1/22/15 – Democrats: Listen To Senator Whitehouse

January 22, 2015 Subscribe THIS WEEK: Money Matters A Lot … How Parents Choose Schools … Most Students Live In Poverty … True Cost Of Teach For America … Koch Brothers/Charter School Nightmare TOP STORY Democrats Should Listen To What Senator Whitehouse Said About Education Policy By Jeff Bryant “A populist message for public education … Continue reading “1/22/15 – Democrats: Listen To Senator Whitehouse”

THIS WEEK: Money Matters A Lot … How Parents Choose Schools … Most Students Live In Poverty … True Cost Of Teach For America … Koch Brothers/Charter School Nightmare


Democrats Should Listen To What Senator Whitehouse Said About Education Policy

By Jeff Bryant

“A populist message for public education needs input from the populace, not just from Beltway wonks that have fed the policy mill at the Department of Education for years … If Democrats want to have any clout in the education arena, they must find their populist voice just as they are doing for other issues. If President Obama isn’t going to provide that, maybe Senator Whitehouse just did.”
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When Public Schools Get More Money, Students Do Better

The Washington Post

“Beginning 40 years ago, a series of court rulings forced states to reallocate money for education, giving more to schools in poor neighborhoods with less in the way of local resources … A new study on those who went to school during the school-finance cases a few decades ago found that those who attended districts that were affected by the rulings were more likely to stay in school through high school and college and are making more money today … The benefits were most obvious for students from poor families … A 10% increase in the money available for each low-income student resulted in a 9.5% increase in students’ earnings as adults. A public investment in schools … returned 8.9% … The increased funding had the greatest effect if it was used to raise teachers’ salaries, reduce class sizes or lengthen the school year. ”
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A New Study Reveals Much About How Parents Really Choose Schools


“The charter school movement is built on the premise … parents, empowered by choice, will vote with their feet for academically stronger schools … An intriguing new study … suggests that parent choice doesn’t always work that way. Parents, especially low-income parents, actually show strong preferences for other qualities like location and extracurriculars – preferences that can outweigh academics … A choice-based system all by itself won’t necessarily increase equity. The most economically disadvantaged students may have parents who are making decisions differently from other families … If this is true, choice could actually increase, rather than diminish, achievement gaps.”
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Majority Of U.S. Public School Students Are In Poverty

The Washington Post

“A majority of U.S. public school students come from low-income families… 51% of students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade in the 2012-2013 … The explosion in the number of needy children in the nation’s public classrooms is a recent phenomenon … The shift to a majority-poor student population means that in public schools, a growing number of children start kindergarten already trailing their more privileged peers and rarely, if ever, catch up. They are less likely to have support at home, are less frequently exposed to enriching activities outside of school, and are more likely to drop out and never attend college. It also means that education policy, funding decisions and classroom instruction must adapt to the needy children who arrive at school each day.”
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The True Cost Of Teach For America’s Impact On Urban Schools

The American Prospect

“When public school districts hire teachers from Teach For America, they pay a greater upfront cost than if they hire traditional entry-level teachers … TFA hiring contracts are generally non-refundable, even if a teacher turns out to be a serious problem or quits early … TFA, which is built on a model of two-year teaching commitments, presents a challenge for schools that are looking to recruit teachers who will remain in their classrooms for the long haul … Districts, their students, and their communities pay a high price to support TFA’s routine teacher turnover … [TFA] receives millions of dollars from the government each year, and is increasingly funneling its recruits into charter schools. TFA reports that 33% of their recruits teach in charter schools, up from 13% in 2008. Many of these charter schools were founded by TFA.”
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Koch Brothers/Charter School Nightmare: “White kids get to go to a school with a Montessori approach while children of color get eye control”


An in-depth investigative report by Jeff Bryant from Nashville finds, “a raging Music City controversy. Conversations about public education … have exploded into acrimonious bickering, full of charges and counter-charges … Low scores on student standardized tests and other indicators led the state to designate 15 Metro Nashville Public Schools … which gives the state or district power to … hand the school over to a charter school management organization … Enforced charter takeovers like the ones being carried out in Tennessee are happening across the country … In every one of these charter takeover cases, there have been large numbers of students, parents and teachers who have spoken out in opposition … Due to the influence of federal policies, such as Race to the Top, and relentless marketing by charter school advocates, virtually every state has a methodology for designating ‘low performing’ schools as Priority and targeting them for radical solutions like charter school takeover … Charter schools have become a darling of conservative politicians, think tanks and advocates. One of those powerful advocates, nationally and in Tennessee, is the influential Americans for Prosperity, the right-wing issue group started and funded by the billionaire Charles and David Koch brothers.”
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