Education Opportunity Network

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7/9/2015 – State Governments Continue An Assault On Public Schools

THIS WEEK: Texas’ Skewed Version Of History … Every Child Achieves Act … Better Discipline Measures … School Choices Spurs Disruption … Philly Schools A ‘Health Threat’

TOP STORY

State Governments Continue An Assault On Public Schools

By Jeff Bryant

“Despite generally favorable, although modest, improvements in state revenue collections and budget growth … political leaders in many states are struggling to pass budgets, often because funding education is the biggest impediment … Some of the individual actions these state governments are taking are just atrocious … To break political impasses, state lawmakers should consider proposals that reflect the entire repertoire of potential measures available to governing bodies … School children everywhere need political leaders to come through for their sake.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

Texas Officials: Schools Should Teach That Slavery Was ‘Side Issue’ To Civil War

The Washington Post

“Five million public school students in Texas will begin using new social studies textbooks this fall based on state academic standards that barely address racial segregation … When it comes to the Civil War, children are supposed to learn that the conflict was caused by ‘sectionalism, states’ rights and slavery’ – written deliberately in that order to telegraph slavery’s secondary role … Slavery was a ‘side issue to the Civil War,’ said Pat Hardy, a Republican board member … Historians acknowledge that disagreements over states’ rights played a role in the Civil War. But the states’ rights issue was inseparable from slavery … Nearly half of Americans – 48% – believe that states’ rights was the main cause of the war, compared to 38% who said the main cause was slavery.”
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Leonie Haimson: Setting The Record Straight About The Every Child Achieves Act

Diane Ravitch’s Blog

At the personal blogsite of education historian Diane Ravitch, founder and president of Class Size Matters Leonie Haimson says, “For nearly 13 years, students have suffered under the high-stakes testing regime of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) … The bi-partisan bill to be debated this week in the Senate, called ECAA, or Every Child Achieves Act … represents a critical step forward … It expressly bars the feds from requiring or even incentivizing states to adopt any particular set of standards … It would also bar the feds from requiring that teachers be judged by student test scores, which is not only statistically unreliable according to most experts, but also damaging to the quality of education kids receive … The bill would prevent the feds from imposing any particular school improvement strategy or mandating which schools need improvement – now based simplistically on test scores … ECAA … deserves the support of every parent and teacher.”
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What If Everything You Knew About Disciplining Kids Was Wrong?

Mother Jones

“How we deal with the most challenging kids remains rooted in B.F. Skinner’s mid-20th-century philosophy that human behavior is determined by consequences and bad behavior must be punished … Contemporary psychological studies suggest that, far from resolving children’s behavior problems, these standard disciplinary methods often exacerbate them … Remarkable research that is starting to revolutionize discipline from juvenile jails to elementary schools … Results thus far have been dramatic, with schools reporting drops as great as 80% in disciplinary referrals, suspensions, and incidents of peer aggression.”
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Thousands Move In And Out Of Schools During The Year, Creating Disruptions

The Washington Post

“More than 10,000 students transferred into or out of the District [of Columbia]’s public schools during the 2013-2014 school year, a massive ebb and flow that experts say is linked to lower achievement and faltering graduation rates … Dozens of schools in the District gained or lost the equivalent of 10% of their enrollment… The District also is a national leader in school choice, with 44 percent of students enrolled in public charter schools and a lottery system that allows students to enroll in traditional schools throughout the city. Policies that allow for expansive school choice – which communities across the country are beginning to embrace – are intended to improve educational opportunities. But some say they have an unintended consequence … Traditional schools bear the brunt of mid-year turnover. Many charter schools do not admit students after the beginning of the school year, while neighborhood schools are required to enroll students at any point.”
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Controller: City Schools A Health Threat

The Philadelphia Enquirer

“In a sweep of Philadelphia public schools, investigators from the City Controller’s Office found a litany of health and safety threats … Water damage was discovered at 95% of schools visited, he said. In some bathrooms, cockroaches were found on floors, and toilets perpetually had waste in them … Electrical hazards were found at 70% of schools visited, according to the report, while fire hazards were found at 75% … The report … underscores the need for more school funding … The city’s teachers’ union has long sounded an alarm over physical conditions inside schools.”
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Category: EON Newsletters

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