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“Purple Lit Book”: A Poem

In a recent creative writing assignment connected to our study of the Romantic period in British literature, I asked my senior English students to compose a poem about an item, object, experience, or person associated with the everyday.

Below is one student’s response, which I offer to my readers for their enjoyment.

Without further ado, and with student permission, I give you “Purple Lit Book,” by Nikolas.

 

Purple Lit Book

 

Oh when I turn the page

how the words change and

they inform me of different people daily.

From Sam Pepys and William Blake

to how King George is crazy.

The Age of Johnson and Neoclassics,

The Church of England and Anglo-Saxons,

they have all been so fun.

Staying awake has been a battle,

but not so much during Gulliver’s Travels.

There’s nothing like Ireland and

how they thought the British were crooks.

For I have Jesus and The Bible

and Dr. Schneider and the purple lit book.

purple lit book

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Book four coming in March 2020!

From Garn Press:

“A Practical Guide to Digital Research: Getting the Facts and Rejecting the Lies”

An easy-to-read, easy-to-digest, concise tutorial for equipping both novice and more experienced researchers in navigating numerous research sources. More bit.ly/2Sz6F6I

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TN Supt. Penny Schwinn Bypasses Legislature with No-Bid Voucher Contract

Teach for America (TFA) alum Penny Schwinn is Tennessee’s education commissioner, a post that she has held for a year as of this writing.

Within ten months of Schwinn’s arrival as Tennessee ed commissioner, the Tennessee Department of Education experienced 250 resignations, including “people with decades of institutional knowledge,” which the November 15, 2019, Tennessee Chalkbeat characterized as “not typical.”

It might not be typical for an education commissioner who does not hail from TFA, but Schwinn’s purgative effect on Tennessee’s ed department is a familiar story to those of us in Louisiana, where another TFA alum, John White, had the same effect on the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE). (For an inside peek of LDOE chaos under White, see this 2014 post by former LDOE employee, Jason France.)

I first wrote about Schwinn in her previous role as Texas Education Agency (TEA) deputy commissioner of academics in connection to the wrongful termination of Texas special education director, Laurie Kash, who blew the whistle on TEA’s no-bid contract with special education data company, SPEDx. One of Kash’s concerns was an alleged personal relationship between Schwinn and a SPEDx leader.

On February 12, 2020, Schwinn was again in the news related to a no-bid contract controversy, this time in connection with Tennessee’s school voucher program and the ed-fund-tracking company, ClassWallet, as Chalkbeat reports:

Lawmakers who oversee the spending of Tennessee taxpayer money blasted the Department of Education Wednesday for its handling of a no-bid contract with ClassWallet, hired for $1.25 million a year to manage the state’s upcoming voucher program.

Commissioner Penny Schwinn and members of her team were grilled for almost two hours over the decision to bypass a competitive bid process to hire the Florida-based company — and for twice the amount budgeted for work this year on Gov. Bill Lee’s education savings account program. …

“Fiscal Review didn’t find out about this contract grant until Nov. 13 when it was published in Chalkbeat. Do you think that that’s acceptable?” asked Rep. Matthew Hill, the Jonesborough Republican who chairs the panel. …

“To the general public, it looks like you found a vendor, and then created a contract,” said Faison, a Republican from Cosby.

There is a lot more detail to the Chalkbeat article, which is certainly worth a complete read. It seems that Schwinn’s rogue maneuvers have the support of Tennessee governor Bill Lee, and Schwinn justified her no-bid decision by saying it was necessary to begin the voucher program in 2020, a year earlier that the legislature planned, as per the governor’s wishes.

Another major irritation for Tennessee legislators is the ballooned pricetag due to Schwinn’s no-bid: The legislature budgeted $750K for costs associated with the voucher program, but Schwinn blew it up, committing her ClassWallet no-bid to $2.5M for two years.

But there’s more: Schwinn’s chief financial officer said that it decided– without legislative approval– to use teacher-pay funds from an expired program to fund the increased voucher program cost due to the no-bid it awarded. In response, Tennessee House Fiscal Review Panel chair, Matthew Hill, replied, “…We robbed teacher pay. … I can’t stress how bad this looks for us.”

He then ordered Schwinn’s ed department to return on February 19, 2020, to show the Panel that the ed department exercised “due diligence” in contracting with ClassWallet.

Schwinn could be the undoing of Tennessee’s voucher program. Wouldn’t that be something.

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Penny Schwinn

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Interested in scheduling Mercedes Schneider for a speaking engagement? Click here.

.

Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

In Budget Snub, Betsy DeVos Treats Charters Like “Public Schools”

In President Trump’s proposed FY2021 budget, charter school funding is lumped together in block-grant fashion with funding once seperately designated for 29 federal K12-related programs. From the US Department of Education (USDOE) FY2021 proposed budget press release:

The budget calls for consolidating nearly all existing K-12 formula and competitive grant programs into one block grant to States, called the Elementary and Secondary Education for the Disadvantaged (ESED) Block Grant. Funds would be allocated using the same formulas as the Title I Grants to Local Educational Agencies program.

Specifically, the block grant includes consolidating these 29 federal programs:

FORMULA GRANT PROGRAMS (9)

  • Title I Grants to Local Educational Agencies
  • Migrant State Grants
  • Neglected and Delinquent State Grants
  • Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants
  • 21st Century Community Learning Centers
  • Education for Homeless Children and Youths
  • Rural Education
  • Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants
  • English Language Acquisition Grants

COMPETITIVE GRANT PROGRAMS (20)

  • Comprehensive Literacy Development Grants
  • Innovative Approaches to Literacy
  • High School Equivalency Program
  • Native Hawaiian Education
  • Alaska Native Education
  • Comprehensive Centers
  • School Safety National Activities
  • Promise Neighborhoods
  • Full-Service Community Schools
  • Education Innovation and Research
  • Teacher and School Leader Incentive Grants
  • American History and Civics Education
  • Supporting Effective Educator Development
  • Charter Schools Grants
  • Magnet Schools Assistance
  • Ready to Learn Programming
  • Arts in Education
  • Javits Gifted and Talented Education
  • Statewide Family Engagement Centers
  • Teacher Quality Partnership

Charter school advocates like to refer to charters as “public schools.” Well, now they get to feel more than ever like “public” schools as they have been tossed into a bin of programs that Trump (really, US ed sec, Betsy DeVos) would have states use less money overall (a proposed $4.7B cut) to decide which programs to fund.

In the USDOE press release, DeVos’s centerpiece is a $5B voucher program (same as last year), which she tries to sell as not “do[ing] a thing” to affect public school funding even as Trump-DeVos propose cutting almost that amount– $4.7B– from the 29 programs lumped into the block:

Highlights from the President’s FY 2021 Budget Request include the following:

  1. Expanding Education Freedom for Students
    • Education Freedom Scholarships (EFS) would provide up to $5 billion in additional education funding to help more than 1 million students across the country find their education fit
    • This proposal would dramatically expand the options available to families
    • States, not the Federal government, will design their own programs aimed at serving their students. Each State’s family eligibility requirements and allowable uses of scholarship funds will be aligned with their State’s unique needs
    • Funded by private, voluntary donations, EFS does not do a thing to change any funding amount already allocated to public school students or public school teachers

In funding EFS with “private donations,” what Trump-DeVos is asking is that $5B in potential tax revenue not be collected at all in the name of tax credits. Prior to being collected, the money is given away.

It is highly unlikely that the House will pass the Trump-DeVos education budget as is. (In 2019, the DeVos’ $5B voucher plan was a lead balloon.) Even so, Trump-DeVos try to sweeten the voucher deal by suggesting that the money “could support a range of educational activities such as CTE, special education services, and tuition for private school.” From the FY2021 budget as published by the White House: 

Provides Education Freedom to Families and Students.

Families must have the freedom to choose the best learning experience for their children. The Administration’s Education Freedom Scholarships proposal would provide up to $5 billion annually in State designed scholarship programs that could support a range of educational activities such as CTE (career and technical education), special education services, and tuition for private school. This proposal would make tremendous strides toward the goal of providing all students with the opportunity to receive a high-quality education and achieve future success.

What is not highlighted as a possible “educational activity” on which to spend EFS money is the funding of charter schools. In fact, the FY2021 budget document released by the White House does not mention charter schools by name even once.

Interestingly, funding charter schools via Title I money (as opposed to a separate funding stream) was a key suggestion of the Network for Public Education’s (NPE) second report on federal charter school closure, mismanagement and waste, Still Asleep at the Wheel, a report that underestimated numbers provided by DeVos herself in her testimony before Congress in 2019:

We …strongly recommend that Congress end appropriations for new charter school grants in the upcoming budget and continue funding only for obligated amounts only to legitimate projects. Once those grants have been closed, we recommend that the CSP be ended and that charter schools continue to receive federal support only through other federal funding streams such as Title I and IDEA.

DeVos wants that $5B voucher program to become a reality. One of the criticisms of DeVos federal voucher program is that it “undermine[s] public education.” So, if she can quell additional criticism about charter school fraud even as she seems to promote public school “state-level freedom” via a block grant that throws charter schools under the school choice bus, then maybe (?) Congress will give in to her true school-choice love: school vouchers.

I don’t believe Congress will fund DeVos’ voucher hopes. But one issue is clear:

DeVos is willing to sacrifice charter school funding as she continues to promote her clearly-favored, school-choice centerpiece, school vouchers, and charter school advocates cannot undo knowing so.

Betsy DeVos 3

Betsy DeVos

________________________________________________________________________

Interested in scheduling Mercedes Schneider for a speaking engagement? Click here.

.

Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

Betsy DeVos Personally Saves Philly Student from a Government… Charter School(?)

In his February 04, 2020, State of the Union (SOTU), President Donald Trump presented a Philadelphia student with a scholarship paid for “personally” by US ed sec, Betsy Devos, all in the name of “rescuing” a student “trapped in failing government schools.”

Turns out this student attends a Philly charter school, MaST III, which just opened for the 2019-20 school year.

So, this student is trapped in nothing. As proof positive of non-trappedness, the child’s mother, Stephanie Davis, said as much in this February 07, 2020, Philadelphia Inquirer story:

“I don’t view MaST as a school you want to get out of at all. I view it as a great opportunity,” Davis said.

But Davis’ daughter does not attend what DeVos calls a “government school.” This child attends a charter school. So, DeVos is personally paying for a child to possibly leave a charter school to return to a private school she once attended.

But there’s more: DeVos’ US Dept of Ed gave MaST a $1.3M charter school grant in 2019.

DeVos’ office tried to salvage the saved-from-a-charter-school snafu, but the explanation does nothing to remedy the situation. From the Inquirer:

Asked why Janiyah was selected for a scholarship despite already attending a school in a high-performing charter network, Angela Morabito, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Education, said, “Education freedom is about going to the best school for your child. Even the ‘best’ school, as ranked by statistics and averages, isn’t the best fit for every child. Each of the 50,000 kids waiting for a new opportunity in Pennsylvania has different needs and goals, let alone the millions of students across America stuck in a school that isn’t right for them.”

So, is this ramble a concession that a failing school could be a “best fit” for some children, and that even a DeVos-despised, so-called “government school” might be a “best fit”?

Nothing about DeVos supports such a position– until post-SOTU face-saving is required.

Fifty thousand kids supposedly “waiting for a new opportunity in Pennsylvania,” and DeVos’ office cannot find a single one for her big SOTU moment.

Instead, she pays for a voucher to “save” a student from a charter chain amply funded by her own Dept of Ed.

Priceless.

betsy devos 22

Betsy DeVos

___________________________________________________________________________

Interested in scheduling Mercedes Schneider for a speaking engagement? Click here.

.

Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

About Those “Failing-Government” Schools

In promoting US ed sec Betsy DeVos’ pet project of private school vouchers during his February 04, 2020, State of the Union address, President Donald Trump used a far-right, DeVosian description of America’s public schools as “failing government schools.”

Never mind that Trump heads the government and that DeVos heads those “government schools.” What is needed, according to DeVos-via-Trump, is a private-school escape.

DeVos 2

Betsy DeVos

I just want to note for the record that I agree with Trump and DeVos about “failing” and “government” in connection to America’s public schools, but, being an English teacher, I will add one wee mark of punctuation to their phrase, clarifying it as such:

Failing-government schools.

For decades, the government (federal and state) has been failing America’s public schools.

That little hyphen says it all.

First came the Texas miracle under then-governor George W. Bush, which was no miracle at all, it turns out:

Scores on the Texas test rose, but SAT scores for prospective college students dropped. Researchers discovered that the Texas tests designed by Pearson primarily measured test-taking ability.

Bush’s “Texas miracle” testing push was precursor to test-and-punish No Child Left Behind (NCLB):

Bush’s education adviser Sandy Kress, a Democratic lawyer from Dallas with some school board experience, convinced him that the “soft bigotry of low expectations” was holding back minority students in failing schools. His solution: if Texas made all schools give the same tests, the state could direct resources where they would do the most good, and eventually African-American and Hispanic kids would catch up to the white kids. It was a great theory, and initially the scores rose.

Bush called it the “Texas Miracle.” And once the Texas governor ascended to the Oval Office, Kress lobbied Sen. Ted Kennedy to add bipartisan legitimacy to the plan as Bush’s top Democratic supporter for the No Child Left Behind law, which promised to spread the Texas Miracle to the other 49 states. The law projected victory by 2014 in getting all students to “meet or exceed the state’s proficient level of academic achievement on the state assessments.”

The April 10, 2015, Education Week offers this summary of NCLB:

Under the NCLB law, states must test students in reading and math in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school. And they must report the results, for both the student population as a whole and for particular “subgroups” of students, including English-learners and students in special education, racial minorities, and children from low-income families.

States were required to bring all students to the “proficient level” on state tests by the 2013-14 school year, although each state got to decide, individually, just what “proficiency” should look like, and which tests to use. (In early 2015, the deadline had passed, but no states had gotten all 100 percent of its students over the proficiency bar.)

Under the law, schools are kept on track toward their goals through a mechanism known as “adequate yearly progress” or AYP. If a school misses its state’s annual achievement targets for two years or more, either for all students or for a particular subgroup, it is identified as not “making AYP” and is subject to a cascade of increasingly serious sanctions:

  • A school that misses AYP two years in a row has to allow students to transfer to a better-performing public school in the same district.
  • If a school misses AYP for three years in a row, it must offer free tutoring.
  • Schools that continue to miss achievement targets could face state intervention. States can choose to shut these schools down, turn them into charter schools, take them over, or use another, significant turnaround strategy.
  • What’s more, schools that don’t make AYP have to set aside a portion of their federal Title I dollars for tutoring and school choice. Schools at the point of having to offer school choice must hold back 10 percent of their Title I money.

The law also requires states to ensure their teachers are “highly qualified,” which generally means that they have a bachelor’s degree in the subject they are teaching and state certification. Beginning with the 2002-03 school year, all new teachers hired with federal Title I money had to be highly qualified. By the end of the 2005-06 school year, all school paraprofessionals hired with Title I money must have completed at least two years of college, obtained an associate’s degree or higher, or passed an evaluation to demonstrate knowledge and teaching ability. States are also supposed to ensure that “highly qualified’ teachers are evenly distributed among schools with high concentrations of poverty and wealthier schools.

NCLB was built upon the Texas miracle, a testing lie.

The year of NCLB perfection, 2014, came and went, and no “100 proficiency in reading and math” for any state– a wholly unrealistic goal from the outset. But in 2001, 2014 seemed so far away, so who cares about the upset this unrealistic goal could wreak on America’s public schools?

By 2007, the year that NCLB was supposed to be reauthorized, Congress wouldn’t touch it.

That led us to the Obama administration, US ed sec Arne Duncan, and NCLB waivers:

By 2010, it was clear that many schools were not going to meet NCLB’s achievement targets. As of that year, 38 percent of schools were failing to make adequate yearly progress, up from 29 percent in 2006. In 2011, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, as part of his campaign to get Congress to rewrite the law, issued dire warnings that 82 percent of schools would be labeled “failing” that year. The numbers didn’t turn out to be quite that high, but several states did see failure rates of more than 50 percent. In Congress, meanwhile, lawmakers saw the need for a rewrite, but were unable to bring a bill across the finish line. So that year, the Obama administration offered states a reprieve from many of the law’s mandates through a series of waivers. …

The waivers, which are now in place in 42 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia, allow states to get out from under many of the mandates of the NCLB law in exchange for embracing certain education redesign priorities. …

In exchange, states had to agree to set standards aimed at preparing students for higher education and the workforce. Waiver states could either choose the Common Core State Standards, or get their higher education institutions to certify that their standards are rigorous enough. They also must put in place assessments aligned to those standards. And they have to institute teacher-evaluation systems that take into account student progress on state standardized tests, as well as single out 15 percent of schools for turnaround efforts or more targeted interventions.

NCLB waivers were connected to yet another unproven. educational disruption: The Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Sure, according to Duncan’s NCLB waivers, states did not have to choose CCSS. The problem was that most state governors had already chosen CCSS even before CCSS had been written— another “failed-government” decision that seriously impacted the American public school classroom.

Via the Obama-Duncan Race to the Top consortium assessment money lure, in 2010, most states jumped onto the PARCC/Smarter Balanced, CCSS-assessment bandwagon.

By 2014-15, the very governors who once pushed CCSS down the American public education throat jumped CCSS ship.

In 2020, most states are still saddled with CCSS and have expended great resources on curriculum, professional development, and– in failed-government, post-NCLB fashion– test prep, and testing, and retesting.

In 2015, NCLB became the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). And the testing continues.

We test and grade schools, districts, and teachers, all based on student test scores.

No testing company advertises its tests as suited to measure schools, districts, and teachers. There’s a reason for that: Using student test results to measure schools, districts, and teachers is not a valid use of student test scores.

This is the biggest way in which the government has failed American public education: The government has made student test scores the end-all, be-all, defining factor of student value, of school value, of district value, and of teacher value.

And all of this testing wreckage spun into being from a Texas miracle that was a lie.

Now, I have not even gone into depth on the defunding of education, and on teacher-bashing, and on the ever-increasing responsibility foisted upon schools to confront issues plaguing families and communities, and on the sad fact that the supposed US education secretary is hostile to public education, but I must close this post because it is a school night, and like most teachers, I put in more hours each day than I am paid for, which makes me tighter on free time.

The government is failing American public education.

Failing-government schools.

The hyphen says it all.

getschooled test

____________________________________________________________________

Interested in scheduling Mercedes Schneider for a speaking engagement? Click here.

.

Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

John White’s Nonprofit, Propel America, Wants to Expand in Louisiana

In June 2018, Louisiana state superintendent John White co-founded a nonprofit, Propel America, which is piloting its career pathway product in four states, including Louisiana– even as co-founder White holds the position of superintendent of the state in which his fledgling nonprofit began doing business.

One can discover some of the national-level key players in Propel America from LinkedIn bios, but not from White’s LinkedIn bio. Co-founder White wants to be the Louisiana state superintendent who co-founds a nonprofit that does business with Louisiana, but maybe the public will not notice if White’s connection with Propel America is restricted to an occasional sighting, kind of like Where’s Waldo.

Paymon Rouhnifard, Co-founder

  • Walton Family Foundation, Entrepreneur in Residence (2018 to present)
  • Camden City (NJ) superintendent (2013 – 2018)

Debra Kurshan, Chief Operating Officer

  • NY Dept. of Ed (2007- 2010)
  • New Orleans Recovery School District consultant (2011)

Erin Bendily, Executive Director

  • Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE), Assistant Supt. and Deputy Supt. (2010 – 2019)

John White

  • No mention as Propel co-founder

White does not yet appear to be drawing financial compensation from the nonprofit; however, he also neglected to mention creating the nonprofit to his “boss,” the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE), and he did not mention piloting its product anywhere, much less in the state that he oversees as superintendent.

White downplayed himself to BESE to such a degree that according to the April 30, 2019, Advocate, he never mentioned to BESE that he co-founded a nonprofit– even as his nonprofit was piloting its career path product in Baton Rouge and New Orleans:

State Superintendent of Education John White has quietly become the co-founder and chairman of the board of a national nonprofit group aimed at connecting low-income high school graduates with solid jobs.

The organization, called Propel America, is led by White and Paymon Rouhanifard, former superintendent of the Camden, N.J., school district. …

But the undertaking is little known in Louisiana even while pilot projects are being launched in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. …

He said he did not publicize his role with the group because the pilot projects involving 50 students are not an operation of the state Department of Education.

Gary Jones, president of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, said White’s role warrants attention.

“I am not sure that all BESE members are aware of it yet, but some of us have recently become aware,” Jones said. “I am sure at some point we will have a discussion about it.” …

The aim is to increase the pilots from 50 students initially to 1,000 per year for the next three years.

The downplaying of co-founder White’s involvement in Propel America continues in this Draper Richards Kaplan (DRK) Foundation’s Propel America page, which highlights Rouhanifard as “co-founder” and superficially mentions White:

Meet Paymon Rouhanifard

Prior to starting Propel America, co-founder and CEO Paymon Rouhanifard spent nearly a decade working in and leading major urban school districts. He worked in the New York City Department of Education, was the Chief Strategy Officer for Newark Public Schools, and most recently served as the Superintendent for Camden City Schools in New Jersey.

It was in Camden where Paymon began thinking more about what he perceived to be a false choice facing his and so many other high school students across the country. Students were either forestalling income and accruing debt toward a traditional degree that many would not complete, or forestalling education to work in low-wage, low-mobility jobs.

He saw top students struggle, many of whom enrolled in college only to de-enroll and work in entry-level retail or service-oriented jobs. Through it all, he saw potential for a way forward. Across his career, Paymon had met employers that spoke of well-paying, hard-to-fill jobs requiring a postsecondary credential with opportunities for advancement. He came to realize there was a “third way” — a postsecondary option that involved both college and an affordable, quicker path to financial stability.

Alongside Louisiana Superintendent John White, Paymon decided to create a system through which more students could access well-paying middle-skill jobs, with many options for post-secondary success.

Prior to his tenure in education, Paymon spent several years in investment banking at Goldman Sachs and AEA Investors. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Political Science from UNC Chapel Hill.

Even though White formally resigned as Louisiana state superintendent on January 08, 2020 (effective March 11, 2020), according to a January 22, 2020, exit interview White had with Education Week, White was planning on operating his nonprofit even as he remained in the position of Louisiana state superintendent:

White said he has “no plans” for his immediate future. However, he did say that he’ll continue to work on the issue of connecting high school graduates to work and careers, at a time when the connections between employers and their communities have basically “dissipated.”

He pointed to a nonprofit group he founded, Propel America, that aims to connect students to pathways with the help of employers as well as schools. White serves as the group’s board chairman, but said he wasn’t planning to move from the Louisiana education department to working at that organization.

White wanted to found a nonprofit and chair its board while soliciting contracts to that nonprofit from the state where he served as superintendent and pretend some magical disconnect one from the other.

Now that White has “no plans” following his Louisiana superintendency departure, it seems that (at least for the moment), he has nothing better to do.

Propel is growing! From Propel America’s LinkedIn profile in November 2019:

Our community is growing! Today, @PropelAmerica is in 20 high schools across 4 states. We have 400 amazing students and 80 educators on board.

 

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And even as he continues to hold the position of state superintendent, White’s Propel America is listed as a vendor presenter for Louisiana’s 2020 Jump Start convention in this itinerary posted on the White’s LDOE website. On this itinerary, two individuals are listed as Propel America representatives: Kristen Smith and Dustin Whitlock.

Smith is associated with the Teach for America (TFA) lobbying nonprofit spinoff, Leadership for Educational Equity (LEE). In the April 2019 Advocate article, Smith was identified as Propel America executive director of Lousiana who is overseeing Propel America’s Louisiana pilot. Whitlock is a teacher in Lincoln Parish who identifies himself on Twitter as Propel’s North Louisiana Program director.

Of course, White’s goal is to grow his nonprofit, and to believe that he will not profit from it himself is simply naive. Propel America is looking to expand, and to do so in Louisiana.

If you really want White gone, protest his sneaky efforts to extract beefy LDOE contracts via his nonprofit. Embarrass BESE into nixing this next White financial reaping of Louisiana taxpayer money.

john white 2017

John White

______________________________________________________________

Interested in scheduling Mercedes Schneider for a speaking engagement? Click here.

.

Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

La. BESE’s Process for Selecting Next Superintendent

Below are excerpts from a January 30, 2020, Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) press release related to the process of selection Louisiana’s next state superintendent:

BESE adopts administrative process for selection of new State Superintendent

Jan 29, 2020, 14:55 PM by BESE Admin

At its meetings this week the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) received the initial report of its Superintendent Selection Work Group and adopted the group’s recommended administrative process regarding the appointment of a new State Superintendent of Education.

Over the next several weeks, the work group plans to partner with a search firm to develop criteria to screen candidates and initiate an open application process. The work group will also directly contact potential candidates submitted by individual BESE members for screening and review initial applications. By early spring the work group anticipates selecting semi-finalists for interviews and recommending one to three finalists to the Board for consideration. BESE has granted the work group the authority to amend the process as necessary, subject to general Board notification. …

A general, tentative timeline for completing the process was detailed by the work group. Candidate applications and Board member nominations will be received during February, with work beginning in March to review and screen candidates. The work group will conduct interviews and facilitate the interview process with individual BESE members in accordance with the state’s Open Meetings Law. Finalists could be considered by the Board as early as March or April 2020. The resignation of current Superintendent John White is effective March 11, 2020. …

The Board issues a contract for the position of State Superintendent by a two-thirds vote of its total membership, requests confirmation by the Senate, and requests approval of the salary by the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget. Basic qualifications for the position are defined in state law and BESE policy, and additional criteria may be established at the Board’s discretion.

Serving with Orange Jones on the Superintendent Selection Work Group are District 1 BESE member Jim Garvey, District 6 member Ronnie Morris, and At-Large member Doris Voitier. The group was appointed by Holloway following the Board’s special called meeting on January 16.

The report of the work group and outline of the appointment process approved by BESE is available online here.

Individuals wishing to submit their name for consideration by the work group may begin the process by emailing a resume to the BESE office at sbese@la.gov.

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Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

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