November 6, 2017

The Tax Bill And Education, O’Keefe, Mehta, Dynarski, Race & Higher Ed, Race And Schools, The Mess In Online, And More!

By Bellwether

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Scroll down for edubjobs and a fish pictures.

Bonnie O’Keefe on teacher turnover and assumptions about it.

I endorse the idea that you should read Jal Mehta.

Mark Dynarski wants to know where the research is in state ESSA plans. Ha ha ha ha ha ha. No, seriously,  he does.

Most sectors have to figure out how to police potential conflicts of interest while also allowing cross pollination of ideas, practices, and solutions. Surprise! The education field will be no different as it evolves.

Race and higher education:

Is college necessary? It turns out about half of Californians don’t think so, according to a new Public Policy Institute of California survey.

The difference of opinions in ethnic groups is surprising: While two-thirds of Latinos answer yes, a majority of Asian- and African-Americans think so — but only 35 percent of whites agree.

The same disparity holds across income groups: Almost 60 percent of those from households earning less than $40,000 say college is necessary, while only 42 percent from households making at least $80,000 agree.

Again, when a bunch of people who have been successful doing something spend a lot of time telling you not to do it, be suspicious.

Tax bill: A bunch of proposals for the tax bill that would impact education. Some directly – for instance President Trump seems to be trying to make good on his $20 billion for school choice proposal in part by expanding 529s to include private k-12 expenses. That wouldn’t do much for low-income Americans as 529s are already skewed toward the more affluent who can take advantage of the savings opportunities. And, as we’ve discussed around here before, in general the experience with school choice initiatives shows that if you really want to empower the poor to choose schools you have to give them the choice via strategies like charters or give them money to spend via ideas like vouchers. These indirect strategies are expensive but low-leverage, at best.

Proposals to cap the state and local tax deductions and mortgage interest deductions would also affect public K-12 schools given the instrumental role property taxes and property values play in school finance today. Lawmakers taking aim at college endowments, too. Plenty of twists and turns to come before a final bill but right now hard to say this bill is good news for public schools. 

Reform is winning? Mike Petrilli says that everyone feeling a little down is wrong and the last year has been great for education reform.  He has plenty of examples of things that did or didn’t happen. The problem with this analysis is that there is always something happening – there are 50 states doing things always! The questions you have to ask are whether overall, big picture, in ways that affect millions of Americans, the politics are favorable to systemic improvement of our education system in service of larger goals like improved equity, better preparing Americans for the changing economy, or a deeper understanding of our shared civic bonds and ideals. It’s unclear to me how anyone can look at the past twelve months, or few years for that matter, this is about a lot more than President Trump, and come away feeling great about where things are.

Pat Riccards with a smart dissent on this point here.

School choice. A few months ago Randi Weingarten described school choice efforts as the polite cousins of segregation and pretty much anyone who has analyzed public school outcomes and demographics or even considered this for more than a few seconds, thought, well, wait, aren’t a lot of public school districts actually the polite cousins of segregation? Here’s a take on that and an important debate:

Pushing back against these invidious attacks is the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, an organization that represents 47 historically black schools. “We cannot afford this kind of issue-myopia in our society,” the fund’s president, Johnny Taylor, wrote in a syndicated op-ed this fall. “If the NAACP continues to reject the educational opportunities school choice provides them, they risk becoming irrelevant—or worse—an enemy of the very people they claim to fight for.”

Speaking of….stay classy Denver!

The mailer is the handiwork of Every Student Succeeds, which gets its support from the state’s largest teachers union, the Colorado Education Association, as well as money from the Denver and Aurora teachers unions.

The term “bare-knuckle politics” just gained a new level of brutality. Cobián is no supporter of Trump, DeVos or their education agenda.

In reality, Cobián is an impressive up-and-comer who learned English in the Denver district, overcame significant hurdles to students of color, went on to gain an exemplary education…

Proponents of virtual and online education really ought to get on top of the quality and accountability issues – and yes those issues exist all around the education sector but when you’re an upstart you bear an extra burden.

I am not much on alternative history as a genre, but James Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry would have been something else.

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