- Very important Ed Week article about the decision by the Louisiana DOE to reject every math and reading textbook submitted for district use. The reason? They were deemed insufficiently aligned with the expectations of Common Core. This is the biggest state-level statement I’ve seen so far, indicating Louisiana’s substantial commitment to implementing CCSS. I’m in the camp that believes that while CCSS could be meaningful, much stands in the way.: The two testing consortia could set low or no cut scores, states could lose interest in the standards and/or tests, states could implement the new standards halfheartedly, etc. Rick Hess recently explained other reasons CCSS could be in jeopardy—these being more related to deficiencies in the reform community’s priorities and approaches to reform.
- Excellent piece in today’s New York Times on higher-education accountability from the always-excellent Kevin Carey. This is a terribly important and difficult issue: Higher-ed institutions often have gigantic endowments and receive enormous support from the feds, state governments, and families, yet we have virtually no reliable information on which institutions are improving student learning or how. Carey suggests a modest path forward while continuing to surface an underappreciated issue.
- Worthwhile white paper from AEI on education reform after the 2012 election. Authors McShane, Lautzenheiser, Kimmel, and Deane argue that funding reductions, implementation challenges, turnover at the USED, Common Core, and a number of other matters are likely to dominate in the years to come. Most
Diane Ravitch, the education-reform movement's "explosive turncoat."
Photo by OHSchoolBoards on Flickr.
Diane Ravitch, the education-reform movement’s explosive turncoat, has singled out Checker Finn’s recent dissent from for-profit school models for adulation with a blog entitled, “Checker Finn Opposes the For-Profit Model in Education.” We can quibble about whether Checker’s comment means he opposes the for-profit model (he is more than capable of defending himself on that score), but it is true that in Fordham’s recent report “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do: The Edison Story in Dayton,” Checker says, “Shareholder return ends up trumping the best interests of students…Most of the models I admire today are run by non-profit groups.”
I don’t find that quite so newsworthy as the fact that Ravitch extols the Fordham Institute, which she helped found, for “showing other advocacy groups what it means to be transparent and self-critical and honest.” That may be damning with faint praise, especially in the reformation-like context in which Diane has nailed her complaints to the church door, but it is worth pointing out that if Ms. Ravitch herself aimed to be self-critical and honest in the matter of “the best interest of students,” she would need to examine the public school model that she has, of late, been
The Diverse Schools Dilemma is a well-reasoned exploration of the topics of education, race, and demographics.
Mike did a great job with his new book, The Diverse Schools Dilemma.
I was raised in a close-in Boston suburb, at a time when Judge Arthur Garrity turned everything upside down with his forced busing order. J. Anthony Lukas helped make that dilemma of school integration personal through his Pulitzer-winning masterpiece, Common Ground. A generation later, Mike has made the story practical by walking the reader through his own hands-on exploration of what school integration really means for a parent seeking the best both for his child and his wider society.
I now have two kids of my own and live in the D.C. area, so my wife and I essentially went through much of what Mike and his wife did in trying to make a local school choice that could provide both diversity and top-quality education. We, in fact, looked at some of the very same schools and came to some similar conclusions. Our mutual assessment appears to be, “It's not easy, and you probably can't have it all.” That said, there's quite a lot that Mike helps the reader consider—from using hard data on school performance and economics, as well
The most misleading statistic in American education is the fact that just 4 percent of American children attend charter schools. A blip, this is! A rounding error! Totally insignificant!
What the national figure hides is the immense variation in charter school “market share” (or “penetration,” if you prefer) in cities around the nation—ranging from 0 percent in Seattle to 76 percent in New Orleans.
But a picture is worth a thousand words. Here, courtesy of a recent report from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, is charter-school enrollment as a percentage of total public school enrollment, calculated by district. (The bigger the dot, the bigger the charter-school market share.)
Charter-school market share: The bigger the dot, the larger the percentage of charter enrollment.
Data from NAPCS study.
A few things are noteworthy:
- At least when it comes to market share, charter schools are only a big deal in the Eastern half of the country. That’s surprising, as so much of the “entrepreneurial” charter-school energy comes from the West Coast. California, Arizona, and Texas may have big numbers of charter students, but they are dwarfed by even larger student populations overall.
- The Rust Belt is Ground Zero for charter-school competition. Notice the large, overlapping blobs for Cleveland, Detroit, Flint,
Category: Charters & Choice
About the Editor
Michael J. Petrilli
Executive Vice President
Mike Petrilli is one of the nation's foremost education analysts. As executive vice president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, he oversees the organization's research projects and publications and contributes to the Flypaper blog and weekly Education Gadfly newsletter.
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