Education Opportunity Network

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10/30/2014 – Big Money Taking Over Education Politics

THIS WEEK: Civil Rights & Accountability … Don’t Dis TFA … Fewer Want To Be Teachers … Black Girls Suspended More … New Accountability Needed

TOP STORY

Big Money Taking Over Education Politics

By Jeff Bryant

“Big money from businesses and private individuals and foundations is now altering the electoral process in school board elections and state level contests for school administration. Often, the big money comes from people who associate with the Democratic Party. Further, these wealthy Democrats often collude with conservative Republicans in these school-related elections in ways they never would in other contests. This confluence of big money is often called ‘bipartisanship.’ But the results are apt to be the same we’ve seen in more popular elections – a distortion of democracy that leads to governance that is less progressive.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

Civil Rights Groups Want Resources For Students To Factor in Accountability

Education Week

“Federal and state accountability has to do more than just hold schools’ feet to the fire when it comes to student outcomes, a coalition of civil rights groups said in a letter sent to President Barack Obama and congressional leaders … The systems also have to ensure that school systems and policymakers at all levels are held accountable for ‘inputs,’ including providing conditions that make it possible for learning to take place. Students – especially poor and minority kids – need equal access to resources, including good teachers; social, emotional, and health and nutrition services; and high-quality instructional materials (everything from technology to facilities). Schools must also provide tailored professional development to educators that work with diverse student populations, and sustained outreach to parents and communities.”
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This Is What Happens When You Criticize Teach For America

The Nation

“Teach For America has spent nearly $3.5 million in advertising and promotion… Much of this promotion goes toward attacking journalists … The organization, which represents less than 0.002% of America’s teaching force, enjoys disproportionate sway in the political realm … 63% of recruits work, as Teach For America puts it, ‘full time in education,’ yet a 2010 study found that 80% of Teach For America recruits quit after three years. The disparity suggests that while TFA recruits may not be able to stomach teaching, they do feel up to the task of other education-sector activities, like policy reform and foundation management … TFA alumni like [Michelle] Rhee, [John] White and [Cami] Anderson continue to be hailed as innovative policy experts … Despite much empirical evidence to the contrary, Teach For America’s premise remains tenable thanks to the enormous prestige afforded to TFA recruits. In this light, TFA’s PR extensive apparatus begins to make sense; lacking results, their image is the only thing left for the organization to stand on.”
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Steep Drops Seen In Teacher-Prep Enrollment Numbers

Education Week

“Massive changes to the profession, coupled with budget woes, appear to be shaking the image of teaching as a stable, engaging career. Nationwide, enrollments in university teacher-preparation programs have fallen by about 10% from 2004 to 2012, according to federal estimates from the U.S. Department of Education’s postsecondary data collection … Some large states, like heavyweight California, appear to have been particularly hard hit … Federal data … show an overall drop in education degree programs across all institutions … The enrollment downturns already appear to be contributing to some unsettling hiring patterns.”
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The Economic Impact Of School Suspensions

The Atlantic

“A recent report finds African-American girls were suspended at six times the rate of white girls, and more than any other group of girls (and several groups of boys). This is despite evidence that African-American students do not misbehave more frequently than their peers … The study … shows how poor educational outcomes can limit their opportunities, from lower graduation rates to setbacks in expected lifetime earnings … African-American girls are more than twice as likely as whites to be held back a grade … The reasons for such setbacks have less to do with student behavior … than with disproportionate and overly punitive disciplinary practices that remove African-Americans from classes for minor and subjective infractions (examples include violations of dress code or even wearing natural hairstyles).”
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Coalition Wants New School Accountability

USA Today

“The nation’s two largest teachers unions – along with school administration organizations, business advocacy groups and school equity leaders – on Tuesday announced a new framework for accountability that focuses more on a holistic ‘support-and-improve’ model than the longstanding ‘test-and-punish’ mindset that’s commonplace in schools nationwide … The New Accountability framework centers around making changes to three central concepts in educational accountability: standardized testing, teacher evaluation and school resource equity … Rather than advocating for an outright repeal of standardized testing, the partnering organizations say they want fewer, better tests that more accurately measure what schools and business leaders say is the most important objective for students who’ll soon have to compete in the high-tech, global economy.”
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Category: EON Newsletters

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