St. Tammany Parish in Louisiana hugs the northern shores of Lake Pontchartrain and is considered one of the most affluent areas in the state. The school system is nationally recognized. Many of the students are consistently rated top performers. Extracurricular activities are bountiful. Free and reduced lunch recipients dip under 50 percent.
Drive about an hour northwest to St. Helena, a small rural area, and you’ll find one of the poorest communities in Louisiana. Earlier this year, The Advocate, the state’s daily newspaper, reported that “about 27 percent of parish residents live below the poverty line. Roughly 10 percent have a college degree, which is half the state average. The district has long been plagued by problems attracting teachers, in part because of its rural location.”
Schools here are regularly deemed low performing. Last year, the state gave the school district a “D” for reaching 54.9 points out of a possible 150.
“Not every student is being given the same opportunities,” says Debbie Meaux, president of the Louisiana Association of Educators (LAE), explaining how many of their affluent districts have updated buildings, with sport stadiums and swimming pools, and updated and readily available technology.
“Those are luxuries in St. Helena,” she says, “where students may not get tutoring or opportunities to play outside sports or participate in supplementary music lessons.”
“Some districts tend to shortchange the arts in order to provide extra time in core subjects because those are the ones that determine district scores on state testing,” says Meaux, a classroom teacher for 38 years before taking over as LAE’s top official. “It’s not an equal footing for kids who are in schools in less affluent areas than if they come from wealthy areas.”
ESSA: A Vehicle to Address Inequity
Last week, the U.S. Department of Education released proposed regulations to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) that attempt to tackle the problem in inequities in public education.
The changes include three fiscal requirements—one of which is supplement, not supplant (SNS), a provision that ensures federal funds are added to revenue streams, and are not used to replace state and local funds in low-income schools. This provision has come a long way from the original proposal, which had only one strict expenditures test. NEA heavily criticized the provision for not offering enough ESSA Regulations Expanded: Will They be Enough?:
Who Gains Most From School Choice? Not Low-Income Students Of Color
As parents and students reenter public schools for a new year, they’re hearing a lot about “school choice.”
Having “choice,” they’re told, lets parents send their kids to schools other than their assigned neighborhood school, such as a charter school, a magnet school, or, in some cases, even a school in another district.
No doubt school choice will benefit some parents – just as any market-based system has some winners and some losers. But who really stands to gain most from choice and why?
“We will rescue kids from failing schools by helping their parents send them to a safe school of their choice,” Republican Presidential candidateDonald Trump declared at the Republican National Convention. Reporters at Education Week have noticed Trump’s campaign is “increasing focus”on the subject, and recently hired a policy expert, with a background in crafting education policy in Indiana, to “work on school choice issues.”
Although Trump is often known to stray from Republican orthodoxy, his positions on school choice are aligned completely with mainstream Republicans, such as Jeb Bush, who believe school choice creates a market-based education system, similar to commercial goods, where competition can improve product quality and consumer experience.
Democrats also pitch school choice as a policy prescription that will solve the problem of educating low-income black and brown children.
Specifically, this week The Atlantic has an interesting video report on how the Obama administration is advancing school choice as a solution to racially integrate public schools, and thereby give non-white school children access to the same education opportunities white students get.
Reporter Alia Wong explains how American schools are now more segregated than they were 50 years ago. Even though federally mandated integration policies, such as forced bussing of students to create more racially diverse schools, led to substantially better outcomes for all Who Gains Most From School Choice? Not Low-Income Students Of Color:
Kids Not Profits has developed out of a growing concern from educators, parents, civil rights and community groups for greater accountability and transparency for California’s charter schools. On kidsnotprofits.com you will find facts, figures, reports and updated news stories to help you become more aware of the impact current laws have on our students and communities. See for yourself. The facts speak for themselves.
Backed by a group of billionaires with their own agenda for public education, a new industry around charter schools is growing in California. Charter schools are taxpayer-funded public schools that are frequently operated by private companies. While these privately-managed schools receive billions in California taxpayer dollars every year, they are not required to follow the same laws and regulations that regular neighborhood public schools are required to follow.
Charter schools are not subject to open meetings and open records laws, so parents and taxpayers don’t have full transparency and can’t see how the money is being spent. They ignore requirements to enroll all students from the community, and they are not required to hire credentialed teachers.
Now, these billionaires are spending millions of dollars trying to influence local school board and state legislative elections across the state.
Public education should be about kids, not profits. Instead of subsidizing corporate charter schools with taxpayer dollars, we should be using the money to strengthen our neighborhood public schools for all California children. Join a growing coalition of education, parent, civil rights and community organizations calling for higher standards and more accountability for these privately-run charter schools.kidsnotprofits:
Inside Detroit’s Radical Experiment to Save Its Public Schools
An unprecedented idea may help stabilize the city's public schools—or signal their demise
When Detroit students return to school on Sept. 6, the rodents and mold found in classrooms last year will be all but gone. Cracked windows will be repaired. Collapsed ceilings patched up. Chipped paint removed. Last year, not a single Detroit public school complied with the city’s public health and safety codes, one reason teachers protested with widespread sick-outs that temporarily crippled the system. This year, 92% of schools are in full compliance.
The most significant changes for the country’s most challenged big-city school system, however, will be right beneath the surface. Beyond cleaned-up classrooms, Detroit’s students will return to a brand-new district altogether—one that isn’t saddled with mountains of debt. This new district is the result of a radical idea: that ailing public entities such as school systems could be overhauled like a bankrupt business.
In June, Republican Governor Rick Snyder signed a sweeping education package to provide financial support for Detroit’s public schools modeled on the 2009 restructuring of General Motors. The legislation left the old district behind as a shell to pay down $515 million in operating debt, similar to GM’s Chapter 11 that created an “old” and “new” General Motors, with the aim of restructuring a public school system that was all but bankrupt. Millions of dollars were allocated to repair the district’s aging facilities, and the legislation allowed the schools—which include some of the nation’s worst and have been under state-run emergency management since 2009—to return to a locally run school board. “DPS is fiscally sound now,” says John Walsh, Gov. Snyder’s director of strategy. Snyder’s use of state-appointed emergency managers has been widely scrutinized since the water crisis in Flint, where lead leeched into the municipal water supply while the city’s finances were being overseen by the state. The water crisis raised questions about Snyder’s reliance on state managers to step in and fix local issues.
The unprecedented experiment is being closely watched by other struggling urban public school systems around the U.S. “There are quite a number of districts that are ending up on the brink of bankruptcy,” says Robin Lake, director of the Center on Reinventing Public Education, a research organization at the University of Washington that supports charter schools. “There’s a lot of attention on Detroit.”
But public school advocates worry that the legislation does nothing to ensure that DPS will be able to provide quality education in the long term to compete with the growing number of charter schools throughout Detroit. Some even argue that lawmakers may have opened the door to an all-charter system—and potentially the end of the Detroit public schools altogether.
The rise and fall of Detroit’s schools mirrors the city itself, which once had one of the biggest school districts in the country, hitting peak enrollment in 1966 at 299,962 students. But the decline of Detroit’s automobile industry brought a dramatic, decades-long population slide for the city and its schools, with white residents especially leaving the city for the suburbs.
In 1994, Michigan legislators passed Proposal A, which shifted education funding from local property taxes to state taxes in an effort designed to equalize the quality of the state’s schools across affluent and low-income areas. The New York Times called it “the nation’s most dramatic shift in a century in the way public schools are financed.” The state tied funding directly to enrollment, meaning the more students a district had, the more money it would get. Proposal A also ushered in the city’s first charter schools, which would get state funding but operate independently of existing school districts, something so dramatic TIME put the realignment on its cover in October 1994 under the headline: “New Hope for Public Schools.” The population in Detroit, however, kept falling, and the district had difficulty adjusting to the annual loss of students and routinely budgeted for more students than actually enrolled.
Detroit Population and Public School Enrollment, 1970-2015
Public School Enrollment
Detroit Public and Charter School Enrollment, 2009-2015
Public School Enrollment
Charter School Enrollment
As funding declined, the district was constricted across the board. Facilities weren’t properly maintained. Teachers were let go. Class offerings were cut. And parents increasingly opted for charter schools, leading to further DPS enrollment cuts. Over the last 25 years, Detroit’s population has declined by 34%, but public school enrollment has gone down 73%, and by 2012, charter schools were educating more students in Detroit than public schools. The school district now has fewer than 50,000 students. Academic Inside Detroit’s Radical Experiment to Save Its Public Schools | TIME:
September Grassroots Education Network Reports read this month's reports from Florida, Georgia and New York below A New York Guide on How to Grow Your State’s Opt Out Movement The pressure must not falter or wane, and we must raise our collective voices to speak for all children and all of our public schools. Opt Out Florida Network Update on the 3rd Grade Retention Lawsuit So why doesn’t it feel
Since last week Friday, August 26, when Judge Gievers ruled most favorably for the plaintiffs in the third grade lawsuit, it feels like we’ve been on a rollercoaster. As soon as the judge’s ruling was made public, Orange County filed their prepared appeal, to which OCPS legal counsel referred many times during the course of the nine hour hearing at the beginning of that week. Soon after, Hernando
by Long Island Opt Out’s Jeanette Deutermann The opt out movement in NY sprang to life in 2012 with a handful of parents, scattered around Long Island, upstate, and downstate NY, deciding to refuse to allow their children to be subjected to the new NYS assessments. It was around this time that I was beginning to see the symptoms of high stakes testing on my own son, and research led me to the NYS
A big battle looms in Georgia, pitting the usual big-money, backroom supporters of a state takeover school district against the rest of us. It is the same battle being fought all over the country in the struggle against The Chaos Theory plan for public education “reform,” but in this instance those of us fighting against the persistent and well-funded forces of privatization and standardization h
Missouri Grassroots Education Organizations (click on images and icons to learn more) Parents for Public Schools of Columbia The post Missouri Grassroots Education Network appeared first on Network For Public Education .
Michigan Grassroots Education Organizations (click on images and icons to learn more) Parents for Public Schools of Greater Kalamazoo The post Michigan Grassroots Education Network appeared first on Network For Public Education .
Hawai'i Grassroots Education Organizations (click on images and icons to learn more) Parents for Public Schools - Hawai'i The post Hawai’i Grassroots Education Network appeared first on Network For Public Education .
Please take a moment and send John Oliver your thank you. Thanks @iamjohnoliver . In Detroit kids k-12 just got notice their charter school will not open. https://t.co/t3DIZxJZNG — Network4PublicEd (@Network4pubEd) August 26, 2016 Thanks @iamjohnoliver . There are 500 kids in Livermore Ca. scrambling to find a school. Charter shut down. https://t.co/sx9m5hB1Hg — Network4PublicEd (@Network4pubEd)