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Posts Tagged ‘funding equity’

DeVos Undercuts Title IX, Withholding Funds Based on HER Definition

May 30, 2020 Leave a comment

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Yesterday we learned that Betsy DeVos was disregarding Title One by giving parochial schools serving affluent children the same allocation as public schools serving children raised in poverty— the children who were supposed to receive that aid. Today Ms. DeVos is withholding Title IX funds from Connecticut unless they deny transgender students the right to participate in sports based on their chosen gender, a choice Title IX entitles them to. Tomorrow? I’m looking for the federal government to funds education savings accounts for parochial school parents to use to enroll their children. That’s against the will of the State legislature you say? Against settled court cases? Betsy doesn’t care. She has the POTUS and maybe the SCOTUS on her side.

Peter Greene’s Offers Clear Explanation of DeVos’ End Run

May 29, 2020 Leave a comment

In this Forbes article education writer Peter Greene offers a clear explanation of Betsy DeVos’ decision to allocate Title One funds to private and parochial schools in a fashion that robs from the poorest children and gives to the more affluent.

In the article Mr. Greene makes the same point I made in an earlier post: DeVos is essentially doing the same thing as Arne Duncan. Whereas Mr. Duncan used 4.5 billion to leverage changes that reinforced NCLB’a test and punish paradigm, Ms. DeVos has over three times as much to funnel funds to parochial schools. But UNLIKE Mr. Duncan case, Congress placed a constraint on how funds could be used, requiring that they be allocated by the Title One formula that sends more funds to underfunded schools. Ms. DeVos, however, read the law differently, claiming that they should be distributed to ALL schools on a per capita basis. As Mr. Greene notes in his concluding paragraph, this is clearly unfair:

Supporters of the DeVos view have argued that some of the private and religious schools serve some students from low-income families. But that’s beside the point—no one is arguing that the private and religious schools should be ignored entirely, and the law is clear that they should receive relief funds for the Title I students they serve. The question is whether or not the law should perform a reverse Robin Hood to serve even the most wealthy and privileged private school students.

But with bigger problems than the misappropriation of funds for poor children facing them and a AG who will do the bidding of the libertarian wing of the GOP I do not expect much to change… especially given the precedent set by the Obama administration.

A ROUGH DRAFT FOR HS REFORM I: Blow Up High School by Offering Vouchers for Students…

May 26, 2020 Leave a comment

I’ve been spending a lot of time in the garden lately, and in doing so am spending a lot of time mulling over how to take advantage of the pandemic crisis to introduce some new ways of doing high school. Based on my personal and professional experience high schools are the worst part of the education system in our country. Here’s why:

  • TRACKING: High School drives the final nail into the equity coffin by segregating students into tracks based on how rapidly they’ve learned up to the point they enter ninth grade and how much control their parents wield.
  • COLLEGE OVER-VALUED: Students who aspire to college get 90% of the attention and time of guidance counselors and teachers because guidance counselors and teachers know how college works and see it as the only way to attain economic well-being.
  • CONTENT OVER-VALUED: There is an aphorism that elementary teachers teach children and secondary teachers teach subjects…. and high schools are set up to reinforce that aphorism. It is unrealistic for a high school teacher to know and care about the lives of 100+ students assigned to them in 4-5 classes but completely realistic for them to be well-versed in one subject area that they can teach to students and assess their progress using some kind of “objective test” that can be rapidly graded. This emphasis on content, in turn, can lead to a siloing whereby no single teacher gets to know and care about an individual student. And the cult of AP testing only exacerbates this emphasis on content over character development.
  • SOCIAL SKILLS UNDER-VALUED: Working on teams, getting along with people from other socio-economic, racial, and ethic groups, and developing healthy relationships with individuals are all part of the hidden curriculum in high schools… but, in many (if not most) cases, high schools are reinforcing tribalism instead of harmony.
  • PRACTICAL KNOWLEDGE UNDER-VALUED: There is a premium on the development of abstract skills like the ability to solve complex quadratic equations but no value placed on the ability to put together a nutritious meal from left-overs, to develop and manage a budget, or to complete the paperwork needed to buy a house, start a small business, or apply on-line for a job.

Here’s a solution to all of this: end high school once students pass a basic competency test and give them a voucher for education four the next four years or until the age of 20, whichever comes first. The competency test would be initially administered when teachers certify the student is ready, which ideally would be before the student’s 16ht birthday. The competency test would include:

  • The US Citizenship test: Clearly every graduate should know how the government works if they are to vote intelligently.
  • A Consumer Awareness test: A “consumer awareness” test could be developed by ETS– who would be happy to have a new assessment to replace the SAT which is being phased out. This test would help avoid the debt trap that currently ensnares millions in our country.
  • A Health and Nutrition test: Public schools ostensibly educate students about nutrition and health through the school lunch program and various mandated health courses but there are no high stakes tests associated with either area.

By giving STUDENTS the funds to pursue more education it will emphasize the importance of making prudent financial decisions and underscore the importance of developing a transition plan to go from a world where every hour is scheduled by adults to a world where the student is a self-regulated adult.

Two more elements of the blown up HS will follow in future posts:

  • Mandatory Community Service
  • The Development of a Individualized Post-Graduate Work Plan which includes a personal budget

Will PARENTS Be Getting Their Moneys Worth in Public Schools This Fall?

May 24, 2020 Leave a comment

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I’ve read several articles of late about how students have either sued colleges and universities for the poorer quality of schooling they got in Spring or are planning to stay away from college entirely this fall because of the pandemic. The articles all described the possibility of colleges and universities closing as a consequence of the lost tuitions and how students are consequently asking themselves whether college is even worth it given the debts they incur and the lack of work for graduates.

I haven’t seen any articles yet asking similar questions about the education K-12 students received in spring or the diminished quality of the programs they are likely to be receiving in the future… but it is clear that the costs for that schooling will be shifted onto property taxes and when that occurs schools will be facing the same issue as colleges and universities… and perhaps the same existential threat.

Democrats Despair as DeVos Does Same Thing as Duncan

May 23, 2020 Leave a comment

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The massive CARES bailout put lots of money into the hands of Betsy DeVos and provided little guidance or oversight on how the money would be spent. Unsurprisingly Ms. DeVos has decided that she is going to use some of those funds to underwrite parochial schools and the response from politicians is equally unsurprising: the Democrats are upset that Ms. DeVos is using government funds to pay for religious schools and the GOP is looking the other way as the Executive branch ignores a law passed by the Legislature.

But neither party has a good reason to be upset. The GOP is getting what they asked for when they exonerated the POTUS when he unilaterally withheld funds from the Ukraine and the Democrats who supported the Obama/Duncan RTTT initiative based on Duncan’s beliefs that schools should run like a business. Both parties should realize by now that if they want to help public schools they should give money to the STATES to use explicitly for that purpose and to use Title 1 formulas to distribute it.

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Reappropriating Personalization by Defining it Precisely

May 23, 2020 Leave a comment

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Forbes columnist Peter Greene has a great suggestion for how to achieve personalized instruction: define it with precision. In the linked article above Mr. Greene explains how the term was expropriated by the tech industry who defined it based on the use of individualizing based on algorithms. Mr. Greene has a clearer and better and simple definition: you need to involve a person in order to achieve “personalized” instruction. Of course, as Mr. Greene notes in the closing paragraph, there IS a problem with using this definition:

Covid-19 or not, we’ve always known what’s required for truly personalized education. Instead, we’ve focused on how to keep costs low, how to make schooling “efficient.” Truly personalized education is costly. We should not be fooled by people who attempt to slap that label on a cheap alternative.

President Trump Wants Schools Open in September… Public is Split… and $$$$ WILL be Needed

May 20, 2020 Leave a comment

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A Politico article yesterday reported on the results of a recent survey that will not make the President happy. In order to “open the economy” and “get thing back to normal” the President and his GOP allied know that public schools will have to reopen AND operate as they always did. The recent national survey taken days ago shows little public support for that idea, and my guess is that support will diminish once the cost for reopening is taken into account. An excerpt from the article gives a sense of the logistical and financial challenge;

All schools face a fundamental problem: Restarting classes isn’t as easy as calling students back to campus and ringing the morning bell.

In Virginia, Fairfax County Public Schools officials estimate the system could spend more than $6 million on masks and thermometers — plus extra nurses, custodians and cleaning supplies when classes resume. Social distancing would shrink classroom sizes in Washington, D.C.’s affluent suburbs to 12 students or fewer, said Fairfax County estimates. But assigning only one student to a school bus seat would require an increase of close to 780 buses and drivers.

The roughly 42% who want to reopen are unlikely to support the daunting costs that will be required and if the roughly 40% who oppose the opening keep their kids home, what happens next?

The only way to get through this dilemma is to offer a new model for public education for the same or lower cost…. and that model cannot replicate what WAS “normal”.