12/17/2015 – The Important Education Issue Leaders Are Still Ignoring

THIS WEEK: Worst Schools In America … Problems With New Fed Ed Law … States Still Cutting School Funding … Fighting Charter School Takeovers … Science Textbooks Botch Climate Change


The Important Education Issue Leaders Are Still Ignoring

By Jeff Bryant

“The issue that remains mostly unaddressed in education policy is the massive under-funding that most states continue to inflict on public schools … The new [Center on Budget and Policy Priority] report finds, ‘Most states provide less support per student for elementary and secondary schools – in some cases, much less – than before the Great Recession’ … State funding is a key factor in any assessment of the health and well being of the nation’s public schools … Alternative sources of education funding have not come forward to address the downturn.”
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How Washington Created Some Of The Worst Schools In America


“The network of schools for Native American children run by an obscure agency of the Interior Department remains arguably the worst school system in the United States, a disgrace the government has known about for eight decades and never successfully reformed … No Child Left Behind program, which aimed to bring accountability to schools, was especially hard to implement at BIE. Administrators struggle to comply with local tests and standards in 23 different states … During the Obama administration’s first term … school construction budgets for schools dwindled under competing administration priorities and twice the administration didn’t propose any money for new BIE schools. Meanwhile, a parade of directors – three in four years – gave the agency inconsistent oversight.”
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The Successor To No Child Left Behind Has, It Turns Out, Big Problems Of Its Own

The Washington Post

Valerie Strauss writes, “Anybody expecting the Every Student Succeeds Act to be a fix-all will be disappointed … Use of federal funds for ‘Pay for Success’ programs allow wealthy investors to make profits from education investments … States will be required to fund ‘equitable services’ for children in private and religious schools who are deemed eligible … Provisions in the legislation for the establishment of teacher preparation academies are written to primarily support non-traditional, non-university programs … ESSA is a compromise bill.”
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K-12 Funding Cuts Persist

Center On Budget And Policy Priorities

“Most states provide less support per student for elementary and secondary schools … than before the Great Recession … 31 states provided less state funding per student in the 2014 school year … than in the 2008 school year … In at least 18 states, local government funding per student fell over the same period … This year … 12 states imposed new cuts, even as the national economy continues to improve.”
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L.A. School Communities Resist Take Over By Charter Schools’ ‘Hurricane Eli’

The Progressive

Los Angeles public school parent Cynthia Liu writes, “In September of 2015, the LA Times broke the story that Eli Broad’s foundation planned to spend $490 million over approximately eight years to push its plan to convert half of the schools in the district to charter schools run by private operators … Broad’s leaked plan exposes the top-down nature of the charter sector. Never before has it been so glaringly evident how a single wealthy benefactor can rearrange a public school district according to his own ambitions. Families who previously viewed charter schools as a life raft for their children now must confront the sweeping nature of Broad’s plan: is it still “school choice” if a Broad-sponsored charter wave is the tsunami that eventually removes any other kind of school? … The immediate revelation of the top-down, high-handed Broad plan sparked outrage and protest by UTLA and various community groups. Teachers, parents, and community members pushed back.”
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Textbooks Out Of Step With Scientists On Climate Change, Study Says

Education Week

“Researchers looked at four 6th grade science textbooks that were published nearly a decade ago and are still being used in some California schools. In those texts, ‘the causes of climate change were shrouded in uncertainty’ … he texts often refer to what climate scientists ‘believe’ and “think,’ using verbs that convey uncertainty, rather than discussing what they’ve done such as collecting data … Materials adoptions in California, which serves more than 6 million public school students, have historically had a hefty impact on the textbook market nationally … The study points to 2011 research saying that only about half of U.S. teens believe climate change is occurring. And it says that teachers are reliant on textbooks to guide their instruction.”
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Happy Holidays

Next week EON is taking a holiday break from publishing. Best wishes for the season and the New Year.

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