Friday, February 15, 2019

What Will It Take to Get Equitable School Funding in Pennsylvania – a Statewide Teachers Strike!? | gadflyonthewallblog

What Will It Take to Get Equitable School Funding in Pennsylvania – a Statewide Teachers Strike!? | gadflyonthewallblog

What Will It Take to Get Equitable School Funding in Pennsylvania – a Statewide Teachers Strike!?


What if instead they took to the streets with signs and placards, bullhorns and chanted slogans.
Maybe:
“Hey! HEY! Ho! HO! This Unfair Funding Has to Go!”
Or:
“What do we want!? FAIR FUNDING! When do we want it? YESTERDAY!”
The problem is that from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia and all places in between, the Keystone state has the most unequal school funding system in the country. And no one in Harrisburg seems able and/or willing to do a damn thing about it.
Nor is anyone going to do much again this year.
Gov. Tom Wolf didn’t mention it once last week during the Democrat’s first budget speech to the legislature after being re-elected.
Don’t get me wrong. He’s not exactly ignoring the issue. His newly proposed budget asks for a $200 million increase in education funding.

Boston: Charter Schools Are Pushing Public Education to the Breaking Point | Schott Foundation for Public Education

Boston: Charter Schools Are Pushing Public Education to the Breaking Point | Schott Foundation for Public Education
Boston: Charter Schools Are Pushing Public Education to the Breaking Point

When striking Los Angeles teachers won their demand to call for a halt to charter school expansions in California, they set off a domino effect, and now teachers in other large urban districts are making the same demand.
Unchecked charter school growth is also bleeding into 2020 election campaigns. Recently, New York magazine columnist Jonathan Chait berated Democratic Massachusetts Senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren for having opposed a ballot initiative in her home state in 2016 that would have raised a cap on the number of charter schools. “There may be no state in America that can more clearly showcase the clear success of charter schools than [Massachusetts],” declared Chait.
But while Chait and other charter school fans claim Massachusetts as a charter school model, the deeper reality is that charters are driving Boston’s public education system to the financial brink.
As the Boston Globe recently reported, the city is experiencing an economic boom, but its schools resemble “an economically depressed industrial center.” The state’s unfair funding formula is part of the problem, but an ever-expanding charter school industry also imposes a huge financial drain.
Charter school money suck
“Two decades ago, state educational aid covered almost a third of Boston’s school expenses,” writes Globe reporter James Vaznis. Today, “city officials anticipate that in just a few years every penny from the state will instead go toward charter-school costs of Boston students. Boston is slated to receive $220 million in state education aid; about $167 million will cover charter-school tuition for 10,000 students, leaving a little more than $50 million for the 55,000 students in the city school system.”
As charter schools suck students and their per-pupil funding from the public system, the impact on Boston’s schools are glaring: “Decades-old buildings plagued by leaks. Drinking fountains shut because of lead pipe contamination. Persistent shortages of guidance counselors, nurses, psychologists, textbooks — even soap in the bathrooms. All the while, many Boston schools are under state pressure to increase their standardized test scores and graduation rates.”
As funds for Boston schools dwindle due to the drain from charter schools, the district’s alternatives are painful any way you CONTINUE READING: Boston: Charter Schools Are Pushing Public Education to the Breaking Point | Schott Foundation for Public Education

New York City Public Schools Should Be Evaluated Based on Diversity, Not Just Tests, Panel Says - The New York Times

New York City Public Schools Should Be Evaluated Based on Diversity, Not Just Tests, Panel Says - The New York Times

New York City Public Schools Should Be Evaluated Based on Diversity, Not Just Tests, Panel Says


A high-level panel commissioned by Mayor Bill de Blasio called on the city to adopt a sweeping measure to address entrenched segregation in education: create diversity targets for all 1,800 schools so that their population reflects the racial and economic makeup of the surrounding areas.
Over the next five years, the panel recommended, elementary and middle schools should reflect the racial makeup of their local school district, and high schools should look as much like their local borough as possible, in terms of race, income level, disability and proficiency in English.
New York’s schools have become increasingly divided along racial lines over the last two decades, and the city is currently home to one of the most segregated urban public school systems in America.
Mr. de. Blasio, now in his second term, ran on a promise to reduce inequality in all aspects of city life. But, when it comes to school segregation, he has been stymied by the same quandary that previous mayors faced: How to redistribute resources so that black and Hispanic students have more access to high-quality schools without alienating middle class, white families. CONTINUE READING: New York City Public Schools Should Be Evaluated Based on Diversity, Not Just Tests, Panel Says - The New York Times

CURMUDGUCATION: PA: The Death of Cyber Charters (Maybe, Finally)

CURMUDGUCATION: PA: The Death of Cyber Charters (Maybe, Finally)

PA: The Death of Cyber Charters (Maybe, Finally)


In the entire education ocean, cyber charters continue to be a festering garbage patch, and a recently proposed bill could clean them out of Pennsylvania.

It is not that cyber charters could not be useful for a select group of students with special needs. But in the whole panoply of failed reform ideas, none have failed harder and more thoroughly than cyber charters. In fact, they have failed so hard that among their opponents you will find many supporters of bricks and mortar charters. CREDO, the clearing house for choice friendly research, found them hugely ineffective. Their problems are legion. Even The 74, a generally pro-choice site, recently took a hard swing at cybers. In at least five states, cybers are being shut down.


But in Pennsylvania, it's still cyber-Christmas. Pennsylvania has one of the largest cyber-sectors in the country, and provides no oversight or accountability? How little? No PA cybers have yet "passed" a single year of school accountability scores. One of the biggest fraudsters had to be caught by the feds. And perhaps most astonishing, we learned last month that ten of the fifteen Pennsylvania cyber charters are operating without a current charter agreement! In one case the charter expired in 2012.

PA cybers are huge money makers; they are reimbursed at the full per-pupil formula, but spend far less. So a cyber collects generally from $10,000 to $25,000 for each student, and spends a fraction of that on each student, pocketing the rest.

Several lawmakers in Harrisburg would like to put a stop to that.

Senate Bill 34's prime sponsor is Judith Schwank of Berks County, a former dean at Delaware Valley CONTINUE READING: 
CURMUDGUCATION: PA: The Death of Cyber Charters (Maybe, Finally)


Inequity Enablers: Politicians Who Support Charter Schools

Inequity Enablers: Politicians Who Support Charter Schools

Inequity Enablers: Politicians Who Support Charter Schools


Politicians who support charter schools are inequity enablers. 
The proliferation of charter schools is indicative of a toxic environment due to our nation’s planned neglect of public schools and the intentional failure to mediate inequity.  Politicians who have advocated for and abetted the rise of charter schools are complicit in a ploy in which an experiment with competition among a few students for entry into privately governed schools is substituted for a systemic effort to improve the education of all students.
I am a science educator, so of course, I have an affinity for science experiments that try to make sense of how the natural world works.  What we learn may help us solve human problems. My disposition toward social science experiments is far more wary.  These often begin with contentious, values-driven, “I wonder if…?” questions. But too often, the policies that align with hypotheses get implemented with a much wider audience before the results of the smaller experiment are analyzed and sometimes even when the findings are negative.  That is the case with the current national experiment with charter schools.
To paraphrase, in 1988 Albert Shankar, former American Federation of Teachers president, famously asked, “I wonder if we remove bureaucratic and administrative restrictions, whether it could unleash often squelched teacher-led innovation and creativity?” Shankar wanted to empower teachers’ voices. Needless to say, anti-union folks and those who did not want to give up administrative prerogatives were not thrilled. The result of that short-lived experiment was creativity in some places. In others, different people made familiar decisions: Old wine in new bottles, just with CONTINUE READING: Inequity Enablers: Politicians Who Support Charter Schools

Bill Aims to Fix Hollow 'College Promise' Aid Program | Capital & Main @BillRaden #Unite4OaklandKids #WeAreOEA #WeAreCTA #strikeready #REDFORED #SCTA #CTA

Bill Aims to Fix Hollow 'College Promise' Aid Program | Capital & Main

Bill Aims to Fix Hollow ‘College Promise’ Aid Program
Also this week: Governor Gavin Newsom chooses a new state education board president, Oakland teachers move closer to a strike and the money continues to flow in an L.A. school board race.



Learning Curves” is a weekly roundup of news items, profiles and dish about the intersection of education and inequality. Send tips, feedback and announcements of upcoming events to  braden@capitalandmain.com, @BillRaden.

Governor Gavin Newsom on Tuesday filled the state’s most powerful unelected education post, appointing Stanford University professor emeritus Linda Darling-Hammond as president of California’s State Board of Education. In his State of the State address, Newsom said that the nationally renowned K-12 education researcher would work alongside new schools superintendent Tony Thurmond to confront problems plaguing California’s public schools.
Darling-Hammond, who currently chairs the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing and is president of the Learning Policy Institute, a Palo Alto education think tank, is the first African-American woman to head the 11-member board. The acclaimed expert in teacher preparation and educational equity has more recently come under fire for a report on school choice she co-authored that embraced portfolio districts but ignored the negative impact that charter schools have on the viability of neighborhood public schools.
Oakland high school students staged a one-day sickout Friday in support of Oakland Unified teachers, who have been working without a contract for two years. Four days earlier, the Oakland Education Association overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike. Defying a prerecorded call and email sent on Thursday by the district that urged parents to keep their kids in class, hundreds of students from across Oakland took to the streets, marching down Broadway from Oakland Tech High School to a rally in front of Oakland Unified’s downtown CONTINUE READING: Bill Aims to Fix Hollow 'College Promise' Aid Program | Capital & Main



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