Tag Archives: Education

Teachers?…The House GOP tax bill would scrap your educator expense deduction…

Can GOP Senator Susan Collins of Maine save this all by herself?

Now, the educator expense deduction has become a sticking point in the GOP tax debate, with the House and Senate taking it in two wildly different directions.

The House GOP tax bill would scrap that educator deduction entirely.

The Senate GOP tax plan would double it to $500.

“The tax deduction means a lot to teachers,” says Richardson, who is 36 and lives in Atlanta. “Everything we bring to the classroom, we are doing it for our students. We are doing it because education isn’t always properly funded on the state or local level.”

The education expense deduction is one of many differences between the House and Senate bills that still have to be ironed out before a tax plan can be sent to President Trump’s desk. The House has already passed its version of the bill. The Senate is aiming to vote on its legislation next week.

What politicians decide could greatly affect America’s 3.6 million teachers — and their students.

One of the biggest champions of the teacher deduction is Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who is considered a key swing vote on the tax bill. …


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Is a college degree worth it?

A new poll has the feeling among Americans at about 50/50…..

Those who actually finish their undergraduate study feel it was worth it by 63%….

People with six figure student loans proably ain’t too happy with THAT part either….

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Americans are losing faith in the value of a college degree, with majorities of young adults, men and rural residents saying college isn’t worth the cost, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey shows.

The findings reflect an increase in public skepticism of higher education from just four years ago and highlight a growing divide in opinion falling along gender, educational, regional and partisan lines. They also carry political implications for universities, already under public pressure to rein in their costs and adjust curricula after decades of sharp tuition increases.

Overall, a slim plurality of Americans, 49%, believes earning a four-year degree will lead to a good job and higher lifetime earnings, compared with 47% who don’t, according to the poll of 1,200 people taken Aug. 5-9. That two-point margin narrowed from 13 points when the same question was asked four years earlier.

The shift was almost entirely due to growing skepticism among Americans without four-year degrees—those who never enrolled in college, who took only some classes or who earned a two-year degree. Four years ago, that group used to split almost evenly on the question of whether college was worth the cost. Now, skeptics outnumber believers by a double-digit margin.

Conversely, opinion among college graduates is almost identical to that of four years ago, with 63% saying college is worth the cost versus 31% who say it isn’t….



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Computer based…Mastery-based learning….

Another brainstorm experiment in teaching?

And someone gets rich taking things away from traditional learning….

At M.S. 442,[NYC] students are encouraged to focus instead on mastering a set of grade-level skills, like writing a scientific hypothesis or identifying themes in a story, moving to the next set of skills when they have demonstrated that they are ready. In these schools, there is no such thing as a C or a D for a lazily written term paper. There is no failing. The only goal is to learn the material, sooner or later.

For struggling students, there is ample time to practice until they get it. For those who grasp concepts quickly, there is the opportunity to swiftly move ahead. The strategy looks different from classroom to classroom, as does the material that students must master. But in general, students work at their own pace through worksheets, online lessons and in small group discussions with teachers. They get frequent updates on skills they have learned and those they need to acquire….

More than 40 schools in New York City home to the largest school district in the country, with 1.1 million students have adopted the program. But what makes that unusual is that schools using the method are doing so voluntarily, as part of a grass-roots movement. In communities where the shift was mandated — high schools in and around Portland, Me., for example — the method faced considerable resistance from parents and teachers annoyed that the time-consuming, and sometimes confusing, change has come from top-tier school administrators. Some contend that giving students an unlimited amount of time to master every classroom lesson is unrealistic and inefficient.

New York City Department of Education officials have taken a contrasting position. The city has a growing program called the Mastery Collaborative, which helps mastery-based schools share their methods around the city, even as they adopt different styles. To date, there are eight lab schools, whose practices are being tested, honed and highlighted for transitioning schools. M.S. 442 is one of them. Some struggling schools hope the shift will raise test scores. But the method is also growing in popularity among high-performing, progressive schools, as well as those catering to gifted and talented students and newly arriving immigrants.

This fall, the Education Department plans to spread the method further, by inviting schools to see how the Mastery Collaborative works, even if they aren’t yet considering making the switch. They will be encouraged to attend workshops and tour schools, with the hope, one D.O.E. official said, that they will find elements that they can use in their own classrooms….


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Majority of Republicans think colleges have negative impact on U.S.

Those Liberal bastions!…..

Republicans and Democrats offer starkly different assessments of the impact of several of the nation’s leading institutions – including the news media, colleges and universities and churches and religious organizations – and in some cases, the gap in these views is significantly wider today than it was just a year ago.

While a majority of the public (55%) continues to say that colleges and universities have a positive effect on the way things are going in the country these days, Republicans express increasingly negative views.

A majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (58%) now say that colleges and universities have a negative effect on the country, up from 45% last year. By contrast, most Democrats and Democratic leaners (72%) say colleges and universities have a positive effect, which is little changed from recent years.

The national survey by Pew Research Center, conducted June 8-18 among 2,504 adults, finds that partisan differences in views of the national news media, already wide, have grown even wider……



Seems like Trump’s efforts to demonize anyone trying exhibits critical thinking has dropped down to colleges and their students, eh?

Oh, Democrats are fine with higher education institutions….

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New York Governor gets free college tuition ok for some New Yorkers…

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Bernie Sanders is proud of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo….

The Democratic Governor is the first to implement Sanders’ idea of free college for those who qualify….

The program kicks in AFTER students apply and get state and federal assistance….

Budget negotiators struck a deal late Friday that could make New York the largest state to offer tuition-free public higher education.

The $163 billion state budget agreement includes the Excelsior Scholarship, which covers tuition for any New Yorker accepted to one of the state’s community colleges or four-year universities, provided their family earns less than $125,000 a year.

Proposed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in January, the scholarship taps into one of the Democratic Party’s most popular ideas and advances a bipartisan movement to lower the cost of college that is taking shape across the country.

“Today, college is what high school was — it should always be an option even if you can’t afford it,” Cuomo said in a statement Saturday. “With this program, every child will have the opportunity that education provides.”

The scholarship program will be phased in over three years, beginning for New Yorkers making up to $100,000 annually in the fall of 2017, increasing to $110,000 in 2018, and reaching $125,000 in 2019. Nearly 1 million families will qualify for the scholarship.

It is a last-dollar program, meaning the state would cover any tuition left over after factoring in federal Pell Grants and New York’s Tuition Assistance Program. Students must be enrolled in college full time and take at least 30 course credits a year, though those facing hardships can pause and restart the program or take fewer credits.



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Trump budget director: Feeding elderly and children has to end, it’s not ‘showing any results’…Daily Kos

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 27:  White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney speaks during a White House daily briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room February 27, 2017 at the White House in Washington, DC. Mulvaney answers questions regarding the budget proposal from the Trump Administration.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Mick Mulvaney has a pretty fucking warped view of compassion. 

White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told the White House press corps Thursday that popular vote loser Donald Trump’s budget cuts Meals on Wheels and after-school nutrition programs because those programs “aren’t showing any results.”

We can’t do that anymore. We can’t spend money on programs just because they sound good. Meals on Wheels sounds great. […] I can’t defend that anymore. We cannot defend that anymore. $20 trillion in debt. We’re going to spend money, we’re going to spend a lot of money but we’re not going to spend it on programs that show they deliver the promises we made to people.

As for the school children:

They’re supposed to help kids who don’t get fed at home get fed so they do better in school. Guess what? There’s no evidence they’re actually doing that. There’s no evidence they’re helping results, helping kids do better in school, which is what — when we took your money from you to say, we’re going to spend them on after-school program, we justified it by saying these kids will do better in school and get jobs. We have no proof that’s helping.

Goddammit old people and school children! Get out there and get jobs so we know that feeding you is worth our money.

No, Mulvaney says, the “compassionate” thing to do is for tax payers, to “go to them and say, look, we’re not going to ask you for your hard-earned money anymore. Single mom of two in Detroit, give us your money. We’re not going to do that anymore unless they can guarantee that money will be used in a proper function.” That, he says, “is about as compassionate as you can get.”

Because, really, wouldn’t we all rather fund a few more destroyers than see our neighbors not starve?

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California teacher tenure to remain in place Appeals Court rules….

The court overturned a ruling of a lower court dropping teacher  tenure and other union negotiated seniority based protections for its members….

At issue was the ruling by L.A. County Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu, which nullified the state’s system of awarding strong protections for teachers — including tenure, which takes effect at the end of their second year on the job.

Treu’s decision would have ended tenure as well as the practice of “last-in, first-out,” which typically results in districts laying off less-experienced teachers during budget cuts — regardless of how well they do in their job.

And Treu also threw out rules that provide teachers a longer and more complex system to challenge dismissals.

Backers of the lawsuit argued that making it easier for schools to get rid of bad teachers would help schools.

Treu concluded the state’s tenure and seniority systems harmed all students, but especially poor and minority students, leading to outcomes that “shocked the conscience.”

Had the ruling been upheld, teachers at unionized schools would no longer be entitled to a level of job security that’s rare, even in the public sector.

Opponents, including Gov. Jerry Brown and the state’s teachers unions, characterize this solution as simplistic and even dangerous….


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Congress is working to drasticaly trim back No Child Left Behind…

The Bush era (And Obama also) efforts to move to the countries Education policy to Washington is over….

Action by the House and Senate to scale back the power of the US Education Department is about to be taken…..

That action would cut back stanfardized testing and minimize the ability of the Education Dept to use money to keep states in line….

The action is suppoprted by Republicans AND Democrats….

Thirteen years after President George W. Bush and Congress embarked on the country’s biggest-ever education experiment to help the poorest and most vulnerable students — casting the federal government as enforcer — lawmakers are poised to step it back.
The House is expected to pass a bipartisan bill later this week that would dismantle key elements of No Child Left Behind, the sweeping law that became synonymous with one-size-fits-all testing and a punitive approach to failing schools — and which is reviled almost equally on the left and right.

NCLB’s replacement, which the Senate is expected to vote on next week, returns significant power over public education to the states and in some respects, repudiates both the Bush and Obama administrations, which gave huge power to Education secretaries.
The Every Student Succeeds Act, as the bill is called, would get rid of the unpopular requirement that schools must get all children reading at their grade level or face consequences, significantly diminish the power of the Education secretary and prevent the federal government from using its money and influence to promote national standards like the Common Core…..


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New York Governor Cuomo relents on using students test scores to grade teachers…

Responding to the pressure from teacher unions and parents….

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has reversed his push to have the state’s teachers evaluations based of at least 50% of the test scores of their students….

Cuomo and the US Dept of Education have being fighting a losing battle to increase the amount of teasting students have during the school year and efforts to tie that testing to teacher evaluations….

Less than a year ago, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York proclaimed that the key to transforming the state’s education system was tougher evaluations for teachers, and he pushed through changes that increased the weight of student test scores in teachers’ ratings.

Now, facing a parents’ revolt against testing, the state is poised to change course and reduce the role of test scores in evaluations. And according to two people involved in making state education policy, Mr. Cuomo has been quietly pushing for a reduction, even to zero. That would represent an about-face from January, when the governor called for test scores to determine 50 percent of a teacher’s evaluation.

Administration officials characterized the governor’s position differently, saying he was waiting for the recommendations of a task force he had set up to conduct a review of the Common Core standards and assessments.

“There is no position of this administration with respect to this issue,” the governor’s director of state operations, Jim Malatras, said this week.

New York’s expected turnabout comes as states across the country are trying to respond to anger over standardized testing, and as the Obama administration is backing off the idea of tying teacher evaluations to test scores…..


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Feds admit there is too much testing for students…

I guess an election IS coming?

After a HUGE amount of compaliants about testing in the nations schools…..

The US Education Department has acknowledged that parents ‘opting out’ has got their attention…..

The final regulations on testing will be hardened in December and the Feds will allow states to be more flexiable in how much testing HAS to be done in their schools….

In addition, the Feds have expressed their disapproval on the extensive use of the student tests as report cards  as teacher report cards…..

“In too many schools, there is unnecessary testing and not enough clarity of purpose applied to the task of assessing students, consuming too much instructional time and creating undue stress for educators and students,” the plan says. “The administration bears some of the responsibility for this, and we are committed to being part of the solution.”

The department issued a “testing action plan” with recommendations and proposals for cutting back on testing that include easing up on the widely criticized use of student test scores in a proposed rule about evaluating training programs for teachers.

That proposed rule, unveiled last November, places significant weight on growth in student learning — often measured by students’ standardized test scores — to evaluate college programs that prepare teachers for the classroom. The final rule, expected in December, will still emphasize student learning, the department noted. But states will have flexibility on how to weigh those test results when college education programs are evaluated…..


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Israeli Update…No Syria refugees…Less money for Christian ( Arab) Schools…

The Isareli Government continues it’s hardline against the Arabs….

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected calls Sunday from opposition politicians for Israel to accept refugees from Syria, saying Israel was “a very small country that lacks demographic and geographic depth.”

Netanyahu also said plans to construct a fence along the eastern border with Jordan would go ahead. Israel already built fences along its border with Egypt to stop African migrants and in the Golan Heights bordering Syria.

The Israeli news media has been dominated in recent days by dramatic reports and images of the migrant crisis enveloping Europe, and the plight of those fleeing the civil war in Syria.

Isaac Herzog, leader of the center-left Labor Party and head of the opposition, stirred a heated national debate after he said Saturday that “Jews cannot remain indifferent when hundreds of thousands of refugees are seeking safe harbor.”

“Our people experienced firsthand the silence of the world,” Herzog added, alluding to the Holocaust…..


About 2,500 striking demonstrators gathered Sunday outside the prime minister’s office in Jerusalem to protest against the slashing of funds for Christian schools, police said.

Christian school administrators accuse Israel of cutting their funding as a tactic to pressure them to join the Israeli public school system, a move they say would interfere with the schools’ Christian values and high academic achievements.
The vast majority of Israel’s Christians are of Arab descent, and Arab lawmakers joined students, parents, and principals at Sunday’s demonstration, waving flags and holding banners with slogans such as ‘‘Christian schools are not for sale.’’

Some 33,000 students in 47 schools have been on strike since the school year began on Sept. 1. Protesters complain that Israel continues to fully fund large private school networks that cater to ultra-Orthodox Jews while it slashes the Christians’ budget….


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Shortage of Teachers Some places nationwide…..

Not in the New York Metro area…..

But other places ?….Yea….

Across the country, districts are struggling with shortages of teachers, particularly in math, science and special education — a result of the layoffs of the recession years combined with an improving economy in which fewer people are training to be teachers.

At the same time, a growing number of English-language learners are entering public schools, yet it is increasingly difficult to find bilingual teachers. So schools are looking for applicants everywhere they can — whether out of state or out of country — and wooing candidates earlier and quicker.

Some are even asking prospective teachers to train on the job, hiring novices still studying for their teaching credentials, with little, if any, classroom experience.

Louisville, Ky.; Nashville; Oklahoma City; and Providence, R.I., are among the large urban school districts having trouble finding teachers, according to the Council of the Great City Schools, which represents large urban districts. Just one month before the opening of classes, Charlotte, N.C., was desperately trying to fill 200 vacancies.

Nationwide, many teachers were laid off during the recession, but the situation was particularly acute in California, which lost 82,000 jobs in schools from 2008 to 2012,…


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Jersey Governor Christie backs away from Common Core…

Under pressure from parents, and teacher unions….The Program that rode a wave of support in the past is being stopped in it’s tracks and rolled back slowly around the country….

The Educational program, supported by billionaire Bill Gates and sold to President Obama and others , was developed by educators and the US Education Department….

But the testing involved has developed resentment….

Jeb Bush has been supportive of the program….

But others running for the GOP nomination are NOT….


…..Christie finalized his slow-motion flip-flop on the issue Thursday, aligning himself with most of the other 2016 GOP presidential hopefuls.

“It has brought only confusion and frustration to our parents,” he said. “And has brought distance between our teachers and the communities where they work. Instead of solving problems in our classrooms, it is creating new ones.”

In place of Common Core, Christie called on New Jersey’s Department of Education to create “higher” standards that are more “New Jersey-based.”

Christie is the second major presidential candidate to publicly change his mind on this issue, a fractious one for the GOP. Last year, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, once an ardent supporter, announced that he would be pulling his state out from Common Core.

Other presidential candidates like Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) are also Common Core opponents….


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NY Senate Democrats seek to change Gov Cuomo’s Teacher Eval Program before it goes into effect….

Under HUGE pressure and pushback from education stake holders around the state…Democratic NY State Senate memebers are looking to deleverage the Govrenor attempts wrestle complete control over the states teacher evaluation system, by using school aid money against school systems….

They are also giving the program more time and are open to changes from the Governor’s plans that hwere approved already, but haven’t gone into a effect….

The Democrats on Tuesday called for passage of a multi-piece education plan with 14 days left on the legislative calendar. Included in their proposal are updates to the newly revised teacher evaluation system that would delink school aid from the implementation of evaluation plans by Nov. 15 and make optional the use of independent, outside observers.

Their calls come as the state Board of Regents wrapped a two-day meeting, which included copious amounts of concerns raised by the Regents about the evaluation system.

The Dems propose repealing a provision enacted in the budget that requires schools to have their Annual Professional Performance Review Plans approved by November, lest they risk not receiving school funding. The deadline would be moved up a year to Nov. 15, 2016.

“If we’re going to have the right kind of plan — one that we’re not going to tinker with again, one that we’re not going to have to undo another year or two down the line — we want to make sure we have enough time to do the plan right,” said state Sen. George Latimer, the conference’s ranking member on the Senate Education Committee…



With the State ‘three men in a room’ thing under attack by the US Atty in New York, the dynamic maybe changing in the States capital for the Governor….At least on Education….

And this action is by the Governor’s own party people….

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Few like New York Governor Cuomo’s Teacher Eval Program except him…

Today the New York State Regents held a ‘summit’ on Governor Cuomo’s new teacher and school management evaluation dictate….

The voices where uniformly against the program that Cuomo whipsawed thru a distracted New York State legislative body….

Teachers, superintendents and principals from across the state are all at a day-long Learning Summit at the State Museum to discuss the upcoming new teacher evaluation system which schools, unless they can get a hardship exemption, are supposed to adopt by November 15.

While the Summit was billed as a chance to learn about the new system, it’s turning out to be more like a Pinata session with participants roundly bashing the new plan which lawmakers, facing a delayed budget, and under pressure from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, approved in the recently passed state budget.

First up were school superintendents, who said the state’s time frame for implementing the system by November was unrealistic. One problem: teachers are on summer break starting in June, thus they can’t have their unions negotiate details about the evaluations, which must be bargained under state labor rules.

Another complaint: the tests that are supposed to inform evaluations aren’t really measuring student learning.

Nor are the tests, timely — results are provided in some instances months after the exams. Others have noted that the political fight over evaluations has created a ”poisonous” atmosphere.

One item of contention that will likely persist: whether schools should get a state-issued template to set teacher and principal evaluations or whether it should be far more locally based.

In addition to teachers, the new system sets up a program to evaluate the job performance of principals and members of their unions offered a harsh assessment of how this could affect their jobs…..


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Teachers Unions rally against standardized testing…For the kids…And Themselves…

Across the country teacher unions, which have been taking hits eversince they supported Barack Obama in 2008 are wagging a campaign against standardized testing….The issue started out as a reaction against the increased testing mandated in the bush era No Child left BeHind Fedral program that enforced it’s requirements with fedearl money to the states…But has morphed to a fight aginst having those test scorces used to get rid of its members….

After several years in which teachers’ unions have been hammered on the issue of tenure, have lost collective bargaining rights in some states and have seen their evaluations increasingly tied to student scores, they have begun, with some success, to reassert themselves using a bread-and-butter issue: the annual tests given to elementary and middle school students in every state.

The teachers’ push on testing comes as Congress is debating how to revise the 2001 No Child Left Behind law, which requires that schools demonstrate annual progress on test scores and prescribed measures for schools deemed failing, from mandatory tutoring to closing. Lawmakers are considering a bill that removes the most punitive consequences for schools and makes clear that states do not have to use test scores to evaluate teachers.


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