Latest News and Comment from Education

Monday, February 23, 2015

School spending per student drops for the second year in a row - The Hechinger Report

School spending per student drops for the second year in a row - The Hechinger Report:

School spending per student drops for the second year in a row

Big Education Ape: #STOPHR5 US Representatives on Twitter
 Find your Member Hit them with a Vote No on HR5 Tweet

Despite occasional taxpayer revolts, the United States has a history of spending more and more each year on public education. From 1996 to 2008, spending per student, on average, steadily climbed at least 1 percent a year, after adjusting for inflation, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). But newer data is showing that this seemingly inexorable upward climb hit a plateau with the 2008 recession, and then began declining in 2010.
The most recent data, from the 2011-12 school year, released by NCES on Jan. 29, 2015, show that average per-pupil spending fell 2.8 percent, to $10,667, from the previous school year. That’s the second year in a row that per-student spending fell. In the previous year, 2010-11, per-pupil spending fell 1.6 percent from a year earlier — the first time that spending growth reversed and began declining. (These annual spending figures don’t include capital expenditures on buildings and renovations, which can spike from year to year.)

Per-pupil school spending fell by 1 percent or more in 37 states in the 2011-12 school year from 2010-11

(Use arrows to navigate and click on any state to see student spending data. Interactive map created by Jill Barshay of The Hechinger Report. Source data: Revenues and Expenditures for Public Elementary and Secondary Education: School Year 2011-12, NCES)
This $10,667 is an average figure that includes all public elementary, middle and high schools across the country. Some places, such as Washington, D.C., New York City and Boston, spent more than $19,000 per student in 2011-12. By contrast, average per-student spending in the state of Utah was just $6,441. The figures aren’t adjusted for cost-of-living differences. So you’d expect higher costs in pricier cities.
Not all states saw a decline in spending. Vermont boosted its education spending per student by 10 percent in 2011-12 from 2010-11. Both Delaware and New Jersey raised their spending per student, too. Among the 37 states that saw at least a 1 percent decline in School spending per student drops for the second year in a row - The Hechinger Report:

Virtual Preschool: Yes, That's Now a Real Option - Digital Education - Education Week

Virtual Preschool: Yes, That's Now a Real Option - Digital Education - Education Week:

Virtual Preschool: Yes, That's Now a Real Option

Governors Rick Scott and Bruce Rauner: Sociopaths | Reclaim Reform

Governors Rick Scott and Bruce Rauner: Sociopaths | Reclaim Reform:

Governors Rick Scott and Bruce Rauner: Sociopaths

“They are not my problem. …(programs) exist to save those few who can be saved, not to serve all kinds of kids.” (Read both Diane Ravitch and today’s Daily Kos.)
Scott and Christie
Gov, Rick Scott of Florida said the same thing as Gov. Bruce Rauner of Illinois. With ALEC writing legislation financed by some of the wealthiest people and corporations in America, this doesn’t at first seem surprising, but…

Both men were condemning young children as being undeserving and unworthy of receiving either a decent education or basic healthcare. By definition, these men aresociopaths.

Dear Governor Cuomo - Badass Teachers Association

Badass Teachers Association:

Dear Governor Cuomo
By:  Veronica Gaboury

While this might be too long of a letter to actually send, not sure he reads what he receives anyway, I think it is something that needs to be said. Or at least I need to say it.  

To Governor Cuomo,   

What can I say that others more eloquent and knowledgeable haven't already said?

My story.

I am the mother of 4 children. Chris is 27. He graduated from NY public schools and attended Bennington College in Vermont. He now works in Washington DC at a job he loves. Nick is 25, almost 26. He graduated from NY public schools. He attended the University of Rochester. Alexandra is 10 years-old, she is in 5th grade and she has gone to Miller Hill Elementary School her entire education career except that year in our local pre-school. Katharina is 8 and she has spent more time in educational programs than any of my other children had at this point in their lives. Her path has been different.

My first 3 children have always been full of curiosity, they loved to learn and had wonderful educators who helped bring them along to their next level of education. Many times that level was ahead of their peers and ahead of grade level, but these teachers were not concerned with keeping students "on the same page" or on "test prep," nor were they concerned with a formal formula curriculum, so these educators helped to feed my children's curiosity and allowed them to keep growing at their own paces, which further encouraged them to have curiosity and love of learning. It's a great natural cycle.

And these educators did it for all of their students. They met the students where they were and brought them as far they could. Not everyone reached the same end points...but they learned as much as they each were capable of. They had individualized instruction 
Badass Teachers Association:





I taught for a long time in three very different high schools, one of them a highly prestigious public school in a highly prestigious community. I met very different kinds of students from all walks of life, economic conditions, and various ethnic groups. However, there was always one group of students that always intrigued me, but not necessarily for positive reasons. Most of these particular students came from, surprise, that highly prestigious and competitive high school from that highly prestigious and competitive community. I called them “excellent sheep”.
They took as many AP courses as they could accumulate without any love of the subjects. They did all the same extracurriculars. They were tutored to get the highest SAT scores possible. They either had coaches or had “ghost”writers help them write their college essays They had all figured out how to play the academic game of success without taking risks but many couldn’t do simple tasks like get on a commuter train to NYC. These students were the epitome of a saying one of my “regular kids” put on a  t-shirt we made up one year: “Be Different. Just Like Everyone Else.” They followed the script to get the highest grades, the highest SAT scores, and to get them into the most elite universities in the country. And get in they did.
Then, while working as a Fordham University mentor with 19 TFA corps members for four years I discovered the same thing. Although more diverse than most think, several of my corps members also fit this description. From Ivies or other Ivy like colleges, they had always been top students because they had played the game by the rules, gotten top scores, and thought of themselves as “ the best and brightest”. I always asked best and brightest what? They were often the ones who had the most trouble adapting to the far less than perfect conditions in the schools to which they were assigned, and were the most rigid in following the TFA line and had the hardest time in following the more practical wisdom I was providing them based on real experience.
In fact, in one of my earliest blogs I claimed that there were many corps members who, in the spirit of extracurricular activities accumulation, saw TFA membership as a similar escapade to many of the things they did while in HS (pay to be in a program that built a school in Costa Rica) to get them into the elite college of their choice. However this time it was to get them into the graduate program or job of choice. I said of them, “They would have gone to the Peace Corps in Africa, except their mothers didn’t let them.”
Last week, I read William Deresiewicz’s, Xcellent Sheep: The Miseducation of The American Elite. The title certainly sounded familiar. It was a phrase I had used years ago. Deresiewicz taught for years at Yale, one of the top Universities in the country. I taught for 18 years at Scarsdale High School, one of the top public high schools and Yale feeder schools in the country. He wrote about the same type of students I had taught and some of the TFA corps members I had worked with who did not stay in teaching, but have put ON EXCELLENT SHEEP: OUR NEW RULING CLASS | DCGEducator: Doing The Right Thing:

Kentucky Education Report | A Kentucky Teacher Talks Poverty and Testing

Kentucky Education Report | A Kentucky Teacher Talks Poverty and Testing:


The Great Equity Test | EduShyster

The Great Equity Test | EduShyster:

The Great Equity Test


Xian Franzinger Barrett argues that accountability without equity means more inequity…
EduShysterOK—I need you to set me straight here. Is ensuring that we continue to test kids in high-needs schools the civil rights issue of our time? Or is striking a blow against too much testing in high needs schools the civil rights issue of our time? Or is civil rights actually the civil rights issue of our time?
Xian Franzinger BarrettThe people who are talking about this genuinely on both sides are talking about the same thing, it’s just that the problem they’re trying to address is pervasive and terrible. This idea that we’re unseen and unheard unless we’re measured has a basis in history and reality, so I think it’s important that we don’t lose that. But anyone who says *you’re not going to be acknowledged unless you’re tested* is either too pessimistic or they’re racist. We also have to acknowledge that the very fact that people aren’t being supported or treated equitably unless they’re measured is racism. No one would ever say: *the rich kids in this private school—we don’t have a good measurement of them so we’re just not going to give them an education.* That’s just ridiculous.
EduShyster: That was only my first question and I’m pretty sure that already you have caused a number of heads to explode. So let’s keep going. You argue that accountability without equity actually ends up deepening inequity. Explain.
Franzinger BarrettYou think of that old expression about how when one person gets a cold, the other folks get pneumonia. If you mandate testing, it’s going to cause a mild disruption in most privileged communities, and it’s going to utterly decimate The Great Equity Test | EduShyster:

Common Core SBAC Test Designed to ID 9 in 10 Special Education Children as Failures - Wait What?

Common Core SBAC Test Designed to ID 9 in 10 Special Education Children as Failures - Wait What?:

Common Core SBAC Test Designed to ID 9 in 10 Special Education Children as Failures

The Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium Test is intentionally designed to ensure that the vast majority of students are deemed failures.  [The Common Core PARCC test is no better]
According to SBAC’s own official policy, the Common Core SBAC test is designed so that almost 7 in 10 children who take the “mandatory” test fail to reach “goal” in math and about 6 in 10 are deemed failures in English Language Arts.
Making the Common Core SBAC Test even more inappropriate is that the fact that the 2014 SBAC Field Test results prove that the test discriminates against students who come from poor households, students who are not proficient in the English Language (English Language Learners) and students who need special education services.
Perhaps the most outrageous reality of all is that the Common Core SBAC test is rigged to ensure that the almost all students who require special education services are deemed to be failures.
Not only is the Common Core SBAC Test unfair and inappropriate, it is nothing short of immoral and unethical.
According the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium Disaggregated Field Test Data for 2014, the cut scores that have been set for this year’s test are designed to produce the following results
Projected Failure Rate for Special Education Students with IEPs on the Common Core SBAC Math Section
4th Grade Math – Special Education Students with IEPs87.1% WILL FAIL
6th Grade Math – Special Education Students with IEPs91.3% WILL FAIL
8th Grade Math –  Special Education Students with IEPs90.3% WILL FAIL
11TH Grade Math –  Special Education Students with IEPs92.5% WILL FAIL

Projected Failure Rate for Special Education Students with IEPs on Common Common Core SBAC Test Designed to ID 9 in 10 Special Education Children as Failures - Wait What?:

Education 'experts' may lack expertise, study finds

Education 'experts' may lack expertise, study finds:

Education 'experts' may lack expertise, study finds

Education 'experts' may lack expertise, study finds
The education experts cited in media stories and blog posts may have little background in research or education policy, suggests a new study by, left, curriculum specialist Joel R. Malin and education professor Christopher Lubienski, both at the University of Illinois. Credit: L. Brian Stauffer

The people most often cited as "education experts" in blogs and news stories may have the backing of influential organizations - but have little background in education and education policy, a new study suggests.
The findings are cause for concern because some prominent interest groups are promoting reform agendas and striving to influence policymakers and public opinion using individuals who have substantial  relations skills but little or no expertise in education research, say the authors of the study, Joel R. Malin and Christopher Lubienski, both at the University of Illinois.
To examine possible links between individuals' media presence and their levels of expertise, Malin and Lubienski compiled a diverse list of nearly 300 people who appeared on the lists of experts prepared by several major education advocacy and policy organizations, including the conservative American Enterprise Institute and the liberal National Education Policy Center.
Malin and Lubienski also added to their sample a handful of scholars not on those lists but who are prominent and influential in the field of education.
Each person's level of expertise was then scored using a formula that included their number of Google Scholar citations; their years of experience, calculated by subtracting the year they attained their highest degree from 2014; and whether or not the person had earned a doctoral or equivalent degree.
Each person's level of media influence was calculated based upon the number of times they were quoted or mentioned in education press, U.S. newspapers or blogs during 2013; whether they had a Twitter profile; and their Klout score, which is a proxy for social media influence.
Experts were more likely to be quoted or mentioned in newspapers and blogs if they had higher scores on Google Scholar, Malin and Lubienski found. Every 1-point increase in an expert's Google Scholar score was associated with a 1-percent increase in blog mentions.
Accordingly, each 1-point increase in years of experience corresponded with an increase of about 1 percent in newspaper citations, the researchers found.
However, affiliation with a policy or advocacy organization also substantially increased an expert's media presence. People associated with the American Enterprise Institute were nearly 2.5 times more likely to be cited in education media.
Likewise, experts were 1.78 and 1.5 times more likely to be mentioned in blogs if they were affiliated with Cato or the American Enterprise Institute, respectively.
Although the initial list included 287 experts, Malin and Lubienski could not find the Education 'experts' may lack expertise, study finds:

#STOPHR5 US Representatives on Twitter Find your Member Hit them with a Vote No on HR5 Tweet

List members:

#STOPHR5 US Representatives on Twitter Find your Member Hit them with a Vote No Tweet on HR5 

Education & the Workforce Committee @EdWorkforce )

Ed & Workforce Dems ( @edworkforcedems ) Twitter

Call Your Representative

Click Here to find your Representive's Email Online Directory for the 114th Congress

Contacting the Congress is a very up-to-date citizen's congressional directory for the 114th Congress. As of February 19, 2015 there are 539 electronic contact addresses (of which 538 are Web-based contact forms), and 539 home pages known for the 540 members of the 114th Congress. Traditional ground mail addresses are available for all current members of Congress.

It has been reported that the US House of Representatives will vote on H.R. 5, the "Student Success Act," on Friday, February 27th. The bill, which is the House's version of the long overdue reauthorization of No Child Left Behind, was rushed through the House Education and the Workforce Committee with no public hearings. The bill is deeply flawed, and raises many concerns for public education allies.
There are four crucial issues:
  • Requires that states test all children in grades 3-8 and once in high school, even though no high performing nation tests all children every year 
  • Makes Title I funds portable, which will decrease funding to the schools in greatest need, and opens the door for vouchers
  • Limits Title II funding to 10% for class size reduction
  • Increases funding for charter schools and encourages the growth and expansion of Charter Management Organizations (CMOs), which will advance the privatization movement
The time is now to send a clear message that we demand better for our children and our schools. Please join NPE and write your Representative today to let him/her know you oppose the passage of this bill.


Find Your Representative

Not sure of your congressional district or who your member is? This service will assist you by matching your ZIP code to your congressional district, with links to your member's website and contact page.
Please review the frequently asked questions if you have problems using this service.

State-by-State Lawsuits Over Inadequate School Funding Abound

State-by-State Lawsuits Over Inadequate School Funding Abound:

State-by-State, Lawsuits Over Inadequate School Funding Abound

imagesCA1R9REYLate last year, when the Michigan Supreme Court ruled against more than 450 school districts in a lawsuit over inadequate school funding, champions of public schools took a punch. But, they’re not down — and they have a lot of friends. Relief may be in sight.
The ruling hinged on a technicality. It was not based on a decision that school funding was adequate, but instead, the suit itself was flawed. Adair v. The State of Michigan was filed by taxpayer plaintiff Daniel Adair, along with individuals from 450 districts. The impetus behind it was an unfunded mandate requiring districts to report to the Center for Educational Performance and Information, supplying data on compliance with the federally mandated No Child Left Behind Act of 2002. As with many of these evaluation and performance initiatives, the school bears the burden of cost with no compensation — taking money out classrooms. The court found that the plaintiff neglected to provide a specific amount of underfunding, sending them back to put a dollar figure on their claim.
A court cop-out? Not necessarily.
“Costing-Out” May Pave the Way to Legal Victory
Michigan is among a handful of states that has not yet conducted a “costing-out study” to determine the actual cost of public education. But now, a new law will require the state to crunch the numbers. The organization Access to Quality Education describes the importance of “costing-out”:
Historically, the amount of funding provided to public schools has been based on a politically determined amount of money available for state education aid – without an analysis of educational needs – and on local ability to raise through property taxes. As a result, school revenues are the result of political struggles over how to distribute money among a state’s school districts.
In 37 states, experts in education finance have performed “costing-out studies” at the request of state legislatures or other organizations, in order to determine the amount of school funding needed to provide all students a meaningful educational opportunity.
Rep. Brandon Dillon (D-Grand Rapids) attempted to legislatively remedy the oversight through a proposal last year, but GOP lawmakers smothered it in committee. There was also a 2013 Republican version lurking in committee, loaded-down with some partisan baggage requiring public schools to provide a heaping helping of patriotism as part of the State-by-State Lawsuits Over Inadequate School Funding Abound:

A Walmart Fortune, Spreading Charter Schools -

A Walmart Fortune, Spreading Charter Schools -

A Walmart Fortune, Spreading Charter Schools

WASHINGTON — DC Prep operates four charter schools here with 1,200 students in preschool through eighth grade. The schools, whose students are mostly poor and black, are among the highest performing in Washington. Last year, DC Prep’s flagship middle school earned the best test scores among local charter schools, far outperforming the average of the city’s traditional neighborhood schools as well.

Another, less trumpeted, distinction for DC Prep is the extent to which it — as well as many other charter schools in the city — relies on the Walton Family Foundation, a philanthropic group governed by the family that founded Walmart.

Since 2002, the charter network has received close to $1.2 million from Walton in direct grants. A Walton-funded nonprofit helped DC Prep find building space when it moved its first two schools from a chapel basement into former warehouses that now have large classrooms and wide, art-filled hallways.

One-third of DC Prep’s teachers are alumni of Teach for America, whose largest private donor is Walton. A Walton-funded advocacy group fights for more public funding and autonomy for charter schools in the city. Even the local board that regulates charter schools receives funding from the Walton Family Foundation.

In effect, Walton has subsidized an entire charter school system in the nation’s capital, helping to fuel enrollment growth so that close to half of all public school students in the city now attend charters, which receive taxpayer dollars but are privately operated.

Walton’s investments here are a microcosm of its spending across the country. The foundation has awarded more than $1 billion in grants nationally to educational efforts since 2000, making it one of the largest private contributors to education in the country. It is one of a handful of foundations with strong interests in education, including those belonging to Bill and Melinda Gates of Microsoft; Eli Broad, a Los Angeles insurance billionaire; and Susan and Michael Dell, who made their money in computers. The groups have many overlapping interests, but analysts often describe Walton as following a distinct ideological path.
In addition to giving grants to right-leaning think tanks like the Thomas BA Walmart Fortune, Spreading Charter Schools -