Education Town Hall News Notes:
Child Poverty and Education
Education Enriches Corporations
Corporations Lobby for Common Core
Fairfax (VA) Suspensions Drop

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Child Poverty and Education

Census data released earlier this week show that 16 million children in the U.S. are living in poverty. More than 1 in 4 children under the age of 5 live in poverty, almost 1 in 10 in extreme poverty. Here’s the Census report

Children of color are hardest hit: 37.9% of black children lived in poverty in 2012, and 33.8% of Hispanics. Among white, non-Hispanic children, 12.3% live in poverty. Poverty rates had been increasing in recent years but 2012 rates remain unchanged from 2011.

Many educators note that poverty adds challenges – including basics, such as hunger and lack of stable housing – for individual students and for schools in lower-income communities. (See, e.g., Save Our Schools or the Answer Sheet.) Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam recently argued, on the other hand, that “fixing education” would ameliorate poverty.
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Education Enriches Corporations

Meanwhile, Forbes magazine on-line describes ways to make money from charter school operations while New Jersey’s Star Ledger newspaper reports on the influence of for-profit corporations in Newark public schools.

The Forbes article, “Charter School Gravy Train Runs Express to Fat City,” highlights lucrative New Markets Tax Credit among other incentives to invest in charters. The Star Ledger looks at the involvement of for-profit corporation, K12 in the Newark Prep Charter School. Reporter Jessica Calefati also explores allegations that K12 may be running the school, which is forbidden by New Jersey law.
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Corporations Lobby for Common Core

Nationally, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a corporate lobbying group, held its Education, Policy, Workforce summit on September 17. Representatives of Intel Corp., Cisco Systems, and ExxonMobil Foundation urged business leaders to support the Common Core State Standards. (See Education Week report.)

Exxon has been funding a series of television ads supporting the Common Core. Intel and Cisco are among funders of Achieve, a non-profit advocating for the Common Core and managing PARCC, one of the Common Core assessment enterprises.

Intel and Cisco, together with Microsoft, also founded an Australia-based project, Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills, promoting Information Age skills and computerized assessments.

Morna McDermott, who has appeared on the Education Town Hall several times, has been exploring the many Common Core corporate relationships. Her diagram and detailed explanation has been cited by many following this topic.

Morna McDermott of United Opt Out follows the corporate links in education
Morna McDermott of United Opt Out follows the corporate links in education

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Fairfax (VA) Suspensions Drop

Closer to the We Act Radio studio, Fairfax County Public Schools report an 18% drop in high school suspensions comparing last school year to 2011-2012. Even with the drop, a total of 2,794 suspensions were executed last year in a population of 56,000 students. Suspensions are not distributed evenly among the county’s 22 high schools, however. A Washington Post article provides details along with a discussion of related regulations.
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