Making Informed Decisions About Charters: Apples are not oranges

fruit-424182_1280Comparisons between traditional public and charter schools have little meaning.  In an article entitled: Making School Choice Easier in today’s New York Times, charter school operators made concrete proposals to improve charter school achievement data.

Representatives of New Visions for Public Schools offer four ways to help parents make more informed decisions about the effectiveness of charter schools.  New Visions are charter schools located in New York.  They are non-profit.

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Arne Duncan Visits S. Pinellas Failure Factories

FAILED1 South Pinellas schools are a civil rights problem said Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education.  The Tampa Bay Times series ‘Failure Factories’ on the five schools seemingly abandoned by the district received national attention.  Secretary Duncan, his heir apparent, John King, U.S. Representative Kathy Castor met with parents and district officials yesterday.

Duncan said that the children were not failures, but the adults had failed the children.  They praised the efforts of the current superintendent to improve the schools, but much is yet to be done.  Duncan acknowledged that there were ‘tremendous unmet needs’ for family services and early childhood education.  A parent called for after school services and more experienced, quality teachers.

What happens next remains to be seen.  The Florida Department of Education is investigating whether or not their has been misuse of federal Title I funds designated for children from poor families.

Even though some progress has been made under the direction of the current superintendent,  the schools cannot solve the impact of their neglect by themselves.  The solution to the problems at the schools will require intensive community involvement.  Yet, only two school board members attended the event.  The Chair of the board said she was not invited. One former parent simply called the event a ‘press conference’.  Let’s hope it was more than that.

You can watch the video and read the Tampa Bay article here.

 

 

 

 

Buying Elections New Orleans Style. Is This the Future?

musicians-651293_1280 (1)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?

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The Prize: Who is in Charge of America’s Schools?

bowl-817780_1280I just finished reading Dale Russakoff’s book The Prize on the collapse of the Newark school reform effort.  Newark was supposed to be the  poster child for school reform.  Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook donated $100 million dollars.  Cory Booker, Newark’s mayor became a television celebrity.  Governor Christie was a staunch supporter until he wasn’t.  Cami Anderson was hired to lead the charge.  She left.

The book reads like an adventure story beginning with Booker and Christie trolling the streets of  Newark in the dead of night.

I thought The Prize would be about charter schools.  It really was not.   It is about…

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Charter Corruption and Chaos

money-40603_1280AlterNet published another story on the origins of school choice in Florida.  The story begins with Jeb Bush’s term as governor.  What  may have been intended to dramatically improve schools only turned out to be dramatic in the number of reports of corruption and chaos.  The article ties together the power brokers and the growth of for-profit charter schools.

It is a money and politics tale.   You can read it here: How Jeb Bush’s Florida Plan School ‘Choice’ Created Industry Corruption and Chaos.  You will find reports about the League of Women Vote’s study including data from Sue Legg and Pat Hall (LWV Hillsborough).

 

 

Failure Factories: The Children Tell Their Stories

whistle-149678_1280The latest feature on the Pinellas County Schools neglect of low-income minority schools lets the children tell their stories.  Anyone who thinks that these children do not know better and can not do better should listen carefully to what these children say.  Promises for help from the district were not kept.  Teachers gave up.  

What will be done to fix a problem the district helped create.  Charters are not to blame; they are nowhere near.

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Pinellas Failure Factories: Resegregation is the heart of the problem

toddlers-303904_1280Who is at fault when schools fail?  School reformers say “Teachers” or “Rule Bound School Districts”.  The Tampa Bay Times is running a series on something much more basic.  Using examples of five of the worst failing schools in Florida, the authors cite the decline of these schools since the 2007 decision to abolish the school integration plan in Pinellas County.  At the time, promises were made but not kept.Continue reading

Who are the Winners and Losers in School Choice?

Feature of the Week

Feature of the Week

Parents care not only about the quality of education offered but also the mix of children in a school.  How does the premise that “More choice should produce a better educational fit between what parents want for their children and ultimately lead to better educational outcomes” work out over time?

This study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research looks at data from North Carolina.  We all need to understand the consequences of choice.

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