Urban Public Education Reform

| June 22, 2015

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1. Earlier this Spring the U.S. Senate education subcommittee voted unanimously to revise the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law. Instead of the federal government (U.S. Department of Education) deciding what a “failing” public school is, the states would determine how to judge the educational performance of public schools, including how much standardized test scores should count. This amendment was supported by the National Education Association (NEA), the largest national teachers union. The Congressional Tri-Caucus (representing most African-American, Hispanic-American, and Asian-American members) will only support this legislation if it includes a requirement that states take action at schools that are failing to serve adequately subgroups of children who are racial/ethnic minorities, English learners, or who have disabilities and that states take action if students in these categories fail to meet testing targets two years in a row.

Which position do you favor and why?

2. Ohio is virtually unique in allowing for-profit charter schools to operate with state financial support for their students. Most states only allow non-profit organizations to operate charter schools. Controversy has surrounded many of these Ohio for-profit charter schools whose students have performed poorly. Beyond stricter oversight by Ohio’s Department of Education, it has been proposed to ban for-profit charter schools and only allow charter schools operated by non-profit organizations.

Would you support or oppose such a ban and why?

3. Teach for America (www.teachforamerica.org)  was created to promote teaching in the public schools (especially those in areas with disadvantaged student bodies, a shortage of teachers, and troubled school systems) by recent college graduates. Teach for America members now teach (usually for only a few years) in public schools in many states, including Ohio. Teachers unions have often opposed Teach for America because they argue that they are mostly unqualified without having teaching degrees and sufficient training and that they have been used to replace unionized teaching staff by school administrators for various reasons. This is not an issue for charter schools, which do not usually have unionized teachers.

Do you support or oppose having Teach for America in the public schools and why?



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Early Childhood Education
Developmentally Appropriate Teaching Strategies


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