12/4/2014 – Award For Questioning Charter School Hype

THIS WEEK: Test Score Declines Coming … Costs Of Digital Learning … Koch Brother Influence … New Teacher-Prep Program Rules … Colleges Charge Poor Kids More


EON Awarded For ‘Questioning The Charter School Hype’

By Jeff Bryant

“Charter schools have been relentlessly marketed to the American populace as a silver bullet for ‘failed’ public schools … But as these institutions proliferate, so are troubling reports of what the charter movement has unleashed.”
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Test Scores Are Going To Go Down Next Year. Blame The Common Core.


“Most students’ math and reading skills are going to look much worse after they take Common Core-aligned tests in spring 2015. More than half of students will probably get scores too low to be considered proficient … New York and Kentucky … have already learned that lesson. Proficiency rates dropped by about half in both … Low scores on Common Core tests will add more fuel to criticisms that the standards are too hard, lessons are too confusing, or that the whole reform is being rushed.”
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Is Digital Learning More Cost-Effective? Maybe Not


“Digital learning … a new study suggests … is neither more powerful nor cheaper than old-fashioned teaching … Researchers don’t really know what works and what doesn’t … Consumers – local school districts – are buying blind … Buzzwords like ‘personalized instruction’ and ‘personalized learning’ that sound great … are a bit nebulous … Online-only learning had no impact on student achievement and in some cases had a slightly negative impact. The results of blended learning were more mixed, but in cases where it improved student learning, it also cost more than traditional methods.”
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How The Koch Brothers Are Sneaking Their Way Into Public Schools


“For years, the Bill of Rights Institute has … been the conduit for millions of dollars from Charles and David Koch, as the brothers seek to influence the country’s social studies curriculum … In its materials for teachers and students, the Bill of Rights Institute cherry-picks the Constitution, history, and current events to hammer home its libertarian message that the owners of private property should be free to manage their wealth as they see fit … Educator resources for “Documents of Freedom” at the BRI site underscore this business-good/government-bad message … Another Koch organization that targets public schools, Youth Entrepreneurs… produce an economics curriculum to challenge what the group identified as ‘common economic fallacies,’ including: ‘Rich get richer at the expense of the poor … What makes the Koch brothers’ focus on public schools so profoundly cynical is that they hate public schools.'”
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New Rules Would Judge Teacher-Prep Programs On Job Placements And Student Learning

The Chronicle Of Higher Education

“Proposed rules … would require states to evaluate teacher-training programs based, in part, on how many of their graduates get and keep jobs and how much their graduates’ future students learn. Only programs deemed effective by their states would be eligible to award Teach Grants, which provide students with up to $4,000 a year … Teacher unions and college lobbyists worry that the rules will punish programs whose graduates are concentrated in high-need schools, where test scores tend to be lower and teacher turnover higher. They warn that the plan could discourage colleges from placing their students in such schools … Skeptics say the existing “value added” measures are unproven. They cite a recent statement by the American Statistical Association that concluded that ‘the majority of the variation in test scores is attributable to factors outside of the teacher’s control, such as student and family background, poverty, curriculum, and unmeasured influences.'”
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Colleges That Pledged To Help Poor Families Have Been Doing The Opposite, New Figures Show

The Hechinger Report

“As institutions vie for income and prestige … net prices they’re charging the lowest-income students, after discounts and financial aid, continue to rise faster on average than the net prices they’re charging higher-income ones … This includes the 100 higher-education institutions whose leaders attended a widely publicized White House summit in January and promised to expand the opportunities for low-income students to go to college. In fact, the private universities in that group collectively raised what the poorest families pay by 10%, compared to 5% for wealthier students … Even at the 36 taxpayer-supported public universities that signed the White House pledge, poor students paid an average net price of about $8,000 in 2008-09 and almost $10,000 in 2012-13. That’s a 25% increase. During the same period, wealthier students at those schools saw their average net price go from about $18,000 to $21,000, a 16% increase.”
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