Tag: Charter Schools

On this episode of ‘Viewpoint,’ AEI’s Andy Smarick sits down with Juliet Squire from Bellweather Education Partners for a wide-ranging conversation on the needs of rural America and when chartering might be a good fit. Proponents of school choice generally champion charter schools as a way to expand the education options available to families. But, for a host of policy and practical reasons, charters may not always be the right reform for a rural community.

This interview originally aired on AEI’s YouTube channel on December 15, 2017.

In Banter’s fourth installment of the “Bridging the Dignity Divide” series, John Bailey and Andy Smarick joined the show to share insights from their podcast, the New Skills Marketplace. In addition to discussing the skills gap, CTE programming, and charter schools, they discussed Smarick’s latest report, The Evolving High School CTE: New Jersey’s Distinctive Approach to Career Education. In addition to his role as AEI Visiting Fellow, Bailey is also a fellow at the Walton Family Foundation. His work focuses on finding new ways to reskill individuals. Smarick, the AEI Morgridge Fellow in Education Studies, also serves as president of the Maryland State Board of Education. His work centers on education and related domestic and social policy issues.

About the “Bridging the Dignity Divide” Series

This week on Banter, Eva Moskowitz joined the show to discuss her new book, “The Education of Eva Moskowitz.” Moskowitz is the founder and CEO of Success Academy Charter Schools, the highest-performing public charter school network in New York City. Formerly, Moskowitz served as a New York City councilmember. She joined AEI resident scholar Rick Hess for a conversation at AEI about her new book and efforts to reform America’s education system. The link below will take you to the full event video.

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On this AEI Events Podcast, Eva Moskowitz (Success Academy Charter Schools) to discuss the lessons in her new book, “The Education of Eva Moskowitz: A Memoir.”

In her remarks, Ms. Moskowitz laid out five foundational principles for quality schooling. First, she noted the importance of focusing on parental involvement and understanding what happens in their children’s schools. Second, content matters; asking a good question as a teacher is difficult if the content is not intrinsically interesting. Third, management matters; Ms. Moskowitz noted she has not seen a high-performance organization where management is not attentive to detail. Fourth, she noted the importance of being explicit about the school’s point of view and philosophy of teaching. While Success Academy Charter Schools use progressive pedagogy, Ms. Moskowitz did not insist that all schools should use the same methods. However, a cohesiveness in teaching philosophy across the school is important. Finally, principal and teacher training matters. Ms. Moskowitz emphasized principal training in particular and noted that good principals are genuine instructional leaders.

Recorded on July 24, 2017
With schools in session across the country, Hoover senior fellow Paul Peterson details this year’s survey of American education by Education Next. Among the more notable results: teachers are wary of their colleagues’ performance; parents are increasingly dissatisfied with charter schools.

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In this AEI Events Podcast, AEI’s Nat Malkus welcomes Liberian Education Minister George K. Werner to deliver a keynote address on Liberia’s new education initiative, the Partnership Schools for Liberia (PSL) program, in which eight non-state operators manage 93 public primary schools. Dr. Malkus opens the event by describing Liberia’s recent history and the state of the education system. A short video is shown, detailing a typical Liberian school and outlining the PSL program. Following, Minister Werner delivers his address, discussing the rationale behind the program and its early successes.

Following Minister Werner’s remarks, panel of experts on education in the developing world discusses the implications of the PSL program. Alejandro Caballero of the International Finance Corporation states that private operators could provide substantial benefits to developing world schools. Amy Black of Results for Development stresses the importance of the government’s role in partnerships between public and private schools. Seth Andrew of Democracy Builders and Bridge International Academies believes that delaying the expansion of the model to analyze the program results, though understandable, would hurt students who are in failing schools.

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Frederick Douglass, speaking in 1894 in Manassas, Va., said, “To deny education to any people is one of the greatest crimes against human nature.” This quotation appeared in Daniel Henninger’s latest op-ed in the WSJ, explaining that the black establishment continues to block the creation of charter schools and school choice, to the detriment of […]

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DeVos, Detroit, and a False Media Narrative

 

In advance of today’s confirmation hearings for Betsy DeVos, the nominee for Secretary of Education, defenders of the status quo have been spinning a narrative about her reform efforts in Detroit that runs contrary to all available evidence.

In op-eds, editorials, and editorials veiled as news, the New York Times has pushed the narrative that in Detroit, “charter schools often perform no better than traditional schools, and sometimes worse.” However, as Max Eden and I show at Education Next today, all the available data show that charter schools in Detroit significantly outperform their traditional district counterparts.

Here’s a taste from the Mackinac Center’s report, one of the three studies of school performance in Detroit that we break down:

More Errors from the New York Times on Michigan’s Charter Schools

 

90Over the summer, the New York Times published an error-ridden piece on Michigan’s charter schools that it has yet to retract. Now, the NYT is doubling down with another piece adding new errors to old ones. The errors begin in the opening sentence:

Few disagreed that schools in Detroit were a mess: a chaotic mix of charters and traditional public schools, the worst-performing in the nation.

This is editorializing thinly veiled as “news.” In fact, lots of experts disagreed with that statement. The original NYT piece received a wave of criticism from national and local education policy experts, charter school organizations, and other journalists. As I explained at the time, the central premise of the NYT’s takedown on Detroit’s charter schools was an utter distortion of the research:

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I had a great meeting with my friend, an up-and-coming politician in my Blue City (please do not name it). The ideas I advanced are positive – “Price-Matching” all permits/regulations/bureaucratic hurdles. If an applicant can show things are easier in another jurisdiction in the state, they can point it out, and get the equivalent treatment. […]

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Recently, The Federalist published an article in which the author sincerely argued that two popular social movements – Black Lives Matter (BLM) and anti-abortion/pro-life activists – pursue a common goal: the respect and preservation life. Christina Marie Bennett- a writer and pro-lifer who works with pregnant women in crisis environments for the benefit of both […]

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The New York Times Misrepresents Charter School Research

 

Yesterday, the New York Times ran a front-page story purporting to show that “betting big” on charters has produced “chaos” and a “glut of schools competing for some of the nation’s poorest students.” (One wonders how many of those low-income families are upset that they have “too many” options.). However, the article’s central claim about charter school performance rests on a distorted reading of the data.

The piece claims that “half the charters perform only as well, or worse than, Detroit’s traditional public schools.” This is a distortion of the research from Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO). Although the article actually cites this research – noting that it is “considered the gold standard of measurement by charter school supporters across the country” – it only does so to show that one particular charter chain in Detroit is low performing. (For the record, the “gold standard” is actually a random-assignment study. CREDO used a matching approach, which is more like a silver standard. But I digress.) The NYT article fails to mention that the same study found that “on average, charter students in Michigan gain an additional two months of learning in reading and math over their [traditional public school] counterparts. The charter students in Detroit gain over three months per year more than their counterparts at traditional public schools.”

Jeb Bush: Conservative or Merely Responsible?

 

shutterstock_296439938On the first post-debate flagship podcast, Peter and Rob proclaimed Jeb Bush’s record as governor of Florida as “indisputably conservative.” Conservative has two meanings. On the one hand, it means sticking to established and safe principles, avoiding unnecessary risk, and — essentially — “being responsible.” Most the elements Peter and Rob discussed about Bush’s record fit this category, and I agree that Bush was a responsible governor. In the other sense, “conservative” carries an ideological meaning, indicating a will to preserve the values that led to the Revolution against the King. These are traditional Germanic/English legal principles with a heavy dose of liberal Enlightenment thought. The distinguishing characteristic of this sense of conservatism is a wariness of state action.

Bush’s record in Florida — particularly in education reform, for which he is often cited as a major innovator — is a mixed bag, with some characteristics that appeal to ideological conservatives and others that favor the more responsibility-centered definition of that word. Bush was indisputably acting out of ideological conservatism when he ended affirmative action in college admissions, as racial discrimination has been a hallmark of progressives all along. He also made a real effort to break the back of the government-run school monopoly through introducing the United States’ first-state wide voucher and charter-school programs. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court of Florida found the voucher program violated the state constitution, and ended it in its ninth year. Bush then attempted to amend the constitution to allow the program, but was stymied in part by Republicans in the Florida Senate.

“Quit using public money to send our kids to private schools,” said Republican State Senator Dennis Jones, one of four Republicans to torpedo the amendment.

Don’t Talk Back — Unless You’re Working Out Some Personal Issues

 

Restorative-Justice-Ven-DiagramYou may have heard me say it here before: California is the world’s largest open-air asylum. I’ve always thought that, but it became much clearer to me after I decamped from my native Golden State to Tennessee last year. Now every time that I sent foot back on California soil — as I did last night — I’m struck by the air of unreality that characterizes the place. All you have to do is look around for a few minutes before you start thinking “Is it possible that there’s a gas leak in this entire state that no one knows about?” That’s about the same reaction I had reading through the San Francisco Chronicle this morning, which notes this — ahem — innovation taking place in Oakland schools:

Mouthing off in class or failing to follow a teacher’s instructions will no longer lead to suspension in Oakland schools, a ban that will be phased in and be fully in effect just over a year from now, the school board unanimously decided Wednesday night.

Oakland Unified will become one of a handful of California school districts that restrict suspensions to more serious offenses and eliminate the punishment for willful defiance — a broad category of misbehavior that includes minor offenses such as refusing to take a hat off or ignoring teacher requests to stop texting and more severe incidents like swearing at a teacher or storming out of class. San Francisco and Los Angeles are also among those districts.

The Hillsdale Conspiracy

 

I’ve been reluctant to write about Hillsdale’s conspiracy to educate our K-12 children, for fear of betraying one of the most effective schemes to restore the Republic ever devised by the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy.

But, since public education is a perpetual topic of debate here among the center-right (see here, here, and here), I thought readers might like to know about my kids’ public charter school, which teaches a classical curriculum provided by Hillsdale College. Yes, that Hillsdale. The Hillsdale of Ricochet’s own Paul Rahe, the online courses on The Constitution and The Great Books, Imprimis, and the most excellent Hillsdale Dialogue interviews by Hugh Hewitt of President Larry Arnn and other members of the faculty.

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For most of the last two years, I’ve been trying to convince my lovely wife that Oregon is a decent place to be despite being more expensive, more liberal, and difficult to navigate through street-wise. Okay, so it’s obviously not going well. Still, until we find a way we can pack up and move to […]

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I’m From the Government, and I’m Here to Help — Suzanne Temple

 

I was recently struck by all those photos of hundreds (if not thousands) of kids in New York wearing bright yellow T-shirts, holding signs that read “save our schools.” As you probably know, Mayor Bill de Blasio has been attempting to render three successful charter schools homeless. Why? It’s for the kids, of course. As his office tweeted out, they want to make “sure that all our kids get a great education.” I wonder what those kids in their yellow T-shirts are learning from all this. I wonder if it’s anything like what I learned as a kid.
I was eight years old the first summer that my family went to pick fruit in Washington state. It was the ’80s. It could’ve been around the time when President Reagan was quipping about the nine most terrifying words in the English language: “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.” I’d never heard those words, but in the coming years I would learn what he meant.
I suppose sociologists would’ve called us migrant farm laborers, but to us and everyone in the Tri-cities and Yakima valley we were simply cherry pickers. Our first summer, a family we knew helped us find work at the orchards they’d picked in years past. Their youngest daughter was my age and we became fast friends. Being little, I don’t remember much about that first summer. But I do remember I had my sights set on a purple bicycle with pink tassels on the handlebars that I’d seen at Toys “R” Us. I needed to pick $80 worth of cherries to buy it. And I did. Best bike I’ve ever owned.
We went back several summers thereafter. My parents required that my brothers and I pay for our own clothes and school supplies for the year, but all money we earned beyond that was ours. Though I liked making money, it was the after-work hours I enjoyed the most. At one orchard, my brothers and I would spend our late afternoons playing wiffle ball with a family from Oklahoma whose kids had such thick southern accents that I doubted they were speaking English at all. I recall another family we hung out with in several orchards. They had it tough. The mom was from Mexico and didn’t speak a word of English. Her husband had run off and left her with their two sons, who were close to my age. Along with her uncle, she and her sons picked cherries like their lives depended on it. In a way, I guess they did.
And then the government came to help.
I was probably around 14 years old when we were picking in an orchard where the foreman told us to leave. State law had changed, and my brothers and I were now not old enough to work. I suppose lawmakers didn’t like the idea of “child labor”—and wasn’t it awful that we were around tractors, ladders, and other things that grade-school kids think are cool? Fortunately, we had gotten to know a few growers who were willing to make an exception for us. But we agreed to always keep an eye out for anyone who came strolling into the orchard looking like they might be from some government agency.
In the summers that followed, we were the only family. The crews became uniformly single men or men away from their families. I wondered whatever happened to the family from Oklahoma, the Mexican mom with her sons, and the family who showed us the ropes that first year. I remember thinking that it was all so stupid. Families needed to earn a living. Why wouldn’t the government let them? Did politicians really have nothing better to do than try to save kids from earning money for pink-tasseled bicycles?
Apparently, not much has changed. Bureaucrats are now trying to save children from attending the charter schools they love. Politicians are here to help you, kids. They want to make sure you get a good education by closing down the schools where you’re getting a good education. Thanks for the help, government.