Tune in for the Crazy Crawfish Radio Hour!

Tune in for the Crazy Crawfish Radio Hour!

This Monday August 26th at 10:00 am (Central) tune into WBOK, The New Orleans Imperative.   You can listen online : http://www.wbok1230am.com/ or 1230AM radio. Possible topics include the inBloom data piracy scandal and John White’s SSN leaks, St Helena’s fight with RSD, the latest CREDO report/propaganda, the secret Workforce Commission data collection, or anything else interesting that comes up between now and then. I can hardly wait!


Now is the time on the Crazy Crawfish blog when we do the dance of joy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfPg5LjGYz8

Another parent, denied a voice at BESE, speaks out here

Another parent, denied a voice at BESE, speaks out here

Another parent speaks out against Common Core, Data Sharing, and biased studies, such as those contracted from CREDO, supporting charters. Debbie has supplied a number of links supporting and documenting her positions. Teachers and parents who are denied a voice in our public institutions are free to scream as loudly as they wish here. J Much of what we all see on the news, at BESE meetings and legislative hearings is carefully orchestrated theatre. What you can’t see is the censorship and the dissent which is often concealed behind a greasy, sleazy veneer of paid apostles speaking the Reformer gospel to the masses. The latest strategy of the DeMockratizers is to exclude anyone not willing to engage in puffery of the status quo (Reform, federally mandated dubious unproven curricula, endless standardized testing, charters, and unrestrained privatization.)

Wow Crawfish!  I am overwhelmed by your post.  Thank you for fighting for Louisiana’s children! Your efforts go far beyond this state as you sound the alarm on many different fronts.

With respect to the WDQI scandal referenced in your blog, please refer your readers to “How the Feds are Tracking Your Kids“.  Please note in the article that the states have a CHOICE to link their education data to the Department of Labor.  So what choice did Bobby Jindal and our LDOE make for our students and teachers?  They chose to serve our children and teacher’s sensitive information on a platter in the form of chopped liver to the Department of Labor.

Why didn’t we know about this?  Please refer to an article in the Advocate “House Rejects Governor’s Records Bill” where the committee voted 6:3 to allow the governor’s office (and agencies under his control) to keep information, documents, decisions away from public scrutiny.  This is being done by a deliberative process exception (Jindal inserted the provision into  the law in 2009).

In essence, what Bobby Jindal has done with the help of the LDOE and the acceptance of the WDQI grant is to help create a National De Facto Student/Teacher Data Base(which is supposed to be illegal), but again like a lot of issues in this country, is all happening by the circumvention of Congress.   This data base will track our children from cradle to grave and is slated to be finished Nov. 2013.  It is unclear to me how to stop this, but if anyone has any ideas, now would be a good time to put them forth.

If any good has come from this heinous act of treason against our children and teachers, it is the exposure of the Common Core/Child/teacher data tracking for what it is – a curriculum crafted by hustlers whose intention is to profit (inBloom) from educational material marketing scams (as the children are dumbed down, educational material will be remarketed to them courtesy of the data bases.) Also note that the data of children who attend the more elite schools is not being collected and herded into these data bases whether they be corporate or governmental agencies – even more proof that only the “Children of the Core” are being funneled into the workforce where data will direct, diminish, or even destroy their futures. I concede that all children should not be forced to follow a course to college, but shouldn’t parents and students have been told that the Common Core State Standards do not put kids on a path to college?  If anyone doubts this , they should look to see the math derelicts that Everyday Mathematics ( Please see Dr. Mercedes Schneider -deutch 29) has produced in Seattle. This is the same type of discovery math being used in the Common Core.  I guess this was supposed to be a secret just as there was no public scrutiny or debate during the crafting of the standards or the installations of the data bases.

Last but not least, the very fact that this data has been hijacked/stolen negates the quality of the data itself in that “good” data only exists in the hands of “good” people.  What kind of person(Bobby Jindal) uses their own MOTHER(head of the work force committee related to the WDIQ grant) to get her to upload all the goodies on students and teachers and then……… to add insult to injury……….. goes out to Kipp Academy to pose for pictures with the very children he dissed(Please refer to New Orleans Charter Schools Show Progress with students  – what a joke). Although Common Core was a Republican initiative being driven by a Democratic machine and backed by corporate entities, The Republican National Committee got it right when they condemned the Common Core State Standards /Child Data tracking.  It’s time for Louisiana to condemn this scam as well  and move on.

Debbie Sachs

parent of a St. Tammany Parish student


Parents, denied a voice at BESE, speak out here

Parents, denied a voice at BESE, speak out here

At BESE’s august meeting parents were denied an opportunity to speak about Common Core and inBloom.  Because the feedback given so far has been overwhelmingly negative, I can understand why Chas Roemer, John White and their allies would go that route.  Routinely BESE sends out invites to charter organizers, TFA supporters, and other folks that are paid to adore their positions to speak only things that reinforce their opinions and goals.  At the last BESE meeting in June they tried shifting the schedule around to make parents and students who had come to speak students wait all day, and then when that didn’t work, they tried to postpone the agenda items they had come to speak on.  Outbursts from the crowd changed their plans.

This time, however, BESE was able to completely silence their critics, denying them a chance to speak.  When they did this, not only did they succeed in silencing their critics in a public, taxpayer funded forum, they made a mockery of Democracy; and rule of the people, by the people, for the people.  Our board was purchased with millions of corporate dollars, not to serve us, but to serve those who would make money off of our children.  Our BESE board and our Department of Education are cruel, farcical charades that pat themselves on the back for their own destructive behavior whilst squandering our hard earned tax dollars on their cronies and selling our children into a data zoo where they can be gawked at, poked and prodded for the amusement of others.

While corrupt politicians have succeeded in barring parents and students from speaking in a public forum, they cannot (yet) prevent them from speaking in private ones that are made available to the public.  Here is Nikki Gaspard’s letter.  A concerned public school parent who was denied an opportunity to comment on policies and programs paid for by and with her tax dollars and about a recently aborted plan that sells her child’s data companies to use and profit from as they see fit. (Nikki was one of the folks instrumental in uncovering the latest set of inBloom and DOE letters many of us had failed to get for so long. . .)

Hello, I have a few things that I would like to go over.  I have a letter from Mr. John White to Inbloom dated April 19 in which he states that he is withdrawing Louisiana from InBloom.  I also have a letter dated June 17 from InBloom addressed to John White saying that InBloom is concluding their relationship with John White.

I do not have a fancy job title.  I am just a mom, but even I can look at these two letters and deduce that SOMEONE is being DISHONEST!  I have a form from the UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR that lists it’s grant recipients.  LOUISIANA IS ON THAT LIST!  The LA Workforce Commission was granted nearly ONE MILLION DOLLARS in order to collect and link information to the US DEPARTMENT OF LABOR.  The information that is being linked includes EDUCATION DATA.  The contact person is listed as Ms. Raj Jindal.

     In a phone conversation between Mr. Garvey and Mr. White, which took place last Friday, Mr. White acknowledged that he WAS AWARE that LOUISIANA COLLEGES were sharing private and personal information with the LOUISIANA AND UNITED STATES DEPARTMENTS OF LABOR, but that he was not aware that the LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION WAS ALSO INVOLVED IN THIS.

     As a concerned citizen and parent in Louisiana, the ONLY conclusion that I can draw from that conversation is that either Mr. John White is being dishonest to Mr. Garvey OR Mr. White is (at best) doing an EXTREMELY POOR JOB PROTECTING OUR CHILDREN’S VERY PERSONAL AND INTIMATE INFORMATION.

     Now to my next subject.  I have a letter to a senator in New York from the SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS of New York dated August 7.  In the letter he discusses the fact that only 30 to 37 percent of students scored proficient on the COMMON CORE assessment tests given in April.  That was a SIGNIFICANT drop verses test scores before COMMON CORE INVADED NEW YORK.  He goes on to say that the ONLY thing that changed this year was the CURRICULUM AND THE TESTS.  What changed he said, was giving the tests before students were properly prepared.

     TO ALL OF YOU, I would like to say that COMMON CORE has already caused my daughter who is an honor roll student and who has already earned COLLEGE CREDIT to feel like a (her exact words) ” WORTHLESS, STUPID HUMAN BEING”.  I have seen my precious child spend hours upon hours EVERYDAY at my kitchen table working on what common core calls “math”.  I have watched her being tutored 2 to 3 times EVERY WEEK to try to understand the Common Core Math.  I have watched her be reduced to an ANXIETY-RIDDLED MESS which ends with her CURLED UP CRYING ON MY KITCHEN FLOOR because she now feels like she is stupid.  If that is what the COMMON CORE CURRICULUM does to an HONOR ROLL,gifted,talented student who has an ideal home environment with a mother and father who encourage and support her, what EXACTLY do you think the Common Core is going to do to the rest of the kids in Louisiana?

     My daughter came home with a paper on the first day of school which lists the telephone numbers of places such as CRISIS COUNSELORS and THE ST. TAMMANY SUICIDE PREVENTION LINE! It’s as if the powers that be are EXPECTING  suicide rates to go up in Louisiana.  I just DO NOT UNDERSTAND why this is being ALLOWED to take place in OUR SCHOOLS!

     I would ask that EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU  make a decision to look into this and to do the right thing for the CHILDREN. 

     The right thing is NEVER the easy thing.   It is rarely, if ever, the popular thing. IT IS STILL the RIGHT thing!
Thank-you for taking the time to read this.

Sincerely, Mrs. Gaspard

inBloom’s actual Dear John Letter to John White: (It’s not me, it’s you)

inBloom’s actual Dear John Letter to John White: (It’s not me, it’s you)

Sometimes life hands you stories that are simply better than any cheap fiction you can pick up from a newsstand or checkout line. Take for example this on-again-off-again “data sharing” relationship between Iwan Streicheicenberger, CEO of inBloom, (a data piracy and reselling outfit masquerading as a non-profit student-centric organization) and John White, student data pimp, (masquerading as a state Superintendent of Education.)

At first, Iwan and inBloom were avidly pursuing a relationship with John White and John White didn’t even know they existed when he first rolled into town. Before long though, over a few leisurely dinners, John was being wooed by Peter Gorman, Iwan’s Cyrano d’ Bergerac over at Wireless Generation (the authors of the inBloom database run by Iwan) the air beneath his wings, and his recharger.

If you are available for dinner on Wednesday night, I would love to take you and discuss Broad school reform and other issues but no pressure on that either. I know how precious an evening with family, time at the gym, or just a little down time can be to recharge your batteries.” (Peter Gorman/Cyrano)

“Dude—you are my recharger! Dinner it is, of course. Then let’s visit some schools Thursday. I’m really looking forward to it.” (John White)

Kind of a lame corporate pick-up line, but it seemed to work. I’m not exactly sure what the code phrase for “visit some schools” really means, but I’m thinking that might be their secret code or a reformer euphemism for doing lines of coke off of school playground swing sets. (Just a guess.)

Before long John White discovered he really like the idea of the data sharing agreement. He could trade the data of other people’s children in return for corporate favors and recharging dinners. White even decided to hook up inBloom with his other clients, interests like all the Course Choice providers written down in his little black book.

Eventually people caught onto this arrangement between John White and inBloom and White claimed in this Monroe News Star article in April 19th that he had “withdrawn” all data from inBloom out of an abundance of care for parents. Nevertheless White repeatedly refused to allow anyone to see the letter or correspondence he sent to inBloom to cancel the contract, as well as the original contract that was signed, but told parents and BESE members to just “trust him.” Numerous Freedom of Information requests were filed by retired educator and former BESE candidate Lee Barios of www.Geauxteacher.net and Tom Aswell from Louisiana Voice, and BESE member Lottie Beebe (a first for BESE needing to file a formal request for public records that White claimed publicly existed) yet it took a filed lawsuit for White to finally produce the necessary documents a few days before the June 6th BESE meeting for John White to produce the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) and Service agreement contract between inBloom and the Louisiana Department of Education.

I saw reviewed some of this contract on my smartphone, after just a few minutes and noticed quite a few alarming details right off the back. I did my best to bring these to the attention of BESE when I was my turn to speak (for a few minutes) and left notes for others to cover in their time allocations, however it was clear I needed to review this in more detail.

After leaving the BESE meeting I did review this contract and wrote up a point by point review of nearly the entire “service contract” which was way more scary and far reaching than had been revealed until this point. I also forwarded my review to every BESE member although none responded to me about this analysis.

Some key points of my review:

  • inBloom was secretly contracted to take over numerous reports for state and federal reporting
  • InBloom can infinitely subcontract any and all work to anyone they choose without recourse or input from LDOE/customer (14.3)
  • inBloom can sell off entire contract to any other non-profit for any reason and with no input or recourse for LDOE (14.1)
  • much more data was to be contained on inBloom’s database despite the shifty assurances White made otherwise (Attachment E paragraph 2 and 3)
  • A certified letter was required to cancel the contract, and it took 90 days for that cancellation to be considered final (8.2 &14.6)
  • Insurance obtained for security breaches/violations is minimal, less than a dollar per every student that might be retained on database and is only required to be retained for “intial term” (13)
  • inBloom does not warrant usage is compliant with FERPA and that states are liable for any finding otherwise, and any/all damage done to students as a result of unauthorized usage, theft or access. (11.2)
  • The contract contained a provision to renew forever if both parties mutually agreed (8)
  • Audits must be performed at customer’s expense (14.2)

https://crazycrawfish.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/sli-saas.pdf

When news organizations started reporting that John White and Louisiana had pulled out of the inBloom project, inBloom immediately tweeted that these rumors were false and the coverage was incorrect.

inBloom@inBloomEdu

.@frankcatalano
@audreywatters Louisiana still part of inBloom community. Many inaccuracies in coverage

When they were contacted for specifics they claimed Louisiana was still a partner, just taking a “pause” in their relationship. Nevertheless many states and school districts started pulling out of the inBloom project as coverage about the dangers this posed, and parental objections gained steam and visibility in the mainstream media such as this article by Stephanie Simon from Reuters: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/03/us-education-database-idUSBRE92204W20130303

Numerous parents and local organizations and tea-party groups adopted this issue as one pertinent to themselves and their children. These folks started contacting not just BESE but local legislators and even their federal Senators and Representatives to register their displeasure over what was going on. Many of these groups have urged out state legislators to create and implement Louisiana’s own privacy law that would be stricter than the federal FERPA regulations that have recently been gutted by US Department of Education policy which as triggered at least one lawsuit by EPIC, a national privacy advocacy organization. However lawsuits take time, and privacy and sensitive personal information, once shared over an internet based data Cloud, will never be possible to reclaim and secure.

Unbeknownst to many of us John White secretly tried to silence his critics by slyly sending out a certified cancellation notice to inBloom (although months after he’ already claimed to have done so.) White made sure to mention he had contacted inBloom April 19th, which he asserts was a cancellation of his contract with them. However, the contract he signed does not allow a cancellation of this kind. It requires a certified letter, as I pointed out at the June BESE meeting and in my blog. This letter was only sent to select BESE members that support White and a few legislators working on possible privacy legislation, no doubt to assuage their fears, discredit his critics (like me), and to divert attention from Louisiana passing its own privacy legislation in the near future. Whatever other reasons he may have had, at least I counted this as a belated victory. You can see White’s letter below.


However what I discovered not long after this was this was actually the second letter involved. The first letter was sent to John White by inBloom cancelling their agreement first.

inBloom Inc.

3525 Piedmont Road

7 Piedmont Center

Suite 300

Atlanta, GA 30305

inBloom.org

June 17, 2013

Dear John:

am writing, pursuant to section 8.2 of inBloom’s Services Agreement with the state of Louisiana, to formally conclude our relationship and terminate that agreement.

Yes. John White actually received a “Dear John” letter from inBloom, but they didn’t exactly let him off easy. John White claimed he never sent SSN’s to inBloom and that student data was never in danger. No so, says the CEO of inBloom in their own letter which I assume must have been sent “certified” to actually terminate their contract pursuant to section 8.2 (which they mention) and 14.6.

In ending our relationship, I want to reiterate some facts that have been the subject of discussion between us and about our work together.

As you know, the contract between inBloom and Louisiana explicitly prohibits the storage of student social security numbers (SSNs) unless there are extenuating circumstances, and an amendment of the contract is signed by both parties. We understand that you inherited Louisiana’s practice of using SSNs and that many states and districts across the nation are in similar situations and grappling with this issue now. During the course of planning for implementation in Louisiana, the inBloom team engaged in discussions with state personnel regarding how the state might transition from the use of SSNs to randomized student I.D. numbers. As we worked through this issue and to support the state¹s Course Choice program, it came to inBloom’s attention that Louisiana was nevertheless uploading student SSNs to its secure storage space on the inBloom system.

Not only did John White undeniably send SSN’s to inBloom, he did so in violation of his own agreement and own contract and after being repeatedly warned in numerous discussions not to do so. He did so, recklessly, and with a perfectly functioning alternative, Louisiana’s GUID which was developed as part of a 4 million dollar IES grant I worked on. LEDRS created a de-identified number that was supposed to be used in lieu of ever using a SSN on any report or data transmission, let alone a complete transmission to an external third party that asked not to receive it. White even lied to inBloom stating their had no alternative, when clearly that is no-where near accurate.

But maybe there was just some miscommunication?

What do you say, inBloom CEO Iwan Streichenberger?

We acknowledge that discussions were held regarding whether Louisiana could receive a waiver in accordance with the language in the contract. As you know, however, that matter was discussed and rejected, and inBloom did not issue a waiver for Louisiana. Consistent with best practices and based on our recent experiences, we have since changed our policies to prohibit even a temporary waiver, so that no SSNs are uploaded to inBloom‘s system.

Yikes. That seems to leave very little doubt as to who spoiled this relationship as well as the less than amicable situation these two terminated their data tryst. There never was and never will be a waiver.  It’s not us, John White, it’s you. Iwan ends his breakup with this last note.

I hope ongoing discussions with your stakeholders progress positively, and we remain very supportive of the work you are doing to create a strong data and technology infrastructure to support personalized learning in schools. Please let us know if we can be of any help as you work with stakeholders to build the necessary foundation. I am hopeful that the early implementers of the inBloom system will develop a broad knowledge base, which can help to inform the work in other states and districts across the country, including Louisiana

At least Iwan gives White a little hope for the future: “We weren’t the vendor for you John, but there are plenty of all vendor fish in the sea! One of them has to be right for your level of ignorance and irresponsibility.”

Here is Iwan’s full letter. Boy, nice pic Iwan.  You certainly look like you’ve moved on.


It appears the June 28th letter from John White was a face saving move after he was dumped by Iwan on the 17th.   However White wanted to make sure it was he who dumped Iwan back in April.  Very mature, White. 

I don’t think White expected both of these letters to fall into the hands of his detractors, but he did try to use them to fend off Louisiana from adopting its own privacy laws while he’s out on the prowl, looking for new relationships with vendors. One of my readers send in the following picture which I’m told was taken in front of the State Capital gardens while John White was looking to pick up some new vendors for data “relations.”


I’ve actually heard White has a few new likely candidates, namely Ed-Fi, whom he has been sending LDOE staff to districts directly to pimp out as an inBloom alternative, and a backdoor sharing agreement with the Workforce Commission to send DOE student data to another state agency for sharing with the Feds. I will have more on those developments later. However I would like to reiterate that it is imperative that Louisiana pass its own student privacy laws that supersede the federal laws; Louisiana laws that actually protect our students from out-of-state data pimps, like John White. White and his ilk will never stop trying to sell out our children for future favors, profit, or just for fun. Time and again he has proven he is lying, to reporters, parents legislators, and BESE, hiding information, and managing elected officials behind the scenes with false or misleading information. He has zero credibility on this issue (or any issue, but certainly here.)

Actual “unadulterated” letters below: (for the purists)

InBloom,_Cancellation,_Certified.Letter.6.28

InBloom_Letter_to_JW[1]

Louisiana Education Updates – as of 8/14/2013

I know it’s been a while since I posted anything substantial (I hope you all didn’t miss me too much) but that is not because nothing substantial has been taking place. If anything, the activities, news items and scandals have only been increasing far beyond the normal frequency – which has made it difficult to decide exactly which article to pursue and document first. All of the these topics are important, current, pertinent and need to be covered in greater detail than I will address in this update. However I need a place to start and I would really appreciate any help anyone might care to provide. I narrowed the scope of my blog recently to mostly just education issues, and primarily Louisiana specific education issues, but still I find myself having trouble keeping up with everything that needs to be addressed in a complete and timely manner. This is where you can help. I do not make money off the blog and have a separate full time job and family just as all of you. Nevertheless these are stories and issues that are of concern to us all and need to be more fully addressed outside of our local and national media. If you would like to help me explore some of these issues with research or writing please drop me a line at crazycrawfish@yahoo.com so we can work out the particulars. I will of course give you full attribution under your real name or pseudonym – as you prefer. You do not need to be currently running your own blog to apply nor do you have to be an insider in the Louisiana education arena – although some background or vested interest would certainly help. I will be happy to provide editing, polishing and proofreading – if necessary and would be happy to include audio clips, video entries and pictures of your choosing (so long as they pass my relatively lax standards of decency.)

It appears LDOE and the reform movement is trying to swamp us with their superior state funded numbers and front-organizations by rolling out more BS than a single blogger or uncoordinated team of bloggers can handle. For that reason I believe it is time to up our game as well but adopting a more formalized publishing/reporting model. If you have the time and inclination, please contact me to offer your help.

Without further ado, here is a summary of some of the issues I would like to tackle or seen tackled in greater detail.

Judge rules St Helena may not expand grade structures – ceding new powers to RSD (the Recovery School District)

RSD lawyers successfully made the case that St Helena cannot open up new grades and provide students a choice of where to go (RSD or Parish schools) stating this was the “true intent” behind the state law that made takeovers by RSD possible. All parishes should be concerned with this turn of events especially as new CCSS state tests are being planned to be rolled out. As New York recently found out first-hand, these tests are designed to make almost all schools “failures” to their local accountability systems making state takeovers of schools in every district a virtual certainty. Once schools check in to the RSD, they don’t check out – although they do get chartered out to for-profit entities.

 

The Elephant in the Room – despite what Bobby Jindal says, Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are a mandated Federal Curriculum

Bobby Jindal recently went on record with Red State, a Conservative media site/blog that he does not favor a federally mandated curriculum. However he and every one of this appointees on BESE and all of his BESE allies (many of which her personally bankrolled) and his hand-picked State Superintendent of Education allies are unequivocal supporters of the CCSS Common Core State Standards. These folks are dealing purely in semantics. There is no question the CCSS is both a curriculum, and a federally supported and funded one. Adopting this curriculum is a requirement of many US ED grants, states are being actively coerced and bullied by Arne Duncan into adopting these “State Standards” or face sanctions under NCLB and reduced funding. Most folks understand when you specify specific content that must be learned by specific grades levels, and test students on that very content, that content is a curriculum.

The defense I often hear made is that teachers are free to teach it this content/curriculum however they want, and states can add their own (which won’t be tested by these federal tests) but just because it does not have to be the sole curriculum, does not make it any less of a curriculum. Even the LDOE website points to other websites for CCSS that explicitly define the content as you will see below.

http://www.louisianabelieves.com/academics/common-core-state-standards

http://www.corestandards.org/Math

http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy

 

BESE member Kira Orange Jones has violated her ethics agreement with impunity and continues to serve on BESE (State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education)

In clear violation of the agreement and argument she made to the Ethics board after her election to the statewide BESE board, Kira Orange Jones has publicly taken on a statewide role in TFA, a temp teaching organization with numerous and perpetual million dollar no-bid staffing contracts with both the Recovery School District and the Louisiana Department of Education. She has refused to resign her position on the BESE board and with the resignation of her key supporter on the Ethics board under a cloud of suspicion and an ethics issue of his own it is clear the Ethics board needs to redress this issue. Being cleared of any ethics issues is not a permanent blessing to do whatever future unethical things you want to, and a favorable ethics ruling does not mean your ethics are above reproach. In this case it appears to indicate that our ethics board and reform is very unfunny joke.

 

Kira Orange Jones – the half a million dollar corporate woman

A look at the specific entities that support BESE member Kira Orange Jones is very interesting and calls for greater scrutiny to see just who she truly represents. In theory she represents the people of the areas highlighted in pink. However I have heard numerous reports where parents are unable to get Kira to represent their issues at BESE meetings, while she is more than happy to address any of her donors concerns (which include TFA board members) at the drop of a hat. In the election that made her TFA queen of BESE Kira pulled in close to half a million dollars, garnering what is undoubtedly the unique distinction of raising/spending the most money in the history of BESE elections that usually are historically run on a 5-10k budget. A half a million dollars is quite a bit of money to spend for an unpaid part-time position, but it’s nice to see her completely related profession of TFA statewide director taking off in what we must assume is an entirely unrelated fashion. Jindal ethics reform is truly a thing a wonder.

 

SPS (School Performance Scores) are available, but they are being hidden by LDOE

I’ve gotten numerous reports that SPS scores are now available, but Superintendent White is being cagey on releasing the full details. I’m told all school districts and charter schools have their individual results, but LDOE is refusing to release results for all schools or districts or statewide stats. Some of the reasons I’ve been given for this is that the scores are much lower this year, especially for RSD and many charters, and many high schools are also lower as a result of policy changes that required more of their students to have to take Algebra 1 and other tests they’d been given a free pass on previously. I am still doing research on this.

 

CREDO has produced a new report for Louisiana, but the results are biased and riddled with false conclusions based on data known to be incorrect and incomplete and CREDO did not disclose financial stake in results

Reports are now surfacing that the latest batch of CREDO reports are filled with errors that could easily have been caught or pointed out and that CREDO may have had a financial arrangement with LDOE for producing favorable reports that can be used to justify their pro-privatization movement. If true, this calls into question any report CREDO has done or will ever do. This will take a little time for me to investigate. I offered to help CREDO for free on August 17th, 2012 with any questions they might have but my offer was rebuffed. (I included my offer and the response below which is inaccurate although I chose not to dispute it.) I did however take this as an indication that CREDO was not interested in producing a valid assessment, and that they already had their results in mind. (I have my doubts that they fully understood the data issues with data in 2005, 2006 and 2007 related to Katrina and epic data mishandling and underreporting by RSD.)

On Fri, Aug 17, 2012 at 12:57 PM, Jason France <jasonfrance@hotmail.com> wrote:

Hi Dev!
 
This is Jason France, formerly of LDE.  i prepared a number of data requests for you in the past and you might recall me of “JUID” (Jew-id) fame, a Guid named after me, that i built for CREDO’s data requests just about the time before I left [. . .]

 
I am no longer affiliated with DOE but need data for a number of education data projects I’m working on.  DOE will not give me the data when someone as lowley as I request it of course. (especially since i was the one that did most of their requests and designed most of their recent data collection systems)  Would you be interested in any kind of partnership since they seem to have a special place in their heart for your group?  I’m know probably more about the data at LDE than anyone still working there, and I’m a sharing kinda guy. 
 
Let me know

Jason

From: devdavis@stanford.edu
Date: Mon, 27 Aug 2012 09:26:04 -0700
Subject: Re: Louisiana Education Data
To: jasonfrance@hotmail.com

Hi Jason,

Thank you for reaching out to us. Collaboration isn’t a possibility, since our agreement with the L-DOE does not permit us to share data with other researchers.

Best regards,
Dev


Dev Davis
CREDO at Stanford University
devdavis@stanford.edu
T. 650-725-6169
F. 650-723-1687

credo.stanford.edu

LDOE has fought the release of this data (in court for the past 2 years) to private researchers on various grounds including FERPA, but has gladly shared this data with inBloom and CREDO without parental consent. Either sharing this data is a blatant FERPA violation, or it’s public information used to formulate public policy and funding and needs to be available to the public to dispute or verify claims. LDOE has to data successfully had it both ways.

 

LDOE and BESE are creating a new “advisory council” to rig the MFP formula for a fourth time

Yesterday John White and LDOE announced a new plan to legitimize reducing school funding for public schools, especially for disabled students, gifted students, talented students, and poorer districts. He plans to create an “advisory task force” to handle the funding formula. You can read about the taskforce here:

https://www.boarddocs.com/la/bese/Board.nsf/files/98FQTL6ACE72/$file/AF_10-1_Proposed_MFP_Task_Force.pdf

Most of the spots on the taskforce have been defined and the positions have not been named, except for the “parent” advisors (Rana Ottalah and Charles Thomas). Perhaps one of you can research them and get back to me? I am a public-school parent, who worked in the Office of Management and Finance at LDOE gathering all the data used for MFP for 8 years, and I have a degree in accounting from LSU. I wonder why I wasn’t approached? J

Taskforce members: http://www.boarddocs.com/la/bese/Board.nsf/files/9A7M4Q597400/$file/AF_10-1_MFP_Task_Force_Attachment_A.pdf

Meeting Schedule: http://www.boarddocs.com/la/bese/Board.nsf/files/9AHSNM7383F7/$file/AF_10-1_MFP_Task_Force_Attachment_C.pdf

The first meeting of the MFP Task Force will be held September 4. Meetings will continue every month through the end of the calendar year; for a full calendar, please click here. At its first meeting, the task force will hear public testimony to inform policies and topics to be addressed at future meetings. In addition to this testimony, the task force will discuss topics such as:

  • September: Cost of a Minimum Foundation Program of Education
  • October: Local and State Revenue
  • November: Distribution of Minimum Foundation Program Funds
  • December: Final Recommendations for Questions, Comments, and a Vote by Members

All meetings will be open to the public with the goal of using their suggestions and discussion as a guide to strengthening Louisiana’s funding formula. More information about the MFP Task Force will be available on the BESE website, including schedules and agendas.

Public School Parent Representatives:

 

Rana Ottalah; Jefferson Public School Parent

 

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/rana-ottallah/33/61/394

bilingual interpertor

DHH early steps (currently holds this position)

http://www.boarddocs.com/la/bese/Board.nsf/files/98FSDU720B04/$file/AGII_5-1_SEAP_June_Minutes_June13.pdf

 

 

Charles Thomas; East Baton Rouge Public School Parent

 

http://www.linkedin.com/in/charlesthomas3

 

Executive Director

Family Values Resource Institute, Inc.

September 2012 – Present (1 year) Baton Rouge, Louisiana Area

Develop and execute organizational objectives for staff leadership, fund development, fiscal management, and strategic operations to achieve a vision and mission involving educating, encouraging, and empowering families and individuals through challenging barriers.

 

John White finally sends certified letter to inBloom to cancel data sharing contract (but tries to hide this fact)

This letter came about 3 months after John White claimed to have sent it but it was finally sent. A copy was provided to select allies and BESE members and not to any of the folks who testified at the BESE meeting against this blatant and flagrant violation of parental and student rights and privacy. The reason this was done was to try and protect inBloom as much as possible from additional pullouts from their database by leaving the issue intentionally ambiguous so as to allow inBloom to continue claim no one had pulled out, and that the coverage of the issue involved a lot of misreporting. How can any state feel comfortable trusting their student data to an organization like inBloom that has knowingly mislead the public is beyond me, but for the time-being Louisiana is free of this absurd contract. However until the Louisiana legislature passes laws protecting the privacy rights of our citizens, inBloom and others like them will always be waiting in the wings, ready to swoop in and steal our children’s data and exploit it at their earliest opportunity. We have won this battle, but the war is far from over. Just take a look at the next battle. . . a new front was opened through the LWC.


LDOE and Louisiana Workforce Commission (and Governor Jindal’s mother) enter into secret student data sharing agreement

It appears LDOE has already entered into another data sharing agreement with another Louisiana agency as a result of another federal grant to tie students to employment information. This grant (Grant Number: MI-211-74-10-60-A-22 Contact Information: Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC), Office of Occupational Information Services) is being run by the Louisiana Workforce commission and Governor Bobby Jindal’s own mother, Raj Jindal, is the grant contact person and principal player.

Will the legislature pass privacy legislation in defiance of Jindal and his own mother? They didn’t even seek to help the sick, elderly, disabled or infirm after Jindal got out his line item veto pen at the end of the last legislative session. You can be sure the Senate will not allow Jindal’s mother to be turned down for any requests she might make of her son in regards to this project. I suppose the lesson here is, when you want to trample of the rights of everyday Louisiana citizens, you can always recruit the Governor’s mother.

Louisiana

Grantee: Louisiana Workforce Commission
Award Amount
: $999,863
Grantee:
Louisiana Workforce Commission
Proposed Activities:

Louisiana will utilize the PY2010 Workforce Data Quality Initiative as a means of improving public services through creation of the states first longitudinal database for workforce data. Grant funding will enhance and improve the states ability to plan, monitor and further research various services within the workforce and educational systems. Data sets will contain information from several programs including: Workforce Investment Act; Wagner-Peyser; Trade Adjustment Assistance; and Louisiana Job Employment Training. In addition to workforce programs, data from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and the Federal Employee Data Exchange System will also be linked. Merging this information with education data will provide first time access to more comprehensive programmatic data. The Louisiana Workforce Commission will rely on its longstanding partnership with Louisiana State University to create, maintain, and ensure security for this project.
Contact:
Ms. Raj Jindal, Director, IT Division

Louisiana Workforce Commission
1001 North 23rd Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70802

rjindal@lwc.la.gov
225-342-3222

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor announced $12.2 million to 13 states through the Workforce Data Quality Initiative. These funds will enable states to build or expand longitudinal databases of workforce data that also link to education data. States will use these longitudinal databases to conduct research and analysis aimed at pinpointing the effectiveness of employment and training programs to better inform workforce system customers.

“These grants are an important part of the administration’s efforts to increase the availability and use of high-quality data,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “By developing and improving databases, states will help those seeking training make better informed decisions, all while more clearly demonstrating the link between employment and education in the long-term success of workers.”

States will achieve multiple goals during the three-year grant period. Among these are developing or improving state workforce longitudinal data systems with individual-level information; enabling workforce data to be matched with education data to create longitudinal data systems; improving the quality and breadth of the data in the workforce data systems; using longitudinal data to provide useful information about program operations; analyzing the performance of education and training programs; and providing user-friendly information to consumers to help them select the training and education programs that best suit their needs.

Funding will be used by 11 states to expand and improve linkages between education and employment in existing longitudinal databases. These include Florida, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. Two additional states, Louisiana and Minnesota, will develop and implement new systems.

This grant opportunity stems from the administration’s focus on access to high-quality data and is a sister initiative to the U.S. Department of Education’s Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems project that is designed build longitudinal education databases.

 

The Going Rate for TFA is a million or more per year regardless of what they do or how effective they are

Numerous contracts were handed over to me detailing arrangements over the years between TFA and RSD and LDOE. Regardless of the reasoning given, the end result was seems to be at least coming up with a million dollars a year to fund new recruits. LDOE also reported that no similar recruitment mechanism exists for recruiting, training or retaining top Louisiana Education college graduates. These millions of dollars in awards are in addition to the 3000 to 5000 dollars per recruit paid for individual recruitment fees. We are a small state. When you multiply a million dollars by 50 states that would be 50 million are year for funding to this organization that also pulls down funding from the Walton’s (Walmart heirs), US Department of Education and other federal grants and private donations. TFA has a very significant funding stream and the ability to fund elections and officials that give them even more money that can be donated back to political campaigns.

The Louisiana’s latest Course Choice lie

John White is requiring that school districts inform parents they should enroll their kids in an unfunded Course Choice program that has no standards, has not been evaluated, and which does not require teachers or course providers to meet any qualifications or have and certifications. When a former LDOE staffer brought up this fact in a meeting, he was turned into a former LDOE staffer. Course Choice is the antithesis of a good education or proper accountability but it is being actively pimped-out as a valid alternative for a LDOE defined “Failing School.” This is a shameless boondoggle that is designed to target the poorest of our citizens to enrich unaccountable, unscrupulous vendors. If you don’t believe me, ask your BESE members what plans are in place to evaluate these programs, to verify students are achieving results of any kind, or what certifications LDOE has documented on these providers or has required these vendors to make. You will find that if any tests are given to students after taking these courses, those test results go to the already failing schools and are never attributed to the Course Choice vendors, that the vendors get paid regardless of whether a student ever attends a single class, and that credit is awarded to students solely upon the discretion of the vendor (who gets the remaining half of their enrollment fees upon reporting the completion.)

 

Louisiana Department of Education–Public School Choice Policy

There is no objective more critical than providing children access to the best education available. Yet, each year thousands of children are assigned to failing schools and their families are provided no recourse. Through Louisiana’s Public School Choice Policy, children assigned to failing public schools are provided the option to enroll at their community’s highest performing public schools so they too can prosper.
.

.

.

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).

 

Form letter that must be sent to parents encouraging them to enroll in Course Choice (by design – most parents will have no other recourse):

 

2012-2013 Parent Notification – Public School Choice

[DATE]

To the Parent(s)/Guardian(s) of [CHILD’S NAME]

Dear Parent/Guardian:

There is no mission more critical than providing children access to the best education possible. In accordance with Louisiana’s Public School Choice Policy, we are required to inform you that your child is enrolled at a public school that is projected to receive a grade of “F,” which is considered failing per our state’s public school accountability system. Because of this designation, your child is eligible to transfer to a higher performing school within the school district. If you elect to take advantage of this school transfer opportunity, transportation will be provided for your child.

You may choose one of the following schools for your child to attend. On the enclosed Choice Request Form, please place a number 1 next to your preferred choice, number 2 next to your second choice, and so forth.

  • [School Name, Letter Grade, School Performance Score (out of 200)]
  • [School Name, Letter Grade, School Performance Score (out of 200)]
  • [School Name, Letter Grade, School Performance Score (out of 200)]

It is possible that your child will not be accepted into your first choice because enrollment is subject to availability. In the event that this occurs, your child will be placed at the highest ranked school where there is capacity.

We recognize that there may not be higher performing schools for your child to attend, or that you may have accessibility issues given what is available. Another option for students attending “F” schools is the Course Choice Pilot Program. Course Choice is a pilot program that provides a broad range of learning options through multiple online and face-to-face providers. Approved course providers offer a full range of academic courses across the state in math, English language arts, science, social studies, foreign languages and Advanced Placement and Career and Technical Education, as well as elective courses and college credit opportunities. For more information on Course Choice, visit www.louisianacoursechoice.net .

If you choose to send your child to a higher performing school, please complete the enclosed Choice Request Form and return it to the ____ Parish School District Enrollment Office by [TIME, DATE]. All request forms must be received at the following address:

[Address]

We will send official notification of your child’s school placement no later than [DATE]. All transfer paperwork must be completed by [TIME, DATE]. If transfer paperwork is completed after [DATE], a transfer will not be granted.

If you have any questions about your options under the state’s Public School Choice Policy, please contact [NAME] at [PHONE NUMBER, EMAIL ADDRESS].

Sincerely,

 

[SUPERINTENDENT NAME]


 

Kira Orange-Jones’ TFA Promotion and LDOE-TFA Contracts

Thanks Mercedes! Does it look like TFA demands an average of at least 1 million per year to you regardless of the justification provided?

deutsch29

Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) member Kira Orange-Jones is once again in the news, this time for her promotion as state “liaison” for Teach for America (TFA). In August 2012, the ethics board declared no conflict of interest for Jones since her salary “is not in any way dependent on the contracts that TFA gets.”

Jones’ most vocal supporter on the ethics board, Scott Schneider, resigned last month— a coincidence that just happened to immediately follow the publicizing of his own apparent conflict of interest involving TFA’s partnering with Tulane’s Cowen Institute, with which Schneider was affiliated when he argued for Jones to retain her BESE post.

Jones’ salary not being directly affected by TFA contracts is a narrow view of the potential, unethical benefits Jones might enjoy as she sits on a state board that approves TFA contracts.

Why, if former-TFAer John White and Jeb-Bush-positioned BESE were to approve a…

View original post 1,201 more words

Everyone Loves a Crazycrawfish!

 

Woohoo!

We did it!

You did it!

Congrats to all my loyal blog viewers and all my new friends! We just crossed the 100,000 view threshold! Without your help we would never have been able to reach this total. For comparison purposes we only had around 12 k views from March of 2012 to December 31st 2012 or about 1300 views per month. Since January 1st of 2013 we’ve already reached 100k in just a little bit more than 7 months or an average of about 12,500 per month. Each month we are reaching as many folks as we contacted in all of 2012.

We are also closing in on 1000 followers with well over 800 and counting compared to maybe around 60 by the end of 2012. However this is not the extent of the story. I would also like to thank all of our followers who are also loyal e-mail “forwarders” of many of our pieces. I’m told those mailings may number in the 10s of thousands. While those numbers may not show in the official stats since the entire articles is being forwarded or posted on other websites, in store windows and passed out at churches and carpool lanes, you are helping getting the word out about issues that are dear to all of us.

At the end of the year I will summarize all of the progress on issues we’ve tackled together, and those issues that still need some attention but before then I hope we get to celebrate our 1000 member goals, our 200,000 views, or even our one millionth view.

Although the posts have been slowing up a bit of late, rest assured that our efforts and antics have been forging forward at full-tilt. I hope to have some great news and plans to share with you all in the coming months that I hope will make you all as excited as we are down at the blog.

In honor of this momentous occasion please “mudbug” your friends into signing-up for to receive notifications about new posts on our blog at crazycrawfish.wordpress.com. If you are a twitter follower, please consider giving us a shoutout with a Friday Follow or just encourage your friends to follow crazycrawfish on twitter right now!

Tell your teacher friends, tell your fellow state workers, tell your parents and grandparents and tell your students age 13 or older (we sometimes have naked crawfish posted here).

Louisiana, we’re just getting stirred up.

Now geaux get us some more followers!

Education is something we should all care about and everyone needs to be properly informed about the things they care about.

Let’s all be crazy together, and together we can take back our education system.

CCF