United States: Another Voice: Opt-out movement offers a vision for public education

United States/March 31, 2018/By: Chris Cerrone/Buffalonews

Resumen: Otra voz: el movimiento de exclusión ofrece una visión para la educación pública.

Six years ago, my family began a journey to take a stand for our children’s education. We were among handful of parents across New York State to publicly announce that our children would “opt-out” of (boycott) the grade 3-8 state assessments. Since then, thousands more families have joined us in defending public education, with over 225,000 students opting out of New York State exams in 2017.

While motivations vary in the testing boycott, the majority of families were driven to action because they witnessed their children’s classrooms becoming focused on test preparation and a system that forced teachers to concentrate on a limited set of ELA and math skills, instead of a well-rounded education.

So, what has the opt-out movement achieved? The opt-out movement influenced changes, resulting in shorter assessments in both the number of questions and the days spent testing. Opt-out families also motivated the Board of Regents to offer more pathways to high  school graduation.

While these changes are positive steps, the boycott of state assessments must continue, because schools are still forced to focus on test scores over true learning, and the assessments continue to be flawed measures of student achievement. While Every Student Succeeds Act has replaced No Child Left Behind as federal education law, politicians in Washington and Albany continue to fail our children. Seventeen-plus years of test-based accountability for schools mandated by federal law have failed to close achievement gaps for vulnerable groups of young people. Why should schools continue a policy that has obviously been unsuccessful? Additionally, in New York, teacher evaluations are still legally tied to student test scores, despite ESSA removing that federal mandate. Making state assessments high-stakes for adults harms our children, as focusing on raising test scores does not necessarily equate with improved learning outcomes. It is time for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the State Legislature to repeal the current teacher evaluation law so we can give schools local control of their employment and curriculum decisions.

The opt-out movement is not just about refusing to take a test, but, instead, offering a vision for public education that rejects a focus on assessment skills, workbooks and teacher-centered classrooms. Families who boycott yearly standardized tests instead advocate for student-centered learning and creative activities that include hands-on and real-world simulations. Imagine every classroom and school system engaging students, to promote imaginative, higher-order thinking that goes well beyond the narrow scope of a test-focused education system. These are the skills our children need to truly be ready and flexible to meet a rapidly changing world as they graduate.

Fuente: http://buffalonews.com/2018/03/28/another-voice-opt-out-movement-offers-a-vision-for-public-education/

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Schools as Punishing Factories: The Handcuffing of Public Education

By: Dr. Henry Giroux

The Nobel Prize-winning author Ngugi wa Thiong’o has insisted rightfully that «Children are the future of any society,» adding, «If you want to maim the future of any society, you simply maim the children.» (1)

As we move into the second Gilded Age, young people are viewed more as a threat than as a social investment.

If one important measure of a democracy is how a society treats its children – especially children of color, poor and working-class youth, and those with disabilities – there can be little doubt that the United States is failing. Half of all public school children live in near poverty, 16 million children receive food stamps and 90 percent of Black children will be on food stamps at some point during childhood. (2) Moreover, too many children are either incarcerated or homeless.

The National Center on Family Homelessness reports that «One in 45 children experience homelessness in America each year. That’s over 1.6 million children. [Moreover] while homeless, they experience high rates of acute and chronic health problems. The constant barrage of stressful and traumatic experience also has profound effects on their development and ability to learn.» (3) Sadly, these statistics rarely scratch the surface of the dire and deep-seated problems facing many young people in the richest country in the world, a state of affairs that provokes too little public outrage.

Teachable Moment or Criminal Offense?

Every age has its approach to identifying and handling problems. As we move into the second Gilded Age, young people are viewed more as a threat than as a social investment. Instead of being viewed as at-risk in a society that has defaulted on its obligations to young people, youth today are viewed as the risk itself. Instead of recognizing the social problems and troubles they face – ranging from poverty to punishing schools – our society sees youth as spoiled or threatening. (4) One consequence is that their behaviors are increasingly criminalized in the streets, malls, schools and many other places once considered safe spaces for them. As compassion and social responsibility give way to punishment and fear as the most important modalities mediating the relationship of youth to the larger social order, schools resort more and more to zero-tolerance policies and other punitive practices. Such practices often result in the handing over of disciplinary problems to the police rather than to educational personnel.

Children are being punished instead of educated in US schools.

With the growing presence of police, surveillance technologies and security guards in schools, more and more of what kids do, how they act, how they dress and what they say are defined as a criminal offense, regardless of how trivial the offense may be – in some cases just doodling on a desk or violating a dress code. Such behaviors, which teachers and administrators use to regulate through everyday means, are now treated as infractions within the purview of the police. Consequently, suspensions, expulsions, arrests and jail time have become routine for poor youth of color. Even more shocking is the rise of zero-tolerance policies to punish Black students and students with disabilities. (5) Instead of recognizing the need to provide services for students with special needs, there is a dangerous trend on the part of school systems to adopt policies «that end in seclusion, restraint, expulsion, and – too often – law enforcement intervention for the disabled children involved.» (6) Sadly, this is but a small sampling of the ways in which children are being punished instead of educated in US schools, especially inner-city schools. Rather than treating school infractions as part of the professional responsibilities of teachers and administrators, schools are criminalizing such behaviors and calling the police. What might have become a teachable moment becomes a criminal offense. (7)

Since the 1990s, the US public has been swamped by the fear of an alleged rise in teenage crime and what was called a superpredator crisis. This crisis was largely popularized by John J. DiIulio Jr., then a political scientist at Princeton University, who argued without irony «that hordes of depraved teenagers [were about to resort] to unspeakable brutality, not tethered by conscience.» (8) Politicians, intellectuals and news organizations were convinced that young people posed a dire threat to the US public and not only reveled «on these sensational predictions [but also] ran with them like a punt returner finding daylight.» (9) While such chaos proved to be nonsense, the theses spawned a plethora of disciplinary practices in schools, such as zero-tolerance policies, which have turned them into institutions that resemble prisons with students being subjected to harsh disciplinary practices, particularly poor black children and children suffering from mental health problems, such as ADHD.

Policing Students in Classrooms and on Playgrounds

These harsh practices have been inflicted disproportionately on poor Black children and children suffering from mental health problems such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This was on full display as social media lit up with a video that disclosed an 8-year-old boy in the third grade in an elementary school classroom in Covington, Kentucky, screaming in pain because he was being handcuffed with his arms placed behind his back. (10) Standing beside the child is police officer, Deputy Sheriff Kevin Sumner, who issues the chilling message, «You either behave the way you are supposed to or you suffer the consequences.» The child, it was later revealed, suffers from a learning disability. According to the Guardian’s Ed Pilkington, «Charles Korzenborn, the sheriff in Covington, Kentucky … defended the officer … claiming that the police officer, Kevin Sumner, had done absolutely nothing wrong. The sheriff said his deputy had done ‘what he is sworn to do and in conformity with all constitutional and law enforcement standards…. I steadfastly stand behind Deputy Sumner who responded to the school’s request for help. Deputy Sumner is a highly respected and skilled law enforcement deputy, and is an asset to the community and those he serves.'» (11) Allegedly, Sumner was responding to the school’s call to diffuse «a threat.» It is hard to imagine what kind of threat a 3.5-foot tall 8-year-old elementary school child posed to either the school or to the police. At work here is not only a kind of bizarre rationality in which one becomes an asset to the community by handcuffing and arresting an 8-year-old boy but also the scourge of a willful ignorance which is the refusal to know or to recognize when an act of violence is being committed against a child.

Schools are considered dangerous because they are public, not because they are failing.

The sheriff’s unhinged defense of Sumner becomes even more apparent in light of the fact that it has been revealed that Sumner had engaged in similar behavior earlier in 2014. At that time, he participated in the handcuffing at John C. Carlisle Elementary School of a 9-year-old girl living with ADHD. At one level, this case reveals why police should not be in public schools in the first place and that the targeting of children by criminalizing their behavior represents the antithesis of how a school should treat its children. It also suggests something about the low regard the public has for public schools and the lives of our nation’s youth, especially poor children of color.

While the image of an 8-year-old boy handcuffed in an elementary school classroom in Covington, Kentucky, has rightfully drawn a great deal of attention on social media and in the mainstream news, it is far from unique. In 2013, a diabetic student in an Alabama high school was arrested and beaten for falling asleep in a classroom. (12) In 2013, Bronx police falsely accused a 7-year-old boy and «put him in handcuffs and held him in custody for ten hours after a playground fight» in which he was falsely accused of stealing $5 from another student. (13) It gets worse. The US Department of Justice filed a lawsuit in November 2012 charging that the Meridian, Mississippi, school district functioned largely as a school-to-prison pipeline, disproportionally focusing on Black youth. According to the Justice Department’s 37-page complaint, the Meridian school district engaged in «years of systemic abuse [which punished] youth ‘so arbitrarily and severely as to shock the conscience.'» (14)

As Julianne Hing reports,

In Meridian, when schools want to discipline children, they do much more than just send them to the principal’s office. They call the police, who show up to arrest children who are as young as 10 years old. Arrests, the Department of Justice says, happen automatically, regardless of whether the police officer knows exactly what kind of offense the child has committed or whether that offense is even worthy of an arrest. The police department’s policy is to arrest all children referred to the agency. Once those children are in the juvenile justice system, they are denied basic constitutional rights. They are handcuffed and incarcerated for days without any hearing and subsequently warehoused without understanding their alleged probation violations. (15)

The Meridian case makes clear what numerous reports have indicated for years: not only that zero-tolerance measures have failed, but also that they have made schools less secure, resulted in criminalizing student behavior and contributed to what has been called the school-to-prison pipeline, especially for poor youth of color. As the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) points out, the school-to-prison pipeline is a «disturbing national trend wherein children are funneled out of public schools and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems. Many of these children have learning disabilities or histories of poverty, abuse, or neglect, and would benefit from additional educational and counseling services. Instead, they are isolated, punished, and pushed out.» (16) Putting the police in schools has little to do with improving the learning environment for children and a great deal to do with criminalizing students «for behavior that should be handled inside the school. Students of color are especially vulnerable to push-out trends and the discriminatory application of discipline.» (17)

The war on youth and public schools is part of the larger assault on democracy itself.

The increasing criminalization of students of color, poor students and students with disabilities is taking place in the context of a broader attack on public schools as a whole. Like many institutions that represent the public good, public schools are under attack by market, religious and educational fundamentalists. Schools are considered dangerous because they are public, not because they are failing. State and corporate leaders are seeking to take power out of the hands of public school teachers and administrators because public schools harbor teachers with the potential to engage in pedagogies that are imaginative, empowering, critical and capable of connecting learning with the practice of freedom and the search for justice. The pedagogies of oppression – whether in the form of high-stakes testing, teaching for the test, imposing punitive disciplinary measures or the construction of relations that disempower teachers and empower security guards – are part of a broader attempt to destroy the social state and the institutions that produce the formative culture necessary for a democracy.

Students Are Not Criminals

There are no safe spaces left in the United States. As almost every aspect of society becomes militarized, the imposing apparatuses of the police state become more and more obvious, reckless and dangerous, and include more than the arming of local police forces.

As Chase Mader observes:

Even as simple a matter as getting yourself from point A to point B can quickly become a law enforcement matter as travel and public space are ever more aggressively policed. Waiting for a bus? Such loitering just got three Rochester youths arrested. Driving without a seat belt can easily escalate into an arrest, even if the driver is a state judge. (Notably, all four of these men were black.) If the police think you might be carrying drugs, warrantless body cavity searches at the nearest hospital may be in the offing – you will be sent the bill later. Air travel entails increasingly intimate pat-downs and arbitrary rules that many experts see as nothing more than ‘security theater.’ As for staying at home, it carries its own risks as Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates found out when a Cambridge police officer mistook him for a burglar and hauled him away – a case that is hardly unique. (18)

The rise of the punishing and police state depends on conformity, the squelching of dissent and the closing down of any institution capable of educating the young and old to hold authority accountable. More specifically, pedagogies of oppression are a central tool for dismantling critical learning and dissent and for increasing the power of the punishing state. Under the reign of neoliberalism, all things public are under attack, from schools to health care to public servants. The war on youth and public schools is part of the larger assault on democracy itself. The controlling elite view schools as dangerous to their interests. For the financial elite, right-wing ideologues and billionaires such as the Walton family, the Koch brothers and Bill Gates, public education must be defunded, broken and privatized because it contains the potential to educate young people to question authority and hold it accountable, and produce civically literate and socially engaged students and critically engaged citizens.

Schools are not prisons, teachers are not a security detail and students are not criminals. Schools should model the United States’ investment in children and to do so they need to view young people as a resource rather than as a threat. If public schools are going to improve they have to be appropriately funded. That means, raising corporate taxes, cutting the defense budget, and allocating funds that contribute to the public good. It also means closing down and defunding those financial and military institutions that produce misery and destroy human lives, especially the lives of children. Educators should be given the power, autonomy and resources to be able to work closely with children in order to provide them with the conditions for meaningful learning while providing safe spaces for them to be nourished ethically, intellectually and spiritually. Schools are a public good and should be defined as such. How the United States invests in schools will shape an entire generation of young people. The lesson these youth should not be learning is that they can’t be trusted and should be treated as criminals. That view of schooling is one we associate with totalitarian states, not with a genuine democratic society.


1. Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Moving the Centre: The Struggle for Cultural Freedom(London: James Currey, 1993), p. 76.

2. Lindsey Tanner, «Half of US Kids Will Get Food Stamps, Study Says,» The Associated Press (November 2, 2009). Online: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/11/02/food-stamps-will-feed-hal_n_342834.html

3. Cited from the website of The National Center on Family Homelessness. Online: http://www.familyhomelessness.org/children.php?p=ts

4. I have taken this issue up in great detail in Henry A. Giroux, Youth in a Suspect Society: Democracy or Disposability (New York: Palgrave, 2009). See also Kenneth Saltman, ed. Kenneth J. Saltman, David A. Gabbard, eds. Education as Enforcement: The Militarization and Corporatization of Schools (New York: Routledge, 2010).

5. Joy Resmovits, «American Schools Are STILL Racist, Government Report Finds,» The Huffington Post (March 21, 2015). Online: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/21/schools-discrimination_n_5002954.html

6. s.e. smith, «Police Handcuffing 7-Year-Olds? The Brutality Unleashed on Kids With Disabilities in Our School Systems,» AlterNet (May 22, 2012). Online: http://www.alternet.org/story/155526/police_handcuffing_7-year-olds_the_brutality_unleashed_on_kids_with_disabilities_in_our_school_systems?page=entire

7. Staff, Rethinking Schools, «Stop the School-to-Prison Pipeline» Truthout, (Jan. 15, 2012).

8. Clyde Haberman, «When Youth Violence Spurred ‘Superpredator’ Fear,» The New York Times (April 6, 2014). Online: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/07/us/politics/killing-on-bus-recalls-superpredator-threat-of-90s.html?_r=0

9. Ibid., Haberman.

10. The video can be seen here: Ed Pilkington, «Kentucky sheriff ‘steadfastly’ defends officer who handcuffed 8-year-old,» The Guardian (August 4, 2015). Online: http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/aug/04/kentucky-sheriff-defends-officer-handcuffed-child

11. Ibid., Pilkington.

12. Alex Kane, «Diabetic High School Girl Beaten by Police Officer and Arrested – For Falling Asleep in Class,» AlterNet, (May 7, 2013).

13. Natasha Lennard, «NYPD Handcuff, Interrogate 7-Year-Old Over $5,» AlterNet, (January 30, 2013). Online: http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/nypd-handcuff-interrogate-7-year-old-over-5

14. Julianne Hing, «The Shocking Details of a Mississippi School-to-Prison Pipeline,» Truthout, (December 3, 2012). Online: http://truth-out.org/news/item/13121-the-shocking-details-of-a-mississippi-school-to-prison-pipeline

15. Ibid., Hing.

16. American Civil Liberties Union, «School-to-prison-pipeline,» ACLU Issues (August 5, 2015). Online: https://www.aclu.org/issues/racial-justice/race-and-inequality-education/school-prison-pipeline

17. Ibid.

18. Chase Madar, «Everyone Is a Criminal: On the Over-Policing of America», The Huffington Post. (December 13, 2013). Online: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chase-madar/over-policing-of-america_b_4412187.html




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Estados Unidos: Virginia’s governor takes emergency steps to curtail teacher shortage

Virginia / 13 de diciembre de 2017 / Por: Debbie Truong / Fuente: http://www.fredericksburg.com

In a bid to curtail Virginia’s teacher shortage, Gov. Terry McAuliffe took emergency action Monday to get aspiring instructors into classrooms faster by streamlining education requirements.

McAuliffe ordered the Virginia Board of Education to implement an emergency regulation that would allow the state’s public colleges and universities to start offering undergraduate students a major in education by March 1.

«The teacher shortage is a growing crisis that we have to stop and reverse if we are serious about the commonwealth’s economic future,» McAuliffe said in an emailed statement. «High quality teachers are the key to unlocking the potential in our children.»

Most public colleges and universities in Virginia require that teaching candidates first complete a bachelor’s degree in a subject area such as math, science or social studies, said Jim Livingston, president of the Virginia Education Association, one of the state’s confederation of educators. Then, aspiring educators must enter a teacher preparation program, which often requires a fifth year of school, Livingston said.

Livingston said McAuliffe’s order would reduce the cost of pursuing a career in education. Some students, he said, opt not to enter teaching programs because of the cost.

«We think this is a bold move on the part of the governor. We anticipate the State Board of Education will take the charge seriously,» Livingston said. «This is not going to solve the problem. This is the first step.»

Robert Pianta, dean of the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia, said the change would streamline a process that can require two degrees and five or more years into requirements that take just four years.

That change will mean student-teachers will get more exposure to the classroom sooner, he said.

That experience, Pianta said, is «essential to their success.»

«Allowing teacher preparation programs to develop four-year models, in my view, has the potential to create stronger preparation and more effective teachers in a shorter time frame than the current master’s focused approach,» Pianta wrote in an email.

State Board of Education regulations do not currently permit undergraduate majors in teaching, said Heather Fluit, McAuliffe’s deputy communications director. The Board of Education will eventually have to replace the emergency regulations with long-term policies, she said.

Teacher shortages have afflicted much of the nation. A 2016 report by the nonprofit Learning Policy Institute found that teacher education enrollment dropped from 691,000 to 451,000 nationally, a 35 percent reduction, between 2009 and 2014.

In Virginia, teacher vacancies increased by 40 percent in the last decade, according to McAuliffe’s executive directive. In 2016, more than 1,000 teaching positions remained unfilled two months into the academic year, according to Virginia Department of Education data.

Last year, McAuliffe took the extraordinary step of sending letters to more than 500 retired teachers around the city of Petersburg, asking them to consider returning to work in the city’s schools. A state law passed in 2001 permits retired teachers to return to areas of need and still draw their pensions while being paid.

Del. Steven Landes, chairman of the state’s House Education Committee, issued a statement saying the teacher shortage has affected rural and urban areas.

«Virginia’s teaching shortage is one of the most pressing challenges we face in public education,» he said, adding that he’s confident legislation in the 2018 General Assembly session will work to address the issue.

In addition to his executive directive, McAuliffe announced funding initiatives on Monday intended to further alleviate teacher shortages.

A proposed budget scheduled to be unveiled next week is expected to set aside $1.1 million to automate the teacher licensure process, according to a news release. And $1 million would go toward recruiting and retaining principals in school districts with significant needs.

The proposed budget would also set aside money to offer incentives for teachers who are in struggling school districts.

Fuente noticia: http://www.fredericksburg.com/news/education/virginia-s-governor-takes-emergency-steps-to-curtail-teacher-shortage/article_b5411396-df5a-11e7-9791-3bf2f9d2636b.html

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Private Sector to Help Drive Indonesia’s Public Education Overhaul: F&E Group

Indonesia/September 26, 2017/Source: http://jakartaglobe.id

Indonesia’s education sector will receive a big boost from a more robust involvement from the private sector to complement existing government efforts to improve the quality of public education in Southeast Asia’s largest economy.

F&E Group unveiled a comprehensive plan to inject investment into the public education sector in the country ahead of its Global Educational Supplies and Solutions Indonesia (GESS Indonesia) event, which will take place on Sept. 27-29 at the Jakarta Convention Center.

«Our research shows that Indonesia has already made tremendous strides in improving access to basic education over the past two decades. Efforts are now being made to improve quality, but will need more private sector initiatives to support ongoing government programs aimed at improving teacher performance, as well as student learning experiences and skills that will help them become active contributors to Indonesia’s economy,» F&E Group project director Matt Thompson said in a statement.

According to a United Nations Population Fund report, Indonesia will have 65 million young people joining the workforce by 2035, as the education system is largely expected to give them the requisite skills to become employable.

The report prompted action from the Ministry of Education and Culture, which said the government is currently trying to local empower students to be capable of competing for jobs in Indonesia, or anywhere in the world.

«We are constantly reviewing our policies and programs to ensure no one is left behind, and each student is given the right education to be competent and competitive enough,» said Ananto Kusuma Seta, the Education Ministry’s special adviser for innovation and competitiveness.

Digital Education Market

With policy reforms designed to create a more accessible and responsive education system in the country, the government will also aim to reach its goal of raising the annual per capita income from $3500 in 2011 to $14,250 by 2025 through crucial technology adaptations as smartphone penetration in Indonesia is forecast to reach 100 million users in 2018.

To meet these demands, Indosat’s Ooredoo pledged $1 million in 2015 to enhance digital education aimed at providing cloud-based interactive classroom materials, tablets to schools in five provinces across the country and training teachers to possess necessary IT skills.

On the other hand, educational tech start-ups are also sprouting in Indonesia to help address the flourishing digital education market, like HarukaEdu, ArsaKids, KelasX, Cakra, Rabbit Hole, Generasi Cerdas, Youth Manual and Mediafon.

The GESS exhibition is expected to see more than 100 education suppliers and brands from across the globe showcase a wide range of products and solutions geared towards Indonesia’s education market.

These products include cutting-edge digital tools and software aimed at improving the teaching and learning experience in classrooms.

«In addition, we will also have a pavilion dedicated to start-ups as a way of supporting the private sector’s initiatives in implementing programs that hope to complement the government’s ongoing efforts to improve the quality of education in Indonesia,» Thompson said.

GESS Indonesia’s admission is free for education professionals and will consist of over 100 sessions, workshops and presentations covering a variety of topics and themes addressing opportunities and challenges in Indonesia’s education sector.




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Education policy, classrooms are worlds apart

08/07/2017. By: http://education.einnews.com

It’s been nearly two years since the Tampa Bay Times published «Failure Factories,» the Pulitzer Prize-winning series focused on five struggling elementary schools in south St. Petersburg that were not provided the promised additional resources after they were resegregated. The series unleashed philosophical and political debates involving poverty and race, the responsibilities of parents and the government and the merits of public schools and privately operated schools. Yet there remains a simple truth that is too often minimized: Educating these children is hard, often heartbreaking work that occurs in the classroom without nearly enough public and financial support.

The Times’ Cara Fitzpatrick spent last year chronicling the progress and setbacks of the faculty and students at one of those five schools in the original series, Fairmount Park Elementary. Her reporting revealed real-life stories that rise above stereotypes and defy boilerplate solutions.

There was the perpetually upbeat principal who refused to surrender to low expectations. She deals with the same challenges facing high-poverty schools through the ages and the increased scrutiny of legislators who specialize in unintended consequences. The policies and legislation coming out of Tallahassee make experienced teachers wary of putting their job evaluations on the line in struggling schools, forcing principals to recruit straight off college campuses to fill spots in the most challenging classrooms.

There were the overextended parents who work multiple jobs and unconventional hours to keep the electricity on and food on the table. Parent meetings at Fairmount often were sparsely attended. But while lawmakers talk of parental responsibility, no child chooses to be born into a situation where money is tight and parental supervision is a challenge.

There were the teachers who volunteer to work in a more difficult setting, knowing their jobs are in greater jeopardy than most others due to the state’s fanaticism with standardized test scores and accountability. The stress and increased workload in struggling schools is so daunting that many experienced teachers are not swayed by a district’s offer of higher pay.

And there are the children. The few who misbehave, yes, but also the majority who are eager to learn. The ones who might get off to a slow start, then fall hopelessly between the cracks. The students so embarrassed by their shortcomings that they become adept at masking their weaknesses.

These are the stories everyone should remember. That includes legislators who are wedded to ideology and have little clue about the challenges in high-poverty schools. That includes teachers unions that too often protect their members at the expense of their students. That includes the rest of us who have no idea what life is like for an elementary student who comes to school in the morning with an empty belly and comes home in the afternoon to an empty house.

While the school grades for other elementaries in the original «Failure Factories» series improved, Fairmount Park dropped to an F despite the best efforts of the principal and her team. But the answer to narrowing the education gap will not be found in gimmicks or the state’s zealous pivot toward charter schools. It will require a sustained commitment of human and financial capital, and the willingness of school officials to tap into communities that stand ready to lend a hand. This is a societal challenge that deserves more thoughtful solutions than abandoning public education and handing the responsibility and public money over to privately run schools with less accountability.

From: http://education.einnews.com/article/391068005/g49GVhNMqt8gcau8?lcf=ZdFIsVy5FNL1d6BCqG9muZ1ThG_8NrDelJyazu0BSuo%3D

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