New analysis: disparities in k12 funding exist - even among similar districts. http://bit.ly/1TtaPUu pic.twitter.com/Y98fjCbWcE
Curious about the ESSA funding debate but not sure where to start or why to care? Let me see if I can help sort the substantive, political, and other aspects of the story out for you -- and point you towards and even more obscure part of ESSA that may make the current debate moot.
As you may already know, Senator Alexander and several education groups (including the teachers unions) are strongly opposed to an ESSA rule that the Obama education department has developed. No doubt, requiring districts to document equitable funding outcomes for Title I schools would require a series of changes for states and districts.
In extremely simplified terms, the Obama rule would require that states and districts show that they weren't spending more money on poorer schools* than less poor ones. Complying with the requirement could result in large-scale transfers of teachers, cutting of programs at middle-poverty schools, and other unwanted outcomes.
In establishing this requirement, the Obama rule goes against the flow of play these days, which under ESSA generally limits the USDE's role in overseeing the states and districts and how they use roughly $15 billion a year in federal education funding. According to ESSA, districts are relieved of having to identify specific services as supplemental and the USDE is specifically prohibited from requiring a “specific methodology” for distributing state and local funds.
Ed Week has covered this a number of times, including these two pieces (Education Secretary Advocates Robust ESSA Rules Amid GOP Backlash, Report to Congress: Proposed Spending Rules Appear to Exceed ESSA Language). An NPR story this morning (The 'Intolerable' Fight Over School Money) adds that Senator Alexander has told states to resist this regulation if it isn't changed or stopped through other means. A NYT piece by New America's Kevin Carey (Why There’s an Uproar Over Trying to Increase Funding for Poor Schools) tells the backstory and makes the case in favor of the Obama position.
During a phone interview earlier this morning, Carey explained that the crafty folks at the USDE decided that the new law didn’t block them from requiring states to document comparable outcomes, as long as they didn’t meddle in the methods. “It’s a new and very different interpretation of the ‘supplement, not supplant’ rule,” according to Carey – but not an unjustifiable one. (On Twitter, economist Bruce Baker took issue with Carey's analysis, and the original headline of the piece [Why Poor Districts Receive Less Government School Funding Than Rich Ones] was quickly changed.)
It comes down to semantics, really. If ESSA bans the USDE from establishing any specific method of allocating funding, does that also mean that it can’t require the resulting amounts to be equitable?
Nine Democratic Senators (including Senator Sanders and Senator Warren) are supporting the Obama position. A group of civil rights organizations is also supportive.
We still don't know where Senator Murray and Hillary Clinton stand on the issue -- I've asked the Clinton campaign and will let you know when they respond.
It’s worth adding that the Obama administration has made regular use of whatever flexibility it can find in federal law in the past. The 2009 Race to the Top initiative, the SIG program, and the NCLB waiver program all stretched – or perhaps broke – the limits of the USDE’s statutory and regulatory powers.
In pushing ahead with this ESSA rule the Obama administration could be seen as creating problems for the Clinton campaign. It certainly isn't taking a backseat and giving the presumptive nominee as much maneuvering room as possible.
Even if the USDE blinks first, funding expert Marguerite Roza argues in the Brookings blog that a transparency provision put into the law by Senator Bennet is going to end up having much the same effect (More equitable spending on its way regardless of rulemaking).
Roza argues that, when differentials between schools are finally published, it will become difficult for lawmakers to continue doing what they've done for so long:
"When the spending data are daylighted, the evidence will be clear that many districts have hardwired systematic spending inequities in their operations.... School boards will have no choice but to do the hard work of rethinking longstanding policies that contributed to the uneven spending."
*Correction: The original version stated poorer districts, not schools.
The 'Intolerable' Fight Over School Money : NPR Ed : NPR pllqt.it/EfH7Sc
On the anniversary of Brown v. Board, new evidence that U.S. schools are resegregating - Washington Post ow.ly/yL26300k0sk
Black And Latino Students Lose Out To White Peers. And It's Getting Worse. - HuffPost ow.ly/NiC7300k1fl
California high school students graduating at record rate - SFGate ow.ly/tykr300k20z
Are more engaging classes improving California graduation rates? scpr.org/news/2016/05/1…
Boston Students Walk Out To Protest Proposed Cuts ow.ly/xshc300k26F
LAUSD puts millions into its magnet expansion - LA School Report ow.ly/G6JP300k0eG
Girls better at leveraging tech to solve problems - POLITICO ow.ly/X4IT300k1Xc
Girls outscore boys on inaugural national test of technology, engineering skills - The Washington Post ow.ly/PjPe300hr1w
PA Governor not ready to revise teacher layoff law :: SI&A Cabinet Report ow.ly/Ssgt300hrF3
Pearson gets emergency test scoring contract from Tennessee | Chalkbeatow.ly/Zz2z1005u57
A First: Pell Grants For High School Students Who Take College Classes : NPR Ed : NPR ow.ly/dd6y300hr9s
Some, But Not All of New i3 Grants Will Prioritize School Integration - Politics K-12 - Education Week ow.ly/TK7d300hrdt
Desegregation order: Mississippi district must merge schools: AP Article ow.ly/9Rfb300hrfY
Candidate for CPS principals' group arrested on phone charge | Chicago Sun-Times ow.ly/AjvX300hrQe
What if one culture shares multiple languages? That’s a challenge Oregon is taking up with its Somali students. ow.ly/keqD300hrnc
Uncovering the Stark Disparities Behind School Money - ProPublica ow.ly/wkcn300hrLK
Old time courtesies getting new currency in Maryland schools offsetting disrespect with etiquette lessons. fw.to/oEY9Jlh
Chicago Principal Grapples With Potential Budget Cuts | WBEZ ow.ly/yKx7300g9Ck
"At the second annual Education Summit, The Atlantic will illuminate the most pressing debates in the education world today, from cradle to college," says the promo copy for Education Summit 2016. It start tomorrow morning and continues Wednesday, in DC. Topics under discussed are listed as ESSA, Common Core, School to Prison Pipeline, Speech on College Campuses, and College Affordability. Speakers and panelists include Jen Holleran, executive director of Startup:Education (part of the Chan Zuckerberg effort). The Atlantic's education editor, Alia Wong, will also participate. Hashtag? Livestream? LMK.
Or, as the Huffington Post put it, "At This Rate, It Will Be A Very Long Time Before Every Child Gets Access To Preschool."
Here I was this advocate for education, and I couldn’t find a place for my son... I was crying in the principal’s office and I said, ‘I don’t know what to do.’ The principal said, ‘I don’t either.
Parent and advocate Arlyssa Heard in The Atlantic (The Bills That Want to Solve Detroit's School Crisis)
More than a half-million poorly prepared students — or about one in four — were required to take remedial courses in math, English or writing. Forty-five percent of them came from middle-, upper-middle- and high-income families... At private, nonprofit four-year schools, for example, students whose families were in the top 20 percent of income nationally actually took more remedial courses than students in the bottom 20 percent at the same colleges.
-- NYT editorial page (aka Brent Staples) in Guess Who’s Taking Remedial Classes
In their haste to pull away from something they didn’t want, many states were left without backup plans. They quickly assembled new testing programs that, all over the country, are now backfiring. Three or more years is generally what’s needed to design and vet a new test, but some states, including Indiana, are trying to do that work in two years or less.
-- Chalkbeat's Shaina Cavasos in They rejected multi-state Common Core exams. Now what?
Signs abound that this era of polarization is giving way to a different and more constructive phase in U.S. efforts to boost student achievement.... The dawn of a new era of K-12 philanthropy .... Funders [like Walton and Broad] are no longer the dominant drivers.
Inside Philanthropy's David Callahn (The New Era of K-12 Philanthropy)
So much of the recent attention towards school segregation has focused on within-district segregation, which makes sense. Gentrification, attendance zone boundaries, immigration, and other factors all play a role there, and are relatively easily understood and at least theoretically addressed by a single school district or mayoral agency.
But as USC's Ann Owens explained at last week's #EWA16 event, the most segregation takes place between different districts.
One reason this may garner less attention is that it makes it harder to consider what the solutions might be when two semi-autonomous public agencies are involved, and one of them is probably much better-off than the other. Consolidating districts? Good luck with that. Transfer agreements between districts? NCLB called for those but generated precious few actual transfers.
Interested in more about media coverage of segregation? Check out my column at The Grade about the surge in coverage, and some possible problems it raises.
Credit Ann Owens and sources listed.
"There's some deep ... problems that we as a society haven't faced up to yet.," says"Sean Reardon, a professor of poverty and inequality in education at Stanford University in this EdWeek video and article (Achievement Gaps and Racial Segregation: Research Finds an Insidious Cycle)
A NYT piece out today emphasizes the strong correlation between income and student achievement. This chart reads: "6th graders in richest districts test 4 grades ahead of peers in poorest."
Some districts, like Union City, NJ seem to beat the odds. Others -- especially areas with large SES variations and school segregation -- show large gaps between low- and high-income student populations.
Folks like @thaddomina were quick to point out that the data also show that "the variation among SES-similar districts is important, too." The MSDF's Joe Siedleki picked New Orleans out.
The 69th Education Writers Association National Seminar is taking place starting Sunday, and all your favorite education journalists are scheduled to be there: members of the NPR education team, the NYT's Peabody-winning Nikole Hannah-Jones, the Tampa Bay Times' Pulitzer-winning Cara Fitzpatrick and Lisa Gartner, the the NYT's Kate Zernike, WSJ's Leslie Brody, etc. Plus there will be many big-name policy wonks and education leaders, such as Boston superintendent Tommy Chang, Stanford's Sean Reardon, UPenn's Angela Duckworth, the AFT's Randi Weingarten, MA's Mitch Chester, and EdSec John King.
The vast majority of the upcoming EWA annual conference in Boston starting this weekend is dedicated to helping journalists understand hot topics in education. There's an app. There's a print program. There are "lightning talks." There's a hashtag: #EWA16.
But there are also a slew of few panels and events focused on education journalism itself, including of course the annual EWA awards. The first morning of the conference is focused on journalists describing how they reported a challenging topic, using data, adding audio, and getting access. The afternoon session includes journalists like Kristina Rizga and Dale Russakoff talking about their book-length projects. Some of the "Lightning Talks" -- 5 Mistakes Journos Make When Covering Ed Research, How to Really Talk with Boys from Diverse Backgrounds, Maximizing Digital Media for Reporting -- focus on the tools of the trade.
The only topics missing that I can see are writing for social media (Snapchat, Facebook Live) and using images and graphics.
Teachers and education reporters have lots in common, notes EWA head Caroline Hendrie in the program introduction: "In both education and journalism, interest in addressing inequality and injustice – social, economic, and institutional – is on the rise. Both educators and members of the news media face demands for greater fairness from the communities affected by their work. Concern about inculcating cultural competence in both educators and reporters is keen. How to diversify both fields’ workforces remains a stubborn problem. At the same time, the two sectors are struggling to meet ever-changing standards of quality. After all, both fields are traversing periods of transformation, as new technologies and standards of excellence continuously redefine success."
Indeed, as has been noted before, the overlap between education reporters and educators -- including lack of diversity -- raises some interesting issues.
The results of the EWA member survey will be released on Sunday. For more on #edJOC read Why Nikole Hannah-Jones Matters (To Education Journalism In Particular) or read some of the related posts at the bottom of the page.
Another notable angle: For the first time in recent memory, the EWA award winners will be announced at this event -- after the Peabody and Pulitzer awards have already been named. For background on the finalists, read Hits, Misses, Snubs, & Mysteries.
Who funds all this? Well, the event is co-sponsored with BU's Communications and Education Schools, and the sponsor page includes the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, Raikes, Wallace, Walton, Hewlett, Nellie Mae, American Federation of Teachers, Pearson, College Board, Edwin Gould, Gates, National Education Association, Secure Schools Alliance, American Institutes for Research, and Scholastic. Programming for new reporters comes from Spencer and the W.T. Grant Foundation.
Related posts: Efforts To Recruit More Journalists Of Color (To Cover Education); Just How White Is Education Journalism — & How To Encourage More #edJOC?; New Opportunities - & New Challenges - For 7 Education Journalism Teams; Delightful High School Swim Class Story Wins Murrow Journalism Award; School Segregation Coverage Wins 2 Pulitzers & A Peabody.
Observers and policymakers refer easily to New York’s pre-K program as part of the “public” education system or at the very least as a “public” education program. Yet vouchers for K-12 private schools are often criticized for “privatizing” public education.
-- James Ryan in Medium (The Largest Voucher Program You’ve Never Heard About)
Most High School Seniors Aren't College Or Career Ready, Says 'Nation's Report Card' : NPR Ed : NPR ow.ly/4n9oj1
Math scores slip, reading flat for nation's 12th-graders - AP https://t.co/ANTh5sWVJh
Test Scores Show a Decline in Math Among High School Seniors - The New York Times ow.ly/4n9mLQ
U.S. high school seniors slip in math and show no improvement in reading - The Washington Post ow.ly/4n9oft
TNReady Testing Patience of Parents / Public News Service ow.ly/4n9n4N
Career Education Making a Comeback in US High Schools - ABC News ow.ly/4n9oyt
Troy LaRaviere Accused By CPS Of Misusing Equipment, Accounting Missteps dnain.fo/1WR3JOx
Lusher NOLA Charter School Board Rejects Petition To Recognize Union | WWNO http://ow.ly/4n7Iem
Michelle Obama Encourages New York Students to Reach Higher - ABC News ow.ly/4n9mOb
Far too many adults are empathetic and sympathetic to our young people and they want to cut them some slack and in fact that is the worst this you can do for kids who are struggling or kids who are behind or kids who come from vulnerable families.... That’s absolutely wrong. The reason why the Common Core is important and has very real implications around race and class is what former President Bush referred to as the ‘soft bigotry of low expectations.’ When we hold kids to high expectations they rise to them.
- DCPS head Kaya Henderson in WAMU segment (Teachers In D.C, Maryland Keep Up The Pressure As PARCC Season Is Upon Us)
Build deeper relationships and ask tougher questions of your student's teachers...Instead of the teacher just saying, 'He's a great kid,' ask, 'Is he reading on grade level?'
-- Bibb Hibbard in NPR (9 Out Of 10 Parents Think Their Kids Are On Grade Level. They're Probably Wrong)
Skip to the 32:00' mark to watch EdSec King talk at a recent Century Foundation event about encouraging districts to return to school desegregation. Seems like it might be too little too late to me, but it's certainly an interesting thing to have discussed.
Or, watch Chicago teachers union head in a public TV segment on her fiery speech yesterday.
"Over the past few decades, school districts in Los Angeles, New York City, Seattle, Washington and elsewhere have found higher than acceptable lead levels in their students’ drinking water due to old plumbing systems." via PBS NewsHour.
I'm not there, but you may be -- the annual ASU-GSV confab is happening this week.
More than 1 million kids lack a home of their own -- many doubled up with other families. Via Ben Spielberg & the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
We've decided that when teachers really want a voice, to just organize under whatever law is operational... But then as soon as we start organizing, these same charter operators who in one breath say it's a public school, in the other breath say when it comes to school teachers, it's private, not public.
AFT head Randi Weingarten in Bloomberg BNA (Charter School Teachers Organizing Under Federal Labor Law)
One of BuzzFeed's latest videos, purportedly about questions black people want to ask other black people, has generated reactions ranging from 😬 to 😡.
One of the questions is a version of the age-old "acting white" issue, which Vox debunked not too long ago: The most insidious myth about black kids and achievement.
Seriously, some people are really offended by the attempted humor. For example: 27 Answers To Buzzfeed’s Dumb Video. This is probably where I should provide a trigger warning.
Related posts: Why Do Journalists Love Shaky Science on Race? Eduwonkette; How Barack Obama's Election Can Change the Myth of 'Acting White' NY Mag.
In case you haven't seen it, there's a "Non-Conference" on Privatization in Education at NYU going on this week.
According to the website, discussants will include education historian and NYU Steinhardt research professor Diane Ravitch; and union leaders Lily Eskelsen García of the National Education Association and Randi Weingarten of the American Federation of Teachers.
The hashtag is #PoPNonCon16. The livestream is here.
Apparently, there's a Bernie Sanders rally going on across the street.
"Nearly 100 school districts and charter school networks are now consciously integrating their student bodies by socioeconomic status." via The Seventy Four.
Only 8 Percent of Students Complete College- and Career-Ready Curriculum, according to EdWeek story on new EdTrust report.
CCSS advocates say it is too early to tell, and we’ll just have to wait to see the benefits. That defense won’t work much longer. Time is running out. The political challenges that Common Core faces the remainder of this year may determine whether it survives.
- Brookings' Tom Loveless (Common Core’s major political challenges for the remainder of 2016)
The reason you care is that Reuters is reporting a "major security hole with the SAT" in which the College Board gave SAT tests that "it knew had been compromised in Asia."
"Both states are about 80 percent white, with similar rates of home-ownership and non-English speakers. Both boast household incomes well above the national average, yet see their schools filled with increasing numbers of low-income kids. The Bay State, however, soars in national comparisons, as well as international ones," according to the Seattle Times (Why are Massachusetts schools so much better?)
Image used with permission. Credit Garland Potts Seattle Times. To see a larger high-resolution version click Edlab.
Choice programs may give parents the ability to choose schools that are better (or simply better for their child). Nevertheless, this new study out of Louisiana suggests that there may also be a risk that students will sort into new schools in sub-optimal –- or even harmful –- ways. By better understanding how parents are choosing schools for their children, we can maximize the benefits of school choice while mitigating the risks.
I don’t think charter proponents are well served by attacking the numbers or slicing and dicing them for the best cut. Neither are they served by attacking the authors for being “anti-charter” as I have heard. Even if the charter numbers were better than the district numbers they would still be terrible, and screaming for action.
- Oakland's Dirk Tillotson in Great School Voices (What Did We Learn from the UCLA Charter School Discipline Study?)
In all the hullabaloo about the UCLA Civil Rights Project study last week, I somehow never saw this chart from admittedly pro-reform Great School Voices showing what they found in terms of district (blue) and charter (red) suspension rates.
There are differences, to be sure, but looked at visually they don't seem that large and it's clear that all types of schools are suspending SWD and AA kids an awful lot.
"New research... finds that an increase in relative funding for low-income school districts actually has a profound effect on the achievement of students in those districts." (“Throwing money at the problem” may actually work in education - Equitable Growth.)
Via WPost Wonkblog.
"The NAACP considered using her case to challenge the segregation laws, but ultimately decided against it for several reasons: 1. They thought she was too young to be the face of their movement. 2. She got pregnant right around the time of her arrest and they thought it would attract too much negative attention." (The 15-Year-Old Schoolgirl Who Paved the Way for Rosa Parks)
Are charter schools suspending too many students? LA Times http://fw.to/YYQwSEe
Charter Schools Suspend Black and Disabled Students More, UCLA Study Says - NYT http://nyti.ms/1M9dchg
See also EdWeek.
USDE Seeks Standard Rule on Flagging Bias in Special Education - Education Week http://ow.ly/ZzsJ7
Charter school in the I Can network becomes first in city to unionize - Cleveland.com
Boston's Revamp of Teacher Hiring Sparks Gains, Costs - Education Week
Tests Show Elevated Lead Levels at Newark Schools Since 2012 - WSJ http://ow.ly/ZBsnA
"Wages are lower for BA holders raised on low incomes," according to Brookings. via Rachel Cohen.
"If a college degree is not the great equalizer we hoped, strategies to increase social mobility by promoting post-secondary education will fall short. A more comprehensive approach may be needed."
From TODAY: "A brand new version of the SAT was rolled out this month, aiming to better reflect what kids learn in school, and many students are preparing for the exams online. But as NBC's Ronan Farrow reports, some SAT prep courses are charging students more than others, based on location or possibly even race." (Some SAT prep courses accused of charging students unfairly)
My party trick is always to ask people which city has one of the lowest grad rates. I always know they'll never win, because it's Minneapolis. It just doesn't come to people's mind as the most impacted, the most struggling urban city in America.
-- Robert Balfanz, a research professor at Johns Hopkins University, in MPR (Without support, Minnesota students left behind at graduation)