Latest News and Comment from Education

Sunday, December 3, 2017

US charter schools put growing numbers in racial isolation - ABC News

US charter schools put growing numbers in racial isolation - ABC News:

US charter schools put growing numbers in racial isolation

The California schools where the kids are all the same race, all in one map | 89.3 KPCC -

Charter schools are among the nation's most segregated, an Associated Press analysis finds — an outcome at odds, critics say, with their goal of offering a better alternative to failing traditional public schools.
National enrollment data shows that charters are vastly over-represented among schools where minorities study in the most extreme racial isolation. As of school year 2014-2015, more than 1,000 of the nation's 6,747 charter schools had minority enrollment of at least 99 percent, and the number has been rising steadily.

The problem: Those levels of segregation correspond with low achievement levels at schools of all kinds.
In the AP analysis of student achievement in the 42 states that have enacted charter school laws, along with the District of Columbia, the performance of students in charter schools varies widely. But schools that enroll 99 percent minorities — both charters and traditional public schools — on average have fewer students reaching state standards for proficiency in reading and math.
"Desegregation works. Nothing else does," said Daniel Shulman, a Minnesota civil rightsattorney. "There is no amount of money you can put into a segregated school that is going to make it equal."
Shulman singled out charter schools for blame in a lawsuit that accuses the state of Minnesota of allowing racially segregated schools to proliferate, along with achievement gaps for minority students. Minority-owned charters have been allowed wrongly to recruit only minorities, he said, as others wrongly have focused on attracting whites.
Even some charter school officials acknowledge this is a concern. Nearly all the students at Milwaukee's Bruce-Guadalupe Community School are Hispanic, and most speak little or no English when they begin elementary school. The school set out to serve Latinos, but it also decided against adding a high school in hopes that its students will go on to schools with more diversity.
"The beauty of our school is we're 97 percent Latino," said Pascual Rodriguez, the school's principal. "The drawback is we're 97 percent Latino ... Well, what happens when they go off into the real world where you may be part of an institution that's not 97 percent Latino?"
The charter school movement born a quarter of a century ago has thrived in large urban areas, where advocates say they often aim to serve students — by and large, minorities — who have been let down by their district schools. And on average, children in hyper-segregated charters do at least marginally better on tests than those in comparably segregated traditional schools.
For inner-city families with limited schooling options, the cultural homogeneity of some charters can boost their appeal as alternatives to traditional public schools that are sometimes seen as hostile environments.
They and other charter supporters insist that these are good schools, and dismiss concerns about racial balance.
Araseli Perez, a child of Mexican immigrants, sent her three children to Bruce-Guadalupe because she attended Milwaukee Public Schools and she wanted something different for her children. The schools in her family's neighborhood are more diverse racially, but she said race was not a factor in her decision to enroll her children at the charter school five miles away.
"We're just happy with the results," she said. Her youngest child, Eleazar, now in seventh grade, is on the soccer team and plays the trumpet at the school, which boasts test scores and graduation rates above city averages. Perez said her children frequently came home from Bruce-Guadalupe showing off an award they won.
Her daughter Monica Perez, 23, went on to a private school and then college before becoming a teacher's assistant.
"I don't think I felt the impact of going to an all-Latino school until I went to high school," Perez said. "When you go to a Latino school everyone is Roman Catholic and everyone knows the same stuff."
There is growing debate over just how much racial integration matters. For decades after US charter schools put growing numbers in racial isolation - ABC News:

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Wendy Lecker: Education miracle was a lie - StamfordAdvocate

Wendy Lecker: Education miracle was a lie - StamfordAdvocate:

Wendy Lecker: Education miracle was a lie

Last week, the New Orleans Tribune, a venerable news magazine of the New Orleans African-American community, published a devastating editorial about the fallacy of New Orleans school reform.
After Hurricane Katrina, education reformers swooped in to transform New Orleans into an all-charter school district, operated by host of different charter companies. These reformers promised to improve New Orleans’ schools by enhancing autonomy and choice.
In the years that followed, pro-charter groups and pundits proclaimed the “miraculous” improvements in New Orleans schools. Nina Rees declared in U.S. News & World Report that the results were “nothing short of amazing.” Jonathan Chait called them “spectacular.” Then-Secretary of Education Arne Duncan declared that Katrina was “the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans.”
Reformers across the country pushed to replicate the New Orleans model of state takeover and school privatization. Michigan established the Educational Achievement Authority, Tennessee, the Achievement School District. States closed struggling schools and opened charters in Chicago, Philadelphia and beyond. Even here in Connecticut the charter lobby ConnCAN featured New Orleans as a model for school turnaround, claiming that New Orleans’ “miracle” dramatically improved performance, particularly for African-American students.
The problem with this miracle, as the Tribune notes, is that it was a lie. The improvements were the result of manipulated cut scores and a lack of oversight. The state raised the bar to make New Orleans schools “fail” and thus be susceptible to state takeover, then lowered the bar to disguise charter school failures allow charter operators to retain control. Louisiana was castigated by the legislative auditor for relying on unverified self-reported data to renew charters, and for failing to ensure charters have fair admissions policies. The auditor also slammed New Orleans charters for financial improprieties.
The tragic story of New Orleans is the story of the past 20 years of American school reform: “some arbitrary determination (of school failure) that fits the end goal of those wielding power and influence — no matter the impact on our communities.” The impact was severe.
Parents are forced to navigate a complex admissions maze — where the schools are the ones exercising “choice” — and to send their children to schools far from their neighborhoods. Charters have astronomical suspension and expulsion rates. They also exclude students, especially students with disabilities. Families have nowhere to bring complaints, as each charter operates as its own district, with its own unelected board.
Veteran teachers of color were fired en masse, decimating the city’s black middle class. They were replaced by Wendy Lecker: Education miracle was a lie - StamfordAdvocate:

Wendy Lecker: Education miracle was a lie - StamfordAdvocate: