Sunday, May 27, 2012

News Roundup

Of possible interest to our readers:
  • From Education Week - an article about "a new breed of national education advocacy organizations" and the debate "about whether they can play a grassroots 'ground game' comparable to that of labor.
  • Another article on these groups, this one from Education Next, about Fight Club for ERAOs (Education reform advocacy organizations) in D.C.  You remember the first rule of Fight Club?  There is NO Fight Club.  Why this emergence of these groups?  This article links it to charter operation frustration.  This is possibly the best article I have read in summing up these groups, how they interact and their growing influence.
Many of the groups talk to one another frequently,, through a regular conference call organized by the Education Trust, at meetings organized by funders such as the Walton Family Foundation, and at conferences convened by groups such as the NewSchools Venture Fund.  

The 34 organizations in the network operate in 23 states and Washington, D.C. Network members include affiliates of Stand for Children and 50CAN, business groups like the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, the Oklahoma Business and Education Coalition, and Colorado Succeeds, and civic groups like Advance Illinois and the League of Education Voters (Washington). The PIE Network is also supported by five “policy partners,” which span the ideological spectrum but agree on the network’s reform commitments: Center for American Progress, Center on Reinventing Public Education, Education Sector, National Council on Teacher Quality, and Thomas B. Fordham Institute. Like many ERAOs, PIE Network is funded by the big three (Walton, Gates, and Broad) along with the Joyce and Stuart foundations.
  • Would you pay for your background check to volunteer at school? It's happening in other districts in other states.  From Ed Week, from $9-40 is the new cost (higher if you work one-on-one with students as a tutor).  
  • From the LA Times, a story about 24 high-performing LA schools seeking to be charters.  Why?  More money.  Interestingly, California has a mid-range option for chartering called "affiliated" or "dependent".  These charters are still bound by some district rules like union contracts.  The odd advantage is that these schools can get a block grant from the state for $385 per student.  More dollars with fewer rules.  
  • From Education Next, an essay about school boards that opens with some tantalizing questions.  Have school boards outlived their usefulness  Are they an anachronism?
  • From Straight Up blog at Ed Week, a spark for a discussion about who likes vouchers and who doesn't (and why).  This is coming on strong in Romney's playbook on education (separate thread to come).
  • TFA story from the Kansas City Starr where 32 TFA teachers are not returning for their second year of teaching out of a class of 141.  
According to Teach for America’s Kansas City office, of the 160 teachers brought in during TFA’s first three years here, 65 remain in education in Kansas City — though only 13 in the Kansas City Public Schools.


Jet City mom said...

I worked in schools as a tutor, but the schools policy was that it wasnt 1:1, i tutored two kida at a time.
In one case i wasnt a volunteer but was tutoring through work study at the U.
It made the tutoring more difficult ( because they were friends, but didnt have the same skill set). But it madeit safer for everyone.
easier was when i was tutoring at the high school level. Also not 1:1, but they were older & not as competitive.

Personally i think that the PTAs should cover at least half of the cost of volunteers if a fee is going to be incurred.
Parents should not be discriminated aganst if they want to help,but cant afford to pay to do so.

Anonymous said...

Frankly it sounds super creepy for people to pay to work with kids. Yes, we need all the background checks possible but the district, PTA or the state should foot the bill. Maybe we should make teachers pay to teach!!!