Orlando Sentinel: Betsy DeVos’s Dream Is Really a Nightmare

Orlando Sentinel: Betsy DeVos’s Dream Is Really a Nightmare
by janresseger
Betsy DeVos, our U.S. Secretary of Education, has bragged about Florida’s tuition tax credit voucher program as the model for the kind of national program she’d like to see. An in-depth, three-part investigation by reporters for the Orlando Sentinel paints a very different picture of this program:

janresseger

Betsy DeVos, our U.S. Secretary of Education, has bragged about Florida’s tuition tax credit voucher program as the model  for the kind of national program she’d like to see. An in-depth, three-part investigation by reporters for the Orlando Sentinel paints a very different picture of this program:

“Private schools in Florida will collect nearly $1 billion in state-backed scholarships this year through a system so weakly regulated that some schools hire teachers without college degrees, hold classes in aging strip malls and falsify fire-safety and health records.  The limited oversight of Florida’s scholarship programs allowed a principal under investigation for molesting a student at his Brevard County school to open another school under a new name and still receive the money…. Another Central Florida school received millions of dollars in scholarships, sometimes called school vouchers, for nearly a decade even though it repeatedly violated program rules, including hiring staff…

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Does it have to be bus driver union contracts vs the Transit Millage?: Organizing Movements for more than either or outcomes

Last Tuesday, over 50 people spoke during the Grand Rapids City Commission meeting and most of them were advocating for an Equal Services policy to be adopted by the city, which would make it so city employees (including police) NOT ask people about their immigration status. However, what was interesting about those who spoke, is that most of them were also advocating for the city to push for a fair contract resolution for the bus driver’s union.

This was a powerful display of solidarity, because immigrants, union members and allies came together to make the statement, “immigrant rights are workers rights!”

Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy

A few weeks ago, we posted a brief article highlighting some of the tension between the ATU (bus drivers union) and the group Equity PAC. 

The ATU has been working without a contract for 2 years and will likely advocate for people to not support the bus millage as long as they are working without a contract. Equity PAC disagrees with the ATU tactic and believes that the union should put riders, particularly those most marginalized, first on this issue.

Last Tuesday, over 50 people spoke during the Grand Rapids City Commission meeting and most of them were advocating for an Equal Services policy to be adopted by the city, which would make it so city employees (including police) NOT ask people about their immigration status. However, what was interesting about those who spoke, is that most of them were also advocating for the city to push for a fair…

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Michigan Senate passes bill to allow Charter Schools to use money raised from property tax: DeVos money supported Senators who co-sponsored legislation

Disgusting. Absolutely disgusting. Charter school robber barons!

Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy

Last week, SB 0574 was passed by the Michigan Senate, which would allow Charter Schools to receive funding from property tax money raised in school districts. An analysis of the bill states:

One key to attracting families and businesses to Michigan is building strong school systems. Strengthening Michigan’s schools will bolster the State’s future workforce and help develop a strong talent pipeline within the State. Charter schools are a growing part of the educational system in Michigan and contribute to the strength of its communities by providing students with many unique educational opportunities that traditional public schools cannot reproduce.

Another section in the analysis looks specifically at the Kent Intermediate School District, and states:

In Kent Intermediate School District, for example, more than 14,000 students attend public school academies. A recent millage placed before the voters in that ISD will generate approximately $20.0 million over the next 10 years…

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4 Things You Can Do Right Now To Support Survivors & End Sexual Violence

The Catalysts for Change

It’s OK to be scared right now. Many of us are frightened, and with good reason. Sexual assault has been at the forefront of our national conversation as of late, but not because survivors’ voices are being heard. Sexual violence has been normalized, ridiculed even. Political figures and celebrities have flaunted their predatory behavior with no legal repercussion. Rapists on college campuses have escaped their crimes with little more than a slap on the wrist.

I would be lying if I said I haven’t been feeling hopeless these days. But the one thing—and perhaps the only thing—that has helped me get out of bed is knowing that there is some small action I can take every day: a charitable donation here, a kind word to someone struggling there. Maybe it doesn’t seem like much, but I’ve been empowered by millions of other people who are coping the same way.

Even…

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Wisconsin Voucher Program: Exacerbates Inequity by Stealing from Local School District Budgets

janresseger

A new study for the National Education Policy Center by Ellie Bruecker of the University of Wisconsin warns that Wisconsin’s statewide voucher program, as it grows, will increasingly exacerbate fiscal inequity across the state’s public school districts.

In the 2015-2017 state budget bill, Wisconsin expanded the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program statewide school vouchers by eliminating a 2,000 student statewide cap and sunsetting a district-by-district student participation cap. The new law provides that the participation cap for any district’s students will increase one percent a year until 2026-2027, after which the district cap will disappear altogether.

At the same time Wisconsin changed the way the state funds vouchers. While, before 2015, statewide vouchers were funded by the state through its General Purpose Revenue fund, the 2015 budget bill began counting voucher students as part of the overall enrollment of their local school district and deducting money from the school district’s state’s…

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Tell DeVos: Students with Disabilities Need Federal Protections 

Betsy DeVos is at it again! This time her target is the removal of guidance documents that outline protections regarding the rights of students with disabilities. Send your senator an email telling them to stop Betsy DeVos today!  We need … Continued here: Tell DeVos: Students with Disabilities Need Federal Protections – NPE Action

Review Finds Valuable Analysis of School Closure Research 

BOULDER, CO (October 24, 2017) – Lights Off: Practice and Impact of Closing Low-Performing Schools, authored by Chunping Han, Margaret E. Raymond, James L. Woodworth, Yohannes Negassi, W. Payton Richardson, and Will Snow, and released by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, provides an extensive analysis based on the most comprehensive dataset ever assembled for school closure research, including 1,522 low-performing schools that were closed across 26 states between 2006 and 2013.

Matthew Gaertner, a principal research scientist at SRI International, and Professor Ben Kirshner, of the School of Education at University of Colorado Boulder, reviewed the report and found it to be a careful and rigorous study, albeit with a few missed opportunities.

Substantiating concerns raised by closure opponents in cities such as Washington DC and Philadelphia, the report finds that even when holding constant academic performance, schools were more likely to be closed if they enrolled higher proportions of minority and low-income students. The report also finds test-score declines, relative to the comparison group, for two groups of students displaced by closures: students who transferred to “inferior” schools (with a prior record of low test-score performance relative to students’ closed schools) and those who transferred to “equivalent” schools (with test-score performance similar to students’ closed schools). Slightly less than half of students transferred to higher performing schools after a closure; those who did showed academic improvement relative to their matched peers.

Gaertner and Kirshner determined that the report’s focus on some tenuous analyses (involving pre-closure transfers) obscures its most important findings, involving inadequate numbers of higher quality receiving schools, which was associated with performance declines for most students, and disproportionality in school closures. Additionally, the reviewers were concerned about statistical modeling choices and matching challenges that may threaten the validity of the subgroup analyses focused on charter school students. Finally, Gaertner and Kirshner would have liked to see the report acknowledge the inescapable moral dimensions of school closure: Do the communities affected by closures have opportunities to participate in closure decisions?

Notwithstanding these concerns, the reviewers found the report to provide a valuable contribution to the growing body of school closure research.

Find the review, by Matthew Gaertner and Ben Kirshner, at:
http://nepc.colorado.edu/thinktank/review-closures

Find Volumes I and II of Lights Off: Practice and Impact of Closing Low-Performing Schools, by Chunping Han, Margaret E. Raymond, James L. Woodworth, Yohannes Negassi, W. Payton Richardson, and Will Snow, published by CREDO, at:
http://credo.stanford.edu/pdfs/Closure_FINAL_Volume_I.pdf and
http://credo.stanford.edu/pdfs/Closure_FINAL_Volume_II.pdf

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC) Think Twice Think Tank Review Project (http://thinktankreview.org) provides the public, policymakers, and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. The project is made possible in part by support provided by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice: http://www.greatlakescenter.org

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, produces and disseminates high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. Visit us at: http://nepc.colorado.edu

Source: Review Finds Valuable Analysis of School Closure Research | National Education Policy Center