Education Opportunity Network

Education Opportunity Network -

8/25/2016 – John Oliver Slams Charter Schools And His Critics Totally Miss The Point

THIS WEEK: How Schools Ruin Testing … Teachers Win Tenure Case … Head Start Works … Threats To Schools Increase … Secret Procharter Money

TOP STORY

John Oliver Slams Charter Schools And His Critics Totally Miss The Point

By Jeff Bryant

“British comedian John Oliver devoted a ‘Back to School’ segment on his HBO program Last Week Tonight to examining the rapidly growing charter school industry and what these schools are doing with our tax dollars … None of Oliver’s critics seriously refuted the crux of his argument that there might be something fundamentally wrong by design, rather than by implementation or intent, with the idea that a ‘free market’ of privately operated and essentially unregulated schools is a surefire way to improve education opportunities for all students.”
Read more …

NEWS AND VIEWS

How Schools That Obsess About Standardized Tests Ruin Them As Measures Of Success

Vox

“A look at the data combined with some basic principles of social science suggests that the practices of no-excuses charters are undermining the very foundation of data-based education reform … A test that overshadows the ultimate outcomes it is intended to measure turns into an invalid test … Many charter schools, under pressure to deliver unrealistic gains in test scores, are contorting themselves to get the numbers they’ve promised. They’re being rewarded for doing so.”
Read more …

In A Major Win For Teachers Unions, California Supreme Court Lets Teacher Tenure Ruling Stand

Los Angeles Times

“A landmark California case challenging tenure and other traditional job protections for teachers … let stand an appeals court ruling that preserved an array of employment rights … The assault on these protections is part of a broader approach to reforming education that would make schools more like the private sector, which relies on competition, measurable results and performance incentives … The Legislature remains the most logical place to determine such employment rules, some advocates on both sides said.”
Read more …

Research On Tulsa’s Head Start Program Finds Lasting Gains

NPR

“Children who attended Head Start had higher test scores on state math tests [by eighth grade]. They were less likely to be retained and less likely to display chronic absenteeism. These are highly consequential outcomes that we know are predictive of high school graduation, college enrollment, even earnings … The Head Start model, with its strong family support component and comprehensive services for children, can give children a strong pathway through school and hopefully out of poverty in their adult lives.”
Read more …

When Schools Are Threatened, Untold Learning Time Is Lost

Associated Press

“Violent or disruptive threats are increasing nationwide … blamed sometimes on local students and sometimes on outsiders … cause disruptions or a big emergency response … There’s no formal accounting of the collective costs … but the learning time lost to evacuations and cancellations adds up … The number of school bomb threats the last academic year alone, based on media reports, was at least 1,267, roughly twice as many as in 2012-13.”
Read more …

Donors Behind Charter Push Keep To The Shadows

Boston Globe

“A new $2.3 million ad boosting the expansion of charter schools in Massachusetts lists the campaign’s top five donors on screen … Four of the five donors to the procharter committee are nonprofit groups that do not, under state law, have to disclose their funders … The cloak of secrecy surrounding the financing of what could be the most expensive ballot campaign in state history has frustrated election officials and underscored the proliferation of untraceable money in political races across the country … The ballot campaign known as Question 2 – which would allow for the creation or expansion of up to 12 charter schools per year in low-performing districts.
Read more …

8/18/2016 – What Back-To-School Shopping Lists Reveal About Underfunded Schools

THIS WEEK: Cops In Schools … LGBT Students Traumatized … Caution On EdTech … Wrong About Test Scores … Inside A ‘No Excuses’ Charter

TOP STORY

What Your Back-To-School Shopping List Reveals About Our Underfunded Schools

By Jeff Bryant

“Back to school supply lists are likely longer than ever before due to the simple reason that schools increasingly don’t have the funds to pay for items on the list … But the lack of funding for basic school supplies is just the most obvious sign of America’s growing crisis in education funding … The whole fiasco makes you wonder what the endpoint is.”
Read more …

NEWS AND VIEWS

Bullied By The Badge?

The Hechinger Report

“Since the 1990s, at least 11 states have enacted legislation that funnels state funds into school policing programs … By 2014, 30 percent of public schools had school resource officers, or SROs … Officers inside schools have a significant impact on whether students interact with the criminal justice system … Students who interact with the criminal justice system are more likely to drop out of high school, become involved with the system again and have higher unemployment rates than students who have not been arrested.”
Read more …

Gay And Lesbian High School Students Report ‘Heartbreaking’ Levels Of Violence

The New York Times

“About 8% of the high school population described themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual, which would be about 1.3 million students. These adolescents were three times more likely than straight students to have been raped. They skipped school far more often because they did not feel safe; at least a third had been bullied on school property. And they were twice as likely as heterosexual students to have been threatened or injured with a weapon on school property. More than 40% of these students reported that they had seriously considered suicide, and 29% had made attempts to do so.”
Read more …

Caution Flags For Tech In Classrooms

NPR

“Both blended learning and online … show results ranging from mixed to negative … Even as computers become ubiquitous in classrooms, there’s a lot we still don’t know – or at least that we’re not doing to make them effective tools for learning … Implementation is really important, yet it’s often ignored … Imperfect data and inadequate evaluation make it hard to understand or improve the use of ed-tech … Computers are enhancing access. There’s less evidence that they’re enhancing learning.”
Read more …

Student Test Scores: How They Are Actually Calculated And Why You Should Care

The Washington Post

“If you think that determining scores on standardized tests is a simple matter of figuring out how many answers each student got right, you are wrong. In fact, scores are derived through statistical models and scaling practices that can be misleading about student achievement … A series of reports … have urged caution in the use of standardized test scores to make high-stakes decisions about students, teachers, principals and schools – but policymakers at the federal and state levels have for years ignored the warnings … This problem is becoming more apparent to more people … The 2016 platform of the Democratic Party says, for the first time ever, that using test scores for high-stakes decisions is a bad practice.”
Read more …

Schools That Accept ‘No Excuses’ From Students Are Not Helping Them

The Washington Post

Former charter schoolteacher Julia Fisher writes, “When I taught at a charter school, I once gave out 37 demerits in a 50-minute period. This was the sort of achievement that earned a new teacher praise … Students encounter careful uniform checks and communal chanting of motivational slogans … Posture and eye contact are important, even for 16-year-olds. Class is not to proceed without total compliance … An administrator watched my class every day. If I didn’t fully enforce the school’s code – under which demerits must be issued for slouching, looking at the wrong person or even taking notes when not explicitly directed to – the administrator would correct me on the spot … Questions were forbidden … Classes were designed to follow No Excuses dogma, in a way that precluded real engagement. Discussion was considered a waste of time because it didn’t produce measurable results … Most of the time was devoted to worksheets.
Read more …

8/11/2016 – Populism Is Rewriting The Charter School Narrative

THIS WEEK: Many Charters Exclude Students … Texas To Investigate Gülen Charters … Charter Groups ‘Swift Boat” Opponents … Teacher Pay Gap Widens … Fed Spending On Pre-K

TOP STORY

How Populism Is Rewriting The Charter School Narrative

By Jeff Bryant

“Two recent events showcase exactly how the populist fervor in the nation is … rewriting the story of the roll out of charter schools in our communities … First … the national NAACP has called for a nationwide ‘moratorium on the proliferation of privately managed charter schools’… Those schools and what they’ve come to represent in communities were also rejected at the local level in a school board election in Nashville … What’s abundantly clear is that while [charter advocates] have been completely free to write the charter school narrative in their own words, now the people are telling their version of the story.”
Read more …

NEWS AND VIEWS

Report Charges Many Charter Schools Exclude Children In Violation Of The Law

EdSource

“Over 1 in 5 of California’s charter schools have restrictive admissions requirements or other exclusionary practices that keep out many students with the greatest academic needs … These practices include: denying enrollment to students who have weak grades or test scores, expelling students who do not have strong grades or test scores, denying enrollment to students who do not ‘meet a minimum level of English proficiency,’ requiring students to meet ‘onerous’ requirements for admission … discouraging students from immigrant background … [and making] enrollment conditional on parents volunteering or donating funds to the school.”
Read more …

Texas Education Agency To Investigate Charter School System

Houston Business Journal

“Texas has decided to investigate a Houston-based charter school program … Harmony Public Schools after complaints alleged misuse of federal and state funds and connections with Turkish vendors … Also investigating whether Harmony allegedly guaranteed a $1.9 million bond debt of a Turkish charter school network in Arkansas … The investigation comes after international law group … filed a complaint in May alleging a connection between Harmony and the Gülen Organization, headed by Fethullah Gülen, a Muslim cleric from Turkey residing in Pennsylvania … The government of Turkey believes Gülen had a large role in a recent failed coup attempt in Turkey.”
Read more …

Pro-Charter Group Hires Ad Firm Whose Swift Boat Campaign Helped Sink Kerry

Boston Magazine

“Public Charter Schools for MA, a proponent of the referendum on lifting the state’s cap on charter schools, has purchased $6.5 million in advertising … produced by DC-based SRCP Media … You may remember SRCP Media’s infamous ‘Swift Boat Veterans For Truth’ smear campaign, which helped scuttle John Kerry’s presidential aspirations in 2004 by peddling discredited claims regarding his military career during the Vietnam War … The campaign was so effective, ‘swift boat’ has become synonymous with sliming of the highest degree.”
Read more …

The Teacher Pay Gap In US – Wider Than Ever

Job Market Monitor

“The teacher pay penalty is bigger than ever. In 2015, public school teachers’ weekly wages were 17.0% lower than those of comparable workers – compared with just 1.8% lower in 1994. This erosion of relative teacher wages has fallen more heavily on experienced teachers than on entry-level teachers … Collective bargaining can help to abate this teacher wage penalty … Even so, teachers’ compensation (wages plus benefits) was 11.1% lower than that of comparable workers in 2015 … This is particularly difficult at a time when the supply of teachers is constrained by high turnover rates, annual retirements of longtime teachers, and a decline in students opting for a teaching career.”
Read more …

Early Childhood Education Gets Push From $1 Billion Federal Investment

The Washington Post

“More than $1 billion in federal aid to make quality education accessible to high-needs preschool children … has rapidly improved the quality of learning for the students while simultaneously enrolling a significant number of new students in top-tier programs. It also has allowed health screenings for thousands of preschoolers to help identify and treat medical and developmental issues earlier, including ones that might have affected their ability to learn … Nearly 267,000 children with high needs are now enrolled in the highest-quality state preschool programs … a 263% increase … Numerous studies have shown that children who receive a high-quality early education are more likely to succeed economically and socially. It is particularly a boon to high-needs students.
Read more …

7/27/2016 – Is Hillary Clinton’s Pick Of Tim Kaine Another Sign Democrats Are Leaving The ‘Education Reform Camp?’

THIS WEEK: Income Segregation Worsens … How Unions Improve Teaching … Online Charters In Trouble … Colleges Need $30 Billion For Maintenance … Games Charters Play

TOP STORY

Is Hillary Clinton’s Pick Of Tim Kaine Another Sign Democrats Are Leaving The ‘Education Reform Camp?’

By Jeff Bryant

“Hillary Clinton’s picking Virginia Senator Tim Kaine for her vice presidential running mate is not apt to ease the ‘anxiety’ or ‘soul searching’ education reformers feel … In reviewing Kaine’s education policy chops, what’s in his record may not be as important as what isn’t: the current education establishment’s policy checklist … The years progressives have put into organizing, voicing opposition to current education policies, and calling for new directions in education are likely having an effect on a new Democratic Party.”
Read more …

NEWS AND VIEWS

Income Segregation In Schools Found To Rise By 40% Since 1990

Education Week

“Income segregation … in the 100 largest districts …. is about 40% higher than in 1990 … This new level of segregation is not caused primarily by the historical separation between poor families and all others … The middle class has been slipping further behind the upper middle and affluent classes … The growing trends in income-based segregation in schools were also likely due to school-choice policies.”
Read more …

What If Everything You Thought You Knew About Teachers Unions Turned Out to be Wrong?

Edushyster

Freelance writer Jennifer Berkshire interviews an author of a recent study who found, “Highly unionized districts actually fire more bad teachers … By demanding higher salaries for teachers, unions give school districts a strong incentive to dismiss ineffective teachers before they get tenure. Highly unionized districts dismiss more bad teachers because it costs more to keep them … Unionized districts also retain more high-quality teachers relative to district with weak unionism.”
Read more …

Oklahoma Joins Ranks Of States and Agencies Cracking Down On Virtual Charter Schools

Edsurge

“Oklahoma is one of many states investigating and castigating virtual charters … California recently arrived at a disputed settlement with for-profit online charter operator K12 Inc. … Ohio’s largest online charter school operator, the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT), has failed to stall an audit of its financials and attendance records in court … Of every 100 students enrolled at ECOT, 80 do not graduate.'”
Read more …

Long-Neglected Maintenance Threatens To Further Escalate The Cost Of College

The Hechinger Report

After years of budget cuts and continuing austerity, universities and colleges collectively face a shortfall of a record $30 billion for … deferred maintenance or ‘deferred renewal’ to deteriorating buildings and other infrastructure … The problem is compounded by the fact that they nonetheless continue to build more – spending a record $11.5 billion last year – in the hope of attracting students … Some universities are already adding ‘capital renewal fees’ to students’ bills to help them pay for renovations and improvements.”
Read more …

Why Charter Schools Get Public Education Advocates So Angry

The Washington Post

Former high school principal and current executive director of the Network for Public Education Carol Burris writes, “Charters, regardless of their original intent, have become a threat to democratically governed, neighborhood public schools, and questions about their practices, opacity and lack of accountability are increasing as their numbers grow … Democratic school governance is viewed as an obstacle by many charter school devotees … Charter schools control enrollment … Even after initial enrollment, charters lose students through attrition … Some charters are better, and others are worse … What all share, however, is the ability to use the freedom given to them for innovation to shut out democracy, attract the students they want and hide important information from the public, even as they collect taxpayer funds.
Read more …

EON is taking a break next week. Watch for a resumption of the newsletter on August 11.

7/21/2016 – If Democrats Think Mike Pence Is An Extremist, Will They Stop Supporting His Education Policies?

THIS WEEK: The Trump Effect … Racial Bias In Schools … How Charters Hurt Public Schools … Why Segregation Persists … Who’s Re-Segregating Little Rock?

TOP STORY

If Democrats Think Mike Pence Is An Extremist, Will They Stop Supporting His Education Policies?

By Jeff Bryant

“For the past eight years, the Democratic Party’s education agenda has chiefly been based on an idea conceived in right wing policy shops then pushed into the party’s most powerful circles by a very small but wealthy group of individuals … Based on this understanding, it’s not a surprise that extremists such as Mike Pence have been eager to adopt much of this agenda. But in calling out Pence as an extremist, is Hillary Clinton signaling there may be shifts in her party’s education agenda?”
Read more …

NEWS AND VIEWS

Why Are Third-Graders Afraid Of Donald Trump?

The Atlantic

“There are reports across the country of what’s been called ‘the Trump Effect’ … Those working in schools with large immigrant populations say kids are actively afraid about what might happen to themselves and their families if Trump were elected. And explaining the American political system’s checks and balances isn’t much help.”
Read more …

How Racial Bias Affects The Quality Of Black Students’ Education

Think Progress

“Decades of racial bias against black Americans and the legacy of slavery are evident in our classrooms … Schools in the U.S. remain very economically and racially segregated … Students’ quality of education suffers in this segregated school environment … Racially biased school discipline contributes to what’s known as the ‘school-to-prison pipeline’ … Black students begin receiving far more suspensions than white children beginning as early as preschool … Black students are also expected to stay engaged and interested in courses that don’t recognize the reality of their lives – and don’t cover the contributions of black political leaders and artists as often as those of white historical figures.”
Read more …

How Charter Schools In Michigan Have Hurt Traditional Public Schools, New Research Finds

The Washington Post

“How do some charter schools affect the traditional school districts in which they are located? Disastrously… ‘Overwhelmingly, the biggest financial impact on school districts was the result of declining enrollment and revenue loss, especially where school choice and charters are most prevalent … The higher the charter penetration, the higher the adverse impact on district finances … As the share of students in the district that are going charters increases, there is a causal relationship of a larger share of the students who are left behind in the district who receive special education services.'”
Read more …

One Reason School Segregation Persists

Slate

“Researchers tested a broad range of factors that could explain why parents choose a school … Only three of these factors significantly drove parental choice … high test scores, schools closer to home, and schools where their own child would be alongside more peers of his or her same race and class … White and higher-income applicants had the strongest preferences for their children to remain in-group, while black elementary school parents were essentially ‘indifferent’ to a school’s racial makeup, the researchers found. The findings for Hispanic elementary and middle school parents were not statistically significant … Research – and history – show that left to their own devices, parents won’t desegregate schools.”
Read more …

Charter Schools And The Waltons Take Little Rock Back To Its Segregated Past

Altenet

Jeff Bryant writes, “Progress on racial integration in schools achieved during the Civil Rights period has gradually eroded, and in many cities, schools are now nearly as racially divided as they were 40 years ago … But lengthy presentations of statistical data and litanies of high court decisions tend to overlook places where the fight to uphold the vision of a pluralistic school system is still very much alive –places like Little Rock [Arkansas] … But now, the actors have changed. This time, those being accused of segregating students aren’t local bigots. Instead, Little Rock citizens see segregation as being imposed upon them by outsiders, operating under the guise of a reform agenda.
Read more …

7/14/2016 – Sanders Movement Pushes Democratic Party Platform Toward A Big Fight Over Charter Schools

THIS WEEK: Spending On Prisons Instead Of Schools … Ban Computers In Schools … Pre-K Disaster … Clinton, Trump Avoid Education … Students Who Avoid Debt

TOP STORY

Sanders Movement Pushes Democratic Party Platform Toward A Big Fight Over Charter Schools

By Jeff Bryant

“The presidential campaign in the Democratic Party has not put education at the front of the agenda … But Bernie Sanders supporters have teamed up with Clinton delegates to deliver a Democratic Party platform that is much more driven by the values of democracy and support for the public good over private interests and profit … That’s good for education.”
Read more …

NEWS AND VIEWS

Since 1980, Spending On Prisons Has Grown Three Times As Much As Spending On Public Education

The Washington Post

“State and local spending on prisons and jails has grown three times as much over the past three decades as spending on public education for preschool through high school … Taxpayers and public safety would be better served by redirecting investments from incarceration to public schools … The rate of increase in per capita corrections spending outpaced the rate of increase in per-pupil education spending in every state but two, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. In 23 states, per capita spending rose more than twice as fast as per-pupil spending.”
Read more …

Is It Time To Ban Computers From Classrooms?

NPR

“Evidence suggests that computer-based multitasking can reduce student learning, not only for those students using devices but also for their distracted neighbors. Even when computers are used for the praiseworthy purpose of taking class notes, computer-using students tend to do more poorly on later tests than their peers who took notes by hand … Being in a condition that allowed computers was associated with a grade drop of about one-fifth of a standard deviation.”
Read more …

Early Education Is A Disaster In U.S., Study Finds

U.S. News & World Report

“Early childhood education … Policies across the U.S. fall short on a number of measurable indicators, including pay, professional development, paid planning time, paid sick leave, and other policies that impact the ability of early educators to teach effectively and remain on the job … Nearly half of … child care workers … were part of families enrolled in at least one of four public support programs, including Medicaid, food stamps, welfare ,or the federal earned income tax credit. That’s compared to 26 percent of the U.S. workforce … Findings come after years of increased efforts by the Obama administration to make early childhood education a major priority.”
Read more …

Are Clinton’s And Trump’s K-12 Proposals Really Late?

Education Week

“When it comes to putting out a comprehensive plan on K-12 education, Hillary Clinton circa 2008 was way, way ahead of this year’s version … By November 2007 … seven months before this point in the presidential campaign cycle … Clinton had a very detailed proposal … Donald Trump … is also late to the dance compared to recent nominees. By this point of the game in 2012 … Is it because the issue has become somewhat toxic and touchy? Or is it because this just isn’t really an election about ideas?”
Read more …

A Leg Up: How A Privileged Minority Is Graduating Without Debt

Demos

“The need to borrow for a four-year degree differs substantially by race and income … 81% of black students must borrow for a bachelor’s degree compared to 63% of white students. Low-income students … are overwhelmingly more likely to borrow … Black and low-income students make up a greater portion of indebted graduates among both dependent and independent students … Debt-free graduates are also more likely to be dependent students … Indebted graduates are also more likely to be student parents themselves.
Read more …

7/8/2016 – How Education Fares In The Democratic Party Platform

THIS WEEK: Obama Friends Bid For For-Profit College … Kids Are Losing Recovery … Rating Schools … Trickle Down Economics Hurts Schools … Rally For Public Schools

TOP STORY

How Education Fares In The Democratic Party Platform

By Jeff Bryant

“Many are saying this platform ‘may be most progressive platform the Democratic Party may have ever had.’ But is it progressive on education? … Currently, the best answer to that question is, ‘Maybe.’”
Read more …

NEWS AND VIEWS

Bid To Buy For-Profit College By Former Obama Insiders Raises Questions

Politico

“As the Obama administration cracks down on for-profit colleges, three former officials working on behalf of an investment firm run by President Barack Obama’s best friend have staged a behind-the-scenes campaign to get the Education Department to green-light a purchase of the biggest for-profit of them all – the University of Phoenix… Several key players are either close to top administration officials, including the president himself, or are former administration insiders… The proposed sale carries high stakes… $1.1 billion… If the company were to fail, more than 160,000 students could be displaced and the government would be on the hook for hundreds of millions in student loans.”
Read more …

2016 KIDS COUNT Data Book Finds Stagnating Poverty And Racial Inequity

New America Foundation

“New data… which measures the well-being of children across the nation… reveals… the growing economic instability of American children and families… despite being several years into the recovery… Even though the employment rate has been increasing… 30% of children lived in families where no parent had full-time, year-round employment… 22% of children lived in families with incomes below the poverty line… Future prospects of workers with a high school diploma or less are growing ever bleaker… Children of color… continue to experience negative outcomes at higher rates.”
Read more …

Education Secretary Takes Heat For Pushing Single Rating Of Schools

EdSource

“California is moving towards establishing a new accountability system made up of multiple measures, in place of the state’s previous… which assigned schools a single ‘summative’ number based on test scores. This new approach has been championed by Gov. Jerry Brown… But under the draft regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Education… states would be required to come up with a single rating for their schools.”
Read more …

The Trickle-Down Myth Meets The Reality Of School Aid

The New York Times

“[Kansas] Gov. Sam Brownback and the Republican-controlled Legislature have… yielded to a state court mandate to either treat poor districts more equitably or see the public school system shut down… The fierce standoff over school financing was an outgrowth of Mr. Brownback’s wholesale indulgence of the Republican trickle-down myth that sweeping tax cuts somehow produce revenue growth, not deficits… As vicious as the fight has been, it may prove to be a mere skirmish in a larger court challenge focused on the State Constitution’s requirement that a properly financed education be provided for all Kansas students.”
Read more …

This Friday In D.C., Let’s Rally For An Important Progressive Cause

Campaign For America’s Future

Jeff Bryant writes, “This Friday, a crowd expected to reach into the thousands will throng the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., to listen to prominent voices in the progressive movement, such as Rev. William Barber II, address the nation… The cause is about rallying the nation to support its treasured K-12 public school system. The gathering begins at 10:30 a.m., the speeches begin at noon and a march to the White House at 2:30 p.m.… Barber will be joined on the stage by some of the most prominent voices in progressive education policy, including education historian and best-selling author Diane Ravitch, renowned author and social justice advocate Jonathan Kozol, Chicago community activist Jitu Brown, and Youth Dreamers fighters for immigrant justice, among many others.”
Read more …

6/30/2016 – Are Public Schools And Private Equity A Bad Mix?

THIS WEEK: School Choice Is Chaos … Teacher Stress Hurts Students … Exercise Improves Achievement … Solve Inequality First … SCOTUS Got Fisher Right

TOP STORY

Are Public Schools And Private Equity A Bad Mix?

By Jeff Bryant

“It’s true … cities and towns are required to offer citizens a free education … That doesn’t mean that schools aren’t fair game for privatization … Charter schools, for instance, are fundamentally less democratic than public schools. And changing from traditional way of funding education – where taxpayers agree to share costs of schools, and those assets are handed from one generation to the next – to a system in which charter school real estate and operations are controlled by private equity takes control out of the community.”
Read more …

NEWS AND VIEWS

A Sea Of Charter Schools In Detroit Leaves Students Adrift

The New York Times

“Michigan leapt at the promise of charter schools 23 years ago, betting big that choice and competition would improve public schools. It got competition, and chaos … 24 charter schools have opened in the city since the cap was lifted in 2011. 18 charters whose existing schools were at or below the district’s dismal performance expanded or opened new schools … It can be a forbidding landscape for families trying to enroll their children, particularly in a city where, historically, federal statistics show that nearly half the adults are not literate enough to function effectively … ‘We’re spreading the money across more and more schools … They’re all under-resourced.'”
Read more …

Classroom Contagion: Stressed-Out Students More Common In Classes Where Teachers Are Burned Out

Medical Daily

“Teacher burnout may contribute to stressed-out students and vice versa, suggesting that stress may actually be contagious … This is the first time research has found a potential link between the two … When teachers get stressed from inadequate support in the classroom or poor educational systems, their lessons are less organized and managed. Students, then, are affected by the stress and burnout, in turn increasing their own levels of anxiety.”
Read more …

To Do Better In School, Kids Should Exercise Their Bodies As Well As Their Brains, Experts Say

Los Angeles Times

“‘Physical activity before, during and after school promotes scholastic performance in children and youth’ … What’s more, exercise and fitness ‘are beneficial to brain structure, brain function and cognition’”… Recess and physical education classes in school, organized youth sports leagues, and old-fashioned outdoor play … are still a good investment in academic achievement.”
Read more …

UN Report: Tackle Inequality To Prevent Children From Dying

Associated Press via ABC News

“69 million youngsters under the age of five will die from preventable causes between now and 2030 if all countries don’t accelerate action to improve health and education for the most disadvantaged … 167 million children will also live in extreme poverty, 60 million won’t be attending primary school, and 750 million women will have been married as children by 2030 unless inequality is tackled now … 147 million children between one- and five-years-old could be saved from preventable death ‘just with a 2% increase in expenditure in 74 countries.'”
Read more …

What Other Universities Should Learn From UT

Houston Chronicle

Education professor Julian Vasquez Heilig writes, “We are fortunate today that the Supreme Court ruled that the University of Texas admission plan ‘clearly reconciled the pursuit of diversity with the constitutional promise of equal treatment and dignity’ … Critics of affirmative action in admissions often frame the matter like that: as a rule that says when two exactly equal candidates apply for a spot in a university, the minority candidate is chosen each time. This is a gross and purposeful simplification of what actually occurs … UT was very thorough in its empirical process … This high standard will likely cause those that oppose the consideration of race … to sue colleges or universities that haven’t been so thorough. So my message to my academic brethren … Be sure that your admissions policies are in the best interest of your students and faculty.”
Read more …

6/23/2016 – Getting The ‘Customer Model’ Out Of Education

THIS WEEK: Schools Aren’t Failures … Ed-Tech Not A Solution … Low Teacher Pay … Chicago School Collapse … America’s School Funding Crisis

TOP STORY

Getting The ‘Customer Model’ Out Of Education

By Jeff Bryant

“We’re constantly told schools need to be in step with the needs of businesses, and that education is ‘an investment’ that gets a ‘return.’ The language of education policy is saturated in business values of efficiency, standardization, and productivity. But the truth is most businesses fail.”
Read more …

NEWS AND VIEWS

America’s Not-So-Broken Education System

The Atlantic

“The public-education system is undeniably flawed. Yet many of the deepest flaws have been deliberately cultivated. Funding inequity and racial segregation, for instance, aren’t byproducts of a system that broke. They are direct consequences of an intentional concentration of privilege … It is important not to confuse inequity with ineptitude. History may reveal broken promises around racial and economic justice. But it does not support the story of a broken education system.”
Read more …

State-Of-The-Art Education Software Often Doesn’t Help Students Learn More, Study Finds

The Hechinger Report

“Students didn’t get higher grades from using adaptive-learning software, nor were they more likely to pass a course than in a traditional face-to-face class. In some courses the researchers found that students were learning more from adaptive-learning software, but even in those cases, the positive impact tended to be ‘modest.’”
Read more …

Teacher Pay Around The World

Brookings

“American teachers are underpaid when compared to teachers in the nations we compete with … In most industrialized countries relative teacher pay is higher than in the United States … The gaps are even larger for upper secondary than for lower secondary … Making teaching a financially more attractive career isn’t the only thing that matters for who teaches. It does matter though, and probably it matters a lot.”
Read more …

Is The Nation’s Third-Largest School District In Danger Of Collapse?

The Washington Post

“Money mismanagement, inadequate funding and failed education policy are combining with a host of other factors to raise the issue of whether the nation’s third-largest school district is in existential danger … The union rejected an independent fact-finders recommendation that it accept a four-year contract offered by the city, and its president, Karen Lewis, said that the district’s financial problems could not solely be laid at the feet of the Republican governor, but also at the mayor’s and district leadership’s.”
Read more …

America Faces A School Funding Crisis

Newsday

Jeff Bryan writes, “In many communities around the country, families with children in schools are increasingly concerned about the conditions of the schools their kids will return to in the fall. Even worse, some are worrying whether the schools will open at all … National per-pupil spending on primary and secondary public schools has dropped for three straight years … In the meantime, student enrollment in public schools continues to grow … A recent review of the research on the effects of school funding on school outcomes … found that spending more money on education tends to benefit students.”
Read more …

6/16/2016 – How Long Can Big Money Keep Democrats In The Charter School Camp?

THIS WEEK: Chronic Absences … Homeless Students … Transgender Bathrooms … Poor Pay For Pre-K … New Reform Lie

TOP STORY

How Long Can Big Money Keep Democrats In The Charter School Camp?

By Jeff Bryant

“In the California Democratic Party’s primary race … many Democratic Party candidates relied on money from the petroleum industry and ‘education reform’ advocates backing charter schools to win their contests over ‘more progressive’ candidates … Charter school advocates also team up with big finance to influence Democratic Party candidates … Although, the issue of charter schools has barely been addressed in the presidential contest, there’s little doubt the subject is clearly a matter of intense and bitter debate down ticket.”
Read more …

NEWS AND VIEWS

More Than 6 Million U.S. Students Are ‘Chronically Absent’

NPR

“If students miss 10% of the school year – that’s just two days a month – research shows they are way more likely to fall behind – even drop out … More than 6 million kids are missing 15 days or more of school a year … More than 2 million high schoolers are missing 15 days or more. The figures for minority students are even more alarming: More than a fifth of black high schoolers are chronically absent. It’s 20 percent for Latino high school students and 27 percent for American Indians and Native Alaskans.”
Read more …

With Homeless Students On The Rise, Will New Education Law Help?

US News & World Report

“Homeless students are one of the fastest-growing subgroups of students in the U.S. … More than 1.3 million students were homeless during the 2013-14 school year… Students who experience homelessness are more likely than their non-homeless peers to be held back from grade to grade; have poor attendance or be chronically absent from school; fail courses; have more disciplinary issues; and drop out of school … Beginning in the 2016-2017 school year, states will be required under the new federal education law … to report graduation rates for homeless youth. In addition, districts will have more flexibility in how they use some pots of federal funding, and policymakers are hoping they choose to direct more of that toward providing support for homeless students.”
Read more …

What Does Research Suggest About Transgender Restroom Policies?

Education Week

“A 2013 national school climate survey of nearly 8,000 LGBT youths between the ages of 13 and 21 found that 63% of transgender students avoided school bathrooms, and 52% of transgender students avoided school locker rooms because they felt unsafe or uncomfortable … Regular access to restrooms can have a direct impact on academic participation and performance … There is currently no evidence of any increase in sexual assaults or other criminal behavior in restrooms in the 18 states and Washington, D.C., that have enacted gender-identity-inclusive public-accommodations nondiscrimination laws.”
Read more …

It’s Ridiculous How Little We Pay Preschool Teachers

Slate

“Teacher quality matters a lot in the early years … And yet. In spite of the rising need for childcare in this country – approximately 58 percent of mothers of infants work full time – and its increasingly obscene cost, preschool teachers are paid very, very little… an average of $28,570 last year. Daycare worker salaries are even more pitiable, with the average worker making $9.77 an hour in 2015, or $20,320 a year … Daycare workers have joined fast-food employees and other hourly wage workers in the Fight for $15.”
Read more …

The New Education Reform Lie: Why Denver Is A Warning Sign, Not A Model, For Urban School Districts

Alternet

Jeff Bryan writes, “Numerous articles and reports in mainstream media outlets and education policy sites enthusiastically tout Denver as the place to see the next important new ‘reform’ in education policy in action … Denverites tell a different story about Denver-style urban school reform. Instead of a glowing example, they point to warning signs. Rather than a narrative of success, their stories reveal disturbing truths about Denver’s version of modern urban school reform – how policy direction is often controlled by big money and insiders, why glowing promises of ‘improvement’ should be regarded with skepticism, and what the movement’s real impacts are, especially in communities dominated by poor families of color.”
Read more …