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Charter Schools

"Millennials, Especially of Color, Are Disrupting Charter School Debate" from The Hill

on Wednesday, 04 October 2017.

As the number of children attending public charter schools increases, the debate over the role of charter schools in our public education system has intensified.

Are public charter schools better than traditional public schools? Do charter schools serve the same kids as traditional public schools?  Should states place a moratorium on charter growth?

These questions, among others, imply false choices that mask the ways traditional public schools and public charters complement one another. But there’s hope for a path forward that pierces the polarized fire-fight that too often characterizes current discussions about charters — Millennials.

Continue reading "Millennials, Especially of Color, Are Disrupting Charter School Debate" from The Hill. 

"Michigan Gambled on Charter Schools. Its Children Lost." from the New York Times Magazine

on Tuesday, 05 September 2017.

Toss a dart at a map of Detroit, and the bull’s-eye, more or less, would be a tiny city called Highland Park. Only three square miles, Highland Park is surrounded by Detroit on nearly all sides, but it remains its own sovereign municipality thanks largely to Henry Ford, who started building Model Ts there in 1910. Ford didn’t care for the idea of paying Detroit taxes, so he pressured Highland Park to resist annexation by the larger city. By the end of the decade, his Albert Kahn-designed factory had revolutionized mass production. Five years later, Walter Chrysler started his own car company a few blocks away.

Sylvia Brown lives in the suburbs now, but she still proudly calls herself a Parker, the local term for a Highland Park native. When Brown was a kid, she’d tell people she lived in the capital of Detroit. Her father worked for the city, and her mother taught at the public elementary school. In high school, Brown played on the volleyball and tennis teams and won a scholarship her junior year to study abroad in Japan. She fretted about traveling such a long distance — she never expected the judges to pick a black girl from Highland Park — but her guidance counselor encouraged her not to be afraid to cross 8 Mile Road, the famous divide between city and suburbs.

 Continue reading "Michigan Gambled on Charter Schools. Its Children Lost." from the New York Times Magazine.

"Do Traditional Public Schools Benefit from Charter Competition?" from The Washington Post

on Monday, 28 August 2017.

The late Gerald Bracey, once called “America’s most acerbic educational psychologist,” spent most of his time calling out bad education research and data, trying to explain that things did not always mean what the author said they did and that numbers were too often wrongly interpreted. He wrote a book about it, titled “Reading Educational Research: How to avoid getting snookered,” in which he was given that “acerbic” title by my Washington Post colleague Jay Mathews in the book’s foreward.

The book came out in 2006, but the issue remains as important as ever. Today, hardly a day goes by without yet another research study on some aspect of education being released, often with news releases topped with a headline declaring that something definitive has been found and the proof is finally here. Except too often it isn’t.

Continue reading "Do Traditional Public Schools Benefit from Charter Competition?" from The Washington Post.

"New Study: KIPP Pre-K Has Big -- and Possibly Lasting -- Impact on Early Student Achievement" from The 74

on Tuesday, 22 August 2017.

Earlier is better when it comes to the KIPP charter network, suggests new research released Tuesday.

Researchers with Mathematica Policy Research, an independent group, found positive effects both for the combination of KIPP pre-K and KIPP early elementary grades and for KIPP pre-K programs alone.

“We believe it’s never too early to begin a KIPP education, and these findings show that starting KIPP at a young age can put our students on the path towards long-term success in college and life,” Susan Schaeffler, executive director of KIPP DC, said via email. Researchers studied KIPP pre-K programs at two elementary schools in Houston and one in Washington, D.C., between 2011 and 2016.

Continue reading "New Study: KIPP Pre-K Has Big -- and Possibly Lasting -- Impact on Early Student Achievement" from The 74.

"Don't Complain About Charter Schools, Compete With Them" from Education Next

on Tuesday, 22 August 2017.

Education debates are like urban myths. With every retelling, they gain more traction. Take the debate over charter schools: the battle lines have been the same for twenty years. The charter crowd says they’re the best hope for poor kids. The anti-charter folks call them a plot to privatize public education and accuse them of taking all the top kids and keeping out the most challenging.

The benefit of this dynamic is that it’s familiar. It holds just enough truth that it has staying power. It serves an important political purpose for the storytellers. The problem is that can prevent these storytellers from responding to reality—in this case the real impact of charter growth on traditional districts and schools.

Continue reading " Don't Complain About Charter Schools, Compete With Them" from Education Next

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