"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"...no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish enlarge, or affect their civil capacities." – Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

2020 Medley #12 -- Post-pandemic Education

Post-pandemic education,
Economic and racial stratification in education,
The kids are alright, Online education, 
The damaging effects of vouchers

[child PNG Designed By ali105 from Pngtree.com]


Have you read anything lately about "when schools reopen after the pandemic is over?" There are ideas galore...some good, some ridiculous. It's good to plan ahead, of course, but we don't really know what the situation will be in three months.

One thing is sure, with the pandemic there came an economic downturn -- a recession, which actually began in February. The House of Representatives has passed a spending bill that's stalled in the Senate. States are running out of money...and schools are, as usual, at the top of the list of cuts.

Here in Indiana, schools have yet to recover from the recession of 2008. More cuts to education, at a time when increased funding for education is absolutely necessary, will be disastrous. Last week I suggested that one way to reduce costs for public schools is to cancel testing...another way would be to return charter and voucher money back to the public schools. Those, however, are not likely to happen, the latter especially.

So the post-pandemic calls for more bus service, smaller classes, teachers teaching online and in person, and a host of other ideas which will cost more money. How does that happen?

Five things not to do when schools re-open

Pasi Sahlberg, author, with William Doyle, of Let the Children Play: How More Play Will Save Our Schools and Help Children Thrive, has some ideas of what NOT to do when schools reopen. At the top of the list is refusing to accept that school is the only place where children learn. He emphasizes that kids will come to school traumatized and will need a focus on social-emotional learning.
So much has been said already about teaching and learning during the Covid-19 pandemic that it is hard to say something new. More focus on social and emotional learning, student and teacher wellbeing, authentic assessments, distance learning with technology, relationships in schools and recess during school days. Fewer high-stakes standardized tests, less unproductive consequential accountability, more direct instruction in school, and less rote textbook learning. All these ideas were presented already before this crisis, but people see that the time is right to transform schools after the pandemic is gone...

1. Don’t think that kids only learn when they are taught...

2. Don’t worry about kids’ losses on school tests...

3. Don’t expect kids to be ready to continue where they left off...

4. Don’t consider recess as a low priority...

5. Don’t expect there will be a ‘new normal’ anytime soon...

David Berliner: Kids Missing School? Don’t Worry.

David Berliner, Regents' Professor Emeritus of Education at Arizona State University and a past president of the American Educational Research Association, agrees with Pasi Sahlberg. A child is more than a test score and school is not the only place to learn.
...what if they do lose a few points on the achievement tests currently in use in our nation and in each of our states? None of those tests predict with enough confidence much about the future life those kids will live. That is because it is not just the grades that kids get in school, nor their scores on tests of school knowledge, that predict success in college and in life. Soft skills, which develop as well during their hiatus from school as they do when they are in school, are excellent predictors of a child’s future success in life.

U.S. schools lay off hundreds of thousands, setting up lasting harm to kids

Among the layoffs are teachers, of course, but also support personnel. The cuts will negatively impact poor students the most.
School districts in poor areas face the most punishing blows. A Brookings Institution paper in April predicted that education layoffs “would come at the worst possible time for high-poverty schools, as even more students fall into poverty and need more from schools as their parents and guardians lose their own jobs.”

Low-income districts are particularly troubled because of plunging revenue amid the Covid-19 recession. Districts rely for revenue on local property taxes and state subsidies. Poorer districts, where property tax revenue is low, rely on states for most of their income. With states hit hard by falling income and sales taxes, aid to school districts is dwindling in many places.

Austerity, Subsistence, or Investment: Will Congress And The President Choose to Bail Out Our Children’s Future?

We bailed out the auto industry. We bailed out the banks. We bailed out the airlines. Do we care enough about the future of America to bail out our children?
Our policymakers are on the edge of a precipice. If they step into the budget-cut austerity abyss at this time of great crisis, they will be choosing to harm the nation’s children and, in doing so, to devalue the country’s most important asset. Recovery would become a long and arduous process. We may, in fact, never recover. As one alternative, they can choose the stopgap, subsistence option of backfilling state and local budgets, which we contend is necessary but not sufficient. In fact, the cost of education will likely be higher due to added safety measures schools will be required to take and the added needs of the returning students. The third choice available to policymakers is stimulus investment devoted to our schools and children, especially children of color, in their time of great need, which would provide the extra benefit of saving jobs and creating new jobs to help in combating national unemployment.

...The enormously expensive bailouts of airlines, financial markets, investors, and other elements of the economy are defended — and are arguably defensible — as necessary to prevent further pain that would be felt by “average Americans” if that larger economy collapses. But many of those average Americans are families with children in public schools. If policymakers choose to let those children sink, taking their futures down with them, then why bother bailing out the businesses that we hope will one day serve them and employ them?

Refusing the needed funding for public education systems means impoverishing our youth, our communities, our public life – our democracy. Economically speaking, it would result in hundreds of thousands additional job losses across the country in the short-term, devastate the future job market for highly skilled labor, and hurt the ability of companies to bring on new talents and grow their profits – shrinking future GDP and tax revenue. If policymakers are willing and able to put $4.5 trillion of Fed lending into bolstering financial markets through treasury funding,43 how can they deny a fraction of that to our children to save their futures?


Rich schools get richer

While our poor children suffer from decaying facilities, underpaid teachers, and lack of materials, America's wealthy children get richer. They get the equipment they need, the well-trained teachers that we all want for our own children, and the opportunities to advance based on income.
Why we should care about high levels of education spending among the rich is a matter of debate. [Bruce Baker, a school finance expert at Rutgers Graduate School of Education,] argues that their choices affect the rest of us. That’s because education investments by the rich can potentially boost their children’s achievement levels and give them an advantage in college applications. As these well-educated children move from well-funded schools to elite universities, their advantages continue as they apply to graduate schools and seek the most coveted jobs. Those at the bottom as well as those in the middle can struggle to compete against this kind of educational privilege.

“It’s kind of like baseball,” Baker said. “When the Yankees spend more, it makes it harder for everyone else to compete.”


This Teacher Went To A Peaceful Protest And…

The self-professed old guy at Caffeinated Rage lets us know that kids today are alright.
The people I marched with yesterday came from various backgrounds with many older people such as myself, BUT…

The number of students and younger people who just might be voting in their first national elections this fall were staggering. It was their energy that fueled that peaceful protest.

There was no violence. There was no cursing.

There was purpose. There was understanding and quest to understand more.


What Do We Know About Online Education and Virtual Charter Schools?

As hard as it is to find a way to teach students during a pandemic it's important to remember that online education is not the same, or as good as, face to face interaction between teachers and students in a classroom.
We find the impact of attending a virtual charter on student achievement is uniformly and profoundly negative, equating to a third of a standard deviation in English/language arts (ELA) and a half of a standard deviation in math. This equates to a loss of roughly 11 percentile points in ELA and 16 percentile points in math for an average virtual charter student at baseline as compared to their public school peers (see Figure 1 above). There is no evidence that virtual charter students improve in subsequent years. We could not “explain away” these findings by looking at various teacher or classroom characteristics. We also use the same methodology to analyze the impact of attending brick-and-mortar charter schools. In contrast, we find that students who attended brick-and-mortar charters have achievement no different from their traditional public school peers (see Figure 2 below). Our confidence in these results is further buoyed by other studies of virtual charter schools in Ohio and nationwide having similar findings.


Public Funds Public Schools Website Provides Compendium of Research on School Vouchers

There isn't enough money to support public education. So why are we sending public tax dollars to private schools? Public funds should go to public schools. Here's a group that explains why.
Public Funds Public Schools introduces its research compendium: “Studies of voucher programs across the country have found that students who participate in private school voucher programs fare worse academically than students educated in public schools, and in some cases dramatically worse. In addition, voucher programs undermine already struggling public schools. Other damaging effects of vouchers include loss of civil rights protections, increased segregation, and erosion of the separation of church and state. Private school voucher programs often lack accountability and transparency, yet cost millions of public dollars.”


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