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Monday, May 19, 2014

Does Accountability strangle Innovation? Education reformers would have you think so.

Oy vey, public schools need accountability, so we can know who is failing and get rid of them. Charters and Voucher schools don’t because it hurts their innovation. Um is it just me but are the education deformers, err, reformers attempting to have their cake and eat it too?

Get ready to be bamboozled, hoodwinked and out and out lied to in 3, 2..

From the USA Today:  Charters were conceived as an alternative to underperforming public schools. This allowed educators and entrepreneurs space to create new schools and new teaching models. The fact that education dollars were now allowed to go to schools chosen by parents and children generated competition, better matched students' interests and needs, and gave teachers the opportunity to exercise their own judgment and be accountable for the results.

Objective analysis has also found charter schools to be successful, particularly with students from low income backgrounds. In 2013, researchers at Stanford University studied charter schools in 27 states and found that, on average, students in charter schools outperform traditional public school students in reading, and do about the same in math. Students below the poverty line and African-American students were both found to fare better in charter than in public schools when their standardized test scores were disaggregated.

This is the happy story part. But creeping bureaucratization and regulation are endangering the entire charter school movement.

The author went on to complain how charter schools in some states had to take the same tests and evaluate their teachers the same way that public schools had too. I went on to wretch.

If charter schools were described what the authors, Rick Hess and Michael McShane, two long time public school haters, then maybe people wouldn’t be fighting against them.  President Obama may have buried his head in the sand but it is all to clear to those paying attention that charter schools as a group have become profit centers for mercenaries’ often dubious innovation at best. But what gets me and should tell you all that you need to know, is if they think students' interests and needs need t be served and teachers should have the opportunity to exercise their own judgment and be accountable for the results, then why aren’t they advocating for those things in public schools, you know like most public school parents and teachers are already doing. They don’t do that because they haven’t figured out how to make a buck.

Also what objective analysis are they looking at and does the Stanford credo, on average really say that charter schools are doing better? It says that in Florida one of the biggest charter states around, where over 250 have opened taken public money and closed leaving families and communities in a lurch, are lagging behind.  

Here is a link to the CREDO
go to pages 66 and 69 and see if charter proponents should be really having a party and don’t forget all the stories about then counseling out poor performers and discipline problems and how they take fewer ESE and ESOL students as well.  Also don’t forget that many charter schools are opening in the affluent neighborhoods where kids generally do better and that schools like KIPP and the Harlem renaissance charters spend a lot more than their public school neighbors. I look at the charts and see that despite numerous advantages charters meek out a point here or there but then again I am not trying to get rich off of them.  Finally the authors included a dozen self-serving links but couldn’t provide one to the CREDO, I wonder why?

Ultimately their message seemed to be accountability, soul crushing and stifling accountability, that’s good for public schools, just give charters more money and trust us.

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