Education Opportunity Network

Education Opportunity Network -

5/19/2016 – The Growing Crisis Of Our Education Infrastructure

THIS WEEK: Segregation Worsens … Accommodating Transgender Kids … Harsh Punishments Don’t Work … Slow Pace Of Pre-K Expansion … Changed Rhetoric About Teachers

TOP STORY

The Growing Crisis Of Our Education Infrastructure

By Jeff Bryant

“We’ve drifted away from talking about education as ‘essential infrastructure.’ That’s a mistake, and our students, and the nation’s future, are worse off for it.”
Read more …

NEWS AND VIEWS

Black And Latino Students Lose Out To White Peers. And It’s Getting Worse.

The Huffington Post

“Schools have become increasingly racially isolated for both black and Latino students. And these institutions also routinely fail to provide students of color with the same resources given to their white counterparts … Governmental agencies such as the Department of Education and Department of Justice are not doing all they could to dismantle this system … Since 2001, the share of schools serving a student population that is at least 75% black or Latino as well as overwhelmingly poor has increased from 9 to 16% … High-minority schools still tend to receive fewer material resources … These schools offer fewer high-level courses … Students in these schools are also more likely to get held back or face harsh discipline like suspension or expulsion.”
Read more …

Many Schools Already Accommodate Transgender Students

Education Week

“Obama administration guidance … put schools on notice … they must allow transgender students to access restrooms and locker rooms that correspond to their gender identity. But followers of school law and transgender student advocacy will tell you that the federal agency already enforced this interpretation in the past and that many schools were already making such accommodations … Many states have already required their schools to honor the gender identity of transgender students … That’s not to say that it doesn’t matter that the Obama administration issued these instructions.”
Read more …

Unhelpful Punishment

Slate

“Strong punishments are likely based on the assumption that when kids act out, reprimanding them has the potential to remedy the psychological impulse that caused the bad behavior in the first place. But recent research suggests this assumption might often be wrong … Bad behavior may result from a deeply rooted biological response to toxic stress. And the current American regime of discipline and punishment that attempts to rein in these impulses is only making things worse … Adverse childhood experiences (or ACEs) – including abuse, neglect, mental illness among parents, or an unstable family structure – are a known source of debilitating stress and longterm dysfunction.”
Read more …

At This Rate, It Will Take 150 Years To Enroll 75 Percent Of U.S. Kids In Quality Preschool

The Washington Post

“Universal quality pre-kindergarten has been gaining support around the country … Gains in enrollment and efforts to improve quality aren’t keeping pace with the pressing need … Though total state spending on pre-K programs has risen by 10 percent since the 2013-2014 school year, New York alone accounted for two-thirds of this increase … Enrollment for 3- and 4-year-olds crept up during the 2014-2015 school year … an increase of less than 1 percentage point.”
Read more …

Hillary Clinton Shows How We’ve Changed The Way We Talk About Teachers

Think Progress

“It’s important to recognize that, up until recently, Republicans and Democrats were taking a similar tone when talking about teachers … focused on holding teachers ‘accountable’ … rarely acknowledge[ing] the few resources teachers were provided in struggling public schools … Now, there are signs the landscape is shifting … Clinton’s acknowledgement that a decent quality of education isn’t teachers’ responsibility alone is likely refreshing to many teachers.”
Read more …

5/12/2016 – Teachers Are Increasingly Frustrated With Their Work, And That’s Bad For Students

THIS WEEK: School Choice Doesn’t Fix Inequality … New Orleans Is Not Going Local … Charter School Graduation Rates … Most Teachers Want To Quit … Income Segregation Is Worse

TOP STORY

Teachers Are Increasingly Frustrated With Their Work, And That’s Bad For Students

By Jeff Bryant

“The nation’s frontline educators are committed to their students and generally satisfied with their schools and their colleagues but are deeply frustrated with how they’re being treated … The discontent teachers feel in the workplace is actually the continuation of a long and alarming trend with undoubtedly negative impacts on students.”
Read more …

NEWS AND VIEWS

School Choice Hasn’t Fixed Graduation-Rate Inequity In N.Y.C., Study Says

Education Week

“Since 2004, students in New York City have been allowed to choose where to attend high school. But that freedom to leave their neighborhood schools hasn’t translated into higher graduation rates for students from low-income families … While New York City’s overall four-year graduation rate reached 70% in January, the graduation rates for students who live in low-income neighborhoods lag behind those of their wealthier peers by as much as 34 percentage points … Overall, the persistent low graduation rates in low-income, high-minority neighborhoods means that school choice has ‘not fixed the problem it was designed in part to solve.'”
Read more …

New Orleans Tries To Mix Charter Schools With Democracy: Is This The District Of The Future?

The Washington Post

“Louisiana seized control of most New Orleans schools and turned them into charter schools after the devastating storm in 2005 … Now the state is poised to relinquish its oversight … Critics say it is a whitewash, written to appear as if local control over public education will be restored when the bill really leaves most of the power in the hands of the unelected boards of directors who run each of the city’s charter schools … The parish school board … would be prohibited from interfering with school-level decisions about a litany of issues, including instruction, schedules, staffing, contracting, and collective bargaining.”
Read more …

Charter, Alternative, Virtual Schools Account for Most Low-Grad-Rate Schools, Study Finds

Education Week

“Charter, virtual, and alternative schools account for a disproportionate share of U.S. high schools with low graduation rates … Even though they enroll only a small slice of students, they account for more than half of the U.S. high schools that graduate 67% or less of their students in four years … Researchers called attention to the preponderance of low-grad-rate schools among charter, alternative, and virtual schools in part because the numbers of those schools have been rising in the last 15 years. Additionally, they enroll large shares of low-income, black, and Hispanic students.”
Read more …

Survey: Nearly Half Of Teachers Would Quit Now For Higher-Paying Job

USA Today

“Teachers are a frustrated bunch. About six in 10 are losing enthusiasm for the job, and just as many say they spend too much time prepping students for state-mandated tests. Nearly half say they’d quit teaching now if they could find a higher-paying job … While 64% say they like their school and are part of ‘a satisfied group’ of teachers, 49% say the stress and disappointments ‘aren’t really worth it.’ … Teachers in the survey ‘were very clear about the things they were vexed by,’ including poor leadership, not enough time to teach all the content that’s required – and too much testing.”
Read more …

Data Show Segregation By Income (Not Race) Is What’s Getting Worse In Schools

The Hechinger Report

“Rich families are increasingly pulling away from poor ones, and sending their kids to different schools. At the same time, more families are living in poverty … Income segregation between different school districts increased 15% between 1990 and 2010. Within large districts, the segregation of students who are eligible and ineligible for free lunch increased by about 30% during the same 20 years … The poverty rate in predominantly minority schools is rising faster than the poverty rate in predominantly white schools … This new income segregation is now exacerbating racial achievement gaps … For every 10-percentage-point difference in the poverty rate of white and minority students’ schools, the achievement gap grows by roughly one-quarter of a grade level.”
Read more …

5/5/2015 – Republicans In Congress Want To Cut Free Lunches For Poor Kids; Don’t Let Them

THIS WEEK: Walk-Ins … ‘Reform’ Can’t Fix Inequity … HB2 Hurts Kids … Unions Work … Learning Data Analytics Fail

TOP STORY

Republicans In Congress Want To Cut Free Lunches For Poor Kids; Don’t Let Them

By Jeff Bryant

“A bill introduced by a Republican in Congress called ‘The Improving Child Nutrition And Education Act’ does the exact opposite of what it claims to do. In this case, ‘improving’ children’s nutrition means cutting the availability of federally subsidized lunches to hungry children in public schools … The bill is still in committee, but it’s not too early to tell Congress this is bad public policy that needs to go away.”
Read more …

TAKE ACTION

Tell Congress: Don’t Cut School Lunch Programs

Campaign For America’s Future

“Republicans in Congress continue to wage a ‘War on Children,’ this time proposing literally taking food out of their mouths by cutting food programs for low-income school kids. Tell them no way.”
Stop the war on kids …

NEWS AND VIEWS

Kids To Admins: Charter Schools Have Got To Go

Mother Jones

“In nearly 75 cities across the country, students, parents, and teachers marched at their public schools on Wednesday, protesting inadequate funding and charter school takeover … ‘Resources are being pulled out of the public sector and privatized … the very people they’re supposed to help have no say.'”
Read more …

Achievement Gaps And Racial Segregation: Research Finds An Insidious Cycle

Education Week

“Fifteen years of new programs, testing, standards, and accountability have not ended racial achievement gaps … Racial achievement gaps yawn in nearly every district in the country – and the districts with the most resources in place to serve all students frequently have the worst inequities … ‘In the most advantaged places, you have this increased competition and focus on school success … Where competition is high, resources matter even more … We may not be able to just school reform our way out of that kind of inequality.’”
Read more …

Unvalued And Unprotected

NC Policy Watch

“LGBTQ students nationwide face higher levels of depression and lower levels of self-esteem, lower grade point averages, higher truancy rates and staggeringly high rates of physical violence … Among LGBTQ people between the ages of 10 and 24, suicide is one of the leading causes of death … It’s why … no one should be surprised by recent reports of spiking crisis line calls for LGBTQ residents of North Carolina following the March 23 passage of House Bill 2, sweeping legislation that, among its many tenets, axes local nondiscrimination protections for gay and transgender residents. It’s a set of reforms that could wreak havoc in the state’s K-12 facilities.”
Read more …

Want Your Kids To Get A Good Education? Support Their Teachers’ Workplace Rights

The Nation

“In a lawsuit … education reformers go after teachers’ labor protections. Their line of attack is, ‘But what about the children?’ It’s an alluring idea… wrapped around a pernicious attack on labor rights … Labor advocates, however, challenge the reformers … with a more expansive definition of civil rights in schools: making a school community equitable and inclusive is a democratic project … A California Appeals Court recently struck down the central argument advanced by reform advocates backing the suit … A democratically run union with close community ties, like the militant Chicago Teachers Union, might play a key role in retaining expert veteran teachers and maintaining equitable funding.”
Read more …

Data Collected About Student Behavior Doesn’t Help Improve Teaching Or Learning

The Conversation

“Universities and schools … are devoting immense amounts of time, money and other resources to a new measurement approach called learning analytics … from the learning management software systems (LMS) … There is no body of evidence showing that LMS and other system data improve student learning or teaching … Focusing on things that do not make an important difference to student learning means we are not paying attention to the things that do … Learning analytics data and the systems that gather it have become proxies, surrogates for what we should be measuring.”
Read more …

4/28/2016 – How School Vouchers Promote Religious Schools And Hurt Education

THIS WEEK: NAEP Results Disappoint … Online Schools Stink … Does Money Matter? … Race And Testing … Student Protests Rise

TOP STORY

How School Vouchers Promote Religious Schools And Hurt Education

By Jeff Bryant

“Due to school voucher programs, in all their forms, ‘religious schools actually are receiving large amounts of government money’ … That means public tax dollars are funding religion based curriculum … Voucher proponents claim all of this is fine because parents have ‘made the choice.’ But shouldn’t we have a choice about whether or not we fund this?”
Read more …

NEWS AND VIEWS

Low Performers Show Big Declines On 12th Grade NAEP Test

Education Week

“Much like their 4th and 8th grade peers, high school seniors have lost ground in math over the last two years, according to the most recent scores on a national achievement test. In reading, 12th grade scores remained flat, continuing a trend since 2009.”
Read more …

National Education Policy Center Report Urges Stopping The Expansion Of Virtual Schools

Ed Surge

“Large, for-profit providers dominate the virtual school market … ‘The school performance measures for both virtual and blended schools indicate that these schools are not as successful as traditional public schools. Nevertheless, the evidence suggests that their enrollment growth has continued’ … Policymakers [should] halt the growth of virtual and blended schools until researchers have found a reason for students’ poor performance and ways to correct it.”
Read more …

Can More Money Fix America’s Schools?

NPR

“While the money in Camden, N.J., has led to relatively little academic progress … North Carolina, Indiana and Massachusetts offer a compelling counterpoint to the idea that money doesn’t really matter. So, too, do a pair of recent studies … Money can make a difference in the classroom. If … The money reaches students who need it most … The increases come steadily, year after year … The money stays in the classroom.”
Read more …

Race And The Standardized Testing Wars

The New York Times

“As testing season unfolds this year … more minority educators, parents and students are criticizing the tests, opening a rift with civil rights groups … The battle lines are clearly shifting … Because testing provides an incomplete picture of the problems at low-performing schools, it can lead to policies that worsen those problems rather than ameliorate them.”
Read more …

The Protest Generation Wants Its Education Back

The Progressive

Jeff Bryant writes, “A wave of protest actions going on in the Tarheel State … is indicative of a national-level fight for education justice and civil rights throughout all of public education … At a time when public education is increasingly being operated as a business-oriented, market driven enterprise, and democratic input into the system is being treated as a nuisance, students themselves are more disenchanted and are demanding a say in their education destinies.”
Read more …

4/21/2016 – We Won’t Improve Education By Making Teachers Hate Their Jobs

THIS WEEK: New Majority Will Reshape Education … Decaying Schools Hurt Kids … Immigrant Students Blocked … Charters Cashing In On Kids … State Takeovers Steal Democracy

TOP STORY

We Won’t Improve Education By Making Teachers Hate Their Jobs

By Jeff Bryant

“One likely outcome of the high work dissatisfaction rate among teachers is that many states and school districts are now reporting acute teacher shortages … There are factors other than economics that are making teachers’ work-lives miserable … A new survey survey finds 83% of respondents said the inclusion of student standardized test scores in teacher evaluations has had a negative impact.”
Read more …

NEWS AND VIEWS

Racially Diverse ‘New Majority’ Set To Reshape Us Public Schools

The Christian Science Monitor

“Since 2014, for the first time in the country’s history, a majority of those in public schools have been students of color … What’s their emerging message? In part it’s in keeping with the age-old desires of families everywhere: a good education in safe schools. But it’s also a call for greater equity in school quality … And for some … shaping lessons that truly embrace diversity … The call for better schools and greater equity comes at an important moment in national education policy.”
Read more …

Decaying School Buildings Have Physical, Psychological Consequences

Education Dive

“Research links children’s ability to learn to the condition of their school environment. That means that the deteriorating condition of school buildings should be more relevant in ongoing discussions about closing achievement gaps … Building decay also impacts the quality of teachers’ instruction, playing a role in their confidence and general wellbeing … Attention must be paid to the physical condition of schools – and that means boosting state or federal funding for much-needed repairs.”
Read more …

Report: Immigrant Students Blocked From Enrolling In School

Associated Press

“Immigrant children living in the US without legal status have been blocked from registering for school and accessing the educational services … Students have faced long enrollment delays and have been turned away from classrooms as the result of some districts’ arbitrary interpretations of residency rules and state laws … The Obama administration’s efforts to find and deport the tens of thousands of unaccompanied Central American children and families … have further complicated the situation, prompting some students to avoid school.”
Read more …

Agassi’s Fund Cashes In On N. Phila. Charter-School Venture

The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Former tennis pro Andre Agassi’s charter-school investment fund is poised to turn a $1 million profit when it sells a North Philadelphia classroom building this week to the charter operator that has leased it for five years … The sale to KIPP Philadelphia Charter School is one of the first by Agassi’s partnership with the California-based financier Bobby Turner since they set out in 2011 … The deal sheds light on a growing niche in real estate … ‘If you want to treat a problem, then philanthropy is fine,’ Turner said. ‘But if you want to cure, really cure, you’ve got to harness market forces to create sustainable solutions that are scalable. And that means making money.'”
Read more …

School District Takeovers: Bad For Students, Bad For Democracy

Schott Foundation For Public Education

John Jackson, President and CEO Schott Foundation For Public Education writes, “in many states and cities there are counterproductive disenfranchisement actions being taken that disempower Black and Latino communities – the takeover of their public schools … Denying these citizens’ right to elect local school boards through state takeovers or mayoral control should sound the same alarm as denying them the vote … Takeover actions taken without the appropriate democratic test being applied and without the state first meeting its constitutional support obligation creates a slippery slope that diminishes our democracy, weakens the role of public schools in communities, and produces poor outcomes for our students.”
Read more …

4/14/2016 – The Flint Effect: Will One City’s Crisis Spark A National Awakening?

THIS WEEK: The Trump Effect … Parents See Racial Disparities … School Closures Don’t Work … Childcare Is A Right … College Loans Not Getting Paid

TOP STORY

The Flint Effect: Will One City’s Crisis Spark A National Awakening?

By Jeff Bryant

“While Katrina was a singular event with a tragically long legacy, Flint is proving to be the beginning of a story playing out over a much longer time period and in more than one place … Flint prompted school officials in many places to test classroom sinks and cafeteria faucets for lead. What they found was alarming.”
Read more …

NEWS AND VIEWS

Donald Trump’s Rhetoric Has Made Some Students Feel Unsafe, Report Says

Education Week

“The 2016 presidential election’s heated rhetoric and divisive policy proposals have had a negative effect on school climate, causing some students to feel unwelcome, unsafe, or singled out by their peers … [Survey]respondents overwhelmingly singled out billionaire businessman and Republican frontrunner Donald J. Trump as the most problematic … More than two-thirds of the teachers reported that students – mainly immigrants, children of immigrants, and Muslims – have expressed concerns or fears about what might happen to them or their families.”
Read more …

Some Parents Of Color Don’t Think Schools Are Even Trying To Educate Their Children

The Washington Post

“Over 80% of African-American parents and over 60% of Latino parents said that they don’t think schools in their communities receive the same levels of funding as schools in white communities … An overwhelming number of parents from both groups said they think schools in low-income communities have fewer resources than schools in wealthy communities … In general, most surveyed black parents said they do not think kids from their communities are receiving a comparable education to the one white students receive, even though they have generally favorable opinions of the individual schools their children attend.”
Read more …

School Closures: A Blunt Instrument

American Prospect

“In urban districts across the United States – from Detroit to Newark to Oakland – communities are experiencing waves of controversial school closures as cash-strapped districts reckon with pinched budgets and changing politics … African Americans have been hit hardest by the school closings … A majority of closed schools are converted into charter schools.”
Read more …

The $90 Billion Question: Do We Need Government-Supplied Daycare?

The Washington Post

“Researchers at the Economic Policy Institute, a think tank in the District, say … America should invest more resources into building a national childcare system, one that rewards quality … The EPI authors recommend … expanding public funding for home visits by nurses to help expectant parents make healthy choices during pregnancy and adding subsidies for those who can’t afford high quality care … They also campaign for the public provision of early childhood education that focuses on cognitive development, so kids with different family incomes, can enter school at more equal levels of preparedness.”
Read more …

More Than 40% Of Student Borrowers Aren’t Making Payments

The Wall Street Journal

43% of the roughly 22 million Americans with federal student loans weren’t making payments … About 1 in 6 borrowers, or 3.6 million, were in default on $56 billion in student debt, meaning they had gone at least a year without making a payment. Three million more owing roughly $66 billion were at least a month behind … Another three million owing almost $110 billion were in ‘forbearance’ or ‘deferment,’ meaning they had received permission to temporarily halt payments due to a financial emergency, such as unemployment. The figures exclude borrowers still in school and those with government-guaranteed private loans.”
Read more …

4/7/2016 – Why The Panama Papers Scandal Is About Cheating School Children

THIS WEEK: Pre-K Closes Achievement Gaps … A Teacher’s Race Matters … Fewer Poor Students Are In College … Teacher Shortages Continue … Testing Flaws

TOP STORY

Why The Panama Papers Scandal Is About Cheating School Children

By Jeff Bryant

“Leaked documents, called the Panama Papers, show the myriad ways in which wealthy people …. exploit offshore havens to avoid paying taxes … But much of the reporting about the Panama Papers overlooks two critically important contexts … Tax avoidance at a much smaller scale is actually quite commonplace right where you live … The effects of tax avoidance, in all its forms, are actually most consequential on the individual lives of the least powerful.”
Read more …

NEWS AND VIEWS

The Policy That Could All But Eliminate Achievement Gaps Between Rich And Poor Students

The Huffington Post

“Low-income students could gain more than five months of additional reading skills by attending a high-quality preschool, according to the analysis, which would reduce their learning gap by 41%. Black children could nearly close their achievement gap in reading by gaining nearly seven months of learning, and Hispanic children could completely catch up to white students in reading skills before kindergarten. Results [are] similar for math.”
Read more …

White Teachers And Black Teachers Have Different Expectations For Black Students

The Washington Post

“When a white (or other non-black) teacher and a black teacher evaluate the same black student, the study found, the white teacher is 30% less likely to believe that the student will graduate from a four-year college – and 40% less likely to believe the student will graduate from high school. The discrepancy [is] even greater for black male students … Race affects how teachers see and treat their students.”
Read more …

Fewer Poor Students Are Being Enrolled In State Universities. Here’s Why

The Conversation

“In the face of increasingly tight budgets and pressures to demonstrate their effectiveness to legislators, more and more states are tying at least some higher education funding to student outcomes … Such funding policies … may be reducing access for low-income students at public colleges … States should consider placing provisions in both their enrollment-based and performance-based funding systems to encourage colleges to continuing to enroll an economically diverse student body.”
Read more …

Teacher Shortages Continue Nationwide

AMI News

“The nation continues to weather a shortage of qualified teachers … Most troubling in this job market is the dearth of math, science and technology teachers … While teaching is seen as a stable career by some and as a high calling by many, education schools have weathered the perception that jobs are typically low-paying and conditions are tough. Retention is also a huge and costly issue … In 2012-2013, 7.7% of teachers left the profession … up from 5.6% in 1988-1989.”
Read more …

The Fatal Flaw of Educational Assessment

Education Week

Renowned education assessment expert James Popham writes, “We currently use the wrong tests to make our most important educational decisions … Most policymakers, and almost all parents of school-age children do not realize how these tests contribute to diminished educational quality … Comparison-focused educational tests … [have] completely dominated America’s educational testing for almost a century … However, tests built chiefly for comparisons are not suitable for purposes of instruction or evaluation of instructional quality in education. These tests provide teachers with few instructional insights and typically lead to inaccurate evaluations of a teacher’s instructional quality.”
Read more …

3/31/2016 – Is Education Being Measured To Death?

THIS WEEK: Friedrichs Is Dead … School Climate Matters … Not Enough School Nurses … Teachers Priced Out Of Houses … College As A Commodity

TOP STORY

Is Education Being Measured To Death?

By Jeff Bryant

“April ushers in the beginning of testing season in public schools across the nation… but many students and parents appear to be anything but happy about that … The tests don’t serve purposes that are as clear and reasonable as their advocates would have us believe.”
Read more …

NEWS AND VIEWS

The Biggest Legal Attack On Unions In Decades Is Dead

Think Progress

“The Supreme Court announced … Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association is dead … Friedrichs was an attack on what are alternatively called ‘agency fees’ or ‘fair share fees’ … With the Court split 4-4, Friedrichs will have no effect and the Court’s previous precedents permitting agency fees will remain good law, binding on all lower court judges.”
Read more …

School Conditions Matter For Student Achievement, New Research Confirms

Chalkbeat New York

“A new study on New York City schools … found that significant gains in key measures of a school’s climate, like safety and academic expectations, can be linked to the equivalent of an extra month and a half of math instruction and, in some cases, a 25 percent reduction in teacher turnover.”
Read more …

Many School Districts Don’t Have Enough School Nurses

US News & World Report

“Less than half of the country’s public schools employ a full-time nurse, and in some of the worst cases – largely in poor, urban school systems – there’s only one school nurse for every 4,000 students …. The scarcity of nurses comes amid an all-time high in the incidence of childhood chronic illnesses – things like asthma, food allergies, diabetes, obesity and epilepsy.”
Read more …

More Teachers Can’t Afford To Live Where They Teach

NPR

“In high cost cities, teachers and their unions are increasingly making cost-of-living adjustments central to contract talks … Scores of cities have added affordable-housing quotas to rules on new development. Some are debating building subsidized condos or apartments specifically for teachers … The hope is that the moves will help stem a teacher turnover crisis.”
Read more …

The Commodification Of Higher Education

The Atlantic

“rankings have helped shape a world in which students are seen as consumers, and colleges and universities as commodities. The rankings are a key reason the higher-education landscape today operates like a marketplace in which institutions compete to convince the best students to buy their product … The larger the applicant pool is in relation to the student body, the more selective the school appears in those rankings … The temptation to dole out more merit aid traces back to the rankings, which incentivize colleges to try and enroll top-notch applicants.”
Read more …

3/24/2016 – How Breaking Government Hurts Children

THIS WEEK: Who Is DFER? … Charter Schools Suspensions … High School Protests … School Immigrant Influx … Walmart Schools

TOP STORY

How Breaking Government Hurts Children

By Jeff Bryant

“New reports reveal that years of hating government are taking their toll on the nation’s infrastructure, in particular, those government services, such as safe drinking water and public schools, which are essential to children.”
Read more …

NEWS AND VIEWS

How DFER Leaders Channel Out-Of-State Dark Money In California, Colorado, and Beyond

The Center For Media And Democracy

“At first glance, ‘Democrats for Education Reform’ (DFER) may sound like a generic advocacy group, but a closer review of its financial filings and activities shows how it uses local branding to help throw the voice of huge Wall Street players and other corporate interests from out-of-state … DFER has targeted more than a dozen states.”
Read more …

Charter Schools Propping Up The School-To-Prison Pipeline

USA Today

“Charter schools suspend students at a much higher rate than non-charter schools, some of which have suspension rates north of 70 percent. But a disproportionate amount of those suspensions fall on black students, who are four times more likely to be suspended than white students, and students with disabilities, who are twice as likely to be suspended as their non-disabled peers.”
Read more …

In Activist Era, High-Schoolers From Boston To Detroit Take To Streets

The Christian Science Monitor

“The emerging student activism movement is incredibly broad, incredibly diverse, and it’s been sparked by this newfound sense of empowerment that comes from social media [and] the ability to make your voice heard in areas where traditionally that hasn’t been possible.”
Read more …

Immigrant Influxes Put U.S. Schools To The Test

Education Week

“The United States is now home to the largest number of foreign-born black people in its history – and many are K-12 students enrolled in public schools … Districts have had to adjust on the fly to meet the needs of students who arrive communicating in less frequently spoken languages such as Amharic, Haitian Creole, and Somali.”
Read more …

How The Cutthroat Walmart Business Model Is Reshaping American Public Education

Alternet

Jeff Bryant reports, “At the same time news of Walmart store closings spread through local media outlets, the Walton Family Foundation (WFF), the private foundation created with the retail giant’s wealth, announced that it would be ‘doubling down on its investments in school choice with a $1 billion plan to help expand the charter school sector’ … More communities may have to contend with the reality of schools, public or charter, coming and going based on forces not in their control.”
Read more …

3/17/2016 – Don’t Blame Bernie; Most People Don’t Get Charter Schools

THIS WEEK: Teaching Trump … Inequity Causes Dropouts … Sweden’s Education Catastrophe … University Hedge Funds … College Loan Corruption

TOP STORY

Don’t Blame Bernie; Most People Don’t Get Charter Schools

By Jeff Bryant

“When Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders fielded a question about charter schools at a Democratic Party presidential primary town hall, his answer left a lot of folks scratching their heads … There is … widespread confusion about charter schools … Charter schools are not private schools. But because of the ways in which they are privately controlled, they aren’t really public either.”
Read more …

NEWS AND VIEWS

The Parent-Child Discussion That So Many Dread: Donald Trump

The New York Times

“For some children, Mr. Trump’s message has filtered down in extremely upsetting, possibly dangerous, ways. Social media has buzzed with parents relaying their children’s fears that they or their friends will be deported, walled in or walled out if Mr. Trump becomes president … As much as they might want to, parents and educators cannot keep their children insulated from news about Mr. Trump.”
Read more …

Researchers Link Inequality To High School Dropout Rates

The Christian Science Monitor

“A new paper… debunks the common economic conception that inequality inspires those in the lower-income brackets to try harder in achieving upward mobility … Low-income youths who are exposed to considerable socioeconomic gaps are likely to view middle-class life as unattainable, resulting in a detachment from their futures.”
Read more …

‘It’s A Political Failure’: How Sweden’s Celebrated Schools System Fell Into Crisis

The Guardian

“Sweden, once regarded as a byword for high-quality education … has seen not only have scores in international tests gone down, inequality in the Swedish system has gone up … Sweden’s decline follows a raft of changes in the late 1980s and early 1990s that transformed the educational landscape … A voucher system was introduced giving parents the power to choose which school to send their child to. Each child was funded by the state, and if the child chose to go do a different school, the money would follow.”
Read more …

Universities Are Becoming Billion-Dollar Hedge Funds With Schools Attached

The Nation

“Over $100 billion of educational endowment money nationwide is invested in hedge funds, costing them approximately $2.5 billion in fees in 2015 alone. The problems with hedge funds managing college endowments are manifold, going well beyond the exorbitant – some would say extortionate – fees they charge for their services.”
Read more …

Elizabeth Warren’s Latest Challenge To College Loan Corruption

Campaign For America’s Future

Jeff Bryant reports, “Turning higher education into a high-stakes gamble propped up with historic levels of individual debt has increased the chance of hucksters like [Donald] Trump to ply their trade. But his scheme to swindle well-intentioned students is really a deft attempt at stretching the limits of a game whose rules and goals need to be challenged. Someone is taking on that challenge… Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.”
Read more …