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In State of the Union, Trump makes clear his aversion to public schools - Valerie Strauss

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Here's exactly what he said. “For too long, countless American children have been trapped in failing government schools.” What’s a “government school” to Trump? A public school in a traditional public school district. He urged Congress to pass t legislation to create a $5 billion federal tax credit program to fund scholarships to private and religious schools. The scholarships would be funded by individuals and businesses who want to privately donate but who would then receive a federal tax credit on a dollar-for-dollar basis.  Read the education-related text from the State of the Union speech, as provided by the White House' ... or George Orwell'

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I began teaching in 1963,; Ba and BS in Education -Brooklyn College. I have the equivalent of 2 additional Master's, mainly in Literacy Studies and Graphic Design. I was the only seventh grade teacher of English from 1990 -1999 at East Side (more...)

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Susan Lee Schwartz

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About Those "Failing-Government" Schools copied below, so worth the read..or skip to the boldface at the end. "I just want to note for the record that I agree with Trump and DeVos about "failing" and "government" in connection to America's public schools,but, being an English teacher, I will add one wee mark of punctuation to their phrase, clarifying it as such: Failing-government schools.For decades, the government (federal and state) has been failing America's public schools.

That little hyphen says it all.

First came the Texas miracle under then-governor George W. Bush, which was no miracle at all, it turns out:

Scores on the Texas test rose, but SAT scores for prospective college students dropped. Researchers discovered that the Texas tests designed by Pearson primarily measured test-taking ability.Bush's "Texas miracle" testing push was precursor to test-and-punish No Child Left Behind (NCLB):

Bush's education adviser Sandy Kress, a Democratic lawyer from Dallas with some school board experience, convinced him that the "soft bigotry of low expectations" was holding back minority students in failing schools. His solution: if Texas made all schools give the same tests, the state could direct resources where they would do the most good, and eventually African-American and Hispanic kids would catch up to the white kids. It was a great theory, and initially the scores rose.

Bush called it the "Texas Miracle." And once the Texas governor ascended to the Oval Office, Kress lobbiedSen. Ted Kennedy to add bipartisan legitimacy to the plan as Bush's top Democratic supporter for the No Child Left Behind law, which promised to spread the Texas Miracle to the other 49 states. The law projected victory by 2014 in getting all students to "meet or exceed the state's proficient level of academic achievement on the state assessments."

TheApril 10, 2015, Education Week offers this summary of NCLB:

Under the NCLB law, states must test students in reading and math in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school. And they must report the results, for both the student population as a whole and for particular "subgroups" of students, including English-learners and students in special education, racial minorities, and children from low-income families.

States were required to bring all students to the "proficient level" on state tests by the 2013-14 school year, although each state got to decide, individually, just what "proficiency" should look like, and which tests to use. (In early 2015, the deadline had passed, but no states had gotten all 100 percent of its students over the proficiency bar.)

Under the law, schools are kept on track toward their goals through a mechanism known as "adequate yearly progress" or AYP. If a school misses its state's annual achievement targets for two years or more, either for all students or for a particular subgroup, it is identified as not "making AYP" and is subject to a cascade of increasingly serious sanctions:

  • A school that misses AYP two years in a row has to allow students to transfer to a better-performing public school in the same district.
  • If a school misses AYP for three years in a row, it must offer free tutoring.
  • Schools that continue to miss achievement targets could face state intervention. States can choose to shut these schools down, turn them into charter schools, take them over, or use another, significant turnaround strategy.
  • What's more, schools that don't make AYP have to set aside a portion of their federal Title I dollars for tutoring and school choice. Schools at the point of having to offer school choice must hold back 10 percent of their Title I money.

The law also requires states to ensure their teachers are "highly qualified," which generally means that they have a bachelor's degree in the subject they are teaching and state certification. Beginning with the 2002-03 school year, all new teachers hired with federal Title I money had to be highly qualified. By the end of the 2005-06 school year, all school paraprofessionals hired with Title I money must have completed at least two years of college, obtained an associate's degree or higher, or passed an evaluation to demonstrate knowledge and teaching ability. States are also supposed to ensure that "highly qualified' teachers are evenly distributed among schools with high concentrations of poverty and wealthier schools.

NCLB was built upon the Texas miracle, a testing lie.

The year of NCLB perfection, 2014, came and went, and no "100 proficiency in reading and math" for any state a wholly unrealistic goal from the outset. But in 2001, 2014 seemed so far away, so who cares about the upset this unrealistic goal could wreak on America's public schools?

By 2007, the year that NCLB was supposed to be reauthorized, Congress wouldn't touch it.

That led us to the Obama administration, US ed sec Arne Duncan, and NCLB waivers:

By 2010, it was clear that many schools were not going to meet NCLB's achievement targets. As of that year, 38 percent of schools were failing to make adequate yearly progress, up from 29 percent in 2006. In 2011, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, as part of his campaign to get Congress to rewrite the law, issued dire warnings that 82 percent of schools would be labeled "failing" that year. The numbers didn't turn out to be quite that high, but several states did see failure rates of more than 50 percent. In Congress, meanwhile, lawmakers saw the need for a rewrite, but were unable to bring a bill across the finish line. So that year, the Obama administration offered states a reprieve from many of the law's mandates through a series of waivers. "

The waivers, which are now in place in 42 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia, allow states to get out from under many of the mandates of the NCLB law in exchange for embracing certain education redesign priorities. "

In exchange, states had to agree to set standards aimed at preparing students for higher education and the workforce. Waiver states could either choose the Common Core State Standards, or get their higher education institutions to certify that their standards are rigorous enough. They also must put in place assessments aligned to those standards. And they have to institute teacher-evaluation systems that take into account student progress on state standardized tests, as well as single out 15 percent of schools for turnaround efforts or more targeted interventions.

NCLB waivers were connected to yet another unproven. educational disruption: The Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Sure, according to Duncan's NCLB waivers, states did not have to choose CCSS. The problem was that most state governors had already chosen CCSS even before CCSS had been written another "failed-government" decision that seriously impacted the American public school classroom.

Via the Obama-Duncan Race to the Top consortium assessment money lure, in 2010, most states jumped onto the PARCC/Smarter Balanced, CCSS-assessment bandwagon. By 2014-15, the very governors who once pushed CCSS down the American public education throat jumped CCSS ship.

In 2020, most states are still saddled with CCSS and have expended great resources on curriculum, professional development, and in failed-government, post-NCLB fashion test prep, and testing, and retesting.

In 2015, NCLB became the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). And the testing continues.

We test and grade schools, districts, and teachers, all based on student test scores. No testing company advertises its tests as suited to measure schools, districts, and teachers. There's a reason for that: Using student test results to measure schools, districts, and teachers is not a valid use of student test scores.

This is the biggest way in which the government has failed American public education: The government has made student test scores the end-all, be-all, defining factor of student value, of school value, of district value, and of teacher value.

And all of this testing wreckage spun into being from a Texas miracle that was a lie.

Now, I have not even gone into depth on the defunding of education, and on teacher-bashing, and on the ever-increasing responsibility foisted upon schools to confront issues plaguing families and communities, and on the sad fact that the supposed US education secretary is hostile to public education, but I must close this post because it is a school night, and like most teachers, I put in more hours each day than I am paid for, which makes me tighter on free time.

The government is failing American public education.

Failing-government schools.

Submitted on Saturday, Feb 8, 2020 at 4:55:24 AM

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