12/11/2013 – Day Of Action Reveals Anger

THIS WEEK: Sequester Cuts Hit Needy Students Hardest … Feeding The School-To-Prison-Pipeline … Failing Third Graders Doesn’t Help Them … School Counselors Rare But Necessary … Costs Of Private Colleges Add To Debt


Day Of Action Reveals Widespread Anger With Current Education Policies

By Jeff Bryant

“A Day of Action to Reclaim the Promise of Public Education held on December 9 in over 100 sites across the country… took on many forms … but there were common grievances overlapping the events … The wide range of locations for Monday’s events, and the numbers of participants, are testament to the breadth and depth of complaints about current education policies.”
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Sequester Cuts Hit Hardest Students And Schools That Can Least Afford The Cost

National Education Association

“The across-the-board sequester cuts are not only hurting students and schools, but the cuts are falling unevenly and disproportionately hitting those who can least afford the loss… Students could expect more than $5.5 billion in additional education funding if the sequester was replaced … 1 out of every 6 students attends public schools in a district where 5%-15% of total revenue is from federal Title I funding … 1 out of every 10 school districts rely on federal funding for 20%-50% (or more) of their total revenue.”
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Zero-Tolerance Policies In Schools Are Often Destructive, Fueling A School To Prison Pipeline


“In recognition of the mounting evidence against zero-tolerance policies and the increasing outcry to radically rethink disciplinary policies, school districts in several parts of the country are now dropping or radically modifying their zero-tolerance policies … Students are attending counseling, completing community service, and going to behavior intervention programs when they commit behavioral infractions, rather than being sent to court … Giving these students more control, autonomy and responsibility … encourages them to take a more active role in the school community, and in turn, that’s creating better behaviors … and leading to a drop in disciplinary problems.”
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The Third-Grade Crackdown Club

Education Week

Former Michigan Teacher of the Year Nancy Flanagan, writes, “Florida and NY City passed legislation mandating retention of third graders who haven’t achieved an equally arbitrary reading level – with unimpressive results. In at least 13 more states, including my own, policy-makers are now eager to join the Third Grade Crackdown club … Sorting students by age, standardizing their curriculum and rank-ordering their achievement has been embedded American education practice for well over a century… ‘Grade level’ expectations vary widely … They, too, are arbitrary … Although it’s rare, there are cases where retention is the right decision. But that call should be made by teachers and parents, not at the statehouse.”
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School Counselors Increasingly Are Missing Link In Getting Kids To College

The Hechinger Report

“A single public school counselor in the United States has a caseload of 471 students, on average … In high schools, where counselors are often the primary source of information about college … each one is responsible for an average of 239 students … Budget cuts are forcing counselors to perform more duties unrelated to their traditional roles … Most get scant training in the subject before taking on the job … The result is an overtaxed system in which many students fall through the cracks and either never go to college, go to institutions that are the wrong matches for them, or never learn about financial aid for which they may qualify … Counselors in private schools have a median caseload of only 106..”
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How ‘Limited Government’ Is Burying A Generation In Debt

Moyers and Company

“The cost of tuition in this country has increased at an almost unbelievable pace over the past generation … While tuitions are rising across the board, the cost drivers are different in public and private institutions … Much more of the growth in private school tuition pays for administrators’ bloated salaries … Americans pay more than three times the average of other rich countries for ‘tertiary education’ out-of-pocket, financed through the private sector … Our disproportionate reliance on private sector higher education, with its bloated administrative spending, has a lot to do with the exorbitant costs American students and their families pay … It’s a huge ripoff and it’s hurting the prospects of an entire generation of Americans.”
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