8/25/2016 – John Oliver Slams Charter Schools And His Critics Totally Miss The Point

THIS WEEK: How Schools Ruin Testing … Teachers Win Tenure Case … Head Start Works … Threats To Schools Increase … Secret Procharter Money


John Oliver Slams Charter Schools And His Critics Totally Miss The Point

By Jeff Bryant

“British comedian John Oliver devoted a ‘Back to School’ segment on his HBO program Last Week Tonight to examining the rapidly growing charter school industry and what these schools are doing with our tax dollars … None of Oliver’s critics seriously refuted the crux of his argument that there might be something fundamentally wrong by design, rather than by implementation or intent, with the idea that a ‘free market’ of privately operated and essentially unregulated schools is a surefire way to improve education opportunities for all students.”
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How Schools That Obsess About Standardized Tests Ruin Them As Measures Of Success


“A look at the data combined with some basic principles of social science suggests that the practices of no-excuses charters are undermining the very foundation of data-based education reform … A test that overshadows the ultimate outcomes it is intended to measure turns into an invalid test … Many charter schools, under pressure to deliver unrealistic gains in test scores, are contorting themselves to get the numbers they’ve promised. They’re being rewarded for doing so.”
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In A Major Win For Teachers Unions, California Supreme Court Lets Teacher Tenure Ruling Stand

Los Angeles Times

“A landmark California case challenging tenure and other traditional job protections for teachers … let stand an appeals court ruling that preserved an array of employment rights … The assault on these protections is part of a broader approach to reforming education that would make schools more like the private sector, which relies on competition, measurable results and performance incentives … The Legislature remains the most logical place to determine such employment rules, some advocates on both sides said.”
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Research On Tulsa’s Head Start Program Finds Lasting Gains


“Children who attended Head Start had higher test scores on state math tests [by eighth grade]. They were less likely to be retained and less likely to display chronic absenteeism. These are highly consequential outcomes that we know are predictive of high school graduation, college enrollment, even earnings … The Head Start model, with its strong family support component and comprehensive services for children, can give children a strong pathway through school and hopefully out of poverty in their adult lives.”
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When Schools Are Threatened, Untold Learning Time Is Lost

Associated Press

“Violent or disruptive threats are increasing nationwide … blamed sometimes on local students and sometimes on outsiders … cause disruptions or a big emergency response … There’s no formal accounting of the collective costs … but the learning time lost to evacuations and cancellations adds up … The number of school bomb threats the last academic year alone, based on media reports, was at least 1,267, roughly twice as many as in 2012-13.”
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Donors Behind Charter Push Keep To The Shadows

Boston Globe

“A new $2.3 million ad boosting the expansion of charter schools in Massachusetts lists the campaign’s top five donors on screen … Four of the five donors to the procharter committee are nonprofit groups that do not, under state law, have to disclose their funders … The cloak of secrecy surrounding the financing of what could be the most expensive ballot campaign in state history has frustrated election officials and underscored the proliferation of untraceable money in political races across the country … The ballot campaign known as Question 2 – which would allow for the creation or expansion of up to 12 charter schools per year in low-performing districts.
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