The results of last night’s elections are proof that education is a powerful issue in states where teachers are frustrated with the lack of compensation for their work and funding for their schools.
In Oklahoma, where educators staged a massive walkout this spring, voters ousted six Republican incumbents in the state House of Representatives—all of whom voted against a tax hike to fund increases in teacher pay.
Of the 19 Oklahoma House members who voted against the tax bill, only four will move on to the general election. In total, eight incumbents lost their primaries in June, and seven others decided not to run. The Tulsa World reports:
Such turnover is unprecedented for any recent decade, let alone year, and seemed to mark a dramatic shift in the Oklahoma Republican Party. Each of those defeated Tuesday had, in some manner, earned the wrath of public education supporters during last spring’s occupation of the state Capitol.
Maybe if things get so horribly bad in deeply conservative places like Oklahoma, citizens will vote out the jerks and replace them with representatives who actually give a shit about education, and other similar issues. Maybe. I’m not sure we’re actually at that point yet, but perhaps.
Gov. Bruce Rauner on Sunday vetoed legislation that would have raised the minimum salary for an Illinois teacher to $40,000 within five years, putting the re-election-seeking Republican at odds with teachers unions once again.
The bill approved by lawmakers in the spring would make the minimum teacher salary for next school year $32,076. The number would rise to $40,000 for the 2022-23 term and grow with the Consumer Price Index after that.
“Refusing to guarantee professional educators a livable minimum wage is no way to lure more teachers to Illinois,” Democratic state Sen. Andy Manar of Bunker Hill said in a statement. “I’m disappointed in the governor’s veto, and I know thousands of dedicated, hard-working, creative educators throughout the state are too.”
Rauner has feuded with labor since his first campaign, including teachers unions that backed the minimum salary proposal.
Why would any teacher vote for Bruce Rauner? Why would anyone with a child in the Illinois school system vote for Bruce Rauner? Why would anyone with a relative in the Illinois school system vote for Bruce Rauner? Why would anyone who thinks an educated society is a better society and thus teachers should be paid as if they were an essential part of the community vote for Bruce Rauner?
Struggling to think of anyone who would vote for Bruce Rauner, other than people with a financial motive.
Illinois law currently lists the minimum salary for a teacher at $9,000, a level that took effect in July 1980.
Yeah, that will attract the best and the brightest…
From Vice before the demon DeVos was (barely) confirmed to be Trump’s Education minister:
The gutting of Detroit’s public schools is the result of an experiment started 23 years ago, when education reformers including Betsy DeVos, now Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Education Department, got Michigan to bet big on charters and school choice. The Obama administration has promoted competition, but DeVos looks set to take free-market education policy to new heights. She has made clear her goal is to use charters to eventually get public dollars to private and religious schools, but the consequences of her school choice policy in Detroit leave gaping questions about how she will also care for America’s public schools.
In Detroit, choice has come largely at the expense of the traditional public school district and schools like Oakman. As students joined new charters, public school enrollment and funding fell. Unregulated competition pushed these schools into near-unrecoverable insolvency and allowed dubious for-profit charter operators to prosper without establishing a track record of better outcomes for students. A 2014 analysis showed 17 percent of Detroit charter school students were rated proficient in math, versus 13 percent of traditional public school students. Last year less than 1 percent of the city’s schools got an A or B+ rating from Excellent Schools Detroit, a local reform group that provides school information to families. Nearly 70 percent earned a D+ or lower, and 40 percent of those bottom-performers were charters. Earlier this year, seven Detroit students sued the state of Michigan for failing to provide basic access to literacy — two of the kids were enrolled in local charter schools.
Charter schools performing even worse than gutted public schools, yet still being promoted is like Supply Side Economics still being promoted despite a single success story.
Washington Elementary School
Relevant because Ms. DeVos spluttered and muttered her way through an interview aired on 60 Minutes March 11th, 2018:
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos appeared on CBS’s “60 Minutes” Sunday night and stumbled in answering questions that journalist Lesley Stahl asked during a pointed interview.
Stahl repeatedly challenged the education secretary, at one point suggesting that DeVos should visit underperforming public schools to learn about their problems. DeVos responded, “Maybe I should.” The secretary also said she is “not so sure exactly” how she became, as Stahl described her, “the most hated” member of President Trump’s Cabinet but believes that she is “misunderstood.”
DeVos, who rarely gives interviews to journalists, is a longtime school choice advocate who once said that traditional public education is “a dead end,” and she has made clear that her top priority as the nation’s education chief is expanding alternatives to traditional public schools. She is a champion of using public funds for private and religious school education, and critics say she is determined to privatize public education. DeVos has denied that.
DeVos, a billionaire who has spent millions of dollars on school efforts in her home state of Michigan, has been perhaps the most controversial of Trump’s Cabinet members. She became the first Cabinet nominee in history to need a tie-breaking vote from the vice president to be confirmed by the Senate. Her January 2017 confirmation hearing before the Senate education panel was marked by her inability to answer basic questions about education.
In the “60 Minutes” interview, more than a year after becoming education secretary, DeVos again had trouble answering questions and seemed to contradict herself.
“In places where there is a lot of choice that’s been introduced,” DeVos told CBS’s Lesley Stahl, “Florida, for example, studies show that when there’s a large number of students that opt to go to a different school or different schools, the traditional public schools actually, the results get better as well.”
This is DeVos’s core case. Introducing charter schools forces public schools into the sort of competition you see in the free market, forcing the public institutions to improve. It’s a market-based proposal for solving the endemic problem of low-performing schools. Florida, DeVos argues, is an example of where it works.
But Stahl was prepared for this.
“Have the public schools in Michigan gotten better?” Stahl asked. Michigan is a key litmus test because it’s the place where DeVos’s pre-government advocacy was centered. DeVos stumbled over a response.
“Your argument that if you take funds away that the schools will get better is not working in Michigan,” Stahl said. “Where you had a huge impact and influence over the direction of the school system here.” She later added, “The public schools here are doing worse than they did.”
A 2009 study from the RAND corporation found “little evidence that the presence of charter schools affects the achievement scores of students in nearby traditional public schools either positively or negatively.” A number of studies since have found similarly murky results.
We can look at this another way. Using data from the Education Department, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and the National Assessment of Educational Progress, we looked at how charter school enrollment and educational achievement looked in nearly 30 states between 2005 and 2015.
The educational achievement data indicated the percentage of students in fourth or eighth grade who’d attained basic proficiency in math and reading. We compared the change in those four percentages with the national change from 2005 to 2015. Then, we cross-referenced those changes with the increase in charter school student enrollment as a percentage of public school enrollment. (In other words, if there were 10 charter and 20 public school students in 2005 and 15 charter and 25 public in 2015, the percent change was from 50 percent to 60 percent — an increase of 10 percentage points.)
Overall, the correlation was small, meaning that you couldn’t predict an increase in achievement in math and reading proficiency based on the increase in charter school enrollment. The strongest link was in eighth-grade reading scores