Education Opportunity Network

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11/5/15 – What Congress Could Do Right Now To Improve Education

THIS WEEK: When School Improvement Doesn’t Work … No Money For Common Core … What Motivates Students … Why Schools Get Cops … Who’s Failing Students

TOP STORY

What Congress Could Do Right Now To Improve Education

By Jeff Bryant

“There’s some evidence a revision to NCLB may be in the offing, which many folks believe is a good thing … In the rewriting of the NCLB law, it is the undesirables, to a great degree, rather than the ’empirical evidence,’ such that it is, or the desirables, that are driving the process … What would be preferable, of course, is to have federal education policy based on a more robust idea of what works and designed to achieve outcomes that are truly desirable. But if stopping the tyranny of the testocracy is the best we can do right now, that alone seems a good enough reason to hope Congress acts and passes a revision of NCLB before the year’s end.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

Here’s Why $7 Billion Didn’t Help America’s Worst Schools

POLITICO

“Why has the [School Improvement Grant] program … produced such uneven results at a total cost of about $7 billion? A comparison by POLITICO of two troubled high schools – one in Miami and one in Chicago – both of which received millions in SIG funds, both of which followed a similar turnaround strategy, reveals that education officials at the federal, state, and local levels paid too little attention to a key variable for success … The difference between the schools was in their readiness to make use of the sudden infusion of money … The SIG program may soon disappear … There would still be money to fix the lowest-performing schools – the federal government just wouldn’t have a say in how to do it.”
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Financial Woes Plague Common-Core Rollout

The Wall Street Journal

“Five years into the … Common Core … big disparities remain in what and how students are taught, the materials and technology they use, the preparation of teachers, and the tests they are given … Many school districts discovered they didn’t have enough money to do all they needed to do. Some also found that meeting deadlines to implement the standards was nearly impossible … The new standards required more training and teaching materials than they would otherwise have needed … After a burst of momentum and a significant investment of money and time, the movement for commonality is in disarray … Some states turned to grants from the $4.3 billion federal educational-reform program called Race to the Top to help fund a move to the standards. But now most of that money is spent, leaving school districts to shoulder the continuing costs.”
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What Gets Students Motivated To Work Harder? Not Money

The Conversation

” Rewarding teachers financially for student achievement is an increasingly common practice, despite mixed evidence … Giving kids cash for grades and scores hasn’t proved straightforward either… Adolescents do not respond to incentives in ways that can be easily predicted by economic theory … When students received a certificate of recognition for attending tutoring sessions … the students in the certificate group attended 42.5% more of their allotted tutoring hours … Girls were significantly more responsive to the certificate of recognition than their male counterparts … A student’s effort was not necessarily observable to peers, which could have helped facilitate the positive response. Prior research suggests that the promise of certificates and trophies presented in a class or at a school assembly in front of peers might not necessarily act as a positive incentive … Working with the family to encourage and reward academic behaviors may hold more promise, compared to working directly through school settings where peer pressures and norms play an important role.”
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Study: Black Students – Not Crime – Determine If Schools Get Security

Talking Points Memo

“New research … showed the mere presence of African American students at a school makes it more likely the school will take on security measures, even when controlling for neighborhood crime and school misconduct … The study also found … greater racial disparities in student suspensions and arrests in schools where there are cops present or other security measures are taken. Those arrest and suspensions are believed to contribute to the so-called ‘school-to-prison pipeline’ … ‘In the average school without police, the black-white disparity in arrests was negligible,’ the authors wrote, with black students being 1.3 times more likely than white students. But with police present, African-American students were 2.2 times more likely to be arrested than white students.”
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School Vs. Society In America’s Failing Students

The New York Times

Columnist Eduardo Porter writes, “The rest of American society is failing its disadvantaged citizens even more than we realize. The question is, Should educators be responsible for fixing this? … A report released last week suggest[s] that socioeconomic deficits impose a particularly heavy burden on American schools … The score gap between American students and those in the highest-ranked countries … shrinks by 25% in math and 40% in reading once proper adjustments for gender, age, mother’s education, and books in the home are taken into account … A similar pattern shows up within the United States … There’s the wide disparity in resources devoted to education … There’s the informal tracking that happens when smart children are grouped separately … Teachers are paid poorly … And the best of them are not deployed to the most challenging schools.”
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Category: EON Newsletters

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