Stories on Common Core polling, charter schools, all-day schools, spending on high poverty schools and and an ACLU lawsuit over uneven school experiences for low-income students.
Different day, different polling results on Common Core. Rasmussen Reports is saying that a new national telephone poll says that just 34% of American parents (with elementary/secondary students) favor Common Core.
That’s an 18-point drop from 52% in early November of last year.
Forty-seven percent (47%) oppose the imposition of the national
standards, compared to 32% in the previous survey. Little changed are
the 19% who are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
They also did polling that found htat 54% of American adults think "schools place too much emphasis on standardized testing."
Standard & Poor's has a new report that "extends" the "negative" outlook for the charter school industry. This from the Washington Post:
Of 214 public charter school ratings done by the agency, 41, or 19
percent, are negative while only 4 — or 2 percent — are positive.
Furthermore, it says, funding has not generally “returned to
pre-recessionary levels, and some schools are struggling to operate in
this “new normal.’”
Speaking of charter schools, here's a great piece from Alan Singer at Huffington Post, "Why Hedge Funds Love Charter Schools."
As a result of this change to the tax code, banks and equity funds that
invest in charter schools in underserved areas can take advantage of a
very generous tax credit.
They are permitted to combine this tax credit with other tax breaks
while they also collect interest on any money they lend out. According
to one analyst, the credit allows them to double the money they invested
in seven years. Another interesting side note is that foreign investors
who put a minimum of $500,000 in charter school companies are eligible
to purchase immigration visas for themselves and family members under a
federal program called EB-5.
The tax credit may also explain why Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
partnered with the former mayor of Newark, New Jersey to promote
charter schools, donated a half a million dollars worth of stock to
organizations that distribute charter school funding, and opened his own
foundation, Startup: Education, to build new charter schools.
All-day school? In Nashville, it seems to be working. From The Atlantic:
“I think it’s important to think about all of the things you want to
accomplish in a school day, and then make sure that you have the time to
accomplish all of those things,” Charlie Friedman, Nashville
Classical’s school director, says. “We didn’t start by saying we have to
have an extended day, and we didn’t start by saying we have to end at
When Friedman built the schedule for his school, he knew he wanted to
offer recess, physical education, three hours of literacy, hands-on
science, and a foreign language every single day.
For most states, 180 days of school adds up to somewhere between approximately 900 and 1200 hours
of instruction per year, which is actually relatively high on a global
scale. Even Finland, whose test scores consistently top international
rankings, doesn’t have compulsory schooling until age seven, and their school day is shorter than a typical American day.
States like Massachusetts have spearheaded pilot programs for longer school days and have seen strong results. In 2013, D.C. Public Schools implemented extended hours for eight of its struggling schools and saw some of its largest gains in math and reading since 2008.
Speaking of spending more money, Vox reports on a working paper from researchers at Northwestern and UC-Berkeley. that contends that "spending more money on educating children in poor districts can dramatically change the trajectory" of their lives.
On some measures, such as the high school graduation rate, the gains
from a 20 percent boost in funding at all levels of education were enough to entirely erase the gap between poor students and students from wealthier families.
Later in life, the poor students' family incomes were on average about
50 percent higher than they would have been without the funding
In what might end up being a note-worthy court case, the ACLU in California has filed a class action lawsuit claiming the state of California is denying students at high-poverty schools "learning time." From NPR:
The ACLU has spent years filing lawsuits challenging inequities in
educational materials and facilities, but this is the first case to
address the basic factor of time spent on learning. The class action
suit names students at seven schools in Los Angeles and the San
Francisco Bay Area.
The lawsuit is claiming issues around staff turnover, teacher turnover, scheduling, crime, and trauma.