Education Opportunity Network

Education Opportunity Network -

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

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

TOP STORY

What Is The Purpose Of School Choice?

By Jeff Bryant

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

NEWS AND VIEWS

The Quiet Wave Of School District Secessions

US News & World Report

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

K-12 Spending Gets Caught In States’ Budget Fights

Education Week

“More than half the states this year missed their revenue projections, and many legislators are pushing their colleagues to pass more-conservative budgets this year … School spending, because it takes up such a large part of the budget, has sparked brushfires between parties and chambers … Kansas and Washington officials continue to fight over how to answer their states’ supreme court justices, who have deemed their spending unconstitutional.”
Read more …

Three Big Problems With School ‘Choice’ That Supporters Don’t Like To Talk About

The Washington Post

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

The Broken Promises Of Choice In New York City Schools

The New York Times

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

Top Universities Could Take Thousands More Low-Income Students, Study Says

The Hechinger Report

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

5/4/2017 – The Democrats’ Dilemma On Charter Schools

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

TOP STORY

The Democrats’ Dilemma On Charter Schools

By Jeff Bryant

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

NEWS AND VIEWS

Is Charter School Fraud The Next Enron?

The Conversation

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

What A New Study On Vouchers Means For Trump’s Agenda

The Atlantic

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

More Parents Of Color Think Racism Is Holding Back Their Children In School

The Huffington Post

“A new national survey of black and Latino parents … paints a grim picture of a school system that is systemically failing black and brown families … Nearly three-quarters of black families think that white students receive a better education than their children. The facts are on these families’ sides. In many states, school districts that serve minority populations receive less state and local funding … [and] have less-experienced teachers. Students of color face disproportionately tough discipline compared to white students … Families also report viewing racism as a culprit for racial inequities in education … 10% more black parents and 8% more Latino parents reported feeling this way compared to last year.”
Read more …

Is The High School Graduation Rate Inflated? No, Study Says

Education Week

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

Instead Of Separating Families By Building Walls, Invest In Schools

OurFuture.Org

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

4/27/2017 – With A Wary Eye On DeVos, Students Take Fight For Free Higher Ed To States

THIS WEEK: NOLA Not A Reform Model … Is DC Reform Darling? … False Remediation … School Funding Inequity … Vouchers Hurt Rural Schools

TOP STORY

With A Wary Eye On DeVos, Students Take Fight For Free Higher Ed To States

By Jeff Bryant

“Students who aspire to attend college or who have attended at least some higher education and have incurred loan burdens because of that … have a wary eye on DeVos, and they’re planning to counter whatever she and President Trump do with a renewed push for free higher education … The most alarming hire, so far, is for the head of the very office tasked to oversee civil rights enforcement in schools … But unlike efforts by the Obama administration to take action at the federal level, some student activists are targeting states too.”
Read more …

NEWS AND VIEWS

New Orleans Charter School Problems Exposed At NAACP Hearing

The Huffington Post

“New Orleans is the nation’s largest and most complete experiment in charter schools … Problems were on display in New Orleans when the NAACP… held a community forum in New Orleans on charters … [The] charter system remains highly segregated by race and economic status. Students have significantly longer commutes to and from school. The percentage of African American teachers has declined dramatically … The costs of administration have gone up while resources for teaching have declined … Students with disabilities have been ill served… Thousands of students are in below average schools. Students and parents feel disempowered.”
Read more …

How D.C. Became The Darling Of Education Reform

The American Prospect

“When it comes to education reform, perhaps no city has inspired more controversy and acclaim over the last decade than Washington, D.C. … Proponents point to positive benchmarks … Critics point to large racial and socioeconomic achievement gaps, misleading claims made by the school district’s public relations department, uncritical press coverage, a precipitous decline in black educators, and funding that has been inequitably distributed … D.C. finally produced a publicly funded independent evaluation of its school reforms in 2015 … The review … found some promising evidence of improvements, but the evaluators identified many persistent disparities, and noted a lack of comprehensive, accessible data.”
Read more …

How A Little-Known Standardized Test Harms Community College Students

Washington Monthly

“The test that matters for community college students … is called the Accuplacer … schools use to decide who’s actually ready for college classes… If you don’t do well on the Accuplacer, you’re probably going to be put in what are known as developmental, or remedial, classes. More than two-thirds of community college students end up in remediation. Some need to be there. But many probably don’t … An analysis …. looked at who ended up in remedial classes. Nearly half of the community college students who were strongly prepared by the researchers’ measure ended up in remediation.”
Read more …

Do Private Donations Reinforce School Disparities?

Education Week

“Private donations can come through parent-teacher organizations, school district foundations, booster clubs, and private companies. Though they account for a fraction of districts’ budgets, the extra dollars can reinforce existing inequities between districts … Since 2006 … per-pupil dollar amount soared from $131 to $863. The uptick isn’t by accident … ‘These districts are using money for what public funding used to cover.'”
Read more …

What Does Secretary DeVos Know About Rural Schools? Not Much, Say Advocates

The Daily Yonder

“[Her] market-focused solution isn’t a good fit with rural realities… ‘This idea of rural schools and portability of funds – so that if a child leaves one school and goes another school, then the dollars follow the child – would just be really deleterious for rural schools with small student populations’ … An early indication of DeVos’ stand on rural education will come when the Department of Education releases a congressionally mandated report on rural education in a few weeks.”
Read more …

4/20/2017 – Early Signs Betsy DeVos Will Not Support Civil Rights

THIS WEEK: Church And State … Choosing Segregation … Costs Of No Excuses … Screwing College Students … Neovouchers

TOP STORY

Early Signs Betsy DeVos Will Not Support Civil Rights

By Jeff Bryant

“So far, Trump’s Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has sent numerous signs she is assembling a staff and laying down a policy mindset that seems indifferent – if not outright averse – to the needs of nonwhite students … The most alarming hire, so far, is for the head of the very office tasked to oversee civil rights enforcement in schools.”
Read more …

NEWS AND VIEWS

In Upcoming Case, Supreme Court Should Uphold Separation Of Church And State

The Century Foundation

“The U.S. Supreme Court … in a closely watched case… could pave the way for state funding of private religious schools … The case involves a challenge to an 1875 provision in the Missouri Constitution which prohibits spending taxpayer funds ‘directly or indirectly, in aid of any church, sect or denomination of religion’ … The federal district and circuit courts … upheld Missouri’s decision not to become entangled with religious institutions. But with President Trump’s appointee on the Supreme Court possibly holding the balance of power, the justices may take a serious step toward dismantling the wall separating church and state – a structure that has served our democracy so well over the generations.”
Read more …

When School Choice Means Choosing Segregation

Vice News

“A lawsuit pending appeal with the state Supreme Court alleges the growing segregation in Minnesota’s schools denies an adequate education to poor and minority kids and is the logical and illegal conclusion of the state’s abdication of its responsibility to integrate. It also alleges the state has allowed segregated charter schools to proliferate … Schools with large concentrations of poor or minority children … perform worse … Integration has repeatedly been shown to improve educational outcomes for all students … Charter advocates, for their part, are actively pushing back on the need to integrate at all … Integrating public schools isn’t possible without also integrating charter schools, and neither is possible without a court order.”
Read more …

Arresting And Suspending Students Costs City Millions Each Year, Report Says

Daily News

“Arresting and suspending students … cost [New York City] millions each year … more than $746 million … associated with students dropping out of school because of suspensions or arrests … ‘The $746 Million a Year School-to-Prison Pipeline’ calls for fewer student suspensions and the removal of NYPD personnel and metal detectors from public schools … ‘The city has an opportunity here to reinvest some of these funds into supportive programs and opportunities for students.'”
Read more …

Betsy DeVos Is Wasting No Time Screwing Over Students Who Borrow Money for College

Slate

“Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has been sending some chilling signals lately about how she plans to deal with America’s $1.3 trillion student debt burden … Her department has scrapped Obama-era reforms that were designed to protect borrowers from being gouged or misled by the companies responsible for collecting their loans … DeVos seems less interested in protecting former students than in protecting the predators that have fleeced them for profit.”
Read more …

Tax Credits, School Choice And ‘Neovouchers’: What You Need To Know

The Conversation

“As Republican lawmakers craft a tax reform bill … it’s likely that the bill will also include a major education policy initiative from the Trump administration: a tax credit designed to fund private school vouchers … These new vouchers (or ‘neovouchers’) are similar to conventional vouchers in many ways, but there are some important differences … The complexity of the neovoucher approach obscures the fact that it’s really a voucher program, making it less of a political lightning rod … 17 states have tax-credit policies … generating a quarter-million vouchers and growing every year … Proposals are now appearing at a federal level.”
Read more …

4/13/2017 – During Resistance Recess, Join The Fight For Public Schools

THIS WEEK: Trump Ends Lead Paint Protections … Vouchers Hurt Special Ed … Importance Of Black Teachers … Charters Aren’t Needed … Lessons From Erie Schools

TOP STORY

During Resistance Recess, Join The Fight For Public Schools

By Jeff Bryant

“Public schools are imperiled, which means our democracy, and our future, is too. If you doubt that at all, just review prominent news stories from the past few days. They present ample evidence of the widespread effort to turn public education into opportunities for private gain … Resistance Recess is an opportunity for you to sound the alarm about what is happening to public education … A new communications tool … has all the talking points and in-depth research you need.”
Read more …

NEWS AND VIEWS

Trump’s EPA Moves To Dismantle Programs That Protect Kids From Lead Paint

The Washington Post

“Environmental Protection Agency officials are proposing to eliminate two programs focused on limiting children’s exposure to lead-based paint, which is known to cause damage to developing brains and nervous systems … Old housing stock is the biggest risk for lead exposure – and the EPA estimates that 38 million U.S. homes contain lead-based paint … Erik Olson, who directs the Natural Resources Defense Council’s health program, said … the move leaves children in dozens of states unprotected.”
Read more …

Special Ed School Vouchers May Come With Hidden Costs

The New York Times

“For many parents with disabled children in public school systems, the lure of the private school voucher is strong … But there’s a catch. By accepting the vouchers, families may be unknowingly giving up their rights to the very help they were hoping to gain. The government is still footing the bill, but when students use vouchers to get into private school, they lose most of the protections of the federal Individuals With Disabilities Education Act … Private schools that participate … are not required to demonstrate that they use any type of specialized curriculum to meet disabled children’s needs.”
Read more …

Study: Black Students More Likely To Graduate If They Have One Black Teacher

Education Week

“If a low-income black student has just one black teacher in elementary school, that student is significantly more likely to graduate high school and consider attending college … There was an even stronger effect for black boys from persistently low-income homes … Only 7% of public school teachers are black. Research has found that black teachers are less likely to suspend, expel, or give detention to black students, who are disproportionately given exclusionary discipline.'”
Read more …

Charter Schools Are Expanding Where They Aren’t Needed – Especially In Los Angeles, New Report Says

The Los Angeles Times

“New research … looks at where charter schools are increasing in number and where schools are needed based on enrollment. The two trend lines do not correspond … especially in the Los Angeles Unified School District, where the number of school-age children has declined even as the number of charters has rapidly grown … Traditional school districts can’t build new schools when real or potential enrollment fails to justify expansion. But those rules don’t apply to charter schools … Massive amounts of public dollars are helping charters acquire property that could end up being privately controlled should charters decide to sell their school sites or go out of business.”
Read more …

Erie Pennsylvania’s Schools Are A Canary In The Coal Mine of Education

The Progressive

Jeff Bryant writes, “Schools in low-income communities in many states don’t have the resources to give students access to opportunities that are available in wealthier areas … It’s important to know who to blame for the financial calamities … Better-funded districts simply don’t want more money going to less well-off districts because it would mean money out of their budgets … Charter schools help perpetuate this ‘everyone out for himself’ thinking.”
Read more …

4/6/2017 – The Schools Betsy DeVos Wants Parents To Choose

THIS WEEK: Segregation Hurts Everyone … Trump Cuts Diversity … College Debt Harms Economy … Free College Returns … Facts On Preschool Suspensions

TOP STORY

The Schools Betsy DeVos Wants Parents To Choose

By Jeff Bryant

“U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos … used this visit to a public school as an opportunity to tell parents they would do better for their kids by sending them to privately run schools … But as her administration encourages parents to leave public schools, what types of schools would she prefer parents choose instead? Based on other schools DeVos has chosen for her itinerary, the possibilities are truly frightening.”
Read more …

NEWS AND VIEWS

Everyone Pays A Hefty Price For Segregation, Study Says

NPR

“Researchers … found that if Chicago – the fifth most racially and economically segregated city in the country – were to lower its level of segregation to the national median … it would have a profound impact … including raising the region’s gross domestic product, raising incomes, and lowering the homicide rate… Less segregation would also make Chicago and its environs more educated, with an estimated 83,000 more people who have bachelor’s degrees, bringing the region an added $90 billion in total lifetime earnings.”
Read more …

Trump’s Education Department Nixes Obama-Era Grant Program For School Diversity

The Washington Post

“President Trump’s Education Department has decided to nix an Obama-era grant program meant to help local districts devise ways to boost socioeconomic diversity within their schools … The Education Department said through a spokesman that the $12 million grant program was discontinued because it would not be a wise use of tax dollars … Research has shown that poor children who go to mixed-income schools fare better academically than poor children who go to high-poverty schools and that such integration doesn’t hurt the performance of affluent students. And yet U.S. public schools have become more segregated by race and class over the past two decades.”
Read more …

Debt Load Could Snag Students, Hurt U.S. Economy: Fed’s Dudley

Reuters

“Rising student loan debt in the United States could ultimately hurt overall home ownership and consumer spending and erode colleges’ and universities’ ability to elevate lower-income students, a top Federal Reserve policymaker said … Aggregate student loan balances $1.3 trillion at the end of last year, up 170 percent from 2006 … There are ‘potential longer-term negative implications of student debt on homeownership and other types of consumer spending … Continued increases in college costs and debt burdens could inhibit higher education’s ability to serve as an important engine of upward income mobility.'”
Read more …

Bernie Sanders Just Introduced His Free College Tuition Plan

The Nation

“The College for All Act aims to eliminate tuition and fees at public four-year colleges and universities for students from families that make up to $125,000 per year. The bill would make community college tuition-free for all income levels. Clearly the bill will go nowhere in a Republican Congress … But [Senator Bernie] Sanders and several of the co-sponsors clearly see the bill as a valuable organizing tool … The act would have the government pay 67% of tuition subsidies at public colleges and universities, while asking state and tribal governments to pay the other third … It would be financed by a tax on Wall Street speculation.”
Read more …

4 Disturbing Facts About Preschool Suspension

Center for American Progress

“47% of the preschoolers who received suspensions or expulsions in the 2013-14 school year were African American, even though they made up only 19% of preschool enrollment. In total, nearly 7,000 3- and 4-year-olds were suspended or expelled from public preschools during the same school year … Disturbing, facts to know about preschool suspension and expulsion … It pathologizes normal child behavior … It can be driven by implicit racial bias … It’s more common in school districts that still use corporal punishment … It may be an even bigger problem in private preschools.”
Read more …

3/30/2017 – A Gorsuch Approval Would Put Vulnerable Students Further At Risk

THIS WEEK: DeVos Dream School … How Trump Cuts Hurt … Special Ed Segregation … Let Kids Play … Trump Hypocrisy On STEM

TOP STORY

A Gorsuch Approval Would Put Vulnerable Students Further At Risk

By Jeff Bryant

“Students with disabilities already face a difficult path through our nation’s education system … With the Gorsuch nomination, Trump appears increasingly willing to respond to the real obstacles these children face by telling them, ‘Tough! You’re on your own’ … Gorsuch’s pattern of disregarding the rights of disabled students merely reflects a pattern of the Trump administration to minimize the needs of these students … The Gorsuch nomination not only continues the pattern of neglect, even antipathy, Trump exhibits toward students with disabilities; his approval would cement this in legal precedent for generations to come.”
Read more …

NEWS AND VIEWS

Welcome To The Private Evangelical School Of Betsy DeVos’ Dreams

The Huffington Post

“The Potter’s House is a private school that is ‘evangelical in nature’ and reportedly teaches creationism alongside evolution. It’s also the type of school that Betsy DeVos … believes can level the playing field in educational inequality… DeVos has been … a donor, volunteer and board member. She has mentioned the school by name in speeches and interviews … Early signs indicate that DeVos will help make it easier for kids to attend similar private, religious schools.”
Read more …

What Would Trump’s Proposed Cut To Teacher Funding Mean For Schools?

Education Week

“President Donald Trump has proposed getting rid of the Title II program, which … aims to help districts and states pay for teacher and principal development, reduce class-size, craft new evaluation systems, and more … Zeroing out Title II could hamper implementation of the new Every Student Succeeds Act, lead to teacher layoffs, and make it tougher for educators to reach special populations of students, or use technology in their classrooms … The money for class-size reduction has helped pay for the salaries of nearly 9,000 teachers nationwide … During the 2015-16 school year, nearly half the money went to the nation’s highest-poverty districts.”
Read more …

The Separate, Unequal Education Of Students With Special Needs

The Hechinger Report

“Children … all over the country – with diagnoses including ADHD, bipolar disorder and, increasingly, autism … are often placed in separate classrooms within public schools and spend large numbers of hours on computers using technology that is not aligned with their specific needs … A Georgia program caught the attention of the Department of Justice, which launched an investigation that lasted several years … According to that lawsuit, the … system violates the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, both by segregating children with disabilities and by denying them access to an equal education … The case has implications for school systems and children with emotional and behavioral disorders across the nation.”
Read more …

Why Kids Shouldn’t Sit Still in Class

The New York Times

“Evidence builds that taking brief activity breaks during the day helps children learn and be more attentive in class, and a growing number of programs designed to promote movement are being adopted in schools … Children who are more active ‘show greater attention, have faster cognitive processing speed and perform better on standardized academic tests than children who are less active’ … Students, especially boys, who had daily physical education, did better in school.”
Read more …

The irony In Ivanka Trump’s And Betsy DeVos’s Push For STEM Education

The Washington Post

Education journalist and blogger Valerie Strauss writes, “Ivanka Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos visited the National Air and Space Museum in Washington … to ‘highlight the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education’ and to discuss ’empowering young women to pursue STEM-related careers’ … The event came just a short time after President Trump, Ivanka’s father, advanced his first federal budget, which … seeks to wipe out NASA’s education office, which oversees efforts to support women and underrepresented minorities in STEM fields, operates camps and enrichment programs, and provides internships and scholarships for young scientists.”
Read more …

3/23/2017 – The Big Lie Behind Trump’s Education Budget

THIS WEEK: School Choice Pushback … Vouchers Feed White Flight … Schools As Sanctuaries … Student Loan Defaulters Targeted … Words That Hurt Schools

TOP STORY

The Big Lie Behind Trump’s Education Budget

By Jeff Bryant

“Public school supporters are angry at President Trump’s budget proposal, which plans to cut funding to the Department of Education by 13 percent … But the target for their anger should not be just the extent of the cuts but also how the cuts are being pitched to the public … The way the Trump administration is spinning this combination of funding cuts and increases … is that there is some sort of strategically important balance between funding programs for poor kids versus ‘school choice’ schemes, as if the two are equivalents and just different means to the same ends. Nothing could be further from the truth.”
Read more …

NEWS AND VIEWS

School Choice Fight In Iowa May Preview The One Facing Trump

The New York Times

“Few topics in education are more controversial than the idea of diverting public money to private institutions, and Iowa has become a study in the kind of political fights that may be in store for the administration … The pushback has come from groups traditionally opposed to the idea … but also from some conservatives … A Des Moines Register poll of 802 Iowans in February found that 58 percent opposed using public funds to pay for private education, while 35 percent supported the idea.”
Read more …

Trump’s Signature Education Goal Has A Long History With White Flight

The Huffington Post

“President Donald Trump’s proposed budget set aside $250 million for a still-opaque ‘private school choice program’ … Betsy DeVos claimed at her confirmation hearing that school choice programs lead to more integrated schools … The history of school voucher programs is tied up with ideas of white supremacy. To avoid school desegregation … some Southern states created tuition grants to allow white students to attend all-white private schools in the 1960s … White students continue to dominate private school demographics, in part because of this racist history.”
Read more …

How Schools Are Trying to Make Undocumented Kids And Their Parents Feel Safe

Vice

“Schools have been proactive in hopes of alleviating the anxiety of immigrant children, emphasizing that they remain open to everyone … Even in districts that aren’t taking pains to make immigrants feel safe, US law already provides a fair number of protections for undocumented students … But … immigration experts say there are few legal options available to protect undocumented students and parents who are en route to ‘sensitive locations’ like school or church.”
Read more …

Trump Administration Rolls Back Protections For People In Default On Student Loans

The Washington Post

“Days after a report on federal student loans revealed a double-digit rise in defaults, President Trump’s administration revoked federal guidance Thursday that barred student debt collectors from charging high fees on past-due loans … The action does not affect any borrowers whose loans are held by the Education Department, according to the department. It could, however, impact nearly 7 million people with $162 billion in FFEL loans held by guarantee agencies. Nearly half of the total outstanding student debt in default comes from the FFEL program.”
Read more …

Words That Hurt Our Public Schools, And Ones That Help

By Jeff Bryant

“Many, attribute the success of the anti-public movement to the vast wealth of individuals in big business and finance. That wealth helps for sure. But I would argue that they have a weapon more valuable than money: It’s the English language … The war of words on the public sector has had some of its greatest success in the effort to dismantle public education … Let’s look at some of the words used to assault our schools and consider how we can fight back.”
Read more …

3/16/2017 – What Betsy DeVos Means When She Says ‘Public Schools’

THIS WEEK: Schools Are Falling Apart … Teachers Oppose Trump … Charter School Corruption … School Rankings Suck … College Student Poverty

TOP STORY

What Betsy DeVos Means When She Says ‘Public Schools’

By Jeff Bryant

“Betsy DeVos once called public schools a ‘dead end,’ but now that she’s U.S. Secretary of Education, she’s suddenly all for them … Has DeVos had a sudden change of heart? That’s doubtful … What does DeVos mean by ‘public school?’ It turns out that’s becoming a squishy term … at least if school choice advocates have their way.”
Read more …

NEWS AND VIEWS

Public Schools’ Infrastructure Gets Near Failing Grade From Civil Engineers

Education Week

“The American Society of Civil Engineers gave public schools a D-plus in its report card on the nation’s infrastructure … A D grade means that buildings are in fair to poor condition, with many elements nearing the end of their useful life and showing significant deterioration … Nearly a quarter of permanent public school buildings were in fair or poor condition. In more than 30% of public school facilities, windows, plumbing, and HVAC systems were in ‘fair’ or ‘poor’ condition. 53% of public schools needed to make repairs, renovations, or upgrades to be in ‘good’ condition.”
Read more …

Teachers Will Be A Formidable Force Against Trump

The Nation

“Teachers are working to protect undocumented immigrant students, trans students, and any student whose chance at an equitable education is at risk … Educators are pressing for more decisive protections for … immigrant youth, many with refugee and undocumented family members … School districts … in Pittsburgh and several California cities [are] barring ICE agents altogether, without prior government permission.”
Read more …

An Alarming Study Links Fraud In The Enron Scandal To Similar Practices At Charter Schools

Business Insider

“The charter-school industry … is rife with the same types of fraud and mismanagement that led to the Enron collapse … Related-party transactions, or deals between entities that have preexisting relationships, in charter school relationships [have] the same types of activities that Enron executives participated in before the company collapsed … So-called gatekeepers, like the Department of Education and charter school authorizers, must do more to prevent this type of abuse.”
Read more …

A-F School Rankings Draw Local Pushback

Education Week

“As states overhaul their accountability systems under the new federal K-12 law, officials in some are pushing to replace or revamp A-F grading for schools … In some states that already have them, A-F systems have received fierce backlash from local superintendents and school board members. They complain that the letter grades oversimplify student success or shortfalls, increase pressure to pay attention to tests, ignore school quality factors other than test scores, and demoralize teachers and parents. Local officials in at least four states are using this year’s window of opportunity provided by the Every Student Succeeds Act to push back against A-F systems.”
Read more …

A Striking Number Of College Students Are Hungry And Homeless

The Atlantic

“Many more community-college students are homeless or lack food than previously reported … Around two-thirds are ‘food insecure,’ meaning they have limited or uncertain access to nutritionally adequate and safe foods. Around half of these students are also ‘housing insecure,’ meaning they are forced to move often or cannot afford rent or utilities. More striking still is the number of community-college students who are homeless: around 14 percent … Nearly a third of homeless students at community colleges rely on loans to finance their education … Another third of students who are food and/or housing insecure are employed and receive financial aid.”
Read more …

3/10/2017 – Yes, Schools Can Improve; Here’s How

THIS WEEK: Slashing School Spending … Governors Prioritize Funding … Suspensions Cost Billions … Labeling Students Failures … Beating DeVos

TOP STORY

Yes, Schools Can Improve; Here’s How

By Jeff Bryant

“The policy agenda Obama set for the nation’s schools was never going to work … Similarly, voucher-funded, unbridled ‘school choice’ DeVos and Trump want is a false road too … Where both sides in the policy debate start is with the assumption that real progress can’t come from schools themselves but must be imposed from outside by folks who aren’t professional educators … What if that assumption is wrong? … Recently, I traveled to a school district to search for answers to that question.”
Read more …

NEWS AND VIEWS

Federal Budget Knife Could Slash Into K-12 Programs

Education Week

“President Donald Trump’s push to drastically reduce domestic spending as a way to boost defense spending could have a significant impact on programs at the U.S. Department of Education, where the biggest streams of funding go toward low-income students and those with special needs … The single biggest budget item included in that amount are Pell Grants for low-income students attending college … The biggest program by dollar amount at the department related to K-12 public schools is Title I, designated for disadvantaged students … It’s also unclear to what extent the Trump administration’s budget would push cuts to programs like Head Start, Preschool Development Grants, and the National School Lunch Program.”
Read more …

State Of The State Education Priorities

MDR

“The Education Commission of the States (ECS) released its annual summary of the top education priorities identified by 42 governors … The top priority for governors is school finance … Priorities included increasing overall funding, updating funding formulas, and improving infrastructure. Some governors focused on equity by proposing changes to the dispersal and utilization of state education dollars to improve opportunities for at-risk populations … Other top K-12 priorities included teacher issues such as recruiting, retaining, and better compensating teachers.’”
Read more …

Suspending Students Costs Billions in Economic Losses, New Study Finds

Education Week

“Researchers followed a single cohort of California 10th grade students through high school for three years and found that those who were suspended had only a 60 percent graduation rate … The result: An economic loss of $2.7 billion over the lifetime of that single cohort of dropouts who left school because they were suspended … Researchers said suspensions are still overused in California and that district leaders and educators must do more to further reduce them, especially for special education students, blacks, and Hispanics.”
Read more …

Students’ Worry: Education Technology Might Predict Failure Before They Have A Chance To Succeed

The Hechinger Report

“A high-tech program designed to predict which students are at risk of failure … will be used to label them before they have a chance to make their own impression on a teacher … They want their teachers to get to know them personally, not blindly usher them down a path set into motion by an algorithm … Students … worry that they often don’t get to see the data that is being kept on them, and that computers lack the ability to form human relationships needed to gather contextual information about their lives.”
Read more …

Betsy DeVos’s Education Agenda Can Be Overturned. This City Shows How.

The Nation

Philadelphia City Councilwoman Helen Gym writes, “In Philadelphia, we have learned a thing or two about beating back a top-down, anti-public school agenda. From our experiences, we’ve learned how to build a movement that will not only hold accountable people like Betsy DeVos but will also lift up a vision of vibrant public schools and restore them to the center of our civic life … While the challenges remain large, we’ve shown that the march of privatization and vouchers is far from inevitable.”
Read more …