Education Opportunity Network

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

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

TOP STORY

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

By Jeff Bryant

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

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

Education Week

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

POLITICO

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

Environmental Working Group

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

Vox

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

Minnesota Spokesman Recorder

“One-third of community college students enrolled in remedial coursework don’t even need them … Standard placement tests … are actually ‘misdirecting’ student placements … A disparate number of African American students are placed in remedial courses … Under-placement creates additional barriers for students who are now required to pay for coursework with no credit … Remedial coursework cost first-year students and their families nearly $1.5 billion a year in out-of-pocket expenses – expenses that don’t go towards their degrees..”
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9/20/2018 – Charter School Corruption Is Changing Education Policy And Politics

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

TOP STORY

Charter School Corruption Is Changing Education Policy And Politics

By Jeff Bryant

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

Education Is A Top Issue In The Midterms

TIME

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

Education Week

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

The Florida Times Union

“A government watchdog group called Florida’s growing system of privately-run public charter schools wasteful and said it sometimes gives rise to self-dealing and profiteering. Integrity Florida, a group which seeks to uncover public corruption, recommended more widespread disclosure of charter school finances, especially greater oversight of ways tax dollars end up in private companies’ profits. The study also showed how some of Florida’s elected officials are influenced by the money in charter school development and operation … State legislators have whittled down school district’s oversight of charter schools … Since its start in 1998, the charter school industry has spent more than $13 million to influence state education policy in Florida through contributions to political campaigns.”
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15 States Have Set Aside Nothing To Pay For Retired Teachers’ Health Care, Study Says

Education Week

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

The Progressive

“Numerous recent research studies bear out the importance of having teachers of color in classrooms. Low-income black students who have at least one black teacher in elementary school are significantly more likely to graduate high school, for example … Numerous school systems have pledged to hire more teachers of color … But any district that recruits teachers of color must also commit to work to keep them. And that’s where they often fail. Teachers of color are far more apt to leave the profession than their white counterparts … Retaining teachers of color requires a level of engagement that challenges the broader mission and culture of a school district … Many teachers of color are committed to working with students to critically examine social inequities and their impacts on school and life. But a school district that does not value that intrinsic mission will have a hard time supporting and retaining those teachers..”
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9/13/2018 – Wealthy People Are Destroying Public Schools

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

TOP STORY

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

By Jeff Bryant

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

Teacher Strikes Are Heating Up In More States

Education Week

“The momentum from the historic wave of statewide teacher strikes last spring seems set to continue this school year.… Teachers in more than a dozen districts in Washington state have gone on strike over contract negotiations. Teachers in Los Angeles … have overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike … And teachers in North Carolina … are weighing future collective actions this year … Educators across the country say they feel inspired by the teacher activism … And public opinion is on the teachers’ side: Two recent national polls found that Americans both are largely in favor of higher teacher pay and support teachers’ right to go on strike.”
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More Than 500 Teachers And Other Educators Are Running For Office This Year

Huffpost

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

Education Week

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

The Atlantic

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

The Progressive

Jeff Bryant writes, “Kentucky was, until recently, one of just a handful of states to not yet allow charter schools. Opposition to these schools in the state is intense and bipartisan … Charter proponents, nevertheless, have waged a campaign to push their schools, taking actions that challenge ethical, if not legal, boundaries. The list of actors promoting charters in the state includes not only politicians and private advocacy groups but also financial interests, especially in the real estate industry. And charter collaborators are operating behind the scenes to push their cause in backrooms deep in the corridors of influence and political power.”
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9/6/2018 – Back-To-School Season Marred By Underfunding, Charter School Scandals

THIS WEEK: Why Teachers Walk Out … Teacher Pay Worsens … Solving Segregation … Suspensions’ Toll … Who Are College Students?

TOP STORY

Back-To-School Season Marred By Chronic Underfunding, Endless Charter School Scandals

By Jeff Bryant

“With a new school year starting across the nation, families, teachers, and communities may be feeling a sense of renewal and possibility, but much of the news from schools is still mired in negative reports of underfunded buildings, beleaguered teachers, and charter school corruption.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

Activist Teachers Aren’t Just Fighting For Themselves. They’re Fighting For Their Students.

The Washington Post

“The wave of #RedForEd protests over the course of the past year … have continued into the new school year, as teachers went on strike in southwest Washington state and educators in Los Angeles and Seattle considered following suit. These educators are protesting not just for better pay, but also for increased funding for public education to benefit students and communities … Teachers have been forced to triage the symptoms of economic inequality. In addition to planning and providing academic instruction, teachers are often tasked with serving as social workers, counselors, nurses, food pantries, technology support specialists, accountants, facilities maintenance staff and janitors … Activist teachers have always faced charges that their organizing was selfish, hurt students, diminished learning or harmed taxpayers. But in reality, when teachers organize collectively, their advocacy for better teaching conditions has improved public education more broadly.”
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The Salary Slide: As Other Professionals See Growth, Teachers’ Pay Stagnates, New Report Finds

Chalkbeat

“Teachers now earn about 20% less than other college-educated workers … This teacher pay penalty has persisted and even grown modestly in recent years … It may be one reason why a majority of parents for the first time say they don’t want their children to become teachers … Low pay is also one of the chief drivers of recent teacher protests across the country … Even accounting for benefits, there remains a 11% pay penalty for teachers.”
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We Can Draw School Zones To Make Classrooms Less Segregated

Vox

“Once you look at the school attendance zones … it becomes clearer why these lines are drawn the way they are. Groups with political clout – mainly wealthier, whiter communities – have pushed policies that help white families live in heavily white areas and attend heavily white schools. We see this in city after city, state after state … often the attendance zones are gerrymandered to put white students in classrooms that are even whiter than the communities they live in. The result is that schools today are re-segregating… But this exact strategy – gerrymandering school districts to include certain kinds of students and exclude others – can also be used to integrate a school, rather than segregate them.”
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The Price Of Punishment – New Report Shows Students Nationwide Lost 11 Million School Days Due To Suspensions

EdSource

“Children in America’s public schools lost more than 11 million instructional days due to suspensions during the 2015-16 school year … Racial disparities in suspensions remain an acute problem. Nationwide, African-American students lost 66 days of instruction per 100 students enrolled in 2015-16, which is five times as many days as white students lost … ‘There are too many evidence-based alternatives to suspensions for there to be this level of educational deprivation … California has made great strides in this area and is a positive example for other states across the nation.'”
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Today’s College Students Aren’t Who You Think They Are

NPR

“That narrative of the residential, collegiate experience is way off … Today’s college student is decidedly nontraditional – and has been for a while. … 1 in 5 is at least 30 years old … About half are financially independent from their parents … 1 in 4 is caring for a child … 47% go to school part time at some point … A quarter take a year off before starting school … 2 out of 5 attend a two-year community college … 44% have parents who never completed a bachelor’s degree”
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8/30/2018 – The ‘Educator Spring’ Continues

THIS WEEK: The Public Likes Public Schools … DeVos Shorts Civil Rights … College Fraud Wastes Billions … Dems Say No Guns … Ground Zero Fight For Schools

TOP STORY

The ‘Educator Spring’ Continues, Ousting Incumbents And Sweeping New Candidates Into Races

By Jeff Bryant

“After widespread statewide teacher walkouts earlier this year, in which teachers protested poor pay and inadequate school funding, educators running for office and advocates for public schools are making their voices heard … Of the 158 current teachers running for office this year … 95 are advancing to the November general elections in their states, and eight are in upcoming primaries. This doesn’t count the scores of other educators … competing in elections across the country. There’s a good reason teachers and their issues are influencing election outcomes: The public is overwhelmingly on their side.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

School Critics Are Ignoring The Public

PDK

The nation’s most respected and longest running survey of public attitudes about public schools finds, “Three conclusions are inescapable: The public does not agree with many of the criticisms leveled at public education by think tanks and public officials. The public’s respect for teachers is well-nigh overwhelming, but parents see the profession as undervalued. And the closer individuals get to a real school, the more they like what they see.”
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The Department Of Education Underreports Allegations Of Racial Discrimination In Schools

HuffPost

“The U.S. Department of Education has been receiving thousands more racial discrimination allegations in schools than it has previously publicly reported … Between the fiscal years 2013 to 2016, there were over 2,000 allegations regarding racial discrimination in schools that were not previously publicly recorded in the department’s annual reports … The number of racial discrimination allegations filed with the Department of Education has generally increased over the years … Allegations of racial discrimination against black students continue to make up the bulk of overall allegations … DeVos has rescinded civil rights protections for groups like transgender students and created new rules designed to reduce the number of complaints … The office has shifted emphasis away from addressing issues of systemic discrimination.”
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Graduates Spent Nearly $7.5 Billion On Education That Failed To Deliver

MarketWatch

“Student loan borrowers spent billions on career training programs that failed to deliver. Roughly 350,000 students attended and graduated from either two- or four-year career-education programs in 2012 that were failing or close to failing… These programs, which are supposed to prepare students for specific careers, like cosmetology or culinary arts, saddled borrowers with levels of student loan debt that ate up a huge chunk of their pay … The findings come just a few weeks after Betsy DeVos’s Department of Education announced a plan to … the set of rules … aimed at ensuring that career-training programs prepared students for jobs and didn’t saddle them with unsustainable debt … Thousands of former for-profit college students, who say they were victims of fraud by their schools, are also clamoring for relief from their federal student loans.”
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House Democrats Push Betsy DeVos To Reject Funding For Guns In Schools

The Washington Post

“House Democrats are urging Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to make clear that a federal grant program cannot be used to buy firearms for schools… At issue is whether states can use Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants, available for a wide range of school expenses, to buy guns intended to bolster school safety. Officials said last week that the department had received inquiries from Texas and Oklahoma and that DeVos is considering the idea … Congressional Democrats are also hoping to attach language to a pending spending bill to bar purchasing guns with the grant money.”
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Is Louisville Ground Zero In The Fight For Democratic Control Of Public Schools?

The Progressive

Jeff Bryant writes, “Louisville, Kentucky… a looming state takeover of the schools has the community in an uproar … The story has national significance: across the nation, Americans are seeing an increased popularity of state takeovers of local schools … So what’s really behind the state’s case for takeover? … Certainly, the politics of education in the city is contentious … But if the takeover of Lexington schools is all about politics, it’s not a contest between ‘red vs. blue,’ but whether democracy matters at all … In the takeover attempt, the district is being made ‘victim of a dominant political establishment … that is trying to keep control away from a rising electorate in the city intent on remaking schools.'”
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8/23/2018 – Betsy DeVos Fills The Swamp For For-Profit Colleges

THIS WEEK: Kavanaugh And Vouchers … New Assault On Schools … Taking States To Court … Education A Wedge Issue … Transgender Rights Denied

TOP STORY

Betsy DeVos Fills The Swamp For For-Profit Colleges

By Jeff Bryant

“Betsy DeVos has filled regulatory positions for for-profit colleges with former employees and advocates for these schools … She and her appointees dismantled key federal student loan servicing reforms that protected student loan borrowers and made it easier for college students to have loans discharged when they’ve been defrauded by schools … New rules proposed by DeVos would make it extremely difficult for students to prevail should they fall victim to fraud … While making it easier for for-profit colleges to rip off students, DeVos is also allowing many of these institutions to convert to “nonprofits to free these institutions from remaining federal regulations and help them burnish their tarnished brands. DeVos’s action have come just as yet more for-profit colleges are closing campuses under suspicion of defrauding students.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

Kavanaugh Could Unlock Funding For Religious Education, School Voucher Advocates Say

The New York Times

“School voucher champions see Judge [Bret] Kavanaugh as a critical vote in overturning longstanding constitutional prohibitions, often called Blaine Amendments, that outlaw government funding of religious institutions in more than three dozen states. The amendments have been used to challenge programs that allow taxpayer funding to follow children to private and parochial schools, and are seen as the last line of defense against widespread acceptance of school voucher programs … There are no voucher cases pending before the Supreme Court, but relevant cases are moving through lower courts.”
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40 Cities In 10 Years: Leaked Presentation Offers More Details On New Group’s Goals To Spread Charter (And Charter-Like) Schools

Chalkbeat

“The new organization aiming to spread a mix of charter schools … across the country wants to reach 5 percent of low-income students in the U.S. within five years … The City Fund … has already amassed over $200 million and a well-connected staff … The group’s goals and strategies … include expanding charter schools or charter-like alternatives. Known as the portfolio model,’ it’s a controversial approach … The City Fund’s goal is for cities to have a large charter sector, ‘often scaling to serve 30-50% of students’ … One thing that is explicitly not part of the approach: more public money for schools.”
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How Do You Get Better Schools? Take The State To Court, More Advocates Say

The New York Times

“A wave of lawsuits over the quality of schools in more than a half-dozen states … could serve as road maps for advocates in other states amid a nationwide teachers’ movement and a push in some state legislatures for more school funding. The legal complaints have different areas of focus – from school funding to segregation to literacy – but all of them argue that the states are violating their constitutions by denying children a quality education … The recent cases show a renewed energy for using the courts to fight for better education, and they may signal an end to a period when many courts, after the last recession, seemed unwilling to require states to spend more money on schools … Advocates are focused on state courts because of roadblocks at the federal level … Almost every state constitution guarantees the right to an adequate education.”
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Primary Results Make It Clear K-12 Funding Will Be A Wedge Issue This Fall

Education Week

“One thing to glean from … primaries in Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont, and Wisconsin is that school funding will continue to be a prime issue of concern this fall … Winners from the latest round of gubernatorial primaries took strong stances on how (or whether) to shore up their schools’ coffers, and their messages seem to be resonating with voters … Candidates have pitched new tax schemes, pledged to overhaul funding formulas, or doubled down on ways to make school spending more efficient.”
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Transgender Students Asked Betsy DeVos For Help. Here’s What Happened.

POLITICO

“After his graduation in 2017 [Alex] Howe filed a complaint with federal civil rights officials at the Department of Education, hoping to ease the way for other transgender students at his school to use the bathrooms of their choice … His complaint is one of at least five involving transgender students denied bathroom access that was thrown out by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who has halted such investigations. Another transgender student … said his bathroom-related complaint hasn’t been dismissed, but his case has stalled for three years. He doesn’t know why … The Education Department’s dismissals are just a slice of what advocates see as a broader assault on LGBT rights across the federal government in the Trump administration.”
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Progressives May End Education’s ‘Funding Vs Accountability’ War

THIS WEEK: Puerto Rican School Crisis … The DeVos Agenda … Accountability Isn’t Working … Schools Are Arming Up … Choice Isn’t Justice

TOP STORY

Progressives May End Education’s ‘Funding Vs Accountability’ War

By Jeff Bryant

“The rhetoric of education politics and policy has been dominated by a conflict over inputs versus outcomes … whether public schools and teachers are getting the support and resources they need to adequately educate all students or whether measures of achievement and efficiency prove that our education system is simply not up to the task of educating all students, and schools and teachers need to work harder and be smarter with the money and resources they have … There is evidence of a change in heart and mind that may foretell a new education narrative that breaks out of the funding versus accountability polarity. ”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

Puerto Rico Schools Are Infested With Rats And Missing Chairs And Books After Hurricane – But Sec. Of Education Says Chaos Is Fine

Raw Story

“[In the new school year following the devastation of Hurricane Maria]the Association of Teachers for Puerto Rico visited local schools and said that they are highly under-resourced … Leaky roofs, mold and rat infestation, and hurricane debris … lack of teachers and staff … Secretary of Education Julia Keleher … dismissed the concerns by saying, ‘It’s a smaller problem than we had the year before.'”
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DeVos Family Money Is All Over The News Right Now

NPR

“From the policy of separating immigrant families, to limiting the power of labor unions, to naming the next justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, this summer the DeVos family name has been all over the news … The parents, in-laws and husband of U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos have given hundreds of millions of dollars to conservative causes. And many of those causes are front and center of policy initiatives and goals of the Trump administration right now … ‘What we see overall is really the purchasing of political power that crosses the spectrum of political and foundation giving … The right is very quick to use foundation funding in a way that the left does not in supporting specific policies.'”
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Pressuring Schools To Raise Test Scores Got Diminishing Returns, New Study Of No Child Left Behind Finds

Chalkbeat

“Setting ambitious goals … putting pressure on schools to reach them … continuing to ‘raise the bar’ during the No Child Left Behind era only had a modest effect at best. That raises questions about whether the small gains were worth … what critics claim were the educational costs of putting a greater focus on test scores … ‘Results suggest that the ratcheting [up] of test-based accountability pressures alone is not enough to sustain improvements in student achievement’ … There was no evidence of higher standards causing any improvements in fourth grade math or reading.”
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Back-To-School Shopping For Districts: Armed Guards, Cameras And Metal Detectors

The New York Times

“Fortified by fences and patrolled by more armed personnel, schools will open their doors to students for the start of the new year with a heightened focus on security intended to ease fears about deadly campus shootings … Some measures go beyond ‘hardening’ school buildings and expanding police presence and focus instead on how to respond to a violent attack … At least 10 states allow districts to arm teachers and other staff members … . ‘I know that guns have this illusion of making people feel safer, but if a depressed kid comes into a school, having an armed guard with a gun is not going to help that student … I don’t know where the line is of making people safe – spending money on a resource that won’t be utilized every day like an armed guard – versus a counselor that would be utilized every day.'”
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School Choice Is The Enemy Of Justice

The New York Times

Contributing writer Erin Aubry Kaplan writes, “Los Angeles and California as a whole have abandoned integration as the chief mechanism of school reform and embraced charter schools instead … This has happened all over the country, of course, but California has led the way … But charters as a group are ill suited to the task of justice … Charters have become the public schools that liberal whites here can get behind. This is in direct contrast to the risky, almost revolutionary energy that fueled past integration efforts, which by their nature created tension and confrontation. But as a society – certainly as a state – we have lost our appetite for that engagement, and the rise of charters is an expression of that loss.”
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8/2/2018 – Democrats Who Opposed Privatizing Social Security Should Be Alarmed By A New Scheme Aimed At Public Schools

THIS WEEK: Choice Closes ‘Good’ Charter … Private School Fail … LeBron James Starts A School … DeVos Undermines Civil Rights … EdTech Hurts Learning

TOP STORY

Democrats Who Opposed Privatizing Social Security Should Be Alarmed By A New Scheme Aimed At Public Schools

By Jeff Bryant

“A new marketing campaign about yet another scheme to privatize a valuable public asset is being rolled out across the country, using Wall Street as an analogy to explain how the scheme works. The privatization scheme deserves the same skeptical opposition that Democrats mustered when [President George W.]Bush tried to privatize Social Security … Wealthy private foundations have contributed at least $200 million to create a new group, The City Fund, to ‘push cities to expand charter schools’ … The campaign calls for urban school districts to follow a ‘portfolio model’ of running schools, as if district leaders were investment managers and their schools were collections of different types of equity investments. ”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

What New Orleans Tells Us About The Perils Of Putting Schools On The Free Market

The New Yorker

“A year ago, I volunteered to serve on the board of a charter elementary school in New Orleans … In New Orleans, alone among large urban districts, almost all schools are now charter schools … The board pursued initiatives familiar to any cash-burning startup … [The school], like a business, was compelled to succeed by competition and choice. But, like other charter startups, it was hampered by a market system … No market is just about competition and choice.”
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No Private Schools Aren’t Better At Educating Kids Than Public Schools Why This New Study Matters

The Washington Post

“Researchers who looked at data from more than 1,000 students found that all of the advantages supposedly conferred by private education evaporate when socio-demographic characteristics are factored in. There was also no evidence found to suggest that low-income children or children enrolled in urban schools benefit more from private school enrollment … [Betsy] DeVos has called traditional public schools a ‘dead end’ and long supported the expansion of voucher and similar programs that use public money for private and religious school education … 27 states and the District of Columbia have policies allowing public money to be used for private education through school vouchers, scholarship tax credits and education savings grants.”
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LeBron’s Education Promise Needs To Become This Country’s Promise

The Nation

“LeBron James … opened a new public school in his hometown of Akron, Ohio called I Promise … In addition to meals, job training for parents and even a bicycle and helmet for every student, the school offers a guaranteed college tuition for everyone who goes on to graduate high school … The school is public and not a charter… ‘By partnering with the Akron Public Schools – not trying subvert them or profit off of them with an unaccountable charter – LeBron has demonstrated to the world the power of truly investing in public education.’”
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How Do You Enforce Civil Rights? Under Betsy DeVos, A Stark Shift In Approach.

The Washington Post

“Under Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the [Department of Education] is … moving away from the sweeping notion, embraced during the Obama years, that discrimination often occurs even if the people involved have no ill intent and that schools should be held accountable when outcomes differ by race … The transformation is culminating this summer with important policy changes … The agency delayed for two years a regulation aimed at ensuring that school systems are not disproportionately channeling students of color into special-education programs, a practice that studies suggest is widespread. Then, the Trump administration revoked Obama-era federal guidance on affirmative action that had encouraged colleges and public schools to find legal ways to use race in admissions and enrollment. Now, the department is considering repealing documents that direct districts to examine whether they are delivering tougher punishment to African American students than to others.”
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Cellphones In Classrooms Contribute To Failing Grades: Study

ABC News

“New research also shows that using electronic devices can even lower students’ grades … When attention is divided between two tasks, fewer items regarding those tasks may be recalled later … Smart phones can reduce the ability to think to a person’s full potential, and additional research from Stanford University reveals that intense multitasking decreases the efficiency of completing a given task … In a study published in the journal Educational Psychology … The group using devices scored about a half a letter grade lower on exams – the difference between passing or failing for some students … Students who didn’t use a device but were in the same classroom with those who did also scored lower.”
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Summer Pause

EON is taking a summer break from the education scene. Look for the next email in your inbox on August 16.

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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