Education Opportunity Network

Education Opportunity Network -

12/13/2018 – Reflecting On Six Years Of The Education Opportunity Network

THIS WEEK: Charter Politics Changing … Chicago Charter Union Wins … LA Teachers Next To Strike … For-Profit Collages Screw Students … DeVos Employees Hate Her

TOP STORY

Reflecting On Six Years Of The Education Opportunity Network

By Jeff Bryant

“A little more than six years ago, a group of public school advocates, political strategists, and progressive-minded educators from around the country met in an informal gathering in Washington, DC, to address the burning question of how to lead a resurgence in progressive values in education policy and politics … The informal group gathered in the Beltway decided to create the Education Opportunity Network to be a strategy and messaging center to bring education policy back to its progressive roots and urge progressive Democrats to add progressive education policy to their lists of issues they would advocate for … Today, after nearly 300 newsletters, more than 360 articles and blogposts, a subscriber base of 60,000 education advocates, nearly a thousand reader comments, thousands of social media followers, and with a media reach that includes prominent national outlets, EON finds itself in a transformed education policy landscape.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

New Democratic Governors Show Shift On US Charter Schools

Associated Press

“As Democrats flipped seven governor seats … the incoming governors in California, Illinois, and New Mexico have all said they want to take the rare step of putting a temporary halt on new charter schools. New governors in Connecticut, Kansas, Maine, and Nevada also are expressing less enthusiasm for charters than their predecessors … Democrats see opposing school choice initiatives as a way to resist DeVos and President Donald Trump. While existing charter schools won’t be touched … overall growth will stall and for-profit schools will be in peril .… In California … in the most expensive state superintendent race in U.S. history, in which Marshall Tuck, who previously led a charter school network, lost to union-backed state Assemblyman Tony Thurmond, a fellow Democrat.”
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The Nation’s First Charter School Strike Has Ended With A Union Victory

Education Week

“The Chicago Teachers Union announced … that the bargaining team for the educators at the Acero charter school network reached a tentative deal with management. The deal agrees to raise pay for teachers and paraprofessionals … The tentative deal also shortens the school year and reduces the teachers’ work day … Union leaders are now heralding the victory as the path forward for educators at charter schools. Just about 11% of charter schools across the country are unionized.”
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Protesters Shut Down Los Angeles Board Of Education Meeting

Los Angeles Times

“A group of at least 50 protesters shut down the Los Angeles Board of Education meeting early … Two major possibilities color just about everything in Los Angeles Unified — the growing prospect of a teachers strike and Supt. Austin Beutner’s still largely confidential plan for a massive district reorganization. The major theme of the protest, organized by teachers union allies, was support for the teachers, though student demands also were a part of it … District officials and the teachers union have been in negotiations for more than 18 months, and a January strike appears increasingly likely. The two sides are nearly done with fact-finding, the final step of a negotiation process.”
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What Do Students Do When A For-Profit College Closes?

The Atlantic

“More than 19,000 students [are] affected by the abrupt closure of Education Corporation of America, one of the country’s largest private for-profit college operators, which runs Virginia College, Brightwood College, Brightwood Career Institute, Ecotech Institute, and Golf Academy of America. The for-profit operator had been in a precarious position for some time, given a pending loss of accreditation and access to federal financial-aid funds … When a college closes abruptly, students can often have their federal student loans discharged … Historically only a fraction of students who were eligible for such discharges have ever received them … Even though students may be eligible to get their loans discharged, Lee says, they are unlikely to get any credit for the work they’ve already done, and that doesn’t account for the money they spent out of their own pocket … All of this is happening to a student body not well equipped to weather major setbacks. Statistically, students at for-profit colleges are more likely to be low-income … and are less likely to have the resources to draw on to be able to come up with a good Plan B.”
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Betsy DeVos Gets Bad Reviews From Employees As Morale At Education Department Plummets, Survey Finds

The Washington Post

“The Education Department had a morale drop of 12.4 percentage points — from 59.7% in 2017 to 47.3% in 2018. It was one of the steepest declines among all federal agencies … Over the past year, career department employees have privately complained about DeVos’s leadership, saying their expertise has been ignored by her political appointees to top jobs. And they have expressed opposition to many of the positions she has taken. DeVos rolled back Obama-era civil rights protections for some marginalized students and made it easier for for-profit colleges to operate. DeVos has also limited the ability of employees to work from home and fought with the department’s union … The morale drops are hardly a surprise, given the hostility that Trump and many of his appointees have directed toward the agencies and their missions. DeVos has said she wouldn’t mind if the department closed, expressing her long-standing opposition to federal involvement in local education.”
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12/6/2018 – Why Urban Communities Of Color Are Increasingly Rejecting Charter Schools

THIS WEEK: Corporations Screw Schools … HW Bush Was First Reformer … GOP: Defund Public Schools … Color Of School Closings … Social Disruption Hurts Kids

TOP STORY

Here’s Why Urban Communities Of Color Are Increasingly Rejecting Charter Schools

By Jeff Bryant

“The tradition in American communities, where local schools have long been governed by democratically elected boards. But that American tradition has been undermined or overturned, especially in communities of color, where less democratic forms of governance have become widespread … For decades, a wave of state takeovers of school districts overseeing tens of thousands of students has stripped elected school boards in these communities of their governing power and denied voters the right to local governance of their public schools. These state takeovers have been happening almost exclusively in African American and Latinx school districts … However, there are recent signs these communities are fighting back and frequently winning to gradually claw back their local, democratic governance.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

Corporate Tax Breaks Cost U.S. Schools Billions Of Lost Revenue: Report

Reuters

“In fiscal 2017, U.S. public schools lost $1.8 billion across 28 states through corporate tax incentives over which most schools themselves had little or no control. The 10 most affected states could hire more than 28,000 new teachers if they were able to use the lost revenues … States and cities have long used abatements, subsidies and other tax incentives to lure companies … ‘Cities … end up granting subsidies in a way that cuts out control by school boards, parents and others’ … In Oregon … Hillsboro School District lost nearly $97 million … The School District of Philadelphia … lost the second most revenue at $62 million.”
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How President George H.W. Bush Helped Pave The Way For Education Secretary Betsy DeVos

The Washington Post

“George H.W. Bush … calling himself ‘the education president … helped pave the rise of school choice advocate Betsy DeVos … Bush advanced … a national education strategy … pushed for school ‘accountability’ … with standardized test scores as the key metric. And his plan envisioned a new kind of public school that was, essentially, what became the charter movement … The cornerstone of the Bush education blueprint was an elite bipartisan consensus … Bush’s successors — both Republicans and Democrats — … advanced his administrative agenda. Phrases such as ‘standards and accountability’ and ‘school choice,’ once deployed only by policy wonks, are now common terms in the national education dialogue.”
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County GOP Chair: Oklahoma Should Quit Public Education

Associated Press Post

“Republican leadership in one of Oklahoma’s most populous counties has sent a letter to the state’s lawmakers calling for an end to government-run public schools, or if that is too much, to at least find alternative funding sources for the system besides tax revenue … The letter … requested that the state no longer manage the public school system, or at least consider consolidating school districts. Public schools should seek operational money from sponsorships, advertising, endowments, and tuition fees instead of taxes.”
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A Generation Of School Closings

WBEZ

“In the time it has taken for a child to grow up in Chicago, city leaders have either closed or radically shaken up some 200 public schools — nearly a third of the entire district … These decisions … have meant 70,160 children — the vast majority of them black — have seen their schools closed or all staff in them fired. That’s more than all of the students and schools in Boston … The idea was to close them and replace them with new ‘renaissance’ schools that promised something better … Chicago has done that again and again, opening in the same time period almost the same number of schools it has closed — 190 … White students have been nearly untouched. In almost 17 years, just 533 white students have experienced a closing … Research reports have suggested that school closings have harmful effects for children who go through them … An analysis of the 2013 closings, found ‘closing schools caused large disruptions without clear benefits for students.'”
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Students Show Up To School More Often When They See ‘Familiar Faces,’ New Study Finds

Chalkbeat

“New research shows … social disruption … can affect how often students show up to school. When students have more ‘familiar faces’ around them in class, they’re less likely to be chronically absent … Being surrounded by more familiar faces was linked to higher attendance … Extremely high rates of student turnover … and … attending more schools is correlated with lower academic performance.”
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11/29/2018 – The Teacher Walkouts Mattered In The Midterms

THIS WEEK: Dem House To Target DeVos … School Privatization Losses … DeVos Is For-Profit Colleges’ Savior … Choice Increases Segregation … Disaster Capitalism For Puerto Rico

TOP STORY

The Teacher Walkouts Mattered In The Midterms

By Jeff Bryant

“To get a better sense of the real impact teacher walkouts had on the midterms, I called on frontline organizers and public-school advocates in states where there was substantial documentation that education would have a big impact on election results. What I found was overwhelming consensus that yes, teacher walkouts this spring had a significant impact on the midterm elections and will continue to reverberate in politics and policy making.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

House Democrats Pile On To Scrutinize DeVos

POLITICO

“As many as five Democratic-led House committees next year could take on DeVos over a range of issues … Rep. Mark Takano, expected to lead the Veterans’ Affairs Committee … will be tracking the effect of decisions to scale back Obama-era regulations aimed at curbing abuses by for-profit colleges that enroll tens of thousands of veterans … DeVos will be squarely in the sights of the House education committee, where Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) … has criticized nearly every DeVos policy during the last two years … Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), who is in line to lead the Appropriations subcommittee … will focus on ways to ‘hold Secretary DeVos accountable for her agency’s failure to uphold federal protections for our students’ … Rep. Maxine Waters, the presumptive chairwoman of the Financial Services Committee … accused DeVos of a ‘full-on attack on civil rights protections for students’ … The House Oversight Committee could take on DeVos as well. Rep. Elijah Cummings, (D-Md.), the presumptive chairman … expressed concern over DeVos’ treatment of the union that represents her agency’s employees.”
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The School Privatization Agenda Took A Major Beating In The Midterms

Sallon

Jeff Bryant writes, “The blue wave that swept the nation in the recent midterm elections was also a broad rejection of recent trends to privatize public education through school voucher programs and privately operated charter schools. From New York to California, new candidates ran and won on platforms opposed to privatization, big-money backers of charter schools suffered humiliating losses, and voters trounced efforts to expand voucher programs that drain public schools of the funding they need … Public education advocates are vowing to take their cause to state capitals and Congress to curb the flow of public money to unaccountable, privately operated education providers.”
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Betsy DeVos To The Rescue: For-Profit Colleges See A Savior In Secretary

The Washington Post

“Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has led a rescue squad for the nation’s for-profit colleges. Step by step, she has dismantled an Obama-era crackdown on the industry, and she plans to deliver a set of regulations next year that many expect to again boost the industry … These schools, which enroll 2.3 million students and range from small trade schools to large multistate enterprises such as the University of Phoenix, prey on vulnerable students, leaving them with huge debts and questionable credentials.”
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In Most U.S. Cities, Neighborhoods Have Grown More Integrated. Their Schools Haven’t.

Chalkbeat

“New research looking at America’s 100 largest cities shows that the diverging trends …. — neighborhoods growing more diverse, as their schools grow more segregated — is not an anomaly … Between 1990 and 2015, 72% of U.S. cities saw their neighborhoods grow less racially segregated, by one measure. 62% saw their schools grow more segregated over that same period … More integrated schools have long been shown to improve academic outcomes for low-income students and students of color. Living in a more integrated neighborhood has also been linked to long-run benefits for younger kids … The rapid increase in school choice, through charter schools and other means, had something to with it … Research has shown that charters either exacerbate school segregation or have no effect on it.”
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Paul Pastorek, Louisiana Schools Chief After Katrina, Gets Contract In Puerto Rico

Education Week

“Paul Pastorek, the former Louisiana schools chief who helped lead the overhaul of New Orleans’ schools after Hurricane Katrina, has agreed to a contract with Puerto Rico’s Department of Education to provide various services as island schools continue their recovery from their own catastrophic storm, Hurricane Maria in 2017 … Pastorek was superintendent of Louisiana schools from 2007 to 2011 … Teachers’ unions and others vigorously criticized him for being inflexible on policy matters and inattentive to the needs of educators. American Federation of Teachers’ President Randi Weingarten blasted Pastorek’s contract with Puerto Rico, saying in a statement that, ‘Make no mistake, Pastorek and U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos share a vision for education, closing schools, privatization and disinvestment from public schools – and it will mean more disruption.'”
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11/15/2018 – What School Funding Advocates Should Learn From Midterm Elections

THIS WEEK: Teacher Walkout Looms In Virginia … #RedforEd In Alabama … School Cops Not The Answer … DeVos Slapped With Lawsuit … Just One Black Teacher

TOP STORY

What School Funding Advocates Should Learn From Midterm Elections

By Jeff Bryant

“One of the big winners in the 2018 midterm elections you may not have heard about was education funding. Why this may be news to you is because much in the same way some observers incorrectly concluded the blue wave was merely a ripple, quick takes on last week’s results of important education-related ballot referendums have overlooked important lessons to learn about where and when increased funding for schools can win.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

Virginia Teachers Plan To March At The Capital. Will They Shut Down Schools?

Education Week

“The wave of statewide teacher activism seems to be carrying right on into 2019: Virginia teachers will march to the state Capitol building in January. The protest of stagnant teacher salaries and underresourced public schools is scheduled for Jan. 28, a Monday. The grassroots group ‘Virginia Educators United’ is organizing the march in Richmond. If enough teachers participate, the rally could force schools to shut down … Virginia Educators United is asking for teacher pay to be increased to the national average … The group is also asking for the state legislature to restore funding for public schools – this school year, state support was down 9.1% per student compared to 2008-09, adjusted for inflation.”
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#RedForEd: Teachers Rally At Alabama Supreme Court Hearing

AL.com

“The #RedForEd campaign to raise support for public schools and teachers made its way to the state on Wednesday as hundreds of Alabama educators wearing red t-shirts and windbreakers filed into the Alabama Supreme Court building to hear arguments in a lawsuit filed by the Alabama Education Association. At stake is $132 million currently sitting in escrow, taken from educators’ paychecks for health insurance premiums … Educators and support staff came from all parts of the state, with some taking chartered buses and others driving … ” when we have a classroom teacher with an advanced degree who can’t afford to feed his or her family and has to have a second job, that affects the quality of instruction in the classroom.'”
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Armored School Doors, Bulletproof Whiteboards And Secret Snipers

The Washington Post

“Although school security has grown into a $2.7 billion market — an estimate that does not account for the billions more spent on armed campus police officers — little research has been done on which safety measures do and do not protect students from gun violence … No amount of investment in security can guarantee a school protection from gun violence. Much of what can be done to prevent harm is beyond any school’s control because, in a country with more guns — nearly 400 million — than people, children are at risk of being shot no matter where they are … While the mere presence of the officers may deter some gun violence … Among the more than 225 incidents on campuses since 1999, at least 40% of the affected schools employed an officer.”
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DeVos Sued For Allegedly Failing To Comply With Judge’s Order To Cancel Student Debt

The Hill

“Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was sued … for allegedly failing to cancel student debt for people whose for-profit colleges have shut down. Last month a court ruled that the Obama-era debt regulations had to be implemented after more than a year of delays by DeVos. DeVos released a statement … saying that the department would no longer be seeking to delay the rule. However, Housing and Economic Rights Advocates … has filed a lawsuit alleging that the Education Department is still collecting loans that it should have discharged.”
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Study: Having Just One Black Teacher Can Up Black Students’ Chances Of Going To College

Education Week

“If a black student has just one or two black teachers in elementary school, that student is significantly more likely to enroll in college … Black students who had just one black teacher by 3rd grade were 13% more likely to enroll in college, while those who had two black teachers were 32% more likely … These findings are a continuation of the 2017 study that found that a low-income black student’s probability of dropping out of high school is reduced by 29% if he or she has one black teacher in grades 3-5.”
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Holiday Pause

EON is taking a holiday break from the education scene. Look for the next email in your inbox on November 29.

11/8/2018 – Education Issues In The Midwest May Have Saved The Democrats

THIS WEEK: DeVos Will Be Targeted … Conservative Governors Fall … Midterms Impact Higher Ed … Changing Charter Politics … ‘Public’ Means Everyone

TOP STORY

Education Issues In The Midwest May Have Saved The Democrats

By Jeff Bryant

“The need for Democrats to prevail in the Midwest was critical to the party’s success … The importance of Midwest races to the Democrats should also be appreciated because of what the winning campaigns were about, more often than not … Up and down the ballots, especially in state contests, Democratic candidates emphasized increasing school funding and ending or at least providing greater government control of school privatization efforts … As Democrats now prepare for hopefully bigger wins in 2020, the party should take the valuable lessons learned from the Midwest midterms to heart.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

House Democrats Expected To Ramp Up Oversight Of DeVos

Politico

“Democrats seized control of the House on Tuesday night, likely placing Rep. Bobby Scott in charge of the House education committee. And that means the hot seat is about to get even hotter for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos… The stage is set for at least two showdowns … The handling of campus sexual assault cases under Title IX, the federal law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in federally funded education programs. And a White House school safety commission led by DeVos … Look to Scott to push a legislative agenda focused on passage of his Rebuild America’s Schools Act, H.R. 2475 (115), which would invest billions of dollars in new funding into improving school infrastructure.”
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Democrats Oust Walker In Wisconsin And Kobach In Kansas But Fall Short In Florida And Ohio

The New York Times

“Democrats wrested control of governorships from Republicans in seven states on Tuesday including Wisconsin, where they ousted Scott Walker … and Kansas, a surprise victory in a longtime Republican stronghold … The victories expanded the number of states with Democratic chief executives … Democrats also picked up governor’s seats in Nevada, Illinois, Michigan, New Mexico and Maine … Mr. Walker fell to Tony Evers, a Democrat and the state schools superintendent. As in other Midwestern states, Democrats ran against Mr. Walker and the Republican establishment rather than against Mr. Trump.”
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What The Midterm Elections Mean For Higher Ed

The Chronicle of Higher Education

“Democrats … seized control of the U.S. House of Representatives, tipping at least 26 seats to emerge with a clear majority. In doing so, they earned the opportunity to step up oversight of the polarizing presidency of Donald J. Trump. That oversight could extend to higher-education policy … More likely, the House’s Committee on Education and the Workforce could schedule a number of oversight hearings … on potential conflicts of interest and defend the Obama-era regulations that DeVos has put in the cross hairs … The prospect that the new Congress will consider a bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act remains remote.”
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The Midterm Elections Show America’s Major Shift In Attitude To Charter School Privatization

Salon

Jeff Bryant writes, “In midterm elections, one can see the policy window on school privatization gradually shifting back to support for public schools and increasing skepticism about doling out cash to private education entrepreneurs … The endless revelations of corruptions in the charter school and school voucher racket are now what’s driving policy, more so than dry, empirical studies about whether privatizing public schools ‘works’ academically. You can see that especially in the campaigns of progressive standouts … The trend that made privatizing public schools an acceptable if not preferential policy has at least stalled, if not completely been thrown into reverse.”
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Public Schools For Private Gain: The Declining American Commitment To Serving The Public Good

The Kappan

David Labaree writes, “To clarify what we mean by public schooling, it’s helpful to broaden the discussion by considering not just the formal features of schools (their funding, governance, and admissions criteria) but also their aims. That is, to what extent do they pursue the public good, and to what extent do they serve private interests? … A public good is one that benefits all members of the community … In contrast, private goods benefit individuals, serving only those people who take advantage of them. Thus, schooling is a public good to the extent that it helps everyone … The institution that for much of our history helped bring us together into a community of citizens is increasingly dispersing us into a social hierarchy defined by the level of education we’ve attained … We have grown all too comfortable in allowing the fate of other people’s children to be determined by the unequal competition among consumers for social advantage through schooling. ”
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11/1/2018 – The Education Wave That Began In West Virginia May Change Politics For The Nation

THIS WEEK: 1,500 Educators Running For Office … Using The DeVos Card … Beating Back Koch Bros … Historic Charter School Strike … When Rural Schools Die

TOP STORY

The Education Wave That Began In West Virginia May Change Politics For The Nation

By Jeff Bryant

“Whether Democrats take back the House in the midterm elections may come down to races like the one in West Virginia’s third Congressional District … Richard Ojeda has taken a district that Trump won by almost 50 points … and turned into a toss-up … But if races like the one in West Virginia’s third Congressional District determine the direction of politics in the country, the fight over education will have a lot to do with it.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

Nearly 1,500 Teachers Are Running For Office In November’s Elections

HuffPost

“The widespread teacher protests that swept through states like Kentucky and West Virginia this spring have given way to an unprecedented wave of educators pursuing political office in November’s elections … Nearly 1,500 current or former teachers and other education professionals are running for elected offices across the country … Teachers are also providing a groundswell of grassroots support for other pro-public education candidates … The bulk of teachers seeking office are doing so in the states that experienced protests … But the protests and the issues underlying them have also inspired teachers in other states.”
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DeVos Used As A Villain To Rally Democrats In Midterm Ads

Politico

“Democrats intent on making this year’s elections a referendum on President Donald Trump’s policies are targeting a Cabinet member who galvanizes their base: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos … Democrats have been using DeVos as a symbol of what’s wrong with Trump policies — mentioning her in more than $3 million worth of TV ads that aired more than 6,200 times … Democrats are turning to DeVos in an election year in which education issues have been hotly debated on the campaign trail. They’re trying to capture the same momentum that animated teacher strikes in states such as Arizona, Oklahoma, and West Virginia, focusing attention on Democratic plans to boost teacher pay and funding for schools.”
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How Teachers Might End Up Beating Back The Koch Brothers’ Plan To Privatize Arizona Schools

Alternet

Jeff Bryant reports, “In the upcoming Arizona midterm elections … Arizona Democrats running for office, including Democratic gubernatorial candidate David Garcia … have embraced opposition to [Proposition 305] a voucher program and thrown their support behind teachers who are calling for more funding of public schools. Should pro-education candidates win, and Prop 305 go down in flames, the teachers would have led a remarkable campaign that not only would be a victory for public schools but also would threaten to topple the Koch brothers’ political empire in the Grand Canyon State … Those leading the opposition to Prop 305 hope to do more than just defeat the bill; they want to expose the corrupt network behind the effort to privatize Arizona public schools and change the conversation about what would truly help education in the state.”
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Chicago Teachers Just Voted 98% To Authorize The First Charter School Strike In U.S. History

In These Times

“Chicago could be home to the nation’s first-ever charter strike … That’s a stunning reversal from 2012, when Chicago charter operators bragged that, unlike unionized public schools, charters were unaffected by teacher strikes … In addition to teacher pay and benefits, the union is pushing for guarantees that schools will be adequately staffed with counselors, social workers, school psychologists and nurses. If charter teachers are successful in winning contract guarantees for wraparound student services, it could have a ripple effect.”
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When ‘The Heartbeat’ Stops: Rural Schools Close As Opportunity And Residents Flee

The Washington Post

“School closures and consolidations are a familiar story in cash-strapped, rural corners of the country – places where schools are integral to a sense of identity and belonging. In many cases, rural schools are burdened by afflictions that also strain urban education systems: declining enrollment, teacher shortages, decaying buildings … In 2015-2016, the latest school year for which data is available, 27,145 schools were in rural areas, nearly 2,700 fewer than a decade earlier … Student departures also affect school funding, siphoning money for building repairs and other needs in rural schools, which educate about 9 million students nationally. ‘If your numbers decline, that’s going to affect your funding …They kind of go hand in hand.'”
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10/25/2018/ – Education Matters More Than Trump to Wisconsin Voters

THIS WEEK: What Teachers Want … DeVos Calls Kids Socialists … Crushing Pre-K … It’s The Economy … Blue Wave Hits DeVos

TOP STORY

Education Matters More Than Trump to Wisconsin Voters

By Jeff Bryant

“It’s important to know that in many places, voters still care first about issues that affect them at home, more than the latest outrage coming from the White House. One of those places is Wisconsin, where deep cuts to education by the incumbent Republican governor Scott Walker have put it at the top of many voters’ priorities … The race between Walker, who was elected in 2010 as part of the Tea Party wave that swept Wisconsin, and his opponent, long-time state schools chief Tony Evers, has become especially focused on education – ‘an arms race over who can sound the best.'”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

The Teacher’s Prayer

USA Today

“We think we know teachers … But the suddenness and vehemence of the Teacher Spring suggest we don’t understand their pressures and frustration … Teachers are worried about more than money. They feel misunderstood, unheard and, above all, disrespected. That disrespect comes from many sources: parents who are uninvolved or too involved; government mandates that dictate how, and to what measures, teachers must teach; state school budgets that have never recovered from Great Recession cuts, leading to inadequately prepared teachers and inadequately supplied classrooms … Teachers everywhere say that if only the American people … really understood schools and teachers, they’d join their cause … These people, whom opinion polls show to be among the nation’s most respected, feel disrespected. This year, that dichotomy led to revolt. Where it leads next is a matter for speculation.”
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Betsy DeVos Was Asked Whether U.S. schools Are Teaching Kids To Be Socialists. Her Answer Was Rich.

The Washington Post

Valerie Strauss writes, “Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in an interview that she believes many young people support socialism because they don’t get sufficient government and civics education and are not permitted to ‘discuss and debate those ideas freely’ on college campuses. Schools, then, are to blame … It certainly is true that many schools don’t provide enough civics and government education … It is also worth noting that the Trump administration and her department have proposed cutting federal funding for civics education programs.”
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The New Preschool Is Crushing Kids

The Atlantic

“It can be hard to appreciate just how much the early-education landscape has been transformed … Much greater portions of the day are now spent on what’s called ‘seat work’ … and a form of tightly scripted teaching known as direct instruction, formerly used mainly in the older grades. … more time spent with workbooks and worksheets, and less time devoted to music and art … Expectations that may arguably have been reasonable for 5- and 6-year-olds, such as being able to sit at a desk and complete a task using pencil and paper, are now directed at even younger children, who lack the motor skills and attention span to be successful … New research … found that although children who had attended preschool initially exhibited more ‘school readiness’ skills when they entered kindergarten than did their non-preschool-attending peers, by the time they were in first grade their attitudes toward school were deteriorating … The same educational policies that are pushing academic goals down to ever earlier levels seem to be contributing to – while at the same time obscuring – the fact that young children are gaining fewer skills, not more.”
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OECD: How Economics Still Shapes Students’ Educational Paths

Education Week

“While overall educational attainment is rising globally, students’ educational success is still largely a function of their economic status growing up … Performance disparities related to socio-economic status often develop early and widen throughout students’ lives. More than two-thirds of the achievement gaps seen among students at the age of 15 were associated with having more books at home at age 10. Half of the achievement gap among 25-29-year-olds was already evident when students were 10-years-old… Disadvantaged students also expressed lower levels of psychological well-being than advantaged students.”
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Education May Propel The Blue Wave In Devos Country

Salon

Jeff Bryant writes, “In the stomping ground of U.S. Secretary Betsy DeVos … Democratic candidates are getting an edge by sharply opposing the DeVos agenda of privatizing public schools. Up and down the ballots in state contests in the Midwest, Democratic candidates call for an end to school voucher programs that use public taxpayer funds to pay for tuitions at private schools, they propose tougher regulations of privately managed charter schools funded by the public, and they pledge to direct public money for education to public schools. Should Democrats retake the Rust Belt, it may not only snuff out the DeVos legacy but also change the course of education policy in the nation.”
Read more …

10/18/2018 – Spring’s Teacher Walkouts Put Education On The Ballot In Fall Elections

THIS WEEK: DeVos Thwarted By Court … If Dems Get Control … Europe’s Teachers Better Paid … Did DeVos Collude With The NRA? … An Edu-Win In Oklahoma?

TOP STORY

Spring’s Teacher Walkouts Put Education On The Ballot In Fall Elections

By Jeff Bryant

“This year’s Educator Spring that brought teachers into the streets in massive protests has resulted in hundreds of educators running for office in November midterm elections, thrust education issues into electoral contests between Democratic and Republican candidates up and down the ballot, and pushed education-related initiatives on ballots in 16 states … In states such as Arizona and Georgia where gubernatorial candidates are locked in tight races and Democrats are anticipating gains in state legislatures, state ballot measures could help provide the difference between victory and defeat.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

Delayed Obama-Era Rule On Student Debt Relief Is To Take Effect

The New York Times

“A long-delayed federal rule intended to protect student loan borrowers who were defrauded by their schools went into effect … after a judge rejected an industry challenge and the Education Department ended efforts to stall it … The new rule … is intended to strengthen a system called borrower defense that allows forgiveness of federal student loans for borrowers who were cheated by schools that lied about their job placement rates or otherwise broke state consumer protection laws. The new rule could expedite the claims of more than 100,000 borrowers, many of whom attended for-profit schools … The rule was supposed to take effect in July 2017. Shortly before that deadline, the Education secretary, Betsy DeVos, suspended the rule and announced plans to rewrite it.”
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Oversight Agenda Of A Democratic House”

Inside High Ed

“Democrats are widely expected to wrest control of the House of Representatives from the GOP in November … If that happens, the best indicator of the Democrats’ priorities may be the slate of programs they’ve already been scrutinizing during DeVos’s tenure – implementation of student loan rules like borrower defense to repayment and gainful employment; accountability for accrediting organizations; protections for victims of sexual misconduct on campuses; and alleged conflicts of interest among administration officials … Any officials who have received requests for documents or information from congressional Democrats should expect renewed interest in those inquiries should the majority change.”
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Why Are Teachers In Europe Paid So Much Better Than Those In The United States?

The Washington Post

“The wages of American teachers … have dropped over the past decade. That’s a long way from similarly wealthy European nations … where teachers are among the nation’s top earners and can make more money than Web developers or sometimes even entry-level doctors. Besides the United States, no other developed country has such a large gap between salaries paid to teachers and to professionals with similar degrees … Europe’s social welfare states generally perceive education as a right rather than as a privilege. College, for example, is free in many of those nations … The importance of public education has translated into higher pay for teachers, who also often benefit from robust employment laws for public servants.”
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U.S. Department Of Education Is Sued For Withholding Information On Arming Teachers

HuffPost

“A coalition of advocacy and teacher groups sued the U.S. Department of Education … for information related to its decision to allow schools to purchase firearms using federal funds … In August and September, the groups filed two Freedom of Information Act requests for more information on the decision. The requests … were designed to glean information on issues such as whether the Education Department was influenced by the National Rifle Association and other gun rights groups. A request also sought information on which school districts were interested in arming teachers using federal funds … The government has fallen short of its statutory obligation. The plaintiffs are requesting expedited processing of their information request, which the government previously denied.”
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Education May Spell Doom for Oklahoma’s Republican ‘Subprime’ Gubernatorial Candidate

The Progressive

“In Oklahoma, the governor’s race would ordinarily result in a solid victory for an enthusiastic Trump supporter like Republican Kevin Stitt, who brandishes a ‘100 percent Pro-Life score’ and an A’ rating from the National Rifle Association. But this year’s focus on education could turn the election for Stitt’s competitor, veteran Democrat Drew Edmondson … Drawing from his experience as the founder and CEO of Gateway Mortgage Group, Stitt describes his [education] program as ‘performance metrics=accountability, efficiency and results’ … Gateway has been called one of ‘the 15 shadiest mortgage lenders being backed by the government’ … Stitt was a no show for a recent candidate forum, where education issues were discussed. In contrast, Edmondson attended every day of the nine-day teacher walkout this April … If Oklahoma teachers ‘Remember in November,’ it could drive an Edmondson victory.”
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10/11/2018 – During Kavanaugh Craziness, News About DeVos Gets Lost

THIS WEEK: More Teacher Strikes Loom … Return to ‘Get Tough’ … Are Child Detainees Being Educated? … Cuts To College Funding … Organizing For Schools

TOP STORY

During Kavanaugh Craziness, News About DeVos Gets Lost

By Jeff Bryant

“While the serial outrages of the Trump administration continue to make headlines and whip up popular protests, there’s a danger that the more mundane activities of his cabinet officials and their underlings are being ignored. Take US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos … who now operates largely out of public view behind a security screen that is projected to cost the taxpayers nearly $8 million over the next year. What’s largely being overlooked behind all the lurid headlines and endless insults are all the ways in which officials like DeVos are quietly at work continuing to use our tax money to advance a deeply troubling agenda.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

Teachers Turn Focus To Ballot Box, But Threat Of More Strikes Looms Large

Education Writers Association

“In May … massive teacher strikes shook up politics in a half-dozen states … Was the ‘educator spring,’ as the teacher walkouts were dubbed, a one-off event or just a taste of what’s to come?Last month, teachers in more than a dozen Washington State school districts went on strike over contract negotiations … In Los Angeles, educators in the country’s second-largest school district could go on strike as soon as this month … In states that saw widespread walkouts and some that did not, organizers have set their sights on the ballot box – riding the momentum of the strikes to mobilize voters in support of candidates and ballot initiatives that align with what they consider a ‘pro-education’ agenda … Educators in other states are showing an openness to walkouts. In Louisiana, just over 60% of educators surveyed by the Louisiana Federation of Teachers said they would support a statewide walkout … In Texas … the state’s largest teacher union is mobilizing voters for the November elections but is also prepared to support walkouts if the elections don’t go their way.”
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Federal Government Abandons Mission To Ensure Children Are “Educated And Healthy”

Medium

“Our federal government quietly changed the mission of the executive agency responsible for juvenile justice policy, abandoning the vision that all our children should be ‘healthy and educated’ …. These changes broadcast its shift in direction from the reforms that have cut the juvenile crime rate by 58% … back to the failed ‘get tough’ policies that brought us mass incarceration … States need the guidance of the federal government that was previously provided.”
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Unaccompanied and Uneducated: The Billions Spent At The Border

US News & World Report

“Federal regulations state that children in the care of the Department of Health and Human Services, including unaccompanied migrant children, those who have been separated from their families, and those who are in shelters and other detainment centers with family members, must receive six hours of instruction every weekday, making education the single biggest part of their daily lives. But it’s unclear what that education looks like, who is providing it, how much it costs, whether there are proper supports in place for children with disabilities and those working through traumatic experiences, and who, if anyone, is overseeing it all … In response to a series of questions about how education is provided to unaccompanied migrant children, including a request for an interview, Victoria Palmer, who works in the Office of Communication at [Health and Human Services], said through an email, ‘We do not have anyone available for media interviews.'”
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State Spending On Higher Education Still Hasn’t Recovered From The Recession

Pacific Standard

“In the depths of the Great Recession, states … slashed their spending on higher education … During the 2017–18 school year, total state spending on public two- and four-year colleges was $7 billion less (adjusted for inflation) than it was in 2008 … Only four states … spend more per student today than they did in 2008 … The trend of the last several years … of slow, steady growth in higher ed spending … shows signs of stalling … While national spending was essentially flat between the 2017 and 2018 school years, 31 states actually cut per-student funding … Public institutions of higher education … have responded to these cuts in two ways: They’ve cut spending, reducing class offerings and eliminating other student services and supports; and they’ve increased tuition.”
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Can Community Organizing Improve Schools?

The Progressive

Jeff Bryant writes, “After years of disappointing results from top-down reform, there’s an urgent need to examine the positive progress that can happen when efforts come from the bottom-up. That is the subject of a new documentary The Long View … I spoke with The Long View producer and director Susan Zeig about the project … ‘There are lots of films about education but not many about the role community organizing plays in education. I wanted to portray that because people often forget it. Community organizing is messy. It takes a lot of time. It’s not always successful. But at a time when one might feel we’re at a low-point for our democracy, it’s the only tool for people without power to make some kind of impact. And you can see small victories.'”
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10/4/2018 – When Communities Lose Their Public Schools For Good, What Happens To The Students?

THIS WEEK: Teacher Brand Improves… School Security Scammers … Tax Raises For Schools … Anti-Poverty Programs Help Academics … DeVos’s For-Profit College Crony

TOP STORY

When Communities Lose Their Public Schools For Good, What Happens To The Students? Michigan May Soon Find Out.

By Jeff Bryant

“What if some communities no longer have public schools? That question, once unthinkable in America, may now be something policy leaders and lawmakers in at least one state may want to consider. In Michigan … some of the state’s largest school districts lose so many students to surrounding school districts and charter schools that the financial viability of the districts seems seriously in question … Michigan may be the canary in the coalmine warning that not only does unrestrained choice and competition fail to improve academic results, it also may risk the financial feasibility of having functioning public schools in every community.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

From ‘Rotten Apples’ To Martyrs: America Has Changed Its Tune On Teachers

Education Week

“For years, teachers continually heard the message that they were the root of problems in schools. But in a matter of months, the public narrative has shifted: The nation is increasingly concerned about teachers’ low salaries and challenging working conditions. Teachers, it seems, are no longer bad actors ruining schools – they’re victims of an unfair system, and the only hope for saving kids … The recent wave of teacher walkouts and protests … helped catalyze new feelings about the profession … Social media offered more visibility into teachers’ lives, from the second jobs some work to make ends meet to their out-of-pocket spending for classroom supplies. Evidence emerged that teacher-quality initiatives centered on student testing –which had become unpopular –haven’t worked. Even the election of President Donald Trump, which spurred a growing wave of activism across the country, has had an impact.”
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Lawmakers Buy Industry Fix To Protect Schools From Guns

AP

“Security companies spent years pushing schools to buy more products — from ‘ballistic attack-resistant’ doors to smoke cannons that spew haze from ceilings to confuse a shooter. But sales were slow … That changed last February, when a former student shot and killed 17 people at a Florida high school … Since that attack, security firms and nonprofit groups linked to the industry have persuaded lawmakers to elevate the often-costly “hardening” of schools over other measures that researchers and educators say are proven to reduce violence … The industry helped Congress draft a law that committed $350 million to equipment and other school security over the next decade. Nearly 20 states have come up with another $450 million, and local school districts are reworking budgets to find more money.”
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Tax Hikes To Fund Schools? Once Taboo, The Idea Is Gaining Momentum

Education Wek

“Politicians on the state campaign trail this year are making some eye-popping promises for parents and educators: billions more dollars for schools, double-digit pay raises for teachers, and hundreds of millions more to replace dilapidated schoolhouses … In some states, Democrats are going so far as to broach a topic often seen as off-limits in election season: tax increases … Democrats in states such as Arizona, Florida, and Oklahoma are gambling that voters are so alarmed at the financial disrepair of their local school systems that they’re willing to tax states’ corporations and wealthiest citizens to bail them out .… The pushback from Republican opponents and the business community in some of those states has been fierce. But some national and statewide polls show that public sentiment for taxes has shifted since the heyday of property tax revolts in the 1970s.”
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Want To Boost Test Scores And Increase Grad Rates? One Strategy: Look Outside Schools And Help Low-Income Families

Chalkbeat

“A large and growing body of research … documents not only that poverty hurts students in school, but that specific anti-poverty programs can counteract that harm. These programs – or other methods of increasing family income – boost students’ test scores, make them more likely to finish high school, and raise their chances of enrolling in college … In other words, many policies with a shot at changing the experience of low-income students in school don’t have anything to do with the schools themselves … They get relatively little attention from education policymakers who could be key advocates … One widely used anti-poverty program is the Earned Income Tax Credit, and it’s been repeatedly linked to better schooling outcomes for kids.”
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DeVos Aide Tailors Decisions To The Predatory Colleges That Employed Her

Republic Report

“In a meeting early this year at the U.S. Department of Education headquarters, a group of Department staffers led by senior adviser Diane Auer Jones told a delegation from Dream Center Education Holdings (DCEH) … to publicly represent that two of the company’s Art Institutes schools remained accredited, even though the schools’ accreditor had written the company a letter indicating that the schools were presently ‘not accredited.’… Jones’s involvement is apparent in a range of regulatory and enforcement decisions that have tailored the Department’s policies to the wish list of the worst predatory actors in the for-profit college industry … Before joining the DeVos Department she worked for some of those same egregious actors … which have extensive records of deceiving and abusing students … The Department published a proposed regulation that would thoroughly destroy the Obama borrower defense rule, which was aimed at providing some student loan relief to people ripped off by predatory colleges … The Department plans to simply cancel the Obama gainful employment rule, which would have penalized federally-funded career and for-profit college programs that consistently leave graduates with overwhelming debt.”
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