Archive | March, 2016

What If They Just Didn’t Give the Test?

A school district in Tennessee weighs the possibility of not administering state-mandated standardized tests. From Tennessee Education Report: More than one Board Member raised the prospect of the district refusing to administer Phase II. The most forceful comments came from Jared Barrett: Board Member Jared Barrett agreed, but put it more vehemently. “I say we […]

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High-Priced Housing Hits Teachers Hard

NPR reports on the challenge faced by teachers in high-priced housing markets: They simply can’t afford to live or be a part of the communities where they teach. The story notes: Kelly Henderson loves her job, teaching at Newton South High School in a suburb west of Boston. But she’s frustrated she can’t afford to […]

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A Gap in Analysis

From Tennessee Education Report: Here’s the bottom line: Income gaps explain achievement gaps. That is, states with relatively large income gaps tend to have relatively large achievement gaps. Likewise, states with more income homogeneity tend to have smaller achievement gaps. I wrote about this on a Tennessee-specific level when talking about the achievement gap and […]

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Toward a New BEP

From Tennessee Education Report: It’s also worth noting that every single district in the state hires teachers beyond the BEP-generated number. Typically, around 12-15% more than what the BEP formula generates. Districts cover the full cost of salary and insurance for all teachers hired beyond the BEP number. If districts only hired the BEP number […]

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School Buildings Matter

The Washington Post reports on a study that indicates that funding for school buildings lags far behind existing need. From the report: The nation is spending $46 billion less each year on school construction and maintenance than is necessary to ensure safe and healthy facilities, according to estimates in a new report. The study, released by a […]

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Chronic Underfunding Hurts Urban Schools

In a recent article, US News explores the funding challenges faced by urban school districts around the country. The article notes: In fact, some states are providing even less funding per student than they did prior to the recession, according to a recent report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. At least 25 […]

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A Question of Validity

What I wrote about the TNReady troubles: This year’s TNReady-based TVAAS scores will be invalid. So will next year’s, for that matter. There’s not enough comparative data to make a predictive inference regarding past TCAP performance as it relates to current TNReady performance. In other words, it’s like comparing apples to oranges. Or, pulling a […]

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Sending a Message to Washington

I recently visited Washington, DC on behalf of Tennessee Citizen Action: I was honored to be your messenger to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau last week.   I told the CFPB about how Tennessee loan sharks have pioneered the 279% Flex Loan as a payday alternative. I told them about families that have been devastated by having to pay […]

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The Funding Games

The Tennessee General Assembly is playing games with school funding. From Tennessee Education Report: When a body like the Tennessee General Assembly faces a dilemma such as whether or not to make funding schools a top priority, they can either make a significant new investment in schools OR wait and see if the courts order […]

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