You can learn exhaustively about cyber charter schools in the National Study of Online Charter Schools, a major, three-part report released earlier this week. Significantly, although one of the think tanks presenting the data—the Center on Reinventing Public Education—and the funder of the three-part report—the Walton Foundation—actively endorse school choice and charter schools overall, the report’s conclusions about the giant online academies are scathing.
What are online charter schools? Mathematica Policy Research, author of the report’s first volume, Inside Online Charter Schools, explains: “Online charter schools—also known as virtual charters or cyber charters—are publicly-funded schools of choice that eschew physical school buildings and use technology to deliver education to students in their own homes. These schools typically provide students with computers, software, and network-based resources, while also providing access to teachers via email, telephone, web, and/or teleconference.” Mathematica examines 200 virtual schools that together serve approximately 200,000 students. …
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Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice
This is the fourth and final excerpt taken from Kristina Rizga’s new book Mission High. With her permission I have published descriptions of math,English, and history lessons. In this post, Rizga describes the principal of the school. Mission High School has 950 students with the vast majority coming from Latino, African American, and Asian American families. Seventy-five percent are poor and 38 percent are English Language Learners.
As the head of a school at which students carry passports from more than forty countries, Eric Guthertz probably has one of the most multicultural closets of any principal in the nation. Dressed in his usual getup this morning—slim-fitted, button-down shirt, dark grey slacks, and a large, black walkie-talkie pinned on his belt—Guthertz shows off dozens of his favorite clothing items that he wears throughout the year for various cultural events. Hanging on the wall in his office that doubles as…
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Gary Rubinstein's Blog
One of the benefits of the Common Core, supposedly, is that we can finally compare the performance of schools in different states. Originally the dream was that a majority of states would sign on to use common tests from either the PARCC from Pearson or SBAC from Smarter Balanced.
Michelle Rhee-Johnston became chancellor of Washington DC schools in 2007. As proof that a major problem in education is the absence of standardized test scores in teacher evaluation, Rhee-Johnston frequently said, in speeches, that when she came to DC, only 8% of 8th graders were proficient in math while 97% of teachers were rated as effective.
In a feature on the CNN blog in 2009, it said:
Her plan is ambitious: To completely transform the District’s system within eight years for its 50,000 children. The plan focuses on top-down accountability, quantitative results like standardized test scores and, ultimately, working to close what she…
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I was once in a meeting where Education Secretary Arne Duncan declared: “Good charters are part of the solution. Bad charters are part of the problem.” Unfortunately, Secretary Duncan has done nothing to increase federal oversight for the purpose of addressing what he called “the problem.” A new report from the Center for Media and Democracy, Charter School Black Hole, exposes the U.S. Department of Education’s total abrogation of responsibility for oversight of an education sector to which it has granted $3.7 billion since 1995. The federal Charter School Program (CSP) awards grants to state departments of education to encourage charter school expansion.
Who’s in charge? Really nobody: “The system insulates each element from accountability for what actually happens in charters.” The federal government has relinquished oversight to the states receiving federal grants, states which have then turned over regulation to charter school authorizers in what the Center for…
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The Success Academies Charter Schools closed down last Wednesday and bussed thousands of their teachers, parents and children to Cadman Square in Brooklyn. All of the participants wore t-shirts that read “I fight to end inequality.” Children and parents carried signs that read “Great schools for ALL” and “Separate and unequal still.” On either side of the stage, giant monitors played text such as “Great Schools Now” and “Every Child, Every Zipcode.” Over the course of four hours, children recited spoken word poems, parents gave speeches shaming the public schools for their failures, and entertainers such as DJ Jazzy Jeff and Jennifer Hudson performed for the crowd.
A friend of mine who teaches at one of the Success Academy schools described this scene to me, and suggested I write about this rally, which was staged by Families for Excellent Schools. After doing some very light research into these two organizations…
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Don Nielson recently had yet another op ed published by the Seattle Times, a newspaper which has provided many wealthy (white) men with a platform and microphone to share their opinions with the rest of us on public education. This time Mr. Nielson wanted to state that a lack of adequate funding for public schools is not the problem, it’s having an elected school board among other things.
What came to my attention, thanks to my co-editor’s sleuthing, was the fact that the same Don Nielson is also a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute and “chair of the Institute’s program on public education reform.”
That wouldn’t be too shocking except for two items. First, Don Nielson has had a great influence over Seattle Public Schools in the past and continues to try and influence the public conversation now, and also because the Discovery Institute’s Center for…
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