3/19/2019 – New ‘Our Schools’ Media Project To Report On Privatization Movement

THIS WEEK: Kentucky Teachers Close Schools Again … Fund Our Future … DeVos Voucher Plan … Oregon Teachers May Strike … New Class Size Legislation

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT

New ‘Our Schools’ Media Project To Report On Privatization Movement

By Jeff Bryant

It’s been some time since I’ve shown up in your inbox but doesn’t mean important education news hasn’t continued to break around the country. An exciting new media project I’ve started called Our Schools, in collaboration with the Independent Media Institute, takes you to the frontlines of these stories – from communities in New Jersey to California – to report on the nationwide effort to privatize and undermine the public education system. I’ve been exposing the false promises of charter schools, voucher programs, and corporate-style reforms and spotlighting how communities are fighting back and often succeeding against the school privatization agenda. My reporting appears on major national news outlets including Salon, AlterNet, and Naked Capitalism. But the best way for you to keep up with this reporting is to subscribe at the Our Schools website. And please help support the project with a generous donation.
Subscribe to Our Schools …
Donate to Our Schools …

NEWS AND VIEWS

‘Tired Of Being Unsupported And Messed With’: Teachers Stage A Bold Protest That Scores National Attention

Our Schools

“Hundreds of other teachers in Jefferson County Public Schools, Kentucky’s largest school district that includes Louisville, called in sick, prompting the district to close schools for over 100,000 students … The Kentucky teachers’ actions are the latest in what has become a wave of teachers using their collective power to influence legislation in state governments, but the sick-out in Kentucky is also a sign of how teacher protests are evolving. Teachers who once saw labor actions as effective tactical responses to attacks on their financial well-being are now understanding that their labor power is part of a broader strategy to even the playing field in a political landscape that is increasingly unequal. And there’s strong evidence they’re having an impact.”
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Teachers’ Strikes Prompt Renewed Calls For More Education Funding

The Progressive

“Teachers have been actively protesting their working and living conditions. Many of the disputes have centered around stagnant teacher pay, large class sizes, and down-sized pension arrangements, while others focus on the spread of charter schools and other school ‘choice’ schemes that undermine public schools. These actions highlight an increased show of political power from teachers … The American Federation of Teachers, the second largest teachers union in America, hopes to seize on this increase in teacher-led actions. They just launched a nationwide campaign, ‘Fund Our Future,’ which they describe as a ‘major education initiative aimed at pressing lawmakers in state capitals and Congress to increase funding for public schools and universities.'”
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Betsy DeVos Promotes Plan To Hand Over Billions In Federal Tax Credits To Private, Religious And Home Schooling

AlterNet

“DeVos has been touring the country to promote her plan to hand over $5billion dollars in federal tax credits to dramatically expand the number of students attending private schools, religious schools, or even being homeschool. The program, part of a bill in Congress, would be funded through private donations in exchange for tax credits. In other words, tax dollars would effectively be paying for the program, as those dollars will have to be made up by taxpayers … The reception in Sec. DeVos’ stop in Iowa appeared less than enthusiastic. ‘Pitching her proposal to fund scholarships for private school and home-schooled students, federal education secretary Betsy DeVos met behind closed doors Friday with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and other state leaders and lobbyists’ … Sec. DeVos and Senator Ted Cruz, a big hom-schooling advocate, promote this bill … calling it a ‘civil rights issue.'”
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Oregon Teachers Plan For Walkout If Budget Deal Isn’t Reached

KEZI

“After years of negotiations and disappointment with the Oregon State Legislature’s proposed budgets, Oregon educators are saying enough is enough. And if a deal can’t be reached soon, teachers say they plan to hold a walkout. Tad Shannon, who has been president of the Eugene Education Association for seven years, said they’ve kept steady pressure on lawmakers to get the resources teachers need to best serve students. In a letter sent out to teachers, Shannon wrote: ‘No one can do this for us. The time is now. We can’t wait any longer.’ The letter claims Oregon has one of the lowest graduation rates in the nation as well as the third highest class size.”
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Senate Bill Proposes Smaller Class Sizes For High-Poverty School Districts

Next City

“Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) has introduced a new bill to incentivize smaller class sizes in kindergarten and first, second and third grades. The legislation, which would allocate $2 billion for competitive grant funding, primarily to high-poverty school districts in the United States, is co-sponsored by Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris (CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), Elizabeth Warren (MA), Cory Booker (NJ) and Michael Bennet (CO) … Influential research has suggested that setting the class size cap below 20 students will yield the greatest benefits, and Merkley’s bill caps class size at 18.”
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1/10/2019 – “Choice” Has Become An Excuse For Charter And Voucher Schools To Discriminate

THIS WEEK: LA Teacher Strike … Charters Discriminate … #Red4Ed in 2019 … Dirty Secret of Ed Reform … Who Is Stifling Teachers?

TOP STORY

“Choice” Has Become An Excuse For Charter And Voucher Schools To Discriminate

By Jeff Bryant

“When prominent advocates for ‘school choice’ … talk about how a market-based approach for education works, the very stories they might cite as successes actually reveal serious shortcomings of charter schools and vouchers, especially about how they can have detrimental effects on parents, children, and communities … While the primacy of parental choice might work well on a bumper sticker … this can create problems in a public education system that is supposed to serve the needs and interests of all students … Charter schools … while [they] advertise themselves as schools of choice, the reality is as much as you choose it, the school chooses you.”
Read more …

NEWS AND VIEWS

As L.A. Teachers Threaten To Strike, Union Leaders Are Fighting A Controversial School Reform Strategy

Chalkbeat

“If Los Angeles teachers go on strike this week or next, it won’t just be about dollars and cents — it will be part of a broader fight over the role of charter schools and an obscure but influential school reform idea … ‘This approach, drawn from Wall Street, is called the ‘portfolio’ model, and it has been criticized for having a negative effect on student equity and parent inclusion’ … For United Teachers Los Angeles, that includes stopping the growth of charter schools, which are tied closely to the portfolio model. Instead of dictating how schools should be run, school boards should contract out their management to outside groups, portfolio advocates believe. The term ‘portfolio’ came from comparing a school board to an investment manager.”
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Tailoring The Charter School Population

US News & World Report

“Charter schools and public schools of choice – those in school districts that allow students to choose from any number of schools instead of zoning them to just one – are less likely to encourage students with a history of poor behavior, low academic achievement or special needs to apply. Charter schools, in particular, were less likely to encourage students with a potentially significant special need to apply.… Researchers sent emails from fictitious parents to nearly 6,500 schools … asking whether any student is eligible to apply to the school and how to do so. Each email signaled either a disability status, poor behavior, high or low prior academic achievement, or no characteristic at all … If an email signaled a child had a significant special need, charter schools were 7 percentage points less likely to respond … Students with disabilities are, on average, twice as expensive to educate than students without a disability, and those with severe disabilities, they said, can cost eight to 14 times to educate.”
Read more …

The #RedforEd Wave Is Likely To Build, Not Subside, In 2019

The Progressive

“The wave of education activism shows no signs of ebbing … Educators in Alabama … held the state’s first #RedforEd rally … citing rising health insurance premiums as well as inadequate pay and minimal classroom funding … Teachers in Louisiana, too, are contemplating collective action in 2019, in defiance of their state’s restrictive labor laws … Charter school teachers in Chicago … walked off the job in the nation’s first-ever collective action by charter school employees … Teachers in Oakland, California are currently gearing up to walk off the job, citing pay that is thousands of dollars less than that of teachers in neighboring districts.”
Read more …

The ‘Dirty Secret’ About Educational Innovation

Hechinger Report

“As part of the federal recovery effort to boost the economy after the 2008 recession, the U.S. Education Department suddenly had a big pot of money to give away to ‘innovations’ in education … More than $1.5 billion has been spent on almost 200 ideas … Big chunks went to building new KIPP charter schools and training thousands of new Teach for America recruits to become teachers … Many of the grant projects involved technology … Only 12 of the 67 innovations, or 18%, were found to have any positive impact on student achievement.”
Read more …

Arizona: Proposed Teacher Gag Law Part of National Push

Curmudgucation

Peter Greene writes, “The proposed teacher gag law in Arizona may look like a piece of small-time revenge legislation, but it is actually part of a larger movement to silence teachers in and out of the classroom … If we roll the clock back to January of 2018, we find Dave LaRock, a Virginia choicer, proposing a Teacher Code of Ethics that reads like a rough draft of the … AZ version. But it turns out that LaRock appears to have cribbed his proposal from a website called StopK12Indoctrination … StopK12 posted their version of the Teacher Code of Ethics in June of 2017, and it’s clear that the other teacher codes are all versions of this original … If you decide you want to contribute to the muzzling of teachers, the link will take you to a site that will let you contribute to the David Horowitz Freedom Center … [David Horowitz’s] Center for the Study of Popular Culture has been tagged by the Southern Poverty Law Center as one of the ‘right-wing foundations and think tanks support[ing] efforts to make bigoted and discredited ideas respectable.’ He’s a vocal anti-Muslim who joined the smear party labeling Barack Obama a secret Muslim. He has been very active in trying to squelch liberal voices in college and university teaching positions. And, perhaps most notably, this Steve Bannon buddy was the early mentor of Stephen Miller, the angry voice of racism in the Trump administration.”
Read more …

12/13/2018 – Reflecting On Six Years Of The Education Opportunity Network

THIS WEEK: Charter Politics Changing … Chicago Charter Union Wins … LA Teachers Next To Strike … For-Profit Collages Screw Students … DeVos Employees Hate Her

TOP STORY

Reflecting On Six Years Of The Education Opportunity Network

By Jeff Bryant

“A little more than six years ago, a group of public school advocates, political strategists, and progressive-minded educators from around the country met in an informal gathering in Washington, DC, to address the burning question of how to lead a resurgence in progressive values in education policy and politics … The informal group gathered in the Beltway decided to create the Education Opportunity Network to be a strategy and messaging center to bring education policy back to its progressive roots and urge progressive Democrats to add progressive education policy to their lists of issues they would advocate for … Today, after nearly 300 newsletters, more than 360 articles and blogposts, a subscriber base of 60,000 education advocates, nearly a thousand reader comments, thousands of social media followers, and with a media reach that includes prominent national outlets, EON finds itself in a transformed education policy landscape.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

New Democratic Governors Show Shift On US Charter Schools

Associated Press

“As Democrats flipped seven governor seats … the incoming governors in California, Illinois, and New Mexico have all said they want to take the rare step of putting a temporary halt on new charter schools. New governors in Connecticut, Kansas, Maine, and Nevada also are expressing less enthusiasm for charters than their predecessors … Democrats see opposing school choice initiatives as a way to resist DeVos and President Donald Trump. While existing charter schools won’t be touched … overall growth will stall and for-profit schools will be in peril .… In California … in the most expensive state superintendent race in U.S. history, in which Marshall Tuck, who previously led a charter school network, lost to union-backed state Assemblyman Tony Thurmond, a fellow Democrat.”
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The Nation’s First Charter School Strike Has Ended With A Union Victory

Education Week

“The Chicago Teachers Union announced … that the bargaining team for the educators at the Acero charter school network reached a tentative deal with management. The deal agrees to raise pay for teachers and paraprofessionals … The tentative deal also shortens the school year and reduces the teachers’ work day … Union leaders are now heralding the victory as the path forward for educators at charter schools. Just about 11% of charter schools across the country are unionized.”
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Protesters Shut Down Los Angeles Board Of Education Meeting

Los Angeles Times

“A group of at least 50 protesters shut down the Los Angeles Board of Education meeting early … Two major possibilities color just about everything in Los Angeles Unified — the growing prospect of a teachers strike and Supt. Austin Beutner’s still largely confidential plan for a massive district reorganization. The major theme of the protest, organized by teachers union allies, was support for the teachers, though student demands also were a part of it … District officials and the teachers union have been in negotiations for more than 18 months, and a January strike appears increasingly likely. The two sides are nearly done with fact-finding, the final step of a negotiation process.”
Read more …

What Do Students Do When A For-Profit College Closes?

The Atlantic

“More than 19,000 students [are] affected by the abrupt closure of Education Corporation of America, one of the country’s largest private for-profit college operators, which runs Virginia College, Brightwood College, Brightwood Career Institute, Ecotech Institute, and Golf Academy of America. The for-profit operator had been in a precarious position for some time, given a pending loss of accreditation and access to federal financial-aid funds … When a college closes abruptly, students can often have their federal student loans discharged … Historically only a fraction of students who were eligible for such discharges have ever received them … Even though students may be eligible to get their loans discharged, Lee says, they are unlikely to get any credit for the work they’ve already done, and that doesn’t account for the money they spent out of their own pocket … All of this is happening to a student body not well equipped to weather major setbacks. Statistically, students at for-profit colleges are more likely to be low-income … and are less likely to have the resources to draw on to be able to come up with a good Plan B.”
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Betsy DeVos Gets Bad Reviews From Employees As Morale At Education Department Plummets, Survey Finds

The Washington Post

“The Education Department had a morale drop of 12.4 percentage points — from 59.7% in 2017 to 47.3% in 2018. It was one of the steepest declines among all federal agencies … Over the past year, career department employees have privately complained about DeVos’s leadership, saying their expertise has been ignored by her political appointees to top jobs. And they have expressed opposition to many of the positions she has taken. DeVos rolled back Obama-era civil rights protections for some marginalized students and made it easier for for-profit colleges to operate. DeVos has also limited the ability of employees to work from home and fought with the department’s union … The morale drops are hardly a surprise, given the hostility that Trump and many of his appointees have directed toward the agencies and their missions. DeVos has said she wouldn’t mind if the department closed, expressing her long-standing opposition to federal involvement in local education.”
Read more …

12/6/2018 – Why Urban Communities Of Color Are Increasingly Rejecting Charter Schools

THIS WEEK: Corporations Screw Schools … HW Bush Was First Reformer … GOP: Defund Public Schools … Color Of School Closings … Social Disruption Hurts Kids

TOP STORY

Here’s Why Urban Communities Of Color Are Increasingly Rejecting Charter Schools

By Jeff Bryant

“The tradition in American communities, where local schools have long been governed by democratically elected boards. But that American tradition has been undermined or overturned, especially in communities of color, where less democratic forms of governance have become widespread … For decades, a wave of state takeovers of school districts overseeing tens of thousands of students has stripped elected school boards in these communities of their governing power and denied voters the right to local governance of their public schools. These state takeovers have been happening almost exclusively in African American and Latinx school districts … However, there are recent signs these communities are fighting back and frequently winning to gradually claw back their local, democratic governance.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

Corporate Tax Breaks Cost U.S. Schools Billions Of Lost Revenue: Report

Reuters

“In fiscal 2017, U.S. public schools lost $1.8 billion across 28 states through corporate tax incentives over which most schools themselves had little or no control. The 10 most affected states could hire more than 28,000 new teachers if they were able to use the lost revenues … States and cities have long used abatements, subsidies and other tax incentives to lure companies … ‘Cities … end up granting subsidies in a way that cuts out control by school boards, parents and others’ … In Oregon … Hillsboro School District lost nearly $97 million … The School District of Philadelphia … lost the second most revenue at $62 million.”
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How President George H.W. Bush Helped Pave The Way For Education Secretary Betsy DeVos

The Washington Post

“George H.W. Bush … calling himself ‘the education president … helped pave the rise of school choice advocate Betsy DeVos … Bush advanced … a national education strategy … pushed for school ‘accountability’ … with standardized test scores as the key metric. And his plan envisioned a new kind of public school that was, essentially, what became the charter movement … The cornerstone of the Bush education blueprint was an elite bipartisan consensus … Bush’s successors — both Republicans and Democrats — … advanced his administrative agenda. Phrases such as ‘standards and accountability’ and ‘school choice,’ once deployed only by policy wonks, are now common terms in the national education dialogue.”
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County GOP Chair: Oklahoma Should Quit Public Education

Associated Press Post

“Republican leadership in one of Oklahoma’s most populous counties has sent a letter to the state’s lawmakers calling for an end to government-run public schools, or if that is too much, to at least find alternative funding sources for the system besides tax revenue … The letter … requested that the state no longer manage the public school system, or at least consider consolidating school districts. Public schools should seek operational money from sponsorships, advertising, endowments, and tuition fees instead of taxes.”
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A Generation Of School Closings

WBEZ

“In the time it has taken for a child to grow up in Chicago, city leaders have either closed or radically shaken up some 200 public schools — nearly a third of the entire district … These decisions … have meant 70,160 children — the vast majority of them black — have seen their schools closed or all staff in them fired. That’s more than all of the students and schools in Boston … The idea was to close them and replace them with new ‘renaissance’ schools that promised something better … Chicago has done that again and again, opening in the same time period almost the same number of schools it has closed — 190 … White students have been nearly untouched. In almost 17 years, just 533 white students have experienced a closing … Research reports have suggested that school closings have harmful effects for children who go through them … An analysis of the 2013 closings, found ‘closing schools caused large disruptions without clear benefits for students.'”
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Students Show Up To School More Often When They See ‘Familiar Faces,’ New Study Finds

Chalkbeat

“New research shows … social disruption … can affect how often students show up to school. When students have more ‘familiar faces’ around them in class, they’re less likely to be chronically absent … Being surrounded by more familiar faces was linked to higher attendance … Extremely high rates of student turnover … and … attending more schools is correlated with lower academic performance.”
Read more …

11/29/2018 – The Teacher Walkouts Mattered In The Midterms

THIS WEEK: Dem House To Target DeVos … School Privatization Losses … DeVos Is For-Profit Colleges’ Savior … Choice Increases Segregation … Disaster Capitalism For Puerto Rico

TOP STORY

The Teacher Walkouts Mattered In The Midterms

By Jeff Bryant

“To get a better sense of the real impact teacher walkouts had on the midterms, I called on frontline organizers and public-school advocates in states where there was substantial documentation that education would have a big impact on election results. What I found was overwhelming consensus that yes, teacher walkouts this spring had a significant impact on the midterm elections and will continue to reverberate in politics and policy making.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

House Democrats Pile On To Scrutinize DeVos

POLITICO

“As many as five Democratic-led House committees next year could take on DeVos over a range of issues … Rep. Mark Takano, expected to lead the Veterans’ Affairs Committee … will be tracking the effect of decisions to scale back Obama-era regulations aimed at curbing abuses by for-profit colleges that enroll tens of thousands of veterans … DeVos will be squarely in the sights of the House education committee, where Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) … has criticized nearly every DeVos policy during the last two years … Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), who is in line to lead the Appropriations subcommittee … will focus on ways to ‘hold Secretary DeVos accountable for her agency’s failure to uphold federal protections for our students’ … Rep. Maxine Waters, the presumptive chairwoman of the Financial Services Committee … accused DeVos of a ‘full-on attack on civil rights protections for students’ … The House Oversight Committee could take on DeVos as well. Rep. Elijah Cummings, (D-Md.), the presumptive chairman … expressed concern over DeVos’ treatment of the union that represents her agency’s employees.”
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The School Privatization Agenda Took A Major Beating In The Midterms

Sallon

Jeff Bryant writes, “The blue wave that swept the nation in the recent midterm elections was also a broad rejection of recent trends to privatize public education through school voucher programs and privately operated charter schools. From New York to California, new candidates ran and won on platforms opposed to privatization, big-money backers of charter schools suffered humiliating losses, and voters trounced efforts to expand voucher programs that drain public schools of the funding they need … Public education advocates are vowing to take their cause to state capitals and Congress to curb the flow of public money to unaccountable, privately operated education providers.”
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Betsy DeVos To The Rescue: For-Profit Colleges See A Savior In Secretary

The Washington Post

“Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has led a rescue squad for the nation’s for-profit colleges. Step by step, she has dismantled an Obama-era crackdown on the industry, and she plans to deliver a set of regulations next year that many expect to again boost the industry … These schools, which enroll 2.3 million students and range from small trade schools to large multistate enterprises such as the University of Phoenix, prey on vulnerable students, leaving them with huge debts and questionable credentials.”
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In Most U.S. Cities, Neighborhoods Have Grown More Integrated. Their Schools Haven’t.

Chalkbeat

“New research looking at America’s 100 largest cities shows that the diverging trends …. — neighborhoods growing more diverse, as their schools grow more segregated — is not an anomaly … Between 1990 and 2015, 72% of U.S. cities saw their neighborhoods grow less racially segregated, by one measure. 62% saw their schools grow more segregated over that same period … More integrated schools have long been shown to improve academic outcomes for low-income students and students of color. Living in a more integrated neighborhood has also been linked to long-run benefits for younger kids … The rapid increase in school choice, through charter schools and other means, had something to with it … Research has shown that charters either exacerbate school segregation or have no effect on it.”
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Paul Pastorek, Louisiana Schools Chief After Katrina, Gets Contract In Puerto Rico

Education Week

“Paul Pastorek, the former Louisiana schools chief who helped lead the overhaul of New Orleans’ schools after Hurricane Katrina, has agreed to a contract with Puerto Rico’s Department of Education to provide various services as island schools continue their recovery from their own catastrophic storm, Hurricane Maria in 2017 … Pastorek was superintendent of Louisiana schools from 2007 to 2011 … Teachers’ unions and others vigorously criticized him for being inflexible on policy matters and inattentive to the needs of educators. American Federation of Teachers’ President Randi Weingarten blasted Pastorek’s contract with Puerto Rico, saying in a statement that, ‘Make no mistake, Pastorek and U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos share a vision for education, closing schools, privatization and disinvestment from public schools – and it will mean more disruption.'”
Read more …

11/15/2018 – What School Funding Advocates Should Learn From Midterm Elections

THIS WEEK: Teacher Walkout Looms In Virginia … #RedforEd In Alabama … School Cops Not The Answer … DeVos Slapped With Lawsuit … Just One Black Teacher

TOP STORY

What School Funding Advocates Should Learn From Midterm Elections

By Jeff Bryant

“One of the big winners in the 2018 midterm elections you may not have heard about was education funding. Why this may be news to you is because much in the same way some observers incorrectly concluded the blue wave was merely a ripple, quick takes on last week’s results of important education-related ballot referendums have overlooked important lessons to learn about where and when increased funding for schools can win.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

Virginia Teachers Plan To March At The Capital. Will They Shut Down Schools?

Education Week

“The wave of statewide teacher activism seems to be carrying right on into 2019: Virginia teachers will march to the state Capitol building in January. The protest of stagnant teacher salaries and underresourced public schools is scheduled for Jan. 28, a Monday. The grassroots group ‘Virginia Educators United’ is organizing the march in Richmond. If enough teachers participate, the rally could force schools to shut down … Virginia Educators United is asking for teacher pay to be increased to the national average … The group is also asking for the state legislature to restore funding for public schools – this school year, state support was down 9.1% per student compared to 2008-09, adjusted for inflation.”
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#RedForEd: Teachers Rally At Alabama Supreme Court Hearing

AL.com

“The #RedForEd campaign to raise support for public schools and teachers made its way to the state on Wednesday as hundreds of Alabama educators wearing red t-shirts and windbreakers filed into the Alabama Supreme Court building to hear arguments in a lawsuit filed by the Alabama Education Association. At stake is $132 million currently sitting in escrow, taken from educators’ paychecks for health insurance premiums … Educators and support staff came from all parts of the state, with some taking chartered buses and others driving … ” when we have a classroom teacher with an advanced degree who can’t afford to feed his or her family and has to have a second job, that affects the quality of instruction in the classroom.'”
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Armored School Doors, Bulletproof Whiteboards And Secret Snipers

The Washington Post

“Although school security has grown into a $2.7 billion market — an estimate that does not account for the billions more spent on armed campus police officers — little research has been done on which safety measures do and do not protect students from gun violence … No amount of investment in security can guarantee a school protection from gun violence. Much of what can be done to prevent harm is beyond any school’s control because, in a country with more guns — nearly 400 million — than people, children are at risk of being shot no matter where they are … While the mere presence of the officers may deter some gun violence … Among the more than 225 incidents on campuses since 1999, at least 40% of the affected schools employed an officer.”
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DeVos Sued For Allegedly Failing To Comply With Judge’s Order To Cancel Student Debt

The Hill

“Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was sued … for allegedly failing to cancel student debt for people whose for-profit colleges have shut down. Last month a court ruled that the Obama-era debt regulations had to be implemented after more than a year of delays by DeVos. DeVos released a statement … saying that the department would no longer be seeking to delay the rule. However, Housing and Economic Rights Advocates … has filed a lawsuit alleging that the Education Department is still collecting loans that it should have discharged.”
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Study: Having Just One Black Teacher Can Up Black Students’ Chances Of Going To College

Education Week

“If a black student has just one or two black teachers in elementary school, that student is significantly more likely to enroll in college … Black students who had just one black teacher by 3rd grade were 13% more likely to enroll in college, while those who had two black teachers were 32% more likely … These findings are a continuation of the 2017 study that found that a low-income black student’s probability of dropping out of high school is reduced by 29% if he or she has one black teacher in grades 3-5.”
Read more …

Holiday Pause

EON is taking a holiday break from the education scene. Look for the next email in your inbox on November 29.

11/8/2018 – Education Issues In The Midwest May Have Saved The Democrats

THIS WEEK: DeVos Will Be Targeted … Conservative Governors Fall … Midterms Impact Higher Ed … Changing Charter Politics … ‘Public’ Means Everyone

TOP STORY

Education Issues In The Midwest May Have Saved The Democrats

By Jeff Bryant

“The need for Democrats to prevail in the Midwest was critical to the party’s success … The importance of Midwest races to the Democrats should also be appreciated because of what the winning campaigns were about, more often than not … Up and down the ballots, especially in state contests, Democratic candidates emphasized increasing school funding and ending or at least providing greater government control of school privatization efforts … As Democrats now prepare for hopefully bigger wins in 2020, the party should take the valuable lessons learned from the Midwest midterms to heart.”
Read more …

NEWS AND VIEWS

House Democrats Expected To Ramp Up Oversight Of DeVos

Politico

“Democrats seized control of the House on Tuesday night, likely placing Rep. Bobby Scott in charge of the House education committee. And that means the hot seat is about to get even hotter for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos… The stage is set for at least two showdowns … The handling of campus sexual assault cases under Title IX, the federal law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in federally funded education programs. And a White House school safety commission led by DeVos … Look to Scott to push a legislative agenda focused on passage of his Rebuild America’s Schools Act, H.R. 2475 (115), which would invest billions of dollars in new funding into improving school infrastructure.”
Read more …

Democrats Oust Walker In Wisconsin And Kobach In Kansas But Fall Short In Florida And Ohio

The New York Times

“Democrats wrested control of governorships from Republicans in seven states on Tuesday including Wisconsin, where they ousted Scott Walker … and Kansas, a surprise victory in a longtime Republican stronghold … The victories expanded the number of states with Democratic chief executives … Democrats also picked up governor’s seats in Nevada, Illinois, Michigan, New Mexico and Maine … Mr. Walker fell to Tony Evers, a Democrat and the state schools superintendent. As in other Midwestern states, Democrats ran against Mr. Walker and the Republican establishment rather than against Mr. Trump.”
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What The Midterm Elections Mean For Higher Ed

The Chronicle of Higher Education

“Democrats … seized control of the U.S. House of Representatives, tipping at least 26 seats to emerge with a clear majority. In doing so, they earned the opportunity to step up oversight of the polarizing presidency of Donald J. Trump. That oversight could extend to higher-education policy … More likely, the House’s Committee on Education and the Workforce could schedule a number of oversight hearings … on potential conflicts of interest and defend the Obama-era regulations that DeVos has put in the cross hairs … The prospect that the new Congress will consider a bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act remains remote.”
Read more …

The Midterm Elections Show America’s Major Shift In Attitude To Charter School Privatization

Salon

Jeff Bryant writes, “In midterm elections, one can see the policy window on school privatization gradually shifting back to support for public schools and increasing skepticism about doling out cash to private education entrepreneurs … The endless revelations of corruptions in the charter school and school voucher racket are now what’s driving policy, more so than dry, empirical studies about whether privatizing public schools ‘works’ academically. You can see that especially in the campaigns of progressive standouts … The trend that made privatizing public schools an acceptable if not preferential policy has at least stalled, if not completely been thrown into reverse.”
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Public Schools For Private Gain: The Declining American Commitment To Serving The Public Good

The Kappan

David Labaree writes, “To clarify what we mean by public schooling, it’s helpful to broaden the discussion by considering not just the formal features of schools (their funding, governance, and admissions criteria) but also their aims. That is, to what extent do they pursue the public good, and to what extent do they serve private interests? … A public good is one that benefits all members of the community … In contrast, private goods benefit individuals, serving only those people who take advantage of them. Thus, schooling is a public good to the extent that it helps everyone … The institution that for much of our history helped bring us together into a community of citizens is increasingly dispersing us into a social hierarchy defined by the level of education we’ve attained … We have grown all too comfortable in allowing the fate of other people’s children to be determined by the unequal competition among consumers for social advantage through schooling. ”
Read more …

11/1/2018 – The Education Wave That Began In West Virginia May Change Politics For The Nation

THIS WEEK: 1,500 Educators Running For Office … Using The DeVos Card … Beating Back Koch Bros … Historic Charter School Strike … When Rural Schools Die

TOP STORY

The Education Wave That Began In West Virginia May Change Politics For The Nation

By Jeff Bryant

“Whether Democrats take back the House in the midterm elections may come down to races like the one in West Virginia’s third Congressional District … Richard Ojeda has taken a district that Trump won by almost 50 points … and turned into a toss-up … But if races like the one in West Virginia’s third Congressional District determine the direction of politics in the country, the fight over education will have a lot to do with it.”
Read more …

NEWS AND VIEWS

Nearly 1,500 Teachers Are Running For Office In November’s Elections

HuffPost

“The widespread teacher protests that swept through states like Kentucky and West Virginia this spring have given way to an unprecedented wave of educators pursuing political office in November’s elections … Nearly 1,500 current or former teachers and other education professionals are running for elected offices across the country … Teachers are also providing a groundswell of grassroots support for other pro-public education candidates … The bulk of teachers seeking office are doing so in the states that experienced protests … But the protests and the issues underlying them have also inspired teachers in other states.”
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DeVos Used As A Villain To Rally Democrats In Midterm Ads

Politico

“Democrats intent on making this year’s elections a referendum on President Donald Trump’s policies are targeting a Cabinet member who galvanizes their base: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos … Democrats have been using DeVos as a symbol of what’s wrong with Trump policies — mentioning her in more than $3 million worth of TV ads that aired more than 6,200 times … Democrats are turning to DeVos in an election year in which education issues have been hotly debated on the campaign trail. They’re trying to capture the same momentum that animated teacher strikes in states such as Arizona, Oklahoma, and West Virginia, focusing attention on Democratic plans to boost teacher pay and funding for schools.”
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How Teachers Might End Up Beating Back The Koch Brothers’ Plan To Privatize Arizona Schools

Alternet

Jeff Bryant reports, “In the upcoming Arizona midterm elections … Arizona Democrats running for office, including Democratic gubernatorial candidate David Garcia … have embraced opposition to [Proposition 305] a voucher program and thrown their support behind teachers who are calling for more funding of public schools. Should pro-education candidates win, and Prop 305 go down in flames, the teachers would have led a remarkable campaign that not only would be a victory for public schools but also would threaten to topple the Koch brothers’ political empire in the Grand Canyon State … Those leading the opposition to Prop 305 hope to do more than just defeat the bill; they want to expose the corrupt network behind the effort to privatize Arizona public schools and change the conversation about what would truly help education in the state.”
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Chicago Teachers Just Voted 98% To Authorize The First Charter School Strike In U.S. History

In These Times

“Chicago could be home to the nation’s first-ever charter strike … That’s a stunning reversal from 2012, when Chicago charter operators bragged that, unlike unionized public schools, charters were unaffected by teacher strikes … In addition to teacher pay and benefits, the union is pushing for guarantees that schools will be adequately staffed with counselors, social workers, school psychologists and nurses. If charter teachers are successful in winning contract guarantees for wraparound student services, it could have a ripple effect.”
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When ‘The Heartbeat’ Stops: Rural Schools Close As Opportunity And Residents Flee

The Washington Post

“School closures and consolidations are a familiar story in cash-strapped, rural corners of the country – places where schools are integral to a sense of identity and belonging. In many cases, rural schools are burdened by afflictions that also strain urban education systems: declining enrollment, teacher shortages, decaying buildings … In 2015-2016, the latest school year for which data is available, 27,145 schools were in rural areas, nearly 2,700 fewer than a decade earlier … Student departures also affect school funding, siphoning money for building repairs and other needs in rural schools, which educate about 9 million students nationally. ‘If your numbers decline, that’s going to affect your funding …They kind of go hand in hand.'”
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10/25/2018/ – Education Matters More Than Trump to Wisconsin Voters

THIS WEEK: What Teachers Want … DeVos Calls Kids Socialists … Crushing Pre-K … It’s The Economy … Blue Wave Hits DeVos

TOP STORY

Education Matters More Than Trump to Wisconsin Voters

By Jeff Bryant

“It’s important to know that in many places, voters still care first about issues that affect them at home, more than the latest outrage coming from the White House. One of those places is Wisconsin, where deep cuts to education by the incumbent Republican governor Scott Walker have put it at the top of many voters’ priorities … The race between Walker, who was elected in 2010 as part of the Tea Party wave that swept Wisconsin, and his opponent, long-time state schools chief Tony Evers, has become especially focused on education – ‘an arms race over who can sound the best.'”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

The Teacher’s Prayer

USA Today

“We think we know teachers … But the suddenness and vehemence of the Teacher Spring suggest we don’t understand their pressures and frustration … Teachers are worried about more than money. They feel misunderstood, unheard and, above all, disrespected. That disrespect comes from many sources: parents who are uninvolved or too involved; government mandates that dictate how, and to what measures, teachers must teach; state school budgets that have never recovered from Great Recession cuts, leading to inadequately prepared teachers and inadequately supplied classrooms … Teachers everywhere say that if only the American people … really understood schools and teachers, they’d join their cause … These people, whom opinion polls show to be among the nation’s most respected, feel disrespected. This year, that dichotomy led to revolt. Where it leads next is a matter for speculation.”
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Betsy DeVos Was Asked Whether U.S. schools Are Teaching Kids To Be Socialists. Her Answer Was Rich.

The Washington Post

Valerie Strauss writes, “Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in an interview that she believes many young people support socialism because they don’t get sufficient government and civics education and are not permitted to ‘discuss and debate those ideas freely’ on college campuses. Schools, then, are to blame … It certainly is true that many schools don’t provide enough civics and government education … It is also worth noting that the Trump administration and her department have proposed cutting federal funding for civics education programs.”
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The New Preschool Is Crushing Kids

The Atlantic

“It can be hard to appreciate just how much the early-education landscape has been transformed … Much greater portions of the day are now spent on what’s called ‘seat work’ … and a form of tightly scripted teaching known as direct instruction, formerly used mainly in the older grades. … more time spent with workbooks and worksheets, and less time devoted to music and art … Expectations that may arguably have been reasonable for 5- and 6-year-olds, such as being able to sit at a desk and complete a task using pencil and paper, are now directed at even younger children, who lack the motor skills and attention span to be successful … New research … found that although children who had attended preschool initially exhibited more ‘school readiness’ skills when they entered kindergarten than did their non-preschool-attending peers, by the time they were in first grade their attitudes toward school were deteriorating … The same educational policies that are pushing academic goals down to ever earlier levels seem to be contributing to – while at the same time obscuring – the fact that young children are gaining fewer skills, not more.”
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OECD: How Economics Still Shapes Students’ Educational Paths

Education Week

“While overall educational attainment is rising globally, students’ educational success is still largely a function of their economic status growing up … Performance disparities related to socio-economic status often develop early and widen throughout students’ lives. More than two-thirds of the achievement gaps seen among students at the age of 15 were associated with having more books at home at age 10. Half of the achievement gap among 25-29-year-olds was already evident when students were 10-years-old… Disadvantaged students also expressed lower levels of psychological well-being than advantaged students.”
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Education May Propel The Blue Wave In Devos Country

Salon

Jeff Bryant writes, “In the stomping ground of U.S. Secretary Betsy DeVos … Democratic candidates are getting an edge by sharply opposing the DeVos agenda of privatizing public schools. Up and down the ballots in state contests in the Midwest, Democratic candidates call for an end to school voucher programs that use public taxpayer funds to pay for tuitions at private schools, they propose tougher regulations of privately managed charter schools funded by the public, and they pledge to direct public money for education to public schools. Should Democrats retake the Rust Belt, it may not only snuff out the DeVos legacy but also change the course of education policy in the nation.”
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10/18/2018 – Spring’s Teacher Walkouts Put Education On The Ballot In Fall Elections

THIS WEEK: DeVos Thwarted By Court … If Dems Get Control … Europe’s Teachers Better Paid … Did DeVos Collude With The NRA? … An Edu-Win In Oklahoma?

TOP STORY

Spring’s Teacher Walkouts Put Education On The Ballot In Fall Elections

By Jeff Bryant

“This year’s Educator Spring that brought teachers into the streets in massive protests has resulted in hundreds of educators running for office in November midterm elections, thrust education issues into electoral contests between Democratic and Republican candidates up and down the ballot, and pushed education-related initiatives on ballots in 16 states … In states such as Arizona and Georgia where gubernatorial candidates are locked in tight races and Democrats are anticipating gains in state legislatures, state ballot measures could help provide the difference between victory and defeat.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

Delayed Obama-Era Rule On Student Debt Relief Is To Take Effect

The New York Times

“A long-delayed federal rule intended to protect student loan borrowers who were defrauded by their schools went into effect … after a judge rejected an industry challenge and the Education Department ended efforts to stall it … The new rule … is intended to strengthen a system called borrower defense that allows forgiveness of federal student loans for borrowers who were cheated by schools that lied about their job placement rates or otherwise broke state consumer protection laws. The new rule could expedite the claims of more than 100,000 borrowers, many of whom attended for-profit schools … The rule was supposed to take effect in July 2017. Shortly before that deadline, the Education secretary, Betsy DeVos, suspended the rule and announced plans to rewrite it.”
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Oversight Agenda Of A Democratic House”

Inside High Ed

“Democrats are widely expected to wrest control of the House of Representatives from the GOP in November … If that happens, the best indicator of the Democrats’ priorities may be the slate of programs they’ve already been scrutinizing during DeVos’s tenure – implementation of student loan rules like borrower defense to repayment and gainful employment; accountability for accrediting organizations; protections for victims of sexual misconduct on campuses; and alleged conflicts of interest among administration officials … Any officials who have received requests for documents or information from congressional Democrats should expect renewed interest in those inquiries should the majority change.”
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Why Are Teachers In Europe Paid So Much Better Than Those In The United States?

The Washington Post

“The wages of American teachers … have dropped over the past decade. That’s a long way from similarly wealthy European nations … where teachers are among the nation’s top earners and can make more money than Web developers or sometimes even entry-level doctors. Besides the United States, no other developed country has such a large gap between salaries paid to teachers and to professionals with similar degrees … Europe’s social welfare states generally perceive education as a right rather than as a privilege. College, for example, is free in many of those nations … The importance of public education has translated into higher pay for teachers, who also often benefit from robust employment laws for public servants.”
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U.S. Department Of Education Is Sued For Withholding Information On Arming Teachers

HuffPost

“A coalition of advocacy and teacher groups sued the U.S. Department of Education … for information related to its decision to allow schools to purchase firearms using federal funds … In August and September, the groups filed two Freedom of Information Act requests for more information on the decision. The requests … were designed to glean information on issues such as whether the Education Department was influenced by the National Rifle Association and other gun rights groups. A request also sought information on which school districts were interested in arming teachers using federal funds … The government has fallen short of its statutory obligation. The plaintiffs are requesting expedited processing of their information request, which the government previously denied.”
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Education May Spell Doom for Oklahoma’s Republican ‘Subprime’ Gubernatorial Candidate

The Progressive

“In Oklahoma, the governor’s race would ordinarily result in a solid victory for an enthusiastic Trump supporter like Republican Kevin Stitt, who brandishes a ‘100 percent Pro-Life score’ and an A’ rating from the National Rifle Association. But this year’s focus on education could turn the election for Stitt’s competitor, veteran Democrat Drew Edmondson … Drawing from his experience as the founder and CEO of Gateway Mortgage Group, Stitt describes his [education] program as ‘performance metrics=accountability, efficiency and results’ … Gateway has been called one of ‘the 15 shadiest mortgage lenders being backed by the government’ … Stitt was a no show for a recent candidate forum, where education issues were discussed. In contrast, Edmondson attended every day of the nine-day teacher walkout this April … If Oklahoma teachers ‘Remember in November,’ it could drive an Edmondson victory.”
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