Past State Board of Education Chair Says It is all about Money!

race-653241_1280Tax credit vouchers are supposed to give poor children an option out of a failing school.  Gary Chartrand, former Chair, Florida State Board of Education, tells it like it really is.

Chartrand makes a case that getting children from poor families out of public schools saves the rest of us money.  There may be another not so hidden agenda that Chartrand forgets to mention.

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Charters in Perspective: A Quick Quiz and Answers

compare-643305_1280Are you aware of the Spencer Foundation’s Charter in Perspective Project?  Issues are presented from different perspectives e.g. parental choice, preservation of public schools, and test beds for innovation.

Just for fun, here are some quick questions drawn from information on the site.




  • What percentage of students are enrolled in charter schools in the U.S.?  What is the percentage in New Orleans?
  • Is public opinion about charter schools well informed?
  • On average, how do traditional and charter students compare on achievement gains?

If you prefer a Common Core critical thinking question, you might ask:

  • How would you account for the difference between the reasons parents give for sending children to charters and the charters parents actually select?

The answers and much more follow.

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Charter vs. TPS: Latest CREDO Study Results

horse-316959_1280CREDO’s 2015 report on charter achievement in urban areas gives a different twist on the data.  You can find results by urban areas in each state.

I looked at Florida.  Our charters do not do as well as in other states.  The data is broken down by demographics, grade span, across years and annual results from 2007-2011.  Comparisons are made for achievement gains for students in charters and a matched set of students in traditional public schools (TPS) in the areas that charters serve.  And the winners by Florida school district are?

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Effective Schools: Taking the Bull by the Horns in Volusia County

bull-155411_640Pat Drago (who is a former Volusia County school district administrator) and I had a conversation about how public schools improve.  She had an example from Volusia County.  This was an at risk school population where nothing the district had tried seemed to work. As we talked, she mentioned a friend who was a long time principal who told her that there was one thing that made the greatest difference for her.  What was it?

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Looking Beyond the Stereotypes: Many Black Males Graduate

graduate-150373_1280Education Justice forwarded a report on black male high school graduation rates in states across the country.  They may surprise you.  The Schott Foundation for Public Education just released a report entitled: Black Lives Matter.  It seems harsh to have to be reminded that lives matter, black or any other lives.  When you see the data and read the report, you will understand the concern.

Large variations in high school graduation rates for black and Hispanic males are found across states.  They differ more than you might think.

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Florida capitolSenator Gaetz wants answers to a list of questions about testing. How much time do they take?  What happens if students do not take them.  Where are we on setting passing levels.  He wrote a letter to the Commissioner of Education, Pam Stewart.  She answers at the Senate Committee Meeting on Wednesday.  You can watch it.  Read on, more is happening.

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Beware of Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

graph-41423_1280I liked this book when I read it years ago.  Still do. I really look at numbers and think about what they do and do not tell us.  When I learned that the Florida Legislature had changed the evaluator for the Florida Tax Credit scholarship (FTC) program, I wondered why.

Before we judge, let’s look at the data from the April 2014 FTC scholarship program for private schools.  These are the scholarships funded by tax rebates to corporations.

How are tax credit voucher programs evaluated in other states?  Let us know.  Here is what was reported in Florida.

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Evidence that Some Programs Really Do Work

new-years-eve-2015-583216_1280Here is a nice way to start the New Year!  We have all wondered whether we throw good money after bad in desperate attempts to make life better.  Ron Haskins, in today’s New York Times laments this tendency.  But, he goes past the woe to describe social programs that have rigorous evaluations and really do work.  There is hope for our educational system.  There are specific programs that have genuinely positive impacts.

How many of these effective programs are in your schools and communities?  How can you know?  Click to see ones that do work.

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