Bruce Baker’s New Book on School Finance Develops a Scathing Critique of Charter School Expansion

janresseger

Rutgers University school finance professor, Bruce Baker’s new book, Educational Inequality and School Finance: Why Money Matters for America’s Students, covers the basics—how school finance formulas are supposed to work to ensure that funding for schools is adequate, equitable, and stable.

Baker also carefully refutes some persistent myths—Eric Hanushek’s claim that money doesn’t really make a difference when it comes to raising student achievement, for example, and the contention that public schools’ expenditures have skyrocketed over the decades while achievement as measured by test scores has remained flat.

Baker does an excellent job of demonstrating that far more will be needed for our society appropriately to support school districts segregated not only by race, but also by poverty. The final sections of the book are a little technical. They explain the construction of a more equitable system that would drive enough funding to come closer to what is really…

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Is America’s Romance with Charter Schools Fading Despite Gobs of Political Money from Its Promoters?

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Last week’s election produced a couple of significant indicators that the public may be growing weary of charter schools.  At the same time the public seems increasingly aware that adequately funded public schools may be a better way to help the children our society has left behind.  This is despite an enormous political investment by wealthy investors in the future of the charter school movement.

Consider the race for California Superintendent of Public Instruction. Last month for The Intercept, Rachel M. Cohen explained what this highly contentious, non-partisan race between charter proponent Marshall Tuck and his opponent Tony Thurmond has really been all about: “The California charter school lobby is testing its influence in the race for Superintendent of Public Instruction, turning an election for a somewhat obscure statewide position into a notably expensive battle.  More than $50 million has flown into the contest between two Democrats for…

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More on the Public Purpose of Our Public Schools and the Role of Public Governance

Excellent Jan Resseger. Excellent.

janresseger

There has recently been a debate among guest writers in Valerie Strauss’s “Answer Sheet” column in the Washington Post. The Network for Public Education’s  Carol Burris and Diane Ravitch published a defense of public governance of public schools, a column which critiqued a new report from the Learning Policy Institute.  The Learning Policy Institute’s Linda Darling-Hammond responded with a defense of the Learning Policy Institute’s report, which defends school choice including privately governed and operated charter schools. Finally Diane Ravitch and Carol Burris responded to Darling-Hammond’s response. This blog weighed in here last week.

As it happens, Stanford University emeritus professor of education, David Labaree enhances this conversation with a new column on the public purpose of public education at Phi Delta Kappan: “We Americans tend to talk about public schooling as though we know what that term means.  But in the complex educational landscape of the 21st century……

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School Choice Fails to Create Equity and Justice for Our Society’s Poorest Children

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Early this week, in her Washington Post column, Valerie Strauss published an important reflection on Why It Matters Who Governs America’s Public Schools by Diane Ravitch and Carol Burris of the Network for Public Education. Burris and Ravitch are responding to a major report from the Learning Policy Institute’s Peter Cookson, Linda Darling-Hammond, Robert Rothman, and Patrick Shields, a report which endorses the idea of “portfolio school reform.”

The Learning Policy Institute’s report, The Tapestry of American Public Education, promotes a lovely metaphor, a tapestry of school options woven together—open enrollment, magnet schools, charter schools, and specialty schools based on distinct educational models. The Learning Policy Institute declares: “The goal and challenge of school choice is to create a system in which all children choose and are chosen by a good school that serves them well and is easily accessible. The central lesson from decades of experience and…

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Positive Developments for Public Education in Tuesday’s Election

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Here are some Tuesday election results which will make a difference for public schools. Look at yesterday’s POLITICO Morning Education for a more complete summary of the election results for candidates who had made public education a priority and for the results of a broad array of education-related ballot issues.

Ballot Issues

Arizona Proposition 305, which would have expanded participation in a controversial Education Savings Account voucher program, failed by a 2:1 margin. The failure of Proposition 305 means that the enrollment cap on Arizona’s controversial neo-vouchers will not be lifted; the program will not be expanding. The Associated Press reports: “Arizona voters have rejected a massive expansion of the state’s private school voucher program criticized as a move to drain money from public schools and give it to rich parents to fund their kids’ private school tuition.  Proposition 305 was placed on Tuesday’s ballot after educators collected enough…

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The margin of error: 7 tips for journalists covering polls and surveys

TIP SHEET

On the margin of error: A tip sheet

To help journalists understand margin of error and how to correctly interpret data from surveys and polls, we’ve put together a list of seven tips, including clarifying examples.

https://journalistsresource.org/studies/politics/ads-public-opinion/margin-error-journalists-surveys-polls

Values that Express Our Idea of Public Education: The Values that Should Steady Us in this Tumultuous Week

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This blog, which usually posts Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, will post on neither election day nor the next morning. Look for a new post on Thursday, November 8.

* * *

We have been surrounded by hate crimes this week—in Kentucky and in Pittsburgh and in the bombs mailed to politicians and George Soros. And we are being barraged in the media by the story of migrants coming north to find sanctuary from violence—desperate people who will now be met by thousands of soldiers sent to the border to protect us from these “outsiders.” By contrast, over the centuries, a consensus has continued to grow about our public schools’ inclusive mission—to serve all children in settings that are physically and emotionally safe.

As a foil for what we are watching, hearing and reading in the press, here are some simple principles from experts who have considered the purpose of…

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What’s Wrong with America’s Schools? David Berliner Blames America’s Failure to Eradicate Child Poverty

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Despite lots of evidence about why we shouldn’t use test scores as a measure of school quality, for nearly twenty years, government programs like No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top have taught people to judge public schools by their standardized test scores. Last week the Washington Post‘s Valerie Strauss published an in-depth reflection by David Berliner on what standardized test scores really measure. David Berliner is an expert, a Regents’ professor emeritus at Arizona State University, former president of the American Educational Research Association, and former dean of the College of Education at Arizona State.

Berliner is blunt in his analysis: “(T)he big problems of American education are not in America’s schools. So, reforming the schools, as Jean Anyon once said, is like trying to clean the air on one side of a screen door. It cannot be done!  It’s neither this nation’s teachers nor its…

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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!

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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

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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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