Pre-K Profit: ReadyNation Hosts Global Business Leaders in New York City this November

Reposted with permission from Wrench in the Gears.

Data Driven PreK

The rise of pay for success, social impact bonds, development impact bonds, and outcomes-based contracting will usher in privatization of vast new areas of public services, including education and training at all levels from infants through human resource management (lifelong learning, reskilling). This is not merely a phenomenon of the United States; this summit is intended for a global audience, a neocolonial project driven by late-stage capitalism.

Business executives, government officials, and representatives of non-profits and NGOs from across the globe will gather in New York City this fall to discuss the business of early childhood. These are not people looking to open childcare franchises. No, that is not their “business.” The intent is more sinister, transforming our youngest learners into points of profit extraction under the guise of social justice and equity. Through technology and forms of “innovative finance” they aim to catalyze a speculative market in toddler data, using the lives of young, vulnerable learners as vehicles to move vast sums of social impact venture capital.

ReadyNation, a program of the Council for a Strong America, is hosting the summit, set to take place at the Grand Hyatt Hotel on November 1-2, 2018. Council for a Strong America, a bipartisan coalition of leaders from the law enforcement, military, business, religion, and athletics spheres, has placed influencers guiding early childhood education policy in every state. Their intent is to promote public-private partnerships that will generate investment returns for global finance while shaping children into a compliant citizenry conditioned to accept economic precariousness and digital surveillance while doing the bidding of the power elite.

The rise of pay for success, social impact bonds, development impact bonds, and outcomes-based contracting will usher in privatization of vast new areas of public services, including education and training at all levels from infants through human resource management (lifelong learning, reskilling). This is not merely a phenomenon of the United States; this summit is intended for a global audience, a neocolonial project driven by late-stage capitalism.

Remember the 2007 housing market crash? The fraud Goldman Sachs perpetrated, misleading investors to purchase financial instruments tied to sub-prime mortgage bonds? The $16.65 billion penalty Bank of America had to pay, the largest settlement between the government and a private corporation? Seeing financiers from both companies on stage at a 2014 ReadyNation event promoting early childhood social impact finance should give us pause. Watch the hour-long talk here. The excerpt below is taken from a two-minute clip where the moderator, Ian Galloway, introduces a panel on potential financing structures. Watch that here.

“Christina Shapiro is a vice president at Goldman Sachs. You know, I’ve heard a lot that if you’ve seen one social impact bond, other people may have heard it, too. If you’ve seen one social impact bond, you’ve seen one social impact bond, right? That is true with one exception, and that is that just about every social impact bond out there has Goldman Sach’s fingerprints all over it. They are by far the leaders in the space. They are creating this marketplace out of thin air, and I commend Christina and her colleagues for their hard work on that front.”

Ian Galloway, Senior Research Associate, San Francisco Federal Reserve

To dig the hole deeper, the Council for a Strong America has accepted over $10 million from the Gates Foundation since 2006, including a $4.2 million grant in October 2015 to “engage stakeholders around the Common Core and high quality preschool.” Last summer in the run up to the fall 2018 elections, Gates granted the organization $300,000 to “educate potential future governors about the importance of college and career readiness in their state.”

Gates Grants to Council for a Strong America

ReadyNation’s speakers range from the World Bank, UNICEF, Omidyar Network, and the Girl Scouts to KPMG, the Massachusetts Business Roundtable, Learn Capital, and Sorenson Media (founded by Jim Sorenson, Utah tech entrepreneur and impact investor). A previous summit launched early-childhood campaigns in Romania, Australia, and Uganda in 2015. ReadyNation Romania and The Front Project (formerly ReadyNation Australia) will be participating.

What do summit attendees get for their $200 registration fee? ReadyNation touts the event as “the only training ground in the world for business people from outside the children’s sector to become unexpected and uniquely influential advocates for public and private investments in early childhood…Summit attendees from the U.S. must be business people or public officials; those from outside the U.S. can come from other sectors.” Children’s advocates and policy experts in early childhood education are specifically excluded from the conference unless they attend with at least four business people. In order to attend, one must to submit an online request.

Why is ReadyNation so emphatic about excluding early childhood educators and policy advocates? Find out in Part 2: Making Childhood Pay: Arthur Rollick, Steven Rothschild and ReadyNation.

-Alison McDowell

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Alfie Kohn on Universal ‘high-quality’ Pre-K

early

But here’s the catch: Very few people are talking about the kind of education that would be offered — other than declaring it should be “high quality.” And that phrase is often interpreted to mean “high intensity”: an accelerated version of skills-based teaching that most early-childhood experts regard as terrible. Poor children, as usual, tend to get the worst of this.

Seattle Mayor Murray and Councilmember Tim Burgess’ “quality” pre-school programs are to open in 2016. Many of these classes will be taking valuable classroom space within the Seattle Public School system but I’ll save that for another post.

From the post Universal Pre-K in Seattle: Reasons to be cautious I wrote:

In the Mayor’s Preschool Program Action Plan, “quality assessments” will be linked to funding: “The efficacy evaluation will provide valid estimates of the effectiveness of the program in achieving its goal of improving children’s preparedness for kindergarten with sufficient precision to guide decisions about the program” (Mayor’s Plan page 18)

And there is to be a “prescribed curriculum” that the assessments will be based on. What these assessments are has not been clearly defined but up to this point, in the drive for the corporate makeover of our educational system, that language refers to testing.

While researching for an article, I came across this from the Washington Post and find it relevant to what is planned for young children in Seattle whose parents cannot afford private preschool programs.

Originally posted at the Answer Sheet on February 1, 2014:

The trouble with calls for universal ‘high-quality’ pre-K

By Alfie Kohn

Universal pre-kindergarten education finally seems to be gathering momentum. President Obama highlighted the issue in his 2013 State of the Union address and then mentioned it again in this year’s. Numerous states and cities are launching or expanding early-education initiatives, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has made this his signature issue. Disagreements persist about the details of funding, but a real consensus has begun to develop that all young children deserve what has until now been unaffordable by low-income families.

But here’s the catch: Very few people are talking about the kind of education that would be offered — other than declaring it should be “high quality.” And that phrase is often interpreted to mean “high intensity”: an accelerated version of skills-based teaching that most early-childhood experts regard as terrible. Poor children, as usual, tend to get the worst of this.

It doesn’t bode well that many supporters of universal pre-K seem to be more concerned about economic imperatives than about what’s good for kids. In his speech last year, for example, the president introduced the topic by emphasizing the need to “start at the earliest possible age” to “equip our citizens with the skills and training” they’ll need in the workplace.[1] The New York Times, meanwhile, editorialized recently about how we must “tightly integrate the [pre-K] program with kindergarten through third grade so that 4-year-olds do not lose their momentum. It will have to prepare children well for the rigorous Common Core learning standards that promise to bring their math, science and literacy skills up to international norms.”[2]

The top-down, test-driven regimen of Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” and Obama’s “Race to the Top” initiatives in K-12 education is now in the process of being nationalized with those Common Core standards championed by the Times — an enterprise largely funded, and relentlessly promoted, by corporate groups.[3] That same version of school reform, driven by an emphasis on global competitiveness and a determination to teach future workers as much as possible as soon as possible, would now be expanded to children who are barely out of diapers.

That doesn’t leave much time for play.[4] But even to the extent we want to promote meaningful learning in young children, the methods are likely to be counterproductive, featuring an emphasis on the direct instruction of skills and rote rehearsal of facts. This is the legacy of behaviorism: Children are treated as passive receptacles of knowledge, with few opportunities to investigate topics and pose questions that they find intriguing. In place of discovery and exploration, tots are trained to sit still and listen, to memorize lists of letters, numbers, and colors. Their success or failure is relentlessly monitored and quantified, and they’re “reinforced” with stickers or praise for producing right answers and being compliant.

This dreary version of early-childhood education isn’t just disrespectful of children; decades of research show it simply doesn’t work well — and may even be damaging.[5] The same approach has long been over-represented in schools that serve low-income African-American and Latino children; indeed, it was described by the late Martin Haberman as the “pedagogy of poverty” and it continues to find favor in inner-city charter schools.[6] If we’re not careful, calls to expand access to preschool will result in more of the same for younger children whose families can’t afford an alternative.

***
Consider the basic equity argument. Proponents of universal pre-K cite research about the importance of early-life experiences, arguing that children in low-income families are at a real disadvantage in terms of intellectual stimulation, exposure to literacy, and so on. That disadvantage, they point out, can reverberate throughout their lives and is extremely difficult to reverse.

It is true that, on average, children in affluent homes hear more words spoken and have more books read to them. But, as Richard Rothstein points out, it’s not just a matter of the number of words or books to which they’re exposed so much as the context in which they’re presented. “How parents read to children is as important as whether they do, and an extensive literature confirms that more educated parents read aloud differently.” Rather than “sound[ing] out words or nam[ing] letters,” these parents are more likely to “ask questions that are creative, interpretive, or connective, such as, ‘What do you think will happen next?’ ‘Does that remind you of what we did yesterday?’ Middle-class parents are more likely to read aloud to have fun, to have conversations, or as an entree to the world outside. Their children learn that reading is enjoyable.”[7]
To oversimplify a bit, the homes of advantaged parents look more like progressive schools, while the homes of disadvantaged parents look more like back-to-basics, skills-oriented, traditional schools. It makes no sense to try to send low-income children to preschools that intensify the latter approach, with rigorous drilling in letter-sound correspondences and number recognition — the sort of instruction that turns learning into drudgery. As Deborah Stipek, dean of Stanford’s School of Education, once commented, drill-and-skill instruction isn’t how middle-class children got their edge, so “why use a strategy to help poor kids catch up that didn’t help middle class kids in the first place?”[8]

Alas, that is precisely the strategy that tends to follow in the wake of goals offered by most politicians and journalists who hold forth on education. If schooling is conceived mostly an opportunity to train tomorrow’s employees, there’s a tendency to look to behaviorist methods — despite the fact that behaviorism has largely been discredited by experts in child development, cognition, and learning.

Lilian Katz, a leading authority in early-childhood education, once observed that we tend to “overestimate children academically and underestimate them intellectually.”[9] This is why a school that is exceedingly “rigorous” can also be wholly unengaging, even sterile. If those who favor prescriptive standards and high-stakes testing equate rigor with quality, it may be because they fail to distinguish between what is intellectual and what is merely academic. The rarity of rich intellectual environments for young children seems to leave only two possibilities, as Katz sees it: Either they spend their time “making individual macaroni collages” or they’re put to work to satisfy “our quick-fix academic fervor.”[10]

Happily, these do not exhaust the possibilities for early-childhood education. One alternative is sketched out in a wonderful book by Katz and her Canadian colleague Sylvia Chard called “Engaging Children’s Minds: The Project Approach.” Here, teachers create extended studies of rich themes that resonate with young children, such as babies, hospitals, or the weather. Children might spend a month learning about such a real-life topic, visiting, drawing, discussing, thinking.

And there are other, overlapping educational models, including two with Italian roots: Montessori education and the Reggio Emilia approach, where “young children are not marched or hurried sequentially from one different activity to the next, but instead encouraged to repeat key experiences, observe and re-observe, consider and reconsider, represent and re-represent.”[11] Educators who have been influenced by Jean Piaget’s discoveries about child development, meanwhile, have built on his recognition that children are active meaning makers who learn by constructing reality – intellectually, socially, and morally. One of my favorite practical resources in this vein for early-childhood educators is “Moral Classrooms, Moral Children” by the late Rheta DeVries and Betty Zan.
All of these approaches to educating young children offer opportunities to learn that are holistic and situated in a context. They take kids (and their questions) seriously, engage them as thinkers, and give them some say about what they’re doing. The trouble is that current calls for “high-quality” universal pre-K are unlikely to produce learning opportunities that look anything like this — unless political activists begin tp educate themselves about the nuances of education.
_____________________________________________________________________

NOTES
1. See http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/02/12/remarks-president-state-union-address.

2. See http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/21/opinion/pre-k-on-the-starting-blocks.html.

3. Some sample headlines in Education Week over the last year: “Business Executives Push Common Core Hard,” “Business Groups Crank Up Defense of Common Core,” “Chamber [of Commerce] President Calls for Support of Common Core in 2014.” In 2009, Bill Gates defended the Common Core, a significant proportion of whose start-up costs have been paid by his foundation, for its capacity to eventually produce a “uniform base of customers.” (See http://ow.ly/pxALx.)

4. Note I say “for play” – not “for opportunities to learn by playing.” The point of play is that it has no point, and children deserve the opportunity to engage in it even if it doesn’t teach skills or anything else. See http://ow.ly/ta2uT.

5. Alfie Kohn, “Early Childhood Education: The Case Against Direct Instruction of Academic Skills.” Excerpted from The Schools Our Children Deserve: Moving Beyond Traditional Classrooms and “Tougher Standards” (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999), and available at http://www.alfiekohn.org/teaching/ece.htm.

6. Alfie Kohn, “Poor Teaching for Poor Children…in the Name of Reform,” Education Week, April 27, 2011. Available at http://www.alfiekohn.org/teaching/edweek/poor.htm.

7. Richard Rothstein, “Class and the Classroom,” American School Board Journal, October 2004, p. 18.

8. Stipek is quoted in David L. Kirp, “All My Children,” New York Times Education Life, July 31, 2005, p. 21.

9. Lilian Katz, “What Can We Learn from Reggio Emilia?” In The Hundred Languages of Children: The Reggio Emilia Approach to Early Childhood Education, edited by Carolyn Edwards et al. (Norwood, NJ: Ablex, 1993), p. 31.
10. Lilian Katz, “The Disposition to Learn,” Principal, May 1988, p. 16.

11. Carolyn Edwards, Lella Gandini, and George Forman, Introduction to The Hundred Languages of Children, op. cit., p.

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.

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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

Yes on Seattle Preschool Proposition 1A

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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 across the board.

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.
  • By the way, 1B is not fully funded. They are short by about $20M. They say they will probably receive a state grant to cover the rest of the $58M they project it will cost to create and run the program for four years.

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.

Seattle League of Women Voters on Propositions 1A and 1B: Neither, Nor

none of the above

…but, if you want to vote for one, vote for Proposition 1A, according to the Seattle chapter of LWV.

The League of Women Voters, Seattle determined yesterday that neither Proposition 1A nor 1B were adequate in providing a sustainable preschool program with a nod to 1A if you want to say “Yes” to one of the programs.

To follow is their statement:

While positions and studies of local, state and national Leagues of Women Voters support the importance of early learning and childcare for children from birth to 5, and while the Seattle-King County League (LWV-SKC) greatly appreciates the efforts and aspirations of the proponents of both Propositions 1A and 1B to address these issues, the LWV-SKC recommends a No vote to the Question:  Should either of these measures be enacted into law?

Reasons to Vote “NO” on the First Question

The League believes that the responsibility for meeting the developmental and educational needs of children is shared between the family and society. Federal, state, and local governments and school districts should bear varying degrees of responsibility for ensuring the availability, accessibility and quality of early childhood programs. Local governments and school districts should take the lead in improving coordination of these programs in the community

Coordination between local governments and school districts is lacking in both 1A and 1B.  The competing ballot measures reflect the lack of coordination and increase the difficultly for voters to make a definitive decision.

Proposition 1A directs the City to work with the existing providers of daycare and preschool for birth-to-five and to develop new certification process for programs/providers. It would also create a professional development plan and a higher salary for caregivers/teachers. It includes a goal to ensure that no family pays more than 10% of its income for daycare.

In contrast, Proposition 1B focuses first on administrative procedures to provide a particular curriculum to a few providers who will be selected to contract with the City. Proposition 1B would create an infrastructure for a pilot preschool program with teacher training and program/curriculum development/administration.  It is more expansive in its need for funding and implementing and sets salaries of some administrators at more than $100,000.

Both 1A and 1B rely on undefined grant funding and do not demonstrate or estimate the cost to the City if either is fully implemented.   While proposal 1B has one solid source of funding through the levy, the City would need to find another $20 million in grants to fully fund the 4-year pilot program.

Proposal 1A has only one immediate mandated expense, which is to set up the Workforce Board.  That cost is estimated at approximately $3 million, but is unfunded. Neither measure creates the stability that the League would desire nor do they include the number of children who would eventually participate.

Neither measure meets the standards set in the LWV-SKC’s position on early childhood programs, specifically: (1) that there be adequate, stable, and dependable funding; (2) include educating the public on the social and economic benefits of early learning; (3) promote family involvement; and (4) have community and corporate support.

The League recommends that the voters reject both proposals and encourage the proponents to start over and work together.

Reasons to support 1A over 1B if the voters say “yes” to the first question:

Both measures will use private providers for implementation of the program.  A select few from among those that meet a certain criteria would contract with the City under Proposition 1B.    Under Proposition 1A, the City is directed to work with the existing providers of daycare and preschool for birth-to-five and to develop new professional development requirements for programs/providers. It would also create a professional development plan and a higher salary for caregivers/teachers. It includes a goal to develop a plan to ensure that no family pays more than 10% of its income for daycare.

While both proposals seek to raise the pay of the workers who are predominantly women, Proposition 1A also seeks to raise the level of  knowledge,  training and  wages of all childcare workers who are currently performing the work and highlights the need for available and quality daycare, something that  League positions support.

Proposition 1A does not provide for direct funding, instead relies upon already existing funding or new grants, including the money from the Children and Families Levy passed by the voters in prior years.  Proponents of 1B have not stated how these funds will be incorporated into their plan, but also rely on some funding coming from the Family and Education Levy.

Because Proposition 1A does not propose creating an entirely new infrastructure, it should be more readily absorbed into any regional or state effort to engage the issues of Early Childhood Education. Its structure is through existing providers and does not discriminate as to the types of providers, such as Montessori and Waldorf programs.

The League has strong positions in support of ethics in government and measures to ensure that public officials and employees and members of boards, commissions, and advisory committees perform their responsibilities in the public interest in accordance with the highest ethical standards and measures to increase citizen confidence in government

We are concerned that one of the two leading consultants for Proposition 1B is a vice president of a company that operates for-profit preschools.  This presents the appearance of a conflict of interest if this company or one of its partners is hired as the City moved forward to identify curriculum and management models.