Sunday, March 08, 2015

Public Education News Around the Country

As you all may be aware, both sides of Congress are struggling to rewrite NCLB (formally known as ESEA). 

It appears that AFT (American Federation of Teachers) is pushing hard with Senator Patty Murray to put in a clause about the right of parents to opt out of standardized testing.  

PLEASE give her office a call to let her know you support this inclusion to the revision of the law. 
Email  or phone, 866-481-9186 or in Seattle 553-5545

Sample statement: "I wanted to let the Senator know that I support a clause in any revision to NCLB that would include parents' ability to opt their child out of high-stakes testing."

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel comes news that the Walton Foundation, which has made huge "investments" into Milwaukee's public education system, is pulling out.  (Thank you to reader, Dan.)  This article seems to be an op-ed by a professor of law and public policy at Marquette University :aw School, Alan J. Borsuk.  He is not happy. 

"We have decided to make grants where we can have the highest impact, which means working in the places that we believe are most ripe for improving our education system."

Fifteen years ago, Milwaukee was called by some "ground zero" for school reform. Now, you rarely see national attention to Milwaukee education, at least not for positive reasons. The Walton decision underscores that.

"I came, I got involved, I got frustrated, I didn't see much change, I moved on. "That has been the summary of a parade of those who have found Milwaukee a difficult environment for change. 

We can only hope that they do not turn their eyes to Seattle.  (Their foundation has invested largely in the NE and Mid-West with only two Western spots - Southern California and Arizona.)

 From the comments section:

Reader 1
Borsuk's facile analysis here, that Milwaukee as been reticent to change is 180 degrees wrong. The Milwaukee school board has implemented every hair brained scheme that the Gates, Scaife, Bradley and any other right wing foundation that has waived a dollar around.
And guess what? now that 40% of Milwaukee kids go to a charter or voucher school with the cap soon to be lifted there has been ZERO evidence that they have done a better than public schools. 

Reader 2
Once Walton realized schools can't solve poverty, the decision was made to pull up their skirts and run. 

They didn't want to wind up with results data that would leave them red-faced. Not with so much profit at stake.  

From Indiana comes news about their steady (and considerable) rise in the graduation rates for African-American students via the Indianapolis Recorder.

African-American high school students have made remarkable progress in graduating on time from Indiana high schools. According to the 2014 graduate rate data released by the Indiana Department of Education, the statewide Black graduate on time graduation rate is the highest ever—79.5 percent for the Class of 2014.

That’s up from 77 percent for the Class of 2013 and 74 percent in 2012. And it’s a great improvement over the 59.8 percent of Black graduates of the Class of 2008 who got their diplomas on time seven years ago.

In Indianapolis/Marion County school districts, Black graduation rates noticably improved, including in Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS).

IPS continued to set records for their Black graduation rate with 72.1 percent of the Class of 2014 graduating on time, compared with 70.3 percent in the Class of 2013. And it is light years away from the 50 percent IPS Black graduation rate in IPS in 2008 and 49.3 percent in 2009.

Of charter schools in the city/county, including the takeover schools supervised by the Indianapolis Mayor’s Office, the Black graduation rate was 45.2 percent down slightly from 47.9 percent in 2013. When charter virtual schools and the Excel Center charter school, both of which specialize in hard to serve students are excluded, then the Black graduation rate of Indianapolis’ charter and takeover schools increases to 70.4 percent, up slightly from 2013’s 69.8 percent.

I hope to call up their state office of education soon and find out what they have been doing to see this kind of movement.

1 comment:

speducator said...

Thanks, Melissa.
I just called Patty Murray's office, and, surprisingly, the phone was answered immediately by a live person.