7/23/2013 The Schools Parents Really Want

July 23, 2013

THIS WEEK: Pre-K Is An Investment … Teacher Evaluations And Achievement … School Grading Systems Sham … What Good Are Exam Results? … Head Start And The American Dream


What Parents Want For Education Policy

By Jeff Bryant

“When politicians make the case that parents, rather than professional educators, should run schools, they reinforce the idea that when education is the issue at hand, the only ‘adults’ who matter are parents, and the interests of teachers are misaligned to the well-being of students. So what do parents want? A revealing new study indicates that parents don’t want what the education reform crowd is selling. Not at all.”
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Arne Duncan Presses GOP To Back Universal Pre-K


“Education Secretary Arne Duncan said … he’s urging reluctant Republicans in Congress to get on board with funding universal preschool. One of the big sticking points for Republicans has been coming up with new money for the program … Obama has proposed doubling the federal tobacco tax to pay for universal preschool expansion, but Duncan acknowledged that not everyone is keen on the idea … In the ‘real world’ outside of Washington, Duncan said Republican and Democratic governors alike are willing to make the necessary investments. He cited states he’s visited, like Virginia, Ohio, New Mexico, Alabama and Mississippi, where governors are on board despite tight budgets.”
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True or False: Teacher Evaluations Improve Accountability, Raise Achievement

Education Week

Marc Tucker, president of the National Center on Education and the Economy, asks, “Have you seen any evidence that the implementation of teacher evaluation systems at the scale of a school or school system produces statistically significant improvements in student performance? No? I haven’t either … I know of no successful system for managing professionals anywhere in the world that relies for its success mainly on getting rid of poor performers to meet its quality targets … The drivers are clear: create a first-rate pool from which to select teachers … provide future teachers the kind and quality of education and training we provide our high status professionals, provide teachers a workplace that looks a lot more like a professional practice … reward our teachers for engaging in the disciplined improvement … and provide the support and trust.”
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School Grading System Lost All Credibility

Gainesville Sun

Florida parent activist Kathleen Oropeza writes, “For 15 years, Florida politicians sold the ‘A’ to ‘F’ school grading system as the education reform gold standard for the nation. A whole expensive, un-piloted system was built … Dozens of states across the nation have been lobbied heavily to adopt ‘A’ to ‘F’ school grading system … The 800 point scale used to calculate school grades allows the loss of 80 points to drop an ‘A’ school to a ‘C’ or a ‘C’ school to an ‘F’ … This arbitrary scale was set by the Board of Education years ago and the board has the power to alter it at will … Politicians stick to the script, rigidly intent on hawking Florida’s ‘good news.’ Such blind faith exposes the lie. Florida’s ‘A’ to ‘F’ school grading system cannot be a model of success on one hand while seeking to rapidly grow the number of ‘F’ schools on the other.”
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Why Do Schools Refuse To Send Exams Home?

The Washington Post

Long-time education journalist Jay Mathews writes, “Not seeing state standardized final exams does not bother parents so much. The results come too late to help their children prepare. But barring them from seeing monthly and mid-term exams makes little sense to them or me. Looking at last year’s tests is considered cheating by today’s schools. In my day it was called review. Today’s schools appear to have no data justifying their position … Some educators and parents see school as a competition. Nobody should get an advantage in the race for top grades. Cheating, not learning, seems their greatest concern. Other educators and parents see school as a place where everyone gets a chance to improve their skills and thinking, with as much support as possible. What better way to improve than to have the ability to learn from your own mistakes?”
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Head Start Strengthens The American Dream

Richmond Times-Dispatch

In an op-ed, Chuck Mills, president of a employee benefits firm and former Cobra helicopter pilot for the Marine Corps during the first Gulf War, writes, “Children raised in poverty face stressful circumstances that directly impact their development. Their zip codes determine so much of their fate. That’s why, for nearly 50 years, our nation has made a commitment to its most vulnerable children. Head Start was established and has worked to make sure at-risk children get the early support and opportunities they need to have their chance at the American Dream … My Head Start experience promoted engagement and involvement with my peers in class, and today with my community and family … As we celebrate our country’s history, let’s also celebrate the dreams we see in the faces of all of our children. Let’s make sure they have what they need to achieve those dreams.”
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