School choice has been a positive development in public education in New York, but sometimes the city’s Department of Education makes the wrong choice.
This is the case in a fierce education battle in East Harlem, where a community of parents is fighting for their school’s expansion. They have been shut out by DOE and their petition drive is a fantastic example of educational democracy in action.
By Richard Kirsch, Senior Fellow, Roosevelt Institute and Director of Our Story - The Hub for American Narratives
Just a few days before Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were killed by police officers, my wife and I went to the premier of the play American Son, which opened in Pittsfield Massachusetts in June. The play is carefully crafted to leave White audiences feeling the searing pain of finding out that their son was killed by a police officer.
Posted by Carolina Minier · July 06, 2016 10:51 AM
Photo: ONEDAYONEIMAGE VIA GETTY IMAGES
By Alan Singer
Charters schools, when first proposed in the late 1980s, were envisioned as a way for public school systems to experiment with educational options. Some still play this role. However over the last two decades charter schools have largely evolved into a way to make money from public dollars, either through for-profit charter school corporations or for well-paid CEOs of supposedly not-for profit charter school networks.
Posted by Carolina Minier · July 06, 2016 10:33 AM
Photo: MRDOOMITS VIA GETTY IMAGES
By Alan Singer
Hedge fund billionaires and major politicians like President Obama, Republican Presidential contender Jeb Bush, and New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo love charter schools. For Obama, Bush, and Cuomo they are the miracle cure for what ails American education. Los Angeles is considering a proposal Broad Foundation to turn half of its public schools into charters by 2023. But what is the “miracle” behind claims for higher student test scores at some well-known charter schools? It may simply be “lock them out to drive them out.” Let’s look at the Success Academy Charter School Network, whose schools would more aptly be named “Suspension Academies.”
DETROIT — On the face of it, Ana Rivera could have had almost any choice when it came to educating her two sons. For all the abandoned buildings and burned-down houses in her neighborhood in the southwest part of this city, national charter school companies had seen a market and were setting up shop within blocks of each other, making it easier to find a charter school than to buy a carton of milk.
But hers became the story of public education in a city grasping for its comeback: lots of choice, with no good choice.
Posted by Carolina Minier · June 27, 2016 11:20 AM
Photo: Mel Evans/Associated Press
By The Editorial Board of New York Times
Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey is using the worst kind of demagogy to distract attention from his sagging poll numbers and burnish his reputation as a Trump-style Republican. That’s the only way to view his deeply irresponsible proposal for stripping New Jersey’s poorest communities of desperately needed education aid to fund property tax cuts for well-heeled suburbanites
The Issue School improvement policy for the past few decades has been characterized by mandated lists of activities—both well intended and research based—designed to stimulate a dramatic turnaround in student achievement. However, this prescriptive approach to policy, particularly federal policy, has not resulted in the systemic changes needed to get the right teachers and leaders into low-performing schools to support school improvement. In the long run, this policy approach did not engender the school-level changes necessary to create learning organizations that support teachers and leaders.
Beginning with the class of 2011, federal regulations required each state to calculate graduation rates using a method known as the Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate (ACGR). All states and the District of Columbia have reported ACGR rates.
Based on those state-reported data, the U.S. Department of Education indicates that the nation’s graduation rate reached an all-time high, 82 percent for the class of 2014. That’s an increase of 1 percentage point over the prior year. But black, Latino, and American Indian students continue to lag behind their white and Asian peers.
As federal, state, local, and philanthropic dollars pour into personalized learning, we need a common understanding of what it is (and isn’t) so that we can say something useful about where and how it is happening, and whether it has a positive impact on kids.
According to new data from the Education Department, black students — from kindergarten through high school — are 3.8 times more likely to be suspended than white students.
Now the really bad news.
This trend begins in preschool, where black children are already 3.6 times more likely to be suspended than white students.
In all, 6,743 children who were enrolled in public pre-K received one or more out-of-school suspensions in the 2013-14 school year.
Glass half-full: That number's down slightly and relatively small considering the 1.4 million kids who, according to the Education Department, attended public pre-K that year.
Glass half-empty: That's 6,743 kids too many, say several top child development experts.
"To be clear, preschool suspension just shouldn't be a thing for any kid," says Maryam Adamu, who until recently studied early childhood policy at the Center For American Progress.
To stop preschool suspensions, Adamu argues, it's important to understand why they happen. One reason: money. "You get what you pay for. When we're underfunding programs, we're sort of setting ourselves up to fail."
Training and pay for preschool teachers are often abysmal. In several states, including Ohio, Tennessee and Wisconsin, the average pre-K teacher earned below the 2015 federal poverty line for a family of four.