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Quality Counts: A Closer Look at Education Week’s Report

While still big on inputs and spending to rank states (giving New York inflated scores over Florida despite achievement gains of the latter over the former) Education Week’s Quality Counts is a welcome and informative tool in the area of student achievement. If you break out the results from the inputs, the story of American education progress is clear — states that are innovators and have created and sustained structures that challenge the status quo do better with students who are behind and improve schooling for all as a result.

Given the passage of the Student Success Act (NCLB’s Successor) just signed into law, the 20th Annual Quality Counts appropriately focuses on accountability as its theme. Education Week’s research team looked at trends on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as the Nation’s Report Card, over the time NCLB helped set the tone for state accountability from 2003-2015.

While the research and corresponding reports are well-summarized on the site and don’t require additional summary, here are a few key takeaways for reformers:

1) States are graded in three large categories, comprised of 39 indicators, and while less weight is put on state inputs as in past years (parent’s income, educational level and property taxes), these indicators still play a major role in how states score.

2) States like Vermont and Maryland, which consistently score at the top of the rankings have more to do with the inputs (money) than achievement gains those states make with students. Indeed Maryland’s educational standing is often misquoted by its leadership and the press, giving credit to schools for having advantaged families with all the educational support that permits, as opposed to making progress.

3) The District of Columbia was ranked 28th overall but its K-12 achievement gains and progress

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Support for Rebecca Friedrichs: Rally Unites Those Standing For Teacher Freedom

“We trust the teachers!” “Stand with Rebecca!” “Do it for the kids!” These were the overwhelming chants heard from the small but mighty forces of the rally on the steps of the Supreme Court this morning. These supporters came out and bared the freezing temperatures to stand by Rebecca Friedrichs, the public face of the heavily discussed court case, Friedrichs V. California Teacher’s Association. Teachers, political figures, and different organizations all spoke valiantly this morning to state why they “Stand with Rebecca”. Even though the numbers were few, those who were physically on Capitol Hill this morning stood to represent the innumerable other supporters across the country.

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These past few weeks have been filled to the brim with several different people looking to show their support for this case, all leading up to the hearing this morning. If you didn’t already know at this point, Rebecca Friedrichs is an elementary school teacher from California working to exercise her First Amendment right. She, along with many other teachers, wish to have the ability to choose where the money in their paychecks go. The point that was continuously reiterated in this morning’s rally, and what many people don’t seem to fully understand, is that this case isn’t about the unions. It’s about allowing the teacher’s the choice to either join the union, or opt out. Currently, even those teachers who choose not to participate in the union still have to pay agency fees for the collective bargaining of the unions, even if they don’t agree with the union’s policies.

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While the union argues that the money they collect from their non-members goes towards their efforts in supporting all

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Who Is Rebecca Friedrichs?

Who Is Rebecca Friedrichs?

You keep seeing the name in regards to the #SCOTUS case being heard January 11, now get to know the veteran school teacher fighting for individual rights. 

(Thanks to ReasonTV‘s video!)

In a nutshell… she is:

  • A veteran teacher whose cause is for all teachers to have the right to decide for themselves whether or not they want to belong to and financially support a union.
  • Once a union rep, Friedrichs tried to work with the existing system and encountered tough opposition time and time again in dealing with her union, the CTA.

  • Rebecca is the lead plaintiff for 10 California teachers challenging the state requirement that they must fund their teacher’s union, even if they aren’t members of the union. On January 11, 2016, the US Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in her case, and she has the support of teachers, parents, students, and civil rights advocates nationwide in her fight.

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