Latest News and Comment from Education

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Proposed legislation would substantially curb growth of California charter schools | EdSource

Proposed legislation would substantially curb growth of California charter schools | EdSource

Proposed legislation would substantially curb growth of California charter schools
Restrictions would limit appeals, cap number of new charters, factor fiscal impact

The chairman of the Assembly Education Committee and several Democratic colleagues introduced a package of bills Monday that would impose severe restrictions on the growth of charter schools.
Three of the bills would eliminate the ability of charter schools to appeal rejected applications to the county and state, place an unspecified cap on charter school growth and enable school districts to consider the financial impact of charter schools when deciding whether to approve them. A fourth bill would abolish the right of a charter school that can’t find a facility in its authorizing district to locate a school in an adjoining district.
Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell, D-Long Beach, who chairs the Education Committee, said the bills collectively would enable school districts “to make responsible and informed decisions” that are “critical for student success and taxpayer accountability.” Eric Premack, a veteran charter school adviser and advocate, called the legislation a “full-frontal” assault and “scorched earth” approach to charter schools.
Charter schools are publicly funded schools that have greater flexibility in hiring, curriculum and other aspects of their operations. Unlike traditional public schools run by elected school boards, charter schools in California are nonprofit organizations with self-appointed boards.
The California Teachers Association, which put out the press announcement on Monday, other teachers and school employees unions and the California state chapter of the NAACP endorsed the bills. Their release coincides with the continuing teachers strike in Oakland Unified, where teachers are blaming charter school growth for weakening the district’s financial strength and are demanding restrictions on charter school expansion.
Another bill that O’Donnell co-authored with Sen. Connie Leyva, D-Chino, requiring charter schools to comply with the state’s open meeting, public records and conflict of interest laws, passed the Senate last week and, on a fast track, is scheduled to be heard in O’Donnell’s Education Committee on Feb. 26. Many charter schools already adhere to the laws, but Senate Bill 126 would make enforcement universal. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who campaigned for more charter CONTINUE READING: Proposed legislation would substantially curb growth of California charter schools | EdSource

Local Leaders Play Critical Role to Drive U.S. Toward More Loving and Just Society | Schott Foundation for Public Education

Local Leaders Play Critical Role to Drive U.S. Toward More Loving and Just Society | Schott Foundation for Public Education

Local Leaders Play Critical Role to Drive U.S. Toward More Loving and Just Society

Today, we have more information available than ever before to understand the state of our cities. An exciting new addition, the Loving Cities Index recently launched by the Schott Foundation, measures how well cities are doing at creating loving systems that provide children and families with the resources and supports they need to have the opportunity to learn and succeed. Schott researched 24 indicators of access to opportunities and disaggregated the data by race to examine differences across 10 cities.
This latest research underscores the grim reality that we still face great challenges. In cities across the country, many working people are struggling against high levels of poverty (individuals working full time and earning less than 200% of the federal poverty guidelines), an affordable housing crisis, and persistent racial and economic segregation within communities and schools. Loving Cities Index research reveals that on average local systems are still only delivering between 30-50% of the supports children need to have a fair and substantive opportunity to learn and thrive.
Fortunately, we also know a lot about what it takes to foster loving, supportive local systems:
  1. Local leaders present our best opportunity for progress. They can disproportionately impact the specific systems for children and families to receive basic resources and supports. Although the 10 cities profiled in the Loving Cities Indexspan different geographies, population sizes/demographics, and political leanings, in each there were positive instances of success and innovations in local systems to deliver health and livelihood supports that increase the likelihood that a child will grow up in a healthy living and learning climate. Popular models like school-based health clinics and Community Schools (which transform traditional schools into community hubs for extended learning and access to resources and supports) were conceptualized and developed locally in cities, and over time expanded throughout states due to their success and popularity. These critical collaborations did not come from federal policy – instead they can be attributed to the persistence of local officials, administrators, teachers and social workers who have worked tirelessly together to understand the unique barriers to access and developed highly localized strategies to connect people with resources they need.
  2. Local government must be a player in social change. At Living Cities, a decade of work with cross-sector tables in communities across the country focused on expanding economic opportunity has taught us that it matters who has a seat at the problem-solving table. Local government is one of the most influential actors in peoples’ day-to-day lives, and it has the steady resources, convening power and innate ability to scale up solutions that many non-profits struggle to create for themselves. From supporting entrepreneurs of color and promoting economic growth, to removing barriers in policy and process that create an environment where everyone can thrive, local government is a critical and underinvested in partner in the work of creating thriving cities.
  3. We must address racial inequities head-on. Across almost every indicator of well-being people of color suffer worse CONTINUE READING: Local Leaders Play Critical Role to Drive U.S. Toward More Loving and Just Society | Schott Foundation for Public Education

United and Determined, Educators Strike a Blow Against For-Profit Charter Schools - Education Votes

United and Determined, Educators Strike a Blow Against For-Profit Charter Schools - Education Votes

United and Determined, Educators Strike a Blow Against For-Profit Charter Schools

In his January 15 State of the State Address, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey seemed to acknowledge that his zealous pursuit of what he calls “choice and competition” in education was careening a little off course.
“We know improvements can be made,” Ducey said. “More transparency, more accountability, and granting financial review and oversight over taxpayer dollars.”
But, as EJ Montini pointed out in The Arizona Republic, Ducey, an ardent supporter of school privatization, couldn’t actually bring himself to attach the words “charter school” to that or any other sentence in his speech.
“You can’t begin to confront a problem when you can’t even speak its name,” Montini wrote. “If the governor really wants ‘more transparency’ and ‘more accountability,’ as he says, a good first step would be admitting where the problem lies. Just say it … charter schools.”
As catalogued in an investigative series by The Republic, the state’s for-profit charter sector is plagued by financial mismanagement, profiteering, and a mixed (at best) academic record. Glossing over this reality, however, has become something of a time-consuming — and increasingly futile — task for pro-privatization lawmakers in the state and across the nation.

According to an investigation by the Arizona Republic, Primavera Online charter school has the third-highest dropout rate in the state and test scores that are below average. Despite this record, its CEO received an $8.8 million payout in 2017.

Although the rate of expansion has slowed somewhat in recent years, charter schools are deeply entrenched in the American education landscape. (There are approximately 7,000 charter schools spread across 44 states and the District of Columbia.) Some of these schools are generally effective and are subject to the same basic safeguards as public schools. They also adhere to the original vision that led to the opening of the first charter school in 1992 — as incubators of innovation that would collaborate with public schools. Many charter schools today, however, are for-profit, corporate chains that seek not to collaborate, but to compete with public schools for enrollment and taxpayer dollars.
As these schools have saturated many districts across the country, the costs to public CONTINUE READING: United and Determined, Educators Strike a Blow Against For-Profit Charter Schools - Education Votes

Arizona charter schools: Parents with complaints find nowhere to turn

Arizona charter schools: Parents with complaints find nowhere to turn

At Arizona charter schools, parents with complaints or objections find nowhere to turn
A lack of independent oversight leaves students and families without recourse to challenge charter school officials' actions.

Evan George had finished his classes for the day and was hanging out with friends at American Leadership Academy's Queen Creek campus, when two staff members approached and accused him of vaping.
Evan, 16, says he was doing a trick with his mouth that produces a plume of moist air that resembles vapor from an electronic cigarette.
His explanation didn't convince the charter school's staffers.
Evan was ordered to the administration office, where Athletic Director Rich Edwards took him into a room and searched him, looking for a vape pen, which would have been a violation of school policy.
"He told me to take my pants down, and he put his fingers in my underwear," said Evan, who is a junior. "I felt scared."
The search didn't turn up a vaping device, according to records the school provided to the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools. 
ALA still suspended Evan from school for eight days.
His parents, Chris and Kimberlie George, said both the Dec. 11 search and the suspension were wrong.
The athletic director inappropriately touched their son, they said. And the school suspended Evan without proof he'd had been vaping, even though their son's only prior disciplinary issues were for wearing torn jeans and chewing gum, they said.
But when the Georges sought an independent review of Evan's suspension, they found they had nowhere to turn.
Arizona's charter schools are primarily run by private companies. They must have a governing board, but school owners get to pick who's on the board, so many are stocked with relatives, friends and even the charter's owner. In some instances, boards have just one member — the charter operator.

American Leadership Academy Queen Creek student says he was strip searched over vape trick
16-year-old Evan George says he was strip searched in December 2018 after performing a trick that made it appear vapor was coming from his mouth.

Beyond the school, parents can only turn to the state Charter Board. And regulators there, because of limited resources and limited authority, rarely investigate such complaints against schools, an Arizona Republicinvestigation shows.
The result is a lack of independent oversight that leaves students and families at some charter schools, in disagreements big and small, with no recourse to challenge school officials' actions — even if they think those moves inhibit their students' academic progress or personal safety.
ALA Queen Creek officials denied the Georges' request for an appeal hearing before ALA's Board of Directors, which is composed of friends of ALA founder Glenn Way.
"Evan was never afforded due process," Chris George said. "He wasn't able to speak to his accusers, and the dismissal hearing was a farce. There was no interest in what the truth was."
The family escalated their complaint to the state Charter Board. But after ALA provided regulators with written CONTINUE READING: Arizona charter schools: Parents with complaints find nowhere to turn

Charter School Promoters Terrified of Growing Opposition to Their Full-Frontal Assault on Public Education | Dissident Voice

Charter School Promoters Terrified of Growing Opposition to Their Full-Frontal Assault on Public Education | Dissident Voice

Charter School Promoters Terrified of Growing Opposition to Their Full-Frontal Assault on Public Education

The ongoing widely-supported teachers’ strikes across the United States are bringing to the fore many problems that have been confronting public education for decades, including a big and overdue focus on the havoc and destruction caused by charter schools against public schools and the public interest for the last 28 years.
Teacher strikes everywhere are smashing the silence on charter schools and awakening many out of their charter school stupor. Even the most anti-conscious individual is slowly beginning to see the disaster that charter schools and the neoliberal antisocial offensive are producing. Criticism and rejection of charter schools is becoming more mainstream with each passing month. The charter school fairytale seems to be losing traction.
Charter school promoters are rightly fearful that their scorched earth approach to education may be slowing down due to growing social consciousness of the endless problems caused by charter schools. It is clear that nonprofit and for-profit charter schools are harming every aspect of public education and the public interest. Education privatization cannot be prettified or justified.
Approximately seven thousand charter schools, legal in 44 states, Washington DC, Puerto Rico, and Guam, currently enroll slightly more than three million students. While hundreds of nonprofit and for-profit charter schools close each year due mainly to financial malfeasance and poor academic performance, hundreds of these test-obsessed “free market” schools still keep opening every year.
Nonprofit and for-profit charter schools must be stopped if public education and the public interest are to be defended and affirmed. Education privatization offers no solutions, just more problems and more impunity. Teachers, school boards, and the public should keep pushing for more moratoriums on these privatized schools that are making the rich even richer while causing more problems for everyone else.
Even with the unrestricted ability to routinely cherry pick their students, CONTINUE READING: Charter School Promoters Terrified of Growing Opposition to Their Full-Frontal Assault on Public Education | Dissident Voice

Responsibility for hair discrimination in schools falls on federal government

Responsibility for hair discrimination in schools falls on federal government

“Stay out of my hair!”
Black students need the federal government to tell schools to leave their hair alone

he federal government and the Department of Education need to start taking their responsibility for prohibiting discrimination seriously and crack down on schools that punish black people for their hair and hair styles. It’s past time the DOE issued guidance, telling schools to leave black students’ hair alone.
When 16-year-old twins Mya and Deanna Cook went to Mystic Valley Regional Charter School with braided hair extensions in 2017, the school issued several infractions to both of them and asked the black girls to step out of class. The school, located just north of Boston, had previously banned hair extensions, which were deemed “distracting” by school administration officials. Since the girls refused to “fix” their hair, they were barred from extracurricular activities, prom, and threatened with suspension. The girls’ mother claims that other black girls with hair extensions have also been pulled out of class and given detention. Parents of the twins pointed out to administrators that white girls wearing extensions, as pictured in the school’s year book, were not punished.
Hair bans do include hair styles worn by (few) white students — blue hair, two-toned hair — but the bottom line is these prohibitions are very subjective, driven by a negative view of blackness, which CONTINUE READING: Responsibility for hair discrimination in schools falls on federal government

Lessons from the Los Angeles and Oakland teachers’ strikes | EdSource

Lessons from the Los Angeles and Oakland teachers’ strikes | EdSource

Lessons from the Los Angeles and Oakland teachers' strikes

Image result for Lessons from the Los Angeles and Oakland teachers' strikes

fter two teachers’ strikes in as many months in California, it is too soon to tell whether the labor disputes in Oakland and Los Angeles presage a new era of school-based activism.
But regardless of what comes next, this year’s strikes had much in common, and yielded valuable lessons and insights for other districts where labor troubles may also be brewing.
  • Both strikes were relatively short, lasting about a week. The timeline was shaped by the troubled finances of both districts that couldn’t afford to lose excessive amounts of state funds they receive based on student attendance.  Teachers also couldn’t afford to lose excessive wages by being out on strike for a lengthy period, or to take money off the bargaining table that could have been used to meet some of their demands. So there was pressure on both sides to resolve the strike within a reasonable amount of time.
  • In both cases, teachers appeared to come out ahead, achieving gains they might not have won without a strike. In Oakland’s case, teachers earned a gradual salary increase of 11 percent  — more than double the 5 percent the district offered before the strike began — although most of the gains will only come in the 3d year of the agreement. In the case of Los Angeles, on the salary front teachers got less than what they demanded initially, and settled for the 6 percent the district had already offered. But they did get commitments from the district to reduce class sizes and significantly increase support staff like counselors.
  • In both strikes, demands went beyond those more typical of labor strikes which tend to focus on wages and benefits. Those were on the table, but equally important were a range of other issues , including lowering class sizes, providing more counselors, psychologists, nurses and other support staff, limiting school closures in Oakland and creating community schools in Los Angeles.  Both contracts also included provisions tied to regulating charter
  • In both Oakland and Los Angeles there remains a great deal of uncertainty about how the districts will pay for what they agreed to. In Los Angeles, Debra Duardo, the county superintendent of schools, said that the district has yet to address a projected $500 million operating deficit in 2021-22, and that the bargaining agreement “continues to move the district to insolvency.” In Oakland, Najeeb Khoury, in his official fact-finding report issued before the strike, doubted that the district could afford anywhere near a 12 percent salary increase.  Chris Learned, the state trustee appointed to approve budget expenditures, also suggested before the strike that such an increase ran the risk of putting “the district in financial distress.”
  • In both Oakland and Los Angeles, the strikes demonstrated deep public support for the teachers. It suggests that the days when teachers were held solely responsible for seemingly every shortcoming in the state’s public schools, along with the success or failure of their students, are over, at least for now.
  • In both conflicts, the teachers unions and their allies are looking to Sacramento, as CONTINUE READING: Lessons from the Los Angeles and Oakland teachers’ strikes | EdSource

California education reform must be multi-faceted, support students and teachers (AND PARENTS)| The Sacramento Bee

California education reform must be multi-faceted, support students and teachers | The Sacramento Bee

California education reform must be multi-faceted, support students and teachers

The teachers’ strike in Los Angeles, bolstered by vociferous support from parents, forced the 500,000-student L.A. Unified School District to agree to reduce some class sizes and hire more nurses and counselors. Teachers in Oakland are now following suit with similar demands.
Meanwhile, Gov. Gavin Newsom has commissioned a study of how charter schools affect public school funding, which is also a beef in the teacher labor unrest. A suite of bills pending in the Legislature would pretty much halt the progress of charters here.
Despite support from wealthy philanthropists who tout standardized testing, charter schools and the closing of low-performing schools, the school reform movement’s chosen candidate for governor — Antonio R. Villaraigosa — never came close. Their candidate for schools superintendent was also bested by a candidate backed by the California Teachers Association.
Remember the “parent trigger” law? It was going to shift the paradigm in California schools by giving parents whose kids attended low-performing schools unprecedented new power. Parents would be able to force various reforms at their child’s school by signing a petition — including changing it to a charter school.
When’s the last time you heard about that happening? Yeah, I can’t remember either.
The school reform movement isn’t dead, but it’s definitely taken a beating. It has itself to blame. Too many new initiatives were hailed as the great new thing and later turned out not to be so great.
At times, they were unfairly punitive. The combination of intense focus on tests, including forcing teachers to program their lessons around the tests, turned college students off of teaching careers. The charter movement’s general “blame the teacher” attitude also helped.
Ten years ago, President Obama was at the forefront of pressing for a range of unproven reforms, including unlimited charter schools and tying teacher evaluations to their students’ performance on tests. The latter eventually proved to be an ineffective way to help students learn.
When the Every Student Succeeds Act was making its way through Congress, I asked then-Education Secretary Arne Duncan, an ardent reform proponent, how he would keep those measures going under a new law that empowered states far more than the old No Child Left Behind Act.
“The state improvement plans will have to be approved by my office,” he said. “So we’ll make sure they’re strong ones.”
Duncan was soon gone. Early attempts by his successor, Betsy Devos, to tighten those state CONTINUE READING: California education reform must be multi-faceted, support students and teachers | The Sacramento Bee

Education Research Report

Education Research Report

Education Research Report

Ensuring safe, accessible drinking water in schools is a national health priority. The objective of this study was to i...

Ensuring safe, accessible drinking water in schools is a national health priority. The objective of this study was to identify whether there are differences in water quality, availability, and education- related practices in schools by demographic characteristics . Researchers analyzed data from the 2014 School Health Policies and Practices Study (SHPPS), a nationally representative, cross-sectio
Children and adolescents : More hours of daily screen time = lower psychological well-bein

Previous research on associations between screen time and psychological well-being among children and adolescents has been conflicting, leading some researchers to question the limits on screen time suggested by physician organizations. This study examined a large ( n = 40,337) national random sample of 2- to 17-year-old children and adolescents in the U.S. in 2016 that included comprehensive mea
Charter schools neglect promoting physical activity

Most youths fail to meet recommended public health recommendations for physical activity (PA) and schools have been assigned a key role in mitigating this problem. Charter school growth exploded recently, but little is known about these schools' support of PA. School websites offer public windows through which they can share information about their programs, policies, and values. This study compl
The role of the arts in STEM

Education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics has captured the attention of state policymakers who are concerned about preparing students for an evolving workforce. 1 By 2030, Institute for the Future estimates that 85 percent of the jobs that today’s K-12 learners will be doing haven’t been invented — demanding a workforce that is creative and prepared to respond innovatively to
ESSAassesments: increased chances for improper test uses and negative consequences for students, teachers and schools.

Between May and August of 2018, the federal government approved 44 proposals submitted by state departments of education to meet testing and accountability requirements under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015. As these states move towards implementing their federally approved plans for meeting external regulatory requirements for accountability, they face several challenges. They shou
Positive effects of preadolescent debate participation

This study estimates the effect of preadolescent debate participation on a variety of academic and engagement outcomes among a 10-year longitudinal sample of Baltimore City Public School System students. The effect of preadolescent Baltimore Urban Debate League participation for debaters was associated with increases in standardized test scores, a decreased likelihood of chronic absenteeism, and

MAR 01

Only 13 of 40 Large American Cities Meet Quality Benchmarks for Pre - K

A new report finds a growing number of a cities are creating new, local funding streams to establish and sustain Preschool - Kindergarten ( Pre-K ) programs, but many programs fail to meet minimum quality benchmarks that extensive research has shown deliver lasting benefits , while other cities do provide high - quality programs but reach too few children. “ Pre-K is a proven policy every city sh
Classroom emotional support predicts the development of the student-teacher relationship,

The current study reports the results of a study examining the relationship between classroom climate and the development of the student-teacher relationship for young children at-risk. Participants were 267 children and 93 early educators. All children were from low income backgrounds and were experiencing developmental concerns in the area of language, cognition or social-emotional development.
New York City: high-quality universal pre-k - significant variation by program setting and auspice n

In recent decades, state funding for preschool programs has more than tripled as more states are trying to create universal access to pre-k. Efforts to expand pre-k access typically include the use and coordination of multiple preschool settings, notably those found in public schools and private community-based organizations, which often have distinct goals, resources, requirements, funding sourc

FEB 28

Cultivating Positive Teacher–Student Relationships with the Establish–Maintain–Restore (EMR) Method

Strong teacher–student relationships have long been considered a foundational aspect of a positive school experience. The aim of the current study was to evaluate the effects of the establish–maintain–restore (EMR) method for improving teacher–student relationships and students’ classroom behavior while providing elementary teachers with structured professional development and follow-up support.

FEB 27

Aspiring elementary teachers: over 50% fail their licensing test on their first attempt, 25% never earn a passing score

Complete report Each year a significant number of aspiring elementary teachers, having successfully completed their formal preparation, are still unable to become licensed professionals. That’s because an alarming number of candidates fail their licensing tests, far surpassing the failure rate for other professions’ entry tests, bar exams, and boards. The fact that more candidates fail than pass
Listening to music 'significantly impairs' creativity

The popular view that music enhances creativity has been challenged by researchers who say it has the opposite effect. Psychologists from the University of Central Lancashire, University of Gävle in Sweden and Lancaster University investigated the impact of background music on performance by presenting people with verbal insight problems that are believed to tap creativity. They found that backgr
Future trends in enrollments, teachers, high school graduates and expenditures

Enrollment in elementary and secondary schools is projected to increase by 4 percent between 2015 and 2027, following a 3 percent increase between 2002 and 2015, according to a newly released report. The National Center for Education Statistics released a new annual report today (Date), entitled Projections of Education Statistics to 2027 . This report provides national-level data on enrollment,

FEB 26

Nonwhite school districts get $23 Billion less than white districts despite serving the same number of students

Complete report The story of our communities can in many ways be told through the lens of the school districts that serve our children. More than organizations that enable learning, school districts are geographic boundaries that serve as magnifying lenses that allow us to focus on issues of race and wealth. They are both a statement of “what is” and “what could be” in our society. School distric
50-State Comparison: K-12 School Safety

Education Commission of the States researched K-12 school safety policies in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to provide this comprehensive resource. This resource does not include district- or school-level policies, handbooks, manuals or other sources outside of state statute or regulations. Education Commission of the States does not provide legal advice on specific circumstances. The
Denver Public Schools’ pay-for-performance

In recent weeks, Denver Public Schools’ pay-for-performance plan burst into the spotlight as a key bone of contention in the district’s first teacher strike in 25 years. The strike ended February 14 after three days. But the performance plan remains in effect, albeit in modified form . In a recent article in Chalkbeat Colorado , Melanie Asmar traces the long history of ProComp, which was one of t

FEB 25

School-based health services and educational attainment

School-based health centers provide students with comprehensive, convenient primary health care, and some evidence indicates that they also contribute to academic achievement among adolescents. However, very little research has investigated possible long-term effects of specific types of school-based health services (SBHS) on educational attainment in adulthood. A new article from the Prevention
What was effect of offering breakfast in the classroom on obesity?

JAMA Pediatrics Offering breakfast in the classroom at some Philadelphia public schools did not affect the proportion of students developing overweight and obesity, when examined as a combined measure, after 2 ½ years. However, offering breakfast in the classroom did increase the proportion of students with obesity, although precise reasons for the increase are unknown. This study reports on a ran
Students in K–8 schools led by New Leaders principals outperformed comparison students

A growing body of research points to the ways in which principals influence teachers, classrooms, and, ultimately, student achievement. New Leaders aims to prepare transformational school leaders by partnering with districts and charter schools to offer rigorous, research-based training for aspiring principals. The Aspiring Principals program is New Leaders' signature program and has three core f

r Black and Latina/o youth who begin college as STEM majors are more likely to depart

This study considers whether STEM postsecondary fields stand apart via the disproportionate exclusion of Black and Latina/o youth. Utilizing national data from the Beginning Postsecondary Study (BPS), the authors investigate 
CONTINUE READING: Education Research Report