7/9/2014 – Democrats’ Divide On Education

THIS WEEK: Era Of Majority White Students Ends … Little Kids Need Less Structure … Public Support For Education Spending … Secret Of Effective Motivation … College Remediation Rates Distorted


Democratic Party’s Divide On Education Policy Gets Worse

By Jeff Bryant

“The Democratic Party’s divergence from real progressive values for governing our schools mostly went unnoticed in major media outlets until recently … Now Democratic candidates and their operatives and supporters need to decide which side makes the most sense to ally with.”
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School Is Over for the Summer. So Is The Era Of Majority White U.S. Public Schools.

National Journal

“The 2013-14 school year has drawn to a close in most U.S. school districts, and with it the final period in which white students composed a majority of the nation’s K-12 public school population. When schools reopen in August and September, black, Latino, Asian, and Native American students will together make up a narrow majority of the nation’s public school students … As public schools increasingly become institutions serving large numbers of students of color, some states with largely white state legislatures and aging electorates have already proven unwilling to raise taxes or divert needed funds to meet the needs of public schools. School funding and other public resource needs will become increasingly critical as children of color go on to become the majority of the U.S. workforce and total population by 2042.”
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Study: Too Many Structured Activities May Hinder Children’s Executive Functioning

Education Week

” When children spend more time in structured activities, they get worse at working toward goals, making decisions, and regulating their behavior … Instead, kids might learn more when they have the responsibility to decide for themselves what they’re going to do with their time … When children are in control of how they spend their time, they are able to get more practice working toward goals and figuring out what to do next. For instance, the researchers write, a child with a free afternoon ahead of her might decide to read a book. Once she’s finished, she might decide to draw a picture about the book, and then she’ll decide to show the drawing to her family. This child will learn more than another child who completes the same activities, but is given explicit instructions throughout the process.”
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Gauging Public Support For Education Spending

New America Foundation

“Across all programs, inflation-adjusted federal spending on children declined by 13.6% from 2010 to 2014. Education is down 15.1%, and early childhood spending 6.2% over the same time period … Even though we know that investing in kids markedly improves their long-term life outcomes and saves public money, our representatives in Washington have been steadily cutting back on programs that support children … In sum, the data show that: 1) Americans overwhelmingly want us to do more in early childhood, 2) only a small percentage of Americans want us to spend less on education generally, and 3) we’ve been cutting education spending at the federal level over the last five years … A few things going on here. First of all, consider that education is rarely a determinative political issue at the federal level—and it’s only marginally more so at the state level … Second, education polling sometimes captures a conflicted picture of Americans because of the muddled state of American education politics.”
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The Secret Of Effective Motivation

The New York Times

“Whenever a person performs a task well, there are typically both internal and instrumental consequences. A conscientious student learns (internal) and gets good grades (instrumental) … But just because activities can have both internal and instrumental consequences does not mean that the people who thrive in these activities have both internal and instrumental motives … For students uninterested in learning, financial incentives for good attendance or pizza parties for high performance may prompt them to participate, but it may result in less well-educated students … Rendering an activity more attractive by emphasizing both internal and instrumental motives to engage in it is completely understandable, but it may have the unintended effect of weakening the internal motives so essential to success.”
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How College Remediation Rates Are Distorted – And Why

The Washington Post

Award-winning Long Island, NY high school principal Carol Burris writes, ” College remediation rates are used to justify the need for the Common Core … Facts about college remediation are distorted or framed to cause maximum alarm … One think tank created the 40% remediation rate … The 40% then made its way into another think tank’s report, which was picked up by a nameless author who posted it on the Huffington Post. A few years later, in his zeal for supporting the expansion of charter schools in Boston, Duncan further inflates the rate by telling the people of Massachusetts that 40 percent of their graduates need remediation … Remediation is complicated … It is wrong to inflate remediation numbers and then use them to justify everything from charter schools to the Common Core.”
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