Education Opportunity Network

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3/15/2018 – Why Public Schools Have Become The Epicenter Of Rebellion

THIS WEEK: After The School Walkouts … What Stops School Shootings … Teacher Strikes Spread … Trump Hurts Kids… DeVos On 60 Minutes


Why Public Schools Have Become The Epicenter Of Rebellion

By Jeff Bryant

“Striking public school educators in West Virginia overcame all odds in getting lawmakers to agree to a five-percent pay raise and a realistic commitment from the state to address a broken public employee health insurance program … This shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who’s been paying attention. Public school communities – students, teachers, parents, and citizens – have seen their institutions targeted with deeper budget cuts, greater inequities in the system, harsher penalties for ‘underperforming’ on arbitrary standards, and deadlier gun violence. Is it any wonder that these constituents are starting to stand up and say they’ve had enough?”
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School Walkouts Were Just The Beginning Of Students’ Activism On Gun Violence


“Students from New York to Nashville to San Francisco walked out of school at 10 a.m. to commemorate the one-month anniversary of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in which 17 people were killed, and to push for gun reform … Several more nationwide, student-led rallies are planned to keep attention on the issue and press for legislative action … Beyond the national rallies, some student groups have begun planning further actions at the local level.”
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Thwarted School Shooting Plans Don’t Get Much Attention. Here’s How That Affects School Safety Debates.

Education Week

“Schools, parents, and law enforcement agencies regularly intervene before would-be shooters attack schools, but those thwarted plans understandably don’t get the same level of coverage as mass shootings. And the resulting imbalance in discussions can affect the debate over how to keep schools safe … Focusing largely on successful attacks can make them seem inevitable, turning conversations toward physical safety measures – like security hardware and armed officers … Experts say school safety is also about ‘invisible’ prevention measures … Awareness of effective prevention is important when schools and policymakers debate ways to keep students safe.”
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Teacher Unrest Spreads to Oklahoma, Where Educators Are “Desperate for a Solution”

The Intercept

“Increasing momentum for a strike in Oklahoma comes as a strike by West Virginia teachers … reached a deal … to raise all state employee salaries … Oklahoma’s 42,000 teachers make even less than their West Virginian counterparts; in 2016, the average Oklahoma teacher earned $45,276, a salary lower than that of teachers in every state except Mississippi. With no pay increases for Sooner State teachers in a decade, educators have been leaving for greener pastures … when times are tough for teachers, times are also tough for students … Strikes by Oklahoma school employees are technically illegal, but educators have found a legal work-around. If school districts shut down, then that’s a work stoppage that doesn’t involve teachers walking off the job. Many superintendents across the state have already come out in support of closing down schools if the teachers decide to move forward with their strike.”
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A New Report Shows How Trump’s Immigration Crackdown Hurts Kids In School

Mother Jones

“Teachers and school staff across the country say they’re seeing a deeply negative impact on many of their students who worry they’ll go home to find loved ones missing … They’re observing emotional and behavioral problems, as well as missed classes and increased fears and anxieties among immigrant students, defined as those with immigrants in their families … Schools … in the South – those in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, and Texas – were more likely to see problems than in other regions … Two-third of educators noticed that concerns about immigration were having an indirect effect even on non-immigrant students, meaning they showed anxiety and concern about immigration or that they expressed worry about their friends’ immigration statuses.”
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Betsy DeVos’s ‘Shining Example’—A Charter Closed for Poor Performance

The Progressive

Jeff Bryant writes, “In the much-written-about 60 Minutes interview of U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos … DeVos said, ‘I have not intentionally visited schools that are underperforming.’ But DeVos has visited an underperforming school – only she called it a ‘a shining example.’ The school, which will be closed at the end of the school year due to poor academic performance, was the Excel Academy Public Charter School, an all-girls charter in Washington, DC … Obviously, she didn’t know about the school’s academic performance then, and doesn’t know about it now. I would also contend she doesn’t care. Excel Academy impressed DeVos not because of what it does but because of what it is (or was). When DeVos says ‘options,’ what she really means is “alternatives” to public schools which she has ridiculed as a ‘dead end’… she really means is that there is no place in her worldview for the communal enterprise we know as public education. The sooner her critics get this, the better able they’ll be to convey the real danger she represents to the nation.”
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Category: EON Newsletters

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