Education Opportunity Network

Education Opportunity Network -

4/12/2018 – Now Watch Republicans Blame Obama For Test Scores

THIS WEEK: Red State Teacher Rebellion … Racist Student Discipline … DeVos Targets Civil Rights … Race-Based College Spending … Lessons From Strikes

TOP STORY

Now Watch Republicans Blame Obama For Test Scores

By Jeff Bryant

“Scores on the 2017 National Assessment of Education Progress (aka. The Nation’s Report Card) … were flat, as they have mostly been since 2009 … Education pundits from the right were quick to locate the cause of such a prolonged stagnation … Obama … that’s what’s so ironic about conservative claims of an Obama education policy failure. Over at least the past 20 years, whether under Republican oversight or Democratic, the nation’s schools have been lorded over by an “education reform” agenda that has always been decidedly bipartisan … Republicans are stealing away from reform and leaving Democrats holding the bag. Recent NAEP scores give them the perfect opportunity to make their case.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

Teachers Are Going On Strike In Trump’s America

Politico

“Fed-up teachers have found unexpectedly sturdy support among voting populaces that otherwise have tended to favor low to non-existent taxes … Government officials most responsible for those budget-austerity measures seem almost surprised by how difficult it has been to hold the political high ground … Teachers, many of them women, are redefining attitudes about organized labor, replacing negative stereotypes of overpaid and underperforming blue-collar workers with a more sympathetic face: overworked and underappreciated nurturers who say they’re fighting for their students as much as they’re fighting for themselves.”
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Disparities Persist In School Discipline, Says Government Watchdog

NPR

“Black students, boys, and students with disabilities are disproportionately disciplined in K-12 schools across the country … Black students represent 15.5 percent of all public school students, but make up about 39 percent of students suspended from school … these disparities cannot be explained by poverty levels – they existed regardless of the poverty level of schools … schools are struggling to handle an increase in disruptive behavior related to trauma and other mental health issues.”
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DeVos Review Of Racial Bias Guidance Stirs Controversy

The Hill

“Civil rights groups are fighting to stop Education Secretary Betsy DeVos from rolling back Obama-era guidance on school discipline that aimed to protect black students from being punished more severely than their white peers … The [Trump] administration is using the [Parkland school] shooting as an excuse to roll back critical guidance that helps protect students from discrimination under federal civil rights laws … The school discipline guidance is likely to be the latest casualty in … the administration’s war on civil rights protections.”
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Public Colleges Spend $5 Billion Less Per Year On Students Of Color

MarketWatch

“Two-year and four-year public colleges spend more than $1,000 less per year on black and Latino students than on white students … That means that overall, public colleges are spending about $5 billion less per year on black and Latino students than on white students … The analysis is the latest in a growing body of evidence that many of the racial disparities that affect children during their K-12 education persist once they reach college … College isn’t leveling the playing field in the ways we expect and hope … The way state legislators approach funding their colleges and universities plays a role.”
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What Teacher Strikes Can Teach Democrats About Education Politics

OurFuture

Jeff Bryant writes, “The momentum of this spring’s teacher uprising is growing… Because the rebellions are occurring in ‘red states,’ Democrats are already capitalizing on any perceived advantage the strikes could give their party … But if Democrats are going to attempt to take electoral advantage of the teacher uprising, they’ll need to change their typical education message.”
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4/5/2018 – Striking Teachers Are Fighting For Communities

THIS WEEK: NRA Is Wrong … DeVos-Style Discipline … ICE Raids Hurt Kids … College Students Pay More … 4-Day Week Fail

TOP STORY

Striking Teachers Are Fighting For Communities

By Jeff Bryant

“Teacher strikes that started in West Virginia and are now raging in Oklahoma and whipping up in Kentucky and Arizona are being called a “nationwide movement.” But a nationwide movement for what … Teachers … are taking a stand not only about their own financial situations, but also about the conditions of their students, their schools, and their communities.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

The NRA’s Narrative About Maryland School Shooting Collapses

Think Progress

“The gun lobby argued that last week’s shooting was stopped by an armed school resource officer, proving that “good guys with guns” can prevent tragedies. But the St. Mary’s County sheriff’s office confirmed on Monday night that the 17-year-old gunman who opened fire at Great Mills High School actually died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound … The NRA’s recent push for more armed guards in schools comes even though the presence of an armed guard didn’t stop a gunman from killing 17 in Parkland with an AR-15. Trump has frequently touted the deterrent impact of armed guards.”
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‘Hardening’ Our Schools Will Hit Black And Brown Students Hardest

Huff Post

“The White House rolled out its proposal to ‘harden’ schools … in response to the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida … As part of the plan, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is set to lead a new commission to re-examine, and possibly repeal … districts … being scrutinized for disproportionate discipline outcomes, particularly zero-tolerance policies that widened the opportunity gap for students of color… The School Discipline Package has provided key guidance to public elementary and secondary schools about how to discipline students … Its recommendations include drawing on positive behavior interventions, such as restorative justice and social and emotional learning – programs that have been successful nationwide.”
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ICE Is Terrorizing Our Kids: Report Shines A Light On The Impact Immigration Enforcement Is Having On Children

NC PolicyWatch

“Children may be among ICE’s principal victims … Children of immigrants (and even non-immigrants) are experiencing increasing rates of trauma as a result of the threat of deportation and family separation as well as the direct experience of raids, deportation proceedings, and the disappearance of parents … That trauma can have profound negative effects on these children for the rest of their lives … in addition to the direct trauma they inflict on children, ICE deportations impose significant economic costs.”
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Who Foots Most Of The Bill For Public Colleges? In 28 States, It’s Students

The Chronicle Of Higher Education

“Tuition dollars, not state and local funding, have become the primary revenue source for public higher education in most states … During the 2017 fiscal year… 28 states leaned chiefly on students, not on taxpayers … In 2000, tuition dollars paid by students accounted for more than half of revenue in just three states … Adjusting for inflation, only six states now fund public higher education at prerecession levels.”
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Four-Day School Weeks, A Nationwide Symptom Of Tight Budgets, Lead To More Youth Crime, Study Finds

Chalkbeat

“As school districts across the country have faced budget crunches, a number have landed on a cost-saving solution: cancelling school one day a week. Districts in at least 21 states have adopted the four-day school week, including one in five districts in Oklahoma … An unintended but perhaps unsurprising consequence of cutting the school week: a spike in juvenile crime … shortened weeks caused youth crime to jump nearly 20 percent, with the biggest spikes in property crime … There was some evidence of an increase in drug offenses. Crime rates jumped the most on Thursdays; the researchers theorized that students treated that evening like an additional weekend night.”
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3/29/2018 – Democrats Can Win If They Lead On Education

THIS WEEK: No To Vouchers … Teachers Under Fire … Pre-K That Works … Food Stamps Boost Learning… Puerto Ricans Protest Charters

TOP STORY

Democrats Can Win If They Lead On Education

By Jeff Bryant

“In high-profile Democratic party primaries, education has become a significant issue that progressive candidates are using to challenge more conservative, establishment Democrats. There’s also ample evidence education could be a key issue for Democrats to use against their Republican opponents in midterm general elections in November. But getting the education issue right – something Democrats have not been very good at – will be key … Grassroots progressive Democrats are telling the party’s establishment how it can lead and win on education issues. What’s not clear is if the party’s pundit and policy apparatus is willing to listen.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

Congressional Legislation Seeks To Fund School Vouchers For Military Families – Despite Major Opposition From Military Families

The Washington Post

“Thirty Republican U.S. congressmen and three Republican U.S. senators have signed onto national voucher bills that would direct federal tax dollars from public schools … and let military families use these funds for religious schools, private schools, online schools, college tuition, and other educational services. What is most remarkable is that the bills are moving forward in the face of significant military family opposition … Both HR 5199 and S. 2517 use Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) to allow tax dollars to be used for home schooling, for-profit online schools, ‘a la carte’ education, and for private and religious school expenses … The Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) is especially worried that unscrupulous vendors will descend on military families even as for-profit colleges have victimized veterans.”
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Parkland Teachers Faced An Impossible Choice: ‘Do I Hold The Door Open, Or Close It?’

The Guardian

” With the crack of bullets still ringing around the corridors of Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school, Mary Trizzino unlocked the door to her classroom to see who else she could save … As thousands of students poured into the hallways of school buildings after the fire alarm sounded within seconds of the first shots being fired, many teachers were forced to make split second decisions … ‘You’re faced with an impossible choice … Do I hold the door open, and put the kids that I have in here at risk, or do I close it and leave those kids out in the cold? … I don’t think we should be faced with that decision at all, and yet society can’t seem to come together to solve this problem, to stop it from happening.'”
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Long-Term Gains: Pre-K Programs Lead To Furthered Education Later In Life

Scientific American

“Structured math and literacy practice in addition to regular parental involvement in school programs during the first eight years of life can have a major impact on a child’s future educational achievement … A study that included more than 1,500 children in a Chicago-based program called Child-Parent Centers (CPC) shows kids reached a higher level of education by age 35 than did ones enrolled in other preschool programs: CPC participants completed more years of schooling and were more likely to earn a postsecondary degree.’”
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Food For Thought: Students’ Test Scores Rise A Few Weeks After Families Get Food Stamps

Chalkbeat

“Families receiving food stamps get their benefits once a month. A few weeks later, kids’ test scores tick up. The pattern … suggests that the additional access to healthy food helps students do better in school. It’s the latest study to quantify how out-of-school factors affect academic performance, and an example of why some districts are embracing ‘community schools’ that try to provide health and other benefits for students and families. … Other research has linked food stamp cycles and what happens in school.”
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Disaster Capitalism And Vulture Charters

Jacobin

“Hundreds of Puerto Rican teachers marched past San Juan’s Capitol building … holding signs reading … ‘We defend public education’ and … ‘No to the vulture charters.’ Thousands of students and parents joined the march or held signs in front of their schools in solidarity … In the wake of twin disasters – one man-made in the form of a vulture fund-fueled debt crisis, and one natural in the form of last September’s Hurricane María – Puerto Rican leaders are attempting to implement a vast austerity program … In the eyes of many Puerto Ricans, however, this is textbook ‘disaster capitalism’: capitalizing on a moment of crisis, when the population is weak and unable to mobilize, to ram through pro-market austerity measures.”
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3/22/2018 – Betsy DeVos Wants To Cut Public Education To The Bone

THIS WEEK: Limiting School Security … Oklahoma Teachers Strike … Return Of Zero Tolerance? … Education And Income… School Funding Inequity

TOP STORY

Betsy DeVos Wants To Cut Public Education To The Bone

By Jeff Bryant

“U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’s testimony before Congress this week was … to defend the Trump administration’s 2019 budget for her department … Trump’s budget – and in turn the one DeVos defended for her department – is straight out of conservative doctrine for stripping government to the bone. In other words, it’s right in line with what nearly every conservative Republican governor has been inflicting on education systems in the states for years.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

The Case For Limiting School Security

Education Wek

“We may think that more metal detectors, more sniffing dogs, and more armed police officers will keep students safer … The darker side of all these safety measures is that they conflate schools with prisons, engendering the school climate with fear, distrust, paranoia – and, yes, violence … It is ridiculous to believe that anyone capable of carrying out a mass shooting would be deterred by locked doors or police presence. The majority of mass shooters are mentally ill … They believe they have nothing to lose … Turning our schools into maximum-security prisons, with more guns, police officers, and locks is not going to solve the problem … Explicitly promoting a culture of empathy … could prevent a great deal of school violence.”
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Oklahoma Teachers Plan A Strike: “Our Children Cannot Wait Any Longer”

The Progressive

“A seemingly spontaneous teacher revolt in Oklahoma has resulted in a potential statewide walkout to shut down schools beginning April 2 … The grievances of Oklahoma teachers stem from deeply-rooted fears for their students’ future … While the state has cut taxes on oil, state employees have not received an across-the-board pay raise in twelve years. The state is among the last in the nation in teacher pay. The starting salary for a new teacher is $31,600, and the poor pay and lack of resources has resulted in an acute shortage of teachers across the state … It would take about an $800 million tax increase to fund teacher raises and a restoration of basic education and social services. Instead, the state Senate recently passed a proposal for raising $84 million for teacher pay by cutting Medicaid for 43,000 of the poorest Oklahomans.”
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Zero Tolerance Discipline Policies Won’t Fix School Shootings

The Conversation

“Trump officials and supporters think – or would have people believe – that the new push to improve school discipline had something to do with the Parkland shooting. It didn’t … When students see a school’s discipline approach as overly strict or harsh, they see school authority as arbitrary and unfair. When student bystanders see schools suspend friends who are struggling due to factors beyond their control … students come to see suspension and expulsion as downright perverse … The best chance of reducing violence, and also improving the overall academic achievement and environment of schools, rests in rejecting punitive school discipline and replacing it with supportive systems.”
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U.S. Income Inequality Hits A Disturbing New Threshold

Bloomberg

“U.S. wage growth remains slow and uneven, with African-Americans and women still at a clear disadvantage … Wages for African-Americans declined in most wage brackets, while women with graduate degrees made less money than men with only college degrees … ‘You do see college wages rising faster than high school wages, but that differential is not nearly large enough to explain rising wage inequality in the economy today … You can’t educate yourself out of gender or racial wage gaps.’”
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Most Schools Funded Far Below What’s Needed To Achieve Average Outcomes

Education Law Center

“Most U.S. states fund their public schools at a level far below what is necessary for students in high-poverty districts to achieve at even average levels in English and math … In numerous states … only the lowest-poverty districts have sufficient funding to reach national average student achievement outcomes … Only a few states … have higher levels of funding across all districts and have near-average outcomes, even in the highest-poverty districts.
The cost of achieving national average outcomes in very high-poverty districts is three times higher – or $20,000 to $30,000 per pupil – than in low-poverty districts … There is wide variation in spending and student achievement outcomes, with strong performance in a few high-investment states and in low-poverty districts … ‘Some states need to increase school funding across the board …. Others need to target increases to higher-poverty districts. And the federal government should find new avenues to support states with comparatively less ability to boost school funding.'”
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3/15/2018 – Why Public Schools Have Become The Epicenter Of Rebellion

THIS WEEK: After The School Walkouts … What Stops School Shootings … Teacher Strikes Spread … Trump Hurts Kids… DeVos On 60 Minutes

TOP STORY

Why Public Schools Have Become The Epicenter Of Rebellion

By Jeff Bryant

“Striking public school educators in West Virginia overcame all odds in getting lawmakers to agree to a five-percent pay raise and a realistic commitment from the state to address a broken public employee health insurance program … This shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who’s been paying attention. Public school communities – students, teachers, parents, and citizens – have seen their institutions targeted with deeper budget cuts, greater inequities in the system, harsher penalties for ‘underperforming’ on arbitrary standards, and deadlier gun violence. Is it any wonder that these constituents are starting to stand up and say they’ve had enough?”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

School Walkouts Were Just The Beginning Of Students’ Activism On Gun Violence

HuffPost

“Students from New York to Nashville to San Francisco walked out of school at 10 a.m. to commemorate the one-month anniversary of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in which 17 people were killed, and to push for gun reform … Several more nationwide, student-led rallies are planned to keep attention on the issue and press for legislative action … Beyond the national rallies, some student groups have begun planning further actions at the local level.”
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Thwarted School Shooting Plans Don’t Get Much Attention. Here’s How That Affects School Safety Debates.

Education Week

“Schools, parents, and law enforcement agencies regularly intervene before would-be shooters attack schools, but those thwarted plans understandably don’t get the same level of coverage as mass shootings. And the resulting imbalance in discussions can affect the debate over how to keep schools safe … Focusing largely on successful attacks can make them seem inevitable, turning conversations toward physical safety measures – like security hardware and armed officers … Experts say school safety is also about ‘invisible’ prevention measures … Awareness of effective prevention is important when schools and policymakers debate ways to keep students safe.”
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Teacher Unrest Spreads to Oklahoma, Where Educators Are “Desperate for a Solution”

The Intercept

“Increasing momentum for a strike in Oklahoma comes as a strike by West Virginia teachers … reached a deal … to raise all state employee salaries … Oklahoma’s 42,000 teachers make even less than their West Virginian counterparts; in 2016, the average Oklahoma teacher earned $45,276, a salary lower than that of teachers in every state except Mississippi. With no pay increases for Sooner State teachers in a decade, educators have been leaving for greener pastures … when times are tough for teachers, times are also tough for students … Strikes by Oklahoma school employees are technically illegal, but educators have found a legal work-around. If school districts shut down, then that’s a work stoppage that doesn’t involve teachers walking off the job. Many superintendents across the state have already come out in support of closing down schools if the teachers decide to move forward with their strike.”
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A New Report Shows How Trump’s Immigration Crackdown Hurts Kids In School

Mother Jones

“Teachers and school staff across the country say they’re seeing a deeply negative impact on many of their students who worry they’ll go home to find loved ones missing … They’re observing emotional and behavioral problems, as well as missed classes and increased fears and anxieties among immigrant students, defined as those with immigrants in their families … Schools … in the South – those in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, and Texas – were more likely to see problems than in other regions … Two-third of educators noticed that concerns about immigration were having an indirect effect even on non-immigrant students, meaning they showed anxiety and concern about immigration or that they expressed worry about their friends’ immigration statuses.”
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Betsy DeVos’s ‘Shining Example’—A Charter Closed for Poor Performance

The Progressive

Jeff Bryant writes, “In the much-written-about 60 Minutes interview of U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos … DeVos said, ‘I have not intentionally visited schools that are underperforming.’ But DeVos has visited an underperforming school – only she called it a ‘a shining example.’ The school, which will be closed at the end of the school year due to poor academic performance, was the Excel Academy Public Charter School, an all-girls charter in Washington, DC … Obviously, she didn’t know about the school’s academic performance then, and doesn’t know about it now. I would also contend she doesn’t care. Excel Academy impressed DeVos not because of what it does but because of what it is (or was). When DeVos says ‘options,’ what she really means is “alternatives” to public schools which she has ridiculed as a ‘dead end’… she really means is that there is no place in her worldview for the communal enterprise we know as public education. The sooner her critics get this, the better able they’ll be to convey the real danger she represents to the nation.”
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3/8/2018 – West Virginia Teachers Tell Us Why Public Schools And Unions Matter

THIS WEEK: Threat Of Teacher Stress … Guns In Schools … School Choice Doesn’t Work … California Charter School Fail… Bad College Bill

TOP STORY

West Virginia Teachers Tell Us Why Public Schools And Unions Matter

By Jeff Bryant

“Striking public school educators in West Virginia overcame all odds in getting lawmakers to agree to a five-percent pay raise and a realistic commitment from the state to address a broken public employee health insurance program … The West Virginia teachers’ strike is not only a startling victory for labor rights; it’s also a reminder of the important role public schools and public school educators can and should play in progressive populism … Prominent progressive voices have been weak in their support for school teachers and public schools. But the West Virginia teachers may have started to change that; at least progressive activists in the Mountain State seem to think so..”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

The Hidden Threat Of Teacher Stress

The Conversation

“Nearly half of all teachers say they experience stress at a high level every day … Chronic stress can impact teachers’ job performance. Unwell teachers have a reduced ability to teach and therefore call in sick … Excessive teacher absences disrupt the flow of instruction, behavior management, and connection with students … Excessive teacher absences are linked to student underachievement. Stress is also associated with high teacher turnover. Nearly half of all new teachers leave the field within the first five years. Among those who stay, nearly two-thirds were found … to be ‘not engaged,’ or mentally and emotionally disconnected from their teaching role and their students’ needs.”
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Here’s What The Science Says About Bringing More Guns Into Schools: It Doesn’t Work

ZME Science

“Study after study found that teachers don’t really want guns on campus … Just 17.8% said they would even consider carrying a hidden gun, and most didn’t support the idea … Science fundamentally contradicts the idea that bringing more guns, especially to classrooms, will solve the problem; quite the contrary: several studies have found that more guns lead to more killings … The corollary was also proven true: having fewer guns, enforced through legislation, reduces the number of victims.”
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Is Sweden Proof That School Choice Doesn’t Improve Education?

PBS

“Sweden adopted a nationwide universal voucher program in 1992 … Families can choose any school, public or private: Taxpayer money follows the student. This voucher system has led to a burgeoning industry of mostly for-profit, private schools … In 2000, Swedish students performed well-above average on an international test called the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). By 2012, they were below average in math, reading and science. Sweden had the steepest decline of any participating country over that time period.”
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California’s Charter Schools Are Leaking Public Money Like A Sieve

Medium

“Every few months another absurd story breaks about California’s charter schools … in 2017 … Existing state law doesn’t allow the state and local governments to proactively monitor the private groups that operate charter schools for fraud and waste … State government doesn’t proactively monitor for fraud or waste, and local school districts aren’t given the resources they need to properly oversee charter schools in their boundaries … School districts have few options to intervene when they smell something fishy … Even the state government has limited auditing authority … Local school districts and county boards of education can be pre-empted by the state when they suspect foul play.”
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If This Bill Passes, College Affordability Would Go From Bad To Worse, Experts Say

The Hechinger Report

“A bill proposed by Republicans in the House of Representatives could change the college-financing system dramatically, moving billions of dollars out of financial aid programs … the net loss of funds to students over the next 10 years would be almost $15 billion … The bill, known as the Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act, would also make more money and regulatory flexibility available to for-profit colleges, many of which have been cited for high costs, low graduation rates and a history of taking advantage of low-income students and military veterans … The bill would also narrow the eligibility requirements for deferment of loans and require those in certain types of payment plans to pay more than previously expected.”
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3/1/2018 – Will Lawmakers Again Make Schools The Sacrificial Lamb For Gun Control?

THIS WEEK: Poor Students Get Less Funding … Let Students Lead … Segregation Worsens … Civil Rights Complaints Rise… DeVos Defends Debt Collectors

TOP STORY

Will Lawmakers Again Make Schools The Sacrificial Lamb For Gun Control?

By Jeff Bryant

“Real action on meaningful gun control should get the happy support of Congressional Democrats. But if precedent holds, the likely outcome of any ‘bipartisan’ action on guns and school safety will be that the gun lobby will convince enough Republicans to suppress any meaningful control of firearms and ammo while legislators in both parties will let new ‘security’ measures for schools sail through, and teachers and students will be worse off for it.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

In Most States, Poorest School Districts Get Less Funding

US News & World Report

“In more than half of the states in the U.S., the poorest school districts do not receive funding to address their students’ increased needs … School districts with the highest rates of poverty receive about $1,000 less per student in state and local funding than those with the lowest rates of poverty … Illinois, Missouri, New York and Alabama rank among the worst.”
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‘Let The Youth Lead’: Student Activists Nationwide Demand Change After Parkland Shooting

Education Week

“The upwelling of youth activism across the country galvanized by the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School stands in stark contrast to that seen after previous school shootings … They’ve grown up in an era of practicing emergency lockdowns and active shooter drills … And they’ve grown up on social media … The tragedy in Parkland comes amid an already ripe time for high-profile political action … Students have seen protests over the past year, such as the Women’s March, the Black Lives Matter Movement, and demonstrations to support young undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers.”
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Half-Century Of US Civil Rights Gains Have Stalled Or Reversed, Report Finds

The Guardian

“Civil rights gains of the past half-century have stalled or in some areas gone into reverse, according to a report marking the 50th anniversary of the landmark Kerner Commission. Child poverty has increased, schools have become resegregated and white supremacists are becoming emboldened and more violent … The African American achievement gap in reading decreased by half during the early 1970s and early 1980s … However, that with the elimination of major federal programs under Ronald Reagan during the 1980s, the achievement gap in reading grew once again and is now 30% bigger than it was 30 years ago.”
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Schools See Major Uptick In Racial Harassment, New Data Suggests

HuffPost

“The U.S. Department of Education’s civil rights division saw a significant increase in the number of complaints it received regarding racial harassment in schools … in 2017 … The increase represents the biggest rise in this category since at least 2009 … Harassment complaints underwent a specific leap. Other types of complaints that involve race or national origin might cover disproportionate disciplining of minority students or segregation.”
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Education Department Wants To Protect Student Loan Debt Collectors

NPR

“The U.S. Department of Education, under Secretary Betsy DeVos, argues that the nation’s loan servicers should be protected from state rules that may be far tougher than federal law … The memo … marks the latest move by the Trump administration to align itself with debt collectors over the nation’s 44 million student loan borrowers … A bipartisan group of 26 state attorneys general – including reliably conservative Montana, Tennessee, Kansas and Texas – wrote to DeVos in October, urging her to ‘reject an ongoing campaign by student loan servicers and debt collectors to secure immunity for themselves from state-level oversight and enforcement.'”
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2/22/2018 – Student And Teacher Leadership Will Change The Politics Of Gun Control

THIS WEEK: Teachers Stymied By Underfunding … Effects Of School Shootings … Community Schools Work … Alt-Right Campus Surge … St. Paul Teachers FTW

TOP STORY

Student And Teacher Leadership Will Change The Politics Of Gun Control

By Jeff Bryant

“After the horrendous shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, students are taking over the debate on gun control that politicians in both parties have so horribly botched for decades … Teachers are joining in the widespread dissent, not as instigators but as collaborators in raising a unified message that ‘enough is enough’ … This push for meaningful gun control seems more promising than efforts in the past for numerous reasons, including the leadership of the students and teachers and the moral clarity they speak from. Students and teachers are intent on making politicians who ignore their demands pay at the ballot box in November.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

Teachers Want To Prepare Students For The Jobs Of The Future – But Feel Stymied

The Hechinger Report

“In a new report … many K-12 educators said they want to retool their teaching to match workforce needs but feel limited by meager budgets and inadequate access to technology … Teachers cited active learning, problem solving and classroom discussions (51%), project-based learning (45%) and personalized learning (40%) as ‘very important’ strategies for helping students develop workplace skills … Most educators said they wanted to embrace new teaching approaches … They feel constrained in their ability to do so. A majority (51%) blamed budget limitations for preventing them from introducing innovative approaches in their classrooms. Other barriers cited were lack of access to technology (27%), lack of interest from policy makers (27%) and too little teacher autonomy (25%).”
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How Mass School Shootings Affect The Education Of Students Who Survive

The Washington Post

“More than 150,000 students attending at least 170 primary or secondary schools in the United States have experienced a shooting on campus since the 1999 Columbine High School massacre … When researchers examine test scores of individual students year to year, those scores dropped after the shooting … Attending a high school where a homicide takes place prompts trauma, and that impacts students school experience and achievement … The needs of the survivors are real, and we must ask how we can address them.”
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Do Community Schools And Wraparound Services Boost Academics? Here’s What We Know.

Chalkbeat

“The strategy, often referred to as the “community schools” model or “wraparound services,” has been embraced by districts across the country … Research shows that these efforts often do help learning, but in a number of cases they don’t seem to have any effect – and it’s not clear why efforts sometimes succeed and sometimes don’t … There are virtually no cases where students appear to do worse thanks to the programs … Many would argue these sorts of wraparound services and anti-poverty programs are worthwhile regardless of students’ short-term academic gains.”
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While the Media Panicked About Campus Leftists, The Far Right Surged

The Intercept

“Incidents of white supremacist propaganda on U.S. campuses more than tripled in 2017. Groups doubling down on campus propagandizing include explicit neo-Nazis like the Florida-based Atomwaffen Division, as well as associations like Identity Evropa … More than 100 people have been killed or injured since 2014 by perpetrators believed to be influenced by the racism and misogyny that defines the so-called alt-right, the center found. More than 60 people were killed or injured in ‘alt-right'” violence last year alone … Liberal and centrist media institutions don’t care as much about white supremacy as they claim to.”
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St. Paul Teachers Score A Win for Kids Over Big Money

OurFuture

Jeff Bryant writes, “St. Paul teachers want to do ‘phenomenal things’ for their students. At least that’s what Nick Faber of the St. Paul Federation of Teachers tells me. But what’s been holding back … For years, public officials, regardless of political party, haven’t been willing to make the tough decisions to fund schools and other services vital to the public well-being, including healthcare, transportation, and housing … Using their contract negotiations as leverage, St. Paul teachers aimed to address underfunding by publicly calling on the district to join forces with them to go after big money holders to pay their fair share to support public schools … The teachers were able to get ‘some’ agreement from the district to partner with them on pressuring corporations and large nonprofits to contribute more financial resources to schools and in lobbying state government for increased funding, especially for special education. The union and the district also agreed to consider drafting a referendum for voters to approve more funding for schools.”
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2/15/2018 – DeVos Denies Students’ Civil Rights, Locks Out Teachers. But She’s The Victim?

THIS WEEK: School Choice Schism … Opposition To DeVos … Trump Budget Cuts Education … Most Schools Are Under-Funded … Charters Segregate

TOP STORY

DeVos Denies Students’ Civil Rights, Locks Out Teachers. But She’s The Victim?

By Jeff Bryant

“Betsy DeVos … played the ‘victim’ card in saying criticisms of her actions as secretary have been ‘hurtful’… In her first year as secretary, DeVos has established a consistent pattern of first delaying then eventually curtailing her department’s duties to uphold the civil rights of students. And despite her role as a government official, she’s demonstrated little interest in hearing what the public thinks about these actions … People like DeVos are not victims of anything … ‘DeVos and her agenda are a legitimate threat to our democracy.'”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

Inside The Virtual Schools Lobby: ‘I Trust Parents’

NPR

“The travails of virtual schools have split the charter school movement. The national organizations representing traditional charter schools have sought to put daylight between themselves and virtual schools … Virtual schools and their supporters have fought back. They’ve lobbied politicians and donated millions to their campaigns. They’ve pushed for changes and exceptions to accountability systems. They’ve taken legal action. And, they’ve organized a network of lobbying groups to make it appear that parents don’t care about test scores … What matters, they say, is parent choice. This message is summed up in a phrase that has also often been a rallying cry of [Betsy] DeVos. It lives online as a hashtag: #ITrustParents … Since her appointment, DeVos has used the phrase many times in public statements and speeches.”
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One Year In, Betsy DeVos Has Supercharged Teacher Activism

HuffPo

“There has been a wave of activism in response to President Donald Trump … This activism has manifested as a renewed rallying around traditional public schools … More teachers than ever are running for office … [Betsy] DeVos ‘was a wake-up call to everyone who was concerned about the future of public education’ … ‘What you also see, on the other side, is a brazen, non-hidden quest to just kill [public education], and to kill every bit of every tool that enables broad-based voice and opportunity’ … ‘Even though there is a heightened awareness and pushback, there is so much money on the other side that it is overwhelming.'”
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Does Trump’s Education Budget Even Matter?

The Atlantic

“President Trump’s proposed federal budget, unveiled Monday, calls for major cuts to existing education programs and a huge increase for school-choice initiatives … What a president lays out as his priorities can inform debate on education spending. And since Trump doesn’t spend much time talking about education, this is also one way to gauge what’s on his administration’s agenda … Trump’s budget would significantly reduce the federal footprint in public schools … Many of the programs on the chopping block are longstanding … including grants to support safe and healthy schools and the Special Olympics … ‘Education freedom’ would get a big bump under Trump’s plan – $1 billion.”
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Almost Three-Quarters of Superintendents Say Schools Inadequately Funded: Survey

Education Week

“Seventy-three percent of superintendents say their school districts are inadequately funded, and about 62% say that they do not have a way to make up the shortfall if federal and state aid are cut in the upcoming school year. Forty-percent said they expected state and local revenues to be cut … School districts were forced to make brutal decisions during the Great Recession, including laying off thousands of workers, putting off construction and other school renovations, and cutting extracurricular activities.”
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New Research Shows Charter Schools Foster Segregation

WCNC

“Are charter schools fostering segregation in Charlotte-Mecklenburg public schools? According to a new study … yes … ‘Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools were once the nation’s bellwether for successful desegregation. Today, the district exemplifies how charter schools can impede districts’ efforts to resist resegregation … Charters are increasingly drawing the most academically able, many prosperous families, whites … Only people who can take their kids and have the time and have the vehicle can take their children to these charters, and that limits the population.'”
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2/8/2018 – Puerto Rico Braces for Wave of School Privatization

THIS WEEK: The DC Reform Lie … CA Closing Achievement Gaps … Teaching About Slavery … Charter School Fail … Cancel College Debt

TOP STORY

Puerto Rico Braces for Wave of School Privatization

By Jeff Bryant

“With nearly a third of Puerto Rico’s 1,100 schools still without power and hundreds more plagued with crumbling walls, leaky rooves, and spotty Internet, Governor Ricardo Rosselló recently announced he will propose to create charter schools and voucher programs as a recovery strategy for the island’s education system … ‘The disaster capitalism coming to the azure waters of Puerto Rico is very similar to the school privatization and private-control education reform causing an uproar in Chicago and Detroit.'”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

Once A National Model, Now D.C. Public Schools Target Of FBI Investigation

The Washington Post

“D.C. school system has been the crown jewel of public policy… With the revelation … that more than 900 students – one-third of last year’s high school graduates – should not have been awarded diplomas because of truancy and other problems, the school system has turned virtually overnight into an embarrassment … The scandal is reverberating far beyond the District, as a busy cottage industry of education policy analysts takes stock of whether the inflated graduation rates point to basic flaws in reforms the city has exported to other struggling school districts.”
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Research Shows California Schools Are Narrowing Achievement Gaps

Times-Herald

“New research shows that California’s landmark overhaul of public education finance and accountability is narrowing achievement gaps between groups of students and helping parents learn about school progress … The authors examined the impact of the Gov. Jerry Brown’s Local Control Funding Formula, which gave school districts more control over the use of state funds in exchange for greater accountability and parent engagement at the local level … LCFF ‘led to significant increases in high school graduation rates and academic achievement, particularly among children from low-income families.’ Students in the highest-poverty districts showed greater academic gain … LCFF funding was used to improve classroom learning by lowering student-to-teacher ratios and helping districts recruit and train new teachers.”
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Schools Are Failing To Teach The Truth About Slavery, The SPLC Says

Education Week

“What students are taught about slavery is fragmentary, without context, and worst of all, glossed over or sanitized, says the report, which was released this morning. Slavery … is taught … by focusing on resistance or escape, rather than the violence it wrought on black bodies and families. It’s taught as a Southern phenomenon … never considered alongside white supremacist ideology, which was explicitly created to justify slavery … The voices and varied experiences of slaves are generally excised; and, connections to topics like the Great Migration and the civil rights movement … are missing.”
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Charter School Transferred Nearly $1 Million To CEO In Years Prior To Closing

Arizona TV 3/CBS 5

“Hundreds of students and their parents were blindsided … when they arrived at Goodyear’s Discovery Creemos Academy and found the charter school shuttered. Many were unaware of the extent of the financial trouble the school had gone through … But it appears that at least part of that trouble was exacerbated by payments made to school administration. Tax returns … show an increasing amount of money paid to and transferred to Discovery Creemos Academy president and CEO Daniel Hughes and entities controlled by Hughes in the years prior to the school’s abrupt closure … The payments to Hughes and Creemos in 2015 totaled $949,000.”
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Want To Grow The US Economy? Cancel Student Debt, New Report Shows

Mic

“A report … finds that there would be huge benefits if the federal government were to forgive all existing student debt. This would ripple out from young people struggling to pay off massive college loans to the economy as a whole … Canceling all student debt would likely lead to an increase in U.S. GDP between $861 billion and $1,083 billion over the course of 10 years. It would also lead to an increase of 1.18 to 1.55 million additional new jobs over the same period – that’s about 50% to 70% more jobs per year compared to an average of recent years. This new analysis comes at a time when more than 44 million American have a collective $1.3 trillion in student debt – higher than both auto U.S. debt and credit card debt.”
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