Education Opportunity Network

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10/6/2014 – Education Coalition Isn’t There, Yet

THIS WEEK: States Fund Prisons Instead Of Schools … Ant-Testing Movement Grows … Don’t Abolish Teacher Tenure … High Principal Turnover Rates Hurt … After School Programs Help


The Coalition For An Education Agenda Just Isn’t There, Yet

By Jeff Bryant

“Proponents claiming the mantle of “education reform” have been quick to jump on the one-sided election results as proof-positive of widespread voter support for their ideas … But results from the midterms mostly revealed an education agenda has yet to have its day in the sun, electorally, and any agenda for the nation’s schools will have to be bound into a coalition of other, more populist, causes … There’s evidence that Democrats can get their house in order when they adopt more populist messages that align with coalitions that advocate for economic fairness and social equity. Advocates for public schools won’t reliably win elections until that they embrace that coalition and successfully push the party that direction.”
Read more …


States Are Prioritizing Prisons Over Education, Budgets Show

The Huffington Post

“If state budget trends reflect the country’s policy priorities, then the U.S. currently values prisoners over children … The growth of state spending on prisons in recent years has far outpaced the growth of spending on education. After adjusting for inflation, state general fund spending on prison-related expenses increased over 140% between 1986 and 2013. During the same period, state spending on K-12 education increased only 6%9, while higher education saw an increase of less than 6% … since 2008, spending on education has actually declined in a majority of states in the wake of the Great Recession … Rates of violent crime and property crime have actually fallen over the years, even while incarceration rates have risen … States’ spending practices are ultimately harming their economies, while not making the states especially safer.”
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The Rise Of The Anti-Standardized Testing Movement

The Washington Post

At the blog hosted by Valerie Strauss, Monty Neil writes, “Across the nation, resistance to test overuse and misuse reached unprecedented heights in the spring of 2014 … Resistance erupted in more states with far more participants, and it won notable victories, such as ending, lessening or postponing graduation exams in at least eight states and easing or ending grade promotion tests … The most visible, dynamic form of resistance was to boycott the tests … Test resistance and reform campaigns used many tactics … School boards are also resisting test overkill … The ultimate goals of the movement are to dramatically reduce the amount of testing, end high stakes uses, and implement educationally sound assessments.”
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Don’t Abolish Teacher Tenure


Democratic political strategist Donna Brazile writes, “Right now, we should be lifting up and championing educators. The last thing we should be doing is discouraging or dampening the enthusiasm of a new generation … Due process policies such as tenure are put in place to protect good teachers from being fired without cause. They aren’t there to protect ‘bad’ teachers … Contrary to what some naysayers – and magazine covers – continue to hawk, the American people are proud of their public schools. And they’re proud of their teachers, too … Far too many Democrats have largely avoided this issue out of a mistaken fear that running on a pro-public education platform would be a far too risky topic for their campaigns. Turns out these Democrats are just plain wrong. They’re missing a golden opportunity to highlight this important issue.”
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Principal Turnover Takes Costly Toll On Students And Districts, Report Says

Education Week

“The high rate of principal turnover is costing school districts dearly, particularly teachers and students in high-poverty systems … A quarter of the country’s principals quit their schools each year, according to the report, and nearly 50 percent leave in their third year… That churn happens after a district typically has spent an estimated $75,000 on each leader to prepare, hire, and place that person on the job … Strong leaders contribute up to 25 percent of the school factors that influence a student’s academic performance, according to the report. And teachers often make decisions about where to teach and how long they stay at a particular school in a large part based on its leadership … A number of factors drive the principal exodus, including workload, costs – personal, psychological and financial – lack of autonomy, and isolation. Another key reason leaders leave is the lack of support and professional development that principals receive once on the job.”
Read more …

After-School Programs Can Help Teens At Risk Of Dropping Out

US News & World Report

“After-school programs … can be an important tool in preventing at-risk teens from dropping out … Students who participate in what are known as expanded learning opportunities – which includes after-school programs – show higher rates of school attendance, lower dropout rates, and improved attitudes toward school … Besides giving students something to look forward to when coming to school, students in after-school have less opportunity to be involved in illegal activities, such as drug use and gang involvement, during the critical hours immediately following school … Teachers reported students in after-school programs improved their behavior in class. Plus, the additional tutoring and homework help often provided in after-school programs can help students improve their grades.”
Read more …

Category: EON Newsletters

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