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“The Chokehold on Our Children” Part 2

The ‘progressive’ movement has been a slow, evil virus which has floated over this country like a deadly cloud. It is a man, woman and child eating monster for anyone who is a patriot, Christian, conservative or just happens to not agree with them. It demands redistribution of wealth and loan shark style taxation – known and hidden. It wants your speech, guns and children to form another fascist/socialist/whatever you want to call it to control your very existence, just by a new name -New World Order and his brother in crime the One World Religion.

I call it Collectivism versus Individualism!

They have known for many, many years the road to accomplish this was through the education of your children using indoctrination.

Why the push on Charter Schools? Because they are an experiment which to date have proven they can create more scandals than all the traditional public schools in the country put together. They don’t tell you that do they?

Why is the Federal government pouring billions of $$ into Charter school funding and yet what they put in place to “fix” the traditional public schools is more Title I funds for low income which has never worked because at the same time they continue to tell them they will never get to college or make anything of themselves. They play games with the grade scoring, curriculum, go up and then down as a priority and continue to throw our money down the drain on junk ideas – hence no improvement.

The scandals – how do they happen? Go here – it is like reading a mystery novel! Pick your state or city and go for it!

Charter Choice 2How! By putting a financial chokehold on the Charter schools by getting in too deep because of the mega fees charged by the Management companies; creating inflammatory budgets and outlandish salary packages for principals; less than excellent teachers through Teach for America teachers rather than those educated to be teachers; far too lenient legislation leaving the elected boards with no actual control and when they do try to close a failing school, the state charter boards and management companies step in and beg to give a failing school another 2 years; charter school board members serving as board members of several schools within a management  company circle. One or two school board meetings a year; school principals without credentials – not to mention the real dirt!

Let’s take a look at New Orleans where after Katrina, their schools were so bad they decided the cure was to make the whole school district charter. The results have been devastating! Called the state-level Recovery School District it was originally presented as a temporary solution.

The purpose of government controlled school “they” told us was to prepare our children to be good citizens for the country and to be able to gain a college degree if they wished and go into the job market they wanted. They never wanted us to know that it was corporate whores who would be making all the decisions regarding our children’s education.

A clear danger sign of things to come for all parents should have been when the CEO of Exxon-Mobil wrote that threatening letter to the governor of PA to “get in line with the Common Core Standards” or else!

With many citizens displaced after Katrina and more than 7K citizens unemployed, most schools were taken away from local control, with no community input as the feds and venture philanthropists provided money for the development of charter schools with no comparable sum offered to rebuild the traditional public schools.

Now, New Orleans has a system of individual and charter management schools (CMO’s) where taxpayer and Parental Control has flown the coop.

Charter school vulturesWith limited public oversight and transparency, these CMOs have the control of the taxpayers money; teachers working 70+ hours a week; staffed primarily by young, non-local white teachers who have no idea how to equate to the black students in New Orleans. Teach for America (TFA) teachers have tripled with a large share of them in leadership positions with little or no experience. TFA teachers are working mostly in the “no excuses” charter schools including KIPP and Mastery Charter.

What are “no excuses” Charter schools? They claim that more rigorous and uniform teaching methods along with scripted curriculum geared to being successful on high-stakes tests is the path to success. It sounds great until you understand the path being used is a very deliberate behavior regime that they insist all the children follow which begins in kindergarten and consists of submission, obedience and self-control.

Not bad values until you understand this path also includes no opportunity for play, relaxation or extra-curricular activities because that is “wasted” time. And they are being tested, tested, tested!

It has also produced very high rates of suspension in these schools which in some cases is not being documented and is from the statistics, being aimed at the black students.

Don't Be Charter Fooled 2In 2 of the “no excuses” charter schools (KIPP and Mastery) data is no longer being used for “education quality”, but the very purpose of the school itself. With few exceptions, the curriculum is characterized by a narrow interpretation of state standards at the expense of all other material. Students rarely learn local history or current events. Instead, science and social studies were relegated to ancillary classes in the elementary school and reduced to the accumulation of vocabulary and lists of facts at the middle school.

What makes a No-Excuses School a No-Excuses School?

  • High behavioral and academic expectations for all students—these expectations are applied without exception for extenuating circumstance, hence the designation No-Excuses. No-Excuses. This means that no matter how troubling a student’s home-life may be, no matter what difficulties they may have to overcome in their neighborhood or family, a student is still expected to work hard and follow the school’s code of behavior. This attitude arises from an idealistic and, in fact, very radical assumption that lies at the heart of the No-Excuses movement: that every student, no matter what his or her background, is capable of high academic achievement and success in life.
  • A strict behavioral and disciplinary code that leaves little room for ambiguity or inconsistency—rules and punishments are laid out in Talmudic detail, usually in a document that is required—and tested—reading for all students and faculty at the beginning of the year. In many schools, tardiness, even by a couple of minutes, and uniform violation (a missing belt, bright nail-polish, etc.) lead to automatic detentions.

Silence seemed to be especially important in the hallways. At the sound of each bell at the middle school, students were expected to line up at “level zero” with their faces forward and hands behind their backs and, when given permission, step into the hallway and onto strips of black duct tape. There they waited for the command of an administrator: “John, you can move to your next class!

Students then marched until they reach the STOP sign on the floor. Then their pass is checked for hallway permission before moving on to the next class or “restroom” time. Behavior infractions are being administered through their iPhone for everyone to see.

“No excuses” is also being used to foster “social justice” of which they are told it is to help them get into college. Detroit’s story is as interesting and shows education has come to be an element of social justice robots.

Remind you of any the pictures you have seen of Hitler’s education?

Joan Goodman, a professor in the Graduate School of Education University of Pennsylvania (not one of my favorites but she is right here in this quote about the programs) “These schools start with the belief that there’s no reason for the large academic gaps that exist between poor minority students and more privileged children. They argue that if we just used better methods, demanded more, had higher expectations, enforced these higher expectations through very rigorous and uniform teaching methods and a very uniform and scripted curriculum geared to being successful on high-stakes tests, we can minimize or even eradicate these large gaps, high rates of drop outs and the academic failures of these children. To reach these objectives, these schools have developed very elaborate behavioral regimes that they insist all children follow, starting in kindergarten.”

Submission, obedience, and self-control are very large values being taught in the “no excuses” formatted Charter schools. They want kids to submit. You can’t really do this kind of instruction if you don’t have very submissive children who are capable of high levels of inhibition and do whatever they’re told.

“These schools are not geared to what students have to know – that is considered wasted time”. Play, relaxation or extra-curricular activities are not important. The view of time and strict discipline are related, by the way; in order to get these kids to attend over very long hours—they have extended days and extended weeks — you have to be tough with the kids, really severe. They want these kids to understand that when authority speaks you have to follow because that’s basic to learning.”

These schools also believe that behaviors that you might not think are directly related to academic learning can have a domino effect if left unaddressed. Getting up from your chair to go to the bathroom without explicit permission, for example, or not having your hands folded on your desk, or not looking at the teacher every minute, or not having your feet firmly planted on each side of the center of the desk are problematic behaviors. If you don’t conform to these rules then you are going to precipitate the next domino and the next domino. It’s going to have a cascading effect on your behavior and pretty soon you’re going to be very disruptive.

Discipline comes in the form of being isolated from the rest of the class – they have to wear different colored shirts, can’t talk even to ask questions, may sit on a lower bench than the other children. And it’s all about the deliberate shaming of the kids.

Mastery Charter Schools and Mastery Schools of Camden form a non-profit school network in Philadelphia, PA and Camden, NJ serving over 10,500 students in grades K-12.  “Our mission is to ensure that all students learn the academic and personal skills they need to succeed in higher education, compete in the global economy and pursue their dreams. This begins in kindergarten!”  KIPP schools format seems to fall in line with Mastery!

For years now, advocates of the “no excuses” brand of charter school have denied the obvious.  While loudly proclaiming the test scores and graduation rates of the students who remain at their schools are at the top, they have denied that their application processes combined with the harsh discipline environments that emphasize extreme conformity to extreme behavioral expectations are forms of “cream skimming” designed to drive out students less likely to burnish their reputations as “miracle factories.” (Low income students – hence all the offers from the feds to place charters in low income areas).

These schools claim to be targeting the low-income students to help bring them up to a higher standard yet it is these very ‘rules’ that are helping them bring the ‘cream to the top’ without seeming biased or racially defined.  These schools rates for children suspended, expelled or leaving all together far exceed the national averages.

You have heard of the “cream” rising to the top haven’t you? Helps their data figures!

Part of the means of obtaining the “cream” in their schools, they use extreme in-school discipline tactics that emphasize how only a certain type of child is welcome in the school, and discipline is often coupled with overt and covert pressure for parents to transfer struggling students out.  The evidence is by now substantial that charter schools in the “no excuses” category seek different applicants to their schools via complicated procedures prior to admissions lotteries, and once students enter they quickly seek to push out students who will not fully and promptly comply with their expectations.

Charter schools will tell you more than 90% of their students are passing tests and almost 100% get into college. Reformers want you to believe they are a success and they will never tell you there is any dishonesty going on with testing and data. Where is the data to prove these statements?

Education Monsters 2People like Jeb Bush, Huckabee and all the Charter school management companies will tell you they are serving the same students as traditional public schools – they just know how to do it better. They will tell you one of their goals is to beat the standings of Finland but even they have learned testing, especially teaching to a test for better scores, proves nothing. When in a discussion with these reformers and you tell them their students are actually not doing any better, they will revert to comparing different management schools rather than as a whole.

Mastery Learning was first introduced in the 1920’s suggesting this was the way to tap into an individual’s potential for learning. In the early 1960s the idea of mastery learning was revived in the form of programmed instruction. Other names used in reference to this are Competency Based Education, Performance Based Education and Student Centered Learning.

More and more of the current Charter school models are using this failed form of education and at the same time using different names for the same ole thing. Referring to our children as “human capital” and given as proof of the mentality of that is the corporate intrusion into our education systems all over the country.

The real main problem of this education is Mastery Learning supports the ideology that the individual students meet certain standards or learning outcomes, but since our children are NOT common and do learn different things at different paces – hence the ongoing failure of the use of this method of teaching. A more complete description of Mastery Learning can be found here which also includes Block’s reasoning behind Mastery Learning.

The powers to be have been experimenting with this education game since the late 80’s – the thoughts in their minds since the early 1900’s. Each time the experiment was put in place it was a failure and they knew the only way they could get this implemented all over the country was in the way they did it.

Keep in mind that the schools which claim to be teaching social and moral values may not necessarily be what you think are right for your children. In today’s educational system the mindset seems to be a more free thinking system – one that is addressing issues which conflict with conservative morals and values. Parents need to really look inside these schools and not assume that because they are a charter or private school that they are better than the traditional school their child is currently attending.

The words Charter and Private are just words – what is important is what is happening behind the closed doors.

I still have not been able to come to terms with the fact that OUR Commissioners/superintendents of our children’s education (who are supposed to have an education background) would deliberately do this to our children. It still comes down to money, power and control which also makes it extremely evil. Anyone involved in this scheme doesn’t deserve our respect and need to be sent home – charged with treason would be too good for them!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/07/25/teacher-blasts-popular-classroom-training-program-it-is-turning-us-into-robots/

 

 

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Charter/Choice/Corruption and Egos = Gulen

 Gulen Trap Expands

Even the famous Marxist theoretician Antonio Gramsci was a deep opponent of “progressive” educational methods. He wrote: “The most paradoxical aspect is that this new type of school is advocated as being democratic, while in fact it is destined not merely to perpetuate social differences, but to crystallize them.” He rightly saw that “progressive” methods were of no help to the poor – only intensified it!

Lack of oversight and filling the wallets of legislators by Charter School Management companies is one of the biggest problems in our country today.  I should say after the unlawful intrusion of the Federal government into our children’s education however, this is a path to the Federal government’s total takeover of our education system. Along the way corruption is more the rule than the exception and one of the reasons Charter schools are failing.

One of our biggest dangers to the sovereignty of this country and the protection of our children is the Gulen Charter School system. The American Foreign Policy Council has stated:  “The Charter school experiment has resulted in the U.S. being the ONLY country in the world where the Gulen Movement has been allowed to establish their schools fully funded by the host country’s taxpayers.” Just how insane is that!

Futah 2The Gulen Movement is fantastic at advertising PR, and bestowing fake honors on their students, politicians, and local media and academia. Hizmet aka Gulen Movement will shamelessly act like satisfied American parents or students. They will lie, cajole, manipulate, bribe, blackmail, threaten, and intimidate to get their way which is to expand the Islamic movement through Gulen charter schools. If this doesn’t work they play victim and cry “islamophobia”. Beware of the Gulen propagandists and Gulen owned media outlets.

It should be noted that Turkey has transferred its alliance from Europe and the United States to Russia and Iran. It has moved toward friendship with Hamas, Hezbollah, and Syria and created a pervasive anti-Christian, anti-Jewish, and anti-America animus throughout the populace.

Just last year, the Senate introduced the The Immigration Innovation (“I-Squared”) bill,  S.153, introduced by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R), Sen. Jeff Flake (R), Sen. Marco Rubio (R), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D), Sen. Chris Coons (D), and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D), that would enable companies to hire an unlimited number of workers with advanced degrees from U.S. institutions in science, technology, engineering and math, which critics have said would turn some universities into diploma factories for foreign students. Currently, the first 20,000 H-1B applications for those with advanced STEM degrees are exempted.

Senators who have since signed onto S.153 are Republicans Kirk, Lee, Gardner, McCain, Heller and Ayotte with the addition of Democrat McCaskill and an Independent King. Thank the good Lord this bill has gone nowhere since January 29, 2015.

Hatch said he hoped the bill would be a gateway to “more progress” on a broader immigration bill and at the same time would increase the annual cap on H-1B visas from 65,000 to 115,000, reform student visas, “authorize employment for the dependent spouses of H-1B visas holders, and allow a grace period for foreign workers to “change jobs and not be out of status.”

It needs to be noted that 3 out of 4 Americans with STEM degrees do not hold a job in the STEM field.  It has been calculated that 100% of new hires in the tech industry could be guest workers if Congress continues to increase the number of H-1B visas, which would hold “down wages for both them and new hires and at the same time keep American jobs away from Americans.”

Someone who has found their way into using the H-1B visa program to their best interest is the Fethullah Gülen Movement (FGM).

What should be the greatest attention getters in this country in regard to Charter schools is the Gulen movement. And make no mistake, it is a movement. It is noted and proven their main goal in setting up these Charter schools around the country has been to revive and institute the Ottoman Empire here in America. At the same time, the Gulen Charter system is the largest user of the H-1B visas in this country.

Gulen Charter schools are receiving our tax dollars of which are in turn being turned over to the various Gulen foundations. Fethullah Gulen is referred to as a scholar by the media when in fact he only completed the sixth grade. According to his website he is an “authoritative mainstream Turkish Muslim scholar, thinker, author, poet, opinion leader and educational activist who supports interfaith and intercultural dialogue, science, democracy and spirituality and opposes violence and turning religion into a political ideology.”

According to U.S. Department of Labor data, as of 2012 almost one third of the applications that the Cosmos Foundation which oversees all the Gulen schools in Texas received were for positions not related to mathematics and science, such as art teachers, English teachers, history teachers, accountants, assistant principals, legal counsel, and public relations coordinators. Prior to receiving their visa status from the US, it was reported these future employees had already been accepted into Harmony Charter system when their job positions changed, and that Harmony always promotes from within.

From 2001 to August 2010 the Cosmos Foundation had filed 1,157 H1-B visa applications, and it had imported 731 employees under the H1-B visa, a higher number than all of the other providers of secondary education in the United States combined.  By 2012 the U.S. Department of Labor certified 1,197 H1-B visa applications from Cosmos.

It is to be noted that foreign-educated teachers who would like to teach in U.S. public schools (K-12th grade) must also be certified by the state where they would like to work. Be aware though that some Gulen schools operate under the assumption that just because the school has been granted a certification from the U.S. Labor Department for a certain number of teachers that that qualifies and enables them to teach without certification. Parents should ask to see the certification of all H-1B teachers no matter where they teach.

July, 2015, Turkey’s President Erdogan stated the United States fosters the Gulen movement by allowing them to be in this country. Erdoğan stated that the Gülen Movement operates over 160 charter schools in the U.S. which receives state funding. With regards to how Turkey was dealing with the Gülen Movement and its network of schools, Erdoğan said that the U.S.-based Fethullah Gülen, had “ran away” to the U.S. in 1999, and then established between 150 and 160 schools on U.S. soil.

Fethullah Gulen was forced to leave Turkey having been accused of infiltrating key institutions, including police, judiciary and bureaucracy inside Turkey and trying to take over the country.

The president said that the so-called Gülen Movement was earning huge sums of money through these networks of schools. The Turkish government accuses the Gülen Movement of infiltrating key institutions, including police, judiciary and bureaucracy inside Turkey. “The key point in [winning the] battle with them was the prep schools,” Erdoğan said. “They earned around a billion Turkish liras [around $386 million] from such prep schools. We have shut them down and it was handled,” he added.

Gates MonsterWould it surprise you to know that “not really such a nice guy to our children”, Bill Gates through his Gates Foundation and the Texas High School Project in 2007 shelled out $10,550,000 to the Gulen’s Cosmos Foundation? It certainly doesn’t surprise me since Gates through his foundation has funded everything evil in regard to our children for years – especially through education (CCSS).

The Internal Revenue Service Form 990 for Cosmos shows that as of 2010 the Cosmos Foundation received $41,570,721 from taxpayers. These Gulen schools around the country are also eligible for Title I funds.

An audit done of the Harmony Charter school system and the Cosmos Foundation which was released in July 2012 was done by the TEA and announced that $186,197 in federal grant funds intended to improve education of low income and disabled children was misspent, with 34% of examined expenses being misspent, or 16.1% of the total expenses associated with the grants being misspent. The TEA deemed this “unallowable.” The TEA found that, on one occasion, a campus not eligible for Title I funds received Title I funds. In another, grant funds were used to cover payroll costs, a manner not allowed.

What did the TEA do about it?  There is no documentation to be found that shows the Cosmos Foundation and/or Harmony Charter school system was ever required to pay the Federal government back the misspent funds.

Now it has come to our attention Congress has been taking Gulen funded vacations to Turkey and not all of this activity is being properly documented. Surprised? I’m not!

The teachers, men and women, are allowed to begin teaching immediately (certification?) and these teachers are expected to give back to the school 30-40% of their salary. This money is placed into a secret fund which is used for the Gulen movement.

Gulen Charter schools are the largest charter network in the country and recently red flags have been raised by the FBI. They now have decided to investigate for immigration fraud as well as a misuse of taxpayer $$.  Remember these students are receiving taxpayer dollars as in any other Charter school, but the teachers are having to give back a large portion of their salaries which goes into a secret Gulen movement fund and these funds are taxpayer funds.

Gulen powers to be admit most of the Gulen schools claim to be STEM schools and that is the reason they need to use Turkish teachers. Critics also find it hard to believe that qualified American teachers in math and science are hard to find. One would hope though that American teachers are smart enough to stay away from the likes of Fethullah and his cult.

A former president of the parent’s group at the Young Scholars of Central Pennsylvania Charter School, Ruth Hocker started asking questions when popular, certified American teachers were replaced by uncertified Turkish men who often spoke limited English and were paid higher salaries. Most were placed in math and science classes.

I had previously reported on this blog about school parents describing how uncertified teachers on H-1B visas were moved from one charter school to another when their “emergency” teaching credentials expired and they told of a pattern of sudden turnovers of Turkish business managers, administrators, and board members. They always know how to play the system!

According to one U.S. government document, Gülenist’s use their school worldwide network (including dozens of schools in the U.S.) to cherry-pick students they think are susceptible to being molded as proselytizers and we have steadily heard reports about how the schools indoctrinate boarding students.”

The movement targets youth in the eighth through twelfth grades, mentor and indoctrinate them in the ışıkevi (Illuminated),  educate them in the Fethullah schools, and prepare them for future careers in legal, political, and educational professions in order to create the ruling classes of the future Islamist, Turkish state.”

Even more telling is a comment from Nurettin Veren, Gulen’s right hand man for 35 years who said: “These schools are like shop windows. Recruitment and Islamization are carried out through night classes.

Additionally, many of these students take 10-day summer trips to Turkey and you have to wonder where the heads of their parents are – even as to why they would place their child in an Islamic school. One teacher reported her class won a free cultural trip to Turkey through an art contest sponsored by a Gülen organization called the Atlantic Institute. They openly admit some of the founders and donors of the Institute are inspired by the values of the Hizmet Movement (Turkish for ‘service’) also called Gulen Movement.

Atlantic Institute tells you that the Hizmet Movement is a values-driven social movement and philosophy that advances interfaith dialogue, education and community service as tools to build a better and more harmonious society. The movement was inspired by the philosophy and teachings of Fethullah Gulen.

Teachers reported they were taken on a 10-day death march through Turkey and then after having been deprived of food the Gülenist’s hosts brought us to a building called the Journalist and Writer’s “light house” which was a compound. This is where we got the cult spiel for 2 hours. The speaker told us, ‘Fethullah Gülen, he is the imam that sheds light on the dark waters of our time,'” said the teacher.

“This trip was not about a moderate message of interfaith dialogue or Turkish culture. The whole purpose was to promote the imam Fethullah Gülen,” said the teacher.

The Gülen movement is a transnational religious and social movement led by Turkish Islamic scholar and preacher Fethullah Gülen. The movement has no official name but it is usually referred to as Hizmet (“the Service”) by its followers and as Cemaat (“the Community/Assembly”) by the broader public in Turkey.

Futhullah Gulen Graham FullerAt the same time, the U.S. government is allowing Fethullah Gülen to live in exile from his own country hidden away from the public eye in Saylorsburg, PA. Why do you suppose this is? Would it catch your eye if I tell you that the CIA was responsible for giving Gulen his hiding place from his own country? Under the excuse of “for health reasons”, truth be known Gulen’s health problem is diabetes and can be taken care of in almost any country.

Where is the U.S. State Department in all this?  Another case of the U.S. thinking they know who the leader of a country should be? Approval has to come through them for international education programs to be in this country. Is the State Department aware of what is happening or is this just part of more of the same with a dabble of corruption?

The Gülen movement’s ultimate goal is to open charter schools in the U.S., to funnel U.S. tax dollars back into the Gülen movement in Turkey. They skim just enough off the public taxpayers from these charter schools so it won’t look suspicious.”

Additionally, our government is providing opportunities to the Gulen movement because the US government has failed to deal with radical Islam. The US government is under the impression that the FGM is the answer for moderate Islam since Gulen pretends to promote dialog among the faiths.

This is a fatal mistake because in Islam, there is no dialog, there is no moderation. The Qur’an states and Muslims believe that every human being needs to convert to Islam sooner or later, otherwise, they all deserve to die. This is not a joke, nor a foolish statement. This is what all kids who receive Qur’an training before they reach the age of 12 believe.

As Gulen Schools slowly but surely move forward in their operations in the US, the main idea is to bring up more graduates of FGM who may in the future become the leaders of the US. Fethullah Gulen’s next school, The Harmony School of Political Science in Austin TX, being built is just a clue to prove my point.

Last year, FBI agents carried out raids to 19 Gulen Charter schools in Indiana, Illinois and Ohio as part of an “ongoing white-collar crime matter.”  The lack of transparency linked to these schools and the Gulen movement should be of major concern to all Americans especially those who have their children in these schools. Of major concern with all Gulen schools is the financial flow of taxpayer dollars and the lack of oversight and transparency.

The way they are using our taxpayer $$, the hierarchy, their pursuit of buying political influence leave enough reason in the minds of reasonable people that these Charter schools need to be closed down. Tax payers are actually being forced without their knowledge to support this Islamic movement within our own borders. Is there something more insidious going on here?

The use of the Islamic practice of taqiyya or “deception” to mask the true nature of the schools has been upheld by Gulen himself. In 1999 Turkish television aired footage of Fethullah Gülen delivering “sermons” which revealed his plan to implement Sharia in America:

  • You must move in the arteries of the system without anyone noticing your existence until you reach all the power centers … until the conditions are ripe, they [the followers] must continue like this. If they do something prematurely, the world will crush our heads, and Muslims will suffer everywhere, like in the tragedies in Algeria, like in 1982 in Syria … like in the yearly disasters and tragedies in Egypt. The time is not yet right. You must wait for the time when you are complete and conditions are ripe, until we can shoulder the entire world and carry it … You must wait until such time as you have gotten all the state power, until you have brought to your side all the power of the constitutional institutions in Turkey … Until that time, any step taken would be too early—like breaking an egg without waiting the full forty days for it to hatch. It would be like killing the chick inside. The work to be done is in confronting the world. Now, I have expressed my feelings and thoughts to you all—in confidence … trusting your loyalty and secrecy. I know that when you leave here—just as you discard your empty juice boxes, you must discard the thoughts and the feelings that I expressed here.”

America – wake up!

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THE LIFE OF AMENDMENT 8 – You Thought It Was Over!

I apologize to my readers for this article being about Florida. However, since that is where I live and where most of the corruption and plans to destroy our children’s future’s originates, I hope that by informing you of the measures our legislature is taking in ruining our children’s futures – you will also take a long hard look at your state to see if you are becoming a ‘copycat’!  Amendment 8 to FL SB 1552!

Crayons

In 1999, Jeb Bush pushed through the legislature an “Opportunity Scholarship Program” that gave students in “failing” public schools state funding for tuition at religious and other private academies. Americans United for Separation of Church and State and other allied groups immediately challenged the voucher scheme in state court.  After years of legal wrangling, the Florida Supreme Court finally struck down the program in January 2006. The 5-2 court majority said vouchers violated a provision of the state constitution requiring a uniform system of free public schools.

Our new governor, Jeb Bush, stated vouchers will help parents rescue their children from chronically failing schools. If we have chronically failing schools, then the State of Florida and its legislators have failed to live up to what is expected by all Florida residents. A voucher allowing public money to be used in private schools defies the very definition of PRIVATE SCHOOLS. This money should be used to take all these failing and critically low-performing schools to a higher standard than we have today and get our legislators out of the BUSINESS of EDUCATION.

Jeb Bush reportedly was livid about the FL Supreme Court’s decision and vowed to press for a constitutional amendment, but he found it more difficult in the state legislature than expected. In May 2006, the proposed constitutional amendment fell short by one vote in the Republican-controlled Senate, despite a lot of hardball political pressure from the governor and his allies.

Bush then went for Plan B – after leaving office in Jan 07, he & his top advisers crafted a back-door maneuver to revise the state constitution and advance vouchers. They decided to stack the state’s 25 member Taxation and Budget Reform Commission  (TBRC) which meets every 20 years & has the power, by a two-thirds vote, to place initiatives directly on the ballot, bypassing the legislature and other governmental checks and balances.

Commission members were appointed by then governor Charlie Crist (Bush arranged with Crist to appoint Greg Turbeville, a former Bush policy director, the Senate president Ken Pruitt and the House speaker Marco Rubio who helped the scheme along by appointing Bush education adviser Patricia Levesque and other voucher fans). In all, “nine Bush-era acolytes with financial ties to voucher groups who stood to gain financially” were appointed to the Commission!

Bopsey Twins

Once again the FL Supreme Court stepped in and prior to the 2008 election, they ruled that the TBRC had exceeded its narrow authority of dealing with issues related to taxation or the state budgetary process in proposing the two initiatives and removed them from the ballot.

In the Spring of 2010, the Florida Legislature considered two resolutions (amendments) which, if passed, would have placed a ballot initiative similar to the TRBC’s Amendment 7 on the ballot. The legislation failed to advance beyond the Rules Committee in both the Senate and House of Representatives.

Now we are back to the table again and in the Spring of 2011, the Florida Legislature approved a resolution to place Amendment 7 on the November 2012 ballot. Amendment 7, similar to the church-state related constitutional provisions considered by the TBRC and the Florida legislature, would strip the Florida Constitution of its long standing church-state separation provision. The Amendment was designed to eliminate religious freedom protections currently in place in Florida and open the back door to taxpayer funded vouchers for private and religious schools. The Amendment would eviscerate protections in place governing partnerships between the state and private or religiously affiliated organizations, (possibly even permitting taxpayer money to flow directly to houses of worship). The Amendment is the first step towards permitting private school vouchers.

In July of 2011, Florida parents and clergy, as well as representatives of school administrators, teachers, and school boards, filed a lawsuit in Leon Circuit Court seeking to remove Amendment 7 from the November 2012 general election ballot.

The lawsuit made two claims. First, the plaintiffs contended that the language that will appear on the 2012 ballot doesn’t accurately describe what the amendment, if adopted, will actually do. In short, they argued that the ballot language was misleading. Second, the plaintiffs argued that the process set in place by the legislature for fixing misleading ballot language violates the separation of powers. The current law would have allowed the Attorney General to rewrite Amendment 8 if the Court had found it to be defective. The Plaintiffs argued that the Attorney General (a member of the Executive Branch) lacks the power to rewrite the language, as only the legislature can approve ballot language.

Judge Terry P. Lewis of the Second Judicial Circuit of Leon County ruled that the language that was slated to appear on the actual ballot to explain Amendment 7 was misleading and ordered Attorney General Pam Bondi to make the changes and hence, Amendment 7 came back as Amendment 8 in 2012. http://www.au.org/content/legal-challenge

But wait, vouchers have already been ruled as unconstitutional by the Florida Supreme Court stating they violated a provision of the state constitution requiring a uniform system of free public schools. However, Amendment 8 is focusing on vouchers to be used by PRIVATE and RELIGIOUS AFFILIATED ORGANIZATIONS!

http://www.redefinedonline.org/2012/07/floridas-amendment-8-is-not-about-private-school-vouchers/

Then in April 2014, the voucher hypocrisy of Jeb Bush supporter Florida legislators gave us vouchers despite the fact the voters in 2013 turned it down by a decisive margin and the FL Supreme Court had ruled it unconstitutional.

You see here in Florida it is not about the children, but “whatever Jeb Bush wants, Jeb Bush gets – sooner or later and by hook or by crook! Cons to this scam:

  • Private schools have little to no accountability requirements as to having certified teachers. Taxpayer funds should never be made available to private or parochial schools. (In the 2012 Voucher amendment, 2 of the 3 legislative writers of the amendment are Catholic).
  • The untruth passed through the halls of the legislature were that the parents wanted a push for STEM ((Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) when it originated within the Federal government. Teaching children science and history that is corrupt is not the way to equip them for the modern world unless the intention is indoctrination or you plan for them to be in the fields and factories anyway.
  • Programs for private schools are sometimes attractive to parents precisely because they are free of the innumerable unfunded mandates and endless testing inflicted on public schools. Parents are NOT checking with the private and parochial schools to see if they participated in the RTTT grant games and a good share of them did take money from the federal government which means CC.
  • And last but certainly not least, private school vouchers defy the Florida Constitution, which states that it is the state’s paramount duty to have a uniform system of high quality, free public schools. Corporate tax vouchers create a dual system that is profoundly unfair, dangerous and is intended not to benefit our children, but to fill the wallets of legislators and their corporate cronies along with filling another dream of Jeb Bush’s.

In a poll taken by Sunshine State News in April 2014 showed 55% of those participating were against vouchers, 42% supported and 2% were undecided. So again we must ask who is the FL legislature working for. With Andy Gardiner (R) now the head of the Fl Senate and a strong supporter of education privatization our children are in serious trouble.

One thing taxpayers must remember when it comes to education in Florida is that our system is set up that the governor in the end CHOOSES who will be our Commissioner of Education and APPOINTS the State School Board. Cronyism? Where else do you know that an APPOINTED state school board can overrule a district ELECTED school board?

Charters make up a disproportionate number of F-rated schools within the state and you never hear about all their failures and always with the excuse that they enroll students who have struggled in traditional schools and that they are in the low-income areas and were set up for failure from the start. I ask those parents if that is the right mentality to start a school with and is that what they are projecting to their students?

But then you have charters where they are earning A’s. In some cases, as with magnet schools, that’s the result of cherry-picking good students with motivated parents. Charter Management companies have even found ways to weed out the lower achieving students to help make their overall grade look better – yet it is the charter school which have all the unaccountability, uncertified teachers and in some cases uncertified schools themselves.

A warning to parents who are choosing the voucher approach to educate your child if they fall into the category of ‘English Language Learners’ (ELL). In the state of Florida there are laws in place that cover this in a ‘traditional public school’.

When your child goes to a school where vouchers are used for payments, all bets are off when it comes to these rules, and it’s because these schools are private and are not required to comply with state ESOL rules.

Another failure by our legislature is instead of insisting that students going to private schools with public money take the same standardized tests that public school kids take, the legislature would use public money to pay the Learning System Institute at Florida State University to do annual reports on the performance and learning gains of voucher students.  So they are going to use additional taxpayer money to ‘assess’ the performance of the children being school on the voucher system?

Now we are back to the Florida State Constitution which states ALL children must be treated the same! I do believe we have some laws suits floating around again!

So in essence children going to a private school by voucher do not have to take the FL standardized tests but a child with disabilities who are in alternate schools do. In case you aren’t aware, so are hundreds and hundreds of students who are classified as not liking school, truant, 1-2 years behind their peers, or just normally cannot pass a test.

(Yet the FL Statutes clearly states all testing is mandatory and Commissioner Stewart has stated there will be consequences for anyone not participating in the testing process. She however fails to tell parents what those consequences are).

These children are housed in traditional and charter school settings within normally un-used buildings all over the state never having to take another test, not show graduation rates, but we are paying for their bus transportation not only to school but to work. For you see these students are actually in ‘school-to-work’ schools – not technical schools just school where the most important agenda is them working in a McDonald’s, Burger King, car wash – not very often in an office and certainly not in training that would support them.

And most certainly do not call one of these school principals and ask any questions. Not only do they become rude and unaccountable, but in some cases will even tell you they don’t have to answer your questions and they send you to your district board to try and find out who is overseeing the program.

Now the current chapter in Florida’s charter/voucher corruption, the legislators are using the basic format of Amendment 8 from the 2012 election cycle and putting it in SB 1552.

With an ongoing Republican control in the Florida Senate and House, parents best start forming home school coalitions and tap into the ‘good’ teachers who have quit teaching because of Common Core and the antics in Tallahassee.

Parents it is impossible to make this stuff up and we must come together and stop this madness. I don’t care what your party affiliation is, your nationality, or your race – I care about the futures of our children.

 

2

WHAT HAVE THEY DONE?

Grades 2This past weekend the story was released about the consequences of the State School Board agreeing to play games with the Florida grading system AGAIN!

Although the information in the story in the Orlando Sentinel is unsettling it once again shows how the state continues to mess with the education of our children – from the standards, to the curriculum, to the textbooks, to the grading system. Are they ever going to learn to just give our children a good education with the very best teachers, curriculum, textbooks and all the rest that goes with it rather than continually changing the rules of the game and playing with their futures?

Just who is their allegiance to – our children or the money men?

What Floridians Against Common Core Education is actually more concerned about is the drastic drop in some of the grades of the schools. Focusing on Central Florida since that is the information that was in the article, someone please explain to me how a consistently A school over a 5 year period drops to an actual D but is given a C. How does a B school drop to a D which would have been an F?
cHANGE gRADES

COMMON CORE???? The reports that have been out by parents show a major increase in frustration by the elementary school children. How does the state school board, legislators and governor explain the dramatic drop? This is not just a matter of changing the grading system.

Information on the states “School Accountability Reports” site does not have the scores posted for 2011-2012 or 2012-2013 years – so the grades I followed were from the 2006-2007 through 2010-2011. Even with the missing 2 year reports the grade drops for the schools mentioned – there needs to be a reason and the only thing really new is the Common Core Standards along with the new curriculum and textbooks.

Parents should not be willing to “just accept” whatever is being handed out but full explanations need to be forthcoming from the local school districts, individual schools and the State Department of Education and the State School Board.

A statement such as the one by Patricia Levesque, Jeb Bush’s Chief of Staff at both his foundations, ‘this just highlight’s where students are struggling the most and it’s been powerful”. The Bush Foundations have pushed for the A-F grading system which there is nothing wrong with that – just pick a system and stick with it.

Levesque went on to say “too many changes were made too quickly to the grading formula that now must be simplified”. Do you think? At the push from your foundations to get all your ideas in place at what cost just as you have done with the implementation of the Common Core Standards and the Charter/Choice boondoggle. Although the foundation was opposed to the State Board’s decision to make the changes last July because it would prevent schools with the lower grades from getting the resources they needed.

What resources? Moving the students to a Charter school? They are quick to note that under Florida law parents have the ability to move their children from D or F schools to Charter/Choice.

Now I have another question for all of you. Knowing Common Core has been set up to be instituted in every public and private school in this state, why is Jeb Bush still pushing Charter/Choice?????

UNELECTED school boards who for taxpayers means “taxation without representation” and using our children once again as “Human Capital” in public private partnerships! “They” just never stop!

Jeb Bush has a financial interest in all of this and never forget it!
Bricks and mortar
Accountability is the key word and they are intending on sweeping this under the bricks and mortar!

0

Carnegie, Gates and Murdoch – Strange Bedfellows?

IT IS HERE – THE TRACKING SOFTWARE THAT WILL FOLLOW YOUR CHILDREN FOREVER! ”

GatesEntrepreneurs are rubbing their hands together and imagining the profits as they begin to roll out expensive tools for K-12 education at this week’s South by Southwest (SXSW) conference.

Reuters:

An education technology conference this week in Austin, Texas, will clang with bells and whistles as startups eagerly show off their latest wares.

But the most influential new product may be the least flashy: a $100 million database built to chart the academic paths of public school students from kindergarten through high school.

In operation just three months, the database already holds files on millions of children identified by name, address and sometimes social security number. Learning disabilities are documented, test scores recorded, attendance noted. In some cases, the database tracks student hobbies, career goals, attitudes toward school – even homework completion.

Local education officials retain legal control over their students’ information. But federal law allows them to share files in their portion of the database with private companies selling educational products and services. (Parents have no say in this – your parental rights are gone).

Entrepreneurs can’t wait.

“This is going to be a huge win for us,” said Jeffrey Olen, a product manager at CompassLearning, which sells education software.

Yeah, maybe. Parents are pretty creeped out over the idea of tracking their kids’ school performance over their K-12 educational careers. I have some ambivalence about the whole idea, but it’s a non-starter for me when I see how they’ve structured it, and particularly knowing Rupert Murdoch is involved.

CarneigieThe database is a joint project of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which provided most of the funding, the Carnegie Corporation of New York and school officials from several states. Amplify Education, a division of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, built the infrastructure over the past 18 months. When it was ready, the Gates Foundation turned the database over to a newly created nonprofit, inBloom Inc, which will run it.Murdoch

States and school districts can choose whether they want to input their student records into the system; the service is free for now, though inBloom officials say they will likely start to charge fees in 2015. So far, seven states – Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Massachusetts – have committed to enter data from select school districts. Louisiana and New York will be entering nearly all student records statewide.
Klein and Murdoch
Former New York Public Schools chancellor Joel Klein signaled the onslaught last December:

Asserting that the K-12 education market is “ripe for disruption,” Joel Klein, former New York City schools chancellor, now executive VP at News Corp. and director of Murdoch’s Amplify, its education unit, offered a presentation of Amplify’s business model and plans to release hardware and software solutions optimized for a new generation of digitally savvy students and teachers. Klein outlined plans to release an open source tablet device, and specialized teaching software tied to it and to Common Core standards and data analytics, all in an effort to transform the basic model of American education.

What protections will there be for student privacy? And who’s going to pay for this? Taxpayers, of course. As the budget for data mining grows and Murdoch’s pockets bulge, will there be any money left for teachers?

(Klein also serves on Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education and several other board’s overseeing the Charter school and school choice agenda.)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/03/us-education-database-idUSBRE92204W20130303

2

Jeb Bush’s Anti-Public School Rant!

jebbushfrownyListen to his words! His arrogance! Toting his young “glory-boy” son who is being groomed to be a George Bush III (his actual name is George Prescott Bush after his great-grandfather Prescott Bush – you know – the one who supported the Nazi’s against America during WWII) Jeb Bush took his tour to “Education Weary” Texas on Tuesday to push his for-profit Charter schools!

Scathing Purple Musings by Bob Sikes – Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and his rising-political-star son, George P. Bush, urged Texas on Tuesday to dismantle the “monopoly of public education” (1) by dramatically expanding access to charter schools, embracing online learning and overhauling how teachers are evaluated.

But neither man offered any hints about his political future.

The elder Bush, who is often mentioned as a possible contender for president in 2016, told an education forum organized by the Texas Business Leadership Council, “I urge you to be big and bold, and if people get offended, so what?” (2)

“Politics can’t always be like mamby-pamby land,” (3) said Bush, who said America’s public schools have for too long been organized to best suit the “economic needs of adults” such as unionized teachers and school administrators, rather than students (4).

Floridians have always known that Bush feels this way, but he never dared dropping this kind of Hateorade in a place where a Florida reporter would hear it. Speaking in a state more red than a Radio Flyer, Bush knew this red meat would play well.

But Bush’s rhetoric is becoming easier to fact check and dismiss. Yesterday’s release of the prospectus from one of his top financial backers in Pearson, revealed which adults were having their “economic needs” met. The “monopoly’ that exists now is controlled by Bush’s cartel of backers.

What Jeb Bush showed is complete without some overplay of the Florida model? Bush didn’t disappoint:

Bush said that the Florida Virtual School, the nation’s oldest and largest vendor, now offers 400,000 courses via Internet, and 45 percent of Florida students currently are enrolled in charter schools, online classes or some other form of learning other than traditional public schools….
(5)

…and this

But Bush said public schools here and elsewhere have become “a public, unionized monopoly” and that the only way to weaken it is to expand school choice while tightening teacher evaluation standards and limiting tenure.

Bush probably left through the side door without taking questions like he did after parting the waters inside the Florida House two weeks ago. His act doesn’t work if he has to entertain tricky questions about the “imploding” of Florida’s accountability system that legislators are having to deal with next month. Nor does he want to admit that his hand-picked education commissioner, Tony Bennett, has been forced to talk Plan B on Bush’s Common Core Initiative that Pearson was going to cash in on with PARCC tests.(6)

He inflates the percentage of students enrolled in the options of his choosing without telling Texans that a plurality of those students are enrolled in an online class because he rammed through a mandate that required it for graduation. (7)

Moreover, a shocking number of high school students – victims of his test-based curriculum – are enrolled in online credit recovery classes which all are run by other financial backers of Bush. Most of the expansion of charter schools in Florida has been leveraged by legislative fiat that Bush’s foundation authored.

Bush’s reforms in Texas don’t enjoy the easy path that they do in Florida where he still controls the republican party.(8) Even in Indiana where Tony Bennett once ruled, Republicans are halting Common Core. Same story in Alabama. Bush twisted choice ideals to benefit his financial backers. But he doesn’t want states to have their own choices on curriculum. The jig is up on Bush’s choice for me and not for thee.
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Diane’s Remarks:

(1) Not sure how Bush see’s our public schools as a monopoly when they have the local school districts, state DOE, State school board and the Federal government “overseeing”, funding and laying the ground rules for everything they do. I would agree the Federal government is trying to make them a monopoly with the Federal government in Charge but then Mr. Bush, it is your Charter schools that are supposed to be helping that long with their “unelected school boards.

(2) ‘Offended? I seem to recall 2 weeks ago Bush was whining and making up excuses for the report by “In the Public Interest” as to his relationship with the Florida DOE! READ

(3)”Politics can’t always be like mamby-pamby land” – POLITICS has absolutely no business in education – it is Bush who has put POLITICS squarely at the feet of our children using them as human collateral. Oh how I would love to be a fly on the wall when you monsters are gathered together talking about your deceit!

(4) Bush continues to claim his push for Charter schools is for the “good” of the children – I beg to differ with you sir – it is all about the financial bottom line of your backers and yourself. You could care less about these children or you would not be pushing CCS.

(5) First, Bush needs to check his own School Choice website – He stated 45% of Florida’s students are enrolled in Charter schools when by his own web site they state for the 2012-2013 school year there are 570 Charter schools in Florida with approx. 200,000 students. Now, the 400K figure might hold water in that he (Bush) got legislation passed in Florida to require students to take at least 1 Virtual class to be able to graduate (this would certainly help to implode Bush’s numbers but his calculations lead others to believe he has that many Charter schools and students) and anyone with a kindergarten graduation diploma knows that was to fatten the “pockets of Bush backers.”

(6) Common Core Standards are being pushed by Jeb Bush and all of his Chief’s for Change” – want to take a guess why that it?

(7) Florida Charter school truth – Businesses with a Vested interest in the Charter school scam will tell only one side of the story — their side. But if you asked the Parents of students from the closed Charter schools you will get another story. For starters, charter schools fail and close at an alarming rate. One of every five has failed to keep its doors open. Last year charter schools accounted for nearly 50 percent of the state’s F-rated schools, even though they accounted for only 11 percent of the total public schools. (Let us not forget, “in the beginning” it was Jeb Bush who said he was starting the CHARTER school racket because ALL PUBLIC schools were bad and failing at an outrageous rate – “we need to have more accountability”. Maybe we need more accountability from Mr. Bush and his cronies!

Put it another way: Charter schools are seven times more likely to fail.

Yet Florida politicians barreled ahead, bowing to Bush and vowing to pour more and more tax dollars into this flawed system — and now they’re talking about doubling the number of kids in charter schools. Apparently Bush’s idea of “accountability” is only for traditional schools.

At one failed venture — Imani Elementary in Orlando, FL — students lacked books, missed tests and basically lost an entire year’s worth of education as the school racked up debt of more than $400,000 and did not inform parents of the impending closure! Just where does the debt go when a Charter school closes – would you like to guess? Given the fact Florida’s charter-school law strips away many of the accountability requirements faced by other public schools, Mr. Bush is again speaking in “double-speak”. He stated that was why we need schools to be Charter schools! He will never talk about the “closed” Charter schools and when you mention Bush’s original Charter school start in Miami, he doesn’t even remember the name of the school – that because it is also closed!

Even when charter schools appear to have broken the law or failed their students with misuse of funds, lack of equipment, and uncertified teachers – they have multiple chances to improve or appeal, a process that can stretch for months or longer. And when local school boards want to close a Charter school, the Bush injected State School board always steps in and that does not happen. How is that improving the accountability or education of our children to sit in an F school for 2-3 years?????

How is your state handling a failing Charter school? Have you looked at the legislation in your state regarding Charter Schools?

Gov. Rick Scott and Republican legislators have tripped over themselves to blame unions, lazy teachers and bureaucracies. Yet, when charter schools fail, they don’t say a word. In fact, when then Commissioner and Jeb Bush Chief’s for Change Gerard Robinson toured Jacksonville about opening another KIPP school, he was asked by a reporter why he would consider opening another KIPP school when those already open were failing? Robinsons response – “we don’t use that as a consideration”!

On the other side of the coin their are some very good Charter schools, but the underlying cronyism and manipulation to force all public schools to become Charter schools “for-profit” is just plain wrong and needs to be stopped!

Bottom line is – who is “minding the store”? Certainly no one but the taxpayers!

0

Do Florida Lawmakers Revere or Fear Jeb Bush? How About Your State?

It is a well known fact in Florida that when former Gov. Jeb Bush says “jump” the Florida Republican legislators “JUMP”! (I again want to remind my readers I am NPA as of the last election) So What is the hold? Do they really agree with his ideas and ideology? Do they think they are going to get something for their support? They do get donations from all the various “Charter School Businesses? But aren’t legislators elected to serve the electorate? The people of their states? It certainly does not seem to work that way anymore in ANY state.
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Few pundits have been willing to say publicly that the current chaos of Florida’s education accountability systems is of Jeb Bush’s doing. But Palm Beach Post writer Jac Versteeg has done just that this morning.

Jeb Bush 4 Former Gov. Jeb Bush has an undeserved reputation as an education reformer. Florida’s recent education progress has come not from implementing Mr. Bush’s policies but from cleaning up after them. (And cleaning they needed but Jeb Bush’s ideas are being fostered and aligned as “the best there is? He is NOT an EDUCATOR!

Mr. Bush has been visiting legislators in Tallahassee to talk about education policy. Get out the mops and buckets. Taxpayers also should reach for their wallets, since the former governor’s new big ideas involve transferring more public dollars to the for-profit companies behind him.

Mr. Bush’s biggest idea, enacted immediately after taking office in 1999, was to give each school an A-to-F grade based on student scores on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. That misuse of the FCAT continues. The test’s many shortcomings were even more serious when Gov. Bush initiated FCAT tyranny. The test covered only a few subjects, students took it long before the end of the school year, and half of elementary and high-school students didn’t even take it. Yet the entire school received a grade, on which parents, students and Realtors fixated.

(Added note here is that the FCAT forced teacher’s to “TEACH TO THE TEST” and the other subjects would be pushed aside. Parents have complained about that since the inception of the FCAT. Teachers hands have been tied. Does this sound like a man who is really interested in the education of our children?

I would like to pose the question – Has this been a set-up deal for the failure of public schools to give the big push for Charter schools. Failing regular public schools as the incentive to open Charter schools and push the support for Virtual education and the PARENT TRIGGER bill?)

…….In yet another revision to the grading formula Gov. Bush perversely and prematurely treated as infallible, Florida made FCAT scores count less in some school grades. Still, Florida in 2011 also required teachers to be evaluated based on FCAT scores, even if a teacher had no students who took the FCAT.

This is not “creative destruction.” It’s harassment, and it has created enormous ill will. Gov. Rick Scott’s frantic reversals in preparation for a reelection run — he has called for teacher raises not linked to the FCAT — show how unpopular Mr. Bush’s education legacy is.

With the FCAT writing test looming this week, a Palm Beach County school board member spoke for many educators when she lamented that “this is one test on one day that means more than it should.” But urging students and parents not to stress out is futile. Failing the FCAT still has out-sized consequences — such as no diploma.

Mr. Bush’s fans note that Florida’s education rankings and results have improved. The dubious rankings give Florida credit simply for having “accountability,” systems even if those systems are bogus. Improving test results and graduation rates are incremental and could have been achieved — and surpassed — more quickly without the turmoil Mr. Bush inflicted.

Now Mr. Bush heads several foundations pushing for a rapid expansion of charter schools and virtual schools. His Foundation for Excellence in Education accepts donations from private companies that would profit from lax new laws that Florida and other states are rushing to enact. The sort of careless “reform” Jeb Bush advocates will end up with taxpayers fleeced and students and parents cheated. He has a reputation for reform. He has a record of making messes.

Even as lawmakers look for a way out to prevent a train wreck – Plan B on Common Core Standards and PARCC tests with more tweaks to school grade formulas and teacher evaluations – Bush continues to be revered by them. Or is it feared? The former Florida governor controls the purse strings to Florida’s business community and speaks from the bully pulpit on everything. For a republican to oppose him is political suicide. Bush’s control of education policy coupled with his un-opposable political clout is a chilling and dangerous vacuum of absolute power.
by Bob Sikes www.scathingmusings.com
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Florida and her education system are nothing to be applauded and other states need to turn their eyes away from us for leadership along with its leader Jeb Bush. Dump the CCS and the lies being sent out by Jeb Bush and his supporting businesses who are getting rich off of the backs of our children.

One thing people may not know – Students who have failed the FCAT in high school and cannot graduate without passing it are given 3 attempts at it. Just what is that about?

0

The Bush Foundation’s “Air Cover” Hack and Flack Part 2

I want to thank Bob Sikes for allowing me to share any information he has gathered – it just let’s us get more to more people and that is the goal.

I never thought I would say this but I want to thank the liberal “usually doesn’t tell the truth” press for making sure this information gets spread around the country. Not that I think they care one way or the other about Charter schools or what is happening in Education around the country as a whole, but because Jeb Bush is a Republican they are going to grab it like a lollipop and “suck” all the dirt out of it they can.

The difference this time is this series is sharing the truth backed up with original e-mails and documents that “In the Public Interest” acquired to share with the country. They have been accused by the Republican side of being liberal hacks – but these documents are for real and I think that is what is bothering Mr. Bush the most. There is too much “dirty” action happening for it not to surface eventually!
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Reporters across the nation are sifting through the emails which “In the Public Interest” released two weeks ago. It’s that drip, drip, drip you hear. Now this Associated Press story about contacts Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE) made with Oklahoma state education commissioner Janet Barresi, one of FEE’s Chiefs for Change:
Janet Barresi OK
An email from December 2011 indicates that the Bush foundation was heavily involved with the Oklahoma State Department of Education’s writing of the rules used to implement legislation including the new A-F school report cards, changes to the Reading Sufficiency Act intended to end “social promotion,” and online supplemental learning.

“Based on my work with your team, I don’t anticipate any issues getting approval from your board, but we are happy to provide any kind of air cover — op eds, tweets, letters to the editor, and even expert testimony at the board meeting if you need it,” wrote Mary Laura Bragg, director of state policy implementation at the Foundation for Excellence in Education, in an email to Barresi.

Other emails show that Assistant State Superintendent Kerri White sought assistance with Oklahoma’s application for a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind Act from Chiefs for Change and the Jeb Bush foundation and Bragg responded with a referral to John Bailey, whom she called, “our federal policy superstar.”.

Has Bragg tipped the Foundation’s hand? All of the emails that In the Public Interest acquired are from state’s where Bush, through his FEE, has recruited Chiefs for Change. His foundation continues to support Barresi with op-eds, most recently this from conservative writer Chester Finn. A former Florida Department of Education staffer prior to going to work for FEE, Bragg’s offer of “air cover” in the form of “tweets, op-eds and letters to the editor” reveals the Foundation’s propaganda template.

Bush’s FEE cannot exist without the idea that Florida’s education model is superior to all others. That idea became imperiled last spring in the aftermath of the 2012 FCAT Writes debacle and Florida was subjected to a massive spin campaign that was coordinated between Governor Rick Scott’s staff, the Florida Department of Education and the FEE. Scathing Purple Musings wrote about them here, here and here. The episode fueled a revolt against Bush’s FCAT and high-stakes testing regime in the form of resolutions from a plurality of Florida 67 local school boards. It eventually resulted in the resignation of one of Bush’s hand-picked Chiefs for Change, Gerard Robinson.

Does the offer for “op-eds” mean that FEE ghost writes, too? Observers in Florida have been pondering that question for some time. CEO Patricia Levesque can get her opinion pieces published in a major Florida paper anytime she wants. So can Bush, but the two know they cannot be the lone voices. In June 2012, then speaker-in-waiting Will Weatherford used talking points identical to those of Levesque in an op-ed as part of the FCAT Writes PR blitz. Bush loyalists John Winn and Kathleen Shanahan had similar op-eds published during the time.

Not all Oklahoman’s buy into the myth or the wisdom of Bush’s Florida model. More from the AP story:

Policy analysts and school officials called for greater public awareness about the situation and more caution on the part of state leaders.

“It’s very important to bring these relationships to light. We’re piling on accountability for students and teachers, but not for these private entities that are in many cases writing our education policies,” said Gene Perry, policy analyst with the Oklahoma Policy Institute. “These conflicts of interest are troubling because schools should be designed to educate kids, not make profits off of them.”

Jenks Superintendent Kirby Lehman finds the foundation’s influence on Oklahoma policy disturbing, given its powerful corporate backers. In the Public Interest reports foundation donors include for-profit companies such as the standardized test giant Pearson and education service provider McGraw-Hill, and K12, one of the nation’s largest virtual school networks that includes the Oklahoma Virtual Charter Academy.

As Oklahoma’s previous testing contractor, Pearson was paid more than $24 million in recent years, according to a recent state auditor’s report, while McGraw-Hill was just awarded a contract that would be worth $28 million over the next five years.

The state is now in the third year of an $11 million four-year alternate testing contract with Pearson.

Lehman even questions why Oklahoma would be following the “Florida model” for school reforms when Oklahoma students outpace their Florida counterparts on the ACT college entrance exam.

In 2012, the average composite score in Florida was 19.8, compared to Oklahoma’s 20.7 and the national average of 21.1.

“Why then would Oklahoma emulate Florida by enacting the ‘(Jeb) Bush reforms’?” he said. “The answer to this question is far more complicated than a simple score comparison between states.”

Indeed. Floridians are used to Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE) picking and choosing data they like and would be sure to dismiss these ACT scores. In the past year they’ve brushed aside troubling remediation rates of Florida’s college freshmen as well as the state’s graduation rates. But they routinely tout Florida’s 4th grade reading scores as it justifies their 3rd grade retention stand, and anything else that preserves the Florida model myth.

posted by Bob Sikes February 17, 2013
http://bobsidlethoughtsandmusings.wordpress.com/2013/02/17/the-bush-foundations-air-cover-hack-and-flack/
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The Parent Trigger bill has also been introduced by Kelli Stargil one of the Florida legislators who received the most funding in the last election from the Republican Party of Florida and all the businesses involved in Charter schools and Choice. Once again we see the strong involvement of business and our Florida legislators in contriving what THEY want in regard to our children’s education.

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The Education Bed Is Almost Full!

Bush and RubioWell, Florida’s glory boy stood in front of millions of Americans last night and told them he supports school choice and the vouchers, which in education language means – “I am also sleeping with Jeb Bush.”

Wow! I know the rest of the country is in love with this young, flashy, great speaker Marco Rubio, but have any of you talked to Floridians who helped him get elected? We certainly are not any happier with him than we are with most of the other senators and congressman who have been selling us down the river for the past 3 ½ years.

Have you forgotten that most of them signed the NDAA and the Re-Patriot Act and at the same time not listening to a word the taxpayers – the ones who pay their salaries said – begged, pleaded, almost cried – for them NOT to sign those bills and they said, “I don’t work for you – I am in control now and I know more than you do and I am smarter in general. So just go home, watch TV and let whatever will be – be.”

Are Floridians supposed to be excited and proud that because Rubio was given the “place” of responding to Obummer last night and now according to the press, that is the official announcement that Rubio will be running for president?

Are Floridians going to forget how many toes Rubio stepped on to get where he is today without a thank you, or I appreciate all you have done or just plain lied in the process.

And with Rubio’s national speech last night for School choice is that also the announcement that if he wins the Presidential race Jeb Bush will be the Secretary of the Department of Education?

Is there no way to keep Bush’s at home rather than creating havoc and deception all over this country? Bush needs to go back to the family ranch before he can do any more damage!

Rubio’s speech stated the “school-choice” bill he proposes would allow taxpayers to subsidize private-school education for poor kids. ONLY POOR KIDS? What gauge is he intending to use to determine who a “POOR KID” is? How many more programs are the working people of this country supposed to fund when we are out-numbered by the “non-working”?

Realizing the apparent close relationship of Bush and Rubio shines brightly as a way to enforce a voucher program similar to what Bush tried to get through in Florida the last election in Amendment 8. Bush has tried to get that imposed on the citizens of Florida since the late 90’s even to the point of the Florida Supreme court calling his supporters out for trying to get “around the rules.”

With what Rubio and Bush have proposed your tax dollars would be going to fund Private and Religious schools without any say on how the money would be spent because once again they would NOT be overseen by the “elected” school boards and that Ladies and Gentlemen is “taxation without representation”.

To further enforce how wrong this is, it has been openly proposed that businesses and foundations would come in behind the Federal $$ to give the added financial support for each voucher and now we are back to what we have been fighting against for years – “for-profit” schools creating “public-private partnerships”.

In his speech last night it sounded to me that Rubio was basically laying out a major theme for his Presidential campaign in that the conservative policies would be good for the poor and working class.

Someone please show me a CONSERVATIVE IN CONGRESS!

Let’s look at this with “clear eyes.” Jeb Bush was Rubio’s mentor when he was serving as a Florida politician. Rubio, not to my memory, ever voted against a Gov. Jeb Bush agenda/policy.

“It’s not about unions. It’s not about school administrators,” Rubio said in an interview. “This is about parents. The only parents in America who don’t have a choice where their kids go to school are poor parents.”

That statement is certainly not true because the Bush Foundations in their push for Charter schools all over the country using the voucher and choice systems target “low-income” areas all the time. Then if they fail they can turn around and use that as the reason for failure – “well what did you expect, we tried and we just never can get anywhere in the low-income areas?”

And unless I am in error, the vouchers are supposed to be used on a lottery basis as to prevent a student from being accepted because of their financial status.

This will not be an easy sell for Rubio with the current Senate since the Teachers Unions and Democrat’s in general are not supportive of these measures. All over America they have pushed back at Bush and his nonprofit foundations as it pushes for more school-choice legislation. They also do not support Bush’s alignment with Michelle Rhee’s “Student’s First” or “Teach America”.

Having Charter schools, school choice and vouchers becoming a Federal issue is NOT good. We need, as Americans, to get the Federal government out of the Business of the Education of our Children. It is unconstitutional and a format for nothing more than “monkey business” and following the Communist plan for the over throw of this country.

DO YOU REALLY WANT YOUR CHILDREN IN FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS TOTALLY LEAVING OUT YOUR LOCAL AUTHORITY?

Before last night’s speech, Democrats had accused Rubio of supporting “extreme” budget policies that would cut social-welfare programs. I am sure the Dem’s will focus in on how his plan would certainly add to the National Budget and WE DON’T HAVE ANY MONEY! WHAT PART OF WE ARE BROKE ARE YOU NOT HEARING?

Rubio admits he doesn’t know how much the legislation could cost and I seriously doubt he cares as long as the legislation any politician presents is passed.

And Florida, the news has just broke that Jim Greer, former head of the Florida Republican Party, after all this time has pled guilty to all charges lodged against him WITHOUT A TRIAL and now Rubio doesn’t have that hanging over his head either.

“Oh what a tangled web we weave when we first practice to deceive.”

HUM!!!!!!!