Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Update: ALEC & New Student Data Program, inBloom Parallel; Relevance of Target Card Security Breaches

Postscript: L.I. principal Carol Burris pens student data critique for Washington Post, see her critique, at the end below, "Student privacy concerns grow over 'data in a cloud'"
*NYSED's John King: "There can be no opt-out because we are required to aggregate that information." *ALEC legislation to sell public education to privately run edu-tech empire and children’s data to private interests
In this still fresh and pertinent post from another education blog a month ago we see a parallel to inBloom, the plague on New York State parents and children: a program innocuously given the name "Student Achievement Backpack Act."
And with all the news of debit and credit card security breaches in the Target Corporation system can parents really feel that they can put all of their trust in New York State Education Department Commissioner John King, who says "We’ll do everything possible to keep it [inBloom] secure"???? (By the way, this comment drew boos from the parent audience.) A commenter on the news site noted, "Once the lawsuits start flying, it will be New York State taxpayers who get stuck with the bill." Or do these constituents not figure as stakeholders in King's mind?
And more King cavalier comments:
New York State Education Commissioner John King got a loud laugh from the mostly-hostile crowd at Mineola High School on Nov. 13 when he admitted that the new data site being rolled out by the state and several non-profits —called InBloom — was as secure as they could make it, but there was never a guarantee that online data couldn’t be hacked.
“Tell that to the national security agency,” one man yelled out, referring to the breach in the super-secret agencies data last year.
One participant took up the question head on, asking King if she could opt-out of the program for her elementary school student.
“I am concerned about protecting the privacy of my student,” she said. “As he is a minor, I should be the one to decide which information about him goes into the cloud and which does not.”
King told her that the state needed the information to make decisions and that federal law required that the state collect that information. "There can be no opt-out because we are required to aggregate that information."
The above is from the Valley Stream Herald. Hey, how come these articles are always in upstate, Hudson Valley or Long Island newspapers and the New York City papers are mute???
Postscript: 4.5 million Snapchat accounts hacked, usernames, phone numbers leaked. You still have total faith in Commissioner King's ability to keep inBloom secure?

From EducationalAlchemy blog:

“Big Brother” Has an Ugly Corporate “Big Stepsister”!

Posted: November 27, 2013 in Uncategorized

ALEC legislation to sell public education to privately run edu-tech empire and children’s data to private interests
There’s a lot wrong with ALEC legislation, now, in the past, and undoubtedly into the future. I could fill volumes of pages of such concerns. But for the sake of focus, today’s blog drills down into their most recent “model” legislation aimed at selling our schools to the edu-tech industry. It’s so blatant it’s painful. I would have expected more subterfuge from ALEC. They’re getting lazy. Or their getting bold. Their agenda is too clear. Kind of disappointing really. They took all the fun out of having to dig for it.
I am pasting snap shots of their latest rounds of policies. The rest speaks for itself. But if you’d like to add your two cents, ALEC will be convening to discuss these legislative matters on December 6th in Washington DC.  See full dockethere
This latest round of ALEC agenda caught the eye and ear of Diane Ravitch’s post.
If we don’t raise our voices, no one will do it for us.
From the “Early Intervention Act”
“…to provide interactive computer software for literacy or numeracy instruction, or both, and assessments for students in kindergarten through grade 3.”
Really? Because nothing screams “developmentally inappropriate” like putting a five year old in front of a computer in lieu of a real live caring and experienced teacher during the most vulnerable and formative stages of cognitive development. But of course, this is a boon for the software industry!
In order to receive the early intervention funds for the “enhanced kindergarten program” described in this model bill, a school district must agree to contract with software companies to provide online learning programs.
In addition to an enhanced kindergarten program described in Subsection (B), the early intervention program includes a component to address early intervention through the use of an interactive computer software program.”
Immigrant Tracking System?
But the technology driven agenda does not stop with toddlers. There is also the “K-1 Technology-Based Reading Intervention for English Learners Act” which calls on “the State Department of Education to implement a language development software program in grades K-1 to assist those identified as English Language Learners.”
Can you imagine a better way to track students, who as ELL students, most likely come from first generation immigrant backgrounds? And what about children (or their parents) who may be undocumented?
There seems to be no effort to indicate whether or not these software companies they hire to teach students phonemic awareness, vocabulary, or other linguistic skills itemized in this bill, are even grounded in sound literacy research for ELL students. Or does that even matter so long as they receive their check for goods and services delivered?
Here’s my favorite: The Student Achievement Backpack Act.
Yes. I am not drunk on Thanksgiving libations. That’s actually what they named it.
Its data collection and tracking ALEC style. I hope Tea Party advocates against the Common Core and testing are reading this. Even in the absence of Obama or the “progressive” agenda—here’s a conservative- led free- market loving entity promoting the collection of private data to data collection agencies. I’ve been saying it all along. It’s the ideology of greed and control-from BOTH sides of aisle.
The Act reads: “This bill provides access by a student’s parent or guardian or an authorized LEA user to the learning profile of a student from kindergarten through grade 12 in an electronic format known as a Student Achievement Backpack.”
Ok…..so who the hell is the LEA????
(A)   “Authorized LEA user” means a teacher or other person who is: (1) employed by an LEA that provides instruction to a student; and (2) authorized to access data in a Student Achievement Backpack through the {insert state} Student Record Store. (B) “LEA” means a school district, charter school, or the {schooling options in the state specific to the deaf and blind}
Honestly I have no issue with my child’s records or data being shared with his school or teachers. BUT…when you get to the next round of ALEC legislation remember this phrasing “or employed by the LEA to provide instruction.”Corporations and other private entities will also have full access to your child’s records once they’ve become employed by the school district through the “Choice” Act (see next section).
The Backpack legislation adds:
“The State Board of Education shall use the robust, comprehensive data collection system maintained by the {insert state} State Office of Education, which collects longitudinal student transcript data from LEAs and the unique student identifiers as described in {insert applicable state code}, to allow the following to access a student’s Student Achievement Backpack: (1) the student’s parent or guardian; and (2) each LEA that provides instruction to the student.”
ALEC seems to have no qualms about storing student data in the “cloud” despite massive threats to data security (not to mention abuses of such information). Their model legislation varies very little from the massive data collection we are currently seeing under the federal imposition of Race to the Top. This legislation promises to collect “a completelearner history for postsecondary planning.”
ALEC’s legislation will be able to collect data on and track as much if not more than Race to the Top legislation (and we didn’t imagine it could get any worse…that is until ALEC takes a crack at it..)
Section 8. Access to Student Data
(A) No later than {insert date}, an authorized LEA user shall be able to access student data  in a Student Achievement Backpack, which shall include the data listed in Section 7 (A) (1) through (4) and the following data, or request the data be transferred from one LEA to another:  (1) section attendance; (2) the name of a student’s teacher for classes or courses the student takes;  (3) teacher qualifications for a student’s teacher, including years of experience, degree, license, and endorsement; (4) results of formative, interim, and summative computer adaptive assessments administered pursuant to {insert applicable state code};  (5) detailed data demonstrating a student’s mastery of core standards and objectives as measured by computer adaptive assessments administered pursuant to {insert  applicable state code}; (6) a student’s writing sample written for an online writing assessment administered pursuant to {insert applicable state code}; (7) student growth scores for {insert state} performance assessment; (8) a school’s grade assigned pursuant to {insert applicable state code}; (9) results of benchmark assessments of reading administered pursuant to {insert applicable state code}; and  (10) a student’s reading level at the end of grade 3.
Whether it’s federally, state, or privately managed—it all goes to the same place and for the same dubious reasons. Thanks Gates. Thanks Murdoch.
Student Futures Program Act
In shorthand, this Act provides private corporations and education delivery systems access to student data in order to market to those students and promote their products. It’s like “cookies” via K-12 education. Companies can track those students who they think will be interested in their products.
It says the Act will: “allow an education provider to (a) research and find student users who are interested in various educational outcomes; (b) promote the education provider’s programs and schools to student users;  and (c) connect with student users within the Student Futures website;  (3) allow a {insert state} business to: (a) research and find student users who are pursuing educational outcomes that are consistent with jobs the {insert state} business is trying to fill now or in the future; and  (b) market jobs and communicate with student users through the Student Futures website as allowed by law..”
This act also leads us down the slippery slope to education and career tracking. Using the data collection systems under the guise of career and college ready, children can be “steered” into programs or career opportunities.
I am all for vocational training. I am all for providing information to students about career possibilities! (not providing student information to private interests) I am all for encouraging children early on to dream about what they want to be when they grow up and helping them to get there.
This ain’t that program. The is Act also: “allow the Department of Workforce Services to analyze and report on student user Student Futures Program interests, education paths, and behaviors within the education systemso as to predictively determine appropriate career and educational outcomes and results” (we see Big Brothers Big Corporate Sister rearing her ugly head here don’t we?)
Remember that caution I gave you about the Data Collection Act?
Course Choice Program Act
Meet the new education LEA’s. Corporations and edutech companies privatizing public education. Perhaps ALEC has realized that they cannot fully take the public out of public education. But they can bring the private into the public sphere.
The Course Choice Program created by this Act would allow students in public schools and public charter schools to enroll in online, blended, and face-to-face courses not offered by the student’s school, and would allow a portion of that student’s funding to flow to the course provider. This Act creates an authorization process for providers and identifies provider and course eligibility criteria. This Act requires course providers and the State Department of Education to regularly report on the key measurements of student success and enrollment. This Act gives the State Department of Education authority to enter into an interstate course reciprocity agreement, allowing students within the state to take courses from providers domiciled in other states.”
Given Connections Academy, the country’s largest for- profit provider of online education, membership in ALEC and the ALEC education subcommittee, we should not be shocked. Other ALEC associated partners will undoubtedly include K-12 inc and University of Phoenix.
Subsection 6 reads: “Online or virtual course providers can serve as quality course providers for students who desire additional access to high quality courses ….
Who are “course providers?”
“Course Provider” shall mean “an entity that offers individual courses in person or online, including but not limited to online or virtual education providers, public or private elementary and secondary education institutions, education service agencies, private or nonprofit providers, postsecondary education institutions, and vocational or technical course providers, and have been authorized to provide such courses by the State Department of Education.”
So basically, public education courses taught by public education teachers in physical public education settings will be parsed out, course by course, to private providers. And remember that data collection section-pre-K through grade 12, to be stored by a private provider, in the cloud somewhere…to be accessed by LEA’s? Well, here are the LEA’s. The private, non-profit, virtual, or for profit organizations that, as providers of instruction WILL NOW ALSO HAVE ACCESS to data collection 2.0 ALEC style.
While ALEC ideology despises federal regulation, they have no problem trading in Big Brother for Corporate Big Sister.
Just when you think it can’t get any worse, there’s ALEC, shattering your disbelief. Don’t be fooled by ALEC rhetoric. Their reform efforts are part and parcel of the reform efforts so many of us are fighting.
There’s a whole lot more to this ALEC legislative document. Over 30 pages of it.  But I’ve got kids to pick up from school and a turkey to cook. So I’ll leave it off here. For now …
Carol Burris, "Student privacy concerns grow over 'data in a cloud'" at Valerie Strauss' Answer Sheet column at The Washington Post:

By Carol Burris

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is indecisive when it comes to uploading student information into inBloom, the cloud-based system designed to provide student data to vendors. He says that he is waiting for Commissioner John King’s report on privacy, even as the upload begins. Cuomo claims that massive student data collection is “necessary.” Meanwhile, eight other states that originally committed to inBloom have pulled out, or put their plans on hold.

The collection and reporting of school data is nothing new. We used to send data on scan sheets; test scores, drop out rates, the percentage of students with disabilities, etc., were all reported in the aggregate. As technology progressed, we began to electronically send data, not in the aggregate, but by student. Students were assigned a unique identifying number so that their privacy was protected, with identity guarded at the school or district level. More data, including race, ethnicity and socio-economic status, were added to what we sent. This allowed the state to disaggregate data by student group, while still preserving anonymity. Now that wall of privacy is shattered. Names, addresses (e-mail and street) and phone numbers are to be sent. Schools are required to upload student attendance, along with attendance codes, which indicate far more than whether or not the student was absent or present. Codes indicate whether a student is ill, truant, late to school or suspended. Details about the lives of students are moving beyond the school walls to reside in the inBloom cloud.

As a high school principal, I am worried by the state’s ever growing demands for student information. I believe that all disciplinary records should be known only to families and the school. All teens are under tremendous strain to perform — sometimes for adults, other times for peers. Some live on the emotional breaking point — others visit that point now and again. Kids make mistakes. Some make bad decisions. Others lose their temper and get out of control. Such serious infractions result in suspensions. We have to keep our schools safe, even as we are concerned about the well being of the offender.

When I suspend a student, I frame it within the context of learning. I also assure students and parents that discipline records are only known to us. Once that information is in the state database or the inBloom cloud, I can no longer give that reassurance.

What, then is the rationale for shipping personal data beyond the school? The New York State Education Department defends the collection of individual attendance and suspension data, claiming that it must be collected and uploaded to inBloom because it is one of several “early warning indicators” of dropping out. That rationale is insufficient. The identification of students with those indicators can be done at the school level. What is needed are the resources and supports so that schools can better intervene. Schools also need community support for dealing with problems such as student truancy. We do not need data in a cloud.

An additional justification is that inBloom data dashboards will allow parents to check to make sure that a suspension was removed from their child’s record if the commissioner overturns a suspension on appeal. In those rare cases, if a parent wants reassurance that the suspension was expunged, parents should visit the school. Schools are obliged to produce every written record, as well as give parents access to computer records. Disciplinary records are kept in both hard copy as well as in school data systems. Looking at a data dashboard would give an incomplete picture at best.

There is simply no justifiable reason for a state education department to know whether an individual student was ever suspended. It is an intrusion into the privacy of kids.

Read rest of Burris' column at The Washington Post.

(A reminder: the Common Core - student data linkage is essential, according to main architect, David Coleman. Read the article, "David Coleman Lauds the Use of Student Data."

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Scientific American: "Learning Styles" Could Be Invalid Theory

Incorporating "learning styles" is conventional in teaching techniques these days, but does it hold up under empirical scrutiny? And if it is shaky, should your supervisor expect you to incorporate attention to multiple learning styles (with differentiation six or so times over)? Furthermore, if this is dubious then this throws into question one of the Charlotte Danielson Framework tenets. Let's hope that NYSUT attorneys attend to contrasts between theory and empirically demonstrable reality.

Is Teaching to a Student’s “Learning Style” a Bogus Idea?

Many researchers have suggested that differences in students’ learning styles may be as important as ability, but empirical evidence is thin
Ken Gibson was an advanced reader in elementary school and easily retained much of what he read. But when the teacher would stand him up in front of the class to read a report out loud, he floundered. His classmates, he noticed, also had their inconsistencies. Some relished oral presentations but took forever to read a passage on their own; others had a hard time following lectures. Gibson now explains these discrepancies as “learning styles” that differ from one student to the next. He founded a company, LearningRx, on the premise that these styles make a difference in how students learn.
The idea that learning styles vary among students has taken off in recent years. Many teachers, parents and students are adamant that they learn best visually or by hearing a lesson or by reading, and so forth. And some educators have advocated teaching methods that take advantage of differences in the way students learn. But some psychologists take issue with the idea that learning style makes any significant difference in the classroom.
There is no shortage of ideas in the professional literature. David Kolb of Case Western Reserve University posits that personality divides learners into categories based on how actively or observationally they learn and whether they thrive on abstract concepts or concrete ones. Another conjecture holds that sequential learners understand information best when it is presented one step at a time whereas holistic learners benefit more from seeing the big picture. Psychologists have published at least 71 different hypotheseson learning styles.
Frank Coffield, professor of education at the University of London, set out to find commonalities among the many disparate ideas about learning style using a sample comprising 13 models. The findings, published in 2004, found that only three tests for learning styles met their criteria for both validity and reliability, meaning that the tests both measured what they intended to measure and yielded consistent results. Among the many competing ideas, Coffield and his colleagues found no sign pointing to an overarching model of learning styles.
 . . . .
Daniel Willingham, a professor of cognitive psychology at the University of Virginia and outspoken skeptic of learning styles, argues that Gibson and other cognitive psychologists are mistaken to equate cognitive strengths with learning styles. The two, Willingham says, are different: Whereas cognitive ability clearly affects the ability to learn, an individual’s style doesn’t. “You can have two basketball players, for example, with a different style. One is very conservative whereas the other is a real risk-taker and likes to take crazy shots and so forth, but they might be equivalent in ability.”
As Willingham points out, the idea that ability affects performance in the classroom is not particularly surprising. The more interesting question is whether learning styles, as opposed to abilities, make a difference in the classroom. Would educators be more effective if they identified their students’ individual styles and catered their lessons to them?

 . . . .

Harold Pashler of the University of California, San Diego, and his colleagues searched the research literature for exactly this kind of empirical evidence. They couldn't find any. One study they reviewed compared participants’ scores on the Verbalizer–Visualizer Questionnaire, a fifteen-item survey of true-or-false questions evaluating whether someone prefers auditory or optical information, with their scores on memory tests after presenting words via either pictures or verbal reading. On average, participants performed better on the free-recall test when they were shown images, regardless of their preferences.
Some studies claimed to have demonstrated the effectiveness of teaching to learning styles, although they had small sample sizes, selectively reported data or were methodologically flawed. Those that were methodologically sound found no relationship between learning styles and performance on assessments. Willingham and Pashler believe that learning styles is a myth perpetuated merely by sloppy research and confirmation bias.
 . . . .

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Buffalo teachers, parents picket Regent’s home in protest over state standards, tests

From The Buffalo News:

BTF, parents picket Regent’s home in protest over state standards, tests

Bennett is focus of protest over state standards, tests

By Denise Jewell Gee | News Staff Reporter | @DeniseJewellGee | Google+ , Mary Pasciak | News Education Reporter | @MaryPasciak | Google+ December 9, 2013
Link for video of protest: http://bcove.me/2y9zapsa

About two dozen teachers and parents marched outside the Town of Tonawanda home of Regent Robert M. Bennett on Monday to show their displeasure with the way the state has implemented new learning standards and tests designed to measure them.
The Buffalo Teachers Federation protest lasted only 35 minutes, but the teachers hoped to send a strong message by choosing to picket on the sidewalk outside the home of a state education official.
What I want is for Mr. Bennett, and all of the Board of Regents, to be aware that teachers and parents alike are not happy with the implementation, are not happy with the amount of testing,” said Joanie Cavanaugh, a teacher at Hutchinson-Central Technical High School who was among the protesters.
The residential location was an unusual one during a national “Day of Action” that featured rallies and news conferences organized by teachers unions, educators and community groups across the state. The events also included a panel discussion on education in West Seneca. The BTF picketing of Bennett’s house appeared to be the only event in the state that was staged at the home of a public official.
This is not just about teacher evaluations. This is about what we’re doing to our kids,” BTF President Phil Rumore said, pointing to the Common Core standards being pushed by State Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. “The Regents are the ones who have allowed Commissioner King to take these steps that are detrimental to our students.”
Bennett, who has represented Western New York on the state’s Board of Regents since 1995 and is now chancellor emeritus, said he was disturbed by the tactic of picketing his home.
It’s disappointing, to say the least,” Bennett said before the protest. “A phone call would have sufficed. If Phil wanted to talk to me or yell at me, he could have just picked up the phone.”
Bennett was not at the house during the protest. The pickets walked quietly on the sidewalk, carrying signs that read, “Our students are not a test score.” They ended the event by chanting, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Emeritus Bennett has got to go.”
Seven years ago, the BTF joined other unions in the city in picketing the homes of members of Buffalo’s state-appointed financial control board. But Monday’s protest was the first time in Rumore’s more than 30 years as BTF president that the union picketed the home of an education official.
New York State United Teachers is calling for increased funding for public schools, a de-emphasis of standardized testing and a three-year moratorium on high-stakes consequences tied to those tests.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo last year tied school districts’ increases in state aid to their implementation of teacher evaluations, with 20 percent of teacher ratings based on student performance on state tests. Districts had the option of using state tests, locally developed or selected tests, or methods other than tests to measure teacher effectiveness for another 20 percent of each teacher’s rating.
NYSUT spokesman Carl Korn said he was not aware of the BTF’s plans to picket Bennett’s house.
The Buffalo District Parent Coordinating Council said while it shares the BTF’s concerns with how Common Core standards have been implemented and “excessive use of assessments,” it does not support protesting outside “anyone’s private residence.”
For the sake of our children,” a statement from the group read, “it is imperative that we work TOGETHER to get this right!
Educators in West Seneca took a different approach to mark the day. Panelists in an education forum in the West Seneca Central School District touched on a wide range of issues – including high-stakes testing and the creation of a new statewide system for student information that uses a nonprofit education group, inBloom, to process and store data.
The point was to make it clear that those who have expressed their opposition to high-stakes testing and to inBloom do not represent a vocal minority,” said West Seneca Superintendent Mark J. Crawford. “There are lots of people who are concerned, and the concern, I think, is increasing throughout the state.”
New York is one of 45 states to adopt Common Core, which establishes learning standards that are intended to better prepare students for college and the workforce. The pace at which New York State has implemented Common Core has been widely criticized by parents and teachers.
New York, along with Kentucky, was the first state to implement tests aligned with Common Core. Last year, students in third through eighth grades took state tests based on the Common Core. This year, high school tests will start to be aligned with the Common Core.
Many teachers and local school officials across the state have complained that the state did not provide schools with adequate support to implement the upgraded instructional standards.
Crawford said speakers at the West Seneca event did not oppose the Common Core standards but raised concerns about the way they have been implemented.
There are a lot of things that myself and others feel are useful and desirable in the Common Core,” Crawford said. “The problem has been that it was not completely developed, and it wasn’t given to teachers completely, and then our students are tested on material they haven’t had.”
The West Seneca event was not planned in connection with the BTF protest.
While Rumore complained that schools are “testing our kids to death,” Bennett said the amount of state-required testing has remained relatively constant for many years.
The fact is, the state tests have not increased at all in 10 years,” Bennett said.
That’s a mischaracterization,” Rumore said. “The state has made it a requirement for teacher evaluations that students be tested. I know it’s a local option, but they’re the ones that have been pushing this testing from the beginning.”
Rumore said his greater concern, more than the amount of testing, is what he referred to as the “premature implementation of Common Core.”
Bennett said the Common Core is designed to make students competitive. The state establishes learning standards; each district decides what curriculum to use.
The Common Core are learning standards and not a curriculum,” Bennett said. “They were developed in 2008 and 2009 by a national council. They’re not new.”

Related story, Buffalo News, December 12, 2013:

King rejects argument that Common Core standards are too difficult

‘It’s the right thing for students,’ state education chief says, rejecting the argument that controversial new standards are too difficult

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Will de Blasio Do the Right Thing or Will His Interim Chancellor Choice Show Him to Be the Manchurian Candidate?

The buzz on the Internet(s) is that New York City mayor-elect Bill de Blasio will choose an interim chancellor. (Gotham Schools reports that, outrageously, we may add, de Blasio is holding out until actual week of transition from old to new regimes for making his chancellor appointment announcement. And de Blasio himself is terming the appointment an interim one.) Will this be a mere short-term pick or will it be a hold-ever from the Bloomberg reign of error? Gotham Schools claimed Friday that current chancellor Dennis Walcott's top deputy Shael Polakow-Suransky will hang on past December 31 as the interim chancellor.

If the appointee will be Suransky it will surely disappoint. For Suransky has signed off on the succession of noxious policies of the last two plus years under Dennis Walcott. Those respecting libraries and equity in education should shudder at the continuation of the stain of Suransky upon the city Department of Education.

For this was the man that derided school libraries and dismissed school librarians as mere curators of media. (Listen to his chilling words in his joint appearance with Walcott on Brian Lehrer's show on WNYC this August 26.)

As I wrote on August 26:
City Department of Education's chief academic officer Polakow-Suransky is quoted [in Lisa Fleisher's "City Schools are Quietly using Fewer Librarians" in the Wall Street Journal] as justifying closing libraries. Here and in his 8/26 interview at WNYC he tried to justify closing the libraries by saying that newer technologies make them less essential.
The article cites the state requirements that Bloomberg seeks permission to violate. A middle school or a high school with between 100 and 300 students must have a certified librarian present, performing librarian duties at least two days a week. Schools with over 700 students must have a full-time librarian.

In the WSJ article Polakow-Suransky implicitly sets up the blame for teachers by saying that new teaching practices along with new technology make librarians less necessary. Johnny doesn't know the myriad of researching techniques or a range of literature or the fast way to find certain books? Don't blame the lack of a professional librarian or a school library, just say that the classroom teacher is not up to "best practices." Wrong idea. Be sure not to vote for Christine Quinn for mayor, as she supported the mayor all through his terms and is recognized by the Times as likely to continue "his successes."
Fleisher reported this summer that the Bloomberg administration sought an unprecedented waiver of the requirement for librarians in the schools. There are only 333 librarians among the city's 1,700 schools.

The official American Academy of School Librarians blog published this statement in August: "But does nobody in the DOE realize that this will only increase the achievement gap? We school librarians are already familiar with the research that points to the fact that having an endorsed librarian in schools increases student reading scores."

New Yorkers spent great energy, blogging, hitting the pavement or enlightening friends or colleagues of the fundamental imperative of not electing Quinn, as she would represent a fourth term of Bloomberg.

As in China's Qin Dynasty, with its episodes of burning books and burying scholars, Bloomberg's legacy has been similarly contemptuous of history, scholarship and academic professionalism. Record numbers of libraries closed under his leadership, countless schools lost art and music programs. Bloomberg, as the Qin leaders, and as the Cultural Revolution Red Guards, destroyed essential institutions and links to past culture.
Walcott and his deputy, Polakow-Suransky aided and abetted in that destruction.

Mr. de Blasio, do not disappoint us by appointing Polakow-Suransky.
Do not reward Suransky for his crimes against education. Appoint a professional education leader that truly respects the essential components of a quality, equitable education policy experience.

Mr. de Blasio, we are less than dazzled by some of your other choices. As Perdido Street School blog wrote earlier this evening Alicia Glen's Goldman Sachs record strikes us as less civic progressive-minded and more beneficiary of public-private partnerships as venture capital instruments. Fiorello LaGuadia is spinning in his grave.