Thursday, August 6, 2020

NPE Releases New Report on Astonishing Charter School Closure Rates | Diane Ravitch's blog

NPE Releases New Report on Astonishing Charter School Closure Rates | Diane Ravitch's blog

NPE Releases New Report on Astonishing Charter School Closure Rates


Today, the Network for Public Education released a new report on the astonishing rate at which charter schools close. The period covered in the report was 1999-2017, using data collected by the U.S. Department of Education. The findings were researched by Ryan Pfleger, Ph.D., and written by Carol Burris, executive director of NPE.
Contact: Carol Burris
Phone: 516 993 2141
Email: cburris@networkforpubliceducation.org
A new report shows that half of the nation’s charter schools fail during their first fifteen years. The report concludes that nearly one million students have been stranded by charters that closed.
A newly released report by the Network for Public Education (NPE) tracked the longevity of charter schools that opened during the same year in order to determine the rate and progression of charter school failure. Analyzing a database that tracks charter schools over two decades, the report documents an astounding 50% failure rate by the close of year 15.
Commenting on the report’s analysis and findings, NPE Executive Director, Carol Burris, said, “We asked education researcher Ryan Pfleger, Ph.D. to analyze the U.S. Department of Education’s Common Core of Data to determine charter school failure rates at the 3, 5, 10 and 15-year marks. We were shocked to find that even by year 5, less time than it takes for a child to complete elementary education, 27% of charter schools are gone.”
Pfleger analyzed charter schools in the United States as far back as possible given the data available. Using enrollment numbers from the final year that the charter school was open, he documented that more than 867,000 students were enrolled in charters that closed between 1999 and 2017. “If we added closures prior to 1999 and subsequent to 2017, it is likely that one million students have been displaced,” he observed.
The study also found that charter closures were most likely to occur in the poorest neighborhoods of America’s poorest cities.
Dountonia Batts, an NPE Board member, and former Indiana charter school teacher concurred with the findings of the report, “I had students whose high school experience was completed at three different schools because of closing after closing. The marketing to the broader community is that charters are better for vulnerable students, which likely eases the collective conscience of those who benefit from the voluntary re-segregation of schools by choice. The students who often feel the hurt first are in black and brown communities where the charter product is peddled as a civil rights solution.”
Commenting on the report, historian of education Diane Ravitch concluded, “The public school should be a stable institution in every community, always there for children and families. Unfortunately, as this report shows, charter schools are inherently unstable. Charters fail for a variety of reasons, mainly because they are a market mechanism, like shoe stores or restaurants. Here today, gone tomorrow.
The report, Broken Promises: An Analysis of Charter School Closures 1999-2017, and an animated map that shows the accumulation of failures across the United States can be found at https://networkforpubliceducation.org/brokenpromises.

NPE Releases New Report on Astonishing Charter School Closure Rates | Diane Ravitch's blog

NAACP launches new civil rights and education initiative with University of Kentucky - The Washington Post

NAACP launches new civil rights and education initiative with University of Kentucky - The Washington Post

NAACP launches new civil rights and education initiative with University of Kentucky
The NAACP, the oldest and largest civil rights organization in the United States, is launching a new education initiative with the University of Kentucky that will provide a home for Black faculty to conduct and disseminate research on the community in a new way.
The enterprise marks the first time that the NAACP has joined with university-based education scholars to help address racial inequities that for decades have plagued public schools around the country.
“It’s a brand new paradigm,” said Julian Vasquez Heilig, dean of the University of Kentucky’s College of Education who has served on the NAACP executive committee and as the education chair for the NAACP’s California Hawaii State Conference. “There is no playbook.”
Vasquez Heilig, who is the initiative’s mastermind, said research will be done not by finding topics in the halls of academia, as is usually done, but rather in African American communities.
“The idea here is to go to communities and understand what research they think needs to be done,” he said in an interview. “Instead of going to communities in the colonial way and taking research, we are asking what research they think is important to do.”
The focus of the initiative’s work will be to advance and protect education for students from preschool through higher education — with an emphasis on race-based discrimination. Special attention will be paid to students from underserved communities in Kentucky, which reflects many around the country.
The initiative will also seek to understand the challenges of students who are marginalized in the CONTINUE READING: NAACP launches new civil rights and education initiative with University of Kentucky - The Washington Post

Unsanitized: Randi Weingarten On What It Would Take to Make Schools Safe - The American Prospect

Unsanitized: Randi Weingarten On What It Would Take to Make Schools Safe - The American Prospect

Unsanitized: Randi Weingarten On What It Would Take to Make Schools Safe
Plus, Congressional maneuvering. This is The COVID-19 Daily Report for August 5, 2020.

First Response

In many parts of the country, the school year has already begun, either for teachers setting up classrooms, or in a few cases, for students. They are returning to a patchwork of different procedures, ranging from in-person schooling (in close to 20 states) to online-only learning to hybrid models. Parents report frayed nerves having to deal with managing work and children at home, and desperately want schools to reopen. Student learning is also sacrificed, especially with the digital divide, without in-person instruction. It’s a terrible situation.
Fortunately it’s being planned for in the most chaotic, unprofessional way. While relative safety in childcare shows that in theory you could execute schooling safely, the experience of some summer camps and schools in Israel show that dangers exist, not just for kids in school but the entire surrounding community. But the planning has been haphazard, and runs up against an immutable fact: just about everything associated with school safety costs money.
If the classroom is half the size you have to hire more teachers. HVAC systems have to be overhauled to prevent recirculated air. Everyone needs PPE, from masks to plexiglass shields. You need mass testing capacity and hand-washing stations. Some schools have no on-site nurses, so you have to add those. You might need to double school bus routes to maintain distancing on transportation. Remote learning has ongoing costs attached, especially if students need to be outfitted with technology. None of that money has been authorized yet at the federal level, and state budgets are completely strapped.
How much are we talking? The American Federation of Teachers did the math on this a couple weeks ago. “We figured out you needed $116 billion” for the extra safety measures, said AFT President Randi Weingarten in an interview. That’s on top of $93 billion to deal with reduced state support for schools.
The Democratic plans approach that level. Nancy Pelosi added $100 billion for schools in the Heroes Act, but it included a “maintenance of effort” clause, which would have required states taking the school money to backfill K-12 shortfalls with part of the $1 trillion reserved for state CONTINUE READING: Unsanitized: Randi Weingarten On What It Would Take to Make Schools Safe - The American Prospect

Mitchell Robinson: A Teacher's Advice to Nurses in a Pandemic | Eclectablog

A Teacher's Advice to Nurses in a Pandemic | Eclectablog

A Teacher’s Advice to Nurses in a Pandemic

Since you took the time to offer your advice, as a nurse, on how teachers should do their jobs, I thought I’d return the favor and share my thoughts on how nurses should do their jobs.
Except the truth is that I don’t have the faintest idea how to advise you how to be a nurse. Because I have never studied nursing, and have never worked as a nurse in any setting. Yes, I’ve administered first aid to my children, and even to some of my students in emergency situations over the years—but since I don’t really have any knowledge or background in nursing, I don’t really have any business telling you how to do your job.
Because that’s how reasonable adults should behave, isn’t it? I’m a teacher, so even though I’ve been in a hospital and seen what nurses do, it would be the height of arrogance for me to presume I knew the first thing about the complexities that nurses deal with on a daily basis. I just don’t. And I’d be a total jerk to think I could offer you, or any other nurse, any sort of professional advice about nursing based on my experience in a completely different profession. Wouldn’t I?
Just like when I buy a plane ticket I don’t think that qualifies me to jump into the co-pilot’s seat and tell the pilot how to fly the plane.
Or when I paid the handyman to put on our new storm door last week I didn’t think that somehow made it ok for me to instruct him how to measure and install the door.
Because part of being a functioning member of society, and just a decent person in general, CONTINUE READING: A Teacher's Advice to Nurses in a Pandemic | Eclectablog

As Schools Weigh Reopening, Here's How They Can Lower Coronavirus Risk : Shots - Health News : NPR

As Schools Weigh Reopening, Here's How They Can Lower Coronavirus Risk : Shots - Health News : NPR

How Safe Is Your School's Reopening Plan? Here's What To Look For
As schools across the country grapple with bringing kids back into the classroom, parents — and teachers — are worried about safety. We asked pediatricians, infectious disease specialists and education experts for help evaluating school district plans.
What we learned: There's no such thing as zero risk, but certain practices can lower the risk of an outbreak at school and keep kids, teachers and families safer.
If you're considering sending your child back to school this fall or in the coming months, start with assessing both your own family's personal risk and the level of spread in your community. The American Federation of Teachers says it doesn't consider in-person school to be safe unless fewer than 5% of coronavirus tests in an area are positive. As of late July, that one benchmark disqualified eight of the 10 largest public school districts in the country.
If your family is relatively healthy and local numbers look good, here's how to weigh the key elements of a school reopening plan.

1) Getting to school: Riding the bus

Look for: Limited capacity and physical distancing. Plus masks
Riding the bus can be risky for kids, particularly if the bus is packed.
Buses combine several risk factors for spread: Kids are in a closed space, for an extended period of time, often with poor ventilation.
"The best option for children getting to school would be for their parents to drop them off," says Dr. Tina Tan, pediatrics infectious disease specialist at Northwestern University in Chicago. Or walk or bike to school.
But that's not an option for many families, so to make busing safer, limit capacity to 50%, says Dr. Ravina Kullar, an epidemiologist and spokesperson for the Infectious Disease Society of America. The children and the driver should be physically distanced by at least 6 feet, and everyone should wear masks. Ideally there's assigned seating, and tape marks designating where kids should sit, she says.
If possible, keep the bus windows open to improve ventilation, says Dr. Judith Guzman-Cottrill, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Oregon Health & Science University. Airflow helps dilute the virus, this reducing the risk of infection.
"Students' hands should be sanitized before they enter the bus," says Laurie Combe, president of the National Association of School Nurses. Combe suggests mounting a sanitizer dispenser at the entrance of the bus.

2) Entry-to-school guidelines

Look for: Clear policies requiring sick kids and teachers to stay home
Our experts agree: Plans should drive home the message that staff and kids must stay home if they have any symptoms of COVID-19 at all.
"As a society we are going to have to learn that if we're sick, we stay home — always," says Dr. William Miller, an epidemiologist at Ohio State University. It's a big cultural shift, he says, because many of us are used to "powering through illness and sometimes we expect the same of our children."
There is no one perfect way to enforce this. Some experts suggest schools rely on messaging, while others prefer schools screen for symptoms.
Symptom checks at school may not be foolproof, but they reinforce the message that parents should keep kids home if they're sick, says Laurie Combe. "If there was optimal staffing for this situation, then the best practice would be to be able to screen as people enter the building."
The CDC currently does not recommend schools conduct widespread symptom screenings. It suggests parents check their children at home before coming to school.
Kids should stay home even if they have only very mild symptoms, "just a headache or stomach ache," says Dr. Preeti Malani, an infectious disease specialist and chief health officer at the University of Michigan. And when parents are sick, children should stay home too, adds Miller. This may be difficult for economic reasons for many families.
If teachers or staff have to miss work, then, Malani says school "policies have to CONTINUE READING: As Schools Weigh Reopening, Here's How They Can Lower Coronavirus Risk : Shots - Health News : NPR

Covid school closures: what they mean for kids with disabilities - Vox

Covid school closures: what they mean for kids with disabilities - Vox

We need to talk about what school closures mean for kids with disabilities
As schools prepare for fall, students in special education are being left out of the conversation.
When Simon’s school in Maryland closed this spring due to the pandemic, his family didn’t know what to expect.
“Like every family who has a kid in school, there was a lot of uncertainty,” Simon’s mom, Laura LeBrun Hatcher, told Vox. “Everybody was in a ‘what’s going to happen’ moment.”
But for Simon, that uncertainty also included what would happen to the one-on-one support that he needs to learn effectively, as well as the occupational and physical therapy he gets at school. Simon, who just turned 14, has complex medical needs and disabilities, including hydrocephalus, epilepsy, and autism. As the director of design and communications for the group Little Lobbyists, which works on behalf of kids with disabilities, Hatcher has been involved in advocacy for a long time. But, she said, “I’m not a trained therapist” — and providing everything at home that Simon used to get at school has been very challenging.
While Simon’s school has “been great in trying to walk us through stuff and do things remotely, the quality of the therapy is just not there,” Hatcher said. And “Simon’s attention just isn’t there for it,” she added. “He’s not in the environment that he is used to, where he has the structure that he’s used to.”
And compared with other kids with disabilities around the country, “Simon was one of the lucky ones,” Hatcher said.
When schools closed their physical buildings due to the pandemic, some made an effort to continue the services and therapies that help students with disabilities access their education — even if those services had to be remote. But other schools did little or nothing to CONTINUE READING: Covid school closures: what they mean for kids with disabilities - Vox

NEA Elects Pringle, Moss and Candelaria to Leadership - NEA Today

NEA Elects Pringle, Moss and Candelaria to Leadership - NEA Today

NEA Elects Pringle, Moss and Candelaria to Leadership

Becky Pringle, a science teacher from Philadelphia, has been elected president of the National Education Association. Pringle, who served as NEA vice president for six years, will assume her new duties on September 1. On that date, she becomes not only the leader of the nation’s largest union representing 3 million educators, but also the highest-ranking African American female labor leader.
Joining Pringle on the new NEA leadership team will be NEA Vice President Princess Moss of Virginia and new Secretary-Treasurer Noel Candelaria of Texas. NEA elections are usually conducted in-person at NEA’s Representative Assembly, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year they were held remotely with nearly 6,000 elected NEA delegates casting mail-in ballots. The results were announced at a tele-townhall with RA delegates on Wednesday  hosted by outgoing NEA President Lily Eskelsen García.
The delegates also reelected Hanna Vaandering, an elementary physical education teacher from Ridgewood Elementary in Beaverton, Ore., to the NEA Executive Committee.
Pringle, Moss, and Candelaria are the “right people at the right time,” Eskelsen García said. “This is an incredible leadership team. They will be the eyes and ears for our membership.”
As Secretary-Treasurer, Candelaria will bring a “wealth of experience and knowledge CONTINUE READING: NEA Elects Pringle, Moss and Candelaria to Leadership - NEA Today

The Federal Government Gives Native Students an Inadequate Education, and Gets Away With It — ProPublica

The Federal Government Gives Native Students an Inadequate Education, and Gets Away With It — ProPublica

The Federal Government Gives Native Students an Inadequate Education, and Gets Away With It
The Bureau of Indian Education has repeatedly neglected warnings that it is not providing a quality education for 46,000 Native students. Once called a “stain on our Nation’s history,” the school system has let down its students for generations.


ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to receive our biggest stories as soon as they’re published.
This story was co-published with The Arizona Republic, a member of the ProPublica Local Reporting Network.
A couple of months after Kimasha Shorty’s son started sixth grade at an Arizona public middle school, his teachers called her at home. He had trouble adding and subtracting and was struggling to read at grade level.
Shorty didn’t understand how it was possible that her oldest child could be so far behind after leaving Wide Ruins Community School, the sole elementary school in an area of about 1,000 residents at the southern edge of the Navajo Nation. He had been diagnosed with a mild learning disability that affects reading and math comprehension, but Shorty said he was doing so well by fourth grade that he skipped a grade at the urging of administrators and began attending a public middle school about 25 miles south in Sanders.
There, her son was far behind his classmates, many of whom did not grow up in his rural community and didn’t spend their early years at an elementary school overseen by the Bureau of Indian Education, a little-known federal agency that manages more than 180 schools and dormitories across the country.
Year after year, a similar pattern emerged for Shorty, the mother of nine children. Her daughter’s middle school math class started with geometry, but her fifth grade CONTINUE READING: The Federal Government Gives Native Students an Inadequate Education, and Gets Away With It — ProPublica

Pandemic Pods: Parents, Privilege, Power and Politics – Have You Heard

Pandemic Pods: Parents, Privilege, Power and Politics – Have You Heard

Pandemic Pods: Parents, Privilege, Power and Politics
Private pandemic “pods” are the latest edu-craze to sweep the land. But turns out there’s nothing new about privileged parents fleeing the public school system—or using the threat of departure as leverage. Special guests Jessica Calarco, L’Heureux Lewis-McCoy and Jon Hale help us understand the implications of pods for public education. And Jennifer and Jack discuss why pods have quickly emerged as a policy darling on the right. Hint: conservatives see the pandemic as the best opportunity they’ve ever had to dismantle public schools. Complete transcript available here. The financial support of listeners like you keeps this podcast going. Subscribe on Patreon or donate on PayPal.


Pandemic Pods: Parents, Privilege, Power and Politics – Have You Heard

High School Students Implore Cuomo – Move NYC to Remote for September | JD2718

High School Students Implore Cuomo – Move NYC to Remote for September | JD2718

High School Students Implore Cuomo – Move NYC to Remote for September
This letter was signed by a bunch of student government leaders, representing about 15% of NYC high schools, and then by about 1300 more students and parents. They sent it off to Cuomo on Wednesday August 5, because of the August 7 deadline. That’s a shame. While the letter makes good points, the authors managed to make a different one: they excluded the majority of NYC high schools that are majority Black/Brown. I don’t think it was intentional – I’m almost certain that it was not. But this is a reminder that it is not good enough not to be racist, we need to be actively anti-racist.
In any case, here’s the letter. I hope different leadership, inclusive leadership, takes up the mantle. Being inclusive takes work. It is a pretty gross display of privilege to say “we don’t have time to include Black and Brown voices.” And there is time – when NYC failed to submit an actual plan last Friday (it was an outline, not a plan) the deadlines got pushed back. 
Dear Governor Cuomo,
Over the past few weeks, Mayor de Blasio, Chancellor Carranza, and the NYC Department of Education have created a blended learning model, under which at least 33% of students are expected to attend each day and no school is permitted to conduct fully remote learning. However, this “one size fits all” model is not suitable for NYC high schools specifically. We believe that each NYC high school should be fully remote during this fall, especially schools with over 2,000 students, regardless of how other schools operate. 
First, New York City high school students have longer and riskier school commutes. While most elementary and middle school students in NYC attend schools within their own districts, high school students apply to and end up in schools all over the city. As a result, over 300,000 high school students consistently commute on crowded buses and trains, thus increasing chances of contracting and High School Students Implore Cuomo – Move NYC to Remote for September | JD2718

What I Told McKeesport Area School Directors About the Unsafe Reopening Plan Proposed by Administrators | gadflyonthewallblog

What I Told McKeesport Area School Directors About the Unsafe Reopening Plan Proposed by Administrators | gadflyonthewallblog

What I Told McKeesport Area School Directors About the Unsafe Reopening Plan Proposed by Administrators
This evening I went back to my high school to tell school board members what I thought of administration’s reopening plan during the global pandemic.

McKeesport Area School Directors have not voted on the proposal yet.

So I gathered my thoughts, put on my mask and went to the work session meeting.
Screen Shot 2020-08-06 at 12.05.02 AM
This is what I said:

“Thank you for allowing me to address you this evening. I appreciate all the time and effort you put forward to lead the McKeesport Area School District and do what’s best for students, staff, and families.

I am a life-long resident of this community. Most of my family graduated from this school as did my brother and I. Before I got a job as a teacher at a neighboring district, I subbed here in the high school for years. My daughter has attended the district for the past 6 years and has received a first rate education so far.

However, I am very concerned with Superintendent Dr. Mark Holtzman’s proposed plan to reopen schools. He would have students attend school buildings in-person for half days and do virtual instruction for the other half.

This is not a safe plan for students, staff and families. I ask you to reconsider and move to a reopening plan that begins with all students engaged in distance learning.

The reason is simple. New cases of COVID-19 are spiking throughout Allegheny County. Along with Philadelphia – where students will be getting 100% virtual instruction – we have some of the highest numbers of new cases CONTINUE READING: What I Told McKeesport Area School Directors About the Unsafe Reopening Plan Proposed by Administrators | gadflyonthewallblog

Anthony Cody: Who Is Allowed to Be Selfish? | Diane Ravitch's blog

Anthony Cody: Who Is Allowed to Be Selfish? | Diane Ravitch's blog

Anthony Cody: Who Is Allowed to Be Selfish?
Anthony Cody taught for many years in the Oakland public schools. We co-founded the Network for Public Education in 2012. His blog is called “Living in Dialogue.”
He writes:
Who is Allowed to be Selfish?
Isn’t it a bit strange – our capitalist economy is built on the glorious profit motive. The wealthy are expected to be selfish – they are rewarded for their ability to make more and more, and expected to avoid taxes, military service, and anything else that is unpleasant or risky. But only some people are allowed to be selfish.
Trump can insist that anyone who meets with him be tested. But he demands schools reopen, which means teachers will meet in closed rooms with as many as 160 students a day. Teachers must not put their own health above the needs of their students and the economy that requires they be in school six or seven hours a day.
It is unfortunate that we do not have funds to pay for nurses, counselors or librarians in our schools. But most wealthy people don’t send their children to public schools anyway. They get to make a different choice. But some of us have fewer choices. It pretty much falls along CONTINUE READING: Anthony Cody: Who Is Allowed to Be Selfish? | Diane Ravitch's blog