Archive for July, 2016

Breaking News: @NAACP calls for national moratorium on charters

July 31, 2016 Comments off

MAYBE, just MAYBE this will help undercut the prevalent meme that “choice” is a civil rights issue… and MAYBE, just MAYBE it will re-launch the need for equitable funding and segregation in its place. 

I don’t believe that this has been reported anywhere else. Last week at the NAACP National Convention in Cincinnati, the delegates voted in a new resolution on charter schools. It’s app…

Source: Breaking News: @NAACP calls for national moratorium on charters

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ESSA Marginalized K-12 Education Policy Debates, Ensures the Beat Will Go On

July 31, 2016 Comments off

Earlier this month I spent time with family members at a reunion and came away more distressed than ever over the condition of public education today. My nieces and cousins who work in public school have now experienced 10-15 years of teaching where test scores are the be all and end all of their jobs. Worse, their children have no experience in a school setting where test scores were not the predominant concern.

For the past couple weeks we’ve been subjected to the frightening reality that Donald Trump, a candidate who plays to the basest instincts of our citizenry, and Hillary Clinton, a neoliberal who until recently espoused the “reform” line that led to the evaluation of schooling based solely on standardized testing, will be the candidates for 2016. A recent Atlantic article contrasts the two candidates positions on K-12 education, noting that Mr. Trump’s position is more a slogan than a well-conceived policy idea.

But the article failed to note the reality that the passage of ESSA took the air out of any meaningful discussion about K-12 education on the campaign trail and will make any change to education policy in the first term of either Trump or Clinton a near impossibility. The bi-partisan ESSA legislation gives the decision on testing back to states where ALEC influenced Republicans control 35 State houses and legislatures. In so doing, it undercuts the Federal role in setting educational policy, which could be a good thing after NCLB and RTTT and will be a good thing if progressive activists focus on state elections and elect governors and legislators who want to use something something more than high-stakes tests to measure school effectiveness.

This means it will become increasingly difficult to make changes to the test-and-punish “reform” system in place after 15 years of NCLB and RTTT and that, in turn, means that a full generation of students will experience schooling that uses standardized testing as the primary means of measurement, a full generation of teachers will know only that kind of teaching, and a full generation of school board members will believe that only test scores can “objectively measure” the effectiveness of public schooling. The only exception to this kind of education will take place in the most affluent school districts where the vast majority of students can pass the so-called “accountability” tests with ease and can therefore focus on “frills” like the arts, technology, and emotional development.


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NYTimes Report on Mike Pence’s Education Record is Appalling!

July 20, 2016 Comments off

Kate Zernicke’s article in todays NYTimes describing Mike Pence’s record as a Governor is appallingly inaccurate and unfair. Misleadingly titled “Mike Pence’s Record on Education is One of Turmoil and Mixed Results”, the article describes only turmoil and no positive results for children whatsoever, unless you count the passage of a $15 million dollar preschool program serving a handful of poor children in five counties as “positive”. Worse, instead of seeking quotes from the large number of voters who supported Glenda Ritz, the “anti-reform” candidate who defeated Tony Bennett, his favored candidate for State Superintendent, the Times got quotes from Joy Pullmann, described as “ education research fellow with the libertarian Heartland Institute“, an organization funded by anti-environmentalists who staunchly oppose public funding for anything and favor Milton Friedman’s magical market solutions for everything. Thus, instead of criticisms of how poorly charters perform, how Mr. Bennett was involved in a financial scandal involving charter schools, and how students raised in poverty are woefully underserved in Indiana readers got complaints about “the fact” that charters are over-regulated because they are required to administer the same tests as public schools, that insufficient public funds are going into the pockets of profiteers and religiously affiliated schools, and that he ultimately accepted the “strings” attached to an $80,000,000 federal grant that would nearly quadruple the funding for pre-school.

Pence’s policies, which are those of the ultra-right reformers, failed children attending public schools in the state pushing more and more middle class students out and starving the poor children who remained. To state otherwise is misleading and dishonest… but since the Times seems to have bought into the basic premise of the “soft reformers” like those endorsed by the presumptive Democrat candidate, they seem reluctant to point out where the privatization “solution” offered by reformers will ultimately lead.

And here’s whats even worse: Pence would be one of those who would champion ESSA since it gives more control to States and loosens the federal “strings” that require things like supplement-vs-supplant. As one who hoped for a robust debate on privatized deregulated schools and the federal role on education I am saddened to see that this will not be on either party’s agenda for the coming months… and even sadder for the children raised in poverty who’ll be neglected as a result.