Helen Gym: Reformers, please listen to what parents want for schools

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Helen Gym is a Philadelphia public school parent and writer and founder of Parents United for Public Education, the newest affiliate of Parents Across America. This essay is cross posted at the CNN blog. Many of those who are driving education policy today are fixed on a certain set of numbers and measurements that we’re told are the way to gauge a quality school. But as a parent, that’s not really what matters to me about my daughter’s education. I …

PAA in the news: questions about charter schools & Broad Foundation

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Two major stories today feature the work of Parents Across America and, in particular, one of our brilliant Oakland  members, Sharon Higgins. Sharon writes and researches three blogs, The Perimeter Primate, Charter School Scandals, and The Broad Report. Sharon provides cutting edge information and exposes scandals in the corporate education reform movement including charter schools and the Broad Foundation (from whose leadership academy our new CEO, JC Brizard, is a graduate). Sharon’s work is featured in an article posted in …

Stealth U.S. charter network linked to Gulen raises concerns

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The New York Times this week published an investigative report about the financial practices of a sizable group of Texas charter schools being operated by the followers of Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish Islamic religious leader “whose devotees have built a worldwide religious, social and nationalistic movement in his name.” While the New York Times focused on Texas schools, members of the Gulen movement have actually started schools all over the United States – approximately 120 charter schools in 25 states, …

Support the Student Bill of Rights and an equitable chance to learn!

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Below is a press release sent yesterday from the office of Congressman Chaka Fattah, Second District of Pennsylvania, about a letter many of our organizations sent to his office in support of his reintroduction of the Student Bill of Rights Act, posted here: The Student Bill of Rights, H.R. 129. Rep. Fattah has been a long champion of the federal government’s working with states to address very serious resource disparities between school districts that mean some children are provided the …

The life-long effect of Kindergarten cut-off dates

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Cross-posted at NYC Public School Parents. This NY Times article talks about how the increased academic pressure on Kindergarten students is leading many states to move their cut off dates earlier in the year. NYC public schools continue to have among the latest cut offs for Kindergarten, December 31, according to the allied chart. New York City private school cut off dates are much earlier; and it is very common when a child is applying to a private school, especially …

Ten reasons not to hire Goodloe-Johnson as FLA Ed commissioner

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Apparently, the search firm hired to find someone willing to serve as the new state education commissioner in Florida is finding it difficult and has recommended extending the deadline, which is not altogether surprising, considering Gov. Rick Scott’s highly controversial education policies. One of the few candidates under consideration is Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson, a Broad-trained superintendent who was fired in disgrace from Seattle, and then failed to be hired as schools chief in Newark NJ, despite the fact that former …

Plan to host Teach for America at Univ. of Washington highlights hypocrisy of ed reform

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A controversial new plan to host and fast-track Teach for America recruits alongside regular M.A. teaching students at Seattle’s University of Washington sparks protests and highlights the hypocrisy and double standards of ed reform The doublespeak of ed reformers who repeatedly declare that the key to a successful education is to put an “excellent” teacher in every classroom, and then turn around and promote young, Teach for America recruits — with only five weeks’ training, no in-class experience, and only …

Requiem for a Librarian

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By Pamela Grundy I have never met anyone who loves books and reading more than Margaret Hollar, our Shamrock media specialist. That love shows in her face whenever she picks a book up from her desk, looks at the cover, then pages intently through, searching for a favorite passage.  It fills her voice as she expounds on characters or turns of phrase or the many different lessons she believes stories can teach. And it is shining at full force this …

Watch Out, Wisconsin: How to destroy a school system

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Here’s a heads-up from our friends at Defend Wisconsin on some of tea party Gov. Scott Walker’s plans for Wisconsin Public Schools

The Voices of Real Reform in NYC

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At the 5/19 premiere of The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman, community members young and old spoke out about the struggle for real, grassroots education reform. Below are just a few of those speakers: Diane Ravitch – Education Historian Brian Jones – Educator, Actor and Activist Nijel Hill – Student, Paul Robeson HS, Brooklyn Brian DeVale – Principal, D14, Brooklyn, NY           Filmed at the premiere of ‘The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman’, 5/19/11 …