Behind Test Scores: Finland Down, U.S. Stagnant For A Decade. Why?

continents-975929_1920The debate rages on about U.S. education.  Some say the U.S. population is different than in countries with higher achievement scores.  It all depends upon how you look at it, according to the latest N.Y. Times article:  America’s Schools are Lagging: Maybe It’s Not the Schools. 

The controversy is interesting.  Do people with low incomes in the U.S. live better than people in other developed countries?  How different are these countries based on socio-economic characteristics?  How different are their educational systems?

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Two New Charter School Bills for 2016: Florida



Some of the bills that were shelved in the 2015 legislative session are reappearing in an amended form.  The first bill, SB 140 was filed by Senator Ring.  It has some good provisions to improve charter school management.

The second bill, HB 287 is a reworking of the pilot principal autonomy bill filed last year.  This is one to watch carefully, it is a stealth version of a charter district bill.

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A.I.E. Latest Report on Charters: Advocacy or Research?

sherlock-holmes-462978_1280Sorting out hype vs. evidence can be a challenge.  The latest American Enterprise Institute report: Measuring Diversity in Charter School Offerings claims that charters should be expanded.  In fact, deregulation of charters increases diversity in charter offerings.  See what you think after you read the review from N.E.P.C.

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Rawlings is Dancing…and Singing…and Acting…and Creating Art!

rawlings1Can you imagine a school like this?  It is real.  Rawlings School has been transformed.  It was one of our lowest achieving public schools last year.  Three months later there is an excitement and energy.  Rawlings is now a magnet school for the arts.

Inside the building, the space is beautiful and well lit.  It is designed for music, art, dance, and theater.  As you enter the school, music will greet you.  I plan to follow the school to see their new staff in action.  Follow it with me.

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New Mexico Struggles Against Inequity


el-morro-national-monument-140118_1280‘New Mexico’s education department is in court.  So are those in 12 other states, including Florida.  This lawsuit is about money, but not just the amount of money.  In New Mexico, the population is different from many states, and the needs are greater.

Meredith Machen sent information about their state that helps to better understand the challenges they face.   Take heart, some public education advocates are winning in court.

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Is the Jeb Bush Florida Education Miracle Hogwash?

pig washFollow the trail of AlterNet’s story of Jeb Bush’s charter school hoax in Florida.  In the middle of Jeff Bryant’s piece you will find his interview with me about charter management issues.  The story begins with Jeb Bush’s conversations back in the 90’s that started the charter school movement.   If you do not know this story, you will find it illuminating.

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Charters Appeal to State Board of Education for Facilities Money

school-295210_1280On the radio this morning, I heard a story about the latest pitch for facilities funding from the charter school advocates.  This one was to the State Board of Education.

It signals the latest attempt by the charter industry to tap into facilities funding for traditional public schools.  Public schools need to renovate old buildings and upgrade technology infrastructure.  Charters do not have to meet traditional public school state facility standards.  Charters are supposed to be cheaper.  Their real estate companies are making millions of dollars.  Why give them more?

I have compiled a list of posts on this issue.  Take a look and build arguments to make charter school policies more rational.  Charters should make our educational system better, not destroy it.  You can write letters, make presentations and make a difference.

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For-Profit Charters: Whose Interest is Being Served?

money-40603_1280Lots of money easily available can lead to abuse, and it did–over and over again in Miami.  It is so much money that it may be time to follow New York’s lead and ban for-profit education management companies.  In this post we look at Academica, Florida’s largest for-profit education management firm.

Its schools are consolidated into at least four non-profit entities that allow Academica to operate legally as a contractor to its own schools. Their 100 schools are organized into the  Mater, Somerset, Pinecrest and Doral networks.  They also manage several Ben Gamla schools as well as others.  Academica operates in five states plus D.C. including Florida, Utah, Texas, Nevada, California.

The Doral and Mater charter governing boards keep appearing in the Miami Dade Inspector General reports.  There is a lot of money involved and continued poor governance citations.  You can follow the money.  Do these schools do more with less?

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