From Ed Week, a story about the US Supreme Court declining to hear a case about using race in K-12 enrollment to encourage racial diversity. Shades of our own case. NY Times Sunday Review op-ed on Brown v Board of Education and what it has and hasn't meant for school desegregation. Ed Week also has this article about charters and segregation.
“Charters could be more integrated than traditional public schools. The great tragedy is that they’re more segregated,” said Richard D. Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation, a Washington think tank. “The charter school community is recognizing that to the extent that it’s seen as segregated, that’s a negative thing.”
There are some charters working in this direction:
The brief from the Washington-based National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, or NAPCS, highlights six high-performing charter schools, three of which specifically formed to create a more diverse alternative to existing neighborhood schools. The remaining three focus on serving disadvantaged children.
That report suggests that the benefits of having more integrated charter schools may outweigh the successes of a few of the more well-known charters, some of which are more racially isolated. “If charter schools were uniformly producing high achievement levels, then there would be real logic to packing as many poor kids into charters as you could,” Mr. Kahlenberg said. But those schools have mixed results.
Both reports also include recommendations for federal and state policymakers, including suggesting that charter schools be permitted to receive federal startup funding even if they use a weighted lottery—rather than a random drawing—in order to create an integrated student population.
Ed Week again, a story about futurist Juan Enriquez who argues that the increase in autism may be a response to environmental change due to increases of information. From the story:
But Enriquez is one voice in a growing chorus of calls for a different kind of research into special education, that goes beyond how to identify and integrate students with disabilities to really think about how to leverage their strengths in the classroom and beyond. (For example, check out this speech on research priorities on special education by Alan Guttmacher, director of the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development; the relevant portion is in the second half.)
Also, can't remember if I linked to the GAO study about Special Education students being underserved by charters.
Ed Week, a good 10-year graphic on the rise of the "education industry's" campaign and lobbying efforts. With this kind of money being thrown around, it clearly is not about just doing it for the kids. There is money to be made. Another story, this from The Boston Phoenix, goes deeper. It gives a history of Stand for Children and their state-by-state change from advocating for parents to advocating for ed reform.
Yet the big picture should be daunting to progressives. As inconvenient as it is to consider, there is a mounting body of evidence that suggests much of the so-called school-reform movement is a stalking horse for the for-profit education industry. Simply put, the same free-market-cowboy values that fueled the economic meltdown of 2008 are now occupying box seats at the school-board roundtable.
The College Board is promoting its "Don't Forget Ed" campaign for the upcoming elections. They started it to urge candidates to keep education on the front-burner. I did try to get more info from the College Board on why they are doing this, who they want to reach, etc. but no answer.