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Jeff Bernstein

The State vs. LoHud: How they see our educational needs | The Hall Monitor - 0 views

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    "There is a widening gulf - a not-so-grand canyon - between how our school community in the Lower Hudson Valley sees the world and how our state education leadership sees the same old world.

    As an education reporter covering the state-imposed reforms, I am repeatedly struck by this dichotomy. Everyone professes to be in the education game for the kids - the very same kids - yet the state Board of Regents and Commissioner John King find themselves in an increasingly nasty stare-down with this region and Long Island, plus lots of folks from New York City and the rest of this vast state."
Jeff Bernstein

Debunking Reformy "Messaging": A Philadelphia Story | School Finance 101 - 0 views

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    "Let's take another trip back to Philadelphia for the day, because the reformy conversation around Philadelphia is just so darn illustrative of how reformy thinking works. Here's a synopsis of the reformy approach to pushing pre-established, fact free, ideological reforms:"
Jeff Bernstein

Daily Kos: Unions, Education and The Chicago Teachers Strike - 0 views

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    "The Chicago Teachers Union strike, and the recent rallies held in conjunction, speak to a problem larger than the conventional meme of pay increases, tenure, or pensions.  Chicago Teachers want better working conditions. They realize as no other employees might; the environments in which they work fashion the future of our nation.  Our children's education is at-risk."
Jeff Bernstein

Education reform's central myths - Salon.com - 0 views

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    "The education debate rests on two faulty premises: that public schools are failures, and choice is the solution"

    "The "Overton Window" is not a new kind of low-glare, high-insulation windowpane. Nor is it the title of a paperback thriller like "The Eiger Sanction" or "The Bourne Supremacy." Identified by Joseph P. Overton of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, the Overton Window refers to the boundaries of the limited range of ideas and policies that are acceptable for consideration in politics at any one time. In other words, the Overton Window is the "box" that we are constantly exhorted to think outside of, only to be ignored or punished if we succeed."
Jeff Bernstein

Randi Weingarten & Michael Mulgrew: Mayor Bloomberg: Stop closing schools, th... - 0 views

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    While the fight over closing schools may be hotter than the weather this summer, the evidence shows that this is not a strategy that works to help all New York City kids get the education they deserve. Yet Mayor Bloomberg has adopted it with a single-mindedness that makes no sense. He has closed more than 140 schools since he took control of the city's school system in 2002.

    Bloomberg's agenda has disrupted school communities, alienated parents and destabilized neighborhoods. College-readiness rates in the new schools created to replace closing schools are abysmally low, and overall grad rates in these new schools have actually been falling, even as overall grad rates remained flat.

    Instead of closing schools, there is a better and more effective intervention to turn them around.

    The Chancellor's District was an innovative program involving nearly 60 schools that flourished from 1996 to 2003 under a joint agreement between then-Chancellor Rudy Crew and the UFT. It's an approach we can use in the 24 schools that are now the subject of litigation between the Department of Education and the principals' and teachers' unions over how they will be staffed.
Jeff Bernstein

NewSchools Venture Fund Spending, 2002-2010 - 0 views

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    The NewSchools Venture Fund (NSVF) is a nonprofit organization with ten years of experience in K-12 education. NSVF is an interesting organization for the following reasons:

    * NSVF invested in a number of management organizations before management organizations were well-known
    * NSVF is an excellent example of venture philanthropy, or the application of venture capitalism to philanthropic giving
    * NSVF is an influential organization

    The purpose of this post is to provide some descriptive information about NSVF grants and changes in spending over time. I am using data pulled from NSVF's IRS 990s between the years 2002 and 2010. I then compiled that information to create a dataset of all NSVF grants
Jeff Bernstein

Why Activists in the US and Around the World Should be Learning from Montreal Student S... - 0 views

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    The core issues at stake here are the same ones that students and workers around the world are facing right now: austerity and the increasing privatization of education.
Jeff Bernstein

The Danger in School Spending Cuts - NYTimes.com - 0 views

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    Poor school districts are being forced to cut electives, remedial tutoring, foreign languages and other programs and services to balance budgets. Many schools in less prosperous areas face what the state commissioner of education calls "educational insolvency."

    The obvious losers are students, who will be less prepared for graduation, college and their careers. But ultimately, all New Yorkers will suffer as the lack of skilled workers becomes a long-term drain on economic activity across the state.
Jeff Bernstein

Fred LeBrun on Andrew Cuomo: Throw grenade, walk away - Times Union - 0 views

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    Public education has been a disaster for Andrew Cuomo, and vice versa.

    Right from the start of his administration, he's used the wrong tactics, the wrong strategies and the wrong sequences if he had any intention of actually elevating New York's public education system and giving especially stressed urban and rural school districts a much-needed boost.
Jeff Bernstein

No Excuses! Really? Another look at our NEPC Charter Spending Figures « Schoo... - 0 views

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    KIPP argues that we counted all of their centralized expenses against them, and counted NONE against the NYC public schools. This is not true. We actually didn't count KIPP regional and national expenses that exist beyond what the locals pay in management fees accounted for on their budgets.
    Second, as I will show below, even if we count all of the system-wide expenses (& other obligations) of NYC BOE schools, KIPP schools continue to substantially outspend them.
Jeff Bernstein

Report Cites High Charter Spending; KIPP Disputes Findings - Charters & Choice - Educat... - 0 views

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    Educators and policymakers have for years debated the academic performance of charter schools, when compared against traditional public schools. Now a new report focuses on charters' financial performance-and concludes that many well-known charter school networks spend more money than comparable, regular public schools.

    The report, released by the National Education Policy Center, examines charter schools' spending, as measured by their 990 filings through the Internal Revenue Service, and other state and local data. It focuses on charter school spending in three states: New York, Ohio, and Texas, over a three-year-period, from 2008-2010.

    But the findings are being strongly disputed by one of the charter operators cited in the report, KIPP, whose spokesman called its cost comparisons a "fiction" and said it does not present charter and regular public school expenses consistently, or transparently.
Jeff Bernstein

Another Look at Charter Schools' Administrative Costs - Charters & Choice - Education Week - 0 views

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    I recently wrote about an analysis of Michigan's education system that concluded that charter schools-contrary to what some of their backers claim-spend more on administrative costs, and less on instruction, than traditional public schools.

    But you didn't really think that would be the final word on the subject, did you?

    This week, a consultant writing for a charter school association takes issue with that claim, put forward in a study released by the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education. In a blog post written for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, Larry Maloney argues that the authors' research does not present a true comparison of administrative spending in charters and traditional publics, particularly in urban areas, such as charter school-rich Detroit.
Jeff Bernstein

Shanker Blog » The Relatively Unexplored Frontier Of Charter School Finance - 0 views

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    Do charter schools do more - get better results - with less? If you ask this question, you'll probably get very strong answers, ranging from the affirmative to the negative, often depending on the person's overall view of charter schools. The reality, however, is that we really don't know.

    Actually, despite uninformed coverage of insufficient evidence, researchers don't even have a good handle on how much charter schools spend, to say nothing of whether how and how much they spend leads to better outcomes. Reporting of charter financial data is incomplete, imprecise and inconsistent. It is difficult to disentangle the financial relationships between charter management organizations (CMOs) and the schools they run, as well as that between charter schools and their "host" districts.
Jeff Bernstein

Spending by the Major Charter Management Organizations: Comparing Charter School and Lo... - 0 views

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    We compare the spending of charters to that of district schools of similar size, serving the same grade levels and similar student populations. Overall, charter spending variation is large as is the spending of traditional public schools. Comparative spending between the two sectors is mixed, with many high profile charter network schools outspending similar district schools in New York City and Texas, but other charter network schools spending less than similar district schools, particularly in Ohio.

    We find that in New York City, KIPP, Achievement First and Uncommon Schools charter schools spend substantially more ($2,000 to $4,300 per pupil) than similar district schools. Given that the average spending per pupil was around $12,000 to $14,000 citywide, a nearly $4,000 difference in spending amounts to an increase of some 30%. In Ohio, charters across the board spend less than district schools in the same city. And in Texas, some charter chains such as KIPP spend substantially more per pupil than district schools in the same city and serving similar populations, around 30 to 50% more in some cities (and at the middle school level) based on state reported current expenditures, and 50 to 100% more based on IRS filings. Even in New York where we have the highest degree of confidence in the match between our IRS data and Annual Financial Report Data, we remain unconvinced that we are accounting fully for all charter school expenditures.
Jeff Bernstein

What Teachers Want | The Nation - 0 views

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    But a review of the best evidence on teachers' sentiments shows that educators are not unhappy because they resent the new emphasis on teacher evaluations, a key element of President Obama's Race to the Top program; in fact, according to a separate survey of 10,000 public school teachers from Scholastic and the Gates Foundation, the majority support using measures of student learning to assess teachers, and the mean number of years teachers believe they should devote to the classroom before being assessed for tenure is 5.4, a significant increase from the current national average of 3.1 years.

    But polling shows teachers are depressed by the increasing reliance on standardized tests to measure student learning-the "high stakes" testing regime that the standards and accountability movement has put in place across the country and that Race to the Top has reinforced in some states and districts. Teachers are also concerned that growing numbers of parents are not able to play an active role in their children's education, and they are angry about the climate of austerity that has invaded the nation's schools, with state and local budget cuts threatening key programs that help students learn and overcome the disadvantages of poverty.
Jeff Bernstein

New York is no model, Ravitch says | Philadelphia Public School Notebook - 0 views

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    If Philadelphia is looking to New York City as the exemplar of "best practices" for improving schools by organizing them into support networks, it is looking in the wrong place, according to historian and education analyst Diane Ravitch.
    "New York City has not had any great success," said Ravitch, in town Wednesday for the conference of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. "New York used to boast of dramatic test score gains, but they disappeared in 2010."
    In that year, the state's Department of Education acknowledged that the cut scores had been dropping on the standardized tests. "All the gains disappeared," she said.
Jeff Bernstein

Real Reform versus Fake Reformy Distractions: More Implications from NJ & MA ... - 0 views

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    Recently, I responded to an absurd and downright disturbing Op-Ed by a Connecticut education reform organization that claimed that Connecticut needed to move quickly to adopt teacher evaluation/tenure reforms and expand charter schooling because a) Connecticut has a larger achievement gap and lower outcomes for low income students than Massachusetts or New Jersey and b) New Jersey and Massachusetts were somehow outpacing Connecticut in adopting new reformy policies regarding teacher evaluation. Now, the latter assertion is questionable enough to begin with, but the most questionable assertion was that any recent policy changes that may have occurred in New Jersey or Massachusetts explain why low income children in those states do better, and have done better at a faster rate than low income kids in Connecticut. Put simply, bills presently on the table, or legislation and regulations adopted and not yet phased in do not explain the gains in student outcomes of the past 20 years.
    Note that I stick to comparisons among these states because income related achievement gaps are most comparable among them (that is, the characteristics of the populations that fall above and below the income thresholds for free/reduced lunch are relatively comparable among these states, but not so much to states in other regions of the country).
    I'm not really providing much new information in this post, but I am elaborating on my previous point about the potential relevance of funding equity - school finance - reforms - and providing additional illustrations.
Jeff Bernstein

New York gets it wrong - Times Union - 0 views

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    New York Board of Regents Chancellor Meryl Tisch recently announced that beginning next year, the state Education Department will institute a test-security unit that will look for cheating on standardized tests.

    The chancellor stated that, "This was not done in response to a widespread epidemic. This is about preventing rare and unfortunate cases and ensuring systemwide we have a testing system that works."

    In other words, the state Education Department will now spend at least $1 million a year to solve a problem that does not exist.
Jeff Bernstein

Study Probes Charters' Spending on Instruction, Administration - Charters & Choice - Ed... - 0 views

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    One of the most frequent criticisms put to traditional public schools is that they waste money on administrative bloat, instead of channeling more funding where it belongs-the classroom. A much leaner and classroom-centered model, some say, can be found in charter schools, because of their relative freedom from stifling bureaucracy.

    A new study, however, concludes that this hypothesis has it exactly wrong.

    The study, released by the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education, at Teachers College, Columbia University, examines school spending in Michigan and concludes that charter schools spend more per-pupil on administration and less on instruction than traditional public schools, even when controlling for enrollment, student populations served, and other factors.
Jeff Bernstein

Resource Allocation in Charter and Traditional Public Schools: Is Administration Leaner... - 0 views

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    There is widespread concern that administration consumes too much of the educational dollar in traditional public schools, diverting needed resources from classroom instruction and hampering efforts to improve student outcomes.  By contrast, charter schools are predicted to have leaner administration and allocate resources more intensively to instruction. This study analyzes resource allocation in charter and district schools in Michigan, where charter and tradition public schools receive approximately the same operational funding.  Holding constant other determinants of school resource allocation, we find that compared to traditional public schools, charter schools on average spend nearly $800 more per pupil per year on administration and $1100 less on instruction.
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