Learning from Our Neighbors?

When it comes to education, how much are we truly learning from each other?
When it comes to education, how much are we truly learning from each other?

 

For this edition of my From the Files Tuesday, I want to begin by posing the question you see above in the caption. With the passage of the ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) it is important we consider it. Why? Let’s see what we can learn from the relationship between the State I live in (NC) and our neighbor to the West, Tennessee.

The Flyer:

Here in NC, our Primary Election was March 15, 2016. Just before it, I received a glossy, colorful flyer for an organization titled, Our Schools First (OS1).
(see their website: http://www.ourschoolsfirst.com/ ) The flyer instantly got my internal radar up because it stated which candidates running were ‘pro education’.
Now, as an anti CCSS Warrior and researcher, I know that just because  candidates are supportive of education, it needs to be revealed exactly HOW they are supportive. As we have learned together in this War Against the Core, many members of the CCSS Machine are also ‘pro education’, but it is an aligned and agenda filled education. None of this type of information was given on the flyer.

So what did I find on the OS1 website? Why wait until now to share this? Two reasons. First, life has been a whirlwind. Second, had I shared the news then, I wouldn’t have had the entire story, or what appears to be the entire story.

From the OS1 website, I found this is the group which really pushed for a local school bond package back in 2014. (*Note: The bond was to support massive school building changes in 7 of the county’s schools. Knowing from research that bonds are deferred loans future generations usually have to pay off; that the school buildings changes are part of the purposed redesigning of our schools to align to the overall education reform, I didn’t support the bond. It passed anyway. As usual, the bond has proven to be not enough for the changes we were told.) The OS1 website is not very transparent on lots of information, they do ask you for your money and tell you whom you should support, however.

All this said, I did find one useful resource: the call to halt an upcoming bill currently in the NC General Assembly. The bill will basically close any failing school here in NC, take it over, and restructure it as a charter school. The worst part? The bill is written to model the failure of this very thing in TN! Click on  the screen shot below for what the group shared:

savencschools
This is what the ‘pro education’ group shared, however, it also links its information (the blue highlighted phrase ‘considering a bill’) to a very left leaning policy watch group here in NC. When you access their website, you see another story about the fiscal responsibility aspect of closing schools and restructuring them. (Article link is below)

True, we need to consider this, but it is WHOM they asked that sets off yet another anti CCSS Warrior red flag. Rep. Craig Horn! If you don’t know who he is, let me briefly state that he is 100% in favor of the CCSS Machine’s takeover in education. He is also the chairman of the NC House of Representatives Education Appropriations Committee! While Rep. Horn thinks the bill will not pass, the Representative who has introduced the bill, Rep. Rob Bryan, is said to be a huge supporter of the change in education. (see:
http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/2016/03/30/house-leader-questions-fiscal-feasibility-of-achievement-school-districts-in-north-carolina/)

What IS the Change NC Wants that TN Flubbed Up?

Simply put, it is known as ASD (Achievement School Districts). Currently, NC has a Select House Committee on ASDs. Who chairs it? Rep. Bryan. Other Representatives include Rep. Horn and 10 others. Fighting the War Against the Core in NC, I can tell you almost everyone of these Representatives are in favor of the CCSS Machine’s education reform.
To see the entire Committee member list,
http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/Committees/Committees.asp?sAction=ViewCommittee&sActionDetails=House%20Select_174

To see the ASD Committee Actions (which include the Race to the Top 2013-14 School and District Transformation Report2013-14 RttT 118 Data Longitudinal-RB 6-30-15 )
http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/DocumentSites/browseDocSite.asp?nID=302

To see the actual ASD Bill: NCASDbill

The TN ASDs:

Nashville Public Radio featured the entire disaster:
http://nashvillepublicradio.org/post/researchers-deem-tennessee-s-achievement-school-district-ineffective-so-far#stream/0
In their article, they reveal one fact we should know: ASDs were part of the Race to the Top!

The research on TN’s ASDs includes “A number of states and districts have adopted bold strategies for turning around low performing schools. Some of these initiatives have been modeled after Louisiana’s Recovery School District (RSD), which, in some cases, took over and directly ran failing schools or, in other cases, turned these schools over to charter management organizations (CMOs). Inspired by Louisiana’s example and the potential of Race to the Top (RTTT) funding, Tennessee passed legislation called First to the Top in January 2010 which created the Achievement School District (ASD). With this legislation in hand, the state applied for RTTT funding, and, in March of that year, Tennessee was awarded $500 million to carry out the proposed initiatives including the ASD.” To read the entire 10 page research report: ASD_Impact_Policy_Brief_Final_12.8.15
(*Note: Vanderbilt University was granted money from the part of the TN’s RttT funds,  U.S. Dept. of Education, and the Walton (WalMart) Family Foundation to conduct this research.)

To learn more about the TN ASDs, see their website:
 http://achievementschooldistrict.org/about/
To see the “Why I Choose to Achieve” promotion video:

Closing:

The big question is why is NC going down this path when TN showed the system is a disaster? A couple of obvious answers: 1) RttT Funded States have turning around the lowest performing schools as one of their strings. 2) To embed the ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) mandates and plans of turning around schools and creating more charter schools.

Related Resources:
Rep. Horn’s activities to support the Jeb Bush run Foundation for Excellence in Education:
https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/10/25/weekend-news-ccss-rumors-abound-at-least-in-nc/ (*Note: Rep. Blackwell was also featured in this article as an attendee. Blackwell is also on the House ASD Committee.)
NC area schools set to close and be consolidated:
http://www.wsoctv.com/news/local/parents-to-rally-over-closures-in-rowan-salisbury-school-system/216982593

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4 thoughts on “Learning from Our Neighbors?

  1. Splendid research Lynne! I had heard earlier that some effort along these lines might be coming. Is the ASD effort limited to LA, NC and TN or is this something being seen nationally? If so, how far along is this restructuring across the US and how did it get started in NC? I downloaded the NCASDbill but how did this thing find its way into the NC legislature? Were the change agents the Representatives named above? What was their motivation or consideration received? I get that RTT dollars flowed to their state but was there any personal or political gain for the Representatives on the NC ASD select committee? How was the select committee set up? Thanks for the heads up. Will look within my own state.

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    1. Andrew,
      Thank you for the compliment. If you can access the short video on the right hand side of the below article, you can see how you can trace it.
      http://www.scoop.it/t/charter-choice-closer-look
      The graph you will see shows the Teach for America participation, check your state for them. They are rich in NC, I know. As far as how this got started in NC, I can say, based on research it is 1) legislative, from the top/down; 2) those legislating are being persuaded by the pro CCSS groups. Beyond that, I will need to dig some more. If you can access LadyLiberty’s archived article (in the comments of this article), you may be able to have some more clues as to where to look.
      I have more on charters, especially how they are to increase in the ESSA.
      1) This one looks at not only those running the charters, but micro-schools, as well (you need to check your state for them) they are also increasing across America. https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2016/02/09/ftf-a-chip-off-the-education-block/
      2) An excerpt about the LA State Superintendent (another area to look as to how all this is being created in our states. For example, NC’s State Super is also the President of the CCSSO and a huge supporter of this type of education reform; given the power these people have, it is easy to see how they are impacting legislation) “Louisiana:

      Mr. John White, a former Teach for America alumni. Right off the bat, Common Core friendly! He’s been successful in helping NY get started on the Race/Top road, before heading south. Oh, I almost forgot, Mr. White was chosen to lead LA. Mr. White is also a member of the “Chiefs for Change” non profit group that adores the Core! (see: http://chiefsforchange.org/members-page/) The ‘love letter’ written by Mr. White is here: http://chiefsforchange.org/letter-from-supt-white-and-bese-president-chas-roemer-to-louisiana-educators/ My favorite ‘Total Fallacy‘ he stated, “Not only is continuing the state’s multi-year plan the right thing to do for our children, but also it is the legal path forward.” There are many other statements of Mr. White’s we could measure, but with his hand already exposed, we can easily see where his bets are placed. Mr. White should be in advertising, he’s doing a banner job in selling the CCSS!”

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