School Choice

Why High Stakes Testing Was Cancelled This Year (and Probably Will Be Next Year, Too) – Education Article

 There are at least two silver linings to the current Coronavirus catastrophe for education.   One – with nearly all public schools closed, March was the first month since 2002 without a school shooting.   Two – districts nationwide cancelled high stakes standardized tests in April and May.   Taken together, these are two victories that no one could have predicted before November.   Gun safety restrictions remain laughably lax in the US compared to the rest of the world.…

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Mike Turzai is Willing to Sacrifice Pennsylvania’s Students and Families to the Economy – Education Article

 Mike Turzai says he’s furious with Pedro Rivera.   Why is the highest ranking Republican in Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives so angry with the state Secretary of Education?   Rivera said the Commonwealth’s public schools, which have been closed since mid March due to the Coronavirus pandemic, would not reopen until it was safe to do so.   If that means schools don’t reopen on time in the Fall, so be it.   Specifically, on Wednesday, Rivera said:   “At…

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HBO’s “Bad Education” Aims at Public School Theft While Ignoring More Frequent Fraud at Charter Schools & Testing Companies – Education Article

 “Bad Education” is a frustrating movie to watch as a public school teacher.   It does a fine job telling the true story of a wealthy New York district where administrators stole millions of dollars for themselves.   But it ignores the far more frequent waste and malfeasance caused by school privatization, high stakes testing and runaway ed tech.   Maybe I’m being too sensitive, but there is no subject more political than public schools.   During the current Coronavirus…

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Gov. Wolf Proposes Saving $280 Million a Year in PA With Charter School Reform – Education Article

    Charter schools waste taxpayer money.   Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf proposes we stop wasting that money by holding charter schools as accountable as the state’s authentic public schools.   The Democratic governor made his most recent proposal yesterday as part of his 2020-21 budget address.   It’s a common sense proposal that only seems revolutionary because officials have been so blinded with school privatization fantasies.   Charter schools are funded with tax dollars but can be run by…

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Did Rosa Parks Really Support Charter Schools? – Education Article

  They say history is written by the victors.   But fortunes change, and sometimes you can even reclaim a figure from the past who the last round of winners had cast in an unlikely role.   Take Rosa Parks.   She is universally hailed as a hero of the civil rights movement because of her part in the Montgomery Bus Boycott.   Everyone knows the story. Parks, a black seamstress in Alabama, refused to give up her seat to…

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Who Will Protect My Right NOT to Pay for Your Child’s Religious Education? – Education Article

    When I was a kid back in middle school, I had a crush on this girl, let’s call her Patty.     She wasn’t the most popular or beautiful girl in class, but I kinda’ liked her.       Of course, she had no idea I was alive.     Or so I thought, until one day she walked straight up to my desk and started rubbing my hair.     I was shocked at first, but…

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Trump Administration’s “Junk Food Loophole” is Symptomatic of School Privatization – Education Article

  Who wants children to eat more junk food?     Apparently the Trump administration does.     This seemed to be the Department of Agriculture’s concern when it announced plans last week to further reduce regulations for healthy meals at the nation’s public schools.   The Department’s new scheme would change the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 to include what critics call a “junk food loophole” in meals offered at public schools – usually breakfasts and lunches.  …

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AstroTurf Alert: National Parents Union is Thinly Veiled Union Busting Backed by Billionaire Cash – Education Article

 How do you do something disgusting without hurting your image?     If you’re the Walton Family, you hide behind a mask.     That’s what their latest AstroTurf front group is – the so-called National Parents Union (NPU).     It’s a way to bust teachers unions, destroy public schools and profit off of students behind the guise of a friendly parents organization.     Oh, it’s all funded with oodles of cash from the Walton family and other…

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Economists Ate My School – Why Defining Teaching as a Transaction is Destroying Our Society – Education Article

    Teaching is one of the most misunderstood interactions in the world.     Some people see it as a mere transaction, a job: you do this, I’ll pay you that.     The input is your salary. The output is learning.    These are distinctly measurable phenomena. One is calculated in dollars and cents. The other in academic outcomes, usually standardized test scores. The higher the salary, the more valued the teacher. The higher the test scores, the…

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Sixteen Gadfly Articles That Made Betsy DeVos Itch in 2019
 – Education Article

  “Life can only be understood backwards,” wrote Søren Kierkegaard, “but it must be lived forwards.”  I remember reading the Danish philosopher’s “Fear and Trembling” in my philosophy of religion class back in college.   To be honest I was never a big fan of his work – I thought if the only way to truth was taking a leap of faith, how many madmen have already reached enlightenment?     But he had a point when he wrote about…

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Fugees Academy expands at time of growing hostility to newcomers – Education Article

The Hechinger Report is a national nonprofit newsroom that reports on one topic: education. Sign up for our weekly newsletters to get stories like this delivered directly to your inbox. Sharon George has taught English for 19 years. At Fugees, she uses phonics to help English language learners grasp the basics in order to catch up to their peers. Photo: Aaricka Washington/The Hechinger Report COLUMBUS, Ohio — Mariam was on a roll. A bubbly sixth grader in a bright pink…

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Charter Schools, Harrisburg & Mayor Peduto Created Pittsburgh Public Schools’ Budget Deficit – Education Article

 Where did all the money go?     Pittsburgh Public Schools will start 2020 with a $25.1 million budget deficit.     Superintendent Dr. Anthony Hamlet has asked for a 2.3% tax increase to cover the shortfall, but school directors ended up approving his spending plan without approving the tax increase.     The school board will meet on Friday to decide whether to ultimately raise taxes or make cuts including possible staff furloughs.     But in the meantime,…

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Why is Accountability Too Much to Ask of Charter Schools? – Education Article

NOTE: Not an exact quote but Allen wrote a book “Charting a New Course The Case for Freedom, Flexibility & Opportunity Through Charter Schools” that proposes just this idea.  If you hire someone to buy your groceries, you’ll probably ask for a receipt.   That’s really all education advocates want from the charter school industry.   Charter schools are bankrolled with tax dollars but often run by private businesses.   Is it too much to ask these businesses to account…

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Top 10 Lessons From the 2020 Public Education Forum – Education Article

The school bell chimed and the class shuffled home.   But the students weren’t little children.   They were Democratic Presidential candidates!   And boy-oh-boy did they get sent packing with a ton of homework!   Teachers, students, parents and community members from all over the country sat them down with instructions on how to improve the public education system.   Kudos to the candidates for agreeing to listen.   It was billed as the MSNBC “Public Education Forum 2020:…

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Public School Teacher Questions for 2020 Dem Presidential Candidates – Education Article

      What happens when you give a microphone to a public school teacher?     That’s not a rhetorical question. I really want to know, because we so rarely let educators speak in any context other than the classroom.     Maybe that’s why it’s so refreshing that MSNBC is hosting “Public Education Forum 2020: Equity and Justice for All”on Saturday, Dec. 14, in my hometown of Pittsburgh.     Public policy is usually made by billionaires who…

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Charter Schools Exploit Children of Color – Education Article

    Go to most impoverished black neighborhoods and you’re bound to find three things in abundance.     Liquor stores, payday lenders and charter schools.     It is no accident.     In the inner city, the underemployed compete for a shortage of minimum wage jobs, healthcare is minimal, public transportation inadequate and the schools are underfunded and short staffed.     But that doesn’t mean money isn’t being made.     In capitalist America, we make sure…

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