To Amanda Ripley: A Second TIME Article on Rhee is Long Overdue

Originally posted on @ THE CHALK FACE:

Michelle Rhee has failed as a test-driven education reformer.

Rhee taught for three years (1992-95) in Baltimore as part of Teach for America (TFA). By her own admission, her first year was terrible. She taped students’ mouths and made them bleed, and she dropped a student off after a field trip at an unverified residence. For her second and third years, she taught as part of a team. Her students’ test scores were very low (Rhee’s first year: 20th percentile in reading and math on the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills–CTBS; second year: reading, 15th percentile, and math, 38th percentile; third year, with notably fewer test takers than other district schools: reading, 45th percentile, and math, 55th percentile).

Contrast this to Rhee’s bragging that she raised 90 percent of student scores to the 90th percentile.

All of the above on Rhee is documented in chapter four of my book, A…

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Oklahoma PTA Unanimously Calls for End to High-Stakes Testing

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

At its annual meeting, the Oklahoma PTA called for a ban on high-stakes testing. As parents and grandparents, no one can remember a world in which standardized testing is as important as it is today, thanks to No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top. Parents in Oklahoma said: Enough is enough.” The following was reported in the Oklahoma PTA journal.

“July 18, 2014 – Tulsa: Over 340 delegates at the Oklahoma PTA’s annual convention voted unanimously to adopt resolutions that call for a ban on policies that force the state’s public schools to rely on high-stakes testing and put an end to mass administration of field tests.

“One in five students suffer from high test anxiety. A further 18% have mid-level anxiety,” stated Jeffery Corbett, Oklahoma PTA President. “Our children are not just a test score. They are so much more.”

“In addition, the resolution calls for…

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Vitriol? Opponents of Common Core hijack #SupportTheCore hashtag

Originally posted on Twitchy:

As reported Tuesday, opponents of Common Core were deemed “bullies” after hijacking a pro-Common Core hashtag. Dr. Susan Berry reports:

… proponents of the controversial standards planned for a new PR blitz that would inject some “emotion” into the dry data talking points they have been delivering thus far. Since the anti-Common Core campaign has been run mostly on social media, the standards’ supporters had hoped to get in on some of that action.

As usual, opponents of Common Core also got in on the action, hijacking the #SupportTheCore hashtag.

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US DOE & Arne Duncan Accused of Breaking The Law With IDEA & Special Education by GOP Senate #netde #eduDE @BadassTeachersA @DianeRavitch

Originally posted on Exceptional Delaware:

In a letter addressed to United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, GOP Senators from the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Lamar Alexander, Mike Enzi, Richard Burr, Johnny Isakson, Orrin Hatch, Pat Roberts, Lisa Murkowski and Mark Kirk have accused the US DOE of breaking the law when it comes to special education determinations being based on NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) testing and making changes to IDEA without legislative approval.  The letter was dated August 4th, 2014.

“The changes spelled out in your “Results-Driven Accountability” framework clearly amount to Federal influence on the standards and assessments states and school districts use to direct the educational program of students with disabilities and would give the Federal Government authority to use student proficiency as measured by the NAEP to evaluate and either reward or sanction school districts.  This is clear influence and coercion, if not direct control.  It is troubling…

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Epic Food Day

John Young:

I just gotta know…what did you put that salsa on????

Originally posted on Wilson's Food Blog:

 Hello! This blog post is about the epic food I had yesterday. I call it EPIC FOOD DAY! I had a LOT of really good food that because Sunday is grocery store and Farmer Market day for my mom. 

 One thing I had was mussels. They were delicious! They were very juicy. Mom steams them in white wine, butter, and garlic Those muscles were one of the best parts of my day. 

 My mom also took tomatoes from my pappy’s garden (remember, they are out of town so it isn’t stealing) and made fresh salsa. I liked it. It had jalapenos but it wasn’t too spicy. It just tasted fresh and delicious.

 I also had banana bread. The banana bread was made by my dad, sister, and me. It did not taste like the banana bread I usually eat, but it was delicious too. It came apart easily which was something…

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Play of the Day: Clayton Kershaw dives to start a double play

Originally posted on HardballTalk:

Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw usually helps his own cause in the way of striking out lots of hitters and rarely putting them on base with walks. It’s why he’s a two-time Cy Young award winner and has led the league in ERA in each of the last three seasons. But he helped his own cause in a spectacular way in Sunday’s game against the Brewers.

The Dodgers were up 2-1 in the bottom of the fifth, but the Brewers were threatening with Rickie Weeks on third base and one out. After Jean Segura worked a 1-1 count, the Brewers decided to try the squeeze play. Segura jabbed his bat at the ball, but sent it up in the air a few feet in front of the plate. Kershaw dashed off of the mound and dove face-first towards the plate, catching the ball just before it could hit the ground. Kershaw then got to…

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Mom’s Sauce – Not quite like Grandma’s

John Young:

I’m quite sure.

Originally posted on Wilson's Food Blog:

Hello! First off, i’m sorry I couldn’t get the recipe for my grandma’s spaghetti sauce because she was out of town. Well, this blog post is about my mom’s spaghetti sauce compared to my last post  about my grandma’s spaghetti sauce. 

My mom’s sauce is a lot different than my grandma’s sauce. Starting off, my mom roasted tomatoes from my pappy’s garden. Also, I liked it because my mom roasted garlic to put in it. She also put in basil from my pappy’s garden. Her sauce was chunkier than grandma’s sauce because she used a masher on the tomatoes. It was also sweeter than grandma’s sauce because it had roasted garlic and roasted tomatoes.

Although mom’s sauce is amazing, Grandma’s sauce will always be my favorite.

Well, that’s it for this blog post.Till next time!


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What “Education News” is NOT supported by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation?

Originally posted on Reclaim Reform:

“Education coverage for is supported by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation… ” – NBCNews

NBC News from B-M Gates

Bill Gates, who financed the creation of Common Core State Standards and other major organizations for corporate education reform, makes hundreds of millions of tax-free dollars in profits monthly from his and his foundations’ investments in high stakes testing, online programs, apps, textbooks, etc. Gates and his foundation are major profiteers in the corporate-led education reform movement which is part of the Education Industrial Complex. Foundations invest money to benefit the foundations. Foundations then pay foundation executives and investors whatever the foundations choose to pay them.

What do the vast majority of Americans know about CCSS and the CCSS compliant high stakes tests sold under a variety of brand names in various states? Whatever they read and hear in the news.

Who pays to have the news report whatever paid experts…

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Grandma’s Spaghetti Sauce and Meatballs

John Young:

they sound delicious! Probably good with a nice Merlot

Originally posted on Wilson's Food Blog:

Hello! This blog post is about my grandma’s spaghetti sauce and meatballs.

First off, they are delicious. What I love about the meatballs is that they pull apart very easily. They taste phenomenal with my Grandma’s homemade tomato sauce. The tomato sauce is the perfect mixture of the tiny bit of sweetness of the tomato with garlic and cheese, with the smoothness that makes it perfect.

When I go to grandma’s house, and I hear we are having spaghetti and meatballs, I get really exited! Three words on those days are my favorite words of the day. Do you know what those words are? “Time For Lunch.”

If you like what you hear, then the recipes may come in my next blog. Well, that’s it for this blog post. Till next time!




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MLB tells the Dodgers to turn off their bubble machine

John Young:

No! Keep the Bubbles!

Originally posted on HardballTalk:

The Dodgers have been doing something silly this year. Fun silly. The kind of silly that, if you’re not invested in the opposing team’s fortunes, probably makes you smile. They’ve had a little battery-powered bubble machine in the dugout and someone turns it on and they do little dances when they hit home runs.

Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports, however, that Major League Baseball has told the Dodgers to cut it out:

Before Tuesday’s game against the Angels at Dodger Stadium, Joe Torre, Major League Baseball executive vice president, advised the Dodgers to stop using the machine . . . The bubble machine was back Wednesday, at Angel Stadium . . . Did the Dodgers negotiate a compromise with MLB, or did they unilaterally decide to bring back the bubble machine?

No one is giving any comment about it, Shaikin says, so it’s unclear whether Joe…

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Breaking News: Delaware Governor Markell needs a reality check! #netde #eduDE @GovernorMarkell @Diane Ravitch @edtraveler @BadassTeachersA

Originally posted on Exceptional Delaware:

Yesterday, Delaware Governor Jack Markell did a puff piece about Common Core on NPR. Why are people still buying into this? Markell stated “what is not at all being driven from any kind of top-down basis is what are the curricular materials”. Really Jack? Do you honestly expect us naïve citizens to believe that? Cause I went to a Governor’s Advisory Council for Exceptional Citizens a few months ago where Brian Touchette, the testing guru at the Delaware DOE, stated the curriculum wasn’t changing, but they are introducing “guides” to help teachers better align their curriculum with the Smarter Balanced Assessment tests. Who are we kidding here? You aren’t leaving it up to the districts, because they had no say in the whole reform process to begin with.

When student DCAS scores were released last month, the DOE said they know scores will drop even lower with the new tests…

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News Journal reports on NGSS, fails to inform readers of how they were crafted and adopted: in near total darkness with almost zero Delaware parent or educator input and unread by SBE prior to approval.. #justlikeCCSS


Mr. Albright, carrying the water for the movement, introduced a proponents talking point without provocation:

Importantly, the Next Generation Science Standards are not a curriculum. They explain what students should know and how they can be expected to show that knowledge, but they do not explicitly explain how teachers and students should “get there.”

So, just like CCSS, right? Anyone who knows anything about standards and curricula know that when the standards become prescriptive, those lines are blurred to the point of it being a distinction with no difference. Just look at the cottage industry of textbooks that have literally been slapped with stickers declaring their alignment with CCSS while not being changed one bit ( Think NGSS will be any different? Think this statement is designed to reduce the fears and concerns with how we make policy and adopt standards with almost zero stakeholder input? Ever wonder if the News Journal is on “team reform”?


Don’t. They are.



Fordham’s Michael Petrilli: Manufacturing “Emotion” for Common Core

Originally posted on deutsch29:

I am sitting in my easy chair on this Saturday afternoon, and I am trying not to write any posts. I know that I need a rest. Sure enough, though, I come across Common Core State Standards (CCSS) promotional slant from the brand-spanking new, non-teacher-practitioner president of the Gates-funded Fordham Institute, dedicated think tanker Michael Petrilli.


I plan to keep this post brief and get back to my chair.

On the eve of his first day as Fordham Institute president, Petrilli wrote this piece in which he dismisses the idea that anti-CCSS sentiment has “momentum,” one reason being that 42 states still have CCSS.

He states that only Oklahoma has really been “knocked off” of CCSS.

No insignificant event there, Petrilli.

The governor of Oklahoma, Mary Fallin, serves as the chair of the National Governors Association (NGA), one of the two organizations that own CCSS. At its annual…

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More info on our new Chief Officer in the DOE. A perfect match for out TLEU chief, no doubt. Both from ARTC backgrounds, both moving around often and deploying policies with no evidence.

Penny is honored to have received endorsements from many leaders and organizations, including:
  • The Sacramento Bee
  • Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson (Michelle Rhee’s Husband)
  • Folsom Chamber of Commerce
  • Brian Cooley (incumbant, President of SCOE Board)
  • Former Sheriff Lou Blanas
  • Donald Terry (Sacramento City Unified School District Board Member)
  • John Taylor (President of Concerned African American Parents, Founder and Director of the Alpha Academy)
  • Sacramento County Board of Education Trustee Brian Rivas
  • Sacramento County Board of Education Trustee Eleanor Brown
  • Democrats for Education Reform
To get in touch with Penny or to support her campaign:
(916) 446-7600


Meet the new Chief Accountability and Performance officer for the Delaware DOE. More choice, accountability, and TFA straight up gap closing bullshit.

Delaware DOE’s latest TFA debutante.!btbdtC


Listen up!

Major gap closing BS rhetoric.

Want to know what hyper focus on achievement gap yields?

Click here:

Bio: Penny Schwinn is the Head of School for Capitol Collegiate Academy, a college-prep K-8 school in Sacramento.

With a decade of experience in K-12 education, Penny has worked to increase parent choice and involvement, fiscal accountability, and student achievement in public schools. Building on her early teaching career as a Teach For America corps member in inner-city Baltimore, Penny continued to dedicate her career to education. She later worked as a manager at a multi-billion company in Los Angeles, where she worked to forge partnerships between business and schools.

Penny believes that there is nothing more important than ensuring that all students, regardless of socio-economic status, have access to an excellent education and that it is the responsibility of educators to ensure we provide that access.

In addition to her work in public schools and in the private sector, Penny is working towards her PhD in Education Finance and her Doctorate in Administration, with a focus on resource allocation in K-12 schools. She has her Masters in Teaching from Johns Hopkins and her BA in History from UC Berkeley. She is committed to ensuring that every child in Sacramento County receives the resources they need to achieve at their personal bests. She would be honored to receive your support.

KCRA 3 raw interview: Penny Schwinn

Age: 29
Profession: Principal and Teacher
Education Degrees: MA in Teaching, PhD and EdD (abd)
Number of years living in Sacramento County: 24 years (4 years recently)

Why do you wish to serve on the County Board of Education?

I believe in the power of an excellent education. I’m running for the County Board of Education because I have the experience in schools, the understanding of business, and the lifelong commitment to education that will be necessary to fight for our kids and ensure that schools have what they need to be successful. As a teacher and principal, I see the impact that policy has on classrooms. As a parent, I have a vested interest in making our schools as strong as possible. As a community member and former business manager, I understand the importance of fiscal responsibility and the impact that education can have on the economy. I am running for the County Board of Education because this diversity of perspective and experience has the potential to positively impact our schools, something that I have made my life’s work and to which I am fully committed.

What makes you the most qualified candidate?

My qualifications are a direct result of my experience in the classroom. As a teacher, I understand the incredible responsibility and privilege of educating children. As a principal, I recognize the fundamental requirements and challenges of running a good school. As a business manager, I have the financial sense to make smart decisions with public dollars and ensure that they go to classrooms. As a parent, I have a strong commitment to ensuring that schools provide the best possible education for our children. Finally, my academic background gives me the research and policy knowhow to be able to make smart, common sense decisions. I understand the importance of asking questions, getting answers, and involving families in this important work. I am honored by the endorsements of the Folsom and Rancho Cordova Chambers of Commerce, the Sacramento Bee, Mayor Kevin Johnson, Rancho Cordova Mayor David Sanders, many County Board members and other members of our community. I have strong support of leaders in business, government, non-profits, and education. Having such a diverse and strong support network reflects the type of candidate I am: committed to including as many people and interests as possible to come to the best answers for our children.

What is the most important issue facing county education?

The most important issue facing county education is the incredibly high drop-out rate in our county. As a board member, it will be critical to look closely at the over 20% countywide dropout rate and find strong solutions to support those students in our county schools. Harvard University did a study that showed if only half of the 2008 dropouts in Sacramento had graduated, the city would have an increase of $8 million in tax revenue and incredible cost savings in social services. This makes the need to support this group of students not only a moral and educational imperative, but an economic one as well. We need to support each and every child in our county and I promise to be a champion for our children.

How can the County Office of Education best assist school districts to maintain fiscal stability?

The County Office of Education is responsible for fiscal oversight of local districts. I believe that the most important way they can assist local districts is in the development of a support system that trains and builds capacity within district leadership. With such dramatic cuts being proposed at the local district level, the County Office has the difficult job of both holding the local districts accountable while also supporting them to continue to work in the best interest of students. The County Office needs to ensure that all students have the resources necessary to provide a strong public education, while providing strategies and opportunities for districts to find cost-savings, either through targeted and responsible cuts or creating scale and efficiencies in their programs.

Should all students be directed to a college education?

All students should have the choice. Too often, students complete high school without meeting basic college eligibility or without the knowledge and skills necessary to be able to go to college. Our responsibility as educators is to ensure that our students have mastered the material required to graduate from high school: reading at a 12th grade level, higher level math, science and social studies, enrichment, and a foreign language. With a strong education, students are able to choose for themselves whether or not college is right for them. Without a strong education, they are left with few options; my life’s work is to ensure that all students have access to an excellent education that provides them with options.

What can be done for students who are not interested in college?

Children who are not interested in college must still have a strong public education. In today’s economy, it is even more critical that all students, not just those attending college, are able to read, write, and do math at a twelfth grade level. In addition to providing a strong education, students not interested in college should be given the resources to explore other opportunities in the workforce. This may be in the form of summer internships, part-time jobs through business partners, or application-based classes that provide hands-on skills that link the academic to the practical.
What can be done about bullying in schools? As a teacher, I recognize the importance of teaching character, as well as academics. I fully support many of the programs being developed to boost student understanding of citizenship, empathy, and positive character traits. I have worked with local educators and education leaders to look at some of the strongest programs to combat bullying. The biggest solution, however, is positive and strong school culture. By creating high expectations for student conduct and character at the school level, students and staff will better hold each other accountable for ensuring a respectful, safe, and positive environment.
What do you think of the current trustees decision to grant the only countywide charter to the Fortune School? I support good schools. I believe that those schools can be traditional public schools, or charter schools. While I recognize the traditional pathway for a charter is through the local school district, the Fortune Schools made a strong case for why the achievement gap is, in fact, a countywide problem. The responsibility of the board is to address the merits of that argument and determine whether or not the program is capable of fulfilling its promise of raised outcomes for children. I believe that the current trustees did that.

Should the board grant more countywide school charters or leave charter decisions to local districts?

I believe that the board has a responsibility to review the proposals that come before them – a countywide proposal must show a clear need to create a countywide school that could not otherwise be addressed at the local level. There are certainly some cases that warrant this consideration and should be reviewed by local districts; all other cases must go through the local district channels.

What sets you apart from the other candidates in the race?

I am a candidate with the widest breadth of experiences in and out public schools. I have been a classroom teacher in grades ranging from kindergarten through high school. I have been a teacher coach in districts across the country. I have founded, run, and operated a California public school as principal and served as a sports coach for inner city youth. These school-based experiences combined with my experience in business management in the private sector as well as my interest in the success of our communities as a parent provides me a unique vantage point. I am able to see the perspective of our classroom teachers, of our parents, and of our business leaders. Having experiences in all three sectors is unique and necessary in ord


Schwinn resigns from Sacramento County Office of Education board


Published: Saturday, Jul. 6, 2013 – 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Monday, Jul. 8, 2013 – 7:52 am

Penny Schwinn, a charter school advocate who won a hotly contested race for the Sacramento County Office of Education board, has stepped down after just one year.

She said she left the post because she took a new job as a Sacramento City Unified administrator, and state law prohibits school employees – except for those at charters – from sitting on the county board. Her resignation was effective Wednesday.

Schwinn won her seat last year in a fierce battle between teachers unions and charter school advocates for control of the SCOE board.

The county panel can approve independent charter schools and drew fire from labor groups after it gave the green light to a network of charter campuses that aims to serve African American students in the region.

The board will decide at its July 16 meeting whether to appoint a new board member to Schwinn’s Area 5 seat or to order a special election, said SCOE spokesman Tim Herrera. Area 5 represents eastern Sacramento County from Rancho Cordova to Folsom, stretching south to Vineyard, northeast of Elk Grove.

If the board opts for a special election, it would take place in April and cost about $750,000, said Sacramento County elections spokesman Brad Buyse.

The seat would stay vacant for about 10 months until the election, which could result in tie votes among the remaining six members, said SCOE Superintendent David Gordon.

“It’s not a good situation if you have an alternative,” Gordon said.

If the board decides to appoint someone to the vacant seat, the trustee would only serve until June when the seat is placed on the ballot with other seats up for election. The cost would be $81,000.

Whoever wins would finish Schwinn’s term until it ends in 2016.

Heather McGowan, a businesswoman who narrowly lost last year’s election to Schwinn by 300 votes, said she won’t seek election or an appointment to the vacant seat.

Schwinn is stepping down from her position as principal of Capitol Collegiate Academy, a charter school she founded in 2011. She will become assistant superintendent of performance management for Sacramento City Unified. The job was created recently in a reorganization of the district’s administration.

Her department will use data from assessments and research to support teaching and learning in the district, she said.

“When it comes down to it, I want to do what is best for student achievement,” Schwinn said. “Sacramento is my hometown. … This role is the single best thing I can do.”

She said she regrets having to resign. “Over the past year, I have been honored to serve in this role,” Schwinn wrote in her resignation letter. “I originally ran as a way to bring greater attention to the achievement gap in our county. This is and will continue to be my professional commitment and my life’s work.”

Call The Bee’s Diana Lambert, (916) 321-1090. Follow her on Twitter @dianalambert. Read her Report Card blog at

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Diana Lambert

@GovernorMarkell does what he wants when he travels, gets called on it, and his spokesperson responds

A spokeswoman for the Democratic governor criticized the report, calling it a political smear. “It is not hard to imagine that this review may have been motivated more by politics than by a good-faith desire to improve state travel policies,” spokeswoman Kelly Bachman said.

Or he did just what the auditor said, and you are playing politics and smearing the auditor.

Gee, I wonder which it is.

Things that make me happy: RT @MLB Legendary @Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully will return to the booth for his 66th season in 2015.