Education Opportunity Network

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6/25/2015 – Lessons From New Orleans Education Reform

THIS WEEK: Walmart’s Charter Schools … Achievement Gap Forms Very Early … DC Achievement Gap Persists … Teen Health A Huge Factor … US House Budget Bill Cuts Education


Lessons To Be Learned From New Orleans Style Education Reform

By Jeff Bryant

“As the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches, you can count on seeing a lot of glowing stories about the great education progress made in New Orleans … You should be very suspicious of this marketing campaign … To those people who initially backed the plan for NOLA school reform – but who demurred from becoming blatant propagandists for it – there now appears to be a sense of frustration and disappointment with a realization that there’s a long way to go before this product should go to market.”
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Walton Foundation-Funded Charter Schools Marred By Fiscal Mismanagement


“The Walton Family Foundation’s billion-dollar effort to create a parallel school system – charter schools mostly funded by tax dollars … has become known for a stunning lack of transparency and accountability … The foundation has ties to 1,500 of the charter school across the country. It gives more than $200 million a year to a range of charter school initiatives … This business model and intentionally disruptive mindset has led to foundation spending that has not only fueled the rapid growth of unregulated charters … but also “hundreds of millions of dollars in fraud, mismanagement and poor oversight … Even though the Walton Family Foundation does not publish independent audits, its fast and loose education strategy has left a stunning trail of … mismanagement, financial fraud, lawsuits blocking accountability to state governments – as well as a record of anti-democratic education practices, from cherry-picking students to fighting efforts to help poorer students.”
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Young Children Held Back By Social Class, Study Finds

Education Week

“Children enter kindergarten with academic and ‘soft skills’ gaps that can be linked directly to their socioeconomic status… Race-based gaps in skills such as reading, math, eagerness to learn, persistence, and focus shrink significantly when socioeconomic status is taken into account … About 46% of black children live in poverty … 63% of Hispanic ELLs live in poverty … Closing the wide disparities will require a two-pronged approach … Disadvantaged families need more access to programs such as home visiting, high-quality child care, and preschool … Stronger policies also have to be implemented that cut down on the number of poor people.”
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Despite Progress, D.C. Students Are Still Not Up To Par, Report Says

The Washington Post

“The 2007 Public Education Reform Amendment Act created a governance structure for education in the city that gave the chancellor unprecedented freedom to implement reforms. It also helped pave the way for the city’s charter schools to grow … 7 years after the reforms took root, the District’s poor and minority students are still far less likely to have a quality teacher in their classrooms, perform at grade level, and graduate from high school in four years. Although performance on standardized tests has improved for all groups, the city’s academic achievement gap has not diminished.”
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Unhealthy Teens Face College And Job Obstacles

Live Science

“Being in poor health as a teenager can have a long-term influence on someone’s educational and job opportunities in adulthood … Teens with either mental health or chronic physical health conditions were less likely to graduate high school or finish college, and were more likely to be unemployed or have lower-income jobs … Teens with mental health problems fared worse than those with physical health issues in terms of economic and academic outcomes … Teens with mental health conditions were more than twice as likely to not complete high school compared with healthy teens … Schools should think of their students’ health as part of the institution’s core business.”
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House Bill Slices Billions From Education And Health

Center On Budget And Policy Priorities

CBPP Senior Policy Consultant David Reich writes, “The 2016 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill from a House subcommittee cuts funding $3.7 billion below the 2015 level, with its cuts particularly targeted to education and to some health programs … The Department of Education absorbs two-thirds of the bill’s cuts, receiving $2.5 billion less for 2016 than for 2015. The bill eliminates some programs entirely, including grants for improving math and science education and programs to improve school safety. While the bill boosts special education by roughly $500 million, it provides no increase for ‘Title I’ grants to school districts – the basic federal program that assists schools in educating disadvantaged children – leaving that program with less funding than six years earlier… The bill adds $192 million to Head Start (a 2.2% increase). But, because it eliminates the Education Department’s Preschool Development Grants program (funded at $250 million in 2015), the result is a net drop in funding for early childhood education.”
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Category: EON Newsletters

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