It Is All One Big Ovaltine Commercial :(

This blog piece on Common Core is funny but it also directly answers the question that people often ask: exactly how do companies (other than Pearson) make money from testing.?



Delaware has held up the Smarter Balanced Test Results.  Other states released their preliminary data already. Delaware will release theirs Wednesday September 2nd….  (a year from the Wednesday they press-conferenced the charter takeover of 6 schools that was postponed btw by public outcry).

Of course everyone wondered why. Speculation was rampant.

We now have the answer, released today.

At that link you will find these words….

“We also online resources that you and your families will find helpful…”

And they are:

Be A Learning Hero Skillbuilder

Great Kids!


Who are these guys?

Be A Learning Hero Skillbuilder is a project of New Venture Fund.   Be A Learning Hero Skillbuilder gives special thanks to Bloomberg Philanthropies, Leona Helmsley Charitable Trust, The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, and of course the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The New Venture Fund, a 501(c)(3) public charity, supports innovative and effective public…

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The History of Segregated Schools in Baltimore Test

The following selections are the first in a two part series on the impact (or lack thereof) of the Brown vs. Board of Education decision of 1954. This first set is focused on how the Brown vs. Board of Education decision has played out in Baltimore City. The order of the files should be viewed from left to right, starting with the Baltimore Sun short documentary. For history buffs you will truly enjoy Berkowitz’s selection from Maryland Historical Society Magazine. And for teachers looking for how to use primary source documents, and oral histories to teach this topic, Dave Armenti’s blogs are useful classroom tools.  Jay Gillen and Michael Corbin, both seasoned Baltimore City public school teachers, have each published pieces that give a contemporary look at how desegregation in Baltimore is perceived by their students in hyper-segregated schools.

Read select articles and media content here.


This forum on charter schools took place on October 15, 2015. After two brief presentations that provided background information on the history, structure and finances involved in charters in Maryland, an audience of charter advocates and those questioning the equity of charters had a chance to have a dialogue. The discussion was moderated by Baltimore Sun Reporter Erica Green.

GRACE LEE BOGGS: One of the difficulties when you’re coming out of oppression is that you get a concept of the messiah. You have to get to that point that we are the leaders we’ve been looking for. We are the children of Martin and Malcolm. I don’t know what the next American revolution is going to be like, but we might be able to imagine it, if your imagination were rich enough.

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Re: “Why White Parents Won’t Choose Black Schools”

Original article posted

Facebook Response from Ben Becker

I appreciate the article. It keeps it very real about what “post-racial” racism looks like. It is an inside look at the middle-class white parents who are providing all the grassroots time, energy and resources that are driving the charter school movement from below. That movement claims to be a reaction to bad public schools, and is based on the sentiment to “just do what is right for my kid,” but is in real-time providing the human power for the neoliberal assault that is actually making public schools worse for everyone. The article speaks of the many parents that say they “love the neighborhood” but hate the neighborhood’s schools, often having strong opinions on them without having done any real research. In the case of this writer, the local majority-Black, working-class public school is a perfectly fine educational institution, and the white parents neglect it based on stereotypes.

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Losing Langston Hughes

“This is for the kids who die,

Black and white,

For kids will die certainly.

The old and rich will live on awhile,

As always,

Eating blood and gold,

Letting kids die.”

–Langston Hughes, “Kids Who Die”

Thanks to the Black Lives Matter movement, our nation’s historic and continuing segregation and neglect of predominantly Black schools and school districts has gained a new level of attention. We know about schools in Ferguson, Chicago, Detroit and Baltimore. The question we are now faced with is what to do about it, and the search for answers is urgent. This spring, the city of Baltimore broke under the weight of years of police abuse and institutional racism, reflected in part through systematically under-funded schools.

What has changed since the uprising that took place after the funeral of the murdered Freddie Gray? For one West Baltimore community losing a beloved elementary school the answer seems to be, “Not much.”

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TDP Op-Ed in Baltimore Sun

Treat neighborhood schools like charters

In the wake of a contentious debate in Annapolis this spring that featured a bill that gives charter school operators more control over their schools (while principal autonomy was rolled back at struggling traditional schools), a show down over supplemental education funding, and a great deal of rhetorical debate around “autonomy,” “choice,” “accountability” and “successful” schools, we are wondering where the neighborhood schools are left.

Is the implication that teachers and principals in traditional schools are fundamentally different from principals and teachers in higher status schools? Would they fail to rise to the occasion if they were given the same deal that charters have?

See Op-Ed in Baltimore Sun here.

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Protests attempt to bring attention to the racial disparity in school closings in Baltimore

The school board says that Langston Hughes Elementary School (at a total enrollment of 176) is too small, and that: “declines in enrollment make it difficult to support and maintain robust programming.”  (Baltimore City School Closure and Relocation Report) In fact, small size has been the only consistent reason given by school system administrators for closing Langston Hughes, a reasonably successful and well-respected school in a struggling, low-income black neighborhood in Northwest Baltimore.  But a quick review of the 10 smallest schools in Baltimore (not including schools for students with disabilities) shows a disturbing pattern.  Four of the 10 smallest schools—the ones that serve almost entirely (over 90%) African American students–are slated for closure.  The four schools that serve a disproportionate percentage (over 40%) of White students (compared with the 15% of white students in the school system) are all staying open.  The same pattern emerges if you broaden the study to include more small schools. Continue reading

Occupying Schools

As efforts to keep Langston Hughes Elementary school open to its 180 pupils continue, we find inspiration in seeing how other communities took matters into their own hands to keep their schools from closing. The following articles are an example of how parents, teachers, and education advocates joined forces to push against efforts to displace students, staff, and teachers.

Be Inspired!

Chicago Parents Occupy School | Teacher Solidarity

Parents in Chicago have occupied a school which is threatened with takeoverThe Piccolo Elementary School in Chicago is threatened with ‘turnaround’ and takeover by …
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Chicago Teachers Union | Piccolo Elem. Parents Occupy A…

The Chicago Teachers Union is an organization of educators dedicated to advancing and promoting quality public education, improving teaching and learning condit…
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Parents, Teachers ‘Occupy’ Oakland School To Protest Clo…

One man was proud to be there with his wife and three children – sleeping in tents on the school courtyard for the past few days.
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Parents occupy Oakland school to protest closures » peoplesworld

OAKLAND, Calif. – Despite the Oakland Unified School District’s order that they leave the premises, parents and teachers occupying Lakeview Elementary School since June 15 say they plan to stay until the district agrees to keep their school and four others open, reversing its deci…
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Parents, Students Occupy Lafayette School (UPDATED) | Progress Illinois

Parents and students are occupying Lafayette Elementary school this afternoon in protest of the school’s closing.
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WATCH: Parents Occupy Closing School In Protest

The last bell was set to ring at Chicago’s Lafayette Elementary School in Humboldt Park Wednesday afternoon, but Lafayette parents had other plans in mind. Around …
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Parents, Students Occupy Lafayette Elementary Classroom On School’s Last Day (VIDEO) | Progress …

Just after final classes let out at Jean D. Lafayette Elementary Wednesday, three parents and their children occupied a classroom for hours in opposition of the Chicago Public Schools’ (CPS) plan to close the school for good this month.
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Parents Occupy Classroom To Protest School Closings

Parents took over a classroom at Lafayette Elementary to protest the city’s plan to shut down the school after this year.
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The Human Face of Policy

The Teachers’ Democracy Project starts from the fundamental belief that teachers, if they are to be(come) effective and empowered, need to be closely connected to their students and their communities. This belief informs both the focus on culturally responsive pedagogy and the inclusion of advocacy within TDP activities; teachers need to understand the issues faced by students and their communities, incorporate these issues into their curricula, and be a part of advocating for positive change in these communities and in education.

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