NEPC issues ‘red flag warning’ on personalized learning initiatives

So-called “personalized learning” programs are proliferating in schools across the United States despite “many red flags” as to their effectiveness and the motivations behind them, according to a new report from the National Education Policy Center. The NEPC says these “personalized learning” initiatives are “fueled by philanthropic dollars, tech industry lobbying, marketing by third-party vendors, and a policy environment that provides little guidance and few constraints.”

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Despite serious problems and a lack of research support, virtual schools continue to spread

Lawmakers throughout the nation continue to support the spread of virtual schools despite the fact that research reveals overwhelming evidence of poor performance, according to a new review by the National Education Policy Center. Given the evidence, the review recommends that policymakers slow or stop the growth in the number of virtual and blended schools and the size of their enrollments until the reasons for their relatively poor performance have been identified and addressed.

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New tax break for big-box stores could drain more money from public schools

An article published in Education Week examines how big-box stores are using “dark store theory” to reduce their property tax payments, and how that is threatening to drain more resources from our public schools. The trend – in which companies claim their stores should be assessed as if they were vacant – has become pronounced in Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin. The article cites the example of the impact of a Menards lawsuit on the Howard-Suamico School District north of Green Bay.

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ALEC conference continues group’s focus on undermining public schools, Rep. Chris Taylor says

State Representative Chris Taylor, a Democrat from Madison, just got back from another American Legislative Exchange Council conference, and concluded: “The issue of the moment for ALEC is public education — that is, undermining it.” … “For ALEC, it is all about tearing down our public-school infrastructure so corporate privatization efforts can move in and make a buck,” she writes in a column published by The Progressive.

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‘Public schools are our hope for democracy’

“Our nation’s economic prosperity and democracy depend on strong public schools,” says Appleton resident Carol Lenz, a member of Fox Cities Advocates for Public Education. In a letter published by USA Today Network-Wisconsin and the Appleton Post-Crescent, Lenz says the movement toward privatization “undermines democratically-elected school boards. It curtails local control and public oversight of public dollars. More importantly, it creates winners and losers. It destroys community schools while promoting segregation, contributing to social disunity and inequality.”

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NEA applauds MTEA for fighting for Milwaukee public schools and kids

In its latest newsletter, the NEA Center for Organizing applauds members and leaders of the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association for the work they have done to improve students’ test scores and divert efforts by Republican legislators and private interests to take over schools. “If we don’t resist, we won’t win,” the newsletter states. “Milwaukee has proven, even against all odds, that if you do resist, you can win.”

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Pro-voucher lobbying group spends over $1 million on Wisconsin legislative races

“The private school voucher cartel’s front group, the American Federation for Children, is back and looking to do business in Wisconsin,” said One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “Fueled by huge contributions from out-of-state billionaires and the big business lobby, AFC is looking to elect legislators who’ll keep our tax dollars flowing to their friends in the less accountable private school industry instead of our public schools.”

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Pro-voucher lobbying group spends over $1 million on Wisconsin legislative races

“The private school voucher cartel’s front group, the American Federation for Children, is back and looking to do business in Wisconsin,” said One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “Fueled by huge contributions from out-of-state billionaires and the big business lobby, AFC is looking to elect legislators who’ll keep our tax dollars flowing to their friends in the less accountable private school industry instead of our public schools.”

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NAACP calls for moratorium on charter expansion

The NAACP, the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization, has adopted a resolution calling for a moratorium on the expansion of charter schools until concerns identified in its resolution are addressed. The moratorium call extends to “at least such time as: (1) charter schools are subject to the same transparency and accountability standards as public schools; (2) public funds are not diverted to charter schools at the expense of the public school system; (3) charter schools cease expelling students that public schools have a duty to educate; and (4) charter schools cease to perpetuate de facto segregation of the highest performing children from those whose aspirations may be high but whose talents are not yet as obvious.”

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