ANTI-PUBLIC SCHOOL PRIVATIZATION EFFORTS
Back-door collusion among Florida governor Rick Scott and the Republican legislative leadership with severe conflict issues passed one of the most hostile public school measures in the country. http://fundeducationnow.org/hb-7069-floridas-k-12-nightmare-foreshadows-nations-future/ See also Diane Ravitch’s comments on the bill https://dianeravitch.net/2017/06/26/florida-the-legislatures-plan-to-destroy-public-schools-and-enrich-their-cronies/
CHARTERS, VOUCHERS, and VIRTUAL SCHOOLS
An NEPC report finds expansion of virtual schools by for-profit management companies in friendly states despite terrible results. http://nepc.colorado.edu/newsletter/2017/06/virtual-schools-five Based on a national data set, the April NEPC Virtual Schools in the U.S. 2017 report included two key findings: (1) that the growth of full-time virtual schools was fueled, in part, by policies expanding school choice, and (2) that this growth is seen most among the for-profit education management organizations (EMOs) that dominate this sector. All five states (Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Idaho, and Washington) follow these national trends. Also, and again consistent with national trends, students that attend the virtual schools in these five states tended to perform quite poorly compared to their brick-and-mortar counterparts.
South Carolina’s online charter schools: A $350 million investment with disappointing returns. http://www.postandcourier.com/news/south-carolina-s-online-charter-schools-a-million-investment-with/article_6539ef90-511f-11e7-adba-d706dfdb4027.html
The Lubienski’s, who wrote the definitive work on why public schools outperform private schools, The Public School Advantage wrote a commentary in Ed. Week, entitled Student Vouchers Aren’t Working: Here’s Why. http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2017/06/16/student-vouchers-arent-working-heres-why.html and https://dianeravitch.net/2017/06/20/lubienski-why-is-betsy-devos-pushing-vouchers-when-research-shows-they-dont-work/
Another thoughtful article by Jeff Bryant listing multiple examples of self-dealing and fraud by unaccountable and un-transparent charters. http://educationopportunitynetwork.org/charter-schools-do-bad-stuff-because-they-can/
Jeff Bryant calls for a moratorium on new charters until states pass stronger accountability measures and take into consideration the effect on existing public schools. http://educationopportunitynetwork.org/why-democrats-should-unite-on-a-charter-school-moratorium/
In the same vein Valerie Strauss from the Washington Post penned an article, Problems with Charter Schools that You Won’t Hear Betsy DeVos Talk About which incorporated an important piece by Carol Burris of the Network for Public Education. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2017/06/22/problems-with-charter-schools-that-you-wont-hear-betsy-devos-talk-about/?utm_term=.25b9397aa95b Burris explains that the NAACP voted for a moratorium on charter school expansion until:
- Charter Schools are subject to the same transparency and accountability standards as public schools.
- Public funds are not diverted to charter schools at the expense of the public school system.
- Charter schools cease expelling students that public schools have a duty to educate.
- Charter schools cease to perpetuate de facto segregation of the highest performing children from those whose aspirations may be high but whose talents are not yet as obvious
A new CREDO research report on Charter Management Organizations and other forms of multiple charter governance finds trivial gains overall compared to traditional public schools. Some CMO’s with strong teacher, student, and parent engagement policies do better. https://credo.stanford.edu/pdfs/CMO%20FINAL.pdf
Detroit’s charters: Expensive but no results. http://www.freep.com/story/opinion/columnists/nancy-kaffer/2017/06/07/detroit-schools-charters/375076001/
Five questions researchers are asking about charter schools beyond the test-score horse race. http://www.chalkbeat.org/posts/us/2017/06/15/beyond-the-test-score-horse-race-5-big-questions-researchers-are-asking-about-charter-schools/
- How do charter schools impact students beyond standardized test scores?
- Why are some charter schools especially effective?
- Why do charter schools in some places outperform charters elsewhere?
- How are charter schools changing over time?
- How do charter schools affect public education more broadly — including finances and segregation?
A new entry on the Curmudgucation website arguing that choice won’t save money, won’t unleash competition that will spur excellence, and won’t put power in parent’s hands. http://curmudgucation.blogspot.com/2017/06/what-choice-wont-do.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+blogspot%2FORjvzd+%28CURMUDGUCATION%29
A US News magazine opinion piece Don’t Gamble on Vouchers—Invest in Public Schools, Not Private School Voucher Schemes, to Improve Education for All Children. https://www.usnews.com/opinion/knowledge-bank/articles/2017-06-21/dont-gamble-on-private-school-vouchers-invest-in-public-education
A Huffington Post article arguing that school choice expands privilege at the expense of needy students. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/is-school-choice-just-expanding-privilege_us_5943d48ee4b024b7e0df4aff?section=us_education
POSITIVE STATE and DISTRICT POLICIES
Some states are moving to broaden the curriculum from just concentrating on reading and math to include history, civics, science, and the humanities. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2017/06/Under_ESSA_an_end_to_curriculum_narrowing.html?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=curriculummatters
The best professional learning occurs when teachers are given the chance to practice what they teach and how best to use instructional materials. http://www.aspendrl.org/portal/browse/DocumentDetail?documentId=2969&download&admin=2969|3571821778
John Hattie of Virtual Learning fame, describes a powerful learning model of how to deepen instruction and how to know when a teaching strategy is effective based on a huge number of research projects. http://www.nature.com/articles/npjscilearn201613?utm_medium=Email&utm_source=ExactTarget&utm_campaign=20170618Mindshift&mc_key=00Qi000001WzO2NEAV; and from the Mindshift website https://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2017/06/14/how-do-you-know-when-a-teaching-strategy-is-most-effective-john-hattie-has-an-idea/?utm_medium=Email&utm_source=ExactTarget&utm_campaign=20170618Mindshift&mc_key=00Qi000001WzO2NEAV
DESTRUCTIVE STATE POLICIES
Many corporations have lobbied states for substantial tax cuts or incentives which has severely depleted funds available for education and health. http://www.epi.org/blog/does-corporate-america-see-a-future-in-the-united-states/?utm_source=Economic+Policy+Institute&utm_campaign=ed09e5e05b-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_06_16&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e7c5826c50-ed09e5e05b-55912853&mc_cid=ed09e5e05b&mc_eid=efc5546f61
Another astute paper on what effective professional development demands—active teacher agency. https://learningforward.org/docs/default-source/pdf/teacheragencyfinal.pdf
The New Teacher Center’s latest research finds that that teacher mentoring raises student performance. https://newteachercenter.org/news-story/ntc-i3-release/
Report shows a disconnect between test scores and later outcomes in life. http://educationnext.org/disconnect-educational-measures-life-outcomes/
FAILED “REFORM” EFFORTS
A Michigan Educational Achievement Authority which commandeered low-performing schools in Detroit six years ago has terminated due to its miserable track record and transferred its 15 schools back to Detroit. http://michiganradio.org/post/after-six-years-education-achievement-authority-leaves-behind-lackluster-legacy The EAA was created in 2011 to turn around Detroit’s lowest performing schools. But, according to Michigan State University education professor David Arsen, it fell far short of that goal.
“The EAA could fairly be regarded as a train wreck of educational policy,” Arsen said.
Arsen says a rushed policy process, plus a lack of state investment, meant the EAA had little chance of turning around Detroit’s failing schools.
The Iceberg Report is comprehensive look at children’s health and well-being in developed countries. http://www.superintendentsforum.org/featured-briefings/archives/2015-2/the-iceberg-effect#download The report shows how low the US ranks on trauma for kids, family support, and inequality all of which strongly effects kids ability to learn. Also see a great book by Sapolsky Behave: the Biology of Humans at our Best and Worst especially pages 194 – 201 which show the devastating effect on brain functioning by childhood adversity, witnessing of violence, lack of emotional support, etc. severally hampering future cognitive abilities and social and emotional health.
An interesting study on the attitudes of six subgroups of high-school students. Most students are intrinsically motivated and most try their best. https://edexcellence.net/articles/what-teens-want-from-their-schools?utm_source=Fordham+Updates&utm_campaign=48215fb1b8-Gadfly__2017_06_28&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_d9e8246adf-48215fb1b8-71491225&mc_cid=48215fb1b8&mc_eid=ebbe04a807
PROBLEMS WITH TECHNOLOGY, BLENDED LEARNING, and PERSONALIZED LEARNING
Students rebel against cubicle-based personalized learning. http://hechingerreport.org/students-sat-cubicles-using-computers-wasnt-popular/