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Profile Information

Gender: Female
Hometown: Florida
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 81,669

About Me

Retired teacher who sees much harm to public education from the "reforms" being pushed by corporations. Privatizing education is the wrong way to go. Children can not be treated as products, thought of in terms of profit and loss.

Journal Archives

Found at Twitter. Warning to Tea Party...Don't Vote. lol

I wonder if Arne Duncan is trying to end the category of special education?

I wonder if he and the other "reformers" think that if they demand that special education students perform on the same level as those who are not....I wonder if he thinks the issue of individual capabilities will go away like magic?

Mark Naison wrote about a meeting of a group of BATs (BadAss Teachers)...don't laugh there are tens of thousands of them already...with some of the people in the Education Department. Very angry BATs.

Arne Duncan Drops in Unexpectedly on Meeting With BATS at US Department of Education Office of Civil Rights and Gets an Earful!

He says that the group of reps from the Ed Dept were surprised at their outspokenness. I said they had not been listening. They haven't a clue. Arne Duncan was not expected at the meeting.

Right in the middle of both of these conversations, Arne Duncan walked in and introduced himself! Needless to say, we were surprised because we were told he would NOT be at the meeting. Especially since he entered, along with one of his top aides, just as things were starting to get heated and real disagreements were emerging.

In response to his first comment, Marla Kilfoyle started speaking about her concerns about Department from her standpoint of the parent of a special needs student as well as a teacher. She said it appeared that Department policies were forcing school districts to disregard individual student IEP’s and exposing special needs students to inappropriate and abusive levels of testing.

Secretary Duncan deflected her remarks by saying that the Department was concerned that too many children of color were being inappropriately diagnosed as being Special Needs children and that once they were put in that category they were permanently marginalized. He then said “We want to make sure that all student are exposed to a rigorous curriculum.”

.....Secretary Duncan was someone taken aback by my comments. He said “ we might disagree about the language, but what I want is for all students to be able to take advanced placement courses or be exposed to an IB (International Baccalaureat) curriculum.

Interesting, since IB is another of the "non-profit" companies making a profit off public education.

At this point, Larry Proffitt interrupted the Secretary and said that in Tennessee, Special Needs students were being abused and humiliated by abusive and inappropriate testing and that their teachers knew this, and were afraid to speak out.

Arne Duncan then left the room.

Here's the sad part. At least it's the sad part for those of us teachers who have dealt with this issue many times over. Children are different. They learn differently, they have different capabilities. Many simply can NOT handle advanced courses. Some I have taught have enough heartache learning to read and handle life skills.

Arne has decided that money going to special education should now be tied to the scores of the special education students.

Federal special ed funding should not be based on student test scores

National Education Secretary Arne Duncan wants to tie test scores for special-education students to the amount of money a state receives from the federal government for reimbursement of special-education services. States that send back high test scores for special-education students will get more money; those with lower scores will get less or even no money.

Surely this will improve student learning, right?

Clearly, No Child Left Behind’s emphasis on tying student test scores to federal money was a major success! Cloning NCLB tools for special-education students sounds like a real winner.

Secretary Duncan argued, “We know that when students with disabilities are held to high expectations and have access to a robust curriculum, they excel.”

If only teachers knew this was the magical brew to student success! Obviously teachers have never held special-education students to a robust curriculum and high expectations, right?

Arne has magical thinking about students. Wouldn't it be nice if it were all so simple? He thinks he can declare that such students with special needs will take IB courses, pass a tough test....and they will all be fixed.

Some very true comments from the Tucson Weekly.

Schools, Society And Snake Oil Salesmen

Remember George Bush's line about "the soft bigotry of low expectations"? It's a beautiful phrase with at least a kernel of truth to it, but its main purpose was to bludgeon teachers and administrators who work with low income students, saying to them, "You're all a bunch of bigots who think your students are too stupid to do well in school because they're black or brown or poor! Their low test scores are your fault, because you're lousy educators who refuse to have high expectations for your students."

The leaders of the education reform/privatization movement are accomplished snake oil salesmen. Like the con men of old who used to stand on the back of wagons pitching their wares, these purveyors of educational snake oil begin by rolling out their gruesome descriptions of the aches, pains and mortal illnesses their audience is afflicted with. The only difference is, their pitch is about educational, not physical ailments.They tell horror stories about the mortal danger our country is facing due to our "failing schools" which are sapping our children of their educational potential and turning us into a second rate economic power, soon to be overwhelmed by international competition. When their audience has been sufficiently beaten down, when they've lost all hope that our system of public schooling can ever succeed, when they're ready to grasp at any solution offered up with sufficient evangelical zeal, the con men pull a bottle of magic potion off the back of the wagon and wave it in the air, guaranteeing it will cure all our educational ills.

Florida leads nation in turning down Medicaid money. Dubious distinction, but makes Rick proud.

Florida leads nation in turning down Medicaid money

TALLAHASSEE – Florida is No. 1 again.

But state officials may not be accepting many accolades for this latest distinction. Florida leads the nation in turning down Medicaid funding from the federal government, according to a new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute.

By refusing to expand Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act, Florida will lose out on $66.1 billion in federal funding over the next decade. Florida even edges out Texas, which comes in at a close second with $65.6 billion in lost federal funding.

It also means in 2016 some 1.1 million Floridians will go without health insurance who otherwise could be covered by Medicaid, the federal-state health care program for the poor and disabled. Texas holds the lead there with an estimated 1.5 million uninsured residents, according to the report.

Florida and Texas are the biggest players among the 24 states that have decided not to use the option under the federal health care law to expand Medicaid to residents earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. Most of the states are led by Republicans who have been vocal critics of the ACA, otherwise known as Obamacare.

Further in the article it points out that Ricky agreed in 2013 to accept the funds but only if the government paid the full amount. Legislators did not agree apparently, and the 2014 session showed nothing had been done about it.

Charter schools with troubled history apply in South Florida. District not allowed to deny them.

The districts are not allowed to turn down a charter applicant based on its past history. They must look only at the present application.

Charter school applicants have troubled histories

These schools are publicly funded but run privately. Among those applying are:

• A group that managed three new charter schools in Broward and Palm Beach counties that opened this year — and then shut down on the first day of school.

• The founder of two charter schools that failed in 2007 amid accusations of stolen money, shoddy record keeping and parent complaints, according to state and local records. A state investigation later chastised school directors for "virtually nonexistent" oversight, though prosecutors filed no criminal charges.

• An educator who was banned from New Jersey public schools, then consulted for two schools in Broward and Palm Beach counties that shuttered in 2013. The Palm Beach County school district closed one of the schools because of poor academics and financial difficulties; the Broward school chose to cease operations amid dwindling enrollment, according to school district reports.

Starting up, shutting down

Eight hours before students were to report for classes at the new Broward County Charter High on the first day of school this year, Richard E. Durr emailed a Broward school district official saying the school would not open "due to circumstances beyond our control." Durr is a director at the school's management company, American Charter Schools, Inc.

More about the failed New Jersey educator who came to Florida.

School superintendent banned in NJ finds work in FL, brings banned colleagues with him.

Three charter schools in the South Florida counties of Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade hired Steve Gallon III's company, Tri-Star Leadership, in June 2011, five months after Gallon was banned from working in New Jersey, according to a report from the Sun Sentinel.

In May 2010, Gallon and two of his assistants, Angela Kemp, 36, and Lalelei Kelly, 34, were accused of falsifying documents so that their children could attend schools in South Plainfield. Authorities said at the time that Kemp and Kelly provided a sworn statement from Gallon, who falsely indicated that the women and their children lived with him at his home in South Plainfield.

The charges brought against Gallon, Kemp and Kelly were dropped in January 2011 and the three agreed to serve probation and to never work in the New Jersey public school system again, the report said.

Just over a year after Gallon was hired to work with schools in South Florida, he hired Kelly to work as a consultant, at a salary of $60,000 a year, the report said. Months later, he hired Kemp to be the principal at Excel Leadership Academy in Palm Beach County, at a salary of $80,000 a year, according to the report.

There's a war on teachers demanding accountability in every way. There is little accountability required of charter school operators.

Yes, NY tenured teachers can be fired. NY Education Code actually lists reasons for firing...

after a due process hearing.

to DUer dsc for this link below.

Section 1 refers to how teachers can gain tenure which is simply due process. They have a probationary period of 3 years, just what Florida teachers had before tenure was abolished here in 2011.

Part 2 refers to how teachers who are tenured can lose their jobs.

N.Y. EDN. LAW § 3012 : NY Code - Section 3012: Tenure: certain school districts

Part 2 begins in the middle of a very long paragraph.

2. At the expiration of the probationary term of a person appointed
for such term, subject to the conditions of this section, the
superintendent of schools shall make a written report to the board of
education or the trustees of a common school district recommending for
appointment on tenure those persons who have been found competent,
efficient and satisfactory, consistent with any applicable rules of the
board of regents adopted pursuant to section three thousand twelve-b of
this article. Such persons, and all others employed in the teaching
service of the schools of such union free school district, common school
district and/or school district employing fewer than eight teachers, who
have served the probationary period as provided in this section, shall
hold their respective positions during good behavior and efficient and
competent service, and shall not be removed except for any of the
following causes, after a hearing, as provided by section three thousand
twenty-a of such law: (a) insubordination, immoral character or conduct
unbecoming a teacher; (b) inefficiency, incompetency, physical or mental
disability, or neglect of duty; (c) failure to maintain certification as
required by this chapter and by the regulations of the commissioner.

Removed "after a hearing" for:

Immoral character
Conduct unbecoming a teacher
Physical or mental disability
Neglect of duty
Failure to maintain certification

Campbell Brown recently went on the attack against teachers on tenure in New York by announcing an anti-tenure lawsuit

In one of her interviews she said that "Tenure is permanent lifetime employment."

If I am reading the education code above correctly, that is simply not true.

Teachers accused of "sexist" attacks on Campbell Brown. They mentioned her hubby Dan Senor...

a failed Iraq war architect and member of Michelle Rhee's Students First. He is also tied to Campbell Brown's lawsuit against NY teachers.

That is in no way "sexist". This is a power play against teachers and their rights of due process earned through their unions through the years.

Who is doing the accusing? Fox Democratic strategist Kirsten Powers, the same one who said that just because the DLC was shutting down it did not mean that liberals were winning. More on that below.

Here is her attack on teachers' unions.

Teachers union launches sexist attack against Campbell Brown

The “war on women” isn’t just for Republicans. Left-wing organizations in New York City have launched their own misogynist crusade against former CNN anchor turned education advocate Campbell Brown.

Brown is running the Partnership for Educational Justice, which she founded to challenge teacher tenure and other rules that protect underperforming teachers.

For this, she has been on the receiving end of a sexist assault by the American Federation of Teachers and opponents of education reform. AFT President Randi Weingarten took to Twitter to accuse Brown of not being balanced in her approach to school reform because “she’s married to Romney adviser Dan Senor.”

To Weingarten, women are not people with thoughts of their own. No, they’re empty vessels who do their husband’s bidding.

That to put it nicely is a bunch of BS. Yes, teachers' union are not feeling friendly toward Campbell Brown...but there is nothing "sexist" about it. It's the fact that she is going after their rights of due process by a lawsuit with much power and money behind it.

Her husband's position on the board of a group which has one of its members as the lead plaintiff in Campbell's lawsuit is not "sexist"....it is accurate. They did not even disclose that Keoni Wright was the lead plaintiff. So in my mind the two groups are working together.

So who is Kirsten Powers and what did she write in 2011 when the DLC shut it doors? She attacked liberals and pointed out that the DLC was being replaced by The Third Way.

The Democratic Leadership Council may be shutting down, but the progressives haven't won. Centrism is alive and well in the think tank Third Way, whose advice on health care and the economy has swayed the White House.

Reports of the death of centrism in the Democratic Party have been greatly exaggerated.

Monday’s news that the Democratic Leadership Council is folding after three decades was greeted with glee by those on the left who see it as evidence that centrism has gasped its last breath.

....The truth is, the DLC’s position as the leading centrist Democratic think tank was long ago overtaken by a group called Third Way, which has been growing more influential by the day.

Teachers' unions have every right to be upset at the influx of celebrities with financial backing trying to take over public schools and get rid of career teachers.

The boot camp death of Martin Lee Anderson, Florida, 2006. No one found guilty.

I noticed in kpete's post about a sign being held by France Francois that she had been among the protestors when Martin Lee Anderson was killed on his first day at boot camp in Florida.

He was killed by the guards who were to protect him with a trained nurse standing by.

Through the years he has been forgotten mostly, so good for Ms Francois for protesting his death.

Francois said the sentiment behind the sign is rooted to her days as a student at Florida State University when she protested the death of Martin Lee Anderson, a 14-year-old boy who died after being beaten by boot camp personnel. After months of silence from authorities over his death, Francois, along with other students from Tallahassee Community College, Florida A&M University and Florida State University staged a 34-hour sit-in at then- governor Jeb Bush's office, in Tallahassee, Fla.

More about his death at the hands of guards while a nurse watched.

The boot camp guards and nurse who killed Martin Lee Anderson will have to live with their actions.

.."A state court jury acquitted the guards and nurse of manslaughter on Oct. 12, 2007. Federal authorities then began investigating whether the boy’s civil rights were violated.

The Justice Department said in a news release that investigators did not have enough evidence to pursue criminal charges. Prosecutors would have had to prove that the boot camp employees’ intent was willful — the highest standard imposed by the law, the release said.

The video showed the seven men punching Anderson and using knee strikes against him. It also showed them pushing ammonia capsules into his nose and dragging his limp body around the camp’s yard. The nurse did not appear to intervene during the incident.

The sequence of events was quick.

At 6:30 in the morning on June 5, 2006, Martin Lee Anderson is admitted to boot camp.

At 9:06 am the use of force begins.

At 9:45 am the paramedics take Martin Lee Anderson

At 1:00 pm he was transported by air to Pensacola to the hospital where he died the next day.

The guards who beat him were just acquitted as was the nurse who stood by.

When he was buried the St. Pete Times noted that both sides wore crosses around their necks.

Anderson trial tells two tales of a town

The jurors, the accused, the courtroom so divided you could label one side "guilty" and the other "not guilty" like guests at a wedding - all went still when the video played.

....Folks on both sides wore crosses around their necks - God was on their side, maybe, or they just needed him to get through this.

The guards - Dickens, McFadden, Helms, Enfinger, Garrett, Hauck and Walsh - each stood to look into the faces of the jury as their attorneys introduced them. They are husbands, fathers, retired military, working stiffs. They did not look like evil men who set out one morning to kill a boy. Which makes the jury's job that much more complicated.

How small a town is Panama City? Just across the street from the courthouse where the guards and nurse are being tried sits the camp. Shut down like the rest in Florida after the video made national news, it sits abandoned, razor-wire gates rusty.

A few blocks over is the cemetery, the grass too high, fence sagging. He is there, flanked by stone angels, not a hero, not a monster, just gone.

What will the jury call what happened to Martin Lee Anderson? Sad comes to mind. And sorry. And wrong.

Mork meets the Fonz and Laverne. Tears in my eyes from laughter. Video.

Read how Robin Williams saved his debut on 'Happy Days'

Before Robin Williams took the world by storm in Mork & Mindy, he dipped a toe in the fame pool during what should have been a one-time stint on Happy Days.

Even as a newbie, Williams made an indelible impression on the entertainment community. So much so that Williams was able to turn what was supposed “to be the biggest piece of s–t in the history of the show” into a “brilliant” episode, filmmaker Brian Levant, who joined Happy Days as a writer-producer in its fifth season, told E! News.

“It was Robin Williams’ literal birth as an entertainer,” Levant says of the episode. “He was an unqualified genius in that rehearsal and the cast of Happy Days was tremendously generous ceding the stage to him and everybody walked out of that show saying ‘spin-off, spin-off, spin-off.’ And we walked upstairs and wrote a bunch of great stuff.”

Henry Winkler remembers it like this:

Midway through shooting the episode, the Fonz told Matt Lauer, “a young, very quiet, very delicate man” arrived on set. “All of a sudden, all you see are sparks.” And, “unless you were in the ground, you knew that you were in the presence of greatness. That’s not talking because now we’re making a tribute; that is the honest truth. This man was from another plane. His imagination flew out of him, out of every pore like a torrent.”

Russell Brand: Robin Williams’ divine madness will no longer disrupt the sadness of the world

Such a moving piece from Russell Brand at The Guardian UK. Not that familiar with Brand, but very impressed by his moving words.

Russell Brand: Robin Williams’ divine madness will no longer disrupt the sadness of the world

I'd been thinking about Robin Williams a bit recently. His manager Larry Bresner told me that when Robin was asked by a German journalist on a press junket why the Germans had a reputation for humourlessness that Williams replied, “Because you killed all the funny people.”

Robin Williams was exciting to me because he seemed to be sat upon a geyser of comedy. Like he didn’t manufacture it laboriously within but had only to open a valve and it would come bursting through in effervescent jets. He was plugged into the mains of comedy.

I was aware too that this burbling and manic man-child that I watched on the box on my Nan’s front room floor with a Mork action figure (I wish I still had that, he came in a plastic egg) struggled with mental illness and addiction. The chaotic clarity that lashed like an electric cable, that razzed and sparked with amoral, puckish wonder was in fact harvested madness. A refinement of an energy that could turn as easily to destruction as creativity.

....Robin Williams could have tapped anyone in the western world on the shoulder and told them he felt down and they would have told him not to worry, that he was great, that they loved him. He must have known that. He must have known his wife and kids loved him, that his mates all thought he was great, that millions of strangers the world over held him in their hearts, a hilarious stranger that we could rely on to anarchically interrupt, the all-encompassing sadness of the world.

....What I might do is watch Mrs Doubtfire. Or Dead Poets Society or Good Will Hunting and I might be nice to people, mindful today how fragile we all are, how delicate we are, even when fizzing with divine madness that seems like it will never expire.

It's been a year of much loss and sadness. It's hard for me to write when things feel so personal. I think Russell Brand is right....he must have known all the love and appreciation was out there. It had to matter greatly, though it wasn't enough in the end.

NARAL Undercover Audio: Intimidation Tactics of Texas Anti-Abortion Group. Tracking license plates?

From You Tube today. This is the most chilling kind of intimidation, and it's legal.

Published on Aug 12, 2014

NARAL Pro-Choice Texas and Progress Texas released a video containing audio from “Keeping Abortion Facilities Closed,” a training hosted by anti-abortion groups at the State Capitol on August 4, 2014. The video reveals the methods anti-abortion activists currently employ to physically intimidate women from accessing safe and legal abortion care in Texas. The disturbing tactics outlined by the four speakers in the video include: identifying and monitoring patients, providers and clinic staff, lining sidewalks outside clinics to dissuade patients from entering clinics, tracking and cataloguing the physical descriptions and car license plates of patients, and searching tax records to find locations of new abortion providers.

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