Sunday, April 26, 2015

Pickering v. Garcetti -- How Mass Opt-Outs Will Aid Teachers Brought Up on Charges Over Opt-Out Advocacy

In the coming prosecutions we will see a collision over state authority and teachers' expression rights in the public interest.  The parents' and students' opt-out activities will support teachers in their claim to use the free speech power as expressed in Pickering, over the state power as expressed in Garcetti.

The massive parent and student support that we have seen in the opt-out rebellion in the last two weeks profoundly shows popular revulsion for the high-stakes standardized tests that have no purpose other than to sort teachers. And as has been shown in statistical analyses, whether by Gary Rubinstein or by the American Statistical Association, Value-Added Measuring is invalid in assessing teachers.

Case law on public employee free speech, briefly
In Pickering v. Board of Education (1968) the Supreme Court justices upheld a teacher's right of free speech. A teacher had written a letter criticizing school board policy. The Court decided that teachers have a right of free speech if they are speaking truthfully and in the public interest.

By contrast a more recent Supreme Court ruling, Garcetti v. Ceballo (2006) the Court held that the interests of smooth government operation trumped government employee free speech rights. The case involved a dispute on the over over proper procedure with a warrant. For a lengthier look at the question of teachers' free speech rights see this posting at Diane Ravitch's blog.

A few days ago I wrote on how the Supreme Court has protected the free speech rights of youths. A case on a youth of the Jehovah's Witnesses faith was supported in a quest of being free from mandatory recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. In a later case, a youth was supported in challenging the constitutionality of the mandate of reciting a prayer in school. These precedents would support those youths that would resent being compelled to sign a contract of secrecy regarding test content. Further, parental rights have been found to have had given greater weight than property rights.
How all this relates to kids and this month's tests: students should not have to sign secrecy oaths. Parents' rights mean that they can allow their children to opt out of tests.

Teachers: Massive student opt-outs, massive parental OKs are proof that you are speaking to a public interest need
The entire 11th grade in one Seattle school resisted taking the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) test. (See "What If They Gave the SBAC and Nobody Took It?") In Long Island the percentage of students\opting out of taking the Common Core-based tests took a meteoric rise. In Baldwin, Nassau County, student opt-outs took a 232 percent increase. (New York State has decided to use its own test, instead of the PARCC or SBAC tests used in other states.) A full 39 percent of third through eighth grade students opted out of taking the English Language Arts "assessment" (test for those of you in the real world). Across New York, the number of opt-outs (from about 73 percent of the districts) there were 185,000 opt-outs on the ELA test, an increase over the 49,000 from last year. About 1.1 million students took the test last year.

These numbers demonstrate that the parents and students are in alignment with the teachers.
So, if and when authorities prosecute teachers, as suggested by this disciplinary threat in Philadelphia, this mandate in New Mexico that compels teachers to withhold their speech on opting out, this suspension of a Rhode Island teacher, and this threat in Rochester, New York, teachers will be able to argue that the Pickering principal of protecting speech that is in the public interest evidently outweighs the Garcetti case emphasis on the smooth operation of the government.

It will be a great fight over the judgments of the two precedential cases. Bring it on.

Teachers should express special thanks to Change the Stakes, NYS Allies for Public Education, United Opt Out, Long Island Parents and Teachers Against Standardized Testing and APPR.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Duncan Crosses Rubicon As He Threatens Opt-Out Districts With Sanctions

*Several Supreme Court decisions could supply bases for opposing Duncan's threats

In his Apr 21 statement that the federal government is obliged to intervene if states fail to address the growing number of students that are boycotting federally mandated annual exams. (Federal law in Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and No Child Left Behind (NCLB) mandate annulized testing. However, the form of the test is up to respective state authorities. New York has opted for a Common Core State Standards (CCSS) -based test that is outside of the SBAC or the PARCC test consortia.) It is estimated that over 184,000 students opted out of the CCSS based English tests in New York last week. (Essential Update: See also this issue covered at Diane Ravitch's blog, on 4/22/15, "State May Have Power to Withhold Federal Funding to Punish Opt-Outs." Talk about collective punishment!)

U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan is taking a disturbingly authoritarian course with his threat of sanctions against school districts that fail to achieve 95 percent compliance with high-stakes tests, as stemming from the ESEA. The hinted punishment by federal or state authorities would be withholding funds, the New York State Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE) denies the claim that districts will lose funding over low participation rates in high-stakes standardized tests.

Orders to be followed without question are in two places: in militaries, and in authoritarian regimes.
Duncan and the U.S. DOE is demanding compliance without question with his new statement.  

Duncan has truly crossed the line with his threat of sanctions for non-compliance. Further disturbing is his expectation that districts directly address the non-compliers. Of course, we must realize what this leads to. If districts must investigate and curtail opt-outing activity, they must find, document and punish non-complying students and their parents. And note below how he is attempting to enlist state authorities in addressing non-compliance this month with the Common Core tests.

A federal education department spokeswoman said last week that the agency could withhold funding from states if some of their districts have too few students take the exams, but that it has not yet done so because states have addressed the issue on their own.
State education department spokesman Jonathan Burman said in an email Tuesday that the “the feds are discussing the possibility of imposing penalties for failing to hit participation rate targets.” He added that the state is also expected to “consider imposing sanctions” on districts that fail to meet the 95 percent threshold, which could include withholding money “in the most egregious cases.” (Opt-out advocates have questioned the state’s interpretation of the testing law, and say that sanctions are only allowed after a district falls below the 95 percent level for three years.)

Duncan, unless he reverses his statements, is handing the 2016 election to Republicans. How could someone expect Democrats to continue to get popular support from liberals? And wouldn't Independents lean closer to Republicans after this threat?

*Supreme Court case precedence would make fighting Duncan easy
Duncan's demands for compliance, echoed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, could be easily challenged in federal court. For, Supreme Court precedent maintains that parental rights are held highly, above concerns for other matters such as property rights. For example, see Hodgson v. Minnesota (1990) which notes that parental rights are protected under the Fourteenth Amendment. Parental rights figured in the decision, Wisconsin v. Yoder (1972) which upheld the right of Amish parents not to send their children to public schools past eighth grade. And of course, Duncan's actions over the past six years have been riddled with Tenth Amendment violations.

Consider also the matter of compulsory student signing of silence oaths on state tests, which would seem to violate the First Amendment. Easily, precedential case law could render these mandates unconstitutional. West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette (1943) established that it was unconstitutional to expect students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance; Engel v. Vitale (1962) barred state mandates that students recite prayers in school. Certainly, a lawyer could soundly argue that from these cases it can be argued that children cannot be compelled to sign oaths to be silent about test contents. Additionally, we have seen at least one well-known instance of the disciplining of a New Mexico student over informing other students of opt-out rights.

Easily, litigants could bring case against Duncan, Cuomo and any other government officials seeking to enforce cooperation with state tests and silence oaths on test contents.

How would Duncan achieve his goal of identifying and reprimanding opponents and opposition leaders? Existing staff would take on new investigative and police powers. 

This would give people an ugly taste in their mouth when hearing “Democrat.” If Hillary Clinton or other presidential contender of any political party have any sense of savvy they would run in the other direction from Duncan and Cuomo and their talk of sanctions over opt-outs.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Researchers: American Teens are More Stressed than Adults - Could Our Soul-Deadening Test-Prep Regime Have Something to Do with It?

Time magazine reported this month that U.S. teens are stressed out more than adults.

Could not the overwhelming education regime of deadening Common Core State Standards which elides literature and the heavy test and test-prep until you drop have something to do with this?

Could not the elimination of arts and extra-curricular athletics have something to do with alienation and particularly alienation from school have something to do with high adolescent stress?

American Teens Are Stressed and Bored. It’s Time to Talk About Feelings


Diana Divecha, Ph.D., is a developmental psychologist and research affiliate at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. Robin Stern, Ph.D., is associate director of the center and a psychoanalyst.

The kids are not alright

Every night, at dinner tables around the country, parents ask their kids the same question: “How was school?” We’re about to find out how millions of American youth feel about their school day. On April 9, the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and Born This Way Foundation invited high school students across the United States to go online to declare how they feel while they’re in school. And how they’d like to feel.

Why does it matter how kids feel during the school day? A child’s day is a roller coaster of emotions. And sadly, many of the feelings are unpleasant.
A growing body of research highlights the importance of how kids feel and how they manage those feelings, or not. Emotions drive attention, learning, memory, and decision-making. They affect relationships and psychological well-being. Learning to handle emotions well is especially important in adolescence, a time when neural networks are being sculpted that will influence behavior patterns for life.
But American youth, especially teens, are not in good emotional shape. They feel mostly “bored and checked out” at school, according to adolescence scholar Larry Steinberg. Academically, they are underachieving when compared to youth in other developed nations. And their mental health is declining. During the school year, their stress has edged beyond that of adults, according to a survey of the American Psychological Association last year. They rank in the bottom quarter among other developed nations on measures of well-being, life-satisfaction, and relationship quality, according to a recent UNICEF study.
Emotional skills can be taught, and some schools have adopted programs to do just that. The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, the nation’s leading organization advancing this cause, says that children should have five core emotion competencies: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making. Teaching kids about their feelings can mean the difference between whether a personal setback becomes chronic failure or strengthens resolve, whether a disagreement with a friend festers into anger or is navigated gracefully, whether the intellectual insight is fanned or extinguished.
Schools that have adopted social-and-emotional-learning (SEL) programs are seeing the difference: An analysis of 213 such programs showed that, if evidence-based and well-taught, they can improve students’ emotional skills, prosocial behaviors and relationships with others, and attitudes about school. In addition, behavior problems are reduced, and students make modest gains in academic achievement. And 93% of teachers indicated in a survey that they want SEL training in their schools. Programs have been successful in diverse settings: rural and urban areas, independent and public schools, poor neighborhoods and affluent ones. A cost-benefit analysis released last month from Columbia University concluded that every dollar spent teaching an SEL program yielded an $11 savings through benefits such as reduced aggression and violence, substance abuse, delinquency, better mental health, and better academic performance.
But the funding to support SEL programs and the policies to guide them are slow to come. Several federal bills are pending that would mandate and provide the funding for SEL programs and teacher training. A few states, including Illinois, Kansas, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, are beginning to move ahead on their own.
 Read on, at the original TIME magazine article for more discussion of the issue. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

An Upset Educator's Letter to Oprah – "Ask teachers"

An important flashback to 2010, year of Waiting for Superman and Cavanagh/Jones/Scott's response.
From the National Education Association (NEA) site:

An Upset Educator’s Letter to Oprah — ‘Ask teachers.’

Friday, April 17, 2015

Education Policy Leaders Today: Typical Bad Managers

Note how the hallmarks of bad managers so happen to be parallel with the worst, yet common practices of "education leaders:"

From Larry Alton, "5 Signs of a Bad Manager" at

1. Micromanaging is the go-to approach

Nothing kills a business and employees’ spirit like micromanaging, but sometimes we just can't help ourselves. Many people think they’re genuinely “helping” or that nobody else can do the job quite as well as them. If you spot this in yourself, it’s kind of like being an addict—you probably won’t get better on your own.

2. They embrace “do as I say, not as I do”

A great manager leads by example, so if they’re always late, don’t follow the dress code, aren’t sure where the team is on a project or otherwise drops the ball on the regular, watch out. There will of course be times when even great managers slip up, but if this is the MO of a manager, then their heart isn’t in it. And if theirs isn’t, why should anyone else’s be?

Related Article: Meeting Mania: How to Curb this Corporate Addiction

3. They’re not qualified

Whether it was nepotism that put them in this role or the hiring manager had a crush on them during interviews, not all managers deserve their position—yet. If you think that’s you, then it’s time to buckle down and earn that spot no matter how you got it. Of course, this is assuming that you think it’s a feasible goal. If it seems too challenging or you’re in over your head, it might be better for everyone if you sought a transfer to another position lower down the totem pole while you hone your skills.

4. They’re a meeting addict

There are many ways to foster a successful company, but being addicted to meetings just for the sake of it isn’t one of them. Meetings are often big time wasters, they can be expensive and time consuming to pull off, and some people always tend to hog these precious minutes (or even hours). It’s a sign of poor time management and a symptom of a manager who’s using fluff to make it seem like something important is happening.

Related Article: Are Technical Skills More Important than Leadership Qualities?

5. They don’t treat everyone fairly or equally

Whether it’s rampant racism or sexism, or simply the fact that the manager seems to have a “pet,” this is one of the toughest management issues to deal with. If it’s clear to you that a manager doesn’t see everyone as equals, it’s probably obvious to everyone else. This destroys company morale, makes the manager look unprofessional and will slowly poison the company. If you spot this tendency in yourself, it’s time to consider how to handle it.
There are many ways to become a better manager, but fixing what you're not doing well can go a long way.

Read more:

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Opt-Out Wildfire Spreads: Ordinary NYS Parents & Students Speak Truth to Cuomo & Company's Lies

*Test opt-outs from Western New York to Suffolk County in Long Island
*Disproportionately low opt-out numbers in New York City --legacy of Bloomberg & Mulgrew

The people are speaking. They know education. They know worth of education, of children, of what is inappropriate testing. They realize spirit deadening high-stakes testing. They realize the inappropriateness of the Common Core. They recognize that the Common Core was imposed on the people without the people asking for it, without public hearings on the Common Core. They realize that the Common Core and its attendant test-prep regimen is deadening the spirit and joy of a generation of school children. THEY ARE SAYING "NO MORE!"

They remember when tests were cheaply produced, mainly in-house New York State affairs. They see the wholesale selling of the people's state schools to Pearson and Governor Cuomo's friends.

There was no public outcry for the selling of schools and children for corporations' gain. Yet, this is the incessant demand of Cuomo, State Education Department Chancellor Merryl Tisch (who has lied with claims that opting out will jeopardize millions in federal money), and those quisling superintendents that blindly follow the demand for the invalid tests. (Of course, kudos to Joseph Rella, a superintendent of strong conscience.)

Parents are seeing that their children are being exploited in being used as political footballs in a shallow battle against teachers. Parents see through the selling out of the schools to privateers. Parents are refusing to allow their children to be pawns in this education war.

Teachers tip their hat to parents, as in the opt-out movement parents are showing solidarity with teacher: they refusing to allow their children to be fodder against teachers.

So, we see test-opt outs across the state: Refusal rates from the 30s to 70s percent.
The Buffalo News reports: "Two thousand kids in West Seneca schools opt out," as students in the Buffalo Niagara district opt out.

The News' recent article reported:
The number of students refusing to participate is expected to grow significantly over the 60,000 statewide who refused to take the tests last year.

The rate reached 70 percent Tuesday in the West Seneca School District, where 2,074 of 2,976 eligible students refused testing. Rates at individual schools ranged from 50 percent at Northwood Elementary School to 83 percent at Allendale Elementary.

In lower Hudson Valley districts opt-out rates were high: "MAP: School districts seeing high opt-out rates"
In Nassau and Suffolk county, opt-outs were also high, with one town reaching an 82 percent opt-out rate. Headlines from the last 24 hours reverberate with resistance to the high-stakes tests.

Parents opt kids out of Common Core test --News 12 Long Island

Common Core Opponents Predict Record-Breaking Numbers Of Students Opting Out --Long Island Press

Some LI school districts showing record numbers of test opt-outs --Newsday

Long Island: This Will Be the Biggest Opt Out Ever --Diane Ravitch blog

Alas, with mayoral control, popular speech, popular expression by parents in an elected board of education, has been deligitimized in New York City.

Shamefully, the New York City media, the public radio station WNYC included, continually has pressed for mayoral control and its renewal. In this era, there is a paucity of parent activism and involvement. So, there has been proportionately very low resistance in New York City. The low level of resistance also has its roots in the repression of teachers over the past twelve years, and in the collaboration of the union, the United Federation of Teachers, whose leader, Michael Mulgrew, has supported the Common Core, and has opposed the opt-out movement. The UFT has defeated opt-out resolutions proposed by the Movement of Rank and File Educators caucus (MORE). Most recently, Monday, in the Mulgrew-dominated Executive Board, Unity aligned UFT leaders dug in their heels against the opt-out movement.

Of course, never forget that NYC opt-out began with two heroic teachers in a Brooklyn high school.

And, of course, "The revolution won't be televised": note that you cannot find this news covered in the New York Times. I will bet my paycheck that if WNYC runs a story they WILL put Merryl Tisch in the driver's seat and they will NOT interview anyone from Change the Stakes.

Friday, April 10, 2015

NYS Anti-Teacher Law Section Concedes Student Mental and Physical Health Importance

 *NYS Legislature law S2006 requires wrap-around social services for "failing" schools placed in receivership. *Clause could open role for charter schools.

Progressive education activists and organizations, such as New York City's Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE) have been recognizing that there is a need for wrap-around mental and physical health services at the schools.
And some activists take this a step further, recognizing that students' socioeconomic conditions factor into performance. Class, home language and race matters.
As some have said, "Our students' living conditions are their learning conditions."

It is highly ironic that tagged into Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature's breathtaking attack on teachers last week, in the teacher evaluation law, coupled with new procedures for state takeover of schools via receivership placement in the budget bill, S2006B / A3006B, was a lengthy statement that stipulated the implementation of several important social services. Why would these services be included? They would be included because many students do not have these on their own outside of school and they vitally need those services, and their lacking these services would negatively impact their scholastic performance.
And it is bitterly ironic that once the school goes into the status the State Education Department deems "failing," and that only then the school gets these services.

Here is what the new law says about receivership and its power.

-adds a new section, section 211-f, to the education law regarding the takeover and restructuring of failing schools by external receivers. It allows the Commissioner, under given circumstances, to place a school into receivership where a receiver will manage and operate the school, subject to annual review by the Commissioner, until such time as the school has improved sufficiently.

-allows for the state takeover in schools;

-27 “priority” schools that have been struggling for more than 10 years would have only one year to dramatically turnaround,

and -other “priority” schools would have two years to turn around, until an outside receiver is appointed to control the school.

-New priority schools in 2016-17 are automatically eligible for receivership.

Charter role?

Note that the law has a vague aspect "non-profit" as potential taking the receivership role. Note that the charter school industry makes hefty use of the "non-profit" mantle.
Appointment of a Receiver:

Upon determination by the Commissioner that the school will be placed in receivership, the school district shall appoint an independent receiver, subject to approval of the Commissioner.

The receiver will manage and operate all aspects of the school and develop and implement a school intervention plan, considering recommendations of a community engagement team.

The receiver may be a non-profit, another school district, or an individual.

The receiver will have the power to supersede any decision, policy or regulation of the district that conflicts with the school intervention plan.

The receiver will have authority to review proposed school district budgets and modify them to conform to the school intervention plan.

The receiver will contract with the Commissioner and be paid by SED, unless there is an open administrative staffing line at the district and the receiver will be taking on the responsibilities of that position, in which case the receiver will be paid by the district.
Yet, under the School Improvement Plan we see that the state is clearly calling for attention to serving unmet health needs of students.
Why is it that the state inherently recognizes the worth of these needs, yet it will only attend to those needs once a school falls into "failing" status?
School Intervention Plan:

The receiver will create a school intervention plan. Before developing plan, the receive shall “consult with” local stakeholders including the board of education, the superintendent, the principal, teachers assigned to the school and their collective bargaining representation, administrators assigned to the school and their collective bargaining representative, parents, social service and mental health agencies, students as appropriate, career and workforce development programs as appropriate, pre-k programs as appropriate, representatives of local higher ed as appropriate and the “school takeover team.”

 In creating the plan, the receiver shall consider the recommendations of the “community enragement team,” include provisions intended to maximize the rapid academic achievement of students at the school, ensure the plan addresses school leadership and capacity, school leader practices and decisions, curriculum development and support, teacher practices and decisions, student social and emotional developmental health, and family and community engagement. The receiver shall base the plan on the findings of any recent diagnostic review or assessment and student outcome data including, student achievement growth data based on state measures, other measures of student achievements, student promotion and graduation rates, achievement and growth data for subgroups, and long-term and short-term suspension rates.

 The receiver must include the following in the plan: measures to address social service, health and mental health needs of students in the school and their families in order to help students arrive and remain at school ready to learn, provided that this may include mental health and substance abuse screening; measures to improve or expand access to child welfare services and, as appropriate, services in the school community to promote a safe and secure learning environment; measures to provide greater access to career and technical education and workforce development services provided to students in the school and their families, in order to provide students and families with meaningful employment skills and opportunities; measures to address achievement gaps for English language learners, students with disabilities and economically disadvantaged students; measures to address school climate and positive behavior support, including mentoring and other youth development programs; and a budget for the school intervention plan.
  .   .   .

 The plan must include measurable annual goals with respect to student attendance, student discipline including short-term and long-term suspension, student safety, student promotion and graduation and drop-out rates, student achievement and growth on state measures, progress in areas of academic underperformance, progress among subgroups, reduction of achievement gaps, development of college and career readiness, parent and family engagement, building a culture of academic success among students, building a culture of student support and success among faculty and staff, using developmentally appropriate child assessments from Pre-K to 3, and measures of student learning.
The receiver “shall” convert schools to “community schools” to provide expanded health, mental health and other services to the students.
So, in closing, it is very interesting and disturbing that the state will recognize the importance of, and take action to provide for these needs, only when a school falls into "failing" status. Until that point, the state will use the schools and their children and staff as political footballs.

*April 1 typo by the legislature? Note in the paragraph under "Considerations," the law calls for creation of a "community enragement team." Did the bill's authors mean "engagement"?

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Blogger Lays Out How New York State Democrats Betrayed Teachers

Read here at CURMUDGUCATION blog on how the New York State legislature Democrats betrayed the teachers of the state.

--Linked here at Diane Ravitch's blog: "Peter Greene on Cuomo's Destruction of the Teaching Profession and the Democrats Who Helped Him."

 A very careful examination of the bill is at Daniel Katz's blog.  The key introduction to Greene's blog:
This has truly been the most bizarre thing I have ever seen. An unpopular proposal that guts teaching as a profession and kicks public education in the teeth, sails through the NY legislature.

Yes, "sails through." There's nothing else to call a budget that is approved 92-54. 

NY Democrats tried to make it look like less of a total victory-in-a-walk for public education opponent Andrew Cuomo by making sad pouty faces and issuing various meaningless mouth noises while going ahead and voting for the damn thing. "Ohh, woes and sadderations," they cried as they took turns walking to the podium to give Cuomo exactly the tools he wanted for helping to put an end to teaching as a profession in New York state.

I am not sure what Democrats hoped to accomplish by taking to the podium and twitter to say how deeply, tragically burdened they were. I mean, I guess you'd like to know that people who club baby seals feel a little bit bad about it, but it really doesn't make a lot of difference to the baby seal, who is in fact still dead.

Maybe the lesson here is that the craziest person in the room controls the conversation. The person who's willing to ram the car right into the sheer rock face gets to navigate the trip, and Cuomo has displayed repeatedly that he really doesn't care what has to be smashed up. If the world isn't going to go on his way, it doesn't need to go on for anybody.

But if teachers needed reason #2,416 to understand that Democrats simply aren't friends to public education, there it was, biting its quivering lip and sniffling, "I feel really bad about this" as it tied up education and fired it out of a canon so that it could land directly under a bus that had been dropped off the Empire State Building.
Read the remainder of the article here.

Monday, April 6, 2015

NYS Repeats Ugly Historical Dictatorship History with Moral Character Provision in New Teacher Law

“Those who fail to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.”—George Santayana

And so, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State legislature take one more ugly step degrading our republic.

Along with the budget and teacher evaluation changes the legislature passed (in  S2006B/A3006B) included this insulting provision, that puts teachers into a class like that of sex offenders:

Certificate holders shall notify the department of any change of name or mailing address within thirty days of such change. Willful failure to register or provide such notice within one hundred eighty days of such change may constitute grounds for moral character review under subdivision seven of section three hundred five of this chapter.

This follows an item that the Perdido Street blogger charges is aimed at eliminating senior teachers. He wrote:
"We've already found that permanent certificate holders have lost the "permanent" status of their teaching certification since they now have to "register" every five years for their certification or risk losing their licenses."

To skeptics about this provision: yes, teachers and other professionals have had to register address changes with the state of New York, but this one newly charges teachers with a "Moral Character Review" if they fail to comply.

Where is the UFT in this attack? United Federation of Teachers president Michael Mulgrew declared the bill a victory --days before it was finished and voted on!

See reaction and analysis at this PSS blog post:

And analysis and reaction at this Diane Ravitch piece:

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Newsday Front Page: NYSUT's Magee: Parents Should Opt Out Their Children

So on the March 31, 2015 editions of Newsday we read that NYSUT's Karen Magee advised: Parents Should Opt Out Their Children.

So why not New York City's President Michael Mulgrew?

Because he has always sung the reformer-friendly refrain, that all that is needed is better tests --that the testing regime itself is not onerous, it's just the implementation that is bad.

And maybe this is also reflecting how just a year ago Mulgrew was engineering a coup de etat of the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) assembly at their convention at the home base of New York City. (Hmm, when do you suppose NYSUT will have its convention in a more mutual location, such as Utica?)

The irony is that among his handpicked NYSUT teachers, the leader is taking some bold positions such as her opposition to the high stakes tests. And such talk would get people remembering that Mulgrew just a year ago had bought a thousands dollars table at a Cuomo reelection fundraiser.