This is worth more than a glance. You can see the impact or lack thereof, of a Gates Foundation program to improve collaboration between districts and charters. The evaluation of this effort gives specific examples based on 23 District charter collaborations formed across the nation since 2011. The Center for Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) report cited what was and was not accomplished and why.
In Florida, charters are generally authorized by local school boards. In some states, charters are authorized by local districts, universities, state boards or even cities. This is part of the continuing struggle over control of public schools. Florida’s legislature has tried to create state charter review boards, but the resistance is strong.
Following Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans public schools were in disarray. Thousands of people who had the resources to do so had left New Orleans. No one was watching the store, and the State took over 52 poverty stricken schools. Ten years later, the Louisiana legislature is finalizing a bill to return the Recovery District charters to local control by district school boards. Did the great experiment work?
Which states get it right? Not Florida. It was one of eight states that received an overall grade of ‘F’ when its grades were averaged across the categories studied. The Network for Public Education rated states based on six criteria.
For each category, I combined the percentages of A, B and C grades received across states. I was surprised at the results. Relatively few states (11) use test scores to punish students and teachers, but Florida is one of those that do. You can see the combined percentages (think of them as passing scores) at the end of each of the criteria.
Did you know that New Orleans was once the most integrated city in the U.S.? Now it is one of the most racially and economically segregated cities and a school reform target. After all, how can you not help struggling students whose homes were ravaged by floods? The Broad and Walton foundations are pouring in money. They also are funding elections to make the reforms stick. Is this the future of American education?
You may have noticed a shift in focus on the blog recently. Every once in awhile this happens. I will tell you why. Call it critical thinking and problem solving? Continue reading
Voucher programs, funded directly by states for private school tuition, are yet another form of school choice. Vouchers are now unconstitutional in Florida which was the first state to implement them. They were replaced by corporate tax credit scholarships. In spite of the state supreme court decision, vouchers for students with disabilities have not been challenged in court.
North Carolina’s vouchers are under appeal. New York’s legislature is currently battling over whether to fund forms of vouchers and tax credits. The legal basis for vouchers varies due to differences in wording in state constitutions. Florida’s constitution Bush vs Holmes clearly specified that funds must go to public schools. A similar argument is being made in North Carolina.
The Center for Evaluation in Education Policy at Indiana University reports on private school vouchers in the four states that offer them for general education students. These are new, rapidly growing programs that now may be slowing. How they differ is instructive.
Children in KIPP schools toe the line. The schools are interesting because they are so often cited as one of the most successful charter school chains for students from low income, minority families. Students are recruited from urban schools–some of which have major discipline problems. KIPP takes these problems head on. They have high expectations for learning and behavior. Of course, they have high suspension and attrition rates as well.
The article in this month’s Atlantic reports how KIPP discipline practices are evolving. Can they realistically move from a no-nonsense approach to a more moderate but equally successful experience for more students? Or, is this educational approach only for those who can survive?