Edvoice - Issues

State to fight lawsuit by low-income students

December 18 | EdSource

By Jane Meredith Adams

State finance officials last week granted the California Department of Education $3.4 million to fight a lawsuit that demands the state fix disruptive conditions in some high-poverty schools where students allegedly are being denied the fundamental right to an education.

The lawsuit claims that some students are enrolled in multiple classes during which they receive no instruction, that some spend hours in security lockdowns, and that teachers and students are reeling from the trauma of violent shootings around campuses.

The Anti-TFA Protests are Misguided

December 9 | Education Week

By Howard Fuller

Historically, the group United Students Against Sweatshops has organized campus demonstrations around everything from the working conditions behind the making of college apparel to the treatment of food-service workers. Frankly, were I in college today, I might have joined some of their demonstrations. But now, with the financial backing of the American Federation of Teachers, these activists have chosen education as their newest cause and placed Teach For America in their cross hairs. By their logic, TFA, an organization that inspires people to fight educational inequity, sits at the heart of it.


O.C. district attorney gets involved in parents' fight against Anaheim school district

December 9 | Orange County Register

By Sarah Tully

The Orange County District Attorney’s Office has requested, after a state senator’s complaints, that the president of the Anaheim City School District address allegations that parents have been intimidated and harassed as they attempt to revamp their low-performing school.

The office responded to an ongoing issue in which a group of parents are collecting signatures to take over Palm Lane Elementary School under the so-called “parent trigger law” or the Parent Empowerment Act.

Rating teacher preparation programs is a plus for students and teachers

December 6 | The Washington Post

By Editorial Board

Research has shown that the single most important factor in helping children learn is the quality of their teachers. So it is a big problem when graduates of teacher education programs are ill-prepared to deal with the demands of the classroom. The Obama administration’s move to develop new standards of accountability for teacher preparation programs is a step in the right direction that will help both students and teachers.

Are Formative Assessments Disrupting Summative Tests?

December 5 | EducationNext

By Julia Freeland

[W]ith the rise of blended learning we are also seeing the rise of low-touch formative assessments as a day-to-day reality in schools. These frequent formative assessments function as a teaching and learning tool to aid differentiated instruction. By getting a quick temperature check on student mastery or lack thereof, teachers can better tailor their instruction to students’ needs on a much more regular basis than in the era of pen-and-paper tests. But as these formative tests become more widespread and robust, they might also serve as an accountability mechanism, providing ongoing information on how students in schools across a given state are progressing. Could formative assessment, then, eventually supplant summative exams?

To close the achievement gap, extra hours in school have to be better hours

December 4 | The Hechinger Report

By Sara Neufeld

Our series was inspired by research showing that by sixth grade, a child from a poor background has spent an estimated 6,000 fewer hours learning than a peer from an affluent household, who tends to have more exposure to everything from books to museums, from travel to summer camp.

A new report from the Institute for Democracy, Education, and Access at the University of California, Los Angeles shows that they’re not: Students at high-poverty high schools face more disruptions during the academic day, from more teacher absences and insufficient qualified substitutes to building problems and calls from the main office. Based on a survey of 800 California teachers, the report concludes that students at high-poverty schools lose a half-hour a day of instruction more than students at low-poverty schools. So much for making up for lost time. 


Teacher-Training Proposal Sparks Debate

November 26 | The Wall Street Journal

By Caroline Porter

The Obama administration proposed new rules Tuesday for teacher training programs that would tie federal aid to metrics—including how well their graduates perform in the job market and in the classroom—as officials attempt to toughen accountability for the programs.



L.A. Unified urged to remain vigilant after settling sex abuse claims

November 24 | L.A. Times

By Stephen Ceasar, Corina Knoll

An attorney representing plaintiffs in the Miramonte Elementary School child abuse scandal thanked the L.A. Unified School District for agreeing to a $139-million settlement Friday but urged school officials to continue to push to safeguard children in the system.

“No more rhetoric,” Brian Claypool said outside the downtown Los Angeles County Courthouse where jury selection in the case began earlier this week. “Today is not the end of the Miramonte child abuse scandal, it is the beginning of change.”

Opinion: California's achievement gap needs more than money

November 17 | Sacramento Bee

By Dan Walters

Gov. Jerry Brown’s awkwardly named Local Control Funding Formula is aimed, he says, at closing the wide academic achievement gap between poor and/or “English-learner” students and more privileged kids.

However, improving the educations of underprivileged youngsters involves more – much more – than simply spending additional money, even if it is focused.

Cutoff Scores Set for Common-Core Tests

November 17 | Education Week

By Catherine Gewertz

In a move likely to cause political and academic stress in many states, a consortium that is designing assessments for the Common Core State Standards released data Monday projecting that more than half of students will fall short of the marks that connote grade-level skills on its tests of English/language arts and mathematics.