Many charters adopting common application process

30 Sep

Moi wrote in Study: Charters forcing public schools to compete and improve: Education tends to be populated by idealists and dreamers who are true believers and who think of what is possible. Otherwise, why would one look at children in second grade and think one of those children could win the Nobel Prize or be president? Maybe, that is why education as a discipline is so prone to fads and the constant quest for the “Holy Grail” or the next, next magic bullet. There is no one answer, there is what works for a particular population of kids. Geoffrey Canada is an exceptional educator and he has stuck his neck out there. He was profiled in “Waiting for Superman.”

The words of truth are always paradoxical.
Lao Tzu

Sharon Otterman reported in New York Times about some of the challenges faced by Mr. Canada’s schools, The Harlem Children’s Zone.
In Lauded Harlem Schools Have Their Own Problems Otterman reported:

Criticism WILL occur if you are doing something that is not inline with others’ expectations. It IS going to cost to educate children out of the cycle of poverty. Still, that means that society should not make the attempt.http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/13/education/13harlem.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

There is no magic bullet or “Holy Grail” in education. There is only what works to produce academic achievement in each population of children. That is why school choice is so important.
https://drwilda.com/2013/08/13/study-charters-forcing-public-schools-to-compete-and-improve/

Kate Ash reported in the Education Week article, Charters Adopt Common Application Systems:

To combat the confusion and make applying to charters easier and more transparent, a small but growing number of school districts, as well as charter school organizations, have rolled out new programs such as universal enrollment systems and common applications to centralize and streamline the process.
Among those efforts:
• Denver launched a centralized enrollment system called SchoolChoice in 2010 for all district-run and charter schools in the 85,000-student system.
• In New Orleans, the Louisiana Recovery School District, in partnership with the Orleans Parish School Board, debuted a universal enrollment system called OneApp for charter and district-run schools in February 2012 and is now entering its third year of a unified lottery system serving the city’s 44,000 students.
• The Newark and District of Columbia school systems are making plans to implement universal enrollment systems for their district-run and charter schools for the 2014-15 school year.
“The promise of a marketplace of schools is also a promise that kids and parents can navigate that marketplace,” said Armen Hratchian, the vice president for K12 schools at Excellent Schools Detroit, a coalition of education organizations and philanthropies aiming to improve education for all students in that city, where educators are also having conversations about a shift toward more centralization. “[Right now], there’s no single place, time, or process for parents and kids to select and enroll in schools, so we’re not really maximizing choice.”
How It Works
In a universal enrollment system, there is one application, timeline, and lottery for all the schools that participate, including both district-run and charter schools. Parents rank their schools in order of preference, then an algorithm, which takes into account certain preferences (such as geographic location or where siblings attend school), generates one single, best offer for each student.
Such a system makes it much easier for parents and students to understand their options, said Gabriela Fighetti, the executive director of enrollment for the Louisiana Recovery School District, and makes it easier for schools to plan for their upcoming school year.
Before OneApp, parents had to keep track of dozens of applications and deadlines, and “at the end of that process, you could’ve gotten into more than one school, or you could’ve gotten into no schools,” said Ms. Fighetti.
That caused an enormous amount of churn in the beginning of the school year as students scrambled to figure out which school they wanted to attend, making it hard for schools to know exactly how many students they would end up with.
Overall, said Ms. Fighetti, “you can give many more families a better offer if no family is holding multiple seats.”
Getting Charter Buy-In
But convincing charter schools, which are public schools that are generally granted greater autonomy and flexibility than typical district-run schools, to join in a centralized process of enrollment isn’t an easy task.
None of the cities that are currently using a universal enrollment system—with the exception of Denver—have 100 percent participation from all the charters in their districts…
http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/09/25/05charter_ep.h33.html?tkn=PWNFOXowk4lOudM53dHN%2FmHTjn8UyypxxFD2&cmp=clp-edweek

The best example of a common application process is the “Common College Application.”

Montgomery Education Consulting discussed the pros and cons of the “Common College Application” in Common Application: Panacea or Pandora?

Mr. Hoover makes a number of important points that help to illustrate that the Common App is, well, not all that Common. Further, its penetration of the admissions market has become both a blessing and a curse.
• Because the Common Application makes it easier to apply to more and more colleges, kids are applying to more and more colleges without regard to fit. Students can easily apply to schools they know little about–and have little intention of attending.
• More applications makes all admissions pools more competitive. This is great for colleges that want to appear more competitive to move up in the various rankings. But why should a kid who is dying to be admitted to a particular college be competing with kids who are not all that interested? How does a college really know if the kid is interested? (Answer: they do this by taking into account “demonstrated interest,” but this phenomenon makes the admissions process more complicated for the college side, not less).
• More kids applying to more colleges creates more perceived competition, which feeds the cycle of stress and manic striving that now characterizes the college admissions process. If kids had to sit down and write out each application by hand, they might be more judicious in their selections, and the stress levels might decrease.
• The Common App has made it somewhat easier for kids from underrepresented minorities and first generation homes that can easily apply to the higher echelons of American higher education. But it’s hard to say that the Common App is the cause of this increase, or simply a by-product of other forces that are enabling more kids to apply.
A “common” application does not mean a “standardized” application. Many, many Common Application member institutions require supplements to their application. These can be very simple ones to complete (indeed, many colleges stupidly require kids to answer questions already addressed in the main portions of the Common App). Or they can be those quirky essays from the University of Chicago (“Find x”) or Wake Forest University (“What outrages you?”). Managing all the supplements and other moving parts of the so-called Common Application is an organizational nightmare, especially if kids want to provide any customization of the Common Application for particular schools.
There is much to be said for a return to a more old-fashioned, paper-based system of college applications. Many of us long for those good old days of typewriters, white-out, staplers, paper clips, and collating papers, when the just the feel of 25-pound bond would make a student feel grown up, and – WHAT am I saying? We love to complain about the Common Application, but there ain’t no going back to carbon paper, folks…! http://greatcollegeadvice.com/common-application-panacea-or-pandora/

Moi supports neighborhood schools which cater to the needs of the children and families in that neighborhood. A one-size-fits-all approach does not work in education. It is for this reason that moi supports charter schools which are regulated by strong charter school legislation with accountability. Accountability means different things to different people. In 2005 Sheila A. Arens wrote Examining the Meaning of Accountability: Reframing the Construct for Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning which emphasizes the involvement of parents and community members. One of the goals of the charter movement is to involve parents and communities.
http://www.edreform.com/issues/choice-charter-schools/
http://www.mcrel.org/PDF/AssessmentAccountabilityDataUse/4002IR_Examining_Accountability.pdf

Resources:

Why Charter Schools
o Debunking charter school myths
http://www.publiccharters.org/About-Charter-Schools/Frequently-Asked-Questions.aspx

o How charter schools perform
http://www.publiccharters.org/About-Charter-Schools/How-Charters-Perform.aspx

o Why we need charter schools
http://www.publiccharters.org/About-Charter-Schools/Why-charter-schools003F.aspx

o Find a charter school
http://dashboard.publiccharters.org/dashboard/select/year/2010

o Charter school data
http://dashboard.publiccharters.org/dashboard/home

o A look at great charter schools
http://www.publiccharters.org/additional-pages/great-charter-schools.aspx

Related:

Brookings report: What failing public schools can learn from charters?
https://drwilda.com/2012/11/10/brookings-report-what-failing-public-schools-can-learn-from-charters/

Good or bad? Charter schools and segregation
https://drwilda.com/2012/02/23/good-or-bad-charter-schools-and-segregation/

Focus on charter schools: There must be accountability
https://drwilda.com/2011/12/24/focus-on-charter-schools-there-must-be-accountability/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

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http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/
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