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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

1950's Back To School

1950's Back To School
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When Learning Was Funny

CURMUDGUCATION: 13 Deadly Sins of PD

CURMUDGUCATION: 13 Deadly Sins of PD:

13 Deadly Sins of PD

Image result for 1) Don't Read Us The Power Point

In my neck of the woods, this is the magical week in which teachers go back to balance their time between finishing room preparation and sitting through year-launching professional development sessions. Some sessions can address useful topics, and some are unfortunate choices (my wife's district decided to welcome their teachers back for the year by starting their first day with a session about suicide).

If you have to sit through PD, then you know the drill. But if you are PD presenter, here are the Thirteen  Deadly Sins to avoid:

1) Don't Read Us The Power Point

Frankly, if there's power point at all, I'm not that excited. But if you are just going to read us the power point slides, do us all a favor-- put those slides in an email attachment, send it out, and let us all sit in front of our own computer and read the presentation to ourselves. Seriously-- what is reading it out loud supposed to do for us? You're going to unlock new levels of meaning by the use of your vocal inflections? You want to give us a chance to close our eyes without missing anything? You're one of those edumalpracticioners who not only believes in scripting, but thinks scripting is more effective when your students can see the script you're reading? Or this isn't actually your presentation and you have no idea what the hell you're talking about, so you'll just read what's there and hope that gets you through the hour?

There is no good reason to read power point slides to an audience over the age of five. Stop it. Stop it right now.

2) Don't Wave Around Sort-of-Teacher Credentials

Introducing yourself is a legit good idea, but just be honest. Especially don't try to fake us out by trying to connect with us professionally. Here are honest introductions that we never hear at PD sessions.

I was a classroom teacher up until about five years ago when I decided that I'd rather get into something easier and cushy like textbook repping. I have some vague memory of what teaching was like, but frankly, I scrubbed that out of my brain as soon as I took my first ride in my sweet company car.

I taught for about two years and realized I couldn't hack it, but there I was with an education degree, and what the hell else was I going to do. Thank God there were consulting jobs opening up.

Oh, yeah! I was absolutely a teacher, by which I mean I did two years with Teach for America, trying to make up for all the terrible work you so-called professionals were doing. But that let me 
CURMUDGUCATION: 13 Deadly Sins of PD:

Federal Suit Filed Against State On Restrictions To Magnet, Charter School Development - Hartford Courant

Federal Suit Filed Against State On Restrictions To Magnet, Charter School Development - Hartford Courant:

Federal Suit Filed Against State On Restrictions To Magnet, Charter School Development

 A California-based educational-advocacy group has filed a federal lawsuit charging that Connecticut's restrictions on magnet and charter schools harm city children and violate the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Students Matter, a group best known for bringing an unsuccessful lawsuit seeking to eliminate teacher tenure in California, filed a 71-page complaint Tuesday charging that "inexcusable educational inequity" in Connecticut was primarily the result of state laws "that prevent inner-city students from accessing even minimally acceptable public-school options."
The group is taking aim at laws that have put a moratorium on new magnet schools, limit the expansion of charter schools, and set per-student funding levels for districts participating in the Open Choice program in which city students attend suburban schools.
A statement from Students Matter said, "Year after year, these parents have tried to avoid sending their children to failing public schools by trying to enroll them in magnet schools, charter public schools or other adequate public school alternatives."
However, the group contends that children have been "forced to remain in failing schools" because laws prevent magnets and charters from "scaling and meeting the need for high-quality schools demanded by Connecticut's population."Federal Suit Filed Against State On Restrictions To Magnet, Charter School Development - Hartford Courant:
Beware of AstroTurf Ed Reformers 

Astroturf lobbying refers to political organizations or campaigns that appear to be made up of grassroots activists but are actually organized and run by corporate interests seeking to further their own agendas. Such groups are often typified by innocent-sounding names that have been chosen specifically to disguise the group's true backers

Big Education Ape: Group Created By Silicon Valley Millionaire Targets Teacher Evaluations In California -

Will Indy adopt central enrollment system for schools?

Will Indy adopt central enrollment system for schools?:

Will Indy adopt central enrollment system for schools?

A group is developing a one-stop enrollment system for Indianapolis schools but will the city’s largest education provider take part?
Indianapolis Public Schools leaders are weighing whether to join Enroll Indy, a nonprofit with plans to launch a unified enrollment process for IPS schools and charter schools within the district’s boundaries by next year.
The goal: Help parents find a school for their children in a city with growing options that feature charter schools, innovation network schools, magnet programs and more.
So far, IPS hasn’t made any commitments, though moving toward such a system is among the district’s priorities, IPS Superintendent Lewis Ferebee said.
“Whether Enroll Indy is the best fit for IPS to go down that path is to be determined,” Ferebee told IndyStar. “The concept itself could definitely benefit our families.”
Advocates for a central enrollment system say the way parents now shop for schools is disorganized. To find the best fit, parents must juggle different application deadlines and know what programs are out there, a daunting task with the city now playing host to more than 40 charter schools.
Wealthier families can find the process easier to navigate, placing lower-income families at a disadvantage, organizers say.
“If we’re going to say we have choice,” said Caitlin Hannon, Enroll Indy’s founder, “everybody should have equitable access to that choice.”
Hannon, a former IPS School Board member, said the group is hoping to launch its first application process next fall for the 2018-19 school year. But first it needs buy-in from the city’s schools, and Hannon started making her pitch to IPS this month.
A 2015 report by the Institute for Innovation in Public School Choice found that the city’s schools are in “intense competition to enroll students.”
“There is no incentive for IPS, for example, to tell parents about charter schools. Or for Ball State University to ensure families understand the IPS magnet school application,” according to the report. “In both cases, doing so would not be in their best self-interest. For families, though the distinction between authorizers is less important. Parents are looking for the best school for their child, regardless of who runs it. For them, not having the information in one easy-to-access place doesn’t make sense.”
Families would apply through Enroll Indy to any participating school, where they’d rank their school preferences and be matched with a program.
Hannon said families would be asked their priorities, such as location and where siblings attend. Students are then matched to the school “they want the most that they can get into, based on those priorities,” Hannon said.
“I like to explain it as all schools lotteries happening at the same moment…,” she said.
An analysis of a similar system run in Denver Public Schools found not enough seats existed in high-performing schools to serve demand. That meant students often were assigned to lower-performing schools than initially requested.
But the system would come with perks, Hannon said. Parents would no longer have Will Indy adopt central enrollment system for schools?:

Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog: 27 children shot in Chicago. But no pics going viral.

Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog: 27 children shot in Chicago. But no pics going viral.:

27 children shot in Chicago. But no pics going viral.

Photo of Syrian child, victim of bombings, has gone viral. 
The number of Chicago shooting victims this year is approaching 2,700 after 57 were shot over the weekend. Twenty-seven of the victims have been children, all of them children of color. Since the beginning of June, Chicago has averaged about one child shot each week. So far, no iconic photos of any of them to capture hearts and minds. Why not? 

CTU members are marching out in the rain this morning, ahead of school board meeting where the district's $5.4 billion budget will be voted on.

The proposed budget, with massive program cuts, is laden with property tax increases and largely reliant on heavy borrowing against future property tax revenue, as opposed to taxing the wealthy or finding other new sources of revenue.

All this while Gov. Rauner continues to hold the state's school budget hostage.

Also protesting is Access Living, a disability rights group, upset about the new way the Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog: 27 children shot in Chicago. But no pics going viral.:

Statewide Student Test Results Released - Year 2016 (CA Dept of Education)

Statewide Student Test Results Released - Year 2016 (CA Dept of Education):

Schools Chief Torlakson Reports Across-the-Board Progress Toward Career and College Readiness in CAASPP Results

 SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today that California students made significant progress in the second year of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) online tests, with the percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards increasing at every grade and in every student group.

Nearly half the students tested met or exceeded standards in English language arts, and nearly four in ten met or exceeded standards in mathematics (see Table 1). These online tests, based on California’s challenging academic standards, ask students to write clearly, think critically, and solve complex problems, just as they will need to do in college and on the job.
“The higher test scores show that the dedication, hard work, and patience of California’s teachers, parents, school employees, and administrators are paying off. Together we are making progress towards upgrading our education system to prepare all students for careers and college in the 21st century,” Torlakson said.
“Of course there’s more work to do, but our system has momentum. I am confident that business, political and community leaders will join parents and educators to help continue supporting increased standards and resources for schools.”
More than 3.2 million students took part in CAASPP, which includes a number of different assessments. The most widely tested are the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments in mathematics and English language arts/literacy, which are given in grades three through eight and grade 11.
Preliminary figures indicate that less than 1 percent of eligible California students did not take part in the assessment due to a parental exemption, a figure far lower than in many other states (see Table 2).
“This low rate of parental exemption indicates that our parents and students see the value of measuring the skills of all students against the same standards the same way, using one common yardstick, and one shared goal: learning,” Torlakson said.
In addition, he said, it shows a strong commitment to the state’s comprehensive program of transforming our schools with higher academic standards, more local control over spending, more funding for those with the greatest needs, and a new system of evaluating schools and districts.
“These positive results are based on a new college and career readiness assessment that is online, and expects students to demonstrate critical thinking and problem solving skills unlike the old, multiple choice tests they replace,” said State Board of Education President Mike Kirst.
Smarter Balanced tests consist of two parts. First, students take a computer adaptive assessment, which bases follow-up questions on a student’s answers in real time and gives a more accurate picture of a student’s progress than the paper and pencil test.
Here’s how it works: If a student answers a question correctly, she gets a more difficult question. If she answers it incorrectly, she gets an easier question.
Students also complete a performance task that challenges their ability to apply their knowledge and skills to problems in a real-world setting. The two parts measure depth of understanding, writing, research and problem-solving skills more thoroughly than the multiple-choice, paper-based tests they replaced.
Scores on the assessments fall into one of four achievement levels: standard exceeded, standard met, standard nearly met, and standard not met. The state also computes the average scores of all tested students, called mean scale scores, which reflects the progress of all students rather than only those who changed achievement levels from one year to the next.
This year average scale scores rose statewide. Statewide in all tested grades, 49 percent of students met or exceeded the English language arts/literacy standard, an increase of 5 percentage points from last year. In mathematics, 37 percent of students met or exceeded standards, also an increase of 4 percentage points from last year.
In English language arts/literacy, the percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards increased by at least 4 percentage points in all grades except grades eight and eleven, which increased by 3 points (see Table 3).
In mathematics, the largest gains were seen among third-graders, with 46 percent meeting or exceeding standards, an increase of 6 points from last year. Other grades posted gains of 2 or 3 percentage points (see Table 4).
California State Universities and many community colleges consider high marks on these tests among 11th-grade students a reliable sign of readiness for college-level work. This year’s results indicate 59 percent of grade eleven students are ready or conditionally ready for college work in English language arts, with 33 percent ready or conditionally ready for college work in mathematics.
Torlakson said a number of factors may have helped scores rise this year, including an extra year of teaching the California state standards in English and math, more familiarity with taking an online test, continued improvements in technology, and the use of interim tests, he said.
Torlakson noted that schools are still working to make the transition to new standards and assessments, and said patience and persistence will contribute to the ongoing effort to improve California’s schools.
One concern remains with the continuing achievement gap, with significantly lower scores among students from low-income families, English learners and some ethnic groups compared to other students.
Statewide scores for all student groups rose in both subjects tested (see Table 5 and Table 6). For example, average scores for Latino students in English language arts increased 5 percent, while scores for African Americans and Whites rose 3 percent.
But the achievement gap continues with just 37 percent of Latinos and 31 percent of African American students meeting or exceeding standards in English language arts compared with 64 percent of White students.
“The achievement gap is pernicious and persistent and we all need to work together to find solutions that help all groups rise, while narrowing the gap,” said Torlakson, who has proposed an office within the California Department of Education devoted to coordinating and promoting efforts to address the achievement gap.
Individual student scores are reported to parents by mail. In addition, California provides a dedicated CAASPP Results Web site, where parents and the public can view and compare aggregated results among schools, districts, and counties along with statewide results.
The California Department of Education provides a wide range of tools to help parents, teachers and schools understand and use CAASPP results.
These resources include a new understanding student CAASPP scores Web site External link opens in new window or tab. that provides parents with grade-by-grade, subject-by-subject information at all levels of achievement; detailed online guides for parents and teachers to use in analyzing results; and practice tests at every grade level in English.

California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress—2016 Annual Release Summary Results Tables of the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments for English Language Arts/Literacy and Mathematics

Table 1: 2014–15 and 2015–16 Smarter Balanced Number and Percentage Point Change of All California Students Who Exceeded or Met Standards for English Language Arts/Literacy and Mathematics1
Content Area
Number of Students Tested with Scores 20152
Number of Students Tested with Scores 20162
Percent Students who Met or Exceeded Standards 2015
Percent Students who Met or Exceeded Standards 2016
Percentage Point Change of Students who Met or Exceeded Standards 2015–2016
English Language Arts/Literacy3
1 Results for other achievement levels including 2015 are located on the CDE CAASPP Results Web site.
2 The number of valid scores includes count of students statewide who were enrolled and responded to enough questions on both the Performance Task and the Computer Adaptive portions of the test to generate a score.
3  Recently arrived English Learners who are in his or her first 12 months of attending a school in the United States are exempted from taking the assessment in English language arts.
Table 2: 2015–16 Number and Percentage of Students Receiving Statewide Student Test Results Released - Year 2016 (CA Dept of Education):

Op-ed: Why privatizing education must be stopped

Op-ed: Why privatizing education must be stopped:

Op-ed: Why privatizing education must be stopped

“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest” — Elie Wiesel.
Three recent news worthy items deserve our attention. The first is a recent study in the American Educational Research Journal. The study concluded that rising income inequality in the U.S. is a primary cause of the growing economic segregation of schools. As the gap grows between rich and poor, affluent families are more likely to segregate themselves into enclaves where there are few poor children in the public schools.
The second is a report issued by the Indiana Department of Education that calculated the net increased cost for the state’s education voucher program to be $53.2 million. Some 52 percent of voucher students now have no record of attending a public school.
The final report is one completed by the National Conference of State Legislatures addressing educational reform. The report acknowledges there are no silver bullets and the present efforts at reform have failed. The report recognizes the importance of having all stakeholders be a part of the process of improving our schools.
Why does any of this matter? All of these reports can be tied to the effort to privatize education.
In his book, “Justice,” Michael Sandell makes the observation that during the past 30 years we have moved from being a market economy to a market society where increasingly everything is being turned into a commodity and is for sale to the highest bidder. Sandell contends that when dealing with material goods, a market economy is a valuable and productive tool, but we should not trust markets with our civic lives. He observes that economists assume markets are inert and do not touch or taint the goods they exchange. This assumption may be true of material goods, but may not be true for non-material goods and social practices related to education, health care, politics, law and civic life.
Should educational opportunities be made available based upon the ability to pay? Should we pay children to read books or get good grades? Should people receive health care on the basis of their ability to pay? Should access to politicians and the political system be governed by those who have more money? Should legal representation be impacted by one’s financial circumstances? Should you be able to pay someone else to take your place in serving your country? Should citizenship be for sale?
Sandell asserts markets may in fact undermine or crowd out non-market attitudes and values worth caring about and change the character of some goods and social practices. He writes that the most corrosive effect of markets is the loss of our commonality – “we’re all in it together.”
The American public school system has been where students of different economic classes, religious backgrounds and ethnic communities come together to develop a sense of community and a commitment to the common good.
Because of income inequality, we are increasingly leading separate lives. Sandell asserts, “Democracy doesn’t demand absolute equality, but does require people to share a common life.”
Sandell concludes that ultimately this is “… not an economic question. The question is how do we want to live together? Do we want a society where everything is up for sale or are there certain moral and civic goods that markets do not honor and money cannot buy?”
That is why all of this matters, why we should oppose privatizing our schools and why we should elect people who support our public schools. I may be powerless to prevent it, but the privatization of education is an injustice, and I must protest.
Eiler is former superintendent of Lafayette School Corp.Op-ed: Why privatizing education must be stopped:

Hoosier School Heist TV is Doug Martin's channel featuring videos of his book tour across Indiana speaking on the corporate takeover of public education. Order Hoosier School Heist at
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Parents’ digital learning opt out form to share | Parents Across America

Parents’ digital learning opt out form to share | Parents Across America:

Parents’ digital learning opt out form to share


We reached out to Dr. Nicholas Kardaras, author of the just-released book, “Glow Kids: How Screen Addiction is Hijacking our Kids — and How to Break the Trance,” and received his permission to share the excellent sample digital learning opt out letter that is included in the book (see below).
Dr. .Kardaras says, “Parents and schools have been misled by tech companies into believing that educational technology leads to better school outcomes; but the research just doesn’t bear that out. What we essentially have is a $60 billion dollar scam where digital Trojan horses filled with the potential for clinical disorders have been allowed into our kids’ classrooms under the pretense of being ‘educational’. Unfortunately, we have been conducting a massive experiment using our kids as guinea pigs without vetting any of these developmentally inappropriate marvels of the digital age.”
Please also see PAA’s recommendations for sensible use of technology, and questions to ask at your child’s school, as well as our full list of reports.
School Technology Opt-Out Letter
Dear Teacher and/or School Administrator,
I would like to respectfully request that all of my child’s education and educational content be presented without the use of electronic devices. This includes the use of tablets, chrome books, lap tops or desk top computers.
We wish to help nurture and support our child’s educational, social, psychological and emotional development as much as possible and have become increasingly concerned with the potential detrimental aspects of screen technologies on young children.
We understand that you, as the school, have a responsibility to present our child with state approved educational content and curriculum. We are in full agreement with that. But it is within our right as parents to ensure that the medium by which our children’s education is being presented is safe and not problematic clinically nor developmentally.
There has been a plethora of research indicating the adverse effect of electronic screens on children’s attentional, cognitive and social development if they are exposed at too young of an age. Please feel free to refer to the Website for a full list of that peer-reviewed research.
The Parent(s) of: __________________________________________

Chief Privacy Officer Finally Appointed; Parents and Advocates Await Next Steps to Protect Student Data  | Class Size Matters

Chief Privacy Officer Finally Appointed; Parents and Advocates Await Next Steps to Protect Student Data  | Class Size Matters Chief Privacy Officer Finally Appointed; Parents and Advocates Await Next Steps to Protect Student Data  | A clearinghouse for information on class size & the proven benefits of smaller classes:

Chief Privacy Officer Finally Appointed; Parents and Advocates Await Next Steps to Protect Student Data 

For more information: Leonie Haimson,, 917-435-9329
Chief Privacy Officer Finally Appointed; Parents and Advocates Await Next Steps to Protect Student Data 
The long overdue appointment announced today by the NY State Education Department of a Chief Privacy Officer, Temitope Akinyemi, is an important step forward to begin to enforce the New York student privacy law that was originally passed on March 31, 2014 as part of the state budget, along with the banning of the plan to share personal student data with inBloom Inc.
Parents are relieved that more than two years following the July 29, 2014 deadline set by this law, the NY State Education Department has finally appointed a permanent Chief Privacy Officer.  Yet by that date, the CPO was also supposed to have developed an expanded Parent Bill of Privacy Rights, with the input of parents and other stakeholders.  Instead, NYSED hurriedly posted a Bill of Rights two years ago that is incomplete as to existing federal and state privacy laws – as pointed out by a letter to then-Commissioner John King in August 2014.
Said Leonie Haimson, Executive Director of Class Size Matters and co-chair of the national organization, the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy: “Now that the CPO is appointed, Ms. Akinyemi should immediately begin to reach out to parents through public hearings to improve and expand upon the Parent Bill of Rights, to gain their input so that their children’s privacy and safety can be secured. Parents have already waited too long for this to occur.”
Parents and advocates also urge Ms. Akinyemi to appoint a Data Stakeholder Advisory Panel to oversee the state’s collection and disclosure of personal student data.  According to a federal grantprovided to NYSED in 2009, this Panel was supposed to “provide active and ongoing review by local constituents,” but still does not yet exist – seven years later.
Added Ms. Haimson, “Only with robust citizen oversight can we be assured that children’s personal information will be safeguarded with appropriate restrictions and protections. We recently learned that the NYSED has decided to reverse their earlier decision to put the personal data of all public school students in the State Archives, potentially forever; but this decision should never have been made in Chief Privacy Officer Finally Appointed; Parents and Advocates Await Next Steps to Protect Student Data  | Class Size Matters Chief Privacy Officer Finally Appointed; Parents and Advocates Await Next Steps to Protect Student Data  | A clearinghouse for information on class size & the proven benefits of smaller classes:

Florida Teacher to School Board: Why My Daughter Will Not Take the State Tests | Diane Ravitch's blog

Florida Teacher to School Board: Why My Daughter Will Not Take the State Tests | Diane Ravitch's blog:

Florida Teacher to School Board: Why My Daughter Will Not Take the State Tests

Andy Goldstein addressed the school board of Palm Beach County, where he teaches, at a recent meeting:
Why My Wife and I Are Opting Out Our Daughter From Third-Grade High-Stakes Testing
Transcript of the original text:
Good evening. My name is Andy Goldstein. I’m a teacher at Omni Middle School and the proud parent of an eight-year-old daughter who attends one of our public elementary schools.
It seems like it was just yesterday when my daughter entered kindergarten. At that time, I talked about her at our August School Board meeting in 2013.
I said that my hopes and dreams for my daughter were that she would develop a lifelong love for learning that would serve her well as she learned to construct a life that would serve her and serve others as well.
I told this board that my wife and I were not particularly interested in having her be seen as a data point for others to make money from.
Now, three short years later, which seem to have gone by in the blink of an eye, she is entering third grade.
Tonight, I’m speaking as a parent, who also is a teacher.
In Florida, third grade is the beginning of high-stakes, standardized testing for our children.
What are the high-stakes?
• Our children, on the basis of one test, will receive a number, a 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5, which, will serve to define them.
Some students, may do well learning throughout the year, but do not test well and may receive a 1, a one being the lowest possible score.
Some may come from disadvantaged backgrounds and will receive a 1.
Some may be special needs students, who receive a 1.
These numbers work to define our students as to whom they are. “I’m a one. I’m a Failure.”
This high-stakes testing policy, mandated by state law, works to stigmatize our students and they grow up with a limiting self-concept of who they are and what they are capable of doing and becoming.
• On the basis of this one high-stakes test, some schools—those Florida Teacher to School Board: Why My Daughter Will Not Take the State Tests | Diane Ravitch's blog:

CURMUDGUCATION: Voting with Their Feet

CURMUDGUCATION: Voting with Their Feet:

Voting with Their Feet

One feature of "unleashing the power of the free market" in education is supposed to be a sort of regulation by the market's infamous invisible hand. Customers will "vote with their feet," driving the bad actors out of business.

In this country, there will always be an argument to be had about how well this really works. It's one of the dances of freedom and commerce that we have regularly. Is it okay to let Americans vote with their feet for grossly fat and unhealthy processed fast food? And are consumers moving the invisible hand based on their own honest desires, or are these hand-moving consumers themselves being moved by the not-so-invisible hand of marketing? And just how involved should the big fat heavy hand of government be in any of this? These are difficult and complicated questions, and I bring them up only to note that the idea that we just open a free market and the invisible hand sorts out the choices and-- voila!!-- quality!!-- well, that vision is a gross oversimplification and not very much like what actually happens at all.

We can already see the many ways in which the bipedal plebiscite is not working for education.

Exhibit A is the cyber charter industry. Let me first insert the disclaimer that for a small, select group of students, cyber school is an excellent solution. Having said that, the cyber charter industry at large is a huge failure, so huge that even the rest of the charter industry is calling for them to shape up. Cyber charters are a disaster, a waste of student time and taxpayer money. And yet, even though virtually every even-sort-of-responsible-voice in the education field has condemned cybers, the army of foot-voters have not yet put them out of business.

Why not? I can only offer theories based on anecdotal evidence. One is that people are voting with their feet, with cyber students either dropping out or returning to public school, often behind their peers. "I'm always excited to have a former cyber student in my class because I know they will be really on top of the material," said no teacher ever. However, so far, cyber marketing and aggressive recruiting keep new bodies signing up. Schools are made to be a churn and burn market-- you are always losing "customers," so your focus has to be on recruiting.

I think it's also safe to say that a certain amount of the education market is filled with customers 
CURMUDGUCATION: Voting with Their Feet: