Saturday, February 11, 2017

John Thompson: Ending charter wars: 'The problem is the problem' - NonDoc

Ending charter wars: 'The problem is the problem' - NonDoc:

Ending charter wars: ‘The problem is the problem’
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My previous post discussed the first issue of two that should inform the OKCPS school board election: making teaching a team sport. It drew upon the work of former PBS education reporter John Merrow, who wrote in 2011 that instead of focusing primarily on “making a better teacher,” America should make teaching a better job by creating cooperative school cultures. Merrow read the piece and responded with a repost of his 2011 column calling for creating a team effort to improve education.
(One reason why I support Rebecca Budd and Stanley Hupfeld is that I have seen the way both of them have reached out to people with different viewpoints. They could help transform education into a team sport.)
This second post urges the OKCPS to seek a compromise that would move us beyond our charter wars, which should seem easier to achieve compared to the call for collaborative school improvement.

Charters: From promoting innovation to encouraging competition

In the 1990s, charters were widely supported as a means for promoting innovation. As a member of the MAPS for Kids coalition, I joined the American Federation of Teachers in endorsing local charters. These charters, like magnet and enterprise schools, played a major role in persuading families to remain in the OKCPS. At that time, many families happily sent their children to OKCPS elementary schools but moved to the suburbs to avoid its secondary schools. Because charters, magnets and enterprise schools offered instruction as good as or better than low-poverty suburban schools, the OKCPS graduation rate doubled, even as overall student performance remained stagnant. (In other words, students who would have graduated anyway walked across an OKCPS stage rather than receiving a diploma on a suburban one.)
At first, it didn’t make much of a difference to high-challenge secondary schools whether it was choice or suburban schools that “creamed” the top students. After about a decade, however, OKCPS middle and high schools crossed a tipping point. For instance, in the 1990s, OKC high schools were all about 65 percent to 70 percent low-income. After the proliferation of choice crossed a certain point, OKCPS high schools were all 90 percent to 100 percent low-income.
With the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, charters started to change from a means for Ending charter wars: 'The problem is the problem' - NonDoc:


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