Education Opportunity Network

Education Opportunity Network -

5/24/2018 – Will Teacher Uprisings Change Democrats?

THIS WEEK: DeVos Wants Religious Schools … DeVos Unleashes ICE … Immigrant Students Traumatized … Schools Closings Harm Students … We Hate Children

TOP STORY

Will Teacher Uprisings Change Democrats?

By Jeff Bryant

Anyone wondering whether teacher uprisings this spring will influence party politics and elections in November should look at what’s happened in this year’s primaries so far … There are clear signs the dynamics of education politics are changing in the Democratic party, and those changes are taking place at the very same time progressive populist candidates are surging in Democratic primaries across the country. These insurgencies could result not only in a new Democratic party, but also a new vision for education policy in the party.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

DeVos: State Bans On Public Money To Religious Schools Should Go To ‘Ash Heap Of History’

Education Week

“U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos railed against state constitutional prohibitions on public funds going to faith-based institutions … The target of DeVos’ wrath: so-called ‘Blaine’ amendments to state constitutions that prohibit public funds from being used for religious purposes … These amendments are still on the books in 37 states … DeVos also gave a shout-out to states … that have created so-called ‘tax credit scholarship programs,’ in which individuals and corporations can get a tax break for donating to scholarship granting organizations. DeVos worked behind the scenes last year to get a similar, federal program included in a tax overhaul bill, but was ultimately unsuccessful.”
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Betsy DeVos Stirs Uproar By Saying Schools Can Call ICE On Undocumented Kids

HuffPost

“Education Secretary Betsy DeVos provoked an outcry Tuesday when she said schools can choose to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement on potentially undocumented students. ‘I think that’s a school decision, it’s a local community decision, DeVos told the House Education and the Workforce Committee … Advocacy groups immediately protested her answer, pointing out that under the Supreme Court case Plyler v. Doe, all children ― undocumented or not ― are entitled to a free public education … DeVos’ comments could have a chilling impact on undocumented students attending schools.”
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Teachers Are Witnessing An Uptick In Emotional Problems In Students Afraid Of ICE

The Nation

“In the latest video by Brave New Films, Immigrant Stories: Teachers, educators reveal how immigration enforcement actions are disrupting their students’ lives and affecting not just their education, but their overall wellbeing … According to a study conducted this year by the UCLA Civil Rights Project, two-thirds of the 3,500 educators surveyed across 12 states have noticed behavioral or emotional problems in their students that appear to be related to the rise of immigrant enforcement action. Some respondents noted seeing students come to school withdrawn, anxious, crying and refusing to eat lunch. One Maryland teacher even gave an account of a student who attempted to self-harm because she was so distraught by her mother’s deportation. Teachers surveyed also reported a rise in absenteeism and a decline in parent involvement because they fear leaving their homes.”
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Study: After Mass School Closings, Impacted Students Lagged Academically

The Chicago Reporter

“Thousands of students experienced negative academic outcomes after the 2013 [Chicago] school closures, despite the fact officials promised them a better education … While officials said the main reason they closed schools in 2013 was to save money, the district has never reported if it did … Students from closed schools saw long-term negative effects in math. Students tested two months behind their peers in math the year the closures were announced. That gap persisted for four years … While students from the closed schools’ GPA in the core subjects of English, math, science and social studies rose at first, by the third and fourth years after the closures, they were lower than expected compared to their peers … This indicator is a key predictor of whether students will stay on track and graduate from high school – more so than test scores.”
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The U.S. Spends Less On Children Than Almost Any Other Developed Nation

The Washington Post

“The federal government now spends less than it did about 30 years ago on some of the country’s poorest children … In 1990, the government spent about $8,700 on every child whose family took in no income from work. By 2015, accounting for inflation, it spent less than $7,000 … In 1995, America ranked ahead of nine developed nations in the share of the economy the federal government spends on children. Since 2004, America has ranked third-to-last in spending, with only Mexico and Turkey lagging behind … America spent 2.7% of its gross domestic product on children in 2015 but about 9% of it on the elderly.”
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5/17/2018 – NC Teachers Rally To Make Lawmakers Listen To Them

THIS WEEK: Teachers Against Austerity … Inequitable Course Choices … For-Profit College Cronyism … Shafting English Learners … Student Loan Hikes

TOP STORY

NC Teachers Rally To Make Lawmakers Listen To Them

By Jeff Bryant

“Teachers in North Carolina made a huge statement this week when they shut down schools in at least 42 districts and thronged the state capital in an all-day march and rally that drew an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 people – way more than the 15,000 the state teachers’ association, that organized the event, promised. While their list of grievances was long and varied – from unmanageable class sizes to inadequate funding to stressed out work schedules – there was one theme that recurred when asked to explain what they hoped to accomplish. ‘We hope our state legislators listen to us.'”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

Teachers Are Leading The Revolt Against Austerity

The Nation

“Teachers and educational support staff in five states … have turned the entire country into their classroom … pushed for – and won – better pay and working conditions for themselves. They’ve also mounted a direct challenge to decades of bipartisan tax cuts for corporations, helping us all understand what austerity means … These strikes have garnered overwhelming support from the public, despite years of well-funded attacks on teachers unions… The broader progressive movement must make the teacher union fight our fight.”
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Decades After Brown v. Board, Unequal Class Offerings Remain A Problem

Education Week

“It’s no secret that students of color often have less access to high-level academic courses than do their peers in majority-white schools. But the full extent of some of those disparities is vividly sketched out in a new report … The report … compares course offerings in high schools serving a majority of black or brown students with the curricular choices in schools enrolling majority-white students within the same district or in nearby suburbs. The analysis found that in each of the 12 school pairings, the majority-white schools offered more academic and cultural enrichment opportunities.”
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Exclusive: Former For-Profit College Executive Shaped Education Department Policy That Could Benefit Former Employers: Documents

ABC News

“A senior U.S. Department of Education official hired straight out of the for-profit college sector helped dismantle regulations designed to protect students defrauded by for-profit colleges into taking out five-figure loans on promises that they would get good jobs – a move that could benefit his former employers … Ultimately, those potentially most impacted include many predominantly low-income, and minority students disproportionately represented at for-profit colleges and often saddled with high student loans and facing poor job prospects.'”
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Is Betsy DeVos About To Scrap The Federal Office For English-Language Learners?

Education Week

“Education and immigration advocates are pushing back against a Trump administration plan that would consolidate the federal office that helps guide education for millions of English-language-learner and immigrant students … U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos would fold her department’s office of English-language acquisition into the broader office for elementary and secondary education … The proposal also calls for eliminating the director’s position for the English-language acquisition office.”
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The Cost of Borrowing For College Is About To Go Up

NBC News

“Students who need to borrow from the federal government to pay for college this fall will get hit with significantly higher interest rates. And the financial burden on lower-income students could increase even more if Congress approves President Donald Trump’s plan to eliminate subsidized student loans… Student loan experts are worried about the impact of the president’s proposed budget that calls for eliminating subsidized student loans for lower-income students. At a time when the nation is trying to find ways to make college more affordable, this would drive up the cost for millions of Americans.”
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5/10/2018 – Charter Schools Are An ‘Existential Threat’ To Public Education

THIS WEEK: Teachers Are Winning … Changing Education Politics … DeVos Lifts Religious Schools … Trump Abandons Students … Teachers Flipped The Script

TOP STORY

Charter Schools Are An ‘Existential Threat’ To Public Education

By Jeff Bryant

“New studies from California and North Carolina find charter schools extract millions from the public systems … Warnings of the negative fiscal impact imposed by charter schools are also coming from a very different group of people: investors in municipal bonds … Despite what may have been the original intention of the charter school movement, these schools, as they are currently conceived and operate, now pose a severe financial risk to public education. Rather than operating as partners to public schools, they more so resemble parasites.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

The Teachers Are Winning. What Does It Mean For The Profession?

Education Week

“One of the striking teachers’ innovations of the teachers’ strikes … has been to make the link between teacher pay and overall school funding explicit … What’s not clear is whether the shorter-term salary hikes they’ve won … will help shake down solutions to long-term, structural budget issues … One of the most conspicuous elements of the walkouts is their comparatively narrow focus on school spending, not on other education policies … Lawmakers who have cut deals with striking teachers haven’t tried to attach any performance-related strings to them. The tenor of media coverage has changed, too … It has succeeded in illustrating the hard realities that teachers in the states with strikes have faced … The strikes prove how powerful organizing can be … Yet the strikes have been prompted by independent activists.”
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How Far Left Will Democrats Go On Education?

The New Republic

“Andrew Cuomo all but declared war on the teachers union when he ran for governor of New York eight years ago … Eight years later, Cynthia Nixon is … attacking Cuomo’s education policies … as a competing Democratic candidate for governor … The politics of education … should work in her favor … Many prominent Democrats … supported charter schools and other centrist education policies, such as linking teacher evaluations to standardized test scores. But President Donald Trump’s choice of Betsy DeVos … has made charters – and anything remotely resembling ‘school choice’… increasingly toxic for Democrats … How Nixon performs in the Democratic primary in September will speak volumes about just how far left the party is willing to go on education; regardless of the outcome, it’s sure to influence the education debate among Democrats who are weighing a presidential run – including Cuomo himself.”
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DeVos Moves To Loosen Restrictions On Federal Aid To Religious Colleges

The New York Times

“Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, a lifelong advocate of Christian education, moved … to loosen federal regulations on religious colleges and universities … part of a sweeping deregulatory agenda for the Education Department … Education Department officials appear to be targeting regulations that would pose a legal risk after the Supreme Court ruled in June that states must sometimes provide aid to faith-based organizations … The department plans to review regulations, keeping an eye out for provisions that ‘unnecessarily restrict participation by religious entities.'”
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Trump’s CFPB Is Shutting The Office That Focuses On Student Loan Abuses

Los Angele3s Times

“The Trump administration signaled … it intends to pull back on investigating potential abuses by companies in the $1.5-trillion student loan market. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will shut its student lending office … The student loan office at the CFPB had been responsible for returning $750 million in relief.
Its responsibilities are being moved under the broad umbrella of ‘financial education’… The office had been primarily responsible for an investigation into the troubled student lender Navient, which the CFPB sued last year alleging unfair and abusive practices. The office also investigated and sued for-profit education company Corinthian Colleges.”
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Before The Chalk Dust Settles: Building On The 2018 Teachers’ Mobilization

The American Prospect

“Perhaps the most exciting aspect of this latest round of teacher labor power is that their demands are broad and inclusive … They have demanded a significant investment in children as well as a win on the ‘bread and butter’ issues. This type of focus helps defeat the false narrative that teachers are just greedy individuals who don’t care about children … Mass teacher mobilizations have not only avoided pitting themselves against parents, taxpayers, and members of the community who should be their natural allies. They have also helped lay the basis for a broad convergence of allies with common aims … These mobilizations have thus effectively “flipped the script” that has predominated for more than a generation in our political discourse, a script in which teachers’ unions and their demands were relentlessly scapegoated for everything that ailed public education.”
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5/3/2018 – The Right Lashes Out At Uprising Teachers

THIS WEEK: Why Teachers Strike … Teachers Confront DeVos … How Charters Harm Schools … Charters Cause Segregation … Bigger Than Strikes

TOP STORY

The Right Lashes Out At Uprising Teachers

By Jeff Bryant

“The instincts of retribution that tend to drive rightwing politicians and their operatives have already spurred them to craft ways to strike back against teachers … But these teacher uprisings have a widely accepted moral standing that will be very difficult for their opponents to undermine, despite the big money aimed at opposing teachers.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

What Teacher Strikes Are Really About

CNN

Linda Darling-Hammond writes, “Inadequate education funding has created the conditions that make teaching the daily struggle that has finally drawn teachers and families to the picket lines: unmanageable class sizes, inadequate resources and facilities, cuts to essential medical and mental-health school services and more. As child poverty, food insecurity and homelessness have climbed to among the highest levels in the industrialized world … Schools have been left with fewer resources to address these needs and support student learning … The federal government ultimately needs to launch another War on Poverty, as conditions for America’s children are much worse than they were 30 years ago … Low-spending states and those with unequal distributions of education dollars need to increase and equalize school funding so that all children can learn and teachers can teach under reasonable conditions.”
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Nation’s Top Teachers Confront Betsy DeVos In Private Meeting

HuffPost

“Jon Hazell, Oklahoma’s teacher of the year, told DeVos that school choice policies are draining traditional public schools of resources in his state. He specifically referenced charter schools and private schools in voucher programs … DeVos’ staffers looked eager to take Hazell’s mic away, although they never did … Brian McDaniel, California’s teacher of the year … pressed DeVos for more support for music education … After Josh Meibos, Arizona’s teacher of the year, asked her about when striking teachers will be listened to … DeVos told Meibos that she … hopes ‘adults would take their disagreements and solve them not at the expense of kids’ … ‘She basically said that teachers should be teaching and we should be able to solve our problems not at the expense of children,’ Melissa Romano, Montana’s teacher of the year said. ‘For her to say at the ‘expense of children’ was a very profound moment and one I’ll remember forever, because that is so far from what is happening.'”
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Charter School Growth Puts Fiscal Pressure On Traditional Public Schools

Brookings

“The presence of charter schools typically means that some of the funding that would otherwise have been available to the local school district is diverted to the charter schools … [When] the district loses 10% of its revenue … the district cannot simply reduce its costs by 10% because some of its costs are fixed … The growth of charter schools imposes clear fiscal pressures on local school districts … In Durham, N …, we calculate a burden of about $3,500 per charter school enrollee … These negative fiscal externalities suggest the desirability of statewide policies to ease the adverse fiscal impact of charter schools on traditional public schools … Temporary assistance may not suffice, however, if some of the fiscal impacts are permanent.”
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The Danger Of California Charter Schools

UConn Today

“Although charter schools are intended to offer students better educational opportunities, they also pose a danger of making inequities worse than they were … While charter schools can offer black and Latino students a modern-day version of … ‘separate but equal’ schools … there are outside entities that put financial gain ahead of educational quality … Unfettered expansion of the schools driven by these groups could further drain the educational resources of these communities, creating conditions even worse than those in the Jim Crow-like era.”
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The Arizona Teacher Walkouts Are Just A Skirmish In The Larger War On Public Education

Los Angeles Times

Derek Black writes, “Teachers in Arizona know a concession on pay isn’t the same thing as a genuine commitment to public education. State leaders … are so dead set on privatizing education or spending school funds elsewhere that they are ready to change any rules – even longstanding constitutional and democratic norms – to further that agenda. The biggest norm of all – the very concept that states provide an education to all children – dates back to the 1860s … Today, all 50 state constitutions, in one way or another, guarantee access to equal, adequate and stable public education … Many political leaders today, however, don’t want to abide by these norms. Some even question the state’s role in providing public education. If they can change constitutional norms, they can win the larger war over public education while conceding current skirmishes.”
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4/26/2018 – The Kentucky Teachers’ Walkout Was A Catalyst For More Advocacy

THIS WEEK: Arizona And Colorado Uprisings … Support For Teacher Strikes … Koch Bros Curriculum … Discipline Disparities Widen … Teachers Building Bridges

TOP STORY

The Kentucky Teachers’ Walkout Was A Catalyst For More Advocacy

By Jeff Bryant

“Headlines about teachers’ strikes may have moved on from Kentucky and Oklahoma to Arizona and Colorado, but rebellions teachers who started these uprisings have not, at least according to numerous sources I’ve spoken with in Louisville … The coming fight at the ballot box includes not only voting for candidates but running for office.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

Arizona And Colorado Join Teacher Strikes As Thousands Prepare To March For More Pay

TIME

“A wave of red-clad teachers will crash upon the Arizona state Capitol … for an unprecedented job action that will close schools for a majority of the state’s public school students, part of an educator uprising that’s also bubbled up in Colorado. Around 30,000 to 50,000 teachers and their supporters are expected to march through Phoenix … to demand a 20% raise for … In Colorado, more than 10,000 teachers are expected to demonstrate in Denver as part of a burgeoning teacher uprising.”
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Most Republicans And Democrats Agree That American Teachers Need A Raise

Vox

“Most Americans agree that teachers are underpaid, and slightly more than half of adults support striking as a strategy to change that … Half of Americans also said they are willing to pay more taxes to fund schools and pay teachers more … Nearly 90% of Democrats, 78% of independents, and 66% of Republicans think teachers don’t get paid enough … About 78% … said schools don’t pay teachers enough, and 52% said they support educators who are going on strike to demand higher salaries (25 percent disapprove of strikes). Adults who knew about the recent teacher walkouts were more likely to support the idea of teachers striking – 80% of them did..”
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Millions Of Students Are Quietly Being Taught The Koch Brothers’ Whitewashed Version Of Black History

The Root

“Cash-strapped social studies teachers across America have discovered … free resources … by the innocuously named Bill of Rights Institute to brainwash students into buying the far-right narrative on history, politics and economics … The lessons stress limited government, religious freedom, free-market economics and – worst of all – a revisionist version of the history of slavery that paints it as a necessary evil to further freedom and democracy.”
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Racial Disparities In School Discipline Are Growing, Federal Data Show

The Washington Post

“Black students faced greater rates of suspension, expulsion, and arrest than their white classmates … disparities that have widened despite efforts to fix them. The findings … come as Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is considering curbing the department’s role in investigating racial disparities in discipline … Black students accounted for 15% of the student body in the 2015-2016 school year but 31% of arrests. Two years earlier, black students accounted for 16% of the student body and 27% of arrests … Students with disabilities are far more likely to face suspension or arrests at school. They accounted for 12% of enrollment but 28% of all arrests and referrals to law enforcement.”
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Arizona’s Uprising Teachers Build Bridges, Not Walls

OurFuture

Jeff Bryant writes, ” Under the banner of #RedForEd, Arizona teachers voted overwhelmingly (78%) for a statewide walkout … like teacher actions in West Virginia, Kentucky, and Oklahoma… But Arizona also presents new and interesting challenges to the spreading teacher uprisings, and demonstrates ways that teachers build bridges … The Arizona teacher uprising is yet another example of a powerful new wave of community-labor partnerships that are keeping students first.
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4/19/2018 – Why Teacher Uprisings May Hit Blue States Too

THIS WEEK: Another DeVos Lie … Reasons For Teacher Walkouts … Push To Resegregate … Florida Teacher #GunFail … America Hates Children

TOP STORY

Why Teacher Uprisings May Hit Blue States Too

By Jeff Bryant

“Financial austerity that has driven governments at all levels to skimp on education has had plenty of compliance, if not downright support, from centrist Democrats who’ve spent most of their political capital on pressing an agenda of ‘school reform’ and ‘choice’ rather than pressing for increased funding and support that schools and teachers need … In a startling sign that teacher uprisings may move to purple and blue states too, Colorado teachers recently left schools and stormed the state capitol … Colorado teachers’ plans to walk out of school is a strong sign they’ve had it with state government inaction on funding. There’s also a sign many Colorado Democrats feel that way too.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

Why The School Spending Graph Betsy Devos Is Sharing Doesn’t Mean What She Says It Does

Chalkbeat

“Education Betsy DeVos … shared a graph that appears to show that school spending has risen dramatically over the last three decades as student outcomes barely budged … But the graph is misleading, and several recent studies have in fact shown that students gain – in higher test scores, graduation rates, and earnings as adults – when they attend schools that spend more money … Gains in math have been fairly substantial … Scores have been relatively flat for the past decade, but in math they increased substantially the decade beforehand. In fact, a graph could be made showing a tight correspondence between math results and spending … there is a decent case that the recent stagnation in NAEP scores is due at least in part to spending cuts.”
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Walkouts And Teacher Pay: How Did We Get Here?

NPR

“In Arizona … teachers make about 63 cents on the dollar compared to other college graduates. In Oklahoma, it’s 67 cents … More than half of states were still spending less per student in 2015 than they were before the Great Recession … U.S. teachers earned less last year, on average, than they did back in 1990 … In many states, teachers don’t qualify for Social Security benefits … Years of spending cuts have led to teacher shortages in many communities … It’s going to be harder and harder, he says, for some states to tell their new college graduates: ‘We value teachers!’ When the numbers tell a different story.”
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The South’s Push To Resegregate Its Schools

Bloomberg

“More than 60 years after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education ruling made school racial segregation unconstitutional, school secession has been gaining momentum across the South, with richer areas trying to wall their kids and tax dollars off from big districts … Since 2000, 71 areas in the U.S. have tried to secede from their school districts … 49 succeeded; 9 are in process … The region that once required school segregation by law is also where desegregation worked best, in part because Southern school districts are so big.”
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Parkland Teacher Who Pushed For Arming Teachers Left A Loaded Gun Unattended

Salon

“A chemistry teacher at the Florida high school where 17 people were fatally killed … left a gun in a public bathroom, where a drunk homeless man picked it up and fired it. The gun was loaded. No one was injured, and the teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was charged with failing to safely store a firearm … He’d left his gun in the restroom by accident … The students … who started the Never Again movement to advocate for gun control in the aftermath of the Valentine’s Day shooting, expressed disappointment and frustration at the situation.”
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America Is A Dangerous Place To Be A Kid

The Nation

“Measure for measure, America is one of the most dangerous places in the world for a kid to grow up … Children in the United States are at higher risk of getting killed than their peers in virtually every other comparably wealthy society. Our country’s number-one child-death ranking centers on two primary factors – teens shot to death, and babies extinguished soon after birth … ‘From 2001 to 2010 the risk of death in the United States was 76 percent greater for infants and 57 percent greater for children ages 1 to 19’ … It’s not a decline in general public prosperity that is killing kids; death rates can be traced to distinct social policies, including laws that value guns over young people’s lives, and a private health-care system that abandons the most vulnerable infants.”
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4/12/2018 – Now Watch Republicans Blame Obama For Test Scores

THIS WEEK: Red State Teacher Rebellion … Racist Student Discipline … DeVos Targets Civil Rights … Race-Based College Spending … Lessons From Strikes

TOP STORY

Now Watch Republicans Blame Obama For Test Scores

By Jeff Bryant

“Scores on the 2017 National Assessment of Education Progress (aka. The Nation’s Report Card) … were flat, as they have mostly been since 2009 … Education pundits from the right were quick to locate the cause of such a prolonged stagnation … Obama … that’s what’s so ironic about conservative claims of an Obama education policy failure. Over at least the past 20 years, whether under Republican oversight or Democratic, the nation’s schools have been lorded over by an “education reform” agenda that has always been decidedly bipartisan … Republicans are stealing away from reform and leaving Democrats holding the bag. Recent NAEP scores give them the perfect opportunity to make their case.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

Teachers Are Going On Strike In Trump’s America

Politico

“Fed-up teachers have found unexpectedly sturdy support among voting populaces that otherwise have tended to favor low to non-existent taxes … Government officials most responsible for those budget-austerity measures seem almost surprised by how difficult it has been to hold the political high ground … Teachers, many of them women, are redefining attitudes about organized labor, replacing negative stereotypes of overpaid and underperforming blue-collar workers with a more sympathetic face: overworked and underappreciated nurturers who say they’re fighting for their students as much as they’re fighting for themselves.”
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Disparities Persist In School Discipline, Says Government Watchdog

NPR

“Black students, boys, and students with disabilities are disproportionately disciplined in K-12 schools across the country … Black students represent 15.5 percent of all public school students, but make up about 39 percent of students suspended from school … these disparities cannot be explained by poverty levels – they existed regardless of the poverty level of schools … schools are struggling to handle an increase in disruptive behavior related to trauma and other mental health issues.”
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DeVos Review Of Racial Bias Guidance Stirs Controversy

The Hill

“Civil rights groups are fighting to stop Education Secretary Betsy DeVos from rolling back Obama-era guidance on school discipline that aimed to protect black students from being punished more severely than their white peers … The [Trump] administration is using the [Parkland school] shooting as an excuse to roll back critical guidance that helps protect students from discrimination under federal civil rights laws … The school discipline guidance is likely to be the latest casualty in … the administration’s war on civil rights protections.”
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Public Colleges Spend $5 Billion Less Per Year On Students Of Color

MarketWatch

“Two-year and four-year public colleges spend more than $1,000 less per year on black and Latino students than on white students … That means that overall, public colleges are spending about $5 billion less per year on black and Latino students than on white students … The analysis is the latest in a growing body of evidence that many of the racial disparities that affect children during their K-12 education persist once they reach college … College isn’t leveling the playing field in the ways we expect and hope … The way state legislators approach funding their colleges and universities plays a role.”
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What Teacher Strikes Can Teach Democrats About Education Politics

OurFuture

Jeff Bryant writes, “The momentum of this spring’s teacher uprising is growing… Because the rebellions are occurring in ‘red states,’ Democrats are already capitalizing on any perceived advantage the strikes could give their party … But if Democrats are going to attempt to take electoral advantage of the teacher uprising, they’ll need to change their typical education message.”
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4/5/2018 – Striking Teachers Are Fighting For Communities

THIS WEEK: NRA Is Wrong … DeVos-Style Discipline … ICE Raids Hurt Kids … College Students Pay More … 4-Day Week Fail

TOP STORY

Striking Teachers Are Fighting For Communities

By Jeff Bryant

“Teacher strikes that started in West Virginia and are now raging in Oklahoma and whipping up in Kentucky and Arizona are being called a “nationwide movement.” But a nationwide movement for what … Teachers … are taking a stand not only about their own financial situations, but also about the conditions of their students, their schools, and their communities.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

The NRA’s Narrative About Maryland School Shooting Collapses

Think Progress

“The gun lobby argued that last week’s shooting was stopped by an armed school resource officer, proving that “good guys with guns” can prevent tragedies. But the St. Mary’s County sheriff’s office confirmed on Monday night that the 17-year-old gunman who opened fire at Great Mills High School actually died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound … The NRA’s recent push for more armed guards in schools comes even though the presence of an armed guard didn’t stop a gunman from killing 17 in Parkland with an AR-15. Trump has frequently touted the deterrent impact of armed guards.”
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‘Hardening’ Our Schools Will Hit Black And Brown Students Hardest

Huff Post

“The White House rolled out its proposal to ‘harden’ schools … in response to the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida … As part of the plan, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is set to lead a new commission to re-examine, and possibly repeal … districts … being scrutinized for disproportionate discipline outcomes, particularly zero-tolerance policies that widened the opportunity gap for students of color… The School Discipline Package has provided key guidance to public elementary and secondary schools about how to discipline students … Its recommendations include drawing on positive behavior interventions, such as restorative justice and social and emotional learning – programs that have been successful nationwide.”
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ICE Is Terrorizing Our Kids: Report Shines A Light On The Impact Immigration Enforcement Is Having On Children

NC PolicyWatch

“Children may be among ICE’s principal victims … Children of immigrants (and even non-immigrants) are experiencing increasing rates of trauma as a result of the threat of deportation and family separation as well as the direct experience of raids, deportation proceedings, and the disappearance of parents … That trauma can have profound negative effects on these children for the rest of their lives … in addition to the direct trauma they inflict on children, ICE deportations impose significant economic costs.”
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Who Foots Most Of The Bill For Public Colleges? In 28 States, It’s Students

The Chronicle Of Higher Education

“Tuition dollars, not state and local funding, have become the primary revenue source for public higher education in most states … During the 2017 fiscal year… 28 states leaned chiefly on students, not on taxpayers … In 2000, tuition dollars paid by students accounted for more than half of revenue in just three states … Adjusting for inflation, only six states now fund public higher education at prerecession levels.”
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Four-Day School Weeks, A Nationwide Symptom Of Tight Budgets, Lead To More Youth Crime, Study Finds

Chalkbeat

“As school districts across the country have faced budget crunches, a number have landed on a cost-saving solution: cancelling school one day a week. Districts in at least 21 states have adopted the four-day school week, including one in five districts in Oklahoma … An unintended but perhaps unsurprising consequence of cutting the school week: a spike in juvenile crime … shortened weeks caused youth crime to jump nearly 20 percent, with the biggest spikes in property crime … There was some evidence of an increase in drug offenses. Crime rates jumped the most on Thursdays; the researchers theorized that students treated that evening like an additional weekend night.”
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3/29/2018 – Democrats Can Win If They Lead On Education

THIS WEEK: No To Vouchers … Teachers Under Fire … Pre-K That Works … Food Stamps Boost Learning… Puerto Ricans Protest Charters

TOP STORY

Democrats Can Win If They Lead On Education

By Jeff Bryant

“In high-profile Democratic party primaries, education has become a significant issue that progressive candidates are using to challenge more conservative, establishment Democrats. There’s also ample evidence education could be a key issue for Democrats to use against their Republican opponents in midterm general elections in November. But getting the education issue right – something Democrats have not been very good at – will be key … Grassroots progressive Democrats are telling the party’s establishment how it can lead and win on education issues. What’s not clear is if the party’s pundit and policy apparatus is willing to listen.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

Congressional Legislation Seeks To Fund School Vouchers For Military Families – Despite Major Opposition From Military Families

The Washington Post

“Thirty Republican U.S. congressmen and three Republican U.S. senators have signed onto national voucher bills that would direct federal tax dollars from public schools … and let military families use these funds for religious schools, private schools, online schools, college tuition, and other educational services. What is most remarkable is that the bills are moving forward in the face of significant military family opposition … Both HR 5199 and S. 2517 use Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) to allow tax dollars to be used for home schooling, for-profit online schools, ‘a la carte’ education, and for private and religious school expenses … The Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) is especially worried that unscrupulous vendors will descend on military families even as for-profit colleges have victimized veterans.”
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Parkland Teachers Faced An Impossible Choice: ‘Do I Hold The Door Open, Or Close It?’

The Guardian

” With the crack of bullets still ringing around the corridors of Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school, Mary Trizzino unlocked the door to her classroom to see who else she could save … As thousands of students poured into the hallways of school buildings after the fire alarm sounded within seconds of the first shots being fired, many teachers were forced to make split second decisions … ‘You’re faced with an impossible choice … Do I hold the door open, and put the kids that I have in here at risk, or do I close it and leave those kids out in the cold? … I don’t think we should be faced with that decision at all, and yet society can’t seem to come together to solve this problem, to stop it from happening.'”
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Long-Term Gains: Pre-K Programs Lead To Furthered Education Later In Life

Scientific American

“Structured math and literacy practice in addition to regular parental involvement in school programs during the first eight years of life can have a major impact on a child’s future educational achievement … A study that included more than 1,500 children in a Chicago-based program called Child-Parent Centers (CPC) shows kids reached a higher level of education by age 35 than did ones enrolled in other preschool programs: CPC participants completed more years of schooling and were more likely to earn a postsecondary degree.’”
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Food For Thought: Students’ Test Scores Rise A Few Weeks After Families Get Food Stamps

Chalkbeat

“Families receiving food stamps get their benefits once a month. A few weeks later, kids’ test scores tick up. The pattern … suggests that the additional access to healthy food helps students do better in school. It’s the latest study to quantify how out-of-school factors affect academic performance, and an example of why some districts are embracing ‘community schools’ that try to provide health and other benefits for students and families. … Other research has linked food stamp cycles and what happens in school.”
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Disaster Capitalism And Vulture Charters

Jacobin

“Hundreds of Puerto Rican teachers marched past San Juan’s Capitol building … holding signs reading … ‘We defend public education’ and … ‘No to the vulture charters.’ Thousands of students and parents joined the march or held signs in front of their schools in solidarity … In the wake of twin disasters – one man-made in the form of a vulture fund-fueled debt crisis, and one natural in the form of last September’s Hurricane María – Puerto Rican leaders are attempting to implement a vast austerity program … In the eyes of many Puerto Ricans, however, this is textbook ‘disaster capitalism’: capitalizing on a moment of crisis, when the population is weak and unable to mobilize, to ram through pro-market austerity measures.”
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3/22/2018 – Betsy DeVos Wants To Cut Public Education To The Bone

THIS WEEK: Limiting School Security … Oklahoma Teachers Strike … Return Of Zero Tolerance? … Education And Income… School Funding Inequity

TOP STORY

Betsy DeVos Wants To Cut Public Education To The Bone

By Jeff Bryant

“U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’s testimony before Congress this week was … to defend the Trump administration’s 2019 budget for her department … Trump’s budget – and in turn the one DeVos defended for her department – is straight out of conservative doctrine for stripping government to the bone. In other words, it’s right in line with what nearly every conservative Republican governor has been inflicting on education systems in the states for years.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

The Case For Limiting School Security

Education Wek

“We may think that more metal detectors, more sniffing dogs, and more armed police officers will keep students safer … The darker side of all these safety measures is that they conflate schools with prisons, engendering the school climate with fear, distrust, paranoia – and, yes, violence … It is ridiculous to believe that anyone capable of carrying out a mass shooting would be deterred by locked doors or police presence. The majority of mass shooters are mentally ill … They believe they have nothing to lose … Turning our schools into maximum-security prisons, with more guns, police officers, and locks is not going to solve the problem … Explicitly promoting a culture of empathy … could prevent a great deal of school violence.”
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Oklahoma Teachers Plan A Strike: “Our Children Cannot Wait Any Longer”

The Progressive

“A seemingly spontaneous teacher revolt in Oklahoma has resulted in a potential statewide walkout to shut down schools beginning April 2 … The grievances of Oklahoma teachers stem from deeply-rooted fears for their students’ future … While the state has cut taxes on oil, state employees have not received an across-the-board pay raise in twelve years. The state is among the last in the nation in teacher pay. The starting salary for a new teacher is $31,600, and the poor pay and lack of resources has resulted in an acute shortage of teachers across the state … It would take about an $800 million tax increase to fund teacher raises and a restoration of basic education and social services. Instead, the state Senate recently passed a proposal for raising $84 million for teacher pay by cutting Medicaid for 43,000 of the poorest Oklahomans.”
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Zero Tolerance Discipline Policies Won’t Fix School Shootings

The Conversation

“Trump officials and supporters think – or would have people believe – that the new push to improve school discipline had something to do with the Parkland shooting. It didn’t … When students see a school’s discipline approach as overly strict or harsh, they see school authority as arbitrary and unfair. When student bystanders see schools suspend friends who are struggling due to factors beyond their control … students come to see suspension and expulsion as downright perverse … The best chance of reducing violence, and also improving the overall academic achievement and environment of schools, rests in rejecting punitive school discipline and replacing it with supportive systems.”
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U.S. Income Inequality Hits A Disturbing New Threshold

Bloomberg

“U.S. wage growth remains slow and uneven, with African-Americans and women still at a clear disadvantage … Wages for African-Americans declined in most wage brackets, while women with graduate degrees made less money than men with only college degrees … ‘You do see college wages rising faster than high school wages, but that differential is not nearly large enough to explain rising wage inequality in the economy today … You can’t educate yourself out of gender or racial wage gaps.’”
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Most Schools Funded Far Below What’s Needed To Achieve Average Outcomes

Education Law Center

“Most U.S. states fund their public schools at a level far below what is necessary for students in high-poverty districts to achieve at even average levels in English and math … In numerous states … only the lowest-poverty districts have sufficient funding to reach national average student achievement outcomes … Only a few states … have higher levels of funding across all districts and have near-average outcomes, even in the highest-poverty districts.
The cost of achieving national average outcomes in very high-poverty districts is three times higher – or $20,000 to $30,000 per pupil – than in low-poverty districts … There is wide variation in spending and student achievement outcomes, with strong performance in a few high-investment states and in low-poverty districts … ‘Some states need to increase school funding across the board …. Others need to target increases to higher-poverty districts. And the federal government should find new avenues to support states with comparatively less ability to boost school funding.'”
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