With Just One Black Teacher, Black Students More Likely to Graduate « News from The Johns Hopkins University

Low-income black students who have at least one black teacher in elementary school are significantly more likely to graduate high school and consider attending college, concludes a new study co-authored by a Johns Hopkins University economist.

Greg Stanley/Johns Hopkins University

Source: With Just One Black Teacher, Black Students More Likely to Graduate « News from The Johns Hopkins University

Former U.S. Secretary of Education, John King, disparages private for-profit charter school operators

April 10: Former US Secretary of Education John King is critical of for-profit education management organizations (EMOs), suggesting that these charter school operators are more interested in profit than in serving students.  He made this disparaging comment during a panel discussion on school accountability at the American Enterprise Institute (see minute 1:22:45 in the embedded video of the discussion).  He actually stated he’s frightened about the possibility that EMOs might exploit families and kids on behalf of profit.

The recent Every Student Succeeds Act gives states the ability to revamp their K–12 accountability systems. With the rise of charter schools, urban districts no longer serve as a city’s sole public school operator, which was not the case when accountability systems first arose. This new context enables state leaders to explore how they might apply charter-style accountability to district-run schools. Could this change unify accountability systems and allow more autonomy for public schools?
AEI’s Andy Smarick presents his recent paper on the subject, and a panel, including former US Secretary of Education John King, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools Senior Policy Adviser Christy Wolfe, Chris Barbic of the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, and DC Public Charter School Board Executive Director Scott Pearson, debates the work’s key points.

Source: Updating accountability systems for urban schools: What chartering can teach us – AEI

School Inc. (a documentary)

School Inc. is a global exploration of discovery by the late Andrew Coulson, senior fellow of education policy at Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom. He takes viewers on a worldwide personal quest for an answer to the question—if you build a better way to teach a subject, why doesn’t the world beat a path to your door, like they do in other industries?

The three-part documentary exposes audiences to unfamiliar and often startling realities: the sad fate of Jaime Escalante after the release of the feature film Stand and Deliver; Korean teachers who earn millions of dollars every year; private schools in India that produce excellent results but charge only $5 a month; current U.S. efforts to provide choices and replicate educational excellence; and schools in Chile and Sweden—in which top K-12 teachers and schools have already begun to “scale-up,” reaching large and ever-growing numbers of students.

Like the Cosmos and Connections series that inspired it, School Inc. takes viewers on a personal journey, led by an expert so passionate about his field that he made arrangements before his imminent death to ensure the documentary would be completed. Coulson offers his analysis with a sense of circumspection about the limits of science, as well as a sense of humor. From its surprising twists to its beautiful visuals, the series doesn’t just edify, but entertains.

Continue reading “School Inc. (a documentary)”

Illinois’ ESSA plan assumes graduation rates for White and Asian students will worsen by 2032

The following states have thus far submitted their ESSA implementation plans to the U.S. Department of Education: Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Tennessee,  Vermont and Illinois.

The Illinois plan anticipates that all subgroups of students will achieve at least 90% proficiency levels in reading and math by 2032 (see below).  Although this appears to be an ambitious goal, it’s not clear what the baseline starting point will be when students are assessed in 2018 and 2019.  In other words, without knowing what the proficiency rates will be in 2018 and 2019, it’s impossible to know if this is a sufficiently ambitious goal.  That said, we’ll give the state the benefit of the doubt.

What stood out as problematic, however, is the goal around graduation rates by 2032.  The state uses 2016 graduation rates as its baseline.  For example, the state expects  graduation rates for Black/African American students will jump from 74.6% in 2016 to 90% by 2032.  This is an ambitious 15% point improvement and should be applauded.  Similarly, Hispanic rates will climb from 81.3% in 2016 to 90% by 2032, an 8.7% increase.  Children with disabilities will make a 20% gain.

While the state’s ESSA plan is ambitious for those and other subgroups, it falls short in its goal for White and Asian students.  For some unknown reason, Illinois actually anticipates that graduation rates for these two subgroups will actually worsen, with Asian students dropping from 93.6% in 2016 to 90% in 2032, and White students dropping from 90.4% to 90%.

The state actually anticipates an even greater decrease in graduation rates for White and Asian students in its six-year extended cohort graduation rate.  Here, the state projects that Asian students will see a drop of 5.9% (from 95.9% in 2016 to 90% in 2032), while White students will see a drop of 1.6%.

Click here to read the Illinois ESSA plan.

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Illinois ESSA 1Illinois ESSA

Read Illinois’ plan here.

A parent masquerading as a school choice consumer tells a misleading story about parental choice in education

Patricia MacCorquodale, a parent in Arizona, describes her experiences with school choice.  She is obviously biased in her assessments of choice and charters.  She describes her frustrations with choosing the right school for her child.  But instead of advocating for a more streamlined access to information, she essentially concludes that choice is hard and therefore not worth pursuing. 

My daughter attended two private, two public and four charter schools during her K-12 education; the search for each one was extensive. With 547 charter schools and 480 private schools operating in Arizona, there is a lot of school choice.

‘I navigated the school choice maze as a university professor with good income, flexible hours, reliable transportation, and a strong parent network. Imagine the process of school choice for parents of students attending failing schools, with limited income, or relying on public transportation.’

Source: The masquerade of school choice: a parent’s story – The Washington Post

Small Class Sizes: One of the greatest educational hoaxes of our time

“Unlike many education issues, [the small class size issue] isn’t just a matter of opinion. Florida spent billions on class-size reduction with no positive impact on student results. A statewide study of Connecticut elementary schools found no statistically significant impact of class sizes.”

Source: One More Time Now: Why Lowering Class Sizes Backfires – Education Next : Education Next