Advocates for Public Schools Have Good Reasons to Keep on Fighting Against Privatization and Corporate Reform

More great analysis from education research blogger Jan Resseger!

janresseger

I was privileged to participate in the 5th Annual Conference of the Network for Public Education (NPE) in Indianapolis last weekend. This will be the last of a series of reflections on what I learned at that important meeting. Overall, NPE’s 2018 Conference proclaimed reasons for hope.

Neoliberal corporate reform just isn’t working out the way its proponents had planned. Diane Ravitch introduced last weekend’s conference by describing, “the slow, sure collapse of corporate reform.” “The facts and evidence are on our side,” she said. “We are driven by conviction and passion and not by money. Charters do not save poor children from failing schools. Charters are more likely to fail than the public schools they replace. Charters that get high test scores do so by kicking out the kids they don’t want. Evidence on vouchers is now unequivocal, and it’s bad…  High stakes testing has been a disaster for…

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Drilling Down into the “Grading the States” Report on School Privatization

janresseger

I was privileged to participate in the 5th Annual Conference of the Network for Public Education (NPE) in Indianapolis this past weekend.  I have been posting  reflections about what I learned at this important meeting.

One of the most fascinating workshops at the conference explored the complexity of researching the groundbreaking, June 2018 report, Grading the States: A Report Card on Our Nation’s Commitment to Public Schools, and the importance of the report, the first comprehensive effort to track and compare the growth of privatization and the characteristics of state vouchers and charters. The report, a collaboration of the Network for Public Education and the Schott Foundation for Public Education, defines its purpose: “States are rated on the extent to which they have instituted policies and practices that lead toward fewer democratic opportunities and more privatization, as well as the guardrails they have (or have not) put into place to…

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A Moment When Grassroots Mobilization for Public Education Is Making a Difference—Part 2

Thanks Jan for the posts on this important po public education conference.

janresseger

I was privileged to participate in the 5th Annual Conference of the Network for Public Education (NPE) in Indianapolis this past weekend.  I am posting some reflections on what I heard and learned at this important meeting.

One of the highlights at NPE’s Conference were presentations on excellent community organizing that is finally making a difference. Yesterday’s post and today’s describe two very different and encouraging initiatives.

What if parents, teachers and community united across an entire state to insist that the state fund its schools adequately?  Well, advocates in Wisconsin are doing just that.  As a bit of context, remember that Wisconsin has the nation’s oldest and one of the largest voucher programs and that the Bradley Foundation, located in Wisconsin, has historically been among the most lavish funders of the school privatization movement that drains tax dollars out of the public education budget.

Today, however, the Wisconsin…

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A Moment When Grassroots Mobilization for Public Education Is Making a Difference—Part 1

So glad you were able to attend this event Jan. Looking forward to your summaries and conclusions.

janresseger

I was privileged to participate in the 5th Annual Conference of the Network for Public Education (NPE) in Indianapolis this past weekend.  In the next few days, I’ll post some reflections on what I heard and learned at this important meeting.

One of the highlights of the Conference were presentations on excellent community organizing that is finally making a difference. Today’s post and tomorrow’s will describe two very different and encouraging initiatives.

What if city parents were supported in ignoring the glitzy brochures, radio ads, and even incentive gifts encouraging them to escape public schools and experiment with charter schools? What if, instead. parents were encouraged and supported to demand public schools designed to meet the needs of their families and children?  I found hope this past weekend in a workshop where the Journey4Justice Alliance (J4J) told the story of mobilizing Black and Brown parents to demand the kind of…

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Exploding Inequality and Poverty: We Got the “Failing” Schools Narrative Wrong and Failed to See the Real Problem

It’s cult-like, the use of the word “proficient” when it comes to reading and literacy. Most people do not even know what the word means when it comes to educational achievement testing.

janresseger

Two articles published this week make interesting companions.

The first is Jack Schneider’s post—published in the Washington Post as part of Valerie Strauss’s column: How Are America’s Public Schools Really Doing?  Schneider, of the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, explores the fact that widespread public perception of America’s public education system tanked after No Child Left Behind labeled an ever-increasing number of schools as failing every year.  So-called failing schools were the ones that couldn’t make Adequate Yearly Progress on what we now know was a crazy and unrealistic timeline.  It became apparent, as the 2014 deadline approached when all public schools were supposed to make every child proficient or be labeled “failing,” that almost every school in America would have been received the label except that Arne Duncan’s Department of Education began granting the states waivers from what had become a ridiculous expectation.

Schneider describes what became a…

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Cost of 2018 election to surpass $5 billion, CRP projects

This year’s midterm election cycle is slated to become the first and only member of the $5 billion club.

The Center for Responsive Politics projects that more than $5 billion will be spent during the 2018 election, making it by far the costliest congressional election cycle in U.S. history.

“We expected to see the numbers climb, as they typically do, but the astonishing spike in campaign donations is a solid indicator of the intensity driving this year’s campaigns,” said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics.

The 2016 election was the most expensive congressional election, with just over $4 billion spent for House and Senate candidates in total. Only two congressional election cycles have surpassed the $4 billion mark — 2016 and 2010 — when adjusted for inflation.

More than $3.7 billion has already been spent on the 2018 election, including money spent by candidates, parties, committees, PACs and outside groups for the purpose of the election.

Democratic candidates have a huge lead in spending over Republicans, having shelled out more than $1 billion to Republican candidates’ $720 million. Democrats have raised more than $1.3 billion from individual donors — compared to just under $1 billion for Republicans — as Democratic challengers have raised large masses of funds through small donors.

Republicans are leading in the outside money department, having benefited from approximately $343 million in outside spending compared to $248 million for Democrats. Outside spending

, overall, is projected to be the highest-ever for a midterm election. More than $618 million has been spent by outside groups so far, compared to $421 million at this point in 2014.

Utilizing historical spending growth data from the third quarter on, CRP’s model projects the total amount spent in the 2018 election will reach approximately $5.2 billion.

 

https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2018/10/cost-of-2018-election/

Contact: Brendan Quinn 202-354-0110 (bquinn@crp.org) or Karl Evers-Hillstrom 202-354-0117 (kevers@crp.org)

A Primer for the Public Education Voter in this Fall’s Midterm Election

janresseger

The midterm election is only weeks away. The airwaves are filled with attack ads that sensationalize and distort the issues.  Even in states where public education has not emerged as a central issue, it ought to be, because K-12 education and higher education are among the biggest lines in every state’s budget.  Without naming states and without naming candidates or particular ballot issues, today’s blog will serve as a voters’ primer about what to consider on November 6, if you think of yourself a public education voter. These reports present simple information about each state.  If a candidate for your legislature or governor, for example, claims to be an “education” candidate, having invested significantly in education, you can check his or her promises against the facts.  I hope you’ll take a look at how your state has been supporting or failing to support the mass of children who attend public…

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Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: State Cuts to Higher Education Threaten Access and Equity

janresseger

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities just released its annual update on state funding for higher education. In 45 states, state funding per-student in public four-year and two-year colleges and universities remains below what it was before the Great Recession a decade ago. The only exceptions are California, Hawaii, North Dakota, and Wyoming. Thirty-one states cut higher education funding in the past year.

Here is the report’s overall conclusion: “A decade since the Great Recession hit, state spending on public colleges and universities remains well below historical levels. Overall state funding for public two-and four-year colleges in the school year ending in 2018 was more than $7 billion below its 2008 level, after adjusting for inflation. In the most difficult years after the recession, colleges responded to significant funding cuts by increasing tuition, reducing faculty, limiting course offerings, and in some cases closing campuses.  Funding has rebounded slightly since…

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Stunning New Book Contextualizes Tragedy of 2013 School Closures in Chicago’s Hyper-Segregated History

New Orleans. Detroit. Chicago. Just to name three.
Sometimes the excuse is a hurricane. Other times it’s a series of storms coming in fits and starts. And then it takes time, like a slow and steady
erosion as in, drip, drip, drip.

janresseger

Eve Ewing’s new book, Ghosts in the Schoolyard: Racism and School Closings on Chicago’s South Side, explores the blindness, deafness, and heartlessness of technocratic, “portfolio school reform”* as it played out in 50 school closings in Chicago at the end of the school year in 2013. After months of hearings, the Chicago Public Schools didn’t even send formal letters to the teachers, parents and students in the schools finally chosen for closure.  People learned which schools had finally been shut down when the list was announced on television.

Eve Ewing, a professor in the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration and a former teacher in one of the closed schools, brings her training as a sociologist to explore this question: “But why do people care about these failing schools?” (p. 13)  In four separate chapters, Ewing examines the question from different perspectives: (1) the meaning for the…

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DeVos Doles Out $399 Million to Charter Schools and Charter Organizations

Diane Ravitch's blog

Politico reports the latest federal handouts for charter schools and charter advocacy organizations, as well as to state agencies.

There is no sector of American education less in need of federal funding than charter schools. They have the support of the nation’s largest philanthropies—think Bill Gates, the Walton family, Eli Broad, Michael Bloomberg, Reed Hastings, etc.—as well as abundant gifts from the financial industry and individual billionaires.

Among the federal grants was $2.4 million to the California Charter Schools Association, the richest lobby in the state, which fights any legislative efforts to establish accountability and prohibit conflicts of interest and self-dealing.

Betsy DeVos has put the Trump administration strongly behind charter schools. The Trump administration puts no money into establishing ethical standards or financial oversight for charters. They pretend to want a “free market,” but free markets are not subsidized by the federal government. In a free market, businesses make…

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