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What Advice Did Our Founders and First Presidents Offer On Preserving Our Democracy?

What Advice Did Our Founders and First Presidents Offer On Preserving Our Democracy? by Bill Honig

In today’s political arena many of the basic tenets of our democracy are being challenged  and there is evidence that too many young people (and adults) are not attaching to democratic ideas and responsibilities.  It is fitting on President’s day that Americans should revisit the ideas, warnings, and advice of our first leaders. They understood that governance resting on popular consent was a huge gamble since no previous efforts at creating a successful democracy had survived. The effort would be difficult and would require continued vigilance by each generation of citizens and political representatives to last.

Our early leaders were very specific about what was necessary for our great democratic experience to endure and tried to inoculate the country against three main dangers:  Majority rule degenerating into anarchy from irreconcilable conflicts, growing inequality re-instating oligarchy and corruption, and the democracy succumbing to tyranny from fear-based and dishonest demagoguery.

Building on the colonists experience in self-governing churches and local government they proposed a constitution based on representative government and majority rule which built a structure for the separation of powers, federalism, periodic elections to hold government accountable, and protections for individuals and the democratic system enshrined in our Bill of Rights.  That was their first line of defense against our democracy failing.

But Madison, Jefferson, Adams, Hamilton and Franklin also knew that the structure of government was necessary but not sufficient. They and those that followed made several other crucial suggestions. Citizens needed to be well-versed in democratic ideals and experience, willing to participate, exercise self-discipline and be law-abiding, and develop the habits of tolerance and democratic deliberation. Representatives needed to respect our institutions and be accountable for their actions and veracity.

James Kloppenberg in his masterful recent book, Toward Democracy chronicles the development of democratic ideas and beliefs culminating in the creation and subsequent development of our country. He found three main themes and three supportive ideas which are helpful in understanding how best to fight for and protect our democratic ideals.

First, representative government deriving from “the people” and how that could work was evidenced in our Constitution. The founders were aware of the danger of quick but misguided action and created mechanisms to increase deliberation and spread power such as an independent judiciary both at the national and state level. They also were cognizant of the tension between majority rule and the rights of minorities and individuals and attempted to balance those interests. They also knew that some protections against government were crucial for individuals and for the system to work such as a free press to hold those in government accountable and root out corruption, mendacity, and self-dealing, free speech for the free exchange of ideas, free expression of religion and a proscription of the government establishing one religion, due process, a fair and equal administration of our laws, and that everyone, even the president, should be subject to our laws. They thought that citizens and representatives must understand and value the legitimacy of these structures.

Second, increasing liberty or autonomy of individuals was a key purpose of our democracy. Free individual choices and spheres of action and protection from overbearing government or repressive majorities was part of it. But they were also aware of the dangers of untrammeled self-interest, ignoring the common good, and a lack of the individual self-discipline needed for a free democracy to survive.

Third, equality or respecting the humanity and brotherhood of all citizens, in practice limited at first, but setting the stage for the struggle for legal, political, social, and economic equality for all (liberty and justice for all from our Pledge of Allegiance). The history of the 228 years since our constitution was adopted has been the slow struggle in fits and starts and backsliding to broaden the definition of “We, the People”

The founders also believed that three other habits and beliefs were crucial for a democracy to survive.

First, a commitment to democratic deliberation. Most of our founders were well aware of the religious wars in Europe and oppressive countries which only tolerated one set of beliefs. In a successful democracy truth and policies should arise from discussion which necessitated respect for opponents, listening, and supporting decisions resulting from democratic deliberations.

Second, pluralism and tolerance of diverse groups—religious, racial, ethnic, national origin, class, and regional. The United States is attempting something unique in human history. A large country composed of diverse interests and groups comprised of the world’s populations who find enough common purpose to sustain a democracy. This goal requires a higher stage of ethical behavior than in more homogeneous countries. It is human nature to identify with our respective groups and become hostile to others and our country has gone through decades of racial, religious, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, and class prejudice, hostility, and legal discrimination even in the face of our democratic ideals. Keeping group ties while being tolerant and respectful of others is a difficult but crucial task for our country. This mission is undermined by leaders who appeal to group hatred which dishonors a basic principle of our heritage.

Our founders and first presidents confronted the dilemma of slavery knowing that slavery violated the democratic principles of representative government, liberty, and equality on which our country was created. It wasn’t until Lincoln and the Civil war finally determined that the continued existence of slavery sullied the ethical component to democracy and established that the idea that majority rules could mean a majority could oppress one group of humans (Stephen Douglas’s position in the Lincoln/Douglas debates) was morally unacceptable. It took another 100 years for equality and fair political and legal treatment to be established in reality by the Civil Rights movement—a position we are still struggling with. Similar efforts were made for other repressed groups such as women, ethnic and religious minorities, and gays and the working class.

Finally, Kloppenberg, enshrines the founders belief in idea of reciprocity as an essential ingredient of successful democracies. Our founders understood the importance to a democracy of the religious belief that all individuals were equal before God, the central Christian doctrine of love, (Love your neighbor as yourself) and the ubiquitous belief in the Golden Rule. In a democracy citizens must accept the underlying humanity, legitimacy, and significance of all even while disagreeing on specific policies. The founders thought that in successful democracies majorities didn’t try to crush their opponents but saw the importance of continued debate with them to reach better solutions.

Our country almost disintegrated in the harsh political atmosphere of the 1790’s. After flirting with wholesale demonization and false accusations of the opposition both Jefferson and Adams and their followers relented and the “era of good feelings” occurred with the election of Jefferson. Years later, Lincoln in his first Inaugural Address asked the South to discuss not fight and appealed to the “better angels of our nature” and when the war appeared won in his Second Inaugural was not vindictive to Southerners as many in the North wished but advocated reconciliation. (with malice towards none, with charity for all)

Our founders also strongly believed that an educated citizenry was essential to the success of a democracy to counteract the belief that the lack of education and perspective made people susceptible to demagogic appeals and unable to fully participate in democratic deliberations. Most importantly, each new generation needed to be well-versed and attached to democratic ideas, democratic history, democratic habits, and a willingness to participate in self-government and engage in ethical self-discipline. An educated citizenry was viewed as a key bulwark for democracy.

Our early leaders eventually proposed free public education as a necessary component to allow our democracy to succeed. This idea that the government not solely parents should provide a common education and that all citizens should pay for the education of children not their own was unsuccessfully resisted by many in the 19th century as public education became widespread.  Those advocating for the importance of a “common schools” won the debate. (Some people today want to re-litigate the issue decrying “government schools”, supporting large cuts for public schools, and advocating privatizing of public education.)

Benjamin Franklin when asked by a women after the Constitutional Convention what kind of government they decided on “a republic or a monarchy” he quickly replied “A republic if you can keep it.” Lincoln in his immortal Gettysburg address alluded to the fragile nature of our democracy and that our devotion to a continued effort to perfect our ideals of freedom and equality was necessary so that “government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth”. That fight goes on.

Bill Honig was Superintendent of Public Instruction in California from 1983-1993. He is currently Vice-Chair of the California Instructional Quality Commission which develops K-12 content frameworks and reviews instructional materials for the California State Board of Education. That board recently adopted a History/Social Science framework which incorporates many of the ideas in this article.

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This website is the result of my seventy-year romance with education—first as
a student and then in a variety of roles in education: teacher,
administrator, policymaker, elected official, professor, and educational
entrepreneur. My perspective and beliefs about what we should and should not
be doing to improve our schools have been forged from experiences and study
during my long career. Building Better Schools is a place where the supporting ideas, research, and exemplary models of Build-and-Support are available and kept fresh. I invite you to join the conversation!

May Comments 5/19/18

Build and Support Issues

Stephanie Hirsh from the Learning Institute on the importance of professional learning and team building to be centered on curriculum and instruction. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/learning_forwards_pd_watch/2018/04/leverage_research_on_curriculum_and_professional_learning_to_fulfill_the_vision_of_plcs.html?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=learningforwardspdwatch

The value of multiple math pathways for students. https://justequations.org/resource/multiple-paths-forward-diversifying-math-pathways-as-a-strategy-for-student-success/  and Pam Burdman et al. http://theopportunityinstitute.org/blog/2018/5/10/the-promise-of-new-math-gateways

Can schools successfully encourage civic engagement? Democracy Prep charters say “You bet”. Robert Pondiscio reports on how Democracy Prep is emphasizing civic engagement. https://edexcellence.net/articles/how-one-charter-network-is-helping-attach-students-to-civil-society?utm_source=National+Education+Gadfly+Weekly&utm_campaign=c2c1f5d851-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_05_09&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_ef00e8f50e-c2c1f5d851-71635837&mc_cid=c2c1f5d851&mc_eid=ebbe04a807 and see http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2018/05/education_civics_democracy_prep_research.html?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=curriculummatters Some stats from the reports: Their civic education program led to a statistically significant 24 percentage point raw increase in voter turnout in 2016.These results are even more astonishing considering that their alumni are predominantly young (18-22), first-generation college students from low-income families of color–historically some of the least likely voters of any demographic group. 

For a more skeptical view see Larry Cuban’s take. While impressed by these voting stats he raises questions about Democracy Preps “no excuses” philosophy failing to teach democratic discourse. https://larrycuban.wordpress.com/2018/05/20/democracy-prep-no-excuses-schools-that-build-citizens/

A school in Arkansas is combining civics and history for eighth graders. http://www.hotsr.com/news/2018/may/01/eighth-graders-celebrate-americans-stor/

Marc Tucker reports on the status of the publishing industry. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/top_performers/2018/05/the_creative_destruction_of_the_american_school_publishing_industry.html?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=top_performers and the value of a process reform approach over individual programmatic solutions. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/top_performers/2018/05/two_theories_of_school_improvement_which_works_better.html?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=top_performers

Are educational videos helping poor students? http://hechingerreport.org/educational-videos-leaving-low-income-behind/?utm_source=The+Hechinger+Report&utm_campaign=cd9605a9c2-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_05_14&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_d3ee4c3e04-cd9605a9c2-322591845

A balanced look at privacy issues with technology in schools. http://hechingerreport.org/opinion-whats-the-high-tech-tradeoff-for-students-and-teachers/

 

 

Trials and Tribulations of Charters, Vouchers, Virtual Schools, and the “Reform” Agenda

Jeff Bryant provides chapter and verse on how large-scale charter expansion decimates traditional public school funding even after taking into account money saved by educating less students. http://educationopportunitynetwork.org/charter-schools-are-an-existential-threat-to-public-education/?link_id=1&can_id=cea050dcef20333abf235c3ba9bc6d51&source=email-charter-schools-are-an-existential-threat-to-public-education&email_referrer=email_351160&email_subject=charter-schools-are-an-existential-threat-to-public-education

In the same vein a new Brookings report finds that charter school growth puts fiscal pressure on traditional public schools.https://www.brookings.edu/blog/brown-center-chalkboard/2018/05/01/charter-school-growth-puts-fiscal-pressure-on-traditional-public-schools/

Similarly, a report from In the Public Interest documents how charter schools drain enormous funds from local schools districts. https://www.inthepublicinterest.org/?everything=everything Here is a summary of the report on how charter schools ruin local school district budgets. https://janresseger.wordpress.com/2018/05/08/16168/; Another comment on that and similar reports by Derek Black. Charter Schools Remove Tens of Millions in Funding from Three California Districts, While Severely Under-enrolling Students with Disabilities http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/education_law/2018/05/charter-schools-remove-tens-of-millions-in-funding-from-three-california-districts-while-severely-un.html A quote from Black:

Yesterday, I posted on Helen Ladd’s path-breaking study of the cost of charter schools to local school districts in North Carolina.  She found an “average fiscal cost of more than $3,500 for each student enrolled in charter schools.”   Today brings more troubling factual findings out of California. In the Public Interest finds that “Oakland Unified loses $5,643 a year per charter school student while San Diego Unified loses $4,913 a year and East Side Unified loses $6,000 a year.”

Diane Ravitch reports on how the “privatization” mind-set, top down dictates, and Trump administration back-room deals on top of neglect have devastated Puerto Rico’s public schools. https://dianeravitch.net/2018/05/05/puerto-rico-privatizing-public-schools-in-puerto-rico/

John Thompson explains how “reformers” attempt to excuse the failure of educational reform.https://dianeravitch.net/2018/05/09/john-thompson-how-reformers-expain-the-failure-of-reform/

Diane Ravitch quotes Robert Shireman of the Century Foundation on how conversions of for-profit schools to non-profit status are a sham. https://dianeravitch.net/2018/05/17/why-for-profit-higher-education-is-a-rip-off-and-a-sham/

Derek Johnson on how aggressive expansion of charter schools is harming traditional public education. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/states-are-favoring-school-choice-at-a-steep-cost-to_us_5ae7457de4b08248abaa6ea9

The National Educational Policy Center issues its sixth report on virtual schools/blended learning finding major deficiencies in performance and accountability. http://nepc.colorado.edu/files/publications/RB%20Miron%20Virtual%20Schools%202018.pdf

Three articles on major problems with the highly touted Basis charter school chain in Arizona. Carol Burris finds few black and brown students and large scale dropouts from grades 7-12 inflating scores and graduation rates. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2017/03/30/what-the-public-doesnt-know-about-high-performing-charter-schools-in-arizona/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.ef0a8e3317d6 Craig Harris finds inordinate profits and high living expenditures by the couple who own it. https://amp.azcentral.com/amp/473963002 and Mercedes Schneider asks whether Basis charter schools are a pyramid scheme as they keep taking on new debt to fund their life-style.  https://deutsch29.wordpress.com/2018/05/13/basis-charter-debt-pyrmid-like-dependence-on-opening-new-schools/

Another example of massive attrition rates before graduation resulting in a reduced, rarified group—this time at Yes Prep. The kicker with this charter is that they require college acceptance to graduate and then tout a 100% college attendance of the few who are left.  https://garyrubinstein.wordpress.com/2018/05/13/the-truth-about-yes-preps-100-college-acceptance-rate/

Similarly, Diane Ravitch has a devastating article about the spurious claims of the darling of the media—Success Academy. https://dianeravitch.net/2018/04/29/reader-the-non-miracle-of-success-academys-graduating-class-of-17-students/ and the media’s neglect and false narrative about the actual high performance of poor students at many public schools. According to Gary Rubinstein, the senior class at Success Academy’s Liberal Arts High School has 17 members. When they started in kindergarten, there were 73 students. By the end of eighth grade, there were 32 students. Four years later, there were 17, all of whom were admitted to college.Gary wrote recently that we can’t be sure of the real attrition rate, it might even be worse than stated above, because some of the original 73 might have been excluded and replaced; unlike real public schools, Success Academy does not admit new students after third grade.

Tom Ultican warns of the cabal trying to privatize and destroy public education in Oakland. https://tultican.com/2018/05/10/newest-existential-threat-to-oaklands-public-schools-2/

Peter Greene writes on how Spellings and Duncan Get It Wrong. http://curmudgucation.blogspot.com/2018/05/spellings-and-duncan-get-it-wrong.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+blogspot%2FORjvzd+%28CURMUDGUCATION%29

Noble Network of Charter Schools in Chicago which educates one out of 10 high-school students in the district has come under withering criticism for harsh discipline practices including refusing menstruating girls permission to leave the class for the bathroom in emergency situations. https://dianeravitch.net/2018/05/03/chicago-charter-chain-does-not-permit-girls-to-go-to-bathroom-for-menstrual-emergency/

 

 

Privatization and the Results of Defunding Public Education.

United States teachers are among the worst paid in the developed world. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/04/us-public-school-teachers-are-among-the-worst-paid-in-the-developed-world/

Study shows teachers on average spend about $500 of their personal money for classroom supplies. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/teachers-shelling-out-nearly-500-a-year-on-school-supplies-report-finds/2018/05/14/af2affae-57b8-11e8-b656-a5f8c2a9295d_story.html?utm_term=.5c9e8ee2998e

Linda Darling-Hammond on what the teacher strikes are about. https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/27/opinions/teacher-strikes-more-than-pay-darling-hammond-opinion/index.html

A guide to the corporations and groups lobbying to defund our schools who are hostile to striking teachers. https://news.littlesis.org/2018/05/14/a-guide-to-the-corporations-that-are-de-funding-public-education-opposing-striking-teachers/

ALEC and its corporate sponsors plan to privatize and defund public education. https://www.ineteconomics.org/perspectives/blog/the-corporate-plan-to-groom-u-s-kids-for-servitude-by-wiping-out-public-schools

April Comments 4/26/2018

 

 

Build and Support Successes

Larry Cuban reports on Richard Whitmire’s (a strong proponent of trendy charter schools) visit to one of the best charter schools in the nation which eschews “no excuses” and blended learning in favor of a broad curriculum, student engagement and support, and active instruction based on the research on and experience of the world’s highest performing schools, districts, and nations. https://larrycuban.wordpress.com/2018/04/18/americas-best-charter-school-doesnt-look-anything-like-other-top-charters-is-that-bad-richard-whitmire/

Contrary to flat NAEP growth in the rest of the country California’s NAEP 8th and 4th Grade Reading and Math Average Score has grown substantially and has posted the top growth scores in the country for the years for 8th grade reading and math and 4th grade reading. It was weak in 4th grade math but still gained. for 2009-2017 (the Common Core and Brown administration years using a base line of 2009). California has the most second language students, the most diversity, and high levels of low income children compared to other states

Reading: 8th grade: First in the nation +10 and now within 2 points of the national average. https://www.nationsreportcard.gov/reading_2017/#states/scores?grade=8

4th grade: Tied for 2nd nationally +6  and now within 6 points of the national average. https://www.nationsreportcard.gov/reading_2017/#states/scores?grade=4

Math: 8th grade: Tied for second nationally +6, Now within 5 points of the national average. https://www.nationsreportcard.gov/math_2017/#states/scores?grade=8

4th grade: Tied for 15th in growth +1. 7 points behind nationally. https://www.nationsreportcard.gov/math_2017/#states/scores?grade=4

Some subgroup info:

Hispanic growth scores for reading 2009-2017; 8th grade reading +10; 4th grade reading +8

Black: 8th grade +7; 4th grade -1!!!.

Hispanic growth scores for math: 8th grade +6; 4th grade +4

Black: 8th grade +5; 4th grade +1!!

Two California Urban Districts under the Trial Urban Districts Assessment (TUDA).

LA: 8th grade reading average score growth 2009-2017. +11.  1st in nation. https://www.nationsreportcard.gov/reading_2017/#/districts/scores?grade=8

4th grade reading: +10;  1st in nation (Tied DC)

8th grade math:  +8 (Tied for 3rd)

4th grade math: +1 (Not good—tied for 7th)

San Diego

8th grade reading: +10. (2nd nationally after LA) https://www.nationsreportcard.gov/math_2017/#districts/scores?grade=8

4th grade reading: +9.  (tied for 2nd nationally)

8th grade math:  +3 (tied for 7th)

4th grade math +1 (tied for 7th)

California also made substantial jumps in NAEP rankings of average scores adjusted for poverty, diversity, and special ed. http://apps.urban.org/features/naep/

In 8th grade reading we are now 14th in the country up from the low 40’s as recently as 2013. In 4th grade reading 19th in the country up from the high 30’s in 2015.

In math we are 22nd in 8th math from the low 40’s as recently as 2013.34th in 4th grade math up from the low 40’s in 2011 and 2015.

Some confirmation of these results is provided by our most recent SBAC 11th grade reading scores. 60% now reach the “proficient” level—a level consistent with 4yr college work and the NAEP proficiency level which compares favorably to the other SBAC states that are much less diverse. To me, getting 60% of our diverse students to that level is impressive and a tribute to the hard work of our educational practitioners and policy direction. On the other hand, the state is much weaker in SBAC math performance at 11th grade (although improving) and the other testing grades. Math will be a major area of subsequent improvement efforts

What caused these increases? There is no certainty yet, but my candidates are the slow roll-out of the common core with plenty of opportunities for buy-in and understanding, the wide-spread policy coherence and educator agreement in the state grounded in a positive build and support, empowering approach rather than a more punitive strategy, a growing shift at the state and district levels from compliance to collaboration and support, the broad agreement on and willingness to use the highly-respected California curricular frameworks explicating common core and putting instruction at the core of improvement efforts, and a commitment of local schools and districts to team-building around deeper learning, professional development, continuous improvement, and adoption of quality materials. And, finally and crucially, a local control funding shift which provided significantly more funds especially for harder to educate students.

Important note: NAEP proficiency does not mean grade level but is equivalent to being prepared for a 4yr college. Many commentators suggest it is A, A-, or B+ work. See the comment by James Harvey https://dianeravitch.net/2018/04/10/james-harvey-dont-be-fooled-by-naep-proficient/

Peter Greene discerns a move back to the importance of a steady build-up of content in all the disciplines to effective reading comprehension. http://curmudgucation.blogspot.com/2018/04/can-reading-pendulum-be-swinging.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+blogspot%2FORjvzd+%28CURMUDGUCATION%29; and

Experts say that failure to attend to the build-up of knowledge through literature, history, science, humanities etc. is one of the major causes of flat NAEP scores. https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2018/04/-american-students-reading/557915/

Similarly the Knowledge Matters campaign makes the same point:

NAEP reading scores stagnant, time for a reading reset, say top reading experts
WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 10, 2018. Results from the biennial National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) are “stubbornly flat,” said Carol Jago, Vice Chair of the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees the NAEP tests. She spoke [by video] at the official release of the 2017 NAEP scores, which showed that reading scores, generally stagnant for years, fell a point at 4th grade, leaving the 4th grade scores where they were in 2013; and rose by just 2 points at 8th grade, leaving those scores still a point behind where they were in 2013.

A panel of reading/language arts experts, speaking at the release of the results at the National Press Club, called for major changes in how reading is taught.

Panelists highlighted the need to focus reading instruction on increasing student knowledge of science and social studies topics. Cognitive psychologist Daniel Willingham said, “once students are fluent decoders, the key determinant of comprehension is what a student already knows about a topic.” He said our challenge is “to assure that every child is exposed to a curriculum that is knowledge-rich and appropriately sequenced.”

Ian Rowe, CEO of New York City’s Public Prep charter school network said, “what keeps us up at night,” is figuring out how to build students “knowledge foundation.” Providing “access to a broad base of background knowledge empowers students to understand” what they’re reading.

See But how students gain that background knowledge, particularly weak readers who are frequently put into “easier books,” was a topic of central importance for the panel.

Tim Shanahan, a longtime reading expert and professor emeritus at University of Illinois/Chicago, called for doing away with the practice of assigning students to books at their “level.” He described the popular practice, which he said is used in the majority of elementary schools, as harmful. “We believed students would only be able to read if they were put in easy texts, and it became the dominant way of teaching reading.” More current research shows that, “At best, this has no positive effects and at worst, it’s been found to do real damage—to hold kids back. “

Dr. Marilyn Adams, of Brown University, said that new cognitive and neuroscience research “destroys the underpinnings of our traditional view of reading development” which drive current practice. According to Adams, the new research indicates that “the widespread practice of giving students easier texts when they’re weaker readers serves to deny them the very language and information they need to catch up and move on.”

The Knowledge Matters Campaign issued its own statement highlighting some of the same evidence the panelists cited. Panel moderator Susan Pimentel called for “a greater focus on deliberately building students’ background knowledge of the world, so they can comprehend the texts they read,” calling such an approach “the best hope for improving reading results.” Building on Pimentel’s perspective, KMC Executive Director Barbara Davidson called for a “reading reset.” For a copy of the Campaign’s full statement, see www.knowledgematterscampaign.org/dig-deeper/.

Civic education and engagement is crucially important for children of immigrants. https://www.aft.org/ae/winter2017-2018/callahan_obenchain

A useful site for civic engagement resources. Useful materials on civic engagement for educators. http://www.civicsurvey.org/

News Literacy Project helps students tell the difference between fact and fiction. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2018/03/27/not-sure-whats-real-or-fake-anymore-the-news-literacy-project-teaches-kids-how-to-tell-the-difference-and-its-growing-faster-than-ever/?utm_term=.bb2f34723ccb

Effective English instruction is crucial for math performance for English-as-a-Second-Language children. https://edsource.org/2018/focusing-on-the-language-skills-of-english-learners-key-to-boosting-math-scores/595948?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email

A powerful statistics alternative to Algebra 2 for non-stem students by Pam Burdman. https://edsource.org/2018/a-quiet-revolt-reshaping-the-pathway-to-college/595712

Willingham proposes that the latest research on how students learn inform teacher training. www.educationnext.org/unlocking-science-how-kids-think-new-proposal-for-reforming-teacher-education/

Larry Cuban asked top teachers how they define success. https://larrycuban.wordpress.com/2018/04/09/how-do-top-teachers-define-success/

My students are successful in future classes of the same subject.

97% of the teachers agreed and strongly agreed with statement.

My students are consistently engaged in content that is intellectually challenging.

96% agreed and strongly agreed.

Other teachers whom I respect give me positive feedback on my teaching.

96% agreed and strongly agreed.

My students tell me that they enjoy being in my class and having me as a teacher. 94%

My students perform well on assessments I have created. 94%

My students consider me someone they can trust and confide in. 94%

My students consistently behave in a way that meets my expectations.93%

My school leaders give me positive feedback on my teaching.93%

My students’ parents compliment me on my work with their children.92%

My students go on to college at high rates.88%

My students perform well on my state and district standardized tests.81%

New federal report shows crime in schools dropped significantly in the last two decades.

Just 3 percent of students ages 12 to 18 reported being the victim of a crime at school during the 2015-16 school year, the most recent period for which data is available – a big drop from the 10 percent of students who said they were the victim of a crime two decades before.

 

“Reforms” and Public School Funding Cutbacks Hurt

A New York Times articles in which teachers chronicle dreadful conditions of public school buildings and shoddy materials. 25-Year-Old Textbooks and Holes in the Ceiling: Inside America’s Public Schools https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/16/reader-center/us-public-schools-conditions.html

Loss of school libraries is harming reading performance. https://nancyebailey.com/2018/04/21/poverty-reading-the-sad-and-troubling-loss-of-school-libraries-and-real-librarians/

Who suffers from state and local tax-cut packages for attracting companies—public schools. https://www.citylab.com/life/2018/03/when-it-comes-to-econ-development-no-free-lunch/556616/?utm_source=SFTwitter

Indiana superintendent explains how voucher funding is draining funds from every public school. https://dianeravitch.net/2018/03/28/indiana-vouchers-drain-money-from-every-public-school-in-the-state/

Jeff Bryant on why teacher uprisings may hit Blue states too. http://educationopportunitynetwork.org/why-teacher-uprisings-may-hit-blue-states-too/?link_id=1&can_id=cea050dcef20333abf235c3ba9bc6d51&source=email-why-teacher-uprisings-may-hit-blue-states-too&email_referrer=email_338831&email_subject=why-teacher-uprisings-may-hit-blue-states-too

Most Americans think teachers are underpaid and here is a chart to prove it. https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/4/5/1754690/-Most-Americans-think-teachers-are-underpaid-Here-s-the-graph-that-shows-how-right-they-are

Rick Hess, an intellectually honest “reformer” finds fault with the “reform agenda” and the rhetoric in support of it. http://educationnext.org/5-thoughts-teacher-strikes-west-virginia-oklahoma-kentucky/

Another Hess piece reports on how an uncritical “reformer” rooting section was led astray by DC schools www.aei.org/publication/dc-graduation-scandal-shows-how-an-uncritical-gaze-leads-reformers-astray/

Another example of failed mayoral control of schools, this time in Washington, DC. ihttps://educationdc.net/2018/03/28/editorial-mayoral-control-has-failed-dcps/

Another research paper showing teacher evaluation using Value Added Measures based on test scores doesn’t work. http://vamboozled.com/identifying-effective-teacher-preparation-programs-using-vams-does-not-work/

Why giving letter grades to schools is a bad policy. This school in Arizona is functioning well but received a demoralizing letter grade from the state. https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/mesa-education/2018/03/28/inside-d-school-arizona-kino-junior-high-mesa-grapples-its-state-letter-grade/412881002/

 

Charter, Voucher, Virtual-School Travails

Teachers at a no-excuses school complain of “dehumanizing” students. http://nprillinois.org/post/culture-shock-teachers-call-noble-charters-dehumanizing#stream/0

Russ on Reading argues that expanding no-excuses charters is a bad idea. http://russonreading.blogspot.com/2018/04/expanding-no-excuses-models-is-bad-idea.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+RussOnReading+%28Russ+on+Reading%29

Success Academy, a charter chain in NY City claims high success rates but only a few students of the original cohorts survive and that small group is then compared to the much larger cohorts in traditional public schools. https://garyrubinstein.wordpress.com/2018/03/27/who-survives-success/ Success Academy opened in 2006 with 156 students — 83 kindergarteners and 73 first graders.  Now, eleven years later, they have their first graduating seniors, though just 17 of them.  In my last post I wondered what can be learned about the Success model by examining who exactly those 17 students are.

A big question, and one that might never be answered, is how many of those 17 students were actually among the original 73 first graders.  Since Success allows transfers up until 4th grade it is possible that some of those 17 students transferred in which would make their attrition rate even worse than the 77% that it is at a minimum.

Texas Education Agency forces conversion to charters of Houston public schools serving Black and Brown children by threatening the district with a takeover in the face of evidence that such strategies don’t work but cause severe community collateral damage. https://cloakinginequity.com/2018/04/23/gangsters-moves-by-tea-in-houston/

Diane Ravitch quotes a report by Guy Brandenburg on the large number of schools (47) in Washington, D.C. which have “never opened at all, even though they had raised funds, wrote curricula, were approved by the board, hired staff, began enrolling students, but never actually got their act together to hold classes and teach students. This list also leaves out several schools where the founders were found to be using their institution mostly to enrich themselves illegally, and the charter was transferred to another institution.” https://dianeravitch.net/2018/04/23/how-many-d-c-charter-schools-have-closed-take-a-guess/

Another comment by Diane Ravitch on a study by researchers at the University of Indiana who found that Indiana students who enroll in charter schools lose ground academically for two years. https://dianeravitch.net/2018/04/20/indiana-students-who-transfer-from-public-schools-to-charters-lose-ground-academically/  About half of them subsequently return to the traditional public schools. The remaining students then do a little better.

A third comment by Diane Ravitch on how a NY State audit found that the self-dealings of the Gulan charter schools by leasing buildings from a controlled entity wasted $3 million. https://dianeravitch.net/2018/04/14/new-york-audit-says-gulen-schools-waste-3-million-a-year-by-leasing-buildings/

Ohio charters spend more per pupil but obtain worse results than traditional public schools. https://10thperiod.blogspot.com/2018/04/do-charters-spend-more-than-districts.html

Six years ago an expose in Maine detailed the corruption surrounding virtual schools. https://www.pressherald.com/2012/09/01/virtual-schools-in-maine_2012-09-02/

March Comments 3/26/18

Successful “Build and Support” Efforts

Diane Ravitch quotes a beautiful statement about the importance and purpose of public schools by Joanne Yatvin who is president of the National Council of Teachers of English.

Far too many politicians and ordinary citizens have forgotten that the purpose of American education is as much to support a democratic society, as it is to prepare students to be active citizens, in charge of themselves and their communities. They have also forgotten that the proof of the pudding is not how well our students’ test scores compare with those of other countries but the proportion of American citizens who are leading intelligent, productive, and caring lives.

Full text here. https://dianeravitch.net/2018/03/18/joanne-yatvin-the-purpose-of-public-schools/

Mathew DiCarlo argues for the importance of building social capital in schools as key to improving educational performance. http://www.shankerinstitute.org/blog/social-side-capability-improving-educational-performance-attending-teachers’-and-school-leaders

Massachusetts leads the way for career/tech education. https://edexcellence.net/articles/massachusetts-sets-the-bar-again-this-time-in-cte?utm_source=National+Education+Gadfly+Weekly&utm_campaign=dfcb88f77e-20160918_LateLateBell9_16_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_ef00e8f50e-dfcb88f77e-71635837&mc_cid=dfcb88f77e&mc_eid=ebbe04a807

A large study reported in Scientific American demonstrates long-term benefits from pre-school education. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/pre-k-programs-lead-to-higher-education-later-in-life/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciam%2Fmind-and-brain+%28Topic%3A+Mind+%26+Brain%29

Some of the best ways to attract minority teachers.https://www.brookings.edu/blog/brown-center-chalkboard/2018/03/20/can-money-attract-more-minorities-into-the-teaching-profession/

83% of America’s top science students are children of immigrant parents—another reason why Trump’s immigration policy is harmful to the US. https://www.forbes.com/sites/stuartanderson/2017/03/11/83-of-americas-top-high-school-science-students-are-the-children-of-immigrants/#7f2df5b22200

Jeff Bryant on why the schools have become the epicenter of resistance. http://educationopportunitynetwork.org/why-public-schools-have-become-the-epicenter-of-rebellion/?link_id=1&can_id=cea050dcef20333abf235c3ba9bc6d51&source=email-why-public-schools-have-become-the-epicenter-of-rebellion&email_referrer=email_318320&email_subject=why-public-schools-have-become-the-epicenter-of-rebellion

Ten principles of effective assessments. http://deeperlearning4all.org/10-principles-building-high-quality-system-assessments/

Michael Petrilli proposes changes in high-school graduation pathways to avoid gaming the system and short-changing many students. https://edexcellence.net/articles/to-fix-the-gaming-of-graduation-requirements-we-need-to-overhaul-high-schools-and-our?utm_source=National+Education+Gadfly+Weekly&utm_campaign=6b92c19967-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_02_27&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_ef00e8f50e-6b92c19967-71635837&mc_cid=6b92c19967&mc_eid=ebbe04a807

Diane Ravitch’s blog hosts Parents Across America on the dangers of too much screen time http://parentsacrossamerica.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Documentation6-29-16JW.pdf  and media professor Douglas Rushkoff on a sane social media policy for schools. https://dianeravitch.net/2018/02/27/douglas-rushkoff-a-sane-social-media-policy-for-americas-classrooms/

 

Charter, Voucher, and On-line Travails

An important article by Johann Neem author of a history of public education in the US, Democracy’s Schools: The Rise of Public Education in America, reminds us of the broader purposes of public education and questions whether extensive charter expansion subverts those purposes. https://www.brookings.edu/blog/brown-center-chalkboard/2018/03/07/a-time-for-school-choice-if-so-lets-make-sure-we-ask-the-right-questions/

New study shows charter schools hurt public school funding. https://thejournal.com/articles/2018/01/30/yes-charters-do-hurt-public-school-funding.aspx?m=1

For example, the largest district in the study had charter enrollment of about 15 percent of the student population. The fiscal impact there was “in excess of $700 per public school student,” about $25 million total. The other five had lower charter enrollments, varying from 3 percent to 14 percent. While the impact was lower, it was still “significant.” In a couple of the districts, for example, the loss was between $200 and $500 per student.

A major report summarizing voucher research finds that on average vouchers cause a one-third of a year drop in performance. https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/education-k-12/reports/2018/03/20/446699/highly-negative-impacts-vouchers/

A cost-benefit analysis of vouchers in Indiana shows large negative results. http://www.journalgazette.net/opinion/editorials/20180311/cost-benefit-stats-show-failures-of-voucher-plan

After charter advocates claimed that low test scores justified closing public schools and expanding charters, react to findings that charters on the whole don’t increase test scores, by now saying that test scores don’t matter. http://www.aei.org/publication/do-impacts-on-test-scores-even-matter-lessons-from-long-run-outcomes-in-school-choice-research/?utm_source=paramount&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=mcshane&utm_content=new-research

A heartfelt plea to avoid neglecting neighborhood schools to promote charters. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/opinion-hopkinson-school-choice_us_5aa2cd35e4b01b9b0a3b2133

A teacher’s account of a horrible year spent teaching in a respected charter school. https://www.shondaland.com/act/a19449580/charter-schools/

Prof. Julian Heilig testifies before the California Senate Education Committee to support accountability for all charters and prohibiting for-profit charters. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djXUwPp1U4w&t=4s and provides a blueprint for compromise. https://cloakinginequity.com/2018/03/14/a-chance-for-charter-school-critics-and-supporters-to-agree/

Five reasons not to charterize Puerto Rico’s public schools. https://medium.com/in-the-public-interest/5-reasons-why-charter-schools-in-puerto-rico-is-a-bad-idea-c35b84828548

The Network for Public Education has just released a guide for parents on the issues with on-line learning. https://networkforpubliceducation.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Online-Learning-What-Every-Parent-Should-Know.pdf

A teacher calls for a ban on online schools. He calls them a sham and a fraud. https://renegadeteacher.blog/2018/03/07/a-call-to-end-online-charter-schools/

A plea for improved accountability for California’s charter schools. https://www.inthepublicinterest.org/report-fraud-and-waste-in-californias-charter-schools/

A powerful critique of Arizona’s charter schools policies. https://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/op-ed/ej-montini/2018/02/10/charter-schools-bilk-you-dump-kids-and-lawmakers-dont-care/324359002/

Another  Arizona charter school scandal. https://www.abc15.com/news/region-phoenix-metro/central-phoenix/phoenix-starshine-academy-charter-school-under-fraud-investigation

Success Academy’s claims of success in “re-inventing high school” are based on huge attrition rates of students. https://deutsch29.wordpress.com/2018/03/22/success-academies-reinventing-high-school-for-the-few-who-remain/

Diane Ravitch reports on a highly touted charter chain school in San Antonio featuring “personalized learning” and use of technology, which failed https://dianeravitch.net/2018/03/21/san-antonio-carpe-diem-charter-school-will-close-in-june/ and a similar abrupt closing in Sacramento. https://dianeravitch.net/2018/03/20/sacramento-charter-school-closes-abruptly-leaving-students-in-the-lurch/

Another Ravitch column on an EdTrust report on unaccountable charter schools in Michigan and the failure to fix the situation supported by Devos’s  political contributions. https://dianeravitch.net/2018/03/20/michigans-unaccountable-failing-charter-schools/

Tom Ultican on how Betsy Devos and her  allies ruined Detroit’s public schools. https://tultican.com/2018/03/09/devos-damages-detroit-schools/

A classic New York times article on how the proliferation of charter schools in Detroit hurt public school children. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/29/us/for-detroits-children-more-school-choice-but-not-better-schools.html

 

“Reform” Foibles

Let’s never forget who wants to decimate public education. http://educationopportunitynetwork.org/betsy-devos-wants-to-cut-public-education-to-the-bone/?link_id=1&can_id=cea050dcef20333abf235c3ba9bc6d51&source=email-betsy-devos-wants-to-cut-public-education-to-the-bone&email_referrer=email_322263&email_subject=betsy-devos-wants-to-cut-public-education-to-the-bone

Cutting back on education cost North Carolina a large auto plant.  An article in the New Republic argues that education investment is much more important than tax breaks in attracting new businesses. https://newrepublic.com/article/147426/forget-tax-breaks-education-key-attracting-businesses

The legislature in Arizona allows corporations to donate to vouchers and deduct the amount from their state taxes without a cap decimating funds for public schools. http://tucson.com/news/local/arizona-senators-can-t-agree-on-how-to-cap-corporate/article_a168c8e2-de96-552d-8157-8b0fc46cf2d5.html

Max Eden writing in the Fordham Institute blog pleads with “reformers” to heal themselves before causing  further damage. https://edexcellence.net/articles/reformer-heal-thyself-youve-ruined-high-school?utm_source=National+Education+Gadfly+Weekly&utm_campaign=0a890894f8-20160918_LateLateBell9_16_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_ef00e8f50e-0a890894f8-71635837&mc_cid=0a890894f8&mc_eid=ebbe04a807

Julian Heilig reviews the failure of “reform” efforts. https://cloakinginequity.com/2018/03/05/what-instead-reframing-the-debate-about-charter-schools-teach-for-america-and-high-stakes-testing/

An article in the Conversation blog explains how big bets on “reforms” have failed to produce results and caused major collateral damage. https://theconversation.com/why-big-bets-on-educational-reform-havent-fixed-the-us-school-system-92327

Matt DiCarlo comments on the CREDO report on school closures finding little benefit from closing schools.http://www.shankerinstitute.org/blog/theory-and-practice-school-closures

Overall, then, this study illustrates the fact, which is obvious but still important to emphasize, that closing schools is very risky and not even close to the guarantee that a few diehard advocates sometimes imply. Certainly, there are at least some schools that, despite adequate time and resources to try and improve, remain dysfunctional enough that they should be closed for performance-related reasons. It would be absurd to argue otherwise (though there may be far fewer than some think). The problem is identifying them in a fair and rigorous manner. And we have done a very poor job of that so far.

Diane Ravitch reports on parents in Florida pushing back against privatization efforts https://dianeravitch.net/2018/03/10/florida-parents-push-back-against-privatization/ and the huge exodus of teachers from Tulsa public schools due to lack of engaging “build and support” efforts and low salaries. https://dianeravitch.net/2018/03/05/tulsa-teacher-turnover-spiked-to-35-in-last-two-years/

Tom Ultican offers a powerful warning on the destructive effects of  “privatization” of public schools. https://tultican.com/2018/02/22/destroy-public-education-dpe-for-dummies/

A Daniel Koretz article in American Educator about the problems with test-driven accountability and what to do about it. https://www.aft.org/ae/winter2017-2018/koretz   The article is drawn from his book The Testing Charade.

Jay Greene provides evidence on the disconnect between test results and later life outcomes. https://jaypgreene.com/2016/11/05/evidence-for-the-disconnect-between-changing-test-scores-and-changing-later-life-outcomes/

Diane Ravitch reports on an achievement district in North Carolina that failed before it started. https://dianeravitch.net/2018/03/26/north-carolina-opportunity-school-district-fails-before-it-begins/

The effects of teacher evaluation schemes have been overwhelmingly negative. http://curmudgucation.blogspot.com/2018/03/teacher-evaluation-plus-or-minus.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+blogspot%2FORjvzd+%28CURMUDGUCATION%29

Article questions whether “personalized learning” works. https://www.marketplace.org/2018/03/12/education/does-tech-designed-personalized-learning-benefit-students

Proficiency based learning a bust in Maine. http://www.themainewire.com/2018/03/proficiency-based-education-failing-maine-students/

Brookings report asks, Why is accountability primarily about teachers? https://www.brookings.edu/research/why-is-accountability-always-about-teachers/

A humorous aside—Steven Colbert demolishes Betsy DeVos’s interview on 60 minutes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKPIae1_LYw&feature=youtu.be

While there is research that SAT and ACT tests predict success in colleges https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-truth-about-the-sat-and-act-1520521861 a report by Achieve argues that there are major problems using them for high school accountability. https://www.achieve.org/college-admissions-tests-accountability

Fact Sheet and Talking Points on the GOP/Trump Tax Bill 2.0 March 6th, 2018

 

Most current arguments against the bill characterize it as a $1.5 trillion tax cut. The tax bill is a much more massive shift than $1.5 trillion–that’s just what is being borrowed (and more recent government analysis now pegs that number at $2.3 trillion) and doesn’t include the net taxes of approximately $1 trillion on middle and working class families in the bill. These taxes are necessary to pay for the approximately $2.8 trillion which under EPI’s analysis is what the top 1% and corporations receive over the decade.

 

The argument that the country borrowed $1.5 trillion (now 50% more) which  primarily benefits the wealthy—is not a bad argument and is somewhat resonating with the public. A more powerful indictment of the bill is that in addition to increasing the debt by $1.5 trillion to pay for a huge unneeded tax cut for the wealthiest families and corporations,  the remaining 99% in the aggregate not only eventually lose any initial tax relief but are then forced to kick in another $1 trillion by having their taxes raised to pay for that windfall. Add to that point, the trillions of dollars in Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, infrastructure, scientific and medical research, and support programs cuts proposed in Trump’s budget and by Republican leadership to offset the borrowing and you have a 1, 2, 3 knockout punch.

 

Below is a more detailed analysis on how these amounts were figured.

Here is a typical comment from Josh Bivens at the Economic Policy Institute. The reason that Donald Trump is going back on a key campaign promise―to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid―is that he wants to pay for his $1.5 trillion tax handout, which mostly benefits the richest 1% and wealthy corporations.  The tax bill is a much more massive shift than $1.5 trillion–that’s just what is being borrowed (and that has since been increased to $2.3 trillion of borrowing) and doesn’t include the net taxes of estimated $1 trillion on middle and working class families in the bill which are necessary to pay for the approximately $2.8 trillion which under EPI’s analysis is what the top 1% and corporations receive over the decade. 

Over the next decade the bill cuts taxes by $3.9 trillion, $2.8 of it going to the wealthiest 1% and corporations paid for by borrowing $1.5 trillion and  raising $1 trillion of taxes from working and middle class families. According to the CBO there are $5.2 trillion cuts during the next decade. Corporate loophole closings of $1.3 leaves a net $3.9 trillion of tax relief.  Extrapolating from EPI’s institutes findings  approximately $2.8 trillion of that is split between the top 1% and corporations (initially 60% goes to the top 1% and by the end of the decade 83% is for our wealthiest families and corporations for an average of 71%). That leaves $1.1 trillion for individual cuts.

The $3.9 trillion in total cuts are paid for, according to the CBO, by borrowing $1.5 trillion (now 50% higher), raising individual taxes or eliminating individual deductions for $2.2 trillion (by eliminating the personal deduction, changing the inflation rate, eliminating state and local tax deduction—mainly hitting upper-middle class voters–, and eliminating miscellaneous deductions) and cutting Obamacare by $314 billion. If your subtract the $1.1 trillion cuts going to individuals from their increased taxes, that leaves a net increase in taxes to individuals (the 99%) of $1 trillion over the decade. In short, to pay for most of the $2.8 trillion tax cuts to our wealthiest families and corporations the country needs to borrow a trillion and a half dollars to $2.3 trillion and tax the 99% of families another trillion.

 

The use of the  $1.5 trillion which represents only the borrowing part of the bill to describe the magnitude of the cuts is highly misleading and masks the much more extensive cuts and the large shift in who pays. It should be obvious that the using the $1.5 trillion borrowing is not enough to pay for the $2.8 trillion cuts for the wealthiest 1% and necessitates an additional net $1 trillion subsidies over the decade from those lower on the income spectrum. This analysis does not include the additional cuts of trillions of dollars in Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, infrastructure, scientific and medical research, and support programs proposed in Trump’s budget and by Republican leadership which the EPI newsletter chronicles.

Most of the present arguments against the GOP/Trump tax bill characterize it as a $1.5 trillion tax cut which was borrowed and which  primarily benefits the wealthy—not a bad argument. A more powerful indictment of the bill is that in addition to increasing the debt by $1.5 trillion to pay for a huge unneeded tax cut for the wealthiest families and corporations,  the remaining 99% in the aggregate not only eventually lose any initial tax relief but are  then  forced to kick in another $1 trillion by having their taxes raised to pay for that windfall.

Below is an email to Seth Hanlon of the Center for American Progress as part of an on-going discussion on this issue. Somebody has to step up and clarify this point. I’ve also attached and included a set of talking points  and would appreciate your feedback on their accuracy. If you have some time to call, please contact me at 415-383-8680. Bill Honig

Sent: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 8:38 PM

To: shanlon@americanprogress.org

Subject: Rationale for not using the figure of $1.5 trillion for the cost of the tax cut

Why the GOP/Trump tax should not be described as a $1.5 trillion tax cut.

Seth, you are right that some of the tax cuts are neutralized by offsetting tax increases. But the net amount of $1.5 trillion for the decade which people are using which is equal to what is borrowed will not by itself pay for the large cuts to the extremely wealthy and thus will require an additional net $1 trillion subsidies from those lower on the income spectrum.

Using CBO figures there are $5.2 trillion of cuts for the next decade. In the corporate sector there is an off-setting $1.3 trillion of tax increases and loophole closings etc. so that leaves $3.9 trillion of cuts. It is legitimate to use the total net corporate figure because, even though some companies benefit and some lose, the corporate sector’s relief is lowered by $1.3 trillion. It is not fair to use the same logic for the individual sector because the benefits for individuals are highly skewed to rich families while the tax increases primarily hit the middle and working classes. This results in a pronounced shift of the tax burden from lower and middle income families to pay for the large amount of high income and corporate cuts which are substantially more than the $1.5 being borrowed.

Here is how I figured it. CBO figures state that the $3.9 trillion dollars in cuts are paid for by borrowing $1.5 trillion, raising individual taxes or eliminating individual deductions for $2.2 trillion (by eliminating the personal deduction, changing the inflation rate, eliminating state and local tax deduction—mainly hitting upper-middle class voters–, and eliminating miscellaneous deductions) and cutting Obamacare by $314 billion.

EPI finds that initially 60%  of the cuts  go to the top 1% (individual and corporate ownership) which grows to 83% by the end of a decade. For purposes of argument let’s assume that we average those percentages so that over the decade 71% of the relief goes to the top wealthy families. 71% of  $3.9 trillion is about $2.8 trillion for the top families and corporations (the remaining 99% of families receive $1.1 trillion) So, even after borrowing $1.5 trillion by increasing the debt to pay for a part of the $2.8 trillion provided to the wealthy, that still leaves a shortfall of $1.3 trillion which ends up being almost all paid for by the tax increases on working and middle class families.  While $1.1 trillion of the $2.1 trillion tax increases on individuals can be legitimately netted out because that is the amount of cuts going to individuals ($3.9T total cuts minus $2.8 to the 1%), the remaining $1 trillion of tax increases is used to pay for most of the outstanding amount of the super-wealthy’s large tax cuts. This means that during the decade any tax relief for the 99% gets wiped out by these tax increases and in aggregate those families are in the hole for an additional $1 trillion dollars.

Since there were some assumptions, the actual numbers may be off a little but Isn’t this analysis substantially correct? Most of the present arguments against the GOP/Trump tax bill characterize it as a $1.5 trillion tax cut which was borrowed and which  primarily benefits the wealthy—not a bad argument. A more powerful indictment of the bill is that in addition to increasing the debt by $1.5 trillion to pay for a huge unneeded tax cut for the wealthiest families and corporations,  the remaining 99% in the aggregate not only eventually lose any initial tax relief but are  then  forced to kick in another $1 trillion by having their taxes raised to pay for that windfall.

GOP/Trump Bill Talking Points

The GOP/Trump tax bill is a ten-year $3.9 trillion tax cut which overwhelmingly benefits the top 1% of families and corporations. It is paid for by borrowing $1.5 trillion indebting your children, raising taxes on middle and working class families by $2.1 trillion and cutting medical services under Obamacare by $314 billion.

(The net tax increase to the bottom 99% of families is about $1 trillion over the decade after deducting what the EPI estimates is $1.1 trillion in tax cuts to those families during the same period—the top 1% get $2.8 trillion in tax cuts. Of course, some families in the 99% get more relief and some get more taxes. At the end of the decade the individual relief is phased out, the corporate cuts are permanent and most of the tax increases on individuals stay.)

Republicans argue that theirs is a “middle class” tax bill. Don’t believe it. For every dollar you get from the GOP/Trump tax bill, the super-wealthy (the top 1%) initially get $150 which grows to over $500 after a decade while over half of everyone else’s taxes go up. That’s not fair. It’s not right. Or to put it another way, the average tax cut for the top 1% is $150,000, the average cut for everyone else is around $900 skewed to richer families so that a family making between $40-50,000 receives just over $400.

Those that passed the tax bill made a choice to provide almost all the tax breaks to the super-wealthy. They could have cut your payroll taxes, not raised taxes on the middle and working classes, or invested in rebuilding America creating jobs, improving safety, and producing economic growth. Eliminating the tax breaks for the top 1% would have doubled your tax cuts.

The GOP/Trump tax cut bill is a much more massive shift of the tax burden from the wealthy to the middle-class and low income families than reported–essentially borrowing from the future, taxing the working classes, and cutting needed services to finance an unnecessary tax cut for the wealthy who are already living high on the hog and receiving an unprecedented share of post-tax income. Republicans in congress are already planning to drastically cut Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security, medical and support services, rebuilding roads and bridges,and medical and scientific research to pay for their giveaway to the rich.

Donald Trump’s budget would cut more than a trillion dollars from Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and trillions more from education, food stamps, infrastructure spending and more. Tell Congress to reject a budget that hurts working families just to pay for tax cuts for the rich and corporations.

Supporters of the tax bill’s huge windfall to corporations claimed that the companies would share with their workers. They haven’t. Estimates are that so far $6 billion has gone to workers (mostly in the form on one-time bonuses which often replace normal wage increases) and $171 billion has gone to shareholders and buybacks—a mere 3% for workers and 97% for stockholders and executives. Two-thirds of stocks are owned by the top 1%; and 35% of shareholders are foreigners.

Don’t’ fall for the transparent “bait and switch” of the GOP/Trump tax bill. They threw you a bone of some initial tax cuts as a distraction to mask the huge windfall going to the ultra-wealthy and corporations. After ten years your cuts disappear, most of you will experience tax increases, while the corporate tax breaks are permanent.

Do the wealthy really need such a large tax break so that they can buy another mansion, a bigger yacht or jet, throw another party, buy another designer outfit, or pad their bank accounts while tens of millions of families living paycheck to paycheck receive a pittance or get taxed? Republican mega-rich donors must think so because they drove the whole perverted process by which the tax bill was passed.

February Comments 2/25/18

“Reform”, Charter, Choice, and Voucher Travails

New Zealand has a full choice system and no neighborhood schools. Results null to negative.  Choice and competition didn’t improve performance and some measure declined. http://hechingerreport.org/actually-happen-gave-parents-chance-pick-childrens-schools/?utm_source=The+Hechinger+Report&utm_campaign=457f97ac82-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_02_20&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_d3ee4c3e04-457f97ac82-322591845

A poignant tale of the damage school closings have done in Chicago and a plea to halt closing four high-schools by the leader of the community based Mothers Against Senseless Killings https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/12/opinion/save-chicago-public-schools.html?action=click&contentCollection=opinion&contentPlacement=1&emc=edit_ty_20180213&module=stream_unit&nl=opinion-today&nlid=50191918&pgtype=sectionfront&region=stream&rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fopinion&te=1&version=latest and see one advocates fight against closing a Chicago school http://www.chicagonow.com/chicago-public-fools/2018/01/an-act-of-prejudice-against-our-school-closing-nta/

John Merrow castigates Washington, DC misplaced “reform” efforts based on test results. https://themerrowreport.com/2018/02/21/educational-anorexia-bulimia-in-washington-dc-and-elsewhere/

Similarly, the Washington Post reports on ongoing scandals in the district throwing into question touted results. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-politics/dc-public-schools-were-once-a-success-story-are-they-now-an-embarrassment/2018/02/01/fb15dd4c-069d-11e8-b48c-b07fea957bd5_story.html?utm_term=.139881272dc2

The latest CREDO report finds turnaround efforts in New Orleans and Tennessee fail to produce results. http://nolai3eval.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/downloads/CRM%20Executive%20Summary.pdf

Princeton professors find that charter schools in Texas produce no improvements in test scores and negative results on later earnings. https://www.princeton.edu/~wdobbie/files/texas_charters.pdf

We estimate the impact of charter schools on early-life labor market outcomes using administrative data from Texas. We find that, at the mean, charter schools have no impact on test scores and a negative impact on earnings. No Excuses charter schools increase test scores and four-year college enrollment, but have a small and statistically insignificant impact on earnings, while other types of charter schools decrease test scores, four-year college enrollment, and earn- ings. Moving to school-level estimates, we find that charter schools that decrease test scores also tend to decrease earnings, while charter schools that increase test scores have no discernible impact on earnings.

Gary Rubinstein, similarly, finds that 5 of the 6 schools in the Tennessee Achievement District failed to improve after six years and remain tin the bottom five present. https://garyrubinstein.wordpress.com/2018/01/31/tennessee-cusp-list-2017-5-of-6-of-original-asd-schools-still-in-bottom-5/

Even the Wall Street Journal reports that vouchers are ineffective. https://greatschoolwars.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/milwaukees-experiment-suggests-an-answer-wsj.pdf

Diane Ravitch quotes Bill Phillis on how Ohio wasted $10 billion on charter schools. https://dianeravitch.net/2018/02/01/bill-phillis-ohio-wasted-10-billion-on-charters/

Larry Cuban, Spilling the Beans on Personalized Learning https://larrycuban.wordpress.com/2018/02/21/spilling-the-beans-on-personalized-learning/

EdSource’s article, The Jury is Still Out on Personized Learning https://edsource.org/2018/jury-is-still-out-on-personalized-learning-approaches-taking-hold-in-california-and-across-the-country-research-finds/593716

An article by Anya Kamentz blows the whistle on virtual schools and their political use of parents. https://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2018/02/13/576449036/inside-the-virtual-schools-lobby-i-trust-parents

Another in a continued series of articles showing students in on-line schools fall significantly behind. https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/1/29/16945540/online-charter-schools-learning-k12-connections

A virtual charter scheme in Maine slammed. https://www.pressherald.com/2012/09/01/virtual-schools-in-maine_2012-09-02/

Award-winning expose finds Florida scholarship voucher program rife with fraud and chaos. http://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/mckay-scholarship-program-sparks-a-cottage-industry-of-fraud-and-chaos-6381391

What Tax Payers Should Know About School Choice. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2017/01/26/what-taxpayers-should-know-about-the-public-cost-of-school-choice/?utm_term=.4ecbb0505ceb

Jeff Bryant reports on the use of the Puerto Rican disaster to justify closing and selling of the island’s public schools. http://educationopportunitynetwork.org/puerto-rico-braces-for-wave-of-school-privatization/?link_id=1&can_id=cea050dcef20333abf235c3ba9bc6d51&source=email-puerto-rico-braces-for-wave-of-school-privatization&email_referrer=email_298485&email_subject=puerto-rico-braces-for-wave-of-school-privatization  and in the same vein https://gadflyonthewallblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/07/crippled-puerto-rico-offered-school-privatization-as-quick-fix-for-woes/

Mercedes Schneider laments that Florida’s voucher tax credit scheme creates “a la carte” education. https://deutsch29.wordpress.com/2018/02/03/floridas-2018-education-savings-accounts-a-vehicle-for-a-la-carte-education/

Diane Ravitch reports on a New Jersey poll which shows overwhelming parental support for public schools but opposition to too much testing. https://dianeravitch.net/2018/02/14/new-jersey-overwhelming-majority-of-parents-love-their-public-schools-but-say-there-is-too-much-testing/

Jeff Bryant writes about the closure in Ohio of one of the largest online schools in the country, the troubled ECOT, strands 12,000 students and is ignored by choice advocates. http://educationopportunitynetwork.org/largest-charter-school-fail-ever-doesnt-faze-school-choice-fans/?link_id=1&can_id=cea050dcef20333abf235c3ba9bc6d51&source=email-largest-charter-school-fail-ever-doesnt-faze-school-choice-fans&email_referrer=email_292071&email_subject=largest-charter-school-fail-ever-doesnt-faze-school-choice-fans

 

Another in a string of reports of charter schools closing and leaving students adrift. This Rocketship  charter  in Nashville closed a few months after it opened due to low enrollment. https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/education/2018/02/01/nashville-achievement-school-district-rocketship-nashville-partners-community-prep/1087161001/

Diane Ravitch reports on an Arizona school that went bankrupt while the CEO withdrew a million dollars. Arizona has almost no accountability for charter schools. https://dianeravitch.net/2018/02/04/arizona-shuttered-charter-school-ran-out-of-money-but-ceo-withdrew-1-million/

A high profile charter school leader in Atlanta pleads guilty to stealing  half a million dollars from charter school funds. http://www.fox5atlanta.com/news/former-charter-school-director-expected-to-plead-guilty (He did)

Claire Smrekar, quoted in Larry Cuban’s blog asks, What We Can Learn from Closure of [an All Girls] Charter School That DeVos Praised as ‘Shining Example’  https://larrycuban.wordpress.com/2018/01/31/what-we-can-learn-from-closure-of-charter-school-that-devos-praised-as-shining-example-claire-smrekar/

Steven Singer highlights a “reform” groups findings that charter school expansion has significantly slowed. https://gadflyonthewallblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/02/nationwide-charter-school-expansion-slowing-down/

John Thompson laments many participants in a high-level meeting by “reformers” on why Bush and Obama reform efforts produced such few results demonstrate continued hostility to teachers. http://www.livingindialogue.com/autopsy-nclb-reveals-contempt-teachers/

Merit pay produces trivial growth. http://hechingerreport.org/new-evidence-indicates-paying-teachers-bonuses-raises-student-performance-small-amount/?utm_source=The+Hechinger+Report&utm_campaign=9e0f4fba13-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_01_29&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_d3ee4c3e04-9e0f4fba13-322591845

 

Build and Support Efforts that Work; Money Matters

California’s increased funding and ambitious improvement efforts are paying off. https://edsource.org/2018/californias-ambitious-education-reforms-paying-off-in-higher-graduation-rates-and-math-scores-study-finds/593223?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email

Tale of two states: Oklahoma irresponsibly cut taxes on the wealthy causing a massive budget shortfall and now public schools are on a shortened week schedule; California raised taxes on the wealthy and invested in its public schools. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/with-state-budget-in-crisis-many-oklahoma-schools-hold-classes-four-days-a-week/2017/05/27/24f73288-3cb8-11e7-8854-21f359183e8c_story.html?utm_term=.88a733d288a0

Aspen Institute report on the best ways to organize professional learning systems for  teachers and education staff around student learning. https://assets.aspeninstitute.org/content/uploads/2018/02/Developing-a-Professional-Learning-System-for-Adults-in-Service-of-Student-Learning.pdf

How to teach the hard facts about slavery. A poll showed only 8% of students picked “protecting slavery” as the reason the South seceded https://www.tolerance.org/frameworks/teaching-hard-history/american-slavery

Studying the humanities pays off. https://www.alternet.org/culture/dont-want-robot-replace-you-start-reading-literature?akid=16759.2679055.wDfuDv&rd=1&src=newsletter1089105&t=7

Learning Forward’s report on how the best schools systems support continuous learning around a high quality curricula. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/learning_forwards_pd_watch/2018/02/how_systems_can_support_high-quality_curricula.html

The gap between what is known about teaching beginning reading and how it is being taught. https://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2018/02/12/582465905/the-gap-between-the-science-on-kids-and-reading-and-how-it-is-taught and here is a link on how to do it right. https://achievethecore.org/category/1206/ela-literacy-foundational-skills

The benefits of “Strength Based Learning” http://hechingerreport.org/strength-based-learning-magic-bullet/?utm_source=The+Hechinger+Report&utm_campaign=b5bec3df36-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_02_05&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_d3ee4c3e04-b5bec3df36-322591845

 

Privatization and Other Anti-Public School Measures

A heartbreaking story of why money matters. One of the best public schools with highly dedicated teachers forced to make devastating cuts from funding reductions. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2018/02/09/this-is-what-inadequate-funding-at-a-public-school-looks-and-feels-like-as-told-by-an-entire-faculty/?utm_term=.4c013ad95988

Jeff Bryant on how the Koch brothers plan to sabotage public education. http://educationopportunitynetwork.org/how-public-schools-became-the-koch-brothers-lowest-hanging-fruit/?link_id=1&can_id=cea050dcef20333abf235c3ba9bc6d51&source=email-how-public-schools-became-the-koch-brothers-lowest-hanging-fruit&email_referrer=email_295269&email_subject=how-public-schools-became-the-koch-brothers-lowest-hanging-fruit

Diane Ravitch in the New York Review of Books reviews two important books about how big money forces in this country, both radical and corporate, are harming public education. One is Nancy MacLean’s Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth for America. The other is Gordon Lafer’s The One Percent Solution: How Corporations Are Remaking America One State at a Time. http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2017/12/07/big-money-rules/

An article in American Prospect shows how religious extremists dupe the charter movement. Proselytizers and the Privatizers;  how religious sectarian school voucher extremists made useful idiots of the charter movement. http://prospect.org/article/proselytizers-and-privatizers

Atlantic article on how the GOP/Trump tax bill subverts public education. https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2018/02/the-new-tax-laws-subtle-subversion-of-public-schools/552356/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=atlantic-weekly-newsletter&utm_content=20180209&silverid=MzM0NTY0NzMyNzIyS0

The Center for American Progress lists how Trump and DeVos’s budget continues to undermine our public schools. https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/education-k-12/news/2018/02/12/446423/trump-devos-continue-undermine-public-education-proposed-fiscal-year-2019-budget/

Educators say that Trump’s proposed budget cuts will devastate science education. https://edsource.org/2018/trumps-proposed-cuts-to-science-education-would-be-devastating-educators-say/593381

 

Technology and Social Media

Undercover high-school attendees find seven major differences with students in high-school today and the pervasive effects of social media. http://www.businessinsider.com/undercover-high-teenagers-lives-2018-2/#social-media-has-changed-the-game-1

February Comments 2/25/18

“Reform”, Charter, Choice, and Voucher Travails

New Zealand has a full choice system and no neighborhood schools. Results null to negative.  Choice and competition didn’t improve performance and some measure declined. http://hechingerreport.org/actually-happen-gave-parents-chance-pick-childrens-schools/?utm_source=The+Hechinger+Report&utm_campaign=457f97ac82-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_02_20&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_d3ee4c3e04-457f97ac82-322591845

A poignant tale of the damage school closings have done in Chicago and a plea to halt closing four high-schools by the leader of the community based Mothers Against Senseless Killings https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/12/opinion/save-chicago-public-schools.html?action=click&contentCollection=opinion&contentPlacement=1&emc=edit_ty_20180213&module=stream_unit&nl=opinion-today&nlid=50191918&pgtype=sectionfront&region=stream&rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fopinion&te=1&version=latest and see one advocates fight against closing a Chicago school http://www.chicagonow.com/chicago-public-fools/2018/01/an-act-of-prejudice-against-our-school-closing-nta/

John Merrow castigates Washington, DC misplaced “reform” efforts based on test results. https://themerrowreport.com/2018/02/21/educational-anorexia-bulimia-in-washington-dc-and-elsewhere/

Similarly, the Washington Post reports on ongoing scandals in the district throwing into question touted results. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-politics/dc-public-schools-were-once-a-success-story-are-they-now-an-embarrassment/2018/02/01/fb15dd4c-069d-11e8-b48c-b07fea957bd5_story.html?utm_term=.139881272dc2

The latest CREDO report finds turnaround efforts in New Orleans and Tennessee fail to produce results. http://nolai3eval.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/downloads/CRM%20Executive%20Summary.pdf

Princeton professors find that charter schools in Texas produce no improvements in test scores and negative results on later earnings. https://www.princeton.edu/~wdobbie/files/texas_charters.pdf

We estimate the impact of charter schools on early-life labor market outcomes using administrative data from Texas. We find that, at the mean, charter schools have no impact on test scores and a negative impact on earnings. No Excuses charter schools increase test scores and four-year college enrollment, but have a small and statistically insignificant impact on earnings, while other types of charter schools decrease test scores, four-year college enrollment, and earn- ings. Moving to school-level estimates, we find that charter schools that decrease test scores also tend to decrease earnings, while charter schools that increase test scores have no discernible impact on earnings.

Gary Rubinstein, similarly, finds that 5 of the 6 schools in the Tennessee Achievement District failed to improve after six years and remain tin the bottom five present. https://garyrubinstein.wordpress.com/2018/01/31/tennessee-cusp-list-2017-5-of-6-of-original-asd-schools-still-in-bottom-5/

Even the Wall Street Journal reports that vouchers are ineffective. https://greatschoolwars.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/milwaukees-experiment-suggests-an-answer-wsj.pdf

Diane Ravitch quotes Bill Phillis on how Ohio wasted $10 billion on charter schools. https://dianeravitch.net/2018/02/01/bill-phillis-ohio-wasted-10-billion-on-charters/

Larry Cuban, Spilling the Beans on Personalized Learning https://larrycuban.wordpress.com/2018/02/21/spilling-the-beans-on-personalized-learning/

EdSource’s article, The Jury is Still Out on Personized Learning https://edsource.org/2018/jury-is-still-out-on-personalized-learning-approaches-taking-hold-in-california-and-across-the-country-research-finds/593716

An article by Anya Kamentz blows the whistle on virtual schools and their political use of parents. https://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2018/02/13/576449036/inside-the-virtual-schools-lobby-i-trust-parents

Another in a continued series of articles showing students in on-line schools fall significantly behind. https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/1/29/16945540/online-charter-schools-learning-k12-connections

A virtual charter scheme in Maine slammed. https://www.pressherald.com/2012/09/01/virtual-schools-in-maine_2012-09-02/

Award-winning expose finds Florida scholarship voucher program rife with fraud and chaos. http://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/mckay-scholarship-program-sparks-a-cottage-industry-of-fraud-and-chaos-6381391

What Tax Payers Should Know About School Choice. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2017/01/26/what-taxpayers-should-know-about-the-public-cost-of-school-choice/?utm_term=.4ecbb0505ceb

Jeff Bryant reports on the use of the Puerto Rican disaster to justify closing and selling of the island’s public schools. http://educationopportunitynetwork.org/puerto-rico-braces-for-wave-of-school-privatization/?link_id=1&can_id=cea050dcef20333abf235c3ba9bc6d51&source=email-puerto-rico-braces-for-wave-of-school-privatization&email_referrer=email_298485&email_subject=puerto-rico-braces-for-wave-of-school-privatization  and in the same vein https://gadflyonthewallblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/07/crippled-puerto-rico-offered-school-privatization-as-quick-fix-for-woes/

Mercedes Schneider laments that Florida’s voucher tax credit scheme creates “a la carte” education. https://deutsch29.wordpress.com/2018/02/03/floridas-2018-education-savings-accounts-a-vehicle-for-a-la-carte-education/

Diane Ravitch reports on a New Jersey poll which shows overwhelming parental support for public schools but opposition to too much testing. https://dianeravitch.net/2018/02/14/new-jersey-overwhelming-majority-of-parents-love-their-public-schools-but-say-there-is-too-much-testing/

Jeff Bryant writes about the closure in Ohio of one of the largest online schools in the country, the troubled ECOT, strands 12,000 students and is ignored by choice advocates. http://educationopportunitynetwork.org/largest-charter-school-fail-ever-doesnt-faze-school-choice-fans/?link_id=1&can_id=cea050dcef20333abf235c3ba9bc6d51&source=email-largest-charter-school-fail-ever-doesnt-faze-school-choice-fans&email_referrer=email_292071&email_subject=largest-charter-school-fail-ever-doesnt-faze-school-choice-fans

Another in a string of reports of charter schools closing and leaving students adrift. This Rocketship  charter  in Nashville closed a few months after it opened due to low enrollment. https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/education/2018/02/01/nashville-achievement-school-district-rocketship-nashville-partners-community-prep/1087161001/

Diane Ravitch reports on an Arizona school that went bankrupt while the CEO withdrew a million dollars. Arizona has almost no accountability for charter schools. https://dianeravitch.net/2018/02/04/arizona-shuttered-charter-school-ran-out-of-money-but-ceo-withdrew-1-million/

A high profile charter school leader in Atlanta pleads guilty to stealing  half a million dollars from charter school funds. http://www.fox5atlanta.com/news/former-charter-school-director-expected-to-plead-guilty (He did)

Claire Smrekar, quoted in Larry Cuban’s blog asks, What We Can Learn from Closure of [an All Girls] Charter School That DeVos Praised as ‘Shining Example’  https://larrycuban.wordpress.com/2018/01/31/what-we-can-learn-from-closure-of-charter-school-that-devos-praised-as-shining-example-claire-smrekar/

Steven Singer highlights a “reform” groups findings that charter school expansion has significantly slowed. https://gadflyonthewallblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/02/nationwide-charter-school-expansion-slowing-down/

John Thompson laments many participants in a high-level meeting by “reformers” on why Bush and Obama reform efforts produced such few results demonstrate continued hostility to teachers. http://www.livingindialogue.com/autopsy-nclb-reveals-contempt-teachers/

Merit pay produces trivial growth. http://hechingerreport.org/new-evidence-indicates-paying-teachers-bonuses-raises-student-performance-small-amount/?utm_source=The+Hechinger+Report&utm_campaign=9e0f4fba13-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_01_29&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_d3ee4c3e04-9e0f4fba13-322591845

 

Build and Support Efforts that Work; Money Matters

California’s increased funding and ambitious improvement efforts are paying off. https://edsource.org/2018/californias-ambitious-education-reforms-paying-off-in-higher-graduation-rates-and-math-scores-study-finds/593223?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email

Tale of two states: Oklahoma irresponsibly cut taxes on the wealthy causing a massive budget shortfall and now public schools are on a shortened week schedule; California raised taxes on the wealthy and invested in its public schools. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/with-state-budget-in-crisis-many-oklahoma-schools-hold-classes-four-days-a-week/2017/05/27/24f73288-3cb8-11e7-8854-21f359183e8c_story.html?utm_term=.88a733d288a0

Aspen Institute report on the best ways to organize professional learning systems for  teachers and education staff around student learning. https://assets.aspeninstitute.org/content/uploads/2018/02/Developing-a-Professional-Learning-System-for-Adults-in-Service-of-Student-Learning.pdf

How to teach the hard facts about slavery. A poll showed only 8% of students picked “protecting slavery” as the reason the South seceded https://www.tolerance.org/frameworks/teaching-hard-history/american-slavery

Studying the humanities pays off. https://www.alternet.org/culture/dont-want-robot-replace-you-start-reading-literature?akid=16759.2679055.wDfuDv&rd=1&src=newsletter1089105&t=7

Learning Forward’s report on how the best schools systems support continuous learning around a high quality curricula. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/learning_forwards_pd_watch/2018/02/how_systems_can_support_high-quality_curricula.html

The gap between what is known about teaching beginning reading and how it is being taught. https://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2018/02/12/582465905/the-gap-between-the-science-on-kids-and-reading-and-how-it-is-taught and here is a link on how to do it right. https://achievethecore.org/category/1206/ela-literacy-foundational-skills

The benefits of “Strength Based Learning” http://hechingerreport.org/strength-based-learning-magic-bullet/?utm_source=The+Hechinger+Report&utm_campaign=b5bec3df36-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_02_05&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_d3ee4c3e04-b5bec3df36-322591845

 

Privatization and Other Anti-Public School Measures

A heartbreaking story of why money matters. One of the best public schools with highly dedicated teachers forced to make devastating cuts from funding reductions. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2018/02/09/this-is-what-inadequate-funding-at-a-public-school-looks-and-feels-like-as-told-by-an-entire-faculty/?utm_term=.4c013ad95988

Jeff Bryant on how the Koch brothers plan to sabotage public education. http://educationopportunitynetwork.org/how-public-schools-became-the-koch-brothers-lowest-hanging-fruit/?link_id=1&can_id=cea050dcef20333abf235c3ba9bc6d51&source=email-how-public-schools-became-the-koch-brothers-lowest-hanging-fruit&email_referrer=email_295269&email_subject=how-public-schools-became-the-koch-brothers-lowest-hanging-fruit

Diane Ravitch in the New York Review of Books reviews two important books about how big money forces in this country, both radical and corporate, are harming public education. One is Nancy MacLean’s Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth for America. The other is Gordon Lafer’s The One Percent Solution: How Corporations Are Remaking America One State at a Time. http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2017/12/07/big-money-rules/

An article in American Prospect shows how religious extremists dupe the charter movement. Proselytizers and the Privatizers;  how religious sectarian school voucher extremists made useful idiots of the charter movement. http://prospect.org/article/proselytizers-and-privatizers

Atlantic article on how the GOP/Trump tax bill subverts public education. https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2018/02/the-new-tax-laws-subtle-subversion-of-public-schools/552356/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=atlantic-weekly-newsletter&utm_content=20180209&silverid=MzM0NTY0NzMyNzIyS0

The Center for American Progress lists how Trump and DeVos’s budget continues to undermine our public schools. https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/education-k-12/news/2018/02/12/446423/trump-devos-continue-undermine-public-education-proposed-fiscal-year-2019-budget/

Educators say that Trump’s proposed budget cuts will devastate science education. https://edsource.org/2018/trumps-proposed-cuts-to-science-education-would-be-devastating-educators-say/593381

 

Technology and Social Media

Undercover high-school attendees find seven major differences with students in high-school today and the pervasive effects of social media. http://www.businessinsider.com/undercover-high-teenagers-lives-2018-2/#social-media-has-changed-the-game-1

January Comments 1/25/18

Charter School, Voucher, Test and Punish, and Privatization Tribulations

Robert Pondiscio, of the conservative Fordham Institute, advocates shifting “reform” goals from an emphasis on policies encouraging high-stakes testing, privatization, over-reliance on charters, and anti-unionism, to classroom and school instructional issues. This is exactly what we have been attempting to do in California with our “build and support” philosophy opposed to “test and punish”. https://edexcellence.net/articles/education-reform-is-off-track-heres-how-to-fix-it?utm_source=National+Education+Gadfly+Weekly&utm_campaign=4f24000567-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_01_24&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_ef00e8f50e-4f24000567-71635837&mc_cid=4f24000567&mc_eid=ebbe04a807  For the California approach see www.buildingbetterschools.com

How Charter Schools Fleece Taxpayers by Timothy Noah in the New Republic about widespread fraud and embezzlement in Arizona’s charter schools.

A quote: In government, if I help myself to taxpayer dollars, we call that embezzlement and I go to jail. In the private sector, if I help myself to taxpayer dollars, we call that innovation and I get hailed as a visionary exponent of public-private partnership. That’s the lesson of a Nov. 17 investigation by Anne Ryman of the Arizona Republic into the state’s charter schools.

In her examination of Arizona’s 50 largest nonprofit charter schools and all of Arizona’s nonprofit charter schools with assets exceeding $10 million, Ryman found “at least 17 contracts or arrangements, totaling more than $70 million over five years and involving about 40 school sites, in which money from the non-profit charter school went to for-profit or non-profit companies run by board members, executives or their relatives.” That says to me that in Arizona, at least, charter-school corruption isn’t the exception. It’s the rule. And that’s just in the nonprofit charter schools. Documentation for the for-profit schools is not publicly available. What are the odds that charter-school proprietors operating in the dark are less inclined to enrich themselves at public expense?

How North Carolina ruined its schools by pursuing privatization policies. http://www.ncjustice.org/?q=education/education-policy-perspectives-unraveling%E2%80%94poorly-crafted-education-policies-are-failing

Diane Ravitch reports on Wisconsin expanding a failed voucher program and dividing the state. https://dianeravitch.net/2018/01/10/wisconsin-expansion-of-vouchers-divides-communities/

Charter schools in Ohio have a dismal record of eventual college graduation. http://10thperiod.blogspot.com/2017/10/state-data-ohio-charter-school.html From Stephen Dyer’s blog who states:

One of the more interesting — and telling — datasets now available with the state report card is how kids who graduate from Ohio’s schools perform after they graduate. For example, we now know the percentage of graduates who have a college degree within 6 years, as well as how many graduates have enrolled in college within 2 years of graduation.

Looking at these two metrics, it’s remarkable how bad charter school perform. Overall, Ohio school districts have 5 times the rate of students with college degrees that charters have. And Big 8 urban districts (Akron, Canton, Cincinnati. Columbus, Cleveland, Dayton, Toledo and Youngstown) have twice the rate.

Meanwhile, of the 31 Ohio charter schools that have graduates counted for this metric, 7 (23 percent) had zero graduates with college degrees within six years of graduation.

The outrageous story of the ECOT scandal in Ohio. https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2018/01/the-gops-biggest-charter-school-experiment-just-imploded/

Small charter school network in Houston buys expensive condo’s saying they are for storage. http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/education/article/Houston-charter-network-bought-Dallas-condo-for-12452726.php

A cautionary tale from Newark. http://jerseyjazzman.blogspot.com/2017/12/test-scores-gains-are-not-necessarily.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+blogspot%2FCqnJA+%28Jersey+Jazzman%29

The GOP/Trump tax break for 529 education savings accounts almost exclusively benefits those making $100k or more. https://www.brookings.edu/research/a-tax-break-for-dream-hoarders-what-to-do-about-529-college-savings-plans/

New Mexico charter school CEO steals money for 15 years before being caught. https://deutsch29.wordpress.com/2017/12/24/nm-charter-school-ceo-steals-public-money-for-15-years-hows-that-for-oversight/

Chapter and verse about how Success Academy inflates student performance by refusing to back-fill when students leave resulting in huge attrition and then falsely comparing that remaining rarified group to other schools. https://garyrubinstein.wordpress.com/2018/01/04/the-hidden-attrition-of-success-academy/

Michigan has allowed large-scale expansion of charters. It is also the second most segregated state in the nation. http://michiganradio.org/post/report-michigan-schools-second-most-segregated-nation

John Oliver blows the whistle on charter school abuses and lax oversight. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_htSPGAY7I

Mathis and Welner warn  of charter school expansion causing increasing school segregation stratifying our society and harming the common good. http://my.aasa.org/AASA/Resources/SAMag/2018/Jan18/MathisWelner.aspx

Jersey Jazzman debunks claims of “miracle school” in New York City and asks reporters not to be so gullible. http://jerseyjazzman.blogspot.com/2018/01/miracle-school-journalism-and-gorilla.html

Betsy DeVos visited Excel Academy in D.C. and praised it as a model of school choice and its benefits. So did Melania Trump. The school is closing because of poor academic performance. http://wjla.com/news/local/dc-charter-school-must-close-despite-white-house-praise-as-exceptional

Abusive Practices: Recess at a Summit Charter School https://charterschoolnightmares.tumblr.com/post/168778032602/this-is-what-recess-at-a-bay-area-charter-is

Diane Ravitch’s speech to the California Schools Board Association on defending public education. https://dianeravitch.net/2018/01/12/my-speech-to-the-california-school-boards-association/

Diane Ravitch exposes the roots of school choice in Milton Friedman’s writings who unabashedly proposed choice as a way to privatize public education. Friedman was also dead set against Social Security and believed all social support programs should be eliminated in favor of market solutions. Sound familiar? https://dianeravitch.net/2018/01/23/milton-friedman-the-father-of-school-choice/

Castellanos, Mathis, and Welner critique the stealth voucher programs—Educational Savings Accounts—providing pulic funds for private school parents being enacted in Republican controlled states. http://nepc.colorado.edu/publication/ESAs

The Great School Voucher Fraud by Edd Doerr—an historical analysis. http://www.arlinc.org/pdf/Doerr_The_Great_Voucher_Fraud.pdf

The right wing, anti-public schools group, ALEC, causes harm in Indiana. http://www.aasa.org/uploadedFiles/Publications/JSPWinter2018.FINAL.pdf Hoosier Lawmaker? Vouchers, ALEC Legislative Puppets, and Indiana’s Abdication of Democracy by Michael B. Shaffer, EdD; John G. Ellis, PhD; Jeff Swensson, PhD

For an ongoing list of charter schools abuses and scandals visit the Network for Public Education site https://networkforpubliceducation.org/9734-2/

 

Testing and Accountability

Two favorable reviews of Daniel Koretz’s new book, The Testing Charade https://newrepublic.com/article/145935/settling-scores; https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/please-read-daniel-koretz-the-testing-charade_us_5a568cb5e4b088f20c39593c

What’s the best way to measure schools? https://curmudgucation.blogspot.com/2017/10/a-better-way-to-measure-school-quality.html

New report shows that NEAP proficiency levels as a measure of school performance are set too high. Public education has been severely criticized for failing to get most students to “proficiency” levels as evidenced by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). However, NAEP proficiency levels (levels 3 or 4) are geared to success in a four year college. They were never meant to be the standard for all students. Proof of that proposition is shown in this report by the Superintendent’s Roundtable and the Horace Mann League which shows no country in the world gets most of its students above that bar. https://www.streetinsider.com/Press+Releases/Study+finds+most+students+in+most+nations+cannot+clear+the+bar+set+by+Common+Core+or+NAEP+benchmarks/13693312.html A quote from the report:

 

  • In no nation do a majority of students meet the NAEP Proficient benchmark in Grade 4 reading.
  • Just three nations have 50 percent or more of their students meeting the Proficient benchmark in Grade 8 math (Singapore, Republic of Korea, and Japan).
  • Only one nation has 50 percent or more of its students meeting the Proficient benchmark in Grade 8 science (Singapore).

 

In diverse California, on the culminating  Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) assessment of 11th grade reading,  60% of students reached the proficiency level or better (SBAC designed its proficiency levels to be similar to NAEP levels) which compares very favorably with other states and countries. That’s not the way the story is usually told.

Florida is a cautionary tale of what not do. http://progressive.org/public-school-shakedown/floridas-education-reforms-a-warning-sign-not-a-model-180111/

 

Washington Follies

How not to model good behavior. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2017/12/28/seven-highly-unfortunate-lessons-kids-learned-from-official-washington-in-2017/?utm_term=.ac445fcc8c4b

 

Technology/Personalized Learning

https://caffeinatedrage.com/2017/12/30/the-myth-of-personalized-instruction-in-north-carolina-invest-in-people/

Diane Ravitch writes on Five Risks Posed by the Increasing Misuse of Technology in Schools. https://www.edsurge.com/news/2017-12-29-5-risks-posed-by-the-increasing-misuse-of-technology-in-schools?utm_source=EdSurgeTeachers&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=12-28-2017&mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiWkdVNE9UaG1PVGhqWldFeCIsInQiOiJoNHpTeEZwRTRHN1pOVHBsZ2J6ZkVUeUVNSGpsT01JaUN2cnhiSHc4VGZhQUFZVWlsNVJxN0lcL2w0Rnk1ZkR1UFhwWXJVWTk0bHdxK3poeGU2YW1ZMzl5WW1MekE4WkE3UlpSWHc0dzQrczAwbktMQWU1MUVyTjZ6dXhpK1JabG8ifQ%3D%3D

A caution on teaching coding and computer science to young children. http://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/openforum/article/Why-we-shouldn-t-teach-tech-in-kindergarten-12303395.php?utm_campaign=fb-premium&utm_source=CMS+Sharing+Button&utm_medium=social

 

Curriculum, Instruction, and Deeper Learning

Jal Mehta on the integration of deeper learning into all instruction. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/learning_deeply/2018/01/a_pernicious_myth_basics_before_deeper_learning.html?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=learningdeeply

The benefits of helping teens identify a purpose in life. https://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2018/01/03/the-benefits-of-helping-teens-identify-purpose-in-life/?utm_medium=Email&utm_source=ExactTarget&utm_campaign=20180107Mindshift&mc_key=00Qi000001WzO2NEAV

An Aspen Institute report on the importance of Social/Emotional learning. https://www.aspeninstitute.org/publications/learning-happens-supporting-students-social-emotional-academic-development/

 

State Policies

Marc Tucker just wrote a very helpful review of David Driscoll’s book on the “Massachusetts Miracle” in becoming a world-class performer in public education covering the ingredients of state leadership with a great summary of the lessons learned in studying other countries and states.  http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/top_performers/2018/01/driscolls_lessons_from_massachusetts.html?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=top_performers

December Comments 12/28/17

Charter Schools, Voucher, and Privatization Tribulations

A new government report shows major deficiencies in academic, administrative, and financial accountability in voucher programs. http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-18-94  and http://www.wisconsingazette.com/news/pocan-new-gao-report-shows-school-voucher-programs-failing-to/article_b3fd67a0-d618-11e7-a5f5-278875f56ff1.html

Graduation rates for Ohio charter schools substantially lag their public school urban counterparts. http://www.dispatch.com/news/20171226/charter-school-graduation-rates-way-behind-ohios-urban-districts Diane Ravitch reports that Texas charter schools have a graduation rate 30 percentage points below the counterpart public schools https://dianeravitch.net/2017/12/21/texas-low-graduation-rates-for-charter-schools-far-lower-than-district-schools/

Indiana Virtual School, one of the state’s largest on-line schools, graduates few, suffers from low scores and F grades, and high teacher/student ratios. It has raked in over $20 million  while its head pays himself millions for  management fees from a . The governor says this must cease, but proposes no action. https://chalkbeat.org/posts/in/2017/12/07/gov-eric-holcomb-says-indianas-low-rated-online-charter-schools-need-immediate-attention-and-action/

A survey finds strong skepticism about school choice such as vouchers among teachers, principals, and superintendents which include many Trump voters. https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2017/12/13/many-educators-skeptical-of-school-choice-including.html?cmp=eml-contshr-shr

Charter school head in lax oversight Arizona steals money from his school for fifteen years. https://deutsch29.wordpress.com/2017/12/24/nm-charter-school-ceo-steals-public-money-for-15-years-hows-that-for-oversight/

A coach embezzles hundreds of thousands of dollars at North Carolina’s largest voucher school and keeps his job. https://www.ncforum.org/out-of-bounds-embezzlement-and-basketball-at-north-carolinas-biggest-voucher-school/

The owner of the politically connected ECOT school has cheated Ohio out of millions of dollars. The state finally clamped down, he sued, and the case is before the Supreme Court of Ohio. The Columbus Dispatch editorializes that it is time for ECOT to be shut down. http://www.dispatch.com/opinion/20171212/editorial-can-ecot-saga-please-end-now

The Florida Sun-Sentinel reports another in a long line of Florida  charter school scandals. This one involves a charter school which cheated the state by submitting false enrollment numbers and then transformed itself into a private schools is under investigation again. http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/education/fl-charter-private-school-money-20171213-story.html

Diane Ravitch reports on how a low-performing charter school in Pennsylvania received a 9 year renewal while bankrupting the local school district. https://dianeravitch.net/2017/12/23/pennsylvania-low-performing-charter-gets-reneewed-for-9-years-while-bankrupting-local-school-district/

Rebecca Klein has found that millions of tax dollars have been given to private religious schools in states with voucher or private tax credit policies which teach hate and a narrow world view. Klein’s title: Voucher Schools Championed by Betsy DeVos Can Teach Whatever They Want. Turns Out They Teach Lies. These Schools Teach Racism, Creationism, and Sexism. They Are Also Taking Your Tax Dollars. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/school-voucher-evangelical-education-betsy-devos_us_5a021962e4b04e96f0c6093c She also found many religious schools that discriminate against LGBT students https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/discrimination-lgbt-private-religious-schools_us_5a32a45de4b00dbbcb5ba0be

A similar finding that public funds are supporting Scientology schools. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/scientology-schools_us_5a2d8b9ee4b069ec48ae4109 The result of wide-open vouchers which Betsy DeVos advocates and many  Republicans are supporting.

The Arizona ACLU issued a report demonstrating how Arizona charter schools discriminate against low performing students. School Choice; How Arizona Charter Schools Engage in Illegal and Exclusionary Student Enrollment Practices and How It Should Be Fixed https://www.acluaz.org/sites/default/files/field_documents/schools_choosing_students_web.pdf

The much hyped Success Academy of New York City doesn’t backfill students who leave or are pushed out after the 4th grade greatly decreasing that cohort by later grades. Then it uses that rarified remnant to compare their scores against public schools who have to accept all entrants and claim success. Gabor points to instruction geared to test preparation, harsh discipline, large teacher turnover and the threat to public education by wholesale charter expansion with little oversight. https://www.alternet.org/much-hyped-success-academy-sync-trumpian-times?akid=16478.2679055.rPPj5p&rd=1&src=newsletter1086404&t=39

An investigation by AP shows that charters increase segregation https://apnews.com/e9c25534dfd44851a5e56bd57454b4f5

In some good news, South Carolina has just clamped down on virtual charter abuse and low performance. https://www.the74million.org/article/into-the-breach-south-carolina-cracks-down-on-poor-performing-virtual-charter-schools-rejects-their-bid-for-new-sponsor/

Diane Ravitch reports on a paper 18 years ago by the Heartland Institute, a font of radical conservative ideas, on how privatization should be advocated to kill public schools. https://dianeravitch.net/2017/12/28/peter-greene-the-end-game-of-the-privatization-movement/

 

Reform Blues

Rick Hess, a noted reformer, has serious second thoughts about the “reform” movement. http://www.aei.org/publication/lessons-learned-in-school-reform/

The business magazine Forbes published an article by Ethan Siegal How America is Breaking Public Education https://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2017/12/06/how-america-is-breaking-public-education/#3f2fd6207f18 which argues that the “reform” movement violated a cardinal rule of effective enterprises—treat your employees like professionals.

Confirming the previous point a report shows teachers are leaving the profession because of lack of educational, financial, and public support and political hostility http://bustedpencils.com/2017/12/teacher-exodus-is-finally-not-fake-news/

Performance in New Orleans, one-time poster child for charter school districts, has disintegrated.https://peterccook.com/2017/11/08/great-nola-train-wreck/ and http://citizen.education/2017/12/05/bad-test-scores-for-schools-in-new-orleans-can-either-take-the-city-down-or-make-it-a-model-again-for-reform/

Peter Greene rebuts the idea that “market=based competition” should apply to public schools. http://curmudgucation.blogspot.com/2017/12/public-sector-efficiency.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+blogspot%2FORjvzd+%28CURMUDGUCATION%29

Similarly, Steven Singer finds fault with the privatization movement. https://gadflyonthewallblog.wordpress.com/2017/12/04/the-false-paradise-of-school-privatization/

Brett Murphy tells the story of how reform efforts failed in various schools from the perspective of teachers In those schools. The Profession Speaks: Educator Perspectives on School Reform. https://www.aft.org/ae/winter2017-2018/murphy

Bruce Baker and Mark Weber examine the failure of “reform” efforts in Newark in the National Education Policy Center report. http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/17/12/12/opinion-newark-s-phantom-gains-in-school-improvement/ ; http://nepc.colorado.edu/thinktank/review-newark-reform The Zuckerberg, Christie, Booker “reform” project in Newark showed no growth in math and trivial growth in reading. In addition, causation is questioned. The evaluations of the project did not measure the considerable community disruption that occurred.

Diane Ravitch reports on Laura Chapmans takedown of the harm done to public education by billionaire “reformers”. https://dianeravitch.net/2017/12/16/laura-chapman-reformers-with-too-much-money-and-time-making-troulbe-for-public-schools/

A similar finding by Thomas Tultican worries about the plot to destroy public schools in Indianapolis. https://tultican.com/2017/12/15/destroy-public-education-dpe-its-a-billionaire-fueled-agenda/

In the state of Indiana as a whole, Carol Burris tells the sad story of Republican decimation of the state’s public schools. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2017/12/21/a-telling-story-of-school-reform-in-mike-pences-home-state-indiana/?utm_term=.5fa91bc51281

Thomas Tultican reviews the powerful Network for Public Education report Charters and Consequences. Charters and Consequences https://tultican.com/2017/11/24/roll-up-the-failed-charter-school-experiment/ Tultican refers to NPE’s Executive Director Carol Burris who characterized charter schools as currently organized,  a failed experiment. To quote: “… nearly every day brings a story, often reported only in local newspapers, about charter mismanagement, failure, nepotism or outright theft and fraud.” About the report she writes, “This report … is the result of a year-long exploration of the effects of charter schools and the issues that surround them.” “Everyone I spoke with accepted that charters have a place in the state, and in many instances, they acknowledged that charters serve children well.  However, all had deep concerns about the lack of charter transparency, accountability, and their fiscal impact on public schools.”

Matt Barnum slams the growing trend to disrupt urban public schools by the “portfolio” scheme. https://www.chalkbeat.org/posts/us/2017/12/06/a-portfolio-of-schools-how-a-nationwide-effort-to-disrupt-urban-school-districts-is-gaining-traction/  Privatizers who were booted out several years ago in Kansas City, are now back with a portfolio proposal. https://in.chalkbeat.org/posts/us/2017/12/07/in-kansas-city-national-push-for-portfolio-model-gives-way-to-local-group-with-similar-message-different-methods/

John Merrow debunks NPR’s report on a “miracle school” in Washington DC, which turns out to be bogus. https://themerrowreport.com/2017/12/06/too-good-to-be-true-proves-to-be-false/

Jeff Bryant, writing in Salon, warns democrats to back off the corporate reform movement and become much more supportive of public education if they want to win elections. https://www.salon.com/2017/11/27/democrats-be-warned-your-corporate-education-reform-is-not-enough_partner/

Diane Ravitch reviews an article by Rob Meiksins writing in the Nonprofit Quarterly, entitled What Happens When You Bust Public Unions; Nothing Good. https://dianeravitch.net/2017/12/04/nonprofit-quarterly-what-happens-when-you-bust-public-sector-unions-nothing-good/

 

Civic Engagement and Participation

An interesting article about civic engagement and participation especially among immigrant children. https://www.aft.org/ae/winter2017-2018/callahan_obenchain

The Education Commission of the States has produced a framework for civic education policy. https://www.ecs.org/state-civic-education-policy-framework/

Diane Ravitch reviews a comment by Tom Birmingham, making fervent plea to revitalize the teaching of history. https://commonwealthmagazine.org/opinion/schools-ignore-us-history-peril/

 

Quality Instruction, Collaboration, and Continuous Improvement

Daniel Koretz penned a follow-up with specific suggests for improvement to his book The Testing Charade; Pretending to Make Schools Better with specific suggestions for improvement in the latest American Educator entitled Moving Beyond the Failure of Test-based Accountability. https://www.aft.org/ae/winter2017-2018/koretz His recommendations cover measures and strategies to improve student achievement, quality of instruction, and classroom climate.

Dan Willingham argues that after foundation reading skills the build-up of  content knowledge is key to reading comprehension. http://view.email.kqed.org/?qs=f51f19a81bdc58a5a15ecf6bfa1950950e734551f741575aeea361c3843668c15c3139baab44677c210791eb15c9777e0cdb63f0b20a0da78e33300cadee753e  and https://larrycuban.wordpress.com/2017/12/03/how-to-get-your-mind-to-read-daniel-willingham/

The Evidence Base for How Learning Happens; A Consensus on Social, Emotional, and Academic Learning by Stefanie Jones and Jennifer Kahn in the American Educator reviews the latest research on the topic based on a report from the Aspen institute. https://www.aft.org/ae/winter2017-2018/jones_kahn A quote: Compelling research demonstrates that the success of young people in school and beyond is inextricably linked to healthy social and emotional development. Students who have a sense of belonging and purpose, who can work well with classmates and peers to solve problems, who can plan and set goals, and who can persevere through challenges—in addition to being literate, numerate, and versed in scientific concepts and ideas—are more likely to maximize their opportunities and reach their full potential.

Cathy Davidson reports that an in depth study by Google found the soft skills more predictive of employee quality than the hard Science, Technology, and Math skills. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2017/12/20/the-surprising-thing-google-learned-about-its-employees-and-what-it-means-for-todays-students/?utm_term=.c2b0c61dd8f5  Sergey Brin and Larry Page, both brilliant computer scientists, founded their company on the conviction that only technologists can understand technology. Google originally set its hiring algorithms to sort for computer science students with top grades from elite science universities. In 2013, Google decided to test its hiring hypothesis by crunching every bit and byte of hiring, firing, and promotion data accumulated since the company’s incorporation in 1998. Project Oxygen shocked everyone by concluding that, among the eight most important qualities of Google’s top employees, STEM expertise comes in dead last. The seven top characteristics of success at Google are all soft skills: being a good coach; communicating and listening well; possessing insights into others (including others different values and points of view); having empathy toward and being supportive of one’s colleagues; being a good critical thinker and problem solver; and being able to make connections across complex ideas.

A New York Times article which listed which urban districts beat the odds by achieving more than a year’s growth per year over several years. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/12/05/upshot/a-better-way-to-compare-public-schools.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fupshot&action=click&contentCollection=upshot&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=2&pgtype=sectionfront&_r=0

The Learning Policy Institute issued a report on effective community schools. https://learningpolicyinstitute.org/product/community-schools-effective-school-improvement-report  The authors also wrote this summary in the Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2017/12/13/betsy-devos-may-not-recognize-it-but-these-public-schools-work/?utm_term=.64bb6d6d30a4

A website devoted to teacher-powered schools. https://www.teacherpowered.org/

An evaluation system aimed at teacher engagement and growth—curriculum, collaboration, and feedback. https://www.erstrategies.org/teacher_professional_learning?utm_source=Subscriber+Master+List&utm_campaign=0ac69a1e24-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_12_07&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_a3f2445f50-0ac69a1e24-317244101

Many high performing jurisdictions use the strong curriculum for students as the basis for teacher preparation. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2017/12/a_novel_way_to_improve_teacher.html?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=curriculummatters Is a focus on curriculum the missing ingredient in teacher preparation?

The New Teacher Center TELL program (Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning. https://newteachercenter.org/approach/teaching-empowering-leading-and-learning-tell/

 

Technology

Sophie Linden warns of the dangers of overzealous selling of technology to public schools especially Chromebooks for which she says there is no evidence they help student learning. https://www.alternet.org/education/silicon-valley-takes-over-american-classrooms-personalized-learning-technology?akid=16534.2679055.9Q7CyB&rd=1&src=newsletter1086893&t=5

 

International Comparisons

The US receives an award for the most growth in early reading and improvements in the lowest quartile. https://www.slideshare.net/ColinBrown24/itegs-international-test-of-early-grade-skills-2017

In a similar vein, Diane Ravitch quotes David Berliner on the US international literacy scores which look below the top ranks (but still high)  When you measure Asian-Americans versus Asian students, whites or schools with less than 10% poverty, however, our scores would be in the top ranks which means that for those students reading instruction is working well. The US has much larger poverty levels, which brings down overall scores. https://dianeravitch.net/2017/12/12/david-c-berliner-on-the-latest-international-test-scores-its-poverty-not-common-core-that-matters/

Ten things you need to know about international comparisons by James Harvey. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2015/02/03/ten-things-you-need-to-know-about-international-assessments/?tid=a_inl&utm_term=.9224b80538f4

Another article by James Harvey showing that despite flat scores in a recent literacy assessment US students still rate near the top. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2017/12/05/worried-about-the-drop-in-u-s-scores-on-international-literacy-test-well-stop-it/?utm_term=.16e5219e41d8

 

School Finance

Study shows the states which pay teacher’s the most (and least) http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/teacherbeat/2017/02/which_states_pay_teachers_the_.html?cmp=eml-eb-popyear17+12212017&M=58321116&U=56558

The GOP/Trump tax bill and budgets harm public schools. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/19/opinion/republican-taxes-school-savings-.html?_r=1 The tax bill also gives a windfall to private school parents. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/08/your-money/the-private-school-tax-break-in-the-middle-class-tax-bill.html The Republican congress and president are essentially diverting funds from public schools to finance private education which is in keeping with their often expressed hostility to our public schools. The North Carolina News Observer editorialized against the GOP/Trump tax bill as harmful to public education. http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/editorials/article188972429.html

For a FAQ sheet on the GOP/Trump tax cut bill see http://www.buildingbetterschools.com/2017/12/26/faq-for-gop-trump-tax-bill/

FAQ for GOP/Trump Tax Bill

 

How large is it?

Most reporters and commentators characterize the GOP/Trump tax cut legislation as a $1.5 trillion bill. That’s not remotely accurate and seriously underestimates the magnitude and severity of the recently passed law. According to the latest Congressional Budget Office analysis, the ten-year effect of the legislation is a net $3.9 trillion tax reduction (more than 2 ½ times what is being reported) even after you subtract the elimination of $1.3 trillion of corporate deductions from the total of $5.2 trillion in total tax cuts.

Who Benefits?

The tax reductions overwhelmingly benefit mega-wealthy families and corporations. Many of our most well-off citizens will annually pocket tens of thousands of dollars and some even millions while everyone else receives meager tax breaks. Initially, according to the Tax Policy Center the top 1% of families by income will receive 60% of the benefits leaving a smaller pie to be divided by everyone else. Lamentably, the smallish tax cuts which do help middle and low income families in 2018 (inflated to be in time for the 2018 elections) diminish over time until they are eliminated. Ten years from now 83% of the cuts will go to the top 1% and, incredibly, over 60% will go to the ultra-rich, the top 1/10 of 1% (1 out of every 1000 families). Conversely, 53% of American families will suffer a tax increase–a classic case of bait and switch. In contrast, the corporation cuts are permanent.

Do the wealthy really need such a large tax break so that they can buy another mansion, a bigger yacht or jet, throw another party, buy another designer outfit, or pad their bank accounts while tens of millions of families living paycheck to paycheck receive a pittance or get taxed? Republican mega-rich donors must think so because they drove the whole perverted process by which the tax bill was passed.

Who Pays?

Middle and low income families. The $3.9 trillion net tax cuts in the GOP bill are paid for by;

  • borrowing $1.5 trillion (since upgraded by the government to $2.3 trillion) or more by increasing the federal debt–a burden on our economy and our children in years to come;
  • raising $2.1 trillion in taxes on mostly middle-class and working-class families by eliminating the personal exemption, changing the inflation measure, capping state and local tax deductions (which primarily affects the upper-middle class in blue states), and some other miscellaneous deductions; and
  • cutting $314 billion from health care by eliminating the mandated Obamacare contributions which will have the added harm of increasing premiums by 10% and dropping 4-9million people from medical care.

Thus, this tax cut bill is a much more massive shift of the tax burden from the wealthy to the middle-class and low income families than reported–essentially borrowing from the future, taxing the working classes, and cutting needed services to finance an unnecessary tax cut for the wealthy who are already living high on the hog and receiving an unprecedented share of post-tax income. 

What Happens to Inequality?

This country is currently suffering from dangerously high levels of inequality not witnessed since the Gilded Age and the Roaring Twenties–the latter period followed by the Great Depression of 1930’s caused primarily by the failure to pass down to workers enough wages to sustain demand. A multitude of research has shown that high levels of inequality stunt economic growth and opportunity. At present, the top 1% own 40% of US wealth which is more than the combined wealth of the bottom 90% and receive almost 20% of yearly income which is about twice as much as the share of the bottom 50% of families. The GOP/Trump tax plan will make this bad situation much worse.

Was There Any Bi-partisan Support?

Not one Democratic senator or member of Congress voted for the GOP/Trump tax plan, so broad support is absent.  Because the GOP congressional leaders rushed the drafting of the bill behind closed doors flouting normal procedure with no public hearings, there are many errors and hidden rip-offs creating fertile soil for gaming the tax code by such methods as turning individuals into corporations. Last minute loopholes and outright looting were obtained by lobbyists such as the pass-through write-off for real estate trusts which benefit real-estate moguls such as President Trump and his family. The real cost of the bill may turn out to be much higher and borrowing could exceed $2 trillion.

How Extensive is the Collateral Damage?

Severe. Existing budget rules, unless changed (good luck), mandate large and growing cuts to Medicare due to the increased deficit–$25 billion in 2018 and over $400 billion in the next ten years. GOP’ers are already using the existence of a larger deficit to refuse to fund health services for 9 million children under the CHIP program, insisting on public health cuts for millions of other children and calling for cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and medical and basic research. Republican leaders and President Trump are also proposing wide-spread reductions in other public services. For example, the proposed GOP budgets reduce federal funds for public schools while the GOP tax bill gives wealthy private school parents a significant tax break–in effect subsidizing private schools at the expense of the public school sector. This is consistent with many Republican politicians and the President’s expressed hostility to public education and encouragement of privatization of our public schools.

Will There Be Enough Growth to Offset the Increased Debt?

Nope, or minimal at best. GOP arguments that that the tax cuts for the wealthy pay for themselves by causing higher economic growth which will increase tax revenues to pay for a substantial portion of the larger deficit have been debunked by almost every reputable economist and the federal financial advisors who forecast minimal growth from the cuts. Furthermore, if there turns out to be greater revenues from greater growth, they are necessary to pay for current Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security future obligations. To divert them to the un-needy wealthy now means cuts in these programs later. 

Was There A Reversal of Settled Tax Policy?

The GOP tax bill violates elementary standards of good policy by creating different classes of winners and losers. For example, for the first time in our history, tax legislation overwhelmingly favors those who earn through capital over those who earn from wages.

Does the GOP Rationale for the Tax Bill Withstand Scrutiny?

No. The major selling point of the GOP is the assertion that reducing the corporate rate will substantially increase growth and workers will receive sizable benefits from that growth. That contention is also disputed by the vast majority of economists, the official scoring reports and the history of tax cuts and tax increases. Bush II cut taxes and subsequent growth was weak; Clinton raised taxes and subsequent growth was spectacular which flies in the face of the GOP theory.

The GOP’s specific argument that wages  will rise significantly because giving corporations more cash and lower taxes will cause them to invest, which will increase productivity, which will then be shared with their employees, doesn’t hold water. According to recent reports such as the one by the Economic Policy Institute each assumption is false. Corporations currently are awash with cash, corporate profits as a percentage of GDP are at their peak, the corporate tax share of federal revenues has plummeted (the wage share has skyrocketed) and yet large-scale investment hasn’t occurred. No surprise there. Investments are made based on projected demand. Availability of cash and tax rates play a small part in those decisions. More importantly, productivity gains during the past decades have not been shared with workers.

Instead, the increased profits for most firms have been used to buy back shares to raise stock prices, balloon executive pay, and increase distributions to shareholders. That same overall pattern occurred when billions of dollars were repatriated in 2004.  A repatriation holiday allowed corporations to bring back billions of overseas profits at a lower rate. The 15 companies that brought the most profits back to the U.S. used them to buy back shares instead of boosting investment, and actually ended up cutting jobs and slightly lowering their research and development spending. Why would corporate behavior change this time around?  Experts say it won’t. Even the most optimistic predictions suggest that only a small percentage of any increased cash or profits from corporate tax cuts will be given to wage earners.

For individuals, one of GOP’s more discredited arguments is that the super-wealthy pay the lion’s share of taxes so if taxes are cut they will have to receive most of the benefits. That’s nonsense. It’s true that the rich pay a large percentage of income taxes because, unlike most families, their before tax incomes have grown substantially during the past decades. However, the canard that these rich families pay almost all of federal taxes is demonstrably false. Income taxes constitute less than half of federal taxes. Payroll taxes are a third. The wealthy pay no payroll taxes on income just over $100k which means for mega-earners most of their income is exempt from payroll taxes. Corporate taxes were at record low levels in 2016 at only nine percent of federal tax receipts. There was no shortage of ways to ease the tax burden on the middle class without providing the rich with a windfall, if that’s what the GOP and the president wanted.

Were There Much Better Ways to Stimulate Economic Growth and Increase Wages?

Failure to bolster demand by sharing profits with workers is the most likely reason for low investment. Worker’s wages have been essentially flat for decades.

If the goal was to increase wages, the tax plan could have just given wage earners a larger share of the tax breaks directly, reduce their payroll taxes, or invest in rebuilding the US. Growth strategies which aim at increasing demand or direct investment result in much higher growth than trickle down measures.

Particularly galling is the lost opportunity to re-build America. If we are going to borrow over a $1 trillion, wouldn’t it have been fairer and much more productive to invest it in fixing our roads, bridges, ports, fire and flood protection, airports, schools, and power grids instead of giving an unneeded windfall to the rich? In fact, the GOP could have chosen to invest in infrastructure without increasing the debt by just closing the corporate loopholes agreed to in the bill and not giving a whopping tax cut to the richest Americans. The economic payoff from building infrastructure is multiples higher than tax cuts skewed to the ultra-wealthy and corporations, with the added benefit of creating jobs and improving the health and safety of the nation. Unfortunately, any proposed GOP/Trump infrastructure plan for 2018 will be woefully short of funds because of the heavy debt borrowing to finance tax cuts for the rich.

Were Corporations Taxes Higher Than Other Countries?

The GOP’s other argument made is that the US corporate tax rate of 35% was among the highest in the world and non-competitive. They contend that lowering it to 21% will attract investment from foreign companies or US companies threatening to leave. Actually, because of loopholes, our effective tax rate was 23%–already below the world average and thus competitive. Since most loopholes in the GOP tax bill weren’t changed, effective tax rates will plunge to 9% according to a UPenn-Wharton estimate, basically giving corporations a free ride. Since corporate taxes as a share of total taxes are already at historic lows, further lowering of their rates shifts that much more of the tax burden to the middle and working classes. Furthermore,, even if foreign corporations invest here, why would we think that these companies  would act differently than domestic companies in allocating a decent share of profits to workers?

How Much Do Foreigners Benefit?

Corporate shareholders, most of them wealthy will do very well under this GOP/Trump tax bill. Unfortunately,  a third of them are foreigners, mainly millionaires and billionaires, who according to the Tax Policy Center are slated to receive nearly $50 billion in 2019. That windfall is $5 billion more than the combined benefits to the middle and working class (the bottom 80% of families) in all the states that voted for President Trump. So the effect of the GOP tax plan is to borrow from the future and tax the middle and working classes in order to ship large amounts of cash out of the country. Make America Great, indeed?

Is This the Best Time for Massive Tax Cuts?

Finally, with unemployment low and a potential recession on the horizon this is not the time to add to the debt and disarm our ability to fight a downturn when it arrives.

LETTER TO CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS

Jacob, congrats on your new position. I follow your twitter account every day. I do have one important caveat to what you all are saying about the GOP/Trump tax cuts. Most of the current arguments against the bill characterize it as a $1.5 trillion tax cut. The tax bill is a much more massive shift than $1.5 trillion–that’s just what is being borrowed (and more recent government analysis not pegs that number at $2.3 trillion) and doesn’t include the net taxes of approximately $1 trillion on middle and working class families in the bill. These taxes are necessary to pay for the approximately $2.8 trillion which under EPI’s analysis is what the top 1% and corporations receive over the decade.

 

The argument that the country borrowed $1.5 trillion (now 50% more) which  primarily benefits the wealthy—is not a bad argument and is somewhat resonating with the public. A more powerful indictment of the bill is that in addition to increasing the debt by $1.5 trillion to pay for a huge unneeded tax cut for the wealthiest families and corporations,  the remaining 99% in the aggregate not only eventually lose any initial tax relief but are then forced to kick in another $1 trillion by having their taxes raised to pay for that windfall. Add to that point, the trillions of dollars in Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, infrastructure, scientific and medical research, and support programs cuts proposed in Trump’s budget and by Republican leadership to offset the borrowing and you have a 1, 2, 3 knockout punch.

 

Below are  emails to Josh Bivens at EPI and your CAP teammate, Seth Hanlon, which show the analysis. If I’m right someone should be broadcasting this argument because we are missing a very persuasive point. If I’m wrong, please let me know where. Either way, I’d respectfully request a response. I have also included some suggested talking points. Bill Honig

 

 

From: Bill Honig [mailto:billhonig@comcast.net]
Sent: Wednesday, February 28, 2018 9:13 AM
To: ‘lbivens@epi.org’
Subject: FW: Demand a budget that supports working families and older Americans

 

 

Josh, I am a big fan of your work at EPI and the institute in general. I do have one issue. Below you write: The reason that Donald Trump is going back on a key campaign promise―to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid―is that he wants to pay for his $1.5 trillion tax handout, which mostly benefits the richest 1% and wealthy corporations.  The tax bill is a much more massive shift than $1.5 trillion–that’s just what is being borrowed and doesn’t include the net taxes of approximately $1 trillion on middle and working class families in the bill which are necessary to pay for the approximately $2.8 trillion which under EPI’s analysis is what the top 1% and corporations receive over the decade.

 

 

Over the next decade the bill cuts taxes by $3.9 trillion, $2.8 of it going to the wealthiest 1% and corporations paid for by borrowing $1.5 trillion and  raising $1 trillion of taxes from working and middle class families. According to the CBO there are $5.2 trillion cuts during the next decade. Corporate loophole closings of $1.3 leaves a net $3.9 trillion of tax relief.  Extrapolating from your institutes findings  approximately $2.8 trillion of that is split between the top 1% and corporations (initially 60% goes to the top 1% and by the end of the decade 83% is for our wealthiest families and corporations for an average of 71%). That leaves $1.1 trillion for individual cuts.

 

The $3.9 trillion in total cuts is paid for, according to the CBO, by borrowing $1.5 trillion, raising individual taxes or eliminating individual deductions for $2.2 trillion (by eliminating the personal deduction, changing the inflation rate, eliminating state and local tax deduction—mainly hitting upper-middle class voters–, and eliminating miscellaneous deductions) and cutting Obamacare by $314 billion. If your subtract the $1.1 trillion cuts going to individuals from their increased taxes, that leaves a net increase in taxes to individuals (the 99%) of $1 trillion over the decade. In short, to pay for most of the $2.8 trillion tax cuts to our wealthiest families and corporations the country needs to borrow a trillion and a half dollars and tax the 99% of families another trillion.

 

The use of the  $1.5 trillion which represents only the borrowing part of the bill to describe the magnitude of the cuts is highly misleading and masks the much more extensive cuts and the large shift in who pays. It should be obvious that the using the $1.5 trillion borrowing is not enough to pay for the $2.8 trillion cuts for the wealthiest 1% and necessitates an additional net $1 trillion subsidies over the decade from those lower on the income spectrum. This analysis does not include the additional cuts of trillions of dollars in Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, infrastructure, scientific and medical research, and support programs proposed in Trump’s budget and by Republican leadership which the EPI newsletter chronicles.

 

Most of the present arguments against the GOP/Trump tax bill, including yours, characterize it as a $1.5 trillion tax cut which was borrowed and which  primarily benefits the wealthy—not a bad argument. A more powerful indictment of the bill is that in addition to increasing the debt by $1.5 trillion to pay for a huge unneeded tax cut for the wealthiest families and corporations,  the remaining 99% in the aggregate not only eventually lose any initial tax relief but are  then  forced to kick in another $1 trillion by having their taxes raised to pay for that windfall. Many Democratic congressional candidates I’ve talked to agree that the second is a more powerful argument and conveys the true disastrous effect of the tax bill.

 

Below is an email to Seth Hanlon of the Center for American Progress as part of an on-going discussion on this issue. Somebody has to step up and clarify this point. I’ve also attached and included a set of talking points which we are working on for candidates and would appreciate you feedback on their accuracy. If you have some time to call, please contact me at 415-383-8680. I also left a phone message for you. Bill Honig

 

 

Sent: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 8:38 PM

To: shanlon@americanprogress.org

Cc: Rebecca Vallas (rvallas@americanprogress.org); michael@thehubproject.org; chad@indivisible.org; Jason Bresler (Bresler@DCCC.ORG); Lyron Blum-Evitts (Blum-Evitts@dccc.org); lily.batchelder@nyu.edu

Subject: Rationale for not using the figure of $1.5 trillion for the cost of the tax cut

 

Why the GOP/Trump tax should not be described as a $1.5 trillion tax cut.

 

Seth, you are right that some of the tax cuts are neutralized by offsetting tax increases. But the net amount of $1.5 trillion for the decade which people are using which is equal to what is borrowed will not by itself pay for the large cuts to the extremely wealthy and thus will require an additional net $1 trillion subsidies from those lower on the income spectrum.

 

Using CBO figures there are $5.2 trillion of cuts for the next decade. In the corporate sector there is an off-setting $1.3 trillion of tax increases and loophole closings etc. so that leaves $3.9 trillion of cuts. It is legitimate to use the total net corporate figure because, even though some companies benefit and some lose, the corporate sector’s relief is lowered by $1.3 trillion. It is not fair to use the same logic for the individual sector because the benefits for individuals are highly skewed to rich families while the tax increases primarily hit the middle and working classes. This results in a pronounced shift of the tax burden from lower and middle income families to pay for the large amount of high income and corporate cuts which are substantially more than the $1.5 being borrowed.

 

Here is how I figured it. CBO figures state that the $3.9 trillion dollars in cuts are paid for by borrowing $1.5 trillion, raising individual taxes or eliminating individual deductions for $2.2 trillion (by eliminating the personal deduction, changing the inflation rate, eliminating state and local tax deduction—mainly hitting upper-middle class voters–, and eliminating miscellaneous deductions) and cutting Obamacare by $314 billion.

 

EPI finds that initially 60%  of the cuts  go to the top 1% (individual and corporate ownership) which grows to 83% by the end of a decade. For purposes of argument let’s assume that we average those percentages so that over the decade 71% of the relief goes to the top wealthy families. 71% of  $3.9 trillion is about $2.8 trillion for the top families and corporations (the remaining 99% of families receive $1.1 trillion) So, even after borrowing $1.5 trillion by increasing the debt to pay for a part of the $2.8 trillion provided to the wealthy, that still leaves a shortfall of $1.3 trillion which ends up being almost all paid for by the tax increases on working and middle class families.  While $1.1 trillion of the $2.1 trillion tax increases on individuals can be legitimately netted out because that is the amount of cuts going to individuals ($3.9T total cuts minus $2.8 to the 1%), the remaining $1 trillion of tax increases is used to pay for most of the outstanding amount of the super-wealthy’s large tax cuts. This means that during the decade any tax relief for the 99% gets wiped out by these tax increases and in aggregate those families are in the hole for an additional $1 trillion dollars.

 

Since there were some assumptions, the actual numbers may be off a little but Isn’t this analysis substantially correct? Most of the present arguments against the GOP/Trump tax bill characterize it as a $1.5 trillion tax cut which was borrowed and which  primarily benefits the wealthy—not a bad argument. A more powerful indictment of the bill is that in addition to increasing the debt by $1.5 trillion to pay for a huge unneeded tax cut for the wealthiest families and corporations,  the remaining 99% in the aggregate not only eventually lose any initial tax relief but are  then  forced to kick in another $1 trillion by having their taxes raised to pay for that windfall.

 

 

GOP/Trump Bill Talking Points

 

The GOP/Trump tax bill is a ten-year $3.9 trillion tax cut which overwhelmingly benefits the top 1% of families and corporations. It is paid for by borrowing $1.5 trillion indebting your children, raising taxes on middle and working class families by $2.1 trillion and cutting medical services under Obamacare by $314 billion.

(The net tax increase to the bottom 99% of families is about $1 trillion over the decade after deducting what the EPI estimates is $1.1 trillion in tax cuts to those families during the same period—the top 1% get $2.8 trillion in tax cuts. Of course, some families in the 99% get more relief and some get more taxes. At the end of the decade the individual relief is phased out, the corporate cuts are permanent and most of the tax increases on individuals stay.)

 

Republicans argue that theirs is a “middle class” tax bill. Don’t believe it. For every dollar you get from the GOP/Trump tax bill, the super-wealthy (the top 1%) initially get $150 which grows to over $500 after a decade while over half of everyone else’s taxes go up. That’s not fair. It’s not right. Or to put it another way, the average tax cut for the top 1% is $150,000, the average cut for everyone else is around $900 skewed to richer families so that a family making between $40-50,000 receives just over $400.

 

Those that passed the tax bill made a choice to provide almost all the tax breaks to the super-wealthy. They could have cut your payroll taxes, not raised taxes on the middle and working classes, or invested in rebuilding America creating jobs, improving safety, and producing economic growth. Eliminating the tax breaks for the top 1% would have doubled your tax cuts.

The GOP/Trump tax cut bill is a much more massive shift of the tax burden from the wealthy to the middle-class and low income families than reported–essentially borrowing from the future, taxing the working classes, and cutting needed services to finance an unnecessary tax cut for the wealthy who are already living high on the hog and receiving an unprecedented share of post-tax income. Republicans in congress are already planning to drastically cut Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security, medical and support services, rebuilding roads and bridges,and medical and scientific research to pay for their giveaway to the rich.

Donald Trump’s budget would cut more than a trillion dollars from Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and trillions more from education, food stamps, infrastructure spending and more. Tell Congress to reject a budget that hurts working families just to pay for tax cuts for the rich and corporations.

Supporters of the tax bill’s huge windfall to corporations claimed that the companies would share with their workers. They haven’t. Estimates are that so far $6 billion has gone to workers (mostly in the form on one-time bonuses which often replace normal wage increases) and $171 billion has gone to shareholders and buybacks—a mere 3% for workers and 97% for stockholders and executives. Two-thirds of stocks are owned by the top 1%; and 35% of shareholders are foreigners.

 

Don’t’ fall for the transparent “bait and switch” of the GOP/Trump tax bill. They threw you a bone of some initial tax cuts as a distraction to mask the huge windfall going to the ultra-wealthy and corporations. After ten years your cuts disappear, most of you will experience tax increases, while the corporate tax breaks are permanent.

Do the wealthy really need such a large tax break so that they can buy another mansion, a bigger yacht or jet, throw another party, buy another designer outfit, or pad their bank accounts while tens of millions of families living paycheck to paycheck receive a pittance or get taxed? Republican mega-rich donors must think so because they drove the whole perverted process by which the tax bill was passed.

 

November Comments 11/29/2017

 

Criticisms of Test and Punish and Privatization

Daniel Koretz is a well-respective testing expert. His important recent book The Testing Charade citing Cambell’s law provides persuasive evidence of the  tremendous harm to schools and classrooms from significant test score inflation and misleading results when math and reading annual test results are used as primary measures of school quality. He has chapters on the narrowing of curriculum, deleterious test prep, devaluation of good instruction at the altar of teaching for the test, and outright cheating. Campell’s law: The more any quantitative social indicator is used for social decision-making, the more subject it will be to corruption pressures and the more apt it will be to distort and corrupt the social processes it is intended to monitor.

California’s accountability system is attempting to combat some of these deleterious effects and its architecture is in keeping with most of his recommendations. He calls for such changes as broader measures of state and local performance, including measures of growth, building broader tests (even in math and reading the tests only cover a portion of the curriculum), making sure that other measures of school quality are included especially local ones, diminishing predictability of questions to decrease the ability to prep for tests, and, most importantly, orienting accountability primarily to improving instruction not providing consequences.  Still, if we believe his research and recommendations, there is some further work that needs to be done to combat the tendency for publicized test results to drive the system in the wrong direction. This is a worthy topic for discussion and Koretz’s book is a valuable read.

I only have two caveats with the book. Koretz does not like Common Core because of its origins as part of a test and punish orientation and offers the same curriculum for all. But the Common Core as articulated in the California frameworks which also include Science and History/Social Science promotes the very active instruction that Koretz finds diminished by the widespread focus on improving test scores. Discussions on how to teach Common Core’s more ambitious curriculum by school staffs also are a great catalyst for school site team building, cooperative efforts, and continuous improvement.

Secondly, Koretz never mentions the power of effective collective action at the school site and the support necessary to promote it as a worthy objective and important to include in any accountability system.

In an important post Mathew DiCarlo relying on a recent CREDO report https://credo.stanford.edu/closure-virtual-control-records questions school closure policies as producing no results but causing substantial community and family damage. http://www.shankerinstitute.org/blog/theory-and-practice-school-closures He writes:

The primary finding of the [CREDO]report is that students from closed schools ended up making less testing progress than similar students in “low performing” schools that didn’t close. The difference was statistically discernible but very small (about 0.01-0.02 standard deviations). In other words, if you (cautiously) take these results at face value, closing schools didn’t help students, on average.

 

In addition to no results, school closures cause substantial disruption and collateral damage. Such closures are very controversial, however, and for good reason. For one thing, given adequate time and resources, schools may improve – i.e., there are less drastic interventions that might be equally (or more) effective as a way to help students. Moreover, closing a school represents a disruption in students’ lives (and often, by the way, to the larger community). In this sense, any closure must offer cumulative positive effects sufficient to offset an initial negative effect. Much depends on how and why schools are identified for closure, and the quality of the schools that displaced students attend. In practice, then, closure is a fairly risky policy, both educationally and (perhaps especially) politically. This disconnect between the appeal of theoretical school closures and the actual risks, in practice, may help explain why U.S. educational policy has been designed such that many schools operate at some risk of closure, but relatively few ever end up shutting their doors.

 

Katherine Stewart writing in the American Prospect has written an important article exposing the extent of religious true believers assault on public education and how the charter movement has been duped by them. The Proselytizers and the Privatizers; How religious sectarian school voucher extremists made useful idiots of the charter movement.  http://prospect.org/article/proselytizers-and-privatizers

Education Next, a conservative publication, finds the “reform” test and punish effort in Douglas County, Colorado a disaster. http://educationnext.org/reflections-on-election-in-douglas-county-colorado/

Another persuasive article on the failure of the test and punish experiment. No Child Left Behind: A Deeply Flawed Federal Policy by Helen Ladd. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/pam.21978/full

The much hyped state achievement school district in Tennessee ends after flopping (which hasn’t stopped other states from replicating the idea). https://garyrubinstein.wordpress.com/2017/10/19/the-great-tennessee-achievement-school-district-experiment-finally-comes-to-an-end/ Diane Ravitch reports on a copy-cat achievement district in Nevada that has also failed. https://dianeravitch.net/2017/11/01/nevada-the-achievement-school-district-is-failing/

Variation within schools is much greater than among schools. Marc Tucker raises the issue that our accountability priorities might be misplaced. Federal, state, and local policy have been based on belief that school variation in performance should be a major driver of policy. But Tucker relying on OECD research points out that within school variation is more than twice as important as between schools variation in science and by implication in other areas. This is consistent with the Coleman reports findings 50 years ago. In the US it is four times greater. The implication for policy  is significant. Variation within schools could stem from school policies on placement, discipline, and suspensions. Or from in-class instructional issues. Or from teacher differences in performance. Common-core and the frameworks contain advice on the classroom issues. Also, school variation means that in most schools there are very effective teachers and,  if the school can create effective learning communities where teachers learn from each other, those effective teachers could be a powerful resource in bringing up the performance of the rest and be part of school collaborative efforts at diminishing variation and offering differentiated instruction. This research validates California’s support and emphasis on site collaboration, instructional leadership, and district support of those efforts to engage in continuous improvement.

Tucker explains: We know where the differences are in school performance.  They are between the rich schools and the schools serving the poor; between the majority majority schools and the majority minority schools.  They are between the schools that can afford to hire the best teachers and the schools that cannot.  They are between the leafy suburbs and the grim inner cities.  In other words, while we know that there are differences in performance within schools, the big differences in student performance, the ones that really count, are between schools.  That’s why parents are willing to spend a lot more to get their children into schools in the leafy suburbs.  That’s why our accountability systems are focused on giving schools letter grades and singling out the poor-performing schools for special attention.

But then there is the graphic in front of me from the OECD titled “Variation in Science Performance Between and Within Schools.”  It tells a very different story.  Out of 68 countries surveyed, between-school variation accounted for 30 percent of differences in student performance, while within-school variation averaged 69 percent.  Hmm.  Maybe what we know is not true.  Among these countries, the variation in science performance is more than twice as much within schools as it is between schools. (In the US it is 20% between schools and 80% within schools). http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/top_performers/2017/09/differences_in_performance_within_schools_why_so_much_greater_than_in_other_countries_1.html?r=1820139693 Also see the original charts http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/education/pisa-2015-results-volume-i/variation-in-science-performance-between-and-within-schools_9789264266490-graph81-en#.Wgo5wLpFxPZ

http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/education/pisa-2015-results-volume-i/variation-in-science-performance-between-and-within-schools_9789264266490-graph81-en#.Wgo5wLpFxPZ

American-style Taliban invasion of our public schools by religious extremists. https://tultican.com/2017/10/26/american-style-taliban-invading-public-education/

Ten major problems with Teach for America’s treatment of its teachers. https://cloakinginequity.com/2017/11/12/10-things-you-should-know-about-tfa-corps-member-realities/

A teacher’s defense of public education: the good, the deceptive, and the destructive. http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/teacher_in_a_strange_land/2017/11/talking_about_public_education_the_good_the_deceptive_and_the_destructive_1.html?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=teacherinastrangeland

Candidates who are speaking up for public education and against DeVos’s agenda are winning. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2017/11/19/the-devos-effect-on-the-november-elections/?utm_term=.433aa5694ab0

Peter Greene quotes another libertarian who misunderstands the public nature of our schools and argues that corporations should run public schools. https://curmudgucation.blogspot.com/2017/11/schools-should-belong-to-corporations.html

The problems with grading schools. http://curmudgucation.blogspot.com/2016/03/problems-with-school-ratings.html

The more weight value added test score measures are given in teacher evaluation the flimsier the results. http://vamboozled.com/the-more-weight-vams-carry-the-more-teacher-effects-will-appear-to-vary/ . Another finding by expert that VAMS are inherently biased. http://vamboozled.com/

Schools as a community institution played a major part in disaster relief, another example which contradicts DeVos’s insistence that education is an individual consumer good. http://educationopportunitynetwork.org/in-disasters-wake-public-schools-and-educators-defy-devoss-attacks-on-the-system/

 

Good Instruction

A strong liberal arts curriculum is the best (comparable to California’s standards and frameworks in ELA/ELD, Mathematics, Science, History/Social Science/Civics, Health, World Languages, Visual and Performing Arts, and Physical Education.) https://edexcellence.net/articles/the-lasting-value-of-a-classical-liberal-arts-education?utm_source=Fordham+Updates&utm_campaign=1b8f9f2f17-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_10_18&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_d9e8246adf-1b8f9f2f17-71491225&mc_cid=1b8f9f2f17&mc_eid=ebbe04a807

The Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE) has produced a report about the implementation of continuous improvement efforts in California. http://www.edpolicyinca.org/publications/continuous-improvement-in-practice

WestEd reports that based on a Rand survey study, California teachers are significantly more engaged in collaborative efforts to implement a high quality instructional program than their peers in other states. https://www.wested.org/resources/california-standards-implementation-what-educators-are-saying/ They found:

  • Increased site-based, collaborative professional learning and peer observation reported among California teachers
  • Higher levels of teacher involvement in key school decisions in California than in other states
  • Shifting approaches to standards-aligned materials among California teachers and leaders

 

Two prominent Americans, Robert Putnam (author of Bowling Alone and civic activist John Bridgeland published an op-ed supporting the revitalization of civic education.https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/america-needs-big-ideas-to-heal-our-divides-here-are-three

Dr. Putnam and Mr. Bridgeland state: “Another bold idea would be to engage philanthropy in a $1 billion annual campaign to restore American history and civic education to its rightful place in American schools. We need “problems of American democracy” courses that teach students about the importance of bedrock American values, educate them through real-world experience about institutions that secure rights, check power, and enable public service, and provide practical skills to turn the wheels of a diverse democracy to address public problems.”

Commenting on the article Ted McConnell of the Civic Mission of the Schools organization stated: Now is the time for all who advocate for more and better civic learning to re-double our efforts to ensure every single K-Higher Ed student in the nation receives the student centered, innovative civic and history learning, vital to the student’s attainment of civic knowledge and civic skills essential to informed and committed civic engagement.  For more examples please see our Facebook page www.facebook.com/civicmissionofschools) or Twitter feed: (https://twitter.com/CivicEdNow )

California initiates measures to revive civic education and engagement for students.https://edsource.org/2017/seal-on-diploma-will-be-badge-of-honor-for-civically-active-california-students/589598?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email

 

 

Sam Wineburg writing in the NYTimes about the inability of students to detect fake news. https://www.wsj.com/articles/most-students-dont-know-when-news-is-fake-stanford-study-finds-1479752576

Demystifying to help struggling students learn. https://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2017/11/20/5-strategies-to-demystify-the-learning-process-for-struggling-students/?utm_medium=Email&utm_source=ExactTarget&utm_campaign=20171126Mindshift&mc_key=00Qi000001WzO2NEAV Also see a column on how to study smarter. https://hechingerreport.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=66c306eebb323868c3ce353c1&id=83422df8d0&e=4701278295

Deans for Impact paper on the science of learning. https://deansforimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/The_Science_of_Learning.pdf

An insightful examination of the pros and cons of personalized learning. https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2017/11/08/the-cases-against-personalized-learning.html?cmp=eml-enl-cm-news1-rm&M=58280629&U=56558

In the same vein Education Week has produced a Special Report: Personalized Learning; Vision Vs Reality https://www.edweek.org/ew/collections/personalized-learning/index.html?cmp=eml-eb-sr-personalized-11082017&M=58266449

A reporter embeds in a public high-school and finds competence, love, and dedication. https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2017/10/18/558104287/a-year-of-love-and-struggle-in-a-new-high-school?utm_source=npr_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=20171022&utm_campaign=NPREd&utm_term=NPR_Ed

Over 200,000 kids writing samples were examined. Here are the areas that stumped many of them. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2017/10/24/the-work-of-213284-kids-was-analyzed-these-are-the-writing-and-critical-thinking-skills-that-stumped-too-many-students/?utm_term=.b0019d0cb894

Why fractions are so hard. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/talking-apes/201709/why-is-doing-arithmetic-fractions-so-difficult and https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fractions-where-it-all-goes-wrong/

 

 

A video from the Learning Policy Institute on the power of performance assessment in Oakland Unified school district. https://learningpolicyinstitute.org/product/power-performance-assessments-video?utm_source=LPI+Master+List&utm_campaign=2b710a15ec-LPIMC_OUSD_Video_2017_10_26&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_7e60dfa1d8-2b710a15ec-42289731

 

Technology and the Future

Marc Tucker describes a curriculum for a digital future which combines a strong liberal arts base with critical thinking and technology skills. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/top_performers/2017/11/educating_for_a_digital_future_thoughts_on_curriculum.html?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=top_performers

A balanced look at the problems and benefits of technology in the classroom by EducationNext. http://educationnext.org/new-research-answers-whether-technology-good-bad-learning/ The article starts with the following paragraph: In the most recent issue of Education Next, for example, Susan Payne Carter, Kyle Greenberg, and Michael S. Walker write about their research finding that allowing any computer usage in the classroom “reduces students’ average final-exam performance by roughly one-fifth of a standard deviation.” Other studies have shown similarly dismal numbers for student learning when technology is introduced in the classroom. But continues on to say that in some instances targeted use of technology for enhancement and personalized learning in specific areas mediated by a personal touch can be helpful.

KQED’s Mindshift warns of the misuse of technology in the classroom. https://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2017/11/06/its-time-for-a-deeper-conversation-about-how-schools-use-technology/

A caution by Kristina Rizga writing in Mother Jones about the potential negative influence on public schools by tech companies advocacy of “personalized learning”. Personalized learning is the latest trend to catch the eye of tech moguls—and Betsy DeVos. But does it work? asking But does it work?. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/11/inside-silicon-valleys-big-money-push-to-remake-american-education/#

John Merrow reviews a NY Times article by Singer and Ivory, How Silicon Valley Plans to Conquer the Classroom https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/03/technology/silicon-valley-baltimore-schools.html?_r=0 about how the Baltimore school district got snookered into squandering millions of dollars on technology while neglecting the district’s basic needs including payola and pay to play. https://themerrowreport.com/2017/11/07/greed-tech-schools-a-fiasco/

Another article, this one by Thomas Ultican, arguing technology in the classroom is highly problematical. https://tultican.com/2017/10/05/personalized-and-blended-learning-are-money-grabs/

The Curmudgucation blog warns of the AltSchool failures and shift to an off-the-shelf personalized learning product. https://curmudgucation.blogspot.com/2017/11/altschool-lowers-bar.html

But see a paper on the science underpinning the Summit Learning charter school network. https://blog.summitlearning.org/2017/08/science-of-summit-framework-research/

School and the Future of Work: Ten research papers you should read. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/DigitalEducation/2017/10/schools_future_of_work_research_roundup.html?cmp=eml-enl-dd-news2-rm&M=58240740&U=56558

Contrary to conventional wisdom, in many fields there are more science and technology graduates than there are jobs. STEM education is all the rage in the U.S. today, but we may be misleading students when it comes to which type of STEM jobs are in high demand and which are not. New data highlighted by Steve Lohr in the New York Times reveals that the number of students with STEM-related degrees is outpacing many of the job opportunities in STEM fields. For example, there were an estimated 169,000 engineering degrees (bachelor, master and Ph.D.) awarded in 2015-2106. But there are only 51,000 job openings projected per year. This gap holds true in other fields like life sciences and physical sciences. The one exception is computer science . . . where the number of jobs is equal to the number of computer science degrees.   https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/01/education/edlife/stem-jobs-industry-careers.html

Good jobs which don’t require a four year college degree. https://goodjobsdata.org and an article in EdSource entitled California Has Millions of Good-Paying Jobs for Workers Without a Bachelor’s Degree. https://edsource.org/2017/california-has-millions-of-good-paying-jobs-for-workers-without-a-bachelors-degree/590131?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email

California poll shows the public wishes schools to do more to educate the non-college bound. https://edsource.org/2017/poll-public-schools-must-do-more-to-prepare-non-college-going-students-for-the-workforce/588549?utm_source=newsletter

 

Team Building and Collaboration

Five benefits from collaboration. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/learning_deeply/2017/10/how_five_schools_rethought_time–and_improved_teaching_and_learning.html?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=learningdeeply

International study finds teacher collaboration pays off. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/learning_deeply/2017/11/what_does_an_international_assessment_tell_us_about_collaborative_problem_solving.html?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=learningdeeply

School leadership counts for improving instruction—five findings from a major recent report. http://info.newteachercenter.org/school-leadership-report-download?submissionGuid=2b36a471-85e9-4b17-ad91-ab2828006f64 Key findings:

  • Students perform better in schools with the highest levels of instructional and teacher leadership.
  • Specific elements of instructional leadership are strongly related to higher student achievement: (a) Fostering a shared vision for the school; (b) Providing an effective school improvement team; and (c) Holding teachers to high instructional standards.
  • When teachers are involved in decision-making processes related to school improvement planning and student conduct policies, students learn more.
  • Schools rarely implement the instructional and teacher leadership variables most strongly related to increased student achievement.
  • High-poverty schools often lack the instructional and teacher leadership elements that strongly relate to increased student achievement, limiting students’ potential.

 

Voucher and Charter School Tribulations

A major, new well-researched report on charter schools demonstrates major problems and negative consequences and recommends policy remediations. https://networkforpubliceducation.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/NPE-Report-Charters-and-Consequences.pdf

Michael Petrilli comments that some of the better charter schools are shifting from a narrow no-excuse concentration on reading and math and embracing a broader liberal arts curriculum. https://edexcellence.net/articles/high-performing-charter-networks-are-finally-embracing-well-rounded-curricula?utm_source=Fordham+Updates&utm_campaign=d4153a4a17-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_10_25&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_d9e8246adf-d4153a4a17-71491225&mc_cid=d4153a4a17&mc_eid=ebbe04a807

Julian Vasquez Heilig tells of the unfortunate history and segregation of charter schools. https://cloakinginequity.com/2017/11/29/the-unfortunate-history-and-segregation-of-charter-schools/

Former Ohio legislator explains how massive shifts to fund charter schools has hurt students in traditional public schools. http://10thperiod.blogspot.com/2017/11/how-kids-not-in-charters-are-hurt-by.html

Ohio charters have terrible college attendance and graduation rates far below regular public schools with harder to educate students https://10thperiod.blogspot.fr/2017/10/state-data-ohio-charter-school.html One of the more interesting — and telling — datasets now available with the state report card is how kids who graduate from Ohio’s schools perform after they graduate. For example, we now know the percentage of graduates who have a college degree within 6 years, as well as how many graduates have enrolled in college within 2 years of graduation.
Looking at these two metrics, it’s remarkable how bad charter school perform. Overall, Ohio school districts have 5 times the rate of students with college degrees that charters have. And Big 8 urban districts (Akron, Canton, Cincinnati. Columbus, Cleveland, Dayton, Toledo and Youngstown) have twice the rate.

Ohio charters widening achievement gap compared to traditional public schools. https://10thperiod.blogspot.com/2017/10/state-report-card-disadvantaged.html

Vouchers don’t improve student performance. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/charterschoice/2017/11/precious_little_evidence_vouchers_improve_academic_achievement_research_finds.html?cmp=eml-enl-eu-news2&M=58281281&U=56558

Diane Ravitch reports that for the fifth year in a row every Pennsylvania cyber-school fails to meet state standards. https://dianeravitch.net/2017/11/12/pa-cyber-performance/

Debunking the “New Orleans Miracle” The New Orleans Tribune finds fault with the much hyped “progress” in New Orleans charter schools. http://www.theneworleanstribune.com/main/faking-the-grade/

The performance of a school touted as a “miracle success story” found to be bogus. http://www.realcleareducation.com/2017/11/29/exposing_the_school_where_039every_senior_got_into_college039_45550.html?utm_source=RC+Education+Today&utm_campaign=eca7cbb1fe-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_11_29&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8a051b373b-eca7cbb1fe-83803513

The Poison Fruits of Lax Charter Accountability

Founder of a prominent charter school network in New Mexico found guilty of embezzling millions. http://krqe.com/2017/10/25/former-charter-school-administrator-pleads-guilty-to-embezzling-millions/

Charter school chief in Ohio busted for stealing $2.7 million from school lunch funds to support a lavish life style. http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/daily-southtown/news/ct-met-superintendent-fraud-underprivileged-students-20171114-story.html

Charter school principal in Delaware pleads guilty to misappropriating school funds. https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2017/11/21/ex-academy-of-dover-chief-noel-rodriguez-pleads-guilty-in-theft-of-145000/

The head of a small charter school in Texas paid himself a huge salary while neglecting teacher salaries and student resources. http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/education/article/Small-Houston-charter-school-pays-top-dollar-to-12332395.php

Diane Ravitch reports on Laura Chapman’s findings of lax oversight on charters in Ohio. https://dianeravitch.net/2017/10/28/laura-chapman-on-the-failure-of-charter-oversight-in-ohio/

The Orlando Sentinel spent months investigating the $1 Billion voucher-like scholarship program and found massive fraud with little oversight. http://www.orlandosentinel.com/features/education/os-schools-without-rules-story-gallery-storygallery.html

In another expose, the Sentinel blew the whistle on the Florida voucher program entitled School Vouchers Gone Wild: A serious problem exposed by serious journalism http://www.orlandosentinel.com/opinion/os-florida-school-vouchers-journalism-scott-maxwell-20171019-story.html

A virtual high-school in Indiana has one of the worst records in the US. One of Indiana’s largest high schools ended this past school year with almost 5,000 students, but no desks and no classrooms. The school also had very few graduates — 61 out of more than 900 seniors graduated last year. What Indiana Virtual School did have: Tens of millions in state dollars due to come its way over the next two years, and a founder whose for-profit company charged millions of dollars in management fees and rent to the school. https://www.chalkbeat.org/posts/in/2017/10/31/as-students-signed-up-online-school-hired-barely-any-teachers-but-founders-company-charged-it-millions/

In Chicago, the inspector general found that large numbers of teachers barred from Chicago Public Schools secured work at city charters. http://digitaledition.chicagotribune.com/infinity/article_popover_share.aspx?guid=a6f07c5d-79f0-4784-b8e9-28a5c7611556

 

Report finds that parents often make flawed choices in choosing schools because of lack of quality information vitiating one of the major rationales for choice. https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2017/10/can-parents-really-pick-the-best-schools-for-their-kids/543201/

The World Education Blog published an article raising substantial questions about choice in OECD countries titled Does School Choice Really Exist? https://gemreportunesco.wordpress.com/2017/11/03/does-school-choice-really-exist/#more-11111

Jeff Bryant penned a compelling take-down of a badly argued paper by the Center for American Progress which failed to make a progressive case for charter schools. http://educationopportunitynetwork.org/center-for-american-progresss-failed-progressive-case-for-charter-schools/

An article in the Cornell Law Review by Derek Black, Preferencing Educational Choice: the Contitutional Limits. https://poseidon01.ssrn.com/delivery.php?ID=629021065069066002017098071115030072004042024048051009122064088096090116110026113092123124006123042032124103110126115022104072119033078019018126022009019103093126090082048070099120103066116006084007087107116026067009105087123123094113073112065112001&EXT=pdf

 

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