Chad Aldeman Turns Over, Florida, 529 Policy In The States, DACA Deal, Graduation Rates, Dance With The One…Well You Decide, Please. Plus Orphan Train And Sup’t Salaries, More!

Nuance alert: Chad Aldeman on teacher turnover.

There are too many school shootings, everyone should be able to agree on that. And what happened in Florida yesterday is horrific and the idea of 17 families grieving kids who left for school that morning as on any other day is just incomprehensible. But beware the hype – a lot of the numbers being tossed around on the number of shootings this year are inflated using broad definitions – that point to a gun and violence problem in this country for sure but are not strictly speaking school shootings as we think of them. Schools have their problems but are still a pretty safe place for kids, for many kids safer than the other places they spend time each day.

Here’s Brandon Wright on the recent graduation rate news from DC and the larger implications.   The basic issue here is that our school system could barely graduate two-thirds of the poor and minority kids it’s charged with educating (and is entrusted with for more than a decade of their live). People, thankfully, said do better! And here we are.

I don’t know how anyone can in any way excuse these messes. But, if you think this is all just too much to ask or the result of “accountability” as many are implicitly and explicitly saying, then how can you not support school choice? Especially for low-income Americans who most desperately need access to good schools. Because if we can’t even do this, well…

When you step back what’s happening here is people are being asked to do what they are supposed to do – graduate kids in a meaningful way – and it’s a three ring circus all around. Really not a great look.

Anyway, the reality on graduation rates this past decade or so is probably two things true at once: Some genuine improvement everyone involved can take pride in and also some BS via “credit recovery” that isn’t meaningful, credential inflation, and outright gaming. But we don’t do “two things true at once” very well in this sector.

Actually, we don’t do one thing true at once very well apparently: Inclusiveness should not mean your daughter has to dance with anyone who asks. C’mon. Today in the department of troubling overcorrections.

There is an old joke in school finance, ‘what has six balls and screws teachers? The lottery.” This article about why a school district can’t use lottery dollars for school construction has a line that gives away the game:

A Department of Education spokesperson said the Lottery money funds more than a dozen school-related programs that were formerly paid for with taxpayer dollars.

Supplant much? (bold added).

When I looked at the new 529 tax policy – expanding the accounts to allow private k-12 expenses – I mentioned that,

Most immediately, the new provision will create debates in some states that offer their own tax-benefits for 529 bills about whether money used for K-12 expenses, rather than the original higher education purposes of 529s, should qualify for additional state tax breaks.

It confused some folks but this new policy brief gets at the landscape on that issue and the state ins and outs in more depth.

Odds & Ends:

Congress working on a DACA deal, a new study has people excited.

Teacher networks in Tennessee.  A legacy charter school in Boston organizes.

Today in Betsy DeVos: She doesn’t always tell the media where she’s going. And it’s harder to give away  your salary than you might think.

Superintendent salary data.

“Orphan Train”

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