2/26/2014 – Education Spring Year Of Action

THIS WEEK: Public School Failure Myth … Vouchers For Religious Schools … Common Core Textbook ‘Sham’ … Better School Discipline … Student Debt Review


Education Spring ‘Year Of Action’ Revs Up

By Jeff Bryant

“Last year’s emerging Education Spring that revealed a nationwide movement of diverse factions opposed to unpopular education policies has now developed substantial new organizational capacity and a more powerful voice. The ‘new populism … that is defining the economic debate in 2014 is also firing a new populist movement to reject failed education policy mandates and call for new reforms of our public education system … This year, the voices of dissent are louder and the stakes are far higher.”
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The Myth Behind Public School Failure

Yes Magazine

“To truly understand how we came to believe our educational system is broken, we need a history lesson… To make the case for vouchers, free-market conservatives, corporate strategists, and opportunistic politicians looked for any way to build a myth that public schools were failing, that teachers (and of course their unions) were at fault, and that the cure was vouchers and privatization … In truth, standardized-test scores were going up for every economic and ethnic segment of students – it’s just that, as more and more students began taking these tests … It wasn’t a teacher problem. It was a statistical misread … Corporations recognized privatization as a euphemism for profits. ‘Our schools are failing’ became the slogan for those who wanted public-treasury vouchers to move money into private schools. These cries continue today.”
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NC Voucher Money Likely To Go To Unaccountable Religious Institutions

Raleigh News & Observer

“A new report on private schools in North Carolina finds that most of the schools available to voucher recipients are very small, unaccredited religious schools with uncertified teachers, nonstandard curricula and no public accountability … Among the key findings of the report … Only 35% of schools charge tuition that could be fully paid by a voucher (i.e., $4,200 per year or less). Of those schools, more than 90% are religious schools. At the middle and high school level, about 95% are religious schools … The voucher can be offered to any ‘nonpublic school’ in North Carolina. North Carolina has no approval process for nonpublic schools and does not require any type of accreditation or educational standards for the schools. The state does not interfere with the selection of curriculum or teachers. Although nonpublic schools must administer annual testing and make the results known to the parents, they are not required to make their test results public.”
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Boasts About Textbooks Aligned To Common Core A ‘Sham,’ Say Researchers

Education Week

“Claims from publishers that traditional instructional materials are aligned to Common Core State Standards are largely a ‘sham,’ say two researchers who have conducted extensive reviews of classroom textbooks … [The report] analyzed 40-50 textbooks covering first through ninth grades – books that are used by roughly 60 percent of U.S. school children – that were purportedly aligned to the new standards … Many were identical to the old, pre-standards textbooks … Textbook publishers generally don’t want to do thorough, meaningful revisions to accommodate the new standards … because such work is expensive and difficult.”
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Real Discipline In Schools

The New York Times

“Too many schools still use severe and ineffective practices to address student misbehavior … Rather than teaching kids a lesson, these practices increase dropout rates and arrest rates – with severe social and economic consequences. They also disproportionately affect students of color and students with learning disabilities … But these patterns can be reversed, in innovative school districts and with help from teachers’ unions … Improving school climates lessens the need for suspensions and expulsions and creates an atmosphere more conducive to learning.”
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The Student Debt Review

The New America Foundation

“Nearly 70% of students who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 2012 took out debt for their education (above), and those with loans owed $29,400 on average (below). That represents an increase of nearly 20% in real terms over just four years. And it is a record high in both the percentage borrowing and average amount owed … The ‘Student Debt Review’ finds … especially rapid rises in student debt at private for-profit colleges: bachelor’s degree graduates at these institutions, for instance, now pay $95 more each month than their peers in 2003-04, and $153 more than students earning the same credential at public colleges.”
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