9/18/2014 – What’s The Matter With Kansas Education Policy?

THIS WEEK: Americans Want Highly-Qualified Teachers … Teachers Find Greener Pastures … Schools Arming Up … High School Rankings Make No Sense … Student College Loan Debt Hits Elderly Too


What’s The Matter With Kansas Education Policy?

By Jeff Bryant

“Since the nation’s Great Recession, public education in Kansas has seen state funding cut repeatedly … Kansas is not the only place … Even now, as some state budgets see some recovery, and national leaders agree on new appropriations (the few times they can), most public school budgets are still unable to get back to funding levels they were prior to the recession … The American populace is increasingly angered by the financial calamity that has befallen their schools, and there are signs some politicians may have rude awakenings in upcoming elections this November and beyond.”
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Americans Want Teachers To Take A Bar Exam

The Atlantic

“In a new poll out today, Americans say they want teacher preparation programs to raise the bar for entrance, provide longer training periods for practice teaching, and require new teachers to pass a rigorous certification exam … Nearly two-thirds (64%) of Americans said they had ‘trust and confidence’ in public-school teachers … The percentage of Americans who say they favor tying a teacher’s evaluation to her student’s test scores has been steadily declining, to 38% this year from 52% in 2012 … There’s been a steep plummet in the percentage of Americans who said a college education was ‘very important’: 43% this year, down from a high of 75% in 2010.”
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Half Of Those Leaving Teaching Report Better Working Conditions In Other Jobs

Education Week

“Of the 3.4 million public school teachers teaching in 2011-12 … 84% stayed at their schools, 8% went to a different school, and 8% left the profession … Teachers in years 1-3 of teaching were more likely to move to a different school (13%), but actually less likely to leave the profession altogether (7%) … Teachers who left the teaching profession in 2012-13, 51 percent said they had a more manageable work load and 53% reported better working conditions in their current positions.”
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Schools Acquire Grenade Launchers, MRAPs and Other Military Equipment – What Could Possibly Go Wrong?


“More than 20 school districts across the county have been acquiring surplus military equipment from the Pentagon … The school districts and campus security forces range in size from small Saddleback College in southern California, whose nine-member squad received a MRAP – mine resistant ambush protected – vehicle … to Los Angeles Unified School District, which received 61 M16 assault rifles, three grenade launchers and one MRAP … San Diego’s school district also requested and received an MRAP …In Edinburg, Texas, the district has its own SWAT team … ‘It is frankly difficult to imagine how a grenade launcher, or any of these items, could be safely used in any scenario involving schools,’ the [NAACP] wrote in a letter to the federal program’s administrators.”
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Ranking High Schools Tells You Which Schools Are Rich Or Selective


Education journalist Libby Nelson writes, “The recent spread of rankings mania to high schools makes no sense … The public schools that top these lists are mostly selective magnet schools that get to pick which students they educate. If they’re not, they’re much likely to enroll fewer poor students than public schools as a whole … Knowing what the best high school is doesn’t matter if you can’t afford to live in its attendance area or if you don’t have the test scores to get in … The problem is that most of this isn’t about what the schools themselves are doing … Nobody should take these rankings seriously.”
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Student Debt Collections Are Leaving The Elderly In Poverty


“Elderly Americans have more student loan debt than ever and are more likely to become chronically unable to make payments than younger borrowers … Federal student debt among Americans 65 and older increased six-fold since 2005 … Over 80% of elderly borrowers were still struggling to pay off loans they took out to pay for their education … Some 31% of the student loans held by Americans aged 65 and older were in default last year. That makes the elderly about twice as likely to hold defaulted loans as Americans under the age of 50 … Most of those who saw Social Security payments slashed to repay student loans in 2013 were living on benefit income that was under the poverty line.”
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