1/7/2016 – Five Education Stories To Keep Your Eye On In 2016

THIS WEEK: Students Are Over-Stressed … Millions Go To Failed Charter Schools … Instead Of Suspensions … Who Profits From College Debt … Why Standardized Tests Suck


Five Education Stories To Keep Your Eye On In 2016

By Jeff Bryant

“Here are five stories to look for … Vulnerable governors … Charter schools … The Test Rebellion … Friedrichs … Chicago.”
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Is The Drive For Success Making Our Children Sick?

The New York Times

“Expectations surrounding education have spun out of control … Even those not bound for college are ground down by the constant measurement in schools under pressure to push through mountains of rote, impersonal material as early as preschool … This drive for success is eroding children’s health and undermining their potential. Modern education is actually making them sick … A growing body of medical evidence suggests that long-term childhood stress is linked not only with a higher risk of adult depression and anxiety, but with poor physical health outcomes, as well … Working together, parents, educators and students can make small but important changes.”
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Florida Gave About $70 Million To Charter Schools That Later Closed; State Recouped Little

Miami Herald

“Charter schools, which are public schools run by private groups, have received more than $760 million from [Florida] taxpayers since 2000 … Yet charter schools in 30 districts have wound up closing after receiving as much as $70 million combined in such funding … Taxpayers usually can’t recover the capital money invested in those schools because most of it has been spent on rent or leasing costs. The Department of Education reported it has taken back just $133,000 in the last three years from schools that closed.”
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What Happens When Instead Of Suspensions, Kids Talk Out Their Mistakes?

The Hechinger Report

“There is now strong research that shows pulling students out of class as punishment can hurt their long-term academic prospects. What’s more, data show that punishments are often unequal. Nationally, more black students are suspended than white students … Alternative programs like restorative justice are gaining popularity in public schools from Maine to Oregon. Early adopters of the practice report dramatic declines in school discipline problems, as well as improved climates on campuses and even gains in student achievement … In addition … there is now federal pressure for districts to rethink their practices: Schools may face sanctions if discipline policies are found to unfairly target minority students. That is a significant milestone.”
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Who’s Profiting From $1.2 Trillion Of Federal Student Loans?

Bloomberg Business

“Congress created the loan program 50 years ago with the goal of encouraging students to attend college. Today, the Education Department is one of the largest financial institutions in the country. If it were a bank, it would rank fifth in the U.S. in assets … Companies that have benefited from the loan program range from debt servicer Affiliated Computer Services … to Education Management, which operates for-profit colleges … FMS Investment … was paid $227 million by the Education Department from October 2011 through September of this year… Florida Coastal is part of the InfiLaw System … A principal investor in InfiLaw is Sterling Partners, a private-equity firm that also owns a stake in Laureate Education Inc., which is planning an initial public offering next year … FMS’s parent, Ceannate, is one of about two dozen collection firms paid a total of $963 million in the fiscal year that ended in September… That’s down from a record $1.1 billion the previous year.”
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Straight Talk About Standardized Tests

The Progressive

Pennsylvania classroom teacher Peter Greene writes, “It may seem odd or even hypocritical for teachers to complain about standardized tests … These tests are scored by seasonal, minimum wage workers in temporary test-scoring sweatshops. The emphasis is on speed … The line drawn between success and failure … is drawn only after the tests have been scored … So students will not be able to find out what they need to do until after they have taken a test … This after-the-fact level setting also means that the line can be drawn differently every year … All of this means that even if they were great tests (that’s another conversation), they would not give parents or policymakers a picture of how a school is doing.”
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