After We Fill The Charters, Who Will Remain?

DC Charters' Selective Admissions: Special Ed Students Need Not Apply

Several years ago historian James Anderson suggested that if charters and vouchers continued to eat away at the public schools that we would likely see a remaining public system of children that no one wants, from low performers to handicapped to the mentally impaired. It would seem that the rush toward corporate charters is creating just such a reality, even though the most reliable research available shows charters doing more harm than good, even when it comes to academic achievement. As Jerry Bracey noted in a HuffPo post the other day:
. . . . if the CREDO results are true, Arne, why are you blackmailing states with threats to withhold stimulus money unless they permit charters or lift charter caps? The logic here is astonishing. Suppose I invent a medicine and find it helps 17% of people, doesn't do anything for 46% and hurts 37%. Would the FDA approve and tout my medicine? CREDO is a Stanford University-based think tank and its findings were that kids in charters did better than matched peers in publics in 17% of the cases, worse in 37% and neither better nor worse 46% of the time. As I closed my chapter on charters in Setting the Record Straight (second edition), "Charter schools were born of perceived failures in public schools. So, if the charters are doing worse than the publics, where is the outrage about them?"
Where indeed, Arne?

Now WaPo, in its Saturday edition that most people don't read, has the story on a new report showing a continuation of Rhee's corporate charter school creaming of the most able students:
Some D.C. public charter schools continue selective admissions practices that discourage special-needs students from enrolling, and students citywide with possible disabilities still face delays in special education evaluations, a federal court monitor said this week.

"Charter schools . . . generally have not enrolled students with significant disabilities who required extensive hours of special services or education," the monitor, Amy Totenberg, wrote in a report prepared for a court hearing yesterday.

The report casts a somewhat harsh light on a fast-growing sector of public education in the city. Charter schools, which receive public funding but are independently operated, have siphoned many students from the city's troubled public school system and have posted somewhat higher test scores than regular schools in recent years.. . .

But Totenberg said some charter schools explicitly limit the number of hours of special education they will provide and counsel parents to enroll their children at regular public schools or at private or other public charter schools that focus on students with disabilities. D.C. law prohibits charter schools from asking about learning disabilities or emotional problems during the admission process.

Tribute To Michael Jackson, From Prison

Saturday Bonus Cartoon Fun: King Of Pop Edition


Friday Cartoon Fun: Suckers Edition

Friday Cartoon Fun: Hiking Edition


The Trifecta....RIP

Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, and Ed McMahon

These three icons are gone. I'll miss them both!

Thursday Bonus Cartoon Fun: The Public Option Edition

Thursday Cartoon Fun: Under The Mullah Edition


Macmillan/McGraw: Self-Aware?

Someone at Macmillan/McGraw-Hill School Publishing Company has spent an hour and a half on my blog today, mostly checking out Everyday Math posts.

I guess they are worried they are being exposed as the useless pile of corporate greed they are!

Hey, McMac, stop publishing crap!

Update: I was checking out their site, and came upon this quote:
McGraw-Hill's Assessment & Instruction group is composed of two divisions – CTB/McGraw-Hill and The Grow Network/McGraw-Hill – which are focused on helping customers meet accountability requirements at all levels of education, and advancing learning through innovative assessment, reporting, and data-driven instruction linked to rigorous standards and teacher education.[emphasis mine]
They state their purpose as helping customers (school districts) meet accountability requirements (as opposed to creating materials that are good for kids).

Also notice the standards, teacher prep, and data-driven nomenclature used to give the illusion that they are in business to create excellent materials based on a wealth of science/research. They don't link to the science, because there is virtually none, and of the science/research that is out there, it is conflicted at best, and erroneous at worst.

Teaching is not rocket science. How could it be? Teaching is the art of making things exciting and interesting for kids so they can be motivated to open their minds to what is being presented. Simply presenting it is no substitute for presenting it well. Publishers remove any randomness, spontaneity, or originality from teachers by suggesting that their curricular materials, used as prescribed, will solve the problems of education, which, by the way, are not bad teachers or bad materials or even bad research; the problem with education is money (like the problem with just about everything), power, poverty, and corporate greed.

Kick out the corporate mindset. Lose the million dollar curricular contracts. Power back to the teachers and parents!!!!!

Arne Duncan's Lies Exposed, Then Written Down, Then Published!

Tuesday Cartoon Fun: Great Satan Edition


Charters Suck Too. So Now What?

So now we need to hold the charter schools more accountable? Because they suck as much as public schools? WTF??

Maybe the achievement gap isn't created in schools; maybe poverty plays a bigger role in student outcomes?

I guess we'll just have to wait and see how Obama/Duncan deal with the apparently new to them knowledge that schools don't seem to be able to fix whatever needs fixing (poverty, lack of ECE, lack of health care...)
Education Chief to Warn Advocates That Inferior Charter Schools Harm the Effort

The Obama administration has made opening more charter schools a big part of its plans for improving the nation’s education system, but Education Secretary Arne Duncan will warn advocates of the schools on Monday that low-quality institutions are giving their movement a black eye.

“The charter movement is putting itself at risk by allowing too many second-rate and third-rate schools to exist,” Mr. Duncan says in prepared remarks that he is scheduled to deliver in Washington at the annual gathering of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

In an interview, Mr. Duncan said he would use the address to praise innovations made by high-quality charter schools, urge charter leaders to become more active in weeding out bad apples in their movement and invite the leaders to help out in the administration’s broad effort to remake several thousand of the nation’s worst public schools.

Since 1991, when educators founded the first charter school in Minnesota, 4,600 have opened; they now educate some 1.4 million of the nation’s 50 million public school students, according to Education Department figures. The schools are financed with taxpayer money but operate free of many curricular requirements and other regulations that apply to traditional public schools.

Mr. Duncan’s speech will come at a pivotal moment for the charter school movement. The Obama administration has been working to persuade state legislatures to lift caps on the number of charter schools.

At the same time, the movement is smarting from the release last week of a report by Stanford University researchers that found that although some charter schools were doing an excellent job, many students in charter schools were not faring as well as students in traditional public schools.

“The charter movement is one of the most profound changes in American education, bringing tremendous new options to underserved communities,” Mr. Duncan is to say in the speech, the text of which was provided to The New York Times by his advisers.

But, the speech says, states should scrutinize plans for new charter schools to allow only high-quality ones to open. In exchange for the autonomy that states extend to charter schools, states should demand “absolute, unequivocal accountability,” the speech says, and close charter schools that fail to lift student achievement.

Mr. Duncan’s speech calls the Stanford report — which singles out Arizona, Florida, Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio and Texas as states that have done little to hold poorly run charter schools accountable — “a wake-up call.”

“Charter authorizers need to do a better job of holding schools accountable,” the speech says. (Mr. Duncan is to note exceptions like the California Charter Schools Association, which last week announced a plan to establish and enforce academic performance standards for charter schools.)

The Stanford study, by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes, used student achievement data from 15 states and the District of Columbia to gauge whether students who attended charter schools had fared better than they would if they had attended a traditional public school.

“The study reveals that a decent fraction of charter schools, 17 percent, provide superior education opportunities for their students,” the report says. “Nearly half of the charter schools nationwide have results that are no different from the local public school options, and over a third, 37 percent, deliver learning results that are significantly worse than their students would have realized had they remained in traditional public schools.”

Reports on charter schools often arouse impassioned debates, because charter schools in some cities have drawn millions of dollars in taxpayer money away from traditional public schools, and because many operate with nonunion teachers. The Stanford study was no exception; some charter school advocates asserted that it was slanted to favor traditional public schools.

Nelson Smith, president of the charter school alliance, said that the authors of the Stanford study could have phrased their findings more positively, with no loss of accuracy, but that he considered the center a “very credible outfit” and its director, Margaret Raymond, “an esteemed researcher.”

Mr. Smith praised the administration’s efforts to increase financing for charter school startups.

“To a remarkable extent, they are walking the walk,” he said. “They’ve been very clear on the need to stimulate the growth of quality charters.”

Mr. Duncan has been working to build a national effort to restructure 5,000 chronically failing public schools, which turn out middle school students who cannot read and most of the nation’s high school dropouts. In his speech, he will urge states, school districts, nonprofit groups, teachers’ unions and charter organizations “to get in the business of turning around our lowest-performing schools.”

“Over the coming years,” the speech says, “America needs to find 5,000 high-energy, hero principals to take over these struggling schools, and a quarter of a million great teachers who are willing to do the toughest work in public education.”

Mr. Smith said he believed that some charter school operators would react favorably to Mr. Duncan’s call, but only if they were given flexibility over hiring and firing teachers, structuring student learning time and other issues.

“They have to be able to maintain the integrity of the charter model,” Mr. Smith said.


Sunday Cartoon Fun: SHOOT! Edition

This Chart Blew My Mind

Bailout Costs vs Big Historical Events

It is exceedingly difficult to convey exactly how much we are spending on all these bailouts. Whenever I start talking trillions (versus mere billions), I get puzzled looks from people. Humans have a hard time conceptualizing any number that large. I wanted a graphic way to clearly show how astonishingly ginormous the amounts involved were.

So I once again went to Jess Bachman at Wallstats. I gave him my list of expenditures (inflation adjusted of course!) and he went to work. This early Bailout Nation graphic shows the the total costs to the taxpayer of all the monies spent, lent, consumed, borrowed, printed, guaranteed, assumed or otherwise committed.

It is nothing short of astonishing.

It includes the total outlay for all the bailouts to date. In just about one short year (March 2008 - March 2009), the bailouts managed to spend far in excess of nearly every major one time expenditure of the USA, including WW1&2 (omitted from graphic), the moon shot, the New Deal, total NASA budgets (omitted from graphic), Iraq, Viet Nam and Korean wars — COMBINED.

206 years versus 12 months. Total cost: ~$15 trillion and counting . . .

Happy Father's Day II

Here are the departed Frustrated Father (TFT's dad) and Frustrated Brother (TFT's bro). They both left life too soon, and I miss them.

Happy Father's Day

Here's what you can do for this father...

My site was nominated for Hottest Daddy Blogger!

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