9/24/2015 – Memo to Scott Walker From Milwaukee: “We’re Not Going To Let Our Public Schools Die”

THIS WEEK: 2,500 Closed Charters … Education Gap Grows … California Accountability … Teacher Evaluations Loosen … Virtual School Booms


Memo to Scott Walker From Milwaukee: “We’re Not Going To Let Our Public Schools Die”

By Jeff Bryant

“If Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker thought running for President of the United States was a big challenge, he may be facing an even more imposing contest back in his home state … In Milwaukee, parents, teachers, and students have a range of specific complaints that can all be attributed to Walker’s governance … Milwaukee is fighting against public school privatization.
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CMD Publishes Full List of 2,500 Closed Charter Schools

Center For Media And Democracy

“A complete state-by-state list of the failed charter schools since 2000 … reveals that millions and millions of federal tax dollars went to ‘ghost’ schools that never even opened to students. The exact amount is unknown because the U.S. Department of Education is not required to report its failures … This release comes as the U.S. Department of Education and industry insiders currently deciding which states to award half a billion dollar in grants designed to bolster the school privatization industry … Nearly 2,500 charter schools have shuttered between 2001 and 2013, affecting 288,000 American children.”
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Education Gap Between Rich And Poor Is Growing Wider

The New York Times

Columnist Eduardo Porter writes, “The achievement gaps between more affluent and less privileged children is wider than ever… Racial disparities are still a stain on American society, but they are no longer the main divider. Today the biggest threat to the American dream is class … American higher education is increasingly the preserve of the elite. The sons and daughters of college-educated parents are more than twice as likely to go to college as the children of high school graduates and seven times as likely as those of high school dropouts. Only 5% of Americans ages 25 to 34 whose parents didn’t finish high school have a college degree … Our public school system has proved no match to the forces reproducing inequality across the generations.”
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Test Scores To Be Only One Factor In Measuring School Progress


“California … is in the middle of building a new accountability system … The [state education] board wants to create a broad measure of student and school success that takes into account many measures of progress, such as high school graduation rates and student suspension rates, as indicators of progress in middle and elementary school. There may be early education metrics as well … ‘Standardized tests scores’ role will be smaller – no longer the only thing’ to judge student progress or to be the sole grounds for state intervention in low-performing schools, Michael Kirst, president of the state board, said in an interview.”
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Teacher-Evaluation Reins Loosen Under NCLB Waivers

Education Week

“The [Obama] administration initially took a hard line on evaluations, asking states to roll them out over a specific time period and to include state test scores as part of the mix. But over the past year and a half, the U.S. Department of Education has offered states more and more flexibility … Last August, the [education] department told states they didn’t have to tie teacher evaluations to test scores during the 2014-15 school year … Duncan left the door open for additional flexibility … telling states in a blog post last year that he generally expected most would put evaluations tied to new tests in place by 2015-16, but that he would work with them if they needed additional leeway beyond that year.”
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Virtual Schools Are Booming. Who’s Paying Attention?


“Online schooling at the K-12 level has exploded over the past 20 years. As many as 5 million out of the country’s 54 million K-through-12 grade students have taken at least one online class. And more than 300,000 kids, some as young as five years old, were full-time online students during the 2013-14 school year … We know very little about what makes for a quality online instructor … It’s not at all clear that taxpayers and parents know what they’re getting … With online schools, it’s notoriously difficult to tell if they are delivering students a decent education.”
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