Education Opportunity Network

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6/11/2015 – Education Policy Descends Into A Sad Proxy Battle

THIS WEEK: Many States Screw Poor Kids On School Funding … The Truth About Graduation Rates … Saving Charter Schools … Shoddy School Infrastructure Hurts Learning … Poor Schools Get More Inexperienced Teachers

TOP STORY

Education Policy Descends Into A Sad Proxy Battle

By Jeff Bryant

“As the policy battle over mandatory testing is waged across the nation, new evidence of a real civil rights concern is being completely ignored by federal leaders and the policy elite in Washington, DC … And what really matters in education policy continues to take a back seat to a sad and ineffectual proxy battle over testing … Our more disadvantaged students are worse off for it.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

Inequitable School Funding Called ‘One Of The Sleeper Civil Rights Issues Of Our Time’

The Washington Post

“A Funding for public education in most states is inadequate and inequitable, creating a huge obstacle for the nation’s growing number of poor children … In most states school districts in wealthy areas spend as much or more per pupil than districts with high concentrations of poverty … Just 15 states had school funding systems that funnel more resources to students in poor districts than those in affluent districts … The remaining states either devote the same funding to the poorest and richest districts, or they send more to districts serving the most affluent students … Many students in the poorest districts come to school hungry, are in need of health care or lack a stable home life. Such children generally are considered more expensive to educate.”
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The Truth About America’s Graduation Rate

NPR

“Graduation rates have been rising since 2002 … We identified three major ways that states and districts try to improve their graduation rates … Stepping in early to keep kids on track … Lowering the bar by offering alternate and easier routes … Gaming the system by moving likely dropouts off the books, transferring or misclassifying them … Texas is tied with a few other states with the second-highest graduation rate in the country: 88% … But that figure excludes lots of students – more than 50,000 … The Chicago district is misclassifying hundreds of students who enroll at alternative schools … by saying they left the district … All these strategies – good, bad and ambiguous – raise the question: What does a high school diploma mean?”
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Saving The Charter School Movement From Itself

Aljazeera America

Century Foundation fellow Amy Dean writes, “Advocates of charter schools argue that they are innovative laboratories of experimentation. But … policies that led to the creation of these schools have been used to advance a political agenda … If the charter school movement is going to play the positive role in education reform that it was supposed to, it will have to do three things: restore its commitment to public accountability for public resources, support increased funding across the system, and respect the rights of teachers … We risk further fragmenting our education system, increasing the inequities of our school funding and foreclosing on the dream of a free and quality education for all.”
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If You Build It, They’ll Learn Better

US New & World Report

A senior fellow for the Center for American Progress writes, “Many students attend inadequate, outdated school buildings … Even seemingly minor issues like weak air quality can lower achievement … Students from low-income families often get the short end of the infrastructure stick … Low-income districts often get less money from the state, and they have less wealth to tax locally. It can also be challenging for low-income districts to get their communities to support the school bonds that help fund infrastructure projects … The federal government should start collecting data on the current state of our nation’s buildings … make targeted investments … look at states like Massachusetts, which have created a ‘pay-as-you-build’ system that can lower expenditures and shore-up local support for building projects.”
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Ed. Dept.: Poorest Districts Have More Trainee Teachers

Education Week

“Teachers in high-poverty school districts were about twice as likely to still be learning the ropes as teachers working in the flushest districts in 2011-12 … States reported that 1.5 percent of public school teachers are still completing their preparation – but are nevertheless considered ‘highly qualified’ under federal law … Assuming 25 students in each of the interns’ classes, these teachers are reaching about 800,000 students … Under that 2002 regulation, teachers in alternative-preparation programs – typically career-changers or those in programs like Teach For America – were permitted to be deemed ‘highly qualified’ … even though they were still being prepared.”
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Category: EON Newsletters

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