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Ohio Principal Poses as Active Shooter in School Drill. This Is Where We Are, America.

An Ohio principal decided to pose as the active shooter in a preplanned, schoolwide drill that went awry.

How he did not anticipate that students could be injured is beyond me. Nevertheless, it seems that the principal plans to continue similar drills in the future.

From FOX19 in New Richmond, Ohio, on December 19, 2019:

Several New Richmond Middle School students were injured Tuesday during an active shooter drill, according to the school’s principal.

The incident happened during an ALICE drill, which stands for ‘alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate.’

The school says it uses the drill to simulate an active shooter situation in the building.

First an alarm sounded in the school’s cafeteria during first lunch period, then Principal Court Lilly appeared.

“I pose as the active shooter,” Lilly wrote in a letter sent home to parents. “I utilize air horns to simulate the noise level that would take place in a real event.”

During these ‘chaotic’ moments, the principal says a few students fell to the ground and sustained bumps and bruise. One student reportedly got a cut on her eyebrow.

Following the incident, the school principal sent the following letter to parents. (See FOX19 link for copy of letter, which does not seem to be on the school’s website.):

NEW RICHMOND MIDDLE SCHOOL
1135 Bethel-New Richmond Road
New Richmond, Ohio 45157-9507
513-553-3161
513-553-6412 Fax

Court Lilly
Principal

Patricia Gulley
Guidance Counselor

Parents and Guardians.

I wanted to inform you all that we had an drill today which is the practice of our response for art active shootet in the building. The drill today was conducted primarily in the cafeteria during our first lunch. For purposes of the drill I pose as the active shooter and utilize air horns to simulate the noise level that would take place in a real event. We always invite first responders to our drills and those who can attend do so that they can help in the debrief and evaluation of the drill. Today we had representatives from the New Richmond Fire and EMS as well as the Clermont County Sheriff’s department.

Today students were unclear of what kind of evacuation procedure to follow when leaving the cafeteria which resulted in a chaotic few moments. During these moments a few students fell to the ground and sustained some bumps and bruises and one student sustained a cut on her eyebrow. It is regrettable that any students would ever be harmed while in our care so I first and foremost want to apologize for putting them in that position. I would like to continue to say that we learned a lot from our drill today and it is obvious that we need to develop an effective evacuation plan for the number of students in our cafeteria. We will also practice the evacuation plan with the students in a less stressful situation so they have the opportunity to experience and understand the evacuation plan. The other item that I plan to address with our students tomorrow is a sense of collaborative evacuation. Our goal is to ensure that everyone is out of the building safely it we ever need to evacuate quickly and it became clear today that we also need to spend some time talking about the purpose of the drills and how to evacuate safely together. We were beginning to hear stories of wild rumors of the drill today and I wanted you to
all hear the facts from me. If you have any further questions or concerns please contact me directly and I will be happy to talk about ways to continue to keep all of our kids safe.

Sincerely,

Court Lilly

A Commitment to Excellence in Education
New Richmond Exempted Village School District

What if during a future drill, Lilly is the one injured by students trying to “take down the active shooter”?

What about school liability for students injured in this and future drills?

In the above letter, Lilly does not address such questions.

So, this is where we are America. School shootings have become so frequent that active shooter drills are the new normal.

Nevertheless, the principal (or anyone) posing as an active shooter during such drills begs the question of taking drill practice too far. As it is, active shooter drills themselves may well be traumatizing students (and faculty and staff, for that matter)– an issue unaddressed by principal Lilly in his letter to parents.

I know that at times, I have to consciously steer my mind away from fear of being at school, a fear that did not cross my mind 28 years ago when I began my teaching career.

God help us, America.

IMG_1745

___________________________________________________________________

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’ “Backpack Full of Cash” Portable Funding Flop

In 2016, Stone Lantern Films released “a film exploring the real cost of privatizating America’s public schools,” Backpack Full of Cash.

The movie’s title derives from a comment made by Center for Education Reform (CER) founder Jeanne Allen as Allen was being interviewed for the film:

Our children have a backpack full of cash, and the school should vie for the privilege of having that backpack turned over to them.

Allen was not pleased to have her quote transformed into a pro-public-school film title, responding in part,

“This movie is all about smearing us as anti-public education,” Allen said. “It’s a backpack full of hypocrisy.

Even so, Allen’s image of each student toting “a backpack full of cash” conjures the image of market-based ed reform seeing children not as human beings but as a means of income and profit.

Perhaps US ed sec Betsy DeVos is unaware of the Backpack film and the Allen-angering origin of its title, for DeVos herself invoked the very same image in her December 12, 2019, remarks to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC):

ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) represents an important step in respecting the role of education in this country. For the first time in modern history, politicians on both sides of the aisle realized federal overreach in education had failed.

ESSA affords your states and your communities more flexibility to address your challenges. …Your states can also use a certain percentage of federal taxpayer funding in new and creative ways. There’s a student-centered funding pilot program. Dollars to follow and support students—not buildings. I like to picture kids with backpacks representing funding for their education following them wherever they go to learn. More states need to seize the student-centered funding pilot opportunity to do what’s right for their students. Not many have to date. [Emphasis added.]

The idea of those “backpacks… following [kids] wherever they go” is connection to ESSA precursor in the House, the Student Success Act, which included portability of Title I funding (see my December 01, 2015, post), an idea that did find its way into ESSA in restricted form:

One issue of concern in the Student Success Act (SSA), the House precursor of ESSA, involved portability of Title I funding– the money following the student– which I immediately viewed as an accounting and budgeting nightmare. In SSA, portability of funding was the rule. In contrast, ESSA does not require states to treat Title I funding as portable, but it does allow local education agencies to follow such a course by combining federal money with state and local monies in order to create a system based on funding that “follows the student.” Thus, if a local education agency wants to pursue funding portability, it can, according to Part E, Section 1501, of Title I (see page 140 of ESSA). [Page number updated.]

As DeVos told her ALEC colleagues, she is promoting ESSA portability of funding as the Student-Centered Funding Pilot program.

I find it interesting that DeVos did not announce her Student-Centered Funding Pilot until February 02, 2018, when she could have done so a year earlier with an eye towards dispersing those cash-filled, individual backpacks effective 2017-18.

I also find it interesting that DeVos is still referring to the program as a “pilot” since ESSA allowed for expansion of the portability of funding from a maximum of 50 local education agencies (LEAs) prior to 2019-20 to no limit beginning with the 2019-20 school year.

Her words to ALEC (“More states need to seize the student-centered funding pilot opportunity…. Not many have to date.”), indicate that DeVos is finding it difficult to drum up support for this cousin of private school vouchers.

So, what does pooh-pooh-federal-overreach DeVos do?

She asks the federal government for $50M to push local ed agencies (LEAs) to participate in Title I funding, individualized cash backpacks.

Yep. In an effort “to spur LEAs to participate” in Title I portability of funding (see page 26 of this USDOE FY2020 budget justification), DeVos asked Congress for $50M specifically earmarked for “student-centered funding incentive grants” for FY2020.

Part of that “spur” involves admission of a “potential negative impact on some schools of the transition to a student-centered funding system.”

So, it appears that DeVos wants federal money to cushion the loss felt during a “transition”; however, if funding moves with students, then that “transition” never ends.

As I noted in 2015, this fludity of funding poses a “budgeting nightmare”– not a transition nightmare but a recurring nightmare.

Back to the House:

It seems that House Appropriations did what DeVos insists that she wants:

They did not extend the federal reach to “spur” states to follow DeVos’ preference.

On December 16, 2019, four days after DeVos’ ALEC speech, House Appropriations denied the $50M in funding that DeVos requested in FY2020 for those student backpacks. (See page 211 of HR 1865 – Division A).

DeVos might *like picturing kids with backpacks of cash following them wherever they go to learn,* but she is apparently having trouble selling that idea on the local level and soliciting federal funding to “incentivize” local buy-in.

Looks like Betsy’s backpacks fast-tracked it to the clearance rack.

betsy devos 11

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.

KIPP Co-Founder Michael Feinberg Used School Computer to Access Porn

Michael Feinberg is the co-founder of the “no excuses” Knoweldge Is Power Program (KIPP) charter school chain.  He and co-founder Dave Levin trace their ed-reformer-entrepreneureal roots to Teach for America (TFA). As of 2019, the KIPP chain consists of 242 schools.

Levin and Feinberg co-founded KIPP in 1994; 24 years later, on February 22, 2018, Feinberg was fired following an investigation of allegations of sexual misconduct.

Feinberg denied the allegations, and in response, on August 22, 2018, he filed a defamation lawsuit seeking damages, including “lost earning capacity” and “exemplary and punitive damages.”

On November 17, 2019, KIPP responded to Feinberg’s defamation suit in this Motion to Dismiss. The 43-page Motion provides detailed background incidents leading up to Feinberg’s firing as well as KIPP’s public response.

Among those details are two shockers that severely undercut Feinberg’s denials and assertion of defamation:

  1. Feinberg used his school laptop to access pornography.
  2. He excused his behavior because he said he did not access porn at school.

From the Motion:

This is a defamation lawsuit in which Plaintiff Michael Feinberg alleges that the KIPP Defendants, acting through their respective Boards of Directors (the “KIPP Boards”), made false and defamatory statements relating to the circumstances surrounding his termination and intentionally inflicted emotional distress upon him. The KIPP Defendants terminated Plaintiff Feinberg’s employment based on the results of an independent investigation conducted by an outside law firm, WilmerHale, which reported that it had made the following assessments:

1) the allegation against Feinberg of sexual abuse by a then-minor student was credible;
2) at least one of the accusations against Feinberg of sexual harassment of an eighteen-year-old employee and recent KIPP graduate was credible; and
3) Feinberg accessed pornography multiple times on his KIPP-issued computer.

As to the first incident, the investigators reported to the KIPP Boards that they found both Feinberg’s denials and the victim’s accusation to be credible, but on balance they found the victim to be more credible. As to the second incident, the investigators reported that they did not find Feinberg’s denials to be credible. And as to the third incident, Feinberg admitted that he had accessed the pornography in question but claimed it had only occurred during business travel.

Later in the Motion, KIPP notes that using a school computer to access porn “was a direct violation of KIPP policy” and that KIPP did not include in its public statement Feinberg’s accessing porn on his school computer among the reasons for his termination.

Feinberg used his school computer to access pornography. That in itself is worthy of firing. Feinberg does not deny this. Instead, and astoundingly, this founder of “no excuses” readily excuses himself for viewing pornography on his KIPP computer because (he alleges) he engaged in viewing porn, not just during travel (bad enough), but “during business travel”– presumably travel associated with KIPP.

Four months after his firing from KIPP related to sexual misconduct, Feinberg was again in the news, this time for supposedly starting a new ed-reform org, the charter school funding nonprofit, the Texas School Venture Fund, where Feinberg serves as president.

Even that is shady: According to the IRS, the Texas School Venture Fund (EIN 81-3674046) has existed since 2016, doing business as the Catholic School Renaissance Institute, which was actually founded by former KIPP Houston president, Duncan McCrann. (For more, see my August 2019 post.)

Feinberg and McCrann are connected via KIPP Houston. It looks like McCrann gave his Catholic School Renaissance Institute nonprofit to Feinberg so that Feinberg could quickly reinvent himself in the face of allegations of sexual misconduct.

And now, the public knows that those allegations, include using a school computer to access porn and that Feinberg admitted– and excused– his behavior.

Certainly a taint for the Catholic School Renaissance Institute Texas School Venture Fund.

IMG_1736

Michael Feinberg

__________________________________________________________________

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.

College Board Sued for Soliciting and Selling Students’ Personal Information

On December 10, 2019, an Illinois parent identified as “Mark S.” filed a class action lawsuit against College Board for soliciting and selling personal information from minor students taking College Board’s standardized tests.

The 38-page complaint, filed in US District Court, District of Northern Illinois, Eastern Division, alleges the following (from the introduction of the case):

Every year, hundreds of thousands of students in Illinois and millions of students across the United States take one or more standardized tests provided by Defendant College Board –including, the SAT, PSAT/NMSQT, PSAT 10, PSAT 8/9and Advanced Placement Exams(“AP Exams”)(collectively, the “Standardized Tests”). While students were made to believe the results of these tests would significantly impact their futures, to Defendant College Board the tests served a wholly different purpose–i.e., to obtain highly valuable personal student information. Defendant College Board obtained the students’ personal information through the use of unfair and deceptive practices such as: (a) misrepresenting that it did not sell the information; (b) falsely claiming that the personal information would“[g]uide your counselors in helping you plan your future”; and (c) preying on students’ hopes and fears by making it appear that providing the information could assist with college acceptance and financial aid while not providing the information would be detrimental to those goals–when in fact, neither scenario was true. As Defendant College Board has admitted, whether a student provided the information did not impact his chance of being accepted into colleges or scholarship programs in any way.

College Board’s solicitation of the student information in question occurs via completion of its “Student Search Service” section, which students are asked to complete prior to taking a College Board test. From the “Factual Allegations” section of the lawsuit:

In connection with the “Preadministration” process for the Standardized Tests, Defendant College Board offered and promoted to students a separate product called Student Search Service.

Student Search Service was a product that allowed Defendant College Board to obtain and sell students’ personal information without the necessary consents. Between September 1, 2016 through the present, Defendant College Board charged between $0.42 and $0.47 per student name sold to a third-party organization.

In connection with Student Search Service, Defendant College Board collected the following information from students who took the AP Exams: (a) name; (b) birthdate; (c) email address; (d) home address; (e)expected high school graduation date; (f) grade point average; (g) gender; (h) ethnicity; and (i) parents’ educational backgrounds.In addition to the information described in the preceding sentence, in connection with Student Search Service, College Board obtained the following information from students who took the PSAT/NMSQT and PSAT 10: (a) intended college major and (b) parents’ military backgrounds.In addition to the information College Board collected from students taking AP Exams, the PSAT/NMSQT and PSAT 10, in connection with Student Search Service, College Board obtained the following information, among other information,from students who took the SAT: (a) citizenship status; (b) religious preference; (c) parental income; (d) high school courses and activities, including participation in religious activities or clubs; and (e) interest in the ROTC.

According to the suit, College Board is “unfair and deceptive” in both collection and intended usage of student data:

At relevant times, Defendant College Board used unfair and deceptive means to obtain the above-described personal information from students, including:

  • Misrepresenting in Defendant College Board’s publications titled“Our Commitment to Student Data Privacy” and “Data Privacy Overview” that it did not sell student data or information;
  • Making it appear as if participation in Student Search Service was voluntary while proactively engaging in conduct Defendant College Board knew would lead to students’ participation, such as:
    • “Strongly recommend[ing]” in the Student Answer Sheet Instructions to the SAT, PSAT/NMSQT and PSAT10 that students answer all of the Student Search Service questions under the false pretense that provision of the information “[g]uide[s] your counselors in helping you plan your future”;
    • Directing AP Exam proctors and teachers in a document titled “AP Preadministration Instructions” to “[e]ncourage your students to answer ‘Yes’” to the question regarding whether students want to participate in Student Search Service;
    • Directing SAT, PSAT/NMSQT and PSAT 10 exam proctors and teachers in written materials provided by Defendant College Board in connection with the administration of the exams to provide instructions regarding Student Search Service that falsely made it appear as if declining to participate in the service could lead to dire consequences, such as missing out on financial aid opportunities; and
    • Preying on students’ hopes and fears by making it appear that providing the information could assist with college acceptance and financial aid while not providing the information would be detrimental to those goals–when in fact, neither scenario was true; and
  • Concealing from students that Defendant College Board’s true purpose in obtaining the personal information was to sell it to third party organizations in order to increase its already substantial revenues.

College Board’s “Data Privacy Principles” states that College Board “does not sell student information”– immediately followed by a “however” indicating that, well, yes, it does, but let’s use some softer language and call it “reinvested licensing” instead of “garnering profits off of students’ personal information:

College Board does not sell student information; however, qualified colleges, universities, nonprofit scholarship services, and nonprofit educational organizations do pay a license fee to use this information to recruit students and provide opportunities in connection with educational or scholarship programs. These license fees are reinvested in our nonprofit mission.

“These license fees are reinvested in our nonprofit mission.”

What a disarming finish. Nonprofit. We’re not in this for the money.

Not hardly, but we’ll come back to that.

Students are not informed at the time of test preadministration that College Board does sell this data, even as College Board does indeed instruct its AP test proctors to “encourage” students to complete the section.  From College Board’s 2015-16_AP Preadministration_Instructions regarding its *trademarked* Student Search Service (page 5):

Student Search Service®

Through Student Search Service®, AP students can receive information on admission, financial aid, and postsecondary education opportunities from colleges, universities, scholarship programs, and educational opportunity programs. The materials students receive help them start thinking about and exploring higher education opportunities.

When students complete the answer sheet, they are asked if they would like certain information they supply on their answer sheets sent to colleges, universities, and scholarship programs that request it from the College Board.

Encourage your students to answer ‘‘Yes’’ in Item O on their answer sheet to ensure that they can receive information from these entities. If a student doesn’t answer this question and previously chose to participate in this service, the College Board will continue providing his or her information.

Students’ participation is completely voluntary, and they pay no fees for participating in Student Search.

Students may request that their name, email address, or both be removed from the service at any time by calling 866-825-8051 or emailing searchcustomerservice@collegeboard.org

As to College Board’s SAT’s school-day preadministration-instructions: Below is the verbatim script SAT proctors read to students regarding the solicitation of students’ personal information (page 9). In these instructions, College Board misleads students regarding “other uses” of students’ personal information, for purposes “such as research” (note no mention of selling the information to third parties). Also notice the condition for NOT completing the info: Parents’ anticipating the request and directly telling students not to enter personal information in any voluntary section. Finally, note that the “warning” comes after the students have already been enticed by “certain advantages” of completing the personal information section, including dangling the term, “scholarship offers”:

When everyone is ready, say:

Now we’ll complete the rest of the boxes on this page and on the back page of your answer sheet, which asks for more information about you, your educational background, experiences, and outside school activities and interests.

There are certain advantages for you to complete this information. With your permission, it’s provided to colleges, universities, and scholarship providers, and used to identify students who may be interested in the opportunities they offer. However, it’s important that you know the College Board will also be able to use this information and provide it to others for additional uses, such as research.

You can complete this section or leave it blank—it’s up to you. If your parent or guardian has told you that you shouldn’t complete any optional or voluntary information, please just sit quietly as we go through this activity. Do NOT complete any question that asks for information your parent or guardian has told you not to provide.

Another issue addressed in the lawsuit concerns College Board’s violating the Illinois School Records Act by sharing students’ personal information. Also from the “Factual Allegations” section of the complaint:

Illinois public policy as set forth in the Illinois School Student Records Act, 105
ILCS § 10/1, et seq. (“ISSRA”), seeks to protect the privacy and confidentiality of Illinois school student records by prohibiting their release, transfer, disclosure or dissemination, except in extremely limited circumstances that do not include the release, transfer, disclosure and dissemination of student school records engaged in by Defendant College Board.

Pursuant to ISSRA, “school student record” means “any writing or other recorded
information concerning a student by which a student may be individually identified, maintained by a school or at its direction . . . regardless of how or where the information is stored.”

Pursuant to ISSRA, the information Defendant College Board collected about
students in connection with Student Search Service constitutes school student records.

Pursuant to ISSRA, Defendant College Board is a “school” because it is a
“person, agency or institution which maintains school student records from more than one school.”

Pursuant to Defendant College Board’s Illinois fiscal year 2017 contract with the
Illinois State Board of Education, it agreed to comply with the relevant requirements of ISSRA regarding the confidentiality of school student records. On information and belief, the contracts between College Board and the Illinois State Board of Education for subsequent years required the same compliance.

In violation of ISSRA, Defendant College Board released, transferred, disclosed
and disseminated school student records.

Other issues in the lawsuit concern College Board’s soliciting personal information from minors, which violates The Children’s Privacy Protection and Parental Empowerment Act, and then using such information without first obtaining written consent from the students’ parents, which violates the Right of Publicity Act. From the lawsuit:

Illinois public policy, as set forth in the Children’s Privacy Protection and
Parental Empowerment Act, 325 ILCS § 17/1, et seq. (the “Children’s Privacy Protection Act”), seeks to empower parents to protect their children’s personal information by preventing the sale or purchase of the personal information of a child under sixteen without parental consent.

The Children’s Privacy Protection Act, defines a “child” as a person under the age
of sixteen. It further defines “personal information” as a person’s name, address, telephone number or “any other information that can be used to locate or contact a specific individual.”

Pursuant to the Children’s Privacy Protection Act, the “sale or purchase of personal information concerning an individual known to be a child without parental consent is prohibited.”

By selling the personal information of children without parental consent, Defendant College Board violated the Children’s Privacy Protection Act.

***

Illinois law also empowers individuals to control other’s use of their identities for
commercial purposes without first receiving written consent.

The Illinois Right of Publicity Act, 765 ILCS § 1075/1, et seq., recognizes that every individual has a right of publicity – namely, “to control and to choose whether and how to use an individual’s identity for commercial purposes.”

Section 5 of the Right of Publicity Act defines “commercial purpose” as the “the
public use or holding out of an individual’s identity (i) on or in connection with the offering for sale or sale of a product . . . or services; (ii) for the purposes of advertising or promoting products . . . or services . . . .”

Section 5 of the Right of Publicity Act defines “identity” as “any attribute of an individual that serves to identify that individual to an ordinary, reasonable viewer or listener, including but not limited to (i) name . . . .”

Pursuant to § 30 of the Right of Publicity Act, “a person may not use an individual’s identity for commercial purposes during the individual’s lifetime without having
obtained previous written consent from the appropriate person or persons . . . or their authorized representatives.”

In violation of the Right of Publicity Act, Defendant College Board used the identities of students who participated in Student Search Service – including Plaintiffs and Class Members – for commercial purposes without having obtained previous written consent from the appropriate person or persons or their authorized representatives. The information provided by College Board that allowed others to be able to identify Plaintiffs and Class Members, included name, home address, email address and date of birth.

The suit continues with damages to individuals (e.g., invasion of privacy; diminished value of personal information; deprival of control of personal information for commercial purposes) as well as allegations for class action.

The lawsuit estimates that 5 million individuals nationwide could be eligible as class members in a class action, where “class member” is one “who took the SAT, PSAT/NMSQT, the PSAT10, the PSAT 8/9 or an AP Exam and participated in Defendant College Board’s Student Search Service.”

If College Board sold the personal information of 5 million test takers for $.45 per test taker, that’s a whopping $2,250,000– and that is if College Board sells each test taker’s information only once (which is hardly likely).

College Board may be a nonprofit, but it is certainly a money maker.

According to the College Board’s most recent tax filing (2017), the College Board’s total revenue was one billion, 68 million dollars ($1, 067,701,847 to be exact), $2.4M of which was from “government grants.”

Executive compensation totaled $6.8M.

President and CEO David Coleman was paid $1.6M in total compensation.

Chief Operating Officer (COO) Jeremy Singer was paid $1M in total compensation.

Ten additional individuals listed as officers, key employees, or former employees were paid between $500,000 and $600,000 in total compensation.

Six additional individuals listed as officers, highest compensated employees, or former employees were paid between $300,000 and $400,000 in total compensation.

College Board is a profoundly profitable.

Part of its profitability is on the backs of minors being enticed to offer personal information that College Board turns around and sells to third parties.

I think College Board will end up paying for its action in this proposed-class-action suit, as it should.

rotten apple

_______________________________________________________________________

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.

ACT’s Push for Use of a “Superscore” Composite– Which Still Underestimates College Freshman GPA

ACT is promoting “superscoring,” which involves creating a composite score based upon the highest scores of individual subtests across multiple testing sessions.

On August 15, 2019, ACT released a statement about superscoring and how, beginning September 2020, ACT will include a superscore on ACT scoring reports.

Before we get into some details regarding the studies behind ACT’s decision to include superscores on student score reports, let us consider ACT’s statement about how use of a superscore (as opposed to a traditional composite score) is left up to colleges and universities:

…We empirically evaluated the validity and fairness of different score-use policies. Based on the findings, ACT now supports the use of superscoring in making college admissions decisions. And starting in September 2020, ACT will be automatically calculating the superscore for students.

That said, we believe that individual postsecondary institutions should decide which score-use policy is best for them, as they have unique needs and contexts within which the scores are being used. As colleges and universities go about the process of reviewing the existing score-use policy on their campuses, it is our hope that our latest research can serve as one source of evidence contributing to those conversations.

ACT says use of a superscore is left up to postsecondary institutions after ACT has basically set up colleges and universities to be pressured into using the superscore, which by nature will either be equal to or greater than the traditional composite score. In other words, ACT has cornered colleges and universities that prefer to use the traditional composite to consider how doing so might make them less marketable in comparison to postsecondary institutions that use the potentially higher superscore.

This is exactly the quandary Louisiana State University (LSU) finds itself in, as evidenced by discussion between LSU’s VP for enrollment management, Jose Aviles, and the LSU Board of Supervisors at the Board’s December 05, 2019, meeting. To view, begin at minute 46:30 in this video:

 

In his presentation before the Board, Aviles opens by explaining various ways that postsecondary institutions use ACT composites, including LSU’s current practice of using a student’s best composite score if the student has taken the ACT more than once. Then, Aviles discusses ACT’s August 2019 release of its superscore study, including the number of colleges and universities already (immediately) shifting to using the superscore.

And there is another piece: ACT will start allowing students to sit for individual subtests in an effort to raise that superscore.

Aviles is in favor of using the superscore; he says that ACT has conducted the research; that the superscore is a better predictor of freshman year GPA; that the change in composite is only .3 on average, and that ACT is considering increasing the number of free tests from two to four for low-income students.

It is also clear that Aviles feels the “market pressure”; he explains that LSU has been put into the position of having to make a decision to use the superscore because their competition (other colleges and universities) are already doing so.

Board member comments include not wanting to rush to use the superscore; ACT’s seeming to serve itself by conducting its own study (in conjunction with Harvard) to justify its superscore decision, and concern for the unknown economic impact of changing criteria that could affect the state’s Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS).  One board member refers to students’ retaking the ACT individual tests as a “game.”

And so it is a game, one that will surely increase ACT’s revenue.

As of the end of the discussion between Aviles and the Board (time 1:22:00 in the board meeting video), the Board has not made a decision and wants to revisit the idea of changing to using ACT’s superscore composite.

Aviles is correct that ACT’s pitch for superscore usage is a marketing issue, one that LSU is under pressure to face, if for no other reason than ACT’s decision to print the superscore on student score reports whether a college or university wants to use it or not. So, if LSU (or any college/university) chooses not to use the superscore, students and parents could well be left with the impression that the college/university is “unfairly” choosing the “lower” composite. That is part of what Avilas was trying to communicate to the Board, which is concerned about a rush to change admission processes in a way that could undercut the quality of admissions and also unfairly penalize students who do not retake the ACT again and again.

And this is where ACT stands to benefit handsomely, despite Aviles mentioning ACT’s proposed four-free tests for low-income students: The opportunity to take parts of the ACT repeatedly in order to sculpt an ever-higher, superscore composite will surely increase the percentage of students who take the ACT four or more times, whether in full or (more likely) in part.

As for ACT’s “superscore: study, ACT offers this info in its August 15, 2019, press release:

Previous research indicated that underserved students are less likely than their peers to take the ACT more than once. So, we conducted a second study exploring the impact of superscoring on students in different subgroups. The results are very promising. Subgroups are largely unaffected by superscoring. Moreover, superscores help decrease differences between different subgroups of students after taking into account the number of times tested.

What does this mean? It means that if we can encourage underserved students to take the ACT more often, superscoring may help reduce subgroup differences. If so, college opportunities and access may improve for traditionally underserved students.

The “second study” is a July 2019 “technical brief,” entitled, “Does Superscoring Increase Subgroup Differences?”, which offers detailed resuts comparing most recent ACT composites with superscore composites for various subgroups. However, no details or offered comparing highest composite to superscore composite for various subgroups. If I were blindly reviewing this study for publication in a professional journal, I would reject the study as is for its limited scope. As it is, such information is not useful for institutions that use a student’s highest ACT composite, like LSU. Even so, in its press release, ACT makes the jump to the incomplete results being “very promising” such that

if we can encourage underserved students to take the ACT more often, superscoring may help reduce subgroup differences.

So, what is needed for the ACT to be more accurate is (wait for it) more testing.

Let’s turn this issue on its head, shall we?

ACT is admitting that taking its test once appears to notably underestimate a student’s freshman GPA in college.  For all of that time, money, and (possibly) test prep, once is not enough.

Furthermore, according to the July 2019 technical brief, even twice or more seems not to be enough:

Interestingly, we found that first-year grades for students who tested more often were underpredicted even when prediction models were based on superscores.

Given that even ACT’s superscore underpredicts freshman GPA, perhaps LSU should join ranks with other postsecondary institutions and ditch the ACT altogether.

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.

 

Eli Broad Pays $100M to Move His Ed-Reform-Producing “Broad Center” from LA to Yale

Eli Broad is one of the chief billionaires pushing education reform.

In 2017, Broad “inserted himself” in the Los Angeles School Board race via the largest contribution to an individual candidate– $100K. Two years earlier, in 2015, Broad was caught planning an “initiative” to put half of LA’s students in charter schools over an eight-year period. (The plan was leaked to the New York Times.)

One year prior to that– 2014– Broad approached US ed sec Arne Duncan’s speech writer, Peter Cunningham, about creating a billionaire-funded, ed-reform blog to defend ed reformers against “being piled on” by non-funded, grass-roots-emergent, pro-traditional-public-ed bloggers. (Sad but true.)

And in 2011, Broad donated $25M to help make the teacher-temp org, Teach for America (TFA), a permanent training program for those temp teachers. (Ironic to work to make TFA permanent so that it could permanently churn out temporary teachers.)

If you want a sense of how far the Broad reach is in supporting ed-reform organizations, peruse the numerous grants Broad had paid in 2017 as listed on the 2017 Broad Foundation tax form. The list is replete with ed-reform organizations, particularly those related to charter schools.

Broad’s efforts have also included the Los Angeles-based “Broad Center,” which includes the “Broad Academy” and “Broad Residency,” has served as pseudo-credentialing mechanism for would-be leaders espousing market-based ed reform, including John White (former TFAer), Hannah Dietsch, Chris Barbic (former TFAer), Jean-Claude Brizard, Tom Boasberg, Deborah Gist, John Deasy, Tom Torkelson, and Chris Cerf.

(Aside: A keyword search of “teach for america” on the Broad Center alumni site produces hits for another 37 Broad alumni connected to TFA, and I can see that the list is not exhaustive.)

And now, it appears that Broad has bought a piece of Yale– a $100M piece.

On December  05, 2019, the Yale School of Management announced that it “received the largest gift in its history from the Broad Foundation,” but it’s not a gift, really.

It’s a purchase: the Broad Center at Yale School of Mangement (SOM).

Broad is moving his operation from Los Angeles to Yale.

Same ed-reform story, with a facelift– and a new address that repackages the Broad ed reform push in a gloss of heightened prestige. From the Yale SOM press release:

The $100 million gift will fund The Broad Center at the Yale School of Management and enable the creation of a tuition-free master’s degree program for emerging education leaders, advanced leadership training for top school system executives, and an extensive research endeavor aimed at assembling the premier collection of data on public education leadership.

The Broad Center at Yale SOM will become a platform for reimagining how skilled management practices can improve the performance of public school districts and thereby create benefits for schools, students, teachers, administrators, and communities across the country. The center will advance the strategic direction pioneered by The Broad Center over the last 20 years; its placement at the Yale School of Management will enable its programs to draw on the input of management and business scholars and the resources of Yale University.

And here is an excerpt from the December  05, 2019, Broad Center press release:

Los Angeles, CA – With a gift of $100 million to Yale University, The Broad Foundation today reaffirms its commitment to public K-12 education and makes possible the launch of a major new initiative of the Yale School of Management focused on strengthening leadership in public education. Building on transformative work by The Broad Center in Los Angeles, the initiative will ensure in perpetuity high-impact programs to advance excellence and equity in education.

The Broad Center at Yale SOM will develop research, teaching, and policy initiatives devoted to improving the effectiveness of top leaders in America’s public school systems. The ambitious initiative will leverage Yale SOM’s expertise in delivering rigorous management education to talented professionals in fields that have broad societal impact, while furthering and amplifying the previously independent Broad Center’s mission of ensuring high-quality leadership in public education.

So, here we go.

Repackaged Broad.

broad

Eli Broad

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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.

“The Odessey of Joshua”: A Student’s Story

I teach senior English.

I noticed that one of my students, an English language learner, was reluctant to complete complex written assignments. He appeared to throw up his hands as if to ask, “What is the use?”

So, I asked him, “Will you write a paper about you? Will you tell me your story?”

He thought about it for a moment, then nodded in agreement.

Below is his unedited response, which he has allowed me to reproduce.

His name is Joshua, and this is his story:

The odyssey of Joshua

In the power of a strong kid that have to face problems of a new life. This show how a kid get in to a new era and have to adapt as his new life changes. In the course of the time we get to see how he struggled and fight emotionally. His view of everything in overall is bad. The feeling of homesickness and a new languish is the key point of is problem.

In the beginning Joshua was happy whit his friend in Puerto Rico until one day he get the news of a storm hitting Puerto Rico. He thought that it was going to be a regular storm but it was not. The storm was one of the biggest storm that ever hit Puerto Rico. By this period of time he did not have school, water, or light his aunt seeing this situation in U.S Louisiana she deicide to call her sister(Joshua mom)to tell her to move in whit her. Joshua mom despair she say yes and Joshua is not very happy about this decision. Josh he start to get a litter bit upset because he have to leave his friend and everything that he ever know to a new place that he do not know about .

Is November 7, 2017 Josh and his family arrive to Louisiana he start to think how this is going to work out new country, new languish, and new house. The day pass and the put Josh back to school let put this like this new people that speak a different languish, and different cultured. Josh knowing a litter beat of English and the fear of not speaking correctly English he try to talk a litter as possible. It is hard for Josh to make friend because he scared of people making fun of him of how he speak. He do not feel comfortable by expressing himself to people.

While the days keep passing Josh have this litter time to think about why did he have to move he have allhis life back in his country he just want to go back and be whit his friend and have fun whit them. Josh talk to his mom and he tell her that he want to go back that in the first place he do not wanted to move to come to a new country and adapt to new rules, school, and people his mom tell him that she make the best decision for them and she wanted a change in her life Josh having respect to his mother he decide to stop the conversion and try to see the good side of this new chapter in his life. Josh still not satisfy with the place he start making friend but he still try to avoid conversations. Meanwhile Josh friends in Puerto Rico are getting better and in back to school they try to reach Josh he get the massages and he start to feel better. A year has pass Josh now know more English and he start to talk more to people Josh have job he has friend and he is still not want to live in Louisiana but he start to accept that the this is his new life and he have to take the best out of this new experiences.

Josh has learned that opportunities in life are life changes and that you have to take the best out of it. Joshua has grown mentally and socially he has open his main to new opportunities and to learned more about life. Josh myth not be realizing at the moment the sacrifices that his mother have to do to for him and for his future but he show that at the end he know that she did this for him. He make friends and his slowly losing the fear of speaking to people.

As Joshua’s senior English teacher, my goal is to understand where Joshua is academically and move him forward all while valuing him as a human being.

Such is my goal for each of my students.

I thank Joshua for allowing me to publish his work.

scroll

______________________________________________________________________

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.