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The Education Thread
The Governor of Alaska has announced a 41% budget cut for the University of Alaska system:

Quote:This essay may appear to be on the far edge of my journalistic "swim lane" of weather and climate, but I promise you there is a connection. While browsing social media this morning, I stumbled upon a letter to the University of Alaska community dated June 28th by University of Alaska President James Johnsen. He was conveying that Governor Mike Dunleavy's budget veto combined with previous cuts by the Legislature will result in a 41% budget cut to the state's university system. A particularly urgent warning within the letter stated that without an override, the system faces an "institutional and reputational blow" that may cause permanent and irreparable damage. While this language may sound inflated and harsh, it is a reality. The reach of universities extends beyond the campus, and such cuts could severely impact the education of students, important research, and service to the state of Alaska (and beyond).


Quote:As budget models continue to shift in all states, universities most aggressively share the narrative of how academic institutions benefit citizens even if they never step foot on the campus. We must be wary of ivory tower aloofness and engage.

Universities in Alaska certainly take on similar roles. According to a presentation from the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation's Alaska Common Ground meeting (found here):

- the University of Alaska system provided $714 million (directly) and $402 million (indirectly) to the statewide economy (year 2012 numbers)
- Alaska businesses rely on local talent from University of Alaska for their workforce needs as studies show that 68% of two-year graduates and 42% of four-year graduates remain in the state.
- University of Alaska-Anchorage alone generated $40.2 million in research dollars in fiscal year 2016

It is clear that a 41% cut places all of these things at risk. It also threatens university leadership in serving the energy, seafood, natural resources, health, transportation and education sectors of the region. Candidly, gutting higher education will not be an effective tool for recruiting bright new talent and industries to the state either. In fact, it probably belongs on "a top 5 list" of how not to attract new people to the state.
Since busing is becoming a big part of the Democratic primary discussion, here's a good article:

Quote:Two miles from my office in Syracuse, N.Y., Westside Academy Middle School has been in need of repairs for decades. Located in one of the nation’s poorest census tracts, 85 percent of its students are black or Latino, and 86 percent are poor enough to qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. The 400 students have limited creative outlets, with no orchestra or band and just two music teachers.

Ten miles away, Wellwood Middle School, in a suburban district, offers students a stately auditorium and well-equipped technology rooms. There, 88 percent of the students are white and only 10 percent qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. The 700 students have at least five music teachers, band, orchestra, choir, musical theater and dozens of other clubs and activities.

Fifty percent of Wellwood’s eighth graders passed the state math assessment. At Westwood, none did. The disparate student outcomes are no surprise.

Since the Reagan administration’s “A Nation at Risk” report pronounced that schools across the country were failing, every president has touted a new plan to close the racial academic achievement gap: President Obama installed Race to the Top; George W. Bush had No Child Left Behind; and Clinton pushed Goals 2000. The nation has commissioned studies, held conferences and engaged in endless public lamentation over how to get poor students and children of color to achieve at the level of wealthy white students — as if how to close this opportunity gap was a mystery. But we forget that we’ve done it before. Racial achievement gaps were narrowest at the height of school integration.

U.S. schools have become more segregated since 1990, and students in major metropolitan areas have been most severely divided by race and income, according to the University of California at Los Angeles’s Civil Rights Project. Racially homogenous neighborhoods that resulted from historic housing practices such as red-lining have driven school segregation. The problem is worst in the Northeast — the region that, in many ways, never desegregated — where students face some of the largest academic achievement gaps: in Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia.

More than 60 years after Brown v. Board of Education, federal education policies still implicitly accept the myth of “separate but equal,” by attempting to improve student outcomes without integrating schools. Policymakers have tried creating national standards, encouraging charter schools, implementing high-stakes teacher evaluations and tying testing to school sanctions and funding. These efforts sought to make separate schools better but not less segregated. Ending achievement and opportunity gaps requires implementing a variety of desegregation methods – busing, magnet schools, or merging school districts, for instance – to create a more just public education system that successfully educates all children.

Public radio’s “This American Life” reminded us of this reality in a two-part report this summer, called “The Problem We All Live With.” The program noted that, despite declarations that busing to desegregate schools failed in the 1970s and 1980s, that era actually saw significant improvement in educational equity. When the National Assessment of Educational Progress began in the early 1970s, there was a 53-point gap in reading scores between black and white 17-year-olds. That chasm narrowed to 20 points by 1988. During that time, every region of the country except the Northeast saw steady gains in school integration. In the South in 1968, 78 percent of black children attended schools with almost exclusively minority students; by 1988, only 24 percent did. In the West during that period, the figure declined from 51 percent to 29 percent.

But since 1988, when education policy shifted away from desegregation efforts, the reading test score gap has grown — to 26 points in 2012 — with segregated schooling increasing in every region of the country.
A Tennessee lawmaker says the state House speaker attempted to buy his vote on a school vouchers bill by promising to promote him to the rank of general in the Tennessee National Guard:

Quote:A veteran Tennessee state representative says he rejected an effort by House Speaker Glen Casada to "buy" his vote on the controversial school vouchers legislation proposed by Gov. Bill Lee.

Rep. John Mark Windle, D-Livingston, confirmed information obtained by NewsChannel 5 Investigates that another lawmaker had overheard Casada suggesting that - in exchange for his vote - Windle could promoted to the rank of general in the Tennessee National Guard.

Windle, an Iraq war veteran, currently serves a colonel.

"In response to your question, your characterization of the conversation is correct," Windle said in a written statement.

"I voted against the bill as a matter of principle, and that vote decision did not change. The people of Fentress, Jackson, Morgan, and Overton counties are fiercely independent, and their vote is not for sale."

Windle said that, "after the vote, as a former prosecutor, I sought the guidance of Tennessee ethics authorities and followed their recommendations."

It is not clear what those recommendations were, and Windle did not elaborate.
Chicago Public Schools has to step it up in various ways regarding sex education:
Both parents and schools need to step it up in regards to sex education. Because I can tell you most kids these days are getting it through a mixture of movies and porn. And since Porn is so very much filmed almost exclusively for the men's pleasure, and don't adequately deal with consent, there's a lot of guys think sex is only about putting it in and that's that.
"God moves in mysterious ways," they said. Maybe he is on your side, the way it all worked out. Remembering other Christmases, wishing for something, something important, something special. And this is it, baby boy Frankie Bono. You're alone now. All alone. The scream is dead. There's no pain. You're home again, back in the cold, black silence
Breitbart unearthed some old tweets from Jamie R. Riley, the assistant vice president and dean of students for the University of Alabama, that linked police to racism.

He resigned:

Quote:Jamie R. Riley, the University of Alabama’s assistant vice president and dean of students, resigned from his position on Thursday after less than seven months on the job, UA officials confirmed. 

His resignation comes a day after Breitbart News published an article detailing images of past tweets from Riley, in which he criticized the American flag and made a connection between police and racism.

Jackson Fuentes, press secretary for the UA Student Government Association, confirmed at 4:15 p.m. that Riley is no longer working at the University. 

“For us right now, basically all I can tell you is that the University and Dr. Riley have mutually agreed to part ways,” Fuentes said. “So yeah, that’s true, and we do wish him the best.” 
Even Reason is defending Mr. Riley:

Quote:Fainting-couch conservatism strikes again: A University of Alabama dean of students is out of a job after conservative media dug up some of his old tweets.

Jamie Riley had dared to criticize the American flag and the police, writing in 2017 that they represent "a systemic history of racism for my people."

Breitbart decided that this and other tweets of Riley's merited an article. Reporter Kyle Morris wrote that "a series of resurfaced tweets from Dr. Jamie R. Riley, the University of Alabama's assistant vice president and dean of students, show he once believed the American flag and police in America are racist." But the tweets didn't just resurface on their own—they were publicized by the right-wing news site in order to send a social media mob after Riley.

Just 24 hours later, Riley lost his job


Quote:It seems clear that it was bad publicity from Breitbart that got Riley terminated. This was an entirely foreseeable consequence of writing such an article.

Many pundits on the right constantly inveigh against cancel culture: the drive to shame, punish, and ultimately destroy people for having said something trivially offensive at some point. Comedian Dave Chapelle torched cancel culture in his recent Netflix special, and conservatives applauded. The clip of Chapelle scornfully imitating cancellers has been all over right-leaning media for the last two weeks.

I very much agree that cancel culture is bad. (In fact, it's one of the main themes of my book.) But as long as the right is perfectly willing to enforce its own version of political correctness, it is difficult to to believe that they really agree in principle that you shouldn't do this kind of thing. If you only defend the cancelled when you agree with them, then you're not actually against cancelling. You're just protecting your tribe.

Conservatives, please condemn Breitbart for this hit job and demand the immediate reinstatement of James Riley.

For the record, there's a big difference between "cancelling" a racist asshole or misogynistic jerk than a person of color having opinions that might rile up conservatives.
There's not really that big of a difference, though. If an employer isn't violating a contract, they're free to fire someone for whatever reason they want to stand for.

It's just that in this case, the U of Alabama is proudly standing for racism.

I'm just surprised they had time to fire him while preparing for that Hurricane their glorious leader warned them about.
Gamertag: Tweakee
The inquiry into a Middle East studies program at Duke and UNC was part of a far-reaching investigation by the Education Department.  Under Betsy DeVos, the department has become increasingly aggressive in going after perceived anti-Israel bias in higher education:
I guess this could go here, especially considering that one in five suspended library cards in Chicago belong to kids under the age of fourteen:

Quote:The Chicago Public Library system plans to eliminate late fees starting Oct. 1. — making Chicago the largest city in the nation to adopt the growing trend.

Not only will the move do away with late fees going forward, it will also erase all outstanding overdue fees currently owed to the city.

“I think our staff members are going to be practically jumping over their circulation desks to tell people that fines have been eliminated,” Chicago Public Library Commissioner Andrea Telli said.

“We’re removing one of the most important barriers to access,” she said.

The measure, part of a series of library reforms that will officially be announced Monday, seeks to bring equity to a system that for years has locked out library users when they accrue $10 worth of fines — a penalty that disproportionately affects poor families who need free access to books and high-speed internet the most. 

“It turns out that particularly in Chicago in the communities that aren’t as socio-economically well off, people are blocked from using libraries from that $10 fine, and as you move north in the city that is not as evident,” Telli said.

One of every three library card holders in the library’s South District — everything south 59th Street — is locked out. In the North District — an area north of North Avenue — only one in six card holders are locked out, according to library officials.

Also, one in five cards that are blocked in Chicago belong to kids under the age of 14.

There are currently 343,208 users locked out due to overdue fines.

“In many cases, people simply never return to their libraries because of this — so we lose the fine, the patron and the material, but the fine is really the most unimportant part,” Telli said.

The change is expected to result in the return of thousands of patrons, along with thousands of long overdue library books.
Another teachers' strike is looming in Chicago:

Quote:One of the saddest things about the pending Chicago Teachers Union strike is how the CTU has to try to force Mayor Lori Lightfoot to hire more social workers, librarians, and nurses—and lower class sizes. 

She should have done that from day one, paid for with the $2.4 billion earmarked for the two latest TIF bonanzas, Lincoln Yards and the 78. 

Think about it—Mayor Lightfoot sent lawyers to court to protect the Lincoln Yards TIF deal. Now she's got her negotiators fighting attempts to contractually guarantee the hiring of more school nurses, librarians, and other employees. 

Apparently, contractually pledging to help students who need it the most remains a little too radical for Chicago. And so here we are on the eve of another teachers' strike. 


Quote:OK, let's get down to the basics. Apparently, the most contentious issue in this dispute is not salaries—though both sides are always willing to argue over that—but "wraparound" employees, that is, the nurses, social workers, psychologists, counselors, librarians, and so forth that any civilized school system should provide every school with. 

Even the Sun-Times and Tribune agree we don't have enough of them, especially in low-income south- and west-side schools where parents don't have the discretionary money to hire employees through donations like parents in many relatively well-to-do north-side schools. 

State law prohibits Chicago's teachers from striking over things like class size and wraparound employees. Basically, CTU can only strike over pay issues. 

That strike limitation was part of the so-called school reform bill of 1995 in which control over Chicago Public Schools was given to the mayor, including the right to appoint the school board. 

There's a reason Mayor Lightfoot keeps emphasizing the 16 percent raise over five years she's offering teachers. Or, as she puts it, "that's real dough." 

She knows CTU can't make too big an issue out of class size and wraparound employees. She's got the union in a bit of a box and she knows it. I never said the new mayor wasn't smart. 

The union wants Lightfoot to relinquish complete control of the purse strings by contractually stipulating a certain number of nurses, counselors, and librarians per student or per school. 

If CPS fell below those job targets, the union could take the district to arbitration and force officials to do what they don't want to do—hire more employees. That's how it works in most suburban school systems. 

Mayor Lightfoot's negotiators are fighting against contract mandates for wraparound employees. Why? Probably the same reason she had her lawyers fight against the Lincoln Yards lawsuit filed by Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education and the Grassroots Collaborative. 

The mayor doesn't want citizen activists dictating how she spends her tax increment financing dollars. And she doesn't want a CTU contract dictating how she spends school dollars. 

Control over money is power, and Mayor Lightfoot—like Emanuel and Daley—doesn't want to give that up. Even if that means students—especially those in low-income communities—do without the basics. Like a nurse. Or a librarian. 

To her credit, Lightfoot says she intends to hire more nurses and librarians—she even claims to have the money slotted for next year's budget. 

But you know how it goes with budget promises. There's a big difference between budgeting for a librarian and actually hiring one. 
Elizabeth Warren joined Chicago teachers on the picket line:

Quote:Picketing teachers and school support staff welcomed a special guest Tuesday morning at DePriest Elementary School on the West Side.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a top Democratic presidential hopeful, joined the striking workers for a rally alongside CTU president Jesse Sharkey, American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten and a few elected officials.

“I’m here to stand with Chicago teachers. I’m here to stand with Chicago nurses. I’m here to stand with Chicago’s librarians,” Warren told the crowd of a couple hundred gathered in a soggy field outside the school.

“I’m here to stand with every one of the people who stand for our children every day,” the senator said. “Everyone in America should support you in this strike.”

Warren didn’t answer a question about whether she had spoken to Mayor Lori Lightfoot, which would be customary for a Democratic presidential candidate in a major and majority Democratic U.S. city.

“What I want to do is I want to give cities like Chicago a good federal partner,” Warren responded. “What we need to do is we need to ask those at the very top to pitch in a little more so that we can actually make the investments in every single child in this country. That’s how we build a future.

“That’s what CTU is here for. That’s what SEIU is here for. And that’s why I wanted to be here with them.”
A student-loan official in the Trump administration resigned and is calling for mass student-loan forgiveness:

Shockingly, he was appointed in 2017 by Betsy DeVos.
A federal judge held Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in contempt of court for disobeying an order to stop collecting the student loans of borrowers who attended a for-profit college. 

The judge ordered DeVos and the Education Department to pay $100,000 in sanctions.

Quote:A federal judge on Thursday held Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in contempt of court and imposed a $100,000 fine for violating an order to stop collecting on the student loans owed by students of a defunct for-profit college. 

The exceedingly rare judicial rebuke of a Cabinet secretary came after the Trump administration was forced to admit to the court earlier this year that it erroneously collected on the loans of some 16,000 borrowers who attended Corinthian Colleges despite being ordered to stop doing so. 

U.S. Magistrate Judge Sallie Kim wrote that "the evidence shows only minimal efforts to comply with the preliminary injunction" she issued in May 2018 ordering the Education Department to halt its collection of the loans. 
Story Continued Below

DeVos is named in the lawsuit in her official capacity as secretary of Education. She will not be personally responsible for paying the $100,000 in monetary sanctions, which will be paid by the government. 

The judge ordered that the fine go to a fund held by the former Corinthian students’ attorneys. It’s meant to help defray the damages and expenses associated with the improper collection of the loans, she said. The judge ordered the government and the attorneys to come up with a plan for administering the fund. 
A study of New York City middle schools showed that universal free lunch is linked to better test scores:

Quote:Offering all students free lunch helps boost academic performance, a new report, which looked at meal programs in New York City middle schools, shows. 

The study, out of Syracuse University’s Center for Policy Research, assessed the impact of universal free lunch on students who previously didn’t have access to such a meals program. 

Researchers found “statistically significant” bumps in reading and math state test scores once students attended schools with universal free lunch. One way to understand those score bumps: They were equivalent to 6-10 weeks of learning for students who did not qualify or sign up for free and reduced price lunch and about half of that for students who were part of the lunch program, the paper said.   

“I think that is the big takeaway — that if we make lunch free, kids do better in school,” said Amy Ellen Schwartz, who co-wrote the paper, published in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. 

Researchers studied schools that implemented schoolwide free lunches from 2010 to 2013, before Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration slowly began offering them to all middle schools and before the city decided to offer free lunch to all public school students in 2017. At the time, more than 70 percent of city students were already eligible for free lunch, but advocates charged that many students steered clear of the benefit because of the stigma attached to enrolling in the program. 

The study also evaluated the effects of universal free lunch programs on individual students — and found greater improvements among children who did not come from low-income families. That could be because students from low-income families were more likely to be participating in the free or reduced-price lunch program already. In addition, students who didn’t previously qualify for subsidized meals may still have struggled to bring food every day. Researchers noted that many “non-poor” students came from families with incomes that “barely” exceeded the 185-percent mark of the federal poverty line. 
This just in: not treating students like shit leads to better students!!
"God moves in mysterious ways," they said. Maybe he is on your side, the way it all worked out. Remembering other Christmases, wishing for something, something important, something special. And this is it, baby boy Frankie Bono. You're alone now. All alone. The scream is dead. There's no pain. You're home again, back in the cold, black silence
Some colleges are finding pro-Hong Kong protests on campuses difficult because they don't want to endanger the market for Chinese students:
(09-30-2019, 05:16 PM)Iron Maiden Wrote: I guess this could go here, especially considering that one in five suspended library cards in Chicago belong to kids under the age of fourteen:

Quote:The Chicago Public Library system plans to eliminate late fees starting Oct. 1. — making Chicago the largest city in the nation to adopt the growing trend.

Update: Mayor Lightfoot’s decision to eliminate library fines triggered a 240% increase in book returns.

Quote:Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s decision to eliminate library late fees and lure scofflaw patrons back to Chicago Public Libraries by erasing outstanding debt already is working wonders, aldermen were told Wednesday. 

Testifying at City Council budget hearings, Library Commisioner Andrea Telli said hundreds of long-overdue books have been returned in the three weeks since Chicago became the nation’s largest major city to jump on the no-fine bandwagon. 

“The amount of books returned has increased by 240 percent. A huge increase in the number of books coming back. We’re very, very happy to have that. … Those books have a value and cost money to buy. We want those assets back. We also want the patron to come back,” Telli said.

Telli noted that forgoing library fines is a national trend — and for good reason. They’re a barrier to library use, particularly in impoverished neighborhoods where “people can’t afford to pay the fines” and libraries can be a safe haven.
You know what makes it harder for poorer people to get into colleges?  Colleges buying student data to boost exclusivity:
Utah might've passed the ACA's Medicaid expansion last year, but Brigham Young University isn't having any of that starting next semester:

Quote:Students of the BYUs: might want to start making some noise: the Church Board of Ed just decided that they won’t accept Medicaid as a provider for their student health insurance requirement. The week IDaho expanded Medicaid too. Catch 22? DMBA doesn’t count for ACA requirement

This form was picked up today from the school.  Some people called the heath center to ask about it and were told it’s a new policy from salt lake—This is starting next semester in 2020

Do fucking better, Illinois:

Quote:The spaces have gentle names: The reflection room. The cool-down room. The calming room. The quiet room.

But shut inside them, in public schools across the state, children as young as 5 wail for their parents, scream in anger and beg to be let out.

The students, most of them with disabilities, scratch the windows or tear at the padded walls. They throw their bodies against locked doors. They wet their pants. Some children spend hours inside these rooms, missing class time. Through it all, adults stay outside the door, writing down what happens.

In Illinois, it’s legal for school employees to seclude students in a separate space — to put them in “isolated timeout” — if the students pose a safety threat to themselves or others. Yet every school day, workers isolate children for reasons that violate the law, an investigation by the Chicago Tribune and ProPublica Illinois has found.

Children were sent to isolation after refusing to do classwork, for swearing, for spilling milk, for throwing Legos. School employees use isolated timeout for convenience, out of frustration or as punishment, sometimes referring to it as “serving time.”

For this investigation, ProPublica Illinois and the Tribune obtained and analyzed thousands of detailed records that state law requires schools to create whenever they use seclusion. The resulting database documents more than 20,000 incidents from the 2017-18 school year and through early December 2018.

Of those, about 12,000 included enough detail to determine what prompted the timeout. In more than a third of these incidents, school workers documented no safety reason for the seclusion.

State education officials are unaware of these repeated violations because they do not monitor schools’ use of the practice. Parents, meanwhile, often are told little about what happens to their children.
They just ran something about this same thing happening up here in Canada land. Reminds me of a time back in high school, I was going with a buddy to return his wrestling singlet to his coach who was a special ed teacher. Walked into the class as he was dragging some limp kid into a closet by his ankles. Locked his ass up than just totally chill comes and talks to us.
An interesting read on Texas Instruments' monopolistic hold on high school math classes:

Quote:This fall, Stephen Thompson began his first year of teaching Algebra 2 and college prep classes to 11th and 12th graders at a public high school in northwest Baltimore. On top of the typical stress of any first-year teaching experience, Thompson realized that along with other out-of-pocket classroom expenses, he would have to buy a pricey piece of classroom equipment: graphing calculators. Specifically, Texas Instruments graphing calculators.

“The students, for the most part, don’t have calculators,” he told me in October. “On a typical day, a lot of students don’t even have a pencil. It’s up to the teacher to provide that stuff. The expectation is that we will have TI-83 calculators — that’s just what the curriculum demands.”

Planned obsolescence is deeply ingrained with most tech companies. Apple introduces a new, sleeker iPhone every year, with improved features, different sizes, more power, and more pixels. But Texas Instruments graphing calculators used by high school students 10 or 20 years ago are essentially the same ones students use today. Bulky and black, with large, colorful push buttons and a low-resolution screen, TI graphing calculators resemble top-of-the-line design from the 1990s and are functionally the same as when Texas Instruments first launched the TI-84 Plus in 2004. Even the price has remained almost the same. When my mom bought my TI-83 Plus calculator for ninth-grade math class in 2006, it cost $90 at our local Staples. Today, that calculator sells for $105 at Office Depot.

I remember feeling a pang of guilt watching my working-class single mom hand over her debit card to the cashier. On the short drive home, I held the calculator in my lap, still in its blister pack. I was 14 years old, and this was the most valuable electronic device I ever owned. I was taking Algebra 2 that year — the advanced class for freshmen at my public high school — and purchasing a graphing calculator felt like an academic rite of passage. I wasn’t a math person, just a good student who’d eventually slog through Advanced Placement calculus and statistics in pursuit of some college credits.


Quote:Thompson, like many teachers, works in a district where it’s a financial impossibility to ask students and their parents to shell out $100 for a new calculator. (Graphing calculators of any brand are recommended at Thompson’s school, and they are essential for the curriculum.) So the onus falls on him and other teachers, who rely on their teacher salaries — Thompson makes $62,000 a year — to fill in the gaps. At first, Thompson bought cheaper calculators: four-function, $3 calculators. This, he quickly realized, would be insufficient. “A lot of students were angry and actually left the class and went to the classroom of the more experienced teacher next to me and asked to borrow her calculators,” he told me.

The bulky, rectangular Texas Instruments calculators act more like mini-handheld computers than basic calculators, plotting graphs and solving complex functions. Seeing expressions, formulas, and graphs on-screen is integral for students in geometry, calculus, physics, statistics, business, and finance classes. They provide students access to more advanced features, letting them do all the calculations of a scientific calculator, as well as graph equations and make function tables. Giving a child a four-function calculator —allowing for only addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division— would leave them woefully underprepared for the requirements of more advanced math and science classes.

It’s not practical or even allowable for students to turn to more modern and possibly more accessible technology — like laptops or smartphones — to fill the gaps. “iPhones do too much,” Thompson told me. “There’s an app you can get where you can just take a picture of a problem, and the app will show you the steps to solve it. For that reason, I really can’t let them use cellphones on tests. Too many students will cheat. So I need to buy graphing calculators, and they need to be nice ones.”

To understand why teachers like Thompson find themselves in this position — and why families across the country are still paying $100 or more for a piece of prohibitively expensive technology that barely seemed to have been updated in decades — one must understand Texas Instruments and its incumbency in the graphing calculator market, and how the U.S. education system has become addicted to Texas Instruments, which has a staggering, monopolistic hold over high school math.

Much more at the link.
An international exam shows that American 15-year-olds are stagnant in reading and math even though the country has spent billions to close gaps with the rest of the world.

No one's mind will be blown away by that finding, but this article is an interesting read:

Quote:The performance of American teenagers in reading and math has been stagnant since 2000, according to the latest results of a rigorous international exam, despite a decades-long effort to raise standards and help students compete with peers across the globe. 

And the achievement gap in reading between high and low performers is widening. Although the top quarter of American students have improved their performance on the exam since 2012, the bottom 10th percentile lost ground, according to an analysis by the National Center for Education Statistics, a federal agency. 

The disappointing results from the exam, the Program for International Student Assessment, were announced on Tuesday and follow those from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, an American test that recently showed that two-thirds of children were not proficient readers. 

Over all, American 15-year-olds who took the PISA test scored slightly above students from peer nations in reading but below the middle of the pack in math.

Low-performing students have been the focus of decades of bipartisan education overhaul efforts, costing many billions of dollars, that have resulted in a string of national programs — No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, the Common Core State Standards, the Every Student Succeeds Act — but uneven results. 

There is no consensus on why the performance of struggling students is declining. Education experts argue vociferously about a range of potential causes, including school segregation, limited school choice, funding inequities, family poverty, too much focus on test prep and a dearth of instruction in basic skills like phonics.

About a fifth of American 15-year-olds scored so low on the PISA test that it appeared they had not mastered reading skills expected of a 10-year-old, according to Andreas Schleicher, director of education and skills at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which administers the exam. 

Those students, he said, face “pretty grim prospects” on the job market.

Daniel Koretz, an expert on testing and a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, said recent test results showed that “it’s really time to rethink the entire drift of policy reform because it just isn’t working.” 

Because the United States lacks a centralized system for teacher training or distributing quality instructional materials to schools, Professor Koretz said, states and districts did not always effectively carry out the Common Core or other initiatives. 
Much of that money goes to funding charter schools, not existing public schools. And none of it seems to go to teacher salaries, thus not getting the type of quality teachers that public schools, especially the extremes - inner city dense urban as well as rural - need.
If you're happy, you're not paying attention.

Originally Posted by JacknifeJohnny: 
Glad that you guys worked that out amongst yourselves.

(12-03-2019, 09:01 PM)Neil Spurn Wrote: Much of that money goes to funding charter schools, not existing public schools.  And none of it seems to go to teacher salaries, thus not getting the type of quality teachers that public schools, especially the extremes - inner city dense urban as well as rural - need.

Absolutely.  Public funding to charter schools has become a real issue, especially considering that so many charters are more interested in the numbers of students to hit certain benchmarks than anything else.  

Teacher pay in red states is very low too, hence, all the strikes last year.  Even with more money, places like Oklahoma and West Virginia have a hard time keeping the best teachers since they all go elsewhere.
Absolutely correct. I did include both dense urban as well as rural, because while urban schools get most of the ink (strikes aside), rural schools are just as bad, if not worse, re: teachers' salaries.
If you're happy, you're not paying attention.

Originally Posted by JacknifeJohnny: 
Glad that you guys worked that out amongst yourselves.

Installing $700 air filters in classrooms produces educational gains comparable to what proponents claim for class size reduction, according to a new working paper:

Quote:An emergency situation that turned out to be mostly a false alarm led a lot of schools in Los Angeles to install air filters, and something strange happened: Test scores went up. By a lot. And the gains were sustained in the subsequent year rather than fading away. 

That’s what NYU’s Michael Gilraine finds in a new working paper titled “Air Filters, Pollution, and Student Achievement” that looks at the surprising consequences of the Aliso Canyon gas leak in 2015. 

The impact of the air filters is strikingly large given what a simple change we’re talking about. The school district didn’t reengineer the school buildings or make dramatic education reforms; they just installed $700 commercially available filters that you could plug into any room in the country. But it’s consistent with a growing literature on the cognitive impact of air pollution, which finds that everyone from chess players to baseball umpires to workers in a pear-packing factory suffer deteriorations in performance when the air is more polluted. 

If Gilraine’s result holds up to further scrutiny, he will have identified what’s probably the single most cost-effective education policy intervention — one that should have particularly large benefits for low-income children. 

And while it’s too hasty to draw sweeping conclusions on the basis of one study, it would be incredibly cheap to have a few cities experiment with installing air filters in some of their schools to get more data and draw clearer conclusions about exactly how much of a difference this makes. 
The New York Times analyzed eight different history books from California and Texas to spot the differences.

Interesting read:

Quote:The textbooks cover the same sweeping story, from the brutality of slavery to the struggle for civil rights. The self-evident truths of the founding documents to the waves of immigration that reshaped the nation. 

The books have the same publisher. They credit the same authors. But they are customized for students in different states, and their contents sometimes diverge in ways that reflect the nation’s deepest partisan divides. 

Hundreds of differences — some subtle, others extensive — emerged in a New York Times analysis of eight commonly used American history textbooks in California and Texas, two of the nation’s largest markets. 

In a country that cannot come to a consensus on fundamental questions — how restricted capitalism should be, whether immigrants are a burden or a boon, to what extent the legacy of slavery continues to shape American life — textbook publishers are caught in the middle. On these questions and others, classroom materials are not only shaded by politics, but are also helping to shape a generation of future voters. 

Conservatives have fought for schools to promote patriotism, highlight the influence of Christianity and celebrate the founding fathers. In a September speech, President Trump warned against a “radical left” that wants to “erase American history, crush religious liberty, indoctrinate our students with left-wing ideology.” 

The left has pushed for students to encounter history more from the ground up than from the top down, with a focus on the experiences of marginalized groups such as enslaved people, women and Native Americans. 

The books The Times analyzed were published in 2016 or later and have been widely adopted for eighth and 11th graders, though publishers declined to share sales figures. Each text has editions for Texas and California, among other states, customized to satisfy policymakers with different priorities. 

“At the end of the day, it’s a political process,” said Jesús F. de la Teja, an emeritus professor of history at Texas State University who has worked for the state of Texas and for publishers in reviewing standards and textbooks. 
I know a few people who would have loved to quit a job this publicly at some points in their lives:

Quote:A Kansas school teacher stepped down from her post in dramatic fashion this week, citing dissatisfaction in contract negotiations by her school district.

When eighth-grade teacher Amanda Coffman appeared in front of the Shawnee Mission School District’s board of education on Monday, she immediately resigned from her position and took the room by surprise.

“Several years ago, a good friend decided to leave education and she said to me, ‘Teaching is like a bad marriage, you never get your needs met, but you stay in it for the kids,'” Coffman told board members during the taped meeting.

“I didn’t fully understand what she meant until this past month,” she continued.

Teachers in the district have been unsatisfied with their workload and salaries, according to KSHB, and have been in contract negotiations with the district for months.

“Just like a bad relationship, our communication has broken down,” Coffman, who taught at Indian Woods Middle School, told the board. “You aren’t listening.”

Representatives for the district did not immediately return PEOPLE’s request for comment. Coffman’s comments can be heard around the 42-minute mark in the video below.

While a new contract was approved by the district last month — which includes a 1 percent raise for 2019 and 2020, followed by a 1.25 percent raise for 2021 and 1.5 percent raise in the last year of the contract — teachers said it did not satisfy other concerns, like working conditions, KSHB reported.

“Talking to the board or the administrators in this building is like shouting into the wind,” Coffman told the board. “I won’t waste my breath.”

The Monday meeting was the first since the board approved the contract, which was strongly opposed by the teachers union, according to the Shawnee Mission Post.

On Friday, a spokesperson told KSHB that the district believed teachers would feel the contract was “fair,” considering they would be getting 79 percent of the district’s new money over three years.

After the deal was announced, teachers were given 15 days to decide to accept it, work with the previous contract or resign, the spokesperson said.

“Don’t worry about me. I’m a highly educated, very talented teacher,” Coffman told the board during her remarks. “They’re in high demand right now in other districts.”

While addressing her former students, Coffman said: “You are still my favorite humans and I will always be your biggest advocate.”

After her remarks, Coffman did not accept replies from board members.

“There will be no clarifying questions,” she said. “I don’t answer to you anymore.”

Quote:A new antitrust class action lawsuit alleges that textbook publishers and on-campus college chain bookstores conspired to monopolize the textbook market, forcing students to pay higher-than-market prices for course materials.

Plaintiffs argue that publishers built the “Inclusive Access” model — a digital textbook market in collaboration with top publishers ostensibly aimed at reducing the cost of course materials — “to monopolize the market for textbooks in Inclusive Access classes and thereby raise prices, are actionable violations of the federal antitrust laws.”

Singling out the big three publishers — Cengage, Pearson and McGraw-Hill, as well as on-campus bookstore chains — the lawsuit filed in a New Jersey federal court argues that the practice is illegal under the Sherman Antitrust Act and the Clayton Antitrust Act.

“This suit by a student standing up for all of her peers against the the potential harms of Inclusive Access … and ultimately, like these, this suit could affect every student in America,” Kaitlyn Vitez, higher education campaign director for the progressive non-profit U.S. PIRG Education Fund, told Yahoo Finance. “We're talking about a really huge segment of America's college population.”

The textbook market — which Vitez previously called a “broken marketplace” — has been dominated for decades by a few dominant publishers that leverage deep expertise in educational materials and relationships with universities. Vitez said that the lawsuit “has the potential to really shake up the publishers’ plans to eliminate the used textbook market.”

While the amount of money an average college student spends on textbooks has declined slightly in recent years, the lawsuit contends that the publishers’ introduction of an online model has resulted in the loss of choice.

“Inclusive Access increases students’ costs and eliminates their choices in order to increase the profits of textbook publishers and on-campus college bookstore retail chains,” the lawsuit asserts.

In response to this story, textbook publishers defended the model.

“We believe Inclusive Access benefits students by making our first-class instructional materials available to them at below competitive rates, and we believe the lawsuit has no factual or legal merit,” a McGraw-Hill spokesperson said in a statement.

A Pearson spokesperson said: “Pearson is aware of this lawsuit and is reviewing the complaint. Pearson stands by the Inclusive Access model, which offers real benefits to students, instructors and institutions.” 

“Cengage is prepared to defend vigorously against these allegations,” a spokesperson from the company stated. “Cengage has been and remains a forceful advocate for student and textbook affordability.” 
Betsy DeVos introduced a rule making it harder for child abuse victims to come forward at school:

Quote:Education secretary Betsy DeVos has introduced a new rule that could make it harder for child abuse victims to come forward at school.

The Trump admin introduced changes to Title IX to be rolled out this month about how sexual assault and harassment chargers are handled at K-12 schools and on college campuses.

Alterations to Title IX still state the survivor will be taken seriously, according to Ms DeVos, but that the accused cannot be presumed guilty.

"Our proposed rule recognises that we can continue to combat sexual misconduct without abandoning due process," she said about the change.

When President Barack Obama was in office, his administration laid out guidelines for schools that would help them handle complaints of sexual assault and violence. But Ms DeVos claims these guidelines were unfair to all the parties involved.

Backlash about the changes to Title IX has resonated across the public, specifically for the impact it will have on college campuses.

But people are also concerned about what this could mean for children in elementary, middle, or high school when they want to report abuse. Their reasoning is the new mandate will go largely unfunded, with the government anticipating it will save $360m over the next 10 years, so it could create a loss in resources within the schools.

"Schools are not all prepared to handle these incidents as they occur right now," Joel Levin, a co-founder of the nonprofit Stop Sexual Assault In Schools organisation, told Politico.

"The new regulations will just create a more chaotic environment," he said. "The Department of Education has tried to bring some college or higher education-level Title IX rules into K-12, where they don't really work."

Under the new rules it allows, but does not require, for K-12 schools to hold hearings where the victim's advocates or representatives can question the perpetrator.

The rule also requires the victim to write a formal, signed statement to be given to a selected group of staff at the school when reporting assault or sexual harassment.

Critics are worried this would encourage students to avoid reporting abuse at their schools, specifically if it occurs from a teacher or staff member in the building.

"To me, the most damaging things that they're doing are just making it harder for students to report sexual harassment," Levin told the publication. "There's already barriers for K-12 students. A lot of students don't report because they don't think the school is going to do anything about it, or they'll be blamed, or (the school) won't discipline the perpetrator."

Another change Ms DeVos made to Title IX alters how sexual assault and harassment is defined in the law to provide protection for the victim. Currently, the rule states its "unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature".

Ms DeVos is now advocating for the phrasing to state a need for quid pro quo services between the perpetrator and the victim that are "so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it effectively deprives a person of equal access to educational programmes or activities." If this change is made, it would discount sexual misconduct and allow for sexual acts to happen that do not drive the victim out of their school or off campus.

Critics say Ms DeVos is not reforming the laws; she is instead rolling back the strides made by organisations to help victims report and handle abuse on a federal level.
Nice to see:

Quote:Senators on Capitol Hill voted on Wednesday to reject a student loan rule proposed by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos that would have changed how defrauded students sought relief.

The GOP-controlled Senate passed S.J.Res.56, which is a version of a bill that reverses DeVos’ new rule on how her department processes debt relief claims made by students who had been defrauded by mainly for-profit colleges that were deemed predatory.

Experts widely considered the new regulations to be more cumbersome for the students, and consumer advocates filed a lawsuit against the proposed policy change.

“This vote shows that Congress is finally willing to hold this administration accountable for Secretary Betsy DeVos’ repeated protection of exploitative schools,” Ben Miller, vice president for Postsecondary Education at the Center for American Progress, said in a statement. “This administration’s borrower defense rule used the wheels of bureaucracy to crush ripped-off students through unfair evidence standards and a process they had no hope of successfully completing. We are glad to see bipartisan recognition of these flaws.”

In January, House Democrats had voted to rejected DeVos’ new rules, using the Congressional Review Act. On Wednesday, the Senate voted to pass the Senate version of the House bill, 53-42, with 10 Republican votes.

Before Wednesday’s vote, Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) emphasized how much was at stake for these students.

“Many of these students incurred substantial student debt based on the representations and misrepresentations of these colleges and universities,” he stated. “Now they find out the school have gone bankrupt in some cases... here’s the student deep in debt having wasted years of their lives in these for-profit colleges.”
I'm really looking forward to reading a billion articles about how education changes through the effects of the coronavirus.
(03-18-2020, 05:17 PM)Iron Maiden Wrote: I'm really looking forward to reading a billion articles about how education changes through the effects of the coronavirus.

well naturally it'll be how our golden god big boy president singlehandedly stopped the virus.
"God moves in mysterious ways," they said. Maybe he is on your side, the way it all worked out. Remembering other Christmases, wishing for something, something important, something special. And this is it, baby boy Frankie Bono. You're alone now. All alone. The scream is dead. There's no pain. You're home again, back in the cold, black silence

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