Education Opportunity Network

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2/19/2013 – When Being ‘For The Kids’ Really Isn’t

THIS WEEK: Pre-K And Wealth Redistribution … Effects Of Disadvantaged Students … Guards Outnumber Educators … Big Fights Over Tests … Value Of High School Exit Exams

TOP STORY

When Being ‘For The Kids’ Doesn’t Do Much Good

By Jeff Bryant

“Much in the same way policy leaders have resorted to duck-and-cover drills as a way put the responsibility of school violence on children, our youngest citizens are being commanded to take on the problems of widespread poverty by making it a personal task to succeed academically despite all odds … As more of these remedies for ratcheting down on students’ schoolwork roll out, too few leaders at the top question what has been produced, and when does reform become abuse.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

How Universal Pre-K Could Redistribute Wealth – Right Here, Right Now

The Nation

“Something’s being lost in the battle of the pre-K plans … The problem that universal pre-K programs address is not simply the need for more enriching early childhood education. The bigger problem is the huge and growing gap between the rich and everyone else … [New York City Mayor Bill] de Blasio’s plan, in particular, is designed to exert a more certain and immediate impact on inequality by offering relief to ordinary working parents … and asking the city’s most prosperous residents to pay for it … The mayor’s plan also includes universal afterschool for middle schoolers, filling another urgent need for non-rich New York families … Nationally, imposing a financial transactions tax and dedicating the revenues to a universal pre-K and childcare program … would be a huge boon to working mothers, and it would even make a dent in the gender pay gap … The economic benefits of such an investment will be felt long before any that may arise from a spike in poor kids’ future earnings.”
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Disadvantaged Children Can Hurt Achievement Of Others In Their Classrooms, Study Finds

The Washington Post

“Large numbers of low-income children who begin formal schooling with many disadvantages … not only struggle with schoolwork but hurt the achievement of other children in their classrooms … In schools with a high concentration of children with “risk factors,” the academic performance of all children – not just those with disadvantages – was negatively affected … [The] research suggests that the national movement that holds schools accountable by tracking the academic performance of children by subgroups … may be too blunt and doesn’t recognize that ‘at risk’ students can affect their peers. A better approach to accountability would be to target support and interventions to certain ‘at risk’ children, so that the entire school could benefit.”
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One Nation Under Guard

The New York Times

“Another dubious first for America: We now employ as many private security guards as high school teachers … That’s just a small fraction of what we call ‘guard labor’: … a total of 5.2 million workers in 2011. That is a far larger number than we have of teachers at all levels. What is happening in America today is both unprecedented in our history, and virtually unique among Western democratic nations … It seems to go along with economic inequality.”
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A Fight Is Brewing Over Tests In The Common Core

The Washington Post

“Educators are questioning the purpose of testing, lawmakers in several states are pushing back against federal regulations, and a momentous standoff between California – the state with the largest number of public school students – and the Obama administration looms … Forty-five states and the District of Columbia are teaching math and reading differently as a result of new academic standards … But the accompanying standardized tests won’t be ready until next year. That leaves states in a bind … Teachers and administrators are particularly alarmed because student test scores on standardized tests are increasingly used to make decisions that reward or punish schools and educators … But the Obama administration will not back down from the requirement that every state test every student in certain grades, even if that means giving old tests that don’t match the current curriculum.”
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Study Finds Years in School Matter More Than High School Diploma

Education Week

“According to the findings of a recent study, two academically similar groups of 12th graders ended up earning virtually the same amount of money even though one group had passed their high school exit exams and the other group had failed … The study’s authors suggest that employers may rely on … other information rather than distinguishing those who have earned a high school diploma versus, say, a certificate of completion. The findings also suggest that schooling and the ability to remain in school are more meaningful than merely possessing the high school diploma credential … Although the exams themselves were not the focus of this study, the findings do raise questions about the validity of denying diplomas to students who scored just below the cutoff point … For students who are more academically inclined, the lack of a high school diploma would have made it difficult to earn postsecondary degrees, which are associated with higher earnings.”
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Category: EON Newsletters

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