CURMUDGUCATION: Eight Years Under the Ax

Eight Years Under the Ax

Posted: 10 Dec 2015 12:12 PM PST

While the rest of the world was celebrating the passage of an ESEA (only eight years or so late! yay!) or looking at NEPC’s brutal-but-necessary report on the charter gravy train

, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities was releasing the results of its three-month study of state funding for education over the last almost-decade. 

The first part of the story is familiar. Back around 2008, the Great Recession hit. Although, let’s not say “hit” and give it a fancy name as if it were some random act of nature and not a predictable and avoidable economic collapse caused by reckless greedheads on Wall Street. Instead of a Great Recession that somehow happened, maybe we could instead refer to that time that Wall Street screwed over every American in a series of criminal and stupid acts so huge that they have yet to be paid for their misbehavior in the slightest. Let’s call it that.

But I digress. Wall Street tanked the economy, resulting in a big bunch of cutbacks as every state tried to deal with a sudden lack of money. That part of the story we already knew.

The second part of the story, which you may have suspected, is that once states got in the habit of slashing education budgets, the just kept on doing it even after the economy began to recover. CBPP does not bury the lede on this one:

Most states provide less support per student for elementary and secondary schools — in some cases, much less — than before the Great Recession.

The report breaks it down. 31 states provide less funding in 2014 than they did in 2008. In at least 15 states, the difference is 10% or greater.

In at least 18 states, local funding fell as well. In at least 27 states, local spending rose, but not enough to offset state level cuts.

— for the rest of this blog post see link below…

Source: CURMUDGUCATION: Eight Years Under the Ax

Working America

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Source: Working America

Michigan needs to close the gap between hiring demand and worker supply for high-skilled jobs that do not require a 4-year college degree

When it comes to having a 21st-century workforce, Southeast Michigan is in the midst of a “perfect storm.”


During years of economic decline, Michigan struggled to keep its residents educated and trained for the modern workplace. Now that the economy is in recovery and new job openings are finally emerging, there are not enough qualified young people left to fill them.
MI Bright Future aims to crowdsource school guidance counseling, says Lisa Katz, executive director of the Workforce Intelligence Network of Southeast Michigan.

On top of this, the skilled workforce in Southeast Michigan is aging rapidly. Even in sectors that people tend to associate with a millennial workforce, such as information technology, as well as in the crucial sectors of health care, design, and engineering, nearly one in five employees is over the age of 55.

Without focused effort to address these forces, the region will face a generation of under- and unemployed people, and an exodus of companies that will leave for regions with presumably more prepared workforces.

Read and listen to the rest of the story here:

Source: Crowdsourcing school guidance counseling | Michigan Radio

New Education Law Returns Education Policy to States, Ignores Equity as Federal Priority

Yesterday the Senate passed the Every Student Succeeds Act, the newest example of pretending that reality will match a bill title’s rhetoric.  We have turned the corner from the negative No Child Left Behind to the positive Every Student Succeeds, but what Congress just passed will definitely not ensure that every student succeeds.

The new law passed after years’ and years’ of trying (Reauthorizations were attempted without any consensus reached in 2007, 2010, and 2013.) leaves the machinery of test-and-punish pretty much in place. The bill keeps the testing, and it says that states must do something to “turnaround” the bottom-scoring schools.  What to do is left up to the states. One positive is that there is no longer a federal mandate to rank and rate teachers using students’ test scores.

Last week after the House vote to affirm the Every Child Succeeds Act, Jeff Bryant at the Educational Opportunity Network wrote, Go Ahead, Pass Every Student Succeeds Act, But Don’t Celebrate It.  That sums things up pretty well.

Here is a very quick, broad-stroke summary of what this over-a-thousand-page bill will do.

Source: New Education Law Returns Education Policy to States, Ignores Equity as Federal Priority

CBS Chief Cheers Trump: “Go Donald! Keep Getting Out There!”

Les Moonves, the chief executive of CBS Corporation, cheered on Donald Trump during an investor presentation Monday.

Speaking about the expected flood of campaign advertising dollars, which he described as “phenomenal,” Moonves said that he is glad to have so many Republicans competing for the nomination.

“The more they spend, the better it is for us and: Go Donald! Keep getting out there!” Moonves said. “And, you know, this is fun, watching this, let them spend money on us, and we love having them in there. We’re looking forward to a very exciting political year in ’16.”

The call took place right around the same time Trump announced his intention to bar Muslims immigrants from entering the United States, suggesting the CBS chief didn’t know about that yet.

Still, Moonves’ remarks came after months of similar rhetoric from Trump, including claims that the Mexican government is sending rapists into the U.S. and statements supporting a registration system for Muslim Americans.

As we’ve previously reported, major broadcasting companies have celebrated the triumph of big money in American elections, largely because that money is mostly spent on television, internet and radio advertising. Experts say the 2016 presidential election alone could cost as much as $5 billion.

Trump in particular has formed a symbiotic relationship with the media. Although he hasn’t paid for many ads yet, the real estate mogul’s bombastic comments and hateful rhetoric have provided record-shattering ratings for news networks, which have in turn provided non-stop coverage for his campaign.

Moonves made his comments during a presentation in New York sponsored by the investment bank UBS. Listen to his remarks at this link…

Source: CBS Chief Cheers Trump: “Go Donald! Keep Getting Out There!”

WATCH: How to Overcome Hateful Rhetoric | Sojourners

By Jim Wallis 12-10-2015

“America stands at one side of a bridge right now as a white majority nation — on the other side, a country comprising a majority of minorities. This change is inevitable, but how our nation responds to it is currently unclear. Would-be political leaders like Donald Trump are hurling xenophobic rhetoric against our Muslim brothers and sisters, issuing calls to prevent them from coming to the U.S. based on some kind of religious test.

These appeals to racial fear have become far too common in our political discourse. Meanwhile, as the media report daily on police violence against people of color, a vast majority of white Americans — including white Christians — believe these are simply isolated incidents, while more than eight in ten black Americans, including black Christians, believe they are part of a broader pattern.

Are we headed for more conflict as too many in the shrinking white population try desperately to cling to the past? Or can we cross this bridge to a new America where we begin to see the “beloved community” that Dr. King envisioned?On Jan. 19, the day after our country commemorates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, my new book, America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America, will be released.

As members of our Sojourners community and readers of my weekly column, I wanted you to be among the first to watch this preview.”

Source: WATCH: How to Overcome Hateful Rhetoric | Sojourners

The Lucrative Side of Charter Schools: New federal law will send millions of your tax dollars to charter schools

One of the less-noticed elements of the new Every Student Succeeds Act is the authorization of hundreds of millions of federal tax dollars annually to support the increased growth of charter schools. Charter schools are educational providers, but they are also businesses. A large portion of them are run by private corporations, and receive taxpayer dollars to provide their services. Yet there is very little public understanding of the often-convoluted ways these companies use those dollars and take advantage of laws in ways that enrich owners, officers, and investors.

A new research brief by Bruce Baker and Gary Miron details some of the ways that individuals, companies, and organizations secure financial gain and generate profit by running charter schools, leading them to operate in ways that are sometimes at odds with the public interest. In The Business of Charter Schooling: Understanding the Policies that Charter Operators Use for Financial Benefit, they explore the differences between charters and traditional public schools, and they illustrate how charter school policies sometimes function to promote profiteering and privatization of public assets.

Source: The Lucrative Side of Charter Schools | National Education Policy Center

Gun Sales Going Through The Roof Now That Obama And Hillary Want To Ban Assault Rifles? Don’t Count On it.

Every time there’s a mass slaughter or a gun-grabbing threat or anything else which the NRA can use to prove that the 2ndAmendment is in jeopardy, every gun nut in America rushes out to add to his stockpile.  Which means more guns in circulation, more guns ending up in ‘the street,’ more gun violence, yadda, yadda and yadda.

But before we get too concerned, perhaps we should take a deep breath and ask ourselves whether what we are saying aligns with the facts.  Or better yet, when the media says it, do we simply accept what they say if it’s bad news about guns, or do we actually take the time to do a little data-mining for ourselves.  In that regard I want to share a bit of data mining on NICS checks to see whether and to what degree the American private gun arsenal continues to expand.

Source: Gun Sales Going Through The Roof Now That Obama And Hillary Want To Ban Assault Rifles? Don’t Count On it.