Education Opportunity Network

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6/19/2014 – Dirty Secret In The Education Wars

THIS WEEK: Breaking The School-To-Prison Pipeline … Business Leaders Don’t Know Education … Schools Hit In Recovery … Tests Are For Profits … How To Stop College Debt


Dirty Secret In The Education Wars: Money Matters

By Jeff Bryant

“The dirty, little secret in America’s education wars is that spending more money on schools is what most people really want – and for good reason, because it really tends to help. Yet what we’ve been seeing in a ‘reform’ agenda that has dominated the debate is an emphasis on anything else but.”
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Breaking The School-To-Prison Pipeline: Rethinking ‘Zero Tolerance’

The American Prospect

“The first federal measure to implement ‘zero tolerance’ in schools was the Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994 … Districts expanded on Congress’s obligatory punishments to include possession of drugs and alcohol; many began to require one- or ten-day suspensions for minor offenses like cursing or lying to an administrator. The suspension rate soared 87 percent between 1973 and 2006 … Even as most school districts across the country were cracking down in the mid-1990s, a different approach was being tried in Minnesota … As Minnesota’s pilots showed promising results, social-justice groups started pushing for restorative justice … Restorative-justice programs don’t cost a lot to implement … but they do require schools to have sufficient staff. The support staff on which the programs rely – counselors, assistant principals, restorative-justice coordinators – are often the first to go when budget cuts hit.”
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Business Leaders Lack Knowledge About K-12, Superintendents Say

Education Week

“Just 3% of school superintendents rate business leaders as ‘well-informed’ about public education, and 14% of the survey respondents say corporate leaders are actually misinformed … 95% of superintendents say that businesses are involved in their schools, according to the survey. By a nearly 3-to-1 margin, business efforts to donate money and goods and to support individual students outnumbered deeper engagement … 90% of superintendents who responded to the nationally representative survey believe that business’ engagement leads to a positive impact on education – although only 10% say the impact of that involvement has been evaluated.”
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Public Schools Are Hurting More in the Recovery Than in the Recession


“The slow economic recovery is taking a toll on the nation’s public schools… And school districts around the country have used them to hire thousands of foreign teachers … Total school funding fell in 2012 for the first time since 1977 … Adjusting for inflation and growth in student enrollment, spending fell every year from 2010 to 2012, even as costs for health care, pension plans, and special education programs continued to rise faster than inflation … Nearly 90 percent of big-city school districts spent less per student in 2012 than when the recession ended in 2009… The cuts are increasingly hitting classrooms directly.”
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Why Pearson Tests Our Kids

The Huffington Post

Education blogger Alan Singer writes, “‘Pearson Personalized Learning’ is not about supporting schools; it is about replacing them. And it is about replacing them without any evidence that their products work or any concern for the impact of their products on schools and student learning … Everything is actually organized around the Pearson goal of ‘finding business models for affordable schools’ … If you want to know how Pearson plans to operate, you have to look at McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm … The main job of McKinsey is to help companies maintain profitability by closing subsidies, selling assets, shifting production, and laying off workers … A fair question to ask is, do we want the business model that led to the Eron scam and these other corporate disasters employed in operating American schools?”
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College Is Ruining Lives! How To Stop Student Debt’s Paralyzing Spiral


“Wrangling over student loans and interest rates and refinancing obscures the long-term vision – public colleges and universities should be free to attend. Or at least as close to free as possible … This idea is not far-fetched … That’s the long-term vision. In the meantime, there’s a seemingly small fix that would significantly relieve student debt burdens and reduce defaults: eliminating the student loan servicer middleman … There is no real need to subcontract out monthly payment collection of direct student loans to servicers … The Education Department’s contracts with student loan servicers expire this month. Instead of renegotiating the terms of the contract, another one of the president’s executive orders … the government should cancel its contracts with the company formerly known as Sallie Mae, now called Navient.”
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Category: EON Newsletters

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