Education Opportunity Network

Education Opportunity Network -

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.”
Read more …

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.”
Read more …

#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.'”
Read more …

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.”
Read more …

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.”
Read more …

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.”
Read more …

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.”
Read more …

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.”
Read more …

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.”
Read more …

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.”
Read more …

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.”
Read more …

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. ”
Read more …

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.”
Read more …

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.”
Read more …

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.”
Read more …

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.”
Read more …

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.”
Read more …

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.'”
Read more …

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.'”
Read more …

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.”
Read more …

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.”
Read more …

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.”
Read more …

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.”
Read more …

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.”
Read more …

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.”
Read more …

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.”
Read more …

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.”
Read more …

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.”
Read more …

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.”
Read more …

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.”
Read more …

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.”
Read more …

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.”
Read more …

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.'”
Read more …

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.”
Read more …

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.'”
Read more …

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.”
Read more …

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.”
Read more …

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.”
Read more …

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.”
Read more …

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.”
Read more …

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.”
Read more …

9/27/2018 – Why A ‘Blue Wave’ May Depend On Changing Education Politics

THIS WEEK: Teachers Are Winning … Votes For School Funds … Asbestos In Schools … Too Many School Cops … College Remedial Classes Overenrolled

TOP STORY

Why A ‘Blue Wave’ May Depend On Changing Education Politics

By Jeff Bryant

” Democratic party strategists and supporters may believe a “blue wave” is coming in the midterm elections because of widespread opposition to President Trump, but they risk their party’s success if they forget that state and local races more often revolve around issues closer to home – like education … For years, Democrats have more often than not been somewhat agreeable with their Republican opponents on most education issues. But this election season is shaping up quite differently. And how and whether Democratic candidates take advantage of the changing politics of education may make a difference in whether a blue wave happens at all.”
Read more …

NEWS AND VIEWS

Teachers Aren’t Just Running for Office – They’re Winning

Education Week

“Fed up with the state of public education, teachers are running for office … They’re winning. Out of the 158 current classroom teachers that Education Week confirmed were running for their state legislature, 101 have moved on to the general election. Thirty-seven of those teachers won their primaries, while 59 ran unopposed. Five are running as write-in candidates, so they didn’t have to go through a primary … In Oklahoma – 15 teachers won their primaries there, and 12 additional teachers in the Sooner State were unopposed. That’s about a 42 percent success rate so far for the 64 teachers there who filed to run. In Kentucky … 15 teachers out of 20 who started campaigns have advanced to the general election. In Arizona, three teachers have moved on to the general election, and in West Virginia, six have advanced. In both of those states, only one teacher was knocked out during the primaries.”
Read more …

Education Funding Fights To Play Out At The Polls In November Referendums

POLITICO

“Voters will weigh in on school taxes, school choice, Ten Commandments displays in schools and education governance questions at the ballot box come November … In at least 11 states, voters will decide on measures that would either boost school spending or provide officials with more flexibility to spend funds … Social issues are also in play … In Alabama, voters will decide whether to back a measure known as Amendment #1 that would allow the Ten Commandments to be displayed in schools.”
Read more …

EPA Watchdog Slams Agency’s Failure To Address Asbestos In U.S. Schools

Environmental Working Group

“The Environmental Protection Agency has failed to take the required and necessary steps under federal law to protect children from the dangers of asbestos exposure in the nation’s public and private schools… ‘From fiscal years 2011 through 2015, the EPA conducted 13% of [legally required] inspections … Of the agency’s 10 regions, five only inspect for asbestos in schools when they receive asbestos-related tips or complaints. Without compliance inspections, the EPA cannot know whether schools pose an actual risk of asbestos exposure to students and personnel’ … In 2016, President Obama signed legislation that finally gave EPA the authority to ban asbestos. But the Trump administration’s actions under the new law suggest that it will allow the use and importation of the substance to remain legal.”
Read more …

The Parkland Shooting Fueled Calls For More School Police. Civil Rights Groups Want Them Removed.

Vox

“Two civil rights groups say that if school safety is truly a concern, police should be removed from schools entirely. A new joint report … argues that in the nearly two decades since the 1999 Columbine High School shooting, calls to increase school safety have resulted in an increasingly punitive system of school discipline aimed at students of color, and that school policing has failed to make students of color safer … There is a considerable body of research showing that black and Latino students are more likely to be suspended, arrested, and disciplined in school. Advocates argue that adding more police to this dynamic will only make things more difficult for students from marginalized groups … who are already more likely to interact with police in their daily lives … School discipline and arrests push students of color out of classrooms and into the justice system.”
Read more …

One-Third Of Community College Students ‘Misdirected’ To Remedial Classes

Minnesota Spokesman Recorder

“One-third of community college students enrolled in remedial coursework don’t even need them … Standard placement tests … are actually ‘misdirecting’ student placements … A disparate number of African American students are placed in remedial courses … Under-placement creates additional barriers for students who are now required to pay for coursework with no credit … Remedial coursework cost first-year students and their families nearly $1.5 billion a year in out-of-pocket expenses – expenses that don’t go towards their degrees..”
Read more …

9/20/2018 – Charter School Corruption Is Changing Education Policy And Politics

THIS WEEK: Education Election … WA Teacher Strikes End … Charter School Fail … States Shaft Teachers … Retaining Black Teachers

TOP STORY

Charter School Corruption Is Changing Education Policy And Politics

By Jeff Bryant

“After years of credible reporting on the rampant corruption in the charter school industry, the schools are now drawing more scrutiny from state lawmakers and regulators, and political candidates are making negative stories about charters a contentious issue in the upcoming November midterm elections. Government officials from California to New York are increasingly considering, proposing, or passing new regulatory restraint on these privately operated, publicly funded schools, and in electoral contests from Arizona to Ohio, Democratic challengers are challenging Republican incumbents to defend their lax governance that has allowed charter schools to run amuck, costing the taxpayers millions and undermining the financial stability of public education.'”
Read more …

NEWS AND VIEWS

Education Is A Top Issue In The Midterms

TIME

“All across America, public anger over education funding has scrambled the political map for November. The activism that started with this spring’s sudden wave of teacher strikes and walkouts didn’t ebb when the picket lines did. It got channeled into political action. The outcry has created competitive races–and spurred primary upsets – in some unexpected places. And with scores of teachers now running for office themselves, it’s changed the face of the midterm elections … It’s the GOP that has the most to fear from voters motivated by education. The most politically energized demographic in the Trump era is college-educated suburban women–precisely the voters who tend to care the most about public education.”
Read more …

After Weeks Of Teacher Strikes, Wash. State Students Are Back In School

Education Week

“In 14 school districts across the state of Washington, teachers went on strike this fall over contract disputes stemming from an influx of cash districts had received from the state. The state had awarded $2 billion to districts to go toward teacher salary increases, a result of a 2012 ruling from the state supreme court that … required to fully fund teacher salary increases by this year … Teachers across the state negotiated new contracts with their districts, and in many cases, received double-digit pay increases … Meanwhile, teachers in Los Angeles are preparing for a strike that could come next month.”
Read more …

Report Shines Light On Charter School Operations

The Florida Times Union

“A government watchdog group called Florida’s growing system of privately-run public charter schools wasteful and said it sometimes gives rise to self-dealing and profiteering. Integrity Florida, a group which seeks to uncover public corruption, recommended more widespread disclosure of charter school finances, especially greater oversight of ways tax dollars end up in private companies’ profits. The study also showed how some of Florida’s elected officials are influenced by the money in charter school development and operation … State legislators have whittled down school district’s oversight of charter schools … Since its start in 1998, the charter school industry has spent more than $13 million to influence state education policy in Florida through contributions to political campaigns.”
Read more …

15 States Have Set Aside Nothing To Pay For Retired Teachers’ Health Care, Study Says

Education Week

“Most teachers receive health care benefits after they retire … But 15 states have set aside nothing to pay for their obligations … including Florida, New Jersey, and New York … Other states have funded tiny amounts … Overall, there is no money set aside to cover 93% of the anticipated costs for all retirees’ health care. To address this problem, states and school districts have begun restricting eligibility to long-term employees, meaning that fewer workers will qualify for health care benefits once they reach retirement years.”
Read more …

Schools Have Committed To Hiring Teachers of Color. Now They Need To Keep Them

The Progressive

“Numerous recent research studies bear out the importance of having teachers of color in classrooms. Low-income black students who have at least one black teacher in elementary school are significantly more likely to graduate high school, for example … Numerous school systems have pledged to hire more teachers of color … But any district that recruits teachers of color must also commit to work to keep them. And that’s where they often fail. Teachers of color are far more apt to leave the profession than their white counterparts … Retaining teachers of color requires a level of engagement that challenges the broader mission and culture of a school district … Many teachers of color are committed to working with students to critically examine social inequities and their impacts on school and life. But a school district that does not value that intrinsic mission will have a hard time supporting and retaining those teachers..”
Read more …

9/13/2018 – Wealthy People Are Destroying Public Schools

THIS WEEK: #Red4Ed Continues … Educators Running For Office … If Dems Take Congress … Why College Is Expensive … Forces Behind Charter Schools

TOP STORY

Wealthy People Are Destroying Public Schools, One Donation At A Time

By Jeff Bryant

“Recent news stories about wealthy folks giving multi-million donations to education efforts have drawn both praise and criticism, but two new reports by public education advocacy groups this week are particularly revealing about the real impact rich people have on schools and how they’ve chosen to leverage their money to influence the system … Instead of attacking structural inequity in the system, something that would likely require the wealthy to pay more taxes, ‘they offer a light facsimile of change.'”
Read more …

NEWS AND VIEWS

Teacher Strikes Are Heating Up In More States

Education Week

“The momentum from the historic wave of statewide teacher strikes last spring seems set to continue this school year.… Teachers in more than a dozen districts in Washington state have gone on strike over contract negotiations. Teachers in Los Angeles … have overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike … And teachers in North Carolina … are weighing future collective actions this year … Educators across the country say they feel inspired by the teacher activism … And public opinion is on the teachers’ side: Two recent national polls found that Americans both are largely in favor of higher teacher pay and support teachers’ right to go on strike.”
Read more …

More Than 500 Teachers And Other Educators Are Running For Office This Year

Huffpost

“[The NEA] says it has a comprehensive tally of 2018 educators-turned-candidates for state house and senate seats: 554. That includes 512 running as Democrats and 42 as Republicans, the majority of them women. The analysis … includes members of both its own affiliates and those of the other main teachers’ union, the [AFT] … The 554 figure includes current and retired teachers, as well as administrators and support staff … The AFT has been tracking the number of its own members running for office this year, which is now just shy of 300. Most of those educators are running for state seats, though that figure also includes people running for boards of education and other local positions.”
Read more …

If Democrats Take The House, Here’s What Awaits Betsy DeVos, Civil Rights, And ESSA

Education Week

“If Democrats take control of the House of Representatives next year, expect civil rights to grab the spotlight and for congressional subpoenas in the name of education oversight to become more popular … Democrats have been scrapping with [Betsy[ DeVos and the U.S. Department of Education … The two sides have publicly squabbled over how she’s handled states’ Every Student Succeeds Act plans, her approach to Obama-era guidance on school discipline and transgender students, K-12 spending, her changes to civil rights investigations, and, most recently, whether schools could spend ESSA money to arm teachers … Civil rights is really the issue to watch … You can also expect a lot of oversight hearings in general, and in particular on higher education. And Democrats could be particularly interested in using subpoenas to draw out what they’ve said are conflicts of interest regarding DeVos’ higher education work.”
Read more …

Why Is College In America So Expensive?

The Atlantic

“Americans spend about $30,000 per student a year – nearly twice as much as the average developed country… Only one country spends more per student … A third of developed countries offer college free of charge to their citizens. And another third keep tuition very cheap – less than $2,400 a year … The vast majority of American college spending goes to routine educational operations – like paying staff and faculty … U.S. colleges spend, relative to other countries, a startling amount of money on their nonteaching staff … more on nonteaching staff than on teachers.”
Read more …

In Louisville, A Web Of Private Interests Conspire To Expand Charter Schools

The Progressive

Jeff Bryant writes, “Kentucky was, until recently, one of just a handful of states to not yet allow charter schools. Opposition to these schools in the state is intense and bipartisan … Charter proponents, nevertheless, have waged a campaign to push their schools, taking actions that challenge ethical, if not legal, boundaries. The list of actors promoting charters in the state includes not only politicians and private advocacy groups but also financial interests, especially in the real estate industry. And charter collaborators are operating behind the scenes to push their cause in backrooms deep in the corridors of influence and political power.”
Read more …