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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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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Florida Senate Education Committee Workshop on Charters

bill montfordjohn leggIf you want to take the pulse of charter school legislative priorities, watch this video.  It is yesterday’s Florida Senate Education Committee workshop on charters.  They have a long list of proposed bills to consider, and they are looking for ways to combine bills in order to move forward.

The two most comprehensive bills were from Senator Montford and Senator Legg.    Continue reading

Repurposing Struggling Schools: A Different Approach for Public Schools

education-548105_1280Alachua County, Florida Superintendent Owen Roberts announced a plan to restructure three elementary schools.  Two are struggling schools that have received funding to extend school days, add teachers, and add tutors.  The schools still struggle, and they are under enrolled.  Part of the problem is due to students who leave for charters and private schools in hopes of improving access to better schools.  Unfortunately, those options make little difference for those students either.  So, what do you do when conventional wisdom does not help? Continue reading

Come Dream With Me: A Glimpse into What Online Learning Could Be

chrystal-542488_1280I had a glimpse into the future yesterday.  Such a contrast between what is and what could be!  Believe it or not, it was the Senate K12 Education Committee meeting on video.  It started off with a review of the districts’ technology plans.  This past year, the State of Florida administered 4 million tests online.  This year, they will do 5 million.  The infrastructure is there, more or less.

I did not realize that funding for technology was recently incorporated into the FEFP per student allocation.  Thus, the increase is ear marked.  Districts are spending on average, 53% of this technology money for infrastructure.  Thirty one percent goes for assessments, and six percent for professional development.  According to the DOE, this approach is working.

Now for what could be….

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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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Collaboration or Conflict?

 

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District-charter school collaborations are the new buzz words.  Like many slogans, it sounds reasonable on the surface.  Twenty-one projects were launched by the U.S. Department of Education as an exemplary collaboration competition in 2012.  An interim report by a Washington state based research institute reported, however, that only four of the 21 projects had even limited success.  Now, the State of Florida is initiating its own project to entice high achieving charter management companies to collaborate with district schools in Florida.

In this post, we review the Center for Reinventing Public Education’s Interim Report District-Charter Collaboration Compact. What is supposed to be mutually beneficial?  What do high quality charter management firms have to offer school districts?

‘High quality’ charter management companies are those that Florida hopes will open schools in major cities.  Their approaches to teaching and learning are distinctive.  Demographic and student retention data from these companies must be closely studied.  We have found some interesting data.Continue reading

See: FEATURE OF THE WEEK. It is BOLD.

We have posted a  summary of the new Alachua County, Florida’s Superintendent of Schools 100 Day Report on the FEATURE OF THE WEEK banner of the blog.

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Dr. Owen Roberts was appointed to the superintendent position 3 months ago and has spent the time in an intensive review of the district.  How his vision for the county will be implemented is likely to be another one of those fascinating stories.

 

He addresses testing, funding, school equity, curriculum, early education, brain development, as well as parent and community involvement.  Click on the banner at the top of the Home Page of our blog to track this very bold initiative.  It has  those pieces of colored chalk.   We will update the post as new information becomes available.  Who says public schools cannot be innovative?