Friday, April 29, 2016

Exposed by CMD: KIPP's Efforts to Keep the Public in the Dark while Seeking Millions in Taxpayer Subsidies | PR Watch

Exposed by CMD: KIPP's Efforts to Keep the Public in the Dark while Seeking Millions in Taxpayer Subsidies | PR Watch:

Exposed by CMD: KIPP's Efforts to Keep the Public in the Dark while Seeking Millions in Taxpayer Subsidies 

By Lisa Graves and Dustin Beilke
Charter schools are big business, even when they are run by "non-profits" that pay no taxes on the revenue they receive from public taxes or other sources.
Take KIPP, which describes itself as a "national network of public schools."
KIPP (an acronym for the phrase "knowledge is power program") operates like a franchise with the KIPP Foundation as the franchisor and the individual charters as franchisees that are all separate non-profits that describe themselves as "public schools."
But how public are KIPP public schools?
Not as public as real or traditional public schools.
New documents discovered on the U.S. Department of Education's website reveal that KIPP has claimed that information about its revenues and other significant matters is "proprietary" and should be redacted from materials it provides to that agency to justify the expenditure of federal tax dollars, before its application is made publicly available.
So what does a so-called public school like KIPP want to keep the public from knowing?

1. Graduation and College Matriculation Rates

KIPP touts itself as particularly successful at preparing students to succeed in school and college.
Yet, it insisted that the U.S. Department of Education keep secret from the public the statistics about the percentage of its eighth graders who completed high school, entered college, and/or who completed a two-year or four-year degree.
A few years ago, professor Gary Miron and his colleagues Jessica Urschel and Nicholas Saxton, found that "KIPP charter middle schools enroll a significantly higher proportion of African-American students than the local school districts they draw from but 40 percent of the black males they enroll leave between grades 6 and 8," as reported by Mary Ann Zehr in Ed Week.
Zehr noted: "'The dropout rate for African-American males is really shocking,' said Gary J. Miron, a professor of evaluation, measurement, and research" at Western Michigan University, who conducted the national study.
Miron's analysis was attacked by KIPP and its allies, who said KIPP's success was not due to the attrition of lower performing students who leave the school or move to other districts. One of its defenders was Mathematica Policy Research, whose subsequent study was used to try to rebut Miron's analysis. (That name will be important momentarily.)
The Department of Education has been provided with the data about what percentage of KIPP students graduate from high school and go on to college, but it is helping KIPP keep that secret—despite the public tax dollars going to these schools and despite KIPP's claim to be operating what are public schools.
Real public schools would never be allowed to claim that high school graduation rates or college matriculation rates are "proprietary" or "privileged" or "confidential."
Why does the Education Department's Charter School Program "Office of Innovation and Improvement" defer to KIPP's demand to keep that information secret from the public?
Meanwhile, the KIPP Foundation regularly spends nearly a half million dollars a year ($467,594 at last count) on advertising to convince the public how great its public charters are using figures it selects to promote. No public school district in the nation has that kind of money to drop on ads promoting its successes.

2. Projected Uses of Federal Taxpayer Dollars (and Disney World?)

Even as KIPP was seeking more than $22 million from the federal government to expand its charter school network, it insisted that the U.S. Department of Education redact from its application a chart about how much money would be spent on personnel, facilities, transportation, and "other uses" under the proposed grant. KIPP also sought to redact the amount of private funding it was projecting.
The agency's compliant Office of Innovation and Improvement obliged KIPP.
However, after the grant was approved, KIPP did have to comply with IRS regulations to file a report on its revenues
- See more at: http://www.prwatch.org/news/2016/04/13096/exposed-cmd-kipps-efforts-keep-public-dark-while-seeking-millions-taxpayer#sthash.E4vC0EFc.dpuf



What parents want to hear from the candidates about K-12 education | Parents Across America

What parents want to hear from the candidates about K-12 education | Parents Across America:
What parents want to hear from the candidates about K-12 education


Parents Across America agrees with recent posts (in Blooomberg Views here and the Nation here for example) that the lack of attention to K-12 education policy in the current election campaign is a major concern, especially given the disappointing results of recent independent national achievement tests which make it clear that years of corporate-driven education “reform” have failed our children.
Parents are waiting to hear from candidates who understand the need to move on from the accountability movement’s high-stakes tests and narrowed curriculum, and its war on teachers, neighborhood schools, and the very foundation of democratic public education.
Specifically, we’d like to hear candidates call for:
  • safeguards for our children’s health and privacy against the increasing intrusion of digital devices into schools;
  • less standardized testing, whether one-shot, benchmarked, or embedded;
  • more play-based learning in early childhood classrooms rather than test prep that undermines child development;
  • an end to discipline practices that criminalize youthful mistakes and discriminate against students of color;
  • limits on federal funding for charter schools with more accountability for
- See more at: http://parentsacrossamerica.org/parents-hear-candidates-k-12-education/#sthash.M355XOOW.dpuf

Jane Sanders Has Some Harsh Words for Our Public Education System | The Nation

Jane Sanders Has Some Harsh Words for Our Public Education System | The Nation:

Jane Sanders Has Some Harsh Words for Our Public Education System

In this interview, Bernie Sanders’s wife explains how schools would be different under President Sanders.

Bernie and Jane Sanders
Jane and Bernie Sanders (AP Photo / Nam Y. Huh)


Considering the critical issues facing America’s public schools, the amount of time the presidential candidates have given over to substantive discussions of our K-12 education system has been pitiful. From high-stakes standardized testing, charter schools, school funding, and zero tolerance disciplinary policies, educators, parents, students, and the general public don’t know where the presidential candidates stand. These are issues that have a direct impact on fifty million students and their families in almost one hundred thousand schools across the country.
Last week, at Senator Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign’s rally in Long Island City, I interviewed Dr. Jane Sanders, social worker, educator, and adviser and Bernie’s longtime spouse. She has served as the provost and interim president of Goddard College and president of Burlington College, both in Vermont (full disclosure: I have volunteered for the Sanders campaign, and I am currently a student at Goddard College). We discussed Sanders’s work as an educator and a wide range of topics in education, from progressive education thinkers like John Dewey and Maria Montessori to hands-on, apprenticeship models of learning. This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.



Nikhil Goyal: Talk to me a little bit about your childhood growing up in Brooklyn. I know one of the things Bernie has talked about in his interviews is the amount of unstructured, unsupervised learning and play that was happening.
Jane Sanders: It was great growing up in Brooklyn. The neighborhood was the street. Everybody would get together after school. Somebody would sit out on a stoop and then five other people, 10 other people would come out—a game of stickball or stoopball or dodgeball—all revolved around a basketball or dodgeball. We had fun. It was excellent, because nobody was telling us what to do. We did what we felt like doing at the moment. We had to figure out on our own if there was Jane Sanders Has Some Harsh Words for Our Public Education System | The Nation:

Local education inequities across U.S. revealed in new Stanford data set | Stanford News

Local education inequities across U.S. revealed in new Stanford data set | Stanford News:
Local education inequities across U.S. revealed in new Stanford data set
With an unprecedented data set, Stanford researchers review more than 200 million test scores to spotlight communities with the nation’s worst academic achievement gaps.



Almost every school district enrolling large numbers of low-income students has an average academic performance significantly below the national grade-level average, according to Stanford Graduate School of Education research based on a massive new data set recently created from more than 200 million test scores.
The research also revealed that nearly all U.S. school districts with substantial minority populations have large achievement gaps between their white and black and white and Hispanic students.
The data, which were made available online April 29, provide the most detailed account yet of academic disparities nationwide. They comprise reading and math test results of some 40 million 3rd to 8th grade students during 2009-13 in every public school district in the country, along with information about socioeconomic status, school district characteristics, and racial and economic segregation.
“We don’t administer a single standardized exam to all U.S. students, so a clear picture of the differences in academic performance across schools and districts has been elusive up until now,” said Sean Reardon, the Stanford education professor who devised the statistical methods that make it possible to compare the mandatory tests administered in different states. “It’s now much easier to identify school districts and communities where performance is high, compare them with demographically similar ones that do less well and try to determine what’s behind the differences.”

Educational inequality

Reardon and colleagues already have been examining the data and identifying key patterns in educational inequality.
Among their findings:
  • One sixth of all students attend public school in school districts where average test scores are more than a grade level below the national average; one sixth are in districts where test scores are more than a grade level above the national average.
  • The most and least socioeconomically advantaged districts have average performance levels more than four grade levels apart.
  • Average test scores of black students are, on average, roughly two grade levels lower than those of white students in the same district; the Hispanic-white difference is roughly one- and-a-half grade levels.
  • Achievement gaps are larger in districts where black and Hispanic students attend higher poverty schools than their white peers; where parents on average have high levels of educational attainment; and where large racial/ethnic gaps exist in parents’ educational attainment.
  • The size of the gaps has little or no association with average class size, a district’s per capita student spending or charter school enrollment.
The researchers stress that their findings do not prove cause and effect, though they do point to promising areas for further study.
“The socioeconomic profile of a district is a powerful predictor of the average test score performance of students in that district,” Reardon said. “Nonetheless, poverty is not destiny: There are districts with similarly low-income student populations where academic performance is higher than others. We can – and should – learn from such places to guide community and school improvement efforts in other communities.”

Racial segregation

In a paper posted online accompanying the data, Reardon specifically examines the relationship between segregation and academic achievement. Reardon uses 16 different measures of segregation to identify which aspects of racial segregation are most strongly associated with academic achievement. “The racial difference in the proportion of students’ schoolmates who are poor is the key dimension of segregation driving [the association],” he writes.
The finding leads Reardon to suggest that racial segregation is inextricably linked to unequal allocation of resources among schools; and that policies that don’t address this will fail to remedy racial inequality. “In sum, racial integration remains essential for reducing racial disparities in school poverty rates,” he concludes.
In another paper posted with the data, Reardon and colleagues focus on how geography correlates with disparities by race and ethnicity. The researchers identify large whiteblack achievement gaps in such major school districts as Atlanta; Auburn City, Alabama; Oakland, California; Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Charleston, South Carolina; and Washington, D.C. They also find significant black-white gaps in a number of smaller school districts that are home to major universities: Berkeley, California; Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Charlottesville, Virginia; Evanston, Illinois; and University City, Missouri.
According to the researchers, the list of places with the largest whiteHispanic gaps includes Atlanta, Berkeley, Chapel Hill and Washington, D.C.
“One very important takeaway is that there is not one single race/ethnic gap or income gap in the U.S. but rather that these gaps vary considerably by where one lives,” said Jane Waldfogel, professor of social work and public affairs at Columbia University and an authority on early childhood and inequality. “This raises the challenge for all of us as researchers to better understand what drives that geographic variation and in particular to understand what factors help lead to smaller gaps.”
Rucker Johnson, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, who studies inequality in education, added: “The new data will allow future studies to merge other data about school practices and school context to investigate the extent to which these achievement gaps can be traced back to – and are causally related to – educational opportunity gaps and specific aspects of school quality.”
Neither Waldfogel nor Johnson were directly involved with the Stanford research.
Reardon noted that the testing data have a small margin of error. “The data should not be used to rank school districts whose performance differs only slightly,” he said.
He also warned that the achievement patterns identified in the research do not indicate which school districts are more effective than others. “Test scores are shaped by many factors: home environments, neighborhoods, childcare and preschool experiences, and after-school experiences, as well as by school experiences,” he said.
The two studies and the data can be downloaded free from the Stanford Education Data Archive, which also has maps, graphs, charts and explanatory text. Although neither of the papers has yet been published, the paper by Reardon has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication by Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences. The data and research findings also have been presented by Reardon at a number of scholarly conferences, including the Association for Public Policy and Management’s 2015 research conference.
The research was supported by grants from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences, the Spencer Foundation and the William T. Grant Foundation.
Reardon’s research team at Stanford includes research associate Demetra Kalogrides, recent PhD recipient Kenneth Shores and doctoral student Ben Shear. Andrew Ho of Harvard Graduate School of Education and Katherine Castellano of UC-Berkeley Graduate School of Education also worked with Reardon on the project.
Media Contacts
Sean Reardon, Graduate School of Education: (650) 736-8517, sean.reardon@stanford.edu
Jonathan Rabinovitz, Graduate School of Education: (415) 601-1811, (650) 724-9440, jrabin@stanford.edu
Clifton B. Parker, Stanford News Service: (650) 725-0224, cbparker@stanford.edu

K-12 Spending per Student by State [Rankings]

K-12 Spending per Student by State [Rankings]:

K-12 Spending per Student by State [Rankings]





When it comes to state funding of public schools, it’s clear that not all states are created equal. For a variety of reasons, such as the prevalence of successful businesses or the median income in a given area, spending on K-12 students varies greatly from state to state, or even county to county. A decrease in public school funding affects student and faculty alike, as budget cuts often bring about layoffs.
Using data from the National Center for Education StatisticsStartClass has ranked each state based on K-12 spending per student. Data was reported in January 2016 and reflects the 2012-13 school year. The values reported are adjusted for the cost of living in each state, and spending data from the previous two years has been included and adjusted for inflation.
On average, each state spent $10,763 per student in 2012-13, a 3.5 percent decrease from 2010-11. Wisconsin experienced the biggest two-year drop in spending, down 10.5 percent, but the state landed outside the bottom 15 in spending per student.

#50. Utah

#49. Arizona

#48. Nevada


#47. Idaho

#46. California


#45. Colorado


#44. Mississippi


#43. North Carolina




Read more at http://www.business2community.com/us-news/k-12-spending-per-student-state-rankings-01530542#xoJGtkCbVsjpBBvx.99






It's Pearson CEO John Fallon Vs. Teachers' Union President Randi Weingarten - Forbes

It's Pearson CEO John Fallon Vs. Teachers' Union President Randi Weingarten - Forbes:

It's Pearson CEO John Fallon Vs. Teachers' Union President Randi Weingarten

Randi Weingarten (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Is it a good idea for the children in the Third World to get an education, even if their parents have to pay for it? The American Federation of Teachers doesn’t think so. So the AFT is sending its president, Randi Weingarten, to the Pearson  (NYSE: PSO) annual meeting in London on Friday to demand that the world’s leading education company get out of the business of supporting private schools in destitute areas of Africa and Asia.
Weingarten is dead-set against a family in Ghana or Nigeria choosing to pay even a few dollars in tuition so their children can get an education. This is why teachers like Rebecca Friedrichs are willing to take their fight to the Supreme Court: You just don’t know what political cause unions will wage with those mandatory dues.
And while she is over there, Weingarten wants Pearson CEO John Fallon to get his company out of the business of standardized testing. In a statement ahead of the gathering of shareholders, she says the corporation’s “hyper-fixation on high-stakes testing in the Global North and its privatizing of public education in the Global South have been bad for business, bad for students and bad for the community.”
Excuse my political incorrectness. The AFT would prefer that the Third World now be known as the Global South. New York, which is Pearson’s U.S. headquarters, and London, its corporate home, for instance, are in the Global North.
I spent more than five years living and working as a journalist in South Africa. Government schools were often a joke and were not free. Private schools were non-existent except for the wealthy. In one case, a man with no education himself started a school in the coops of an old chicken farm and hundreds of children showed up because there was no alternative. Now, South African public schools waive fees for the poorest families, but that’s not true at the high school level where fees are still the norm. And that is in one of the most successful countries in Africa. Children languish without schools in much of the world.
When I suggest to Fallon on a visit to the U.S. earlier this month that Weingarten needs to get out and see the world beyond New York and London, he says, “You said it, not me.”
The teachers’ union is also taking its anti-testing message to the annual meeting. The unions abhor standardized testing in part because of the fear that the results will be used to judge teacher performance and possibly remove union members from the classroom. Weingarten will speak on behalf of the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund, which holds shares in Pearson. (The Chicago Teachers’ Union is affiliated with theAFT, which represents 1.8 million teachers and other workers.)
In a letter to its shareholders, the pension fund says, “Pearson’s mishandling of the U.S. K-12 school testing market through its involvement in high-stakes testing has poisoned its brand in its core market of the U.S., which comprises 66% of group revenue.”
Pearson Plc, which has $7 billion in revenues worldwide, says it makes less than 10% of its money from the assessment business in the U.S. Overall, 30% of its business is assessments. But as the largest creator of tests for schools across the country – approximately 50 million high-stakes tests administered last year in the U.S. —  it’s also the focus of union ire and comedians. On his HBO show last year, John Oliver did an 18-minute segment on testing and reserved special mockery for Pearson for having “a shocking amount of influence over American schools.”
PARCC testing was just getting underway across town in the Hoboken, N.J. public schools as Fallon sat down for an interview at Pearson’s It's Pearson CEO John Fallon Vs. Teachers' Union President Randi Weingarten - Forbes:



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