A few day ago I spent the afternoon in an Education Summit hosted by the Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute. The entire afternoon I wished I could respond to the discourse, so here are the top five most innane things I heard and my brief thoughts (not in any particular order).
1. Reduced funding to education is the “new normal” Senator Shapiro.
Thought: Cloaking Inequity on School Finance.
2. Phillip Handy proudly posited that Florida’s per pupil spending has only gone up by about $1,000 since the 1990s. He is content that their Latino students scoring on the NAEP just above the halfway point amongst states.
Thought: Is being average really something to be proud of? See Cloaking Inequity’s analysis of the “Florida Miracle” here.
3. Phillip Handy proudly argued that competition is a “disruptive” force in the educational system in Florida. He stated, “What our opponents saw as compromises on choice we saw as victory… We set all these stakes out there to keep our opposition busy.” As a result, we ended up with the variety of choice mechanisms that we wanted.
4. Sen. Shapiro: She stated, “We have something called teacher unions in Texas….They are not interested in helping any students. Period.”
5. Leo Linbeck: Class size reduction “being beneficial is a myth.”
Thought: Biggest bang for your buck for achievement in Texas Latino elementary schools? Student-Teacher ratio. See the study here.
Extra Thought: Mike Feinburg was clearly on his game. Collection of his comments: Opening volley? Told Phillip Handy that Florida hadn’t closed the achievement gap. Called the Texas Legislator “Eye of Sauron” (From Lord of the Rings) Said we need to be most accountable to parents. KIPP is more interested in Colorado, Louisiana and Florida because of the lack of resources for charters in Texas. KIPP is in a “talent war and a student war” with Houston ISD and other traditional public districts. A Third of KIPP Schools are in Texas. Who knew? Their new strategy: Having KIPP “hallways” within schools… interesting… Ravitch challenged them to go bigger, they went smaller…
Thoughts: Cloaking Inequity on KIPP.
One more thing… they also discussed parent trigger laws. Could we also enact legislator trigger laws so we can instantly fire legislators if they cut another $5.4 billion from education in Texas? Clearly the Legislature has dropped the ball on revenue, and it has cost our kids and schools. They need to be more “productive” in the upcoming legislative session so that we don’t continue the divestment in public education by elegantly utilizing the discourse of performance, productivity, and efficiency.