School-Wise News Burst

October 16th, 2018

SCHOOL-WISE NEWS BURST:

Signs of the times…

·      Diana Tirado, an eighth grade teacher at West Gate K-8 School, Port St. Lucie, Florida, learned about the school’s “No Zero Policy” the hard way when she assigned an explorer notebook project. Although she gave students two weeks to complete it, several of them didn’t bother to turn it in. She, in turn, gave each one of them a zero. Of course, right?

Well, not so fast…

According to said policy—included in the student/parent handbook—Mrs. Tirado was required to give each one of those kids a 50%, the lowest possible grade allowed. For handing out zeroes instead, she was fired on September 14.

On her last day, she wrote this on the whiteboard in her classroom: “Bye, kids. Mrs. Tirado loves you and wishes you the best. I have been fired for refusing to give you a 50 percent grade on homework that was not turned in.” Read more.

·      According to “The Opportunity Myth,” we tell kids school matters when it comes to being prepared for college and careers–life. BUT, says the myth, “Far too many students graduate from high school still unprepared for the lives they want to lead.” That translates to remedial colleges courses or lacking needed skills to succeed in the work place. Bottom line: 71% of the time, kids are doing their homework but less than 20% of those assignments meet college-readiness standards. Read more.

Now comes a report by TNTP, an organization that concerns itself with education policies and equity issues. Reported by Linda Jacobson, senior editor for Education Dive: K-12, TNTP followed 250 teachers, watched about 1,000 classrooms, pored through thousands of assignments and work samples, and also surveyed some 4,000 students.

As TNTP CEO Daniel Weisberg put it, “Students actually are the best experts we have on the quality of the education we are providing.”

He reports that the study found that, while students are “working really hard,” many don’t get an opportunity to “succeed at the highest level.”

What should be happening? According to the study’s authors, four components are necessary for students to get the most out of their schooling:

1.      “Consistent opportunities to complete grade-appropriate assignments;

2.      “Strong instruction that puts the responsibilities for most of the thinking on the students;

3.      A feeling of being deeply engaged in the lesson;

4.      And teachers with high expectations.”

TNTP’s conclusion: On average, only 16% of the lessons observed in core subjects met those 4 criteria, “amounting to 29 hours per subject (out of a possible 180) over the course of the school year.”

·      As reported in an Education Week blog by Catherine Gewertz, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) is planning to now test kids’ creativity. To do so, it’s invited ACT to come up with said test, having it ready for use by 2021.

What exactly do they have in mind when it comes to assessing creativity? Reportedly, the test will target 1) written expression; 2) visual expression; 3) social problems; and 4) scientific problems.

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SO WHAT’S YOUR TAKE?

  1. The “No Zero” policy: Approve? Disapprove?
  2. “The Opportunity Myth”: Agree? Disagree?
  3. PISA’s decision to test creativity: Good idea? Terrible idea?

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Why Teachers Are Taking to the Streets

October 15th, 2018

Teacher morale has declined dramatically over the past ten years or so, resulting now in educators protesting in the streets, along with widespread teacher shortages, and far fewer college students choosing careers in education.

We start with the good news first, though.

PDK’s most recent poll found that support for teachers is at its highest in 50 years, with 66% of respondents saying teachers are underpaid. Moreover, 73% of them—taxpayers all–said they’d support a work-stoppage if it came to that.

Then there the rest of the story.

There are lots of reasons for teachers to take to the streets, front and center being money. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, nationwide, the average public school teacher’s salary stands at $58,000. In Oklahoma, it’s just $42,460, the lowest in the country.

That, according to a new Economic Policy Institute study, translates to teachers earning about about 23% less than other college-educated workers; in other words, approximately $350 less per week.

On top of all that, there’s the quality factor, or, should I say, the perception of it. A recent Gallup Poll found that, while 70% of parents with school-aged children are satisfied with the education their kids are getting, just 43% of Americans in general think that’s the case.

And that, of course, begs the question: How come the difference in views?

In part at least, look no further than politicians affecting how schools work and the media running with the teacher bashing ball…

Bush’s answer to our perceived schooling woes was his bi-partisan No Child Left Behind (NCLB) back in 2002. Along with all students being tested annually in grades 3 through 8, all were expected to be proficient in both math and reading within 12 years. Never happened; couldn’t happen.

That was followed by the lofty-sounding, equally unrealistic (ESSA) Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), signed into law by Obama in 2015, and still in force today. About that law, the U.S. Department of Education says: “ESSA includes provisions that will help to ensure success for students and schools.”

Among them:

·       It advances equity … for America’s disadvantaged and high-need students.

·       It requires—”for the first time”—all students be taught to high academic standards…

·       It ensures vital information is provided to all stakeholders via “annual statewide assessments that measure students’ progress toward those high standards.”

·       “It helps to support and grow local innovations… consistent with our Investing in Innovation and Promise Neighborhoods”

·       It expands the administration’s investment in high-quality preschool.

·       It requires accountability and action be taken towards positive outcomes in low-performing schools and their historically low graduation rates.

There’s more it, of course, but you get the idea. Meanwhile, the “reforms” keep coming, with tech folks now in on it, too. At the same time, costly charter schools keep gaining ground despite their overall dismal performance.

And now back on the scene comes Obama’s secretary of education for seven years, Arne Duncan, who has written a mostly self-serving book. Entitled How Schools Work: An Inside Account of Failure and Success from One of the Nation’s Longest Serving Secretaries of Education, it opens with the lines, “Education runs on lies. That’s probably not what you’d expect from a former secretary of education, but it’s the truth.”

This from a man who never spent even one day teaching kids in a classroom, yet whose impact on education reverberates to this day. His “fix” started with, but did not end with, his $4.35 billion Race to the Top (RTTT) whereby he bribed states to adopt the poorly-crafted Common Core State Standards and their related online, standardized testing. Scores on those were then tied to teachers’ evaluations, whether they taught the tested math or English/language arts subjects or not.

P.S. Publisher Simon & Schuster describes said book as “an expose of the status quo that helps maintain a broken system at the expense of our kids’ education.”

The no surprise upshot? Demoralized educators holding up picket signs, along with the PDK’s most discouraging finding: “Parents don’t want their children to become teachers.”

Who can blame them?

Indeed, between 2008 and 2016, the number of college students choosing and completing teacher prep programs dropped by 23%, according American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.

Plus, 17% of new teachers leave the profession within five years.

The good news, though, for those still in the trenches, Education Week recently confirmed that 101 running for their state legislatures have now moved on to the general election. Says 8th grade teacher Jennifer Samuels, running for Arizona’s House as a Democrat, “If even just a handful of us win a seat [in November], … then teachers will have a voice at the Capitol—and we haven’t had one in so very long.”

And so it goes, with hopes that you’ll make your voice heard, too.

 

America’s Locked-Up Schools

March 12th, 2018

As USA Today‘s Greg Toppo recently noted, most of our public schools are locked up and require a keycard or for visitors to be buzzed in by someone in the main office–but only after they’ve identified themselves and stated their purpose. They may very well be videotaped at some point, too.

As he indicates, at the time of the Columbine High School massacre on April 20, 1997, just 19% of our public schools even used security cameras; by the 2013-14 school year, 75% did.

Moreover, from 1999 to 2015, 78% of students said their schools’ doors were locked, up from 38% in 1999, while an earlier survey of responding administrators put that number at 93%.

At the same time, according to the Center for Education Statistics, “the number of crimes against students has actually plummeted more than 80% since 1992,” with 3% of them reported feeling “afraid of attack or harm,” vs. 12% in 1995.

Click the link to read Toppo’s full report.

News Worth Noting

March 1st, 2018

This in-like-a-lion and out-like-a-lamb month of March starts off on the 2nd with Read Across America Day, followed happily by Daylight Saving Time on the 12th, St. Patrick’s Day on the 17th, and the Spring Equinox on the 20th.

Meanwhile, however:

  • America reels from the shooting of 17 students and teachers in Florida at the hands of Nikolaus Cruz. In response, the President is calling for the arming of teachers, while the National Youth Day of Action Against Gun Violence is set for April 20.
  • The Supreme Court will be deciding the fate of unions’ “fair share” dues collection from non-members who benefit from their bargaining efforts.
  • Every state is federally mandated to collect and track students’ personal information from birth or preschool onwards. Be advised: These Student Longitudinal Data Systems are easily shared with vendors, government agencies across states, and so on, all without parental knowledge or consent.
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird have been removed from Duluth, MN high schools to protect “the dignity of students” and prevent them from feeling uncomfortable with racial epithets. Duluth is not alone in thinking high schoolers can’t handle such language.
  • Philadelphia is considering establishing set-aside places where users can shoot up in public with no repercussions; drugs will be on hand to counteract overdoses.
  • U.S. life expectancy has slipped yet again thanks to drug and alcohol use. In 1960, we enjoyed the highest life expectancy in the world, we’re now 1.5 years lower than the 35 OECD countries.
  • Scientists have now successfully cloned monkeys, begging the question, “Can humans be far behind?”
  • A proposed California bill would make plastic straws illegal unless requested.

And so it goes; well or not? You decide…

Message This: Social Media Is Toxic for Kids

February 19th, 2018

Cyber Bullying ConceptAccording to Common Sense Media research, teens now spend an average of nine hours a day glued to their devices, with tweens not all that far behind at six. And that doesn’t account for tech’s use in our nation’s classrooms, nor all the computer-required assignments that follow our children home after school.

Billed as a learning tool, many teachers now incorporate the likes of Twitter and video games into their lessons, negatively impacting attentions spans and critical thinking, right there along with spelling and writing skills.

As for the teachers who refuse to jump on the ed tech bandwagon? They’re called “resisters” and are often criticized as being old school and way behind the times.

Fortunately, they are not alone.

Among the concerned is Steve Fischer, eBay’s chief technology officer, who sends his children to a Waldorf School instead of his local tech-heavy public one; so, too, do many Silicon Valley employees.

That’s because founder Rudolf Steiner designed the Waldorf curriculum to focus on the academic, artistic, and practical with an eye toward developing students’ imaginations and getting them ready for the real world–no screens required.

The result for everyone else’s kids, though, is a tech-driven world, both in and out of school.

Indeed, Common Sense Media CEO and founder Jim Stryer calls the amount of media tech in children’s lives “mind-boggling.” As he notes, it dominates their world, and they can’t seem to resist its lure.

One result: Multi-tasking. Now, 50% of teens say they “often” or “sometimes” use social media or watch TV while doing homework; 60% say they text and 75%+ listen to music at the same time.

Pushback is growing, though, with outfits like the Truth About Tech: How Tech Has Kids Hooked.” Sponsored by Common Sense Media, the Center for Humane Technology, and others, it held an event in D.C. earlier this year. Its mission is to expose the techniques used by tech companies to hook our kids and find a way to ensure their digital well-being, as well.

As the Center points out, “Technology is hijacking our minds and society.”

And it’s all been done intentionally.

In fact, Facebook’s founding president, Sean Parker, has admitted that he and other higher-ups came up with “a social validation feedback loop” that makes the social media platform addictive.

At one point, another early FB exec, Chalmath Palihapitiya, accused his company of creating “short-term dopamine-driven feedback loops that are destroying how society works.”

And though he tried to walk back that statement, it still has legs, so to speak.

Even Apple CEO Tim Cook gets it. Though childless himself, not only does he set firm limits on his nephew when it comes to social media, he doesn’t consider it a success if we’re all are using tech all the time.

As it is, 50% of teens feel they are addicted to their mobiles, with 60% of their parents agreeing.

Confided one teen, “I would rather not eat for a week than get my phone taken away. It’s really bad.”

Moreover, Jean Twenge, a San Diego State University psych professor and author of iGen, says that heavy–5+ hours a day–device users are:

  • 56% more likely to say they are unhappy;
  • 27% more likely to be depressed; and
  • 35% more likely to have one risk factor for suicide.

These numbers are substantiated by numerous experts and backed by brain-imaging studies, too.

Nevertheless, Dr. Nicholas Kardaras, author of Glow Kids: How Screen Addiction Is Hijacking Our Kids, notes that none of us wants “some buzz-killing truth-sayers telling us that the emperor has no clothes,” and that the devices we’re so attached to pose a problem, especially for kids’ developing brains.

Regardless of the disturbing evidence, though, Facebook is not stopping, not by a long shot.

Not satisfied with its current 2.13 billion users–supposedly all 13 and older–it’s now aiming lower with Messenger Kids, created with children as young as six in mind.

This video, calling, and messaging app lets kids connect with friends and family via tablet or smartphone, and it boasts that countless parents and children’s advocates had a hand in designing it.

However, many of those contributors received funding from Facebook…

Meanwhile, among Messenger Kids’ boasts: Parents must first approve of all contacts, and it gets kids and parents chatting with each other in “a safe, controlled environment.”

Safer than what, face-to-face conversations?

Countless child development experts and others disapprove.

Organized by the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, a number of them recently sent a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg urging him to take down Messenger Kids. Citing its potential for harm, they pointed out that young kids aren’t developmentally ready to handle social media, online relationships, or the misunderstandings and conflicts that can arise from them.

Nevertheless, Messenger Kids is still up and running, so…

Bottom line: Keep it personal, not virtual.

Finista: A Secretive Instagram Spinoff Garnering Teen Attention

January 26th, 2018

Fotosearch_Cheating_k19153317As reported by Fiza Pirani of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Finista, the latest social media platform gaining teen attention, is a combo of the words fake and Instagram. As she explains, “It is essentially a fake second Instagram account cultivated for a much smaller, private audience… As opposed to a real Instagram account (Rinsta), it features a much more unfiltered experience.”

And that should be a red flag for parents, for all of us.

More popular with girls than boys, it offers “a safe space from nosy family members, educators, or even future employers.” Like Facebook, many Instagram posts paint rosy versions of users’ lives; that, however, is not the case with Finista. There, posts reflect the real deal but are hidden from adults who can intercede and pull the plug–like parents.

Its allure is that it Read the rest of this entry »

9 Upsetting Education News Items

December 6th, 2017

Charters and private school vouchers continue taking center stage, along with the Common Core and all the ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) state proposals now in the hands of the U.S. Department of Education. At the same time, tech keeps increasing its domination over instruction and our children’s bingeing on social media is, in all-too-many cases, ending in depression and suicide.

And it just keeps going from there:

  1. Taxpayer-funded Brooklyn College says its students “get triggered” by police on campus and wants them to only use distant, poorly maintained bathrooms. Meanwhile, a petition is now calling for the removal of all police from the campus.
  2. The Penn State frat boys who gave a pledge at least 18 drinks in less than 90 minutes and then tried to delete the video evidence. In all, 26 now face charges in Tim Piazza’s death.
  3. At least 45 Harrisburg, Pennsylvania teachers resigned between July and October and more did so since October. The reason: student violence.
  4. Baltimore teachers protested a lack of discipline in some schools, thus putting them in harm’s way.
  5. On state tests, 33% of Baltimore’s high schools had NOT ONE student scoring proficient in math, and 6 had just 1% in that range.
  6. 19 of NYC Mayor DeBlasio’s $582 million Renewal Program’s 28 schools missed their target graduation rates, and saw 6 of them fall.
  7.  Called “digital self-harm,” about 6% of our 12- through 1-year-olds have bullied themselves online; these children are 12 times more likely to have been cyberbullied at some point.
  8.  The U.S. Department of Education is warning parents and teen to carefully consider the data they give to schools, as criminals are threatening to do violence and to do release sensitive school records.
  9. BrainCo has no invented a headset that measures a student’s brain’s activity an transmits the information instantly to the teacher.

And so it goes…

Picting: The New Literacy Amid Declining Writing & Reading Skills

November 16th, 2017

Carol-Josel-appleIn this era of selfies and emojis, it’s no surprise that, in a recent article, veteran elementary/middle school teacher Chrissy Romano-Arrabito says that picting–using images in place of text to convey thoughts and ideas–“is becoming the norm among today’s digital-first students.” And that, she posits, might just be a new literacy

With no mention of the ongoing decline in reading and writing skills, she continues with such facts as:

  1. Snapshot allows its more than 173 million daily users capture video and pictures that vanish in a few seconds.
  2. Social networking Instagram enjoys more than 400 million daily users all  with the ability to share both photos and videos.
  3. YouTube boasts over 5 billion videos.
  4. 75% of tweens & teens engage in social media like those above, Facebook and Twitter, too

Meanwhile, though 90% of classroom time remains text-based, 90% of non-school time is spent with image-based materials via such sites as those above.

The result: The National Center for Education Statistics finds that SAT mean scores in writing dropped from Read the rest of this entry »

The Latest Online Threat: Kids Cyberbullying Themselves

November 14th, 2017

With thanks to USA Today‘s N’dea Yancey-Bragg:

iStock bulliedAs if news about kids’ online activities couldn’t get any worse, it just has…

Indeed, according to the Cyberbullying Research Center, about 6% of our kids, 6 through 17, have actually bullied themselves digitally. Says the organization’s co-director, Sameer Hinduja, “It’s a new phenomenon, and this is definitely happening… We have a tendency to demonize the aggressor, but in some cases, maybe one out of 20, the aggressor and the target are the same.”

And sometimes with lethal effect. In the piece, Yancey-Bragg cites the case of 14-year-old Hannah Smith who ultimately hanged herself. 98% of the messages she received she’d sent herself.

Reportedly, “digital self-harm” is seen three times more often in non-heterosexual teens, with cyberbullying victims 12 times more likely to target themselves.

All this at a time when the CDC says that, in 2015, 36% of all teens felt “desperately sad or hopeless, or thinking about, planning, or attempting suicide, up from 32% in 2009.”

A major reason: the rise of social media.

Welfare Spending: In Need of Reforming?

November 9th, 2017

Just as the cost of living and taxes keep going up every year, so does spending on welfare programs. Indeed, citing the U.S. Census Bureau’s Annual Surveys of State and Local Government Finances, journalist Gabrielle Olya recently reported that spending on public welfare–think Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, medical assistance programs, food stamp administration, child welfare services, etc.–exceeded $609 billion in 2015 alone, with the main reason being the expansion of Medicaid programs.

Whatever your politics, this should give pause–and it certainly has for writers of The Tribune-Democrat, The Associated Press, which did an opinion piece, “Tightening Welfare Rules Is Necessary.” It ends with this:

“…Reforming public assistance as a whole is a good idea.

“Welfare was never meant to become a way of life. It was a way to help the poor until they could transition back into the workforce.

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 was the latest federal government attempt to encourage the move from welfare to work.

“We don’t begrudge the public assistance that worthy individuals receive, but we do not condone those who cheat the government, and ultimately taxpayers, by receiving more than their share.

“Those unscrupulous individuals are why the system needs to be tightened.”

Have they got a point?

 

 

 

November 8th, 2017

 

 

 

 

Society keeps changing dramatically, with many saying not for the better. For instance:

  • About the kneeling NFL players, columnist Chris Freind wrote, “America isn’t perfect, but it is the freest, fairest, and most generous nation in history, where opportunities remain endless and past mistakes are both acknowledged and atoned for… Showing respect for the National Anthem is as close to scoring an uncontested touchdown as it gets.”
  • As for college campus safe places, the dis-inviting of conservative speakers, the banning of books, etc., columnist Michael Gerson wrote, “Education must mean more than the avoidance of offense… This means that true education always involves risk–particularly the risk of giving offense. Students are not defiled by the existence of terrible words and ideas. They are defiled by the acceptance or normalization of those words and ideas, which is precisely what [books like] To Kill A Mockingbird–and all true education sets out to prevent.”
  • On the Boy Scouts’ decision to admit girls first into the Cub Scouts and then older girls in 2019, Kathy Hopinkah Hannon, president of the Girl Scouts wrote, “I formally request that your organization stay focused on the 90% of American boys not currently participating in the Boy Scouts… and not consider expanding to recruit girls.”
  • Then there’s this: When First Lady Melania Trump sent ten Dr. Seuss books to a school in every state, Cambridge, Massachusetts librarian Liz Phipps Soeir refused to accept them saying that they are “steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes.”

What’s your take on such goings-on?

9 Worrisome School-Related Statistics

November 6th, 2017
  1. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 37% of black, first-time college students who enrolled in 2011-12 were no longer in school after three years.
  2. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 30% of Hispanic, first-time college students were no longer in school after three years.
  3. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2012, just 6.8% of public school teachers were black.
  4. Finds the U.S. Department of Education. minority students are more likely to be taught by inexperience teachers than those with experience in 33 states.
  5. Says the Institute of Labor Economics, exposure to at least one black teacher in grades 3 to 4 reduces the probability of low-income black male students dropping out of school by almost 40%.
  6. The U.S. Department says that only 30% of students enrolled in AP classes are black or Latino.
  7. from Investing in Preschool Programs, on average, early childhood education reduces the kindergarten black-white achievement gap by nearly 50%.
  8. The Civil Rights Project of UCLA found that, from 2001 to 2011. Latino enrollment increased by 47%.
  9. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, minorities are expected to be a majority of high school graduates.

 

 

Even More Student Data Collecting under ESSA

November 3rd, 2017

As Daarel Burnette II reported in the October 26th issue of Education Week, state-issued school report cards are in for a make-over in both appearance and information, and that’s no easy matter. It’s also a concern for those dubious about the merits of data collection. As Burnette explains, “The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires states to visualize in an ‘easily accessible and user-friendly’ way plenty more data points than was required under No Child Left Behind (NCLB), including school-by-school spending, stats on teacher and principal quality, school discipline rates, and preschool, Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate offerings–all broken out by more than 10 student subgroups.”

And here’s the kicker: “In all, states will have to shove into its report card an estimated 2,107 data points about its public school system…” Or so predicts the Council of Chief State School Officers.

Daunting, no? How about a waste of time, energy, and lots of money?

from Mark Binelli’s “The Michigan Experiment” on Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos

October 17th, 2017

123rf-education-21508154Again, with thanks to Mark Binelli’s “The Michigan Experiment” talking about U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Give a listen and start worrying…

  • “Nationally, the pro-charter tent is large and unwieldy enough to include education-reform wonks, hedge-fund managers, billionaire philanthropists and politicians from both parties, and Trump’s tapping of DeVos has placed the movement in a complex situation. Despite the policy ignorance displayed in her confirmation hearing, she’s an ally, and one whose influence on the 2018 Trump administration budget is already evident: Amid huge cuts to overall education spending, there’s a $517 million increase in funding for charters and private-school vouchers and an additional $1 billion worth of grants set aside for local districts willing to implement ‘open enrollment’ programs’ (allowing students to attend any area public schools, charters included, and take allotted stated and federal funds with them.)”
  • “Eighteen Republican governors sent the Senate’s education committee a letter in strong support of DeVos and what they called her promise to ‘streamline the federal education bureaucracy’ and ‘return authority back to state and local school boards.”
  • “But even many charter proponents are troubled by the Michigan model that DeVos has such a crucial role in creating. In a column in Education Week published in March, Greg Richmond, the president of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, corrected ‘friends and neighbors’ who assumed he must be happy about the new education secretary, explaining that he rejected a ‘free-market approach to charter schooling’ that ’embraces the principles of choice and autonomy while gutting accountability’ and insisting that ‘true supporters of charter schools will not abide by this co-optation of what it means to be a charter school.’ With DeVos and her ideas ascendant in Washington, Michigan has become a symbol–and, for some, a cautionary tale–of a movement gone astray.”
  • Says Bryan Newland, Bay Mills Indian Community board member & tribal judge, “I learned at a relatively young age not to ascribe malice to people as a motivation. I think when she [DeVos] says, ‘I care about having our kids learn,’ I believe that. But, she didn’t go to public school. Her kids didn’t go. My guess is she doesn’t hang out with a lot of people who know what it’s like going to a school with 50 percent people of color. And I haven’t seen evidence that she’s taken the time to learn.”

 

 

 

from “The Michigan Experiment,” by Mark Binelli

October 17th, 2017

123rf-education-21508154With thanks to Mark Binelli’s “The Michigan Experiment,” some excerpts of note:

  • “A major victim of the city’s [Detroit] insolvency was its public school system, which had been under state control since 2012. (Six different state-appointed emergency managers have run the district since then.) Plummeting enrollment, legacy costs and financial mismanagement had left the school system with a projected deficit of $10 million. The state’s solution was to ‘charterize’ the entire district: void the teacher’s union contract, fire all employees and turn over control of the schools to a private, for-profit charter operator.”
  • “Michigan’s aggressively free-market approach to schools has resulted in one of the most deregulated educational environments in the country, a laboratory in which consumer choice and a shifting landscape of supply and demand (and profit motive, in the case of many charters) were pitched as ways to improve life in the classroom for the state’s 1.5 million public-school students. But a Brookings Institutions analysis done this year of national test scores ranked Michigan last among all states when it came to improvements in student proficiency. And a 2016 analysis by the Education Trust-Midwest, a nonpartisan education policy and research organization, found that 70 percent of Michigan charters were in the bottom half of the state’s rankings. Michigan has the most for-profit charter schools in the country and some of the least state oversight. Even staunch charter advocates have blanched at the Michigan model.”
  • “…It’s important to understand that what happened to Michigan’s schools isn’t solely, or even primarily, an education story. Today in Michigan, hundreds of nonprofit public charters have become potential financial assets to outside entities, inevitably complicating their broader social missions.”
  • According to the 2016 Education Trust-Midwest report: “In little more than a decade, Michigan has gone from a fairly average state in elementary reading and math achievement to the bottom 10 states. It’s a devastating fall. Indeed, new national assessment data suggest Michigan is witnessing systemic decline across the K-12 spectrum. White, black, brown, higher-income, low-income–it doesn’t matter who they are or where they live…”