Corporate Education "Reform"

GUEST POST: How Charter Schools Trick Parents into Thinking They are Private Schools – Education Article

Because, it’s FREE.     So, what if I offered you the chance to send your child to private school, for free? You’d likely jump at the chance, right? After all, our perception is that private schools are exclusive. Private schools are much better than public schools, right?     You must pay for private schools, which puts them out of reach for many families. So, the chance to attend one for free? Sure!     But much like you…

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Pittsburgh Mayor’s Tantrum About School Finances Proves He Doesn’t Understand Education or Equity – Education Article

  Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto is steaming mad and he doesn’t care who knows it.   On Tuesday he raved that Pittsburgh Public Schools’ finances should be taken over by the state – the same fate the city had suffered during its own economic troubles from 2004-18.   The reason Peduto thinks the school should submit to a financial recovery plan overseen by a state appointed board? School Superintendent Dr. Anthony Hamlet is proposing a 2.3% tax increase in 2020…

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Vulture Voucher Bill Latest in Mike Turzai’s Quest to Please Betsy DeVos in PA – Education Article

 The best way to help a struggling public school is to cannibalize it.     At least that’s what Betsy DeVos thinks – and so does her Pennsylvania puppet Mike Turzai.     The Republican Speaker of the state House is expected to propose a school voucher bill Monday that will treat Harrisburg Schools as nothing more than carrion fit for plunder by school privatization vultures.     Sure the district is in state receivership after decades of neglect and…

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The Stink of Segregation Needs to End in Steel Valley Schools – Education Article

 I am a teacher at Steel Valley Schools.   I am also an education blogger.   In order to belong to both worlds, I’ve had to abide by one ironclad rule that I’m about to break:   Never write about my home district.   Oh, I write about issues affecting my district. I write about charter schools, standardized testing, child poverty, etc. But I rarely mention how these things directly impact my school, my classroom, or my students.   I…

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Are Teachers Allowed to Think for Themselves? – Education Article

 As a public school teacher, I am often told what to do and how to do it.   Go teach this class.   Report to lunch duty at this time.   Monitor this student’s progress in this way, that student’s progress in another way, differentiate the following, document this medical condition, write up this behavior, check for that kind of hall pass, post and teach these academic standards, etc., etc., etc.   Some of these directives I agree with and…

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NAEP Test Scores Show How Stupid We Are… To Pay Attention to NAEP Test Scores – Education Article

 Brace yourselves!   America’s NAEP test scores in 2019 stayed pretty much the same as they were in 2018!   And the media typically set its collective hair on fire trying to interpret the data.   Sometimes called the Nations Report Card, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test is given to a random sampling of elementary, middle and high school students in member countries to compare the education systems of nations.   And this year there was one…

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Charter Schools Cherry Pick Students & Call it Choice – PART 2: The “EVERYONE’S DOING IT!” Excuse – Education Article

  “Got school choice?” asks a charter school supporter.   But who exactly is she addressing – families or charter school operators?   Because it is the later group who is offered choice by school privatization – not parents, families or students.  Billionaire investors and charter school managers answer, “Heck yeah – we’ve got school choice! We get to choose to take your tax dollars but not your child!”   As we’ve seen in Part 1 of this article, charter…

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Eight Things I Love About Elizabeth Warren’s Education Plan – And One I Don’t – Education Article

 My daughter had bad news for me yesterday at dinner.   She turned to me with all the seriousness her 10-year-old self could muster and said, “Daddy, I know you love Bernie but I’m voting for Elizabeth.”  “Elizabeth Warren?” I said choking back a laugh.   Her pronouncement had come out of nowhere. We had just been discussing how disgusting the pierogies were in the cafeteria for lunch.  And she nodded with the kind of earnestness you can only have…

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Charter Schools Cherry Pick Students & Call it Choice – PART 1: The “I Didn’t Do It!” Excuse – Education Article

  It takes a certain kind of hypocrite to be a charter school champion.   You have to deny any wrongdoing one minute. And then admit you’re guilty but explain it away with the excuse “Everyone’s doing it!” the next.  Take cherry picking – one of the most common admonishments leveled against the school privatization industry.  Detractors claim that charter schools keep enrollment low and then out of those who apply, they pick and choose which students to accept.  Charters…

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Racial Disparity in Student Discipline Isn’t All About Race – Education Article

In 2016, the poorest 50% of American adults had an average net worth (home and financial assets minus debt) of just $7,500. To make matters worse, only a year previously it was $9,000. The difference all went to the top 1% who gained an average of $1.5 million during that same year.   These facts have real world consequences for every level of society – especially how our children behave in school.   CONSEQUENCES   It seems clear then that…

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Greater Test Scores Often Mean Less Authentic Learning – Education Article

 The main goal of schooling is no longer learning.   It is test scores.   Raising them. Measuring growth. Determining what each score means in terms of future instruction, opportunities, class placement, special education services, funding incentives and punishments, and judging the effectiveness of individual teachers, administrators, buildings and districts.   We’ve become so obsessed with these scores – a set of discrete numbers – that we’ve lost sight of what they always were supposed to be about in the…

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Teachers Are More Stressed Out Than You Probably Think – Education Article

 When I was just a new teacher, I remember my doctor asking me if I had a high stress job.   I said that I taught middle school, as if that answered his question. But he took it to mean that I had it easy. After all – as he put it – I just played with children all day.   Now after 16 years in the classroom and a series of chronic medical conditions including heart disease, Crohn’s Disease…

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Six Problems with a Growth Mindset in Education – Education Article

  Sometimes the truth is not enough.   Especially if you misunderstand its meaning.   That seems to be the main problem with a growth mindset.   It’s one of the trendiest concepts in education today, and – though it’s based on an authentic insight into how kids learn – it’s been shackled and monetized into an excuse to support a sterile status quo.   The basic idea goes like this: academic ability isn’t something students have or do not…

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Who’s Trading Public School Funding for a Tax Credit? – Education Article

  Ever wonder why our roads and public school buildings are crumbling?   Ever wonder why schools can’t afford books, buses and nurses?   Ever wonder why classroom teachers are forced to buy paper, pencils and supplies for their students out of pocket?   Because businesses like Giant Eagle, American Eagle Outfitters, and Eat’n Park aren’t paying their fair share.   It’s a simple concept – you belong to a society, you should help pay for the roads, bridges, schools,…

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Gov. Wolf Tries to Stop Charter Schools Gorging on Public School Funding – Education Article

  Sooey! Here Pig Pig Pig!   No one minds that healthy call at the hog farm when it’s time to feed the sows.   But taxpayers do take issue with it when it’s the call of the state legislature gathering a different kind of swine around public tax dollars.   Pennsylvania’s 180 charter schools gobbled up $1.8 billion last year from the Commonwealth’s public schools.   And Gov. Tom Wolf is refusing to let them continue to gorge on…

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Blaming Schools for Student Absences is Like Denouncing Doctors for Disease – Education Article

 If something is wrong with children, it must be the school’s fault.   Right?   If kids can’t read, write and do ‘rithmetic, the teachers must not have taught ’em right.   It couldn’t have anything to do with home life, generational poverty, economic inequality and systemic racism.   Except that it almost always does.   Inextricably.  The fact is children who don’t live in safe, loving homes have much greater difficulty concentrating and caring about academics. Kids with impoverished…

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