There’s been chatter about higher ed and public ed in a few threads. Maybe, we need a thread about education in America.
The very first contribution:
The State of Texas has had enough of Houston schools.
In a letter to the Houston Independent School District, Morath said the Texas Education Agency will replace Superintendent Millard House II and the district’s elected board of trustees with an appointed board of managers made of residents from within the district’s boundaries.
Morath said the board has failed to improve student outcomes while conducting “chaotic board meetings marred by infighting" and violating open meetings act and procurement laws. He accused the district of failing to provide proper special education services and of violating state and federal laws with its approach to supporting students with disabilities.
He cited the seven-year record of poor academic performance at one of the district’s roughly 50 high schools, Wheatley High, as well as the poor performance of several other campuses.
“The governing body of a school system bears ultimate responsibility for the outcomes of all students. While the current Board of Trustees has made progress, systemic problems in Houston ISD continue to impact district students,” Morath wrote in his six-page letter.
That is a huge district. 50 high schools. wow
Race is also an issue because the overwhelming majority of students in Houston schools are Hispanic or Black. Domingo Morel, a professor of political science and public services at New York University, has studied school takeovers nationwide and said the political dynamics in Texas are similar to where states have intervened elsewhere.
The demographics in Houston, Morel said, are also similar.
“If we just focus on taking over school districts because they underperform, we would have a lot more takeovers,” Morel said. “But that’s not what happens."
“1st in the Republicans plan to eliminate public schools. They have been trying for years and voters have now given them the power to do just that. Abbott will take over Houston and it will not be long before there are charter schools everywhere that Texas tax payers will pay for and it’s all nothing more than a tool to drag 25% off the top of those education tax dollars before a penny gets down to the children. Anyone that thinks for a minute that Abbott cares anything for children of color clearly has not been watching the last 5 years. This is how it starts. Want to see how bad it gets? Look at what Devos did to Michigan schools and what she attempted to do to schools across the entire country.”
Underfund public schools so they underperform, then divert funds from public schools to charter schools, grift the money. Then blame ‘parents that don’t care’ and ‘woke’ something or other and ban books.
“Republicans, and white conservatives, have long been hostile to public schools. School desegregation drove white evangelicals to become the strongest Republican demographic. Ronald Reagan promised to end the Department of Education in 1980. Trump put Betsy DeVos in charge of the Department of Education, precisely because she was a leading proponent (and funder) of defunding public schools, and funneling it to religious schools. During her confirmation hearings it became clear that she knew nothing about education, and provided plagiarized and laughably bad answers to questions, asserting that teachers need guns to ward off grizzly bear attacks.”
“Republican candidates talk about “school choice” and putting God and prayer back in schools. What they really want, though, will result in the end of public education for the poor, and disfavored minorities like LGBT people.”
“Their plan looks like this: Parents are given a voucher for several thousand dollars that comes out of the state education budget. The money can be spent on tuition for charter or private schools, microschools (collective homeschooling), or regular homeschooling. Republicans say the “money goes to the kids.” In reality, it reduces money going to public schools to a point where the schools will be dramatically underfunded.”
I’m impressed by how quickly you read and considered the contents of that article. Open mindedness towards different viewpoints is one of the key components to being a successful educator.
“Florida’s history with vouchers shows us where this leads: poorer students promised a better education end up in low-cost, low-quality charter schools in abandoned strip malls that go out of business with little or no warning, with devastating results for the students. Republicans across the country have ensured that there is little to no oversight of charter schools, and that they do not have to meet many state education regulations. This is ostensibly to foster “innovation,” but in reality it is to make them more profitable, and conceal how shoddy many of them are. In Ohio, as Jane Mayer reported in her gripping new article about the destruction right-wing Republicans have wrought in that state, after a decade of GOP operatives siphoning off public school funding and directing it toward politically connected charter schools, state education rankings have slipped from fifth in the nation to 31st.”
Florida’s Education Funding Fails Across the Board
Providing a quality education to all of Florida’s students is a core constitutional responsibility of state government and critical to economic growth. Yet, school districts in Florida are dealing with a crushing teacher shortage, bus driver shortage, and overall operating cost growth that has outpaced revenue. Florida’s average teacher pay ranked 49th in the nation in 2020. All these issues are directly tied to Florida’s ongoing underinvestment in K-12 public schools.
Education Law Center’s report on state school funding, “Making the Grade,” paints a woeful picture for Florida. It grades each state and D.C. on three metrics: funding level (cost-adjusted, per-pupil revenue from state and local sources), funding distribution (the extent to which additional funds are distributed to districts with high student poverty levels), and funding effort (funding allocated to PreK-12 public education as a percentage of the state’s economic activity). Florida was one of only two states to receive an ‘F’ in all three categories. The Sunshine State ranked 45th for funding level, at $4,484 below the national per-pupil average of $15,487 for school year 2018-19 (the most recent Census data available).
Florida has long ranked in the bottom fifth for public K-12 education spending per pupil. While the underfunding of education has angered advocates, the “equitable” nature of the state’s funding formula has generally garnered high marks. However, since the Great Recession, the Legislature’s continued underfunding of education has spurred a growing number of school districts to turn to voters via referenda to raise local dollars. “Property-poor” districts are at a significant resource disadvantage when it comes to tax revenues, and students in these districts have suffered the consequences. It is past time for the Legislature to both adequately fund K-12 education in Florida—at pre-Great Recession levels—and refresh the state’s funding formula so that property-poor districts are not consistently left behind.