Test Mania: A School Is Not a Spreadsheet

teacher student

David Lyell: The current LAUSD school board majority needs to remember that the immeasurable elements of nurturing, protecting, and fostering growth and development in every single child are qualities that simply can not be quantified in a score.

The Real Culprits in America’s Decline Are Shifting Responsibility to Schools and Teachers

urban decay

Mark Naison: Are 28 percent of the homes in the United States under water because of union teachers? Can they also be blamed for the 44 percent Black unemployment rate in the city of Milwaukee?

American Schools: When “The Best and The Brightest” Don’t Have the Answers

duncan obama

Mark Naison: President and his chief education adviser, Arne Duncan, believed that a key problem in America’s schools was the low quality of the people working in them, they felt no need to include principals and teachers.

Turning the Tide: An Historian’s View of School Reform

high school principal

Mark Naison: Over time, people of courage and integrity will turn the tide and begin to restore sanity to educational discourse and develop a powerful alliance of teachers, parents and students, supported first by the Occupy movement, and later by unions, religious organizations and progressive politicians.

From Ghetto to Graduate Studies

read to fly

Alvaro Huerta: Too often, corporate-minded outsiders who never experienced poverty or attended overcrowded public schools preach to inner-city Latinos and African Americans about working hard, making the right choices and being accountable for their actions as the sole means to upward mobility.

Walking Works for LA

students walking

Stephen Box: One of the simplest ways to reduce the traffic congestion that surrounds LA’s schools in the morning and in the afternoon is to support children as they walk and bicycle to school, yet the City of LA continues to engage in a charade that’s all talk and no walk (or ride!)

LAUSD Public School Choice: More Non-Reform

school kids

Leonard Isenberg: What LAUSD says in terms of parent, teacher, and student input is belied by the reality of the clear legal language that again and again say the principal and superintendent maintain absolute control.

From Behind Bars to Law School

new orleans

Bruce Reilly: I came to New Orleans knowing but a few criminal justice activists, legal professionals, and some friends of friends. It was good to have folks who knew I had spent twelve years locked in prison.

Mass Appeal: LA’s New Embrace of Public Transit

No Measure J for LA

Jackie Cornejo: The thing is, when you grow up poor, the idea of taking public transit is a no-brainer. I learned very early that driving was a privilege, and that taking public transit was the only way I would be able to go to school and eventually get to work.

Hundreds March for Occupy LAUSD

occupy-lausd-wide

Marcy Winograd: Let our schools serve the 99% of students, parents, and teachers, not the 1% of billionaires. Protect and empower public education.

It Ain’t the Teachers Nor the Administrators!

Forced Busing

Steve Ybarra: Everyone questions why little Johnny and Joanie can’t read. Some say the problem is with the teachers. No one wants to talk about where the problem really resides — and that is with the school district system.

Anti-Teacher Union “Reformers” Hoisted on Own Petard

michelle rhee

Randy Shaw: After years of teachers union bashing and corporate-led school “reform” efforts, anti-public school forces are now on the defensive. And the main reason is that the statistical measurements do not support their arguments, and even show a pattern of falsification.

Profiteering and Union-Busting Repackaged as School Reform

jonah_edelman-wide

David Love: But the larger picture here is that corporate education reform is big business. And the rightwing, plutocratic agenda – of school privatization, government austerity measures and deunionization – clashes with the needs of poor, working class, and disproportionately black and brown public school students.

Keeping Public Schools Public

Jamaica High School

Craig Williams: As progressives, we should also argue that educators need more funding just to deal with the increased poverty created in large part by the private sector.

Charter Schools Are Missing in Action

croweded classroom

Mark Naison: Both directly and indirectly, Charter Schools send the message that all that is of value exists outside of your community, brought in by missionary teachers and administrators.

LAUSD, Charters, and Insanity

Riordan-and-Young-wide

Leonard Isenberg: Ex-LA Mayor Richard Riordan, who is now chairman of the board of cash-strapped ICEF Public Schools, is now in the process of trying to get his board to vote control of the charter’s 15 schools over to Alliance College-Ready Public Schools, another large, local charter-school group.

Common Core Standards, Who Benefits

library-books

Mark Naison: While people are losing their homes, jobs, and medical coverage, new school professionals are flooding communities with programs that have offer little to the people they were allegedly designed to benefit.

LAUSD Releases Its Own “Value-Added” Rankings of Schools

Cynthia Liu: What’s troubling is that rhetoric surrounding use of student standardized test scores–even if student performance year-over-year is compared to eliminate external influences–appears to include other measures of teacher performance, yet those other measures have never been identified.

Obama: We Won’t Sacrifice Schools for Wars

Randy Shaw: In a galvanizing April Fools’ Day speech in Madison, Wisconsin, President Barack Obama announced that his Administration would “no longer prioritize military spending over educating our children.”

LAUSD – Egypt, Wisconsin, Hamilton High Walkout

save hamilton high

Something important took place Friday at Hamilton High School in Los Angeles. Students at the highly successful magnet school with excellent Humanities, Music, and Drama Magnets as well as six small learning communities who were threatened last week with the loss of 22 of their teachers decided to fight back. Using Facebook and other social […]

Subprime School Industry Lobbying

school reform

Lee Fang: Dozens of these for-profit schools systematically defraud their students by showing them fake job placement rates, providing false claims about the types of jobs they can attain, misrepresenting that their credits will transfer to state universities, and giving false promises that students do not have to pay back their loans.

Fetishizing School Chiefs Hurts Kids

Cathleen Black, with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (left) and outgoing Schools Chancellor Joel Klein.

Randy Shaw: Unfortunately, the media’s excessive and irrational devotion to school chiefs as saviors for the nation’s schools ignores the reality that no school chief, can overcome inadequate school funding by running schools like corporate turnaround specialists, and fetishizing their importance distracts from schools’ real needs. Education seems to be the only field where rising to the top requires no experience. Careers spent in the profit-driven corporate world are now identified as the best backgrounds for public school leadership.

In Defense of Public School Teachers

Mark Naison: In a country with one of the highest rates of poverty in the industrialized world, with almost no social safety net to help struggling families, our teachers have to create a positive learning atmosphere in classrooms filled with young people under stress.

Los Angeles: Epicenter of High School Dropouts — Or Are They Pushed?

Attorney Laura Faer

Diane Lefer: Most kids who don’t finish haven’t “dropped out.” They’ve been “pushed out” by a culture of zero-tolerance, punishment, and removal that disproportionately affects children of color.

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