4/16/2014 – Education Reform’s Biggest Bust

THIS WEEK: Reform Harms Civic Engagement … Public School Advantage … Digital Divide In Schools … Teens Can’t Find Work … More College Students Battle Hunger


Are Teacher Evaluations Education ‘Reform’s’ Biggest Bust?

By Jeff Bryant

“Just this week, a key underpinning to the whole teacher evaluation program pushed by the Obama administration was cast into doubt … These new schemes are doing great harm to teachers and, consequentially, the students in their charge … Meantime, the only response from those in charge has been to ‘stay the course.'”
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Education: States’ Standardized Tests Have A Negative Impact On Parents’ Civic Engagement

Science Daily

“New research has found that parents of public school students in states with more extensive and stringent student assessment systems express lower trust in government and more negative views of their children’s schools … Highly developed assessment policies alienate parents from government and discourage parental involvement in education … Parents in states with more developed assessment systems were less likely to become engaged in some parental involvement behaviors, especially contacting teachers and participating in school fundraisers … These policies tend to depress civic engagement among parents because they provide few opportunities for parental input and can introduce undesirable changes into schools.”
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The Public School Advantage: Why Public Schools Outperform Private Schools

Stanford Social Innovation Review

“Evidence … points to a new, emerging view of the academic performance and impact of public schools in contrast to the outcomes of their more autonomous counterparts in the charter and private sectors … The data show that the more regulated public school sector embraces more innovative and effective professional practices, while independent schools often use their greater autonomy to avoid such reforms, leading to curricular stagnation … Despite what many reformers, policy makers, media elites, and even parents may believe, these public schools are, on average, actually providing a more effective educational service relative to schools in the independent sector.”
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Vast Digital Divide Exists In K-12 Schools, E-Rate Analysis Shows

Education Week

“Applications for federal E-rate money show broad gaps between wealthy and poor school systems’ access to high-quality technologies, and varying abilities among districts to purchase connectivity at affordable rates … The country’s schools – particularly its most impoverished ones – have a long way to go … Schools with higher levels of technology buy at cheaper prices … Many districts, even those who in theory could obtain connectivity, often can’t afford it … Many technology advocates, meanwhile, have called for raising the [federal E-rate] program’s yearly budget from the current $2.4 billion to as much as $5 billion.”
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What Happens When American Teenagers Can’t Find Work

National Journal

“The employment rates for teenagers, ages 16 to 19, plummeted from 45 percent in 2000 to just 26 percent in 2011 … the lowest rate of teen employment in the post-World War II era. The teens hardest hit by the tough labor market also happen to be the least fortunate ones: those with less education, from poorer households, or from minority backgrounds … Study after study shows that early work experience helps teens and young adults build confidence and pick up crucial soft skills, like how to arrive at work on-time and not irritate one’s boss … Prescriptions: Incorporating more apprenticeships and internships into educational settings; giving teenagers access to skills training that a particular region will need in the future; and more robust career counseling to make teens think ahead.”
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More College Students Battle Hunger As Education And Living Costs Rise

The Washington Post

“A problem known as ‘food insecurity’ – a lack of nutritional food … is increasingly on the radar of administrators, who report seeing more hungry students, especially at schools that enroll a high percentage of youths who are from low-income families or are the first generation to attend college … As campuses look for solutions, the number of university food pantries has shot up, from four in 2008 to 121 today … Although there are no comprehensive nationwide surveys of student hunger, experts said, there is evidence that it is rising and may be much higher than the national average for all age groups.”
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