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Monday, November 26, 2018

Education Week Grading System Gets a Failing Grade – School Finance 101

Education Week Grading System Gets a Failing Grade – School Finance 101

Education Week Grading System Gets a Failing Grade

It’s that time of year again. Time for Education Week Quality Counts to grade the states on a number of education policy issues – ranging from accountability systems to school finance systems. But, once again, Education Week’s Quality Counts ratings of state school finance policies simply lack understanding of the goals of today’s state school finance policies and methods for better understanding and evaluating state school finance policies. We have been working diligently to develop an alternative set of indicators to be released sometime in the near future. I will attempt to provide my critique of the Ed Week indicators herein without divulging to much detail about our alternatives – yet.
Here is a blurb I wrote a short while ago in which I lay  out the initial critique of two popular state school finance rating systems:
Two existing reports are disseminated annually and highly publicized. The first is the Education Trust Funding Gap Report which has as its focus, characterizing the differences in average per pupil state and local revenues between high and low minority concentration districts and between high and low poverty concentration school districts within states. The report appears to have significant traction in policy circles but is methodologically problematic and deceptive in a number of ways. First, the report calculates its funding gaps with respect to “need adjusted” estimates of state and local revenues per pupil. In order to generate these need adjusted estimates, the authors must adopt a set of weights that prescribe how much more a child from impoverished background is expected to need and how much more a child with disabilities is expected to need. That is, the method requires an a priori assumption of the magnitude of differential need for certain populations.
Second, the Funding Gap report overlooks entirely other major factors that affect the costs of Continue reading: Education Week Grading System Gets a Failing Grade – School Finance 101

Educational Inequality and School Finance: Why Money Matters for America's Students: Bruce D. Baker: 9781682532423: Books -

This week in charter school scandals - YouTube

This week in charter school scandals - YouTube

This week in charter school scandals 

I could easily devote every episode to covering charter schools. A simple search will turn up half a dozen scandals on any given week.
Like the story this week out of Arizona, where the multimillionaire CEO of an online charter school gave himself a $1.3 million raise, while giving teachers 1%. Keep in mind that online charters have very little overhead.
Thrive Charter Schools in San Diego are outperformed by every school in the district; has been slated for closure by the board. Yet the founders gave themselves another huge bonus this year.
A charter school operator in Pensacola, Florida, was just sentenced to 20 years in prison for fraud. And a Dorchester, Massachusetts, charter executive is under investigation for questionable spending.
That’s all this week alone.
And then the story that caught my eye. The Miami New Times is reporting that a teacher at Mater Academy, a charter school in Hialeah Gardens, hung a Confederate flag with the motto “Keep It Flying” in his classroom.
The same teacher previously told students that the South was fighting for “states rights” and that the Union “should have lost.” And he’s called students “snowflakes” for expressing their own views.
Any public school teacher would have been disciplined, but Mater Academy principal Jose Nuñez told the Times that it was just part of a history lesson.
“A school with 98% minority enrollment according to US News, allowed a conservative history teacher to hang this up. Despite the fact that the Confederacy was the enemy of the US, it's yet ANOTHER example of Mater Academy promoting the right wing political ideology @OfficialJoelF”
Mater is part of Academica, the largest charter school operator in Florida. For over a decade Academica has written big paychecks to several Florida politicians, including the CEO’s brother-in-law, Erik Fresen, who was convicted of tax evasion after chairing the Florida House subcommittee that oversees education.
Because these are the kind of people who run charter schools. Racists, con artists, and crooked politicians. They line their own pockets with money and resources that should be going to the most struggling schools, then claim those schools are failing.
They skim the highest performing children off the top, send the ones who don’t work out back to their homeschools, and still can’t outperform traditional public schools.
They claim that per pupil allocation belongs to students and should follow them wherever they go, like a backpack full of cash.
But schools don’t belong to students or their parents. They belong to the communities that fund them.

Everybody else is just passing through.

This week in charter school scandals - YouTube

Badass Teachers Association: Just say #NoTFA!!

Badass Teachers Association: Just say #NoTFA!!
Just say #NoTFA!!
Dear Representative-Elect, 
Congratulations on your successful election to become a representative of your state in the House of Representatives or U.S.Senate! As educators, many of us became very involved in your election, whether it was to volunteer for your campaign, fight for your endorsement within our union, share your information on social media, or just watch the election events unfold, holding our collective breath until the official results were released. Some of you even have a background in education, and for that, we are thankful. You face a lot of decisions right now. Perhaps one of the most important is to prepare yourself with a team that will assist and guide you in future decision-making. We know that all Representatives cannot become overnight experts on all of the issues that are debated in Congress and must rely upon the research and opinions of their aides to guide them in decision-making that translates into real-time votes on the floor that shapes future laws, policies, and procedures. 
We are coming to you with a concern about the past practice of hiring recruits that have gone through the Capitol Hill Fellows program, run by Teach for America (TFA). It is disturbing to us that these voices are given weight in decisions made about public education when they include many TFA “alum” that have only spent a few years in the classroom, and not necessarily in a  Continue reading:

CURMUDGUCATION: The Factory, The Computer, and the Marketing Problem

CURMUDGUCATION: The Factory, The Computer, and the Marketing Problem
The Factory, The Computer, and the Marketing Problem

Nancy Flanagan notes her frustration this week with the continued complaints about public schools, about how they are an outmoded factory model producing students on an assembly line. And she correctly notes where that comes from, and where it's headed.

Public school has been under the most modern wave of attack since 1983's A Nation at Risk, with each new wave of reformsterism accompanied by renewed attacks on one of America's oldest institutions. And the criticism has always served a purpose for Reformsters. So when we hear a new shift in that same-old song, we need to pay attention-- something is coming.

"Teachers are the most important factor is student learning" and "Many teachers are terrible" paved the way for test-centered accountability that was supposed to let us root out all the Terrible Teachers and fire the lot of them.

"Fifty states are higgledy piggledy in what and when they teach" and "We need to be able to compare students from Idaho and Florida" paved the path for Common Core State [sic] Standards.

"Students are trapped in failing zip codes" and "rich people get to choose schools" and even "Freeeeeedom!" were to pave the way for unfettered charter schools and vouchers.

It's basic marketing. You need your product to fill a need, and if the need is slight, you expand it. If there is no need obviously begging to be filled, you create it. And whatever the need is, you frame it in a way that suggests your solution is the best one for the job.

So what's the current pitch? Well, we've been subjected to the observation that schools haven't changed in 100, 125, or 200 years (including pronouncements from the Department of Education). We see the traditional model referred to as a factory or assembly line. We even see criticism of the previously-beloved Big Standardized Test. For the last two decades, we've heard about how the BS Tests were our defense against everything bad in education, but now, within the last year, we see Continue reading: 
CURMUDGUCATION: The Factory, The Computer, and the Marketing Problem




Hey, I’m blogging again. My last blog was in June. I am completing research and writing a new book exploring the challenges presented by AI and machine intelligence and the evolution of our education system so that we prepare humans to use and control artificial intelligence.
Since 2016, Dan Kenley and I have recorded over thirty hours of podcast interviews on our Insights Into Education site. ( We have amazing guests and many thousands of listeners.  And of course, the mid-term elections created a lot of stress and ate a lot of energy.
Arizona is rated as one of the most corrupt states. A one-party ideology has dominated Arizona economics and the limitation of social systems. This small group who hide under the moniker ‘Libertarian’ has created gerrymandered districts and financial bribery systems that let them control the state. Oligarchs and billionaires buy politicians with dirty-dark money and skew elections. The Koch Brothers, Mercers, the DeVos minions, and organizations like the Goldwater Institute are the owners of our state government. Arizona GOP/Libertarians believed they had created an impenetrable fortress for their special interests and anti-American ideologies. Now that fortress is crumbling.
Thanks to teachers and citizens who support public education, the deep corruption in the Legislature is being exposed. Millions of dollars have been ‘legally’ stolen from the taxpayers as the Legislature has crafted permission-to-steal laws that allow their own elected representatives to hijack money taxpayers believe is going to children and education. There are many serious problems, but the starvation and attempt to destroy public education is the turning point.
What has happened is that new heroes emerged, many women, and many Continue reading: NON-ELECTED WEALTH-DRIVEN FAMILIES AND INDIVIDUALS OWN OUR GOVERNMENT | Dr. Edward F. Berger