• America’s Woeful Public Schools: Achievement Gaps Have Economic Consequences
    What does the future look like for the 1.2 million sixth-graders who are likely functionally illiterate and will likely drop out in the next six years? Just consider the present of today’s dropouts. With half of them either not seeking work or unable to find jobs, these young men and women will struggle with economic poverty and be unable to experience the kind of social mobility that Americans have come to expect. And for those of us who are well-educated, earning an income and able to pay taxes, the costs are immense — from paying $594 billion into a traditional public education system that is fostering achievement gaps, to the welfare statements needed to help these young people.
  • Charters Lagging on NAEP? NOPE!
    There has been a fair amount written about the recently released NAEP results for 4th and 8th graders in math and reading, and most of the discussion has focused on the minimal overall gains from 2009 to 2011. But a closer look at charter schools compared with traditional public schools demonstrates that students in charter schools made some very large gains (see table below).
  • When Is $28,000 per Pupil Not Enough?
    he last time I calculated total spending on K-12 education in DC, from the official budget documents, it came out to over $28,000 per pupil (the linked post points to a spreadsheet with all the numbers). How do you manage to spend $28,000 per pupil and not manage to keep your computer hardware up to date? Or, for that matter, manage to have among the worst academic performance in the country? Maybe, just maybe, it has something to do with not being capable, or perhaps even inclined, to spend the money on what works.
  • Gov. Bill Haslam supports new evaluation process of Tennessee teachers
    Gov. Bill Haslam on Monday defended the state’s new teacher evaluation process against critics who argue that negative consequences for educators who perform poorly should be delayed while kinks in the program are worked out. I think it’s really important that we not give up on this process too quick,” Haslam told reporters. “And if it’s the right thing to do for next year, I’m not sure why it’s not the right thing to do for this year.”
  • Forty percent of children in D.C. public schools now in charters
    Charter school enrollment in the District, which made up a scant 5 percent of the total public school population in 1998, has broken the 40 percent mark, according to preliminary figures released Monday. If the trends hold, it means that the “market share” for traditional public schools will for the first time be less than 60 percent. The data also affirm the continued robust growth of the charter sector, which served fewer than 3,600 students in the 1998-99 academic year. There are now 53 charter schools on 98 campuses.
  • Nevada Gov. Develops School Choice Legislation
    As four school reform bills Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) successfully championed earlier in 2011 go into effect, Sandoval is redoubling efforts to expand school choice and end social promotion for third-graders who lack basic reading skills. Nevada’s House and Senate are currently controlled by Democrats. During this last session, they refused to grant a hearing to a voucher bill Sandoval backed. Nevada lawmakers convene every other year, so the governor’s next crack at improving K-12 education will come in 2013. “We’ll go forward with a parental choice legislative package regardless of the makeup [of the legislature],” said senior Sandoval adviser Dale Erquiaga. Erquiaga said the governor is looking at a variety of voucher and tax credit programs in other states for inspiration to help craft a stronger plan for 2013.
  • Hawkins BOE opposes state funding for private schools
    ROGERSVILLE — The Hawkins County Board of Education approved a resolution Thursday expressing opposition to proposed state legislation that would divert money intended for public education to private schools.
  • Haslam Defends Teacher Evaluation System
    “Remember how we got here. This was part of the Race to the Top application,” Haslam said. “Everybody agreed evaluations were really at the heart of that. The evaluation process was a work in progress for a year before this. “It spanned administrations.” He said it’s still early.
  • The International Experience : What U.S. schools can and cannot learn from other countries
    When undertaking an international analysis of school choice, he argued, one should not compare the effectiveness of the public and private sectors but should instead look at the extent to which competition between the two sectors affects the achievement of all the students in the country, regardless of whether they go to public or private school. In countries such as high-achieving Netherlands, a large percentage of students attend private schools, with government paying the tuition. In countries such as low-performing Spain, only a few students attend private school. Other countries fall in between these two extremes. Using a sophisticated statistical technique, West showed that all students in a country learned more when the private sector was larger. Specifically, the study by West and his colleague found that an increase in the share of private school enrollment of 10 percentage points was associated with better than a quarter of a year’s worth of learning in math, though somewhat less in reading. Moreover, this increase in performance takes place within school systems that spend 6 percent less overall.
  • Media Misses Mark on Indiana Voucher Coverage
    Putting aside the fact that their only interview is with a member of the education establishment (and there is no response from any reform-affiliated entity), they fail to point out the flaw in the argument made by Ed Eiler, the Lafayette School Corp. Superintendent. Eiler decries the voucher program because it caused students to leave the district, thereby leaving the district with less money. But while there’s correlation (i.e. the voucher program was instituted and students did leave Lafayette’s district), there’s only partial causation: while certainly some kids did leave their struggling schools for greener pastures, some left as a result of the continued slow process of improvement among their public schools. The Indianapolis Star smartly grasps both points:  It’s true that vouchers enabled more than 350 students this year to leave behind Indianapolis Public Schools. But IPS typically loses about 1,000 students a year, most of whom flee to suburban township districts. IPS administrators like to blame the district’s problems on charters and now private schools that accept vouchers. The reality, however, is that many families see the need to grasp any option they can — traditional public schools, charters or vouchers — to avoid sending their children to IPS.
  • How the Harkin-Enzi Plan for Gutting No Child Can Weaken Parent Power
    Yesterday’s Dropout Nation report on the lack of Parent Power voices at today’s hearing on the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind led a few readers to note one of the biggest problems with the Harkin-Enzi plan’s move to gut the law’s Adequate Yearly Progress provisions: It could effectively abolish Parent Trigger laws already passed in California, Connecticut and Texas. How is that?
  • Nashville magnet schools ramp up efforts for racial balance
    The magnet application season launched Monday night at I.T. Creswell Arts Magnet in the district’s first kickoff event. The deadline to apply for the three academic magnets, and 28 others with no grade or test requirements, is Dec. 2.
  • “Would you send your child to a school where failure and mayhem are the rule?”ANOTHER VIEW Those trapped in failing schools need help.
    But for all their bluster, voucher opponents can’t seem to deal with two basic questions that voucher supporters are attempting to address: Would you send your child to a school where failure and mayhem are the rule? And what is your plan to immediately help a third-grade student trapped in such a violent, failing school, whose future is slipping away day by day?
  • Biggs and Richwine: Public School Teachers Aren’t Underpaid
    A common story line in American education policy is that public school teachers are underpaid—”desperately underpaid,” according to Education Secretary Arne Duncan in a recent speech. How could that be? First, consider salaries. Public school teachers do receive salaries 19.3% lower than similarly-educated private workers, according to our analysis of Census Bureau data. However, a majority of public school teachers were education majors in college, and more than two in three received their highest degree (typically a master’s) in an education-related field. A salary comparison that controls only for years spent in school makes no distinction between degrees in education and those in biology, mathematics, history or other demanding fields. Education is widely regarded by researchers and college students alike as one of the easiest fields of study, and one that features substantially higher average grades than most other college majors. On objective tests of cognitive ability such as the SAT, ACT, GRE (Graduate Record Examination) and Armed Forces Qualification Test, teachers score only around the 40th percentile of college graduates. If we compare teachers and non-teachers with similar AFQT scores, the teacher salary penalty disappears. While salaries are about even, fringe benefits push teacher compensation well ahead of comparable employees in the private economy. Data on employee benefits from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), for example, do not include retiree health coverage, which for teachers is worth about an additional 10% of their salaries. In reality, a teacher who retired after 30 years of service with an annual salary of $40,000 might receive guaranteed annual pension benefits of about $20,330. Under a typical private 401(k) plan, a guaranteed annual benefit might be only around $4,450 (assuming the money is invested in U.S. Treasurys and the employee buys an annuity).Properly counted, a typical public school teacher with a salary of $51,000 would receive another $51,480 in present or future fringe benefits. A worker in private business with the same salary would receive around $22,185 in fringe benefits. Job security protects against the loss of compensation suffered by the unemployed, and it also protects a position in which total wages and benefits are on average above market levels. In short, combining salaries, fringe benefits and job security, we have calculated that public school teachers receive around 52% more in average compensation than they could earn in the private sector.
  • Obama will mandate Head Start competition
    Low-performing Head Start programs for preschool children will be required to compete for federal funds under a rule President Obama plans to announce outside Philadelphia today. Under the new plan, Health and Human Services will review the performance of all Head Start grantees, using benchmarks to determine whether recipients are eligible for funding. Those include classroom management, family involvement, health, safety and nutrition standards, financial management and previous license suspensions. The administration estimates that one-third of Head Start grantees will be required to compete for funds under the new plan; some will be notified as early as next month.

Pin It on Pinterest