This approach to improve student achievement in low income urban areas shows promise. There are also serious questions about assumptions behind the implementation of these “turnaround” schools. There is a requirement that 50% of the teachers be replaced and all principals who had been in the school for more than two years. Yet, the factors that had the biggest impact on achievement were longer and more school days and intensive tutoring. Intensive tutoring, however, was limited to 6th and 9th grade math. The underlying question is not if charter schools produce greater achievement gains, but whether schools need funding to add more instructional time?
The work of Roland Fryer at EdLabs is being tested in Houston Public Schools. These five tenets have been successful in some charter schools in New York City and are producing similar results in Texas:
- an extended school day and school year.
the use of data to drive instruction.
devotion to high quality human capital.
a culture of high expectations, and
small group tutoring.