6/25/2013 – An Education Reset

THIS WEEK:Wealth Gap = Opportunity Gap … Why Schools Are Broke … School Funding Ignorance … Positive Alternative To Suspensions … 5 Questions For NCLB Reauthorization … Strike Student Debt


Time To Reset The Education Agenda

By Jeff Bryant

“The uprising has not gone unnoticed by people at the centers of policy, power, and opinion in Washington, D.C. In the U.S. Department of Education, the halls of Congress, and the meeting rooms of think tanks and foundations, uncertainly, impasse, and calls for a new direction are now the order of the day … What’s needed is a reset for education that can transition us from the tumult of today to real progress for our children’s future.”
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In School, The Wealth Gap Takes The Form Of The Opportunity Gap


In an interview with Kai Ryssdal, Stanford professor Prudence Carter explains, “Children are not getting the same opportunities in life … Yet, we’re expecting children regardless of their backgrounds to get to the same level of achievement … The issue isn’t just about leveling the playing field out of fairness. It makes economic sense … Starting from age 18, we lose upwards of about $160 billion over the course of their lifetime in lost revenue, economic productivity … We actually lose more than $600 billion socially because of some of the consequences of not having educated them.”
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Why Our Schools Are Broke: Five Years of Corporate State Tax Avoidance


“2011-12 tax data from the SEC filings of 155 of the largest U.S. corporations … 155 companies paid just 1.8% of their total income in state taxes, and 3.6% of their declared U.S. income. The average required rate for the 50 states is 6.56% … The 2011-12 underpayment for just 155 top-earning companies is about $14 billion per year.… Schools are deemed to be ‘not working,’ and a frantic rush toward privatization leads to even more tax cuts for the business interests charged with the responsibility of ‘fixing’ the broken system. But rarely are we informed that it’s our self-serving business and political leaders who broke the system.”
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Stop School-Funding Ignorance Now! A Philadelphia Story

School Finance 101

Rutgers University professor Bruce Baker writes, “To callously assert that the problems faced by Philly schools are primarily if not entirely a function of local mismanagement – and that someone somewhere has actually been trying to “prop” the district up – displays a baffling degree of willful ignorance … Pennsylvania has among the least equitable state school finance systems in the country, and Philly bears the brunt of that system. Pennsylvania’s school finance system is actually designed in ways that divert needed funding away from higher need districts like Philadelphia. And Pennsylvania’s school finance system has created numerous perverse incentives regarding charter school funding, also to Philly’s disadvantage.”
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Lincoln High School in Walla Walla, WA, Tries New Approach To School Discipline – Suspensions Drop 85%

The Huffington Post

“U.S. schools suspend millions of kids … 95% were categorized as ‘disruptive behavior’ and ‘other’… These suspensions don’t work for schools … They don’t work for the kids who get kicked out … Until a school helps kids learn how to control their emotions, they’ll just keep losing it … Kids need adults they can count on, who they know will not hurt them, and who are there to help them learn these new skills.”
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Five Questions As NCLB Reauthorization Moves Forward

Education Week

Veteran education journalist observes the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind legislation and notes, “The bill that just passed the Senate education committee with only support from Democrats is about as close to the administration’s vision as anything that we’ve seen in Congress so far … but the president, and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan haven’t exactly been rushing for the cheerleading pom-poms, at least publicly … Most organizations representing practitioners aren’t exactly jumping for joy over these bills … It’ll be a whole new ball game if vouchers get added during floor action. The handful of education groups that were in will likely jump right out … there are going to be some conservatives who will vote against any bill that keeps the Department of Education’s doors open … An open debate on an issue everyone cares about could eat up a ton of floor time, and the schedule for this year is pretty packed.”
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Strike Student Debt, Not Just Interest Rates


“Congress is talking about how to fix student debt … This is like arguing about how to save a person drowning in a lake by quibbling over how deep the water should be … This has to end. Here’s how it can … Eliminate all outstanding student debt … Make education a public good again … Zero-interest, shared-risk loans to attend private colleges … Complete fiscal transparency at all universities, public & private.”
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