Education Opportunity Network

Education Opportunity Network -

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

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

TOP STORY

Getting The ‘Customer Model’ Out Of Education

By Jeff Bryant

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

NEWS AND VIEWS

America’s Not-So-Broken Education System

The Atlantic

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

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

The Hechinger Report

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

Teacher Pay Around The World

Brookings

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

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

The Washington Post

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

America Faces A School Funding Crisis

Newsday

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

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

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

TOP STORY

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

By Jeff Bryant

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

NEWS AND VIEWS

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

NPR

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

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

US News & World Report

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

What Does Research Suggest About Transgender Restroom Policies?

Education Week

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

It’s Ridiculous How Little We Pay Preschool Teachers

Slate

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

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

Alternet

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

6/9/2016 – Mindless Underfunding Of Schools Continues

THIS WEEK: Education Inequity Reigns … Suspensions Cost Us Billions … Experienced Teachers Matter … Grades Beat Tests … Business Thinking Hurts Education

TOP STORY

Mindless Underfunding Of Schools Continues, Doing Irreparable Harm To Kids

By Jeff Bryant

“High school graduation season is in full bloom in many communities around the nation, but in some places, parents with kids still in schools have to be worried about the conditions of their schools they’ll return to in the fall – or even if the schools will open at all … The Wall Street Journal reports that state lawmakers across the nation, especially in the Midwest, are at seemingly intractable odds over how ‘to make sure the next school year can start on time.'”
Read more …

NEWS AND VIEWS

Disparities Continue to Plague U.S. Schools, Federal Data Show

Education Week

“New federal data show a continuing deep gulf between the educational experiences of traditionally disadvantaged student groups and their peers on a broad range of indicators … Black and Latino students are still more likely to be suspended, more likely to attend schools with high concentrations of inexperienced teachers, and less likely to have access to rigorous and advanced coursework than their white peers … For black, Latino, American Indian, and multiracial high school students, roughly 20% or more are chronically missing from class … Asian, black, and Latino students are more likely than their white peers to be among the 1.6 million students nationwide who attend a school that has a law-enforcement officer but no school counselor.”
Read more …

Suspending Teens Ruins Lives And Costs Taxpayers $35 Billion A Year

TakePart

“School suspensions are costing American taxpayers $35 billion each year in lost tax revenue and higher costs for publicly funded services … Suspended students are at high risk of dropping out of school … ‘People without a high school diploma earn less, have more health problems, and are more likely to get into trouble with the law’ … Jeff Bryant, director of the Education Opportunity Network, a public-school policy center, told TakePart that the study’s groundbreaking findings are likely the tip of the iceberg.”
Read more …

Does Teaching Experience Matter? Let’s Count the Ways

NEA Today

“‘The common refrain that teaching experience does not matter after the first few years in the classroom is no longer supported by the preponderance of the research … Teaching experience is, on average, positively associated with student achievement gains throughout a teacher’s career … A more experienced teaching workforce offers numerous benefits to students and schools, including greater individual and collective effectiveness in improving student outcomes as well as greater stability and coherence in instruction and relationship-building.'”
Read more …

Colleges Send Too Many Into Remedial Classes Who Don’t Need It, Growing Body Of Research Shows

The Hechinger Report

“College administrators typically rely on standardized tests to decide which students should proceed directly to college-level classes and which students should start in remedial courses … Many students who did well on these exams bombed their college classes, and vice versa … If college administrators had simply looked at the students’ high school GPAs, they would have done a much better job at figuring out who needs to relearn high school material and who doesn’t … What students know, or ‘content knowledge,’ isn’t the most important thing … GPAs capture important non-cognitive skills that tests don’t.”
Read more …

When Universities Try To Behave Like Businesses, Education Suffers

Los Angeles Times

“Universities are getting cozier with businesses and industrialists, and … are adopting the corporate model of profit and loss as though they’re businesses themselves. Students already are losing out. They’re not only saddled with an increasing share of the direct costs of their education, but are offered a narrower curriculum as universities cut back on supposedly unprofitable humanities and social science courses in favor of science, engineering and technology programs expected to attract profitable grants.”
Read more …

6/2/2016 – Trump University Shows Why For-Profit Motives Don’t Belong In Education

THIS WEEK: Charter School Fail … School Conditions Worsen … Poor Kids Shortchanged … College Favors The Rich … Education Is Rigged

TOP STORY

Trump University Shows Why For-Profit Motives Don’t Belong In Education

By Jeff Bryant

“Sure, Trump University is an outrage. But the lesson to learn goes beyond Trump himself and his alleged crookedness. What’s also likely true is that this egregious institution is yet another example of how profit making and education are a bad mix for all except the few who are able to bank the results.”
Read more …

NEWS AND VIEWS

Failing the Test: Charter Schools’ Winners and Losers

Capital & Main

“Some highly motivated students benefit from charters while others do worse; that the growth of charters places a huge financial burden on traditional public schools that send them into a tailspin and that charters may increase racial and economic segregation… Traditional public schools often go into a steep slide once charters enroll a substantial percentage of motivated students with engaged parents. As a result, traditional public schools are left with a disproportionately high percentage of children with disciplinary problems, as well as with severely disabled students, who are expensive to educate … The problem is made worse by the fact that “charter schools discriminate against kids with special needs’ … Even if many charters perform well, there is an overarching problem with a system that entrusts much of its public education to private institutions.”
Read more …

Title I: Rich School Districts Get Millions Meant For Poor Kids

U.S. News & World Report

“Title I, the largest federal K-12 program … can shortchange school districts with high concentrations of poverty, and benefit larger districts and big urban areas instead of poorer, rural districts and small cities … It also shortchanges smaller high-poverty urban districts, like Flint, Michigan … Changing the formula requires congressional action, which nearly everyone agrees is years away.”
Read more …

A Popular College Investment Promised Students A Career, But Didn’t Pay Off

The Washington Post

“Students who sought vocational certificates at for-profit colleges made an average of $900 less annually after attending the schools than they did before … For-profit college industry swindled students by pressuring them into racking up tens of thousands of dollars in debt while adding comparatively little value to their careers … The average tuition for certificate students at for-profit colleges was $8,118, compared to $712 for community college.”
Read more …

Policies To Help Students Pay For College Continue To Shift Toward Favoring The Rich

The Hechinger Report

“Some government, university and private programs to help Americans pay for college have become more likely to benefit wealthier students than even the most academically talented lower-income ones … The proportion of wealthier students earning degrees continues to rise, while the proportion of lower-income degree recipients is falling … The new movement by states to underwrite public universities based on such things as their graduation rates … Even this well-intentioned scheme, called income-based repayment, tends to favor wealthier students.”
Read more …

The Education System Is Rigged Against Low-Income Students, Even In Kindergarten

The Huffington Post

“Students born into poverty enter kindergarten at a disadvantage to more affluent peers. As they advance through the grades, they receive lower test scores. They’re more likely to drop out and less likely to enter higher education. The all-too-familiar cycle … is getting worse… The impact of educational disparities between affluent and low-income students, as well as between white students and students of color, loom large … Still, interventions that boost positive learning approaches appear promising.”
Read more …

5/26/2016 – Charter Schools Heighten Education Politicization

THIS WEEK: Racial Integration Works … School Conditions Worsen … Nation Hit With School Bomb Threats … Marketing To Kids In Schools … Conservatives Attacking Public Ed

TOP STORY

How Charter Schools Heighten The Politicization Of Education

By Jeff Bryant

“Regardless of how you feel about charter schools, because of the way they’ve been forged in the crucible of politics, they’ve become much more political beings than they are institutions of education. Simple mandates to expand these schools, without any attention to these political consequences, will make matters worse.”
Read more …

NEWS AND VIEWS

The Children Of Children Who Went To Desegregated Schools Reap Benefits, Too, Study Finds

The Hechinger Report

“Integration has been a powerfully effective tool for raising the educational levels and living standards for at least two generations of black families … Desegregation was accompanied by more educational spending, and that helped these children learn more and eventually become better educated parents, who would raise their own children to work hard at school … Desegregation had no effect – positive or negative – on how white children fared.”
Read more …

If Students’ Learning Conditions Are Teachers’ Working Conditions, These Students Are in Trouble

The Nation

“A new teacher survey [in New York City finds] … educators are squeezed from both sides, by harsh standards imposed from above, and unmet needs among their students, and are left with hardly any room to do their job … 1 in 5 students in the city’s public schools have disabilities, one-eighth have limited English skills, and more than three-quarters live in poverty. About 1 in 12 kids doesn’t even have a home … Half of students are enrolled at overcrowded facilities … nearly half of respondents report ‘the facilities they work in are not clean, in bad repair, and inadequate for student learning’ … Many teachers indicated that they struggled to cope with students’ social and emotional troubles.”
Read more …

Wave Of Bomb Threats Hits Schools Nationwide

USA Today

“A wave of threats directed at schools across the nation on Monday forced authorities to lock down buildings or evacuate students. The threats, which appear to be driven by automated calls, were directed at elementary, middle and high schools in at least 18 states across four time zones … Bomb hoaxes have the hallmarks of swatting … ‘highly disruptive’ hoax threats that are intended to trigger massive police response … They are often described as robotic, computer-generated voices that call in threats to schools or police departments.”
Read more …

Schools Are Now ‘Soft Targets’ For Companies To Collect Data And Market To Kids – Report

The Washington Post

“Student privacy is increasingly being compromised by commercial entities that establish relationships with schools – often providing free technology – and then track students online and collect massive amounts of data about them. Then they tailor their advertising to keep the young people connected to them … Children who are subjected to ‘constant digital surveillance and marketing at school’ come to accept as normal that corporations play a big role not only in their education but in their lives … Google and Facebook are probably the largest companies that data mine in schools.”
Read more …

Why Oppressing Transgender Students Is An Attack On Public Education

Campaign For America’s Future

Jeff Bryant writes, “But many public schools had already been steadily working at ways to accommodate transgender students well before North Carolina started its attack on transgender rights … Rather than protecting innocent children or defending local schools from federal overreach, what conservatives are doing is a calculated pivot to generate fear among the populace for political gain. And it’s nothing new that they have chosen public schools as the battleground. They always have.”
Read more …

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

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

TOP STORY

The Growing Crisis Of Our Education Infrastructure

By Jeff Bryant

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

NEWS AND VIEWS

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

The Huffington Post

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

Many Schools Already Accommodate Transgender Students

Education Week

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

Unhelpful Punishment

Slate

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

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

The Washington Post

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

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

Think Progress

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

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

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

TOP STORY

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

By Jeff Bryant

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

NEWS AND VIEWS

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

Education Week

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

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

The Washington Post

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

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

Education Week

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

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

USA Today

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

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

The Hechinger Report

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

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

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

TOP STORY

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

By Jeff Bryant

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

TAKE ACTION

Tell Congress: Don’t Cut School Lunch Programs

Campaign For America’s Future

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

NEWS AND VIEWS

Kids To Admins: Charter Schools Have Got To Go

Mother Jones

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

Achievement Gaps And Racial Segregation: Research Finds An Insidious Cycle

Education Week

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

Unvalued And Unprotected

NC Policy Watch

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

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

The Nation

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

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

The Conversation

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

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

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

TOP STORY

How School Vouchers Promote Religious Schools And Hurt Education

By Jeff Bryant

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

NEWS AND VIEWS

Low Performers Show Big Declines On 12th Grade NAEP Test

Education Week

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

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

Ed Surge

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

Can More Money Fix America’s Schools?

NPR

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

Race And The Standardized Testing Wars

The New York Times

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

The Protest Generation Wants Its Education Back

The Progressive

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

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

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

TOP STORY

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

By Jeff Bryant

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

NEWS AND VIEWS

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

The Christian Science Monitor

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

Decaying School Buildings Have Physical, Psychological Consequences

Education Dive

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

Report: Immigrant Students Blocked From Enrolling In School

Associated Press

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

The Philadelphia Inquirer

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

Schott Foundation For Public Education

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