Virtual School Meanderings

January 29, 2017

Worth A Read

A regular Sunday feature…

Worth A Read


Trump’s $20 billion school choice plan likely to leave details to the states

Posted: 24 Jan 2017 09:00 PM PST

Mike Petrilli discusses National School Choice Week and forecasts what is likely to happen in the Trump/DeVos era. “Word on the street is that Trump’s advisors are considering some form of a proposal floated last year by Senator Marco Rubio and Congressman Todd Rokita. It would offer individuals and/or corporations a federal tax credit if they donated to scholarship (i.e., voucher) programs in states with their own tax credit initiatives.”

We Live Here: A neighborhood school on the brink of closure

Posted: 24 Jan 2017 09:00 PM PST

Jennifer Guerra, Michigan Radio, discusses the impact of school closings on neighborhoods. She focuses on Noble Elementary-Middle School in Detroit’s Littlefield neighborhood. “When a school closes, property values go down, crime often goes up, and families move out. Drive around some of those neighborhoods and you see a lot of emptiness. That’s a fate Harris and others in the Littlefield neighborhood are hoping to avoid. How did Detroit end up with so many closed schools and emptied out neighborhoods? Find out in part two of our State of Opportunity documentary, We Live Here.”

New Reports Reveal The Big Charter School ‘Accountability’ Lie

Posted: 23 Jan 2017 09:00 PM PST

Jeff Bryant tackles school choice, charter schools, and accountability. “Based on how charter schools operate in states like Florida – Arizona, Ohio, and Pennsylvania also come to mind – and on how Betsy DeVos provided regulatory loopholes for charters in Michigan, there is no reason to believe her claim to support accountability and no reason to believe the charter industry will use her tenure to advance accountability measures.”

What does it really cost to educate students? Let’s take another stab at figuring it out.

Posted: 22 Jan 2017 09:00 PM PST

Gilda Jacobs, Michigan League for Public Policy, and Rob Fowler, Small Business Association of Michigan, discuss a new effort launched to change the way schools are funded in Michigan. A collaborative, the School Finance Research Collaborative, will create a road map to improve opportunities for Michigan schools. “The collaborative’s report will use multiple proven and established methods to measure school funding adequacy. At the end of this process, we will deliver those findings to Michigan policymakers, stakeholders and taxpayers.”

Charter schools don’t serve black children well

Posted: 22 Jan 2017 09:00 PM PST

Joan Richardson, Phi Delta Kappan, interviews Julian Vasquez Heilig, Sacramento State University. According to Heilig, “We’ve done a terrible job of talking about why charter schools privately controlling public money is becoming more problematic. The core of the conversation is this: If we don’t pay attention to the democratic control of our schools, democracy could not only die in our schools, democracy could die in our communities.”

Charter schools are not the answer for Kentucky

Posted: 22 Jan 2017 09:00 PM PST

Stephanie Winkler, president of the Kentucky Education Association, writes about charter schools in Kentucky. Kentucky is one of a handful of states that do not have charter schools. She says, “The biggest lie about charter schools is that competition for public dollars will improve education for everyone. But increasing competition is a business principle, not an education policy. What charter schools really do is divert taxpayer money – which is already insufficient – away from your community’s existing public schools and gives that money to private individuals to start their own businesses.”

Does Money Matter in Education? Bruce Baker’s New Report Says Yes

Posted: 22 Jan 2017 09:00 PM PST

Derek Black, Professor of Law at the University of South Carolina School of Law, examines Bruce Baker’s 2012 report on the effects of school funding. Black shares a snippet of an updated report Baker recently released: “He boils the research on those points down to this: ‘While there may in fact be better and more efficient ways to leverage the education dollar toward improved student outcomes, we do know the following: [1] Many of the ways in which schools currently spend money do improve student outcomes; [2] When schools have more money, they have greater opportunity to spend productively. When they don’t, they can’t; [3] Arguments that across-the-board budget cuts will not hurt outcomes are completely unfounded.’” He quotes Baker, “In short, money matters, resources that cost money matter, and a more equitable distribution of school funding can improve outcomes. Policymakers would be well-advised to rely on high-quality research to guide the critical choices they make regarding school finance.”

Are Expectations Alone Enough? Estimating the Effect of a Mandatory College-Prep Curriculum in Michigan

Posted: 19 Jan 2017 09:00 PM PST

Brian Jacob, Susan Dynarski, Kenneth Frank, and Barbara Schneider examine the impact of the Michigan Merit Curriculum on the class of 2011 and later. “Our analyses suggest that the higher expectations embodied in the MMC had slight impact on student outcomes. Looking at student performance in the ACT, the only clear evidence of a change in academic performance comes in science.”

Inside ‘The View From Room 205’: A Q&A with Reporter Linda Lutton

Posted: 17 Jan 2017 09:00 PM PST

Matt Masterson writes about WBEZ reporter Linda Lutton’s up close view of poverty in American education. Lawton spent a year in one of Chicago’s poorest schools. “The hourlong radio story focuses on ‘some little kids and a big idea,’ namely that schools can help students achieve the American dream regardless of their backgrounds. That students living in poverty can overcome the litany of obstacles – violence, hunger, a lack of school resources – they face each day as long as they work hard in class.”

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