Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Derek recently wrote about the financial hits that St. Louis area schools are taking under Missouri’s new transfer law. Under the Missouri scheme, unaccredited school districts have to pay tuition and transportation costs for the 2,600 transferring students who have used the law so far. Recently, however, Missouri lawmakers are realizing that the law has an unanticipated cost—families are taking advantage of the student transfer option to establish residency in unaccredited districts then immediately transferring their children to accredited schools. These “bouncing” transfers can get students into higher-rated suburban schools that would be otherwise unavailable because of residency requirements. Nothing in the Missouri statute stops such “bouncing” transfers or caps the number of transfers that families can have in a school semester. Nor do students have to enroll or attend an unaccredited shool -- they just have to establish residence in that district. State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal told the St. Louis Beacon yesterday that the law allows families “to just move into an unaccredited district, then turn around right away and transfer elsewhere, [which] amounts to “educational larceny.” Lawmakers are finding it difficult to count how many families are using the loophole because of transience rate in city schools is already high. Sen. Chappelle-Nadal estimates that the unaccredited Normandy High School could run out of money by next March. Read more here.
Thursday, October 10, 2013
Monday, October 7, 2013
Educators may be interested in four new films about the Civil Rights movement, called Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle, showing throughout the country this fall. The films track the civil rights movement, of which segregation in education was a key part, from the 1830s to the 1960s. The films are The Abolitionist, Slavery by Another Name, Freedom Riders, and The Loving Story and were supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)’s Bridging Cultures Initiative. Learn more about the films here.
Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed wants to double the salary of the Atlanta Public Schools’ superintendent to $600,000, and is asking businesses to kick in private money to do it. Reed says that the extra compensation will help “recruit a superintendent like we would recruit the head of football at the University of Georgia." The APS superintendent’s position has been a troubled one since former superintendent Beverly Hall was indicted in a test cheating scandal. Hall’s replacement, Erroll Davis, Jr., retired this year. Whoever takes on the superintendent mantle faces real challenges: including a 51% high school graduation rate and a slight ding on APS’ credit rating after the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that charter schools were exempt from contributing to the school system’s pension debt.
Friday, September 13, 2013
Friday, August 30, 2013
The San Francisco Chronicle is running an in-depth four part series on African American males in Oakland Unified School District. The articles chronicle real day life for the students both inside and outside school. It also include statistical data and analytical commentary. As the chart above reveals, there were more than twice as many African American men and boys killed in 2002 as there were college ready African American males. This college versus death comparison, while grim, pales in comparison to the incarcerated versus college ready data in Oakland.
To the school district's credit, it recognized the crisis and created a special department to address it, the African American Male Achievement Office, which has special classes and programs. Although the trend in improvement started before the formal creation of this office, the number of college ready African American males has tripled in comparison to the 2002 numbers and quadrupled in comparison to 2003. Sadly, the deaths among this group have stayed relatively steady, but those numbers are beyond the full control of schools. In other words, violence and death continue to surround these young men at an alarming rate, but the school district is doing a better of helping some defy the odds.
The full series is available here.
Friday, August 16, 2013
via the ACLU of Montana:
The ACLU of Montana is suing the Wolf Point School District on behalf of seven Native American voters who are being denied the equal right to representation on the high school board because of discriminatory voting districts. As the voting districts stand now, each resident of majority white District 3 has far more say on the school board than each resident of majority Native American District 45 in clear violation of the Voting Rights Act and the Fourteenth Amendment.
Wolf Point High School District 45A unites School Districts 3 and 45. With only a 2010 Census population of 430 people, District 3, with a majority white population, elects three members to the Wolf Point High School Board - one board member for every 143 residents. District 45, which is majority Native American, had a 2010 Census population of 4,205 and elects five members - 1 board member for every 841 residents. "This clearly violates the principle of one person, one vote, and creates a school board where white members of the district are overrepresented and Native Americans are underrepresented," said ACLU of Montana Legal Director Jon Ellingson. "The school district has an obligation under both state and federal law to redraw voting districts every 10 years based upon accurate population numbers. It's long past time for the district to do that."
Read the complaint here.
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Among Julius Chambers’ notable cases include his advocacy at the U.S. Supreme Court:
Swann v. Charlotte–Mecklenburg Bd. of Ed., 402 U.S. 1 (1971) (holding that where dual school system had been maintained by school district, federal district court had broad powers to order remedies such as busing).
City of Riverside v. Rivera, 477 U.S. 561 (1986) (holding that there was no requirement under Civil Rights Attorney's Fees Awards Act that attorneys' fees be proportionate to civil rights plaintiffs' damages).
Thornburg v. Gingles, 478 U.S. 30 (1986) (holding that the legacy of official discrimination, along with multimember districting scheme, impaired minority groups to elect candidates of their choice).
Patterson v. McLean Credit Union, 491 U.S. 164 (1989) (holding that employee bypassed for promotion in racial discrimination suit under 42 U.S.C. 1981 does not have to show that promoted coworkers had lesser qualifications).
Missouri v. Jenkins, 491 U.S. 274 (1989) (Eleventh Amendment did not prohibit enhancement of fee award under Civil Rights Attorney's Fees Awards Act to compensate for delay in payment; separate compensation award for legal assistants in accord with Act).
Board of Educ. of Oklahoma City v. Dowell, 498 U.S. 237 (1991) (holding that federal court may permanently dissolve an injunction when a school system has shown that it is "being operated in compliance with the Equal Protection Clause, and that it was unlikely that the Board would return to its former ways.").
Houston Lawyers' Ass'n v. Texas Attorney Gen., 501 U.S. 419 (1991) (holding that prohibition of § 2 of the Voting Rights Act against vote dilution applies to the election of trial judges).
Shaw v. Hunt, 517 U.S. 899 (1996) (holding that only voters who resided in a congressional district alleged to have been created by racial gerrymandering had standing to challenge the constitutionality of that district's creation and districting plan was not narrowly tailored to serve compelling state interest, thus violating the equal protection clause).
Currently embattled Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell held his second education reform summit yesterday and you can watch some of the speakers on UStream here. The summit is a bellwether for Virginia's education reform laws and featured influential speakers such as Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Baltimore Superintendent S. Dallas Dance. (No Jane Pauley or Pitbull, though, who were at July's National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.) Looking over the Virginia summit's speakers list, it appears that few current public school teachers or administrators were invited to speak (and in fairness, perhaps no one wants to put public employees at risk losing their jobs by advocating educational reform). Gov. McDonnell credited last year's summit for inspiring several of the state's education laws this year, including the Educator Fairness Act (making student testing a part of teacher evaluations and extending the probationary window for public school teachers from 3 to 5 years) and the Strategic Compensation Grant Initiative (grants for performance and for teaching in high-need areas). In July, Gov. McDonnell signed the Teach for America Act (creating a two-year provisional license for participants in Teach For America); the Opportunity Educational Institution Act (school takeover); and A-F School Grading. Read more at the Washington Post.
Sunday, August 4, 2013
Strategic Plan (2012-2018):
As to reading, the plan sets the expectation that 90% of Asian-American children and 88% of white children will read at grade level by 2018, alongside the expectation that only 81 % of Hispanic children and 74% of African-American children will do so. As to math, the plan sets the expectation that 92% of Asian-American children and 86% of white children will reach grade level by 2018; in contrast, Florida expects only 80% of Hispanic children and 74% of African-American children to do so. Rather than promote equal educational achievement for all, Florida set alarmingly different goals for children of different racial and ethnic backgrounds. Florida's scheme sets severely lower expectations for African-American and Hispanic students, instead of marshaling its resources to ensure educational equality.
Complaint at 4. The complaint argues that "Florida's plan will fail an entire generation of students of color, limiting their educational aspirations by their race or national origin." SPLC's complaint, filed jointly with the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, is available here.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
While Eric Cantor may have backed away from unadulterated school choice, Rand Paul is ramping up his calls. Tuesday he hosted four fellow Republican senators — Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Mike Lee (Utah), Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and Tim Scott (S.C.) — at a school choice forum to highlight his proposal to expand school choice in the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind. This was part of a string of other similar forums he has held recently.
“I’m talking about opening up all of the lines, so that kids can go to public, to private, wherever,” said Paul. “Some of these schools are absolutely pitiful, absolutely. What I’m really proposing is helping these kids get out from the grind. . . . The people being hurt aren’t the rich white kids in the suburbs. It’s poor black and brown kids in the inner city.”
When asked about findings that voucher programs have not resulted in gains for poor kids but have cost the government enormous sums of money, Paul objected that this was the wrong question, arguing “It’s our money. We’re getting back some of the money taken from us. I think when you have choice, people choose the better product. I think it’s presumptuous of anyone to question parental authority.” He similarly rejected less than exemplary findings by Stanford's Center for Research on Education Outcomes about charter schools as "lies and lies. . . People can manipulate statistics all they want. Have you seen the movie ‘Waiting for Superman’?”
As noted in my earlier post on Cantor, the Republican Party seems to have backed away from Paul's position. Presumably, enough Republicans believe in statistics and question the ramifications of giving the education budget to individuals with no strings attached that the party is unwilling to support Paul. The interesting aspect of Paul's continued focus on this issue, however, is that his purpose may be to court minority voters rather than to change NCLB. Recall his recent visit to Howard University. Somehow, I doubt that minorities would vote for Paul simply because he supports choice. Also, when one digs a little deeper, it is not clear that he supports minorities communities. Rather, he supports privatization and libertarian principles, which minorities can see through if they are not being seriously respected. After all, implicit in Paul's current statements is the notion that he has no interest in improving minority schools or segregation. He just wants choice.
While libertarian interests can intersect with minority community interests, James Foreman's article, The Rise and Fall of School Vouchers: A Story of Religion, Race, and Politicals, 54 UCLA L. Rev. 547 (2007), analyzed how a coalition of this sort fell appart in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Monday, July 29, 2013
Alabama Accountability Act May Have Little Beneficial Impact for Students in "Failing" Schools
Having branded 70 of its public schools as failing, Alabama is finding that there are even fewer opportunities for students in those schools to transfer to a better school. We already noted on this blog that students in 25 of the 70 schools on the state's failing school list may not be able to transfer because of federal desegregation orders. With the school year around the corner, only 7 of Alabama's private schools have agreed to take students from failing schools. Thus, most students in failing schools have nowhere to go. No private schools in Alabama's largest two cities, Birmingham and Mobile, have yet said that they will accept transfers. The Accountability Act was sold as helping students in troubled school districts. It seems that for now, the Act will mostly benefit families who can already afford private school tuition.
Former Indiana School Chief Raised Grade for Charter School Founded by Influential Donor
The Associated Press reports former Indiana education superintendent Dr. Tony Bennett ordered the rating for a charter school run by an influential donor to be raised from a "C" to an "A." Last September, Christel House Academy was going to receive a "C" for alegbra under Bennett's grading system. Indiana's Christel House Academy was founded by Christel DeHaan, who has given nearly $3 million to political candidates. Christel House was going to receive the "C" for alegbra under under the state's A-F grading system, which Bennett instituted. According to emails obtained by AP, Bennett wrote his then-chief of staff saying that “anything less than an A for Christel House compromises all of our accountability work." Bennett, who is now Florida's education commissioner, told AP, “This wasn’t just to give Christel House an A. It was to make sure the system was right to make sure the system was face valid.” Read more here. According to Professor Julian Vasquez Heilig (UT Austin) blogging at Cloaking Inequity, education accountability formulas at the Houston Independent School District were regularly changed in the '90s to have politically desirable outcomes.
North Carolina eliminates college IDs as acceptable form of identification for voters; ends preregistration for teens
North Carolina's General Assembly has been in the news this summer for a number of things, including cutting the state education budget, as Derek posted last week, placing abortion measures into a motorcycle safety law and repealing the Racial Justice Act. Last Thursday, in the legislative session's final hours, the General Assembly passed a voting law to exclude college ID cards as a form of acceptable photo identification to vote. The law also shortens early voting by a week, prohibits counties from extending voting hours for extraordinary circumstances, and eliminates straight-ticket voting, same-day voter registration, and pre-registration initiatives for high school students turning 18 by Election Day. The president of the North Carolina chapter of the NACCP, the Rev. William J. Barber II, says the voting law is "the most comprehensive attack on the right to vote that this state has enacted since the institution of Jim Crow laws." North Carolina was one of nine states that had to submit voting changes to the Justice Department for pre-approval under the 1965 Voting Rights Act (VRA). That requirement is now gone after the Supreme Court's decision in Shelby County v. Holder in June holding Section 4 of the VRA (containing the formula for identifying jurisdictions subject to preclearance) unconstitutional. Despite a frank admission by NC Governor Pat McCrory that he has not had time to read the bill, there is little doubt that he will sign it. There are several ways to look at North Carolina's new voting laws. One view is that the law is justified is to prevent voter fraud, as NC lieutenant governor Dan Forest told the Charlotte Observer in April. Another view is that North Carolina's legislative session, newly-freed from DOJ oversight, is the beginning of a nationwide effort by Republican-majority legislatures to disenfranchise segments of the voting population, particularly those that were part of President Obama's support in 2012. Others characterize this as a cynical move of one party to rid the state of undesirable (failing to vote for the right party) voters, particularly as the state's demographics are changing. We welcome comments from our North Carolina readers about the need and predicted effects of this law.
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Dennis Haggerty, a special-needs education advocate and a catalyst in the enactment of Pennsylvania's Right to Education law, died last week at 85. Haggerty was a lawyer and a parent of a special needs child in the 1960s. One of his sons was developmentally disabled and, because Pennsylvania state law then barred children who had "not attained a mental age of five years" from enrolling in the first grade, Haggerty briefly enrolled his 8-year-old son at the now-infamous Pennhurst State School and Hospital.
While his son was at the institution, Haggerty discovered Pennhurst's overcrowded and filthy conditions, that students were being abused, and the institution was more of a warehouse than a school. To convince the Pennsylvania Association of Retarded Citizens (PARC, now called Arc of Pennsylvania) to file a class action suit on behalf of Pennhurst's residents, Haggerty impersonated a doctor and clandestinely photographed the conditions. Haggerty later said that he was most affected by talking with a mother who was told that her son had died in a shower accident a year earlier. Haggerty had once seen cuts on his own son and had been given the same shower accident explanation. A skeptical Haggerty convinced authorities to conduct an autopsy of the woman's son. The autopsy revealed that the son actually died in an unreported fire at Pennhurst. Armed with his pictures and stories, Haggerty galvanized PARC to sue the state and to expose the conditions at the school. NBC's 1968 documentary of Pennhurst, Suffer the Little Children, boosted that effort.The class action lawsuit, PARC v. Pennsylvania, 334 F. Supp. 1257 (E.D. Pa. 1971) ended in a consent decree requiring the state to provide free public education to developmentally disabled children. Using Brown v. Bd. of Education as a template, PARC v. Pennsylvania sparked a deinstitutionalization case that eventually reached the U.S. Supreme Court in Pennhurst State Sch. and Hosp. v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89 (1984). The consent decree in PARC v. Pennsylvania left another legacy: the consent decree's language became the model for what is now the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Haggerty later served as a consultant for the President’s Committee on Mental Retardation beginning with President Lyndon B. Johnson to President William Clinton. Haggerty donated his papers to Temple University's Institute on Disabilities' Visionary Voices archives, saying, “When you don’t like a system it is possible to change it, and I would like my papers available to those who have an interest in changing the system.” Read more here.
For the past couple of months, Reverand William Barber, president of the NC NAACP, has helped organize and lead a diverse group of people to protest what they call a legislative war on poor people. They peacefully march to the state house with sign and songs of protest, until they are eventually arrested. When the so called war on poor people moved to education, the protesters decided they spend the night at the state house. When 70 of them (with sleeping bags and toothbrushes) refused to leave at closing time, they were again arrested.
These tensions come out of a shift in political power in the state. Starting during the fall elections of 2010, North Carolina went through a transition from complete democratic control to complete republican control. Republicans initially took the state house in 2010 and in 2012 they took the governor's mansion as well. Since then, agressive legislation aimed at scaling back everything from social services to tax credits that benefit low income individuals have been proposed and sometimes passed. While North Carolina has traditional been moderate in most respects and progressive in education, the new majorities see their mission as rolling back the status quo.
Now that the legislative agenda now includes cuts to public education, the state superintendant of education released this statement:
For the first time in my career of more than 30 years in public education, I am truly worried about students in our care. With this budget, North Carolina has moved away from its commitment to quality public schools. I am disappointed for the children in our state who will have fewer educators and resources in their schools as a result of the General Assembly’s budget.
A bright spot in this budget is the end of the discretionary reduction. By ending this budgeting strategy, North Carolina is being more transparent and even-handed in our budget processes and providing relief for districts that have struggled to locate funds to return to the state coffers.
While the end of the discretionary reduction represents a move in the right direction, I am troubled by the lack of progress on teacher pay. Having an excellent teacher for every classroom is essential. North Carolina teacher pay is dismal compared to the nation and to all of our bordering states. Starting teachers can earn $10,000 more per year in some of our neighbor states, while a teacher with six years of experience will make the same as a first-year teacher here in North Carolina. Why should these teachers stay in our state? Add to that the end of pay increases for master’s degrees beginning in 2014-15, and there is even less incentive to work in North Carolina’s public school classrooms. We must quit talking about the goal of bringing our teacher pay to the best in the nation and start putting action behind those words.
There are many other details that are troubling. I am concerned that this budget will cost schools thousands of teacher and teacher assistant positions. Our already-large class sizes will continue to grow.
This budget fails to provide resources for textbooks, instructional supplies and technology that our schools desperately need to remain up-to-date, especially as our student population grows.
North Carolinians want strong public schools. Polls show it. My interactions with parents and students show it. Our own state leaders claim it. But this budget doesn’t deliver it. Teachers are working as hard as they can. Materials and supplies are wearing thin. Classrooms are crowded, and there are fewer adults in each school today than there were five years ago but there are more students than ever across our state. The rest of the nation is not sitting still, and neither are our competitors across the globe. Our children deserve more support. Their futures depend on it.
I admit to not following the details of the legislation closely, but I have followed North Carolina's school finance litigation closely for years. If things are as bad as the superintendant and protestors make it seem, I wonder how the state can possibly defend its actions once they are eventually raised in court. The state has an ongoing obligation to deliver a sound basic education to all students, including a duty to remedy past findings that the state was failing to deliver such an education. Then again, maybe this new legislature is less impressed by courts and constitutions than others.
For more on the protest story, see here.
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Two weeks ago, I posted on the Stanford Center for Research on Education Outcome's (CREDO) new charter school study, which indicated that, on the whole, charter schools have shown improvement since 2009. The prior 2009 CREDO study, in contrast, had reached less than flattering findings regarding charters and had been a key source of evidence for charter opponents. I point this out because it meant that the new, marginally positive results were not coming from a charter school "cheer leader." On that basis, I gave the new findings special attention and the benefit of the doubt.
Those far more expert than myself in statistical methods, however, have dug into the report and begun to raise serious questions. In fact, the report is now drawing criticisms from all sides. Some charter school advocates will still charge that the report does not give charters enough credit and understates the gains they are making. In other word, the report may be positive news for charters, but not positive enough. Others charter advocates take a slightly different route and wildly exaggerate the study's findings. The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools posted this news blurb:
Stanford University Study Finds Public Charters Better Serve Disadvantaged Student Populations
A study released by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University found that public charter school students in 27 states are outperforming their traditional public school peers in reading while making significant gains in math.
Sorry, but the study does not exactly say that. It says charter schools in these states have shown more gain than traditional public schools, but charters were starting from a lower point. They have not, however, surpassed traditional public schools in achievement. The new CREDO study finds that, on the the whole, only 25% of charters outperform public schools in reading and only 29% outperform public schools in math.
One leading charter school proponent is neither overstating or applauding the report. Instead, it is calling the study into question in a way that undermines the entire study and deprives charters of any positive spin they might put on it. Jeanne Allen, director of the pro-charter Center for Education Reform, says that "[t]he way that CREDO has manipulated data and made conclusions about policy based on that data is absolutely 'uncredible.' " A news release on the Center's website adds:
The new CREDO report, an update of one previously issued in June 2009, is again extremely weak in its methodology and alarming in its conclusions. . . No matter how well-intentioned, the CREDO research is not charter school performance gospel . . . Similar to its failed 2009 effort, this CREDO study is based on stacking mounds of state education department data into an analytical process that is decidedly lacking in rigor.
This criticism from inside the charter school community is causing significant internal dissension, as reported by NPR.
The National Education Policy Center, a non-partisan academic research center at the University of Colorado, has also raised more pointed and serious questions that suggest the gains reported may not exist. In a release from yesterday, Andrew Maul & Abby McClelland offered this overall review:
The study finds a small positive effect of being in a charter school on reading scores and no impact on math scores; it presents these results as showing a relative improvement in average charter school quality since CREDO’s 2009 study. However, there are significant reasons for caution in interpreting the results. Some concerns are technical: the statistical technique used to compare charter students with “virtual twins” in traditional public schools remains insufficiently justified, and may not adequately control for “selection effects” (i.e., families selecting a charter school may be very different from those who do not). The estimation of “growth” (expressed in “days of learning”) is also insufficiently justified, and the regression models fail to correct for two important violations of statistical assumptions. However, even setting aside all concerns with the analytic methods, the study overall shows that less than one hundredth of one percent of the variation in test performance is explainable by charter school enrollment. With a very large sample size, nearly any effect will be statistically significant, but in practical terms these effects are so small as to be regarded, without hyperbole, as trivial.
More specifically, they point out that the study threw out 15% of charter school students from the study because it could not produce a "virtual twin" match in the regular public schools. These excluded students, however, had scores that were .43 standard deviations below other charter school students. In other words, many of the weakests charter school students were not even counted.
Second, (if I understand it correctly) the study's statistical model compared individual students in charter schools to individual students in public schools. Maul and McClelland seriously question this model, however, because it does not account for classroom variables. For instance, what if the charter school classroom had a higher average soci0-economic status than the public school classroom? If this were the case, any increased learning in the charter could easily be a result of the positive peer effects of the classroom demographics rather than the charter school's instructional method or structure.
Third, they point out that the CREDO study's "virtual twin" methodology does not account for error rate in students' standardized test scores. In other words, students with the same standardized test scores are not always similarly situated and, thus, statistical modeling is necessary to adjust for that. CREDO did not. Maul and McClelland's full review is available on the National Education Policy Center here.
Reports of this scale and importance will always generate criticism, but these criticisms seem to strike hard at the core of the report. If these criticisms are valid, one must wonder why CREDO made these leaps. Did it feel compelled to reach more favorable findings than in 2009? If so, why? Or was this just poor research design? Either way, this new study may be destined to live under a cloud of doubt, rather than become a definitive study like its 2009 counterpart.
Thursday, July 11, 2013
Education Week recently reported on grassroots campaign ActionCamp 2.0, that seeks reform of schools' zero tolerance discipline policies. ActionCamp is one of the network of groups at Dignity in Schools (DSC) that want to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline starting with school mandatory discipline policies. DSC member organization Portland Parent Union successfully pushed this year for the passage of Oregon bill HB 2192-B to remove mandatory expulsion requirements from the state's school discipline statute. The Oregon legislation will go into effect in July 2014. Read more about Dignity in Schools.
Friday, July 5, 2013
Virtual school program K12, Inc. under scrutiny for its legislative ties and declining student outcomes
In Professor Black's recent post Is the Gig Up with Virtual Charter Schools?, he said that expected other districts to follow Chicago, Maine, and North Carolina in reevaluating public funding for virtual K-12 schools. A new report discussed in Monday's Washington Post adds to the list of districts that are discovering that virtual schools may not be as educationally or financially effective as advertised. The report, ALEC v. Kids: ALEC’s Assault on Public Education, details the ties between Virginia-based K12, Inc., America’s largest proprietary K-12 online school program, and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a group that develops model legislation supporting conservative policies. (ALEC’s Education Task Force includes advocacy groups and business interests that promote legislation for publicly-funded virtual schools and business tax credits to fund private school scholarships.) The report notes that K12 Inc., a member of ALEC’s Education Task Force, received more per-pupil public dollars than Virginia would have spent for the same students in a local school district. Approximately 85% of K12, Inc.’s revenue comes from public education dollars, according to N.C. Policy Watch.
K12, Inc. has come under increasing scrutiny after a 2011 New York Times' report that the company “squeeze[d] profits from public school dollars” through high student-teacher ratios, giving credit to students who did not pass classes or log in at all, and by lowering education standards, charges that K12, Inc. denied. This June, the Colorado Virtual Academy (COVA), which administers state funds for virtual public school education, decided to end its management relationship with K12, Inc. after 2014. COVA gives K12, Inc. about $22 million to provide online education to Colorado students. With K12, Inc. as an instruction provider, COVA’s student enrollment grew to 5,000. Recently, however, COVA became concerned about student outcomes, such as the state’s virtual high school graduation rate of 22% in 2012, compared with the statewide public high school graduation rate of 72%. Nationally, about 49.1% of students enrolled in K12, Inc.’s virtual programs graduate on time compared with about 79% of students in face-to-face instruction where K12, Inc. operates.
Sunday, June 30, 2013
ED.gov posted U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's statement Friday hailing the Senate's passage of the immigration reform bill that would help foreign and undocumented students continue their education in the United States:
Since our early days as a nation, immigration has helped spur innovation and strengthen our economy. It will continue to do so in the 21st century. The vote in the Senate is a great step toward reforming the nation's broken immigration system and providing a pathway for DREAMers and their families. It is encouraging to see our country's political leadership set aside partisanship and come together to do what's in the best interest of the country.
If we are going to meet President Obama's goal of leading the world in college graduates by 2020, we must support the education and growth of every student. We must also ensure that America remains a beacon for the most promising minds, by making it easier for foreign graduate students in science and math to stay in this country, rather than taking their skills elsewhere. Our country's best and brightest include students and families of every culture and creed, who deserve a fair shot at success whether they were born in the United States or chosen it as their home.
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Education at a Glance 2013: OECD Indicators was released yesterday by the international economic group, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. OECD compares annual quantitative indicators of quality education in 34 countries. The 2013 edition “offers a snapshot of how people who participate in and benefit from education, fared during the worst economic crisis seen in decades.” U.S. public education funding dropped one percent between 2008 and 2010; the U.S. was one of five countries in the world to decrease public education spending during those years (joining Estonia, Hungary, Iceland, and Italy). Across all levels of education, annual per-student spending by educational institutions in the United States was higher than in any other country (U.S. Country Report, U.S. p. 4), but most of that spending was on higher education (the United States spends twice as much of its GDP (2.8%) on higher education than the international average (1.6%)). Although the U.S. spends more than every other country on higher education, a larger-than-average proportion of that money comes from private sources. Read the United States country note here and the full report here.
Guest blogger Danielle Holley-Walker recently discussed the troubled Philadelphia school district in Education Law Prof (School Closings, Charter School Growth, and the Debate over Their Connection, June 18, 2013). Yesterday, the Education Law Center advocacy group announced that it may sue to challenge funding disparities in Philadelphia’s school district. Executive director Rhonda Brownstein told NBC10 Philadelphia that the center is waiting to see how much of Pennsylvania’s $11.7 billion education budget will be allocated to relieve Philadelphia’s budget shortfalls. Brownstein acknowledged that suing would be difficult because of state supreme court precedent that defers to the legislature on education funding issues. Law professor Bruce Ledewitz (Duquesne) said that prior precedent could make an education funding lawsuit “dead on arrival” unless a court accepts a theory that the budget cuts will effectively shutdown the district. Read more at NBC10 Philadelphia.