Education Opportunity Network

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2/11/2014 – False Compromises In The Education Debate

THIS WEEK: School Funding Is Unfair … Republicans Play The Charter School Card … Millennial Unemployment Climbs … Skills Gap Myth … Warren Blasts Billion-Dollar Student Loan Profits


Why False Compromises Won’t Resolve The Education Debate

By Jeff Bryant

“In the much-contested issue of ‘education reform,’ only one of the disputing parties in the debate tends to be implored to seek compromise … Maybe what ‘traditional public schools’ face is not so much a gentleman’s dispute as it is an existential threat. Signs abound that public school increasingly find themselves pressed to the ropes by opposing forces fed by an extremist ideology bent on privatizing the system. What doesn’t help at all is the seemingly compliant leadership currently in power in many places and the throngs of Very Serious People on the sidelines who scold public school supporters for not making nice with their determined and uncompromising opponents.”
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State-By-State Report Card Unearths Inequities In School Funding

Education Week

“Is school funding fair? A report by that name was released this week. And it answered its own question with a resounding ‘no’ … The authors find that school funding was flat between 2010 and 2011, with about half the states making cuts and 14 spending less in 2011 than in 2007, even without adjusting for inflation … Most states did not allot more money for high-poverty districts, where report authors contend that students have higher needs … All but three states spent a smaller percentage of their GDP on education in 2011.”
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Republican Gubernatorial Campaigns Play The Charter School Card

Nonprofit Quarterly

“[Virginia congressman and House minority whip Eric] Cantor’s criticism of [New York City mayor Bill] de Blasio on charter schools reflects new Republican strategy to soften the party’s image and win votes on a platform of school choice, including strong identification with and support of charter schools … Republicans across the country are following the … model of education policy campaigning: Align with both nonprofit and for-profit charter schools, tout their innovativeness, and don’t mention much or anything about the issues of funding and support for traditional public schools … Showing up with cameras at IDEA and KIPP [charter schools] is about getting votes … Republicans particularly see this as a strategy to appeal to Latinos … This new charter school strategy by multiple Republican gubernatorial candidates isn’t just serendipitous. It is a conscious strategy – kinder, gentler, and kid-focused – for a Republican Party that generally has not supported the strengthening of public schools.”
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Millennials Face Uphill Climb

The Wall Street Journal

“The on-ramp to adulthood is delayed and harder to reach for young people today, a reality that is changing the country’s society and economy, according to a new report … The study found that on average, young workers are now 30 years old when they first earn a median-wage income … The labor-force participation rate for young people last year declined to its lowest point in about 40 years … The decline in employment among young people mirrors a drop among the broader population … Even workers in the prime of their professional lives are less likely to work today than a decade ago … The study also found that older adults are delaying retirement to work longer and reap the benefits of larger salaries.”
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The ‘Skills Gap’ Is A Convenient Myth

Truth Out

“Politicians of both parties echo this refrain. ‘Businesses cannot find workers with the right skills’ … Such bipartisan agreement is reflected in budget priorities … A host of academic studies have debunked the notion … When skilled slots do go unfilled, it’s because employers seek high-value workers at discount rates … There are still many more unemployed Americans, across every sector of our economy, than there are positions to put them in … While employers bemoan a skills gap, they’re not putting up their own money to close it. Just the opposite. Manufacturers provide far less on-the-job training than they once did … Employers have also used state-funded training programs to ensure that workers with the wrong kind of experience – that is, a union background – are kept out of their plants.”
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US Mass. Senator Blasts Profits On Student Loans

Boston Globe

“U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren said Saturday she is shocked that the federal government is earning an estimated $66 billion in profits from student loans originated between 2007 and 2012 … A previous Congressional Budget Office report estimated that the government will pocket an additional $185 billion in profits on new student loans made over the next 10 years. ‘This is obscene,’ Warren said … Warren and eight other U.S. senators committed to wring government profits out of student loans and address a $1.2 trillion in outstanding student loan debt they say is crushing families and putting a strain on the economy … She has filed what she calls a ‘skin-in-the-game bill’ that tries to pressure colleges to keep costs down for students and ensure they get a meaningful diploma when they graduate.”
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Category: EON Newsletters

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