Education Opportunity Network

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3/26/2015 – Revisiting A Progressive Education Agenda

THIS WEEK: Will 9 Billionaires Remake NY Public Schools? … Civil Right Complaints Hit Record High … Zeroing Out Zero Tolerance … Hillary Clinton And Progressive Education … Will Progressives Support Public Schools

TOP STORY

Revisiting A Progressive Education Agenda: What’s Happened Since?

By Jeff Bryant

“Two years since we heard multiple calls for a progressive education agenda based on equity of opportunity … what we see instead … is an education policy landscape mired in controversy and fraught with politics. What went wrong?”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

9 Billionaires Are About To Remake New York’s Public Schools – Here’s Their Story

The Nation

“[New York Governor Andrew] Cuomo declared that as governor he would work to enact long-term measures to ‘break’ public education … A few years ago, such blunt threats against public schools … would have been unthinkable. Yet over the last year, a dark-money charter-school advocacy group, Families for Excellent Schools, smashed almost all lobbying records in Albany and a Super PAC, New Yorkers’ for a balanced Albany poured $4.3 million into six Senate races, helping tip the Senate Republican … Several hedge fund–backed organizations have been laying the groundwork for this maneuver for years, even before Cuomo took office. The current push for education reform in New York is not an expression of the vast majority of New York’s parents and children but the result of a five-year-long billionaire hedge-funders’ campaign to realize their own vision for public schools … The hedge-fund community’s fervent advocacy of the charter-school movement reflects its neoliberal social vision.”
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Civil Rights Complaints To U.S. Department Of Education Reach A Record High

The Washington Post

“Attorneys and investigators in the civil rights office have seen their workloads double since 2007, and the number of unresolved cases mushroom, as complaints have poured in from around the country about students from kindergarten through college facing discrimination on the basis of race, sex and disabilities … Complaints of discrimination to the department have soared … There was no single category of grievance that accounted for the rise in complaints. But a breakdown of agency statistics show that the category of sex discrimination has grown from 391 in 2010 to 2,354 in 2014.”
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Zeroing Out Zero Tolerance

The Atlantic

“Massive districts are rejuvenating the ‘whole-child’ approach integral to what’s known as ‘progressive education’ – a model that was once viewed as incompatible with urban school systems … Many of the country’s schools are a long way off from enjoying the values typical of progressive education … The nation’s schools since 2009 have, on average, reported an annual suspension rate of 10 percent, the highest it’s ever been … In some charter-school networks … nearly a third of students are suspended annually … It turns out that there are plenty of options, and that’s where progressive education steps in … Progressive schools deemphasized testing and discipline, replacing those practices with student-driven, hands-on learning; collaboration among schools and families; and social-emotional well-being … Evidence demonstrating their benefits has been largely anecdotal … But now that large school districts are adopting similar practices, however, clearer evidence is emerging.”
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Hillary Clinton Caught Between Dueling Forces On Education: Teachers And Wealthy Donors

The New York Times

“The last time she ran for president, Hillary Rodham Clinton did not have to take a position on the Common Core, Race to the Top or teacher evaluations in tenure decisions … Now, as she prepares for a likely second run at the White House, Mrs. Clinton … is re-entering the fray … She is being pulled in opposite directions on education. The pressure is from not only the teachers … but also from a group of wealthy and influential Democratic financiers who staunchly support many of the same policies – charter schools and changes to teacher tenure and testing – that the teachers’ unions have resisted … The growing pressure on education points out a deeper problem that Mrs. Clinton will have to contend with repeatedly, at least until the Iowa caucuses: On a number of divisive domestic issues that flared up during the Obama administration – trade pacts, regulation of Wall Street, tax policy – she will face dueling demands from centrists and the liberal base of the Democratic Party.”
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When Will ‘Progressives’ Defend Public Education?

Living In Dialogue

Former public school teacher and public education activist Anthony Cody writes on his personal blog, “This morning I opened my email to find a message from ‘Bold Progressives,’ who exist to rally support for Democratic Party candidates willing to fight for real change … The message was a survey from the ‘Progressive Change Campaign Committee,’ asking if I thought Hillary Clinton should face a primary challenge … There is no mention of K12 education. No mention of the issues confronting public schools, the attempts to privatize, voucherize and charterize our schools. No mention of school closures in African American and Latino neighborhoods. No mention of assaults on teacher unions and due process rights. No mention of the test obsession destroying the quality of education in our schools, leading students to walk out by the thousands. Will we go through another election where Republicans rail at the ‘public school monopoly,’ and Democrats say virtually nothing? … I reached out to the Bold Progressives after posting this, and their representative has responded positively. I invited them to send a representative to the Network for Public Education conference in Chicago in April. There is a lot of common ground to build upon. ”
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Category: EON Newsletters

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