Education Opportunity Network

Education Opportunity Network -

7/26/2018 – A New Push For Charter Schools Should Anger Progressives. Here’s Why.

THIS WEEK: Education A Big Election Issue … Kids Hurt By Spending Cuts … How Trump Harms Students … DeVos Protects For-Profits … DeVos Backs Anti-Union Effort

TOP STORY

A New Push For Charter Schools Should Anger Progressives. Here’s Why.

By Jeff Bryant

“Progressives angered at establishment Democrats who accuse them of being blinded by ideology and divorced from facts when they champion policies pushed by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and rising star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez should be equally irritated by a new message from supporters of charter schools and the “education reform” agenda … Much in the same way establishment Democrats admonish progressives for their support of universal healthcare and living wages, the longstanding effort by establishment Democrats to boost private operators of charter schools avoids inconvenient truths about these schools and hides its ideological agenda.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

Candidates In Midterms Spar Over School Funding Vs. Taxes

Education Week

“How – or whether – to pour more money into public school coffers has emerged as one of the most divisive issues for states in this year’s midterm elections. In at least 9 states, voters this fall will consider ambitious ballot measures that seek to increase, or in some cases curtail, how much legislatures distribute to schools … Those running for governor in states … While the economy has roared back to life in recent years, public schools in large swaths of the country are still starved for money. State sales tax revenue has flattened as more people shop online … While unemployment is at historic lows, earnings have not rebounded to pre-Recession levels. Options like marijuana and casino tax revenue have failed in the past to generate enough cash to meet schools’ pent up needs. That leaves schools more and more dependent on local property taxes.'”
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The ‘War on Poverty’ Isn’t Over, and Kids Are Losing

City Lab

“Cutting spending on poverty means cutting spending on kids – a downward trend that is already happening … Declaring an end to the war on poverty allows federal agencies to pivot to other goals, namely ‘self-sufficiency,’ which is a watchword for setting strict work requirements for aid … Spending on children is already declining, even as overall federal spending continues to rise since the Great Recession … By 2020, the federal government will spend more on interest payments on its debt than it pays to provide support for children. Children will receive just one cent of every dollar from the projected $1.6 trillion increase in federal spending authorized under the Trump administration … Over the next decade, the children’s share of the budget will drop from 9.4% to 6.9%..”
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The Feds Are Discouraging Districts From Using Race To Integrate Schools. A New Study Points To A Potential Downside

Chalkbeat

“The Trump administration recently made waves by removing Obama-era guidance that offered ways for school districts to consider students’ race in order to diversify and integrate schools. The rollback could have harmful consequences for students … could hurt academic outcomes, including college enrollment, by making racial segregation worse … The spike in segregation corresponded to a decrease in college enrollment for black students by a couple percentage points. There was also an indication of modest declines in test scores in sixth grade and in high school graduation rates.”
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New Trump-DeVos Loan Relief Rule Trashes Students’ Rights, Aids Predatory Colleges

Republic Report

“The Betsy DeVos Department of Education …released a proposed rule to repeal and replace the 2016 Obama borrower defense regulation, which was aimed at cancelling federal student loan debts for people who are ripped off by predatory colleges. The new DeVos rule represents a … total surrender of policy to the for-profit and career colleges whose bad behavior triggered that rule … While the DeVos Department is claiming that gutting the Obama rule will save taxpayers a lot of money, in reality the opposite is true: This DeVos gift to predatory colleges will end up costing taxpayers billions more, while ruining countless students’ lives in the process … the Trump/DeVos rule inserts so many barriers to relief that it would be extremely difficult for any student to prevail”
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Behind The Campaign To Get Teachers To Leave Their Unions

NPR

“[When] the Supreme Court … ruled that these unions cannot collect money, known as agency fees, from nonmembers who are covered by collective bargaining agreements … groups were already ‘spamming [teachers] and trying to get them to opt out’ … The groups behind the opt-out campaign, which describe themselves as conservative, libertarian or free-market, share many donors in common … including the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation, and the DeVos Urban Leadership Initiative.”
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7/19/2018 – Teachers Join Progressives As Partners “In A Revolution”

THIS WEEK: Teachers Flood Elections … Teachers Fight Back … Republicans Say Arm Toddlers … Boston Is Segregation City … Cuts To Kids Continue

TOP STORY

Teachers Join Progressives As Partners “In A Revolution”

By Jeff Bryant

“Conservatives may believe they accomplished what they’ve endeavored to do for decades with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Janus v AFSCME … but they may have also unintentionally unified progressive Democrats with teachers’ unions as never before … That unification is certainly the image conveyed by the annual conventions of the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers that both took place in July … At the AFT meeting, the two former rivals for the Democratic Party’s 2016 presidential nomination – former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and current U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont – joined union President Randi Weingarten on stage … All three hailed teachers as partners in a ‘revolution’ … . Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, who also spoke at the AFT event, declared, ‘This is a time of crisis, and a crisis for America’s teachers is a crisis for America.’ In her powerful rallying cry, she implored teachers to join other progressives in ‘raising our voices for democracy’ and ‘organize like we’ve never organized before.'”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

With Successful Strikes Behind Them, Teachers Are Now Running For Office

Education Week

“Thousands of angry teachers across the country walked out of their classrooms this spring to protest low wages, cuts to school funding, and other changes to education policy. They scored some legislative victories … Now, scores of teachers are turning from the picket lines to the polls … While teachers running for office is not uncommon, it’s usually not so many or on such a large scale … Teachers running for office have to walk a fine line between their passion for education and their concern about becoming single-issue candidates.'”
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‘Betsy DeVos Is The Worst Secretary Of Education Ever’ — Teachers Union Leaders Come Out Swinging

The Washington Post

“The leaders of the two largest teachers’ unions in the country are coming out swinging after a Supreme Court ruling that dealt a blow to labor organizations’ ability to collect fees … Union leaders attacked the Trump administration and DeVos … mentioned massive strikes staged by teachers in a number of states earlier this year to protest low pay and inadequate education funding, declaring a new era of activism may be here.”
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Sacha Baron Cohen Dupes Former GOP Congressmen Into Declaring Support For Arming Toddlers With Guns To Prevent School Shootings

Alternet

“In a clip for his new Showtime series ‘Who Is America?’, Baron Cohen speaks with right wing Republican lawmakers … Baron Cohen, posing as an Israeli ‘anti-terror expert,’ introduces them to his fake ‘Kinderguardians’ program that purportedly ‘trains’ toddlers as young as three and four to shoot guns … To get their buy-in, he first goes to two right wing extremists and pro-gun activists, then takes those endorsements to the current and former lawmakers.”
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Four Decades After Court-Ordered Busing, Boston’s Education Gap Remains

The Boston Globe

“A computerized system that Boston uses to assign students to schools is exacerbating segregation among the city’s schools while locking out many black and Latino students from high-performing ones … The divide between those who have access to the best schools and those who don’t could not be more stark … The findings illustrate the negligible progress Boston has made in the four decades since court-ordered busing began in closing the gap in educational opportunities: The city’s historically white neighborhoods still have a disproportionate share of high-quality schools, while historically black neighborhoods … have fewer options, even though they have a higher density of students.”
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Share Of Federal Spending On Children Projected To Shrink, New Report Says

Education Week

“The share of federal spending that goes to programs and other benefits for children, including education funding, is expected to decline by more than 25% over the next decade … The recent decline in discretionary spending on education can be pinned at least in part on the Budget Control Act of 2011, which brought sequestration and new caps on federal spending. From 2008 to 2017, federal education spending dipped by 9% … Spending on education and early education, are already a miniscule share of gross domestic product, clocking in at 0.22% and .08% respectively, and both are expected to decline over the next decade.”
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7/12/2018 – Kavanaugh Would Advance Betsy DeVos’s Religious Agenda For Schools

THIS WEEK: Sad Schools For Migrant Kids … Labor Organizing Post Janus … Suspensions Hurt Students … GOP Nixes Gun Research … Koch Campus Speech

TOP STORY

Kavanaugh Would Advance Betsy DeVos’s Religious Agenda For Schools

By Jeff Bryant

“President Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court … would surely support a legal pathway to what DeVos wants … Kavanaugh’s support of the DeVos agenda for school vouchers and religious education … Should Kavanaugh be confirmed, which is what is expected, DeVos is far more apt to have a Supreme Court that agrees with her.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

Here’s What School Is Really Like For Some Migrant Children Separated From Their Parents

HuffPost

“Serious challenges, including a lack of experienced teachers, may be undermining the federal government’s efforts to educate undocumented children in its care … It’s not clear how much students are learning, and teachers sometimes serve more as babysitters than educators … Teachers are ‘really trying’ and ‘working hard,’ but they don’t have resources … ‘The kids barely learn anything; they’re watching number videos, listening to reggaetón, and coloring,'”
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Workers Must Get Radical To Fight Back Against Janus

The New York Times

Bryce Covert writes, “The Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v AFSCME … is a wound to the labor movement … Working Americans must now get radical to get heard. Even the lawyer representing the unions warned during oral arguments that when unions are denied agency fees, ‘they tend to become more militant, more confrontational’ … Corporate consolidation has meant Americans have little option but to accept whatever pay and benefits … Big employers force low-wage employees to sign agreements that bar them from working for competitors … Workers will have to reconstruct this countervailing power and find new ways to build solidarity. We’re going to have to get bold again.”
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Do Suspensions Lead To Higher Dropout Rates And Other Academic Problems? In New York City, The Answer Could Be Yes

Chalkbeat

“Do suspensions themselves cause … negative outcomes, or are the factors that led to the suspension in the first place the real culprit? … New research focusing on New York City … suggests that suspensions really do contribute to students passing fewer classes, increasing their risk of dropping out, and lowering the odds of graduating … Suspensions … contributed to a 3% reduction in passing math classes and 4% for English classes. A suspension was also linked to a 2% increase in the likelihood of dropping out the following semester.”
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House GOP Appropriators Block Funding For Gun Violence Research

Politico

“House Republican appropriators … rejected a proposal to designate millions of dollars for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for gun violence research, voting 32-20 to keep the language out of a fiscal 2019 spending bill. The party-line vote marked Democrats’ latest failed bid to spur studies into preventing firearm-related injuries and deaths … The agency’s ability to study gun violence had been limited by a 1996 provision that prevented the CDC from collecting data to advocate for gun control.”
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The Dark Money Behind Campus Speech Wars

The Nation

“In May, a new nonprofit group called Speech First sued the University of Michigan in federal court over its speech code, which it claims has a ‘chilling effect’ on young Trump supporters.… Speech First looks like … a highly professional astro-turfing campaign, with a board of former Bush administration lawyers and longtime affiliates of the Koch family. The group is new to the campus culture wars: It incorporated in December and launched in February. But it has already received endorsements from the Department of Justice … No students were involved in founding the group … Its $5 lifetime membership dues … make up a ‘negligible part’ of its funding, which mainly comes from undisclosed backers … The board’s center of gravity is George Mason University, a DC-area school recently revealed to have given the Kochs some sway over academic appointments in departments they funded.”
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7/5/2018 – After An ‘Educator Spring,’ Teachers Storm Elections

THIS WEEK: Educator Spring … Trump Hates Affirmative Action … Robo-Grading Writing? … Southerners Support Edu Spending … Schools Have Changed

TOP STORY

After An ‘Educator Spring,’ Teachers Storm Elections

By Jeff Bryant

“As an outcome of the wave of teacher walkouts and protests that swept through West Virginia, Oklahoma, and elsewhere – a chain of events increasingly referred to as an “Educator Spring” – “angry educators are flooding down-ballot races,” Politico reports … By taking their cause to the streets and then to the ballot box, teachers have made education a top election issue – not just in states, like North Carolina, where walkouts occurred – but also in states, like Florida, where they didn’t. It’s an electoral phenomenon that is little understood, much less reported on..”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

‘Educator Spring’ Spawns Wave Of Teacher Candidates

Politico

“Angry educators are flooding down-ballot races in the wake of recent red-state teacher strikes, accelerating the Democratic Party’s rebuilding process at the statehouse level and raising the prospect of legislative gains after years of decline … The teacher candidacies suggest that the wave of teacher strikes and protests that began last winter in West Virginia and later spread to Oklahoma, Arizona, and elsewhere created a grass-roots political opportunity … The teacher candidates are hoping to unseat conservative majorities that have dominated state legislatures since the Obama years … There are some early signs of success, and not just among Democrats. ”
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What Trump’s Plan To Ignore Race In School Admissions Actually Means For Students

Mother Jones

“The Education and Justice departments pulled seven Obama-era guidances that laid out how schools could voluntarily promote diversity through admissions and school assignment. In addition to those guidances, the Justice Department pulled 17 other policy directives it deemed ‘unnecessary, outdated, inconsistent with existing law, or otherwise improper’ … ‘To remove the guidances now can only be described as a political attack on efforts to bring communities together and as a policy of separation and division.'”
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More States Opting To ‘Robo-Grade’ Student Essays By Computer

NPR

“Computers are scoring long form answers … Developers of so-called ‘robo-graders’ … insist, with computers already doing jobs as complicated and as fraught as driving cars, detecting cancer, and carrying on conversations, they can certainly handle grading students’ essays … Several states including Utah and Ohio already use automated grading on their standardized tests … Longtime-critic of automated scoring, Les Perelman … designed what you might think of as robo-graders’ kryptonite, to expose what he sees as the weakness and absurdity of automated scoring … Because computers can only count, and cannot actually understand meaning, he says, facts are irrelevant to the algorithm … Students … will quickly learn they can fool the algorithm by using lots of big words, complex sentences, and some key phrases.”
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Poll Finds Southern Voters Want More Education Spending

The Hechinger Report

“The majority of voters in 12 Southern states … said states need to adjust funding to improve outcomes in these states … 74% of voters … said there are differences in the quality of education across the South, and 85% of voters said states need to take action to remedy that. According to 84% of voters, the remedy should involve changing school funding formulas to close the achievement gap between wealthy and low-income communities … The majority of the voters polled supported state and local tax increases … Even more voters said their state should ‘shift resources from other areas into education.’ Improving K-12 schools and higher education was a top concern for voters, after the economy and jobs.”
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Century-Old Decisions That Impact Children Every Day

NPR

“One of the most contentious issues in education today is how much our schools have, or haven’t, kept up with the times … Everything from the dimensions of a room to the height and placement of windows can make certain kinds of learning easier or harder … That standardization, and the image of American schools … is a drum often beaten by critics … The tale … leaves out an entire epoch of school buildings, inspired by the progressivism of John Dewey … These schools were part of a movement to give more autonomy to children.”
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6/28/2018 – Charter School Chain Poised To Profit Off Children Separated from Parents At The Border

THIS WEEK: DeVos Drops Civil Rights … School Reform Fail … College Speech Crackdown … Rebel Name Falls … SCOTUS Hurts Kids

TOP STORY

Charter School Chain Poised To Profit Off Children Separated from Parents At The Border

By Jeff Bryant

“Separating refugee and immigrant children from their parents at the border isn’t just a cruel injustice to the families affected; it’s also good business, and the latest enterprise wanting in on the action is a Texas-based charter school chain connected to the operator of detention centers reaping the biggest share of federal government contracts.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

DeVos Has Scuttled More Than 1,200 Civil Rights Probes Inherited From Obama

ProPublica

“A ProPublica analysis of data on more than 40,000 civil rights cases … found that, under Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, the department has scuttled more than 1,200 civil rights investigations that were begun under the Obama administration and lasted at least six months. These cases, which investigated complaints of civil rights violations ranging from discriminatory discipline to sexual violence in school districts and colleges around the country, were closed without any findings of wrongdoing or corrective action … ProPublica also found that the Office for Civil Rights has become more lenient. Under Obama, 51% of cases that took more than 180 days culminated in findings of civil rights violations, or corrective changes. Under the Trump administration, that rate has dropped to 35%.”
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The Gates Foundation Bet Big On Teacher Evaluation. The Report It Commissioned Explains How Those Efforts Fell Short.

Chalkbeat

“The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation … funded the efforts … in several large school districts and charter networks … to changing how teachers were hired, trained, evaluated, and paid. Now, new research commissioned by the Gates Foundation finds scant evidence that those changes accomplished what they were meant to: improve teacher quality or boost student learning … In most cases there were no clear effects, good or bad. There was also no consistent pattern of results over time … The total direct cost of all aspects of the program, across several years in the three districts and four charter networks, was $575 million … or a few hundred dollars per student per year.”
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In Name Of Free Speech, States Crack Down On Campus Protests

The New York Times

“When the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin wanted to address the issue of free speech on campus … it adopted a three-strikes policy …. Any student found to have disrupted the free expression of others is expelled after a third infraction … Republican-led state legislatures in Arizona, Georgia and North Carolina have imposed similar policies on public colleges and universities, and bills to establish campus speech guidelines are under consideration in at least seven other legislatures. These efforts, funded in part by big-money Republican donors, are part of a growing and well-organized campaign that has put academia squarely in the cross hairs of the American right.”
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A School In The Former Capital Of The Confederacy Is Renamed For Barack Obama, The Nation’s First Black President

Education Week

“The school board in Richmond, Va., will rename J.E.B. Stuart Elementary as Barack Obama Elementary School … Most of the students at Stuart Elementary are black. At Obama-named schools across the nation, more than 90% of students who attend the namesake schools are black and Latino. Fewer than 4% are white … Despite a wave of recent campaigns to remove the names of Confederate leaders from public schools, roughly 140 buildings in K-12 school districts still honor figures from that foregone era.”
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Supreme Court’s Janus Ruling Will Hurt Children

OurFuture

Jeff Bryant writes, “Pushing the Janus case to a compliant Supreme Court is the conservative movement’s counterpunch against the collective power of working people. But as is so often the case, when rightwing billionaires take a swing at a progressive cause, they hit children too … Because school teachers have become society’s first responders, anything that diminishes their voices diminishes advocacy for children … But the benefits of teachers’ unions, and unions of all kinds, to the wellbeing of children go beyond the advocacy teachers engage in for their schools and their students … A 2015 study found strong empirical evidence that unions may help children move up the economic ladder … The Janus case represents the culmination of the conservative movement’s decades-long effort to strike at the heart of workers’ ability to organize.”
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6/21/2018 – New Report Reveals Which States Are Abandoning Public Schools

THIS WEEK: How Charters Segregate … Teacher Salaries Lag … Teacher Healthcare Costs Rise … Rural Schools Dying … DC Reform Fail

TOP STORY

New Report Reveals Which States Are Abandoning Public Schools

By Jeff Bryant

“Having a democratically governed local school, accessible to all students and fully accountable to the public for how its spends taxpayer money, has been a given for most American families since segregated schools were outlawed, but a new report finds most states have been abandoning the traditional public system in favor of schools that are privately operated, less accessible to all children, and less accountable to taxpayers and democratic governance. The report contends the shift in emphasis from public schools to privately managed alternatives is not only an attack on public education, but also an attack on equal opportunity and civil rights..”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

‘It’s Like A Black And White Thing’: How Some Elite Charter Schools Exclude Minorities

NBC

“Charter [schools] have also used their greater flexibility to limit which kids make it through the schoolhouse doors – creating exclusive, disproportionately white schools … Some pick from preferred attendance zones. Some don’t offer school bus transportation. Others require expensive uniforms … There are at least 747 public charter schools around the country that enroll a higher percentage of white students than any of the traditional public schools … Politicians often sell charters as a solution for low-income black and brown students stuck in poor-performing public schools. Yet, by 2015, racially identifiable white charter schools had emerged in 18 states … The federal government has played a role in the growth of these charters by granting charter startup grants to schools without considering whether they will lead to increased segregation.”
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Average Teacher Salary Is Below The Living Wage In Half The Country, Report Says

Education Week

“In more than half the states, the average teacher is not making a living wage … Real teacher salaries rose just 7% since 1970, and have been largely flat since 1990. Since the 2008 recession, per-pupil funding and real teacher salaries, both adjusted for inflation, have declined in most states … States with low teacher salaries… tend to have more teacher shortages, a higher teacher turnover rate, and more uncertified and novice teachers than those states that pay the most. Those are all factors that hurt students, especially those who need good teaching the most.”
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Unwieldy Health Costs Often Stand Between Teachers And Higher Pay

USA Today

“Teachers, like other public employees, have traditionally accepted a trade-off: In exchange for relatively low salaries, they could expect relatively generous benefits, including pensions and low- or no-cost health premiums. But in an era of $100,000-a-year drugs and government budget cuts, school districts struggle to find the money to keep up their end of the bargain … Many cash-strapped school boards, cities and legislatures view health care benefits as an unpredictable budget-buster. Teachers are asked to fork over more of their paychecks to keep their health coverage, even as budget cuts impel them to use their own money for classroom supplies and to crowdsource money to buy computers … Primary, secondary and special education teachers paid 25.4% more last year to insure themselves and their families than they did in 2008.”
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School’s Closed. Forever.

The New York Times

“Officials in aging rural communities with stretched budgets are closing small schools and busing children to larger towns. People worry about losing not just their schools but their town’s future … Rural schools have been closing in waves for decades, but the debate has taken on sharp urgency this year, particularly in communities in the Midwest and New England that have grown smaller and older since the recession … DeVos has defended for-profit schools, maintaining that the U.S. needs to ‘expand, not limit, paths to higher education for students.’”
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DC’s Public Schools Go From Success Story To Cautionary Tale

Associated Press

“As recently as a year ago, the public school system in the nation’s capital was being hailed as a shining example of successful urban education reform and a template for districts across the country. Now the situation in the District of Columbia could not be more different. After a series of rapid-fire scandals, including one about rigged graduation rates, Washington’s school system has gone from a point of pride to perhaps the largest public embarrassment of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s tenure … Critics view the problems … as an indictment of the entire data-driven evaluation system instituted a more than a decade ago when then-Mayor Adrian Fenty took over the school system and appointed Michelle Rhee … Rhee’s ambitious plan to clear out dead wood and focus on accountability for teachers and administrators landed her on the cover of Time magazine … But now analysts question whether Rhee’s emphasis on performance metrics has created a monster.”
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6/14/2018 – Congress Stages A Sell-Job On Charter Schools And Ignores Complaints Of Black Parent

THIS WEEK: DeVos Listening to NRA … History Makeover Decried … DeVos Rejects Staff Advice … Vets Hurt By For-Profits … Dems Go Por-Public

TOP STORY

Congress Stages A Sell-Job On Charter Schools And Ignores Complaints Of Black Parent

By Jeff Bryant

“During a Congressional hearing … charter proponents stacked the agenda with biased testimony and completely ignored the lone witness who could attest firsthand to the real impact these schools have on communities of color … Jonathon Phillip Clark, an Iraq War veteran and black Detroit parent with seven children in the public-school system … Clark described his community as an “education desert” ravaged by Michigan’s policy of school choice, where charter schools open and close seemingly at random, and public schools are shuttered because of the uncertainties created by charter school competition … The Republicans on the House Committee virtually snubbed Clark, directing their questions to the pro-charter witnesses.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

NRA Has A ‘Tight Grip’ On Trump’s School Safety Work, Senator Tells Betsy DeVos

Education Week

“How can a federal commission, charged with figuring out how to prevent the next school shooting, ignore the issue of guns? That’s the question Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the top Democrat on the Senate education committee, put to U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos … Murray wrote. ‘Shifting the focus away from guns only shines a spotlight on the tight grip the NRA has on this Administration and the Administration’s inability to listen to the voices of the people you claim to serve’ … She noted that the panel’s first ‘listening session” was held during the day, in Washington, D.C., with little advanced notice for students, community members, educators, health care providers … DeVos herself chose to skip that meeting.”
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AP World History Gets A Makeover, And High School Teachers Rebel

Politico

“High school history teachers are in revolt over the alteration of a widely taught Advanced Placement course that they say threatens to present a skewed, Eurocentric history of the world to thousands of students … Under the controversial changes … World History course would begin in 1450 – essentially the rise of European power – effectively eliminating instruction on pre-colonial Africa, Asia, Americas, and the Middle East. Earlier eras would be relegated to a pre-AP course that isn’t tested … and not likely to be taken by students … Students taking the new post-1450 course will lose a broad global understanding of history, teachers say.”
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Betsy DeVos Reinstated College Accreditor Over Staff Objections

The New York Times

“Education Secretary Betsy DeVos disregarded a scathing review by her own staff this spring when she reinstated the watchdog body that had accredited two scandal-scarred for-profit universities whose bankruptcies left tens of thousands of students with worthless degrees and mountains of debt … The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, or Acics, had failed to meet 57 of 93 federal quality and management compliance standards … DeVos went above and beyond the court’s order in restoring the organization’s status … Acics was stripped of its powers in December 2016 amid the collapse of two for-profit university chains, Corinthian Colleges and ITT Tech, where students were encouraged to take on debt based on false promises.”
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Military Veterans Decry Debt, Useless Diplomas From For-Profit Colleges

The Hechinger Report

“College fraud claims have increased 29% from August of last year. 98% of those claims involve for-profit colleges … The for-profit schools are targeting student veterans even as these institutions’ non-military enrollment has declined … These schools took advantage of a loophole in a federal law that bars for-profit institutions from obtaining more than 90% of their revenue from federal aid. Under the loophole, the schools were able to count GI Bill money as private dollars, meaning they disproportionately profited from enrolling veterans … DeVos has defended for-profit schools, maintaining that the U.S. needs to ‘expand, not limit, paths to higher education for students.’”
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Pro-Public Education Democrats Are Winning Big in Pennsylvania

The Progressive

Peter Greene writes, “Pennsylvania is shaping up to be proving ground for fans of public education and progressive politics this year … Pennsylvania elections will be energized by our newly de-gerrymandered map … Elizabeth Fiedler, candidate for House representative in the Philadelphia area won her primary race on a strong public education platform … She’s also calling for a moratorium on charter and cyber-charter schools … Summer Lee is running for state assembly in the Pittsburgh area proposing free pre-K for all and criticizing charter schools as a form of privatization. Sara Innamorato, also running in the Pittsburgh area, campaigned on a platform that included condemnation of charters … Perhaps progressives around the country could make gains by standing up for public education and against the continued privatization.”
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6/7/2018 – Charter School Industry’s Stunning Loss In California Primaries

THIS WEEK: Why Teachers Strike … Teachers On The Ballot … Budget Cuts Hurt … What Vouchers Fund … Polls On Teacher Pay

TOP STORY

Charter School Industry’s Stunning Loss In California Primaries

By Jeff Bryant

“In reviewing the losers in this week’s primary elections in eight states, one shouldn’t overlook the charter school industry, which took a drubbing in the California governor’s race where its preferred candidate former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa drew a very disappointing 13 percent of the vote … It’s important to understand what the charter industry believes was at stake in getting Villaraigosa elected.'”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

The Numbers That Explain Why Teachers Are In Revolt

The New York Times

“The underlying conflict between public school employees and policymakers has roots in decisions made during the last recession, when states and local districts short of cash curtailed education spending for the first time in decades… The recovery that has lifted the private economy has not quite restored school spending to pre-recession levels, especially in states run by fiscal conservatives … Spending per pupil rose 26 out of 29 years before 2010, only to tumble three consecutive years at the beginning of this decade … By 2016, more than half of states controlled by Democrats had restored education spending per pupil to 2009 levels, but the same was true in only 5 of 22 states controlled by Republicans.”
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From The Classroom To The Campaign Trail: Emboldened Teachers Run For Office

The Washington Post

“Teachers are running for office in unprecedented numbers … In several deep-red states, educators who protested budget cuts, low teacher pay and pension changes are challenging lawmakers at the ballot box, following through on vows to oust them from office. Teachers on both sides of the aisle are taking up the mantle, with some Republican educators campaigning on pledges to increase education spending and to slow the expansion of charter schools … Teachers have watched as their classrooms crumbled from neglect and their school days became consumed by preparation for standardized tests.”
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What Budget Cuts Mean For Third Graders In A Rural School

The New York Times

“West Greene is one of many schools across the country dealing with the effects of funding cuts, from broken-down buses to donated supplies to teachers who work second jobs … Teachers here said they felt they could address their needs locally, without getting involved in state politics, even though many said they were unhappy about their salaries and the school’s tight budget. Their detachment from the protests suggested that there were limits to the walkout movement.”
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Private Schools’ Curriculum Downplays Slavery, Says Humans And Dinosaurs Lived Together

Orlando Sentinel

“Some private schools in Florida that rely on public funding teach students that dinosaurs and humans lived together, that God’s intervention prevented Catholics from dominating North America and that slaves who ‘knew Christ’ were better off than free men who did not. The lessons taught at these schools come from three Christian publishing companies whose textbooks are popular on many of about 2,000 campuses that accept, and often depend on, nearly $1 billion in state scholarships, or vouchers … The social studies books downplay the horrors of slavery and the mistreatment of Native Americans … They disparage religions other than Protestant Christianity and cultures other than those descended from white Europeans … About 60% of scholarship students are black or Hispanic.”
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New Polls Find Most Americans Say Teachers Are Underpaid – And Many Would Pay Higher Taxes To Fix It

The Washington Post

“Three national polls report that most Americans agree that educators don’t earn enough. And two of the surveys found that at least half of Americans said they would pay higher taxes to raise educator salaries … Each found that Americans overwhelmingly believe public school teachers are underpaid … U.S. teachers earn less than 60% of what similarly educated professionals make.”
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5/31/2018 – New Charter School Plan Should Alarm The Nation

THIS WEEK: False ‘Security’ … Court Defies DeVos … Inside An Underfunded School … Schools Need AC … White Rule Over Black Schools

TOP STORY

New Charter School Plan Should Alarm The Nation

By Jeff Bryant

“Charter schools already have a segregation problem. But a new law about to pass in North Carolina would direct even more taxpayer money into funding charter schools that by design, if not by intent, lead to more racial segregation of school children. This is not only an alarming development in the Old South, where schools made substantial progress on integration since the landmark Brown v. Board Supreme Court case made racially separate schools illegal in 1954. It’s also a wakeup call to the nation on how a campaign to re-segregate public schools is being carried out in the name of ‘school choice’ and ‘local control.'”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

In Costly Quest For Security, U.S. Schools Face Law Of Diminishing Returns

Reuters

“School security has ballooned into a multibillion-dollar industry … Some schools are spending precious funds on untested technologies … even though the most robust and effective safety measures can only mitigate the risk, not eliminate it … School officials must also strive to balance the need for security with a desire to preserve an atmosphere conducive to learning … Schools can become fortified bunkers that feel like prisons to students … Even extraordinarily secure places like the Pentagon and the Fort Hood military base have faced shootings.”
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Court Rules Feds Violated Privacy Law For Corinthian College Students

Associated Press via CBS Sacramento

“In a break with Obama administration policy, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced in December that some students cheated by the now-defunct schools would only get a part of their federal student loan forgiven. In order to determine how much to forgive, the agency analyzes average earnings of graduates from similar programs … A California district court ruled late Friday that the department’s use of Social Security Administration data in order to calculate loan forgiveness violates the Privacy Act. The court ordered that the Education Department stop the practice and stop debt collection from these students.”
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I Work At One Of America’s Underfunded Schools. It’s Falling Apart

The Guardian

An Oklahoma teacher writes, “You have probably heard about the recent teacher walkout in Oklahoma. While some of that was about teacher salaries, it was more about the conditions in our schools – conditions that resulted from years of underfunding education … Our classes are extremely overcrowded, with 30 and 40 students per class. Some of us don’t even have enough desks for our students to sit in … None of the teachers I asked could remember the last time we adopted new textbooks. Our current history textbook, The Story of Oklahoma, is so old that the Oklahoma City bombing only gets a couple of pages in the epilogue … One student told us: ‘I didn’t realize that people had textbooks with covers on them.’ ”
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Higher Temperatures Equal Lower Test Scores – Study Confirms That Students Learn Less In Overheated Classrooms

Chalkbeat

” after a particularly hot year of school, high schoolers performed worse on the PSAT, an exam taken to prepare for the SAT and determine winners of the National Merit Scholarship … The research highlights how external factors can impact students’ performance on high-stakes tests, while also suggesting that air conditioning, still missing in many schools, is a worthwhile investment … Impacts were significantly larger for black and Hispanic students and those in lower-income areas … Most of harmful consequences of heat disappearing in schools that appear to have air conditioning.”
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Will The State Takeover Of Jackson Schools be ‘Better Together’ Or The Same Old Education Politics?

The Progressive

Jeff Bryant writes, “In Jackson, Mississippi … a state audit of the district’s schools gave justification … to propose a state takeover of Jackson schools … White rule in Mississippi has long made Jackson schools a target of either malevolent neglect or authoritarian abuse … Mississippi’s conservative state authorities may also be concerned about the nature of Jackson’s black leadership. When Chokwe Antar Lumumba ran for Jackson mayor in 2017, he presented himself as an unabashed lefty. After he won a landslide victory, he talked about making Jackson ‘the most radical city on the planet,’ elevating an agenda of social justice, economic democracy, and citizen engagement … The rise of black populism in Jackson also raises the potential for a head-on collision with … the charter school industry.”
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5/24/2018 – Will Teacher Uprisings Change Democrats?

THIS WEEK: DeVos Wants Religious Schools … DeVos Unleashes ICE … Immigrant Students Traumatized … Schools Closings Harm Students … We Hate Children

TOP STORY

Will Teacher Uprisings Change Democrats?

By Jeff Bryant

Anyone wondering whether teacher uprisings this spring will influence party politics and elections in November should look at what’s happened in this year’s primaries so far … There are clear signs the dynamics of education politics are changing in the Democratic party, and those changes are taking place at the very same time progressive populist candidates are surging in Democratic primaries across the country. These insurgencies could result not only in a new Democratic party, but also a new vision for education policy in the party.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

DeVos: State Bans On Public Money To Religious Schools Should Go To ‘Ash Heap Of History’

Education Week

“U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos railed against state constitutional prohibitions on public funds going to faith-based institutions … The target of DeVos’ wrath: so-called ‘Blaine’ amendments to state constitutions that prohibit public funds from being used for religious purposes … These amendments are still on the books in 37 states … DeVos also gave a shout-out to states … that have created so-called ‘tax credit scholarship programs,’ in which individuals and corporations can get a tax break for donating to scholarship granting organizations. DeVos worked behind the scenes last year to get a similar, federal program included in a tax overhaul bill, but was ultimately unsuccessful.”
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Betsy DeVos Stirs Uproar By Saying Schools Can Call ICE On Undocumented Kids

HuffPost

“Education Secretary Betsy DeVos provoked an outcry Tuesday when she said schools can choose to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement on potentially undocumented students. ‘I think that’s a school decision, it’s a local community decision, DeVos told the House Education and the Workforce Committee … Advocacy groups immediately protested her answer, pointing out that under the Supreme Court case Plyler v. Doe, all children ― undocumented or not ― are entitled to a free public education … DeVos’ comments could have a chilling impact on undocumented students attending schools.”
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Teachers Are Witnessing An Uptick In Emotional Problems In Students Afraid Of ICE

The Nation

“In the latest video by Brave New Films, Immigrant Stories: Teachers, educators reveal how immigration enforcement actions are disrupting their students’ lives and affecting not just their education, but their overall wellbeing … According to a study conducted this year by the UCLA Civil Rights Project, two-thirds of the 3,500 educators surveyed across 12 states have noticed behavioral or emotional problems in their students that appear to be related to the rise of immigrant enforcement action. Some respondents noted seeing students come to school withdrawn, anxious, crying and refusing to eat lunch. One Maryland teacher even gave an account of a student who attempted to self-harm because she was so distraught by her mother’s deportation. Teachers surveyed also reported a rise in absenteeism and a decline in parent involvement because they fear leaving their homes.”
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Study: After Mass School Closings, Impacted Students Lagged Academically

The Chicago Reporter

“Thousands of students experienced negative academic outcomes after the 2013 [Chicago] school closures, despite the fact officials promised them a better education … While officials said the main reason they closed schools in 2013 was to save money, the district has never reported if it did … Students from closed schools saw long-term negative effects in math. Students tested two months behind their peers in math the year the closures were announced. That gap persisted for four years … While students from the closed schools’ GPA in the core subjects of English, math, science and social studies rose at first, by the third and fourth years after the closures, they were lower than expected compared to their peers … This indicator is a key predictor of whether students will stay on track and graduate from high school – more so than test scores.”
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The U.S. Spends Less On Children Than Almost Any Other Developed Nation

The Washington Post

“The federal government now spends less than it did about 30 years ago on some of the country’s poorest children … In 1990, the government spent about $8,700 on every child whose family took in no income from work. By 2015, accounting for inflation, it spent less than $7,000 … In 1995, America ranked ahead of nine developed nations in the share of the economy the federal government spends on children. Since 2004, America has ranked third-to-last in spending, with only Mexico and Turkey lagging behind … America spent 2.7% of its gross domestic product on children in 2015 but about 9% of it on the elderly.”
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