Rising Tide Conference this weekend

If anyone is looking for an excuse to go to New Orleans this weekend I can give you a few right now. This Saturday, September 13, the annual Rising Tide Social Media conference will be held at Xavier University. I heard about this conference a few years ago and I’ve been curious about it ever since. My wonderful family has arranged to watch my kids for the morning/afternoon so I am free to check it out this year. I’ve copied the details about the overall concept behind this conference below and it seems to align with what I’ve done with my blog.

Leveraging the power of bloggers and new media, the Rising Tide Conference is a launch pad for organization and action. Our day-long program of speakers and presentations is tailored to inform, entertain, enrage and inspire.

 

We come together to dispel myths, promote facts, highlight progress and regress, discuss recovery ideas, and promote sound policies at all levels. We aim to be a “real life” demonstration of internet activism as we continue to recover from a massive failure of government on all levels.

Past featured speakers have included David Simon (creator of The Wire and Treme), Richard Campanella (author of Geographies of New Orleans and Bienville’s Dilemma), Mac McClelland (blogger and writer for Mother Jones) Harry Shearer (writer, actor, host of the weekly radio show Le Show), John Barry (author of Rising Tide), Dave Zirin (author of Welcome to the Terrordome) and authors Christopher Cooper and Robert Block (Disaster: Hurricane Katrina and the Failure of Homeland Security).

 

Rising Tide started in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent flooding of the city when a small group of New Orleans-based bloggers decided to expand their on-line advocacy for the rebirth of New Orleans into a public event.

Participants are encouraged to Blog, Twitter, Facebook and otherwise connect and share with others in attendance and around the world. The goals of Rising Tide are numerous, but are briefly:

– We seek to protect and preserve the cultural qualities of New Orleans that make our city unique.

– We resolve to root out and expose the corruption and incompetence that harms us all.

– We work to enact a vision of a restored and resilient community that respects traditions and reaches for a sustainable future for all citizens.

Join us as we map out the course of this great city now and into the future!If anyone is interesting in checking out this event with me the info about it is included below:

Here’s the site  risingtidenola.com 

the schedule   http://risingtidenola.com/conschedule.php

ticket info: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/rising-tide-9-tickets-12502365913

twitter: @risingtide

hashtag: #RT9 

The Panels cover a wide range of topics including a keynote speech on education topics at 2pm by the Keynote speaker Dr. Andre Perry. (P.S. I’m not really sure I get that whole “reform rake” metaphor either but maybe it will make more sense in person J )

Keynote: Andre Perry, Ph.D. Founding Dean of the College of Education at Davenport University, former Associate Director of the Loyola Institute for Quality and Equity in Education (New Orleans) and former CEO of the Capital One-University of New Orleans Charter Network.

‘Education is like water; put down your reform rake’

Rakes don’t organize water very well. Likewise, charter schools, vouchers and lotteries aren’t the proper tools to deal with the root problems of New Orleans education. New Orleans public schools must become a “unified school district” if the needs of children, families and communities are to be met. Getting, private and parochial school parents to believe we’re all in this together has been and will be the essential problem that needs solving.

About Dr. Perry

Dr. Andre Perry is currently the Founding Dean of Urban Education at Davenport University in Grand Rapids, MI and is responsible for planning and launching Davenport’s new teacher and educational leadership programs. Prior to moving to Michigan, he was a resident of New Orleans and served as the CEO of the Capital One-University of New Orleans Charter Network, which was comprised of four charter schools in New Orleans.. Dr. Perry is a regular contributor for the Washington Post is also a columnist for the Hechinger Report, a nonprofit news organization focused on producing in-depth education journalism out of Columbia University. Perry’s views, opinions and educational leadership have been featured on NBC, CNN, National Public Radio, Al Jazeera America and The New Republic.

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p style=”margin-left:36pt;”>A native of Pittsburgh, Pa., Perry earned his Ph.D. in education policy and leadership from the University of Maryland College Park. His research and teaching interests are college access and retention, charter schools and immigrant educational rights. In 2011, UNO Press released his book, The Garden Path: The Miseducation of the City. In his book, Perry uses non-fiction narrative to illustrate the real life tensions in post-Katrina education reform in New Orleans. In addition to The Garden Path, Perry co-authored the chapter “Resilience and Opportunity: Lessons from the U.S. Gulf Coast after Katrina and Rita “published by the Brookings Institution Press. He also co-authored a chapter in the publication Between Public and Private: Politics, Governance, and the New Portfolio Models for Urban School Reform published by Harvard University Press. Along with the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, Perry co-authored the report, PLACE MATTERS for Health in Orleans Parish: Ensuring Opportunities for Good Health for All.I was assured that the lunches are always fantastic by one of the founders, so I intend to hold him to that claim.

I’m told there are two options for paying/attending. You can pay for just half a day (10$) and come for the keynote or come early and pay the extra 10 bucks for the “fantastic” lunch.

I have not been asked to present at this conference so I will be free to mingle, heckle, and we can even plot to overthrow some corrupt governments and officials together if you if you choose to come and hang out with me. I hope some of my New Orleans contacts will consider going as well. Let me know if you are already attending or thinking of attending so I know to be on the lookout for you. Of course my Twitter handle is @crazycrawfish if you didn’t already know. My e-mail is crazycrawfish@yahoo.com and I hope you know where my blog is if you are reading this.

If you think you might know someone who would be interested but doesn’t read my blog regularly please pass this invite along.

Thanks!

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As the new school year begins. . .

As the new school year begins. . .

As the new school year begins I find myself more than a bit confused by what is going on in Louisiana education these days. Lately it’s felt a little like forces outside of my control are dictating the outcomes of a whole lot of situations (with a whole lot of crazy) mixed in with a generous helping of frivolous lawsuits. I use the word frivolous not because the topics are unimportant, but because I don’t really see anything coming from them in a timely manner. Jindal will be wrapping up his second term by the time anything substantive takes place with his lawsuit, and the odds makers in Vegas probably have David Vitter pegged as our next chief executive.  Vitter has come out strongly in favor of Common Core (after initially sending out fundraising requests deriding it as a Washington plot to take over our schools.) My guess is David got some nice fat checks from Common Core corporations, wrapped in a diaper, to change his mind (and diaper) at the same time.

But back to more important things. . . like what I’ve been doing. 🙂

I have been chatting with folks from across the political spectrum and on both sides of the education reform/pro-public education issue and have come across some well-meaning folks on both sides that appear to want many of the same things I do, but have different ways and ideas for achieving those. Something I found disturbing was what Reformers tell their allies about us.  Let me dispel some myth reformers like to spin about pro-public education folks. I believe just about anything is possible and almost nothing is perfect . . . so almost anything can be improved with constructive criticism and honest analysis. This comes as a shock for some reform folks when I talk to them. Reformers narrative about us in the pro-public education camp is that we are for the status quo (whatever that is), we are for doing nothing, standing still, ignoring problems and blindly supporting teachers unions. This is a ridiculous falsehood. Quite often we have been fighting the very same policies they claim to want to do away with; policies put in place by the very people same advocating for new policies; as if they had nothing to do with the state of education and many of the legitimate problems we all see!

Is it any wonder so many of us fight back against new untried ideas and policies promoted by the same people that promoted that last slew of horrible ones? Every day many of the Reform ideas of the last decade are now clearly shown to be big losers.,There is still no admission of this, just another set of new new untried ideas an no accountability for the string of failures Reformers discard (and distance themselves from.)

Recently (like a few hours ago) I got in a Twitter argument with a Reformer that claimed his side was being maligned by all that money from us pro-public ed folks. I was incredulous to say the least. Billions are spent by US Ed, numerous billionaire philanthropists like the Waltons, Bloomberg, Gates, Broad, not to mention the countless departments of education (like Louisiana’s department of education) that employ thousands of people full-time to advocate for their policies on the public dime.

crazy crawfish ‏@crazycrawfish  · 5h

@Perapiteticus @DmitriMehlhorn we can’t find truth when so many in Reform movement spend so much time energy & money lying & r rewarded 4 it

Dmitri Mehlhorn ‏@DmitriMehlhorn  · 5h

@crazycrawfish @Perapiteticus Many reformers feel that way about other side. Lots of money spent attacking reform, much of it not nice.

2:18 PM – 15 Aug 2014 · Details

Reply to @DmitriMehlhorn @Perapiteticus

 crazy crawfish ‏@crazycrawfish  · 5h

@DmitriMehlhorn @Perapiteticus lots of money????? Are we in same country let alone same ballpark here? Reformers spend money to make money

 Perapiteticus ‏@Perapiteticus  · 5h

@crazycrawfish @DmitriMehlhorn You’re concerned with BATs? We’re outspent, what? 10-to 1, 20-1, 50-1? Truth has funny way of edging door ope

 Dmitri Mehlhorn ‏@DmitriMehlhorn  · 5h

@Perapiteticus @crazycrawfish Unions have $2.2b in annual revenue from compulsory dues. Reformers have tiny % from voluntary gifts.

Sahila ChangeBringer ‏@Kiwigirl58  · 5h

@DmitriMehlhorn have 2 ask U this – R U serious? Have U any idea what @BillGates, all by himself, has spent? @crazycrawfish @Perapiteticus

crazy crawfish ‏@crazycrawfish  · 5h

@DmitriMehlhorn @Perapiteticus Note to Reformers: if you want good publicity and people saying nice things about you, don’t be jerks. TYVM

Apparently the only voices Reformers hear are those of unions, but not us poor parents they claim to speak for. If they really listened to us they wouldn’t have to spend so much money (and feel so put upon they feel the need to cry about it on Twitter.)

Unlike most reformers, I do not receive money for my advocacy.

Unlike most Reformers I actually have kids, and I actually put my kids in the school systems I advocate for.

Reformers claim their charters are so successful (although they often refuse to produce any data that shows this in Louisiana) that these charter schools should replace all traditional schools (literally, they send out e-mails that say this.) If their reforms have made traditional public school systems so awesome, if all charters are so incredible they require zero supervision or minimal review processes, why do reformers always enroll their own kids in exclusive private schools that employ very little of the policies and curricula they insist on for everyone else’s children? (This is not a trick question, it’s an obvious one more reporters should be asking.)

Reformers name themselves and their groups StudentsFirst and Stand for Children to pre-emptively declare themselves and their morals and motivations to be pure and child centered.  How many times have you heard them declaring something is necessary to do “for the children?”  Seriously. “Why would they lie to us,” they seem to say when they have the word children or students in their name. . .  These groups are founded on lies, cloaked in lies, supported by shrouded benefactors that benefit from the reforms they tell us are “for our own good.” These groups are defended by faux researcher organizations and act as foundries for manufacturing more lies and to perpetuate the ones they have sent out among the media and the masses. Despite their lofty self-anointed titles, these Reform groups are principally preoccupied with teacher’ issues (namely defaming and defiling the legitimate teaching profession and teachers) and promoting charter schools at all costs. Eventually folks do catch on, as happened to Rheeform darling Michele Rhee, who like a run of the mill disgraced politician facing a sex scandal or cocaine addiction, has stepped down from the lofty post she created for herself to “spend more time with her family”.   Rather than sex or drugs, her failing was her personality and charm (or lack thereof), so not much to fix there! Rhee’s family lives in Tennessee, with her husband Superintendent of Tennessee schools Kevin Huffman, while Michele has remained in California and appears poised to take over running some California charters for good ole Kev, so I’m not sure how that spending more time with her family works exactly?  Will she be tweeting more often to them in between pot shots at real educators?  Perhaps liking more Facebook posts of her children?  Don’t get me wrong, I think she should definitely spend more time worrying about her family and less about mine.  I just don’t get I I suppose, but then so little that national Reformers leaders say makes any sense to me. . . and truthfulness has never been one of their strong suits.

Now while I am pretty harsh and unforgiving to the leaches leading the Rheeform movement, I feel it’s important to point out not all Reform allied folks understand this complete disconnect and disregard for honesty or facts. Some are lulled by the seductively compelling marketing and messaging of for profit charter schools and the various hedge fund entrepreneurs and bored billionaires that fund the reform movement.  Unlike Andrew Carnegie who donated his vast fortune to build up schools and universities across the United States, today’s billionaires apparently see destroying education as a philanthropic mission to remake our society to their liking.

Reform organizations actively create and support cultish brainwashing organizations like what Teach for America has become and the sibling organization The New Teacher Project was designed to be, to subvert impressionable and passionate college students and recent graduates. These groups and their members in turn branch out into other organizations and infiltrate all corners of our society. (I will have more on this development in later posts I have planned but exploring this issue could take a whole book.) Many of these folks don’t understand who we, in the pro-public education movement, are. They have quite literally been brainwashed with tactics not far removed from the latest psyops manual or Nazi propaganda program. They have been told to fear us, they have been told we are the enemy. They are taught chants that dehumanize us and extol their movement’s virtues. To them teachers and society are apathetic, lazy and incompetent, and that apathy is the enemy – thus so are we. These groups form their own secret societies and covens where they are instructed to limit contact with local communities and leaders. They judge us through carefully crafted windowed narratives.

It would be easy to judge them, as they so often judge us, but many of these youth are idealistic victims that we can reach with compassion, persistence, honesty, competence, knowledge and our humanity. To break the back of this reform Beast they have created we must reach these youth and get them to tell their stories for others to hear as this former TFA teacher has done. We musty enlist those we can to our side – not with coercion, threats, lies, fear or hate but with truth and honesty. We must let them ask the hard questions their leaders won’t have pat and rehearsed answers for. They can awaken from the Matrix world that TFA and the Reform movement has created for them. Not all will take the red pill, because what they will see will shatter a lot of what they have worked hard for and believe, but those that do will be some of our strongest and most devoted allies. They will show they are the education leaders they want to be. They will learn that road is a hard one; not lined with cushy high paying jobs, lazy fellowships and blank checks and free rides to grad schools of their choosing carelessly paved with edReform dollars on the bowed backs of poor children – education dollars that should go to underfunded communities and schools.  These idealistic kids should really know better, but who wouldn’t like to believe they could make a small fortune and make the world a better place at the same time for those less fortunate? Coming from elite private colleges and sheltered upbringings many of them already come from gilded backgrounds. It’s not a very hard sell and they have to do something with those, history, general studies, English, and Poli Sci degrees. While they figure out what they’re going to do with the rest of their lives. . . why not help some of us poor Southerner’s out?  The messaging they are bombarded with is we can’t take care of ourselves so the have to save us from ourselves.

They tell us our kids are as smart as any in the rest of the nation. If they were half as smart as they think they are, if they were one of us, they would realize how condescending and insulting that statement is by now.

It’s about time we showed those condescending creeps our kids’ parents know a thing or two as well. It’s time to take back our Department of Education and our local schools. I actually believe our parents are smarter and more savvy than the rest of the nation (we are survivors and not all our skills can be tracked with penciled in bubbles) and it’s about time we showed it. We gave a previews by kicking out inBloom first, passing real state privacy protections first. Common Core banishment is coming. It’s time we evicted out Reformers and their corporate charter thieves. We should do this first and took back our local control and show the nation how’s it’s done. We can do this.

Our kids are just as smart, eh John White?

Who you been talkin’ to that’s says they ain’t; that you feel this needs to be a talking point in every speech you make? Jus’ ’cause we choose to talk a little different sometime don’t mean we stupid, test bubble boy.

http://www.louisianabelieves.com/newsroom/news-releases/2014/08/15/statement-from-superintendent-john-white-regarding-ruling-denying-request-to-halt-implementation-of-higher-expectations

http://www.nola.com/education/baton-rouge/index.ssf/2014/03/state_superintendent_john_whit.html

http://www.katc.com/news/state-superintendent-defends-common-core-curriculum/

http://www.louisianabelieves.com/docs/default-source/links-for-newsletters/06-03-14-supt-white-opening-remarks.pdf?sfvrsn=2

http://www.bellechasseacademy.org/news.cfm?story=141812&school=0

http://chiefsforchange.org/letter-from-supt-white-and-bese-president-chas-roemer-to-louisiana-educators/

http://nolongersilent.net/2014/06/18/jindal-signs-executive-order-to-oust-parcc-from-louisiana/

http://www.lpssonline.com/printable.php?pageID=39&newsID=928

http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs104/1109765654095/archive/1114470659568.html

http://www.myarklamiss.com/story/superintendent-john-white-visits-delta-community-college/d/story/T25LSIPg-E25ImzWIzS6sA

http://www.theneworleansadvocate.com/home/9994121-123/judge-denies-temporary-common-core

http://live.aei.org/Event/Taking_school_reformers_to_task_Louisiana_Chief_John_White_on_fixing_K12_reform?Page=0

http://www.houmatoday.com/article/20140612/OPINION01/140619772

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p style=”padding-left:30px;”>http://www.wdsu.com/news/local-news/new-orleans/legislative-session-to-tackle-common-core-curriculum/24870332#!bEjFNx

On behalf of all Louisiana parents, please shut the hell up.

Jerk.

TYVM.