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March 05, 2013

John Thompson: Texans Debunk Test-Driven Reform

Addressing the Save Texas Schools rally in Austin on Feb. 23, Superintendent John Kuhn nailed the essence of test-driven "reform." "Some people have forgotten that good teachers actually exist. They spend so much time and effort weeding out the bad ones that they've forgotten to take care of the good ones. This bitter accountability pesticide is over-spraying the weeds and wilting the entire garden." He later rebutted a key argument of market-driven "reform," reminding us that "They say 100,000 kids are on a waiting list for charter schools. Let me tell you about another waiting list. There are 5 million kids waiting for this Legislature to keep our forefathers' promises."

February 19, 2013

Are Some Charter Schools Becoming Parasitic?

In order for our public schools to thrive they need to have the flexibility to meet the needs of the widest range of students possible. They need adequate funding and the support of their community - and that means we pull together and make sure that our district schools do not become the reservoir of last resort, overburdened with students left behind by charter schools seeking competitive advantages.

February 02, 2013

Churn for Charters is No Solution

The "charter movement" has recently recognized that they are vulnerable to charges of hypocrisy if they demand that traditional public schools be closed for poor performance, but fail to enforce the same standards on charters. This report proposes that we spread the churn that currently plagues public schools into the charter sector. This may be more "fair," but is not, from my perspective, likely to make things much better for students.

December 08, 2012

In Albuquerque, A Charter School that Recruits Drop-Outs?

The bottom line is that our schools are being forced to compete for ever more scarce resources, and with heavy pressure to do the wrong thing, which is focus on test preparation. Project-based learning with authentic products is a recipe for relevancy, and this school shows how well it works with students who have struggled in a more traditional setting. If ACE Leadership High School can show us better ways to assess and demonstrate student learning, they ought to be available to other schools as well.

November 12, 2012

Bad Teaching Practice #1: "I am Only Going to Teach Those Who Are Ready To Learn"

Have you ever heard this one? A number of times in my career, I heard teachers, usually new ones, it must be said, announce in frustration that they were sick and tired of dealing with the kids who were disrupting class, and that from that point forward, they were going to forget about the "ones who...

October 25, 2012

What Will the Education Market Produce in Louisiana?

According to many would-be reformers of our education system, the free market will bring innovation to education, and when consumers are empowered with choice, the best products will rise to the top. We are getting a chance to see how this works in the real world in some parts of the country. The St...

September 13, 2012

The Gates Foundation Responds: The Role of the Marketplace in Education

Guest post by Irvin Scott and Stacey Childress of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This post can also be read and commented on at the Gates Foundation's Impatient Optimist blog. This is the last post in a series of five sets of posts, and responds to this post from last week: What Happens w...

August 15, 2012

Gerald Coles: KIPP Schools: Power Over Evidence

Guest post by Gerald Coles. In the debate over charter schools, KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) schools are hailed by charter advocates as illustrative of what these alternatives to public schools can produce. With KIPP, poverty need not impede academic success. Enroll students from economically...

July 18, 2012

Virtual Schools, Real Profits, Troubling Results

Follow me on Twitter at @AnthonyCody Private enterprise is often portrayed as a mighty engine of innovation. If we break the "government monopoly" on education, entrepreneurial opportunities will inspire new solutions to problems that have not been licked by the public schools. But corporations a...

April 17, 2012

Cui Bono? The Question Rarely Asked, Let Alone Investigated

Follow me on Twitter at @AnthonyCody As our public schools are systematically re-engineered for dubious reasons, with questionable results, by people of uncertain motives, there is a disturbing lack of skepticism on the part of our watchdogs for the public good, journalists. One of the basic princi...

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