8/8/14 – Not Good Enough For Education

THIS WEEK: Strengthen Schools Serving Poor Kids … Why To End School Segregation … Do Better On School Discipline … Teacher Tenure Battles Miss Nuance … Which Colleges Do More With Less


‘Better Than Republicans,’ Not Good Enough For Education

By Jeff Bryant

“Two new interviews with leading voices in the progressive education movement have brought to light how policy compromises forged by centrist Democrats have enabled truly bad consequences for public education. And progressives are increasingly saying ‘enough.'”
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How We Can Strengthen Schools Serving Low-Income Children

Education Week

In an op-ed, two education professors write, “It will be extraordinarily difficult to reverse the growth in inequality in educational outcomes in the United States. Yet, there are educational initiatives, conducted at considerable scale, that have improved results for low-income children … All of these initiatives operate in environments characterized by consistently strong school supports and sensible accountability … Consistent supports and sensible accountability are essential complements because, without supports for improved instruction, accountability can be counterproductive. And, supports alone typically are not enough to improve schooling because even hard-working, well-intentioned educators (like most adults) are slow to embrace change … Only if consistent strong supports are in place can accountability improve the education of low-income children.”
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Another Reason Why Segregated Education Is Bad For Young Students

The Huffington Post

“A new study … found that black students in segregated schools tended to make smaller gains in reading than their black counterparts in more integrated schools. This held true even when researchers accounted for black students’ backgrounds … The years of experience students’ teachers had and the type of literacy curriculum used by the teacher. Even after accounting for these factors, however, black students in segregated schools were still performing worse … The study points to previous research on Latino students, indicating that school poverty might have a greater influence on Latino academic achievement rather than school racial composition.”
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Suspensions, Expulsions, Arrests Don’t Work: On School Discipline, We Can Do Better

Real Clear Education

Psychology professor Daniel Willingham writes, “How teachers and administrators should react to rule infractions – especially more serious ones – is perennial problem … A newly published report … offers the most comprehensive answer I’ve seen … Present practices tend to focus on student removal … But while they are removed, the offenders fall behind in their schoolwork, and removal puts them at greater risk for dropping out or getting in trouble with the law … Present policies are poorly implemented. Students are often suspended for minor infractions … A better way … is the creation of more positive environments in schools and classrooms, and more supportive relationships among students, teachers, and administration … There’s little evidence that current policies are serving students and schools well, and there is reason to think we can do better.”
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In Teacher-Tenure Battles, A War for Public Opinion Can Obscure the Nuances

Education Week

Education journalist Stephen Sawchuk writes, “Teacher tenure may exceed the Common Core State Standards as an education policy lightning rod, even as a possible wedge issue in the midterm and 2016 elections … Advocates like [Campbell] Brown are focusing on broad-brush arguments that tenure rules make it too difficult to get rid of poor teachers. Unions, alternatively, posit that tenure protects teachers from reprisals, and that attacks on tenure are really attacks on organized labor and public education … Tenure laws … are actually complex, obscure, and context-specific. State legal codes on tenure go on for pages and pages … For cases of dismissal for incompetence, the picture is further complicated by disagreements about what constitutes an effective teacher and how to measure one. And, as with all laws, they can be implemented well or poorly … There’s a lot here in the weeds to examine.”
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Study: Minority-Serving Colleges Do More With Less

Education Dive

“Minority students are just as likely to attain their undergraduate degrees at historically black or Hispanic colleges as they are at traditional institutions … The commonly held belief was that minority students automatically would have lower graduation rates in the minority-serving institutions… But the student populations are different at the minority-serving colleges and universities, as judged by their preparation and backgrounds. When researchers did an apples-to-apples comparison of minority students who had similar preparation and backgrounds, they determined that the minority-serving schools ‘are doing more with less’ … ‘Attending a minority-service institution does not appear to have the negative effect so often portrayed in the media,’ [researcher Toby] Park said. ‘Given the fact that [minority serving institution]s are historically underfunded, the fact that the student bodies – when matched with similar students at traditional institutions – graduate at equal rates is astonishing.'”
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