March 9, 2016

The Education Angle In The Election, Robson On ESSA’s Homeless Highlight, Horn On Districts, Lifestyles Of The Rich And Higher Ed, Discipline, Taxes, AltSchool, And Pudding!

By Bellwether

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At the elections: 

PPI’s David Osborne and Will Marshall pen an open letter to the presidential candidates about education:

Given the glaring inequities in our public schools, we are mystified by the absence of K-12 reform from your campaigns. Frankly, this appears to reflect what is worst about each party. Republicans, in blind obedience to the ideology of local control, seem more upset by the prospect of “federal meddling” in public schools than by their endemic failure to give low-income students a quality education. Democrats tolerate failure for another reason, namely fear of alienating teachers’ unions. None of you, it seems, is prepared to stand up for poor children trapped in poor public schools.

So…about last night…there is some education here after all. Michigan exits and voting patterns show that, surprise, free college works in college towns! Unfortunately for Clinton there are a lot of them around the country. Her bigger immediate education-related problem though seems to be trade. Of the more than half of Democratic voters who believe trade kill jobs, almost six in ten broke for Sanders. That points up an interesting dynamic in education: The unions, especially the teachers unions and public sector unions, were supposed to be Clinton’s firewall but in union heavy states they’ve been unable to deliver big wins for her.  Sanders, in fact, narrowly won union households in Michigan. That’s sure to also reignite the frustration about the teachers union endorsement process within the ranks of both teachers unions but especially among AFT members.

Also about trade, the soothing balm many are applying to ease Trump angst is that the Trump phenomenon is all about race. There certainly seems to be an element of that but as Thomas Frank points out Trump also has an anti-trade message. Reducing it entirely to race misses the entirety of what’s happening and what matters politically regardless of what happens to Trump. Trump handily won the more than half of Republican voters who think trade costs jobs. He also performs well among voters most likely to be dislocated in today’s economy. The clock is not going to be turned back on globalizing trends but there are obvious education and training implications to all this on both sides of the aisle that should create opportunities for political and practice innovation to help Americans who are understandably frustrated and should be supported.

Kevin Carey notes, though, that Trump doesn’t get the Common Core (actually, he probably does but it’s a great issue for him…it’s all about the kids!).


Kelly Robson with an important point on ESSA, even if you are not a fan there are some highlights and progress. She points out some gains for homeless students in the new law. 

Michael Horn says reformers should look within districts for opportunities to expand blended learning:

All of this adds up to an education reform movement that, on the whole, often doesn’t embrace the change blended learning is making within the district schools where there are willing partners to innovate. It means that many districts often innovate without the benefits in dollars, ideas, talent and lessons learned those reformers could bring. Even as sound theory suggests that these innovations—imperfect and as hard to understand as they may be—represent the most likely path for blended learning to scale and transform schooling, it means society could capitalize more on the opportunity before us.

Higher ed lifestyle choices are a part of the higher education cost conversation that doesn’t get enough attention.  Elizabeth Green takes a long look at the debate over the “No Excuses” models of schooling. Taxing non-wage income is not as easy as it sounds. The New Yorker discovers AltSchool.

Some great advice here from Principal Gerry Brooks.

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