Friday Study Hall – December 9, 2016

By Kimberly Sawatka
Business Ed.  The New Orleans Education Forum recently brought together African-American business leaders and education reformers to discuss the importance of improving K-12 education, providing parents with quality educational options and creating America’s future workforce.
Test results are in. The 2015 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) results showed a drop in scores for U.S. students. Measured against 60 countries, American students showed no improvement in reading and science scores, ranking 18th in science and 15th in reading. The results also showed a seven point drop in math scores, with more students than ever ranking in the “below proficient” level.
Setting the record straight. Kevin Chavous was recently on Fox News with Paul Gigot to discuss his take on Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. Kevin showed great optimism for Betsy’s nomination to Trump’s cabinet, while discussing Betsy’s ideology for empowering parents with more quality education options.
In the news…
Charter school expansion.  The Providence City Council and Rhode Island state teachers union are putting up a fight to expand Achievement First, one of a network of charter schools in the state. Two smaller charter schools have also put in bids to expand, and State Education Commissioner Ken Wagner approves of all three. Two Jackson, Mississippi charter schools have already received the green light to expand their student populations. Growing student populations have also allowed RePublic charter to open an elementary school in 2018. With the dramatic increase in charter schools and their expansions across the nation in the last few years, the shortage of teachers is dealing a particularly stinging blow nationwide. California has deep pain when it comes to finding qualified teachers, so much so, that some charters are now offering residencies similar to medical residency and paying stipends to teachers and covering tuition costs while teachers complete their certification programs and master’s degrees.
The Future of Education. Betsy DeVos is President Elect Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education, and with her innovative ideas and unwavering support for school choice, she’s brought education issues and choice options to the media forefront. While the education status quo continues to resist change and DeVos’ nomination, those in the business world see Betsy as a beacon of hope for the country’s education system – especially in light of the plunging PISA test scores that were released this week.
What’s next? Georgia voters gave a resounding no to Gov. Deal’s proposed Opportunity School District on the election ballot. Now voters are wondering what’s next for failing schools in the state. No clear plan has been outlined to combat downward test scores.


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