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Is NYSUT/AFT Support for NY Opt Out Just the 2013 AFT “Moratorium” Warmed Over?

I have read New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) president Karen Magee’s words regarding opting out of the Pearson tests that New York students currently take in lieu of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) tests. New York is still listed as a PARCC state; however; it has contracted for other Pearson tests than the ones bearing the 2015 Pearson-PARCC label.

What strikes me is Magee’s care in choosing temporal language regarding opting out: Her position on urging parents to opt out is “for now.” As the March 30, 2015, Buffalo News notes:

“I would opt out at this point,” New York State United Teachers President Karen Magee said in an Albany radio interview Monday. “And I think we’re going to see an increased reliance and many more parents engaging in that opt-out movement.” …

“So, are you saying, Karen Magee, that you would urge parents to opt out of testing?” WCNY’s Capitol Pressroom host Susan Arbetter asked in a follow up question during the lengthy interview on education initiatives in the state budget.

“I am saying that I would urge parents at this point in time to opt out of testing,” Magee confirmed. [Emphasis added.]

Magee is still a dedicated supporter of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), the conduit for this unprecedented amount of testing in grades 3 through 8 in the first place. In the March 30, 2015, Times-Union, Magee notes that she is “concerned about the botched roll out of the Common Core.”

So, if the Common Core had already met Magee’s determination of adequate “roll out,” and given that unprecedented hours of testing were meant to be part of the Common Core package before there even was a “Common Core”, then what is Magee really advocating?

Delayed unprecedented hours of Common Core testing, similar to the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) moratorium of April 2013?

AFT president Randi Weingarten is also careful to include language limiting her commitment to “this year” for opting out of New York’s Pearson tests:

. et al have asked what I’d do if I had kids in NYPS—based on what I’ve seen, if I had kids, I’d opt them out of PARCC this yr

And again with the temporary commitment to opting out “this year”:

To clarify: Several pple asked what I’d do if I had schl age kids-based on what I’ve seen this year, I wld opt them out of NY Pearson tests
So, the question remains: Is this “amazing news” of the NYSUT/AFT support for New York’s opt out anything more that repackaged “moratorium” to *give Common Core a chance* before bringing in the hours of unprecedented ueber-testing that was wed to Common Core before there even was a Common Core?And the question behind the question:

What will it take for NYSUT and AFT to break up with intended testing conduit, Common Core?

break up

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Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of the ed reform whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education.

She also has her second book available on pre-order, Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?, due for publication May/June 2015.

 

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Heads Up! HR 5 (Student Success Act) Coming Back As Soon As April 13th

A heads-up for those who celebrated on February 27, 2015, the pulling of HR 5 (Student Success Act) from a vote before Congress:

Word is that it is slated to return– without change– after Easter.

This means as soon as the week of April 6, 2015. (CORRECTION: April 6th is a House and Senate “work week.” Both House and Senate go back into session the week of April 13th. See 2015 Congressional schedule here.)

As was true of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), one of the major goals of HR 5 is to cement mandatory standardized testing into grades 3 through 8 by tying it to federal education funding to states.

And like NCLB, student test scores are supposed to be incorporated into grading schools.

Here is the Network for Public Education’s (NPE) distilled criticism of HR 5:

There are four crucial issues [regarding HR 5]:

  • Requires that states test all children in grades 3-8 and once in high school, even though no high performing nation tests all children every year 

  • Makes Title I funds portable, which will decrease funding to the schools in greatest need, and opens the door for vouchers

  • Limits Title II funding to 10% for class size reduction

  • Increases funding for charter schools and encourages the growth and expansion of Charter Management Organizations (CMOs), which will advance the privatization movement

In February,, Obama threatened to veto HR 5, mostly because of the portable money and federal budget capping, it seems:

“Rather than investing more in schools, [the Republican bill] would allow states to divert education funding away from the schools and students who need it the most through the so-called ‘portability’ provision,” said the OMB statement. “The bill’s caps on federal education spending would lock in recent federal budget cuts for the rest of the decade, and the bill would allow funds currently required to be used for education to be used for other purposes, such as spending on sports stadiums or tax cuts for the wealthy.”

The testing Obama is fine with.

Don’t be blindsided by its reintroduction immediately following a major holiday. Contract your congressmen now.

NPE has a form for this purpose here.

Image result for congress

________________________________________________

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of the ed reform whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education.

She also has her second book available on pre-order, Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?, due for publication May/June 2015.

Study: New Orleans Principals Admit to Manipulating Student Selection

I have written several posts to date on the Educational Research Alliance of New Orleans (ERA) and its founder, Doug Harris.

ERA is conducting a number of studies on the privatization of most of New Orleans’ schools following Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and which has culminated in a 100-percent-charter Recovery School District (RSD) in New Orleans by 2014.

In 2014-15, the remaining Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) consists of six direct-run schools and 14 charter schools, with with four of the 14 charters being “selective admission” schools– which means these school are (by definition) not open to the public.

Thus, the term “school choice” could well mean that it is the school that exercises greater leverage when it comes to choosing, not the parents.

ERA is studying this “choice”– with results that sometimes are not pretty for the “choice” advocates.

On January 15, 2015, Harris released his first report on the Walton-funded OneApp. (My commentary on the report can be read here, and my observations regarding the community meeting in which the first report was presented is available here.)

My post dated March 18, 2015, concerns ERA’s opening its June 2015 conference to the public yet charging $275 entrance fee, which will undoubtedly serve to exclude those whose children attend the very schools Harris and his ERA are researching.

But let us focus on the previously-introduced idea that “choice” belongs to the schools and can be utilized for schools to benefit themselves.

On March 26, 2015 ERA released its second study, entitled, How Do School Leaders Respond to Competition? Evidence from New Orleans, written by Huriya Jabbar. Here is Jabbar’s opening paragraph:

Understanding how schools respond to competition is vital to understanding the effects of the market-based school reforms implemented in New Orleans since 2005. Advocates of market-based reform suggest that, when parents and students can freely choose schools, schools will improve education in order to attract and retain students. But, for market-based school-choice policies to work, school leaders have to believe they are competing for students, and they have to choose to compete in ways that improve education.

Jabbar’s study was qualitative, based upon administrative interviews that included those of 30 New Orleans school principals:

The data for the study were obtained from 72 interviews with district leaders, charter-school board members, charter network leaders, and principals of 30 randomly selected schools in 2012–2013. This sample of schools represents the schools in New Orleans, including charter schools, direct-run OPSB and RSD schools, and schools at all grade levels. The interviews were transcribed and items systematically coded to identify categories of responses.

One of Jabbar’s findings: “Kids mean money,” so to speak:

School leaders defined competition as competition for students and the government funding that comes with them. Their comments in this regard included, “Every kid is money,” “Enrollment runs the budget; the budget runs the enrollment,” and “We all want our [student] numbers up so we can get more money, more funding.”

Even traditional public school administrators are aware that student enrollment is directly related to school funding. However, traditional public schools do not try to “dump” students deemed less desirable onto other districts in the name of some “competitive edge.”

When test-score-driven “competition” becomes the center of school survival, then one should expect “questionable practices” to enter the student enrollment scene. As Jabbar notes:

School leaders compete using strategies that range from improving academics to more questionable practices like selecting or excluding students based on ability.

Thus, the perceived need for schools to engage in what Jabbar calls “selection strategies”:

One-third of schools in the study reported using selection strategies. These schools used a combination of targeted marketing and unofficial referrals in order to fill seats with more desirable students. Some schools chose not to declare open seats, preferring to have vacant seats rather than attract students who might lower school test scores. The combined pressure to enroll a greater number of students and raise test scores to meet state targets seems to have created perverse incentives, encouraging the practice of screening and selecting students. [Emphasis added.]

Regarding the use of selection strategies, Jabbar notes that principals from 10 schools (five OPSB schools and five RSD schools) directly manipulated student enrollment as follows:

One-third (10 of 30) of schools selected or excluded students by, for example, counseling students who were not thought to be a good fit to transfer to another school, holding invitation only events to advertise the school, or not reporting open seats. This number included five OPSB schools and five RSD schools. [Emphasis added.]

In closing, Jabbar suggests that the OneApp “might reduce opportunities to screen and select students.” However, the practice of some schools’ requiring a supplemental application in addition to the OneApp appears to be a means for some schools to “participate” in open enrollment via the OneApp even as they handily exclude those who do not complete and submit supplemental application materials. (This issue of some schools’ requiring OneApp “supplemental applications” was raised in the January 15, 2015, public-release community meeting related to Harris’ first report, which is available here.)

Where there is high-stakes, forced competition among schools, there will be system gaming, and “choice” will involve including the “right” students and excluding the “wrong” ones.

And America continues to move further from the democratic intention of “public education.”

shell game

_______________________________________________

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of the ed reform whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education.

She also has her second book available on pre-order, Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?, due for publication May/June 2015.

 

 

Measured Progress and Its Temporary Test Scorers

The standardized testing industry is taking over the American public school classroom.

Increasingly more class time is being devoted to preparing for and administering standardized tests in the name of “global competitiveness” and ensuring students are “college and career ready.”

Even though promoters of corporate reform idolize standardized testing to the degree that many seem to honestly believe standardized testing a flawless indicator of both student progress and teacher worth, there are many weak points to such a position.

For the time being, let us just consider one: The test scorers.

The constructed response portions of most standardized tests are graded by human beings.

Who are these people?

Temp workers with at least some college experience and who are hired en masse with little to no supervision– and whose college transcripts need might not even be verified.

Take the assessment company, Measured Progress. It directs individuals interested in temporary test scorer positions to Kelly Services, a temp company Measured Progress apparently retains for securing its necessary herd of temporary test scorers:

Temporary Reader Positions

With training provided, Readers evaluate open-ended student responses to elementary and secondary test questions in their assigned subject, and assign scores according to prescribed standards. Measured Progress fills Reader positions seasonally at its scoring locations in Dover, NH; Menands, NY; and Longmont, CO. These and most other temporary positions are staffed through Kelly Services. Please contact your local Kelly Services office to learn more about these positions.

Dover, NH
(603) 742-4934

Menands, NY
(518) 429-2636

Longmont, CO
(866) 238-9853

Speaking of Measured Progress and Kelly Services, this ad appeared on the Denver, CO, Craigslist only hours before I wrote this post:

TEST EVALUATORS NEEDED FOR BOTH DAY AND EVENING SHIFT TEMPORARY WORK (Longmont)

PUT YOUR COLLEGE DEGREE TO WORK!

Salary: $11.50/hour ($13.50/hour for Spanish/English scoring when available)

K-12 Test Evaluators needed to score elementary through high school tests. Both day and evening shift temporary work available.

Kelly Services is hiring hundreds of temporary day and evening shift Test Evaluators to score student achievement tests in Longmont, CO.

DAY-SHIFT SCORING WORK
8:00 am — 4:30 pm; Monday through Friday

First round of day-shift projects starts on Monday, April 6 with multiple starts throughout April. Work runs through June/July.

EVENING-SHIFT SCORING WORK

5:30-10:30 pm; Monday through Friday

Evening-shift scoring work starts on Monday, April 27 and will run through June.

(You must be available to work Monday through Friday for each project you accept, day or evening shift. We cannot accommodate partial week schedules.)

PLEASE NOTE: To be considered for this temporary Test Evaluator position, all candidates must be able to provide college transcripts (unofficial copies will suffice) or original diploma verifying he/she has completed at least 48 college credit hours.

JOB DESCRIPTION

Working from our client’s scoring center in Longmont, Test Evaluators will evaluate student responses to non-multiple-choice questions at the elementary and secondary school levels, and assign scores via computers according to established standards in the areas of reading, writing, science and mathematics.

Training is provided; scoring accuracy and efficiency is required.

All work performed at our client’s site in Longmont (3 miles west of I-25 off Hwy 119.) (close to Boulder, Loveland, Fort Collins, Westminster, Firestone, Louisville, Broomfield, Lafayette, Berthoud.) This is not a work-from-home opportunity.

All candidates must attend a group interview/hiring event at the client’s site in Longmont to complete the Kelly Services hiring process (which you can schedule via our website… see below.)

All candidates must be able to provide the following:

- A copy of your college transcripts (an unofficial web-based or photo copy will suffice) or your original college diploma (transcripts preferred because by verifying actual course work completed, you will likely be eligible to score more project work.)
- The email addresses and/or fax numbers for two professional references (you may also provide each person’s phone number, but an email address and/or fax number is also required.)
- Two forms of legal ID (to complete the employment eligibility verification process.)
- A voided check or direct deposit authorization document from your bank (to sign up for direct deposit electronic pay; weekly pay via payroll card is also an option.)

BENEFITS:

- Salary: $11.50/hour ($13.50/hour for Spanish/English scoring when available)
- Weekly Pay via Direct Deposit or Payroll Card
- Paid Training
- Casual Dress
- Nice work environment that includes a large break area, free coffee, tea, and cocoa; vending machines, refrigerators and microwaves.
- Take advantage of potential promotional opportunities within the Test Evaluator workforce.
- Eligible to work at other Kelly customer locations after the project ends.
- Access to a comprehensive array of insurance plans.

HOW TO APPLY

To schedule an interview date and time and request the online application please go to: http://www.scoreforkelly.com. Through this scheduling site you can read job details again, provide basic contact information, answer three brief screening questions, and then choose the date and time you want to come in to complete our hiring process.

If you prefer, you may also call us directly between 8am-4pm at 866-238-9853 to schedule your appointment or ask questions.

——————————————————————

KELLY SERVICES COMPANY DESCRIPTION

Our vision is to provide the world’s best workforce solutions through a comprehensive array of outsourcing, consulting and world-class staffing services. Around the globe, we achieve this vision by providing unmatched levels of personal and trusted service, building long-term relationships and always putting people first. We welcome the varied talents of all people who share this philosophy of service, team work, and integrity. For these people, we offer a wide range of opportunities to cultivate their talents and employ them in our ever-changing global workplace.

Blogger Timothy Horrigan is a former test scorer with Measured Progress. He has written extensively about his experience, which I have excerpted here:

Test scoring is arguably the most important part of the process, since a mediocre test scored accurately is more valuable than a good test scored badly. Even the best possible test would be worthless if it was scored badly enough. However, at Measured Progress (and apparently at its competitors, judging from what I have heard), the scoring gets less attention and fewer resources than the other steps. …

Once the database is loaded on the scoring center servers, an army of test scorers comes in to score the questions. A test scorer can be just about anyone who has at least two years of college education and who is willing to take a dead-end temp job for ten dollars an hour and no benefits and not much scope for advancement. You don’t really need to be an expert in the field you are scoring: in fact, it’s easier to accept the set scoring standards in a given subject area if you don’t have advanced training in that area. The scorers fall into three main groups: college students who are not in school this semester, adults who have other careers but are unemployed (or have flexible schedules), and retirees who still want to work part of the year but not year-round. I fall into the second group, who are gradually being pushed out of the scoring work force in favor of the first and third groups (who make fewer demands.) …

One not so cool thing was that no one paid much attention to us: for example, during two years of hard work, I personally never once got even a perfunctory performance evaluation of any type. I never even got a simple individual “Thank You.” Our immediate supervisors were temps, as were our immediate supervisors’ supervisors, and the permanent managers three-plus layers above us were too busy with more important duties to bother themselves with mentoring a mob of temporary test scorers. Our immediate supervisors tended to get very frustrated. They were expected to manage without any means of rewarding good scorers, of retraining mediocre ones, or even of punishing bad ones. They were also expected to manage without telephones or email, or even their own private desks. Moreover, they had virtually no hard data about which scorers were in fact good, bad, or mediocre.

Testing companies such as Measured Progress depend upon a temp labor force to score the non-machine-scored portions of their standardized tests. And these folks are arguably labor “on the cheap,” not only for their hourly wages and seasonal work, but also for the obvious lack of quality control that begins with the “unofficial transcripts accepted” in the temp ad.

weak link

______________________________________________

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of the ed reform whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education.

She also has her second book available on pre-order, Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?, due for publication May/June 2015.

 

Louisiana’s PARCC Contract– But Not Really

The Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) does not have a 2015 contract with official Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test vendor, Pearson.

In fact, PARCC testing is not even mentioned in the contract LDOE does have with another testing company, Data Recognition Corporation (DRC), for testing in grades 3 through 8. The LDOE contract with DRC has been amended a number of times– but no mention of PARCC assessments.

That contract can be found here in a document cloud:

LDOE-DRC assessment contract

What is mentioned in the above LDOE-DRC contract is that it dates back to July 1, 2011 and is set to expire June 30, 2015.

The contract description includes the following “specific goals and objectives” related to testing in grades 3 through 8 and high school:

Data Recognition Corporation will provide support services for LEAP, GEE, LAA1 and LAA 2 and EDLA assessment implementation including development of test forms, printing, distribution, and collection of materials, scoring and reporting of all psychometric services related to these assessment activities.

Though no “PARCC” test is mentioned in the LDOE-DRC contract, DRC has indeed provided “PARCC” tests to Louisiana schools (shipping address is to Lake Charles, LA):

DRC PARCC

LDOE has no other publicized contracts for spring 2015 testing in grades 3 through 8.

DRC is supposed to grade Louisiana “PARCC” tests.

No other PARCC state is having DRC grade its PARCC tests.

Supposedly, Louisiana “PARCC” test results will not be available until fall 2015; however, the LDOE-DRC contract– a contract for delivering other-named tests– expires June 30, 2015.

Sooo, DRC will have already been paid to deliver score reports via a contract that does not fit the “PARCC” testing situation in the first place and that will have expired months prior to the time that said score reports are supposedly available.

Lots of details lacking. However, one detail that is not lacking is the detailed disbursement schedule of State of Louisiana funds to DRC. The payment schedule for February through June 2015 is as follows:

$881, 179, invoice date February 28, 2015

Payable after February 28 annually provided that Spring test materials (Practice Test, LEAP, new LAA1, LAA2, and EDLA) have been delivered to local districts.

$2,950,349, invoice date April 30, 2015

Payable after April 30 annually provided that Spring tests (Practice Test, LEAP, new LAA1, LAA2, and EDLA) have occurred as scheduled and that all Spring test results are being scored and processed according to the negotiated schedule. 

$2,327,264, invoice date June 30, 2015

Payable after June 30 annually provided that Spring tests (Practice Test, LEAP, new LAA1, LAA2, and EDLA) is proceeding as scheduled, and LEAP and LAA2 Summer Retest materials have arrived in districts. 

Again, this contract in no way fits Louisiana “PARCC” testing. It includes no language that ties DRC to delivering PARCC consortium assessments in Louisiana.

The particulars connecting LDOE and officially-Pearson-developed PARCC (with DRC as the go-between) have purposely been withheld from the public. It’s a beautiful arrangement for Louisiana superintendent John White: He waves the LDOE-DRC contract before the public and before a gullible media that burps back its support of the legitimacy of “PARCC.” Meanwhile, the arrangement between DRC and Pearson is a private matter between two testing companies. Since LDOE has no above-board, direct arrangement with Pearson, it is off of the hook, all eyes are on DRC for a test it was officially not contracted to vend.

But the “PARCC” tests arrived in Louisiana in DRC boxes, so DRC has clearly agreed to do for Louisiana what is clearly not detailed in the only grade-3-through-8 contract that LDOE has for its 2015 assessments.

Yep.

But let us turn our attention to the grading of our sort-of-PARCC tests.

If DRC is grading Louisiana’s “PARCC” tests, it is drawing its graders from Craigslist. I found two active ads, one in Pittsburgh, and another in Austin.

Below is the text for the Pittsburgh ad:

Data Recognition Corporation is a national leader in educational testing and we are seeking temporary Test Scorers to assist us with our busy assessment season. You will score standardized tests for children in elementary through high school ages in the subjects of reading, writing and math. You must have a Bachelor’s degree to qualify for this position.

Work begins in early March and continues to mid-June. The hours are Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The pay is $13.00 per hour plus an attendance bonus. We offer paid training and a positive work environment.

To apply, please attend a recruiting event. Bring proof of your degree in the form of a diploma, official transcript or current teaching license. Please allow 1 to 2 hours, depending on turnout.
For recruiting event times, please see our website at http://www.datarecognitioncorp.com or call 412-249-5110.

We are located at 5440 Campbells Run Road, Pittsburgh, PA (RobinsonTownship). Our phone number is 412-249-5110.

The Austin ad is similar:

Data Recognition Corporation is a national leader in educational testing and we are seeking temporary Test Scorers to assist us with our busy assessment season. You will be scoring standardized tests administered to children in elementary through high school grades. You must have a Bachelor’s degree to qualify for this position.

Hours are Monday-Friday, 8:30 am to 4:00 pm. The pay is $13.00 hour plus eligibility for an attendance bonus. We offer paid training and a pleasant work atmosphere. Work begins in March,

To apply, please attend one of our recruiting events. Bring original proof of your degree in the form of a diploma, official transcript or current teaching license. Recruiting event times are listed on our website at http://www.datarecognitioncorp.com or you may call our office at 512-977-5000.

Here is “recruiting events” information referenced in the Craigslist ads: DRC’s flyer advertising for test scorers. DRC has six scoring centers: Plymouth, MN; Woodbury, MN; Austin, TX; Pittsburgh, PA; Columbus, OH, and Sharonville, OH.

DRC also utilizes news ads, and it draws from college campuses and temp agencies. I learned this from reading DRC test scorer interview reviews on a job site called Glassdoor.

Based on reading the interviewer comments on Glassdoor, I determined that the testing for DRC test grader positions was early-high-school-level. DRC interviews are only a few minutes long, with interviewers particularly interested in applicants’ ability to work long hours performing monotonous tasks in close quarters.

These are the individuals grading Louisiana’s illegitimately-procured, supposedly “new generation, PARCC assessments”: College graduates desperate enough for work to agree to crammed quarters for temporary full time hours–  without the pay and benefits becoming a college education.

Envision college graduates seasonally corralled into testing company stalls in order to grade “newer and better” tests that are supposed to close achievement gaps and make all students “college ready”…

…ready, perhaps, for their own future testing company grading stalls.

The irony drips.

Image result for dripping syrup

____________________________________________

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of the ed reform whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education.

She also has her second book available on pre-order, Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?, due for publication May/June 2015.

 

To My Readers: An Opportunity to Escape My Terrible Influence

On March 19, 2015, I wrote a post about doxxing.

On March 22, 2015, I wrote a sequel.

The very short definition of doxxing is the publicizing of personally identifiable information on another. Doxxing has its history in the malicious release of private personal information to the public.

What prompted me to write about this issue is that a fellow blogger was accused on Twitter of endangering an individual for his linking to a publicly available property tax document that included a home address.

My position on the issue is that as a researcher, I have no problem linking to public documents, such as nonprofit tax forms and individual resumes. I will not alter the documents by removing personal information. And I have no problem with someone linking to public documents one me if that person is investigating me, especially given that I am in the public eye.

That is where I stand on the issue, in good conscience.

There are those who strongly disagree with me. They insist that I should purge any personally identifiable information (home addresses, phone numbers) even if the document is readily available to the public through expected, legitimate means.

They are concerned that I am leading my readers astray with my position on my own “doxxing.”

Fear not.

In this post, I offer my readers the opportunity to see the light that I apparently refuse to see. As such, I will present some of the commentary from my second post, Doxxing: The Sequel. (Feel free to read the comments section in its entirety.)

prison door open

Let me begin with my first exchange with a man named Michael Feldstein. (I will not link to his site, but he can be found easily enough via Google should one be so inclined.)

Michael Feldstein

What is the journalistic value of publishing somebody’s home address or phone number, even in this context? How does that advance the cause? Yes, it is “public” in the sense that it is published somewhere, but what is your reason for publicizing it in this context? The most likely outcome is that people will use the information to harass the public official at home. Is that your intention? If not, then what is?

The info is part of a greater document that is referenced. I will not spend time editing out info from public docs.

My second exchange with Feldstein. He had a lot to write:

Michael Feldstein

If I understand correctly, this argument was set off because somebody linked to the publicly available information about somebody else’s house, in order to show that the person in question is financially well off. If that understanding is correct, I don’t really see how revealing the person’s home address advances the story. MongoDB is a large, well-financed company. It stands to reason that a Vice President at that company makes a lot of money. Further, there are lots of ways that one could make that point without revealing the person’s home address. For example, one could quote the amount of investment dollars that the company has taken, which would make the point without advertising a person’s home address in the context of arguing that the person in question is doing harm to children.

The argument that you make here is frankly not different from the argument made by anti-abortion activists who advertised Dr. George Tiller’s (also publicly available) home address and personal information before he was murdered by other anti-abortion activists. They claim that they are in no way responsible for what happened to him. I am not arguing moral equivalence of the underlying situations, but the ethical question is the same for reporters and activists alike, regardless of what the person in question is accused of doing or what you think the likelihood of harassment (or much worse) is. When is it OK to advertise somebody’s personal information in the context of a negative story about that person when you know that there are crazy people in the world who may do something with that information? Yes, it is true that they can get that information without your help, but what is *your responsibility*? When is it OK to report that information? I would argue that not wanting to spend time redacting information out of public documents is an insufficient reason for knowingly increasing the likelihood that the person in question will be exposed to personal harm. Given recent strong and widespread evidence that women are particularly likely to be targeted for personal, vitriolic, and potentially even life-threatening attacks, the reporter of the information has a particularly strong obligation not to contribute to potential harm, whatever the intention. If the point being made can be conveyed without creating an invitation for extreme or unstable people to violate the privacy and safety of the person in question, then there is a strong burden of proof on the reporter to show that there is a strong compelling reason to do so. I haven’t heard such an argument from you. Rather, you seem to be denying that you have any ethical responsibility.

But we are always responsible for what we say and write. The fact that information is available elsewhere doesn’t relieve you of any moral consequence for advertising it in a particular context to a particular audience. Particularly when the kinds of emotional and physical harm that can result from such actions are both well known and horrifyingly widespread.

Michael, let’s shut the whole internet down.

To offer some context to my comment: I do not have any “moral” misgivings about linking to a public document without scrubbing it of home addresses. I have no problem if someone links to a public document with my personally identifiable information in it in the course of a research investigation of me. Here is the “morality” in it for me: I am not counting myself as above any practice I am applying to another. So to engage in any lengthy exchange in the comments section of my blog I consider a real time-suck, especially given that I was in the middle of my school day.

Feldstein was insistent.

The comment below I deleted, but I will post it here so that readers can have the full exchange. I deleted the comment because I considered it badgering and its tone belittling:

Michael Feldstein

The fact that your only reply is a one-sentence absurd leap suggests that you do not have an answer regarding your own moral responsibility. Forget about the internet. In the real, analog world, bad things happen. Bad people do bad things. I can’t prevent bad people from doing bad things. All I can do is do my own part. Sometimes that means taking action to try to prevent bad things from happening. Other times it means refraining from taking action that might increase the likelihood that bad things will happen. Still other times, those last two possibilities are in tension with each other. Neither the fact that I have no clear-cut, black-and-white answers about what I should do nor the fact that I cannot single-handedly prevent bad things from happening in the world relieves me of my moral obligation to try to do good and refrain from doing harm at all times. The internet changes exactly nothing in that regard.

Never mind the internet. What is *your* moral responsibility, personally, for the actions that *you* take? Honestly, this is a conversation that we have with little kids when they get into fights with their siblings and classmates. It doesn’t matter what others are doing. What are *you* doing, and what is your moral responsibility? What. Is. *Your.* Moral. Responsibility?

I deleted the comment, and I let Feldstein know why:

And yes, I deleted your last comment. You do not get to badger me on my blog.

Here is how Mr. Morality responded:

Perhaps I should publish your home address so that people can badger you at home. I would never do that, of course, because I do take moral responsibility for my actions. But it’s an interesting moral thought experiment for you to ponder.

I know you are going to delete this, so I’ll just write it for you. Your level of hypocrisy is stunning. You take no responsibility for effectively targeting people you don’t agree with in their own homes, but you do not even allow civil public debate on your own public blog if the commenters persist in asking uncomfortable questions.

It’s impossible to take you seriously as an advocate for children. The first lesson one teaches any child is to take moral responsibility for her own actions. If you don’t believe in that, if you can’t teach by example, then you have no business being anywhere near children.

If only I had learned my lesson.

My response:

No, I will let this comment ride so that readers might use it to weigh the rest of your words.

But you are done on my blog.

Your commenting days here are over.

My colleague, Lee Barrios, later had a Twitter exchange with Feldstein and others who are concerned that I will lead my readers astray about doxxing, either through my ignorance or determined poor example.

Here is your opportunity to learn from them and decide if you would like to join them (click on images to enlarge):

Lee 1

Lee 2

Lee 3

Lee 4

Lee 5

Lee 6

There you have it, my readers: All of the information I have for you to utilize in making your decision to not be led amiss by my “doxxing” foolishness.

Truly, the decision is yours.

And know this:

If you decide that your opinion on doxxing strongly differs from mine, I will send you no corrective commentary threatening to publish your home address “so that people can badger you at home” (and then immediately revoking such in the name of my own morality.)

I also promise to bake no cookies and “deliver to doorstep as a persuasion tactic.”

cookies

______________________________________________

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of the ed reform whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education.

 

Louisiana Higher Ed Confessions

In this post, I feature a new blog on the Bayou State education block, lahigheredconfessions.wordpress.com. Its author uses the pen name, ulyankee. This person has commented on some of my past blog posts.

(S)he just concluded a series of posts (originally supposed to be three but extended to four posts) that are packed with information (and data) related to issues surrounding higher ed admission in Louisiana, including detailed discussion about how Louisiana graduates are being shut out of their own state’s institutions of higher ed– a shut-out especially evident for Louisiana’s African-American graduates.

Lots of useful, enlightening information in these posts.

For each of the four posts, I have selected just a smatch of information to highlight.

The first post is entitled, Bobby Jindal’s Anti-Tax Cult and John White’s “Reformers”: Working Together to Keep More Kids Out of State UniversitiesBelow is my selected excerpt:

In admissions, it is my job to (1) market and recruit qualified students to my institution (2) assess whether the students we actually attract—our prospective students and applicants—can be admitted to my institution—and give every applicant the best allowable chance to get in and (3) get as many qualified, admitted applicants to convert to enrolled students at the beginning of their first semester in college.

This sounds no different than private sector jobs in marketing or sales. And I use a lot of marketing and sales techniques in my job, especially a modified version of a concept marketers call the sales funnel. But I am keenly aware that I’m not selling refrigerators or toothpaste. …

All new freshmen graduating from Louisiana high schools must:

  • Graduate from high school with 19 units from the Regents’ Core 4 curriculum
  • Have a 2.0 overall GPA
  • Not need any developmental coursework in math or English
    • For most Louisiana high school graduates, this translates to getting an 18 ACT English and 19 ACT math

There are also three additional levels of admission criteria depending on the institution.

The additional minimum standards for each university tier are:

  • Flagship (LSU): 3.0 Regents’ core GPA OR 25 ACT composite
  • Statewide (ULL, LaTech and UNO): 2.5 Regents’ core GPA OR 23 ACT composite
  • Regional (the other 10 four-year universities): 2.0 Regents’ core GPA OR 20 ACT composite

The other piece is that effective at the statewide schools in fall 2012, and the regional universities in fall 2014, four year universities are no longer allowed to offer developmental courses. This is in the GRAD Act statute. It is not just policy that can be changed by the Board of Regents. It is a law that must be changed by our legislature.

Remember the enrollment drops at UNO? And several other universities reporting enrollment drops this past fall? Only one regional institution—LSUA—experienced a marked increase in freshman enrollment. It benefits from its location and demographics, enrolling the lowest percentage of African American students of all the four-year regional universities.

Bingo. State law. Jindal’s fault (while the leges bear some blame, they didn’t run a university system and wouldn’t be expected to know the impact like Jindal did). Not ours. But it looks like our fault. And it looks on the surface like, dang!, we really do have too many colleges in this state, and they should close, merge or privatize. Not a good year for that to happen, no? Was this… PLANNED?

The series continues with the second installment, The State Minimum University Admission Criteria: The Game the House Always WinsMy selected highlight:

All the four-year institutions across the three university tiers, from LSU down to the smallest and most underfunded regionals all share the same basic minimum criteria—18 ACT English and 19 ACT math. The main difference among them is in the high school core GPA—3.0 for LSU, 2.5 for UL Lafayette, LaTech and UNO, and 2.0 for everyone else. Sounds fair, doesn’t it?

However, once a student gets below a 3.0 GPA, it becomes increasingly likely that the student will fall below the minimum ACT English and math cut scores for college admission. After factoring in students who qualify for LSU because of their composite scores instead of GPA, only about 13% of students who qualify for four year college admission have a GPA between a 2.5 and 3.0, which is the market that the statewide institutions have that they do not share with LSU.

And once a student gets below a 2.5 GPA, there is an almost impossible chance they will meet these criteria. Only 4% of students who met the published minimum admission criteria in Louisiana last year had a GPA below a 2.5.

Four percent.

That is the market that the ten regional institutions, which collectively enroll half of the four-year university students in the state, does not share with the other four universities.

Among African American students it was even worse. Out of the entire graduating class of just under 17,000 African American students, only 15% met the published admission standards, and fewer than 200 of those students met the regional-only standard.

Moving on to part three, entitled, John White’s Spinning Wheel of ACT Scores: More Students Are Qualified to Go to College Except When They Actually Try to GoAgain, what is below is only a hint:

The overall sizes of Louisiana’s African American graduating classes have boomed in the last four years—and especially between 2013 and 2014. And as among the general population, the percentage of students graduating with the Core 4 curriculum has also risen almost ten percentage points.

But remember, from my last post in this series, how many of these students met the state’s official admission standards in 2014 according to ACT data?

2,379. 14% of all African American grads, and 22% of Core 4 completing grads.

Snowball, meet hell.

This isn’t because our kids aren’t getting college ready.

It is because the game is rigged.

My counterparts and I should be celebrating because more kids are college-ready. We should be growing. More students are graduating, and more students are graduating with Core 4. Heck, more students are getting that magic! 18 ACT composite. So that should be more students for both the four-year and two-year schools. Yay, us!

But, no. Collectively, nearly 10,000 fewer students were enrolled in Louisiana’s state colleges and universities in fall 2014 than in fall 2010.

We have been cut on both sides. The two-year schools, LSU and two of the three statewide universities have suffered more on the funding side, so they are less and less able to handle the students coming through their doors. UNO and the regional universities, especially the HBCUs, have also been heavily impacted on the enrollment side, through imposing admission standards designed to make Louisiana stronger by making government smaller shrink enrollment at our state universities.

But hey, maybe if we shut down some of those regionals, then there will be more money for LSU and the community colleges, right?

And, finally, for part four– one that “hits home” for privatized New Orleans: The “RSD Miracle” and College Readiness in Orleans Parish: Where Doing the Right Thing Isn’t Getting You into Our State’s Colleges and Universities:

Students aren’t qualifying for admission to our state’s universities in the first place.

And nowhere is that more evident in our state than in Orleans Parish, especially in RSD schools and among its high poverty, underserved students.

The ACT is biased. Bobby Jindal’s GRAD Act and the corollary admission criteria take full advantage of that in order to keep “certain” students out of college. Those students are almost exclusively African American (almost 90% of the regional university enrollment drop in 2014), and while these exact data aren’t available yet for Louisiana, based on the data I do have they are more than likely lower income students, since performance on the ACT is clearly linked to income. They are the students and from the families who do not have a voice to begin with.  …

Over one-third of Orleans Parish’s African American 2014 graduates did not go to any state postsecondary institution. Not to UNO or SUNO. But also not to Delgado or Nunez.

We have succeeded in sending fewer students to state universities.

We have succeeded in sending a lower percentage of students to any state post-secondary institutions.

We have succeeded in growing our “opportunity youth” population in Orleans Parish and statewide.

This isn’t the way to send more of our high school graduates to our state’s institutions unless, of course, they are our prisons. Oh, wait, which we’ve privatized along with our schools and hospitals. So maybe they don’t really count.

Raising standards won’t fix the problem.

Privatizing and chartering schools won’t fix the problem. All that does is funnel even more money and resources to the private sector and away from our kids.

Addressing poverty will.

And one way to address poverty is to give students access to affordable public higher education. Even some conservatives agree on this one.

Another way is to support social programs that address poverty. Not happening in our state or even in our nation right now.

Some miracle.

Let’s give Bobby Jindal and John White a big hand clap. If this is what you guys intended, it worked brilliantly.

Lots of information. Well worth poring over.

thinker

 

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