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Tuesday, August 09, 2011

News Roundup

Colorado is awaiting the outcome of its trial on school funding by the state.  This article from the Denver Post lays out other states' and their court cases.

 According to the National Access Network, as of June 2010, there had been 33 decisions on adequacy claims since 1989. The courts ruled for plaintiffs in 21 of those cases, the organization said, and against them in 11. There were eight cases still pending.


In almost every state where an adequacy challenge has been filed, the decision has been appealed to the state's highest court. And those decisions don't always go the way people think they will, Griffith said.


In traditionally conservative states such as Kansas and Wyoming, courts have ruled for the plaintiffs and said school funding needed to be increased, he said.


"The courts took direct control of the funding system for a number of years" in Wyoming, Griffith said. "No other state has been like that."


Wyoming, with its relatively small population and abundant oil and gas revenues, moved from a state that was 25th in per-pupil funding for education to among the top five, he said.


On the other end of the spectrum, adequacy challenges in Pennsylvania have failed repeatedly.

And it is likely that what is the case in Ohio, where the plaintiffs "won" but the funding is not there, will end up being the case here.

In a story from the LA Times,  an interesting opinion piece about a UC Berkeley study on teacher turnover in charter schools by Karin Klein.

The study found that teachers in LA's charters were up to 3 times as likely to leave their school at year's end than other teachers in regular public schools.  The highest rate was found in charter secondary schools.  They tracked teachers over a seven-year period.  What's interesting is that 80% of students and families less likely to leave their school at the end of the year compared with students in regular schools.   The cautionary note is that these results are based on partial data because up to one-third of charters fail to report their retention rates for students and teacher to district officials. 

The authors of the UC Berkeley study theorize that the teachers leave because of the extraordinary demands: long hours, intense involvement in students' complicated lives, continual searches for new ways to raise scores. Even the most steadfast supporters of the reform movement concede that the task of raising achievement among disadvantaged students is hard work.


It's not just charters either. New teachers in public schools, lacking seniority, are often assigned to the most challenging schools. Many leave quickly even if their intent was to work with the students who most need help. Others move to higher-achieving schools as soon as they've built up enough seniority.

She asks some good questions:

If some schools are burning through teachers but excelling academically nonetheless — how does this affect our view of the teaching profession? Are teachers disposable employees? That would be the cheaper route, but a depressingly disrespectful one that over time would practically guarantee that bright young college students would steer clear of the education field, especially when it involves teaching the students who most need help.

From the Huffington Post, a story with a bit of irony.   Apparently with all the cheating in Atlanta, they want to press librarians to get back in the classroom. 

"Dozens" of employees from APS' media centers are being placed in positions vacated by teachers involved in the district-wide cheating scandal, positions that the library workers say they aren't certified or comfortable to take on, WSBTV reports.

"I haven't taught elementary level education in 21 plus years," one employee wrote in an e-mail to WSBTV. "I'm not prepared to teach the very children who have been cheated by the cheating scandal."


2 comments:

Sahila said...

well, if there's no improvement in state funding, schools can always do this:

Got a few spare $$$$$s???? Want to be immortalised??? Buy a classroom, or a library, or a wing, or a gym

Anonymous said...

And you knew this was coming...assessments to match the Common Core Standards.

http://www.k12.wa.us/smarter/

organizations and interested stakeholders are invited to provide feedback on the ELA/literacy content specifications through August 29

Round 1 of Mathematics content specifications will be released Aug 22, with coments due Sept 12.

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