Tag Archives: mary ann zehr

Harvard and Princeton study: Charter schools benefit low-income students

6 Nov

Moi wrote in A charter school for young entrepreneurs shows the diversity of charters: 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 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 presented by Judy Doesschate and William Lake 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/
https://drwilda.com/2013/05/16/a-charter-school-for-young-entrepreneuers-shows-the-diversity-of-charters/

Brenda Cronin reported in the Wall Street Journal article, Charter School Benefits Extend Beyond Classroom:

The benefits of a charter school extend well beyond higher test scores and academic performance. Students at the Promise Academy in Harlem fared better than their peers in and outside the classroom, with lower rates of incarceration and teen pregnancy, new research shows.
Harvard’s Roland G. Fryer, Jr. and Princeton’s Will Dobbie tracked more than 400 sixth-grade students who won spots at the Promise Academy, a turbo-charged charter school in Harlem, through lotteries in 2005 and 2006.
For their paper, “The Medium-Term Impacts of High-Achieving Charter Schools on Non-Test Score Outcomes,” the economists tapped data from the Harlem Children’s Zone, the New York City Department of Education and the National Student Clearinghouse. They also followed the students throughout high school and compared survey results with non-lottery winners. They found strikingly improved “human capital” and diminished “risky behaviors” among lottery winners — but note that this particular school, and its supportive environment, may not be representative of other high-performing charter schools.
The Promise Academy, in New York City, offers a particularly intensive program for at-risk neighborhood students. The school is located in the Harlem Children’s Zone, a 97-block area that offers a host of programs to promote social well-being and advancement to low-income families. More than 8,000 youth and 5,000 adults benefit from HCZ programs each year.
Students at the Promise Academy have longer school days and school years than their counterparts elsewhere. They also have access to after-school tutoring and weekend classes for remedial help in math and English. Teachers at the school are evaluated and receive incentives to improve performance. The authors note that the school employs “extensive data-driven monitoring to track student progress and differentiate instruction, with students who have not met the required benchmarks receiving small-group tutoring.”
That focus appears to be yielding results: surveys completed by the students — who were paid between $40 and $200 to participate — show that teenage girls who won the school lottery were 12.1 percentage points less likely to be pregnant; boys who won the lottery to Promise Academy were 4.3 percentage points less likely to be in prison or jail than counterparts who didn’t land spots in the school. Lottery winners scored higher on math and reading exams; they also were more likely to take and pass exams in courses such as chemistry and geometry. They also were 14.1 percentage points more likely to enroll in college.
Other survey questions revealed little difference between Promise Academy students and those not at the school in areas such as mental health, obesity, or drug and alcohol use.
http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2013/10/30/charter-school-benefits-extend-beyond-classroom/?mod=wsj_valettop_email

Citation:

The Medium-Term Impacts of High-Achieving Charter Schools on Non-Test Score Outcomes
Will Dobbie, Roland G. Fryer, Jr
NBER Working Paper No. 19581
Issued in October 2013
NBER Program(s): CH ED LS
High-performing charter schools can significantly increase the test scores of poor urban students. It is unclear whether these test score gains translate into improved outcomes later in life. We estimate the effects of high-performing charter schools on human capital, risky behaviors, and health outcomes using survey data from the Promise Academy in the Harlem Children’s Zone. Six years after the random admissions lottery, youth offered admission to the Promise Academy middle school score 0.283 standard deviations higher on a nationally-normed math achievement test and are 14.1 percentage points more likely to enroll in college. Admitted females are 12.1 percentage points less likely to be pregnant in their teens, and males are 4.3 percentage points less likely to be incarcerated. We find little impact of the Promise Academy on self-reported health. We conclude with speculative evidence that high-performing schools may be sufficient to significantly improve human capital and reduce certain risky behaviors among the poor.

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Moi wrote in Study: Charters forcing public schools to compete and improve: Marc J. Holley, Anna J. Egalite, and Martin F. Lueken wrote in the Education Next article, Competition with Charters Motivates Districts:

But in order for this to happen, districts must first recognize the need to compete for students and then make efforts to attract those students, who now have the chance to go elsewhere. Since 2007, enrollment in charter schools has jumped from 1.3 million to 2 million students, an increase of 59 percent. The school choice movement is gaining momentum, but are districts responding to the competition? In this study we investigate whether district officials in a position to influence policy and practice have begun to respond to competitive pressure from school choice in new ways. Specifically, we probe whether district officials in urban settings across the country believe they need to compete for students. If they do, what is the nature of their response?
A small number of studies and numerous media reports have attempted to capture the reactions of public school officials to these new threats to their enrollments and revenues. A few reports of obstructionist behavior by districts stand out and have been chronicled in these pages by Joe Williams (“Games Charter Opponents Play,” features, Winter 2007) and Nelson Smith (“Whose School Buildings Are They, Anyway?” features, Fall 2012). Yet our evidence suggests that the dynamics described in Williams’s report of guerilla turf wars may be evolving in many locations to reflect new political circumstances and the growing popularity of a burgeoning charter sector.
To explore the influence of school choice on district policy and practice, we scoured media sources for evidence of urban public-school districts’ responses to charter competition. Our express purpose was to catalog levels of competition awareness and types of responses by public school officials and their representatives. Our search retrieved more than 8,000 print and online media reports in the past five years (since the 2007 Williams article) from 12 urban locations in the United States. We then reviewed minutes from school board meetings, district web sites, and other district artifacts to verify if, in fact, the practices and policies described in media reports have occurred.
We selected cities according to specific criteria. We chose three urban districts with high percentages of minority and low-income students (at least 60 percent on both counts) in each region (Northeast, Midwest, South, West). In addition, districts in our sample needed to have a minimum of 6 percent of students in choice schools, the level Caroline Hoxby identified as a threshold above which districts could reasonably be expected to respond to competitive pressure (see “Rising Tide,” research, Winter 2001). Finally, we sought to include cities across the range of choice-school market shares within each geographic region, so long as they were above the 6 percent threshold (see Figure 1)….
The ground war between charter schools and their opponents described by Joe Williams has begun to shift. As the charter sector continues to expand, some of its competitors appear to be changing strategy. Where school districts once responded with indifference, symbolic gestures, or open hostility, we are starting to see a broadening of responses, perhaps fueled by acceptance that the charter sector will continue to thrive, or by knowledge that many charters are providing examples of ways to raise academic achievement.
Traditional public schools are aware of the threats posed by alternative education providers, but they are analyzing the moves made by competitors and demonstrating that they may have the savvy to reflect, replicate, experiment, and enter into partnerships with school choice providers. This evidence suggests that while bureaucratic change may often be slow, it may be a mistake to underestimate the capacity of these bureaucratic institutions to reform, adapt, and adjust in light of changing environments. http://educationnext.org/competition-with-charters-motivates-districts/

The conclusion of the study was that charters were forcing public schools to compete in the marketplace. 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.
https://drwilda.com/2013/08/13/study-charters-forcing-public-schools-to-compete-and-improve/

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

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

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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.
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/

Click to access 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

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/
Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

Study: Charters forcing public schools to compete and improve

13 Aug

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.

Mary Ann Zehr reported 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 wrote:

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.
But both supporters and skeptics of charter schools agree that so far the cooperative efforts are not widespread nor are most of them very deep.
The U.S. Department of Education spent $6.7 million in fiscal 2009 on grants to states for charters to share what they’ve learned with other schools. It is now conducting a feasibility study on ways to support the spread of promising charter school practices, said Scott D. Pearson, the department’s acting director of the charter schools program.
One idea being explored, he said, is to establish a prize for exemplary collaborations….
“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. http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2010/11/10/11charter.h30.html

Lincoln High School in Tacoma is highlighted in Zehr’s article:

Borrowing Best Practices
Lincoln High School, in the 29,000-student Tacoma district in Washington state, is also seeing test scores rise after borrowing some practices from charter schools, according to Patrick Erwin, a co-principal with Greg Eisnaugle of the high school.
About 350 of the 1,500 students in the high school attend the Lincoln Center, a school-within-a-school started more than two years ago that implements practices Mr. Erwin says were picked up from the well-known Harlem Children’s Zone, Green Dot, and Knowledge Is Power Program charter schools. The Lincoln Center operates from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and is in session for two Saturdays each month. It also uses standards that are more rigorous than the state’s 10th grade standards, for example, and requires teachers to apply for jobs, selecting only those who have shown success in the classroom, according to Mr. Erwin.
He said the school has an agreement with its 15 teachers, in addition to their union contract, to work extra hours, for which they receive extra compensation.

See, School in a School: Lincoln’s bold experiment http://www.thenewstribune.com/2010/02/21/1079565/school-within-a-school-lincolns.html

Melissa Lazarín wrote in the report, “Charting New Territory” for the Center for American Progress:

The brief also summarizes early findings and perspectives on district-charter turnarounds offered by districts, charters, and others. Their recommendations and lessons learned are not meant to be comprehensive but they do offer valuable insight for districts, charter leaders, and policymakers interested in district-charter collaborations to turnaround schools.
For example, early collaborations between districts and charters suggest that both entities should define the parameters related to charter autonomy early in the partnership. Most charters find it necessary to have full authority over staffing, the school’s budget, the school calendar, and curricular programming to be an effective
school turnaround operator. In addition, other areas should be negotiated early on, such as common district concerns related to enrollment, discipline, and parent engagement.
District and state conditions can foster strong turnaround collaborations with charter operators. District leadership in bringing in nontraditional providers of teacher and school leader talent to staff up turnaround schools, and state assistance in developing performance contracts for district-charter partnerships can
help fast-track district and charter partnerships to turnaround some of the most troubled schools.
It is not the intention of this paper to advocate for a particular turnaround model for high schools. States, districts, school leaders, parents, and other community stakeholders are better suited to decide which of the turnaround models outlined in the federal school improvement program are most appropriate for their school.
Districts and charters that do partner to turn around high schools, however, may find the lessons learned from these early collaborations instructive….
Download this report (pdf) http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2011/06/pdf/charter_schools.pdf
Download the introduction and summary (pdf)http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2010/11/10/11charter.h30.html
Read the full report in your web browser http://www.scribd.com/doc/59048782/Charting-New-Territory
Video: Charter School Turnaround http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/education/news/2011/06/29/9829/video-charter-school-turnaround/

Marc J. Holley, Anna J. Egalite, and Martin F. Lueken wrote in the Education Next article, Competition with Charters Motivates Districts:

But in order for this to happen, districts must first recognize the need to compete for students and then make efforts to attract those students, who now have the chance to go elsewhere. Since 2007, enrollment in charter schools has jumped from 1.3 million to 2 million students, an increase of 59 percent. The school choice movement is gaining momentum, but are districts responding to the competition? In this study we investigate whether district officials in a position to influence policy and practice have begun to respond to competitive pressure from school choice in new ways. Specifically, we probe whether district officials in urban settings across the country believe they need to compete for students. If they do, what is the nature of their response?
A small number of studies and numerous media reports have attempted to capture the reactions of public school officials to these new threats to their enrollments and revenues. A few reports of obstructionist behavior by districts stand out and have been chronicled in these pages by Joe Williams (“Games Charter Opponents Play,” features, Winter 2007) and Nelson Smith (“Whose School Buildings Are They, Anyway?” features, Fall 2012). Yet our evidence suggests that the dynamics described in Williams’s report of guerilla turf wars may be evolving in many locations to reflect new political circumstances and the growing popularity of a burgeoning charter sector.
To explore the influence of school choice on district policy and practice, we scoured media sources for evidence of urban public-school districts’ responses to charter competition. Our express purpose was to catalog levels of competition awareness and types of responses by public school officials and their representatives. Our search retrieved more than 8,000 print and online media reports in the past five years (since the 2007 Williams article) from 12 urban locations in the United States. We then reviewed minutes from school board meetings, district web sites, and other district artifacts to verify if, in fact, the practices and policies described in media reports have occurred.
We selected cities according to specific criteria. We chose three urban districts with high percentages of minority and low-income students (at least 60 percent on both counts) in each region (Northeast, Midwest, South, West). In addition, districts in our sample needed to have a minimum of 6 percent of students in choice schools, the level Caroline Hoxby identified as a threshold above which districts could reasonably be expected to respond to competitive pressure (see “Rising Tide,” research, Winter 2001). Finally, we sought to include cities across the range of choice-school market shares within each geographic region, so long as they were above the 6 percent threshold (see Figure 1)….
The ground war between charter schools and their opponents described by Joe Williams has begun to shift. As the charter sector continues to expand, some of its competitors appear to be changing strategy. Where school districts once responded with indifference, symbolic gestures, or open hostility, we are starting to see a broadening of responses, perhaps fueled by acceptance that the charter sector will continue to thrive, or by knowledge that many charters are providing examples of ways to raise academic achievement.
Traditional public schools are aware of the threats posed by alternative education providers, but they are analyzing the moves made by competitors and demonstrating that they may have the savvy to reflect, replicate, experiment, and enter into partnerships with school choice providers. This evidence suggests that while bureaucratic change may often be slow, it may be a mistake to underestimate the capacity of these bureaucratic institutions to reform, adapt, and adjust in light of changing environments. http://educationnext.org/competition-with-charters-motivates-districts/

The conclusion of the study was that charters were forcing public schools to compete in the marketplace. 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.

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

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:
COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART© http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/
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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

Citation:

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.

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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.

Resources:

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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