Educate All Students: Larry Miller's Blog

October 24, 2016

BlackLivesMatter in Seattle!

Filed under: BlackLivesMatter — millerlf @ 7:24 pm

Thousands of Seattle teachers wore Black Lives Matter shirts to school. Here’s what it looked like.

The #BlackLivesMatterAtSchool event in Seattle  was breathtaking.

Never before in the country has an entire district of educators risen up to declare that Black lives matter. It’s hard to even put into words the power of this event. It has been reported that 2,000 teachers wore Black Lives Matter shirts to school across the district–in fact, the number was much larger than that.  That is the number of shirts that were ordered from the Social Equality Educators, however, many schools made their own shirts. Families made buttons and distributed them to schools.  Some parents set up informational booths in front of their school with resources for teaching about racism. There was a joyous atmosphere around the city.  Many educators around the city took the day to teach students developmentally appropriate lessons about institutional racism and hold dialogues about Black lives matter.

There is so much work left to be done to make Black Lives truly matter at school. But at the rally for Black lives at lunchtime at my high school, Garfield, something happened that let everyone know that change is already happening.

One of our teachers, Janett Du Bois, revealed to everyone in the middle of our rally that the police had murdered her son a few years ago. No one at our school knew about this. It was in that moment of seeing everyone wearing  Black Lives Matter shirts that she found the strength to tell her story. Her bravery to go public with this has changed Garfield forever.  I am so glad that she no longer has to suffer alone with the pain. Here is a short news story that doesn’t do her full speech justice, but will give you a glimpse:

ABC provided national news coverage of our day and the amazing evening rally:

Here is a link to some of the best photos taken of the day from a Seattle Public Schools parent, photographer, and author Sharon Chang:

Below are just some of the photos of schools from around Seattle who participated in #BlackLivesMatterAtSchool:

October 20, 2016

Misogyny in the Election: Op-Ed by Ellen Bravo

Filed under: Right Wing Agenda,Trump — millerlf @ 9:27 am

There’s always That Guy

Ellen Bravo October 19, 2016 MJS

The voters, men and women alike, need to say decisively, “Not in this nation. We will not stand for this.”


Athletes and sportswriters have been quick to pounce on Donald Trump’s “locker room talk” defense as inaccurate and insulting. Is there crude talk in locker rooms, boasting about sexual exploits? Yes, they say. Boasting about sexual assault? Never.

And yet, as a friend of my husband’s pointed out, there’s always That Guy. That Guy is the one who crosses the line. He goes beyond sexual banter or dirty jokes or anything resembling flirtation. Even in an all-male setting, his words cause people to flinch. Too often, he surrounds himself with guys who will laugh. Others shrug or walk away.

Most times, no one tells him to stop. And no one in authority says, “We won’t stand for this.”

That Guy (and sometimes they come in pairs or even packs) shows up in locker rooms, but also in board rooms, operating rooms, break rooms, classrooms, green rooms. His goal is not seduction but humiliation. He’s not just lewd, he’s a harasser. Typically, he engages in molestation, acts that are not just inappropriate but illegal and criminal. His taunts frequently roam beyond gender to race, sexual identity, physical ability, national origin.

If you ask people to identify That Guy in their workplace, virtually everyone will write down the same name.

The women he goes after tell him “no” in dozens of ways. Yet, most of the time, no one in authority says, “Not in this school / this locker room / this workplace / this town. We won’t stand for this.”

On the Access Hollywood tape, Trump claimed he could get away with the groping and unwanted advances because he was “a star.” Often That Guy is, indeed, someone prominent, a rainmaker for the company or a person with enough power for others to fear repercussions if they stand up to him.

I’ve called That Guy the “UGLI,” the Untouchable, Godlike Individual. If women complain about him to someone in Human Resources, they usually hear something like this: “Oh, That Guy. Sorry to hear that you’re having a problem with him. We’ll be glad to move you to another location.”

When women stand up to That Guy, he accuses them of making it up or claims whatever happened was consensual. That Guy has a lot of money to spend on lawyers and publicists and other staff to hound anyone who dares accuse him. He’s ruthless, aiming not just to make the accusation go away but to demonize the accuser and destroy her reputation.

Not surprisingly, That Guy often gets away with his crimes.

Now That Guy is running for president of the United States.

And the voters, men and women alike, are the ones with authority. We’re the ones who need to say decisively, “Not in this nation. We will not stand for this.”

Ellen Bravo is a long-time activist on working women’s issues. She’s written a non-fiction book on sexual harassment and a novel, “Again and Again,” involving date rape and politics.


Far-Right MacIver Institute Attacks Any Progress made by Milwaukee Public Schools

Filed under: MacIver Institute,OSPP,Right Wing Agenda — millerlf @ 9:16 am
Lisowski: Call it whatever you like, MPS is still failing its students
OLA LISOWSKI October 17, 2016 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
The facts overwhelmingly show us that high school graduates in Wisconsin, and especially in MPS, aren’t ready to take on the real world.

In a letter to Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele and Milwaukee Public Schools Superintendent Darienne Driver, State Superintendent Tony Evers has provided an update on the beleaguered Opportunity Schools Partnership Program. DPI’s official report cards come out in November, but Evers’ letter provides a teaser in writing that “based on the preliminary data … there are no districts eligible for the OSPP in 2016-’17.”

In other words, expect MPS to lose its “failing to meet expectations” label in the coming report cards, which more heavily weigh progress than outcomes.

Evers writes that in order to participate in OSPP, schools must be placed in the lowest performance category — failing to meet expectations — for two consecutive report cards, or the school building must be vacant or underutilized. Participating schools also must be located in a district categorized as failing to meet expectations.

I’m happy that the state is more diligently measuring progress. When students do better year over year, it’s cause for celebration. But before we all declare MPS a success and the problem solved, let’s wait for the report cards to to be published in November. Consider the latest data available, which paints a different picture, showing that many MPS schools are still serving their students at dismal levels.

According to the University of Wisconsin Remedial Course Report, 175 schools sent more than six graduates to the UW System who needed remedial education in the fall of 2015. Of those schools, 160 graduated classes in which more than 10% of students required remedial math education. In 76 schools, more than 25% of students required math remediation. In 12 schools, 50% or more of the graduating class that went to the UW System needed remedial education.

Bradley Tech, for example, sent 12 students to the UW System in fall 2015. Eight students required math remediation before starting regular courses. This is a school that attracts millions of dollars in philanthropy and is held up by MPS as “the premier technology and trade high school in Milwaukee.” And yet its graduates must take zero-level math courses to catch up with their peers.

Think about what that means for those students who have been told for years that they’re lucky to attend elite institutions within MPS. For the 58% of MPS students who graduate high school in four years, large numbers go on to the UW System where they must take remedial coursework for zero credits and full tuition. For the more than 30,000 students trapped in schools for no other reason than their ZIP code, it’s tragic. The status quo still reigns at MPS, and children are left in schools that fail them — official state label or not.

By declaring MPS to no longer be failing, it appears that DPI simply has moved the goal posts rather than addressing the real issues within the largest school district in the state. The facts overwhelmingly show us that high school graduates in Wisconsin, and especially in MPS, aren’t ready to take on the real world. Never mind what the bureaucrats tell you — that’s the definition of failing to meet expectations.

Ola Lisowski is a research associate at the MacIver Institute, a Madison-based right-wing free market think tank.


Right Wing blogger on OSPP

Filed under: OSPP,Right Wing Agenda — millerlf @ 8:47 am

Alt-right blogger and MacIver Institute contributor, James Widgerson, presents the perspective of the OSSP failings shared by those who hope for the destruction of public education and Milwaukee Public Schools.

Note that Steve Baas, senior vice president for the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce for Government Affairs, is interviewed for the article.

Read the blog at:

October 14, 2016

Sen. Larson and Rep. Sinicki Commend Defeat of Takeover and Applaud Milwaukee Schools on Continued Achievement

Filed under: MPS,MPS Takeover,OSPP — millerlf @ 1:39 pm

State Capitol, PO Box 8953, Madison, Wisconsin 53708
October 13, 2015 608.266.7505
Rep. Chris Sinicki
Sen. Larson and Rep. Sinicki Commend Defeat of Takeover and
Applaud Milwaukee Schools on Continued Achievement
Madison, WI – Senator Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) and Representative Chris Sinicki (D-Milwaukee) offered the following comments regarding the recent news about Milwaukee Public Schools:
“Yesterday, the Wisconsin Department of Instruction (DPI) indicated that the Milwaukee Public School District (MPS) will not face the threat of an undemocratic takeover of their schools this academic year.
“We are glad that the gains made by MPS have prevented this harmful law from taking effect in our community. This success became possible through the positive educational growth by our students, the dedication of our great teachers, and the tireless efforts of many leaders, in particular Dr. Darienne Driver, her staff, Director Sain, and the Milwaukee School Board. We applaud them for their victory and their continued leadership.
“Despite crushing reductions in funding, Milwaukee Public Schools have continually ranked nationally for their academic achievements. The progress made by MPS proves the true ability of local governance to make positive changes through democratic processes. As MPS is first to note, there is more work to be done to continue this positive momentum. As legislators representing the youth of the city of Milwaukee, we will continue working with MPS to achieve more for our students.
“The majority party in the Legislature needs to stop punishing students and attacking teachers if they expect our schools to improve. They hatched their takeover plan late in the budget session and added it to the state budget in the middle of the night with no public hearing or comment. Their plan was immediately called out for what it was: a clear attack on Milwaukee’s neighborhood schools. It sparked vehement, ongoing protests by numerous local leaders who spoke out against it and by local parents, teachers, and neighbors who decried its obvious ill intent. We later saw the abrupt resignation of the only commissioner appointed under the takeover plan.
“While the takeover scheme was designed to hurt our public schools, it achieved one thing: it brought our community together to work on and begin to solve our educational challenges at the local level. It is our hope that DPI’s optimistic news fosters a sincere and robust debate on how to assist our school districts in educating our children.
“What we need to do is what works: ensure equal, fair, and full funding for all our Wisconsin students; promote the proven community school model as a way to boost student performance; and support our neighborhood schools. These are the Wisconsin values that we are ready to champion this coming session.”

Wisconsin: General State Aid Certified to School Districts

Filed under: School Finance — millerlf @ 1:33 pm


General State Aid Certified to School Districts

by Chris Kulow

DPIlogoAs required by state law, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) has released the Oct. 15 certified amount each school district will receive from the $4.584 billion available under current law for general state aid. The certified aid shows that 60% of the state’s public school districts (255 of 424*) will receive more general state aid this school year than they did in 2015-16.

General state aid for school districts was up $108.1 million from last year. However, according to DPI’s press release, the actual amount of general aid that the state’s public school districts receive is reduced for a number of factors: Read more of this post

October 12, 2016

Rep. Goyke Congratulates Milwaukee Public Schools and Stands with Dedicated Staff and Students on MPS no longer being required to participate in OSPP

Filed under: MPS — millerlf @ 7:41 pm

MADISON – State Representative Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee) released the following statement in response to today’s notification by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to Milwaukee County and Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) that no districts are currently eligible for the Opportunity Schools and Partnership Program (OSPP) in 2016-17.

“I offer my sincere congratulations to Dr. Driver, the MPS School Board, Teachers, Parents, and Students for the positive gains made in our Milwaukee Public Schools.
During the final days of Wisconsin’s previous biennial budget debate, the OSPP provision was added. I was present and remember it well – it was nearly 1:30 in the morning. With no collaboration with those most impacted, this plan was put forward and passed.
Today’s notification by DPI shows the progress we’re making in Milwaukee. The notification is a testament to the hard work and successful collaboration between Dr. Driver and the School Board.
I believe in Dr. Driver. She has earned my support through her tireless work for Milwaukee students. I also believe in our MPS School Board. They have worked together for Milwaukee students while representing their constituents with passion.
Today’s announcement shows the hard work is paying off. We must continue to support and empower Dr. Driver and the School Board. Real change is happening and today’s notification is clear evidence that when we work together for a common purpose it is positive and meaningful to the students in Milwaukee.”

Rep. Dale Kooyenga’s statement on Milwaukee Public Schools no longer being required to participate in OSPP

Filed under: MPS — millerlf @ 7:36 pm


 Madison – Rep. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) released the following statement regarding the letter from the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele and MPS Superintendent Dr. Darienne Driver about the eligibility of MPS for the Opportunity Schools and Partnership Program (OSPP): “While the new report card model removes the Milwaukee Public School district (MPS) from being a “failing district” and, in turn, removes MPS from being eligible for OSPP, I am optimistic that this is a sign that the district is making progress under the leadership of Dr. Darienne Driver. OSPP was enacted into law not only to strengthen MPS, but to empower Dr. Driver. It is a testament to Dr. Driver that she is so well regarded by leaders and citizens of the community across the political spectrum.

Although MPS has demonstrated progress, this new report card model is attributable to a new methodology of grading schools and districts. Under the previous model, MPS would still be considered a failing district. There are dozens of schools in MPS where less than 10 percent of the students are proficient in reading and/or math. High schools such as Bradley Tech have a 4 year graduation rate of 50.4 percent and the overall MPS 4 year graduation rate is 58.2 percent.

I am optimistic greater progress can be made if the MPS board empowers the superintendent to make the tough decisions necessary to improve educational outcomes. I will continue to work with and listen to members of the greater Milwaukee community and take whatever actions are necessary to improve educational outcomes in Milwaukee.”

# # #

Milwaukee Public Schools no longer required to participate in OSPP

Filed under: MPS — millerlf @ 10:09 am

District performance signals progress

MILWAUKEE (October 12, 2016) Milwaukee Public Schools is no longer required to participate in the Opportunity Schools and Partnership program, according to a letter released today by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

The letter issued today informed MPS it will not have to participate in the program because the district is no longer in the bottom category in the state school report card. Only school districts in the lowest category of the state report card for two consecutive years are required to participate in OSPP.

“While we are energized by the progress we’re making, we still have significant work to do,” said Dr. Driver. “We are working with students, staff and dozens of community partners to better prepare all of our young people for success, particularly at the secondary school level.”

MPS has committed to rethinking high schools by expanding college-level Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate classes as well as career and technical education offerings. This year, 21 percent of all MPS high school students are taking a college-level class. The district also added more than 350 students to a culinary arts program as it expands career and technical education options.

While the details of the state report card will not be released until next month, MPS’ local STAR assessment data shows growth in student achievement and signs that the district is closing achievement gaps:

  • Literacy is improving across all grade levels.
  • The number of students on target for proficiency in reading improved last year by two percent.
  • Early reading skills increased significantly, with 51 percent of all K5 and 1st grade students on target at the end of the school year compared to only 43 percent on target at the beginning of the school year.

“We are heading in the right direction. Our collective focus as a community must be on working together to support our young people,” said MPS Board President Mark Sain. “If we continue to do the right thing for our students, we will not fail.”

Last year, the Wisconsin Legislature made changes to the school report card to improve transparency and authenticity. That included weighting school performance to account for student poverty rates, student disabilities and the length of time a school has had to influence a student’s academic progress.


October 9, 2016

Donald Trump’s unbelievable new statement about the Central Park 5

Filed under: Fascism,Racism,Trump — millerlf @ 10:36 am
Think Progress

Despite overwhelming evidence, Trump still can’t admit their innocence

 In 1990, a group of four black teens and one Latino teen were convicted of the brutal assault and rape of a jogger. The April 1989 attack came amid rising crime rates in New York City and a wave of violence in Central Park itself.

Despite the nonexistence of solid evidence, the five were convicted thanks to a confession they said was coerced by officers violently interrogating them while they were deprived of food and sleep. In 2002, their innocence was proven once and for all when another man confessed to the crime and his DNA was determined to match a sample found on the victim.

As ThinkProgress has previously documented, during the trial of the Central Park 5, Donald Trump called for capital punishment in an ad he spent more than $85,000 to place in four newspapers:

CREDIT: New York Times

Even after the five agreed to a $41 million settlement with the city in 2014, Trump continued to suggest they were less than innocent.

“My opinion on the settlement of the Central Park Jogger case is that it’s a disgrace,” Trump wrote in a June 2014 New York Daily News op-ed. “What about the other people who were brutalized that night, in addition to the jogger?”

In a tweet posted the year before, Trump alluded to the wave of crime Central Park was experiencing at the time of the attack to suggest that even if the teens weren’t guilty of rape, they were still guilty of something.

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