It’s just not funny anymore (and never was): Reflections on educational inequality and generations lost

I’ve been writing this blog since 2009. The initial purpose of the blog was to cut through frequently spewed media bluster about public (and private) schooling. False facts. False premises. Flimsy logic. This blog has often been sarcastic. I’ve tried to use edgy humor to make my points. Some, including my doctoral student Mark Weber,Continue reading “It’s just not funny anymore (and never was): Reflections on educational inequality and generations lost”

Beneath the Veil of Newark Charter Productivity

Among the take-home points of our recent review of Newark school reforms are that: Resources, when considering school size, are positively associated with growth; The productivity of large charter operators in Newark – TEAM and North Star in particular – depends on how we treat school size in our models; Jumps in student growth percentilesContinue reading “Beneath the Veil of Newark Charter Productivity”

Newark’s Schools: The Facts

Full Policy Brief: Baker.Weber.Newark.12-13-17 Executive Summary This brief is in three sections: In Part A, we argue that those studying school reforms must give more thorough consideration to history and context. In Newark, that context includes: The importance of the Abbott rulings, which brought resource advantages to Newark and similar New Jersey school districts thatContinue reading “Newark’s Schools: The Facts”

School Funding Myths & Misdirects

There exist a handful commonly cited bodies of evidence and deceitful smokescreens intended to undermine the importance of equitable and adequate financing for schools. Here’s my abbreviated rebuttal sheet to what I call the School Money Myths & Misdirects: First, many including Eric Hanushek assert that school spending has climbed for decades but test scoresContinue reading “School Funding Myths & Misdirects”

Persistent Inequity & Dangerously Ignorant Denial

Another excerpt from forthcoming work: ====================== In 2011, the Obama administration formed a national equity commission[1] to explore fiscal inequities across U.S. Schools. In one meeting of that commission, participant Eric Hanushek introduced the following table (A-36-1, in Figure 44) from the National Center for Education Statistics to assert that, on average, U.S. States hadContinue reading “Persistent Inequity & Dangerously Ignorant Denial”

More on Within-District “Equity” and Charter Expansion

The 1990s saw a flurry of studies which began to explore equity of resources across schools within districts. These studies revealed significant variation in spending across schools, raising the legitimate concern regarding the effectiveness of state school finance formulas alone for resolving inequitable resources to students. After all, in some states like New York, aContinue reading “More on Within-District “Equity” and Charter Expansion”

Incompatible Policy Preferences: Comparability & Expanded Choice

Another excerpt from forthcoming work: In a 2015 article in the journal Education Finance and Policy, Ken Libby, Katy Wiley and I discuss similar findings regarding charter schools in New York City and Houston. Specifically, we found that New York City charter schools both served less needy student populations than nearby district schools and onContinue reading “Incompatible Policy Preferences: Comparability & Expanded Choice”

Choice as a Substitute for Adequacy?

Another excerpt from forthcoming work… Much of the expansion of charter schooling occurred during the recession. That is, states were adding schools while reducing overall funding, adding inequitable choices on top of increasingly inequitable and inadequate systems.  Expanded charter schooling was a centerpiece of the Duncan/Obama education reform platform which coincided with the recession andContinue reading “Choice as a Substitute for Adequacy?”

When school finance research died & why it matters #MSFRGA

As I continue work on my forthcoming book on school finance, I find myself reflecting on the state of the field. Where we stand, and how we got here, and perhaps most importantly, how we should move forward. I personally began studying school finance around 1994 and completed my doctoral work in 1997 at TeachersContinue reading “When school finance research died & why it matters #MSFRGA”

School Finance Prerequisites: On Liberty vs. Equality

Liberty vs. Equality A common refrain among school choice advocates is that expansion of choice through vouchers and charter schooling is the “civil rights issue of our time.”[i] That introduction of competition through choice is a tide which raises all boats! These claims infer a connection between expanding the “liberty” associated with choice and improvingContinue reading “School Finance Prerequisites: On Liberty vs. Equality”