the internet is information that is freely provided by people. It may or may not be complete, but there is no guarantee it is honest, complete and unflattering. Yet, with what they have, they still have been able to produce a very profitable empire! However, what the next generation of information aggregators hopes to gather is so much more impressive. They intend to gather everything about everyone who has ever attended any public school. (Eventually private schools will be enticed to do the same in exchange for free software or hardware perhaps.) This will reach back decades and will eventually include everything from phone numbers, pictures, parents names and addresses, discipline records, health and disability records, performance metrics, subjects taken and every interest or altercation ever recorded. Companies like inBloom, Ed-Fi, Amplify, Wireless Generation, and countless others are lining up at the trough to gorge themselves on student data that can be used to personally enrich themselves by creating new products, much as the airline industry charges ala-cart fees for everything from not sitting next to crying babies, to boarding a few minutes earlier, to picking up your luggage at your destination, sitting with your family or sitting on the wings or in the cargo holds. (Those last two are under discussion.)

But this is just the beginning. Shrewd reformers are only just beginning to tap into the full profit potential of children. A cottage industry of curriculum and test administration has sprung up called Common Core, or CCSS that dramatically expands the data points collected, charges states exorbitant amounts of money to test all children (as much as 4 times as much for a single administration), and opens up an unlimited market for instructional materials, supplemental guides, tutoring services, learning “games”, etc. While most of the biggest information players like Rupert Murdoch, Michael Bloomberg, Michael Dell, Bill Gates, and Pearson Education, are already positioned to reap the most rewards and profits, there will be numerous opportunities for information prospectors to pan for education dollars from the scraps they leave behind or let fall from the table (after their grinding.)

John White demonstrates LDOE value extraction methods on excited charter school student screaming about how wonderful it is to be going to a good school.


Now politicians can enjoy school too. With the privatization of what was formally the public sector, anyone can be a political hack as long as they accept money from privatizing forces and agree to do anything they say and ignore any evidence that reveals their schemes. In fact, much as intelligence and curiosity will have little to do with schooling in the charter school of the today and future, intelligence, curiosity and ethics are now a real detriment to a politician. Politicians free of these trappings will be able to accept more money, more readily, and with none of the guilt or reservations someone with a soul, conscience, or sense of decency might experience.

Rocketship Academy – actual photo. You can tell these kids are really going. . . somewhere. . . at least vicariously.
Rocketship Academy – only 3 of the kids had to have their hands bolted to the chairs and neck collars installed to prevent neck swiveling.

Even big-box retailers like Walmart can extract some value from the charter school system of the future. Employees with personalities and extraneous knowledge and experiences can be a real drag, and robots are expensive. This is why the Waltons, have gotten in on the charter chuck wagon. Now rather than train their own employees with minimal skills and interests to perform tedious tasks, Walmart can rely on a ready supply of perfectly prepared recruits to staff its stores and warehouses. These recruits of the future will be force-fed CCSS Miltonian Economic philosophy so as to prepare them for a life of minimum wage (or perhaps no wages if we can lift that productivity killing handicap) zero benefits, repetition injuries, and the planned obsolescence of their positions (eventually the cost of robots will come down if the Japanese have anything to say about it.)

Thankfully schooling is more than about just school, it’s about making your transition from school to a life of silos and cubicles:

” I am a Rocketship Rocketeer at home, at school, and in my community. . .”

As this daily mantra explains, soon we can all be rocketships at home, school and in our communities. And when we’re all rocketships, this will seem normal. Then we will finally have been “Reformed” and ready to accept any new ways we can be used to make money for our charter operators. 

I only wish I had a chance to have my full potential drained and distributed like those lucky pigs, in the first photo and todays charter student pioneers.

Introducing PegLeg Mickey, the Ed Policy Pundit/Pirate? Accountability Argh!

Introducing PegLeg Mickey, the Ed Policy Pundit/Pirate? Accountability Argh!

Believe it or not, this is not my handiwork. J (I’m working on something I hope will be even more disturbing.) While the opinions of key LDOE personnel are not necessarily mine own, I feel it would be inappropriate to censor this piece or art/outrage. As I’ve said before, there are many folks who had their voices suppressed by this administration, and continue to fear for their jobs. I did send out a plea to ask for help documenting some of the corruption and injustices taken place behind TFA closed doors. Some people are helping me with research and graphics, and some folks are helping me full posts. This is one of the latter. What Mickey seems to be pointing out is a not-so-secret plot to increase scores for RSD schools by manipulating “bonus points” they receive. This is yet another change to the formula, and one that has not been approved by BESE nor by the Feds in our NCLB/ESEA waiver. (RSD schools are almost without exception complete and utter failures, but it is in the interests of Jindal, White, and out of state interests to muddy the narrative so they can portray them as successes.) I continue to encourage folks who don’t have a blog of their own, but want to have a voice to send me their posts or even just their info. I promise if it something I can use, I will use it, or pass it along to someone who will do a better or more timely job that yours truly. If you have any comments post them, if you have any private questions about this piece, send them to pegleg.mickey@aol.com Without further ado. . . . Pegleg. . . .

pegleg.mickey@aol.com

Louisiana Schools Require Legislative Assistance

Rubber Stamp BESE to Allow 2013 Performance Scores Using Rules Not Yet Passed

Districts Prepare for Second Annual Molestation

The last elected Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) prevented the rape of the majority of schools in Louisiana by the Louisiana Department of Education (LDoE). The current purchased BESE (excluding “Not for Sale” Beebe and “You Ain’t Got Enough Money” Hill), turned a blind eye and deaf ear to last year’s abuse. School districts are now considering their chances of BESE assistance while all signs point to a planned second round of pillage. While efforts to get the word out have started, most districts have begun to “lock up the babies and hide the old ladies.”

In the summer of 2011, word leaked from the LDoE that policy changes that impacted the way School Performance Scores are calculated were in store for the next BESE meeting. Not only were the changes up for approval but the LDoE had already begun applying the changes to the 2011 calculations. A call from a school district office to the appropriate supervisor confirmed that these details were correct. When the district accountability specialist pointed out that the policy changes wouldn’t be applicable until November at the earliest, Dr. Scott Norton said the LDoE had already decided how things would occur and nothing could be done about it. He was even considering waiting until November before releasing scores.

That district employee, Tom Spencer from Lafayette, felt that Norton was ‘throwing down the gauntlet (sorry LDoE Similac staff – that means issuing a challenge).’ Spencer contacted districts around the state, particularly those that held some sway over BESE members (Similac insert – sway = influence). Then he contacted BESE members. Former member Linda Johnson told Spencer that there was no way she would be able get the item on the agenda, since it was controlled by Jindal’s harlots, Bendily and Dastugue, but if Spencer would be at the meeting, she’d find some way to get him to the microphone, and she’d line up enough votes to get it taken care.

The plan worked. The LDoE was caught off-guard, and some of the members they usually controlled supported making the LDoE follow rules. Since it wasn’t an agenda item for that committee meeting, it was placed on the agenda for the full BESE meeting the next day. Bendily assigned staff to redo the calculations THAT NIGHT, according to appropriate policy. She got approval to reduce the public embarrassment by removing it from the agenda.

That was only the first recalculation required that year, although the others were caused by one LDoE accountability staffer who just couldn’t get the assessment data correct (and still can’t). Staff had to ‘fix’ scores 5 times that year. These changes impacted every school in the state. A sixth error that adjusted the STATE scores upward was never corrected. Scott Norton (high roller supervisor) and Jennifer Baird (mid-level supervisor) let that sixth error ‘slide.’

By July 2012, the LDoE had ‘snuck’ some changes into administrative code that fast-tracked the rule promulgation process for the LDoE. They just couldn’t be expected to plan 6 months ahead – a problem peculiar to the Similac bunch. When the preliminary release occurred (in July), although it was only sent to the district offices and not publicly released, the score calculations had used a policy change that would not be submitted to BESE until October and wouldn’t complete the process of becoming ‘rule’ until February 2013.

Unfortunately for the LDoE, the same inept “assessment processor” had incorrectly applied the rules that were prematurely used as ordered by Jessica Baghian and Jennifer Baird, who’d teamed with Bendily to form the trio, “The Hounds from Hell.” Schools that were not failing were labeled as such and forced to offer School Choice and endure other indignities. But the error caused districts to scrutinize the data and discover the premature application of PLANNED policy. Some districts found 20% of their high school data inaccurate, both from the ineptitude and the edict.

Yep, that’s a middle finger

Those districts that were savvy and requested changes to the 20% error, were told that it had been changed, but final scores still clearly were in error. Even though legislators requested from Erin Bendily the final data that comprised the final scores, the LDoE didn’t have time to do so. It appears they were already planning the next raid.

Substantial changes occurred in the LA accountability system as a result of the ESEA waiver. They included a new magical value-added measure to award between 3 and 10 bonus points to deserving schools (primarily RSD schools). Now, after they have discovered a way to manipulate the formula, THEY HAVE CHANGED THE RULES SO FEWER SCHOOL GET BONUS POINTS. Of course, the policy hasn’t even appeared before Whitey’s Rubber Stamp BESE. But the LDoE got away with rape last year, so why not another round.

Proof

This is a clip from a document that Jennifer Baird (Female Hound from Hell) the LDoE e-mailed this week. This is the proposal they used to calculate scores, but it hasn’t even gone to BESE and can’t until OCTOBER AT THE EARLIEST.

§301. School Performance Score Goal

D. Bonus Points

1. – 1.a. …

b. A minimum of 35 30% of the students in the non-proficient subgroup meet or exceed their expected growth, as determined by the value-added model for students in grades K-8 and as determined by the ACT series for students in grades 9-12.

c. If 1a and 1b are met, then the number and the percent of students will be multiplied by 0.1, and the higher of the two products will be used to assign bonus points. For students who are identified as special education, the multiplier will be 0.2. For students who earn an Unsatisfactory on LEAP or iLEAP or Needs Improvement on End-of-course tests, the multiplier will be 0.2. For students who earn an Approaching Basic on LEAP or iLEAP or a Fair on End-of-course testes, the multiplier will be 0.1.

This means if you have managed to work with a low performing student and get the child to improve to Basic or Good, you can’t get bonus points. Less improvement does get bonus points.

Below is the LDOE logic contained in an e-mail that went out on Friday, August 23 from Marie Henderson, Chief of Staph (?) although “Jessica” is also included on the signature line (must have a 4th Hound Marie). It includes lies about simulations run last year: I’ve talked to the rats that lurk in the LDoE walls and know the numbers. This logic is counter to the justification for bonus points that exists in the ESEA waiver. It is a change that works to the benefit of the RSD.

ABOVE ALL, IT ISN”T IN POLICY!

“*Key Points*
– Since the new SPS system does not award non-proficient student, the non-proficient super-subgroup provides and opportunity for schools/districts to earn points as student improve towards proficiency.
– We more than doubled the number of schools earning bonus points.  More than ever, our schools helped our lowest performers progress.  This is fantastic.  Letter grades will be up as a result of it.”

Did you know? Jessica Baghian was a Harvard law student


DON’T ABANDON SHIP WITHOUT A FIGHT

WE’LL GET A BROADSIDE OR TWO IN ‘EM

Below are links to various LDoE policy documents.

http://www2.ed.gov/policy/eseaflex/la.pdf
http://www2.ed.gov/policy/eseaflex/panel-notes/la.pdf
http://www2.ed.gov/policy/eseaflex/peer-review-feedback/la.pdf
http://www2.ed.gov/policy/eseaflex/approved-requests/la.pdf

http://bese.louisiana.gov/documents-resources/policies-bulletins

http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/esea-flexibility/map/la.html

NEPC Urges Caution on CREDO Study of NOLA Charters

This is said better than I could say so many thanks to Diane Ravitch, NEPC, and ROR and the researchers who critiqued this incredible CREDO, “study”.

Diane Ravitch's blog

The National Education Policy Center urges caution when reading the CREDO study of charter schools in New Orleans. Governor Bobby Jindal has already taken CREDO as evidence for the success of privatization.

NEPC says not so fast. In addition to technical issues in the study, the critics make the following observations:

“Even setting aside these concerns, the effect sizes reported for New Orleans—let alone for the state as a whole—are not impressive in terms of absolute magnitude. Differences of 0.12 standard deviations in reading and 0.14 in mathematics indicate that less than one half of one percent of the variation in test scores is explainable by membership in a charter school.

“The study’s methods raise concerns that the findings could easily be misinterpreted to inflate pro-charter conclusions. In context, there’s little to crow about: the results from Louisiana and New Orleans are not much different from the uninspiring national results…

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