12/1/2016 – How Betsy DeVos May Complete The Big Money Takeover Of Our Nation’s Schools

THIS WEEK: Trump Will Screw Rural Schools … Assessing Charter Schools … Edu-Business Disasters … Doing Pre-K Right … Language Of ‘Reform’


How Betsy DeVos May Complete The Big Money Takeover Of Our Nation’s Schools

By Jeff Bryant

“Reactions to President-Elect Donald Trump’s announcement of Michigan philanthropist Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education have ranged from high praise, to wary acceptance, to immediate condemnation. What few have noticed is how much her nomination represents business as usual in national education policy-making … No doubt, education policy led by Trump and DeVos will differ from the previous administration, but what’s staying the same is how wealthy private interests will strongly influence policies.”
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Rural Americans Helped Elect Donald Trump, But His Ideas Won’t Help Their Schools. What Will?


“The central idea Trump has offered so far for improving education – providing billions of dollars in exchange for expanding school choice – makes little sense in [rural] communities. Rural students and families often have no viable choices beyond their local public school … Financial resources are flat-out scarce in many rural schools, and that leads to a far lower quality of education for students in poor communities … Racial segregation … continues to have a catastrophic impact on some rural schools … Schools can’t thrive, and school choice won’t work, without people grappling with this pervasive issue.”
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The Right Way to Assess Charter Schools

Education Week

“The Economic Policy Institute is publishing a report … [that] looks at the fiscal impact of charter school expansion … [and] suggests moving the conversation away from the individualistic, consumer-choice narrative that market-driven reformers have promoted over the past two decades, and towards one that centers public education as a collective responsibility for communities to provide as efficiently, and equitably, as they can … New charter schools … should take into account the inefficiencies created from having multiple transportation systems, duplicative administrative overhead costs, additional financing fees associated with alternative capital investments, and any transition costs that arise from creating new school systems.”
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The Road To Disastrous Educational Businesses Is Paved With Good Intentions


“[A] troubling tendency to double down on one’s own preconceptions reflects the millions in other people’s money spent … to design the ‘optimal’ K–12 school model … Even when the initial structure does not prove an obstacle, the intensity of belief … being pursued can lead investors to be dangerously slow in shifting their approach, even in the face of overwhelming evidence of its flaws … Adherents of particular educational business models and advocates of particular educational public policy approaches have a tendency to use very similar language in promoting their views. Their favored instrumentality of change is typically described alternatively as ‘transformational’ or ‘revolutionary.’ In both cases, the evidence suggests that a narrowing of focus, a nuanced appreciation of the particular market structure and context, and an emphasis on the importance of effective execution would go a long way toward improving the probability of successful outcomes.”
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A Lesson For Preschools: When It’s Done Right, The Benefits Last


“New research out of North Carolina … found that early childhood programs in that state resulted in higher test scores, a lower chance of being held back in a grade, and a fewer number of children with special education placements. Those gains lasted up through the fifth grade … This new research confirms what researchers recently found in Tulsa, OK … In that study, children who attended Head Start had higher test scores on state math tests up through eighth grade … Having a high-quality program is key.
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‘Reformers’ Stoop Low: They Label Them ‘Government Schools’ To Knock Students, Teachers

Orlando Sentinel

Florida parent Kathleen Oropeza writes, “There is a significant national effort underway … to restyle the delivery system of the American Dream as ‘government schools’ … This isn’t the first time words have been weaponized to achieve a political goal … ‘Reformers’ say that parents must have ‘choice’ … They don’t disclose that the same finite pot of money is funding extra ‘choice’ seats for students, seriously diluting public-school resources … The intentional negative rebranding of public education for political expedience does nothing but advance a profit motive.”
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