Charter CEO Backpeddles. – K. Griffin

Tom Barrett, CEO of White Hat Charter Schools, is a hypocritical dunce trying to mask the failed Charter experiment with excuses while protecting his own salary.

In Saturday’s Dispatch, he wrote that poverty is a significant challenge for both traditional and charter schools.  Oh what a different tune they are singing now.  You see, 15 years ago, when for-profit education companies like White Hat started, they said those of us who were talking about poverty were just making excuses.  Now he’s the one using poverty as an excuse.

The “demand” for charters was not created by a failed traditional school system.  It was created by the profiteers who exaggerated the challenges facing traditional schools.  They created their own market by claiming competition was the magical silver bullet and then they preyed on the most vulnerable with flashy brochures and promises of excellence by means of a “no-excuses” approach or a “safe online environment.”  Now that the data is showing they are the failures they are whining about how difficult education is.

The simple truth is the for-profit charters get more money per student, are taking locally voted levy dollars from school districts, are exempt from over 200 regulations public schools must follow, are not held to the same standards as public schools, and in the rare cases where they are, are failing far worse than even the worst public schools in Ohio.

Tom Barrett’s letter is a sad and shameless attempt to shield the company that employs him.  If he truly cares about children he should not be lobbying for his employer.  He should be explaining that 100% transparency of charters schools will give parents a honest choice as opposed to the marketing propaganda from the for-profit charter owners.  But then again, holding himself to the standards of public schools may cost him his job.

A poverty, not education, crisis in U.S. – O. Thomas

Thomas, Oliver. “A poverty, not education, crisis in the U.S.”  Opinion.  USA Today.  December 10, 2013.  Retrieved from: http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2013/12/10/education-poverty-international-student-assessment-column/3964529/

The worldwide PISA test scores were released last week which measure 15 year olds in math, science and reading.  The author digs through the numbers a little deeper.

Here’s one data point worth remembering. When you measure the test scores of American schools with a child poverty rate of less than 20%, our kids not only outperform the Finns, they outperform every nation in the world.

According to an Education Week Student in October of 2013, 50% of America’s Public School Students live in poverty.

The War on Teachers 2: Teachers revolt. – C. Wade Gervin

Wade Gervin, Cari. “The War on Teachers 2: Teachers Revolt”.  Metro Pulse.  November 20, 2013.  Retrieved from: http://www.metropulse.com/news/2013/nov/20/war-teachers-2-teachers-revolt/

Although this is from Tennessee I’ve heard similar quotes from teachers right here in Dublin.  The testing, data, workload, and the tears are taking a toll.

I am tired of trying to plan five different lessons a day that hit 61 different indicators on a rubric, and that’s just to score a rock-solid 3. I am tired of the public being convinced that Knox County is moving in the right direction when I see good teachers at my school in tears at some point during the day on a regular basis. I am tired of having to waste instruction time to give tests every week, whether I need to or not, just to have data.

Lorain County Superintendents ask a question.

This was an email sent out from 17 Lorain County Superintendents asking about the Straight A Fund and Medicaid expansion which I received from William Phillis.  I would add that there must have be a significant amount of time (and therefore money) spent by ODE used to create the Straight A fund, collect and review the applications, and then complete the grant process.  Nevermind the amount spent by local districts during the application process.

From the 17 Superintendents:

We’re confused, and have a question. Is the $250 Million Straight A grant a significant investment that will solve many of the state’s educational issues, or is the projected $400 Million savings from Medicaid expansion divided by 613 school districts a “minimal impact” (as recently stated) that wouldn’t benefit schools? We’re confused, but dare to dream. Imagine what the combination of those dollars could do for a proven benefit to students such as universal preschool? There are no silver bullets, but getting students prepared at an earlier age to enter school is as close as it comes to one. It’s also a topic that people across the spectrum agree on, and is supported by research, and study after study. It seems that any combination of those dollars would go a long way towards developing student’s success for early intervention and for the “non-negotiable” 3rd Grade Reading Guarantee. What kind of impact might an additional $650 million have on Ohio’s schools? We believe the $250 Million targeted for the Straight A grant combined with the $400 million savings from Medicaid expansion would benefit ALL OHIO STUDENTS.

Her Last Day of Teaching First Grade. – Anon

“Her Last Day of Teaching First Grade.” Anonymous via Diane Ravitch’s Blog.  August 24, 2013.  Retrieved from: http://dianeravitch.net/2013/08/24/her-last-day-of-teaching-first-grade/

A recently retired teacher recounts her decision to retire along with a touching last day exercise which resulted in a comment made by a student that made all the sacrifices worthwhile.

I was absolutely floored.

That’s when I knew how much I’d miss teaching. That feeling of molding a group and helping them become better together than singly – that’s amazing.

Childhood Poverty, Test Scores, and Mayor Coleman. – K. Griffin

Today (8/28/13) the Dispatch printed a letter I submitted last friday night.  The letter was in response to Mayor Michael Coleman’s harsh words about the Columbus Schools grades on the new state report cards, which many believe, myself included, is only to make schools look bad.

There is an overuse of controversial high-stakes standardized test scores on this report card of which our lowest charter schools are exempt.  (The lowest 25% of schools, but that’s a different story.)

After 15 years of “No Child Left Behind” there are 100s of studies that show that we can predict a student’s test score based on their zip code.  The higher the poverty rate, the lower the scores.  We didn’t need to spend millions on studies to figure that one out.

According to the United Nations Children Fund, the childhood poverty rate in the United States is over 20%, the highest of any other industrialized nation.  If another country kidnapped 100 of our school age children and kept them in the same conditions they are living in here in the US the public would be screaming for action.

My blaming of Mayor Coleman for having a city where 74% of the children qualify for free or reduced lunch wasn’t fair.  That was the point.  Blaming school districts for these misleading report cards based on unproven testing practices is also unfair.  Too bad the Mayor didn’t get that before he opened his trap.

On Thursday, Mayor Michael B. Coleman called Columbus Schools’ grades on the brand new school report card “disgraceful” and “not acceptable.” He did this even though he knew the new criteria is lowering the grades of all schools across Ohio, mostly because of an overuse of controversial standardized-test scores. How would the mayor perform on one of these tests?

According to the Ohio Department of Education, in the 2001-2002 school year Columbus Schools had 57.6 percent of its students qualify for free or reduced lunch. In the 2011-2012 school year, a full decade later, that percentage had risen to 74.2 percent.

This means that for a family of four the household income is below $41,348. This 16 percent increase is not the fault of Columbus Schools. This occurred on Coleman’s watch. Perhaps the mayor’s office needs to be reformed.

Tribute to Teachers and Mr. Paul Harvey – K. Griffin

From my opening day speech.  Thanks to Dr. Hoadley, the Dublin School Board, and all of you “in-the-trenches” making the world a better place everyday.

“My Tribute to Teachers and Mr. Paul Harvey”

 …And on the 9th day, God looked down at His paradise and caretakers and said, “To have a just world you will need to be educated.”  So God made a Teacher.

God said, “I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, greet the children at the door, be positive role models, be entertaining, creative, innovative, and inspirational.  Somebody willing to offer extra help, sponsor a club, attend a basketball game then eat dinner, then grade and plan for the next day well into the night.”  So God made a teacher.

He said, “I need someone who understands that education is for bettering lives, not just test scores.”  So God made a teacher.

“Teachers will need to have a sense of humor about snotty noses, soiled pants, classroom interruptions, bubble-sheet tests, eternally-changing curriculums, meeting upon meeting, crazy helicopter parents, and being asked again-and-again at the most inopportune times, ‘Can I go to the bathroom?’”

God said, “I need somebody who will have a profound impact on the world around them and be OK knowing they will never know exactly what that impact is.  Somebody who won’t make a fortune, but who will make a difference.  Somebody whose only special interest are the children sitting in front of them.”

God said, “I need somebody willing to put the needs of others’ families ahead of their own, willing spend their own money for another child’s supplies, willing to go hungry in the afternoon so someone else’s child won’t.”   So God made a teacher.

God had to have somebody to help students deal with divorce, unemployment, homelessness, hunger, loneliness, addictions, depression, sexuality, anxiety, disabilities, bullies, and language barriers and then be able to teach, and challenge, and motivate, and inspire.

God said, ”I need somebody who never dreamed their choice of profession could cost them their life but if confronted not hesitate to protect the ones they call their children.”

And so on the 9th day, God made a teacher.