4/23/2015 – An Alternative To Failed Education Reform

THIS WEEK: Opt-Out Movement Grows … Low-Income Kids Need Music Class … More Schools Have Longer Days, Years … More Scholarships Go To Wealthier Kids … Students’ Race Affects Teachers’ Perceptions


An Alternative To Failed Education ‘Reform,’ If We Want One

By Jeff Bryant

“It would seem that at a time, such as now, when the nation’s education policy is in such disarray, and incoherence rules the day, it would be good to pivot to alternatives that might provide a more positive path forward. Indeed, such an alternative approach is at hand … California – the state with by far the most K-12 students, one in eight – has started to take education policy in a different direction … Instead of fiscal austerity and top-down accountability, financial support for local schools has grown, local authorities have been empowered to create change, and trust and verification have taken over from rigid oversight.”
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Opt-Out Movement Accelerates Amid Common-Core Testing

Associated Press via ABC News

“Thousands of students are opting out of new standardized tests aligned to the Common Core standards … This ‘opt-out’ movement remains scattered but is growing fast … Some superintendents in New York are reporting that 60 percent or even 70 percent of their students are refusing to sit for the exams. Some lawmakers, sensing a tipping point, are backing the parents and teachers … Opposition runs across the political spectrum … From pre-kindergarten through grade 12, students take an average of 113 standardized tests … Teachers now devote 30 percent of their work time on testing-related tasks.”
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Low-Income Kids Benefit From Music Class, Show Greater Reading Skills

Medical Daily

“Music classes are usually cut first when schools reevaluate their budget. But a new study … shows these classes are valuable, especially to low-income children … Since music and language skills stem from auditory processing, researchers decided to measure the impact music classes have on low-income children … Children taking a music class showed greater reading abilities in comparison to children not taking a music class … Researchers added they interpreted these results to mean “auditory enrichment” offered in a music class may improve literacy skills and combat the otherwise negative impact of a low-income environment.”
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Longer School Days And Years Catching On In Public K-12

Education Week

“Twice as many schools today have a longer school day or year than just two years ago … Of the 2,009 schools that had expanded learning time last year, 1,208 – or 61% – were regular public schools … In the past two legislative sessions, lawmakers in all 50 states introduced hundreds of bills giving schools and districts the scheduling flexibility and funding to go long. More than 40 of them passed … The majority of expanded time schools serve low-income, high needs students.”
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Wealthier Students More Likely Than Poor To Get Private Scholarships

The Hechinger Report

“Federal data show that poor families that need the private scholarships the most are less likely to get them than higher-income ones … Nearly 13% of students from families that make more than $106,000 a year get private scholarships, compared with about 9% of those whose families earn less than $30,000 … Two-thirds of parents with incomes of $75,000 or more could name scholarships as potential sources of financial aid, only one in four with incomes under $25,000 a year could … Wealthier students are more likely to go to private or well-funded suburban high schools with knowledgeable college counselors… Students at private and suburban schools were significantly more likely to have spoken with a college counselor than those at urban schools … Private scholarships have grown to represent 13% of all direct grants given to American college students.”
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Students’ Race Affects How Teachers Judge Misbehavior, Study Says

Education Week Teacher

“Racial disparities in school discipline are well-documented … A new study … aims to dig a little deeper into this by looking at how a student’s race may play into teachers’ reactions to discipline problems … Studies … presented a total of 244 K-12 teachers … with a fictional student’s disciplinary records. The records were labeled with either a stereotypically black name (Deshawn or Darnell) or a stereotypically white one (Greg or Jake) … Teachers who had the black student’s file were more likely to feel ‘troubled’ by the student’s behavior and to recommend more severe punishments for him after the second instance of misbehavior … Researchers also asked the teachers to rate how certain they were of the student’s race. They found that teachers who were more sure that the student was black were also more likely to feel that the student was a ‘troublemaker’ and that his behaviors were part of a pattern … Teachers involved in the study were predominantly white and female, much like the teaching profession.”
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