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Jeff Bernstein

Marc Epstein: The Education Reformers' End Game - 0 views

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    "Okay, you've won! Tenure has been abolished. There are no limits on charters, and vouchers are available to all takers. Collective bargaining is a thing of the past. The dreaded fire-breathing dragon union now resembles a salamander. Governors, state legislatures, mayors and editorial boards, who've claimed that they can turn around the dismally depressing performance levels in our urban inner cities -- if only these vestiges of the past were abolished -- have had their way.

    But some questions remain, because as Colin Powell once said when referring to post-war Iraq, the "Pottery Barn Rule" now applies. That is, "you break it, you own it." So it might be useful if we ask the victors some questions about the new education landscape now that the "War on Entrenched Teachers & Unions" has been brought to a successful conclusion."
Jeff Bernstein

Abandoning Education, the Great Equalizer - Forward.com - 0 views

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    "Once upon a time, our society decided that all children should be educated through 12th grade at public expense. But completion of 12th grade does not mean what it once did. If that is so, does our society not need to adjust its ambitions and make college as accessible an element of public education as completion of high school used to be? We need to attend not only to post-12th grade educational opportunities, but also to preschool programs of the kind that President Obama endorsed in his inaugural address in January. This is the only way we can begin to move toward genuine equality of opportunity. Without that emphasis, K-3 students from low-income families start their education with an often crippling educational deficit. This is not fanciful rhetoric; it is well-established fact: Know how to read by the end of third grade, and your prospects are bright; don't know, and you are doomed."
Jeff Bernstein

Poverty Counts & School Funding in New Jersey « School Finance 101 - 0 views

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    "NJ Spotlight today posted a story on upcoming Task Force deliberations and public hearings over whether the state should continue to target funding in its school finance formula to local districts on the basis of counts of children qualifying for free or reduced priced lunch.  That is, kids from families who fall below the 185% income threshold for poverty.
    The basic assumption behind targeting additional resources to higher poverty schools and districts is that high need districts can leverage the additional resources to implement strategies that help to improve various outcomes for children at risk. "
Jeff Bernstein

Friday Finance 101: Equitable and Adequate Funding and Teacher Quality is Not... - 0 views

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    In recent years, the casual observer of debates over public education policy might be led to believe that improving teacher quality and ensuring that low income and minority school children have access to high quality teachers has little or nothing to do with the equity or adequacy of financing of schools. The casual observer might be led to believe that there actually exists a sizable body of empirical research that confirms a) that high quality teaches matter, b) that money doesn't matter and c) by extension money has nothing to do with recruiting, retaining or redistributing teacher quality. These arguments, while politically convenient for those hoping to avoid thorny questions of tax policy and state aid formulas, are not actually grounded in any body of decisive, empirical research. Rather, to the contrary, it is reasonably well understood that while teacher quality does indeed matter, teacher wages also matter and teacher working conditions matter, both in terms of the level of quality of the overall teacher workforce and in the distribution of quality teachers.
Jeff Bernstein

Peter Edelman: Reinvigorating the American Dream: A Broader Bolder Approach to Tackling... - 0 views

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    While the heightened attention paid to education policy, exemplified by federal policies such as No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, is a positive signal that the public and policymakers are eager to address the problems at hand, many of the "reforms" miss the mark. Yes, education is a way out of poverty -- but poverty is also a hindrance to education.

    As such, addressing in-school factors in a vacuum -- with no consideration of the problems facing the wider community -- cannot do enough to improve educational outcomes or to narrow the achievement gap between low-income students and their wealthier peers.
Jeff Bernstein

Equity and Quality in Education - Supporting Disadvantaged Students and Schools - 0 views

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    Across OECD countries, almost one in every five students does not reach a basic minimum level of skills. In addition, students from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds are twice as likely to be low performers. Lack of fairness and inclusion can lead to school failure and this means that one in every five young adults on average drop out before completing upper secondary education.
    Reducing school failure pays off for both society and individuals. The highest performing education systems across OECD countries combine quality with equity. This report presents policy recommendations for education systems to help all children succeed in their schooling.
Jeff Bernstein

NJ Charter Data Round-up « School Finance 101 - 0 views

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    As we once again begin discussing & debating the appropriate role for Charter schools in New Jersey's education reform "mix," here's a round-up on the New Jersey charter school numbers, in terms of demographic comparisons to all other public and charter schools in the same 'city' and proficiency rates (across all grades) compared to all others in the same 'city.'
Jeff Bernstein

The Unaddressed Link Between Poverty and Education - NYTimes.com - 0 views

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    No one seriously disputes the fact that students from disadvantaged households perform less well in school, on average, than their peers from more advantaged backgrounds. But rather than confront this fact of life head-on, our policy makers mistakenly continue to reason that, since they cannot change the backgrounds of students, they should focus on things they can control.
Jeff Bernstein

'Broader, bolder' strategy to ending poverty's influence on education - The Answer Shee... - 0 views

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    While it might seem encouraging for education and civil rights leaders to assert that poverty isn't an obstacle to higher student achievement, the evidence does not support such claims. Over 50 years, numerous studies have documented how poverty and related social conditions - such as lack of access to health care, early childhood education and stable housing - affect child development and student achievement.
Jeff Bernstein

Education and Poverty: Confronting the Evidence - 0 views

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    Current U.S. policy initiatives to improve the U.S. education system, including No Child Left Behind, test-based evaluation of teachers and the promotion of competition, are misguided because they either deny or set to the side a basic body of evidence documenting that students from disadvantaged households on average perform less well in school than those from more advantaged families. Because these policy initiatives do not directly address the educational  challenges experienced by disadvantaged students, they have contributed little -- and are not likely to contribute much  in the future -- to raising overall student achievement or to reducing achievement and educational attainment gaps between advantaged and disadvantaged students. Moreover, such policies have the potential to do serious harm. Addressing the educational challenges faced by children from disadvantaged families will require a broader and bolder approach to education policy than the recent efforts to reform schools.
Jeff Bernstein

Pedro Noguera: A broader and bolder approach uses education to break the cycle of poverty - 1 views

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    Making bold assertions that all children can achieve while doing nothing to address the challenges they face is neither fair nor sound public policy.
Jeff Bernstein

Joel Shatzky: Educating for Democracy: Diane Ravitch: Reforming the "Reformers" - 0 views

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    In the latest issue of the New York Review of Books, Diane Ravitch, who has been writing critically and incisively for the last five years about the inadequacies of the "School Reform" movement, wrote a review of a book by Steven Brill called Class Warfare: Inside the Fight to Fix America's Schools (New York Review of Books, (9/29/2011) www.nybooks.com. ) The review itself convincingly dissects Brill's book for what it is: an advocacy for charter schools, standardized testing and other measures of the so-called "reformers" who are, essentially, defenders of the economic status quo. Since there has been no measurable improvement in student scores, as determined by reliable tests like the NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) over the last decade, one would hope that some sensible policies might be considered to replace those failed ones. And there seem to be a few glimmers of hope, although they are only glimmers.
Jeff Bernstein

Whitney Tilson: Do Schools Matter? - 0 views

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    As for the poor academic performance of low-income and minority students in the U.S., there are many reasons for this -- most beyond the control of schools. There is no doubt that children from troubled communities and families, in which few people have completed high school, much less college, are a challenge to educate. So let's be clear: parents and family background matter -- a lot! So much so that today, sadly, demography is destiny for most children.
Jeff Bernstein

Why an Undemocratic Capitalism Has Brought Public Education to Its Knees: A MANIFESTO - 0 views

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    The public schools are being punished for the achievement gap, which they did not create and cannot close. Mr. Gibboney urges educators to rise up and fight to protect public education and democracy, which will both collapse if our society refuses to take the steps necessary to eliminate poverty.
Jeff Bernstein

Education Week: International Test Scores, Irrelevant Policies - 0 views

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    Misleading rhetoric overlooks poverty's impact
Jeff Bernstein

Why the Conventional Wisdom on School Reform Is Wrong and Why the Church Should Care - 0 views

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    It has been a difficult year for public education.  A fiveyears' overdue reauthorization of the Elementary and  Secondary Education Act, whose 2002 version we call  No Child Left Behind (NCLB), languishes in a divided  Congress.  Now Secretary of Education Arne Duncan says  he will grant states unilateral waivers from the law's most  punitive consequences, but the catch is that to qualify,  states must present accountability plans based on Duncan's  own favorite punishments for schools unable quickly  to raise scores-including sanctions like merit pay and  reduction of due process for teachers, school closure, and  rapid charterization.  The rhetoric of  school reform has little to do with the  lives of children or the daily work of  teachers.  Meanwhile a deplorable wave  of scapegoating school teachers continues  unabated.  
Jeff Bernstein

A Framework for Change: A Broader and Bolder Approach to School Reform - 0 views

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    A substantial body of evidence reveals that past reforms have largely failed to improve schools in urban areas. The authors contend that prior efforts failed because they did not address the numerous ways that past research has shown poverty influences student academic outcomes and school performance (Coleman et al., 1966; Rothstein, 2004). The author's call for a new approach to school improvement, one that draws upon the principles advocated by the Broader and Bolder Approach, and includes: evidence-based instruction, community engagement, and the strategies that have been pursued by the Harlem Children's Zone, the Children's Aid Society, and a small number of similar efforts that attempt to mitigate the effects of poverty.
Jeff Bernstein

"Poverty Is the Problem": Efforts to Cut Education Funding, Expand Standardized Testing... - 0 views

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    As millions of students prepare to go back to school, budget cuts are resulting in teacher layoffs and larger classes across the country. This comes as the drive towards more standardized testing increases despite a string of cheating scandals in New York, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and other cities. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan also recently unveiled a controversial plan to use waivers to rewrite parts of the nation's signature federal education law, No Child Left Behind. We speak to New York City public school teacher Brian Jones and Diane Ravitch, the former Assistant Secretary of Education and counselor to Education Secretary Lamar Alexander under President George H. W. Bush, who has since this post dramatically changed her position on education policy. She is the author of "The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education."
Jeff Bernstein

Steve Brill's blinkered view of education | Felix Salmon - 1 views

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    If you don't have the time or inclination to read Steve Brill's book on education reform, then his bombastic op-ed on the subject is a pretty good alternative. And similarly, if you didn't read Diane Ravitch's 4,400-word review of "Waiting for Superman" in the NYRB, then her 1,000-word response to Brill captures the heart of her argument. Reading them side by side, the conclusion I come to is that Brill protests far too much.
Jeff Bernstein

The reform movement is already failing | The Great Debate - 0 views

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    Diane Ravitch responds to Steve Brill.
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