Education News Roundup

Common Core and assessments and a new group, Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.

More on assessments from The New Yorker; its story covers the Garfield assessment boycott.

As the author and relapsed educator Garret Keizer observed in his return to teaching, of which he writes in the September 2011 issue of Harper’s, “No student I meet seems to believe that the universe formed in six days but a disturbing number insist that an essay is always formed in five paragraphs.”

Charter Schools

The group that 1240 is following for authorizing guideline, The National Association of Charter School Authorizers, released a 12-step "Index of Essential Practices" for charter school authorizers. Looking over them, it does not appear that 1240 meets them but then:
The report found that only a small percentage of those who responded have all 12 practices in place, but the majority are using at least nine.
Also from Ed Week, a study about the early years of new charter schools:

There is currently an assumption within the charter sector that even if "the first few years are rocky" at a school, charters can eventually rise to higher performance over time, the authors say. But the study casts doubt on that assumption.

Charter schools' academic success or failure during their first year is a strong predictor of whether they will excel or struggle in later years, a new, far-reaching study finds.

The study, released Wednesday by Stanford University's Center for Research on Education Outcomes, which has conducted extensive research on charters across the nation, also concludes that significant improvements in charter school performance over time is rare among middle and high schools, though it occurs more often in elementary schools.

The vast majority of schools, 80 percent of them in the lowest quintiles of performance, remained low-performers through their fifth year in operation.

Charter fight in New Jersey suburbs. I've talked about this before and it could come here (much to the discomfort of Mercer Island, Bellevue and other higher-performing districts).

A primary point of contention concerns the accomplishments of Riverbank itself, where 100 percent of its third graders passed the state’s achievement tests last year. The district maintains that the charter has fewer special-needs and at-risk students than the comparable Florence enrollment. Kelley said that’s not so, and its skewed by the small number of her students overall.

But Kelley kept coming back to the argument that suburban communities have every right to have alternatives as do any other. “Not every school is a perfect fit for every student,” she said. “This is an alternative, a free public choice for parents.”

So the public school district is doing what is charged to do - make sure students meet state standards - but charter supporters want specialty schools so parents will have choice. That's a pretty costly choice to districts and taxpayers. They used to be called private schools.

TFA - an alumni says it's time to dissolve it. From the Washington Post's The Answer Sheet:

TFA has changed the education world for the better, focused energy and concern around low-income communities, and harnessed the idealism of a generation of college graduates. In other words, TFA has had a good run, but today – for the good of those it hopes to help – it is time to retire.
From Diane Ravitch's blog, another story about the growing numbers of TFA alumni that are not toeing the party line.


A-mom said…
The Smarter Balanced Assesment Consortium has awarded a company owned by Rupert Murdoch a contract to develop common core tests.
On Diane Ravitch's blog:

Smarter Balanced
Obviously doublespeak
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