about the law that requires each school district to identify 25% of teachers who will be eligible for temporary career status. Read what she said to the Wake County School Board.Read More
A new report entitled, “The State of the School-to-Prison-Pipeline in the Wake County Public School System,” was released on August 19, 2013 by Advocates for Children’s Services (ACS), a project of Legal Aid of North Carolina. Relying on the latest available data (2011-12), the report details the high number of suspensions in North Carolina’s largest school district, and the disproportionate number of suspensions meted out to minority children. Also called out in the report is the troubling fact that “WCPSS is funneling students, particularly students of color, directly into the juvenile delinquency system at increasing and alarming rates.” Some of the reports findings: – Long-term suspension rates in WCPSS were among the highest in North Carolina, in part due to the district’s severe shortage of alternatives to suspension (e.g., restorative justice, community service, and mandatory counseling). – The district had a severe shortage of school psychologists, social workers and guidance counselors, with ratios well below national recommendations. – The alternative schools and programs within the WCPSS are highly segregated, low-achieving and punitive. – The WCPSS had a massive security presence in its schools – including a Security Department staff, private security guards, and law enforcement officers – yet security personnel lacked adequate training, limitations and accountability, and inconsistencies existed among schools. – Arbitrary suspension recommendations from an inadequate Code of Conduct are leading to inequitable applications. Nearly all long-term suspensions are recommended to extend through the end of the school year, so two students who commit the same offense may receive vastly different suspension periods depending on when they committed their offense. Read the press release from Advocates for Children’s Services, a project of Legal Aid of North Carolina. Read the full...Read More
With all of the teacher bashing that goes on, it’s nice to see facts like this that demonstrate the “above and beyond” dedication of educators. “Roughly half the amount that the nation’s public school teachers are spending on educational products is being covered with their own money, a new nationwide survey shows. All told, teachers spent about $3.2 billion on various types of supplies and materials during the 2012-13 academic year, according to the survey, released recently by the National School Supply and Equipment Association. Half that total amount, $1.6 billion, came out of educators’ own pockets.” Read the entire...Read More
New Data Shows School “Reformers” Are Full of It, Poor schools underperform largely because of economic forces, not because teachers have it too easy.
In the great American debate over education, the education and technology corporations, bankrolled politicians and activist-profiteers who collectively comprise the so-called “reform” movement base their arguments on one central premise: that America should expect public schools to produce world-class academic achievement regardless of the negative forces bearing down on a school’s particular students. In recent days, though, the faults in that premise are being exposed by unavoidable reality. Before getting to the big news, let’s review the dominant fairy tale: As embodied by New York City’s major education announcement this weekend, the “reform” fantasy pretends that a lack of teacher “accountability” is the major education problem and somehow wholly writes family economics out of the story (amazingly, this fantasy persists even in a place like the Big Apple where economic inequality is particularly crushing). That key — and deliberate — omission serves myriad political interests. For education, technology and charter school companies and the Wall Streeters who back them, it lets them cite troubled public schools to argue that the current public educationsystem is flawed, and to then argue that education can be improved if taxpayer money is funneled away from the public school system’s priorities (hiring teachers, training teachers, reducing class size, etc.) and into the private sector (replacing teachers with computers, replacing public schools with privately run charter schools, etc.). Likewise, for conservative politicians and activist–profiteers disproportionately bankrolled by these and other monied interests, the “reform” argument gives them a way to both talk about fixing education and to bash organized labor, all without having to mention an economic status quo that monied interests benefit from and thus do not want changed. Read the full article...Read More
New Report: Out of School and Off Track: The Overuse of Suspensions in American Middle and High Schools
Note: See page 4, where Wake County ranks 9 among the top 10 Districts with the Largest Number of “Hotspot” Secondary Schools In this first of a kind breakdown of data from over 26,000 U.S. middle and high schools, we estimate that well over two million students were suspended during the 2009-2010 academic year. This means that one out of every nine secondary school students was suspended at least once during that year. As other studies demonstrate, the vast majority of suspensions are for minor infractions of school rules, such as disrupting class, tardiness, and dress code violations, rather than for serious violent or criminal behavior. Serious incidents are rare and result in expulsions, which are not covered by this report. Given the recent research showing that being suspended even once in ninth grade is associated with a twofold increase in the likelihood of dropping out, from 16% for those not suspended to 32% for those suspended just once (Balfanz, 2013), the high number of students suspended, as presented in this report, should be of grave concern to all parents, educators, taxpayers, and policymakers. Read the complete...Read More
The idea of giving students a choice of where to go school — with public funds — may sound good, but there are problems attached. The following post explains some of them. It was written by David A. Pickler, president of the National School Boards Association and former chairman and now member of Tennessee’s Shelby County Board of Education. Read the entire post here.Read More