Category Archives: Politics

“Louisiana voucher students score almost 30 points below average on LEAP tests” (nola.com)

Perhaps Gov. Jindal’s education experiment needs to stop:

As Gov. Bobby Jindal tries again to fund his controversial school voucher program, new test scores indicate that many of the current students educated with public money in private schools are not thriving. Or at least they aren’t yet.

Released Wednesday, LEAP scores for third- through eighth-graders show only 40 percent of voucher students scored at or above grade level this past spring. The state average for all students was 69 percent.

For accountability purposes, students attending private schools at taxpayer expense take the same standardized tests as their peers in public schools. In 2011, when the voucher program operated only in New Orleans, students averaged 33 percent proficiency.

Now seven schools in Jefferson and Orleans parishes have results so low — less than 25 percent of voucher students proficient for three years running — that they have been barred from accepting new voucher students in the fall, as per state policy. In Orleans, the schools are Life of Christ Academy, the Upperroom Bible Church Academy, Bishop McManus, Conquering Word Christian Academy Eastbank and Holy Rosary Academy. In Jefferson, they are Faith Christian Academy and Conquering Word Christian Academy.

Read the rest of the article here.

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Filed under Education Reform, Funding, Politics, Testing, Vouchers

“New data shows school ‘reformers’ are full of it” (salon.com)

Maybe the route to “education reform” can be found by reducing the impact of poverty in the lives of children:

That gets to the news that exposes “reformers’” schemes — and all the illusions that surround them. According to a new U.S. Department of Education study, “about one in five public schools was considered high poverty in 2011 … up from about to one in eight in 2000.” This followed an earlier study from the department finding that “many high-poverty schools receive less than their fair share of state and local funding … leav(ing) students in high-poverty schools with fewer resources than schools attended by their wealthier peers.”

Those data sets powerfully raise the question that “reformers” are so desperate to avoid: Are we really expected to believe that it’s just a coincidence that the public education and poverty crises are happening at the same time? Put another way: Are we really expected to believe that everything other than poverty is what’s causing problems in failing public schools?

The interesting thing here is no one is suggesting that so-called “education reforms” be applied to schools in affluent neighborhoods:

One way to appreciate this reality in stark relief is to just remember that, as Barkan shows, for all the claims that the traditional public school system is flawed, America’s wealthiest traditional public schools happen to be among the world’s highest-achieving schools. Most of those high-performing wealthy public schools also happen to be unionized. If, as “reformers” suggest, the public school system or the presence of organized labor was really the key factor in harming American education, then those wealthy schools would be in serious crisis — and wouldn’t be at the top of the international charts. Instead, the fact that they aren’t in crisis and are so high-achieving suggests neither the system itself nor unions are the big factor causing high-poverty schools to lag behind. It suggests that the “high poverty” part is the problem.

That, of course, shouldn’t be a controversial notion; it is so painfully obvious it’s amazing anyone would even try to deny it. But that gets back to motive: The “reform” movement (and its loyal media outlets) cast a discussion of poverty as taboo because poverty and inequality are byproducts of the same economic policies that serve that movement’s funders.

You can read the entire article online here.

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Filed under Education Reform, Politics

“The Education of Michelle Rhee” (PBS Frontline)

PBS FRONTLINE examines the legacy of one of America’s most admired & reviled school reformers.

You can watch this documentary on TV or online here.

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Filed under Education Reform, Politics, Press Coverage

Rhee’s StudentsFirst grades education on ideology, not results (Daily Kos)

Louisiana is the top-rated state for education according to Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst organization. Unfortunately, Louisiana is 49th of 51 on eighth grade reading scores and 47th of 51 on eighth grade math scores.

Maybe Michelle Rhee needs to change her grading standards.  Anybody who values ideology over actually helping students learn should be ashamed for hurting students (especially when her organization gives lower rankings to states who actually do a better educating students).

You can read the rest of the story here.

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Filed under Education Reform, Politics

Bobby Jindal’s school voucher program unconstitutional (washingtonpost.com)

One of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s signature accomplishments, a private school tuition voucher program, was ruled unconstitutional by a Louisiana judge Friday, the Associated Press reports:

State Judge Tim Kelley said Friday that the program improperly diverts money allocated through Louisiana’s public school funding formula to private schools. He also said it unconstitutionally diverts local tax dollars to private schools.

Kelley ruled in a lawsuit backed by teacher unions and school boards seeking to shut down the voucher program and other changes that would funnel more money away from traditional public schools.

You can read the rest of this story online here.

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Filed under Funding, Politics, Vouchers

Phony school “reform” agenda takes a beating (Salon.com)

The “tl;dr” version is the current-day “education reform” efforts are not true populist grass-roots movements.  The so-called “reform” efforts are the illegitimate love-child of conservative ideology and corporate greed.

The “reform” efforts were defeated in Colorado, Idaho, and Indiana.  Maybe one day the same thing will happen in Louisiana.

You can read the Salon.com coverage here.

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Filed under Education Reform, Funding, Politics, Vouchers

“School reform’s propaganda flick” (salon.com)

More about right-wing funded corporate propaganda disguised as a major motion picture:

The first thing to know about Friday’s opening of the school-choice drama “Won’t Back Down” is that the film’s production company specializes in children’s fantasy fare such as the “Tooth Fairy” and “Chronicles of Narnia” series. The second thing is that this company, Walden Media, is linked at the highest levels to the real-world adult alliance of corporate and far-right ideological interest groups that constitutes the so-called education reform movement, more accurately described as the education privatization movement. The third thing, and the one most likely to be passed over in the debate surrounding “Won’t Back Down” (reviewed here, and not kindly, by Salon’s own Andrew O’Hehir), is that Walden Media is itself an educational content company with a commercial interest in expanding private-sector access to American K-12 education, or what Rupert Murdoch, Walden’s distribution partner on “Won’t Back Down,” lip-lickingly calls “a $50 billion sector in the U.S. alone that is waiting desperately to be transformed.”

You can read the rest of the story here.

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Filed under Charter Schools, Education Reform, Politics, Teachers' Unions