Education Opportunity Network

Education Opportunity Network -

7/6/2017 – Why Democrats Should Unite On A Charter School Moratorium

THIS WEEK: NEA Rejects Trump … Rich Won’t Pay For Schools … Koch School Choice … DeVos Boosts For-Profits … Rural-Urban Edu Gap

TOP STORY

Why Democrats Should Unite On A Charter School Moratorium

By Jeff Bryant

“This week, the nation’s largest labor union, the National Education Association, broke from its cautious regard of charter schools to pass a new policy statement that … wants a moratorium on new charters … The NEA’s action echoes a resolution passed earlier this year by the national NAACP calling for a moratorium on the expansion of charters and … a policy statement issued last year by the Movement for Black Lives … Now that labor and civil rights have come together in a unified call for a moratorium on these unregulated, privately-operated schools, prominent leaders in the Democratic party can champion this issue knowing they have a grassroots constituency that supports them.”
Read more …

NEWS AND VIEWS

Teachers Union Leader: We Won’t Work With Trump And Devos Because ‘I Do Not Trust Their Motives’

The Washington Post

“The president of the country’s largest labor union, Lily Eskelsen García of the National Education Association, told delegates at her organization’s annual gathering that they would not work with the Trump administration because the president and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos could not be trusted … Eskelsen García … accusing President Trump of residing ‘at the dangerous intersection of arrogance and ignorance’ … labeled DeVos as ‘the queen of for-profit privatization of public education’ … The NEA and Eskelsen García are strongly opposing the agenda of Trump and DeVos, who have made expanding alternatives to public education their chief education priority.”
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In The Land Of Bill Gates, A Standoff Over Money For Schools

Good

“Teachers being asked to foot the bill [is] a nationwide problem, due in large part to the fact that teachers, who are evaluated on student success, can’t do their jobs without basic supplies. But it’s surprising that in a prosperous state with a booming economy … schools can’t seem to put the coins together to pay for pencils and paste … Since the 1970s, Washington’s tax revenue has fallen 30% as a portion of state income; meanwhile … 13 billionaires living nearly tax-free – among them, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Microsoft’s Bill Gates – boast a net worth totaling $180.3 billion … Washingtonians pay ‘the fifth highest combined sales tax in the country.’ The result is the ‘most regressive tax system’ in the United States.”
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An Inside Look At How The Koch Brothers Are Flexing Their Political Muscle To Spread Message Of School Choice, ESAs

The Denver Post

“The Koch network’s six-figure campaign to promote school choice and education savings accounts, or ESAs… in Colorado involves the Americans for Prosperity Foundation and the Libre Initiative … which promote ESAs … Five states currently offer the accounts … The program allows parents to use taxpayer dollars for private school tuition, online learning programs, books, or tutoring … The Koch network considers Colorado an attractive state for its message because public charter schools are a bipartisan cause.”
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DeVos Is Discarding College Policies That New Evidence Shows Are Effective

The New York Times

“DeVos announced plans to dismantle a set of Obama-era policies devised to protect students and taxpayers from predatory for-profit colleges. Yet data released in the final days of the previous administration shows that the existing rules have proved more effective at shutting down bad college programs than even the most optimistic backers could have hoped … Close analysis of the more than 500 failing programs that haven’t appealed their status reveals … a substantial majority of them, 300 or so, have already been shut down … If the new rules gut the existing regulations, Ms. DeVos will have destroyed a highly effective tool for protecting students from for-profit colleges.”
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Rural Youth Chase Big-City Dreams

The Wall Street Journal

“As more young people decide to pursue four-year degrees, college towns are siphoning students out of the rural heart of the Farm Belt and sending them, degrees in hand … to the nation’s urban centers … Other states are struggling with rural population outflow to state-university towns … Many young people in rural communities now see college not so much as a door to opportunity as a ticket out of Nowheresville. The result is a redistribution of educated graduates to urban areas, which is helping to widen the divide in educational attainment between urban and rural areas.”
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6/29/2017 – Trump Is Vulnerable On Education. Do Democrats Care?

THIS WEEK: SCOTUS Okays Vouchers? … Vouchers Disappoint … TrumpCare Hurts Kids … CBC Dumps Trump … College Loan Fail

TOP STORY

Trump Is Vulnerable On Education. Do Democrats Care?

By Jeff Bryant

“A string of special election defeats has left Democrats bewildered at how they can continue to lose against a party led by the most unpopular president ever … As Democrats retool their messages about the economy and healthcare to more sharply differentiate their party from the party of Donald Trump, will they cleave from the Republican education platform too? There’s new evidence they should.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

Supreme Court Ruling Could Shape Future of School Choice

The New York Times

“A Supreme Court ruling that a church-run preschool must be granted publicly funded tire scraps for its playground seemed … to be narrowly drawn… But school choice advocates across the nation saw the decision as a game changer in the divisive debate over publicly funded vouchers for private religious schools … Voucher opponents, however, considered the narrow scope of the Supreme Court decision to be an indication that the court was not interested in taking on the fundamental church-state divide.”
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School Voucher Recipients Lose Ground At First, Then Catch Up To Peers, Studies Find

The Washington Post

“Students who received publicly funded vouchers in Indiana and Louisiana appeared to lose significant academic ground in the first two years after switching to private schools but then caught up to their public-school counterparts in subsequent years … The studies do not show that vouchers led to significantly stronger math and reading performance overall … There are no examples of any statewide [voucher] program producing overall positive academic results … Students who returned to public school experienced what the researchers described as ‘modest-to-substantial achievement losses during their time in private schools.’”
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Hidden Costs of Senate Health Care Bill: Uninsured Kids Do Worse In School, More Likely To Drop Out

The 74

“Senate Republican … Obamacare repeal proposal … preserves the House bill’s sweeping cuts to the entitlement, which furnishes roughly $4 billion annually to school districts … But Medicaid isn’t the only piece of the GOP’s repeal efforts that will touch classrooms … Some 4.4 million kids could lose [healthcare insurance] coverage by 2019 …. A wealth of research suggests that access to early medical care through insurance programs like Medicaid leads to better academic and life outcomes down the line.”
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Black Caucus Dumps Trump Meeting, Says DeVos Won’t Protect Civil Rights

Education Week

“The Congressional Black Caucus … in a Wednesday letter to the president … points to a number of areas where the Trump administration ignored the group’s input, and says that the president’s proposed budget for fiscal 2018 would ‘devastate’ the communities represented by the CBC … ‘Secretary [of Education Betsy] DeVos has also refused to protect children from being discriminated against … and terminated an Obama administration program focused on improving school diversity and student achievement in the lowest-performing schools across this country’ … The CBC letter criticizes the proposed Trump budget for seeking cuts to TRIO, a department program designed to help disadvantaged students reach and succeed in college, because of the impact of such cuts on historically black colleges and universities.”
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Consumer Agency Condemns Abuses in Loan Forgiveness Program

The New York Times

“The government’s consumer watchdog is adding its voice to a growing chorus of warnings about problems with a federal program that permits people who take public service jobs to have their student loans forgiven after a decade. Confusing rules, bureaucratic tripwires and outright errors are hindering thousands of people as they try to take advantage of the program … The volume of complaints is especially alarming because the program has not yet reached its first milestone: forgiving debts … Many borrowers who expect to qualify are knocked out by technicalities … Even paying too much can inadvertently disqualify people.”
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6/22/2017 – Charter Schools Do Bad Stuff Because They Can

THIS WEEK: Segregation By Secession … Childhood Gun Deaths … Big Oil’s Curriculum … DeVos Helps For-Profit Colleges … DeVos Dumps Trans Cases

TOP STORY

Charter Schools Do Bad Stuff Because They Can

By Jeff Bryant

“Charter schools have become a fetish of both Democratic and Republican political establishments, but local news reports continue to drip, drip a constant stream of stories of charter schools doing bad stuff that our tax dollars fund … Most recently, my reporting on the shadowy business of the charter school industry was cited by media watchdog Project Censored as one of the top 25 most under-reported news stories of 2016 … When do you think the malfeasance committed by charters won’t be ‘under reported’?”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

White, Wealthy Communities Want Their Own Schools

U.S. News & World Report

“30 states have laws on the books that allow communities to secede from their school district, and it’s an allowance that many municipalities have taken advantage of over the years – at least 47 since 2000 … Only 4 require that seceding communities gain the majority support in the school district being left behind and only 6 require consideration of the racial and socioeconomic effects of the separation. Moreover, only nine states require a study of the financial impacts of dividing communities … Currently there are 9 active secession efforts in various states.”
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19 Kids Are Shot Every Day In The United States

The Washington Post

“Roughly 7,100 children under the age of 18 were shot each year from 2012 to 2014. An average of 1,300 died of their injuries in a typical year. That works out to 19 children shot every single day in the course of a year – or 3.5 children killed by guns every single day … ‘Firearm-related deaths are the third leading cause of death overall among US children aged 1 to 17 years.’”
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Oil’s Pipeline To America’s Schools

Public Integrity

“Decades of documents reviewed by the Center for Public Integrity reveal a tightly woven network of organizations that works in concert with the oil and gas industry to paint a rosy picture of fossil fuels in America’s classrooms. Led by advertising and public-relations strategists, the groups have long plied the tools of their trade on impressionable children and teachers desperate for resources. Proponents of programs … say they help the oil and gas industry replenish its aging workforce by stirring early interest in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM. But some experts question the educational value and ethics of lessons touting an industry that plays a central role in climate change and air pollution.”
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Betsy DeVos Moves To Help For-Profit Schools Defraud Students

The Nation

“Betsy DeVos announced a postponement and imminent rewriting of two key rules designed to protect students of predatory for-profit colleges … The Gainful Employment rule and the Borrower Defense rule both force for-profits to make good on their promises of helping students pursue a viable career path, and provide students a way to cancel their debt if the college actually defrauded them … Current and former Education Department officials have acknowledged that for-profits are getting a light touch under DeVos’s tenure … DeVos has brought in former employees of for-profits as top officials at the agency.”
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Education Dept. Closes Transgender Student Cases As It Pushes To Scale Back Civil Rights Investigations

The Washington Post

“The Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights last week closed a long-running discrimination case involving a transgender student and withdrew its earlier findings that the girl had suffered discrimination at school … Civil rights advocates see the closure of the Ohio case – and especially the unusual withdrawal of the federal investigators’ legal conclusion – as a troubling sign of retreat from civil rights enforcement … The agency also this month closed a different long-running case involving a transgender student’s complaint about locker room access.”
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6/15/2017 – Are ‘Nonprofit’ Charter Schools A Distinction Without A Difference?

THIS WEEK: School Funding Matters … EdTech Fail … DeVos Climate Change … Teacher Stress … Right To Literacy

TOP STORY

Are ‘Nonprofit’ Charter Schools A Distinction Without A Difference?

By Jeff Bryant

“The ‘Trump-DeVos team’ has ‘split the bipartisan alliance that has helped vouchers and charters’ … What this means to the average citizen is that she should expect to hear lots more rhetoric about the ‘good kind’ of charter school versus the ‘not so good’ kind of charter school … [A] popular tactic for separating ‘good’ charters from the pack of awfulness Trump and DeVos want to unleash is to hold a preference for ‘nonprofit’ charter schools over the profit-making variety … Does it make any difference what their tax status is?”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

A Powerful Pairing: Pre-K Boosts Future Incomes And Reduces Risk Of Jail, Especially When Schools Spend More

Chalkbeat

“Students benefit from both well-funded schools and access to early childhood education … Head Start had greater long-run benefits for students whose K-12 schools were better resourced … The whole of those two policies in tandem is greater than the sum of their parts … The effect of Head Start multiplies when students later attend relatively well funded schools: in that case, adult earnings increased 5.6% and risk of incarceration dropped 2.2 percentage points.”
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Data Dive: Devices And Software Flooding Into Classrooms – More Access Hasn’t Meant Better Use

Education Week

“Students report using computers in school most often for activities that involve rote practice … The percent of teachers who say they’ve received training on how to effectively use such technology has remained flat, with a persistent divide between high- and low-poverty schools … 4th graders report using classroom computers for rote activities … far more frequently than for activities that require critical thinking … The gap between active and passive use has grown … Just 61% of 4th grade reading teachers said that they had received training on how to integrate technology into their classroom instruction.”
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DeVos Is Questioned About Campaign To Influence Climate Change Education

Frontline

“Democratic senators are sharply criticizing a conservative think tank’s efforts to bring climate change skepticism into the nation’s public schools … and demanding to know whether federal education officials have been in contact with the group … The senators asked DeVos whether any Education Department officials have had contact with individuals associated with the Heartland Institute “on climate, science, or science education issues,” and whether any informational resources put out by the department have been created in collaboration with Heartland.”
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How Teachers’ Stress Affects Students: A Research Roundup

Education Week

“New research is helping to clarify how teachers become chronically stressed, and how it can affect their students’ well-being and achievement … Teachers who reported higher levels of burnout had students with higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol each morning, suggesting classroom tensions could be ‘contagious’… [Teachers] who showed higher levels of stress at the beginning of the year displayed fewer effective teaching strategies over the rest of the school year … So what makes a classroom normal for one teacher and stressful to another? … The answer depends on whether teachers feel they have the cognitive and other resources to meet their students’ needs.”
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A Long Overdue Civil Right To Literacy

The Baltimore Sun

“A class action lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in Michigan claims that the state of Michigan is denying students in the Detroit public schools their constitutional right to learn to read … An allied legal attack has just been launched in Berkeley, CA … Disability rights lawyers brought suit in federal court alleging the school district’s failure to teach children with reading disorders, such as dyslexia, to learn to read violated a right guaranteed under the federal law governing students with disabilities … Future generations will look back and say, as was said about Brown v. Board of Education, ‘What took us so long?'”
Read more …

6/8/2017 – Recent DeVos Hires Bode Ill For Student Rights

THIS WEEK: Funding Poor Kids More … Teaching Climate Science … Trump Spurs Bullying … Billionaires Remaking Schools … CTE Fade

TOP STORY

Recent DeVos Hires Bode Ill For Student Rights

By Jeff Bryant

“It’s hard to predict what DeVos will do to protect students from discrimination and where, and for whom, her department would enforce protections. However, based on some of her personnel decisions, there is a great deal of cause for concern … Federal programs affecting students’ rights, and the enforcement of civil rights laws in schools, depend a lot on who’s in charge of them.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

How Education-Funding Formulas Target Poor Kids

The Atlantic

“Despite the fact that the majority of states have education funding formulas meant to target low-income students, the effectiveness of this targeting varies widely around the country … Districts with more poor students are getting more money in just 28 states. In 16 of those 28 states, funding is progressive by less than $150 per students … Federal dollars, the report found all but three states are at least weakly progressive with their education funding … One of the largest sources of this government money is Title I, the funding for which was held constant in President Trump’s recently released budget proposal.”
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Climate Science Meets A Stubborn Obstacle: Students

The New York Times

“As more of the nation’s teachers seek to integrate climate science into the curriculum, many of them are reckoning with students for whom suspicion of the subject is deeply rooted … Climate skepticism has itself become a proxy for conservative ideals of hard work, small government and what people here call ‘self-sustainability’ … But public-school science classrooms are also proving to be a rare place where views on climate change may shift, research has found. There, in contrast with much of adult life, it can be hard to entirely tune out new information.”
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Kids Are Quoting Trump To Bully Their Classmates And Teachers Don’t Know What To Do About It

Buzzfeed

“Donald Trump’s campaign and election have added an alarming twist to school bullying, with white students using the president’s words and slogans to bully Latino, Middle Eastern, black, Asian, and Jewish classmates … BuzzFeed News has confirmed more than 50 incidents, across 26 states … [The] Trump presidency left educators struggling to navigate a climate where misogyny, religious intolerance, name-calling, and racial exclusion have become part of mainstream political speech.”
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The Silicon Valley Billionaires Remaking America’s Schools

The New York Times

“Technology giants have begun remaking the very nature of schooling on a vast scale, using some of the same techniques that have made their companies linchpins of the American economy. Through their philanthropy, they are influencing the subjects that schools teach, the classroom tools that teachers choose and fundamental approaches to learning … Tech leaders believe that applying an engineering mind-set can improve just about any system, and that their business acumen qualifies them to rethink American education … Tech companies and their founders have been rolling out programs in America’s public schools with relatively few checks and balances.”
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Lots Of People Are Excited About Career And Technical Education. But New International Research Points To A Potential Downside

Chalkbeat

“There’s wide support across the ideological spectrum for helping more students learn career-specific skills in high school. Yet new international research points to a significant downside of such programs: students may benefit early in their careers, but are harmed later in life as the economy changes and they lack the general skills necessary to adapt … Although vocational students make higher salaries and are more likely to be employed as young adults, that advantage fades over time; by their late forties, those who went through a general education program have higher employment rates.”
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6/1/2017 – Our School Funding Crisis Has A Cause: Bad Leadership

THIS WEEK: Americans Want Integration … Pre-K Inequity … College Debt Fiasco … Beware ‘Pay For Success’ … DeVos Chooses Discrimination

TOP STORY

Our School Funding Crisis Has A Cause: Bad Leadership

By Jeff Bryant

“State lawmakers’ inability to do basic arithmetic is having painful impacts on schools, teachers, and children … Research consistently shows there is a direct correlation between what we spend on schools to how well our students perform on achievement tests and other measures … Surveys show Americans are generally willing to pay higher taxes to for education, especially if the money is used to pay teachers more and improve facilities and technology. Yet, political leaders continue to slash taxes instead and redirect more funds to unfounded experiments like charter schools and voucher programs.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

Most Americans Want To See More School Integration As Trump Destroys Existing Efforts

The Huffington Post

“Schools are still divided along fault lines of race and class. And a majority of Americans today want this to change … 70% of Americans support the economic integration of schools, even as the Trump administration just ended one of the federal government’s few programs promoting such efforts … About 100 districts across the country are making concerted efforts to diversify schools economically, a number that is up from 40 districts in 2007 … Nearly half of the country’s low-income students – 40% – attend schools characterized by high rates of concentrated poverty.”
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A Record Number Of Kids Now Attend Public Preschool, So Why Has Inequality Grown?

PBS Newshour

“While a record number of states are providing public preschool … inequality has grown over the last decade, as access to pre-K and the quality of the programs themselves vary significantly from state to state … 24 states, mostly Texas and California, have increased spending on public preschool. This 8% or $7.4 billion increase in state-funding demonstrates that a growing number of states have come to place a value on early learning … Several studies over the years have shown that in order for kids to see longer-term benefits into elementary school and beyond, pre-K programs must be of a high-quality.”
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Americans Are Paying $38 To Collect $1 Of Student Debt

Bloomberg

“The federal government has, in recent years, paid debt collectors close to $1 billion annually to help distressed borrowers climb out of default … Much of that money may have been wasted … Debt collectors receive up to $1,710 in payment from the U.S. Department of Education each time a borrower makes good on soured debt … They keep those funds even if borrowers subsequently default again … More than 40% of these borrowers defaulted again within three years … Even when borrowers don’t default, debt collection efforts often yield little … The Education Department is paying its debt collectors up to $1,710 per borrower to collect around $45.”
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Why “Pay For Success” Financing Could Cost Taxpayers More Than They Bargained For

In These Times

“Philanthropists, financiers, and policy leaders have helped elevate the Pay for Success model quickly over the past few years … Pay for Success can leave taxpayers paying substantially more than if their governments had just funded programs directly, cement narratives of fiscal austerity and incentivize misguided social outcome … The Obama administration laid the groundwork for Pay for Success, paving the way for its potential expansion under Trump … Two Pay for Success preschool programs have launched, neither of which could yet credibly be called successful.”
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Betsy DeVos Wants To Take Money From Poor Kids And Give It To Schools That Could Discriminate Against Them

The Progressive

Jeff Bryant writes, “In Washington, DC, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was called to defend to Congress the Trump administration’s education budget which cuts education options for poor kids and increases options for parents to leave public schools … Both Republicans and Democrats expressed concerns with cuts in federal support … But the sharpest exchanges with the Secretary focused on the budget’s significant funding increases for alternatives to public schools … Democratic Representatives were especially concerned, not only with the repurposing of Title I money to create school choice options, including vouchers, but also about the kind of schools the money would be permitted to go to.”
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5/25/2017 – What Betsy DeVos Calls Education Transformation Is Actually Public Theft

THIS WEEK: DeVos Upholds Discrimination … Democrats Delivered DeVos … Voucher Evils … School Choice Scam … Taking To The Streets

TOP STORY

What Betsy DeVos Calls Education Transformation Is Actually Public Theft

By Jeff Bryant

“Betsy DeVos wants to give your tax dollars to private schools and businesses and tell you it’s an education ‘transformation.’ That’s the main theme of an address she gave this week to a conference held by the organization she helped found and lead, the American Federation for Children. Declaring ‘the time has expired for reform,’ she called instead for a ‘transformation … that will open up America’s closed and antiquated education system.’ Her plan also opens your wallet to new moochers of taxpayer dollars.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

DeVos Won’t Say Whether She’d Withhold Federal Funds From Private Schools That Discriminate

The Washington Post

“Education Secretary Betsy DeVos refused to say Wednesday whether she would block private schools that discriminate against LGBT students from receiving federal dollars … Asked by Rep. Katherine M. Clark (D-Mass.) whether she could think of any circumstance in which the federal government should step in to stop federal dollars from going to private schools that discriminate against certain groups of students, DeVos did not directly answer. ‘We have to do something different than continuing a top-down, one-size-fits all approach,’ DeVos said.”
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Don’t Like Betsy DeVos? Blame The Democrats.

New Republic

Education historian Diane Ravitch writes, “Thirty years ago, there was a sharp difference between Republicans and Democrats on education. Republicans wanted choice, testing, and accountability. Democrats wanted equitable funding for needy districts and highly trained teachers. But in 1989, with Democrats reeling from three straight presidential losses, the lines began to blur … After George W. Bush made the ‘Texas miracle’ of improved schools a launching pad for the presidency, many Democrats swallowed his bogus claim that testing students every year had produced amazing results … Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan doubled down on testing, accountability, and choice … Trump and DeVos rely on the same language to tout their vision of reform. They’re essentially taking Obama’s formula one step further: expanding ‘choice’ to include vouchers.”
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Opening Pandora’s Box

Political Research Associates

“Polly Williams, the Wisconsin African American lawmaker behind the nation’s first school voucher program, believed vouchers could help students of color in urban Milwaukee. Conservative donors and right-wing think tanks saw her program as opening the door to the privatization of public education … But by the late 1990s, Williams had been pushed aside, just as she feared that students of color from low-income families would be pushed aside by the diverging agenda of her White conservative partners.”
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School Choice Is A Scam In Segregated Neighborhoods

The Chicago Reporter

Chicago community organizer Jitu Brown writes, “What [Betsy] DeVos fails to understand is the intentional structural racism that has been accepted by Democrats and Republicans, where children from black and brown communities are intentionally underserved by the system all citizens pay taxes into … DeVos has not yet learned that we, meaning black and brown families, don’t have the choice of great neighborhood schools within safe walking distance of our homes … The solution implemented by the same system that produces this inequity is to further diminish democracy and accountability to the public by privatizing what is a public good.”
Read more …

Fed Up With A Budget Crisis, Illinois Citizens Take To The Streets

The Progressive

Jeff Bryant writes, “A small group marching 200 miles from Chicago to the Illinois State Legislature in Springfield demand the passage of a new Illinois state budget … The marchers are demanding a People and Planet First Budget for Illinois that proposes $23.5 billion in new state spending … To pay for their demands, the marchers want corporate tax loopholes closed, taxes on higher income earners raised, and a LaSalle Tax that taxes financial transactions … State funding for education is a major sticking point in the legislative stalemate … The marchers’ call for increased financial support for public education in their state is relevant to the rest of the nation. State after state continues to withhold funding for public education to keep taxation on wealthy people and corporations at historic lows.”
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5/18/2017 – Trump’s Education Budget Feeds School Privatization At The Expense of Students

THIS WEEK: Truth About Vouchers … Segregation Worsens … School Choice Poll … Vouchers Fail Special Ed … Bad News From LA

TOP STORY

Trump’s Education Budget Feeds School Privatization At The Expense of Students

By Jeff Bryant

“The vision of ‘education reform’ coming from the Trump administration and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos entails cutting direct aid to students, especially those from low-income families, in order to expand the private sector’s financial footprint in education. That at least is what’s reflected by a leaked budget document obtained by the Washington Post … Deep spending cuts … sever funding to … federal government supports that largely serve children and youth from low-income households … More money would go to incentivize ‘alternatives to traditional public schools’ at the K-12 level and increase the costs of college loans, a federal program with significant ties to the financial services industry.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

The Promise And Peril Of School Vouchers

NPR

“‘Social justice has come to Indiana education,’ Gov. Mitch Daniels said in 2011 after the state made several big changes to its education system. Among those changes was the new voucher program … In 2013, Mike Pence … oversaw a dramatic expansion of the program. Lawmakers added new pathways for students to qualify, making the voucher more accessible to children who had never attended a public school. They also expanded the program’s reach to include some middle-class families. Voucher enrollment doubled … Today, more than half of all voucher students in the state have no record of attending a public school.”
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GAO Study: Segregation Worsening In U.S. Schools

USA Today

“America’s public schools – 62 years after the Supreme Court’s historic Brown v. Board of Education decision – are increasingly segregated by race and class … Both the percentage of K-12 public schools in high-poverty and the percentage comprised of mostly African-American or Hispanic students grew significantly, more than doubling, from 7,009 schools to 15,089 schools. The percentage of all schools with so-called racial or socio-economic isolation grew from 9% to 16%. Researchers define ‘isolated schools’ as those in which 75% or more of students are of the same race or class … Charter schools … may take minority and poor students from larger more diverse public schools and enroll them into less diverse schools.”
Read more …

AP-NORC Poll: Most Know Little About Charter Schools

ABC News

“Americans know little about charter schools or private school voucher programs. Still, more Americans feel positively than negatively about expanding those programs … 55% of respondents say parents in their communities had enough options with regard to schools, about 4 in 10 feel that the country in general would benefit from more choice … About 7 in 10 respondents feel that both charter schools and private schools funded with taxpayer money should meet the same education standards as public schools.”
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For Families With Special Needs, Vouchers Bring Choices, Not Guarantees

NPR

“When it comes to vouchers for special ed, the problem, say legal experts, is twofold: not enough rights and not enough money … The federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, guarantees children with disabilities a ‘Free Appropriate Public Education,’ known as FAPE … Religiously based schools, which make up a majority of private schools … don’t even have to follow the Americans with Disabilities Act, the federal law that guarantees basic accommodations like wheelchair access.”
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Charter Supporters Win Control Of Los Angeles School Board

Diane Ravitch’s Blog

Education historian Diane Ravitch writes, “Two pro-charter candidates swept to victory … in Los Angeles … It was the most expensive school board race in U.S. history. At least $14 million was spent, most of it by the charter forces … Only 75,000 people voted. This marks the first time that the board of LAUSD has a pro-charter majority. It was an exceptionally dirty campaign … Charter operators want a larger share of LAUSD construction funds and more of its buildings. They will now encounter no opposition from the board … LAUSD will now become a dual school system, with no constraints on charter growth.”
Read more …

5/11/2017 – What Is The Purpose Of School Choice?

THIS WEEK: White School Secession … School Funding Fights Loom … Problems With Choice … Choice Fails … College Inequity

TOP STORY

What Is The Purpose Of School Choice?

By Jeff Bryant

“Many proponents of school choice contend the purpose of school choice was never about generating better results. It’s about choice for choice’s sake … But individuals don’t pay for public education; the taxpayers do. And the choices parents make about their education don’t just affect their children; they have an impact on the whole community … None of this is to say parents should have no education choices for their children at all … But why would I want a bad choice?”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

The Quiet Wave Of School District Secessions

US News & World Report

“When a judge ruled last week that the predominantly white Alabama city of Gardendale can secede from the majority black Jefferson County to form its own school district, the decision paved the way for the eighth such secession of wealthier and whiter municipalities in the state since 2000 … Dozens of school districts have similarly broken away from bigger ones – at least 36 since 2000 … 30 states have a process in place allowing districts to secede … only 17 require consideration be given to the secession’s impact on students, and only 6 require consideration be given to the impact on socioeconomic factors and diversity.”
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K-12 Spending Gets Caught In States’ Budget Fights

Education Week

“More than half the states this year missed their revenue projections, and many legislators are pushing their colleagues to pass more-conservative budgets this year … School spending, because it takes up such a large part of the budget, has sparked brushfires between parties and chambers … Kansas and Washington officials continue to fight over how to answer their states’ supreme court justices, who have deemed their spending unconstitutional.”
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Three Big Problems With School ‘Choice’ That Supporters Don’t Like To Talk About

The Washington Post

Executive Director of the Network for Public Education Carol Burris writes, “Public school choice programs, if carefully managed, can serve students well and/or promote a social good … Privatized school choice, in contrast, is quite different. Privatized school choice is the public financing of private alternatives to public schools … Privatized school choice will inevitably reduce funding for your local neighborhood public schools … Vouchers to private schools and other public school alternatives start small and then expand, increasing the burden on taxpayers … Additional administrative costs coupled with a lack of transparency waste taxpayer dollars and open the door to excessive legal and fraudulent personal gain.”
Read more …

The Broken Promises Of Choice In New York City Schools

The New York Times

“School choice has not delivered on a central promise: to give every student a real chance to attend a good school. Fourteen years into the system, black and Hispanic students are just as isolated in segregated high schools as they are in elementary schools – a situation that school choice was supposed to ease … There is a hierarchy of schools, each with different admissions requirements … Getting into the best schools, where almost all students graduate and are ready to attend college, often requires top scores … Those admitted to these most successful schools remain disproportionately middle class and white or Asian … Children who grow up in neighborhoods with low-performing elementary schools tend to go to low-performing middle schools, then on to high schools with low graduation rates and even lower college-readiness rates.”
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Top Universities Could Take Thousands More Low-Income Students, Study Says

The Hechinger Report

“Far more low-income students are qualified to attend the nation’s most selective colleges and universities than they enroll … Most have budget surpluses they could use to subsidize the neediest applicants … Most low-income students end up at community colleges and regional public universities with low graduation rates. But some 86,000 annually score on standardized admission tests as well as or better than the students who enroll at the most selective universities and colleges.”
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5/4/2017 – The Democrats’ Dilemma On Charter Schools

THIS WEEK: Charter Fraud … School Voucher Fail … Education Racism … Graduation Rates Up … Build Schools, Not Walls

TOP STORY

The Democrats’ Dilemma On Charter Schools

By Jeff Bryant

“President Donald Trump’s adamant promotion of “school choice” and his selection of Betsy DeVos for education secretary have put advocates for charter schools in the Democratic party in a bind … Their latest tactic is to carefully distinguish charters from the system of school vouchers Trump and DeVos favor, but they serve this cause poorly … The latest misfire comes from David Leonhardt’s op-ed in Monday’s New York Times.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

Is Charter School Fraud The Next Enron?

The Conversation

“Enron’s downfall was caused largely by something called ‘related-party transactions.’ Understanding this concept is crucial for grasping how charter schools may also be in danger … Without strict regulation, some bad actors have been able to take advantage of charter schools as an opportunity for private investment. In the worst cases, individuals have been able to use related-party transactions to fraudulently funnel public money intended for charter schools into other business ventures that they control … This aversion to regulation at the federal level could cost taxpayers millions of dollars and could result in the closing or disruption of schools – potentially damaging the education of students.”
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What A New Study On Vouchers Means For Trump’s Agenda

The Atlantic

“The nation’s capital is the only city in the country where the federal government gives scholarships to underprivileged children to attend private schools… A report released Thursday found largely negative results for students who participated in the … program … After they applied for the scholarship, math scores were lower for students who won vouchers … Narrowing the pool of students down to those in kindergarten through fifth grade, both reading and math scores were lower … Trump … remains committed to fully funding vouchers and expanding access to similar options nationwide.”
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More Parents Of Color Think Racism Is Holding Back Their Children In School

The Huffington Post

“A new national survey of black and Latino parents … paints a grim picture of a school system that is systemically failing black and brown families … Nearly three-quarters of black families think that white students receive a better education than their children. The facts are on these families’ sides. In many states, school districts that serve minority populations receive less state and local funding … [and] have less-experienced teachers. Students of color face disproportionately tough discipline compared to white students … Families also report viewing racism as a culprit for racial inequities in education … 10% more black parents and 8% more Latino parents reported feeling this way compared to last year.”
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Is The High School Graduation Rate Inflated? No, Study Says

Education Week

“High school graduation … is at an all-time high of 83.2% … Researchers concluded that offering multiple kinds of diplomas doesn’t, by itself, raise questions about the graduation rate … Persistent gaps in graduation rates persist … Among Asian and white students, graduation rates are 90% and 88%, respectively. But they’re only 78% for Hispanic students and 75% for African-American students. For English-learners and students with disabilities, the graduation rate is 65%. Only 76% of low-income students graduate in four years.”
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Instead Of Separating Families By Building Walls, Invest In Schools

OurFuture.Org

Jeff Bryant writes, “Nearly every cause at the center of the progressive movement has its roots, at least in part, at the schoolhouse door. That’s at least part of the message behind the ‘Build Schools, Not Walls’ campaign that kicked off this week in unison with the massive May 1st actions for worker and immigrant rights … This effort to join the fight for education justice with worker and immigrant rights is being led by the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools … What AROS proposes in its campaign is to take the money proposed by the Trump administration to increase deportations and build the border wall and invest that money in schools instead.”
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