8/13/2013 – Failing To The Top

8/13/2013 – Failing To The Top

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EON Newsletters
THIS WEEK: Jeb Bush Loses … Schools As Hedge Funds … Philly Schools Consider Suing Banks … More Tax Dollars For Private Schools … New Studies Reject Market-Based Education


Failing To The Top

By Jeff Bryant

“Earlier this year, students in New York state public schools took statewide exams aligned to the celebrated Common Core State Standards … So many of the students failed … because teachers weren’t prepared to teach students what students needed to know to pass the tests … Also in New York, students confronting these tests were facing severely stringent passing rates that heretofore had never applied to high-stakes testing anywhere … There’s little doubt that the students were set up to fail … So now we know our schools and our students are ‘failures.’ It’s ‘proven.’ But whether you buy the failure message or not, what’s certainly proven is that there’s no political will to take collective action to do something about it.”
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Jeb Bush’s Education Legacy Loses Luster


“Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has built his political career on a relentless drive to improve public schools … In a startling turnabout, an education record that has looked to be an unvarnished plus for Bush may now be a liability … Bush has taken considerable heat … for his support of the Common Core … Bush also drew fire … for standing by his friend Tony Bennett, the former schools superintendent in Indiana, after emails obtained by The Associated Press showed Bennett scrambling to give a charter school run by a major Republican donor an A rating … In Florida, meanwhile, six Republican lawmakers rebuffed intense lobbying by Bush two years in a row to join Democrats in shooting down yet another proposed accountability system, … ‘People are fed up,’ said Rita Solnet, a Florida mother.”
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Hedge Ur Bets


Popular blogger EduShyster has a guest post from a “Wall Street trader” who says “Charter school proponents have been all atwitter since CREDO released an update to its landmark 2009 study comparing performance to their public schools competition … Charter schools improved ‘in part’ by the simple expedient of removing 8% largely terrible charter schools from the comparison … Hedge fund indices routinely appear to outperform simple, non-fee generating investment strategies like index funds by neglecting to include funds that closed down, and take funds out of the index whenever they stop reporting performance … The parallels to the emerging charter school paradigm are obvious. You start a lot of charters. Some do better than public schools, some do worse, but overall they underperform. You shut down the bad ones. Now repeat the analysis with the non-terrible ones. Improvement! Except that the students unfortunate enough to attend these terrible school don’t just disappear.”
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Philly Schools Consider Suing Wall Street Banks For Fraud-Induced Losses

Philadelphia Citypaper

“The School District of Philadelphia is considering filing suit against Wall Street banks … for illegally manipulating a major interest-rate index underpinning complex derivatives that have cost cities and schools billions of dollars … Philadelphia and other cities have filed similar lawsuits, contending that such “interest-rate swaps” – billed as a protection against rising borrowing costs – were tilted in banks’ favor … A successful lawsuit, however, could provide sorely needed revenue to Philadelphia schools, which are experiencing the most recent and severe of recurrent fiscal crises. Budget cuts orchestrated by Gov. Tom Corbett have exacerbated historic underfunding, while rampant charter-school growth has siphoned money and students.”
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Tax Dollars For Private School Tuition Gain In States

The Huffington Post

“Thirteen states created or expanded tuition tax credits, private school scholarships or traditional vouchers in 2013 … 8 states did so in 2012 and 7 states in 2011 … Some have created tax credits for parents who pay private school tuition. Others are giving tax credits to those who donate to private scholarship funds that dole out money to families who need help paying for private school … No matter the approach, the effect is the same, according to Josh Cunningham, an education policy analyst at National Council of State Legislatures. ‘The state is saying we’re going to forgo tax revenue for the purpose of encouraging students to transfer from the public school system into the private schools’ … 23 states and the District of Columbia now have some kind of program to support private education with state dollars.”
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New Studies Reject Market-Based Education

The Age

A new report issued in Australia contends, “Policies being promoted by state and federal governments have cost millions of dollars with little gain in student or teacher learning. They include plans for greater school autonomy, giving parents more choice, and test-based accountability – none of which improve student outcomes … Too many of Australia’s education policies are devoted to matters that ultimately have little impact on student learning, the paper says. Market-based notions of choice, competition, accountability and standardization have been tried unsuccessfully by other Western countries … The paper says the top-down, compliance-driven approach to education policy adopted by Australian governments is at odds with how the world’s top-performing education systems are managed: ‘These systems do not hold educators accountable using administrative, standardized mechanisms but rather work in partnership with educators who are held in high esteem and regarded as expert professionals.'”
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