Welcome to the blog of the California Teachers Empowerment Network. CTEN is a non-partisan, non-political group dedicated to providing teachers and the public at large with reliable and balanced information about professional affiliations and positions on educational issues.
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Eight days ago, Donald Trump became our president-elect. And
just what will this mean for educators? Hard to say because very little of the
campaign was spent on K-12 education issues. Our soon-to-be 45th
President did say that school choice is a priority, however.
nominee Donald Trump is pledging that, if elected, he'd be the "nation's
biggest cheerleader for school choice" and would offer states the chance
to use $20 billion in federal money to create vouchers allowing children in
poverty to attend the public, charter, or private school of their choice.
"There is no
policy more in need of urgent change than our government-run education
Trump said. "The Democratic Party has trapped millions of
African-American and Hispanic youth" in struggling schools.
"We want every
inner-city child in America to have the freedom to attend any school," he
Trump said that the
$20 billion in federal funds could be combined with more than $100 billion in
state and local money to create vouchers of up to $12,000 annually for the
nation's poorest kids.
Of note to
Californians, the three education-related measures on the ballot all passed.
Prop. 58 will largely undo Prop 227, and restore bilingual education. Prop 55
will continue Prop 30, the “temporary tax” on people earning over $263,000 a
year through 2030. And Prop 51, a school bond measure, will “help to repair, upgrade and improve
California’s K-12 public schools and community colleges” according to
On the subject of
school choice, many in the education establishment contend that any
privatization of education hurts teachers. Not so, says University of Arkansas’
Corey DeAngelis, who makes the case that “School Choice Benefits Teachers Too.”
resources to private schools must harm teachers in public schools, right? This
is debatable, especially since public school teachers do
not face a serious threat of dismissal or
decreasing salaries. Moreover, even if this caused a realistic dismissal
threat, the high-quality teachers would certainly remain shielded. What is
unquestionable, however, is that this diversion of resources benefits teachers
in private schools voluntarily chosen by families.
Which group of teachers
should benefit more? The ones that forcefully receive resources from the
taxpayers, or the ones that produce educational outcomes that are desired by
children and parents?
To state the
obvious, as charter schools and other forms of educational choice proliferate,
traditional public schools lose market share. While some school districts complain
to legislators and the media about the loss of students and revenue, the more creative
ones have turned to marketing.
Joel Dahl, an administrator in the
Westonka district, said his small school system outside of Minneapolis was
losing children to charters, private schools and neighboring districts for
about six years before the flow subsided around 2014, in part because of the
outreach to young children.
In addition to sending out about 100 baby
bags every three months, the district also sends birthday cards to newborns
through their fifth birthday and offers programs to children from birth. One
class involves a teacher leading parents and newborns in playtime and singing
to help the babies with communication and socialization skills.
“We try and start young and recruit them, and
hope they try to stay all the way through,” Mr. Dahl said. “Our goal is to get
One of the edu-myths
making the rounds these days is that teachers are burning out because of tougher tests and evaluations. Mike
Antonucci looks at the evidence and finds the claim to be essentially not true,
with perhaps one exception.
…as one review of the published
evidence put it: “Research to date suggests that accountability has not
dramatically changed the career choices of teachers overall, but that it has
likely increased attrition in schools classified as failing relative to other
schools.” There is less research on teacher evaluation policies, but what
exists suggests that turnover and dissatisfaction may be particularly acute for
teachers who receive poor ratings.
On the subject of
testing, the always provocative Jay Greene has written a most interesting blog
post, “Evidence for the Disconnect Between Changing Test Scores and Changing
Later Life Outcomes.”
Over the last few years I have developed a
deeper skepticism about the reliability of relying on test scores for
accountability purposes. I think tests
have very limited potential in guiding distant policymakers, regulators,
portfolio managers, foundation officials, and other policy elites in
identifying with confidence which schools are good or bad, ought to be opened,
expanded, or closed, and which programs are working or failing. The problem, as I’ve pointed out in several
pieces now, is that in using tests for these purposes we are assuming that if
we can change test scores, we will change later outcomes in life. We don’t really care about test scores per
se, we care about them because we think they are near-term proxies for later
life outcomes that we really do care about — like graduating from high school,
going to college, getting a job, earning a good living, staying out of jail,
Earlier this month, the California Charter Schools
Association released a ranking of every
school – charter and traditional – in the state. As reported in LA School Report,
Each school is ranked
from 1 to 10 as a statewide rank and a “similar student” rank, which compares
schools with similar demographics, including race and socioeconomic status.
CCSA’s senior vice president of achievement and performance management, said
the “similar student” rank tells more about how a school is educating its
students. Students who have educated parents and are from higher socioeconomic
backgrounds are more likely to do better on standardized tests. Schools that
are “beating the odds” rank high on the similar students rank, meaning students
are scoring higher on tests than students from other schools with similar
For CTA agency fee payers, the November 15th
deadline has passed, so we hope you have already submitted your 2016 rebate
form. However, if you are a first time filer, you may resign from the union
after the 15th. You will not get the full amount, but rather a
prorated one depending on how long after the 15th you file. For more
information, please visit http://www.ctenhome.org/know.htm
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