The decision by a suburban Birmingham school district to eliminate its busing program has erupted into a controversy over race and class. Officials in the Hoover school district say they were forced to drop the buses because of a severe budget shortfall. Many community members believe the decision was designed to force out the growing numbers of minority and low-income students who are lowering average test scores in Hoover schools.
Jay Bookman writes:
Sometimes, when they say it’s about the money, it’s not about the money.
Georgia’s decision to drop multi-state testing based on the Common Core educational standards is not about the money. It’s about politics, pure and simple. It is an effort to try to appease that portion of the state’s Republican base that sees Common Core as some sort of Obama-led conspiracy to undermine American freedom. That same portion of the base threatens to unseat any Republican that dares to challenge their paranioa.
For that reason, this week’s announcement constitutes an important step backward, both symbolically and practically.
With the Department of Education cutting funding across the board this year, families and communities everyone are feeling the squeeze. Now, resistance to school closures and consolidations is moving visibly beyond big cities like Chicago and Philadelphia into more rural regions — the latest being Sullivan County, in northeastern Tennessee.
GOP Governor Bobby Jindal defends anti-evolution education policy, but it costs his state millions in science-based business
It is time to acknowledge that the fashionable theory of school reform — requiring that pay and job security for teachers, principals and administrators depend on their students’ standardized test scores — is at best a well-intentioned mistake, and at worst nothing but a racket.
I mean that literally. Beverly Hall, the former superintendent of the Atlanta public schools, was indicted on racketeering charges Friday for an alleged cheating scheme that won her more than $500,000 in performance bonuses. Hall, who retired two years ago, is also accused of theft, conspiracy and making false statements. She has denied any wrongdoing.
Also facing criminal charges are 34 teachers and principals who allegedly participated in the cheating, which involved simply erasing students’ wrong answers on test papers and filling in the correct answers.
Here’s what 8th graders in Louisiana know, for sure, about the 1960s rabble-rousers better known as hippies (emphasis mine):
"They went to Canada or European countries to escape being drafted into military service. They went without bathing, wore dirty, ragged, unconventional clothing, and deliberately broke all codes of politeness or manners. Rock music played an important part in the hippie movement and had great influence over the hippies. Many of the rock musicians they followed belonged to Eastern religious cults or practiced Satan worship.”
How do they know it? Because their history textbook — “America: Land I Love” — told them so! Dirty hippie-gate is just one of many reasons the quality of the Louisiana school system’s voucher program has been called into question.
Eleven states have adopted tax-credit programs that encourage donations to private-school scholarship programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislators.
None of those programs is like Georgia’s program.
Most states at least make an effort to ensure that tax-subsidized scholarships are limited to lower-income students who might otherwise be stuck in an underperforming public school. That’s the whole philosophy behind the program nationwide. States do not want the program to become a backdoor means of subsidizing private school tuition for those who can already afford it.
But Georgia law, by design, contains no such safeguard. It is against the law for the state to even ask how many of the scholarships are being awarded to lower-income students.
North Carolina could soon see a dramatic increase in the number of charter schools, with as many as 150 of the public-private hybrids opening across the state next year. But new research from Duke University suggests the charter school boom will result in greater racial imbalance in the state’s public education system — and that can have negative educational consequences for students. North Carolina limited the number of charter schools that could operate in the state to 100 until 2011. That’s when the General Assembly — with Republicans controlling both the House and Senate for the first time since Reconstruction and embracing a school-choice agenda — lifted the cap.