23 de maio de 2017

Gestos de grandeza (Artigo), Cristovam Buarque

Correio Brasiliense, 22/5/17



O desencanto atual com todos nós, parlamentares, justifica que até ideias inconvenientes sejam escritas, ainda que não propostas. O absurdo dessa sugestão ainda é muito melhor do que o suposto fechamento do Congresso, que alguns começam a defender como reação às indecências e erros cometidos dentro da democracia. Ouço proposta de volta à ditadura, como o desejo de ingênuos ou dos que, cansados com notícias que os envergonham, optam por não tomar conhecimento delas. Eles preferem que os corruptos tenham o poder de censurar a imprensa, demitir e controlar o Ministério Público e a Justiça.
Cansados de tomar conhecimento da irresponsabilidade e do roubo generalizados, preferem não saber o que acontece, prendendo os ladrões atuais e impedindo de descobrir quais serão os corruptos no futuro. Preocupante é que, além dos ingênuos cansados com a democracia, há a proposta, sobretudo, de saudosistas da ditadura que desejam voltar ao poder autoritário, até mesmo para poderem prender quem os denunciar.
A continuação do atual quadro é o segundo pior dos mundos, já que a ditadura é o pior deles. A reforma da Constituição para fazer eleição direta é a melhor proposta ética e com maior legitimidade para o próximo governo. O ideal seriam até mesmo eleições gerais para substituir todos que hoje têm mandato, não apenas o presidente surpreendido em um diálogo comprometedor. Mas isso levaria o Brasil a atravessar meses no caos econômico e enfrentar a desordem na segurança pública, para, no fim, elegermos alguém do passado, ditatorial ou populista.
Neste momento, precisamos de gestos de grandeza. Primeiro do presidente Michel Temer, renunciando ao seu mandato conquistado pela escolha de seu nome pelo PT e pela então presidente Dilma como vice. Segundo, o gesto daqueles que defendem a bandeira ética da eleição direta, entendendo que não há tempo para isso, que a emenda constitucional apressada é um risco para as instituições. Além de que meses de debate desorganizarão o que resta de nossa cambaleante economia. Terceiro, o gesto de grandeza dos presidentes da Câmara dos Deputados e do Senado Federal ,manifestando que, diante das denúncias que pesam sobre eles, preferem não ocupar o cargo de presidente pelos 30 dias previstos pela Constituição.
Quarto, um gesto da presidente do STF, seguinte na ordem sucessória, afirmando que ao assumir a Presidência ela será apenas a condutora do processo de sua sucessão. O quinto gesto de nobreza seria de todos os parlamentares atuais, renunciando de antemão à possibilidade de sua eleição indireta para presidência. E, por último, grandeza de quem vier a ser eleito, aceitando que será somente o guardião do processo eleitoral de 2018, mantendo blindadas a economia, a segurança nacional, a ordem e a ética.
Ao mesmo tempo, será preciso o gesto de grandeza das demais autoridades brasileiras e do mercado - consumidores e investidores - de que não vão abandonar o otimismo e o sonho de um Brasil grande, que manterão acesa a chama de ser brasileiro, lembrando que nosso país é maior do que seus presidentes e políticos, maior do que qualquer um de nós e sobreviverá ainda melhor a todas as dificuldades atuais. Nosso desafio é de que os erros e indecências do passado e presente sejam superados com o menor e menos duradouro custo social, econômico e institucional democrático.
Além disso, a grandeza maior de sabermos que nada vai construir o Brasil ético, justo, eficiente e sustentável que desejamos enquanto não tivermos a grandeza de fazermos um sistema educacional para todos e com a mesma qualidade para cada um. Todas as crianças com acesso a uma boa escola: o filho do pobre em escola tão boa quanto a do filho do rico. Mas isso parece quase impossível no Brasil de hoje, porque exige grandeza não só dos eleitos, mas também dos eleitores, abrindo mão do tradicional imediatismo de preferir benefícios no presente e aceitando sacrifícios para podermos construir o futuro.
Penso que talvez não haja mais tempo para construirmos essa ideia, porque estamos ficando, mais uma vez, para trás no mundo, como aconteceu no passado quando preferimos a escravidão a trabalho livre, corrupção à ética, os investimentos na economia a uma revolução na educação. Porém, não temos outra alternativa. Este é nosso país, precisamos ser otimistas e fazer coerentemente os necessários gestos de grandeza que o Brasil exige.

22 de maio de 2017

Why It's So Hard To Know Whether School Choice Is Working

K-12


School vouchers take kids and money away from public school.
LA Johnson/NPR
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has been a passionate proponent of expanding school choice, including private school vouchers and charter schools, and she has the clear backing of President Trump. But does the research justify her enthusiasm?
Experts say one single, overarching issue bedevils their efforts to study the impact of school choice programs. That is: It's hard to disentangle the performance of a school from the selection of its students.
Students are never randomly assigned to a school. A school's population is always affected by local demographics. With schools of choice, by definition, parents and students are making a decision to attend that school, so their enrollment is even less random.
Even when researchers carefully match students at different schools based on demographics, it's possible that families that are more organized and more invested in education are also more likely to seek out charters and voucher programs. Or, selection bias can also work the other way: The students who struggle in traditional public schools may be more likely to seek alternatives.
Further complicating matters is this: By law, most charter schools must have open enrollment, using a lottery if they have more applicants than spots. However, charters, and private schools, have sometimes been accused of using strict discipline rules or other measures to filter out underperforming or otherwise undesirable students.
The admissions policies of voucher-accepting private schools can also vary widely, depending on school policy and state law. Some must have open enrollment. Others retain the right to select students based on religion, academic achievement, artistic talent, conduct, or other factors.
And, no matter where you look, both private schools and charters tend to enroll fewer students with disabilities compared with public schools, a practice known as "creaming."
So, with the huge caveat that it's difficult to do an apples-to-apples comparison, where do researchers agree on the impact of choice?
Choice programs seem to push nearby public schools to improve.
"The results are consistent, and I don't think there's any debate," says Douglas Harris of the Education Research Alliance at Tulane University. "Charters, vouchers and tax credits create competition and positive spillovers." When school choices expand, public schools stand to lose students, and thus money, and they seem to respond by stepping up their game.
Martin Carnoy, a professor at Stanford University who has been studying the issue for decades, terms this response to competition"an accountability effect." In other words, "When you announce that there's a new sheriff in town, all of a sudden everybody perks up."
Carnoy's studies of cities including Milwaukee argue that this effect fades over time.
There's far less agreement among researchers on the effects of choice for the students who choose to leave their traditional public school.
First, charter schools. Charter students in city centers tend to do better than their public-school peers, according to the most recent research by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford. But charter students elsewhere tend to do the same or worse.
And the learning progress of nearly 200,000 students enrolled in 100-percent online "virtual charter schools" is generally so bad that representatives of the charter sector recently called for states to close many of them.
Second, private schools. Whether students are using vouchers or tax-credit scholarships, their academic outcomes are a similarly mixed bag.
"Most studies find modestly positive or neutral impact on student scores, and that's generally limited to African-American students in large urban centers," says Micah Ann Wixom, a policy analyst with the Education Commission of the States.
Martin Carnoy wrote for the left-leaning Economic Policy institute in February: "Extensive research on educational vouchers in the United States over the past 25 years shows that gains in student achievement are at best small."
"Do voucher students perform better than they would have in their neighborhood school?" asks Josh Cunningham, a senior education policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures. "At the most I can say, 'Maybe, a little bit.' But there's not a lot of evidence that they'll have any substantial academic gains."
Or, as the Center on Education Policy underscored in its 2011 survey of voucher research: "Achievement gains for voucher students are similar to those of their public school peers."
But more recent research has found that private schools, like charter schools, can actually hurt the academic progress of the students who choose them. Studies of programs in LouisianaOhio and Washington, D.C., found students who left for private schools did worse, not better, compared with their peers.
Scholarship tax-credit programs, like voucher programs, send students to private schools. Their impact is hard to determine, says Harris of the Education Research Alliance.
"The best-case scenario seems to be a slight positive effect, but most people would interpret it as no effect," he says.
Finally, when it comes to voucher and tax-credit programs, many states don't even require private schools to administer the state's test. In Florida, it can be any nationally normed test. So these programs are a bit of a black box. Going forward, if private school options expand, we may know less and less about the schools that more and more students are attending.
Oh, and there's another challenge: Most of these analyses rely on test scores alone. Test scores provide an imperfect and incomplete picture of student performance, as the most recent reauthorization of the federal education law acknowledges.

Documentário investiga a realidade do ensino médio em escolas públicas


Bruno Decc /Divulgação
Gravação de cena do documentário 'Nunca me Sonharam' em escola pública brasileira
Gravação de cena do documentário 'Nunca me Sonharam' em escola pública brasileira



Um retrato da juventude, um estudo sobre o ensino médio, uma reflexão sobre a desigualdade social do país. É disso que trata o documentário "Nunca me Sonharam", do diretor Cacau Rhoden, que estreia nos cinemas de São Paulo e do Rio no dia 8 de junho.
A primeira exibição pública ocorre na quinta-feira (25), no festival Ciranda de Filmes, que acontece de 25 a 28 de maio no Espaço Itaú de Cinema Augusta, na capital paulista. Além de estrear nos cinemas, a obra estará disponível na plataforma Videocamp, o que possibilita exibições gratuitas pelo país.
Na tela, relatos, opiniões e histórias desenham um retrato da educação pública e, em especial, do ensino médio.
A etapa é um dos grandes gargalos da educação brasileira. O país registra 1,6 milhão de jovens entre 15 e 17 anos fora da escola. Quase 10% deles não estudam nem trabalham. E, como apontam estudos, quem está na escola não vê muito sentido no que faz por lá.
Foram quase dois anos de produção, com mais de 70 entrevistas em oito Estados de todas as regiões do país. É dos jovens a maioria das vozes diante das câmeras.
O questionamento a uma visão restrita da juventude – de que ela seria só uma "fase" ou uma "transição"– é o ponto de partida do filme. "Eu quero participar da mudança, não quero aplaudir a mudança", diz uma jovem. "Quando vai chegar a nossa vez? Será que vai sobrar pra nós?", pergunta outra.
"O filme fala sobre a juventude num país que não escuta os jovens, e sobre a importância e a magia do conhecimento", diz o diretor.
Mesmo partindo de uma realidade até angustiante, o filme guarda poesia, sonhos, otimismo e esperança. Nisso, a figura do professor também aparece com força.
"Nunca me Sonharam" também mapeia os problemas da educação pública. Temas como a má formação docente para lidar com jovens e a dificuldade de replicar boas experiências educacionais se relacionam com os conflitos éticos da sociedade. Assim, racismo, machismo, pobreza e violência surgem como causa e consequência do fracasso escolar e social.
"Como meus pais não foram bem sucedidos na vida, eles também não me influenciavam", diz no filme o estudante Felipe Lima, no emocionante relato que inspira o título.
"Eles nunca me sonharam sendo um psicólogo, nunca me sonharam sendo professor, nunca me sonharam sendo um médico, não me sonharam. Eles não sonhavam e nunca me ensinaram a sonhar. Tô aprendendo a sonhar sozinho", diz.
Produzido pela Maria Farinha Filmes, o longa é uma iniciativa do Instituto Unibanco. Ricardo Henriques, superintendente do instituto, ressalta a perversidade de um país que está "sequestrando o direito de sonhar".
"Ao abrir mão de uma educação como direito de todos, a sociedade estabeleceu um teto para ela mesma. E é um teto muito baixo", diz ele.
Segundo Henriques, o que mais mobilizou o filme é a urgência de "colocar a discussão sobre educação na mesa de jantar de todos os brasileiros". Resta saber se os brasileiros, sobretudo a elite econômica, estão preparados para encarar tudo isso. 

21 de maio de 2017

Student Debt’s Grip on the Economy

Photo
CreditPaige Vickers
After decades of rising college costs and tepid income growth, student debt has become a drag on graduates’ hopes and a threat to economic growth.
The cost of a four-year college education, adjusted for inflation, is two and half times as much as it was in the 1978-79 school year, while median family income has increased only 20 percent.
A new report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York documents the hardship that has resulted from the soaring level of student debt taken on to cover those costs. About one in 10 student borrowers is behind on repayments, the highest delinquency level of any type of borrowing in the Fed’s survey, including home mortgages, auto loans and credit cards.
Loan payments are keeping young people from getting on with life, delaying marriage and homeownership, other data show. Research also suggests that student debt is crowding out other investment and spending that would otherwise occur. So the fallout from these burdens, afflicting those who are supposedly best prepared to face and shape the future, is not only a personal-financial issue but also a social and economic one.
Continue reading the main story
Total student debt — $1.3 trillion — is more than double what it was as recently as 2008 and is more than Americans have racked up for cars or credit cards.
But wages for college-educated workers have only recently shown gains. They rose 6.6 percent from 2014 to 2016, as the labor market improved, but that still leaves them a mere 4.5 percent above where they were in 2002.
Wage gains would have to be considerably more robust to handle rising debt burdens.
The average wage of a worker with a bachelor’s degree worked out to nearly $32 an hour, with those ages 21 to 24 making only about $19 an hour last year. Nearly 40 percent of households headed by someone younger than 40 had student debt, $29,800 on average, in 2013. (The median amount was nearly $17,000, but nearly 20 percent of those households owed more than $50,000.)
The total amount of student debt pales in comparison to mortgage debt, so it does not pose the same threat to the economy that the housing bubble caused. But it does weaken economic growth and foster inequality, a further scourge that crimps spending and investing and impedes broader prosperity. Households headed by young college-educated adults without student debt have about seven times the median net worth of those households with student debt, the Pew Research Center found.
Better administration of government repayment plans could help borrowers in the short run. But a more enduring solution is to increase wage growth by enabling white-collar and service-sector employees to bargain collectively, making more salaried workers eligible for overtime pay, ending discriminatory practices that result in pay disparities based on race and gender, and tightening up the visa system that lets companies in technology, finance and other white-collar fields use cheaper foreign labor to fill jobs or replace workers in the United States.
The alternative is a society and an economy where even many college-educated workers cannot get ahead.

The New York Times

Justicia?

Personalized Learning: What Does the Research Say? (Benjamin Herold) by larrycuban

Benjamin Herold is a staff writer for Education Week. He covers education technology and writes for the Digital Education blog. This post appeared October 18, 2016

The K-12 sector is investing heavily in technology as a means of providing students with a more customized educational experience.
So far, though, the research evidence behind "personalized learning" remains thin.
The U.S. Department of Education has given half a billion dollars to districts that embrace the trend, with limited findings to date. Since 2009, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has committed $300 million to support research and development around personalized learning, but officials there say it's still "early days" for the field. School and district leaders have helped turn personalized learning into a multimillion-dollar market, but evaluations of their efforts remain scattered. (The Gates Foundation helps support Education Week's coverage of personalized learning.)
One big problem: proponents have struggled to define personalized learning, let alone demonstrate its effectiveness. The purpose, tools, and instructional techniques that make up the notion vary considerably, depending who you ask.
While a fair amount of research exists on specific personalization strategies, such as the use of adaptive math software, the literature includes very little on personalized learning as a comprehensive approach.
There are some bright spots. Researchers have found promising early signs at some schools, and some software programs have been associated with significant improvements in student learning and engagement.
But so far, at least, such encouraging results are often highly dependent on local context and how well a particular approach was implemented. That makes it hard to draw sweeping conclusions.
For skeptics, those dynamics reflect a larger problem. Given the unclear findings around personalization via technology, critics argue, schools would be much better off investing in proven strategies that rely on increased teacher-to-student interaction, such as smaller class sizes.
To better understand what the research on personalized learning does—and doesn't—say, Education Week reviewed dozens of studies and talked with experts from a range of fields.
The takeaway for school and district leaders?
Don't believe the hype—at least not yet.
"Personalized learning holds promise, but there's still a lot of work to do to figure out how well this is working," said John F. Pane, a senior scientist and the distinguished chair in education innovation at the RAND Corp. "People who are thinking from a programmatic and implementation point of view should not necessarily buy into the advocacy around how great this is."
The Gates/RAND Studies
In 2015, Pane and his RAND colleagues undertook the field's most comprehensive study to date. They found that 11,000 students at 62 schools trying out personalized-learning approaches made greater gains in math and reading than similar students at more traditional schools. The longer students experienced "personalized-learning practices," the greater their achievement growth.
Those results captured the attention of such luminaries as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who cited the RAND study as one of the reasons he's willing to bet billions on personalized learning's future.
Also enthusiastic: Brad Bernatek, a senior program officer who oversees research for the Gates Foundation, which funded RAND's research and gave grants to the schools in their study.
"The results were encouraging, promising, and academically meaningful for the students in these schools," Bernatek said. But, he quickly added, "they were by no means definitive."
Indeed, some observers suggest the Gates/RAND study doesn't actually say much about whether the approach can work in typical K-12 environments. One reason: The schools in the study employed a wide range of instructional practices, many of which are also used at more traditional schools (such as grouping students based on performance data).
Furthermore, the schools in the study were mostly charters that won competitive grants. Did students gain academically because their schooling was "personalized," or did they gain because they were in high-functioning schools that received extra resources?
"I think it's still early days," Bernatek concluded. "That's the biggest takeaway."
Implementation Studies
The broadest look at how schools have implemented personalized-learning strategies comes via the federal Education Department, which gave more than $500 million to 21 districts, consortia, and charter networks in 2012 and 2013 as part of its Race to the Top-District program.
Unfortunately, the research findings to date from those grantees are not particularly deep, and the department's own reports have sometimes drawn conclusions that don't seem warranted by the available evidence.
For example, a set of recent case studies claimed that personalized learning had sparked "cultural shifts and transformed student learning" in such places as Miami-Dade County, Fla., and New Haven, Calif. To back that up, the report cited largely soft and self-reported findings, such as teachers saying they are now more comfortable taking classroom risks.
Department officials do say that many of their grantees show signs of promise on "leading indicators," including lower suspension rates for middle and high school students. Some grantees have also seen student-achievement growth, both on state exams and local interim assessments. The department expects more substantial evaluation reports to be released, beginning next year.
Other implementation studies of note include an ongoing look at a personalized-learning initiative in the Baltimore County district, where early results are mixed, and a generally positive case-study examination of California's Summit Schools charter network. Earlier this year, the Center on Reinventing Public Education, a nonprofit research center, also looked at the financial impact of implementing personalized-learning models, finding that money often went more to salaries, facilities, and operations than to technology and that schools often do a poor job of anticipating their costs.
Overall, though, the state of research around real-world implementations of personalized-learning models remains muddled and contentious.
Just look at New York City, where a nonprofit group called New Classrooms has been spreading a blended-learning approach to middle school math called School of One. In the model, up to 90 children share one large classroom with multiple teachers. Students work primarily on computers, progressing at their own pace through algorithm-generated "playlists" tailored to their individual needs.
Two studies by different researchers at Columbia University reached different conclusions.
The first covered 22 sites, but had a weak approach to comparing School of One students with children elsewhere. The results looked quite encouraging: By their second year in the program, School of One students' math skills had improved at a rate 47 percent faster than the national average, and those who started out the furthest behind made the largest gains. New Classrooms trumpeted the results aggressively.
The following September, though, another evaluation reached far less enthusiastic conclusions. That study used a much more rigorous methodology, but only included a handful of School of One sites. It found "neither very large positive nor very large negative effects relative to the math instruction that students would have otherwise received."
Students in the program also reported consistently feeling like they learned more when working directly with a teacher.
New Classrooms has barely mentioned those results, leading some observers to accuse the group of being more interested in positive public relations than helping the field learn what actually works.
For educators and administrators on the ground, it all adds up to continued uncertainty about who and what to trust.
Specific Software Programs
Perhaps the most-cited research into a particular digital tool used to support personalized learning is RAND's 2013 research on the effectiveness of Cognitive Tutor Algebra 1, an adaptive-software program for teaching math, originally developed at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. The study was a rigorous randomized-control trial, undertaken in a variety of real-world schools, putting it pretty close to the gold standard for education research.
Overall, the study found that compared with textbook-based curricula, Cognitive Tutor "significantly improved algebra scores for high school students," but that positive effect emerged only in the second year of schools' implementation.
Less-rigorous recent studies have examined other popular math software programs, including DreamBoxKhan Academy, and ST Math. Researchers generally found encouraging signs of positive effects on student achievement, and teachers and students typically gave positive reports on their experiences. But actual usage of the programs varied considerably, and researchers were unable to definitively attribute positive outcomes to the software alone.
Beyond that, the research base behind specific products is often very thin, with far more poorly designed studies done by companies themselves than robust evaluations conducted by independent third parties.
As a result, school and district leaders who want to pursue personalized learning need to be particularly savvy consumers, said Bart Epstein, the CEO of the Jefferson Education Accelerator, a network of researchers, educators, and entrepreneurs based at the University of Virginia.
That means asking hard questions about any claims a vendor is making, he said.
It also means understanding that context matters—just because a software program appears to have worked in one district doesn't mean it's going to work in another.
And perhaps most importantly, Epstein said, those on the ground need to understand that they're responsible for helping generate good research about personalized learning, too. Small districts might not be able to contract with RAND, but they can often reach out to a local university or engage in what's called "short cycle" evaluation, to get formative feedback as they go.
"Any district that is bringing in a major new program should absolutely be budgeting for real research support," Epstein said. "Everyone wants someone else to spend the time and money to study [personalized learning.] But it's all of our responsibility."
larrycuban | May 21, 2017