Thursday, July 24, 2014


The Regional TURN Summer Conference is just around the corner - July 28-29 in Rosemont, IL.

Register here

New: Download the Agenda and Conference Flyer

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Florida TURN: Inaugural Conference

A total of 60 participants representing 10 counties across the state of Florida, accepted the invitation to participate in the launch of FloridaTURN. Most participated in teams ofunion & teacher leaders, school or district administration and parent/community leaders. The teams are at varying stages of development in the implementation of teacher evaluation systems and the Common Core standards.

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National TURN: Getting Teacher Evaluation Right

Atlanta, GA (Nov 1-2, 2013) ~ Three thought leaders in the field of education reform (pictured here from left to right: Deborah Meier, Diane Ravitch, and Linda Darling-Hammond) were featured guests at the Fall Conference of the Teacher Union Reform Network.

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Southwest TURN: PAR and the Common Core

Atlanta, GA (Nov 2-3, 2013) ~ The fall 2013 meeting of Southwest TURN was held in Atlanta, GA on November 2-3, following the National TURN meeting.  The meeting included presentations on Peer Assistance and Review and the Common Core, as well as the usual SW TURN business meeting and framing and messaging training. 

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MASE TURN: Disorganizing to Organize

Raleigh, NC (Oct 18-19, 2013) ~ A small but determined group of teacher leaders and their district/community partners met to address the theme of "Strengthening Teacher Voice to Improve Teaching & Learning." 

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Schools Matter: Understanding Why the TURN Cancer Has to Be Cut Out of AFT and NEA

Understanding Why the TURN Cancer Has to Be Cut Out of AFT and NEA

Posted at @theChalkace July 18, 2014

With a concerted effort among AFT and NEA misleadership shills to make TURN appear be a kinder and gentler form of corporate union takeover, it's important to "replay the tape" in order to understand the history that has been made and the history that is being made.  There are some who pretend to believe that TURN cannot be all bad if they invite Karen Lewis, Deb Meier, Linda Darling-Hammond, and Diane Ravitch to speak at their conclaves.  When we examine the continuing practices and policies of TURN, however, it becomes oh so obvious that these speaking engagements are window dressing to draw attention away from the continued growth of corporate agendas within the NEA and AFT.  The following was first posted at Schools Matter in late 2013 (links have been updated):

Is TURN Trying to Take Over Your Union?

I received the following letter from a teacher in California, who is concerned about her local union in California being taken over by the Broad-sponsored embeds from The Union Reform Network (TURN). If your local has been taken over by TURN, please contact me to share your story.

Her letter below is followed by my response:

Dear Mr Horn,

I am a union rep in __________ California . . . , and my union leadership has begun looking into the possibility adopting TURN in conjunction with the school district. I am, however, having a difficult time finding any resources about TURN and its cohorts, other than ones that speak well of the program. There is little criticism available on the web, other than your highly appreciate insights, and that makes me nervous because it reeks much like a party line that everyone has to follow. I am leery to say the least, but I wonder if you would not mind providing me with some leads, or articles, or unions who have adopted TURN and have been disappointed. Patrick Dolan is coming to speak at our district on Monday and Tuesday of next week and I would like to have some questions for him on top of the ones I will ask about Broad, ALEC, and Urbanski. I appreciate your help and any research that you may have.


Name Withheld

My Response


Hi __________,

I have forwarded your request for info on TURN to critic on the Board of the MTA here in MA. I will pass along anything he sends me. In the meantime, here are a couple of links that may be useful. Patrick Dolan is being shipped around the country but TURN to drum up new support for corporatizing unions. As far as I can tell, he is seen as the intellectual godfather of the movement. His hand-drawn charts try to capture how top-down management may be viewed as bottom-up governance.

It's total crap. Every place that TURN has gone, teachers have been losers in terms of job security, benefits, teacher autonomy, professionalism, and the student-teacher relationship.

There is a reason that Eli Broad provided the seed money for this outfit. It is based on the outlandish notion that the only way teacher unions can be relevant is to adopt corporate education reforms that are anti-teacher and most often anti-public school. What we have seen in places like Chicago where the teachers' union took a stand against school shutdowns, higher teacher pupil ratios, budget cuts, and inhumane learning environments for children, the public has been wildly supportive of such efforts. When teachers stand up for children and when unions make social justice their primary goals, the public responds with support and parents and parents feel as if they have allies.

The Teacher Reform Network, as it is called, supports more charter schools, teacher evaluation based on test scores, and the next testing delivery system, the Common Core. My question would be something like this: how does it benefit teacher unionism or help teacher unions grow and children prosper if teachers and their unions become tools of the oppressive corporate structures whose primary aims our school privatization and more profits for the education industry, as well as maintaining social control through unending testing regimes?

Another possible question: why does TURN support unscientific teacher evaluation schemes such as value added, which are harmful and unfair to teachers? Or, why does TURN support school turnaround models that depend upon corporate segregated charter schools?

Below are two more links [links updated for this post on 07.17.14] that you might find helpful, the second one with the names of locals where TURN is controlling the union, and the other from Philadelphia School Network with some interesting points in education union reform history.

I suggest that you share your information with a colleague you trust, or colleagues you trust, for this upcoming meeting. There is strength in solidarity, even if your numbers are small at this point.

I often feel like the voice in the wilderness when I provide these critiques of the teacher reform network or the current leadership of AFT and NEA. For some it sets off their lizard brain reaction, that part way down below cognition where fight or flight, fear and fancy, control responses. It sometimes triggers, too, that kind of George Bush Way of looking at the world – you are for unions and everything they do or you're against unions and everything they do. Surely this is a false dichotomy.

For unions to survive and thrive, I make the case that they cannot become more like corporations in order to do so. They have to nurture and take care of their members, rather than to sell them down the river with unscientific and untried corporate reforms.

If we continue to stick our heads in the sand and pretend that everything that union leaders advocate and support and have bought and have been paid to do has to be supported in the name of solidarity, then our workers will continue to be exploited, schoolchildren will continue to suffer, democratic institutions will continue to weaken, and unions will become more and more irrelevant.

There is much work to be done to restore integrity. We can't begin by pretending that no such need exists.

Jim Horn

cavete tyrannis
qui doecet in doctrina

Judge Inclined to Stop LAUSD from Closing Down Charter Schools - Schools - North Hollywood-Toluca Lake, CA Patch

Judge Inclined to Stop LAUSD from Closing Down Charter Schools - Schools - North Hollywood-Toluca Lake, CA Patch

Judge Inclined to Stop LAUSD from Closing Down Charter Schools

The tentative ruling will allow Magnolia students to start school next month at two of its academies.

A judge has issued a tentative ruling granting a request by Magnolia Public Schools for a preliminary injunction stopping Los Angeles Unified officials from shutting down academies 6 and 7.

The charter schools organization sought the order so it could appeal the district's decision through county and, perhaps, state education agencies.

"The court finds that (Magnolia) has made a significant showing of irreparable harm as a result of the LAUSD taking the position that the charter schools' expired," Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Luis Lavin wrote.

The judge will hear arguments later today on the issues before issuing a final decision.

Lavin noted that students are expected to report to school Aug. 12, which would have given Magnolia only about three weeks from today's hearing to notify parents that the schools would not operate for the 2014-15 school year.

"Thus, even if LAUSD's board was to issue proper written findings in the near future, the schools would be unable to obtain administrative review of those findings to properly inform their students and staff of the schools' status before the start of the school year," Lavin wrote.

In court documents, LAUSD officials say an audit they commissioned of the two academies shows their management organization, Magnolia Educational and Research Foundation, meets the IRS's definition of "insolvency" because its net assets were at a deficit of nearly $1.7 million for the fiscal year ending June 2013.

Magnolia officials, meanwhile, enclosed in court filings a letter from an auditor they hired putting Magnolia's assets at $4.8 million for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013.

Magnolia "is certainly solvent and liquid and has the ability to successfully fund the operations of its schools,' according to the letter, which was filed in court.

A second accounting firm's findings also refuted the district's contentions, Magnolia officials contend in court documents.

--City News Service

creativity--- is it crushed by school?

TED and The Huffington Post are excited to bring you TEDWeekends, a curated weekend program that introduces a powerful "idea worth spreading" every Friday, anchored in an exceptional TEDTalk. This week's TEDTalk is accompanied by an original blog post from the featured speaker, along with new op-eds, thoughts and responses from the HuffPost community. Watch the talk above, read the blog post and tell us your thoughts below. Become part of the conversation!
I've spoken twice at TED. The first time was in 2006. TED was a very different event then. It was a private conference for about 1,200 people. After the event, the talks were packaged in a box set of DVDs and sent just to the attendees. I gave a talk called "Do Schools Kill Creativity?" A few months later, Chris Anderson, the curator of TED, called to say they were planning to put a few talks on their website as an experiment and asked if they could include mine. The timing was perfect. Social media was beginning to take shape and the insatiable appetite for YouTube and short videos was about to emerge. The experiment was an instant success and has turned TED into a global cultural phenomenon. There are now several hundred talks on the website and the number of downloads has passed one billion.

CURMUDGUCATION: Racing to the Bottom: The New School Leadership Ch...

CURMUDGUCATION: Racing to the Bottom: The New School Leadership Ch...: As the assault on public education continues, school leaders face an unprecedented challenge-- how to win the race to the bottom without bei...

LAUSD's Gentler, Kinder DEASY Says Teachers Deserve Raise NOW and UTLAl Reminds him about Class Size

LAUSD teacher pay rose in 2013 after falling in 2012.
By Thomas Himes, Los Angeles Daily News
Los Angeles Unified administrators and teacher union leaders will enter their first round of contract negotiations this afternoon divided by roughly $280 million per year for pay raises and even further apart on matters that directly affect classrooms.

The school district’s latest written offer this week was rejected outright by representatives of United Teachers Los Angeles, who say the proposed 6.64 percent across-the-board raise doesn’t even restore income previously lost to furloughs days, and that other stipulations in the offer would take away educators say in academic matters.

DEASY SPINS SOME ANTI-SLANDER SLANDER AS Judges rule against letting public see LAUSD teachers' performance


Let me say up front that this is not a real case. It may have gone before a judge who issued an order, but the truth is the district and LAT now understand that there is empirical evidence, an abundance of it, that shows these tests are woefully inaccurate and VAM employs a far too simplistic method for determining effectiveness. In other words, VAM is a scam and the experts have proven it . This means that teachers who are labeled in the Times a few years ago and remain an aggressive pop up  on this site are being lied about in a way that damages their  reputation . This makes LAT & LAUSD liable for libel. 
I wonder if some of these teachers sued. Probably not because they had nothing to prove this until recently. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Schools Matter: Chicago Teachers Union Versus Astroturf Billionaires

Chicago Teachers Union Versus Astroturf Billionaires

Billionaires like the Koch Brothers, Betsy DeVos, and Bill Gates fund astroturf tools like Jonah Edelman, Rebecca Nieves Huffman, and Kyle Olson. Working with anti-working class politicians like Rahm Emanuel, these groups and individuals strive to privatize public education, union bust, and profit off the sufferings of the poor. Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) is on the front lines of the battle to save public education, but they are fighting right-wing forces with limitless resources. Their bold actions in the face of overwhelming odds may well be the turning point in the battle to prevent the neoliberal project from eliminating public education nationwide. They need our support, please contribute to the CTU Solidarity Fund.
Here's CTU's introduction to the film:

In Support of Tenure « Movement of Rank and File Educators

The attacks on tenure today have nothing to do with improving teaching and learning. They are designed to undermine teachers' unions with the goal of silencing educators' voices.  We firmly believe that in order for public education to succeed, teachers must have tenure, a protection that allows educators to stand with parents, for children.

Isn't it Pretty to Think so? Gloria Romero Recycles a Weak Thesis to Stay Relevant at Diane Ravitch's Expense

Gloria Romero: Too pretty for education policy?

Before you read any further, glance in a mirror. Do you think you're pretty? If you are female and answer yes, you might not be smart enough to understand education policy, so just stop reading.

Strike over raises at LAUSD Moves Along without Teacher Input as UTLA and Deasy Prop Up Predictable Pretenses

Amid strike threat, LAUSD and teachers ready to talk | Which Way L.A.?
There is no teacher input in these talks . This is not even a real negotiation. Its just showbiz . Of course a, Caputo Pearl may be too foolish to recognize that his antics are PR suicide for teachers. He is a careerist, so what does he care about membership? If he was really interested in their best interests, he'd hear more than raises . They are teachers. They are not greedy, but they are worried about ciass size, hostile and unsafe conditions at  neglected schools. Teachers want RIFs restored, nurses on campuses. They need libraries, counselors, PSW, intercession, remediation, and custodians ti help clean up filthy campuses.  As state and federal inspections bear out, there is a woeful indifference to IEPs and ELs , whose test scores impact teachers' jobs not the administrators and officials who sabotage their progress. 
Students benefit when teachers barter for them. But the union isn't interested in what is best for these children and neither is the district.  

Amid strike threat, LAUSD and teachers ready to talk

What's a school district chief to do?
Superintendent John Deasy and the LAUSD have presented a contract proposal that would help reverse recent salary cuts by giving their biggest pay hike in a decade. But before negotiators even go back to the table this week, new United Teachers Los Angeles President Alex Caputo-Pearl has given the offer a resounding thumb's down, calling it a "non-starter."
Caputo-Pearl says the district's offer of a two-percent bonus, plus raises of two percent in each of the next two years, and two-and-a-half percent in the third year of the deal, falls short. After years of taking it on the chin, Caputo-Pearl says the union is prepared to strike if the district does not meet its demands. He's recommended that teachers should start saving now in anticipation of that possibility.
In spite of Caputo-Pearl's opposition to the latest offer, LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy says he's hopeful a deal can be reached by the start of the new school year. He tells KCRW the proposed contract represents a 26.3 percent increase in compensation when health and pension contributions and other items are factored in. And he says there are also improvements in working conditions. Talks are scheduled to get back on track on Thursday.

Puta Pearl

One of the finest education blogs and funny'll laugh, you'll learn. READ EduShyster. GREAT blogger, amazing teacher!

On Charter Schools, Say This, Not That | EduShyster

On Charter Schools, Say This, Not That

A new guide to charter messaging urges advocates to steer clear of corporate speak
say this not that-1Once every four minutes, a passionate charter advocate accidentally lapses into the kind of clinical corporate speak that can leave listeners cold—not to mention kids out of the equation. Would that there were a way to remedy this problem once and for all… Great news, reader. Problem solved! A handy new guide to charter school messaging ensures that never again will you mistakenly blurt out *market share* when you mean *student share,* or *businesses* when what you really meant to mean all along was *schools.*

Katy Grimes Offers Insights about Perils of Misdirected Wrath, Mutant Math, Self-Righteous Rhetoric in Corporate Education Reform

LAUSD Teachers Demand 17.6 Percent Raise… Don't Yawn, read on | FlashReport

LAUSD Teachers Demand 17.6 Percent Raise… Don't Yawn, read on

Posted by at 5:46 pm on Jul 22, 2014
Does a salary increase of 17.6 percent translate into 17.6 percent better job performance? Chances are, it does not.

The Los Angeles Unified School District and Service Employees International Union recently cut a dubious deal to increase 33,000 minimum-wage non-teaching workers' pay to $15 an hour, nearly doubling some workers' salaries. I wrote about it July 7 in "Dubious Deal Between Los Angeles School District and SEIU."
Only 10 days later, the newly elected president of Los Angeles Unified School District's teachers union, United Teachers Los Angeles, announced a demand for a 17.6 percent teacher pay raise. And Alex Caputo-Pearl, the new union president, is willing to strike until they get the raise, the Los Angeles Register reported. "We may have to strike. This district is not moving on fundamental things that kids and educators need," Caputo-Pearl said. "Our employees have been treated like doormats over the past few years. This is not a negotiation ploy."
In May, the district offered an "insulting" 2 percent lump sum increase, and another 2 percent increase for the upcoming school year. The offer was insulting to Caputo-Pearl.
A 2 percent lump sum increase is big, in the total $6.64 billion LAUSD budget.
A 17.6 percent increase is huge:
  • A teacher making $60,000 annually would receive a $10,560 raise, increasing the annual salary to $70,560;
  • A teacher making $30,000 annually would receive a $5,280 raise, increasing the annual salary to $35,280.
But a raise for teachers doesn't necessarily translate to better results for students. How is spending another $450 million dollars help anyone but teachers union members? How is boosting teacher's salaries by 17.6 percent going to help students?
How about holding teachers 17.6 percent more accountable, or making students' test scores 17.6 percent of teachers' performance evaluations?
This is a pipe dream — many school districts in the state already refuse to allow student test scores to be used in performance evaluations of teachers.
No Yawning When I Explain "Local Control Funding Formula" 

B-LoEdScene: Diane Ravitch Is Wrong. Teachers Need to Hammer Unions

B-LoEdScene: Diane Ravitch Is Wrong. Teachers Need to Hammer So...: When Diane Ravitch, Saint Diane as I prefer to call her, admonishes us small folk for criticizing our so called union leaders she reveals a...

Jersey Jazzman: What Exactly Does Campbell Brown Want

It appears that Campbell Brown, in the wake of Michelle Rhee's continuing descent into irrelevance, is going to be the new face of reforminess for the foreseeable future. Say what you will about Rhee, at least she taught for a couple of years; Brown forms her opinions about teachers, however, unencumbered by even that little bit of experience:
Under New York law, schools must decide after just three years whether teachers are granted tenure — a supreme level of job protection that can amount to permanent employment. State law makes it nearly impossible to dismiss teachers who have been identified as ineffective. And in times of layoffs, the teachers who get priority to keep their jobs are those with seniority, regardless of how well they teach.