2/12/2014 – Why Reject Bobby Jindal’s Education Plan

THIS WEEK: More State Takeovers Of Schools … Teachers Mixed On Common Core … New SAT Problems … More College Freshmen Depressed … TFA’s Truth Problem


Why Democrats Must Categorically Reject Bobby Jindal’s Education Plan

By Jeff Bryant

“Education is one front where the apparent strength of newfound Republican populist rhetoric threatens the Democrat Party’s traditional ‘ownership of the issues’ … This week, Bobby Jindal came to the nation’s capital to proclaim a ‘sweeping education plan’ … Unfortunately, for Jindal, conservatives in charge of education policy in Louisiana have produced some very troubling results … The Republicans’ track record for education is their undoing. So seeking ‘the center’ and copying Republican education policies, as Democrats have a tendency to do, will likely lead to more assurance of a Democratic Party defeat.”
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More State Takeovers Of Public Schools Possible

USA Today

“The recent takeover of the Little Rock School District by the Arkansas State Board of Education has angered parents … but as schools nationwide begin to see the results of new math and reading tests based on tougher Common Core standards, they could find themselves the targets of similar moves … Proposed reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind law – which orders states to assess academic achievement at specific grade levels – would give state governments more power over troubled school districts. That means more potential takeovers … Several analyses have predicted that more students will fail to hit academic goals laid out by new Common Core standards.”
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Teachers Mixed On Common Core, Support Blended Learning

THE Journal

“More than 9 out of 10 teachers in America report using technology in the classroom. Two-thirds said they support the idea of a blended classroom, where students spend part of the school day working with a teacher and part working on a computer. A similar number of teachers said they like the idea of requiring students to take at least one online course … The Common Core isn’t a big favorite among the country’s educators. Slightly more than half said they have an “unfavorable” opinion about the learning standards. Only three out of 10 teachers said they believe the standards will improve the quality of education in their communities or state; 36% said they believe they’ll have no impact; and 34% said they believe they’ll have an ‘adverse effect.'”
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New SAT, New Problems

The Atlantic

“The new [SAT] test will correspond with the Common Core Standards … That means the new SAT could have the opposite of its intended effect … closing opportunities for students who aren’t yet well-versed in the standards. Kids who lack access to in-person test preparation … could also suffer. The most vulnerable students are those who live in low-income areas or don’t speak English as a first language … It will force students and schools to play a long game of catch-up … Students at struggling schools – where teachers tend to have less experience and support and where Common Core-related textbooks can be scarce – could be at a disadvantage.”
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Emotional Well-Being Of College Freshmen At All-Time Low Levels, Survey Shows

Education Week

“A new survey of college freshmen finds stress and depression is on the rise, with students rating their emotional health at the lowest level in 30 years … Among the freshman class entering in the fall of 2014, about half considered their emotional well-being above average or in the highest 10% of their peer group … The other half described themselves as average, below average, or in the lowest 10% in the emotional health categories … In the mid-1980s and then only about one-third of students put themselves in the lowest three categories … The survey also revealed nearly 1 in 10 students in last fall’s incoming freshman class reported feeling “frequently” depressed – the highest level since 1988 … Students report spending less time socializing, partying, drinking, and smoking than in previous years.”
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Teach For America’s Truth Problem: TFA Advocates Aren’t Being Honest About Education Reform


At Salon, Jeff Bryant writes, “Evidence of Teach for America’s academic benefits to students continues to be a mixed picture at best … Meanwhile, costs of hiring TFA recruits continue to overtake costs of hiring traditionally prepared teachers … So why all the clamor to support, even expand, TFA? … We must remember hard truths of American schools revealed to self-proclaimed reformers … are not revelations about schools their own children attend. Their drive-by prescriptions … are meant for ‘other people’s children,’ not theirs.”
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