Education Opportunity Network

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4/30/2014 – The Magic Education Metric

THIS WEEK: Real Benefits Of Pre-K … Resistance To Common Core … School Privatization Hurts Poor Kids … Crackdown On Teacher Prep … Student Debt Hurts Entire Economy


The Pursuit Of The Magic Education Metric

By Jeff Bryant

“There is a belief that education policy is adrift unless there is a simplistic metric –’rating systems’ or grades – that make it easily discernable to people in state capitals and the bowels of think tanks and federal buildings in DC whether schools are delivering adequate education services to children in the hinterlands … Education is a public investment that needs to be held accountable in a transparent manner. No one is against that. But that doesn’t excuse the application of simplistic measures that are proving to be questionable if not downright erroneous. Education advocates who want to make student test scores the basis for guiding education policy in all forms are not in any way disturbed by that.”
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Everything We Know About Early Childhood Has Changed Since Head Start

The Atlantic

“From their very beginnings, preschool programs were developed specifically as interventions to help lower-income children … There were benefits to Head Start participation that didn’t show up on achievement tests – and those appeared promising. Head Start students ended up being held back less often when they moved onto elementary and middle school, and they had fewer referrals for special education … This insight – that teaching children how to learn can be just as important as the content of what they learn – has been one of two key developments in the area of early interventions … At a time when even Georgia and Oklahoma, two deep-red states, are funding expanded pre-K as a way of preventing much larger costs down the road, bolstering very young children might be one of the few policy initiatives with the potential to break the endemic standoff between the parties.”
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Resistance To The Common Core Mounts

Education Week

“The common core has drawn criticism from both the political left and right, though much of it seems aimed not so much at what the standards say, but rather who drove their adoption or the tests and accountability policies connected with them … Lawmakers in roughly 15 states … have introduced legislation during their current sessions to repeal the standards or replace them with other standards … Union leaders and other progressives … have been decrying what they see as a lack of preparation and resources for teachers as the standards are carried out … Many common-core foes appear to be animated in part by the idea that they are lined up against powerful forces supporting the standards … Specific messages from conservatives about problems with the standards aren’t always warmly welcomed by liberals and vice versa. The lack of alignment in their agendas may hamstring efforts to build a more effective push against the common core.”
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Scathing Report Finds Rocketship, School Privatization Hurt Poor Kids

The Progressive

A new report from the Economic Policy Institute finds, “A popular chain of charter schools called Rocketship … the fastest growing, and most profitable sector of the charter school industry … provides a stripped-down program of study with a heavy focus on standardized tests … Because of its extraordinarily high teacher turnover (the chain relies heavily on Teach for America volunteers), its large classes, and reductive curriculum, Rocketship subjects kids most in need of consistent, nurturing, adult attention to low-quality instruction and neglect. That model, which is also on display in Milwaukee’s low-performing voucher schools, is demonstrably harmful to kids. But it has generated big profits for wealthy investors … Corporate lobbyists and their allies pushing school privatization are manufacturing failure for poor communities in a broad, coordinated way, including ‘the dominant role of corporate lobbies in promotion of online learning and privately run charter schools.'”
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Barack Obama Cracks Down On Poor Teacher Training


“The Obama administration plans to use tens of millions in federal financial aid as leverage to reward teacher training programs that produce teachers who routinely raise student test scores … Traditional education schools are especially uneasy about the drive to hold them accountable for how well their graduates’ students perform on standardized exams … Formulas for measuring how much ‘value’ a teacher adds to a student’s test scores are complex and often carry a sizable margin of error … Despite such complications … Obama wants student test scores, or other measures of student growth, to figure heavily into states’ evaluations of teacher prep programs.”
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When Millenials Can’t Move Out of Their Parents’ Basements the Entire Economy Suffers

New Republic

“Could the way we finance higher education in America be sucking the vitality out of the economy, digging an entire generation a hole from which they cannot escape? … While weak wages and high unemployment for young people explains much of the problem, an analysis from the New York Fed offers compelling evidence for the role of student debt … This leads to a reduction in household formation, one of our most unsung economic indicators … A ‘kids living in the basement’ economy simply has no vigor … There’s no question that the finances of college graduates are more strained now than at practically any point in our history … If the Great Delay persists, it will handicap millennials for decades to come.”
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Category: EON Newsletters

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