Tag Archives: The Education Commission of the States

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.

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from SSRN.com ($5) for electronic delivery.
Information about Free Papers
You should expect a free download if you are a subscriber, a corporate associate of the NBER, a journalist, an employee of the U.S. federal government with a “.GOV” domain name, or a resident of nearly any developing country or transition economy.
If you usually get free papers at work/university but do not at home, you can either connect to your work VPN or proxy (if any) or elect to have a link to the paper emailed to your work email address below. The email address must be connected to a subscribing college, university, or other subscribing institution. Gmail and other free email addresses will not have access.

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/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

A charter school for young entrepreneurs shows the diversity of charters

16 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  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/

Whtittney Evans of NPR reports in the story, Utah Charter School Nurtures Entrepreneurial Spirit:

A new charter school in Utah wants to equip students in kindergarten through ninth grade with a solid foundation in business.

Students’ daily lessons are peppered with concepts like sales and marketing, finance and entrepreneurship, says first-grade teacher Tammy Hill. “And that plays into leadership and improved math skills. And finance plays into every part of their lives.”

About 580 students attend Highmark Charter School in a suburb just north of Salt Lake City. They earn play money by turning in homework on time and performing chores. They’re encouraged to make items and sell them to each other.

“So they’re learning about supply and demand and how to make a budget and then those who have money left when the classroom store opens, they can come buy little erasers and stickers and lollipops and whatnot with the money they’ve saved from their budget,” Hill says.

Around lunch time, a group of rowdy fifth-graders lines up outside the school store.

Most of them say they’re looking forward to sixth grade when they’ll be old enough to apply for a job here.

Eighth-grader Kymira Jackson hastily ties her apron and races to the counter to start her shift. “I’m not good at math so it gives me a little more time to work it out, but it’s a lot of fun,” she says.

Cheryl Wright is a professor in the department of family and consumer studies at the University of Utah. She specializes in kindergarten through third grade education.

“Money is an external reinforcer,” Wright says. “And when you think about what is really foundationally important to early learning in particular, it’s intrinsic motivation.”

She says financial literacy is a bold objective. But it is social networks and good relationship skills that are the key to lifelong happiness and success, not just making money.    http://www.npr.org/2013/05/15/183914596/utah-charter-school-nurtures-entrepreneurial-spirit

Moi wrote in The Center for Education Reform releases 2012 charter school law guide

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. The Education Commission of the States succinctly lists the pros and cons of charter schools 

Pros

According to proponents:

·         Charter schools present students and parents with an increasingly diverse array of education options.

·         The competition provided by charter schools forces school districts to improve the performance of their schools in order to attract and retain students and dollars.

·         If managed properly, charter schools serve as laboratories for education experimentation and innovation. The easing of certain regulations can free teachers and administrators to develop and implement new learning strategies.

·         Increased accountability for charter schools means that schools have to perform or risk closure. This extra incentive demands results.

Cons

According to opponents:

·         Because charter schools operate as a business, as well as a learning institution, they are subject to market forces that may eventually force them to close, depriving students of a continuous education.

·         Charter schools sometimes segregate students along racial and class lines and fail to adequately serve students with disabilities or limited English proficiency.

·         Accountability for student performance is difficult to measure and enforce in the burgeoning charter school movement. The usual complications of accurate student measurement are compounded by the often-conflicting demands of the state government’s need for accountability and the marketplace’s desire for opportunity.

·         The emergence of education management organizations as proprietors of charter schools creates “pseudo-school districts” in which decisions are made far removed from the school.

The Center for Education Reform (Center) has been publishing information about charter schools for the past several years.

https://drwilda.com/2012/04/04/the-center-for-education-reform-releases-2012-charter-school-law-guide/

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

http://www.mcrel.org/PDF/AssessmentAccountabilityDataUse/4002IR_Examining_Accountability.pdf

Resources:

Why Charter Schools

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/

The Center for Education Reform releases 2012 charter school law guide

4 Apr

Increasingly, charter schools are one education option for many families.

What is a Charter?

There are several definitions of charter school but this definition from Education Week seems to capture the essence of what it means to be a charter.

According to the U.S. Charter Organization the reasons individuals seek to set-up a charter school are: 

The intention of most charter school legislation is to:

·         Increase opportunities for learning and access to quality education for all students

·         Create choice for parents and students within the public school system

·         Provide a system of accountability for results in public education

·         Encourage innovative teaching practices

·         Create new professional opportunities for teachers

·         Encourage community and parent involvement in public education

·         Leverage improved public education broadly

People establish charter schools for a variety of reasons. The founders generally fall into three groups: grassroots organizations of parents, teachers and community members; entrepreneurs; or existing schools converting to charter status. According to the first-year report of the National Study of Charter Schools, the three reasons most often cited to create a charter school are to:

·         Realize an educational vision

·         Gain autonomy

·         Serve a special population

Parents and teachers choose charter schools primarily for educational reasons–high academic standards, small class size, innovative approaches, or educational philosophies in line with their own. Some also have chosen charter schools for their small size and associated safety (charter schools serve an average of 250 students).

As with any option, there are pros and cons.


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. The Education Commission of the States succinctly lists the pros and cons of charter schools 

Pros

According to proponents:

·         Charter schools present students and parents with an increasingly diverse array of education options.

·         The competition provided by charter schools forces school districts to improve the performance of their schools in order to attract and retain students and dollars.

·         If managed properly, charter schools serve as laboratories for education experimentation and innovation. The easing of certain regulations can free teachers and administrators to develop and implement new learning strategies.

·         Increased accountability for charter schools means that schools have to perform or risk closure. This extra incentive demands results.

Cons

According to opponents:

·         Because charter schools operate as a business, as well as a learning institution, they are subject to market forces that may eventually force them to close, depriving students of a continuous education.

·         Charter schools sometimes segregate students along racial and class lines and fail to adequately serve students with disabilities or limited English proficiency.

·         Accountability for student performance is difficult to measure and enforce in the burgeoning charter school movement. The usual complications of accurate student measurement are compounded by the often-conflicting demands of the state government’s need for accountability and the marketplace’s desire for opportunity.

·         The emergence of education management organizations as proprietors of charter schools creates “pseudo-school districts” in which decisions are made far removed from the school.

The Center for Education Reform (Center) has been publishing information about charter schools for the past several years. They have just released the 2012 report.

Here is the press release from the Center:

CER Press Release
Washington, DC
April 2, 2012

The wide variations in charter school laws state by state average out to a grade in need of improvement, according to The Essential Guide to Charter School Law by the Center for Education Reform. In its 13th annual analysis of laws across the states, CER, the leading advocate for substantive and structural change in US education, documents the conditions for effective laws that support the growth and success of these proven models of public schooling.

Charter schools — public schools, open by choice, accountable for results and free from most rules and regulations that stifle progress in traditional schools — are permitted in 41 states and the District of Columbia, and yet the conditions for success in those states compromise the availability of great new public schools that parents and students most need and deserve,” said CER President Jeanne Allen. “While some state laws are still as great as intended when they were created, many states, just like schools that complain they are forced to ‘teach to the test’ rather than deliver exceptional education, have just gone through the motions, passing laws that give very little life to charter school reforms.”

The 2012 report analyzes each law against nationally recognized benchmarks that most closely dictate the impact of charter school policies on healthy, sustainable charter schools. Components such as the creation of multiple independent authorizers and fiscal equity can transform a state’s educational culture. States that do so include Washington, DC, Minnesota and Indiana. The lack of components that ensure operational freedom, equity and alternate paths to authorizing limits charter progress and often leads to contentious charter battles. States such as Virginia and Georgia are notable in this category.

The US GPA of 2.1 -a ‘C’ – on state charter school laws is a result of states having earned five A grades, nine Bs, seventeen Cs, seven Ds and four Fs. Categories ranked include: the existence of multiple independent authorizers, number of schools allowed, operational autonomy, and fiscal equity when compared to their conventional public school peers.

This should be a wake up call to everyone from reformers to the President. Just having a law is not even half the battle,” writes Allen in the report’s introduction. “Knowing how to understand a law and implement it is the most essential act anyone engaged in lawmaking will ever undertake, and this report is for and about the hundreds of local, state and national policymakers whose pens and keyboards create the laws that can transform — or erect barriers to — true educational progress for all children.”

An online press briefing on the report’s findings will be held Monday, April 2nd at 1:30p EST. The briefing can be accessed by going to http://edreform.com/registration/.

DOWNLOAD: Charter School Laws Across the States 2012 – The Essential Guide to Charter School Law

http://www.edreform.com/2012/04/02/2012-charter-laws/

The key determinant for a successful charter school is the strength of the enabling legislation.

According to the Center’s introduction in the 2012 report:

The issue is not whether a state has a law, and has some schools. The issue is whether the law has strong permanent authorizing structures and can withstand political elections or partisan whims with regard to funding, operations and accountability.

Such laws, it turns out, are harder to create than the number of schools, today at 5,700 according to The Center’s ongoing evaluations — would suggest. The push to raise caps meant little for many states whose laws are so flawed that few new charter applications are being filed, let alone approved. Indeed, as this and previous analyses have revealed, just having a law is not even half the battle. The old adage that too many schools feel pressured to “teach the test” applies here. That pressure typically occurs in schools and among teachers that have neither the flexibility and resources to do their job well, nor the confidence to realize that when students are given the best instruction, they will do well on whatever test is administered.

Similarly, states that adopt new laws without codifying the critical flexibilities and equitable resources that the charter concept demands to be successful are simply going through the motions, checking the boxes, and allowing the charters that do get created to go forward without the critical ingredients for success.

The “Teaching to the Test” states — those, which require schools to abide robotic processes, lack of rigor and lots of bureaucracy — are the low C’s, D and F states.

IN

THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO CHARTER SCHOOL LAW 5

The “Exceptional Delivery” states — those where schools are more likely to thrive because of the consistent delivery of strong educational practices and conditions necessary for good education — are the A’s and B’s.

That said, the high achieving states in this ranking still have a long way to go. The top three states — the District of Columbia, Minnesota and Indiana (the latter a newcomer to the top three) — are still ten or more points away from a perfect score. While they perform at a much higher level than the other states on the more important components, each state’s law presents issues that must be corrected to ensure that all charter schools in that state are well served, and thus, serve their clients — parents and students.

A final word before you turn the page and begin to review the details of each states’ ranking and the comparisons across the states. We are very aware that other evaluations exist. The most recent to enter the public policy continuum is that of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS), a trusted source of much good data and collaboration among some of the heavy weights of industry, philanthropy and charter school thought leadership.

We respectfully disagree with the NAPCS methodology and approach to evaluating laws, which is entirely based on whether the law matches up to its model law. The model law was created to guide policymakers. That model has some elements that are working in the best states, and some that are not. That model has some elements that have never been fully tested. And that model is hypothetical. CER’s analysis and rankings are based on what is, what exists in law, in regulation, in administrative guidance —and how such laws and regulations work for or against charter schools. It is that existing framework of laws and regulations which must guide all who are involved in public policy analysis. It is that guide — what works in actual practice and what does not — that should inform the whole of education — from the individuals who dedicate themselves day in and day out to teaching to the institutions that regulate our schools. Unproven theory has no place here.

We invite debate and discourse on this important scorecard and analysis. And we hope you’ll recognize that no matter what your position on charter schools and the condition of laws created to start them, knowing how to understand a law and implement it is the most essential act anyone engaged in lawmaking will ever undertake.

To that end, we continue to hold ourselves and those working in pursuit of education reform to a standard that transcends generational change, political whims or even public opinion. And we continue to hold the charter school movement to a standard that was set by its founders — the creation of truly autonomous, equitably supported, independent public schools open by choice and accountable for results that are guided and operated by people with connections to the communities they serve. Whether organic, one-up schools, managed by tax-paying or nonprofit agencies, hybrid or [made of building material, charter schools that succeed do so first and foremost because of the laws that enable them.

To understand this more fully, we encourage you to read the details — albeit greatly abbreviated — of each law… http://www.edreform.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/CER_2012_Charter_Laws.pdf

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.

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©