[ECP] Educational CyberPlayGround K12 Newsletters

Student Debt / Strike Debt

Student Debt
The Lost Purpose of School Reform Diane Ravitch
http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2015/apr/02/lost-purpose-no-child-left-behind/
“NCLB decisively changed the purpose of the law. What had once been a means of sending additional resources to schools enrolling poor students was turned into a testing mandate. By law, all students, regardless of disability or language proficiency, must be “proficient” on state tests by 2014. Congress and the Bush administration believed that their mandate could produce universal success in school, akin to passing a law proclaiming that all crime should cease by a date certain. Note to Congress: if wishes (or congressional mandates) were horses, then beggars would ride.  Not surprisingly, it didn’t work.”
richard branson: “It is possible that school is not necessary. I left school at 15.”
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2015-04-09/richard-branson-entrepreneurs-and-real-world-education
State AGs Urge Federal Forgiveness Of Student Loans Tied To Dodgy For-Profit Chain
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/09/federal-student-loan-forgiveness_n_7037128.html
Apollo Affiliate to Invest $1 Billion in Online Student Lender
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-04-14/apollo-affiliate-to-invest-1-billion-in-online-student-lender
Debt Collectors Lose Lawsuits Against Education Department
It beat its aggrieved debt collectors in court
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/14/education-department-debt-collectors-lawsuit_n_7067292.html
US ED fines Corinthian $30 million for misrepresentation of job placement rates — will halt fed $ at Calif. Heald campuses
Federal judge tosses debt collectors’ lawsuits against  fined Heald College
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/14/heald-college-fine-jobs_n_7067056.html
@StrikeDebt “@usedgov is saying 4profits can steal billions so long they get cut in on the action too”
@StrikeDebt “Wells Fargo made billions off of 4profit Corinthian with help from the @usedgov which get’s it’s cut on the backend .”

The HSBC Banksters hides the money of the 1%

Stephen Keith Green, Baron Green of Hurstpierpoint (an immoral priest!)
Lord Stephen Green Chief Executive, then chairman of HSBC until 2010. Appointed minister for trade and investment under David Cameron.
HSBC was headed during the period covered in the files by Stephen Green – now Lord Green – who served as the global bank’s chief executive, then group chairman until 2010 when he left to become a trade minister in the House of Lords for David Cameron’s new government. He declined to comment when approached by the Guardian.
HSBC is already facing criminal investigations and charges in France, Belgium, the US and Argentina as a result of the leak of the files, but no legal action has been taken against it in Britain.
The files show how HSBC in Switzerland keenly marketed tax avoidance strategies to its wealthy clients. The bank proactively contacted clients in 2005 to suggest ways to avoid a new tax levied on the Swiss savings accounts of EU citizens, a measure brought in through a treaty between Switzerland and the EU to tackle secret offshore accounts.  The documents also show HSBC’s Swiss subsidiary providing banking services to relatives of dictators, people implicated in African corruption scandals, arms industry figures and others. Swiss banking rules have since 1998 required high levels of diligence on the accounts of politically connected figures, but the documents suggest that at the time HSBC happily provided banking services to such controversial individuals.
 
HSBC hides the money of the 1%
Hollywood stars, shopkeepers, royalty and clothing merchants feature in the files along with the heirs to some of Europe’s biggest fortunes.
 
HSBC ‘helped clients dodge tax’
http://www.bbc.com/news/business-31248913
Banking giant HSBC helped wealthy clients across the world evade hundreds of millions of pounds worth of tax, the BBC has learned. Panorama has seen accounts from 106,000 clients in 203 countries, leaked by whistleblower Herve Falciani in 2007.  The documents include details of almost 7,000 clients based in the UK.  HSBC admitted that it was “accountable for past control failures.” But it said it has now “fundamentally changed”.
The thousands of pages of data were obtained by the French newspaper Le Monde. In a joint investigation, the documents have now been passed to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the Guardian newspaper, Panorama and more than 50 media outlets around the world.  HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) was given the leaked data in 2010 and has identified 1,100 people from the list of 7,000 British clients who had not paid their taxes. But almost five years later, only one tax evader has been prosecuted.
HSBC did not just turn a blind eye to tax evaders – in some cases it broke the law by actively helping its clients.
 
HSBC files show how Swiss bank helped clients dodge taxes and hide millions.
Data in massive cache of leaked secret bank account files lift lid on questionable practices at subsidiary of one of world’s biggest financial institutions.
http://www.theguardian.com/
Approached by the Guardian, HSBC, the world’s second largest bank, has now admitted wrongdoing by its Swiss subsidiary. “We acknowledge and are accountable for past compliance and control failures,” the bank said in a statement. The Swiss arm, the statement said, had not been fully integrated into HSBC after its purchase in 1999, allowing “significantly lower” standards of compliance and due diligence to persist.  That response raises serious questions about oversight of the Swiss operation by the then senior executives of its parent company, HSBC Group, headquartered in London. It has now acknowledged that it was not until 2011 that action was taken to bring the Swiss bank into line. “HSBC was run in a more federated way than it is today and decisions were frequently taken at a country level,” the bank said.  HSBC was headed during the period covered in the files by Stephen Green – now Lord Green – who served as the global bank’s chief executive, then group chairman until 2010 when he left to become a trade minister in the House of Lords for David Cameron’s new government. He declined to comment when approached by the Guardian.
HSBC’s Swiss bankers were also prepared to help Emmanuel Shallop, who was subsequently convicted of dealing in “blood diamonds”, the illegal trade that fuelled war in Africa.  One memo records: “We have opened a company account for him based in Dubai … The client is currently being very careful because he is under pressure from the Belgian tax authorities who are investigating his activities in the field of diamond tax evasion.”  The records indicate HSBC managers were untroubled that a customer collecting cash bundles of kroner might be breaking Danish law. HSBC staff were instructed: “All contacts through one of her 3 daughters living in London. Account holder living in Denmark, i.e. critical as it is a criminal act having an account abroad non declared.”
Cash pilgrims and bricks of money: HSBC Swiss bank operated like cash machine for rich clients
http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/feb/09/hsbc-files-swiss-bank-cash-machine-rich-clients
With untraceable cash, tax returns become voluntary. Former tax inspector Richard Brooks told the Guardian: “If you withdraw cash from a bank in Geneva or Zurich, there’s no trail of that over here. Most rich individuals will get their accountants to fill in their tax returns. They’ll be working from their banking records. But there’s nothing for your accountant to see.”

Diane Ravitch Blog Read

Salon: The Segregationist History of the Charter Movement

In a stunning post at Salon, Christopher Bonastia describes the ugly origins of the charter industry in the segregationist movement. The basic idea behind efforts to fight desegregation was school choice, paid for by taxpayers. The goal was to allow white students to continue to attend all-white private academies with public dollars. Today, the charter industry targets black students, which ironically popularizes the idea of all-black, segregated schools. Desegregation is no longer a priority for public policy, despite research that shows its benefits.
He writes:
“The now-popular idea of offering public education dollars to private entrepreneurs has historical roots in white resistance to school desegregation after Brown v. Board of Education (1954). The desired outcome was few or, better yet, no black students in white schools. In Prince Edward County, Virginia, one of the five cases decided in Brown, segregationist whites sought to outwit integration by directing taxpayer funds to segregated private schools.
Two years before a federal court set a final desegregation deadline for fall 1959, local newspaper publisher J. Barrye Wall shared white county leaders’ strategy of resistance with Congressman Watkins Abbitt: “We are working [on] a scheme in which we will abandon public schools, sell the buildings to our corporation, reopen as privately operated schools with tuition grants from [Virginia] and P.E. county as the basic financial program,” he wrote. “Those wishing to go to integrated schools can take their tuition grants and operate their own schools. To hell with ‘em.”
Though the county ultimately refused to sell the public school buildings, public education in Prince Edward County was nevertheless abandoned for five years (1959-1964), as taxpayer dollars were funneled to the segregated white academies, which were housed in privately owned facilities such as churches and the local Moose Lodge. Federal courts struck down this use of taxpayer funds after a year. Still, whites won and blacks lost. Because there were no local taxes assessed to operate public schools during those years, whites could invest in private schools for their children, while blacks in the county—unable and unwilling to finance their own private, segregated schools—were left to fend for themselves, with many black children shut out of school for multiple years….
“Attorney David Mays, who advised high-ranking Virginia politicians on school strategy, reasoned, “Negroes could be let in [to white schools] and then chased out by setting high academic standards they could not maintain, by hazing if necessary, by economic pressures in some cases, etc. This should leave few Negroes in the white schools. The federal courts can easily force Negroes into our white schools, but they can’t possibly administer them and listen to the merits of thousands of bellyaches.” (Mays vastly underestimated the determination of individual black families and federal officials.)…”
“The driving assumption for the pro-charter side, of course, is that market competition in education will be like that for toothpaste — providing an array of appealing options. But education, like healthcare, is not a typical consumer market. Providers in these fields have a disincentive to accept or retain “clients” who require intensive interventions to maintain desired outcomes—in the case of education, high standardized test scores that will allow charters to stay in business. The result? A segmented marketplace in which providers compete for the “good risks,” while the undesirables get triage. By design, markets produce winners, losers and unintended or hidden consequences.
“Charter school operators (like health insurers who exclude potentially costly applicants) have developed methods to screen out applicants who are likely to depress overall test scores. Sifting mechanisms may include interviews with parents (since parents of low-performing students are less likely to show up for the interview), essays by students, letters of recommendation and scrutiny of attendance records. Low-achieving students enrolled in charters can, for example, be recommended for special education programs that the school lacks, thus forcing their transfer to a traditional public school. (More brazenly, some schools have experienced, and perhaps even encouraged, rampant cheating on standardized tests.)
“Operators have clear motives to avoid students who require special services (i.e., English-language learners, “special needs” children and so on) and those who are unlikely to produce the high achievement test scores that form the basis of school evaluations. Whether intended or otherwise, these sifting mechanisms have the ultimate effect of reinscribing racial and economic segregation among the students they educate — as the research on this topic is increasingly bearing out.”
 

NJ Charter Group Files Ethics Complaint Against Critic

The Néw Jersey Charter School Association filed an ethics complaint against Rutgers professor Julia Sass Rubin, because she identified herself as a Rutgers professor when speaking and writing critically about charter schools. She and doctoral student Mark Weber published a research paper about the demographics and test scores of charters. She has been an active member of Save Our Schools Néw Jersey. The charter association claims that she should not acknowledge her professional identity when writing or speaking. This would be laughable were it not an effort to intimidate her.
Here are the remedies the NJCSA seeks from the NJ State Ethics Commission:
“• In the event of any further installments of her study with Mr. Weber, or any future Rutgers work product concerning issues of education policy, that she be ordered to include appropriate disclaimers upon its release, and secure review and approval of the appropriate Rutgers officials prior to releasing same publicly;
• When making public appearances, Dr. Rubin be ordered to not use her Rutgers title in any capacity, and if her title is raised that she clearly state that her positions are hers alone and not those of Rutgers or any of its academic units;
• Direction to either adhere to Rutgers policies regarding outside activities or withdraw from her involvement in outside organizations including SOSNJ.”
Just for the record, I usually identify myself as a Research Professor of Education at Néw York University when I write opinion pieces, blog, give testimony before legislative bodies, or lecture in public. No one has ever said it was unethical to do so.
Here is Peter Greene on the subject.
He writes:
“NJCSA has tried to attack Rubin professionally by bringing ethics charges against her. Her alleged unethical behavior is, as near as I can tell:
1) Saying things that the NJCSA doesn’t like
2) Telling people what her job is when she speaks.
“The complaint seriously seeks the remedy of having Rubin stop identifying herself as a Rutgers professor when she says these things that make the NJ Charter operators look like lying liars who lie.”
Greene adds:
“I can understand their confusion to a point. It is, of course, standard operating procedure in the reformster world to NOT identify who you actually work for, get money from, or otherwise are affiliated with. It’s SOP to put out a slick “report” without actually explaining why anyone should believe you know what you’re talking about, but Rubin and Weber go ahead and list their actual credentials. Apparently NJCSA’s argument is that it’s unethical to let people know why your work is credible.”
Professor Rubin posted the following on her Facebook page:
“The NJ Charter School Association filed an ethics complaint against me on Monday with the NJ State Ethics Commission, claiming that I was violating Rutgers policies on lobbying by identifying myself as a Rutgers Professor when I wrote editorials or spoke in public meetings and articulated a position consistent with that of Save Our Schools NJ.
“Their complaint is not only completely devoid of substance, it also demonstrated very unethical behavior by the NJ Charter School Association as the complaint distorts the Rutgers Lobbying and Advocacy Policy, including actually editing parts of that policy to change its meaning and omitting the list of communications that are expressly not considered lobbying. Of course, every example of my writing or testimony that they categorized as “lobbying” [editorials, speaking at public events, etc.,] was actually on the list of communications that do not constitute lobbying.
“Aside from demonstrating the NJ Charter School Association’s stunning lack of morality, this also is a chilling attack on personal and academic freedoms. If Professors of Public Policy are not allowed to testify or write editorials that displease well-funded constituents, we are truly in trouble as a country.”
Here is Marie Corfield’s hilarious commentary. She includes an excerpt from Bob Braun’s Facebook comments, where he reveals how few educators are on the board of NJCSA.
Star Ledger coverage:http://www.nj.com/education/2015/01/charter_schools_association_files_ethics_complaint_against_rutgers_professor_sosnj_founder.html#comments
Philadelphia Inquirer  http://www.philly.com/philly/news/new_jersey/287983381.html

How My Mom Got Hacked NYT a bad bait article by alina simone

Operation Global 3 Ransomware File Decryption

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1M5IEW5_Ydw&feature=youtu.be
PATCH
http://news.softpedia.com/news/Decryption-Tool-Available-for-Crypto-Malware-Operation-Global-III-467052.shtml

 

A bad bait article by  alina simone

“CryptoWall 2.0 is the latest immunoresistant strain of a larger body of viruses known as ransomware. The virus is thought to infiltrate your computer when you click on a legitimate-looking attachment or through existing malware lurking on your hard drive, and once unleashed it instantly encrypts all your files, barring access to a single photo or tax receipt.” CryptoWall is a variant of an earlier virus called CryptoLocker. CryptoLocker hackers cleared around $30 million in 100 days in 2013.

All Bitcoin owners can be traced!
Bitcoin A.T.Ms are available to anyone. It as easy to buy Bitcoin as it is to buy a soda from a vending machine. All users have to do is scan the QR code — a two-dimensional type of bar code — for an existing Bitcoin wallet and insert cash. No contact is necessary with Bitcoin exchanges, which often have long account verification processes and expensive money transfer requirements.
“the CryptoWall hackers take only Bitcoins”
CryptoWall had anointed coincafe as one of their Bitcoin providers of choice, with praise for their “fast, simple service.” https://coincafe.com/

Girls change the world and can do anything

Educational CyberPlayGround: Websites for Girls and Young Women who want to be involved with Technology
WEBSITES FOR GIRLS AND YOUNG WOMEN
How to help girls get into technology.
Real women engineers and other role models for girls.
Changing Girls’ Attitudes About Computers

“Don’t worry your pretty little head over it.”
Special Edition
Computer Wonder Women
National Women’s History Month
GIRLS WHO CODE: GIRLS CAN DO ANYTHING – GIRLS CAN CHANGE THE WORD
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dr6b4nwo-5k

AP Dozens of Former Nazies got Millions of U.S Social Security $$$

Millions in social security for expelled nazis
90 suspected Nazi war criminals and SS guards who collected millions of dollars in Social Security payments after being forced out of the United States, an Associated Press investigation found.
Former Auschwitz guard Jakob Denzinger settled in this pleasant town on the Drava River, where he lives comfortably, courtesy of U.S. taxpayers. He collects a Social Security payment of about $1,500 each month, nearly twice the take-home pay of an average Croatian worker.
TO MAKE IT WORSE

once these former Nazis were discovered, payments continued after they were expelled from the country in a bid to encourage them to leave the United States peacefully.
“at least 38 of 66 suspects removed from the country kept their Social Security benefits,”
At least four of these men are said to still be alive and receiving money from American taxpayers.

Justice Department’s Nazi-hunting unit, the OSI Office of Special Investigations never threw them OUT!
Legislation that would have closed the Social Security loophole failed 15 years ago, partly due to opposition from the OSI. Since then, according to the AP’s analysis, at least 10 Nazi suspects kept their benefits after leaving.
legal loophole that has given the U.S. Justice Department leverage to persuade Nazi suspects to leave. If they agreed to go, or simply fled before deportation, they could keep their Social Security, according to interviews and internal government records.
In newly uncovered Social Security Administration records, the AP found that by March 1999, 28 suspected Nazi criminals had collected $1.5 million in Social Security payments after their removal from the U.S.
@RepMaloney New York’s 12th Congressional District – Manhattan, Brooklyn & Queens
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., demanded Monday that the inspectors general at the Justice Department and Social Security Administration launch an “immediate investigation” of the payments. Maloney is a high-ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.  In letters to the inspectors general at both agencies, Maloney called the payments a “gross misuse of taxpayer dollars.”

Researchers warn of new, meaner ransomware with unbreakable crypto

Researchers warn of new, meaner ransomware with unbreakable crypto
Move over, CryptoLocker. Criminals are talking up more advanced PowerLocker.
By Dan Goodin
Jan 6 2014
<http://arstechnica.com/security/2014/01/researchers-warn-of-new-meaner-ransomware-with-unbreakable-crypto/>
Security researchers have uncovered evidence of a new piece of malware that may be able to take gigabytes’ worth of data hostage unless end users pay a ransom.
Discussions of the new malware, alternately dubbed PrisonLocker and PowerLocker, have been occurring on underground crime forums since November, according to ablog post published Friday by Malware Must Die, a group of researchers dedicated to fighting online crime. The malware appears to be inspired by CryptoLocker, the malicious software that wreaked havoc in October when it used uncrackable encryption to lock up victims’ computer files until they paid hundreds of dollars for the decryption key.
PowerLocker could prove an even more potent threat because it would be sold in underground forums as a DIY malware kit to anyone who can afford the $100 for a license, Friday’s post warned. CryptoLocker, by contrast, was custom built for use by a single crime gang. What’s more, PowerLocker might also offer several advanced features, including the ability to disable the task manager, registry editor, and other administration functions built into the Windows operating system. Screen shots and online discussions also indicate the newer malware may contain protections that prevent it from being reverse engineered when run on virtual machines.
PowerLocker encrypts files using keys based on the Blowfish algorithm. Each key is then encrypted to a file that can only be unlocked by a 2048-bit private RSA key. The Malware Must Die researchers said they had been monitoring the discussions for the past few months. The possibility of a new crypto-based ransomware threat comes as developers continue to make improvements to the older CryptoLocker title. Late last month, for instance, researchers at antivirus provider Trend Micro said newer versions gave the CryptoLocker self-replicating abilities that allowed it to spread through USB thumb drives.

Computer Wonder Woman Stand Strong

 

Computer Wonder Woman

Great ad on women vs. men in power positions.
70% of men think that women need to downplay their personality to be accepted. Double standards hold women back. Because when you stand strong, you shine.

Financial Literacy: federal student loan borrowers repayment options

The Department’s Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) announced an outreach campaign to groups of federal student loan borrowers to ensure they know and understand all their repayment options.  The new outreach augments the day-to-day communications provided by borrowers’ student loan servicers. FSA’s campaign is aimed at reducing borrower delinquency and default and improving awareness of income-driven repayment plans, which allow borrowers to repay their student loans on a sliding scale that adjusts their payments based on their income and family size.
·         A FSA blog post identifies “Four Things You Need to Know About Repaying Your Student Loans.”
·         A FSA blog post addresses “Which Student Loan Repayment Plan Should You Choose?”