1/16/2015 – What The Test Debate Is About

THIS WEEK: More Jails Than Colleges … What Will Derail Common Core … Jeb Bush Education Foundation … Parents Don’t Care About Teacher Ratings … Corporations Cheat Schools


Why The Test Debate Is About Politics, Not Education

By Jeff Bryant

“See if this makes sense to you: Conservatives want to let states have potentially more options for wasting taxpayer money on wayward attempts in ‘accountability,’ and liberals are insisting on continuing measures that have been mostly bad for the education of black and brown students.”
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The U.S. Has More Jails Than Colleges. Here’s A Map Of Where Those Prisoners Live.

The Washington Post

“There were 2.3 million prisoners in the U.S. as of the 2010 Census. It’s often been remarked that our national incarceration rate of 707 adults per every 100,000 residents is the highest in the world … Hundreds of thousands more individuals are locked up in the nation’s 3,200 local and county jails … We have slightly more jails and prisons in the U.S. – 5,000 plus – than we do degree-granting colleges and universities … Prisoners are literally every where you look in the U.S. Nearly 85 percent of U.S. counties are home to some number of incarcerated individuals.”
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Will Test-Based Teacher Evaluations Derail The Common Core?

The Hechinger Report

“The one-two punch of Common Core and new test-based accountability systems is too much to handle and leaves teachers – and students – overwhelmed … A major backlash erupted in the last year against both teacher evaluations and the Common Core. The backlash has become mainstream, no longer relegated to teachers and administrators, and has fueled legislation and multiple lawsuits aimed at dialing back the new policies … Some supporters of the new standards have blamed the Obama administration for its ambitious and controversial initiatives to overhaul American public education … Earlier this summer, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation called for a two-year moratorium on states or districts basing personnel decisions on Common Core-aligned tests. And in August, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan urged states to delay using test results for an additional year when tabulating teacher ratings. Despite a temporary reprieve, a recent study jointly commissioned by Scholastic, the education publisher, and the Gates foundation shows that, among teachers, support for the Common Core has started to wane.”
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Jeb Bush Education Foundation Played Leading Role In Mixing Politics, Policy

The Washington Post

“[Jeb] Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education has an unusual role mixing politics and policy – drafting legislation and paying travel expenses for state officials, lobbying lawmakers, and connecting public officials with industry executives seeking government contracts … The foundation has, for instance, pushed states to embrace digital learning in public schools, a costly transition that often requires new software and hardware … The foundation has helped its corporate donors gain access to state education officials through a committee called Chiefs for Change, composed of as many as 10 officials from mostly Republican-led states who convene at the foundation’s annual meeting … his foundation has secured $5.2 million since 2010 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the primary funder of the campaign to promote the [Common Core] standards.”
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Parents Make Few Requests For Teacher Evaluations In New York School Districts

New York Daily News

“After battles in Albany over who should have access to results of state-mandated teacher evaluations, the group given the right to see them – parents – appears to be showing little interest … Few, if any, parents have asked for their child’s teacher’s rating since New York began requiring teachers to be classified every year as ‘highly effective,’ ‘effective,’ ‘developing’ or ‘ineffective’ … The AP found there were zero requests in Syracuse, Rochester, Batavia, Amherst, Hudson Falls and Amagansett on Long Island.”
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Cheating the Schoolkids: Corporations Don’t Pay Their State Taxes, Either

Common Dreams

“Most of the attention to corporate tax avoidance is directed at the nonpayment of federal taxes. But state taxes, which to a much greater extent fund K-12 education, are avoided at a stunning rate by America’s biggest companies. As a result, public school funding continues to be cut … The percentage of corporate profits paid as state income taxes has dropped from 7% in 1980 to about 3 percent today. It may be getting worse. A PayUpNow analysis of 25 of our nation’s largest corporations shows a total state tax payment of 2.4%, about a third of the required tax … companies play one state against another, holding their home states hostage for tax breaks under the threat of bolting to other states … The effects of state tax avoidance are seen all around the country, with impacts on schools.”
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