Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Oklahoma Supreme Court upholds Common Core repeal

The Oklahoma Supreme Court today upheld the repeal of Common Core State Standards:

The highest court ruled to uphold the legislative repeal of Common Core stands, about a month before public school students are scheduled to return to the classroom.

Parents, teachers and four members of the Oklahoma Board of Education argued state lawmakers violated the board's constitutional authority over the "supervision of instruction in the public schools" when they repealed Common Core standards scheduled to go into effect in the upcoming school year.

The Supreme Court decided otherwise.

Monday, July 14, 2014

AFT backs Common Core Standards

While you would think by this point, it would be obvious that Common Core State Standards are a disaster, a national teacher union voiced its support for the standards during its convention over the weekend.

The following is the news release issued by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT):

AFT members today passed a resolution at the union’s national convention reaffirming the AFT’s support for the promise and potential of the Common Core State Standards as a way to ensure all children have the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the 21st century while sharply criticizing the standards’ botched implementation. The AFT’s resolution lays out key actions needed to restore confidence in the standards and provide educators, parents and students with the tools and supports they need to make the standards work in the classroom.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Students First closing shop in Minnesota, scaling back in other states

If only the same thing could be said about Missouri.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that Students First, the misnamed,anti-teacher, pro-voucher organization started by Michelle Rhee is closing shop in Minnesota and is scaling back in other states:

Kathy Saltzman, state director of StudentsFirst Minnesota, confirmed Wednesday that the group has decided not to maintain a paid staff in Minnesota, where it has about 29,000 members. She is currently the group’s only Minnesota-based employee.

The national group, headed by former Washington, D.C., schools chancellor Michelle Rhee, has been part of a movement aimed at improving education in ways that many teachers think unfairly target them. It has pushed for greater accountability among teachers, fought to overturn laws that protect teacher tenure and supported standardized testing. It has frequently aligned itself with Republican lawmakers who support charter schools and school vouchers.

“The decision was made based on the continually changing legislative climate,” Saltzman said of the move to close Minnesota’s branch. “We will, however, continue to have a presence here through our members.”

Earlier this week, StudentsFirst confirmed that it is scaling back operations in Florida to focus on political battles elsewhere. In coming days, it is expected to announce that it’s eliminating staff members in other states — a move a national group spokesman said Wednesday he could not confirm.

Friday, July 11, 2014

School to pay $150,000 in sex abuse settlement

A Massachusetts school district which failed to investigate claims of sexual abuse against a teacher has settled with the victim for $150,000:

During a 2011 press conference, Michael Phillips said he had informed the school of the abuse he and other students experienced at the hands of  Robert Dacey, but the school system took no further action.

Dacey was eventually charged with 17 counts of child molestation. He died in 2007, before he could stand trial against the charges.

Will second teacher union call for Arne Duncan's resignation?

One week after the National Education Association (NEA) members called for the resignation of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, the second biggest teacher union in the U. S., American Federation of Teachers (AFT) will meet and that group may also call for Duncan to step down:

It is unclear whether AFT delegates will echo NEA members, who last week at their convention in Denver called for the resignation of U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan. NEA activists, led by a delegation from California, were enraged by Duncan’s support of a recent court ruling in that state, which found that tenure and other job protections for teachers violated the state constitution.

Three days after the NEA’s action, Duncan appeared at an event with Weingarten and went out of his way to say that he supports teachers unions and collective bargaining.

(AFT President Randi) Weingarten said Thursday she understood the call by the NEA for Duncan’s resignation. “The comments he made about the (tenure) case showed a real disrespect for the every day teacher,” she said. If her union members wants to follow suit, it’s up to them, she said. “That’s what conventions are for,” Weingarten said. “It is in their hands.”

AFT is also expected to ask for tweaking of Common Core Standards with a deemphasis on high-stakes testing.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Disabled guidance counselor sues Kansas City School District

Accused killer/rapist of teacher faces new assault charge

A 15-year-old Massachusetts student who is accused of following a teacher into a bathroom and then raping her and killing her faces a new assault charge. He reportedly followed the same pattern at the Youth Services facility where he is being held and followed an employee into a bathroom and assaulted her:

Philip Chism has been indicted as a youthful offender on charges of attempted murder by strangulation, assault with intent to murder, kidnapping, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, prosecutors said Wednesday. He could face adult penalties if convicted.

Chism attacked the 29-year-old woman on June 2 after following her into a bathroom at the youth facility in Boston where he was held, prosecutors said. Co-workers stopped him when she cried for help. The woman declined medical treatment.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Texas governor candidate: We must crush Common Core

The Republican candidate for governor of Texas, Attorney General Greg Abbott, makes no bones about how he feels about Common Core:

Attorney General Greg Abbott’s gubernatorial campaign turned up the rhetoric against federal education standards Monday, soliciting donations with a fiery call to arms that “We must crush Common Core.”

“Help Greg Abbott ensure that President Obama’s Common Core stays OUT of the Lone Star State by making a contribution today,” said the email from campaign staffer Lynn Haueter, adding that “we can’t let the Obama Administration get its hands on Texas schools.”

Texas has already rejected Common Core and Abbott's general election opponent, Democrat Wendy Davis also opposes Common Core.

School fires $750,000 a year superintendent

The Centinela Valley, California School District fired a superintendent who was making $750,000 "for cause" and Supt. Jose Fernadez' appears to have something to do with his contract:

The district had hired an outside firm to investigate Fernandez's compensation package and other matters. He was suspended in early April.

Fernandez, 54, made considerably more last year than the leaders of the New York, Los Angeles and Chicago school districts, the nation's largest school systems. His 2013 compensation was inflated by a one-time supplement of $230,000, which he used to buy seniority in state retirement systems. Doing so allows him to collect a higher pension when he retires.