Education Opportunity Network

Education Opportunity Network -

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.”
Read more …

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.”
Read more …

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.”
Read more …

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.”
Read more …

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.”
Read more …

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.”
Read more …

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.”
Read more …

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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8/31/2017 – Like Her Boss, Betsy DeVos Makes A Disaster All About Herself

THIS WEEK: Americans Support Public Schools … Closing Schools Harms Students … Resegregation’s Toll … DACA In Danger … Charters Segregate

TOP STORY

Like Her Boss, Betsy DeVos Makes A Disaster All About Herself

By Jeff Bryant

“While President Trump’s boastful comments about crowd size at his tour of Hurricane Harvey’s devastation in Houston struck some as egotistical and self-aggrandizing, his Education Secretary Betsy DeVos had a similar performance in Florida, where she robotically recited her favorite talking points against a backdrop of a slow-motion catastrophe striking the state’s public schools … What’s hitting Florida’s public schools may not directly endanger lives as Hurricane Harvey did, but it will surely exact a heavy toll on the Sunshine State’s education infrastructure. Yet DeVos calls the state ‘a role model for the nation.'”
Read more …

NEWS AND VIEWS

Americans Express Support For Traditional Public Schools In New Poll, Even As Trump Disparages Them

The Washington Post

“According to a new national survey … a majority of public school parents give higher grades – A’s and B’s – to the traditional public schools in their neighborhoods than they have in years. A majority of Americans polled also said they oppose programs that use public money for private and religious school education, policies that are supported by President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos … DeVos has called the traditional public education system a ‘dead end,’ and Trump has repeatedly disparaged public schools as ‘failing’ … the proportion of Americans who give their community’s public schools an A grade is at its highest in more than 40 years.”
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Closing Low-Performing Schools More Likely To Negatively Affect Black And Hispanic Students: Report

The Root

“The push to close low-performing schools has increased. A recent study has concluded that when those closures happen, schools that serve predominantly black and Hispanic students are most likely to be affected … Low-performing charter and public schools with a larger share of black and Hispanic students were more likely to be closed … Less than half of those displaced students ended up at a school that was better than the one they left.”
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When School Districts Resegregate, More Black And Hispanic Students Drop Out

Chalkbeat

“After courts lift school desegregation orders, students of color are more likely to drop out … Court-mandated integration efforts across the U.S. have sharply declined … Of 480 school districts that had an integration order in place in 1991 … 214 had the court order eliminated by 2010 … Lifting the court orders led to a sustained increase in dropout rates among Hispanic students of 3 percentage points, and black students of 1 percentage point, compared to similar districts where mandates remained. White students were no more or less likely to drop out.”
Read more …

‘Dreamer’ Plan That Aided 800,000 Immigrants Is Threatened

The New York Times

“In a showdown over a five-year-old initiative, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, which has granted permission to stay and work to about 800,000 immigrants … brought illegally to the United States as children … key players in his administration have advised Mr. Trump to wind down the program, and his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, has informed him he considers it unconstitutional and cannot defend it in court … Trump has been pondering – and publicly agonizing over – what to do … a decision by the administration not to defend it ‘would almost certainly spell a death knell for the program.'”
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With Charter Schools, A Step Back To Segregation

The Progressive

California university professor Julian Vasquez Heilig writes, “Considering the rapid growth of charter schools, it’s important for the public conversations about school choice to distinguish fact from rhetoric and sloganeering … The predominance of peer-reviewed research … has demonstrated that school choice is exacerbating existing patterns of segregation … One research study found that charter schools are ‘more racially isolated than traditional public schools’ … Charters are influencing and intensifying racial segregation across the nation. After several decades, the promise of charter schools to foster integration and a less balkanized society is clearly not being realized.”
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8/24/2017 – What Happened To All The Teachers?

THIS WEEK: Trump Trauma In Schools … Welcome Refugee Students … Integration’s Double Edge … DeVos Bankrolls Quack Company … Charters Aren’t Working

TOP STORY

What Happened To All The Teachers?

By Jeff Bryant

“Mounting evidence should convince anyone who cares that providing students a guaranteed access to highly qualified teachers, no matter where they live – an ideal that’s never been a well-kept promise to begin with – is weakening even further … However, instead of digging deeper into the many causes and solutions for teacher shortages, the advisors who tend to have the ear of policy makers in Washington, DC and state capitals these days tend to call news of widespread teacher shortages a ‘myth’ … What’s not at all helpful is to have loud-mouthed politicians continue to disparage teachers for being ‘overpaid’ and ‘stupid.'”
Read more …

NEWS AND VIEWS

Trump’s Immigration Crackdown Is Traumatizing A Generation Of Children

The Guardian

“For the estimated 1 million undocumented children in the US – and the roughly 4.5 million young people born here who have at least one undocumented parent … Trump’s immigration crackdown is creating high levels of psychological distress … Sanctuary schools are offering workshops … about managing immigration authorities, vowing to shield students’ personal data from officials and block federal agents’ access to school property unless they present a warrant … Emotional distress and economic insecurity can derail the future success of undocumented children and those with undocumented parents, as families are separated and immigrant communities are targeted.”
Read more …

Refugee Students Don’t Negatively Affect The Education Of Peers, Study Finds

Education Week

“A working paper … found no evidence that refugee students have a negative effect on the behavior or academic achievement of their schoolmates … no changes in test scores or disciplinary problems, and no evidence that the arrival of refugee students led incumbent families to depart schools in large numbers … A 2016 investigation by the Associated Press found that Immigrant children living in the United States as unaccompanied minors have been blocked or discouraged from registering for school in at least 35 districts in 14 states.”
Read more …

Silicon Valley’s School Integration Paradox: More Black And Hispanic Students Get To College – And Get Arrested

Chalkbeat

“New research on schools in the heart of Silicon Valley comes to a familiar conclusion: Poor black and Hispanic students get a leg up academically by attending a less segregated school. But … those students who left their hometowns to attend wealthier schools in places like Palo Alto were also more likely to be arrested … students who got the chance to attend the more affluent schools were 10 percentage points more likely to go to college … The program increased the likelihood a student would be arrested by about 5 percentage points, with an even greater impact on boys and black students.”
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DeVos Invested In Company Under Investigation For Misleading Claims

Education Week

“When U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos increased her family’s financial stake in Neurocore this spring, the controversial ‘neurofeedback’ company was under investigation by an advertising-industry self-regulatory group for making questionable claims about its treatments for such conditions as autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and memory loss … The National Advertising Division alerted Neurocore that it was opening an investigation into the company’s advertising claims. That was nearly two months before DeVos or one of her immediate family members invested between $1,000,001 and $5,000,000 in the company … NAD said its lawyers initiated their investigation of Neurocore, in part, because the company’s claims appear to target two ‘uniquely vulnerable’ audiences: families with children suffering from conditions such as ADHD and autism, and seniors suffering from memory loss.”
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Why Charter Schools Have Lost Support From Democrats

Alternet

Jeff Bryant interviews NEA VP Becky Pringle who says, “Progressives at their core share a lot of the same values. But we need to dig down into what it is progressives think charter schools are doing, even for that black family who declares charter schools are working for them. Progressives need to understand that expanding charters is fraught with all kinds of unintended consequences that even those behind the expansions for the right reasons often don’t see … I think we’re on the verge of a widespread consensus that the current approach to charters is not working.”
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8/17/2017 – What To Make Of The Democrats’ Growing Divide On Education

THIS WEEK: DeVos Fails Charlottesville … Charters Take A Hit … Voucher Truth … DeVos Hearts ALEC … Homeless Students

TOP STORY

What To Make Of The Democrats’ Growing Divide On Education

By Jeff Bryant

“At the same time Donald Trump’s vile presidency is unifying Democratic resistance to his policies on civil rights, healthcare, and immigration, his views on education policy, and those of his Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, are dividing Democrats. Evidence of this growing divide is rapidly accumulating, and Democrats in denial of it are only going to make the party’s already marginalized status worse … Democrats should have faith that out of this tumultuous debate a new consensus will emerge, but that consensus will be an improvement over the top-down one it’s replacing only if it truly comes from the bottom up.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

Faced With The Domestic Terrorism At Charlottesville, Betsy DeVos Fails Another Test

The Hechinger Report

“President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos didn’t whole-heartedly renounce white supremacy last weekend, but teachers must. … The racism and xenophobia that we saw on the University of Virginia campus was born out of America’s historical endorsements of slavery, segregation, discrimination and biased policies … Instead of unequivocally condemning the hateful and divisive ideology that was espoused by the neo-Nazi marchers, DeVos issued two bland tweets in the passive tense that proclaimed her disgust … Trump and DeVos are failing our students. Charlottesville was their teaching moment and they failed the test … We can’t hide the past, but we can educate our way out of it.”
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Charter Schools Take A Hit In Nationwide Poll

EdSource

“The public’s support for charter schools fell significantly from a year ago nationwide and among both Democrats and Republicans … Although a small plurality still favor charters, the 12 percentage point drop in support, from 51% to 39%, marked the biggest shift in this year’s survey results … The poll found that President Donald Trump is having a polarizing impact, with more Republicans agreeing with him and more Democrats disagreeing with him on some key education issues.”
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When Privatization Means Segregation: Setting The Record Straight On School Vouchers

Dissent

“If the push toward private, segregated education was propelled on the ground by local white elites, it found its intellectual underpinnings among leading free-market ideologues. Chief among them was Milton Friedman … The unregulated market in which Friedman places all his trust is an inequality multiplier … Try as privatization advocates might, there is no getting around the segregationist history of school vouchers in the United States … Forerunners of today’s ‘school choice’ movement understood their freedom as the freedom to deny others an equal education. That history continues into the present.”
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This ALEC State Report Card Speaks Volumes About Betsy DeVos’s Education Agenda

The Washington Post

“When it comes to big education issues, there appears to be no light between DeVos and ALEC … It’s all about choice … ALEC is intending to ramp up efforts to spread vouchers and voucher-like programs in states across the country and roll back Title IX protections for sexual assault victims. DeVos’s Education Department is examining possible changes to Obama-era guidance on enforcing Title IX.”
Read more …

1 In 7 New York City Elementary Students Will Be Homeless, Report Says

The New York Times

“One in every seven New York City public school students will be homeless at some point during elementary school … ‘In every school classroom, that’s two or three kids’ … The growing number of homeless children is part of the fallout of the city’s housing crisis … Homelessness is difficult under any circumstances, but for children, the stress and physical dislocation can be like a tornado dropped into the school day … Homeless children were more likely than those with stable housing to be on the wrong side of a huge array of indicators.”
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8/10/2017 – Betsy DeVos’s ‘School Choice’ Looks More Like Crony Capitalism

THIS WEEK: Tax Breaks Hurt Schools … What DeVos Did … Trump’s Cuts Hurt Kids … School Choice Screws Rural Schools … Cost Of Back-To-School

TOP STORY

Betsy DeVos’s ‘School Choice’ Looks More Like Crony Capitalism

By Jeff Bryant

“U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos says she supports ‘great public schools,’ but her actions continue to show her hypocrisy on that subject … DeVos claims that her proposals are intended to provide more ‘choice’ in the education system, but if that were true, she would be proposing to raise funding levels for all options. The fact she boosts education options in the private sector at the expense of public options shows her real intention is to tilt the playing field toward the choices she wants – privately owned institutions.
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NEWS AND VIEWS

Tax Breaks For Big-Box Stores Can Drain Money From Schools

Education Week

“Using a tactic known as “dark store theory,” retailers and their legal teams are increasingly arguing that the massive stores they operate ought to be appraised as if they were vacant or ‘dark.’ When they succeed, the annual property taxes that retailers pay – which help fund public schools in most local communities – can drop precipitously … So far, the strategy has worked, particularly in the courts, and has led to lowering the taxes of big-box companies by hundreds of millions of dollars … Assessors worry about the potentially sweeping impact the tax loophole could have on essential community services.”
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Like It Or Not, Betsy DeVos Has Made A Mark In Six Months As Education Secretary

The Washington Post

“She and her staff moved swiftly to start to remake the student financial aid system by rolling back or rewriting regulations that were put in place by the Obama administration to protect student borrowers … Being education secretary has given DeVos a national platform to mainstream her school choice ideas, which once were considered radical. And her repeated attacks on the federal government have laid the groundwork for potential future efforts to abolish the Education Department … DeVos’s denunciations of the federal government and her refusal to make even a tepid call-out to the value of the public education system, can’t help but have an effect on the way some Americans feel about their neighborhood public schools.”
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Trump’s Proposed After-School Cuts Could Lead To More Hungry Kids, Lower Test Scores

The Hechinger Report

“The Trump administration’s proposed budget would nix … afterschool programs and impose deep cuts in other areas that impact school meals and nutrition. The USDA … is facing a budget cut of $4.7 billion, or 21% of its discretionary spending, while the Department of Education’s budget could fall by more than $9 billion … Newly installed Department of Agriculture chief, Sonny Perdue, is rolling back school lunch nutrition standards.”
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How Does School Choice Work in Rural Schools?

Education Week Teacher

“Betsy DeVos has made it clear that she has a single agenda item: to improve options for all students via school choice programs. But many rural educators are not convinced. They ask, how does choice work, exactly, in rural states? … In states like Wyoming, Montana and the Dakotas, however, families can’t simply choose to attend a different school. Districts are separated by enormous distances. And impending funding cuts that disproportionately affect rural and poor students are not helping to solve the problem … Cutting funding for essential and effective programs in service of spending $1 billion to offer impractical ‘options’ for students who likely will not benefit from them is governmental malpractice.”
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Is Back-To-School Season More Expensive? Yes, And Here’s Why.

The Progressive

Jeff Bryant writes, “It’s no secret why teachers and parents are paying more of the costs of educating our nation’s children. It’s because governments have been spending less on kids … Slashing education budgets at the federal, state, or local level doesn’t save money; it just shifts costs somewhere else … Providing schools with the supplies students need is vital to successfully educating the nation’s future workers, leaders, artists, and citizens.”
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8/3/2017 – Neil deGrasse Tyson Is Wrong: Public Schools Aren’t The Cause Of Science Ignorance

THIS WEEK: How Segregation Evolved … Vouchers Fail … Attacking Affirmative Action … Trump Screws Student Borrows … A Better Deal?

TOP STORY

Neil deGrasse Tyson Is Wrong: Public Schools Aren’t The Cause Of Science Ignorance

By Jeff Bryant

“Neil deGrasse Tyson … recently tweeted, ‘The rise of flat-Earthers in society provides some of the best evidence for the failure of our educational system’… The hallmark of any good scientist, which Tyson certainly is, is to create a hypothesis and then weigh the evidence. So what’s the evidence that public schools are the main cause of science ignorance?”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

School Segregation Didn’t Go Away. It Just Evolved.

Vox

“Since 2000, [over] 70 communities have tried to secede from their district …
Two-thirds of those of those secession attempts have been successful, and most of the other cases are still ongoing … Many of the proposed school borders are along socioeconomic lines, and they would further isolate poor children in segregated school … Courts and our state legislatures … have created a system that incentivizes middle-class people to use their moderate wealth to wall in opportunities for their own kids, while depriving the kids of others. They’ve allowed parents, acting in self-interest, to create school systems that reproduce, or even exacerbate, the structural inequality we see today.'”
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Trump Administration Advances School Vouchers Despite Scant Evidence

Scientific American

“Studies have found that vouchers have mixed to negative academic outcomes and, when adopted widely, can exacerbate income inequity … Reading and math scores may also not be the most important consideration for parents … Voucher proponents say parents, even those using tax dollars to pay tuition, should be able to use whatever criteria for school choice they see fit. A provocative idea, but if past evidence can predict future outcomes, expanding voucher programs seems unlikely to help U.S. schoolchildren keep pace with a technologically advancing world.”
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Justice Dept. To Take On Affirmative Action In College Admissions

The New York Times

“The Trump administration is preparing to redirect resources of the Justice Department’s civil rights division toward investigating and suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants… The announcement suggests that the project will be run out of the division’s front office, where the Trump administration’s political appointees work, rather than … Supporters and critics of the project said it was clearly targeting admissions programs that can give members of generally disadvantaged groups, like black and Latino students, an edge over other applicants with comparable or higher test scores.”
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Trump Administration Is Sitting On Tens Of Thousands Of Student Debt Forgiveness Claims

The Washington Post

“The Trump administration has done little to help defrauded student loan borrowers … Not a single application for debt relief … has been approved in the past 6 months, leaving more than 65,000 people in limbo. Although the vast majority of those borrowers submitted claims during the Obama administration, the Education Department has received nearly 15,000 new applications this year … By law, students can apply to have their federal loans discharged if their college used illegal and deceptive tactics to persuade them to borrow money to attend.”
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5 Reasons Why Democrats’ ‘Better Deal’ Must Include Public Education

Alternet

Jeff Bryant writes, “The Democratic Party rolled out “A Better Deal” … aimed at winning back working-class voters … But A Better Deal is virtually silent on the topic of public education – and that’s a major missed opportunity … Trump is vulnerable on education … Betsy DeVos is a lightning rod for popular dissent … [And] Democrats need a clean break from the party’s education past.”
Read more …

7/27/2017 – Problems Posed By School Choice Can’t Be Ignored

THIS WEEK: NAACP Challenges Charters … School Choice Segregates … Republicans Hurt Kids … School Success Story … Vote Democrat

TOP STORY

Problems Posed By School Choice Can’t Be Ignored

By Jeff Bryant

“Enraged school choice advocates stormed the Internet over the past few days to defend their cause from criticism no matter how reasonable…. The objects of their wrath, specifically, were a speech given by American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on school vouchers and a report issued by the national NAACP on charter schools.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

NAACP Report: Charter Schools ‘Not A Substitute’ For Traditional Public Schools And Many Need Reform

The Washington Post

“The NAACP has, once again, slapped down the claim that the promotion of school choice and charter schools is ‘the civil rights issue of our time’ … The preeminent civil rights organization not only stood by last year’s call for a moratorium on new charter schools, it also insisted on reform of charters that already exist … The report acknowledges that while some charters serve students well … There are also a wide range of problems with the operation of charters across the country that require attention … The report also concludes ‘even the best charters’ cannot be a substitute for an equitable, well-funded public school system.'”
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School Choice–Past And Present

The Huffington Post

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten writes, “When schools struggle, the ‘solution’ privatization advocates invariably propose is ‘choice,’ with the coda that poor families should have the same educational choices as more affluent families. But that innocuous word belies the record both the academic results of private school choice … Tuition vouchers and tax credits, and private, for-profit charter schools actively destabilize our public schools. They can–and many do–discriminate because private schools do not follow federal civil rights laws … They fail most of the children they purportedly are intended to benefit.”
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Students With Disabilities Are The Overlooked Victims Of GOP Health Care Repeal

Mother Jones

“Medicaid … doles out billions of dollars each year directly to school districts to fund special education services that are mandated by federal law and to support services for poor students … Any cut is going to have an adverse effect on kids … In 2015, schools received nearly $4 billion in Medicaid funding … covering the costs of speech and physical therapy, behavioral services, and medical equipment, such as wheelchairs and walkers.”
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A Southern California District Resists Bad Education Policy

The Progressive

Jeff Bryant writes, ” I’ve called Long Beach an unlikely success story … Nearly 70% of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. Yet Long Beach Unified School District has steadily improved its high school graduation rates… and surpasses the rest of the state on key education measures … District leaders value what teachers do, and they put in place structural supports that make it more likely the talents of teachers come out … [The] contemptuous attitude toward teaching still dominates education policy making. But there are signs its influence is on the wane.”
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Want To Reduce Racial Segregation? Elect A Democrat To School Board, Study Says

Chalkbeat

“Electing Democratic school board members … leads to less-segregated schools … Electing at least one Democrat leads to students being ‘reassigned in such a way that the school board is now 18% closer to achieving the district [average racial breakdown] for each school’ … Racial segregation was likely reduced … by changes to school attendance zones. Non-Democrats made fewer changes, ‘potentially allowing residential sorting to increase segregation without substantial intervention’ … More integrated schools improve the achievement of low-income and black students.”
Read more …

7/20/2017 – How Budget Austerity Puts Public School Parents On Par With Criminals

THIS WEEK: School Costs Rise … Voucher Black Hole… Trump And Teen Pregnancy … Charter School Warning … Republicans And Rape

TOP STORY

How Budget Austerity Puts Public School Parents On Par With Criminals

By Jeff Bryant

“In a budget environment of forced scarcity, there are increasingly strong demarcations between winners and losers, and parents who plan on sending children to free public schools are increasingly losers … To pay for the costs of crime, under-funded local governments are increasing fines and fees associated with the criminal justice system … As it is for the accused in the criminal justice system, parents in local schools are having to bear more of the burden of education costs.”
Read more …

NEWS AND VIEWS

Backpack Index: The Cost Of School Supplies Nearly Doubled In 10 Years

NBC

“In the last decade, the price of supplies and extracurricular activities increased by 88% for elementary school students, 81% for middle school students and 68% for high school students, according … an annual survey of the cost of school supplies and other expenses … The Backpack Index was just shy of $1,500 for high schoolers last year, the most recent year available. It was $1,001 for middle schoolers and $662 for elementary schoolers … If a high school student plays more than one sport, that’ll incur up to $375 in fees.”
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Trump Wants To Spend Millions More On School Vouchers. But What’s Happened To The Millions Already Spent?

The Washington Post

“Congress dedicates $15 million a year to a program that helps low-income D.C. students pay tuition at private schools, but it’s impossible for taxpayers to find out where their money goes: The administrator of the D.C. voucher program refuses to say how many students attend each school or how many public dollars they receive … It’s also not clear how students are performing in each school … And private schools can continue receiving voucher dollars no matter how poorly their students fare.”
Read more …

Trump Administration Abruptly Cuts Off Teen Pregnancy Prevention Funding

Education Week

“The Trump administration has cut off grants that fund teen pregnancy prevention programs and research their effectiveness … Leaders at the Department of Health and Human Services … have publicly favored an abstinence-based approach to sex education … The 5-year grants … go to 81 organizations around the country … Congress had approved $101 million for the third year of the grants … Births to American teenagers have continued a pattern of decline, dropping 40% in the last decade.”
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Ohio’s Online Charter Scandal Is A Warning To The Nation

The Progressive

“With Betsy DeVos, a long-committed charter school proponent, in charge of the U.S. Department of Education, the country should look to recent goings-on in Ohio as a warning sign … In the 2015-2016 school year, [Ohio’s online charter school] was paid $106 million in public tax dollars for the more than 15,000 students it said were enrolled, but the state was able to verify the active participation of only 6,300 students … As lawmakers sort out ways to effectively address the political cronyism behind these schools, what should be abundantly clear to the state and the nation is that continuing to expand charters will only worsen the problem.”
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Republicans And Campus Rape: The Department of Education’s Bizarre Christian-Right Tilt Is No Accident

Salon

Amanda Marcotte writes, “When it comes to the issue of sexual assault on campus, the inclination of [Betsy] DeVos and her Bible-hugging staff members is to minimize, excuse, and blame the victims. It’s a reminder that the Christian right’s emphasis on policing sexuality is almost entirely about punishing and controlling women and LGBT people. Holding men accountable for abusive behavior comes second, if at all, to punishing women for being sexual or living independent lives … When it comes to the issue of sexual assault on campus, the inclination of DeVos and her Bible-hugging staff members is to minimize, excuse and blame the victims. It’s a reminder that the Christian right’s emphasis on policing sexuality is almost entirely about punishing and controlling women and LGBT people. Holding men accountable for abusive behavior comes second, if at all, to punishing women for being sexual or living independent lives.”
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7/13/2016 – Why Teachers Don’t Trust Betsy DeVos, And Neither Should You

THIS WEEK: NCLB Failure Lingers … Churches Running Charters? … Rahm’s Graduation Scheme … DeVos Backs Accused Rapists … Charter Certified Teachers?

TOP STORY

Why Teachers Don’t Trust Betsy DeVos, And Neither Should You

By Jeff Bryant

“[NEA president] Lily Eskelsen Garcia … said about [Education Secretary Betsy] DeVos, ‘There is no reason to trust this woman’… Does Garcia’s contention that DeVos is simply not to be trusted have any validity? … It’s almost impossible to separate DeVos and her service in the education department from her past in dark money politics … While DeVos gives the silent treatment to news organizations, public officials, rights advocates, and educators, she maintains an open-door policy for those prone to agree with her.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

Schools Haunted By Ghost Of No Child Left Behind Act

Observer

“There are two fundamental reasons why NCLB showed so few gains, especially as compared to the pre-standardized testing era … NCLB took responsibility away from the students and put it on the teachers and administrators … The second problem with standardized testing is that standardized tests are only one tool of judging student success and far from being the best one in the shed … We’re better off without the high-stakes standardized testing that we saw from NCLB.”
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Churches Running Charter Schools? The Latest Supreme Court Decision Could Open The Door In Some States

Chalkbeat

“Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer invalidated a Missouri rule banning a religious school from participating in a public program… The ruling might also pave the way for more charter schools operated by religious groups, including churches … If it became easier for religious institutions to run charter schools, it would mark a significant change … The narrow ruling means the impact of Trinity Lutheran won’t be immediately felt, and that it will turn on further interpretation.”
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Really, Rahm? The Chicago Mayor’s Newest Far-Fetched Plan For High Schools.

The Washington Post

“Chicago officials recently announced their new ‘Learn. Plan. Succeed initiative’ which requires any student who wants a high school diploma to prove they have a plan for life after high school … [Mayor Rahm] Emanuel wants students to provide proof that they have something to do – within parameters – when they leave high school. But … Chicago public schools aren’t exactly filled with counselors who can help young people plan their futures … Chicago is one of the big-city school districts that has more security staff than counselors … The plan shows that Emanuel is out of touch with many of the people he represents.”
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Campus Rape Policies Get A New Look As The Accused Get DeVos’s Ear

The New York Times

“Candice Jackson, who heads the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights …. believes investigations under the 1972 law known as Title IX have gone deeply awry. A sexual assault survivor herself, she said she sees … that the rights of accused students have too often been ignored … ‘The accusations – 90% of them ‘ fall into the category of ‘we were both drunk’ ‘… Ms. Jackson said. Such comments infuriate advocates for victims and women, who have spent the last 6 years waging … what some have called ‘rape culture’ on campus”
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Charters Move Closer To New Teacher-Certification Rules, Worrying Education Schools

Politico

“The SUNY Charter Schools Institute, which authorizes Success [Academy]and [New York] City’s other major charter networks … voted to consider regulations that would allow charters to create their own alternative pathways to certification, and ultimately allow the schools to hire fewer certified teachers … The new rules would have a significant impact on the city’s nationally influential networks … The regulations also stand to change how the city and state’s professional schools of education function.”
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