Latest News and Comment from Education

Friday, June 14, 2019

NEA Announces #StrongPublicSchools Presidential Forum

NEA - NEA Announces #StrongPublicSchools Presidential Forum

NEA Announces #StrongPublicSchools Presidential Forum
America’s largest labor union will host candidates at annual Representative Assembly in Houston

WASHINGTON - June 14, 2019 -Today, the National Education Association announced a first-ever #StrongPublicSchools Presidential Forum focused on issues that impact students, educators, and neighborhood public schools, to be held at the union’s annual Representative Assembly in Houston, TX, on July 5, 2019. The forum will provide 2020 candidates the opportunity to answer questions from America’s educators about the future of public education for our students. Confirmed attendees include former HUD Secretary Juli√°n Castro, Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Amy Klobuchar,  Gov. Jay Inslee, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, with other confirmations expected in the coming days. The forum will be moderated by NEA president Lily Eskelsen Garc√≠a.


"For more than a year, the national #RedForEd movement, led by educators and supported by parents and students in communities across the country, has seen hundreds of thousands of people taking action to ensure every student has equal opportunity regardless of where they live or how well off their families are," said García. "Educators are poised to play a major role in choosing the president of the United States. And now we are taking this energy to the 2020 campaign where we will lead a conversation about the schools our students deserve."
The #StrongPublicSchools Presidential Forum will occur on the afternoon of July 5 where each candidate will answer questions from NEA members about their plans for public education including how to provide opportunity for every student, how they plan to provide the resources and tools that attract and retain educators to the profession, and how they will listen to the voices of the professionals who know the names of the students in America’s classrooms. Other core NEA issues can be found on NEA’s Strong Public Schools website.
The NEA’s Representative Assembly is the world’s largest democratic deliberative body, larger than the RNC and DNC combined, in which nearly 7,000 educators chart the course for the future of the organization. With more than 3 million members, the NEA is the largest labor union in America and the world’s largest professional association of educators. One in 100 Americans is an NEA member and 1 in 39 voters reside in an NEA household. Educators are poised play a major role in choosing the president of the United States, and NEA members represent sought after demographics including college-educated women and suburban professionals swinging elections from coast to coast.
The #StrongPublicSchools Presidential Forum will be open press with ground rules and logistics to follow. NEA will provide space for journalists who wish to attend. Requests for credentials should be sent as soon as possible to press_info@nea.org. Credentials for the forum do not grant access to other NEA events in Houston. If you would like to cover other events please indicate that in your request.
Follow NEA on Twitter at @NEAmedia
http://www.strongpublicschools.org
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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers. Learn more at www.nea.org.
CONTACT:
Richard Allen Smith, NEA Communications
202-716-6461 cell, rasmith@nea.org
NEA - NEA Announces #StrongPublicSchools Presidential Forum

The "X"odus Files: The School Climate Hole. | BustED Pencils

The "X"odus Files: The School Climate Hole. | BustED Pencils

The “X”odus Files: The School Climate Hole.

I happens over and over again. Why? Is it an inability to truly dissect and understand this moment? Or, is it a willful need preserve the status quo?
These are the questions I continue to ask after reading some post, blog, or journal article that maintains the “teacher shortage” narrative. But last week NEA Today added a new layerthat insists on using teacher shortage language but begins to delve into the possible reasons.
I thought this might be a breakthrough considering that NEA Today also used the Economic Policy Institute’s study that puts forth school climate as an important variable in understanding the teacher “X”odus.
According to a new study by the Economic Policy Institute, (EPI) more than half of teachers do not feel supported in their jobs, and 25%  consider leaving the profession as a result. The study is the fourth in EPI’s series looking at the trends – challenging working environment, low pay, lack of professional development opportunities, and the diminished status of the profession – that have undermined the teacher labor market.
http://neatoday.org/2019/06/05/school-climate-and-the-teacher-shortage/
Here’s my problem. Continuing to treat this as a teacher labor issue totally misses the point. It’s great to know that school climate issues are cited by teachers as reasons for leaving the profession, but is this really a research finding or just a simple statement about the reality CONTINUE READING: The "X"odus Files: The School Climate Hole. | BustED Pencils

CURMUDGUCATION: Magical Money And School Choice

CURMUDGUCATION: Magical Money And School Choice

Magical Money And School Choice

Pennsylvania's legislature is currently having Version 2,433,672,127 of the same argument that emerges every five minutes in the places where charter schools and public schools bump up against each other. The PA legislature just passed a suite of charter school bills addressing a variety of issues, but not the single issue that folks on all sides want to have addressed:

Absent from all four bills is any mention of the elephant-in-the-room issue when it comes to charter schools, namely how they are funded.

School districts complain that the bills to educate resident students who choose to attend a charter school are one of the largest expenditures in their budgets. According to the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials, 37 cents of every new dollar that districts raised from property taxes in 2017-18 went to charter schools.

Charter schools, meanwhile, complain they are underfunded because the amounts they are paid are less than what a school district spends to educate their own students.

Public schools are getting hammered by the loss of public tax dollars that have been diverted from public school finances into charter and choice school accounts. Charters, having forgotten the era when they bragged that they could do more with less, complain that they are underfunded compared to public schools.


The problem here, as with several other choice-related issues, is in a false premise of modern school choice movement. That false premise is the assertion that we can fund multiple school districts for the same money we used to use to fund one single public system.

This is transparent baloney. When was the CONTINUE READING: 
CURMUDGUCATION: Magical Money And School Choice


SPLC: Black Students, Students With Disabilities Most Likely to Be Victims of Corporal Punishment | Diane Ravitch's blog

SPLC: Black Students, Students With Disabilities Most Likely to Be Victims of Corporal Punishment | Diane Ravitch's blog

SPLC: Black Students, Students With Disabilities Most Likely to Be Victims of Corporal Punishment
Civil rights groups offer new insight into practice banned in majority of states
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Children attending the small percentage of the nation’s public schools that allow corporal punishment face a much greater likelihood of being struck than previously understood, with black students and students with disabilities among the most likely groups to be struck, according to a report released today by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at the University of California at Los Angeles’ Civil Rights Project.
The report – The Striking Outlier: The Persistent, Painful and Problematic Practice of Corporal Punishment in Schools – provides the clearest look yet at a practice outlawed in a majority of states and, even within states that legally permit the practice in schools, ban it in a host of other public settings for children and adults. The report includes a foreword by Derrick Johnson, president and chief executive of the NAACP.
The report found that at least one in every 20 children attending schools that practice corporal punishment were struck in 2013-14 and 2015-16. Black girls were more than three times as likely to be struck as white girls (5.2 percent vs.1.7 percent) during the 2013-14 school year. Black boys were nearly twice as likely as to be struck as white boys (14 percent vs. 7.5 percent).
Such racial disparities are trou­bling, because other research shows that black students do not misbehave more than white students. The report also found that in more than half of the schools practicing corporal punishment, students with disabilities were struck at higher rates than those without disabilities, raisingconcerns that they may have been struck for behaviors arising from their dis­ability.
“These findings show that corporal punishment disproportionately affects the nation’s most vulnerable students,” said Zoe Savitsky, SPLC deputy legal director. “It also destroys a child’s trust in educators, which damages learning relationships. Quite simply, corporal punishment doesn’t belong in schools, and states should bring schools in line with the many other institutions, from foster care to juvenile detention, that already ban the practice.”
The report recommends that states ban the practice in schools and that schools use evidenced-based discipline programs as alternatives to corporal punishment rather than punitive disciplinary measures, such as out-of-school suspension. 
“If an adult hit someone with a weapon, it’s considered CONTINUE READING: SPLC: Black Students, Students With Disabilities Most Likely to Be Victims of Corporal Punishment | Diane Ravitch's blog
Read more about our findings and recommendations here.

Referrals of Students to Police Are Still a Problem at L.A. Schools | Capital & Main

Referrals of Students to Police Are Still a Problem at L.A. Schools | Capital & Main

Referrals of Students to Police Are Still a Problem at L.A. Schools
Restorative justice remains a new way of thinking for Los Angeles’ 1,300 public schools — even as administrators continue to call the cops on troublesome students.

LIKE MANY SCHOOL DISTRICTS in the post-Columbine era of the late 1990s, Los Angeles’ responded to misbehavior with zero-tolerance toughness. Tens of thousands of students were suspended – with African-Americans and children with disabilities taking a disproportionate share of those punishments. In 2011 the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) found that, for disciplinary and other reasons, black students had been denied equal access to education. In response, the district embarked on a campaign to slash suspensions and, five years ago, replaced harsh discipline with restorative justice policies intended to transform schools into inclusive communities where kids and adults talk out problems before they escalate into serious incidents.
Restorative justice remains a new way of thinking for the more than 60,000 teachers and administrators who staff some 1,300 schools across the sprawling district. It also represents a critical challenge — how the Los Angeles Unified School District meets it will determine how well the district addresses the needs of a changing and mostly low-income student body.

Steep drops in student suspensions have been almost matched by increases in referrals to law enforcement.


“It’s a cultural change and that doesn’t happen overnight,” said newly elected school board member Jackie Goldberg. She noted that school administrators might find themselves stuck – unable to suspend, but without a fully implemented restorative justice program that students and staff understand.
That may be why school administrators have quietly taken a decidedly non-restorative approach to keeping order: They’ve called the cops. Indeed, at some schools with formerly high suspension rates, referrals to law enforcement rose nearly in inverse proportion to the drop in suspensions between 2011-12 and 2015-16, the last year for which data is publicly available. (The OCR defines referrals to law enforcement as “an action by which a student is reported to any law enforcement agency or official” for incidents that occur at school or school-related events, regardless of whether police take official action.)
Unpublished data from the 2017-18 school year show law enforcement referrals have dropped CONTINUE READING: Referrals of Students to Police Are Still a Problem at L.A. Schools | Capital & Main

Teachers union rolls out plans for 2020 forum in Houston - POLITICO #StrongPublicSchools

Teachers union rolls out plans for 2020 forum in Houston - POLITICO

Teachers union rolls out plans for 2020 forum in Houston
The National Education Association announced today it will hold a presidential forum on education on July 5 in Houston, where union members will be meeting.

Confirmed attendees include former HUD Secretary Julián Castro, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, Sen. Bernie Sanders, (I-Vt.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren , (D-Mass.), with other confirmations expected in the coming days. The forum will be moderated by NEA president Lily Eskelsen García, the group announced.


The forum will focus on issues that affect students, educators and neighborhood schools, giving 2020 primary candidates the opportunity to answer questions from educators about the future of public education, the union announced.


With 3 million members, NEA bills itself as the nation's largest labor union and says its representative assembly, which will be meeting in Houston, is the "world's largest democratic deliberative body...in which nearly 7,000 educators chart the course for the future of the organization."


During the forum, candidates will answer questions from NEA members about their plans for public education, according to NEA. CONTINUE READING: Teachers union rolls out plans for 2020 forum in Houston - POLITICO

One State Sets Out to Rethink Public Oversight of Charter Schools | janresseger

One State Sets Out to Rethink Public Oversight of Charter Schools | janresseger

One State Sets Out to Rethink Public Oversight of Charter Schools

I am encouraged by the findings, released last Friday, of California Governor Gavin Newsom’s California Charter School Policy Task Force.
Newsome set up the group to consider recommendations to the Legislature for reining in an out of control charter school sector. He proposed the task force earlier this spring after massive teachers’ strikes in Los Angeles and Oakland brought attention to the amount of money flowing out of public school budgets into the charter schools whose location and authorization has been pretty much beyond the control of the public school districts where charter school have been able to locate.
EdSource‘s John Fensterwald reminds us that the mere size of California’s charter sector—1,300 charter schools, more than any other state—makes oversight and regulation a poignant issue. One reason the issue of charter school oversight has drawn attention this year is that Governor Gavin Newsom has shown himself willing to consider the need for increased regulation. Former Governor Jerry Brown, himself a founder of charter schools in Oakland, was known to veto charter school oversight laws on the occasion they did reach his desk. Gov. Newsom assigned State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Thurmond—elected last November on a pro-public schools platform—to facilitate the Task Force.
The issue of the cost for public school districts of a rapidly expanding charter school sector in California was further elevated a year ago by a report published by In the Public Interest. The report’s author, Oregon economist Gordon Lafer documented very sizeable losses of public dollars to charter schools in three school districts during the 2016-2017 school year: Oakland Unified School District lost $57.3 million; San Diego Unified School District lost $65.9 million; and Santa Clara County East Side Union High School District lost $19.3 million.
The Task Force released its findings last Friday, June 7. Before one even considers the consensus recommendations and majority recommendations of the Charter School Policy Task Force, however, one must recognize that it is surprising the Task Force report contains any consensus recommendations at all. The Task Force was not made up of academic CONTINUE READING: One State Sets Out to Rethink Public Oversight of Charter Schools | janresseger

White Homebuyers, Black Neighborhoods and the Future of Urban Schools – Have You Heard

White Homebuyers, Black Neighborhoods and the Future of Urban Schools – Have You Heard

White Homebuyers, Black Neighborhoods and the Future of Urban Schools

Across the country, white residents are moving into areas they’ve long stayed away from. They’re arrival is driving up housing costs and displacing the neighborhoods’ previous residents. But what does it mean for urban schools? Have You Heard talks to Yawu Miller, senior editor of Boston’s African American newspaper, the Bay State Banner. 
You can read a complete transcript of the episode here. And if you like the show, consider becoming a supporter of Have You Heard on Patreon.



How wildly expensive for-profit private schools are different from wildly expensive nonprofit private schools - The Washington Post

How wildly expensive for-profit private schools are different from wildly expensive nonprofit private schools - The Washington Post

How wildly expensive for-profit private schools are different from wildly expensive nonprofit private schools

They aren’t for everyone — in fact, they are for very few — but they are growing in number, because there is some demand. They are high-end for-profit private schools, and it can cost close to $60,000 to send a child to one of them for grades from nursery school through the end of high school.
What are they? Who goes to them? What do they offer? How are for-profit schools different from elite nonprofit private schools, aside from the fact that for-profit schools are intended to make money for their founders and nonprofit schools aren’t?
These questions were asked and answered by Mike Levy — former curriculum director at Avenues World School in New York City, which runs a global network of schools that cater to the 0.01 percent — in the podcast “Have You Heard.” He is currently the head of the middle school at Presidio Knolls, a private school in San Francisco
The Avenues World School in New York was founded and initially run by media executive Chris Whittle, who quit the board there to open another elite for-profit high school, this time in the District. The Whittle School and Studios is set to open this fall at a cost of more than $40,000 a year for families. This is how a January article in Washingtonian magazine describes it:
On a recent tour for prospective parents, founder Chris Whittle showed off the soaring interior. “A lot of people have seen it from the outside,” he told the group, “but have never seen inside.” Actually, there wasn’t much to see: Still under construction, the cavernous space was mostly empty. Perhaps that’s why Whittle has also been wooing students with glossy marketing materials and a luxe storefront promotional space in Mazza Gallerie. It’s sometimes hard to tell whether he’s selling an education or a Tesla.
Levy’s interview came on a podcast that concentrates on education-related issues and is hosted by Jennifer Berkshire, a freelance journalist and new teacher in Massachusetts who is writing a book about the dismantling of public education, and Jack Schneider, a scholar of education history and policy at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell and the author of several books, including “Beyond Test Scores.”
In the interview, Levy explains the difference between for-profit and nonprofit high-end private schools: CONTINUE READING: How wildly expensive for-profit private schools are different from wildly expensive nonprofit private schools - The Washington Post

In Classrooms: Social Justice Humanitas Academy (Part 4) | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

In Classrooms: Social Justice Humanitas Academy (Part 4) | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

In Classrooms: Social Justice Humanitas Academy (Part 4)
Social Justice Humanitas Academy is located in the city of San Fernando within the Los Angeles Unified School District. According to the website,
Our mission is to achieve social justice through the development of the complete individual. In doing so, we increase our students’ social capital and their humanity while creating a school worthy of our own children.
These mission statements act “ as a guide to all decision making” for a school that opened in 2011 on a new campus. Consider the school’s demographics and academic profile.
Since SJHA opened in 2011 its demographics have stayed consistent. SJHA has 513 students (2019) enrolled in 9th through 12th grades. On race and ethnicity (2015), 95 percent were Hispanic, 2 percent African American and one percent each for Caucasian and Native American. Of that number 12 percent were English Learners. Special education students were 10 percent of enrollment. And 88 percent were eligible for free and reduced lunch.
Since March I have published on this blog a series of classroom observations about a school that seeks social justice, advocates student activism, and self-actualization (see herehere, and here). In this post and the next I describe two additional lessons I observed.
Shaved pate, wearing a white shirt, blue tie and grey slacks, English teacher CONTINUE READING: In Classrooms: Social Justice Humanitas Academy (Part 4) | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

LAUSD’s Parcel Tax Failure and the *Reasonableness* of Teacher Pay in L.A. | deutsch29

LAUSD’s Parcel Tax Failure and the *Reasonableness* of Teacher Pay in L.A. | deutsch29

LAUSD’s Parcel Tax Failure and the *Reasonableness* of Teacher Pay in L.A.

Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) includes “most of the city of Los Angeles, along with all or portions of 26 cities and unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County. About 4.8 million people live within the District’s boundaries.” In 2018-19, LAUSD’s estimated enrollment was 694,096 students.
On June 04, 2019, voters within the LAUSD boundary could have voted to approve or reject Measure EE, a school parcel tax measure authorizing LAUSD to levy 16-cents-per-square-foot tax over 12 years to fund the LAUSD as follows, in brief:
Proceeds from the Tax shall be used for: lowering class sizes; providing school nursing, library, and counseling services and other health and human services for student support; providing instructional programs, school resources, and materials; retaining and attracting teachers and school employees; and providing necessary administrative services. …
This Measure requires a two-thirds (2/3) vote for passage.
The opportunity to vote was there, but oh so few chose to take it.
Measure EE failed, 45.68% to 54.32%. However, the greater failure of Measure EE is in its incredibly low voter turnout.  According to Los Angeles Almanac, 5.3M individuals were registered to vote at the time of the 2018 general election. So, even if all were not eligible to vote on Measure EE– even if only half were eligible– that would have been over 2.5M voters.
For Measure EE, only 304,321 voters participated (139,027 “yes”; 165,294 “no”).
One could think of that as one voter turning out for every two LAUSD students.
This appears not so much a rejection of Measure EE as it is a rejection of the right (and responsibility) to vote.
Unfortunately, low turnout is common in local elections. (In 2015, to entice voter turnout for a school board runoff between Bernard Keyser and Ref Rodriguez, LAUSD District 5 even entered voters in a lottery offering cash prizes. Even so, voter turnout was only 10%.) However, reading comments/opinions about CONTINUE READING: LAUSD’s Parcel Tax Failure and the *Reasonableness* of Teacher Pay in L.A. | deutsch29

Redefining Student Achievement | Real Learning CT

Redefining Student Achievement | Real Learning CT

Redefining Student Achievement

There are all kinds of suggestions for improving student achievement – privatize public schools, increase the number of standardized tests that students take, implement national standards, and enforce no-excuses classroom discipline. None of these practices, however, have made a bit of difference. That is for two reasons. One reason is that the underlying causes of poverty and racial injustice have gone unaddressed, and the other reason is that standardized test scores can never measure achievement and, instead, reliably indicate only one thing: the income of the parents of the test taker.
So the first step in increasing student achievement is to redefine what we mean by achievement.  I recently witnessed something that crystallized for me what real achievement is.
I was at a ceremony in which community service awards were presented to three high school seniors and two adult members of the South Windsor, Connecticut community. A citation was read for each of the high school seniors and for the first of the two adult recipients, and they each gave a speech describing their impressive community service and the impact that service had on their own lives as well as the lives of others.
When it was time for the second adult recipient, Roseanne Sapula, to give her speech, she spoke about how honored she was to receive the award she CONTINUE READING: Redefining Student Achievement | Real Learning CT

Seattle Schools Community Forum: Seattle Schools Evicts Native Youth Program from Robert Eagle Staff MS

Seattle Schools Community Forum: Seattle Schools Evicts Native Youth Program from Robert Eagle Staff MS

Seattle Schools Evicts Native Youth Program from Robert Eagle Staff MS

SUCCESSFUL NATIVE YOUTH PROGRAM EVICTED 
FROM ROBERT EAGLE STAFF BUILDING
(FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE)

A Native youth program with a record of boosting graduation rates and cultural enrichment for Seattle students has been evicted from Robert Eagle Staff building, echoing the heartbreak of broken agreements with local Native Americans over centuries.

On Friday, June 4th, Urban Native Education Alliance (UNEA) was sent notice by Seattle Public School Area Director Jon Halfacker announcing the Partnership Agreement will be “terminated”. This termination has been decided without due process, dialogue, or foundation in fact.


“The abrupt termination of the ‘Partnership Agreement’ with our successful Clear Sky tutoring, mentorship, and cultural Education program ‑ along with the Native Warrior Athletics basketball program ‑ will have reverberating impact on hundreds of Seattle Public Schools’ Native learners, families, volunteers, Robert Eagle Staff and Licton Springs learning community and our intertribal urban community”, stated Sarah Sense‑Wilson (Oglala), Urban Native Education Alliance Board of Directors Chair.
Clear Sky’s youth programming holds 11‑year record of 100% graduation for involved Native youth K‑12, and stands as a recognized model for improving Native student academic and personal youth outcomes. Clear Sky served 97 Native students, 62 volunteers, 61 Native Warrior Athletics student athletes, and over 811 combined community members, volunteers,students and allied programs in the past school year.

“Dispossessing our Native learners is an intentional decision to erase our presence and visibility at a school that we successfully campaigned for naming after Robert EagleStaff”, Elder Tom Speer.
Robert Eagle Staff building is located on culturally‑significant sacred land (Licton Springs). Thissacred site is where both Seattle Clear Sky and UNEA birthed as a grass‑roots community‑driven organization. Our connection to this land transcends time and is a sacred relationship. The spirit of this partnership was made visible through verbal and written agreement as well as symbolically through meaningful gifts that were received with gratitude in ceremony by SPD such as; traditional Star quilts, Robert Eagle Staff memorial bronze sculpture and other items of cultural importance, as an exchange of good faith and CONTINUE READING: Seattle Schools Community Forum: Seattle Schools Evicts Native Youth Program from Robert Eagle Staff MS