Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel Wants Seniors to Have a Plan for the Future in Order to Graduate. Chris Reykdal, Washington State’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, Just Passed a Similar Requirement for 8th Graders.

follow the money

Thanks to the tireless effort of education activist, the general public is on to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

People know Emanuel is bad news when it comes to public education.

Of course, Mayor Emanuel worked hard to cement his reputation – by closing schools, refusing to fund wrap around services, and praising charter schools.

In a city with nearly 800 homicides and more than 4,000 shootings last year, Emanuel refuses to fund wraparound services for students living with this trauma. His Chicago Housing Authority is hoarding a $379 million surplus while we have more than 18,000 homeless students in the city’s school district, according to the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. Special education cuts in the public schools have left our most vulnerable students without the services and resources they so desperately need. Seventy-five percent of public schools in Chicago do not have libraries, according to the Chicago Teachers Union (which I serve as president).

Emanuel led the largest mass public school closing ever in one U.S. city—mostly in African-American and Latino communities—and has been accused of fostering educational “apartheid” by the Rev. Jesse Jackson. He also is known for his Rolodex full of prominent businessmen and wealthy entrepreneurs who have funded charter school privatization, which set the stage for the aforementioned closures.

Not surprisingly, the only schools Emanuel celebrates in his opinion piece are charter schools. One of them is part of the Noble Network of Charter Schools, which named one of its campuses Rauner College Prep after Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner. The multimillionaire governor, who supports Trump’s nomination of DeVos as secretary of education, is also on record saying that half of Chicago’s public school teachers are “virtually illiterate” and that half of the city’s principals are “incompetent.”

When Mayor Emanuel announced his new graduation requirements: an acceptance letter to a university or community college, proof of an apprenticeship or internship, acceptable to a trade school, or enlistment in the armed services, even Gas Station TV covered the story.

What’s worst, Mayor Emanuel claims he got his latest punitive idea for public education from – you guessed it – charter schools.

Chicago would be the first city to implement such a requirement, although Emanuel said it’s an idea he borrowed from charter schools.

Good grief.

Chris Reykdal Has His Own Plan to Force Students into a Career Path

What’s interesting is right around the same time – when Chicago Mayor Emmanuel was taking heat for his coercive plan for high school students – State Superintendent Chris Reykdal was pushing a similar plan in the Washington State Legislature.

This isn’t surprising to anyone who bothered to read Superintendent Reykdal’s K-12 Education Vision & McCleary Framework.

High School and Beyond Learning Plans for Every Student

The transition from middle school to high school is a substantial risk for students. The research shows that if a students fails even one core course ( math, science, or English ), in the 9th grade, they are less likely to graduate from high school than their peers. Washington State will become a leader in adopting a robust universal High School and Beyond Plans (HSBP) for 8th graders on their way to high school. The middle school provides the plan to the student’s high school, which details the student’s strengths, areas of growth, initial career interests, and a road map of the courses required to graduate from high school successfully. The HSBP tool will be digital and accessible to parents, guardians, counselors, and students. It will also provide the framework for early warning messaging to parents via contemporary digital media tools. Authentic parent engagement needs to meet the needs of the 21st century. (bold mine)

First off, two side issues which need addressing:

Reykdal’s push as a legislator for a statewide requirement of 24 credits has made the issue of students not passing one core class and failing to graduate an even higher possibility.

Second, authentic parent engagement involves actual humans – like teachers- not a text message similar to the ones I get from the dentist reminding me to schedule my next cleaning.

Must Means Mandatory

Here’s the wording from HB 2224, which passed the House with a vote of  94 yeas and ZERO noes on June 27, 2017.

Requirement for High School and Beyond Plan

And this:

HSBP reassesment in 9th grade

“Must have” means mandatory in my book; if it’s a requirement for 8th grade or 12th grade is, frankly, irrelevant.

Instead of coercion, why isn’t our State Superintendent demanding every school in Washington State have full time counselors, nurses, social workers, and all of the other wrap around services kids need to be successful in school and life.

What’s so important about these plans?

Here’s a not so benevolent possibility to consider, from Wrench in the Gears:

Recent “philanthropic” interest in universal pre-kindergarten, early literacy interventions and post-graduation plans (college, career, military or certifications) does not stem from some benevolent impulse. Rather it is about creating opportunities to embed digital frameworks into our education systems that reduce children’s lives to datasets. Once education is simplified as 1s and 0s, global finance will be well-positioned to speculate (gamble) on the future prospects of any given child, school, or district.

That is what accounts for intrusive preschool assessments like TS Gold and the pressure for middle school students to complete Naviance strengths assessments.  Impact investors need baseline data, growth data and “value added” data to assess ROI (return on investment). There are opportunities for profit all along this human-capital value chain. That is why end-of-year testing had to go in favor of constant, formative assessments. That is why they needed to implement VAM (Value Added Measures) and SLOs (Student Learning Objectives). These speculative markets will demand a constant influx of dynamic data. Where is this student, this class, this district compared with where they were projected to be? We need to know. Our bottom line depends on it.

We must recognize that beneath the propaganda of expanding opportunities for our most vulnerable populations, what is happening with “Future Ready” education is predatory and vile. It demeans education, turning it into a pipeline for human capital management at the very moment more and more experts are conveying grave concerns about the future of work in a world increasingly governed by artificial intelligence and automation.

Hmm.

Washington State’s Backdoor Draft and More

This is where HB 2224 gets downright ugly.

Backdoor draft

Admission to university or community college – check.

Proof of an apprenticeship, internship, or acceptable to a trade school -check.

Enlistment in the armed services -check.

Forcing kids to enlist in the military because they can’t jump through all these state mandated requirements to graduate is coercion.

Remember, these extra requirements are in addition to high school students passing all of their classes and earning 24 credit.

I think it’s also important to point out that most adults reading this post never had to pass a standardized test to graduate or had to cope with the added pressure and stress ed-reform’s embrace of business discipline has added on today’s student academic experience.

In short, I will not accept the rationale that these “outs” to an already brutal system are somehow benevolent.

Don’t try explaining away this type of authoritarian pressure to me as a benign attempt by the state to step in and help kids living in poverty make plans for the future because they don’t get that help from their parents.

This excuse is downright insulting to parents trying to make ends meet in our society of ever widening economic inequity – not to mention our country’s continuing love affair with the lie that skin color is character.

Conclusion

How is Washington State’s plan not similar to Mayor Emmanuel’s plan? And if so, where’s the outrage?

It’s also not hard to see State Superintendent Chris Reykdal’s mandatory high school and beyond plans evolving to require even more invasive character and academic assessments in the future – just give the legislature a few more sessions to get the job done.

The legislature already got a good head start when they rewrote the assessment requirements needed to graduate – as requested by Reykdal.

After all, the Washington Legislature doesn’t give a damn about funding our public schools, but they sure do like to pile on the requirements for graduation.

 

Reykdal - Wa Schools Largest Workforce Development

-Carolyn Leith

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Comments on Diane Ravitch’s Blog about “Preschool for All” Proposition 1B

Dr. Diane Ravitch
Dr. Diane Ravitch

Today, Diane Ravitch wrote a post about the Preschool Proposition 1B controversy here in Seattle. What I found most interesting were the comments. These comments are from teachers and parents around the country.

Seattle, we are not alone in this push for the corporate takeover even of our preschools and the distaste for billionaires trying to control our lives and those of our children.

This is what Diane Ravitch wrote:

Washington State: Is “Preschool for All” a Hoax?

Parent activists in Seattle are wary of Proposition 1B, a proposal for “Preschool for All,” fearing that it means a scripted curriculum and standardized tests for tots. 

They have learned that the money for the proposition is coming from hedge fund managers and corporations that have been mainstays of the charter school movement. 

Parents worry that the Gates Foundation is behind the proposal and that it is a prelude to mayoral control, for-profit schools, and TFA. are they right? Read: 11 Reasons to oppose Prop 1B. 

This Washington State preschool teacher explains why he will vote against Prop 1B.

To follow are the comments so far:

Deb
November 2, 2014 at 1:04 pm
Gates is everywhere … http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/02/world/europe/putins-friend-profits-in-purge-of-schoolbooks.html

K Quinn
November 2, 2014 at 1:08 pm
Prescribed curriculum and the assessments were among the worrisome pieces for me, along with where the data goes and who owns it. There are also some troublesome moves towards mayoral control of Seattle Schools on the part of a city council member, and multiple conflicts of interest with for-profit groups like Acelero. Neither proposition is great, but 1A birth to 5 assistance was more palatable than 1B select 3-4yr olds “college and career readiness” assistance.

jcgrim
November 2, 2014 at 1:22 pm
In Utah the public private financial arrangements for Pre-K don’t meet the smell test. In this case, privatizers are investing in Social Impact Bonds. The school system, local charities have an arrangement with Goldman Sachs & The Pritzker family’s financial institution. It appears that the CEO’s will get bonuses for reducing costs (translation: reduce SPED students and their related services.)
http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/08/07/37preschool_ep.h32.html?tkn=PZNF%2Fyi60RsoRgtRpL%2B2b5ASuLpkqFuFzg6n&print=1

Threatened out West
November 2, 2014 at 2:44 pm
Terrific. That’s all Utah needs. Several preschool programs that the state legislature has brought up over the years have mentioned “high quality assessments,” which probably mean standardized tests, for preschoolers. Utah needs more privatization and standardized tests like it needs a hole in the head.

Jessica N
November 2, 2014 at 2:06 pm
Jeepers! Is there no end to this privatization creep?? This is crazy! This is not evidence-based education! These children will never get these years of their lives back! I’ve already forwarded this info to 3 Seattle voters I know (who hopefully will pass it on to their spouses and friends). 


I’ve been subscribing to your blog, Diane, for only a few months, and sometimes I feel totally overwhelmed by the number of posts every day (forwarded to my email), but they are so important that I wouldn’t want to miss a single one; you’ve alerted me to so many issues I never knew about or thought to look into. Thank you for all your hard work. I wish there wasn’t so much bad news to report on!

dianeravitch
November 2, 2014 at 5:01 pm
Thanks, Jessica. I try to keep them short, when possible.

Sarah in Seattle
November 2, 2014 at 6:08 pm
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are fully behind the city’s prek initiative. The city and campaign have NOT informed voters that the city’s prek initiative is actually P20. P20 is a research project to follow these toddlers for the next 20 years–on the taxpayers dime.

Former LAUSD parent
November 2, 2014 at 2:35 pm
Pre-K-for-all was also embedded inside of 2012’s Proposition 38 in California.
Proposition 38 was sold to the public as a way to increase funding for public education but it mandated that a significant portion be earmarked for a Pre-K program that, needless to say, would have gone to private entities because public school districts do not have the infrastructure to implement such a program immediately upon the proposition passing. Also needless to say, this was not noted by the media and the public was simply kept ignorant. I told everyone I could but who listens to me? :-)


Luckily for us, Proposition 30 passed instead and the public thought increased funding would go to public education. Not so since Prop 30 funds are only a “guarantee” that there won’t be cuts. It does nothing about increasing funds. (Also, part of the funds go to counties to pay for the transfer of inmates to county jail from state jails, a process known as “realignment.”)

K Quinn
November 2, 2014 at 4:01 pm
The same thing is happening with 1B in Seattle – they say they will be working with SPS, but SPS has not been in on the plans, doesn’t have space for pre-K classes, let alone K-12 classes.


Lots of games being played.

Sarah in Seattle
November 2, 2014 at 2:55 pm
The mayor of Seattle is Ed Murray and his is a former state legislator. During his time in the legislature, he drafted legislation for a partially appointed school board.


The city of Seattle has an Office of Education. Mayor Ed Murray will be creating a Department of Education. The City of Seattle’s preschool initiative will increase administrative staffing, within city hall. The proposed prek administrative structure is 42 administrators for 2000 students and this does not seem right.

Brown University professor supports mayoral control of education and he has weighed-in on the City of Seattle’s administrative structure within the Office of Education. Wong concludes that Seattle has enough administrative staff to run Seattle Public Schools. Some wonder if we’re in the midst of watching a change in governance structures. The City of Seattle and Seattle Public Schools administrators (that work with the Gates Foundation) are in the process of inter-twining databases. http://kplu.org/post/how-seattles-involvement-education-unique-among-cities

While the city is proposing a prek initiative, the city’s prek initiative is actually P5..an initiative that links prek-5th grade which seems odd.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are in the midst of providing a prek grant for a high poverty elementary school. After the prek program is set-up, by the school district, the prek program will be turned over to the city.

Here is the grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation:
http://mysps.seattleschools.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/1583136/File/Departmental%20Content/school%20board/14-15%20agendas/101514agenda/20141015_PreK_Proposal%20Narrative.pdf

According to the BMGF grant, the city will offer a few prescribed curriculums and there must be sufficient “growth” before a classroom can receive a curriculum waiver.

rmurphy12
November 2, 2014 at 3:27 pm
Proposition 1B from Ed Murray’s CON-$ultant$.


27 job titles. 1 / 27 is paid over $70,000 a year. 5/27 pay over $90,000 a year. 21 / 27 pay over $100,000 a year.

On the following Seattle City Council webpage
Seattle Preschool Program

http://www.seattle.gov/council/issues/preschoolforall/default.html

There is a link labeled “May 2, 2014 Consultant Report” which brings you to the following .pdf file of over 200 pages.

Recommendations FOR SEATTLE’S PRESCHOOL FOR ALL ACTION PLAN
http://clerk.seattle.gov/~public/meetingrecords/2014/preschool20140516_1e.pdf
ATTACHMENT E: INTERACTIVE FINANCIAL MODEL ASSUMPTIONS AND DOCUMENTATION, Page 24
27. OFE ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF COMPENSATION SCALE
27 job titles. 1 / 27 is over $70,000 a year. 5/27 pay over $90,000 a year. 21/27 pay over $100,000 a year.

PNW_WarriorWoman
November 2, 2014 at 3:34 pm
I’ve not followed this because I’m not in King County and it’s too confusing for me right now with a tight race for the State Senate seat in the 28th LD, but another view is here: http://www.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2014/10/28/guest-editorial-prop-1a-is-not-about-kids-its-about-unions-and-money

Dienne
November 2, 2014 at 5:24 pm
I usually find it helpful to read the comments on articles like this. This one, for instance:
“The Stranger should require Goldy to disclose that he works for Prop 1B contributor Hanauer who contributed $1.25 million to privatize our public schools (I-1240, Source: PDC).”

This is just a bunch of shilling.

ECE Professional
November 2, 2014 at 6:06 pm
Any PreK initiative that is pushed by KIPP and TFA is a red flag, because their people are not experts in Early Childhood Education (ECE) who have decades of PreK classroom teaching experience. (KIPP charter schools don’t typically have PreK and here’s an example of a TFAer that is “Managing Director of the Early Childhood Initiative” in DC, who has two years experience in Head Start –during her TFA stint, while working on her master’s degree– and three years in a charter school: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/laura-mcsorley/7/9a/b96 This is not someone who is an ECE expert!) 

The primary interest of KIPP and TFA is in the expansion of privatization/charter schools, which can be accomplished more readily by situating (and receiving public funds for) PreK for All in charter schools. Then our nation’s youngest children will be subjected to military style drill sergeant TFAers, scripted curriculum, high stakes testing and massive test prep, all of which is contrary to how young children learn best. It’s bound to become a cash cow for charters and TFA, while turning off little kids to school, quashing their creativity and individuality, and damning them to become automatons in their “careers” at Walmart.

VOTE NO on anything in ECE that is pushed or supported by KIPP and TFA!

Donna
November 2, 2014 at 6:16 pm
Of course; it is just another money grab – and what of the specialized pedagogy, training, and certificate of P-3? Just throw that out to the garbage, educators. My daughter is certified K-6 and P-3. She actually thought that was a nice niche to be in, because she loves little children. Its heartbreaking.

 

Sarah in Seattle
November 2, 2014 at 6:59 pm
Washington State has defined Early Learning as P-3. I find it interesting that the Gates Foundation offered a $750K grant to put prek into a high poverty area, but the grant is P-5. Seattle Public Schools is to set-up the prek, then, the prek would get turned over to the city. I’m finding this P5 designation odd.

Donna
November 2, 2014 at 6:14 pm
But, if you’re not for it you’re painted buy the deformers as against the kids. Sigh. Everyone needs to know what goes part and parcel with the proposition. Its like…offering you a new house, while there is a fire going on in the basement, but telling you how stupid you are not to take the offer….all the while knowing if you do, you’re going to be incinerated, along with the house.

Why one parent is voting “No” on Preschool Propositions 1A and 1B

Child

As a parent, I know preschool isn’t a one size fits all experience.  My oldest daughter couldn’t wait to start preschool, my youngest begged me not to take her.  Same place, different kids, and two completely unique experiences.  Interestingly, when it came time for kindergarten, both of my daughters were ready.

That’s why I’m urging a no vote to both 1A and 1B.  Preschool needs to be done right.  Families, along with preschool providers, and local government have to be on the same page.  In addition, I’m troubled by several issues:

-why did both sides walk away from negotiations that would have given voters one united proposition?

-The City already invests $61M in preschool services via the Families & Education Levy (http://www.seattle.gov/office-for-education/about-the-levy. )  And Seattle Schools has dozens of preschools in its buildings already.  So it’s not true “nothing” is being done about preschool in Seattle.

-Why don’t we know where the money is coming from for 1A?  Why won’t 1B say where the classes will be located and who gets in?

-My children are in Seattle schools and nearly all of our schools are hugely crowded.  The district just announced it has grown nearly another 1,000 students.  It has grown 1,000 students a year every year for the last four years.  They have installed 30 new portables all around the district this past summer.  And yet every City document on 1B says its “priority” is partnering with SPS.

-My kids’ classroom isn’t even fully funded as stated under McCleary for K-12 and the City wants both room and resources from SPS?

-1A wants to have control of its training “institute” when there are good early childhood programs at most community colleges.

-1B would fund a 6-hour “academic day.” That seems a long day for small people and yet it doesn’t include childcare for a parent’s 9-hour workday.  In fact, if 1B passes, the City would fund a longer preschool day than the state does for kindergarten.  That seems backwards to me.

-Kids aren’t “one size fits all” and yet 1B would only allow their own curriculum and exclude ones like Montessori and Waldorf.

-Prop 1B is top-heavy with administrators who would make upwards of $100K+ while the salary range for teachers would be between $30-60K.  I want my tax dollars in the classroom. http://murray.seattle.gov/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/AttachmentAthruE.pdf

Additionally, the City Council has just taken on the work of being the Metropolitan District for the Parks.  Does the City Council really have the ability and bandwidth to take on two major endeavors at the same time?  I don’t and I can sum it up in one word: Bertha.

1A is less about preschool and more about birth to age five caregivers having more oversight, better training and higher wages to create better conditions for children.

1B is about a structured preschool system throughout the city with oversight to ready 3 and 4 year olds for kindergarten.

Which will bring better outcomes for our littlest citizens from low-income families and is the best use of taxpayer dollars? No one can say for certain.

It’s important for all voters to realize that we do NOT have to vote for either measure.  This ballot issue has two parts and if you answer No to the first question, you can stop.  Plus, a no vote will not impact the preschool programs already in place.

Voters deserve a clear ballot and should not be asked to blindly approve one plan over another.  The lack of coordination between the proponents of 1A and 1B is also troubling.  A no vote will send both camps back to the table to create one authentic proposition that would serve the most Seattle children.

 

Submitted by Carolyn Leith, a parent of two students in Seattle Public Schools

New York hedge fund managers jumping onto the Seattle Preschool Proposition 1B gravy train

GRAVY

The polls are down for Proposition 1B, so what do Burgess and Mayor Murray do? They bring in the troops.

From a Seattle Education reader:

A new player has entered the ring, sending voters another mailer for Prop 1B. According to the PDC, New York-based Education Reform Now is spending at least $25,000 on mail for Prop 1B. The hedge-fund backed group brags on its website that it…

.. helped lead the coalition that campaigned successfully for the passage of a public charter school initiative in November 2012. Not only has Washington State lifted its ban on public charter schools, but thanks to ERN’s work, it now has one of the strongest charter school laws in the country.”

Education Reform Now spent millions to fight against teachers in Chicago in 2012.

Proppsition 1A released a new tv ad that shines light on who is backing Proposition 1B.

Earlier this week, the Proposition 1B campaign reported more significant corporate contributions including:

  • Vulcan Inc. ($50,000) Vulcan Inc also contributed $1.6 million to I-1240, the charter school initiative, and contributes to the Reagan Fund, the conservative Leadership Council, and the WA State GOP.
  • Comcast ($10,000). Comcast is a major funder of the Republican Leadership Council.
  • Amazon ($25,000): Amazon gives more money to Republicans than Democrats nationally, including McMorris Rodger’s PAC and the Every Republican Is Crucial Pac.

It looks like I have more bubbles to add to the Proposition 1B Wheel of Fortune.

Note: The 1B ad campaign seems to be targeting the north end of Seattle and Westlake which is mostly white and middle to upper middle class. Hmmm. I thought the 1B preschool program was to assist low income families.

Dora Taylor

Preschool Teacher Tom: Why I’m voting “No” on Proposition 1B

This is what preschool should be all about.
This is what preschool should be about.

Teacher Tom is a preschool teacher, writer, speaker, artist and the author of “A Parent’s Guide To Seattle”.

For the past 11 years he has taught at the Woodland Park Cooperative preschools. As he writes in his bio at Teacher Tom’s blog:

The children come to me as 2-year-olds in diapers and leave as “sophisticated” 5-year-olds ready for kindergarten. The cooperative preschool model allows me to work very closely with families in a true community setting. I intend to teach at Woodland Park for the rest of my life. I love the kids and I love the families. It’s an incredibly rewarding job.

His blog is a must-read for all parents who have children in preschool or will in the near future.

Here is what Tom has to say about Proposition 1B:

Why I’m voting “No” on Proposition 1B

Everyone wants high-quality preschool for all, but the preschools envisioned by Seattle Proposition 1B are emphatically not “high-quality,” at least not if judged by what professional early childhood educators know about what young children need and how they learn.

As a preschool teacher, I can tell you that a high-quality preschool gives children the opportunity to learn in the way humans have evolved to learn: through inquiry, experimentation, and to generally investigate the world through free play in a safe, loving environment. The opportunity to explore our world and the people we find there lays the groundwork for the development of vital academic and social skills. This is what all of the research tells us about how young children learn.

In the fashion of a dilettante, however, City Councilman Tim Burgess, a man with no experience in early childhood education, has teamed up with the cast of characters that brought public schools misguided corporate-style education “reform” initiatives like No Child Left Behind, Common Core, and their attendant regime of high-stakes standardized testing. If it passes, Proposition 1B will be a serving of Dickensian swill for our city’s four-year-olds. This is a scripted, drill-and-kill factory model of early childhood education of the sort that has been widely maligned by teachers and early childhood experts: not only is it developmentally inappropriate, but it causes young children to hate school at an age when most can’t wait to get into the classroom.

In fact, Proposition 1B pointedly excludes education professionals. Seattle Public Schools have not been consulted and the input of preschool teachers has been ignored (with the exception of the anti-union group Teachers United). The measure will create a new preschool education bureaucracy to be supervised by city hall staffers and run, apparently, by for-profit corporations according to the dictates of billionaires like Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and others who are committed to the wholesale privatization of public schools, removing them from democratic control and turning them into supply side vocational training centers paid for by taxpayers.

Perhaps the sickest part of Proposition 1B is that four-year-olds in this corporatized program will be subjected to high stakes standardized tests of the kind that have been widely discredited, especially when used to evaluate our youngest citizens. Time and again, researchers have demonstrated that these tests fail to gauge anything meaningful about what children have learned, while subjecting them to brain-damaging stress. In my years of teaching, I’ve never met a teacher who supports the sort of scripted rote-memorization methods and testing envisioned by 1B. Its supporters are largely education dilettantes and, of course, private for-profit corporations such as Acelero, the KIPP charter school chain, Pearson Education and others that stand to reap millions off the bent backs of preschoolers as they labor in their test score mines.

Proposition 1B is a cruel experiment (and it is purely an experiment since there is no data to support it), the kind that middle class people have too often been eager to foist upon the poor “for their own good.”

Childhood should be a time of play and exploration, which is exactly what the brains of young children are designed for. Childhood should be a time of discovery, a time to embrace the joy of learning in our own way and at our own pace. This is what all the great early childhood pioneers like John Dewey, Maria Montessori, Jean Piaget, and Lev Vygotsky knew about “high quality” early childhood education. This is what all the current researchers continue to confirm today. And this is what those of us who teacher preschoolers see every day. Yet Proposition 1B specifically excludes the programs like Montessori, Waldorf, and Reggio Emilia that are based upon this knowledge.

All children deserve high quality preschool education, but Proposition 1B is not about children, it is about profiting off the sweat of our youngest citizens. Vote No.

The Proposition 1B “Preschool for All” Wheel of Fortune: Same players, new game

Wheel

Proposition 1B “Preschool for All” Wheel of Fortune

(Click the image for a better view. Click the title for a pdf.)

 

“Quality Preschool for All”. It sounds so right, just what we want for all of our children. But first, it depends upon what you define as “Quality”.

If you mean preschool that is student oriented and allows for individual growth, this is not the definition of “Quality” by the proponents of 1B.

If “Quality” to you means standardized and scripted lesson plans and assessments (nice word for tests), then you and Bill Gates are in agreement THAT is quality, at least for other people’s kids. See The Building Blocks of a Good Pre-K.

Rumors have been circulating that the same people who pushed through charter schools in our state to the tune of $10M are doing the same with Proposition 1B. Well, they’re right, with the exception of the Walton’s who have not gotten on the Universal pre-K bandwagon as their cohorts have.

The first time I heard about the preschool program, which is an offshoot of Universal pre-K,  was in June of this year when I was asked to attend a presentation given by some “experts” flown in from Boston to tell us what we already knew about children and the importance of preschool. I haven’t figured out who footed the bill but it will pop up somewhere. As soon as I saw the “suits”, I became suspicious, particularly because most of the people in the audience were also suits. See Race to the Tots: Universal (for profit) Pre-K, DFER and the suits for more details on that meeting.

The next time I was in a council meeting regarding Proposition 1B, people were able to provide testimony. Many of the people who gave testimony were teachers. It wasn’t until later that I found out all of the teachers who spoke were members of the union busting, charter loving Teachers United. Teachers United (TU) has received a total of $942,113 from Bill Gates over the last few years and is run by Chris Eide. See http://www.gatesfoundation.org/How-We-Work/Quick-Links/Grants-Database/Grants/2013/06/OPP1085805 and http://www.gatesfoundation.org/How-We-Work/Quick-Links/Grants-Database/Grants/2011/09/OPP1035367 for the details.

For more on TU and Chris Eide see Anti Teachers’ Union Activity in the State of WA: Chris Eide and Northwest Professional Educators.

Note: 10/31/14, Teachers United is calling for volunteers to canvas for Prop 1B this weekend. Gates will get his money’s worth out of them at some point.

That’s when I decided to follow the money.

A solid line on the diagram means cash was contributed. A dashed line means public support and personal time has been contributed to Proposition 1B campaign.

To follow are the major players in terms of cash outlay and those who are paid in one form or another to sing their tune.

 

“I actually worked with Jackie Bezos at the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Dallas to pass a resolution for universal preschool,” noted (Seattle Mayor) Murray, referring to the mother of Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos. She is the president of the Bezos Family Foundation, a Seattle-based nonprofit. –Seattle Times, October 22, 2014

 

Bill Gates and the Gates Foundation

Just in case 1B fails, Gates has hedged his bets by offering a grant of $750,000 to Seattle Public Schools (SPS) to set up a preK-5 program at Bailey Gatzert Elementary School in Seattle. Gates doesn’t do anything without attaching lots of strings such as assessments and data gathering. The most worrisome part is that he is now trying to extend his influence into 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th grades through the proposed preschool program.

The Gates Foundation put on quite a show apparently for a selected few on Universal pre-K. Gates, along with Bezos, also provided scholarships for those invited to go on a field trip to Boston to see Universal perK programs this year.

You might have noticed there are two empty circles coming off of Bill Gates’ bubble on the diagram. That’s because I’m fairly certain that I, or someone else, will find another largess that has been given to someone to further his agenda. It’s just a matter of time to discover who else is part of his shell game.

Bill Gates is also a big supporter of charter schools. See Funding “Education Reform”: The Big Three Foundations.

Seattle Times and the Education Lab blog

Gates provided $700,000 to the Seattle Times to create the blog “Education Lab”. See Seattle Times’ Gates-funded Education Lab Blog Experiment.

The Times has come out in support of 1B. No surprise there because they have also supported over the last few years merit pay (teachers evaluated using student test scores), Teach for America and charter schools, all part of the Bill Gates plan for public education.

Crosscut

Also received a largess from Gates to the tune of $800,000 in 2010 for “Special Projects”. They have come out for 1B. See Gates Foundation quadruples Crosscut grant for additional information.

Seattle Foundation/Norm Rice

Bill Gates has given the Seattle Foundation at least $4M over the last several years, see the Lines of Influence in Education Reform for the specifics. Norm Rice was the President and CEO of the Seattle Foundation until July of this year and is the spokesperson in the Proposition 1B television ad. The Seattle Foundation supports whatever Bill Gates desires including charter school and Teach for America.

An organization called Save the Children Action Network paid for the 1B television ad. What money went to this organization to run the TV ad is still a question mark as shown on the diagram.

Bezos Family and Foundation

Talk about a shell game! It took some research to find information on the Bezos family and their donations. Thanks to PAC’s, folks with money can hide their political support in the weeds. It’s called “Dark Money”.

Each member of the Bezos family contributed as much as they could legally as individuals, then their foundation kicked in some cash. The Bezos also contributed money to the League of Education Voters PAC, Education Voters Political Action Fund, which supported the charter school initiative.

The Bezos along with Gates provided “scholarships” to those who were invited on the field trip to Boston to see preschool programs but required financial assistance.

The Bezos, along with Gates, were huge financial supporters of the charter school initiative. See Bezos Family Funds Four PACs in Charter Schools Shell Game

From Diane Ravitch’s blog:

Jeff Bezos: Another Billionaire for Privatization of Public Education

Last fall, Bill Gates collected $10 million from his friends to push through approval of a referendum to permit privately managed charter schools in Washington State, which voters had turned down three times previously. Among the friends of Bill Gates who helped make charters possible was the Bezos family, the parents of Jeff Bezos.

Jeff Bezos is the founder of amazon.com. He is a billionaire many times over, one of the richest men on the planet.

Yesterday he bought the Washington Post.

An article in the Washington Post today describes his interest in education.

It reads:

“Like Washington Post Co. Chairman Donald E. Graham, Bezos has shown support for efforts to change education policy, including the creation and expansion of public charter schools.

The Bezos Family Foundation — whose board includes Bezos, his parents and other family members — gave more than $11 million in 2011 to an array of national organizations such as Teach for America, Stand for Children and the KIPP Foundation, according to tax filings. The foundation also gave grants to scores of individual schools around the country as well as several charter school chains, including Uncommon Schools, which operates schools in New York and Massachusetts.

Bezos’s parents, Mike and Jackie, were active in a fierce battle last year to allow the creation of public charter schools in Washington state. Washington had been one of a handful of states that did not permit charters, which are publicly funded schools that are privately run and largely without unions. Teachers unions opposed the ballot measure, which narrowly passed with financial backing from Mike and Jackie Bezos as well as Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Netflix founder Reed Hastings.”

In short, Bezos is no friend of public education.

Live Wire

…is funded by the Bezos and is part of the Seattle Times.

Live Wire and Microsoft recently sponsored an event titled See what happened at The Case for Early Learning with guests Mayor Ed Murray, Representative Ruth Kagi (see below), and others extolling the virtues of the Mayor/Burgess preschool plan.

Do you see where this is going?

Matt Griffin

$100,000 in total contributions to Proposition 1B and a big supporter of charter schools. He also contributed money to the Seattle Foundation to bring Teach for America to Seattle.

He also contributed $30,000 to the Great Seattle Schools PAC to support School Board Director Stephan Blanford (see below) and Sue Peters’ opponent Suzanne Estey who was defeated.

Christopher Larson

Microsoft millionaire Chris Larson contributed $100,000 to the Proposition 1B campaign and was a financial supporter of the charter initiative even though he doesn’t have any children in the Seattle Public School system.

He is also on the Board of Directors for the League of Education Voters.

Nick Hanauer

$30,000 contribution to Proposition 1B. Hanauer is also on the Board of Directors of the League of Education Voters and big supporter of charter schools.

The Seattle Chamber of Commerce PAC the Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy

Contributed to the Proposition 1B campaign and to the coffers of Councilmember Tim Burgess and the Alliance for Education. They also paid for a nasty attack ad about McGinn during the mayoral campaign. See Pro-Murray PAC Uses Battered Women as Pawns in Deceptive Smear Campaign.

The Alliance for Education

The Gates Foundation has over the last several years basically been the Alliance for Education‘s bank. Whatever the Alliance needs, it seems that the Gates’ Foundation just cuts another check by providing a grant for a specific purpose. See The Lines of Influence in Education Reform for the details.

The Alliance for Education, along with the Great Seattle Schools PAC, supported Stephan Blanford in his bid for Seattle School Board Director. Six months before Burgess formally presented his preschool initiative to the Seattle School Board, Blanford told the Levy Oversight Committee that SPS was in full support of the initiative.

Sara Morris, CEO for the Alliance for Education, recently sent out a letter on Alliance for Education letterhead endorsing Proposition 1B . Was that Kosher? I think not, unless the Alliance has another status other than a 501c3, they are not to participate in any political campaigns or actively support a candidate.

Washington State Director of Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) and Lisa Macfarlane:

Ms. Macfarlane gave a personal donation to the 1B campaign.

An excerpt from the post Lisa Macfarlane with WA DFER wins the Walton Award for privatization:

According to the PR Newswire, Lisa Macfarlane, formerly with the League of Education Voters (LEV) and now Director of Washington State Education Reform Now/Democrats for Education Reform (DFER), received a $10,000 grant from the Walton’s as an “Education Reformer to Watch” for her work on pushing charter school initiative 1240 in the state of Washington.

And what does Ms. Macfarlane plan to do with the cash? Ensure that charter schools open in the state of Washington of course.

Per DFER Watch:

Democrats for Education Reform is a political action committee supported largely by hedge fund managers favoring charter schools, merit-pay tied to test scores, high-stakes testing, school choice (including vouchers and tuition tax credits in some cases), mayoral control, and alternative teacher preparation programs.

Diane Ravitch describes DFER in her post Follow the Money.

If you want to know why so many politicians think so highly of charters, there is a basic rule of politics that explains it all: Follow the money.

The most visible organization promoting corporate reform is called Democrats for Education Reform, known as DFER (commonly pronounced “D-fer”). DFER is the Wall Street hedge fund managers’ group. It always has a few non-hedge funders on the board, especially one or two prominent African-Americans, to burnish its pretentious claim of leading the civil rights movement of our day. Kevin Chavous, a former council member from Washington, D.C., fills that role for now, along with the DFER stalwart, Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark. DFER has its own member of the U.S. Senate, Senator Michael Bennett of Colorado. It has also raised money generously for Congressman George Miller, the senior Democrat on the House Education and Labor Committee.

This group bankrolls politicians, woos them, raises campaign cash for them, and persuades them of the advantages of turning the children of their district over to privately managed schools. Watch their website to see which politician they favor this month and scan those they have recognized in the past.

In New York City, Hakeem Jeffries, DFERs’s candidate for U.S. Congress, announced his support for tax credits for religious schools on the day after he won the election.

For more on DFER, go to https://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/democrats-for-education-reform-also-known-as-dfer/.

School Board Director Stephan Blanford

Stephan Blanford spoke to the Levy Committee six months before the 1B Initiative was formerly introduced to the board and stated that Seattle Public Schools ( SPS) would have no problem with supporting Burgess’ plan*. School Board Director Stephan Blanford also went on the field trip to Boston sponsored by the Seattle Chamber of Commerce to look at preK programs in Boston. His trip was paid for by the League of Education Voters (LEV). The expenses for all other SPS staff who went on the trip, and it was a selected few, were paid for out of Seattle Public School funds.

Blanford has been bought and paid for by the following contributors:

Seattle City Councilmember Tim Burgess, the champion of 1B

Don Neilson– The Godfather of Education Reform in Seattle

The Ballmer’s

The League of Education Voters

Matt Griffin

The Hanauer’s

Christopher Larson

The Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy (Seattle Chamber of Commerce PAC)

Peter Maier (twice). Remember him?

School Board Director Sherry Carr

Director Carr has received campaign donations from Matt Griffin and has shown support for 1B.

Ms. Carr showed up at a 46th District meeting where Burgess presented Prop 1B without providing members an opportunity to speak up against it before it was endorsed. Ms. Carr did not speak but was standing in the back with Burgess, Harium Martin-Morris and the 1B campaign manager.

She is also one of the School Board Directors who voted for all things ed reform when Broad Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson was in power including bringing Teach for America to Seattle. Hmmm, I wonder why? Well, let’s look at her sponsors:

Civic Alliance for a Sound Education

Matt Griffin

Christopher Larson

The Ballmers

K & L Gates PAC (Bill Gates Sr. law firm is K&L Gates)

Mary Jean Ryan of the Community Center for Education Results (CCER) Gates backed organization

School Board Director Harium Martin-Morris

Director Harium Martin-Morris has spoken publicly in support of 1B. He also showed up at a 46th District meeting, even though it’s not his district, to give moral support (?) to Burgess who made the push for 1B even though no one was allowed to speak against 1B.

By the way, over the years, Harium has received campaign donations from Matt Griffin, Christopher Larson, the Ballmer’s, Bill Gates and Lisa Macfarlane.

Legislative Representative Ruth Kagi of the 32nd District

Representative Kagi is a fierce supporter of 1B but does not represent a Seattle district. Could it have anything to do with the fact that the Bezos’ have contributed to her campaigns?

Those who didn’t get on the Wheel of Fortune chart but are of interest are:

Mimi Gates- $5,000

William Gates, Sr.- $5,000

Microsoft- $10,000

Lucy Gaskill-Gaddis, Families and Education Levy Committee member $500

 

And who contributed to Ed Murray’s campaign?

Leslie Hanauer  $700

Nick & Leslie Hanauer Foundation $700

Nick Hanauer  $700

Christopher Larson  $700

Strategies 360  $700, see Seattle School District hires staffer from Strategies 360 – the political marketing firm that misused private student contact info to push ed reform agendaand Loose Ends – Strategies 360, Susan Enfield, Crazy Talk & Quakes.

Tim Burgess  $700

Matt Griffin $700

The Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy Contributed $10,000 to People for a New Seattle Mayor.

The People for a New Seattle Mayor ran the domestic violence hit pieces against McGinn. See Pro-Murray PAC Uses Battered Women as Pawns in Deceptive Smear Campaign.

And who stands to gain from Proposition 1B passing?

So far:

Acelero: A business enterprise that privatizes Head Start programs. See Seattle PreSchool for All Proposition 1B: Acelero, the fox watching over the hen house.

KIPP, the charter school chain: See Race to the Tots: Universal (for profit) Pre-K, DFER, KIPP and the suits.

Teach for America, Inc.:  “Pre-School for All” in Seattle, student information sharing, Jump Start, Teach for America and more. They’ve already got their hooks into Detroit.

In the 1B lanaguage it states:

The City will work with local colleges and universities to develop an alternate route program for teachers with Bachelor’s Degrees in fields other than Early Childhood Education. The City will also develop an alternative process through which experienced, high-quality lead teachers — as defined in the Implementation Plan — may be granted waivers.

When it is stated that way, it means Teach for America, Inc. recruits. UW established a program where TFA recruits can do their five weeks of course work to “prepare” them to teach our children. Trust me, that is the plan here.

Also, Gates gave $1M to Teach for America, Inc. a few years ago to open an office in Seattle.

Pearson: The educational publishing company being bandied about to develop lesson plans and tests for the preschool program.

Mayor Ed Murray: Murray tried to pass legislation while a State Senator for mayoral control. This is a subject for another post that will be to you shortly but suffice it to say for now that to have a Department of Education as Murray has just declared will happen in Seattle, you have to have programs to oversee to show how well a politician can run a school district.

For more detail on mayoral control, see Mayoral Control: The short of it.

New Note: A New York hedge fund PAC and a few other notables donated to the 1B campaign during the last week before the election. For the details, see New York hedge fund managers jumping onto the Seattle Preschool Proposition 1B gravy train.

Submitted by Dora Taylor

What’s happening in Seattle is happening around the country. Watch Bill Moyers’ segment:

Who’s buying our midterm elections?

 

Post Script:

A big thank you and shout out to all who sent me information and prodded me to keep following this money trail. This could not have been done without the diligence and hard work of others who have helped me with research or sent me information they found to be of interest and noteworthy.

Keep those cards and letters coming!

 

Notes:

There is a pdf of the Wheel of Fortune here that can be downloaded and printed.

*I asked for the Families and Education Levy meeting minutes because they are not all posted on the website. After two weeks, they have yet to appear. These minutes have provided great insight on how the levy committee has been working behind the scenes on this issue and this information needs to be available for the public to view.

 

 

 

 

Central Branch Preschool in Mount Baker Endorses Preschool Proposition 1A

The following statement was developed by and voted on by the Central Branch Preschool Board.

CentralBranchLogo

Central Branch Preschool was founded in 1968. We have a long history of offering high quality, equitable programming that encourages a diverse group of children to explore and learn.

We believe in the importance of an early education that supports the whole child, emotionally, socially, physically and cognitively. (bullets)

We believe developing secure relationships with peers and adults in a play-based setting helps create positive attitudes about learning that will last throughout the child’s academic life.

We believe that play is deeply formative for children and is at the core of their learning process

We believe in empowering families, early childhood educators and our communities to have input, influence and a voice in making decisions on this very important issue.

This leads us to support Proposition 1A (Initiative 107) in the upcoming election.

Providing culturally-relevant and developmentally-appropriate care for young children must mean supporting a diverse range of providers and programs. Offering a variety of programming options is crucial to serving a variety of learners. This allows programs to be responsive to the individual needs of communities. Proposition 1A is the only option that is inclusive of all existing programs, including home and center based. In contrast, Proposition 1B will require participating programs to adopt specific, prescribed curriculum and associated assessments that may not be developmentally and culturally appropriate for all early learners. We don’t know what that curriculum will look like.

We have not been invited to the table or seen any curriculum guidelines or plans. We know that children’s development is highly variable and cannot be reduced to test scores or numbers.

Take a moment to reflect on your kindergarten experience. What is it that you remember? For us it is things like painting, paste and naps. Kindergarten was a time to play and experiment. To make friends and learn to get along with others. Today’s kindergarten is very different. Recent accounts suggest that accountability pressures have trickled down into the early elementary grades, and that kindergarten today is characterized by a heightened focus on academic skills. Large national data sets found that kindergarten time on literacy rose by 25 percent from roughly 5.5 to 7 hours per week and exposure to social studies, science, music, art and physical education all dropped between 1998 and 2006.(1) We are concerned that 1B risks continuing this trend with even younger children by tying program performance and funding to assessment results. Proposition 1A proposes a workforce board made up of local ECE professionals and parents, who work with children on the front lines, every day. Their expertise and experience is vital for creating meaningful programs.

While it is unfortunate that there are two opposing plans on the ballot, the distinctions between the two, cause us to recognize Proposition 1A as a more equitable plan. Of the two plans, 1A has the potential to be more reflective of the community, current early education research, and most importantly, the learning needs of children. We believe this is a great opportunity for our city. As we embark on this journey, we advocate for programs that are thoughtful and intentional about educating young children.

Central Branch Preschool Board

(1) Bassok D., & Rorem A. (2014) Is Kindergarten the new first grade? The changing nature of Kindergarten in the age of accountability. EdPolicyWorks Working Paper Series, No. 20. Retrieved from: http://curry.virginia.edu/uploads/resourceLibrary/20_Bassok_Is_Kindergarten_The_New_First_Grade.pdf

The Seattle King County branch of the NAACP supports Prop 1A

…and these are the reasons:
NAACP Logo

Educational equity is a moral issue.

A contributing factor to the continued growth in the education gap is the lack of affordable childcare for working parents in Seattle and too much money being spent on administrative costs and not making it to the child.

Quality childcare is out of reach for many working parents, particularly women, who are forced to choose between giving their kids to a neighbor or relative where kids may just watch TV all day or hurting their careers and futures by staying home from work or school. 

We must acknowledge the hundreds of women who run childcare centers from their homes in Seattle. Many are women of color and have immigrant backgrounds who provide parents and children with accessible care in their own neighborhoods in their home languages. 

Prop 1B only helps approximately 7% of Seattle’s children under age 5. The other 93% of Seattle’s kids will still be in unstable, haphazard preschools and childcare.  Thus continuing the disparity in education.

Prop 1B is funded for four years and calls for an oversight committee.  What happens after 4 years?

Prop 1B is a top down approach.  This approach has not worked for the past 40 years, so why should we believe it will work now?

Prop 1A takes a step towards improving racial and gender equality by improving the quality and affordability of childcare and preschool for everyone.  Out of pocket costs are capped at 10% of income without requiring new taxes.

Prop 1A is estimated to cost roughly 94% less than Prop 1B and ensures that licensed daycare providers receive quality training.

The lowered out-of-pocket costs and quality training for all providers will enable parents to assure their kids are receiving quality early education thereby leveling the field for all children.

Rita Green, MBA

Education Chair Seattle  King County NAACP

Preschool Proposition 1A for Seattle

496px-Your_Vote_Counts_Badge

I have researched both programs as seen in the 10 posts I have written on the programs.

My regret is that Burgess and others involved with 1B couldn’t come to the table with the proponents of 1A and work out a program that would work universally. Because of that, we have two proposals and unfortunately many people are confused as to how to vote.

I was confused also at first and it took me several weeks to sift through the information and talk with many people to come to my own conclusion.

First, let’s look at the ballot. This is how it will be worded:

 1. Should either or neither of these measures be enacted into law?

[ ] Yes
[ ] No

2. Regardless of how you voted above, if one of these measures is enacted, which one should it be?

 [ ] Proposition 1A
 [ ] Proposition 1B

You can see that whether you vote Yes or No on the first question, you are to provide your opinion on which program you want.

This is where it gets tricky because we are under the impression that no matter what, one will be selected, whether voters think we should have a citywide preschool program or not. (Whacky? Absolutely. Can this be challenged? I believe it can.)

Because of the way the questions are worded, I recommend voting for 1A and to follow are my reasons in brief.

Why Yes 1A

  • It’s inclusive. All existing preschool programs can participate which provides greater choice for low income families.
  • Because it can include all programs it is easier to scale up to a county and even state level.
  • Teachers can be trained while working.
  • Wage increase to $15 per hour will be accelerated.
  • Educators who live and work in Seattle developed the program.
  • Families pay no more than 10% of their income.

Why No on 1B

  • Programs must agree to a prescribed curriculum and set of “assessments” in order to participate.
  • An AA or BA is required which will displace existing teaching staff. 1B proponents say that scholarships will be provided but if you’re living on the edge financially, it will be very difficult, particularly if you have children.
  • $15 wage increase will occur per the city’s plan. (Which is too long in my book)
  • 1B continually uses the word “quality” preK and yet doesn’t support appropriate teacher training and wage increases.
  • Because of the standardized material, programs such as Montessori and Waldorf will probably not want to be involved which decreases the choice and opportunities for lower-income students.

For more information on the propositions, please take a look at the homepage. All posts on this topic are now featured at that location.

Questions? Ask them here and I will do my best to answer them. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll find someone who does.

Proposition 1B: Someone needs to get their story straight

cynical

Proposition 1B, the “trust me” prop

Someone told me that during the endorsement proceedings at the Metropolitan Democratic Club of Seattle held on September 24th, Councilmember Tim Burgess stated that students in his Preschool for All program would not be assessed using a “bubble test”.

Well that’s good because it’s really hard for a three or four-year old to hold a #2 pencil and fill in a tiny little circle.

The week before, someone on the Levy Oversight Committee who is pro-1B, stated in an endorsement meeting that I attended as an Education Committee member with the League of Women Voters (LWV), that there would be one test given at the end of the school year, a standardized state test, to evaluate the students and the program. The name of the test was not specified.

Which is it, or is it either?

I’m still standing by my prediction that preschoolers will be tested just as they have been in another preschool program that is being overseen by the Levy Oversight Committee. See #1 in the 11 Reasons why Seattle’s Preschool for all Proposition 1B is a bad idea post, and those scores will determine the amount of funding received by the preschool. Unfortunately the subsidies will directly correlate to test scores. The lower the overall assessments, the less money the program will receive.

By the way, according to the proponent of 1B who spoke to the LWV Seattle Education Committee, the Preschool for All program is to have eight committee members, four from the Levy Oversight Committee and four mayoral appointments.

Proposition 1B is a “trust me” proposition where all of the details will be worked out if it is approved, and will be developed  into an Implementation Plan under the auspices of two hired consultants, one of them being Ellen Frede who is Senior Vice President of Education and Research for Acelero, a for-profit venture that has taken over Head Start programs in four cities so far. See A for-profit approach to Head Start and Seattle PreSchool for All Proposition 1B: Acelero, the fox watching over the hen house.

What’s there not to trust?

 

11 Reasons why Seattle’s Preschool for all Proposition 1B is a bad idea

 

stop sign 2

In the last few days I was alerted to some information that I find the most egregious about Seattle Councilmember Tim Burgess’ Preschool for All plan that is now Proposition 1B and I am therefore placing it as #1 on the list, revising the list from 10 Reasons Why to 11 Reasons Why Proposition 1B is truly a bad idea. This first one is long but stay with me.

1. I was assured by those supporting Prop 1B that only one test would be given to preschoolers at the end of the year to ensure that they were “kindergarten ready”. Wrong. (Actually this is wrong on many levels. Did you need to be tested to find out if you were “kindergarten ready”?)

Since then, I found out some very disturbing information. Levy funds have been used to punish schools by taking away money from programs when test scores do not meet standards established by the Families and Education Levy committee and staff.

If you look at page 39 of the 2012-2013 Annual Report provided by Seattle’s Families and Education Levy, you will see under Innovation Schools: Beacon Hill International that there was a target in terms of percentage of students who should reach a specified goal. (This goal was established by the city’s Office for Education staff.)

The student population tested did not reach that goal. Under the heading of % of Contract Target Achieved, you see 79.9%. Full performance pay is achieved only when 90% of a given performance target is achieved, something that is not shown in this chart. What that means is that there is a proportion of money taken away from the school or program when less than 90% of a target is achieved. So, if you look at the various schools and program you see that many of the schools did not meet a specified goal determined by those who have no understanding of what is happening in the classroom and using MAP test scores. That means money has been lost to these schools and students. In fact, levy-funded schools and programs collectively lost $322,563 in performance pay in 2012-2013 as a result of failing to achieve academic targets, including test scores (pg 37) . This is just like the No Child Left Behind program that we wanted to get away from but more insidious.

According to the same report, on page 38, the pre-K students are to be assessed twice during the school year, not once as expressed by supporters of Proposition 1B.

On page 49, you can see “Roadmap Milestone Targets”. The irony is, as was the same with No Child Left Behind, the schools and programs that need the most in terms of resources, as gauged by these targets, will actually receive less funding.

Through the Families & Education Levy, the City is already applying assessment-based performance targets to the city funded Step Ahead preschool program. Step Ahead funds are currently tied to Teaching Strategies Gold and Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test results for preschool children (pg 6).There is no reason to think that this performance structure would not be applied to the Seattle Preschool Program, and in fact the same assessments have been proposed in the Mayor’s Plan.

By the way, the oversight committee for the mayor’s preschool proposal would be made up of 4 members of the levy oversight committee and four members appointed by the mayor.

2.The city and its employees do not know enough to create such a program and then run it.

For example, the city has such a limited knowledge of how to establish and run an education program that they have hired expensive consultants, rather than local experts who have had years of experience and training in this area, to come in and create the program for them. Unfortunately they don’t know who they have hired. See reason number 3 as an example.

3. One of the two consultants who was hired to create and implement the preschool program, Ellen Frede, is also an employee of Acelero, a for profit group that has taken over four Head Start programs in other cities where Universal preK has been established in a similar fashion by the city.

Ellen Frede is Senior Vice President of Education and Research, for Acelero. See A for-profit approach to Head Start and Seattle PreSchool for All Proposition 1B: Acelero, the fox watching over the hen house

4. Even though the city wants to use Seattle Public School space and money for the program, the district has neither, they do not have a seat at the table and so far have not been invited to be part of the oversight committee.

Throughout the development of the initiative and now proposition, the Seattle Public School Board was not brought into these conversations until last week when the Mayor and Tim Burgess’ plan was presented to the board. By the way, Mayor Murray recently called Burgess the “King of Preschool” at a public event for Proposition 1B.

Councilmember Burgess comes from a background in law enforcement, not education.

5. There is already talk by the city to increase their influence by growing into a prek-3 and preK-5 program. This project appears to be led by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

See A PreK 3rd Coalition.

 6. Test balloons are being floated via the Seattle Times on the idea of mayoral control of our schools in Seattle.

Not a good idea, see Mayoral Control: The short of it. You can see where this is going with Preschool for All as a vehicle.

7. The KIPP charter chain and Teach for America, Inc. (TFA) are both part of Universal pre-K programs in other cities and have plans to expand.

Needless to say, I am sure Seattle is one of their next targets, using city and possibly state and Federal money to increase their coffers. See A Model Built on Rigor, Structure Adapting to the Schooling Needs of a Younger Group of Students and TFA’s  Early Childhood Initiative.

KIPP is one of the approved programs for Washington state and Teach for America is struggling to stay alive in Seattle.

8. There will be a bloated city administrative staff with the addition of 42 individuals which comes out to 1 administrator for every 50 students.

This does not include actual teaching and support staff in the pre-schools.

Approving Proposition 1B comes with a price tag of over $50M to implement. Read your ballot carefully.

9. Programs such as Montessori and Reggio Emilia will not be included in the Preschool for All Proposition 1B plan because the material that is to be used in the pre-schools will be standardized and prepared by Pearson or a similar publishing company.

Certain established and successful programs will not be willing to take on a curriculum that is standardized and requirea testing.

Pearson has been bandied about by city staff as the corporation who will devise the standards, lesson plans and assessments (tests).

10. Will the Preschool for All program in Seattle be taking Race to the Top money for their program? It’s happening in Federal Way with the concomitant Common Core Standards and testing as the basis for their preschool program.

With the acceptance of Race to the Top money also comes a requirement to share all student information.

Federal funds, Race to the Top money, is available for pre-school initiatives and the City of Seattle has expressed an interest in these funds. But buyer beware, these funds come with lots of strings attached including assessments and personal information gathered and shared.

See The Road Map Project, Race to the Top, Bill Gates and your student’s privacy and A Look at Race to the Top. By the way, the seed for this Proposition 1B was planted by none other than Bill Gates whose people put together a presentation for the City Council. This presentation was also seen by some of our state legislators.

11. There is no specific language in the Action Plan or Proposition about providing meals to the children.

Many of these children will be living at or below the poverty level and the first thing they will need is a good hot breakfast to start off their day. Breakfast and lunch might be the only opportunity for them to have well-balanced and healthy meals.

 **********************

Looking at the framework of Proposition 1B, this is not a school I would send my daughter to. In response to that, someone who is part of the push for Proposition 1B said that it’s not a mandatory program. To that I say, then we are creating a two tier system, one that has programmed lessons and assessments for lower income children and another tier for those parents who want their children to grow and develop at their own pace and within a preschool that is rich with intellectual exploration and stimulation with no standardized testing and lots of time for singing, dancing, art and playing, which develops an excitement about going to school and a lifelong love of learning.

Dora Taylor

 

 

10 Reasons why the city’s Preschool for All Proposition 1B is not a good idea

Caveat emptor, Latin for let the buyer beware.
“Buyer beware”

On face value, Initiative 1B appears to be a proposal with great promise but it’s the details, or lack thereof, that is of greatest concern to me.

If Initiative 1B passes, then an implementation plan will be developed to create the program structure. There are many questions that will remain unanswered until this process begins and we will not see this until after we have voted.

Because we will not know the details until after we vote in November, I am providing a list of reasons based on what I know so far and the City of Seattle’s Preschool Program Action Plan which the implementation plan is to be based on.

One of the consultants hired to create this Action Plan was BERK Consulting. BERK was also the consulting firm used to develop “The Road Map Project/CCER Local Race to the Top Application Development”. For more on the Road Map Project as developed in conjunction with Community Center for Education Results (CCER) , see CCER, the Road Map Project and the loss of student privacyThe Road Map Project, Race to the Top, Bill Gates and your student’s privacy and A Look at Race to the Top.

Now for the list

1.The city and its employees do not know enough to create such a program and then run it.

For example, the city has such a limited knowledge of how to establish and run a program that they have hired expensive consultants, rather than local “experts” who have had years of experience and training in this area, to come in and create the program for them. Unfortunately they don’t know who they have hired. See reason number 2 for an example.

2. One of the two consultants who was hired to create and implement the preschool program, Ellen Frede, is also an employee of Acelero, a for profit group that has taken over four Head Start programs in other cities where Universal preK has been established in a similar fashion by the city.

Ellen Frede is Senior Vice President of Education and Research, for Acelero. See A for-profit approach to Head Start and Seattle PreSchool for All Proposition 1B: Acelero, the fox watching over the hen house

3. Even though the city wants to use Seattle Public School space and money for the program, the district has neither, they do not have a seat at the table and so far have not been invited to be part of the oversight committee.

Throughout the development of the initiative and now proposition, the Seattle Public School Board was not brought into these conversations until last week when the Mayor and Tim Burgess’ plan was presented to the board. By the way, Mayor Murray recently called Burgess the “King of Preschool” at a public event for Proposition 1B. King, Czar….

4. There is already talk by the city to increase their influence by growing into a prek-3 and preK-5 program. This project appears to be led by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

See A PreK 3rd Coalition.

 5. Test balloons are being floated via the Seattle Times on the idea of mayoral    control of our schools in Seattle.

Not a good idea, see Mayoral Control: The short of it. You can see where this is going with Preschool for All as a vehicle.

6. The KIPP charter chain and Teach for America, Inc. (TFA) are both part of Universal pre-K programs in other cities and have plans to expand.

Needless to say, I am sure Seattle is one of their next targets, using city and possibly state and Federal money to increase their coffers. See A Model Built on Rigor, Structure Adapting to the Schooling Needs of a Younger Group of Students and TFA’s  Early Childhood Initiative.

KIPP is one of the approved programs for Washington state and Teach for America is struggling to stay alive in Seattle.

7. There will be a bloated city administrative staff with the addition of 42 individuals which comes out to 1 administrator for every 50 students.

This does not include actual teaching and support staff in the pre-schools.

Approving Proposition 1B comes with a price tag of over $50M to implement. Read your ballot carefully.

8. Programs such as Montessori and Reggio Emilia will not be included in the Preschool for All Proposition 1B plan because the material that is to be used in the pre-schools will be standardized and prepared by Pearson or a similar publishing company.

Pearson has been bandied about by city staff.

9. Will the Preschool for All program in Seattle be taking Race to the Top money for their program? It’s happening in Federal Way with the concomitant Common Core Standards and testing as the basis for their preschool program.

With the acceptance of Race to the Top money also comes a requirement to share all student information.

Federal funds, Race to the Top money, is available for pre-school initiatives and the City of Seattle has expressed an interest in these funds. But buyer beware, these funds come with lots of strings attached including assessments and personal information gathered and shared.

See The Road Map Project, Race to the Top, Bill Gates and your student’s privacy and A Look at Race to the Top. By the way, the seed for this Proposition 1B was planted by none other than Bill Gates whose people put together a presentation for the City Council. This presentation was also seen by some of our state legislators.

10. There is no specific language in the Action Plan or Proposition about providing meals to the children.

Many of these children will be living at or below the poverty level and the first thing they will need is a good hot breakfast to start off their day. Breakfast and lunch might be the only opportunity for them to have well-balanced and healthy meals.

 

Looking at the framework of Proposition 1B, this is not a school I would send my daughter to. In response to that, someone who is part of the push for Proposition 1B said that it is not a mandatory program. To that I say, then we are creating a two tier system, one that has programmed lessons and assessments for lower income children and another tier for those parents who want their children to grow and develop at their own pace and within a preschool that is rich with intellectual exploration and stimulation and no testing and, oh yeah, lots of time for singing, dancing, art and playing, also known as fun.

Dora Taylor

For a flyer that can be printed, go to https://sites.google.com/site/seattleducation2012/10-reasons-why-the-city-s-preschool-for-all-proposition-1b-is-not-a-good-idea.