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Modern School

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Member since: Sun Dec 12, 2010, 01:09 PM
Number of posts: 794

Journal Archives

Sweatshops on Wheels: Durham School Bus Drivers Organizing With Teamsters

School bus drivers with Durham School Services in Hayward and Livermore, California (near San Francisco) are organizing with the Teamsters to fight their terrible working conditions. The 180 drivers will vote on February 17 whether or not to join the Teamsters. Since the “Drive Up Standards” campaign began in 2006, more than 32,400 drivers, monitors, aides, attendants and mechanics have joined the Teamsters according to the Sacramento Bee..

Durham drivers have complained about being forced to drive old, beat up vehicles that regularly break down on the job, lack functioning air conditioning and have holes in the floors, the San Jose Mercury News reported last week. One driver said the brakes went out on her in front of her home.

Drivers do not have paid sick leave and the health insurance offered by Durham is so expensive that many go without. As a result, drivers have no choice but to come to work when they are sick, which not only exposes students to their germs, but may also reduce their alertness and concentration behind the wheel.

Durham, the second largest provider of school bus transportation services in the United States, provides transportation to 11 school districts in northern California. Durham is a subsidiary of National Express Group, a large multinational corporation based in the UK. John Logan, who is a Professor at San Francisco State University and Visiting Research Fellow at University of California-Berkeley, recently published a report detailing National Express Group's anti-worker behavior in the U.S. and its failure to uphold international labor rights standards.

In September, National Express Group purchased Petermann Bus Company for $200 million, according to the Mercury News. Peterman drives special needs children to school in Oakland. Drivers are furious that their employer is shelling out millions to buy another bus company, but cannot afford to have replacement busses on hand when there are breakdowns. If an extra bus cannot be found, the driver is sent home and the company hires a taxi to drive the students, even though cab drivers are not fingerprinted or subjected to background checks like other school employees.
Earlier this month, school bus drivers, aides and mechanics with Durham School Services in Elgin, Illinois, voted by a nearly 2 to 1 margin to join Teamsters Local 330, culminating a two year organizing effort. As in the current struggle in San Leandro and Hayward, the Illinois drivers were confronted with an assortment of bullying and harassment tactics by their bosses. Workers were given anti-union literature, for example, and were forced to attend anti-union meetings held by their employers.

To see more interviews with drivers, click on any of the following links:







Modern School
http://modeducation.blogspot.com/2012/01/sweatshops-on-wheels-durham-school-bus.html
Posted by Modern School | Tue Jan 31, 2012, 11:21 PM (0 replies)

Sweatshops on Wheels: Durham School Bus Drivers Organizing With Teamsters

School bus drivers with Durham School Services in Hayward and Livermore, California (near San Francisco) are organizing with the Teamsters to fight their terrible working conditions. The 180 drivers will vote on February 17 whether or not to join the Teamsters. Since the “Drive Up Standards” campaign began in 2006, more than 32,400 drivers, monitors, aides, attendants and mechanics have joined the Teamsters according to the Sacramento Bee..

Durham drivers have complained about being forced to drive old, beat up vehicles that regularly break down on the job, lack functioning air conditioning and have holes in the floors, the San Jose Mercury News reported last week. One driver said the brakes went out on her in front of her home.

Drivers do not have paid sick leave and the health insurance offered by Durham is so expensive that many go without. As a result, drivers have no choice but to come to work when they are sick, which not only exposes students to their germs, but may also reduce their alertness and concentration behind the wheel.

Durham, the second largest provider of school bus transportation services in the United States, provides transportation to 11 school districts in northern California. Durham is a subsidiary of National Express Group, a large multinational corporation based in the UK. John Logan, who is a Professor at San Francisco State University and Visiting Research Fellow at University of California-Berkeley, recently published a report detailing National Express Group's anti-worker behavior in the U.S. and its failure to uphold international labor rights standards.

In September, National Express Group purchased Petermann Bus Company for $200 million, according to the Mercury News. Peterman drives special needs children to school in Oakland. Drivers are furious that their employer is shelling out millions to buy another bus company, but cannot afford to have replacement busses on hand when there are breakdowns. If an extra bus cannot be found, the driver is sent home and the company hires a taxi to drive the students, even though cab drivers are not fingerprinted or subjected to background checks like other school employees.
Earlier this month, school bus drivers, aides and mechanics with Durham School Services in Elgin, Illinois, voted by a nearly 2 to 1 margin to join Teamsters Local 330, culminating a two year organizing effort. As in the current struggle in San Leandro and Hayward, the Illinois drivers were confronted with an assortment of bullying and harassment tactics by their bosses. Workers were given anti-union literature, for example, and were forced to attend anti-union meetings held by their employers.

To see more interviews with drivers, click on any of the following links:







Modern School
http://modeducation.blogspot.com/2012/01/sweatshops-on-wheels-durham-school-bus.html
Posted by Modern School | Tue Jan 31, 2012, 11:21 PM (0 replies)

Teachers Offer the Wealthy an Escape from Poverty 0digg


The following is from Anthony Cody’s excellent critique of the education portion of Obama’s state of the union speech. In a nutshell, if a teacher really did increase the lifetime income of a classroom by $250,000, so what? Spread out over the 40 years of each student’s career, that would amount to only $250 per person per year, enough for a nice date, Sunday afternoon beers or some practical work clothes, but nowhere near enough to bring poor kids into the middle class. And if he really wanted us to not teach to the test, he wouldn’t tie our evaluations and salaries to students’ test scores.

Last night in President Obama's State of the Union address, he repeated a familiar refrain about the importance of teachers.

A great teacher can offer an escape from poverty to the child who dreams beyond his circumstance.
But it seems that it is those in power who are actually using teachers to escape from the realities of poverty these days.

President Obama offered as evidence a citation from a recent Harvard report:
We know a good teacher can increase the lifetime income of a classroom by over $250,000.

He went on to say,
Teachers matter. So instead of bashing them, or defending the status quo, let's offer schools a deal. Give them the resources to keep good teachers on the job, and reward the best ones. In return, grant schools flexibility: To teach with creativity and passion; to stop teaching to the test; and to replace teachers who just aren't helping kids learn.

There are several problems with this. As others have pointed out, if you take a classroom of 25 students, and spread $250,000 over their 40 years of earnings, this amount comes to a grand total of $250 a year per student. This is unlikely to represent an escape from poverty. (see more thorough responses to the Chetty report here, and here.)

The second problem is a glaring contradiction, a logical flaw so huge it has been overlooked by almost every journalist apparently too polite to challenge the administration on it. If you do not wish teachers to teach to the test, if you want them to be passionate and creative, then how can you insist that their performance be measured by the use of test scores?

Let us be crystal clear. The Obama administration has made the use of test scores to evaluate principals and teachers a pre-condition for federal aid. Both Race to the Top and the NCLB waivers require that states develop evaluation processes that incorporate this data.
To see the rest of this article, please click here. http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/living-in-dialogue/2012/01/teachers_offer_the_wealthy_an.html

Modern School
http://modeducation.blogspot.com/2012/01/teachers-offer-wealthy-escape-from.html
Posted by Modern School | Tue Jan 31, 2012, 11:18 PM (0 replies)

Hawaii Teachers Reject Race To The Top

Hawaiian teachers recently rejected a contract calling for performance-based evaluations and compensation, a requirement by the Race to the Top (RttT) grant their state won from the Obama administration, according to Valerie Strauss.

67% of 9,000 teachers, counselors and others in the Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA) rejected the contract, the first time in the union’s 44-year history that its members rejected a contract already approved by the state board of education. As a result, Hawaii was warned by the U.S. Department of Education that its $75 million RttT grant was on “High-risk status,” something Hawaiian teachers should be proud of.

HSTA is the first state teachers’ union to reject the poisoned Koolaid from the Obama after it had already been granted administration. This rebuff, coming from Obama’s home state, is a particularly harsh blow to his signature RttT and portends increasing rejections by other state teachers’ unions.

In order for states to win RttT grants, they must expand charter schools, evaluate teachers based on students’ standardized test scores and implement other “reforms” that increase private investors’ opportunities to profit from public education. Because states have been starved of revenue due to years of corporate and personal income taxes cuts, most have been jumping on the bandwagon and accepting this nominal federal assistance in exchange for giving away their public education systems to private educational management organizations, for-profit charter operators and test publishers.

Modern School
http://modeducation.blogspot.com/2012/01/hawaii-teachers-reject-race-to-top.html
Posted by Modern School | Thu Jan 26, 2012, 10:27 PM (5 replies)

Ex-Beverly Hills Superintendent Convicted


Former Beverly Hills schools superintendent Jeffrey Hubbard, was convicted Monday on two felony charges of misappropriation of public funds, the Los Angeles Times reported this week. Hubbard, who is currently superintendent of the Newport-Mesa Unified School District, was convicted of ordering $20,000 in bonuses for an administrator and increasing her car allowance to $500 a month without approval from the school board.

The administrator to whom he gave the bonuses was Karen Anne Christiansen, a former facilities director. During the trial, sexually suggestive emails between the two of them were revealed, suggesting that the misappropriation was no accident, but a deliberate attempt to reward someone with whom he was having a “special relationship.”

Hubbard faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced Feb. 23. It remains to be seen how his current employer will deal with the news, though state officials have suggested that he will be allowed to keep his education credentials. Newport Beach and Costa Mesa school trustees are meeting in closed session today "to take appropriate action."

Modern School
http://modeducation.blogspot.com/2012/01/ex-beverly-hills-superintendent.html
Posted by Modern School | Wed Jan 25, 2012, 10:12 PM (0 replies)

No Capitalist Left Behind: NCLB’s 4 Biggest Winners

4 LA Kids http://4lakidsnews.blogspot.com/2012/01/nclb10-testing-industrys-big-four.html recently posted an article profiling the 4 biggest beneficiaries of NCLB largesse. Not surprisingly, they are big test/textbook publishers. Harcourt Educational Measurement, CTB McGraw-Hill, and Riverside Publishing (a Houghton Mifflin company) write 96% of the state exams used under NCLB, while NCS Pearson is the main scorer of the tests.

Even before NCLB, there was already a large scale move toward greater testing and accountability. In 1955, test sales were only $7 million, adjusted to 1998 dollars. By 1997, when NCLB was just being signed into law, test sales had increased nearly 3,000% to $263 million. Today, thanks to the pressure of NCLB, the testing market ranges from $400 to $700 million, according to the 4 LA Kids blog.

Harcourt Education Measurement (HEM) currently controls 40% of the test-design market. Harcourt Education is owned by London-based publisher and arms dealer Reed Elsevier, a company that was tight with George W. Bush. Harcourt also operates Holt, Rinehart and Winston, one of the largest K-12 educational textbook publishers in the nation. HEM published the Stanford Achievement Test (SAT-9), taken by more than 15 million students nationwide each year.

CTB McGraw-Hill, also tight with the Bush family, controls 40% of the test-design market. McGraw-Hill, the parent company, is based in New York and also owns Standard & Poor's, Business Week magazine, and four TV stations. CTB McGraw-Hill produces tests for 19 states and earn $4.2 billion in sales in 2000. Barnett Alexander “Sandy” Kress, a lobbyist for McGraw-Hill, was also a key architect of NCLB. Harold McGraw, Jr., of McGraw-Hill, sat on the board of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, while his son, Harold McGraw III, was a member of the George W. Bush transition team. Kress also represented Ignite! Learning, a company headed by Neil Bush, and K12 Inc., owned by Bill Bennett, Reagan’s Education Secretary.

Riverside Publishing, owned by Houghton Mifflin (now under the control of the French company Vivendi Universal), controls 20% of the test-design market. They produce the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS), which is taken by 4-5 million students each year. Vivendi also owns Universal Pictures and Motown Records.

NCS Pearson is the leading scorer of standardized tests, scoring almost 40 million per year in the U.S. Pearson reported $629.5 million in sales in 2000, with test scoring accounting for nearly one-third of that.

Modern School
http://modeducation.blogspot.com/2012/01/no-capitalist-left-behind-nclbs-4.html
Posted by Modern School | Wed Jan 25, 2012, 10:11 PM (2 replies)

School Choice or Just Another Koch Bros Scam?

National School Choice Week, a pet project of big corporations and conservative billionaires like the Koch brothers, kicked off Monday with celebratory forums throughout the country. Billing itself as a social justice movement committed to “ensuring effective education options for every child,” “school choice” has actually become a deeply divisive wedge issue for the right. But the folks at School Choice Week would prefer that you didn’t know that.

To read the rest, go to The ugly truth about “school choice” at Salon.com. http://modeducation.blogspot.com/2012/01/school-choice-or-just-another-koch-bros.html

Modern School
http://modeducation.blogspot.com/2012/01/school-choice-or-just-another-koch-bros.html
Posted by Modern School | Wed Jan 25, 2012, 10:10 PM (0 replies)

Longview ILWU Has Tentative Settlement With EGT Terminal

A tentative settlement has been reached between the ILWU in Longview, Washington, and the grain terminal operator EGT. The battle has been long and bitter, with several hundred arrests of ILWU members and their families, police brutality and the use of the coast guard to protect the interests of the private company.

Details of the agreement, as usual, have yet to be released

Modern School
http://modeducation.blogspot.com/2012/01/longview-ilwu-has-tentative-settlement.html
Posted by Modern School | Wed Jan 25, 2012, 12:04 AM (0 replies)

Occupation of ITOCHU in SF in Support of Longview ILWU

Modern School has been reporting on the ILWU's battle in Longview, WA for some time now. The most recent development has been the deployment of the U.S. military to protect the interests of private capital (EGT) and the threat of using the War on Terror against union members.

Last week, activists in San Francisco occupied ITOCHU in support of the ILWU in Longview.

Check out the following video from the Labor Video Project:

Modern School
http://modeducation.blogspot.com/2012/01/occupation-of-itochu-in-sf-in-support.html
Posted by Modern School | Wed Jan 25, 2012, 12:03 AM (0 replies)

http://modeducation.blogspot.com/2012/01/tens-of-thousands-protest-education.html

From the Teacher Solidarity Blog:http://www.teachersolidarity.com/blog/soanish-protests-against-education-cuts/

Over 40,000 took part in the demonstration in Alicante, calling for an increase in the numbers of teachers, increased funding for school resources and the end of prefab classrooms.

In Valencia, protestors demanded that the Generalitat paid the €50 million it owes to schools.
One of the region’s education unions – UGT-PV – is also taking the ex-President of the local authority to court over misuse of public funds.

Education International reports that as a result of the missing money, some schools in the region are facing closure, and teachers have been asked to take cuts in salaries and go without Christmas bonuses. But this is not an isolated case, with schools in other autonomous regions suffering similar financial difficulties.

Modern School
http://modeducation.blogspot.com/2012/01/tens-of-thousands-protest-education.html
Posted by Modern School | Wed Jan 25, 2012, 12:01 AM (0 replies)
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