10/8/2013 – Real Education Reform Emerges

10/8/2013 – Real Education Reform Emerges

Jeff Bryant No Comment
EON Newsletters
THIS WEEK: School Funding Crisis … Schoolchildren Need Glasses … Fewer, Better Tests … Rip-off Legacy of NCLB … Parents Sue For School Funds

TOP STORY

A Force For Real Education Reform Emerges

By Jeff Bryant

“As the country pivots from the failures of NCLB, what’s needed is … a new course for real education reform … At a hotel in downtown Los Angeles last week, hundreds of activists and organizers gathered to voice a common commitment to public education and to plan specific courses of action to disrupt what most in the audience described as a ‘corporate model of school reform’ … Central to the meeting was a document proclaiming ‘The Principles That Unite Us’ … As grassroots rebellions to top down education mandates continue to flare more frequently across the map into a full scale Education Spring, those involved in school and community organizing now have a movement with considerable resources and a broad coalition behind them.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

Recession Continues For Classrooms As School Funding Lags

Bloomberg

“Oklahoma is one of 34 states spending less per pupil in kindergarten through 12th grade this year than six years ago … Facing declining revenue in the longest recession since the 1930s … school spending took a hit. U.S. school districts have cut 324,000 jobs since 2008 … While cutting education … Across the country, many schools are doing more with less – or just doing less. Arizona ended its support for all-day kindergarten in 2010 … In high schools, many advanced placement classes and electives have disappeared. Some classes have swelled to more than 40 students.”
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Crisis In California’s Schools: 250,000 Schoolchildren Need Glasses

The Los Angeles Times

“More than a quarter of a million children, most of them from poor and minority backgrounds, lack the technology they need to succeed in school. But what they need has nothing to do with mobile devices or educational apps. It’s a technology nearly 800 years old: eyeglasses … About 95% of the public school students who need glasses enter school without them. These students are likely to fall behind and to frustrate their teachers and parents … Instead of forcing families to go to where the glasses are – the eye clinic … bring the glasses to where the kids are: the schools … Across the country, more than a million children are struggling in school because they don’t have glasses.”
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Fewer, Better Tests Can Boost Student Achievement

Education Week

“Americans are addicted to multiple-choice, computer-scored tests, mainly because they are cheap and easy to score. However, these tests drive a rote curriculum that will not produce the skills students need to get and keep good jobs in the 21st century … Although the new Common Core State Standards outline ambitious skills, states worried about the costs of grade-by-grade testing are putting pressure on the state consortia developing new tests … By continuing these accountability requirements … for annual high-stakes testing that effectively force states to use cheap tests, Congress will virtually guarantee that our teachers have strong incentives to teach a curriculum that leaves out the complex skills and knowledge … There is a simple fix … Congress should require that states ensure external testing for a single grade at each of three school levels.”
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Largely Unchecked, Tutors Got Millions Through Program

The Texas Tribune

“A lesser-known No Child Left Behind program … set aside millions in federal funding to provide remedial help for struggling students from low-income families … A provision in the federal education law requires low performing schools to set aside 20% of the federal funding they receive for economically disadvantaged students to pay for ‘supplemental education services,’ or tutoring, in middle and high school. In the last six years, Texas school districts have spent $180 million on such services, primarily from private providers … School administrators as early as 2009 began reporting claims of falsified invoices, overly aggressive student recruitment, and questionable instructional methods … The Texas Education Agency finally moved to bar some of the most egregious offenders … School districts were given little control over which companies the parents selected – the companies only had to be on the state list.”
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Lawsuit Aims To Increase Education Funding

The Miami Herald

“A group of determined parents … say the state’s public schools are unsafe, underfunded, inefficient and ineffective … Their lawsuit, alleging that Florida lawmakers are shortchanging schoolchildren, is now moving forward. If successful, they could force the Florida Legislature to overhaul the state’s education system … In 1998, voters approved a Constitutional amendment designating education ‘a paramount duty of the state, and requiring state officials to provide ‘a uniform, efficient, safe, secure, and high quality system of free public schools’ … Florida’s updated education clause is considered among the strongest in the country … Since the lawsuit was filed in 2009, the state has twice tried to have it dismissed. But Judges are allowing it to move forward in circuit court.”
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