7/2/2014 – Leaving Educators Off The Education Agenda

THIS WEEK: Gaps Start In Kindergarten … Common Core Support Plummets … Ed-Tech Increases Achievement Gaps … States Falter On School Turnarounds … United States Of Cruelty


The Cost Of Leaving Educators Off The Education Agenda

By Jeff Bryant

“As too few expectations of the policy wonks in D.C. seem to catch hold at school and classroom levels, what certainly has ‘trickled down’ is the attitude that the voices of teachers don’t matter much … Education policy leaders today make a big to-do about teachers being ‘the most important in-school factor’ in a student’s academic achievement. So what does it say when you take that factor and muzzle it … What you get … is a negative impact on learning.”
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The Major Disadvantage Facing Black Students, Even In Kindergarten

The Huffington Post

“A recent analysis from liberal think tank Economic Policy Institute (EPI) outlines the severe segregation that exists among kindergarten classrooms … EPI found that while white kindergarteners largely attended classrooms with fellow white students living above the poverty line, black students were much more likely to be in classrooms with low-income peers of color … The phenomenon not only denies American students the intangible benefits of learning in more integrated classrooms, but it perpetuates the achievement gap between students of different racial and class backgrounds before they barely have had an opportunity to start their educations … ‘Research makes fairly clear that racial integration – enabling white students to learn together with black and Hispanic students, and vice versa – benefits all student groups,’ the EPI report, written by researchers Emma Garcia and Elaine Weiss, states.”
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Common Core Support Among Those With School-Age Kids Plummets


“Support for Common Core among Americans with school-age children has fallen dramatically … A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 34% of American Adults with children of elementary or secondary school age now favor requiring all schools nationwide to meet the same Common Core education standards. That’s an 18-point drop from 52% in early November of last year … 47% oppose the imposition of the national standards, compared to 32% in the previous survey. Little changed are the 19% who are undecided.”
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Educational Technology Isn’t Leveling The Playing Field

The Hechinger Report

“While technology has often been hailed as the great equalizer of educational opportunity, a growing body of evidence indicates that in many cases, tech is actually having the opposite effect: it is increasing the gap between rich and poor, between whites and minorities, and between the school-ready and the less-prepared … Granted access to technology, affluent kids and poor kids use tech differently. They select different programs and features, engage in different types of mental activity, and come away with different kinds of knowledge and experience … As with books and reading, the most knowledgeable, most experienced, and most supported students are those best positioned to use computers to leap further ahead … This may stem in part from the influence of adults on children’s computer activities … These different patterns of use had quantifiable effects on the children’s learning … A computer in the hands of a disadvantaged child is in an important sense not the same thing as a computer in the hands of a child of privilege.”
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NCLB Waiver States Struggle To Turn Around Low-Performing Schools

Education Week

“According to an Education Week analysis of U.S. Department of Education monitoring reports … 17 out of 34 waiver states for which waiver monitoring reports have been released by the Education Department were cited for not following through on their plans for fixing up ‘priority’ schools – those bottom 5% of performers … 17 states were hit for not doing enough to help ‘focus’ schools, which are an additional 10% of troubled schools, including those with persistent achievement gaps … 9 states for not doing enough to improve student achievement at other Title I schools (those that get federal money for serving poor kids) … Where is implementation going well? Standards and assessments.”
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The United States Of Cruelty


Columnist Charles Pierce writes, “There is a new kind of systematized cruelty in our daily lives, in how we relate to each other, and in how we treat our fellow citizens, and, therefore, there is a new kind of systematized cruelty in our politics as well … There is something different abroad in the politics now, perhaps because we are in the middle of an era of scarcity and because we have invested ourselves in a timid culture of austerity and doubt. The system seems too full now of opportunities to grind and to bully … In our politics, we have become masters of camouflage. We practice fiscal cruelty and call it an economy. We practice legal cruelty and call it justice. We practice environmental cruelty and call it opportunity. We practice vicarious cruelty and call it entertainment. We practice rhetorical cruelty and call it debate … The time for camouflage is over. Cruelty is cruelty. It should be recognized as a fundamental heresy against the political commonwealth and wrung out of all its institutions. That is the only way out.”
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