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Monday, May 9, 2016

Scientific Studies - John Oliver

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Scientific Studies (HBO) - YouTube:
Scientific Studies - John Oliver

Georgia ‘psychoeducational’ students segregated by disability, race

Georgia ‘psychoeducational’ students segregated by disability, race:

Georgia ‘psychoeducational’ students segregated by disability, race

Part one of a three-part series: Schools send disproportionate number of black children to programs already under fire for ‘warehousing’ students with behavioral disorders.

 David punched and kicked and spat on his teachers. He knocked over furniture. He poked a hole in a classroom wall. He pelted other students with stones and shoved a school police officer.

At age 7, David was too much for his teachers to handle. So they decided to send him to a special program — unique to Georgia — called a psychoeducational school. He was like so many others already there: male, diagnosed with a behavioral disorder — and black.
Georgia’s public schools assign a vastly disproportionate number of African American students to psychoeducational programs, segregating them not just by disability but also by race, an investigation by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution found.
Black children form the majority at programs where teachers restrained children with dog leashes, where psychologists performed behavioral experiments on troubled students, and where chronically disruptive students spent time in solitary confinement, locked in rooms with bars over the windows. In one such room, euphemistically called a “time-out” area, a 14-year-old boy hanged himself.
Fifty-four percent of students in Georgia’s psychoeducational programs are African American, compared to 37 percent in all public schools statewide, the Journal-Constitution found. In half of the 24 programs, black enrollment exceeds 60 percent. In one, nine of every 10 students are African American.
The Journal-Constitution analyzed data on most of the 3,382 students assigned last fall to the psychoeducational programs, formally known as the Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support, or GNETS. The analysis, along with interviews with parents, their lawyers, educators and others, depicts a system that provides little of the mental health treatment and other therapies for which it was created. Just 5 percent of the programs’ full-time employees are psychologists, social workers or behavior specialists. Nine programs employ more clerical workers than therapeutic professionals.
The newspaper’s findings add a new dimension to allegations that Georgia illegally segregates disabled students in GNETS programs. The U.S. Department of Justice says the Americans with Disabilities Act gives GNETS students the right to attend school in less-restrictive settings with children who are not disabled. Federal authorities may file a lawsuit to force the state to close the programs.Georgia ‘psychoeducational’ students segregated by disability, race:

2016 Building a Grad Nation Report | GradNation

2016 Building a Grad Nation Report | GradNation:
2016 Building a Grad Nation Report
Written annually by Civic Enterprises and the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University, and released in partnership with America’s Promise Alliance and the Alliance for Excellent Education, this report examines the progress and challenges the nation faces in reaching the GradNation goal of a national on-time graduation rate of 90 percent by the Class of 2020. Release Date: 05/9/16


The nation has achieved an 82.3 percent high school graduation rate – a record high.
Graduation rates rose for all student subgroups, and the number of low-graduation-rate high schools and students enrolled in them dropped again, indicating that progress has had far-reaching benefits for all students.
This progress, however, has not come without its challenges.
First, this year the nation is slightly off pace to reach a 90 percent on-time graduation rate by 2020.
Second, at both the national and state levels, troubling graduation gaps remain between White students and their Black and Latino peers, low-income and non-low-income students, and students with and without disabilities.
Third, low-graduation-rate high schools – a key focus of the recently passed Every Student Succeeds Act – pose a significant roadblock to the national goal of a 90 percent graduation rate for all students. While the number of low-graduation-rate high schools has declined considerably over the past decade, in some states they still predominate.
The 2016 Building a Grad Nation report is the first to analyze 2014 graduation data using new criteria established by ESSA and the first to show the impact of additional time on graduation rates.
If all states were required to report five-year graduation rates, the national high school grad rate would go up about 3 percentage points. If all states were required to report six-year grad rates, the rate would go up an additional point.
The report provides a new national and state-by-state analysis of low-graduation-rate high schools; the number of additional students it will take for the country and each state to reach 90 per-cent; a look at the validity of graduation rates; and policy recommendations for change.

After flat-lining for 30 years, high school graduation rates began to rise in 2002. This steady climb became more accelerated in 2006 and, in 2012, the nation reached an historic milestone, an 80 percent on-time graduation rate.
The upward trend continued through 2014, as the national graduation rate hit another record, 82.3 percent, up more than 10 percentage points since the turn of the century.
When the graduation rate hit 80 percent, we calculated that the national graduation rate would need to increase by roughly 1.2 percentage points per year to achieve 90 percent by the Class of 2020. Between 2013 and 2014, the nation missed this mark, and will now have to average closer to 1.3 percentage points per year to reach the goal.
Moving from percentages to raw numbers, meeting the 90 percent goal would mean graduating 284,591 more students.

To graduate students equitably across all subgroups means focusing on students of color, those with disabilities, English-language learners and students from low-income homes. Despite all the progress, these subgroups still graduate at lower rates than other students.
For more information on subgroup graduation rates, go to the 2016 Building a Grad Nation Data Brief.

At the state level:
  • Iowa became the first state to surpass 90 percent, with a 90.5 percent rate in 2014.
  • 20 other states are on pace to reach a 90 percent graduation rate.
  • Five on-pace states – Nebraska, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Texas and Wisconsin – are within 2 percentage points of the goal.
  • 21 states are currently off track to reach 90 percent by the Class of 2020.

The number of low-graduation-rate schools – defined by ESSA as those enrolling 100 or more students and graduating 67 percent or less of them – has declined considerably, but in some states they still predominate. (Note: Previous reports have focused on high schools with at least 300 students. This calculation, made to align with ESSA, allows a closer look at more rural, charter, alternative and virtual schools.)
  • There are 1,000 large, low-graduation-rate high schools (more than 300 students) nationwide, enrolling 924,000 students, compared to 2,000 in 2002, enrolling 2.6 million students.
  • Vulnerable students are overrepresented in low-graduation-rate high schools. Of the roughly 924,000 in large low-graduation-rate high schools, 65 percent were from low-income families, and 63 percent were Black or Hispanic/Latino.
  • When including high schools with student populations of at least 100 students, there are 2,397 graduation-rate high schools across the nation, enrolling 1.23 million students.
  • Nationwide, 33 percent of all non-graduates in 2014 were enrolled in low-graduation-rate high schools.
  • Though alternative, charter, and virtual schools collectively account for 14 percent of high schools and 8 percent of high school students, they make up 52 percent of low-graduation-rate high schools nationwide and produce 20 percent of non-graduates. Regular district high schools account for 41 percent of low-graduation-rate high schools and are where the majority of students who do not graduate on time can be found.
  • Low-graduation-rate high schools by school types. Out of all low-grad-rate schools in the nation, 41 percent are regular district schools, 28 percent are alternative schools, 26 percent are charter schools and 7 percent are virtual schools. (According to NCES definitions, there is inherent overlap between the alternative, charter, and virtual schools categories, so these numbers do not add up to 100 percent. When looking just at district-operated alternative schools, they make up 23 percent of low-graduation-rate high schools, and when separating virtual schools out from charter schools, the percentage of low-graduation-rate schools that are charter schools falls to 22 percent.)
  • Regular district schools (84% of all high schools). Seven percent (7%) of regular district public schools, or roughly 1,000 schools nationwide, were low-graduation rate high schools. Regular district high schools had an average graduation rate of 85 percent. The number of low-graduation-rate regular district high schools across states ranges from zero in Delaware, Hawaii, and Kentucky to more than 276 in New York and 203 in Florida.
  • Charter schools (8% of all high schools). Now authorized in all but seven states, the of charter schools is rising with mixed results on graduation rates. Thirty percent (30%) of charter schools were low-graduation-rate high schools, while 44 percent had high graduation rates of 85 percent and above. Nationwide, charter schools reported an average graduation rate of 70 percent. Hawaii, Arizona, Indiana, Ohio and California have the highest percentages of low-graduation-rate charter high schools.
  • Alternative schools (6% of all high schools). Established to meet the needs of “at risk” students, 57 percent of alternative schools are low-graduation-rate high schools. They have an average graduation rate of 52 percent. Sixty percent (60%) of students at alternative high schools are students of color. In 10 states, including Kentucky, Texas, Washington, Idaho and Iowa, 50 percent or more of low-graduation-rate high schools were alternative schools in 2014. Other states have experienced greater success with alternative schools.
  • Virtual schools (1% of all high schools).Schools offering all instruction online have greatly increased in recent years. Virtual schools were disaggregated in NCES data for the first time in 2013-14. The data shows that 87 percent of virtual schools are low-grad-rate schools with an average graduation rate of 40 percent. States with the highest percentage of non-graduates coming from virtual schools include Ohio, Idaho, Pennsylvania and Colorado.

Who Does the Movement to Opt Out of Standardized Testing Help? | US News Opinion

Who Does the Movement to Opt Out of Standardized Testing Help? | US News Opinion:
The Opt-Out Reckoning
An ever-growing call to opt out of standardized tests is prompting serious questions in education.

 In public school districts across the country, spring is commonly referred to as testing season. But for the past several years, parents across the country have passively resisted participating in standardized testing by opting out. And the movement is gaining momentum. Last year, over half a million school-aged children did not participate instandardized testing. In New York state alone, nearly 1 out of every 5 students opted out.

Standardized testing, a longstanding feature of American education reform, is meant to serve at least three purposes: monitor student performance; improve teaching and learning; and evaluate the quality of teaching and schools. Policymakers have relied on standardized tests as a mechanism for assessing student progress and identifying racial and economic achievement gaps since the original Elementary and Secondary Education Act was passed in 1965, which was followed by the No Child Left Behind Act, signed into law in 2002 and the recently passed Every Student Succeeds Act.


4 Lessons From the Opt Out Debate

Test refusals may force education reformers to re-evaluate their priorities.

Criticism of standardized testing is nearly as old as the testing itself. For decades, opponents have argued that the tests cause undue stress for both teachers and students, and that they do not provide valid or timely information about what students know and understand. Critics have also noted the consequences that high-stakes testing has for the curriculum, marginalizing courses in so-called untested disciplines like art and social studies, as well as untested skills and topics within tested courses. Recent research has shown that there is often very little overlap between the content that is actually covered in math and English language arts classes and the content that shows up on state standardized tests.
Given new urgency by the implementation of standardized tests aligned to Common Core State Standards, which were fully implemented in the 2014-2015 school year, many of these same criticisms have helped catalyze the current opt-out movement. These concerns were exacerbated, in many cases, by widespread technical issues that hampered the rollout (including issues with curricular materials and resources; issues with providing adequate professional development to teachers; and problems with new computer-based assessment systems), and the belief among some opponents that these Who Does the Movement to Opt Out of Standardized Testing Help? | US News Opinion:

Charter-Driven Gains? in New Orleans Schools Face a Big Test - The New York Times

Charter-Driven Gains in New Orleans Schools Face a Big Test - The New York Times:

Charter-Driven Gains in New Orleans Schools Face a Big Test

NEW ORLEANS — Nothing has defined and even driven the fractious national debate over education quite like this city and the transformation of its school system in the decade since Hurricane Katrina.
So-called reformers say its successes as an almost all-charter, state-controlled district make it a model for other failing urban school systems. Charter school opponents and unions point to what has happened here as proof that the reformers’ goal is just to privatize education and strip families of their voice in local schools across the country.
Now comes another big moment in the New Orleans story: In the next few weeks, the governor is expected to sign legislation returning the city’s schools to the locally elected school board for the first time since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Strikingly, that return is being driven by someone squarely in the pro-charter camp, the state superintendent, John White. A veteran of touchstone organizations behind the efforts to remake public schools —Teach for America and the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and its superintendent training program — as well as the hard-charging charter school efforts in New York City, Mr. White represents the wave of largely white, young idealists who rushed to this city post-Katrina to be part of the Big Thing in education.
To Mr. White, the move to local control is not the retreat it may seem. He argues that it will make New Orleans a new model, radically redefining the role of central school boards just as many urban school districts are shifting increasingly large portions of their students to independently run but Charter-Driven Gains in New Orleans Schools Face a Big Test - The New York Times:

Survey: Linda Darling-Hammond, Ben Carson Most Likely Ed. Secretary Picks - Politics K-12 - Education Week

Survey: Linda Darling-Hammond, Ben Carson Most Likely Ed. Secretary Picks - Politics K-12 - Education Week:

Survey: Linda Darling-Hammond, Ben Carson Most Likely Ed. Secretary Picks

Education researcher Linda Darling-Hammond and former Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson are the most likely picks to be U.S. Secretary of Education for White House candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, respectively, according to an "Education Insiders" survey by Whiteboard Advisors released Monday. And who's second on the list for Clinton? American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, say these insiders.
The survey of roughly 50 to 75 current and former White House and U.S. Department of Education leaders, current and former congressional staff members, state education officials, and think tank leaders also found that a slight majority of them believe that over the next two years, more states will stop participating in two consortia (PARCC and Smarter Balanced) that were originally funded by Washington and create tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards. electionslug_2016_126x126.jpg
And these "insiders" are generally pessimistic about the extent to which both the media and presidential politics will focus on education, although there's some belief that higher education could be an exception.
"I'm not sure if K-12 will get much attention because the recent reauthorization of ESEA [Elementary and Secondary Education Act) probably means that the next president won't have an opportunity to influence K-12 education (at least not legislatively) unless he or she gets a second term," according to one respondent, none of whom were quoted by name.
Let's go back to the favorites for the next secretary of education. The survey asked respondents for the most likely picks for Clinton and Trump. Here's what they came back with: 
Darling-Hammond is the president of the Learning Policy Institute (launched last year) and a professor emeritus at the Stanford University graduate school of education. She's got a long track record in K-12 policy work—her activities range from significantly influencing California's shift to a new accountability system, to serving as an adviser to the Smarter Balanced testing consortium that creates exams aligned to the Common Core State Standards. She helped to start two charter schools through Stanford, but in 2010 the elementary school's charter was not renewed, and it shut down—the high school is still operating. And she's pushed for less testing in American schools
Weingarten has been an outspoken advocate for Clinton. The AFT acted quickly to endorse the Survey: Linda Darling-Hammond, Ben Carson Most Likely Ed. Secretary Picks - Politics K-12 - Education Week:

State board to choose school improvement metrics | EdSource

State board to choose school improvement metrics | EdSource:
State board to choose school improvement metrics

 The State Board of Education on Wednesday is planning to choose a handful of statewide metrics to measure student performance as part of its creation of a new school accountability system.

The board will approve the new system in September and begin using it in the fall of 2017. It will replace the Academic Performance Index, the single-number score, based solely on standardized test scores, that the board suspended two years ago. The board is also designing the new system to satisfy federal accountability requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act.
State board staff are recommending that the board initially choose five metrics to identify which schools and districts need assistance and which demand more intensive intervention. They are:
  • Student test scores on Common Core tests in math and English language arts;
  • Progress of English learners toward English language proficiency;
  • High school graduation rates;
  • An added weight for two markers of a student’s progress through school: test scores in Grade 3 reading and Grade 8 math;
  • Student suspension rates at various grade levels.
Not included on the initial list are three measures that student and parent advocacy groups have pressed the board either to adopt now or commit to using in the future: rates of chronic student absenteeism, which is an indicator of school climate and a predictor of a student’s underperformance; as-yet-to-be developed tests on the new state science standards, and indicators or an index of college and career readiness. Board members have expressed interest in eventually incorporating these measures, and at its meeting this week, the state board is expected to adopt an annual timetable for researching and approving new metrics.
In a letter sent Friday to the state board, a collection of nonprofit organizations expressed disappointment that college and career indicators weren’t chosen.State board to choose school improvement metrics | EdSource:

Did Mark Zuckerberg Just Get Taken In Again on Education Reform? | janresseger

Did Mark Zuckerberg Just Get Taken In Again on Education Reform? | janresseger:
Did Mark Zuckerberg Just Get Taken In Again on Education Reform?

 You may remember that Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg’s initial foray into education was in Newark, NJ, where he allowed then-mayor Cory Booker and governor Chris Christie to convince him to donate $100 million to fund their scheme to charterize Newark’s public schools.  Now Zuckerberg and his wife, pediatrician Priscilla Chan, have launched the huge Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and they have hired Jim Shelton to run it.  Shelton headed up the Office of Innovation and Improvement at Arne Duncan’s U.S. Department of Education, where he rose through the ranks to become Assistant Deputy Secretary, Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer.

Shelton was really good with the rhetoric. In 2012 he told Michele McNeil of Education Week: “(T)hough the federal government provides only a small fraction of education funding, we are one of the largest single sources. We send incredible signals to the marketplace about what should happen with innovation.  That’s not been something either policymakers or regulators have thought a lot about… (I)nnovation happens in the context of an ecosystem.  R&D leads to entrepreneurship and investment, which leads to adoption and use… (W)hen we create things like the Investing in Innovation competitive grant program (i3), we are defining an evidence threshold that was not a part of most federal education programs before… As i3 continues and as we get more comfortable putting tiered evidence levels in other areas of the department, we will work on that.”
Shelton has now taken a job heading up the new Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, described by Benjamin Herold for Education Week: “The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative was formed last fall, when the couple announced their intent to give 99 percent of their Facebook stock, valued at an estimated $45 billion, to a variety of causes, headlined by technology-enabled personalized learning in K-12 education.  Created as a limited liability corporation, the organization is free to make philanthropic donations, invest in for-profit companies, and engage in political lobbying and policy advocacy.” Mark Zuckerberg built his fortune from Facebook.
In many ways, Shelton’s resume and training are a perfect match for his new job running the Chan Zuckerberg philanthropic limited liability corporation. Shelton came to the U.S. Did Mark Zuckerberg Just Get Taken In Again on Education Reform? | janresseger:

Business-inspired School Reform: Has the Wave Crested? | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

Business-inspired School Reform: Has the Wave Crested? | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice:
Business-inspired School Reform: Has the Wave Crested?
I saw this cartoon and burst out laughing.
 The cartoonist takes airline frequent flier practices that sort out passengers for best-to-worst seating and applied it to school busing.  The New Yorkercartoonist’s pen  gives satisfaction to critics of business-influenced school reform, by poking at the unrelenting “privatization” of public schooling over the past three decades.

Although no critic of such reforms that I have read or heard has suggested this practice, those who criticize  the charter school movement, expanded parental choice, the standards/testing/accountability movement, and evaluating teachers using student test scores have pointed to  hedge fund managers, philanthropists who made their money in business, corporate CEOs, Business Roundtable executives and Chambers of Commerce knee-deep in these initiatives. Critics see such support for these reforms as strong evidence of “privatization.”
Both critics and champions of these reforms, however, seldom mention the decades-long commercial penetration of schooling in everything from ads displayed on high school gymnasia and football fields, or curriculum materials supplied by corporations, or deals with soda companies in vending machines–and on and on. And don’t forget ads on school buses.
Researchers have documented the spread of this sort of business influence for decades. This nexus between commerce and public schooling has a long history and is not a recent phenomenon. As early as the 1890s, business leaders have lobbied for vocational education and succeeded in adding such courses of study to public schools. Since then, reformers have turned to using successful business practices in schools time and again (e.g., Malcolm Baldrige Quality Awards to schools).
Educationalizing” national problems from racial segregation to national defense to economic growth has been a definite pattern in the history of school reform. But is the current instance business-minded reform tying schooling to economic prowess fading in U.S. public schools?
There are some signs that it is. With the slow-motion retreat from the punitive No Child Left Behind law in the U.S. Congress reauthorizing the Every Student Succeeds Act (2015), increasing evidence that National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test scores have leveled off and even fallen, a growing “opt-out” movement of parents objecting to standardized tests, and increasing public awareness of non-school factors strongly influencing students’ academic performance, talk about “privatization”  is slowly waning as policymakers, practitioners, researchers, and parents see that simple-minded applications of business “best practices” fail to deal with core issues in schooling U.S. children (see N-gram mentions of “privatization” peaking in 2003). And so has the failed adoption of business-inspired practices such as determining teacher effectiveness on the basis of student test scores.
Yet there are signs that counter such evidence of waning interest in business-inspired reforms. Charter school annual growth continues at a six percent rate; 43 states now allow charter schools (see here). In some urban districts, more than half of public school students attend charter schools (e.g., New Orleans, Detroit) and others are approaching that (e.g., Washington, D.C., Cleveland, Ohio). Widespread adoption of charter schools have left what appears to be a permanent footprint in U.S. schools.
Moreover, while growing popular resentment to testing is clearly in evidence, and the number of annual tests will probably decrease, ending annual standardized testing is not about to happen simply because quantitative school outcome measures are essential accountability tools in any $600-plus billion industry, public or private . And standardized test scores are an inexpensive way Business-inspired School Reform: Has the Wave Crested? | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice:

Schools Matter: Riding the 'Turnaround' Merry-Go-Round in the Continuing Assault on Philadelphia Public Schools: Part IV

Schools Matter: Riding the 'Turnaround' Merry-Go-Round in the Continuing Assault on Philadelphia Public Schools: Part IV:

Riding the 'Turnaround' Merry-Go-Round in the Continuing Assault on Philadelphia Public Schools: Part IV

The Philadelphia School Reform Commission – April 28, 2016

 Crossing the Rubicon
The Rubicon has been crossed in the privatization assault on Philadelphia public schools. On Thursday, April 28th, the Philadelphia School Reform Commission voted to turn three more public schools over to charter companies.

The Battle for Wister has been decided in favor of Mastery Charters over the objections of many parents at the school. (See The Battle for Wister in Part I of this series.)  What makes this turnover different than all preceding turnovers is that Wister, even by Broad graduate Superintendent Hite’s own admission, had been making progress as a public school. The School Reform Commission (SRC) reversed his decision one week after Hite had withdrawn Wister from the turnaround list. No more can the SRC claim that the turnover of a public school to a charter company is based on the pretense that their “data” shows a school is a “failing school”. It is now clear for all to see that the drive for privatization is based on the market interests of corporate education reform, not education.

Also to be turned over to charter companies that have a dubious history, are Jay Cooke Elementary to Great Oaks Charter and Samuel B. Huey Elementary to Global Leadership Academy.

These turnovers went forward despite the SRC’s Charter School Office presenting strong evidence that many charters up for their five-year renewals are performing no better, or worse, than the public schools they replaced. In addition, Philadelphia Newsworks' reporter Kevin McCorry observed, based on Newsworks analysis, “the most consistent thing about school ‘progress’ as captured by the SPR [the District’s School Progress Report] is inconsistency.” He wrote,

There are many reasons to be wary about relying too heavily on the School District of Philadelphia’s main tool for measuring school quality [SPR] – especially when it comes to making high-stakes decisions about closures, staffing shake-ups and charter conversions.

Despite this evidence, along with protests from parents, students, teachers and community members, the SRC is forging ahead with turnovers to charters and disrupting the lives of thousands of students and staff. Like all corporate education reform, it presents its decisions as being based on “failed schools” due to “bad teachers and administrators”. That these turnarounds are happening only in low-income neighborhoods gives the lie to this claim. The educational opportunities of children from low-income families will not change by moving school professionals from one school to another, year after year. What must change are the economic circumstances of these families.

The Latest Spin of the Turnaround Merry-Go-Round in Philadelphia Schools

Data show segregation by income (not race) is what's getting worse in schools - The Hechinger Report

Data show segregation by income (not race) is what's getting worse in schools - The Hechinger Report:
Data show segregation by income (not race) is what’s getting worse in schools
The intersection of poverty and race is producing larger and more alarming achievement gaps

 There’s a new narrative that U.S. schools are “resegregating” along racial lines. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights used the word “resegregation” on the headline of a recent press release and scheduled a briefing on the subject for May 20. And the word “resegregation” gets bandied about frequently at education conferences and in the press.

But academic researchers, speaking at a May conference for education journalists in Boston, said they don’t see evidence of a worsening racial separation across the country, as if whites and minorities who once learned in the same classrooms were now heading to different schoolhouses. What they do see is an increasing number of minority students in public schools, and an increasing number of schools that are dominated by minority students, but both trends are keeping pace with the increase in the minority population overall.

It’s the U.S. population that’s changing, not a redistribution of races in our schools, as the word resegregation implies. White students now make up less than half the public school population, and there are fewer of them to spread around.

It’s worth remembering that even at the peak of integration, in the late 1980s, schools were still quite segregated. White students tended to go to schools that were majority white, minorities to schools that were largely minority. For a school that was already, say, 70 percent minority, an influx of immigrants could easily tip the population into the 90 percent camp. This could happen without policy makers pulling the plug on integration, or families picking up and moving into separate, more racially homogenous school districts.

“We have segregation, and increases in concentrations of low-income minorities,” said Sean Reardon, a sociologist at Stanford University. “But it doesn’t mean that school systems have begun to allocate students more unevenly.”

Yes, the percentage of minorities is rising at many schools. But to prove increased racial segregation, you would need to show that the number of minority students in many schools is increasing faster than the increase in the minority population. You can find examples of that in some regions and communities, but the data don’t show that for the nation as a whole. Similarly, you would need evidence of white students flocking away from minorities. Instead, the data show that the typical white student is going to school with more minorities. So-called “white” schools are becoming more integrated. Back in 1996, for example, the average white student attended a school that was 81 percent white. That figure is now below 75 percent, according to the most recent data.

From the perspective of an individual black or Hispanic student, who sees his or her school getting “browner,” it may feel like a distinction without a difference. It certainly feels segregated when there are many more schools today in which minority students number more than 90 percent of the student body.  Today, the typical minority student is less exposed to white students at school.

To be sure, certain school districts have “resegregated.” But desegregation court orders have expired in fewer than 500 districts. While that sounds like a large number, it’s small compared to the more than 12,000 school districts across the country. Ann Owens, a sociologist at the University of Southern California, explained that she hasn’t yet seen evidence that these instances of resegregation have been large enough to drive the numbers nationally.

What Reardon and Owens are finding is another kind of segregation in the schools — along income lines. Rich families are increasingly pulling away from poor ones, and sending their kids to different schools. At the same time, more families are living in poverty. According to a February 2016 paper published by Stanford’s Center for Education Policy Analysis, income segregation between different school districts increased 15 percent between 1990 and 2010. Within large districts, the segregation of students who are eligible and ineligible for free lunch increased by about 30 percent during the same 20 years.

And here’s the rub: this increase in poverty is more pronounced in minority schools. That is, the poverty rate in predominantly minority schools is rising faster than the poverty rate in predominantly white schools, according to Reardon’s calculations.

This new income segregation is now exacerbating Data show segregation by income (not race) is what's getting worse in schools - The Hechinger Report:

Hedging Education

Hedging Education:
Hedging Education
How hedge funders spurred the pro-charter political network.

 This article is a preview of the Spring 2016 issue of The American Prospect magazineSubscribe here

Not too long ago, school board races were quaint affairs. Even in big school districts, candidates usually only had to raise a few thousand dollars to compete.
But as the movement to marketize public education gained momentum, advocates broadened their focus from the federal level to state and local governments. There, where campaign costs were substantially lower than in federal elections, the well-funded movement could more effectively leverage its political money.
One of the starkest casualties of that strategic shift has been the American school board election. A network of education advocacy groups, heavily backed by hedge fund investors, has turned its political attention to the local level, with aspirations to stock school boards—from Indianapolis and Minneapolis to Denver and Los Angeles—with allies.
In recent years, this powerful upstart operation has had tremendous, albeit somewhat stealthy, success playing politics at the local level, by cultivating reform leaders in areas with disappointing schools and a baseline desire for change. They have looked to building a state philanthropic infrastructure that can sustain local efforts beyond one election.
The same big-money donors and organizational names pop up in news reports and campaign-finance filings, revealing the behind-the-scenes coordination across organizational, geographic, and industry lines. The origins arguably trace back to Democrats for Education Reform, a relatively obscure group founded by New York hedge funders in the mid-2000s.

The Hedge Fund Connection

The hedge fund industry and the charter movement are almost inextricably entangled. Executives see charter-school expansion as vital to the future of public education, relying on a model of competition. They see testing as essential to accountability. And they often look at teacher unions with unvarnished distaste. Several hedge fund managers have launched their own charter-school chains. You’d be hard-pressed to find a hedge fund guy who doesn’t sit on a charter-school board.
Consider Whitney Tilson. Straight out of Harvard, Tilson deferred a consulting job in Boston to become one of Teach For America’s first employees in 1989. Ten years later, he started his own hedge fund in New York. Soon after that, Teach For America founder Wendy Kopp took him on a visit to a charter school in the South Bronx. It was an electrifying experience for him. “It was so clearly different and so impactful,” Tilson says. “Such a place of joy, but also rigor.”
The school was one of two original Knowledge Is Power Program schools—better known as KIPP—which has since grown into a prominent charter network with nearly 200 schools in 20 states plus the District of Columbia, serving almost 70,000 students, predominately low-income and of color.
But back then, charter schools were still a rather unfamiliar novelty to most people. Tilson, however, was convinced that they were the future of education. He started dragging all his friends, most of whom were hedge fund investors, from Wall Street up to the South Bronx to see the KIPP school. “KIPP was used as a converter for hedge fund guys,” Tilson says. “It went viral.”
Many critics of the corporate education-reform movement are quick to accuse proponents of seeking to cash in on the privatization of one of the United States’ last public goods. And while there certainly are those in ed-reform circles who stand to benefit from a windfall of new education technology, testing, and curriculum services, hedge funders by and large do not fit that stereotype. Theirs is more of an ideological and philanthropic crusade, rather Hedging