6/11/2015 – Education Policy Descends Into A Sad Proxy Battle

THIS WEEK: Many States Screw Poor Kids On School Funding … The Truth About Graduation Rates … Saving Charter Schools … Shoddy School Infrastructure Hurts Learning … Poor Schools Get More Inexperienced Teachers


Education Policy Descends Into A Sad Proxy Battle

By Jeff Bryant

“As the policy battle over mandatory testing is waged across the nation, new evidence of a real civil rights concern is being completely ignored by federal leaders and the policy elite in Washington, DC … And what really matters in education policy continues to take a back seat to a sad and ineffectual proxy battle over testing … Our more disadvantaged students are worse off for it.”
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Inequitable School Funding Called ‘One Of The Sleeper Civil Rights Issues Of Our Time’

The Washington Post

“A Funding for public education in most states is inadequate and inequitable, creating a huge obstacle for the nation’s growing number of poor children … In most states school districts in wealthy areas spend as much or more per pupil than districts with high concentrations of poverty … Just 15 states had school funding systems that funnel more resources to students in poor districts than those in affluent districts … The remaining states either devote the same funding to the poorest and richest districts, or they send more to districts serving the most affluent students … Many students in the poorest districts come to school hungry, are in need of health care or lack a stable home life. Such children generally are considered more expensive to educate.”
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The Truth About America’s Graduation Rate


“Graduation rates have been rising since 2002 … We identified three major ways that states and districts try to improve their graduation rates … Stepping in early to keep kids on track … Lowering the bar by offering alternate and easier routes … Gaming the system by moving likely dropouts off the books, transferring or misclassifying them … Texas is tied with a few other states with the second-highest graduation rate in the country: 88% … But that figure excludes lots of students – more than 50,000 … The Chicago district is misclassifying hundreds of students who enroll at alternative schools … by saying they left the district … All these strategies – good, bad and ambiguous – raise the question: What does a high school diploma mean?”
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Saving The Charter School Movement From Itself

Aljazeera America

Century Foundation fellow Amy Dean writes, “Advocates of charter schools argue that they are innovative laboratories of experimentation. But … policies that led to the creation of these schools have been used to advance a political agenda … If the charter school movement is going to play the positive role in education reform that it was supposed to, it will have to do three things: restore its commitment to public accountability for public resources, support increased funding across the system, and respect the rights of teachers … We risk further fragmenting our education system, increasing the inequities of our school funding and foreclosing on the dream of a free and quality education for all.”
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If You Build It, They’ll Learn Better

US New & World Report

A senior fellow for the Center for American Progress writes, “Many students attend inadequate, outdated school buildings … Even seemingly minor issues like weak air quality can lower achievement … Students from low-income families often get the short end of the infrastructure stick … Low-income districts often get less money from the state, and they have less wealth to tax locally. It can also be challenging for low-income districts to get their communities to support the school bonds that help fund infrastructure projects … The federal government should start collecting data on the current state of our nation’s buildings … make targeted investments … look at states like Massachusetts, which have created a ‘pay-as-you-build’ system that can lower expenditures and shore-up local support for building projects.”
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Ed. Dept.: Poorest Districts Have More Trainee Teachers

Education Week

“Teachers in high-poverty school districts were about twice as likely to still be learning the ropes as teachers working in the flushest districts in 2011-12 … States reported that 1.5 percent of public school teachers are still completing their preparation – but are nevertheless considered ‘highly qualified’ under federal law … Assuming 25 students in each of the interns’ classes, these teachers are reaching about 800,000 students … Under that 2002 regulation, teachers in alternative-preparation programs – typically career-changers or those in programs like Teach For America – were permitted to be deemed ‘highly qualified’ … even though they were still being prepared.”
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