8/11/2016 – Populism Is Rewriting The Charter School Narrative

THIS WEEK: Many Charters Exclude Students … Texas To Investigate Gülen Charters … Charter Groups ‘Swift Boat” Opponents … Teacher Pay Gap Widens … Fed Spending On Pre-K


How Populism Is Rewriting The Charter School Narrative

By Jeff Bryant

“Two recent events showcase exactly how the populist fervor in the nation is … rewriting the story of the roll out of charter schools in our communities … First … the national NAACP has called for a nationwide ‘moratorium on the proliferation of privately managed charter schools’… Those schools and what they’ve come to represent in communities were also rejected at the local level in a school board election in Nashville … What’s abundantly clear is that while [charter advocates] have been completely free to write the charter school narrative in their own words, now the people are telling their version of the story.”
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Report Charges Many Charter Schools Exclude Children In Violation Of The Law


“Over 1 in 5 of California’s charter schools have restrictive admissions requirements or other exclusionary practices that keep out many students with the greatest academic needs … These practices include: denying enrollment to students who have weak grades or test scores, expelling students who do not have strong grades or test scores, denying enrollment to students who do not ‘meet a minimum level of English proficiency,’ requiring students to meet ‘onerous’ requirements for admission … discouraging students from immigrant background … [and making] enrollment conditional on parents volunteering or donating funds to the school.”
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Texas Education Agency To Investigate Charter School System

Houston Business Journal

“Texas has decided to investigate a Houston-based charter school program … Harmony Public Schools after complaints alleged misuse of federal and state funds and connections with Turkish vendors … Also investigating whether Harmony allegedly guaranteed a $1.9 million bond debt of a Turkish charter school network in Arkansas … The investigation comes after international law group … filed a complaint in May alleging a connection between Harmony and the Gülen Organization, headed by Fethullah Gülen, a Muslim cleric from Turkey residing in Pennsylvania … The government of Turkey believes Gülen had a large role in a recent failed coup attempt in Turkey.”
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Pro-Charter Group Hires Ad Firm Whose Swift Boat Campaign Helped Sink Kerry

Boston Magazine

“Public Charter Schools for MA, a proponent of the referendum on lifting the state’s cap on charter schools, has purchased $6.5 million in advertising … produced by DC-based SRCP Media … You may remember SRCP Media’s infamous ‘Swift Boat Veterans For Truth’ smear campaign, which helped scuttle John Kerry’s presidential aspirations in 2004 by peddling discredited claims regarding his military career during the Vietnam War … The campaign was so effective, ‘swift boat’ has become synonymous with sliming of the highest degree.”
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The Teacher Pay Gap In US – Wider Than Ever

Job Market Monitor

“The teacher pay penalty is bigger than ever. In 2015, public school teachers’ weekly wages were 17.0% lower than those of comparable workers – compared with just 1.8% lower in 1994. This erosion of relative teacher wages has fallen more heavily on experienced teachers than on entry-level teachers … Collective bargaining can help to abate this teacher wage penalty … Even so, teachers’ compensation (wages plus benefits) was 11.1% lower than that of comparable workers in 2015 … This is particularly difficult at a time when the supply of teachers is constrained by high turnover rates, annual retirements of longtime teachers, and a decline in students opting for a teaching career.”
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Early Childhood Education Gets Push From $1 Billion Federal Investment

The Washington Post

“More than $1 billion in federal aid to make quality education accessible to high-needs preschool children … has rapidly improved the quality of learning for the students while simultaneously enrolling a significant number of new students in top-tier programs. It also has allowed health screenings for thousands of preschoolers to help identify and treat medical and developmental issues earlier, including ones that might have affected their ability to learn … Nearly 267,000 children with high needs are now enrolled in the highest-quality state preschool programs … a 263% increase … Numerous studies have shown that children who receive a high-quality early education are more likely to succeed economically and socially. It is particularly a boon to high-needs students.
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