Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Student speaks against testing and Common Core #whyIrefuse #morethanascore #FSA


Student speaks against testing and Common Core



Mar 9, 2015
Student speaks out against testing because of her experiences with high stakes standardized testing in Florida. Common Core was renamed Florida Standard Assessments or FSA. Prior to the FSA, Florida used the FCAT as their standardized testing.

An Index of My School Choice Posts So Far

An Index of My School Choice Posts So Far:

AN INDEX OF MY SCHOOL CHOICE POSTS SO FAR

An anti school-choice rally in February
An anti school-choice rally in 2014
There are many parents, teachers, administrators and board members who are fighting a very tough fight in Oklahoma and other states right now against a very corrupt idea misnamed “school choice”. 
For those of you who need ideas to talk about and links to use in comments and Facebook/Twitter/Google+/Reddit posts, here are my posts so far that are directly pointing at the problems with “school choice”:
How School Choice Turns “We” Into “Me”
–“School choice” turns the “we” of society into the “me” of taking care of my child at the expense of everyone else.
Teacher, You live in two worlds
–We teachers live in two worlds: One is of collaboration and democracy. The other is of contest and domination. We do well in the first, but not the second.
So you want evidence of choice and charter problems?
— Evidence of the potential problems with proposed charter laws in Oklahoma and several states is easy to find in states where the same laws have been tried.
Cynical school choice stunts ramp up in Oklahoma
— Public school districts in Oklahoma have used magnet schools for years to combat racial segregation. But that’s not what “school choice week” is about.
Does school choice mean that you choose the school?
— This is “School Choice Week”. Does that mean that parents chose the school? Sometimes. More often, it really means that the school makes the choice.
Bait and switch with parent choice?
— A sweeping charter bill was defeated last year in the Oklahoma Legislature. So charter proponents have shifted back to promoting “parent choice”.
Here comes the money
— With public schools in Oklahoma, the effort to move parents from the status of citizen to consumer has started in earnest. There’s big money behind it, too.
Education reformers engineer a teacher brain drain
— Even though experienced teachers as a group have a high degree of love for their students and their work, they are leaving education in large numbers. Why?
Education reform is not disruptive innovation
— Education reformers love to strike a heroic pose as they refer to themselves as engaging in “disruptive innovation”. But, that’s not what they are doing.
Investors resist idea of society as stakeholder in public education
— American society used to be quite clear that all taxpayers paid for public education because all benefited. Not any more. What has changed? Investors.
Charters don’t do it better or cheaper
— Investors’ big spin on their own charter corporations is that they do education better, and for cheaper than those bad public schools. But they do neither.
Investors ready to liquidate public schools
— Plans are under way for investment corporations to execute the biggest conversion – some call it theft – of public schools property in U.S. history.
 An Index of My School Choice Posts So Far:



National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) Group: 
1 in 5 charter schools not doing well enough to stay open
A group that oversees more than half of the nation's 5,600 charter schools said as many as 
one in five U.S. charter schools should be shut down because of poor academic performance. 
http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2019784379_charterschools29.html

RAHMWATCH: Water bills have doubled - Substance News ‪#‎Chuy2015‬ ‪#‎imwithchuy‬

RAHMWATCH: Water bills have doubled - Substance News:

RAHMWATCH: Since 2011, Rahm has doubled residential water (and sewer) bills. But that's not a 'tax increase', just one of those 'revenue enhancement' thingies Rahm's foisted on Chicago while scripting each chapter of 'Chicagoland'...


If you own a Chicago home, say in the "Bungalow Belt" (as I do), your water (and sewer) bill just came, and it's due next week. And if you've saved your paperwork (as we often do here in the "Bungalow Belt"), you will notice that since Rahm Emanuel was inaugurated as Mayor in May 2011, your water bill has doubled.
Yes, DOUBLED. So, to put it all in another context, while Chicago's mediagenic mayor was stuffing every corporate holiday stocking with gifts from our tax dollars (take your pick: the DePaul McCormick Place arena in one of my favorites, but far from the only one) he was picking our pockets, even for nickels and dimes.
This month, we have to pay a bill to CITY OF CHICAGO, DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE -- WATER BILLING in the amount of $563.83. That bill is due on St. Patrick's Day, March 17, 2015, although I doubt that our mayor will see the humor in all that part as he marches in one of the parades (if he dares by then show his face in public).
A mere four years ago, we were asked to pay a bill to CITY OF CHICAGO, DEPARTMENT OF WATER -- REVENUE DIVISION in the amount of $273.26. That bill was due on February 9, 2011, which was just after Chicago's voters elected Rahm Emanuel following that media blitz crafted by Rahm's video crew after he posed with all those black and brown people at the "L" stops and got the OK from Barack Obama in the mayor's race.
By my count, this year's $536.83 is more than double what we had to pay -- for the same water and sewer services -- when Richard M. Daley was still mayor. But, of course, Rahm hasn't "raised" taxes -- he's just been been ripping us off on just about everything else that working people pay in Chicago, while shoveling money out the door fast as he can to the kinds of people he worked with on Wall Street after talking to them for years about giving money for the elections of Richard M. Daley, or Bill Clinton, or Barack Obama -- and finally for Rahm himself. There are, RAHMWATCH: Water bills have doubled - Substance News:
 

Title I & ESEA Reauthorization | The Crucial Voice of the People

Title I & ESEA Reauthorization | The Crucial Voice of the People:



Title I & ESEA Reauthorization 



Does Congress and President Obama understand how Title I money was meant to be used? Looking at what they have proposed to date, it is a question in need of a good, clear answer.
A requirement in the original Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was that a presidentially appointed advisory council report yearly to the president. The National Advisory Council on the Education of Disadvantaged Children was to review the laws’ progress with the programs and projects Title I funding supports.
In turn, the president was to report the findings to our Congress along with comments and further recommendations.489596
To do this responsibly and hold our government “accountable,” we all need to understand Title I. Title I is the touchstone of ESEA.
The federal formula funding was distributed for assistance of “children of low-income families.” The directive was to address the needs of “educationally deprived children,”which the architects understood would include more than just the low-income children given that the schools where the most funds would flow were “inherently unequal.” Needs are going to vary from community to community but potentially all students in schools in low-income communities are at risk for being underserved.
Title I was to address the disadvantages CHILDREN face — economically, educationally, mentally, or physically “disadvantaged”— that were being ignored, or in some cases created, by state and local agencies.
The goal of ESEA was to provide equal access to quality education — that is how “equal opportunity” was defined.
To do so, we have to recognize the barriers “disadvantaged” students and their families face in our communities, schools, and classrooms and fully address those problems directly. Title I dollars flowed to meet the needs of CHILDREN from low-income Title I & ESEA Reauthorization | The Crucial Voice of the People:


A Call to Action featuring Diane Ravitch with Dr. Carol Burris


A Call to Action featuring Diane Ravitch @ LIU CW POST CAMPUS Tilles Center



Dr. Joseph Rella - Superintendent

Dr. Carol Burris - Principal

Beth Dimino - Teacher

Jeanette Deutermann - Parent

Moderated by Kevin Glynn

Sponsored by New York Principals.org and NYS Allies for Public Education



Fourth Generation Teacher: Hoosier School Heist Predicts Sooner School Stickup

Fourth Generation Teacher: Hoosier School Heist Predicts Sooner School Stickup:


Hoosier School Heist Predicts Sooner School Stickup


Thanks to the Oklahoma Observer for the cartoon. 

I was born in Indiana, started my career in Indiana. Most of my family of educators taught there. So, I was saddened to read Hoosier School Heist by Doug Martin, about the systematic destruction of public schools in Indiana. I learned about this book from Justin Oakely, an education activist who was teaching in the district I started teaching: Martinsville Public Schools. The illustrious John Wooden of UCLA fame also started his career in Martinsville.

Oklahoma and Indiana school systems were once ruled by Chiefs for Change, Jeb Bush’s cadre of school-choice proponents. Indiana was the first to show their Chief, the vilified Tony Bennett, the door. His opponent, Glenda Ritz, earned more votes than the governor or Mitt Romney. I was proud when our Chief came in dead last in the Republican primary. Despite these victories, reformers are clearly in charge.

Until I read this book, I didn’t know how bad it was in Indiana. How far down the path of privatized education my beloved home state has gone. I see this book as a cautionary tale for us in Oklahoma. We must pay attention.

Indiana’s charter laws are much more lenient than ours. For-profits, online schools, religious schools have all been welcomed with open arms and open palms accepting donations. Vouchers are equally wide open. Public schools have been stolen. And Martin traces the story, one Foundation, one player, one payoff, one school at a time.

Martin systematically uncovers the agenda of several big players: the pretend liberals, the “Free-market Jesus” religious interests, and the government-corporate complex. All coming from a different place ideologically, they converged in a perfect storm attack on public schools.

The Pretend-Liberal Saviors include KIPP, the no-excuse charter chain, and Annie E. Casey Foundation, which does great work for kids. But they also funnel funding to groups who want to privatize education, including Teach for America, Stand for Children, and Democrats For Education Reform. These groups, as well as Bill Gates, use the language of liberals to push an agenda that will kill public schools. Free-market charters and vouchers to private schools are their tools; profit their aim.

Martin traces the work of religious groups in Indiana. Starting with the John Birch Society, he discusses groups funded and supported by the power brokers: Excellence Through Choice in Education, supported by Dan Quayle (yes, Dan, P-O-T-A-T-O-E, Quayle), John Bennett, and the Friedman Foundation. Others include Excellence Education for Everyone and Institute for Fourth Generation Teacher: Hoosier School Heist Predicts Sooner School Stickup:

John White Now Chairs Jeb Bush’s Seriously Dwindling “Chiefs for Change” | deutsch29

John White Now Chairs Jeb Bush’s Seriously Dwindling “Chiefs for Change” | deutsch29:



John White Now Chairs Jeb Bush’s Seriously Dwindling “Chiefs for Change”






 Louisiana Superintendent John White has just been made chair of Jeb Bush’s privatizing-reform superintendent’s club, Chiefs for Change.

Now, that reads really fancy, until one notices that Jeb’s little club is, well, little.
As of March 10, 2015, it boasts only four members, down from 13 in October 2014.
Ouch.
Reminds me of dwindling PARCC– also once connected to Jeb Bush via his headquarter turf, the State of Florida.
But back to “failing” Chiefs for Change:
So, White is “leading” three other “chiefs”: Rhode Island’s Deborah Gist; Delaware’s Mark Murphy, and New Mexico’s Hannah Skandera.
It’s not just the few that is unimpressive here. It’s the who.
Let’s start with Gist:
Deborah Gist is on her way out as RI state super and will land in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where her new appointment sparked a teacher protest. Even though Arne Duncanput his federal nose in RI business by trying to have Gist reappointed as state super, the RI state board allowed the deadline to pass for Gist’s RI contract renewal.
And now, Skandera:
After four years of being allowed to operate as New Mexico’s commissioner of education without officially being confirmed, on February 16, 2015, Hanna Skandera was confirmed by a NM Senate committee vote of 22-19, and not without noted reservation:
Critics [of Skandera’s confirmation] , including Democratic lawmakers and teachers unions, blame Skandera for excessive testing, low teacher morale and a greater reliance on private educational firms — including the publishing and assessment giant Pearson Education — that has led to further privatization of public education in the state.
Democratic senators in opposition Monday argued that Skandera, who never worked as a teacher or principal, does not meet the criteria for the job set by the state constitution, which states that the secretary of the education department must be a “qualified experienced educator.”
Sen. Bill Soules, D-Las Cruces, told the assembly, “This appointment covers none of that.”
Other opponents, including Sen. Howie Morales, D-Silver City, questioned Skandera’s trustworthiness. He said Skandera recently misled the Senate Finance Committee when she said a day of pilot testing for the new Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, system was not mandatory for districts when a promotional flyer for the event made it clear that it was.
“Pearson blows her whistle, and she marches,” Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino, D-
John White Now Chairs Jeb Bush’s Seriously Dwindling “Chiefs for Change” | deutsch29:

CT Superintendent to go with unethical “sit and stare” policy for students opted out of Common Core Test - Wait What?

CT Superintendent to go with unethical “sit and stare” policy for students opted out of Common Core Test - Wait What?:



CT Superintendent to go with unethical “sit and stare” policy for students opted out of Common Core Test








 Since unethical government policies lead to unethical actions, it was only a matter of time before some education official turned the whole Common Core SBAC testing farce into something even more reprehensible.

Enter West Haven Connecticut School Superintendent Neil Cavallero who earns an “F” for his proposed policy on handling children whose parents have opted them out of the Common Core SBAC testing.
As the saying goes, the story pretty much says it all when it comes to the state of public education in Connecticut.
As readers of this blog know, Connecticut Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy and his State Department of Education continue to claim that federal and state laws prohibit parents from opting their children out of the unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) testing scheme.
Just last week, Malloy’s Interim Commissioner of Education, Dianna R. Wentzell, issued a directive to all local school superintendents informing them that the Common Core SBAC testing program was mandatory and that, “These laws do not provide a provision for parent’s to ‘opt-out’  their children from the taking these tests.”
However, with more and more serious questions being raised about the validity and appropriateness of the Common Core SBAC tests, record numbers of Connecticut parents and guardians are informing their local school districts that their children WILL NOT be participating in the destructive Common Core SBAC tests.
Some towns are reporting that the number of parents opting their students out of the Common Core testing is three times higher than last year when students were told they were taking the SBAC test of a test.
Connecticut parents know, or are coming to realize, that no edict from a government official can take away their inalienable and constitutionally guaranteed right to protect their children  when it comes to deciding whether their public school student will or will not be taking the Common Core SBAC tests.
In addition, there is absolutely no federal or state law, regulation or policy that allows the government or school district to punish the child (or the parent) should the parent decide to refuse to allow their child to participate in the SBAC testing.
Unlike the state’s truancy laws that do hold children and parents liable for failing to go to school, there is simply no mechanism for the state or school district to require students to take the Common Core SBAC test.
That said the Malloy administration’s untenable position that opting out is “against” the law has put local school superintendents into an extremely difficult position.
Do school superintendents follow orders from above and turn their backs on the parents CT Superintendent to go with unethical “sit and stare” policy for students opted out of Common Core Test - Wait What?:

Ohio’s First Public School Hundred-Millionaire: ECOT Founder William Lager

Ohio’s First Public School Hundred-Millionaire: ECOT Founder William Lager:



Ohio’s First Public School Hundred-Millionaire: ECOT Founder William Lager






The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) is the largest charter school in the state of Ohio.  The online school is easily the largest charter school in Ohio, is larger than the vast majority of Ohio’s traditional school districts, and received over $88 million in state funding last school year.  This year that amount is expected to jump to over $92 million.
On the latest report cards released by the Ohio Department of Education, ECOT continues to rank below all of the 8 large urban schools that are often-criticized by legislators and in the media for their “sub-par” performance.
For graduation rate, a key indicator for the long-term success of a school/district, ECOT’s 4-year graduation rate is a paltry 35.3%, while their 5-year graduation rate of 37.8%, which is only slightly higher, was still over 25 points worse than the lowest urban school district, Cleveland, which checked in at 63.3%.  While we now see the legislature writing laws to specifically regulate Cleveland and Columbus more tightly, the charter school laws that apply to ECOT continue to be more lax.
And while the data on performance for this school of 13,836 students (11th largest “district” in the Ohio) is bad enough, the financial games played by the school’s owner/operator are even worse.  We wrote a comprehensive piece about ECOT back in 2011, but since then the school has continued to grow and continued to siphon ever larger sums of money away from higher-performing schools.
On December 8, our post, Ohio’s Largest Taxpayer-Funded Charter School, ECOT, Receives Bonus Check, described how the school was up for approval of an additional $2.9 million dollar bonus from Governor Kasich’s Straight A Fund.
On December 10, we posted a follow-up, ECOT Founder Living VERY Well Off Ohio’s School Funding Dollars, where we went into greater detail about the financial games being played and won by ECOT’s Founder, William Lager.
Today, we have another update to the political donations and financial windfall experienced by Lager.
First, Lager’s history of political donations (to Ohio’s legislators, of course) goes back further than we first posted, and his 2013 donations have increased.  The new numbers, according to the Ohio Secretary of State’s Campaign Finance website:
lager_donations
Over the last four years, Lager’s average annual donation amount is $180,177.62.  For some perspective, the Toledo Public School District recently hired a new superintendent to a five-year contract.  Toledo has better performance numbers than ECOT and serves nearly twice as many students, and the new superintendent will make an annual salary of $175,000 — $5,000 LESS than Lager donates on an annual basis!!!
How can Lager afford to donate so much?  It’s because of the sweet deals he gets as the owner of the private companies that have a monopoly on the services that his charter school, ECOT, contracts for management and delivery of curriculum.  Shortly after our December 10 post, the Ohio Auditor of State released the 2013 audit of ECOT, so we’ve updated our numbers from that post.  Here is the money that goes directly from the state of Ohio to Lager’s private companies after being funneled through ECOT:
lager_companies
In addition, the State Controlling Board approved that “bonus” of $2,951,755 to ECOT, of which Lager’s private company, IQ Innovations, will receive $2,725,250.
Why did the Controlling Board unanimously approve this additional funding Ohio’s First Public School Hundred-Millionaire: ECOT Founder William Lager:
Big Education Ape: Charter spent $2.27M on advertising | The Columbus Dispatch http://bit.ly/1ETD7mt
Big Education Ape: Report Slams Virtual Charter Schools That Graduate Just 36% Of Students - BuzzFeed News http://bit.ly/1AVX7nl

The Ghost of Derrick Bell: Racial Realism and the Myth of a Colorblind America by Dr Lori Martin

With A Brooklyn Accent: The Ghost of Derrick Bell: Racial Realism and the Myth of a Colorblind America by Dr Lori Martin:

The Ghost of Derrick Bell: Racial Realism and the Myth of a Colorblind America by Dr Lori Martin



Thousands made the historic voyage to Selma, Alabama over the weekend to commemorate Bloody Sunday.  Fifty years ago brave men, women, boys, and girls sacrificed their bodies to move the nation closer to realizing the values upon which the country was founded.  While the signs directing people to race-specific neighborhoods, schools, bathrooms, and the like, are long gone the structures that differentiate access to valued resources such as, wealth, status, and power are still very much in place.

President Obama spoke of racial progress but also acknowledged that racism is alive and well in America.  At the foot of a bridge, named after a confederate solider and member of the Ku Klux Klan, President Obama made note of the recent report from Department of Justice on the Ferguson Police Department, which highlighted a pattern of unequal treatment directed towards people of color and included emails containing disparaging remarks about blacks including, President Obama and the First Lady.

The report is just one manifestation of contemporary racism in America.  The video that surfaced of a fraternity formerly of Oklahoma University, where members used a racial slur and made mention of the practice of lynching, is another.  The killings of unarmed black men including, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, and Michael Brown are also manifestations of racism in the 21st century, using all too familiar tactics.  The very attack on the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was passed due in large part to the brutality of Bloody Sunday, is even further evidence that racism is a live and well.

With chants of “Black Lives Matter” and continued assaults on the basic civil and human rights of communities of color it is hard, if not disingenuous, to make the case that the dominant racial narrative is one best characterized by progress. If we are to use the term progress to describe changes in race relations over time, then we should draw from the writings of the late Derrick Bell.

In a 1992 article in Connecticut Law Review, Bell described a hard truth that will save this and future generations feelings of helplessness, powerlessness, and disappointment.  Bell defined “peaks of progress, short-lived victories that slide into irrelevance as racial patterns adapt in ways that maintain white dominance.” The integration of modern-day baseball and the persistence in racial inequality in sports; the Brown v. Board of Education case and continuing school segregation; and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and restrictive voter identification laws; all support Bell’s claim.

While controversial and unpopular with contemporary change makers, the racial realism that Bell spoke of “is simply a hard-eyed view of racism as it is.” The ghost of Derrick Bell, a legal scholar and civil rights activist, criesWith A Brooklyn Accent: The Ghost of Derrick Bell: Racial Realism and the Myth of a Colorblind America by Dr Lori Martin:

No Rich Child Left Behind - NYTimes.com

No Rich Child Left Behind - NYTimes.com:

No Rich Child Left Behind 


 Here’s a fact that may not surprise you: the children of the rich perform better in school, on average, than children from middle-class or poor families. Students growing up in richer families have better grades and higher standardized test scores, on average, than poorer students; they also have higher rates of participation in extracurricular activities and school leadership positions, higher graduation rates and higher rates of college enrollment and completion.

Whether you think it deeply unjust, lamentable but inevitable, or obvious and unproblematic, this is hardly news. It is true in most societies and has been true in the United States for at least as long as we have thought to ask the question and had sufficient data to verify the answer.
What is news is that in the United States over the last few decades these differences in educational success between high- and lower-income students have grown substantially.
One way to see this is to look at the scores of rich and poor students on standardized math and reading tests over the last 50 years. When I did this using information from a dozen large national studies conducted between 1960 and 2010, I found that the rich-poor gap in test scores is about 40 percent larger now than it was 30 years ago.
To make this trend concrete, consider two children, one from a family with income of $165,000 and one from a family with income of $15,000. These incomes are at the 90th and 10th percentiles of the income distribution nationally, meaning that 10 percent of children today grow up in families with incomes below $15,000 and 10 percent grow up in families with incomes above $165,000.
In the 1980s, on an 800-point SAT-type test scale, the average difference in test scores between two such children would have been about 90 points; today it is 125 points. This is almost twice as large as the 70-point test score gap between white and black children. Family income is now a better predictor of children’s success in school than race.
The same pattern is evident in other, more tangible, measures of educational success, like college completion. In a study similar to mine, Martha J. Bailey and Susan M. Dynarski, economists at the University of Michigan, found that the proportion of students from upper-income families who earn a bachelor’s degree has increased by 18 percentage points over a 20-year period, while the completion rate of poor students has grown by only 4 points.
In a more recent study, my graduate students and I found that 15 percent of high-income students from the high school class of 2004 enrolled in a highly selective college or university, while fewer than 5 percent of middle-income and 2 percent of low-income students did.
These widening disparities are not confined to academic outcomes: new research by the Harvard political scientist Robert D. Putnam and his colleagues shows that the rich-poor gaps in student participation in sports, extracurricular activities, volunteer work and church attendance have grown sharply as well.
In San Francisco this week, more than 14,000 educators and education scholars have gathered for the annual meeting of theAmerican Educational Research Association. The theme this year is No Rich Child Left Behind - NYTimes.com:

Charter Schools - Dividing Communities since 1991

Broward School Board says state needs to fix charter school mess, rejects $3.3 million grant - Sun Sentinel

Broward School Board says state needs to fix charter school mess, rejects $3.3 million grant - Sun Sentinel:

Broward rejects $3 million grant to lure charter schools




The Broward School Board overwhelmingly rejected a $3.3 million state grant on Tuesday to recruit successful charter-school companies to save their failing counterparts in the district.

Board members insisted it was the state's responsibility to tighten the charter school laws that allowed floundering schools to open in the first place and continue to operate.

"I am not in the business of going and cleaning up low-performing charter schools that take our money, that purchase things they shouldn't be purchasing," said board member Robin Bartleman. "The state needs to clean up the mess they created by not regulating them."

Charter schools receive public dollars but are run by independent governing boards.

But districts say charter school laws are too lenient, making them easy to open and difficult to shutter if they fail. A dozen charter schools in Broward are on two-year improvement plans because they earned D or F grades; 21 others have closed since 2012.

"The whole idea behind charter schools is that they can do it better than us," said board member Laurie Rich Levinson, who also opposed the grant. She said 37 percent of charter schools had C, D or F grades. "It's not our job to match up management companies with low performing schools and turn those schools around."

Superintendent Robert Runcie said the grant was an opportunity for the district to change the dynamic of when and where charter schools open. State law mandates local school districts to approve or deny new charter schools solely on applications that outline their plans in areas including instruction, mission and budget.

"Right now they just really show up anywhere. There isn't the type of relationship there needs to be with the community and district," he said.

Under the grant, the district would request proposals from applicants and conduct a rigorous review to include past performance. Approved management companies would partner with interested low-performing schools.

"To me this makes sense, to help those schools now while we wait to see other things that trickle down from Legislature," said board member Donna Korn. "I don't see them Broward School Board says state needs to fix charter school mess, rejects $3.3 million grant - Sun Sentinel:

lRelatedDistricts seek state reforms on testing, charter schools

PALM BEACH COUNTY NEWS
Districts seek state reforms on testing, charter schools

The Numbers Add Up To This: Less And Less Opportunity For Poor Kids : NPR

The Numbers Add Up To This: Less And Less Opportunity For Poor Kids : NPR:

The Numbers Add Up To This: Less And Less Opportunity For Poor Kids




In this country, all children are supposed to have a shot at success — a chance to jump "from rags to riches" in one generation.
Even if riches remain out of reach, then the belief has been that every hard-working American should be able to go from poverty to the middle class.
On Tuesday, a book and a separate study are being released — both turning up evidence that the one-generation leap is getting harder to accomplish in an economy so tied to education, technological know-how and networking.
Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam's new book,Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis, argues that the United States is losing its status as a land of opportunity for all.
Here's the central idea: In the American Dream, upward mobility is available to all, limited only by ability and effort, not class. But Putnam assembles data to show that an "opportunity gap" has emerged here, making an upward climb much tougher in the 21st century, compared with the mid-20th century.
Putnam says a child born to married, college-educated parents has a very good chance of enjoying a comfortable life, rooted in formal education and personal connections; a child raised by a lightly educated single parent is starting the economic race wearing concrete shoes. The chances of catching up to the middle class are slim.
A separate study published Tuesday by the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire uses state-by-state data to underscore the problems. A look through the state slides shows a shifting landscape of opportunities for young people.
The study, which used data stretching back to 1960, shows that the most affluent 20 percent of families have seen their incomes (adjusted for inflation) rise steadily at a high pitch. People who were doing well in the 1960s have watched their children and now grandchildren move up in wealth.
From 1960 to 1970, income was moving up for the poor and middle-income earners as The Numbers Add Up To This: Less And Less Opportunity For Poor Kids : NPR:

For NC charter schools, a spotty record on fulfilling promises | News & Observer News & Observer

For NC charter schools, a spotty record on fulfilling promises | News & Observer News & Observer:



For NC charter schools, a spotty record on fulfilling promises






 North Carolina’s charter schools are accountable to the State Board of Education for ensuring compliance with the provisions of their charters and applicable laws. But how well are they delivering on the promises that earned them the right to spend more than $380 million taxpayer dollars each year?

Our analysis shows many charters are not making the grade.
We reviewed the charter applications of all 100 charter schools operating in North Carolina during the 2010-2011 school year, just before the General Assembly removed the cap of 100 schools. (There are now 147 charter schools). Using information on school websites, in parent handbooks and in some cases telephone calls, we compared schools’ performance during that year to the commitments they made in their initial charter applications.
On average, these pioneering schools promised in their applications to maintain an 18:1 ratio of students to teachers. By 2011, the average was closer to 22:1. Likewise, charter applicants predicted 80 percent of their students would achieve proficiency on standardized tests. In reality, 71 percent did.
Most distressing are the findings related to the provision of transportation and lunch services, given that serving “at-risk” and low-income students was an initial goal of the state’s charter school enabling legislation.

Although charter schools are not legally required to provide transportation to their students, 64 of the initial 100 charter schools in North Carolina pledged to do so in their charter applications. Yet only 33 were doing so in 2011.
Likewise, 62 of the original charters promised to provide lunch to their students even though they had no legal obligation to do so. In fact, only 43 of them were doing so.
These services are essential for any school hoping to attract substantial numbers of minority and low-income students. Largely because so many charter schools do not offer transportation and lunch, as a group they have increased racial and socio-economic segregation in North Carolina’sFor NC charter schools, a spotty record on fulfilling promises | News & Observer News & Observer:

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/op-ed/article13130276.html#storylink=cpy

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