prospect.org — Won’t Back Down, like the movement it champions, begins from the assumption that public schools are a hopeless mess. The complicated challenges that public educators grapple with—severe budget cuts, for instance, or health problems that make learning a particular challenge for low-income kids—are nowhere to be seen. Meanwhile, parents are exempted from responsibility. Anyone who believes in the school-reform fairy tale of Won’t Back Down should be required to watch another film released this fall to much less fanfare. This one doesn’t feature an Academy Award winner or a soundtrack of No. 1 hits. Instead, Brooklyn Castle chronicles a messy reality—that of Intermediate School 318, a Brooklyn middle school where 70 percent of the kids live below the poverty line, and where funding cuts are threatening the after-school activities that are key to getting many of them engaged. That includes the school’s chess team, which is, improbably, among the best in the country.
huffingtonpost.com — Charter schools are about to get a reality check. As someone who has observed the breakneck pace of the growing charter school movement up close, Greg Richmond, who leads the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA), is taking a step back. "We didn't start this movement in order to create more failing schools, but that's what we have," Richmond told The Huffington Post. "Hundreds of them." On Wednesday morning, Richmond will join New Jersey Schools Commissioner Chris Cerf and California charter schools advocate Jed Wallace at Washington D.C.'s National Press Club to announce a new campaign, "One Million Lives," that aims to crack the whip on the duds. The campaign will focus on getting states to adopt rules that make failing charter schools close automatically, hold charter authorizers accountable for their schools' performance, and revamp their authorizing bodies so they become more professional.
colorlines.com — In a letter sent Monday to the Board of Higher Education, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said undocumented immigrants who have obtained a work permit through the Deferred Action program are now eligible to pay in-state tuition in the state’s public colleges and universities. The decision will cut tuition fees by about 50 percent for undocumented students attending state colleges. “Our experience has been that the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition is a prohibitive barrier,” Paul Reville, the state’s secretary of education, told the New York Times. “It’s a step in the right direction but it’s not a substitute for comprehensive immigration reform, we still need that,” Patrick told reporters on Monday.
salon.com — If your only source of news about American education came from docu-propaganda like “Waiting for Superman,” Hollywood politi-schlock like “Won’t Back Down” and elite-focused national news outlets in Washington, D.C., and New York City, you might think that the so-called education “reform” (read: privatization) movement was a spontaneous grass-roots uprising of good-old-fashioned heartlanders generating ever more mass support throughout the country. You would have no reason to believe it was a top-down, corporate-driven coalition of conservative coastal elites trying to both generally undermine organized labor and specifically wring private profit out of public schools, and you would similarly have no reason to believe it was anything but wildly popular in an America clamoring for a better education system. In other words, you would be utterly misinformed — especially after last week’s explosive election results in three key states.
robertreich.org — By now, in these last remaining days before the election of 2012, we have learned enough about the beliefs of the Republican presidential candidate to see them as a worldview all its own – a kind of creed that explains Mitt Romney. Those who say he has no principles are selling him short. Despite its contradictions and ellipses, Romneyism has an internal coherence. It is different from conservatism, because it does not intend to conserve or protect any particular institutions or values. It is also distinct from Republicanism, in that it is not rooted in traditional small-town American values, nationalism, or states’ rights. The ten guiding principles of Romneyism are.
nytimes.com — Mitt Romney said in all three presidential debates that we need to expand the economy. But he left out a critical ingredient: investments in science and technology. Scientific knowledge and new technologies are the building blocks for long-term economic growth — “the key to a 21st-century economy,” as President Obama said in the final debate. So it is astonishing that Mr. Romney talks about economic growth while planning deep cuts in investment in science, technology and education. They are among the discretionary items for which spending could be cut 22 percent or more under the Republican budget plan, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Way back at the beginning of this summer, an eternity it seems in this exhausting presidential campaign, The College Board launched its Don’t Forget Edcampaign to "get the candidates to prioritize education this election." more »
The online petition site Change.org is best known for enabling individuals to use the viral qualities of the internet to speak truth to power, such as when a 22-year-old nanny used the site to pressure a big bank to drop its debit fee, and an Eagle Scout challenged the Boy Scouts of America's anti-gay policy.
salon.com — For many months, writers, commentators, economists and activists have argued that the student loan industry looks all too much like the subprime mortgage industry did on the brink of its collapse. On Tuesday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau admitted the same again. According to the government watchdog’s annual report, “Student loan borrower stories of detours and dead ends with their servicers bear an uncanny resemblance to problematic practices uncovered in the mortgage servicing business.” The student lending practices directly mimic the risky lending underpinning the housing crisis: private lenders giving out loans without considering whether borrowers would repay, then bundling and reselling the loans to investors to avoid losing money when students default.