Tag Archives: Charter Schools

Stanford University study: Urban charter schools outperform public peers

29 Mar

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.
Business Week has a concise debate about the pros and cons of charter schools featuring Jay P. Greene, University of Arkansas; Manhattan Institute arguing the pro position and Jeffrey Henig, Columbia University arguing against charter schools. http://www.businessweek.com/debateroom/archives/2008/03/charter_schools.html The Education Commission of the States succinctly lists the pros and cons of charter schools http://www.ecs.org/html/issuesection.asp?issueid=20&s=pros+%26+cons

Abby Jackson reported in the Business Insider article, The results of a new Stanford University study could surprise charter school critics:

Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) has a new study out finding urban charter schools outperform traditional public schools (TPS) in urban areas.
The results are the latest in mounting evidence that many charter schools provide tremendous benefit to students — particularly those located in urban areas.
“The charter school sector has gotten to a point of maturity where it’s dominated by established charters that have stood the test of time and are operating a lot more efficiently and effectively for kids, and so we’re starting to see now this general positive impact of charters on student achievement,” Patrick Wolf, PH.D., a distinguished professor in the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas, told Business Insider…. http://www.businessinsider.com/the-results-of-a-new-stanford-university-study-should-quiet-charter-school-critics-2015-3#ixzz3Vpm3kUip

Here is the press release from Stanford:

CREDO Study Finds Urban Charter Schools Outperform Traditional School Peers
STANFORD, Calif. – March 18, 2015 – Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO), the nation’s foremost independent analyst of charter school effectiveness, released today a comprehensive Urban Charter Schools Report and 22 state-specific reports that combine to offer policymakers unprecedented insight into the effectiveness of charter schools.
“One of our largest research efforts to date, this study targets our focus on charter schools in urban areas because these are communities where students have faced significant education challenges and are in great need of effective approaches to achieve academic success,” said Dr. Margaret Raymond, director of CREDO at Stanford University. “This research shows that many urban charter schools are providing superior academic learning for their students, in many cases quite dramatically better. These findings offer important examples of school organization and operation that can serve as models to other schools, including both public charter schools and traditional public schools.”
Across 41 regions, urban charter schools on average achieve significantly greater student success in both math and reading, which amounts to 40 additional days of learning growth in math and 28 days of additional growth in reading. Compared to the national profile of charter school performance, urban charters produce more positive results. CREDO’s National Charter School Study results in 2013 found that charter schools provided seven additional days of learning per year in reading and no significant difference in math.
Similar to the results in the National Charter School Study in 2013, the Urban Charter School report found local variation in the results. Across the 41 regions, more than twice as many urban regions show their charter schools outpacing their district school counterparts than regions where charter school results lag behind them. Despite the overall positive learning impacts, there are still urban communities in which the majority of the charter schools have smaller learning gains compared to their traditional school counterparts.
Summary of urban charter regions
• 26 urban charter sectors have positive impacts
• 11 urban charter sectors have smaller learning gains
• 4 urban charter sectors provide similar levels of growth. READING
• 23 urban charter sectors have positive impacts
• 10 urban charter sectors have smaller learning gains
• 8 urban charter sectors provide similar levels of growth
The Center for Research on Education Outcomes
434 Galvez Mall, Stanford, CA 94305-6010
Telephone: 650.725.3431

Here is an overview of the study:

Overview of the Urban Charter School Study
Welcome to the digital report of the Urban Charter School Study. This website has been developed to host the results of CREDO’s study of charter schools in 41 urban communities in the United States. This overview introduces the approach of the research project and explains the layout of the reports that are available on this site.
Through our valued data sharing partnerships with state education agencies across the country, CREDO has a unique opportunity to look at the urban landscape of charter schooling. Since urban education is a topic of strong concern among parents and policy makers, we hope a concentrated study of the presence and performance of charter schools in urban settings can provide a useful contribution to on-going efforts to successfully educate all urban K-12 students.
Moreover, we recognize that a study of this type will attract different kinds of interest — some more global and some decidedly local in scope. The reports on this site aim to maximize access to the full set of analytic findings in a manner that would not be possible in a traditionally-formatted report. All the reports are created as Adobe Acrobat .pdf files to ensure universal compatibility. (If a download of Adobe Acrobat is needed, click here.)
The Urban Charter School Study covers 41 urban communities in 22 states, which were chosen on the basis of a set of criteria described in the Technical Appendix. The study found that the typical student in an urban charter school receives the equivalent of 40 additional days of learning growth (0.055 s.d.’s) in math and 28 days of additional growth (0.039 s.d.’s) in reading compared to their matched peers in TPS. The results were found to be positive for nearly all student subgroups, but especially strong for students who are minority and in poverty, who are a signficant portion of the urban student population. These national findings are presented in the Urban Charter School Study Executive Summary and in graphic form in the Urban Charter School Study Workbook.
The results also show there is surprising variation in the performance or charter schools in differing urban communities. We developed individual in-depth reports for the urban regions included in the national analysis. These region-specific results are grouped by state and are presented in a Demographic Landscape slide deck and a Charter School Impacts slide deck. A User’s Guide is available to walk the user through the Impact slides and explain how each question was answered. http://urbancharters.stanford.edu/overview.php

There is no one approach that works in every situation, there is only what works to address the needs of a particular population of children. If the goal is that ALL children receive a good basic education, then ALL options must be available.


1. YouTube Link of Professor Carolyn Hoxby Discussing Charters

2. PBS Frontline – The Battle Over School Choice


3. WSJ’s opinion piece about charters and student performance


4. Charter School Students More Likely to Graduate and Attend College


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The Alliance for Excellent Education report: Teacher turnover high in low income schools

24 Jul

Melanie Smollin has an excellent post at Take Part, Five Reasons Why Teacher Turnover Is On The Rise:

With approximately 1.6 million teachers set to retire in the next decade, replenishing America’s teaching force should be a top priority. But filling classrooms with new teachers is only half the battle. Retaining them is equally important.
Numerous studies show that teachers perform best after being in the classroom for at least five years. According to a McKinsey study, 14 percent of American teachers leave after only one year, and 46 percent quit before their fifth year. In countries with the highest results on international tests, teacher turnover rates are much lower—around 3 percent.
This constant cycling in and out of new teachers is a costly phenomena. Students miss being taught by experienced educators, and schools and districts nationwide spend about $2.2 billion per year recruiting and training replacements.
Why are so many new teachers fleeing the profession after so few years in the classroom? Here are the top five reasons teacher turnover is an ongoing challenge:
5. BURNOUT: A recent U.C. Berkeley study of Los Angeles charter schools found unusually high rates of teacher turnover. At the 163 charter schools studied, teacher turnover hovered around 40 percent, compared to 15 percent at traditional public schools.
Since demands on charter school educators are seemingly boundless, including extended hours, researchers theorized, burnout is a viable explanation for the teacher exodus. “We have seen earlier results showing that working conditions are tough and challenging in charter schools,” explained U.C. Berkeley’s Bruce Fuller. “Charter teachers wear many hats and have many duties and are teaching urban kids, challenging urban kids, but we were surprised by the magnitude of this effect.”
4.THREAT OF LAYOFFS: In response to annual budget shortfalls, districts nationwide have sent pink slips to tens of thousands of teachers each spring for the past four years. In 2011, California sent out 30,000….
3. LOW WAGES: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recently said that teachers should earn between $60,000 and $150,000 per year. That’s a far cry from the current national average starting salary for teachers, which is $35,139….
2. TESTING PRESSURE: Since the No Child Left Behind Act was introduced in 2001, standardized test scores in math and reading have become the most important accountability measure used to evaluate schools.
Studies show that pressure to raise student test scores causes teachers to experience more stress and less job satisfaction. Many educators resent narrowing curriculum and stifling creativity in favor of teaching to the test.
On the National Center for Education Information’s “Profile of Teachers in the U.S. 2011,” the majority of comments submitted by survey respondents were “expressions of strong opposition to the current emphasis on student testing.”
As states increasingly rely on standardized test scores to evaluate individual educators, determine teacher pay and make lay-off decisions, testing pressure will only increase.
1. POOR WORKING CONDITIONS: When the Gates foundation polled 40,000 teachers about job satisfaction, the majority agreed that supportive leadership, time for collaboration, access to high quality curriculum and resources, clean and safe buildings, and relevant professional development were even more important than higher salaries.
But working conditions in many public schools remain far from this ideal—especially for beginning teachers, who are most likely to be assigned to the highest-need schools. Despite the added challenges they face, these teachers are often given few resources and little professional support. http://www.takepart.com/article/2011/08/09/five-reasons-teacher-turnover-rise

Since many teachers will be leaving the profession in the next few years, the question is what effect teacher departures have on students and are there traits of teachers who choose to remain in the classroom which should be studied.

Alexandria Neason of Hechinger Report wrote in the Huffington Post article, Half Of Teachers Leave The Job After Five Years. Here’s What To Do About It:

A new report, published by the Alliance in collaboration with the New Teacher Center (NTC), a non-profit that helps schools and policymakers develop training for new educators, found that about 13 percent of the nation’s 3.4 million teachers move schools or leave the profession every year, costing states up to $2 billion. Researchers estimate that over 1 million teachers move in and out of schools annually, and between 40 and 50 percent quit within five years.
A new report, published by the Alliance in collaboration with the New Teacher Center (NTC), a non-profit that helps schools and policymakers develop training for new educators, found that about 13 percent of the nation’s 3.4 million teachers move schools or leave the profession every year, costing states up to $2 billion. Researchers estimate that over 1 million teachers move in and out of schools annually, and between 40 and 50 percent quit within five years.
The high turnover rates are sometimes due to layoffs, “but the primary reason they leave is because they’re dissatisfied,” said Richard Ingersoll, an education professor at the University of Pennsylvania whose research on teacher retention was published in the report. Teachers say they leave because of inadequate administrative support and isolated working conditions, among other things. These losses disproportionately affect high-poverty, urban and rural schools, where teaching staffs often lack experience.
A Consortium on Chicago School Research (CCSR) report found that schools serving low-income, minority students turn over half of their staffs every three years, deepening the divide between poor and wealthy students to the most experienced teachers.
But the new report says poor retention isn’t a commitment problem. It’s a support problem… http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/23/teacher-turnover-rate_n_5614972.html?utm_hp_ref=education&ir=Education#es_share_ended

Here is the press release from The Alliance for Excellent Education:

July 17, 2014
Press Release:
Teacher Attrition Costs United States Up to $2.2 Billion Annually, Says New Alliance Report
Report Includes State-by-State Teacher Attrition Costs, Says Comprehensive Induction Programs Can Improve Teaching Effectiveness and Retain High-Quality Teachers
WASHINGTON, DC – Roughly half a million U.S. teachers either move or leave the profession each year—attrition that costs the United States up to $2.2 billion annually, according to a new report from the Alliance for Excellent Education. This high turnover rate disproportionately affects high-poverty schools and seriously compromises the nation’s capacity to ensure that all students have access to skilled teaching, says On the Path to Equity: Improving the Effectiveness of Beginning Teachers.
“Teacher attrition hits states and school districts in the wallet, but students and teachers pay the real price,” said Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia. “The monetary cost of teacher attrition pales in comparison to the loss of human potential associated with hard-to-staff schools that disproportionately serve low-income students and students of color. In these schools, poor learning climates and low achievement often result in students—and teachers—leaving in droves.”
The report cites the well-established principle that teaching quality is the most powerful school-based factor in student learning—one that outweighs students’ social and economic background in accounting for differences in student learning. It also notes that chronic gaps remain in disadvantaged students’ access to effective teaching—a scenario that unmistakably harms students, but also has an impact on teachers.
Without access to excellent peers, mentors, and opportunities for collaboration and feedback, teachers’ performance in high-poverty schools plateaus after a few years and both morale and work environment suffer. Ultimately, the report notes, these hard-to-staff schools become known as “places to leave, not places in which to stay.” According to the report, high-poverty schools experience a teacher turnover rate of about 20 percent per calendar year—roughly 50 percent higher than the rate in more affluent schools.
To calculate the cost of teacher attrition, the Alliance worked with Richard Ingersoll, professor of education and sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to the national figure, Ingersoll also provides cost estimates for all fifty states and the District of Columbia that range between roughly $2 million in Delaware, Vermont, and Wyoming and up to $235 million in Texas.
Teachers leave their profession for a variety of reasons, including inadequate administrative support, isolated working conditions, poor student discipline, low salaries, and a lack of collective teacher influence over schoolwide decisions. Turnover is especially high among new teachers, with 40 to 50 percent leaving the profession after five years, according to research cited in the report.
To curb turnover—especially among new teachers—the report recommends a comprehensive induction program comprised of multiple types of support, including high-quality mentoring, common planning times, and ongoing support from school leaders. Teachers who receive such support have higher levels of job satisfaction, rate higher in their classroom teaching practices, and are associated with higher levels of student achievement. Unfortunately, only about half of novice teachers receive mentoring from a teacher in their teaching field or have common planning time with other teachers.
The good news is that multiple initiatives are now under way to develop professional standards for beginning teachers, strengthen preparation, and shape strategies to address the developmental needs of teachers throughout their careers. The report highlights the work of the New Teacher Center (NTC), a national nonprofit organization headquartered in Santa Cruz, California that partners with states, districts, and policymakers and has established a well-designed, evidence-based induction model for beginning teachers that increases teacher retention, improves classroom effectiveness, and advances student learning.
NTC also partners with states and districts to report data on teaching and learning conditions using its Teaching, Empowering, Leading, and Learning (TELL) survey to help states develop policies and practices that connect related factors, such as school leadership, teaching, and learning conditions, and specific educator policies.
On the Path to Equity cautions that policies to improve teaching effectiveness are complex and depend on individual teachers’ abilities as well as the working conditions within schools. It adds that systemic approaches are needed to reverse the inequities in the distribution of teaching talent and to foster school environments that support the kind of ongoing, intensive professional learning that positively impacts student learning. To this end, the report offers five policy recommendations for states and districts:
• Require regular evaluations of teachers using multiple measures.
• Develop systems to encourage high-quality educator development and teaching.
• Require comprehensive induction programs for new teachers.
• Embed analysis and improvement of teaching and learning conditions.
• Support staff selection and professional growth systems that foster collegial collaboration.
“To fundamentally transform education and help students meet the higher performance required by the Common Core State Standards and other college- and career-ready standards, the culture of how teachers are supported must change,” said Wise. “Such a change requires new initiatives and structures to attract, develop, and retain the best teaching talent in high schools serving students with the greatest needs, as well as a system that ensures that new teachers receive comprehensive induction and access to school-based collaborative learning.”
On the Path to Equity includes a state-by-state breakdown detailing the number of teachers leaving the profession, as well as a low and high estimate of teacher attrition costs. It is available at http://www.all4ed.org/reports-factsheets/path-to-equity.
At 1:00 p.m. (EDT) today, the Alliance will hold a video webinar on the report that will feature Mariana Haynes, PhD, Senior Fellow, Alliance for Excellent Education; Terry Holliday, PhD, Commissioner of Education, Kentucky Department of Education; Richard Ingersoll, PhD, Professor of Education and Sociology, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania; and Ellen Moir, Executive Director, New Teacher Center. RSVP to watch the webinar at http://all4ed.org/webinar-event/jul-17-2014/.
The Alliance for Excellent Education is a Washington, DC–based national policy and advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring all students, particularly those traditionally underserved, graduate from high school ready for success in college, work, and citizenship. http://www.all4ed.org
Categories: Education and the Economy, Teacher Effectiveness, Teacher Preparation, Teacher Quality, Teachers & Leaders

Every population of kids is different and they arrive at school at various points on the ready to learn continuum. Schools and teachers must be accountable, but there should be various measures of judging teacher effectiveness for a particular population of children. Perhaps, more time and effort should be spent in developing a strong principal corps and giving principals the training and assistance in evaluation and mentoring techniques. Teachers must be compensated fairly for their work. Dave Eggers and NÍnive Clements Calegari have a provocative New York Times article, The High Cost of Low Teacher Salaries http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/01/opinion/01eggers.html?_r=0 The Center for American Progress has a report by Frank Adamson and Linda Darling Hammond, Speaking of Salaries: What It Will Take to Get Qualified, Effective Teachers In All Communities http://americanprogress.org/issues/education/report/2011/05/20/9638/speaking-of-salaries/


No Child Left Behind A Parents Guide

MSNBC video: Why Do Good Teachers Leave? http://video.msnbc.msn.com/nightly-news/46622232/#46622232

Debate: Are Teachers’ Unions the Problem—or the Answer?

Quiet Riot: Insurgents Take On Teachers’ Unions

Can Teachers Unions Do Education Reform?

Let a New Teacher-Union Debate Begin

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University of Arkansas report: Charter school funding inequity expands

1 May

Charter schools invoke passion on both sides of the argument as to whether they constitute good public policy. A good analysis of the issues can be found at Public Policy Forum Charter Schools: Issues and Outlooks presented by Judy Doesschate and William Lake http://www.rockinst.org/pdf/public_policy_forums/2007-03-28-public_policy_forum_charter_schools_issues_and_outlook_presented_by_judy_doesschate_and_william_lake.pdf Another good summary of the arguments for and against school choice can be found at Learning Matters analysis which came from the PBS program , News Hour. In DISCUSS: Is School Choice Good Or Bad For Public Education? several educators examine school choice issues. http://learningmatters.tv/blog/web-series/discuss-is-school-choice-good-or-bad-for-public-education/8575/

The National Education Policy Center examined one aspect of the charter school debate, the question of equitable funding between charters and public schools. The conclusion is the data does not support one conclusion. Here is the press release:

Contact: Bruce Baker, (732) 932-7496, x8232, bruce.baker@gse.rutgers.edu
William J. Mathis, (802) 383-0058, wmathis@sover.net
URL for this press release: http://tinyurl.com/d8dlmeb
BOULDER, CO (May 3, 2012) — Do charter schools live up to their supporters’ claim that they deliver a better education for less money?
While previous research has focused on the first half of that claim – education quality — a new report published by the National Education Policy Center examines the second half – what charters spend.
Schools operated by major charter management organizations (CMOs) generally spend more than surrounding public schools, according to Spending by the Major Charter Management Organizations: Comparing Charter School & Local Public District Financial Resources in New York, Ohio and Texas.
The finding is significant, especially when programs such as the U.S. Department’s “Race to the Top” are directing more resources to charters deemed to be successful. The NEPC report presents new research on this question by Rutgers University Education Professor Bruce Baker, working with University of Colorado Boulder doctoral students Ken Libby and Kathryn Wiley. The research team examined spending in New York City, Ohio and Texas.
“Charter school finances are hard to measure,” says Baker. “Charters generally receive both public and private funds. Also, in-kind assistance and resources from districts and states to charters vary greatly. Yet we can see that the most successful charters, such as KIPP and the Achievement First schools, have substantially deeper pockets than nearby traditional schools.”
The report explains that most studies highlighting or documenting a successful charter school have sidestepped or downplayed cost implications while focusing on specific programs and strategies in those schools. The broad conclusion across these studies is that charter schools or traditional public schools can produce dramatic improvements to student outcomes in the short- and long-term by implementing “no excuses” strategies and perhaps wrap-around services. Most charter school studies conclude that these strategies either come with potentially negligible costs, or that higher costs, if any, are worthwhile since they yield a substantial return.
But according to Spending by the Major Charter Management Organizations, a “marginal expense” may be larger than it sounds. An additional $1,837 expense in Houston for a KIPP charter school, where the average middle school operating expenditure per pupil is $7,911, equals a 23 to 30 percent cost increase.
“A 30 percent increase in funding is a substantial increase by most people’s definition,” says Baker.
The study compares per-pupil spending of charter schools operated by CMOs to the spending in nearby district schools. The report’s authors examined three years of data, including information on school-level spending per pupil, school size, grade ranges and student populations served. For charter schools, the report’s authors drew spending data from government (and authorizer) reports as well as IRS non-profit financial filings (IRS 990s). Notably, the data from these two different sources matched only for New York City; the data reported for Texas and Ohio from the two sources varied considerably.
The study found many high-profile charter network schools to be outspending similar district schools in New York City and Texas. But it also found instances where charter network schools are spending less than similar district schools, particularly in Ohio. In Ohio, charters across the board spend less than district schools in the same city.
In contrast, KIPP, Achievement First and Uncommon Schools charter schools in New York City, spend substantially more ($2,000 to $4,300 per pupil) than similar district schools. Given that the average spending per pupil was around $12,000 to $14,000 citywide, a nearly $4,000 difference in spending amounts to an increase of some 30 percent.
Similarly, some charter chains in Texas, such as KIPP, spend substantially more per pupil than district schools in the same city and serving similar populations. In some Texas cities (and at the middle school level), these charters spend around 30 to 50 percent more based on state reported current expenditures. If the data from IRS filings are used, these charters are found to spend 50 to 100 percent more.
The National Education Policy Center (NEPC) at the University of Colorado Boulder produced Spending by the Major Charter Management Organizations: Comparing Charter School & Local Public District Financial Resources in New York, Ohio and Texas, with funding from the Albert Shanker Institute (http://www.shankerinstitute.org/) and from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice (http://www.greatlakescenter.org).

A study by the University of Arkansas will continue the debate.

Blogger Alyssa Morones posted the Education Week article, Charter Schools Receive Inequitable Funding, Says Report:

When it comes to public school funding, charters are getting the short end of the stick, researchers from the University of Arkansas say in a new report. The truth behind the numbers, though, remains up for debate.
The report, Charter School Funding: Inequity Expands, examines funding inequities that exist for public charter students, according to Nina Rees, President and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. According to the report, traditional public schools receive an average of $3,059 per pupil more than traditional charter schools—a gap that’s larger in urban areas. This gap has increased by more than 54 percent between 2007 and 2011.
The inequity is caused mostly by differences in state-level funding, according to the report.
“The underlying causes of state funding and inequities are structural in nature,” said Jay May, a researcher at the University of Arkansas, in an interview with Education Week.
Dollars that flow outside of the funding formula or funds from city agencies that charters cannot access are two contributors to funding disparities.
“For me, this is a matter of equity,” said Larry Maloney, also a researcher. “Particularly when you look at the type of students in charters. They’re not the elite of our country. They are students with high need.”
While the disparities in funding reported by the study are the aggregate of a number of sources, the researchers call on states in particular to close these gaps. State practices that widen the funding gaps include denying charters some funding distributed to traditional public schools in the state funding formula, prohibitions on access to local funding, and reduced or no access to public facility funding.
The issue of charter funding and the disparities that exist may be even more complicated than the report makes out, though….
According to Miron, charter schools already have a cost advantage not captured and explained by the data present in the report….
In fact, in his previous studies, Miron found that charters actually have a cost advantage, because charters do not have to provide the same services or have the same expenditures as traditional public schools.Transportation costs, for example, are an area in which charters have a funding advantage. Districts are required to provide student transportation while charters are not.
Miron also iIsagreed with the report’s claim that charters do not receive more private and philanthropic funds than traditional public schools. In order to get a more accurate picture, he said, researchers must look at data beyond the federal data set, for which most charters reported zero dollars under private revenues.
Miron said that tax forms and school audits he examined in his own research revealed considerable money that comes into charters—money that the federal data did not reveal, in large part because the money was being received and spent by separate foundations or trusts established to serve a specific charter.
“The report is drawing a very big conclusion on very big and incomplete data,” he said. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/charterschoice/2014/05/charter_schools_receive_inequitable_funding_says_report.html

Center for Education Reform commented in Charter Funding: Inequity Expands:

Charter schools receive significantly less per-pupil funding than traditional public schools, according to an April 2014 study from the University of Arkansas. On average, charter schools receive 28.4 percent less for each student than their traditional counterparts, amounting to $3,814 less per year. Over time, the funding disparity between districts and charter schools has increased by 54 percent in eight years, as charter enrollment has continued to grow. Funding gaps vary from state to state, but researchers found that the gap is widest at the local level, where on average charter schools receive $1,780 per pupil from local sources, compared with $5,230 received by traditional schools. Moreover, there is overwhelming evidence that state funding inequities are structural in nature, and charter funding can’t possibly be resolved without starting over. These findings validate those from the 2014 Survey of America’s Charter Schools, which reported that charter schools receive on average 36 percent less revenue than their traditional school counterparts. http://www.edreform.com/2014/01/survey-of-americas-charter-schools/ The University of Arkansas study is current up to the 2010-11 school year, and researchers collected, reviewed and audited financial statements from 30 states plus the District of Columbia. – See more at: http://www.edreform.com/2014/04/charter-funding-inequity-expands/#sthash.SEYZUwnA.dpuf http://www.edreform.com/2014/04/charter-funding-inequity-expands/


Research report: Charter School Funding: Inequity Expands
Download Full Report http://www.uaedreform.org/wp-content/uploads/charter-funding-inequity-expands.pdf

Report Appendices http://www.uaedreform.org/wp-content/uploads/charter-funding-inequity-expands-appendices.pdf

Conversion Charter Schools: Do They Impact Financial Analysis http://www.uaedreform.org/wp-content/uploads/charter-funding-conversion-charter-impact.pdf

Here is the press release from the National Association for Public Charter Schools:

New Report Finds Charter Schools Receive Significantly Lower Funding than Other Public Schools
Average per pupil funding gap reaches $3,509
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the University of Arkansas released a report that shows public charter schools now receive $3,509 less per pupil than traditional public schools. Charter Funding: Inequity Expands reveals the disparity is greatest in major cities and that the funding gap has grown in recent years.
“This report is a stark reminder of the funding inequity that exists for public charter school students,” said Nina Rees, President and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. “One in 20 children in America now attends a public charter school and there is no justifiable reason why their schools should receive fewer dollars than other public schools. What makes this particularly frustrating is that the disparity continues to grow, rising by nearly 55 percent over the past eight years. We must remind state and local leaders of the impact their policy decisions have on our students and work to ensure we are closing this funding gap.”
The report, based on data from Fiscal Year 2011, found state funding deficits ranged from $365 in New Mexico to as much as $12,736 in Washington, D.C. In urban areas the disparity was greatest – on average traditional public schools received $4,352 more per pupil than charter schools. The report also found that public charter schools received fewer private and philanthropic donations per pupil than traditional public schools.
Since 2010, all but one independent research study has found that students in charter schools do better in school than their traditional school peers. For example, one study by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University found that charter schools do a better job teaching low income students, minority students, and students who are still learning English than traditional schools. Separate studies by the Center for Reinventing Public Education and Mathematica Policy Research have found that charter school students are more likely to graduate from high school, go on to college, stay in college and have higher earnings in early adulthood.
“Public charter schools have proven time and again that they are doing an effective job educating some of our most disadvantaged kids,” Rees continued. “But too often, potential school leaders are discouraged from opening a charter school due to limited resources. We should be doing everything we can to make sure more public charter schools are able to access the resources they need to offer high-quality education options.”
Click here to read Charter Funding: Inequity Expands and view state specific data.
About the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the public charter school movement. Our mission is to lead public education to unprecedented levels of academic achievement by fostering a strong charter sector. For more information, please visit our website at http://www.publiccharters.org.

This blog wholeheartedly supports charters, but more important, this blog supports school choice. One of the principles of this blog is that all children have a right to a good basic education. There are a variety of ways that each child will receive that good basic education and the choice should be left to the parents or guardians. The only caveat should be that if the education option is failing to educate that child, there should be other alternatives to choose from. Charters are governed by state law which authorizes them and sets the parameters for operation. One of the reasons many support charters is it is at least theoretically possible for failing schools to be closed. There are going to be good education options of all types and there will be failures of public school, private schools, and homeschools. Just as success is not attributed to all choices in a category, the fact that a public school or charter school is a failure does not mean that ALL public schools or ALL charter schools are failure. People, use a little discernment. Many are so caught up in their particular political agenda that they lose sight of the goal, which is that all children have a right to a good basic education.

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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.

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…

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.


Why Charter Schools
o Debunking charter school myths

o How charter schools perform

o Why we need charter schools

o Find a charter school

o Charter school data

o A look at great charter schools


Brookings report: What failing public schools can learn from charters?

Good or bad? Charter schools and segregation

Focus on charter schools: There must be accountability

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Brookings report: What failing public schools can learn from charters?

10 Nov

Mary Ann Zehr wrote a 2010 article in Education Week about the sharing of “best practices” between charters and public schools. In the article, Regular Public Schools Start to Mimic Charters Zehr reported:

Collaborations popping up across the country between charter and traditional public schools show promise that charter schools could fulfill their original purpose of becoming research-and-development hothouses for public education, champions of charters say….

“There’s not a lot to share. Charter schools are a lot like [regular] public schools,” said Joan Devlin, the senior associate director of the educational issues department at the American Federation of Teachers.

But others, such as the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools, believe charter schools do have some distinctive practices that should be shared with traditional public schools. The alliance hosted a conference in September that featured 26 “promising cooperative practices” between the two kinds of schools. Examples included a Minnesota Spanish-immersion charter school working with a local district to create a Spanish-language-maintenance program, and California charter school and districts teaming up on a teacher-induction program.

“We were trying to move past the whole charter-war debates and move to a more productive place,” said Stephanie Klupinski, the alliance’s vice president of government and public affairs.

If the goal is that ALL children receive a good basic education, then ALL options must be available.

Kristin Kloberdanz has written an incisive critique for TakePart of the Brookings Institute report, Learning from the Successes and Failure of Charter Schools:

What makes a charter school succeed and how exactly can we transfer these ideas to failing public schools?

These questions are examined in Roland G. Fryer’s widely talked about report, “Learning From the Successes and Failures of Charter Schools.” Fryer is the CEO of EdLabs and an economics professor at Harvard University, the report was published as part of The Hamilton Project (the Brookings Institution).

The report has been touted as a great way for modeled successful charters to “cross-pollinate” with failing public schools. Critics, however, have said charters are being favored as education policy over reforms that might be more cohesive with the traditional public school system.

Fryer studied data from 35 charter schools of varying success levels in New York City to determine what separated the high achievers from those that failed. What he discovered was intriguing. The usual measurements, such as class size and amount spent per student, were not as important to reading and math scores as other school-wide implemented practices. In fact, Roland determined that the charter schools with evidence of the highest achievement consistently maintained these five factors:

Focus on human capital: “Effective teachers and quality principals are the bedrock of public schools.” Using student data to drive instruction: Set up an assessment system where students themselves help establish year-long goals. High-dosage tutoring: Intensive tutoring on site. Extended time on task: More days and hours for class time. Culture of high expectations: School-wide and individual goals clearly established for achievement, plus plenty of visible college materials.

According to The Hamilton Project brief which accompanies this report, this kind of research is important not only for lifting charter schools to greater levels, but also to help failing traditional public schools: “Notwithstanding the difficulties and uncertainties surrounding charter schools, two things are certain. First, some charter schools drastically improve student achievement. Second, the practices that distinguish these high-performing charters from their low-performing counterparts can be implemented in traditional public schools. While some of the factors require more restructuring than others, all of them hold the potential to help turn around America’s flagging education system….”

O’Brien says Fryer’s research is important and that charter schools provide a wonderful opportunity to study education reforms. But she says she—and other scholars—do not think all lessons learned from a charter school can be so easily transferred as Fryer (who does state in his report that the goal is not “to replace public schools with charter schools”) suggests.

You cannot simply import something that has been learned in a specific context, and high performing charters and networks studied in a report like this do have a particular context,” she says. “They are filled with seats by lotteries, parents must sign them up and win a spot and they must commit to volunteer. It’s not the same type of environment as in typical public schools. Plus there are [different] government issues, charters might not be unionized, teachers might receive higher or lower pay, the calendars can be set differently and charter can be funded with more flexibility.”

O’Brien says too often people get excited by successes in charter schools, but neglect to understand that these differences can hinder making a transferable leap. She says she wishes more people were studying high performing typical public schools and coming up with a similar list as Fryer did….http://news.yahoo.com/failing-public-schools-learn-thriving-charters-234015660.html;_ylt=Ao_pKpjxXl3mUIe5VAXIwHBPXs8F;_ylu=X3oDMTQ0MXFrdXNlBG1pdANUb3BTdG9yeSBVU1NGIEVkdWNhdGlvblNTRgRwa2cDYWU1NzFlMzEtYzNiMC0zNDVmLTljZjEtNjM5NzRlZjZhYmY3BHBvcwMyBHNlYwN0b3Bfc3RvcnkEdmVyA2E1YTRlYzkwLTI5ZmQtMTFlMi04ZmZmLTZmMTFjYjQ2OWIyMA–;_ylg=X3oDMTFzcXM5ajBmBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANob21lfGVkdWNhdGlvbgRwdANzZWN0aW9ucw–;_ylv=3


Learning from the Successes and Failures of Charter Schools

Our education system is in desperate need of innovation. Despite radical advances in nearly every other sector, public school students continue to attend school in the same buildings and according to the same schedule as students did more than a hundred years ago, and performance is either stagnant or worsening. One of the most important innovations in the past halfcentury is the emergence of charter schools, which, when first introduced in 1991, came with two distinct promises: to serve as an escape hatch for students in failing schools, and to create and incubate new educational practices. We examine charter schools across the quality spectrum in order to learn which practices separate high-achieving from low-achieving schools. An expansive data collection and analysis project in New York City charter schools yielded an index of five educational practices that explains nearly half of the difference between high- and low-performing schools. We then draw on preliminary evidence from demonstration projects in Houston and Denver and find the effects on student achievement to be strikingly similar to those of many high-performing charter schools and networks. The magnitude of the problems in our education system is enormous, but this preliminary evidence points to a path forward to save the 3 million students in our nation’s worst-performing schools, for a price of about $6 billion, or less than $2,000 per student.


In Focus on charter schools: There must be accountability, moi said:

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.mcrel.org/PDF/AssessmentAccountabilityDataUse/4002IR_Examining_Accountability.pdf https://drwilda.com/2011/12/24/focus-on-charter-schools-there-must-be-accountability/

There is no one approach that works in every situation, there is only what works to address the needs of a particular population of children.


1.      YouTube Link of Professor Carolyn Hoxby Discussing Charters

2.      PBS Frontline – The Battle Over School Choice

3.      The Center for Education Reform’s FAQs About Charter Schools

4.      WSJ’s opinion piece about charters and student performance

5.      Charter School Students More Likely to Graduate and Attend College

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Given school choice, many students thrive

23 Aug

In University of Arkansas study finds Milwaukee voucher students go to college at higher rate, moi said:

Perhaps, the best testimonial about parental choice comes from an editorial which describes the emotions of one parent. In the NY Daily News editorial, My Baby is Learning this was the description of the protest in support of charter schools:

Those words were spoken by a mother who had brought her child for the first day of classes at Harlem Success Academy  Charter School – and faced loud protesters with her youngster.

The demonstrators were part of a movement that portrays charter schools as an elitist threat to public education. They are not. They are publicly funded schools that admit neighborhood kids by lottery. Their students far outperform children in traditional public schools.

Charters have proliferated in Harlem, and thousands of parents have children on waiting lists – a trend that has driven activists, including state Sen. Bill Perkins, into shamefully charging that charters are creating a separate and “unequal” system.

But parents, the vast majority of them minorities, know better. Like the woman who confronted the protesters, they’re flocking to charters as a way out of failing local schools. And the bottom line for them is crystal-clear: Their babies are learning. 

The only way to overcome the great class divide is to give all children a first class education.

The only perfect choice is school choice.

The Center for Education Reform defines School Choice

The term “school choice” means giving parents the power and opportunity to choose the school their child will attend. Traditionally, children are assigned to a public school according to where they live. People of means already have school choice, because they can afford to move to an area according to the schools available (i.e. where the quality of public schools is high), or they can choose to enroll their child in a private school. Parents without such means, until recently, generally had no choice of school, and had to send their child to the school assigned to them by the district, regardless of the school’s quality or appropriateness for their child.

School choice means better educational opportunity, because it uses the dynamics of consumer opportunity and provider competition to drive service quality. This principle is found anywhere you look, from cars to colleges and universities, but it’s largely absent in our public school system and the poor results are evident, especially in the centers of American culture – our cities. School choice programs foster parental involvement and high expectations by giving parents the option to educate their children as they see fit. It re-asserts the rights of the parent and the best interests of child over the convenience of the system, infuses accountability and quality into the system, and provides educational opportunity where none existed before.

Many school choice issues are also discussed in the school choice section.

School Choices has information about School Vouchers                                             https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/03/05/university-of-arkansas-study-finds-milwaukee-voucher-students-go-to-college-at-higher-rate/             

The Brookings Institute (Brookings) has released the report, The Effects of School Vouchers on College Enrollment: Experimental Evidence from New York City.  See also, Vouchers Help African American Students Go to College http://educationnext.org/vouchers-help-african-american-students-go-to-college/    and New Research on the Impact of Vouchers http://www.nationalreview.com/agenda/314852/new-research-impact-vouchers-reihan-salam

Here is the press release from Brookings:

The Effects of School Vouchers on College Enrollment: Experimental Evidence from New York City

In the first study, using a randomized experiment to measure the impact of school vouchers on college enrollment, Matthew Chingos and Paul Peterson, professor of government at Harvard University, examine the college-going behavior through 2011 of students who participated in a voucher experiment as elementary school students in the late 1990s. They find no overall impacts on college enrollment but do find large, statistically significant positive impacts on the college going of African-American students who participated in the study.

Their estimates indicate that using a voucher to attend private school increased the overall college enrollment rate among African Americans by 24 percent. The original data for the analysis come from an experimental evaluation of the privately funded New York School Choice Scholarships Foundation Program, which in the spring of 1997 offered three-year scholarships worth up to a maximum of $1,400 annually to as many as 1,000 low-income families.  Chingos and Peterson obtained student information that allowed them to identify over 99 percent of the students who participated in the original experiment so that their college enrollment status could be ascertained by means of the college enrollment database maintained by the National Student Clearinghouse for institutions of higher education that serve 96 percent of all students in the United States.

In addition to finding impacts on overall college-going for African Americans, the authors report significant increases in full-time college attendance, enrollment in private four-year colleges, and enrollment in selective four-year colleges for this group of students.

Download » PDF

Andrew Rotherham has an excellent article in Time, The 5 Biggest Myths About School Vouchers

1. Vouchers skim the best students from public schools. Although many voucher proponents want universal vouchers, today, the programs are targeted to specific populations, for instance low-income students or students with disabilities. So while vouchers don’t generally serve the absolute poorest of the poor, they do not skim off the most affluent or easiest-to-educate students either….

2. Students who receive vouchers do better academically than their public school peers. That depends on the measure. Overall the test scores of students who use vouchers are largely indistinguishable from students who stay behind in public schools. On the other hand, parent satisfaction is generally greater among parents whose children received vouchers. And while it’s too soon to tell for sure, there is some evidence that other outcomes, for instance graduation rates, may be better for students who receive vouchers. ….

3. Vouchers drain money from the public schools. It seems obvious that taking money from the public schools and sending it to private schools would leave public schools with less money. But in the through the looking glass world of school finance, things rarely are what they seem. In Milwaukee for instance, Robert Costrell of the School Choice Demonstration Project analyzed the financial outcomes of the voucher program and found that it is saving money in Wisconsin. And, in Washington, D.C. there was an infusion of federal funds into the city’s public schools in exchange for the passage of the voucher program.

4. Vouchers make all schools get better because they have to compete for students. It seems logical to assume that forcing schools to vie for students will improve quality. But schools are not economic entities like a store and respond differently to competition — for instance by going to court or to lobby state legislators. There have been vouchers for years in Cleveland and Milwaukee yet the schools there are still generally poor quality. In Washington almost a third of the city’s students were using various choice options (mostly charter schools) before the public schools began to make real changes. But, we’re still learning. Researchers at the National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research have found evidence that competition improved schools in Florida.

5. Private, parochial, or even public charter schools are better than regular public schools. Parents should worry a lot less about the legal status of a particular school than whether it’s the right school for their child. A good fit depends on a host of factors including a strong academic program, successful outcomes, a clear curriculum, areas of emphasis like arts or technology, and even lifestyle factors such as limiting time spent in transit or a year-round schedule. Just because a school is private doesn’t mean it is better overall or better for your child and even in places where the public schools are struggling overall there are often hidden gems. ….

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.


Are tax credits disguised vouchers?                                                                     https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/06/17/are-tax-credits-disguised-vouchers/

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Good or bad? Charter schools and segregation

23 Feb

If one wants to make people’s heads explode, then mention Black conservative, Thomas Sowell. Better yet, quote him. Is the sound moi hears little explosions all over the blogosphere? Sowell has written an interesting piece, The Education of Minority Children© 

While there are examples of schools where this happens in our own time– both public and private, secular and religious– we can also go back nearly a hundred years and find the same phenomenon.  Back in 1899, in Washington, D. C., there were four academic public high schools– one black and three white.1  In standardized tests given that year, students in the black high school averaged higher test scores than students in two of the three white high schools.2
This was not a fluke.  It so happens that I have followed 85 years of the history of this black high school– from 1870 to 1955 –and found it repeatedly equalling or exceeding national norms on standardized tests.
3  In the 1890s, it was called The M Street School and after 1916 it was renamed Dunbar High School but its academic performances on standardized tests remained good on into the mid-1950s.
When I first published this information in 1974, those few educators who responded at all dismissed the relevance of these findings by saying that these were “middle class” children and therefore their experience was not “relevant” to the education of low-income minority children.  Those who said this had no factual data on the incomes or occupations of the parents of these children– and I did.
The problem, however, was not that these dismissive educators did not have evidence.  The more fundamental problem was that they saw no need for evidence.  According to their dogmas, children who did well on standardized tests were middle class.  These children did well on such tests, therefore they were middle class.
Lack of evidence is not the problem.  There was evidence on the occupations of the parents of the children at this school as far back in the early 1890s.  As of academic year 1892-93, there were 83 known occupations of the parents of the children attending The M Street School.  Of these occupations, 51 were laborers and
one was a doctor.4  That doesn’t sound very middle class to me.
Over the years, a significant black middle class did develop in Washington and no doubt most of them sent their children to the M Street School or to Dunbar High School, as it was later called.  But that is wholly different from saying that most of the children at that school came from middle-class homes.
During the later period, for which I collected data, there were far more children whose mothers were maids than there were whose fathers were doctors.  For many years, there was only one academic high school for blacks in the District of Columbia and, as late as 1948, one-third of all black youngsters attending high school in Washington attended Dunbar High School.  So this was not a “selective” school in the sense in which we normally use that term– there were no tests to take to get in, for example– even though there was undoubtedly
self-selection in the sense that students who were serious went to Dunbar and those who were not had other places where they could while away their time, without having to meet high academic standards. (A vocational high school for blacks was opened in Washington in 1902).5
A spot check of attendance records and tardiness records showed that The M Street School at the turn of the century and Dunbar High School at mid-century had less absenteeism and less tardiness than the white high schools in the District of Columbia at those times.  The school had a tradition of being serious, going back to its founders and early principals.
Among these early principals was the first black woman to receive a college degree in the United States– Mary Jane Patterson from Oberlin College, class of 1862.  At that time, Oberlin had different academic curriculum requirements for women and men.  Latin, Greek and mathematics were required in “the gentlemen’s course,” as it was called, but not in the curriculum for ladies.  Miss Patterson, however, insisted on taking Latin, Greek, and mathematics anyway.  Not surprisingly, in her later 12 years as principal of the black high school in Washington during its formative years, she was noted for “a strong, forceful personality,” for “thoroughness,’ and for being “an indefatigable worker.” Having this kind of person shaping the standards and traditions of the school in its early years undoubtedly had something to do with its later success.
Other early principals included the first black man to graduate from Harvard, class of 1870.  Four of the school’s first eight principals graduated from Oberlin and two from Harvard.  Because of restricted academic opportunities for blacks, Dunbar had three Ph.Ds among its teachers in the 1920s.
One of the other educational dogmas of our times is the notion that standardized tests do not predict future performances for minority children, either in academic institutions or in life.  Innumerable scholarly studies have devastated this claim intellectually,
6 though it still survives and flourishes politically.
But the history of this black high school in Washington likewise shows a pay-off for solid academic preparation and the test scores that result from it.  Over the entire 85-year history of academic success of this school, from 1870 to 1955, most of its 12,000 graduates went on to higher education.
7  This was very unusual for either black or white high-school graduates during this era.  Because these were low-income students, most went to a local free teachers college but significant numbers won scholarships to leading colleges and universities elsewhere.8
Some M Street School graduates began going to Harvard and other academically elite colleges in the early twentieth century.  As of 1916, there were nine black students, from the entire country, attending Amherst College.  Six were from the M Street School.  During the period from 1918 to 1923, graduates of this school went on to earn 25 degrees from Ivy League colleges, Amherst, Williams, and Wesleyan.  Over the period from 1892 to 1954, Amherst admitted 34 graduates of the M Street School and Dunbar.  Of these, 74 percent graduated and more than one-fourth of these graduates were Phi Beta Kappas.
No systematic study has been made of the later careers of the graduates of this school.  However, when the late black educator Horace Mann Bond studied the backgrounds of blacks with Ph.D.s, he discovered that more of them had graduated from M Street-Dunbar than from any other black high school in the country.
The first blacks to graduate from West Point and Annapolis also came from this school.  So did the first black full professor at a major university (Allison Davis at the University of Chicago).  So did the first black federal judge, the first black general, the first black Cabinet member, the first black elected to the United States Senate since Reconstruction, and the discoverer of a method for storing blood plasma.  During World War II, when black military officers were rare, there were more than two dozen graduates of M Street or Dunbar High School holding ranks ranging from major to brigadier general.
All this contradicts another widely-believed notion– that schools do not make much difference in children’s academic or career success because income and family background are much larger influences.  If the schools themselves do not differ very much from one another, then of course it will not make much difference which one a child attends.  But, when they differ dramatically, the results can also differ dramatically.
This was not the only school to achieve success with minority children.  But, before turning to some other examples, it may be useful to consider why and how this 85-year history of unusual success was abruptly turned into typical failure, almost overnight, by the politics of education.
As we all know, 1954 was the year of the famous racial desegregation case of
Brown v. Board of Education.  Those of us old enough to remember those days also know of the strong resistance to school desegregation in many white communities, including Washington, D. C.  Ultimately a political compromise was worked out.  In order to comply with the law, without having a massive shift of students, the District’s school officials decided to turn all public schools in Washington into neighborhood schools.


Sowell ends his article with the following thoughts:

Put bluntly, failure attracts more money than success. Politically, failure becomes a reason to demand more money, smaller classes, and more trendy courses and programs, ranging from “black English” to bilingualism and “self-esteem.” Politicians who want to look compassionate and concerned know that voting money for such projects accomplishes that purpose for them and voting against such programs risks charges of mean-spiritedness, if not implications of racism.
We cannot recapture the past and there is much in the past that we should not want to recapture.  But neither is it irrelevant.  If nothing else, history shows what can be achieved, even in the face of adversity.  We have no excuse for achieving less in an era of greater material abundance and greater social opportunities.

The discussion has come full circle because the discussion centers on segregation and charter schools.

Joy Resmovits writes in the Huffington Post article, Charter School Segregation Target Of New Report:

Charter schools often promise to bring greater equity to education, but a new brief starts with the assumption that they fall short in delivery — and provides recommendations to fix the alleged injustice.

“Charter schools tend to be more racially segregated than traditional public schools,” said author and Penn State law professor Preston Green III, who sat on a board that considered charter-school applications in Pennsylvania. “What we tried to do is write ways to enable charter schools to promote desegregation rather exacerbate segregation.”

The brief, “Chartering Equity: Using Charter School Legislation and Policy to Advance Educational Opportunity,” from the University of Colorado’s National Education Policy Center features recommendations from both Green and University of Wisconsin, Madison education professor Julie Mead on how states and school districts can ensure that charters are integrated and helpful to disadvantaged populations. It also includes statutes that states can use to help reach those goals.

Charter schools are publicly funded, but can be privately run, and often admit students via lottery. Charter schools advocates argue that educational opportunity should not depend on zip code, and that charter schools allow for educational innovation that eventually can trickle back into the traditional system.

Detractors, however, often assert that charters siphon resources from traditional public schools without equal compensation and that they don’t serve specific populations, such as special-education students, in proportion with their existence.

Either way, charter schools, championed by both the Obama administration and free-market entrepreneurs, are growing: This year, as they edge into their third decade of existence, charter schools serve a total of 5 percent of American public school students — an increase of 200,000, or 13 percent, from the year before.

According to research released in 2010 by professor Gary Orfield of the Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles, 70 percent of black charter school students attend a school where the bulk of their peers are also minorities — compared to 40 percent in traditional public schools.Orfield’s brother, Myron Orfield, a professor at the University of Minnesota who directs the Institute on Race & Poverty, studies charter segregation at a local level.

“I think that charters are an engine of racial segregation. They are more segregated than public schools and cause public schools to be more segregated than they otherwise would be,” he said. According to a report he plans to release Friday, from 2010-2011 almost 90 percent of black charter-school students in the Twin Cities are in segregated schools — a number that actually increased by 8 percentage points over the last decade.

A common problem, Green said, is that charter schools often do not comply with federal civil-rights statutes. According to Orfield, they are legally responsible to do so, but are rarely challenged. For example, previous Supreme Court cases found “single-race schools were intentional segregation,” Orfield said. “But charter schools haven’t been challenged in this way, because people don’t have a picture of how big a part of urban education they are.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/22/charter-school-education-segregation-equity-race-legislation_n_1295043.html?ref=education

Here is the citation to the article:

Chartering Equity: Using Charter School Legislation and Policy to Advance Educational Opportunity

National Education Policy Center

School of Education, University of Colorado Boulder

Boulder, CO 80309-0249

Telephone: (802) 383-0058

Email: NEPC@colorado.edu


Julie F. Mead

Preston C. Green III

February 2012


According to the report, Chartering Equity: Using Charter School Legislation and Policy to Advance Educational Opportunity, the following recommendations are made to various stakeholders:

The recommendations detailed in Part II of this brief are as follows:

For Charter School Authorizers

Establish a clear set of principles that will guide the exercise of the authority to grant, oversee, renew, and revoke charters.

Require that charter school applicants make clear how the school will broaden, not replicate, existing opportunities for struggling populations of students in the community or communities intended to be served by the school.

Require charter school applicants to attend explicitly to local contextual factors, particularly identified achievement disparities, graduation rate concerns, suspension and expulsion issues.

Require evidence that the proposed school’s curricular philosophy, methodological approaches, or both are likely to achieve positive results.

http://nepc.colorado.edu/publication/chartering-equity ii of iii

Require charter school applicants to detail disciplinary codes and procedures and require a focus on positive interventions and supports.

Require detailed teacher recruitment, retention, and staff development plans so that the school’s teachers have sufficient capacity to deliver equal educational opportunity.

Consider publishing a request for proposals (RFP) for charter schools to address particular persistent problems related to equitable outcomes as identified by local data analysis.

Require detailed recruitment plans to ensure that the school targets and attracts a diverse student applicant pool representative of the broader community in terms of race, socio-economic status, disability status, gender, and limited English proficiency.

Ensure that the charter contract includes provisions that hold charter schools to a standard of equal educational opportunity in terms of educational inputs, practices, and outcomes.

Set clear revocation and renewal standards that reflect a commitment to equal educational opportunity.

For State Legislatures

Adopt declarations establishing that one primary goal of charter school legislation is to enhance equitable educational outcomes for all students, particularly those who have historically struggled.

State explicitly that charter schools must comply with all federal laws and any desegregation decrees.

Require charter school applications to attend explicitly to the local context, particularly identified achievement disparities, graduation rates, and suspension and expulsion issues.

Require that charter school applicants explain how the school will broaden, not replicate, existing opportunities in the community or communities intended to be served by the school.

Require evidence that the proposed school’s curricular philosophy, methodological approaches, or both are likely to achieve positive results.

Require detailed recruitment plans to ensure that the school targets and attracts a broad applicant pool in terms of race, socio-economic status, disability status, gender, and limited English proficiency.

As part of the standards for granting charter approval and renewal, create a set of rebuttable legal presumptions tied directly to equal educational opportunity.

Grant state educational agencies the authority to revoke and non-renew charters of schools that do not meet basic standards, whenever charter authorizers fail to act.


A couple of thoughts:

  1. Would these same students be attending segregated schools if the schools were public, because most cities have segregated housing patterns?
  2. Does it matter that children attend segregated elementary schools if they receive a good basic education and are qualified to attend the college of their choice or vocational school of their choice because they graduated from high school with good basic skills?
  3. Is there anything inherently wrong with a segregated school if it is not the result of a legal mandate which requires segregation?

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©