Monday, November 19, 2018

In Case You Missed It – Nov 19, 2018

Here are links to the articles receiving the most attention in NEIFPE's social media. Keep up with what's going on, what's being discussed, and what's happening with public education.

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Kentucky: Beware Voucher Fraud!

From Diane Ravitch
When proposals for vouchers (or scholarships that allow public money to be spent for religious or private schools) is on the ballot, the voters say no. They said NO last week in Arizona by a vote of 65-35%.

EdChoice and the Goldwater Institute are based in Arizona. The Koch brothers and DeVos’ American Federation for Children supported the voucher referendum (called Empowerment Scholarship Accounts), and despite the money and the euphemism, it was defeated overwhelmingly.

Watch out, Kentucky. The voucher zombies are coming for you.


Kansas Will Pay TFA $270,000 for Recruiting 3 Teachers

From Diane Ravitch
You read that right. Kansas is a state that has cut taxes and cut its education budget repeatedly and whose teachers are paid poorly. It is under court order to finance its schools adequately. You may recall that former Governor Sam Brownback imposed a far-right policy of cutting taxes to “grow the economy” while starving the schools and other public services. The experiment failed. Trump appointed him the
“Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom.”

So now, because of low salaries, Kansas has teacher shortages. The remedy? A lavish contract with TFA to bring in temp teachers.


Hardly any kids passed ISTEP at one of Indiana’s largest schools. Here’s why it’s not getting an F

Wouldn’t it be nice if our legislators would quit throwing our tax dollars away?

From Chalkbeat
With such high enrollment numbers, Indiana Virtual School and Indiana Virtual Pathways Academy could together bring in upward of $35 million from the state for this school year, according to funding estimates from the Legislative Services Agency.

At the state’s other full-time virtual charter schools — including those billed as alternative schools like IVPA — state grades are rising as enrollment grows. Indiana Connections Academy is up to a D this year from an F, and Insight School of Indiana is up to a C from an F. For grades under Indiana’s federal plan, the schools received an F and D, respectively.

Indiana Connections Career Academy enrolled about 70 students last year and received no grade, but education department officials say that is because it had too few students to calculate one, despite testing more than 95 percent of them. It’s not uncommon for small schools — especially high schools that have just one tested grade — to not get a grade. This year, the school’s enrollment is up to about 300 students.


Restore Reason: What Happens When Government Services Are Privatized

From Diane Ravitch
...I began to think how this privatization story was paralleling that of education’s. In both cases, those in the public sector are in it for the mission, not the money. In both cases, the private sector only “wins” if the public sector “loses”. In both cases, it is in the interest of the private sector to facilitate the failure of the public sector or make it look like it is failing.

Just as private and charter schools profit when district schools are perceived to be of lower quality, Barry Myers has worked hard to make government provided weather services look inferior to that which the private sector can provide. As Lewis points out, “The more spectacular and expensive the disasters, the more people will pay for warning of them. The more people stand to lose, the more money they will be inclined to pay. The more they pay, the more the weather industry can afford to donate to elected officials, and the more influence it will gain over the political process.”


Northwestern University Economist Uses Data to Prove Students’ Test Scores Fail to Measure Quality Teaching

From Jan Resseger
“These results confirm an idea that many believe to be true but that has not been previously documented—that teacher effects on test scores capture only a fraction of their impact on their students. The fact that teacher impacts on behavior are much stronger predictors of their impact on longer-run outcomes than test-score impacts, and that teacher impacts on test scores and those on behavior are largely unrelated, means that the lion’s share of truly excellent teachers, those who improve long-run outcomes—will not be identified using test-score value added alone… This analysis provides the first hard evidence that such contributions to student progress are both measurable and consequential.”


Nellie Bowles: In America’s Schools, the Rich Get Teachers, the Poor Get Computers

From Diane Ravitch
The parents in Overland Park, Kan., were fed up. They wanted their children off screens, but they needed strength in numbers. First, because no one wants their kid to be the lone weird one without a phone. And second, because taking the phone away from a middle schooler is actually very, very tough.

“We start the meetings by saying, ‘This is hard, we’re in a new frontier, but who is going to help us?’” said Krista Boan, who is leading a Kansas City-based program called START, which stands for Stand Together And Rethink Technology. “We can’t call our moms about this one.”

For the last six months, at night in school libraries across Overland Park, a suburb of Kansas City, Mo., about 150 parents have been meeting to talk about one thing: how to get their children off screens.


Many Indiana schools receive F grades for how they serve students of color and those with disabilities

It is folly to evaluate schools by test scores. It’s also quite unfair that private schools and charter schools that serve few students with disabilities or those in need of 2nd language services get higher scores because they aren’t required to, and for the most part, don’t serve those students. We also need to remember that when your legislators use your tax dollars to fund charters and privates, they are taking needed dollars for resources from the public schools that do serve all students with any needs that they may have.

From Chalkbeat
Schools grades are highly reflective of state test scores, which have a well-documented history of gaps between certain groups of students. Although state test scores tend to make up a smaller overall piece of the federal grades than state grades, it is still the single largest factor, which raises some important caveats, experts say. Differences in test scores between groups of students, often called achievement or opportunity gaps, don’t reflect students’ innate abilities to learn. Nor do they always mean schools are doing a poor job educating different students. Rather, gaps can be attributed to any number of factors, including test question biases, parents’ education, students’ early childhood education, stress, trauma, and more.

Gaps in grades, in this case, could point out areas of inequities between schools, such as differences in teacher quality, curriculum quality, and availability of honors courses. The gaps also show the extent to which income disparities and poverty are present in a school. Students who come from low-income families and those who switch schools frequently tend to do worse on standardized exams, which would result in lower grades.


Laurene Powell Jobs Wants YOU to Run for School Board and Implement Her XQ Program

From Diane Ravitch
Laurene Powell Jobs is urging her allies to run for the local school board and become advocates for her ideas about the importance of reinventing high schools along the lines that she and Arne Duncan have chosen.

She has even provided a handy kit about how to do it.


If People Talked to Other Professionals the Way They Talk to Teachers

From McSweeney's
Ah, a zookeeper. So, you just babysit the animals all day?”

- - -

“My colon never acts this way at home. Are you sure you’re reading the colonoscopy results correctly? Did you ever think that maybe you just don’t like my colon?”


New York: With Republican Loss of State Senate, Charter Schools Endangered

Instead of spending money on privately run, lack-of-accountability charter schools, we should be using tax dollars to improve struggling public schools.

From Diane Ravitch
Since 1998, Senate Republicans continued to support the publicly funded, but privately run schools. Many Democrats say charter schools unfairly compete for students, and the state and local aid attached to them. Advocates of charter schools, including some urban Democrats, say they are a needed alternative to failing traditional schools. Charter schools, for example, are free of some regulations, which allows them to experiment with instruction models such as longer school days. Supporters point to long waiting lists for these schools as proof of their value.


Incentives added to teacher contract

From The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Becoming a mentor, committing to certain buildings, and writing and piloting new curriculum are ways teachers in Fort Wayne Community Schools can earn more cash.

The school board Monday approved bonuses and stipends tied to these and other efforts as part of an amendment to the master teacher contract ratified last year with the Fort Wayne Education Association.


José Espinosa: The Truth About Charter Schools That Boast About a 100% College Acceptance Rate

From Diane Ravitch
While 100 percent of charter seniors get accepted to college as required, the public has a right to know the percentage of charter students who didn’t make it to their senior year.

Ed Fuller, Pennsylvania State University professor, found in one of his studies of a particular charter network that when considering the number of students starting in the ninth grade as a cohort, the percentage of charter cohort students who graduated and went on to college was at best 65 percent.

In other words, 35 percent of ninth-graders at a charter network didn’t make it to their graduation….

Just like the BBB, it is our duty to alert the public.


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