Tom Friedman—Policy by Anecdote

This is an outstanding essay by Liberalteacher from New York about the dangers and intrinsic illogic of the reform movement and Common Core, and the fallacies of many of their arguments. It is exceptionally well written, very thoughtful, and I think you will really like it.

The Public Educator

These days, I carry a handy little application on my Iphone and Ipad. It lists each Common Core Learning Standard by grade and its correspondence to college and career readiness. I carry it because we are mandated to put these little CCLS numbers on our lessons plans, rubrics, and even bulletin boards in an attempt to placate the DOE’s Common Core police. However, I also have an ulterior motive for carrying this application. I like to use it against those who are now wedded to the CCLS as a new type of educational religion. Now, we have several new gospels. They are the gospels according to Saints Coleman and Saint Duncan.

I have just written to the New York Times and to Mr. Tom Friedman in particular because he has violated CCLS RI.9-10.8. This standard states that ninth and tenth grade students must “delineate and evaluate the argument and specific…

View original post 1,678 more words

National Public Education Conference in Austin, March 1st and 2nd (Guess who’s going?)

National Public Education Conference in Austin, March 1st and 2nd (Guess who’s going?)

The Network For Public Education (NPE) will be holding their first national conference March 1st and 2nd of this year. Since the keynote speaker spots were already taken, I was asked to take part on a student privacy panel with fellow student privacy activists Leonie Haimson, Narmak Nassirian, Rachael Strickland and Julie Woestehoff.

(Note: Teacher privacy is also a chief concern to us and is being addressed in legislation we expect to be introduced in legislatures across the United States this year.)

Stop by and see what you can do to help, or how you might start an initiative in your state.

This will be a who’s who of the pro-public education movement and I was lucky enough to snare a spot. If you would like to come hang with some of us and you happen to be in the Austin area (or can arrange to be in that area at this time) please stop by and say hello!

If you need a ride from the Baton Rouge area I will be renting a car and staying in a nearby fleabag hotel my wife found on Craigslist (what could go wrong?), but I still have some trunk space left for a stowaway or two. (Note: if the hotel doesn’t work out because of an axe-murderer or something you may need to drive the car back yourself so I don’t incur a late-fee. Getting a late fee on top of an axe-murdering would really suck.)

I will be releasing more information as it becomes available, but for now check out the information below (I know it’s dense but that’s why I gave it this intro) and visit this link:
for more detailed information on panels, panelists and updates.

Network for Public Education 2014 National Conference 

Robin Hiller | Executive Director | | (520) 668-4634


January 19, 2014

The Network for Public Education has announced a national gathering of public education activists. The organization’s first National Conference will take place at The Thompson Conference Center at the University of Texas at Austin on March 1& 2, 2014 – the Saturday and Sunday before SXSWedu. The conference will feature more than twenty panels and workshops, keynote speakers, and networking opportunities for education advocates from across the United States.

The NPE 2014 National Conference will feature a keynote address by education historian and best-selling author (and NPE President) Diane Ravitch. Chicago Teachers Union President, Karen Lewis and Texas school district Superintendent John Kuhn will deliver a joint conference address. A panel addressing the Common Core will feature American Federation of Teachers President, Randi Weingarten, blogger and education activist Anthony Cody, writer and researcher, Mercedes Schneider, teacher and blogger Jose Luis Vilson, Chicago teacher Paul Horton, and early-childhood education expert Geralyn Bywater McLaughlin.

The Network for Public Education was formed by Ravitch in 2013 and has become a prominent voice in the education reform debate. During the November 2013 elections, NPE rallied support for successful school board candidates in Bridgeport, CT, Seattle and Atlanta. The 2014 National Conference will be an opportunity for NPE to coordinate its network of education activists from across the United States in preparation for the 2014 elections.

“We are bringing together allies from around the country who really know what is happening on the ground in their own states and communities. One of our main goals in forming our network was to create a means to support candidates willing to defend public education,” said Anthony Cody, an NPE co-founder with Ravitch. “By gathering together, we hope to build real momentum, making 2014 the year we turn the tide in the fight for our schools.”

The NPE Conference will bring together leading activists in education from across the country and will feature some of the nation’s most dynamic school administrators, such as Montgomery County Superintendent Joshua Starr, and New York’s Principal of the Year Carol Burris. Parent activists will include Leonie Haimson of New York, Karran Harper Royal from New Orleans and Helen Gym of Philadelphia. Teachers will be well represented, with panels that include Michelle Gunderson and Xian Barrett of Chicago, Kipp Dawson of Pittsburgh, and Phyllis Bush of Indiana. A panel on “Framing Our Message” will include Jeff Bryant, Sabrina Stevens and Bertis Downs.
Bob Schaeffer of FairTest will be joined by the leader of the Seattle MAP test boycott, Jesse Hagopian in discussing the movement to push back high stakes tests. Student activists will be well represented as well, with leaders from the Providence Student Union, and Stephanie Rivera and Hannah Nguyen, founders of Students United for Public Education. This year the movement to opt out of high stakes tests is picking up steam and United Opt Out co-founder Peggy Robertson will share UOO’s latest plans. Professors Sonya Horsford, Paul Thomas, and Julian Vasquez Heilig will discuss the latest research that sheds light on which reforms are truly working to serve our students, and Tim Slekar will discuss the role and future of teacher education. Investigative journalists Jason Stanford, Joanne Barkan and Mercedes Schneider will share ideas and tips from their work uncovering the truth about corporate education reform and destructive philanthropy. Veteran educators Deborah Meier and Mike Klonsky bring decades of experience as activists to panels on organizing resistance and building movements. University of Texas scholars Angela Valenzuela and Deb Palmer will discuss issues related to English Language Learners and high stakes testing. Recently elected school board candidate Sue Peters will be there to share lessons from her victory against well-financed corporate reformers in Seattle.

On her popular blog, NPE President, Diane Ravitch remarked on the importance of coming together for the purpose of strengthening our education system.

“Our movement demands a positive agenda for change based on love of learning, respect for educators, and dedication to the healthy development of children as good people,” Ravitch said. “We hope you will be there and join us as we review the status and condition of our movement to reclaim public education and decide what we should do to grow stronger in the future.”

For more information about the Network for Public Education 2014 National Conference, go to Registration is currently open and the website contains information about the speakers, panels, accommodations and travel.

Common Core Meeting Today 1/18/2014 in Lafayette

Common Core Meeting Today 1/18/2014 in Lafayette

There is a Common Core meeting being held in Lafayette today as 12:30 at the Park Plaza, 201 Energy Parkway on the 3rd floor. This meeting is being hosted by Louisiana Parents Against Common Core.

You can contact them on Facebook or via e-mail for more information or to stay in touch regardless of whether you are able to make this event.

They are a good group of folks and they will be able to answer your questions and give you direction on what you can do in your community to fight Common Core.

Common Core Information Forum February 20th, 6PM

Common Core Information Forum February 20th, 6PM

Please consider attending this event if you are curious about the reasons many folks are opposed to the Common Core State Standards initiative. Common Core is not just something that impacts public schools; most private schools have already adopted Common Core, have plans to, or will be forced to in the coming years. Many of the claims made by Common Core supporters will be addressed by this Forum. If you are on the fence or unaware of What Common core is, this event is for you. For a few hours of your time and for about the price of a movie ticket you can inform yourself about how Common Core was conceptualized, who are the true creators and supporters of this, and the lack of educator input and endorsement of these “standards”. You will also learn about the expensive, intrusive and testing and data collections tied to PARCC and Pearson, the financial incentives corporations have for promoting this agenda and making it work and you will be able to network with other parents and community leaders to discuss how Common Core has already impacted your kids and what you can do to put a stop to it.

Here are the details. . .



FEB. 20, 2014 * 6PM

PLEASE share with your distribution list. This forum was scheduled to coincide with the start of our 2014 Louisiana legislative session. The forum panelists will not only address the basics of Common Core, but will also educate the attendees on some of the deeper issues that need to be discussed. We need to know the facts on many facets related to Common Core in order to effectively communicate with legislators and neighbors. The forum will help educate many and hopefully build enthusiasm to join our fight for educational freedom now and for future generations of American children.

“If education has become – as Common Core openly declares – preparation for work in a global economy, then this situation is far worse than Common Core critics ever anticipated. And the concerns about cost, and quality, and yes, even the constitutionality of Common Core, pale in comparison to the concerns for the hearts, minds, and souls of American children.” Dr. Daniel Copeland – Hillsdale College Jun 2013.

Common Core FORUM





This event will feature national speakers and leaders on this topic including members of the CCSS validation committee that did not sign off on it.

Dr. James Milgram Professor Emeritus, Stanford University

Dr. Sandra Stotsky Professor of Education, University of Arkansas

(Both Dr. Milgram and Stotsky were members of the Validation Committee for the Common Core State Standards Initiative)

James Stergios Exe. Director of Pioneer Institute; highlights the numerous conflicts of interest that have riddled advocates of the Common Core.

Jane Robbins Senior Fellow for American Principles Project- Jane discusses the Common Core Standards, looking at their origins, the federal and private interests behind their creation, and the threat they represent to parents’ and teachers’ voice in what their children are learning.

Emmett McGroarty Exe.Director of the Preserve Innocence Initiative at the American Principles Project. Emmett McGroarty speaks about the national effort to stop Common Core.

Dr. Terrence Moore Professor of history at Hillsdale College; “Literature is the study of human nature. If we dissect it in this meaningless way, kids not only do not become college and career ready, they don’t even have a love of learning; they don’t even have an understanding of their fellow men. The thing that bothers me more than anything else is found on page number one of the introduction. That says that Common Core is a living work. That means that the thing that you vote on today could be something different tomorrow, and five years from now it is completely unrecognizable.”

We hope that you, your friends, relatives and neighbors will join us on February 20, 2014 @ 6PM for a very important presentation on Common Core. Crossfire Auditorium 8919 World Ministry Ave, BATON ROUGE, LA

Please feel free to share this invitation with your school board members, school Superintendent, and State Representative and Senator.

The price of the ticket is:
$10.00 Early Bird.
$20.00 Tickets at the door (SOLD UP TO CAPACITY)
Ticket purchase is final and are non-refundable.

If you are unable to attend and would like to give a DONATION to help with expenses, it would be greatly appreciated. Email with your pledge.

If your organization would like to be a sponsor for our event please contact: SPONSOR COMMITTEE EMAIL:


Common Core opponents include, as entire institutions or representatives from them; the American Principles Project, Americans for Prosperity, the Badass Teachers Association, the Brookings Institution, the Cato Institute, Class Size Matters, Eagle Forum, Freedom Works, the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, the Goldwater Institute, the Heartland Institute, the Heritage Foundation, Hillsdale College, the Hoover Institute, Notre Dame University, the National Association of Scholars, the Pioneer Institute, Stanford University, United Opt-Out, and leaders from Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell to a coalition of Catholic university scholars and teachers’ union darling Diane Ravitch. These organizations’ flavors range from constitutionalist to libertarian to liberal. The people making the noise are regular moms, dads, and grandparents, but they’re backed up by organizations with intellectual chops.

News Flash – John Mcdonogh reported to be closing at the end of this school year!

News Flash – John Mcdonogh reported to be closing at the end of this school year!

I’ve just gotten reports that John McDonogh, run by Future is Now and Steve Barr, is being closed at the end of the 2013-2014 school year. My source claims John White is reported to have notified the teachers at John Mcdonogh Thursday, January 16th. The following year John McDonogh is going to be closed for renovations that White had previously allocated 35 million dollars for, almost 2 years ago. The RSD had reported that the school did not want to move to a temporary site, because they feared such a move at the beginning of the program could disrupt the school culture they were trying to foster.

On Wed, Sep 4, 2013 at 10:12 AM, Zoey Reed <> wrote:

“Also, as far as timeline, the charter schools work with the RSD on timing, FIN of John McDonogh asked the RSD not to start renovations because students would have to move and they were building school culture and didn’t want the disruption. “

This culture produced a 9.3 out of 150 on the state’s SPS scores last year. Last year Steve Barr also infamously contacted Oprah Winfrey to have his charter school filmed as part of the ill-conceived BlackBoard Wars that promoted John McDonogh as the “Most Dangerous School in the Country.”

On this season of Blackboard Wars, we saw the students, staff and teachers at John MacDonogh High make their way through a challenging yet rewarding school year. Though the school was faced with the effects of violence, homelessness, mental illness and’ ‘community opposition,’ ‘the rough patches also brought to light inspiring moments of courage, dedication and perseverance.

Read more:

The funding provided for this filming was never accounted for and has largely been assumed it was absorbed by Steve Barr and his administrative costs which included a 115,000 dollars for principal for ninth graders (around 13 of them.) Additionally New Schools For New Orleans provided an 800,000 dollar grant last year that was largely dedicated to hundreds of thousands in extra salary for Steve Barr as well as for many of his executive staff and very little for school supplies or renovations, while this year they were facing a 900,000 shortfall.

Many thanks to all the reporters at that kept pressure on this horrible charter abomination that was a blight on the community as well as the souls of many of the children it so poorly served. This is what happens when you allow entrepreneurs to experiment on kids with little oversight or controls.

Here are some of my previous articles on John McDonogh.

I will update you on any new developments.

Updated response (Press Release) from LDOE as of 1/17/14

1615 Poydras Street. Suite 1400. New Orleans. LA 504.373.6200


Contact: Cay Kimbrell, Chief of Staff for External Affairs

504.373-6200 ext. 22140 (o)

Recovery School District to Renovate John McDonogh Starting Summer 2014

State-of-the-art Facility on Esplanade Avenue will Speed Academic Transformation

NEW ORLEANS, LA (January 17, 2014) – Following through on the commitment to serve every New Orleans child in renovated, refurbished, or new school buildings, the Recovery School District (RSD) announced today plans to accelerate the renovation of the John McDonogh High School facility in order for students to occupy the renovated school by the 2016-17 school year. The renovation will serve as a further catalyst in the ongoing revitalization of the cherished Esplanade Ridge high school.

“We are making good on our promise to provide a state of the art facility for our students,” said RSD Superintendent Patrick Dobard. “At the same time, we must make academic progress at a faster clip than we are today. Speeding up this renovation will help to speed up the day when students can benefit from a world-class education at the John McDonogh High School facility.”

In 2011, the RSD launched plans for transforming and improving struggling high schools in New Orleans. The district commenced those plans at George Washington Carver High School, Joseph S. Clark High School, Walter Cohen High School, L.B. Landry High School, and John McDonogh High School.

As part of this process, to assist in the transformation of John McDonogh, the RSD dedicated funding for the complete renovation of the landmark facility on Esplanade Avenue. When construction is complete, the new facility will be designed to LEED Silver standard and will include redesigned new academic classrooms, new science labs, space for performing and visual arts, a new gymnasium and cafeteria, and a new media center. An architect will be hired to begin design on the project this spring with occupancy of the building scheduled for the 2016-17 school year.

The renovation of the facility is one of the many rebuilding projects encompassing the School Facilities Master Plan for Orleans Parish, an unprecedented school construction program launched as a result of the devastating impact of Hurricane Katrina. The $1.8 billion plan, approved in November 2008 by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Orleans Parish School Board, is the first major facilities plan for Orleans Parish schools since 1952.

Renovation of the facility will require that the building be empty and unused throughout its construction during the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years. Because of this, all John McDonogh students who are not graduating in May 2014 will transition to a new school in the subsequent school year. Schools for current John McDonogh students to choose from through the OneApp process are listed in the table below.

Each student will have priority status in the city’s OneApp choice enrollment system. The RSD will provide individualized support to assist students and families in deciding which school to attend. Additionally, individualized support will be provided to the school’s staff to assist them in transitioning to a new position for the following school year.

The application window for OneApp is currently open and families have until February 28 to submit their application and rank up to 8 schools of choice. Parents and students will receive specific information on the support being provided in the coming weeks. For general questions related to the OneApp process, families should contact the RSD’s Family Resource Centers at 1-877-343-4773.

The RSD will work with Future is Now New Orleans to ensure that students successfully complete the school year and engage with community stakeholders to determine the future of the John McDonogh High School facility.

Progressive Voices, New Media: A Louisiana Social Media and Blogging Summit

Progressive Voices, New Media: A Louisiana Social Media and Blogging Summit

Greetings my Crawfishalonians!

Are any of you feeling despondent over not being able to meet me in person or hear me speak in front of real people instead of from behind a keyboard????

I know I am!

Now may be your opportunity to change all that. . .

Louisiana Progress decided to create an event featuring me as the star (of course), along with some other less famous folks you may have heard of that will try to steal some of my spotlight. . . I’ve included the list of attendees and the agenda below in case you were curious about someone other than me, or wanted to know exactly when you needed to come to see me, and when you could safely skip parts of the summit . . . maybe to chill with Mike the Tiger or tour the campus or skip rocks in the lake or something?

Seriously though. . . . If you have been influenced by our outstanding local social media and would like to show your support for all these fantastic people and their voices please consider attending passing the word about this conference to other folks. I will most likely be handing out mints in the men’s bathroom or holding coats for these folks, but I would be happy to see any of you there.

Event Details

Louisiana Progress is excited to announce Progressive Voices, New Media: a Louisiana social media and blogging summit. We hope you’ll join us on January 25th to hear from some of the leading progressive voices in the state.

Saturday, January 25, 2014 from 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM (PST)

Louisiana State University: African American Cultural Center

12:15 – 1:15 Introduction by Bob Mann | Keynote address by Jennifer Berkshire of EduShyster  

1:30 – 2:30  Progressive Social Media Panel, moderated by Melissa Flournoy

                   Bob Mann, Something Like the Truth

                   Lamar White, CenLamar

                   Robert Wilson, Digital Media Coordinator, Louisiana Democratic Party

2:45 – 3:45  Education Blogger Panel, moderated by Carrie Wooten

                   Tom Aswell, Louisiana Voice

                   Jennifer Berkshire, EduShyster

                   Mike Deshotels, Louisiana Educator

                   Mercedes Schneider, deutsch29

                   ***Jason France, Crazy Crawfish*** ç
ç(super cool most important blogger guy)

4:00 – 5:00  Progressive Social Media Training Panel, moderated by Bruce Parker

                   Zack Kopplin, RepealCreationism

                   Lance Porter, LSU Professor, Director, Digital Media Initiative

                   Dayne Sherman, Talk About the South

To register, talk about, or recruit others to the event you can use these resources.

We have a Facebook event and Eventbrite page set up to promote the summit and need your help spreading the word!  If you could post something on your blogs and to your twitter followers, that would be fantastic.  We have started tweeting about it from @LAProgress with the hashtag #ProgressiveVoices.  

Savvy Squash reveals John White’s latest attempt to hide and under serve Special Education students and manipulate the Accountability system in defiance of federal ESEA waiver

Savvy Squash reveals John White’s latest attempt to hide and under serve Special Education students and manipulate the Accountability system in defiance of federal ESEA waiver

Savvy Squash is back with a brand new Accountability invention. (Courtesy of John White.)

My comments are in green and encapsulated in [braces]. [CCF]

Crazy Crawfish has reported twice on LDOE’s insistence on circumventing accountability for special education students (Bobby Jindal and John White Decide to Experiment on Special Education Students & Louisiana Believes – SPED students should be reclassified before test time to optimize test scores). Well LDOE is at it again and this time with a little help from the legislature, via Acts 151 and 291.

On November 19, 2013 LDOE’s News Letter to school districts including the following piece of information:


Update on Implementation of Act 151 and Act 291 of 2013 Legislative Session

Acts 151 and 291 of the 2013 Legislative Session addressed the testing of high school students with disabilities whose Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) state that they will not pursue a high school diploma. The laws stipulate that such students shall not be administered a state standardized test unless the IEP team indicates that the assessment is appropriate for the student. This is not a change from current policy or practice; IEP teams have always determined the appropriate pathways and assessments for students with disabilities and should continue to do so. 

These laws do, however, make changes related to state school accountability policy, although federal requirements regarding testing participation remain in place. If the transition plan within a high school student’s IEP indicates that the student is not working toward a high school diploma and the IEP team determines a state assessment is not appropriate, the student will not be counted as a “non-tested student” or a “non-participant” within the accountability system. In other words, a score of zero will not be assigned when these particular students do not take the state standardized test. 

The Department is working to develop guidance for IEP teams related to the implementation of this law and will share a draft with the Special Education Advisory Panel for its feedback in December. In addition, the Department will host webinars related to the new law and its implementation this winter to provide technical assistance and answer questions. Finally, as we work to develop recommendations regarding high school diplomas and career education, a stated goal of this work is to ensure that students learning the mainstream standards have a viable diploma pathway. If you have questions in the interim, please contact

Of course, the statement “federal requirements regarding testing participation remain in place” concerned many, wondering what the distinction would ultimately be – where would the zeros be and where would they not be. Clearly they had to be somewhere since federal policy requires ALL students test at least once in high school. [Essentially this means the federal requirements will remain in place, but simply be ignored.]

Alas, Monday January 13th, LDOE held a webinar explaining that students who are classified as ‘non-diploma’ track will be exempt from standardized testing (EOC & ACT). Additionally, the school and district will be exempt from receiving a penalty for failure to test such students. This is inconsistent with the ESEA waiver recently granted to Louisiana. LDOE explained that although schools/district would not receive a zero for the assignment of School Performance Scores and Letter grades, they would receive ‘zeros’ for students in the subgroup AYP calculations. Well, if you’ve read the waiver you know that’s no accountability at all. The only thing subgroup AYP is being used for under the ESEA waiver is 1.) Participation Rate and 2.) Top Gains schools.


There is no real accountability measure there, no real consequences to not meeting AYP anymore; unless of course most high schools in LA start failing AYP participation. Maybe that will get the attention of someone at USDOE, who has seemed quit relaxed in their efforts to ensure states follow their own waivers.

LDOE’s ESEA waiver from the Feds, as last amended in April 2013, clearly indicated that:

As reiterated in the ESEA Flexibility guidance (FAQ C15), the USDOE will no longer allow modified assessments. Therefore, Louisiana is beginning to prepare for the phase out of its LAA 2 assessment by the 20142015 school year (p.37).

Maybe LDOE and the legislature thought that ‘phase out’ simply meant they just wouldn’t give those students the test. Oh wait, if you keep reading further in the waiver you see this:

At the high school level, students who were previously eligible for the LAA 2 assessment will participate in the first statewide administration of the ACT beginning in Spring 2013 (p. 38).

Keep reading the waiver and there is no mention of LAA 2 students or non-diploma pathway. I realize the change from the legislator came after April 2013, but it doesn’t appear LDOE has even mentioned this new policy to USDOE, although under waiver guidance they are required to submit every change in the form of an amendment to USDOE.

Nonetheless, here is what the webinar provided:

According to Nancy Hicks, who hosted the webinar, the decision about whether a student is diploma track or not will be dependent upon IEP teams. To make decisions, the teams will use guidance sheets such as this:

My personal favorite is question #3. It’s essentially a question that says this student isn’t going to score well on tests for accountability so non-diploma pathway might be the way! High schools, grab your list of students who failed the 8th grade test, or a previous year’s EOC and get to classifying them as non-diploma pathway. You think anyone at LDOE is going to check whether a student listed as non-diploma pathway actually stays on diploma track and graduates? What’s the prevention mechanism? You could theoretically have students who never get included in 50% of the high school score because they are non-diploma track and then magically for the 50% cohort part of the score, many of them graduate with diplomas.

This is a system set up for abuses. Let me count the ways:

  1. Some shadow schools can now come out of the dark and operate in the light with no accountability.

    How you ask?


    I turn my alternative shadow school into a real school with a grade configuration of 9-11 and classify every student I have as non-diploma pathway. I don’t get assessment results and I don’t get cohort graduation results. I’m now a fully visible alternative school with ZERO accountability.

  2. Timeline.

    Ordinarily, students who are getting accommodations on tests would be required to have such accommodations at least 30 days prior to testing, as to avoid schools scrambling to classify kids a certain way to circumvent accountability. Well, not anymore. For the current year, due to timing according to Nancy Hicks, LDOE will allow schools to classify students as non-diploma pathways as long as it’s “before the start of the test date.

    Well that’s perfect!

    Have a meeting, sit around the table the week before testing and figure out who you think won’t pass, then write up a fancy IEP, call them non-diploma track, and just like magic, no accountability test scores!

  3. How early is too early?

    All 8th grade students are expected to have graduation plans.

    Could you then conceivable say that an 8th grader is on a non-diploma track?

    I’d make a bet that 99% of the new 9th-grade-transition students will be non-diploma track.

    Someone on the webinar even inquired as to whether 6th grade was too early!

    We’ve seen this kind of accountability trickery before. Once upon a time LDOE allowed students to take the Applied Algebra test in place of Algebra I EOC. The first year, only a handful of students in the state took that test. Once word got around that students could take Applied Algebra and have that count in accountability instead of Algebra I, Applied Algebra classes and tests grew exponentially.

    Leave the door open, and someone will find a way to make more kids non-diploma pathway students.

Now let’s look at this slide from the webinar:

LDOE is so cute in their belief that a small minority of LAA 2 students will be classified as non-diploma pathway. It’s the same thing they thought about Applied Algebra at one time, and look how that turned out.

Arguably, there is case to be made that students test ‘too’ much or certain students need a different test but that is NOT what is going on in the scenario. Students who are LAA 1 will still have to take the LAA 1 test, students who are Regular Ed or Gifted/Talented will still need to take EOC and ACT exams, so in essence it is only this group of students, arguably those most likely to be our work-force ready group, who are not testing and for whom schools and districts will not be held accountable for.

Are these kids not valuable?

Do they, their parents and the community not deserve to know if the school or district is serving them well?

Perhaps those tests don’t truly measure the pathway of the students, I can buy that. But neither LDOE nor the legislature has offered an alternative plan to measure their success. The legislative body and LDOE has simply explained that they do not have standards for these students and do not wish to measure whether they are being served well by public education.

So what’s the big deal?

Schools and districts should be held accountable for the job they do or do not do in ensuring students on non-diploma pathways are provided the best and most appropriate education. Providing appropriate education, especially to students with additional needs, requires funding, lots and lots of funding. [It makes fiscal sense, if not moral sense to find ways to reduce these costs] The real worry here is that USDOE finally does something about these policy violations and starts withholding education funds from LEA’s for something LDOE and the legislator cooked up. The even bigger worry is that US DOE strips some special education funding away for failing to test special education students, as required by federal law.

[We will still be on the hook for paying for these kids if this happens, not just through education costs but through a lifetime of incarceration, institutionalization and welfare benefits. What it sounds like is happening to me is LDOE and John White took the reasonable request parents were making: to exclude our most severe profoundly disabled students from being required to take the ACT, and turned it into a boondoggle where many districts and charters will be able to classify many struggling students as non-diploma pathway, especially if they are already have an IEP, and improve their test scores by simply excluding them from the calculations. John White has driven off all almost all of his staff capable of auditing this data and has not hired new ones because data validation is not something he worries about. My sources tell me White does not audit the data of anyone except districts he is trying to oppress and intimidate. I’m told St Helena has been audited as many as 7 times in the last few years while most charters and RSD schools have never been audited.]

Quick Note to Crawfish Followers

Quick Note to Crawfish Followers

BESE voted on the agenda items I tried to inform you about ahead of time yesterday. Namely the large cash allotment from LDOE funds to be used to fight for the right of non-public voucher schools to discriminate based on race by fighting to overturn Brumfield V Dodd and the approval of the MFP taskforces recommendations. I have not seen the new formula and I did not get notification about these issues ahead of time. From folks I’ve talked to, that follow these issues closely, many of them had no ideas these subjects were going to voted on Tuesday.

Please provide feedback on when you first found out about these items. My suspicion is they were not available ahead of time to prevent parents and citizens from weighing in.

If anyone has a copy of the new proposed formula please provide a link. I’m not sure how the public could actually even weigh in if nothing has been produced tor published to formalize the recommendations. I would like to see what the formula looks like or if it is largely the same as the one that was rejected multiple times last year and even found to be unconstitutional in our courts.

BESE meeting tomorrow 1/15/14 update (and some ideas I’ve been pondering)

Greetings my Crawfishian Minions.




I feel like I should label my followers like all the cool kids are doing (but not in a way that gets us branded a gang like Insane Clown Posse followers the Juggalos) with something cool, and uh, “dittoheads” is taken (and not especially cool if you think about it), but sadly I think I may have missed the mark here as well. I guess I will keep trying. In the meantime (my Crawfishalites?), there is a new BESE meeting afoot you should be aware of taking place tomorrow at the Claiborne building downtown. Word on the street is John White will be proposing spending between 500k and a million of your tax dollars fighting the DOJ from getting data he has already handed out to researchers that support vouchers. He is also trying to get money to overturn the Brumfield-Dodd ruling that puts the state under a desegregation order.


According to LDOE’s website Brumfield V Dodd requires:

Nonpublic schools seeking state and federal funds must comply with the nondiscrimination requirements of Brumfield vs. Dodd.  Brumfield vs. Dodd approval verifies that schools are not racially segregated or do not use racially discriminatory policies and practices.

Obviously nonpublic schools seeking state and federal funds should be able to discriminate and racially segregate their schools as much as they want, for any reason they want. So spending a million dollars to fight the federal government to allow schools to exclude children based on race only makes sense. . . in John White’s and Bobby Jindal’s world. For any of you who don’t want to live there, or see our tax dollars spent to live there, you should probably show up and tell them this is bad use of tax dollars, and a bad deal for our children.

BESE will also be reviewing the MFP changes recommended by the MFP taskforce some of these changes might be ok, but I would say this requires greater scrutiny. I don’t have a copy of the latest proposal, just some of the recommendations. I think virtual charter schools should be required to have children report on a regular basis and actually complete work, which last time I checked the proposed MFP bill removed regularly attending requirement. That needs to be put back and strictly defined for non-traditional schooling methods we are funding.

White and company are trying to include Course Choice in MFP again. In states that report data on this type of program they have been found to be very inadequate, very wasteful and there is zero accountability built into our system to judge these providers as districts get test scores from students taking testable subjects, not providers. Course Choice was already ruled to be unconstitutional. Now the plan is simply to send the money to the school districts to disburse to the Course Choice providers. I’m pretty sure the justices found the state’s argument ludicrous last time will find this transparent attempt at circumventing the constitution unconstitutional once more, costing the state much money defending this already ruled upon issue. The difference this time is, parishes will be on the hook for paying the bill if they disburse these funds from their MFP allotment and the Course Choice funding is once again found to be unconstitutional. If White and Jindal want this program so much they have a solution, they can pay for it out of their budgets not constitutionally dedicated to private education. Perhaps Jindal could cancel his 4 million dollar three year contract with Alvarez and Marsal, they have decided to do in 4 months, and use that money? I have a recommendation. Stop violating our constitutional rights and paying Jindal Campaign donor Jimmy Faircloth millions of dollars to lose case after case (I think he’s up to around 9 with zero wins under Jindal.)


Other ideas I’ve been toying about. . .

  • The Crawfish Super Pac to fund and support pro-public education leaders and politicians?
  • The Crawfish call-in Radio Show/podcast hosting local education leaders, teachers and parents?

Any thoughts or volunteers?


Till next time, keep it chill, Crawdaddies and Crawmommies. . .

(I’ve got lots of groovy and horrible material I need to digest and send to you all. A day of reckoning is coming.)

inBloom and Data Mining: A Common Core Cousin

Great additional info about inBloom and its apparently incestuous relationship with Common Core and Rupert Murdoch’s Wireless Generation. This prominently featuress a very insightful comment by me (if i do say so myself) as a bonus. 🙂

Nice research, Mercedes!

deutsch29: Mercedes Schneider's Blog

This week I posted this piece about a January 9, 2014, webinar promoting data mining– a webinar with Gates money all over it. (Here is a briefer follow-up to the post.) The initial post had a record number of comments, some of which were made by an inBloom representative. The comments prompted me to further investigate some of the nuances of inBloom, including key funding for and individuals associated with this data storage mammoth, and of the privatizer-promoted data mining craze in general.

Before inBloom: Shared Learning Collaborative

The precursor to inBloom was the Gates- and Carnegie-funded Shared Learning Collaborative (SLC). (To read an excellent, brief history of SLC, see this summary, written by Leonie Haimson of Class Size Matters.) In July 2011, Gates gave SLC $87.3 million “to build, manage, and promote the Shared Learning Infrastructure (SLI).” Only a few months earlier, in March 2011, the Carnegie Corporation forked…

View original post 1,932 more words