This past week The Network for Public Education and the Schott Foundation released a report called Grading the States which ranked how states treat public education (http://schottfoundation.org/report/grading-the-states).
It is easy to look at the political leanings of research groups which conduct studies and see a particular bent, but the Network for Public Education is headed by Dr. Diane Ravitch, arguably the most revered educational historian writing today. At one time she served as the Assistant U.S. Secretary of Education under George H.W. Bush. She was at one time very much involved with national standards and No Child Left Behind, but upon viewing the trend to corporate reform movements in public education, she became a more outspoken advocate for public schools especially when it came to high-stakes testing.
Simply put, Dr. Ravitch has seen all sides.
This study is not one that measures how states treat teachers. There is not a measure necessarily about teacher salaries and working conditions, but it is a report that talks about how each state treats its public school system.
Needless to say, NC does not rank very highly.
Valerie Strauss highlighted the recent NPE / Schott Foundation Report in The Washington Post and succinctly highlighted what factors were looked at.
All 50 states and Washington, D.C., were evaluated on five factors:
- Types and extent of school privatization
- Civil rights protections for students in voucher and charter programs
- Accountability, regulations and oversight
- Transparency of voucher and charter programs
- Other factors related to charter school accountability (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2018/06/23/there-is-a-movement-to-privatize-public-education-in-america-heres-how-far-it-is-has-gotten/?utm_term=.c8f9db6c80cf).
When talking about “types and extent of school privatization,” NC has almost everything to offer: an ISD, virtual charters, Opportunity Grants, etc.
Now think of HB 514 that will allow for cities to have their own charter schools in already predominantly white, affluent areas.
Now think of the recent NC State report on vouchers that pretty much concluded how NOT transparent the system is.
The list goes on and on.
Strauss continues in her piece,
Here’s what the report found:
- Twenty-eight states and the District have some form of voucher program — traditional, education savings accounts or tax-credit scholarships. The vast majority have multiple programs — Wisconsin, Ohio and Arizona each have five programs.
- All but three states have a voucher program, charter program or both.
- Thirty-three states and the District allow for-profit companies to manage their charter schools, and four states also allow for-profit charter schools.
- Nineteen states fail to include additional state and local civil rights protections for voucher students beyond race, ethnicity and national origin. Only one state — Maryland — protects LGBTQ students in private schools that receive vouchers.
- Among the states with voucher programs, only one mandates providing services for English-language-learning students, and 18 states do not mandate services for students with disabilities in the program.
- Twenty-three states and the District fail to protect students in voucher programs from religious discrimination.
- Fifteen states with voucher programs fail to require background checks for teachers and employees in schools receiving vouchers.
- Eighteen states with voucher programs have no mandate for transparency in student performance in one or more of their programs, and the majority do not require students to take state tests.
- Nine states have at least one program that does not require private schools receiving vouchers to be accredited or even registered.
- Of the 44 states with charter laws, 28 of them and the District fail to require the same teacher certification as schools in the public school district.
- Thirty states and the District give children of board members, employees and other groups an advantage when it comes to enrollment.
- Thirteen states have no conflict-of-interest requirements between charter board members and service providers.
- Charter school students with disabilities are at a disadvantage in 39 states and the District because they do not clearly establish how services should be provided to those students.
You can read the entire report here: https://www.scribd.com/document/382349362/Grading-the-States#from_embed.
And below is the three rankings by state that the report generates:
48th out of 51.