Thursday, October 27, 2011

Study Refutes Congressman Paul Ryan's Claims About Upward Mobility | Center for Media and Democracy

Study Refutes Congressman Paul Ryan's Claims About Upward Mobility | Center for Media and Democracy

190. The Social Cost of Open Enrollment as a School Choice Policy. 2010

NCSPE: Research Publications

190. The Social Cost of Open Enrollment as a School Choice Policy. 2010.
Author: Cory Koedel, Julian R. Betts, Lorien A. Rice, & Andrew C. Zau

We evaluate the integrating and segregating effects of school choice in a large, urban school district. Our findings suggest that open enrollment, a school-choice program without explicit integrative objectives which does not provide busing, segregates students along three socioeconomic dimensions – race/ethnicity, student achievement and parental-education status. Using information on expenditures to promote integration at the district, we back out estimates of the social cost of open enrollment realized in terms of student segregation. Our estimates vary widely depending on several assumptions, but a social-cost estimate of roughly 10 million dollars per year is on the high end of our range of estimates for this single district. Although this number represents a sizeable portion of the district’s integrative-busing budget, it is a small fraction of the district’s total budget (≈1.4 billion dollars). Further, we note that this cost may be offset by benefits not related to integration.
Click here to view publication as a PDF

Income for Top One Percent 'Grew by 275 Percent' in the Past 28 Years | AlterNet

Income for Top One Percent 'Grew by 275 Percent' in the Past 28 Years | AlterNet

Income Inequality Reaches Gilded Age Levels, Congressional Report Finds

Income Inequality Reaches Gilded Age Levels, Congressional Report Finds

Five Facts You Need to Know about Poverty in America - Tim King - God's Politics Blog

Five Facts You Need to Know about Poverty in America - Tim King - God's Politics Blog

New Statesman - Poverty, not lack of morals, was to blame for the riots

New Statesman - Poverty, not lack of morals, was to blame for the riots

How the 1 percent rules |

How the 1 percent rules |

Thursday, October 20, 2011

BBC News - Rising energy bills causing fuel poverty deaths

BBC News - Rising energy bills causing fuel poverty deaths

Paul Gorski to speak at Furman University on poverty (UPDATE)

A Cultural Life Program on poverty will be sponsored by the Furman University chapter of the NAACP this coming WEDNESDAY October 26 in Patrick Lecture Hall/Plyler 126 at 7 pm.

Gorski is one of the first scholars to challenge the workshops and ideology of Ruby Payne. His work confronts assumptions about the culture of poverty and deficit perspectives related to poverty and people living in poverty.

See information about him and some of his work at these links:

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Ravitch on "Texas Miracle" Scam

Diane Ravitch: 20 years later, debunking the ‘Texas Miracle’

The current national school reform was born in Texas, probably hatched in Dallas. During the presidential campaign of 2000, the nation learned about “the Texas miracle.” The achievement gap would close, we were told, by testing and accountability. Test every student every year, and post the results. Public exposure would encourage successful schools and humiliate the low performers into improving. Throw merit pay into the mix to push even bigger gains.

About the same time, the research department at the [ ]Dallas Independent School District discovered that children who had three great teachers in a row would see dramatic test-score gains. This is now the battle cry of the national school reform movement, which says schools will get better if we test more, award merit pay for higher scores and fire teachers whose students don’t get higher scores.

Dallas knew this 20 years ago. How come it still struggles with a daunting achievement gap and low (but rising) graduation rates? We now know there was no “Texas miracle,” and yet No Child Left Behind is still the law of the land. Across the nation, schools are being closed and educators fired because they couldn’t meet the law’s utopian goals. Neither Dallas nor any other school district has figured out how to deliver on that claim about “three great teachers in a row.” It turns out to be a wishful slogan, not a policy proposal. And merit pay, wherever it has been tried, has failed.

If Dallas wants to see success for its children, it must improve both schools and social conditions.

Every child needs a great education, one that includes the arts, history, civics, foreign languages and other studies. DISD should hire teachers who are well-educated and who understand how to address the needs of children who are learning English and children with disabilities. Once hired, they should have the community’s respect and support, as well as opportunities to improve their teaching.

Dallas has superb cultural resources. They should be utilized to encourage students, teachers and principals to love learning. No cultural institution in the nation [ ]equals the Dallas Institute of Culture and the Humanities. It literally changes teachers’ and principals’ lives by immersing them in the joys of great literature. The [ ]Dallas Symphony Orchestra has an exemplary program for young musicians called Young Strings. More programs like these will support genuine learning, not just rote preparation for the next state tests.

But that is not enough. Poverty matters. Eighty-five percent of DISD students live in poverty. City leaders should ensure that these students and their families have access to nutrition and medical care. Healthy children are better prepared to learn than children who suffer from preventable illnesses. Every pregnant woman should receive good prenatal care; those who don’t are apt to have low-birth-weight babies, who are at risk of learning disabilities.

The achievement gap begins long before children enter school. Schools and community groups must collaborate to provide excellent early-childhood education for every child, not just daycare. When children regularly engage in healthy play and interact with educated adults, their vocabulary and their social skills increase. Parent education is important, too, so that parents learn how they can provide positive support for their child’s development.

None of this is cost-free. But none of it is beyond the reach of Dallas, which is rich with ideas, rich with entrepreneurs and rich with philanthropists.

As Dallas seeks a new superintendent, I have this advice: Find an experienced educator, someone who was a master teacher and then a highly successful principal. Don’t recruit a corporate leader who knows nothing about teaching and learning. Find a man or woman who knows how children learn, who knows how to encourage teachers and principals, who knows how to reach out to all parts of the community and bring them together to support Dallas’ children. Above all, look for someone who has a compelling vision of what a great education is and the energy to make it happen for all the children.

Diane Ravitch is the author of The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education. Her website is

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Radical Scholarship: Poverty and Education in SC and the US

Radical Scholarship: Poverty and Education in SC and the US: Op-Eds in The State and The Greenville News : As children across South Carolina re-enter our schools across the state, two recent reports...

Thursday, August 4, 2011

On Ridiculous Assertions By [Some] White Liberals | The Jose Vilson

On Ridiculous Assertions By [Some] White Liberals | The Jose Vilson

Welfare myth, welfare reality, welfare failure

Welfare in the rugged-individualism U.S. suffers two serious burdens: (1) lingering mythologies built on inaccuracies and (2) purposeful distortions of welfare by powerful political figures and groups.

Pre-1996 welfare differs significantly from post-1996 welfare, but pre-1996 welfare has its share of lies and manipulations. See the unmasking of the key unfounded claims about welfare promoted by the folks at CATO:  

And this, as another example:

Myth: The U.S. has wasted over $5 trillion on the war on poverty.

Fact: The U.S. has spent about $700 billion on the war on poverty.

Thus, powerful Urban legends born in pre-1996 lore about welfare suggest, for example, that welfare pays better than work; but it didn't then (see the report above) and doesn't now.

But, this all should be irrelevant (although the misleading claims by CATO do persist even today, driven by the "welfare queen" claims of Ronald Reagan from the early 1980s) because in 1996, welfare changed dramatically:

This revision of welfare placed strict limits on how long people can be on welfare (5 years), required a transition to and a search for work, and erased the automatic benefit increase for additional children (as well as requiring teen mothers to live with responsible adults and unwed fathers to prove paternity).

The result of the changes have been about a two-third's reduction in people on welfare from 1996-2010—despite a sharp rise in childhood poverty, overall poverty, and the unemployment rate during severe economic downturns during the late 2000s:

Average monthly TANF recipients, percent of U.S. families in poverty and unemployment rate
Year↓ Average monthly TANF recipients↓ Poverty rate (%)↓ Annual unemployment rate (%)↓
1996 12,320,970 (see note) 11.0 5.4
1997 10,375,993 10.3 4.9
1998 8,347,136 10.0 4.5
1999 6,824,347 9.3 4.2
2000 5,778,034 8.7 4.0
2001 5,359,180 9.2 4.7
2002 5,069,010 9.6 5.8
2003 4,928,878 10.0 6.0
2004 4,748,115 10.2 5.5
2005 4,471,393 9.9 5.1
2006 4,166,659 9.8 4.6
2007 3,895,407 9.8 4.5
2008 3,795,007 10.3 5.4
2009 4,154,366 11.1 8.1
2010 4,375,022 -- 8.6

Children in poverty have experienced the same decline in support, as noted by the Child Trend Data Bank:

"After rising from 6.1 million in 1970 to 9.5 million in 1993,7 the number of children receiving AFDC/TANF payments fell to 3.1 million in 2008. (Figure 1) Similarly, the percentage of all children receiving AFDC/TANF steadily decreased from 14 percent in 1993 to four percent in 2008. (Figure 2) Among children below the poverty threshold, the proportion of children receiving AFDC/TANF decreased from 62 percent in 1995 to 22 percent in 2008). (Figure 2) In 2009, preliminary data show the first increase in 14 years in the number of children receiving TANF, and in the percentage of all children receiving TANF. However, as a proportion of all children living in poverty, the percentage receiving TANF continued to decline."

And what about the "welfare queen" myth, that women have babies to get more money?

While the average number of children in families with children is 1.86, let's look at the facts about families receiving TANF: 

Bad Economics: Lack of Diversity Limits Clear View

Bad Economics: Lack of Diversity Limits Clear View

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Achievement gap and testing posts

Achievement gap and testing posts: "Why the Achievement Gap Matters and Will Remain Bitter Lessons from Chasing Better Tests"

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Hunger Crisis

The Hunger Crisis

Right here in the United States, one in four children don't have enough to eat. The impact this has on their health, their development -- their future -- is staggering. Our special report introduces you to two families who struggle every single day to put food on the table.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Move over Finland: The New International Lie about Education (Germany)

See "The German Example" in the NYT.


"Beyond the job market, Germany has also made a big effort to improve its education system. Eric Hanushek, a Stanford University economist, notes that Germany’s performance on the main international math, reading and science tests have become such a matter of national concern that the name of the tests — Pisa — is now a household word. 'In the U.S.,' he says, 'Pisa is still a bell tower in Italy.'”

Wow, all the U.S. needs to do is focus on PISA, like Germany!

Except, Germany has half (10%) the childhood poverty of the U.S. (20%), and when you consider poverty. . .oops!. . .the U.S. has HIGHER PISA scores than Germany.

So Germany is the New Finland in the misleading education reform debate. . .

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Being Poor Can Suppress Children's Genetic Potentials

Being Poor Can Suppress Children's Genetic Potentials

"AUSTIN, Texas — Growing up poor can suppress a child's genetic potential to excel cognitively even before the age of 2, according to research from psychologists at The University of Texas at Austin.

"Half of the gains that wealthier children show on tests of mental ability between 10 months and 2 years of age can be attributed to their genes, the study finds. But children from poorer families, who already lag behind their peers by that age, show almost no improvements that are driven by their genetic makeup. . . ."

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Global poverty

Thomas Pogge on global poverty @ truthout
Thomas Pogge on the Past, Present and Future of Global Poverty
Thomas Pogge on the Past, Present and Future of Global Poverty
Thomas Pogge on the Past, Present and Future of Global Poverty
Thomas Pogge on the Past, Present and Future of Global Poverty
Thomas Pogge on the Past, Present and Future of Global Poverty
Thomas Pogge on the Past, Present and Future of Global Poverty

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Challenging Ruby Payne's Framework of Poverty

(*Special thanks to Paul Gorski for assisting in compiling these resources.)

Bohn, A. (2006, Winter). A framework for understanding Ruby Payne. Rethinking Schools, 21(2). 

Bomer, R., Dworin, J. E., May, L., & Semingson, P. (2008). Miseducating teachers about the poor: A critical analysis of Ruby Payne's claims about poverty. Teachers College Record, 110(11). 

Bomer, R., Dworin, J. E., May, L., & Semingson, P. (2009, June 3). What’s wrong with a deficit perspective? Teachers College Record. Retrieved 12 June 2009 from 

Dudley-Marling, C. (2007). Return of the deficit. Journal of Educational Controversy, 2(1). Retrieved 29 June 2009 from 

Dudley-Marling, C., & Lucas, K. (2009, May). Pathologizing the language and culture of poor children. Language Arts, 86(5), 362-370.

Dworin, J. E., & Bomer, R. (2008, January). What we all (supposedly) know about the poor: A critical discourse analysis of Ruby Payne’s “Framework.” English Education, 40(2), 101-121.

Gorski, P. (2006a, February 9). The Classist underpinnings of Ruby Payne’s Framework. Teachers College Record. Retrieved 24 June 2007 from 

———. (2008). Peddling poverty for profit: Elements of oppression in Ruby Payne's Framework. Equity & Excellence in Education, 41(1), 130-148. 

———. (2006b, July 19). Responding to Payne’s Response. Teachers College Record. Retrieved 12 June 2009 from 

———. (2006c, Winter). Savage unrealities: Classism and racism around Ruby Payne's Framework. Rethinking Schools, 21(2). 

———. (2008, April). The myth of the “Culture of Poverty.” Educational Leadership, 65(7), 32-36. 

Howley, C. B., Howley, A. A., Howley, C. W., & Howley, M. D. (2006). Saving the children of the poor in rural schools. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, California. Available at 

Howley, C. B., Howley, A. A., & Huber, D. S. (2005). Prescriptions for rural mathematics instruction: Analysis of the rhetorical literature. Journal of Research in Rural Education, 20(7), 1–16.

Ng, J. C., & Rury, J. L. (2006, July 18). Poverty and education: A critical analysis of the Ruby Payne phenomenon. Teachers College Record. Retrieved 24 June 2007 from 

Osei-Kofi, N. (2005). Pathologizing the poor: A framework for understanding Ruby Payne's work. Equity & Excellence in Education, (38), 367–375. 

Sato, M., & Lensmire, T. J. (2009, January). Poverty and Payne: Supporting teachers to work with children of poverty. Phi Delta Kappan, 9(5), 365-370.

Smiley, A. D. Becoming teachers: The Payne effect. Multicultural Perspectives.

Starnes, B. A. (2008, June). On lilacs, tap-dancing, and children of poverty. Phi Delta Kappan. 779-780.

Thomas, P. L. (2010, November 28). Our faith in a "culture of poverty" never left. The Daily Censored. 

———. (2010, July). The Payne of addressing race and poverty in public education: Utopian accountability and deficit assumptions of middle class America. Souls, 12(3), 262-283.

———. (2009b). Shifting from deficit to generative practices: Addressing impoverished and all students. Teaching Children of Poverty, 1(1). Retrieved 13 September 2009 from  

Weiderspan, J. P., & Danziger, S. K. (2009). Review: A framework for understanding poverty. Social Work, 54(4), 376.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

New piece at The Daily Censored and Daily Kos

New piece at The Daily Censored and Daily Kos: "Maher’s “Real Time” Education Debate Failure Redux: Legend of the Fall, pt. VII and re-posted at Daily Kos"

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Education of Jose Pedraza: Why Fixing Schools Isn't Simple Math

The Education of Jose Pedraza: Why Fixing Schools Isn't Simple Math
The Education of Jose Pedraza: Why Fixing Schools Isn't Simple Math
The Education of Jose Pedraza: Why Fixing Schools Isn't Simple Math
The Education of Jose Pedraza: Why Fixing Schools Isn't Simple Math

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Piece reposted at NEPC

Piece reposted at NEPC: "Shifting Talking Points among School Choice Advocates"

Teachers are not to blame

Teachers are not to blame


"This view—that the right incentives (positive or negative) will produce the necessary changes in teaching—may be a very common one, but there is no data to back it up. Indeed, a close look at MCAS results shows there is surprisingly little difference between the quality of teaching in so-called 'good' schools (wealthy, suburban schools with high MCAS scores)and 'bad' schools (inner-city schools with low scores) when the results are averaged across all teachers in the district and disaggregated by student demographics, specifically race and poverty. Put another way, a low-income white student in a 'good' suburban school tests essentially the same as a low-income white student in a 'bad' inner-city school."

Friday, May 6, 2011

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Monday, May 2, 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Limits of School Reform By JOE NOCERA

The Limits of School Reform By JOE NOCERA

"Yet the reformers act as if a student’s home life is irrelevant.. . .What needs to be acknowledged, however, is that school reform won’t fix everything. Though some poor students will succeed, others will fail. Demonizing teachers for the failures of poor students, and pretending that reforming the schools is all that is needed, as the reformers tend to do, is both misguided and counterproductive."

Long-term poverty but not family instability affects children's cognitive development

Long-term poverty but not family instability affects children's cognitive development

Monday, April 25, 2011

Apt poems by Hughes

Let America Be America Again

I, Too, Sing America

by Langston Hughes

The McEducation of the Negro By Natalie Hopkinson

The McEducation of the Negro
By Natalie Hopkinson 

Poor Teaching for Poor Children … in the Name of Reform By Alfie Kohn

By Alfie Kohn

"Not only is the teaching scripted, with students required to answer fact-based questions on command, but a system of almost militaristic behavior control is common, with public humiliation for noncompliance and an array of rewards for obedience that calls to mind the token economy programs developed in prisons and psychiatric hospitals….One [study] found that black children are much more likely than white children to be taught with workbooks or worksheets on a daily basis.  The other revealed a racial disparity in how computers are used for instruction, with African Americans mostly getting drill and practice exercises (which, the study also found, are associated with poorer results)."

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Test scores? Look at the child's home

New study from Florida reveals--again--that out-of-school factors strongest when looking at education outcomes:

"Researchers discovered the groups’ socio-economic level corresponded with their group ranking on FCAT scores. The most affluent lifestyle group registered the highest FCAT scores, the second richest group ranked second in test scores, and so on. On the math tests, the gap between the highest and lowest scoring lifestyle groups was more than two grade levels."

[But someone needs to inform the journalists that poverty is not a "lifestyle."]

Friday, April 22, 2011

New piece at truthout

New piece at truthout: "Why Advocacy and Market Forces Fail Education Reform Why advocacy and market forces fail education reform Why Advocacy and Market Forces Fa..."

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The potential power of full integration

See Bob Herbert's piece in The New York Times

And the study he references.

From the study:

"The education reform debate is dominated by efforts to make high-poverty schools work better, but a new report released by The Century Foundation suggests that a more promising strategy involves providing low-income families a chance to live in more-advantaged neighborhoods, where their children can attend low-poverty public schools.

. . .

"Among the studies key findings are the following:
  • "By the end of elementary school, students in public housing who attend more-affluent green zone schools through the inclusionary housing program cut the achievement gap with non-poor students in the district by one-half in math, and by by one-third in reading.
  • "Despite the district’s extra investments in its most disadvantaged (red zone) schools, by the end of elementary school, children living in public housing who attended lower poverty (green zone) schools far outperformed their public housing peers in red zone schools. The size of the effect from attending a low-poverty (green zone) school for children living in public housing in math was 0.4 compared with attending a higher-poverty (red zone) school. This low-poverty effect is quite large relative to other educational interventions, where research has often identified an effect of approximately 0.1 on student test scores.
  • "The educational benefits of socioeconomic integration are significant, but they take time. Only after four years in the district did public housing children in low-poverty schools notably outperform public housing children in the district’s moderate-poverty schools."

Monday, March 14, 2011

Itinerant lives, children, and education

Itinerant Life Weighs on Farmworkers’ Children

Eating habits and class (UK)

Food and class: does what we eat reflect Britain's social divide?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Social reform to support whole life of children (U...

Palmetto Educators Network: Social reform to support whole life of children (U...: "Response to the UK Government's Tackling Child Poverty and Improving Life Chances: Consulting on a New Approach from the Joseph Rowntree Fo..."

Monday, February 14, 2011

"It Takes a Village, Not a Tiger," Pollitt (The Nation)

It Takes a Village, Not a Tiger


"Inconveniently, though, the poor and near poor, whom we don’t care about, come attached to children, for whom we supposedly have some concern. So how are the kids doing?

"Some facts from the National Center for Children in Poverty: one in five families is food-insecure, i.e., they don’t have enough food for everyone in the family at least some of the time. Health? Poor children are far more at risk than better-off kids: from secondhand smoke (32 percent vs. 12 percent of nonpoor children), low or moderate levels of lead in their blood (30 percent vs. 15 percent), lack of health insurance (16 percent vs. 8 percent) and lack of dental care (18 percent of poor kids hadn’t seen a dentist in the past year vs. 11 percent of nonpoor children, which is bad enough). Poor children are more likely to have asthma (18 percent vs. 13 percent). They are more likely to have missed five or more days of school for health-related reasons (20 percent vs. 15 percent). Twice as many poor parents report that their child has “definite or severe” emotional, behavioral or social problems (10 percent vs. 5 percent). Poor kids are also more likely to be obese, to get insufficient exercise, to be diagnosed with ADHD or other learning disabilities and to have mothers who are in poor health themselves. No wonder they are less likely to be described by their parents as being in very good or excellent health (71 percent vs. 87 percent)."

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Inequity all around. . .so schools can do miracles alone?

The education debate is mired in a Utopian view of education that is paired with a stubborn refusal to admit that students live in a world outside of schools. The students most often marginalized once they enter schools face a triple assault that corporate and political leaders refuse to acknowledge, much less address.

Consider the evidence of students' lives before they enter schools (and as they live when not in schools), what occurs in schools, and what faces them once they leave—especially if the child is poor, especially if the child is of color, especially if the child has a home language other than English:

• The U.S. has one of the highest childhood poverty rates in the world, approximately 21-22% (see 2005 report and 2007 report).

• Once they enter schools, students most likely to struggle because of the conditions of their lives are also most likely to sit in large classrooms with inexperienced teachers who are un- and under-qualified (see Peske and Haycock).

• While the body of evidence shows that 80-90% of student achievement is linked to out-of-school factors (see study from UK, commentary by Rothstein, and report from Berliner), when the students are subjected to narrow and misleading tests (PISA) and ranked against the world, political leaders, corporate leaders, and the media falsely claim the schools, teachers, and students are failure—ignoring that the tests reveal the corrosive power of poverty, not failed schools or children.

• But the inequity doesn't stop here. A new study shows that the same students living under the weight of inequity in their lives and often finding the same inequity in their educations are faced with tremendous inequity once they graduate and enter the workforce.

Simplistic faith in Utopian expectations for schools fails us all since the idealism blinds those in power and the public to the need to address inequity in all aspects of society—not just our schools.