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Five Best Blogs: Still More On The #ESEA Markup & Duncan Waivers

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What Does ESEA Re-Write Mean for Ed Reform on the State Level? Alex Johnston: In taking the fundamental outlines of federal education policy for granted, we may not have looked closely enough... at what aspects of NCLB are essential to preserve, and what’s best left alone, and what’s most in need of an upgrade. 

 The Latest GREAT News NSVF:  Should we succeed in getting GREAT included in the House legislation... we may actually create a new legislative pathway to support high-performing teacher and principal training programs. 

 Senators Playing Politics with EducationThe committee vote was a "stick out the tongue" moment by Sen. Harkin directed at President Obama, as well as Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, for offering states waivers on the current NCLB law.

Harkin/Enzi ESEA Bill Would Formalize Rewards for High-Performing Schools New America: This is one of the few places where we see Congress attempting to create what are known as “communities of practice” – opportunities for schools to come together to share best practices and work together to improve student achievement. 

Arne vs. The Rules Title I Derland: One of the overlooked features of Duncan’s new ESEA waiver package is the fact that there is no new money in it. Yet state and local educational agencies are supposed to implement a host of intensive interventions in “priority” schools. 

MORE BLOG ITEMS POSTED INSIDE

   Why 'Digital Literacy' Can't Replace The Traditional Kind TIME:  We're overestimating how much computers will teach our kids.

Guess what Michelle Rhee charged a school to speak The Answer Sheet: How much money do you think Michelle Rhee, former Washington D.C. schools superintendent who now runs an organization called StudentsFirst, charged a regional 11,000-student campus in the Kent State University public system to speak about school reform? 

Parent Revolution Takes Stand for Children, Demands Education Reform Now Education Next: While the PTA has become, in many ways, an extension of the public schools, other organizations have sprung up to organize, educate, and mobilize parents to fight on behalf of the interests of children and to challenge the education establishment  

 Rheepublicans First? AFT:  The arch conservative DeVos family funded  MI Rep Paul Scott.  Now comes Michelle Rhee pouring in thousands of dollars to save the man she described as “our main ally and extremely committed to passing our agenda in Michigan.”

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I posted a correction on the Education Next article, but it's moderated, so it's unlikely that they'll approve it. But here it is:

#
Your comment is awaiting moderation.
10/27/2011 at 9:50 am

The description of Parent Revolution’s activities is inaccurate. Here’s the real story of what happened in Compton.

Parent Revolution wrote the law that provided for the Parent Trigger and got it passed. The Parent Revolution looked around the state for a vulnerable school to target. The organizers chose McKinley Elementary School in Compton. Parent Revolution pre-selected the turnaround option – turning the school into a charter – and pre-selected the charter operator to take over McKinley, all before a single McKinley parent ever heard about the petition drive. Then, in fall 2010, Parent Revolution sent paid operatives out into the community, using a sophisticated professional operation.

The petition drive was conducted in secrecy, so that the school and school district administrators were unaware of it. There was no open discussion and there were no open meetings. McKinley School parents were not told that they had any alternatives or right to choose an option; they were simply given a petition to sign.

Chaos and conflict erupted after Parent Revolution presented the petitions to school district officials in December 2010. Media reports described hundreds of angry parents protesting the charter takeover at a school board meeting. Then the battleground moved to the courts and the media. Most of the mainstream press sided with Parent Revolution against the McKinley School community. Newspapers around the state printed nearly identical editorials praising Parent Revolution and blasting McKinley teachers and Compton school officials for trying to verify the petition signatures and not obediently handing over the school to Parent Revolution’s chosen charter operator. (The ability to get the mainstream press to do its bidding is Parent Revolution’s most impressive asset.)

When the dust settled, McKinley School was not turned into a charter school, but Parent Revolution’s chosen charter operator, Celerity, opened a new charter school two blocks away from McKinley.

How did that work out? It was a resounding failure for Parent Revolution, according to the New York Times: “…[O]nly about a third of the parents who initially signed the [McKinley] petition ended up enrolling their
children in the charter school.” In a Sept. 24, 2011, article, the paper reported that “only a fraction of the charter students are from Compton.”

Meanwhile, Parent Revolution has had a Parent Trigger petition going for many months at Mount Gleason Middle School in Sunland-Tujunga, in the Los Angeles Unified School District. That Parent Trigger is drawing yawns and continues to lag.

In the wake of its failure with the Parent Trigger, Parent Revolution has moved into a vague effort to generally organize parents, apparently to convince its funders it’s still doing something worth funding. But the Parent Trigger has flopped.

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