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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Demographic and Social Change ‘Belongs to the Young’ — Medium

Demographic and Social Change ‘Belongs to the Young’ — Medium:

Demographic and Social Change ‘Belongs to the Young’

“Change is the law of life. And those who only look to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” — John F. Kennedy, June 1963

Children in our nation face an uncertain future that depends, in large part, on the decisions that adults make on their behalf. Their future is in peril because, even today, children are not faring well in America. For example, the U.S. Census Bureau finds 21.1 percent of our nation’s children were living in poverty in 2014 — a disadvantage that research has shown to have lifelong consequences for their education, income, health, and well-being. This is a profound tragedy that our nation is largely ignoring and we will reap negative repercussions for generations to come unless we take action in the near future.
Changing demographics and its implications for American politics and public policy will undoubtedly play an important role in either improving the status of our nation’s children or in leading to further declines. In a recent paper by First Focus, we outline some major demographic trends that will have profound implications on our nation for decades to come.
The first demographic change of significance is that, for the first time in 2011,babies born in America were “majority-minority”. As political commentatorRonald Brownstein puts it, “The demographic revolution transforming the U.S. belongs to the young.”
If we want a country that will continue to be strong and successfully compete with other nation’s across the world, we must make needed investments to improve the lives and outcomes for all of our children and make significant efforts to eliminate racial disparities.
Fortunately, the American people are concerned about the future of children. According to a Battleground Poll by the Tarrance Group and Lake Research this past May, the American people believe, by a 69–25 percent margin, that they do not believe the next generation will be better off economically than the current generation.
However, despite such concerns, the Congress has chosen to disproportionately cut funding to children’s programs rather than protect them. In fact, our nation’s elected federal leaders have chosen to shrink the share of federal spending dedicated to children to less than 8 percent.
Although some might point to the fact that overall federal spending is down Demographic and Social Change ‘Belongs to the Young’ — Medium:

Accountability and Continuous Improvement Report - Year 2016 (CA Dept of Education)

Accountability and Continuous Improvement Report - Year 2016 (CA Dept of Education):

Superintendent Torlakson Releases Report by the Accountability and Continuous Improvement Task Force

 SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced the release of his Accountability and Continuous Improvement Task Force report today, which calls for an accountability system organized around three imperatives: performance, equity, and improvement.

The report was developed by a diverse, 30-member task force composed of leaders in many fields—teaching, administration, business, higher education, and philanthropy—as well as students, parents, and school board members. The task force was co-chaired by Wes Smith, Executive Director of the Association of California School Administrators, and Eric Heins, President of the California Teachers Association.
"This report contains many exciting ideas about how to build an accountability and continuous improvement system that works for students, parents, teachers, districts, and the entire community," said Torlakson. "It will add to the already rich dialogue taking place in California, which is leading the way in the development of a groundbreaking new accountability and continuous improvement system."
Torlakson thanked the task force for its hard work, insights, and commitment to collaboration. He said the cooperation was a great example of the California Way, working together to create positive change in education.
"I'm pleased our task force, after intensive study and discussion, could come together to produce a report that has many innovative concepts that can help develop a new, more useful accountability system," said Smith.
Heins agreed: "The task force brought together people from differing perspectives all united around the same goal: improving our education system by developing an accountability system that gives our schools, districts, and communities the broad view of how our schools and the systems that support them are doing, rather than focusing on one narrow, incomplete view."
The report (PDF; 1MB) calls for aligning (to the extent possible) local, state, and federal accountability and continuous improvement systems to create one integrated system. It also reinforces the concept of multiple measures that will look at a variety of indicators, such as high school graduation rates, chronic absenteeism, college and career readiness, school climate, and standardized test scores.
The task force report places top priority on identifying and closing the achievement gap, not only with regard to test scores, but also to ensure equitable access to educational resources and opportunities.
It also makes the following recommendations:
  • Connecting the accountability system to a system of continuous improvement for all districts and schools that relies on sharing best practices, supporting the intrinsic motivation of teachers and educators, and encouraging innovation.
  • Using a dashboard of measures to identify districts that need focused improvement support and intensive improvement support.
  • Continually monitoring, refining, and improving the system.
The Task Force report can be found on the CDE Web site (PDF: 1MB).
# # # #
Tom Torlakson — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5206, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

New Orleans tries to mix charter schools with democracy: Is this the district of the future? - The Washington Post

New Orleans tries to mix charter schools with democracy: Is this the district of the future? - The Washington Post:
New Orleans tries to mix charter schools with democracy: Is this the district of the future?

In the decade since Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and swept away its public school system, the city has become a closely watched experiment in whether untethering schools from local politics could fix the problems that have long ailed urban education.
Louisiana seized control of most New Orleans schools and turned them into charter schools after the devastating storm in 2005. More than 90 percent of the city’s children now attend charters, which are publicly funded but privately run by unelected officials who have complete freedom to decide how to organize their programs, schedules, teachers and curriculum.
The schools, on the whole, are still far from excellent, and there are lingering questions about whether and how a bunch of independent schools — which are under pressure to meet academic targets to continue operating — can ensure access to education for all students, especially those with the greatest needs.
But test scores and graduation rates have risen. And now the state is poised to relinquish its oversight: The Louisiana legislature has passed a bill that would return the 52 schools it oversees to a measure of local control, testing whether independent charter schools and democracy can coexist.
Many charter-school advocates describe it as an inevitable next step in the city’s bold education experiment, and one that could serve as a road map for other cities grappling with how to manage and coordinate a large number of charter schools.
“If they can get that right, it will be really important for New Orleans and for the country,” said Neerav Kingsland, who worked for New Schools for New Orleans from 2006 to 2014, when it started dozens of new charter schools. “You can’t avoid democracy forever, nor should you.”
Proponents of the bill, including many charter-school advocates, are calling it a “reunification” of New Orleans schools, putting the locally elected Orleans Parish School Board back in charge of the city’s schools but leaving actual control of individual operations in the hands of school leaders. They say it is an important step in closing the wounds left by the state takeover without sacrificing the autonomies that they say have been essential for driving academic progress.
“I do think this is the start of a healing process for a lot of individuals, to realize that the city is coming back together,” said Jamar McKneely, the chief executive of InspireNOLA Charter Schools, who helped negotiate the bill.
But some critics say it is a whitewash, written to appear as if local control over public education will be restored when the bill really leaves most of the power in the hands of the unelected boards of directors who run each of the city’s charter schools.
Karran Harper Royal, an advocate for special-education students and their families, called it a “Trojan horse.”
“This is the kind of bill you get when the charter schools want to give the impression that schools are returning to local governance,” she said. “It feels like a very patriarchal view of communities of color, and white people deciding that black people, or people of color, don’t deserve democracy.”
Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) is widely expected to sign the bill, which was introduced by Sen. Karen Carter Peterson (D) of New Orleans and was supported by the majority of the New Orleans state delegation. It outlines the transfer of schools from the state-run Recovery School District to the locally elected school board by 2019 at the latest.
But the parish school board — which already runs a half-dozen schools and oversees more than a dozen charter schools — would be prohibited from interfering with school-level decisions New Orleans tries to mix charter schools with democracy: Is this the district of the future? - The Washington Post:
Questions remain as New Orleans schools prepare to return to local control | The Advocate — Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Effect of standardized testing on children - Business Insider

Effect of standardized testing on children - Business Insider:

This is the psychological effect standardized testing has on children

Some parents are so angry with the testing regime facing their children that they have come together in an attempt to boycott primary school exams.
Preparation by teachers for these standardized achievement tests (SATs) in England have involved a narrowing of the curriculum, including a specific focus on spelling, punctuation and grammar.
Parents believe that their children should be stimulated instead by more enriching activities and projects. There is also a worry that the tests may cause undue stress and pressure on their young children to perform well. These beliefs are widespread: more than 49,000 parents have signed a petition to abolish SATs altogether.

An awareness of pressure

Teachers are under considerable pressure for pupils to perform well on SATs. Performance-related pay and position in school league tables depend on test results. Parents believe that exam results will have a bearing on their young child’s future and understandably want them to do well.
But the children are also well-aware that their performance on the SATs is important to their teachers and parents. Teachers may unwittingly transmit the stress they are under to their pupils. Children can also pick up on their parents’ attitudes and associated behavior and feelunder pressure to make them proud.
This pressure from parents is perhaps the largest source of stress for children aged ten to 11 who are working towards their Key Stage 2 exams. One Year 6 pupil my colleagues and I interviewed described the source of the pressure he felt:
You want to get them [SATS questions] right because other people want you to get them right and, like, you don’t want to disappoint people.
 Stress and pressure about forthcoming exams can result in what education researchers have termed “test anxiety”. This can present itself via a number of symptoms.

Children can suffer from negative thoughts such as: “If I don’t pass this test, I will never get a good job”. They can also suffer physiological symptoms such as tight muscles or trembling and distracting behaviors such as playing with a pencil. The effects of anxiety during a test can influence the child’s ability to process and understand test questions and perform at their best.
It is well established that pupils with high levels of test anxiety perform more poorly in their exams. The overall prevalence of test anxiety in primary school children is on the increase and it is fairly common for children at the end of primary school. Year 6 pupils report experiencing anxiety either some or most of the time when asked two weeks prior to their exams.
But there are differences in how SATs are viewed by different children. Some perceive them to be stressful, while others view them as a challenge. As well as pressure from parents, pupils in Year 6 have cited the demands of the testing situation as a cause of stress. This includes 
 Effect of standardized testing on children - Business Insider:

Speaker: Charter schools take money from public schools - -

Speaker: Charter schools take money from public schools - -

Speaker: Charter schools take money from public schools

ELIDA — William Phillis, executive director of the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy of School Funding executive director, said it is time for the state to end a failed attempt at charter schools.
Phillis was the guest speaker Tuesday at a school funding forum held at Elida High School. The crowd of about 30 was well represented by administration and staff from local school districts.
Phillis said the original concept of charter schools was for more school choice and to free schools from regulations in order to be more creative and innovative. However, he said a lack of oversight has turned charter schools into nothing more than money-making machines.
“It has rapidly expanded in Ohio, Phillis said. “The $10 million experiment become operational in Ohio in fiscal year 1999,” Phillis said. It expanded to a $50 million project in 2000 and $91 million in 2001.”
Phillis said it has now turned into a $1 billion enterprise in Ohio. He said they are sucking money out of public schools, that have proved to have a much better track record.
Phillis, who spent much of his career as an educator and and school administrator, said charter schools falsely sell themselves as good alternatives.
“You hear them referred to as a “community school,” Phillis said. “That is a bunch of baloney. Elida Schools are a community school. I love the public schools because they develop a sense of community and country.”
Elida schools Treasurer Joel Parker pointed out several interesting facts about the effect of charter schools locally. In Allen County, he said Lima City Schools loses about $2.9 million to charter schools and Elida loses about $1.1 million. Shawnee loses $426,000 and Bath loses $307,000. Parker said with the Elida district receiving an average of $3,556 per pupil in state funding, it means the district loses about $2,344 for each student that goes to a charter school.
He pointed out two charter schools in particular, ECOT and the Ohio Virtual Academy. The Elida district loses about $178,000 to ECOT and $172,000 to the Virtual Learning Academy.
“The graduation rate at ECOT is 35 percent and they gave out $1.3 million to political campaigns,” Parker said. “The Ohio Virtual Academy was founded by junk bond dealer Michael Milken. I think that says a lot right there.”
Phillis said school districts and their supporting taxpayers need to be more active on the subject.
Initially, he said funding needs corrected so public districts are not subsidizing charters. He also said districts should also develop and implement plans to recover charter students. Elida plans on discussing the addition of online schooling at its next board meeting in an effort to recover some of those lost students.
He also called on school districts to start billing the Ohio Department of Education for local money lost to charter schools, a practice that many school districts have already picked up on. He also encouraged support for Senate Bill 298, legislation that would force more accountability on charter schools.
“Tethullah Gulen, who is connected to 19 charter schools in Ohio, is worth $25 billion,” Phillis said. “He is using Ohio charter schools to fund the Turkish uprising. It is ludicrous, it is amazing. Where is the outrage. It needs to be discussed.”
Reach Lance Mihm at 567-242-0409 or at Twitter @LanceMihm.Speaker: Charter schools take money from public schools - -
Big Education Ape: Union-commissioned report says charter schools are bleeding money from traditional ones - LA Times

NC vouchers shrink opportunity for public school students | News & Observer

NC vouchers shrink opportunity for public school students | News & Observer:
NC vouchers shrink opportunity for public school students


The ill-conceived voucher program pushed through the General Assembly by Republicans is working just as advocates expected. Yes, they greased the skids for the program by targeting it for lower-income people, dubbing the millions of dollars in public funds that would help them send their kids to private schools as “Opportunity Scholarships.” The name, and the eligibility requirements, conjured a vision of a benevolent Republican Party trying to help the poor.
What the program really does is drain funds from what best serves the poor – free public schools.
Some numbers are in. They show the state has spent $12 million on the “scholarships” this year. Not surprisingly, $11 million of that went to Christian, Islamic and other faith-based schools. While there is legitimate concern that public spending on schools with religious affiliations violates the church-state separation principle of American government, the voucher system has passed muster with the courts.
The scholarships provide a maximum of $4,200 per pupil. That, voucher advocates say, shows the program is a bargain because the per-pupil cost of a public education is over $8,000 per student per year.
But Republicans knew full well when they passed the program that $4,200 wouldn’t cover the cost of the state’s most exclusive private schools. Schools like Cary Academy, Durham Academy and Raleigh’s Ravenscroft don’t have any Opportunity Scholarship students. So the students with vouchers are going to lower-cost schools.
Are they good schools? It’s hard to say, since private schools don’t have to disclose much about their operations publicly. They don’t have to give state exams or have state ratings and report cards. Teachers don’t have to be licensed or paid on the state scale. Public schools have all sorts of accountability requirements, including an ill-conceived letter-grade rating system.
State Rep. Skip Stam of Apex, a vociferous backer of vouchers, seems delighted with the lack of regulation, and he and other advocates of private schools want to expand the scholarship program to include more families.
The lack of accountability and the limited number of choices parents face given the size of the scholarships are troubling. But just as troubling is the body blow from the drain of money from public schools that results from the voucher system.
Public education in North Carolina is under attack. That is simply wrong for a system that offers true opportunity with a “scholarship” for all.

Public vs. Private: Parental Involvement in K-12 Education | American Institutes for Research

Public vs. Private: Parental Involvement in K-12 Education | American Institutes for Research:
Parent and Family Involvement in Education, from the National Household Education Surveys Program of 2012

First Look

Amber Noel, Patrick Stark, and Jeremy Redford, AIR
Andrew Zukerberg, National Center for Education Statistics
This report presents data on students in the United States attending kindergarten through grade 12. The main focus of the report is on parent and family involvement in the students’ education during the 2011–12 school year as reported by the students’ parents. It also includes the percentage of students who participated in selected family activities. Demographic information about students and families is presented, including students’ poverty status and parents’ education and language spoken at home, as well as school characteristics, such as school size and school type.
The data for this report come from the National Household Education Surveys Program of 2012, Parent and Family Involvement in Education (PFI) Survey. The PFI survey is designed for students who are enrolled in kindergarten through grade 12 or are homeschooled for equivalent grades and asks questions about various aspects of parent involvement in education, such as help with homework, family activities, and parent involvement at school. This First Look report updates data presented in an earlier report by presenting selected descriptive information.

 How involved are parents in their children’s education? Do they attend school activities? Are they satisfied with the school? Is involvement different for parents of students in public or private schools? Using the National Household Education Surveys Program of 2012 (NHES: 2012), this infographic answers these questions. (See the report co-authored by AIR experts, Parent and Family Involvement in Education, for more information.)