5/21/2015 – Charter Schools Won’t Solve Racial Injustice

THIS WEEK: Resisting Tests Promotes Equity … No Accountability for Billions Spent On Charters … Teachers Feel Underappreciated … For-Profit College Lobbying … Pre-K Spending Rises


Charter Schools Won’t Solve Racial Injustice In Baltimore, Or Anywhere Else

By Jeff Bryant

“After riots broke out in Baltimore, prominent advocates for charter schools contended these schools had the power to ‘save’ the city … What plagues public schools in Baltimore, and other big cities for that matter, is not lack of charter schools … Rather than calling for unproven gimmicks like charter schools, advocates for racial equity and social justice would do more for their cause by urging government and policy leaders to actually address these problems directly.”
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Resistance To High Stakes Tests Serves The Cause Of Equity In Education

The Network For Public Education

Seattle high school teacher Jesse Hagopian writes, “High stakes tests are doing more harm than good to the interests of students of color … The United States is currently experiencing the largest uprising against high-stakes standardized testing in the nation’s history … Increasing numbers of people from communities of color are leading this movement … it is vital to understand the disparities that exist in education and to detail the opportunity gap that exists between students of color and white students … Yet we know that high-stakes standardized tests, rather than reducing the opportunity gap, have been used to rank, sort, label, and punish students of color … Standardized testing is not the only, or the most important, method to know that students of color are being underserved … Inequitable opportunities are manifestly evident to anyone who cares to look. The use of tests for this purpose has become part of the problem, rather than a solution.”
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Feds Failed To Keep Tabs On $3b In Aid Doled Out To Charter Schools

New York Daily News

“The federal government shelled out $3.3 billion over the past 20 years to launch new charter schools nationwide, yet failed to monitor how that money was used … Federal spending to launch charter schools zoomed from a mere $4.5 million in 1995 to more than $253 million today … with President Obama now asking Congress for a whopping increase to $375 million for next year … That’s on top of billions of dollars state governments spend for charter school operations … The U.S. Department of Education doesn’t even bother to keep a public record of which charter schools get money.”
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The Stark Inequality Of U.S. Public Schools, Mapped

City Lab

“Earlier this year, the Southern Education Foundation released a report that … examined concentrated poverty in American public schools by state. Now, the Urban Institute has taken a deeper dive by mapping the data by county, illuminating how poverty and race are distributed in public schools across the country. There are three main takeaways … 1) Poor kids are six times more likely to attend ‘high-poverty’ public schools … 2) Poverty isn’t just concentrated in inner-city public schools … 3) Black students are six times more likely to attend high-poverty schools … The key to resolving these disparities may lie in combining fair housing policies with education policies geared toward integration.”
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For-Profit Colleges Flex Political Muscle

Miami Herald

“For more than a decade, ‘accountability’ has been the education buzzword in Florida … The rules are different at for-profit colleges … Florida’s Legislature continues to encourage the growth of the industry … Lawmakers have increased funding sources and reduced quality standards and oversight … A Herald examination of campaign records since 2008 found that for-profit colleges have contributed more than $1.2 million to state lawmakers and political parties. The Legislature, in turn, passed 15 laws benefiting the industry … As state lawmakers have turned the for-profit colleges’ wish lists into legislation, they also have passed at least three bills that hindered community colleges, which directly compete for many of the same students … The for-profit colleges have made their voice heard in Washington as well, while passing out nearly $400,000 in campaign contributions to Florida-based candidates.”
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National Report: Preschool Spending, Enrollment Up Incrementally

Education Week

“40 states with state preschool programs and the District of Columbia spent $116 million more on public preschool in the 2013-14 school year than they did in 2012-13 … Enrollment increased overall by 8,535 children, with several states increasing enrollment and other decreasing enrollment … Across the country, 29% of 4-year-olds and 4% of 3-year-olds were enrolled in state-funded preschool. Including Head Start, 41.5% of 4-year-olds were enrolled and 14.5% of 3-year-olds. … Washington, D.C. is winning on 3-year-old enrollment. The district enrolls 69 percent of its 3-year-olds in publicly funded preschool … Spending per child ranged from less than $2,000 in South Carolina and Arizona to $15,732 in the District of Columbia.”
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