1/28/2014 – What’s Wrong With School Choice

1/28/2014 – What’s Wrong With School Choice

Jeff Bryant No Comment
EON Newsletters
THIS WEEK: Subprime Learning … Childhood Poverty At Record Levels … Public Schools Teaching Creationism … Will SOTU Address Opportunity Gap? … Liberal Arts Beats Other Degrees

TOP STORY

What Could Be Wrong With ‘School Choice’?

By Jeff Bryant

“This week brought us ‘National School Choice Week’ with its recurring theme that ‘parents should be empowered to choose the best educational environments for their children’ … Republicans and free market enthusiasts of all kinds are going to continue to press for anything under the umbrella of ‘school choice.’ But civil rights advocates – whether Democratic or not – need to ask, if school choice is about ’empowering parents,’ who is doing the ’empowering’ and what they are doing it for?”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

Subprime Learning

New America Foundation

A new report shows, “In the wake of a financial crash triggered by subprime lending, too many children in America have been experiencing subprime learning … Millions of children still lack access to quality programs, the K–3 grades have received little attention, and achievement gaps in reading and math have widened between family income levels … Congress helped President Obama make good on his $10-billion pledge, but most of it came from the fiscal stimulus bill of 2009. After that one-time infusion of extra spending, the federal government has barely managed to maintain its baseline investment year after year.”
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Children’s Defense Fund Releases New Report Showing Children Of Color Are Majority Of Infants And Toddlers

Examiner

“The Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) released its annual The State of America’s Children report … the data shows childhood poverty has reached record levels in America. One in five children in the country is poor, living in a household at, or below, the Federal Poverty Level … While the U.S. ranks first in Gross Domestic Product and leads the world in its number of billionaires, it is the second worst country when it comes to child poverty rates … The number of homeless children has increased 73% since 2007 … one in nine children lacked access to adequate food … Childhood poverty costs the nation $500 billion in extra education, health care, criminal justice and lost productivity costs … On average, states spend 2.5 times as much per prisoner than per student in public schools. The amount spent per minute on corporate tax breaks would fund the salaries of 16 childcare workers. The cost of one F-35 fighter jet would pay for one year of Head Start for more than 17,500 low-income children.”
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Map: Publicly Funded Schools That Teach Creationism

Slate

“A large, publicly funded charter school system in Texas is teaching creationism … Recent laws in Louisiana and Tennessee permit public school teachers to teach ‘alternatives’ to evolution … In Florida, Indiana, Ohio, Arizona, Washington, D.C., and elsewhere, taxpayer money is funding creationist private schools through state tuition voucher or scholarship programs … Creationism in schools isn’t restricted to schoolhouses in remote villages where the separation of church and state is considered less sacred. If you live in any of these states, there’s a good chance your tax money is helping to convince some hapless students that evolution … is some sort of highly contested scientific hypothesis.”
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Poverty And The Education Opportunity Gap: Will Obama Step Up In SOTU?

The Washington Post

Kevin Welner, co-director of the National Education Policy Center writes at the blogsite of Valerie Strauss, “Tuesday’s State of the Union address will apparently focus on issues of wealth inequality in the United States … President Obama, I fear, may continue to push for more test-based accountability policies … The Republican response, I fear, will hold out the related false hope of vouchers … These nonsensical policies come with an astronomical economic cost and cost to our democracy … The way to reduce wealth inequality is to do just that: reduce wealth inequality. Our public schools can help, but they cannot do it alone.”
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Liberal Arts Grads Win Long-Term

Inside Higher Ed

“Liberal arts majors may start off slower than others when it comes to the postgraduate career path, but they close much of the salary and unemployment gap over time … By their mid-50s, liberal arts majors with an advanced or undergraduate degree are on average making more money [than] those who studied in professional and pre-professional fields, and are employed at similar rates … One area where humanities and social sciences majors have everyone beat: meeting employers’ desires and expectations. Employers consistently say they want to hire people who have a broad knowledge base and can work together to solve problems, debate, communicate and think critically, the report notes – all skills that liberal arts programs aggressively, and perhaps uniquely, strive to teach.”
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