In Case You Missed It (ICYMI) … Your mini news clippings
Education in Trump’s First 100 Days
The Fordham Institute looks at education in President Trump’s first 100 days to see what has changed and what might change in public education. Some of the early changes enacted by the Trump administration include: eliminating school accountability regulations in the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, relaxing school lunch standards, rolling back protections for people who default on student loans, and reversing bathroom access guidelines for public schools.
The Trump administration continues to promote school choice, including charter schools and vouchers. Voucher opponents will use a recent study conducted by the U.S. Department of Education of the Washington, DC, voucher program as ammunition to oppose vouchers. This study found students lost ground in their first year in private schools (compared to non-voucher students), as have recent studies in Louisiana, Ohio, and Indiana. Charter schools fared much better in the U.S. News & World Report’s annual high school rankings, with 6 of the top ten and 34 of the top hundred schools being charters.
The budget deal reached by Congress to avert a government shutdown includes additional funding for charter school programs and does not include funding for vouchers. The budget deal does cut funding for some K-12 programs, including school improvement and teacher training grants, but it includes a small spending increase for Title I programs and special education.
Other National Stories
A group of the nation’s top researchers have tried to make sense of the many studies on pre-K education. After reviewing the evidence, they conclude that children who attend public preschool programs are definitely better prepared for kindergarten, and poor and disadvantaged children gain more than their more advantaged peers. Not all preschool programs are equally successful, however, and the researchers say more work needs to be done on what makes a program effective in the long term.
The New York Times says school choice has not delivered on its promise because too many students in New York City don’t have access to great public schools. Neerav Kingsland agrees that families deserve better but says we shouldn’t confuse school choice and school supply. School choice improves access and gives more students a chance to attend a great school; it does not increase the supply of great schools. “It is only by creating new schools, scaling the best schools, and improving existing schools that quality increases,” Kingsland says.
Two New Orleans public schools (one charter and one traditionally-run) gamed Louisiana’s teacher evaluation system, according to a report from Tulane’s Education Research Alliance. The schools set artificially low academic targets and created fake classroom scenarios to protect educators. Researchers looked at just eight schools in New Orleans, but the results raise concerns that schools across the state may have gamed the system to give their teachers high ratings.
The East Baton Rouge Parish School Board tentatively approved a contract with Inspire NOLA Charter Schools to open a high school and three elementary schools in the district, enrolling up to 3,800 students. Texas-based IDEA Public Schools was given tentative approval to open four K-12 schools, enrolling over 7,000 students.
Seven of the state’s top 10 public high schools are located in the New Orleans area, according to the U.S. News & World Report’s 2017 rankings: Ben Franklin, Haynes, Lusher, Patrick Taylor, Sci High, KIPP Renaissance, and Thomas Jefferson.
New Orleans College Prep is starting a national search for its next CEO. Ben Kleban, the network’s founder and CEO, resigned at the end of 2016 after being elected to the Orleans Parish School Board. One of the co-CEO’s who replaced Kleban, recently left the organization as well.