Education Opportunity Network

Education Opportunity Network -

11/16/2017 – The Republican Tax Plan Is A Declaration Of War On Learning

THIS WEEK: Vouchers With No Oversight … Charter Marketing … Better Tests Myth … Zero-Sum Ed … De-Personaliozed Learning

TOP STORY

The Republican Tax Plan Is A Declaration Of War On Learning

By Jeff Bryant

“What the Republicans propose in their tax plans is not just a raid on education-related budget items for the sake of fiscal efficiency; their plans are part of a strategic offensive against the very idea that all children and youth have a right to a free and high-quality education … The transformation they want would make the nation collectively dumber and much more dependent on profit-making businesses for scarcer services with far fewer opportunities for citizens to better themselves through education. We must reject that future.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

‘There Is No Oversight’: Private-School Vouchers Can Leave Parents On Their Own

Education Week

“When families use a voucher to enroll in private school, they give up, knowingly or not, most of the protections that federal law requires for special education students. If a private school decides not to admit a student, or to ask a student to leave, there’s little legal recourse for parents to challenge those decisions … Despite a bulging roster of Florida students attending private schools with the state’s help, there’s scant data and information available to show how they do … Private schools receiving state aid don’t have to track or tell the state how many students graduate from their schools, nor how many are bullied, expelled, or drop out – some of the most basic measures of student success. Private schools do not receive letter grades based on how well students perform on state standardized tests as their public school peers do, and they are not required to be accredited by an independent agency.”
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The Super Wealthy Oxycontin Family Supports School Privatization With Tactics Similar To Those That Fueled the Opioid Epidemic

Alternet

“As a copywriter at a medical advertising agency, Arthur Sackler devised strategies to promote drugs like Librium and Valium. Now, some of those same strategies are now being used with the aim of promoting charter schools. Jonathan Sackler, Arthur’s nephew, is a well-known name in the education reform movement … The Sackler ‘special sauce’ is vertical integration … The marketing of OxyContin was ‘unprecedented … and was … aggressive and inappropriate’ … The description … will sound familiar to anyone who has witnessed one of the no-expenses-spared charter school rallies that are a specialty of Sackler-funded organizations … There is the dizzying array of astroturf front groups all created for the purpose of demanding more charter schools.”
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Better Tests Don’t Lead To Better Teaching, Study Finds

The Hechinger Report

“Researchers … found that a more demanding test didn’t help improve the quality of the teacher’s instruction. A teacher’s test-prep lessons were generally of lower instructional quality than when the same teacher wasn’t prepping students for the test …The quality gap between a teacher’s regular lessons and her test-prep lessons was largest in a school district where the teaching quality was the highest … Instructional quality sank a lot when these excellent teachers were delivering test-prep lessons. In districts with lower teaching quality … test-prep lessons weren’t much worse. But they didn’t raise instructional quality.'”
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Lessons From North Carolina: How Charter Schools Force ‘Zero-Sum’ Education

The Progressive

Jeff Bryant writes, “In [Betsy] DeVos’s brave new world where ‘money follows the child’ from one school to another, schools and communities will increasingly see education as a zero-sum affair, where every student gained is a plus in the financial ledger and every student lost is a minus … The truth is, education has always been a zero-sum game … In the post-Civil War years, white conservatives were generally opposed to public schools … The landmark Supreme Court Brown v Board decision was the turning point in extending education opportunities to African American students …The ideology driving charter school expansions … takes emphasis away from a unified and equitable system of education.”
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The Case(s) Against Personalized Learning

Education Week

“Dozens of companies now tout a wide range of software, platforms, and apps as transformative tools for personalizing student learning … Many critics believe that personalized learning boils down to kids working alone on software, an approach they say ignores the crucial social aspects of learning … What’s marketed as ‘personalized learning’ amounts to little more than breaking knowledge and ideas down into ‘itty-bitty parts,’ then using extrinsic rewards to ‘march kids through a series of decontextualized skills they had no meaningful role in choosing’ … ‘When Facebook promises personalization …it’s really about massive data collection.'”
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11/9/2017 – Did Support For Education Save The Democrats’ Bacon In The Virginia Governor’s Race?

THIS WEEK: Stealth School Vouchers … Puerto Rico Privatization … Silicon Valley Fail … Tests Screw Teacher Evaluations … For-Profit College Dropouts

TOP STORY

Did Support For Education Save The Democrats’ Bacon In The Virginia Governor’s Race?

By Jeff Bryant

“Ralph Northam’s big win for the Democratic party in the Virginia governor’s election is being hailed as a ‘rebuke of President Trump.’ But it’s also a rebuke of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos … In the Virginia governor’s contest, education was the voters’ “top concern,” according to at least one poll … Northam was backed by teachers unions while Gillespie got financial backing from the DeVos family … Northam got education right not only by differing from Betsy DeVos but also by distancing his views from some views held by Democrats too, especially those Democrats aligned with leftover policy ideas from the Barack Obama presidential administration.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

The GOP Has A New Vehicle For School Choice, But Are The Wealthy At The Wheel?

Education Week

“The House GOP’s plan to overhaul the tax code includes a provision that would allow 529 college savings plans to be used for K-12 expenses, including private school tuition … The average value of the savings account was $19,800 … in 2015 … 57% of account holders were from households making $100,000 to $250,000 annually … For wealthier families that can save for both K-12 and higher education, ‘it’s just a giveaway.'”
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Puerto Ricans Fear Schools Will Be Privatized In The Wake of Hurricane Maria

The Intercept

“[A] guerrilla campaign to open schools is running headlong into a separate effort from the top, to use the storm to accomplish the long-standing goal of privatizing Puerto Rico’s public schools, using New Orleans post-Katrina as a model … Puerto Rico’s Public-Private Partnerships Authority director spoke optimistically about leveraging federal money with companies interested in privatizing public infrastructure … Puerto Rico’s Education Department is purposefully putting off opening of schools to justify permanent closures down the road. The department has not clearly defined its criteria for determining whether a school is ready to open … Schools have been operating without authorization, desperate to restore order and provide children with food and learning opportunities.”
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Silicon Valley Tried To Reinvent Schools. Now It’s Rebooting

Bloomberg

“The education system is one of the few industries that has resisted technological reinvention. It’s not for a lack of capital. [Facebook’s Mark] Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Netflix Inc.’s Reed Hastings, Salesforce.com Inc.’s Marc Benioff and many others have poured money into reform efforts, with mixed results … Venture investors spent $2.35 billion on education-technology startups globally last year … But companies haven’t come up with a formula students will embrace or that can be deployed efficiently and profitably. The hype around online education has largely dissipated as dropout rates skyrocketed.”
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Using Test Scores Tends To Lower Teacher-Evaluation Ratings, Study Shows

Education Week

“States and districts have waffled on whether and how student achievement should be incorporated into a teacher’s rating. Should value-added scores – which aim to isolate how much a teacher has contributed to a student’s learning, as measured by tests – be a part of the calculation?… A new study [finds] … when value-added scores are incorporated into evaluations, the ratings tend to go down. And the more weight a system puts on value-added scoring, the lower the scores are likely to be … That’s because value-added scores tend to be relative measures … ‘Everybody can’t be good with value added.'”
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Federal Data Shows 3.9 Million Students Dropped Out Of College With Debt In 2015 And 2016

The Hechinger Report

“3.9 million undergraduates with federal student loan debt dropped out during fiscal years 2015 and 2016 … More than 900,000 of these students dropped out of for-profit universities. That’s 23% of all the indebted dropouts, even though only 10% of all undergraduate students attend for-profit schools … Almost 2.5 million … had attended public institutions … But the public sector’s share of dropouts exactly matches its share of the student population: 64% Private nonprofit colleges seem to be doing a better job, accounting for 13% of the dropouts while educating a quarter of all U.S. undergraduates… The Trump Administration has delayed and sought to ease regulations of for-profit universities.”
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11/2/2017 – How The Republican Tax Scheme Will Screw Your Local Schools

THIS WEEK: Students Are Stressed … Teachers Are Too … New Koch Attack … School Choice Screws Small Towns … College Inequity Grows

TOP STORY

How The Republican Tax Scheme Will Screw Your Local Schools

By Jeff Bryant

“There’s a lot that’s bad in the tax scheme Republicans are cooking up on Capitol Hill right now, but one particularly odious ingredient is a proposal to eliminate the deduction for state and local taxes (SALT) which could end up undercutting funding for education … Eliminating the SALT deduction would be ‘an assault on local governance’ and the ‘long-term economic stability in our communities.'”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

Teachers Report Stressed, Anxious Students In The ‘Age Of Trump’

NPR

“Teachers report that in the current political climate, some of their students fear for themselves and their families. Others reported that students seem more ’emboldened’ to express racist and derogatory views … 79% of teachers reported that students have expressed concerns for their well-being … 51% of teachers reported more students experiencing ‘high levels of stress and anxiety’ … 44% of teachers reported that students’ concerns were affecting learning.”
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Survey: Teachers’ Mental Health Declining Amid Job Stress

USA Today

“A long list of anxieties … is taking a toll on teachers, a new survey shows … 58% said their mental health was ‘not good’ for seven or more of the previous 30 days. A similar survey in 2015 found just 34% of respondents felt the same … the vast majority – 86% – did not feel respected by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos … 61% of educators, as well as school staff, say their work ‘always’ or ‘often’ stressful. They also don’t appear to get much sleep.”
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How The Kochs Are Trying To Shake Up Public Schools, One State At A Time

Politico

“The billionaire Koch brothers’ network is engaged in state-by-state battles … to push for public funding of private and charter schools. One of the newest campaigns is the Libre Initiative … targeting Hispanic families in 11 … under the umbrella of … Americans for Prosperity … The group has had some initial success – for instance, helping to thwart a moratorium on charter school expansion in New Mexico. But it’s also created bitter divisions in the Latino community and led to accusations the Kochs are trying to undermine public education.”
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In Rural America, School Choice Poses Agonizing Choices

Alternet

“Indiana is a poster state for the kinds of education policies pushed by President Trump and his Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. But for small rural communities, the growth of school choice over the past six years is now forcing another choice: whether to close the public schools that are at their heart as competing schools pull students and money away … As the voucher and charter programs were explained and advertised as ‘school choice’ to the public, one corollary fact was not included: Indiana residents might lose a choice that many of us have taken for granted for decades– the ability to send our kids to a local, well-resourced public school.”
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Top Public Universities Are Shutting Out Poor Students, Report Says

The Washington Post

“Since the late 1990s, almost two-thirds of selective public universities have reduced the share of students they enroll who come from families earning less than $37,000 a year … A near-identical share of these schools have increased the percentage of students they enroll who come from families earning at least $110,000 … Public colleges and universities carry the load in higher education by enrolling the vast majority of the nation’s college students … Yet these and other public colleges are contending with tepid state investment in higher education that has sent some looking elsewhere for revenue.”
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10/26/2017 – Center For American Progress’s Failed ‘Progressive Case’ For Charter Schools

THIS WEEK: Tax Reform Fears … LA Charter School Scandal … Charter School Rift … Don’t Dis Print … College Aid Declines

TOP STORY

Center For American Progress’s Failed ‘Progressive Case’ For Charter Schools

By Jeff Bryant

“President Donald Trump swept into office on a platform that included support for charter schools … so it’s surprising to see the Center for American Progress, originators of the #Resist campaign, issue a ‘Progressive Case for Charter Schools’ … But CAP’s argument for charters is flawed and unconvincing in multiple ways.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

The Unnoticed Threat to Public Schools

Democracy Journal

“While the eyes of public education advocates remain transfixed on Secretary Betsy DeVos and President Trump’s private school voucher and ‘skinny budget’ aspirations, they are missing the far graver threat to public schools – tax reform … Consider the existing federal tax deduction for state and local property taxes, which overwhelmingly fund local schools … The best hope for protecting public education from the worst of the Republican budget and tax agenda lies in communicating loudly and widely that deep reduction or elimination of the state and local tax deduction would decimate public education.”
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A Los Angeles School Board Scandal Could Upend Plans By Charter Backers To Take Over Public Schools

The Intercept

“The district attorney of Los Angeles County filed criminal charges this month against Ref Rodriguez, the school board president of the nation’s second-largest public school district. Accused of laundering money into his 2015 political campaign with the help of his cousin, Rodriguez faces three felony charges and 25 misdemeanors … Rodriguez became the first charter school operator to join the Los Angeles school board. He was backed by the well-heeled charter school movement, which spent more than $2 million to help elect him. This past spring, education reform advocates won three more seats, giving the board a slim pro-charter majority for the first time ever … How this all plays out in California will almost surely affect education politics elsewhere.”
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The Rift Among Charter Schools

The American Prospect

“So-called ‘independent charters’ – freestanding schools not run by networked chains – have also begun to organize collectively. They’re saying their interests and reputations can suffer when they’re lumped in with the rest of the charter movement… 60% of the nation’s charters are independent … Ultimately, leaders of independent charters are trying to figure out how to save, or redefine, the brand of the charter school movement.”
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A New Study Shows That Students Learn Way More Effectively From Print Textbooks Than Screens

Business Insider

“While new forms of classroom technology like digital textbooks are more accessible and portable, it would be wrong to assume that students will automatically be better served by digital reading … Students said they preferred and performed better when reading on screens. But their actual performance tended to suffer … Students were able to better comprehend information in print for texts that were more than a page in length. This appears to be related to the disruptive effect that scrolling has on comprehension … There are significant costs and consequences to discounting the printed word’s value for learning and academic development.”
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College Prices Rise Moderately, But Still Outstrip Student Aid

Education Week

“College prices increased moderately in the past year, but they still outstrip the aid students get to pay the bills … For community college students, and in-state students at public, four-year institutions, room and board eats up a bigger part of their budgets than tuition and fees … The average total aid for a fulltime undergraduate in 2016-17 was $14,400 … In 2015-16, average total aid for a fulltime undergraduate was $14,460.”
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10/19/2017 – In Disasters’ Wake, Public Schools And Educators Defy DeVos’s Attacks On The ‘System’

THIS WEEK: Schools Without Rules … School Gerrymandering … School Feeds Racism … DACA Teachers At Risk … Lawsuit Targets DeVos

TOP STORY

In Disasters’ Wake, Public Schools And Educators Defy DeVos’s Attacks On The ‘System’

By Jeff Bryant

“A favorite talking point of U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is to say that conversations about education should not be about systems’ … But before DeVos casually dismisses the need to dispense with public education institutions across the country, she should look at the vital role schools and the educators have played in responding to the string of devastating natural disasters that hit America this year.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

Schools Without Rules: An Orlando Sentinel Investigation

Orlando Sentinel

“Private schools in Florida will collect nearly $1 billion in state-backed scholarships this year through a system so weakly regulated that some schools hire teachers without college degrees, hold classes in aging strip malls, and falsify fire-safety and health records … Despite the problems, the number of children using Florida’s scholarship programs has more than tripled in the past decade to 140,000 students … Schools must meet only a short list of state requirements, such as employee background checks and fire and health inspections, to receive the money. Such a low barrier to entry has helped the number of private schools in Florida to jump by more than 20 percent in the past 10 years.”
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Gerrymandering Educational Opportunity

Phi Delta Kappan

“School boundaries have been gerrymandered … Gerrymandering of educational boundaries generally fosters inequities in access to educational opportunities and worsens already severe levels of racial segregation in public schools … Gerrymandering continues to perpetuate segregation in schools … Across all 15,000 attendance zones … gerrymandered boundaries increase segregation beyond what would be expected if all students attended their closest school. This is true for all dimensions of racial and ethnic segregation studied, including between black and white students and between Hispanic and white students … While gerrymandering increases segregation overall, it is particularly severe in districts experiencing rapid increases in racial diversity.”
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A School Choice Quandary: Parents Care More About Who Attends A School Than About Its Quality, In NYC Study

Chalkbeat

“In New York City, where students in district schools have a bevy of options and can attend schools outside their neighborhood … families aren’t flocking to the most effective schools – they are looking for schools with higher-achieving students … The result: school choice programs may incentivize schools to do more to attract students more likely to perform well, not help students learn more … It may also be due to biases, including racism.”
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20,000 DACA Teachers At Risk – And Your Kids Could Feel The Fallout, Too

USA Today

“Nationwide, an estimated 20,000 DACA-eligible teachers – many of them possessing key Spanish-language skills that are in high demand – could be plucked from the classroom if the program is phased out … Losing that many teachers would have a huge impact on kids … Public schools are already in a teacher shortage bind … short by about 327,000 educators.”
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States Sue DeVos To Get For-Profit College Rule Restored

Associated Press

“Democratic attorneys general in 17 states and the District of Columbia filed suit Tuesday against the U.S. Department of Education over its decision to block an Obama-era rule designed to protect students from being defrauded by for-profit colleges … The lawsuit … comes as DeVos faces criticism from student advocates and Democratic lawmakers for delaying action on tens of thousands of claims for loan forgiveness from former students at defunct for-profit colleges.”
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10/12/2017 – Betsy DeVos’s Attack On Public Education Is Just Beginning

THIS WEEK: DeVos Doesn’t Need Congress … Puerto Rican Debt Holder Funds Charter Schools … Charter School Ripoff … Virginia Governor’s Race … Choice Spread Segregation

TOP STORY

Betsy DeVos’s Attack On Public Education Is Just Beginning

By Jeff Bryant

“With less than a year in office, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is already having the narrative of her impact on the nation’s public schools recast from someone with the power to “single-handedly decimate our public education system” to someone who is capable of only incremental change or who is completely ineffectual altogether. Don’t believe this shift in the storyline.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

Three Ways Betsy DeVos Could Push School Choice Without Congress

Education Week

“U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ school choice agenda has run into roadblocks on Capitol Hill. But, from her perch at the department, she has other levers to get states and districts to offer kids more schooling options, without help from anyone in Congress … Federal officials can give applicants a leg-up if they pitch something choice related, or maybe even if they are a charter school, or part of a district that’s home to a voucher program … DeVos can give speeches on the virtues of choice, and travel to schools and districts where she thinks choice is making a positive difference … DeVos is probably going to get moving on … adopting a weighted student-funding formula [that] could make it easier for districts to operate school choice programs.”
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The Hedge Funder Who Secretly Bought $1 Billion In Puerto Rican Debt Is Also A Secret Backer of Charter Schools

Alternet

“Billionaire hedge funder Seth Klarman is … one of the largest holders of Puerto Rico’s skyrocketing public debt … When officials in Massachusetts forced a secretive political organization to reveal its donors, Klarman’s name topped the list. Of the more than $15 million Families for Excellent Schools spent pushing last November’s failed ballot initiative to increase the number of the state’s charter schools, $3.3 million came from Klarman, the most from any single individual … The lesson here is that the growing crisis caused by charter schools in school districts nationwide is very much a manufactured one. It’s Naomi Klein’s ‘disaster capitalism’ at a slower pace.”
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For-Profit Schools Get State Dollars For Dropouts Who Rarely Drop In

ProPublica

“U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has championed charters and for-profit education, contending in congressional testimony that school choice can lower absenteeism and dropout rates. But … a ProPublica-USA Today investigation found, the drop-outs rarely drop in – and if they do, they don’t stay long … Such schools aggressively recruit as many students as possible, and sometimes count them even after they stop showing up, a practice that can generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer-paid revenue for empty desks. Auditors have accused for-profit dropout recovery schools in Ohio, Illinois, and Florida of improperly collecting public money for vanished students.”
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Future Of Public Education In Virginia At Stake In Governor’s Race

The Washington Post

“The outcome of Virginia’s race for governor, the country’s marquee statewide election this year, will have widespread significance for the state’s roughly 1.29 million schoolchildren … The contest pits Republican Ed Gillespie, who has received more than $100,000 in donations from the family of U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, against Democrat Ralph Northam, who has accepted at least $465,000 from teachers unions … Gillespie and Northam both … diverge sharply when it comes to public charter schools and using tax dollars to help parents pay tuition at private schools.”
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What Does DeVos’s Charter School Expansion Hold? Look To Minnesota

The Progressive

“The U.S. Department of Education announced plans to shower a whopping $253 million in grants to expand charter schools in a handful of states, buoying the nation’s ‘school choice’ market … But if we follow the money to Minnesota, set to receive a huge chunk of this federal jackpot, we see how it is dangerous to our students, our schools, and the future of public education for all … Getting rid of the deduction would ‘decimate public education … Funding school choice pits privately managed, publicly (and privately) funded charter schools against public school districts – especially when the charter schools are allowed to serve racially and economically isolated populations. As a result, Minnesota has an increasingly racially segregated school landscape.”
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10/5/2015 – New Federal Grant Feeds Charter School Gravy Train In New Mexico

THIS WEEK: Teachers Fear Scary SCOTUS Case … Puerto Rican Student Refugees … Crazy Roy Moore … Making Student Absences Count … GOP Tax Proposal May Hit Schools

TOP STORY

New Federal Grant Feeds Charter School Gravy Train In New Mexico

By Jeff Bryant

“When the U.S. Department of Education recently announced its list of recipients of over a quarter billion dollars in federally funded grants to charter schools, charter management organizations, and charter development agencies, charter skeptics cast a suspicious eye at some of the grantees … [A] state recipient that deserves scrutiny but may get overlooked is New Mexico, with an award of over $22.5 million … The award seems questionable based on the academic performance of charter schools in the state and the lack of transparency and accountability of its charter sector.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

A Primer On The Supreme Court Case That Teachers’ Unions Have Been Fearing

Education Week

“The U.S. Supreme Court officially agreed to review a case on public-employee union fees that could potentially deliver a harsh blow to the nation’s teachers’ unions … About half of states allow unions to charge fees, known as ‘agency’ or ‘shop’ fees, to people who don’t join the union … The new case is called Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council 31 … Mark Janus argues that he should not be forced to pay monthly union fees to keep his job … With Justice Neil M. Gorsuch now on the court, there’s a good chance agency fees will be deemed unconstitutional … The unions will lose out on a major source of revenue, and will likely see a big dip in membership.”
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U.S. Schools Brace For An Influx Of Students From Puerto Rico

NPR

“After Hurricane Maria battered Puerto Rico, students who can’t return to school may need to continue their education on the mainland. Some of the largest school districts in Florida, plus major cities like New York City and Chicago, are preparing for the possibility of an influx of students … In Massachusetts … Springfield public schools … has dealt with helping a large influx of students previously … The school typically gets Somali refugees or sometimes has to deal with placing students when a charter school closes.”
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Preschool A Nazi-Like Institution For Brainwashing Children Into Being Liberal: Alabama Republican Roy Moore

The Star

“[Roy] Moore won the Republicans’ Alabama primary for Jeff Sessions’s old Senate seat … If he beats Democratic lawyer Doug Jones in the December general election, the man … will become by far the most ideologically extreme member of the Republican caucus … Some of his extreme views have remained largely unknown. Such as his deep antagonism toward preschool … He argued … ‘social liberals like Hillary Clinton … understand … when the mind of a young child is subjected to state control before fundamental concepts and basic beliefs are formulated, the child is much more likely to learn a liberal social and political philosophy … Totalitarian regimes like those of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin knew well the value of a ‘youth corps.’”
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Student Absences Are About To Have Higher Stakes In Most States. Will Cheating Follow?

Chalkbeat

“Schools across the country are about to be held accountable for student attendance – attaching stakes to a measure that previously had much less significance and increasing the risk that schools will try to manipulate that data … 36 states plan to use chronic absenteeism to measure schools under ESSA, the federal education law … One way for schools to improve their chronic absenteeism marks is to add support that helps students to show up to school … But past experience with evaluation systems suggests that a small number of schools will resort to unscrupulous means … There should be some protections against manipulation of attendance data. But it’s unclear to what extent states have those safeguards in place.”
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Why Spending On Schools Could Take A Hit Through The GOP Tax Proposal

Education Week

“The GOP framework for overhauling taxes … could have a very significant impact on education spending … The elimination of the state and local tax deduction … would put very significant pressure on state and local governments to reduce the tax burden they place on individuals. That, in turn, would likely cut down on tax revenue available to public schools. That’s particularly true in many states in the northeast where per-pupil expenditures from state and local sources are relatively high … Getting rid of the deduction would ‘decimate public education.'”
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9/28/1917 – 60 Years After Little Rock, Its Legacy Lives On In Jackson, Mississippi

THIS WEEK: DeVos Ends Assault Protections … DeVos Is Unpopular … Unions Boost Learning … Hungry Students… Online School Stories

TOP STORY

60 Years After Little Rock, Its Legacy Lives On In Jackson, Mississippi

By Jeff Bryant

“This week’s 60th anniversary of the ‘Little Rock Nine,’ named for the African American students who braved violent backlash and racist insults from whites to integrate Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957, is prompting a wave of articles on the struggle for racial justice in American public education … But the story of Little Rock should not be confined to past tense, and its lesson is really pretty clear and simple.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

DeVos Withdraws Obama-Era Guidance On Campus Sexual Assault

The Washington Post

“DeVos … rescinded the Obama-era guidance to schools on how to deal with sexual assault on campus, reversing course on federal policy that has played an important role in driving schools to do more to protect sexual assault victims … Sexual assault survivors hailed Obama’s administration for providing them with long-overdue protections … with the number of sexual violence cases under investigation … going from 55 in May 2014 to 344 as of July 12, 2017 … The most controversial part of the Obama-era guidance was that the outcome of investigations should rely on the preponderance of the evidence … DeVos has said that some innocent men were falsely accused under the standard.”
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Betsy DeVos Viewed Unfavorably By 40 Percent Of Voters, New Poll Says

Education Week

“Just 11% said they had a very favorable view of DeVos, while 17% had a somewhat favorable view of her … 11% said they had a somewhat unfavorable view of the education secretary, in addition to the 29% who viewed her very unfavorably… Just 15% of Democrats viewed her favorably, while 47% of Republicans did so.”
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When Charter Schools Unionize, Students Learn More, Study Finds

Chalkbeat

“Far from harming student achievement, unionization of charter schools actually boosts test scores … The analysis … highlights the limited evidence for the idea that not having unionized teachers helps charter schools succeed – even though that is a major aspect of the charter-school movement, as most charters are not unionized … Unionization increased students’ annual math test scores, and those gains persisted for at least 3 years. The students who started at the lowest achievement levels seemed to benefit the most … The estimated impact on English scores was positive, but small and not statistically significant.”
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Study Shows Kids’ Test Scores Drop When Their Food Stamps Run Out

Talk Poverty

“Kids’ test scores dropped at times of the month when nutrition benefits had run out. Put another way, access to SNAP substantially improves students’ academic performance – but only when there are actually enough benefits for families to be able to eat … Nearly half of participating families run out before the end of the month. That means many students who receive SNAP see their academic performance dip every single month, and then rebound once their families receive more benefits … This new research adds to a wealth of evidence that hunger hampers kids’ ability to learn, holds back their development of social skills, and leads to behavioral problems.”
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Beware The Back-To-School Stories Celebrating Online Education

The Progressive

Jeff Bryant writes, “This year, there’s a certain type of ‘back-to-school’ news story you’re bound to see in local newspapers. … Stories typically start with: ‘[Student A] goes to school in her pajamas, and [student B] often does her lessons with a pet dog or cat on her lap.’ Instead of attending ‘typical schools,’ these students get their education via a computer connected to the internet … The internet-based schools have different names – cyber, virtual, online – but the gist of these stories is that ‘thousands of students head back to class without leaving their homes,’ and it’s all good … On balance, these schools are not for the vast majority of families, and often provide loopholes for bad actors to make a buck off the public taxpayer.”
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9/14/2017 – Betsy DeVos’s Back To School Message At Odds With What Parents Want

THIS WEEK: What Parents Want … DeVos Drops Student Protections … DACA Students … Charters’ Costs… U.S. Teachers Shorted

TOP STORY

Betsy DeVos’s Back To School Message At Odds With What Parents Want

By Jeff Bryant

“Betsy DeVos is traveling cross-country in a bus to spread a very different message completely at odds with the hope, anticipation, and resolve parents and their communities feel about public education. Just how far at odds DeVos’s views about public education are with the average American parent’s views became apparent in a new survey released during her bus tour.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

Parents Prefer Good Neighborhood Schools Over More Choice, Poll Finds

Education Week

“Most parents like their public school and want to support teachers, whom they trust more than anyone else to make choices for education … Over 70% of parents said they would prefer a good quality neighborhood public school for their children over the ability to have more choice of what schools they can send their children to. Separated by race, 76% of white parents wanted good neighborhood schools – compared to just 60 percent of African-American parents and 66 percent of Hispanic parents … Most parents also disapprove of reducing spending on traditional public schools and using the funds to increase spending on charter schools.”
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DeVos’s Plans For Title IX Will Impact K-12 Schools, Too

The Progressive

“Betsy DeVos recently caused a firestorm, including some praise, for pledging to walk back Obama-era policies regarding campus sexual assault … What has received less attention is the importance of Title IX for K-12 students … 137 K-12 school districts across the country are currently under investigation by the federal Office of Civil Rights for Title IX ‘sexual-violence complaints.’ In comparison, 246 higher education sites are now being investigated for similar complaints … In an atmosphere of stepping back from a more robust enforcement plan … ‘K-12 schools are going to fall even further behind in terms of Title IX compliance.'”
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Counting DACA Students

The Hechinger Report

“The Migration Policy Institute … estimates that 365,000 high school students across the United States were eligible for DACA status, and that another 241,000 of DACA-eligible students were enrolled in college. Together, that’s roughly half, or 51 percent, of the DACA-eligible population of nearly 1.2 million … A much larger number of DACA-eligible people, over 130,000, had completed some college, but were no longer enrolled. Some of those, roughly 25,000 young adults, had earned two-year associate’s degrees.”
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Study Highlights Long-Term Costs Of Charter School Expansion

The Inquirer

“School districts may be able to reduce some expenses when more of their students enroll in charters, but they still face significant financial costs long after those students have gone … Those continuing expenses include pension costs and making required payments to bondholders for facilities … ‘Increasing charter school choices to a community does not occur without a significant fiscal impact’ … Districts with growing charter enrollments need more money to maintain the same level of services to their remaining students … While the fiscal impact varied, districts were not able to cut expenses to break even.”
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Teachers’ Pay Lags Furthest Behind Other Professionals In U.S., Study Finds

Education Week

“Young college graduates have a lot less incentive to become K-12 teachers in the United States than in other countries … from the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation … American educators … trail those with similar education levels in other professions more than teachers in any other OECD country … U.S. teachers make less than 60 cents on every dollar made by others with their education level, the biggest gap of any OECD country … U.S. teachers work longer hours than their international counterparts. In America … a 7th grade teacher puts in 1,366 hours at school each year, including more than 980 hours of teaching … nearly 270 more hours of teaching than the international average. Teachers working with historically disadvantaged students face an even bigger gap.”
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Editorial Note: EON is taking a week off and will return on September 28

9/7/2017 – Betsy DeVos’s Silence On DACA Says Everything About Her Support Of Education Opportunity

THIS WEEK: Recessions Hurt Learning … Warning To Texas Schools … Trump Fuels For-Profits … Michigan’s Charter Gamble … St. Louis Schools

TOP STORY

Betsy DeVos’s Silence On DACA Says Everything About Her Support Of Education Opportunity

By Jeff Bryant

“DeVos proclaims her agenda is to ‘focus everything about education on individual students,’ but if she really cared about the welfare of students she would speak out about what her boss President Trump is doing to hundreds of thousands of undocumented students whose fate he has cast to the wind by ordering an end to the Obama-era program shielding young undocumented immigrants from deportation … Yet, as of this writing, neither DeVos or her Department of Education have issued a statement addressing the plight of these students.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

The Great Recession Decimated The Economy. It Also Hurt Student Learning, According To Pioneering New Study

Chalkbeat

“As the Great Recession was sending economic shockwaves through the country, it was also hurting student learning … Each year students spent in school during the recession hurt their reading and math test scores … Test scores generally declined the most in districts serving more disadvantaged students. More affluent districts, with many white students or few students with disabilities, for example, often went unharmed … Achievement dropped more in schools that had to lay off a large number of staff and had their funding slashed – a finding consistent with a string of recent research showing that spending more on schools benefits students.”
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From New Orleans, Warnings For Texas About School Privatization

Alternet

New Orleans parent activists Ashana Bigard writes, “What happened in [New Orleans] and to its schools serves as a cautionary tale to residents of Houston … Be wary of elites with big plans … All parts of your community must be allowed to participate fully in the rebuilding of their own city … Don’t let your teachers get swept away … Be wary of people who say ‘it’s all about the children’ … Learn from what happened in New Orleans.”
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Trump And DeVos Fuel A For-Profit College Comeback

Politico

“For-profit colleges are winning their battle to dismantle Obama-era restrictions as Education Secretary Betsy DeVos rolls back regulations, grants reprieves to schools at risk of losing their federal funding and stocks her agency with industry insiders … The industry has been dogged by allegations of predatory sales techniques and poor outcomes that left tens of thousands of students drowning in debt while the schools raked in billions from federal student loans and grants. President Barack Obama sought to curb those abuses … For-profit colleges are notching wins behind the scenes, as Education Department regulators scale back their enforcement of the industry and decide individual cases in ways that favor the industry.”
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Michigan Gambled On Charter Schools. Its Children Lost.

The New York Times Magazine

“Michigan’s aggressively free-market approach to schools has resulted in one of the most deregulated educational environments in the country, a laboratory in which consumer choice and a shifting landscape of supply and demand … were pitched as ways to improve life in the classroom for the state’s 1.5 million public-school students … Hundreds of nonprofit public charters have become potential financial assets to outside entities, inevitably complicating their broader social missions … Increasing charter-school enrollment in a school district does little to improve achievement gaps. And in unregulated educational sectors like Michigan’s, there’s evidence that charters have actually increased inequality.”
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The Sad Story Of Public Education In St. Louis

The Washington Post

Jeff Bryant writes, “The story of St. Louis’s schools is … a story about an American ideal and what and who gutted that ideal. It’s also a story that merits important attention today as prominent education policy leaders, such as U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, contend conversations about education should not even include the subjects of buildings and systems … But the grand schools St. Louis built for its children caution that the permanency of schools as buildings and institutions is worth defending.”
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