12/22/2016 – Girding For The Education Fight Ahead

THIS WEEK: DeVos’ Donor Advantage … More Private Choice Coming … Obama’s Edu-Legacy … Online Charters Love Trump … Computer Conundrum


Girding For The Education Fight Ahead

By Jeff Bryant

“If you want to get an idea of what kind of education policies to expect from a Donald Trump administration, Wall St. has a clue for you … Online charter schools are ‘gearing up for a boom during the Trump administration, judging by where investors are placing their bets’… A burning question is, ‘Where are the Democrats?'”
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DeVos Heads Into Confirmation With A Megadonor’s Advantage


“Billionaire Betsy DeVos has been unabashed about using her wealth to advance her own agenda. ‘We expect a return on our investment,’ she once wrote … After giving millions of dollars to politicians over the past two decades, she now heads into her Senate confirmation hearing for education secretary with a clear advantage: DeVos and her husband, Dick, have donated to the campaigns of 17 senators who will consider her nomination – four of whom sit on the Senate education committee that oversees the process … Over the past two and half decades, the couple donated more than $7.7 million to Republican candidates and parties across the country.”
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Beyond Vouchers: How Trump Could Boost Private School Choice

Education Week

“What other avenues are there for Trump, DeVos, and Congress to expand private school choice?… Tax-credit scholarships allow individuals and corporations to claim a tax credit of some kind, in exchange for a donation to an organization that provides scholarships to children… Congress could find some way to … create a new education savings account applicable to K-12 … [Or] an annual $250 million federal grant program to promote private school choice.”
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The Education Of Barack Obama

The Nation

Dana Goldstein writes, “When it came to K–12 policy, [Obma’s] first six years were defined by an aggressive reform agenda that left the traditional camp, especially the teachers unions, playing defense. Only since 2014 has there been a détente … Grassroots activism from the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as from tens of thousands of parents who opted their children out of standardized testing, helped shift the terms of the debate. We now talk almost as much about school discipline, unequal school funding, and school segregation as we do about low test scores and teacher tenure. It’s a profound change in rhetoric … The expansion of the charter-school sector seems likely to be the most lasting of Obama’s education reforms.”
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Online Charter Schools Prepare For A Trump-Era Boom


“Online charter schools are widely regarded as among the country’s worst-performing, plagued by abysmal test scores and sky-high student turnover rates. They’re also gearing up for a boom during the Trump administration … K12 Inc., the online charter school industry’s largest and most controversial player, has risen in value by more than 50% since November 8 … Betsy DeVos … is married to an early investor in K12 … Vice President Mike Pence has worked closely with groups tied to the company. ”
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Giving Children Computers Basically Does The Opposite Of What You Expect

The Washington Post

“The benefits of having a computer at home are subtle and somewhat counterintuitive … Researchers … in California looking for students in grades six through 10 who didn’t have access to a computer at home … divided [stuents] into two groups. One group received free desktop machines …The other group got nothing … In the end, none of this had a measurable [academic] effect … The children who saw the most benefit were the ones who didn’t have a social-network account at the beginning of the experiment. They became more likely to chat with friends and to meet with friends face-to-face.”
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