Progressive think tank releases report on return on investment for US’s education spending

The Center for American Progress recently released a report on the educational “return on investment” for schools nationwide. From a Times Union article on the study:

“In a report released Wednesday, the Washington, D.C.-based Center for American Progress looked at the “Return on Educational Investment,” or spending among individual school districts nationwide. Researchers also included federal monies, which don’t always show up on school budgets.

The report’s authors weighted poverty levels as measured by the percentage of students receiving free and reduced-price lunch, as well as other factors that could impact both the cost of running a school and the level of educational attainment.

Also considered are factors like the cost of living in a given area and number of youngsters who are just learning English.

Researchers then looked at per-pupil spending and compared it to standardized test scores, focusing on the number of students who passed, or met the desired standards. While noting that there are wide differences between individual schools, the study looks at districts as a whole and compares them within their state.”

Here is a summary of the study’s findings:

  • Low educational productivity remains a deeply pressing problem, with billions of dollars lost in low-capacity districts.
  • Some of the nation’s most affluent school systems show a worrying lack of productivity.
  • In some districts, spending priorities are clearly misplaced.
  • State approaches to improving fiscal effectiveness vary widely.
  • States have failed to make fiscal equity a priority and large funding gaps exist across school districts.
  • State budget practices are often inconsistent and opaque. 

To read more about the results and to see how your district stacks up, you can view the study here. A disclaimer from the organization’s website warns readers: “Please interpret our individual district productivity evaluations with a heavy dose of caution. The connection between spending and educational achievement is complex, and our data does not capture everything that goes into creating an effective school system.”

Friday Rundown: 6.27.14

School may be out for summer, but there’s a lot happening right now in the world of education. With high school graduations happening this week and next around the state, it seems like a great time to look at graduation rates:

At the other end of the education spectrum, pre-K:

Other news:

View: Cuomo turns back on education tax credit, students (Journal News)

Education stakeholders respond to the session; 21st Congressional District primary (WCNY)

Report: US Teachers Love Their Jobs But Don’t Feel Valued (Huffington Post)

Compromise affects evaluations for low-rated teachers

From Capital New York:
Governor Andrew Cuomo, teachers’ unions and legislative leaders reached a deal on amendments to the state-mandated teacher- and principal-evaluation system that would remove student performance on Common Core-aligned test scores from the ratings of educators who perform poorly under the current system.

The program bill, which Cuomo released on Thursday, applies only to educators who are rated “developing” or “ineffective,” the two lowest ratings, under the current system, which state officials estimate would number fewer than 1,000.

The proposal aims to provide a “safety net” to educators whose ratings were affected by the rough transition to the Common Core standards in New York and who could be fired because of it. The bill does not apply to educators who are rated “effective” or “highly effective” under current law.

NYSUT calls the agreement “a necessary first step.”

Friday Rundown 6.6.14

In honor of National Doughnut Day, we’re bringing you a “baker’s dozen” of education headlines from around the state in this Friday Rundown.

Common Core Learning Standards face a new wave of opposition (New York Times)

Videos: Toward a more huggable Common Core (Capitol Confidential)

U.S. needs to get to the root of students’ woes (Times Herald Record- Subscription may be required)

Look up your school salaries and spending data here  (Buffalo Business First)

NYSUT president: No early endorsement for Cuomo (Capital New York)

NYSUT president optimistic for teacher evaluation changes (Capital New York)

Better school lunches start with parents (Poughkeepsie Journal)

Common Core: Gipson wants NY to dump Pearson (Journal News)

In schools, social media intrudes with bullying (Glens Falls Post Star)

A curriculum to strengthen students against cyberbullying (New York Times)

Should teachers stop fighting for tenure? (Huffington Post)

School voter turnout plummets (Rochester Democrat & Chronicle)

Massena teachers wearing boots to raise money, remember D-Day Invasion (Watertown Daily Times)

SFOS: TVHS students work to #BringBackOurGirls

Stories_schoolsToday’s Stories from our Schools entry comes from Tech Valley High School® where students recently added their voices to the growing global chorus calling for the release of nearly 300 Nigerian school girls and, in the process, raised awareness of the girls’ plight.

The students, some of whom were not previously aware of the situation, not only learned on Friday about the kidnapping, but the power of social media. The Tweet from the school, sent Friday at about noon time,  featured most of TVHS’ students posing in front of the Albany skyline holding signs that state #BringBackOurGirls. The hashtagged-phrase has become an international rallying cry for the release of more than 270 Nigerian school girls who are being held hostage by terrorists in Nigeria.

The TVHS tweet  one of more than 1 million that has been sent  drew a “Thank You” tweet from a Nigerian entrepreneur and media coverage, including a story on NBC news’ international page and another story on a global news website.

Read more



Friday Rundown 5.9.14

Let us be among the first to wish our Education Speaks moms a Happy Mother’s Day. We hope you enjoy every minute of your special day. Let’s get to the Rundown.

Commissioner John King would like everyone to be working toward a common goal (Albany Times Union)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo opted to deliver a video message to an education conference in Lake Placid that drew protests from teachers’ unions. (Capital New York)

A conversation about tests that educators want to have, but can’t (NY Times)

More state tests on the way for weary students, teachers and parents (Staten Island Advance)

More students opt out of Common Core math exams than English (Watertown Daily Times)

Public pension names public (Albany Times Union)

Schools seek changes to healthier lunch rules (Utica Observer Dispatch)

What will education look like in 10 years? (My Horry News)

Friday Rundown 5.2.14

The first Friday in May. Feels good to say that. Hopefully you’ve had a good week. If you missed anything in the education headlines this week, we have you covered. Here’s your Rundown.

Some pages missing on third-grade math tests (Buffalo News)

The scary way Common Core test ‘cut scores’ are selected (Washington Post)

More state tests, more opt-outs (Daily Gazatte)

In a story that Ed Speaks brought you last week, teachers are planning a protest at the Lake Placid educational ‘retreat’ (Journal News)

Lawmakers vow to delay teacher certification test if Regents won’t (Journal News)

Test teachers, but first train them (Journal News)

Regents weigh pre-K challenges (Capital New York)

New York State Department of Education official interviewing for CNY job (Syracuse Post Standard)

Cuomo remains silent on segregated schools (Rochester Democrat and Chronicle)

U.S. high school graduation rate is 80% (Daily News)

New York State set to make cheerleading a sport (Capital New York)

Teachers unions get Discovery Channel to cancel ‘Bad Teachers’ show (Fox News)

What conservative activists and comedian Louis C.K. have in common: A hatred of Common Core (National Journal)

BOCES officials opposed to siting gas pipeline on school campus

Here’s an interesting story that is impacting Education Speaks’ home organization:

Citing dangers to students and the future of educational programming at the Career and Technical School Schoharie Campus, Capital Region BOCES officials and area educators recently announced their opposition to the Constitution Pipeline Company’s plan to run a 30” gas pipeline through the Schoharie Career & Tech campus.

Constitution is proposing a 124-mile pipeline from Pennsylvania to New York, which, if approved in its current form, would run through the BOCES Career and Technical Education campus in Schoharie. This would greatly impact the programs offered at the campus, which include several construction and heavy machinery classes that regularly use excavators, backhoes, bulldozers and compaction equipment near the proposed pipeline location.

According to a study commissioned by BOCES, a failure of the pipeline at its campus location would be fatal to any student receiving instruction outdoors, and students inside classrooms would only “most likely survive from [the] blast and/or thermal radiation.”

“The safety and welfare of our students is always our number one concern,” said BOCES Superintendent Dr. Charles Dedrick. “It would be irresponsible for us to endorse the location of a gas pipeline on a BOCES educational facility, particularly one where we are teaching students how to operate heavy machinery.”

Career and Tech students, teachers, and BOCES officials will speak at a public hearing on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement on Monday, March 31, 7 p.m., at Cobleskill-Richmondville High School, 1353 State Route 7, Richmondville.

You can read more about BOCES position on the proposed pipeline here. If you have any questions about the issue, please contact Capital Region BOCES CTE Communications Specialist Bill DeVoe at (518) 478-4809 or