Tag Archives: Education

Charter Schools and Discriminatory Admissions

New (or renewed) guidance from the U.S. Department of Education, combined with a new coalition of civil rights groups filing lawsuits against charters in several states, have placed new scrutiny on the admissions practices of charter schools.  As Missouri, and other states, continue to expand their reliance on charter schools for providing public education now is a good time to review some of the legal dangers unique to charter education.  Hit the jump for a quick and dirty overview of a few of these developments…  Continue reading

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Filed under Discrimination, Education, Uncategorized

Decision May Broaden Speech Protection for “Teaching and Writing on Academic Matters”

When I talk with educators they are routinely surprised by how limited their free speech rights are (for previous coverage of First Amendment issues, click here).  The courts have repeatedly narrowed the broad protection provided by the First Amendment so that now public employee speech must pass a number of tests before determining whether it is protected.  However, a recent decision out of the federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals may be changing that trend.  See Demers v. Austin, 729 F.3d 1011 (9th Cir. 2013).  Hit the jump for a discussion of the first few glimmers of change, along with a heavy helping of cautions… Continue reading

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New Report on Challenges to Public Education

A non-profit, non-partisan Wisconsin think tank, the Forward Institute, has released a study on the impact of recent legislative changes to public schools.  The report, full-text available here, actually has far-reaching implications because many of the changes that have occurred in Wisconsin are being pushed across the nation, including right here in Missouri.  In particular, just this year Missouri had proposed legislation that would have given letter grades to schools and nearly every year some style of vouchers are proposed.  Fortunately, as of yet Missouri has not faced the contraction of public education funding that Wisconsin has, but changes to Missouri’s tax structure and tax credits could seriously impact school budgets in the future.

Hit the jump for some of the “critical findings” from the report… Continue reading

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Filed under Education, Legislation

Billionaire Attacking Teacher Rights in Missouri

A retired financial industry executive and billionaire, Rex Sinquefield, has decided again to use his own personal fortune to attack the rights of middle-class teacher’s in Missouri.  Perhaps best known for comparing public education to the KKK or attempting to remove Missouri’s income tax and replace it with a “Everything Tax” that would blow a huge hole in Missouri’s budget, Mr. Sinquefield has chosen this year as the one to remove the basic procedural work protections that are provided to teachers in Missouri.  It’s time that we stop looking to hurt employees in Missouri and start looking for ways to make working conditions better for everyone.  Mr. Sinquefield’s route is not the way.

Hit the jump for the complete news release on the proposed changes to the Missouri constitution… Continue reading

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Filed under Legislation, Missouri

Head Start and the ever-expanding roles of schools

Slate.com posted an interesting article on Head Start programs and the effect they have on students.  For those who don’t know Head Start is a federal program that provides free or reduced cost school to kids from birth to 5 years old.  Essentially, the studies have found that children in Head Start programs don’t do any better than children who aren’t enrolled in pre-k education.  What is important about this is that kids enrolled in the only other federally subsidized pre-k day care, through the Child Care Development Fund, actually do substantially worse than kids not in the program.  Therefore, if you think of Head Start as essentially federally subsidized day care, it is a success.  So schools are more than mere schools, they are also day care centers, food bank, clothing bank, and on and on.

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February 19, 2013 · 7:09 pm