7/17/2013 – An Education Debate Going Nowhere

THIS WEEK:Is “Relational Trust” Key To School Improvement … Sequestration’s Devastating Effects On Kids … School Choice NOLA Style … More Segregation With Charter Schools … Will Bill Gates Ruin Higher Education?


Debate Over NCLB Reauthorization Is Going Nowhere

By Jeff Bryant

“The smorgasbord of provisions that education policy-making has become – a heaping helping of accountability here, with a little support for equity there – has given us a skimpy banquet … Contentious back-and-forth between groups that want less standardized testing and those that want every kid tested every year get us nowhere as long as there’s no policy vision for what children do when they aren’t taking all the bloody tests – or when they’re opting out of taking the tests. A pivot from the current accountability measures to an agenda emphasizing opportunity can change that.”
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From Health-Care Reform, Lessons For Education Policy

Education Week

“Research is mounting that the most effective public schools also are characterized by unusually high degrees of collaboration, close attentiveness to testing data for diagnostic (not punitive) purposes, and adaptability … Perhaps the most significant and persuasive research underscoring the fundamental importance of collaboration to improving school performance was conducted by the University of Chicago’s Consortium on Chicago School Research … The consortium’s central finding was that the most-effective schools had developed an unusually high degree of ‘relational trust’ among their stakeholders.”
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Sequestration Pushes Head Start Families To The Precipice

The Huffington Post

“In Washington, the conventional wisdom has sometimes held that sequestration’s harms were oversold. Dire warnings of massive job loss never came true, while government programs used budget gimmickry to keep operating. Outside the Beltway, the perception of sequestration is sharply, viscerally different … The 5.27 percent reduction to the $8 billion [Head Start] program is having a devastating effect on families with children in the program, according to interviews with parents across the country … Advocates for Head Start long ago stopped telling themselves that once the pain set in, pre-sequestration order would be restored. In its place, there is anguish and disbelief that Congress was able to move so quickly, and without apparent regret.”
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New Orleans “Parental Choice” And The Walton-Funded OneApp

Deutsch 29

New Orleans-based blogger Mercedes Schneider writes, “A common cry of corporate reformers involves their oft-professed desire to ‘give parents a choice.’ It sounds so noble, so altruistic. In reality, corporate reformer ‘choice’ is a daunting, messy, confining process … School choice is anything but convenient. It now involves a detailed application process … Parents did not ‘choose’ this open-enrollment ‘choice’ in the first place. It was imposed upon them … School placement is now a competition, and those parents who are on top of the situation stand more of a chance.”
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A New Round Of Segregation Plays Out In Charter Schools

Hechinger Report

“School choice was once seen as a means of helping to diversify schools in spite of residential segregation. But in practice, researchers have found charter schools to be segregated … For a variety of reasons, white, middle-class parents often gravitate to schools populated by those who look like them … Charters are more likely to be predominantly one race than traditional public schools … Integration is rarely an explicit goal of charters. Until diversity is made a priority at all levels, any changes may only be incremental”
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The Gates Effect

Chronicle Of Higher Education

“The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation … wants nothing less than to overhaul higher education, changing how it is delivered, financed, and regulated … Gates’s rise occurs as an unusual consensus has formed among the Obama White House, other private foundations, state lawmakers, and a range of policy advocates, all of whom have coalesced around the goal of graduating more students, more quickly, and at a lower cost, with little discussion of the alternatives … The effect is an echo chamber of like-minded ideas … Leaders and analysts are uneasy about the future that Gates is buying: a system of education designed for maximum measurability, delivered increasingly through technology, and—these critics say—narrowly focused on equipping students for short-term employability.”
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2 thoughts on “7/17/2013 – An Education Debate Going Nowhere”

  1. Jeff, our 3 children all attended & graduated from urban integrated public schools. I think there is considerable value in that (though most of my colleagues who were administrators in St Paul Public schools send their junior and senior high school children to suburban or private schools. We lived in the city then and now.

    Re charters – Hechinger & other charter critics don’t seem to see the difference between people of color having options as they do with charters and district schools, and being forced to attend an inferior school because of their skill. Our office is in an award winning charter that is mostly African American founded by the former Mn Commissioner of Human Rights, first African American to be elected to St Paul City council.

    1. Thanks for your thoughtful comment Joe. I agree your children benefited from attending an integrated public school. Regarding Hechinger, however, it is mistaken to brand that outfit as a “charter critic.” Their analysis is simply based on the data. “It is what it is” as the saying goes. That said, charters do not all have to be monolithic cultures and indeed some aren’t. That it simply happens to turn out that way is something the charter movement needs to do some soul searching about. But instead of doing that, their lobbying efforts are focused primarily on charter school expansion and less regulation. See my piece “Will Charter Schools Survive The Charter School Movement?” http://bit.ly/Z5UUhE And thanks again, for reading and replying.

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