11/16/2017 – The Republican Tax Plan Is A Declaration Of War On Learning

THIS WEEK: Vouchers With No Oversight … Charter Marketing … Better Tests Myth … Zero-Sum Ed … De-Personaliozed Learning


The Republican Tax Plan Is A Declaration Of War On Learning

By Jeff Bryant

“What the Republicans propose in their tax plans is not just a raid on education-related budget items for the sake of fiscal efficiency; their plans are part of a strategic offensive against the very idea that all children and youth have a right to a free and high-quality education … The transformation they want would make the nation collectively dumber and much more dependent on profit-making businesses for scarcer services with far fewer opportunities for citizens to better themselves through education. We must reject that future.”
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‘There Is No Oversight’: Private-School Vouchers Can Leave Parents On Their Own

Education Week

“When families use a voucher to enroll in private school, they give up, knowingly or not, most of the protections that federal law requires for special education students. If a private school decides not to admit a student, or to ask a student to leave, there’s little legal recourse for parents to challenge those decisions … Despite a bulging roster of Florida students attending private schools with the state’s help, there’s scant data and information available to show how they do … Private schools receiving state aid don’t have to track or tell the state how many students graduate from their schools, nor how many are bullied, expelled, or drop out – some of the most basic measures of student success. Private schools do not receive letter grades based on how well students perform on state standardized tests as their public school peers do, and they are not required to be accredited by an independent agency.”
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The Super Wealthy Oxycontin Family Supports School Privatization With Tactics Similar To Those That Fueled the Opioid Epidemic


“As a copywriter at a medical advertising agency, Arthur Sackler devised strategies to promote drugs like Librium and Valium. Now, some of those same strategies are now being used with the aim of promoting charter schools. Jonathan Sackler, Arthur’s nephew, is a well-known name in the education reform movement … The Sackler ‘special sauce’ is vertical integration … The marketing of OxyContin was ‘unprecedented … and was … aggressive and inappropriate’ … The description … will sound familiar to anyone who has witnessed one of the no-expenses-spared charter school rallies that are a specialty of Sackler-funded organizations … There is the dizzying array of astroturf front groups all created for the purpose of demanding more charter schools.”
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Better Tests Don’t Lead To Better Teaching, Study Finds

The Hechinger Report

“Researchers … found that a more demanding test didn’t help improve the quality of the teacher’s instruction. A teacher’s test-prep lessons were generally of lower instructional quality than when the same teacher wasn’t prepping students for the test …The quality gap between a teacher’s regular lessons and her test-prep lessons was largest in a school district where the teaching quality was the highest … Instructional quality sank a lot when these excellent teachers were delivering test-prep lessons. In districts with lower teaching quality … test-prep lessons weren’t much worse. But they didn’t raise instructional quality.'”
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Lessons From North Carolina: How Charter Schools Force ‘Zero-Sum’ Education

The Progressive

Jeff Bryant writes, “In [Betsy] DeVos’s brave new world where ‘money follows the child’ from one school to another, schools and communities will increasingly see education as a zero-sum affair, where every student gained is a plus in the financial ledger and every student lost is a minus … The truth is, education has always been a zero-sum game … In the post-Civil War years, white conservatives were generally opposed to public schools … The landmark Supreme Court Brown v Board decision was the turning point in extending education opportunities to African American students …The ideology driving charter school expansions … takes emphasis away from a unified and equitable system of education.”
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The Case(s) Against Personalized Learning

Education Week

“Dozens of companies now tout a wide range of software, platforms, and apps as transformative tools for personalizing student learning … Many critics believe that personalized learning boils down to kids working alone on software, an approach they say ignores the crucial social aspects of learning … What’s marketed as ‘personalized learning’ amounts to little more than breaking knowledge and ideas down into ‘itty-bitty parts,’ then using extrinsic rewards to ‘march kids through a series of decontextualized skills they had no meaningful role in choosing’ … ‘When Facebook promises personalization …it’s really about massive data collection.'”
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