Let Public Charters Succeed
Let public charter schools succeed: Column
In this USA Today column, Neerav Kingsland of New Schools for New Orleans argues that attacks against successful charter schools, like those in Illinois, are really an attack on parents who want a different option because their neighborhood school has failed them. Kingsland says that only by handing power back to educators and families will our nation ever achieve academic greatness. “It seems clear that we must reject the ‘our schools should be the only schools’ way of thinking. Let educators create great public charter schools. Give families the power to choose these schools.”
Hope Renewed for Special Needs Students
Teach For America’s national publication, One Day, profiled ReNEW schools’ special education programs to demonstrate the innovation and flexibility available to charters to better serve children with special needs. The five-school network has two classrooms for students with severe autism spectrum disorders, one “community skills” classroom for middle school students with moderate cognitive impairments, a high school for students up to 22 years old who are missing credits, and two “therapeutic classrooms” for students with serious psychiatric disabilities. About 14% of the network’s students have IEPs, compared to a citywide average of 10%.
Smart New Orleans
Smart Cities: New Orleans
Tom Vander Ark of Getting Smart has named New Orleans one of its “Smart Cities.” Vander Ark says the combination of innovative schools, a focus on talent development and recruitment, investments in individualized learning, EdTech startups, and the entrepreneurial environment is improving student performance and empowering parents. The innovation and success in New Orleans is “one of the best examples of what’s possible in urban education.”
Success in the New Economy
How Prospective College Students Can Gain a Competitive Advantage
If you have 10 minutes, watch this video – It is excellent! It makes a compelling case for students to explore career choices early, make informed decisions when declaring their college goals, and consider acquiring technical skills with real-world applications in tandem with a classic education.
By refusing to hear further appeal, the Louisiana Supreme Court has put an end to OPSB’s lawsuit against the state, which argued schools should be returned automatically to local control after five years if they are no longer failing.
In 2010, BESE decided each charter board had the right to decide whether it wanted to leave the RSD and return to local control. (So far, none has done so.) OPSB argued that keeping schools indefinitely exceeded the state’s constitutional authority, but the board lost its case in district court and again on appeal.
Read more in this article from the Times-Picayune.
Breaking News …
Panel rejects Jindal-backed bill to kill Common Core
The House Education Committee has rejected two bills that would have effectively scrapped Common Core in Louisiana, even though both were supported by the governor. House Bill 381 would have required the state to draft new standards to replace Common Core. House Bill 558 would have prohibited the state from using the Common Core assessments known as PARCC. Both were rejected in a 12-7 vote. Editor’s note: Thank you to the members of the House Education Committee who voted against these two bills.
America’s New Brainpower Cities
According to Forbes Magazine, New Orleans ties San Antonio for America’s #1 “Brain Hub” – a metropolitan area that is rapidly gaining college graduates. Between 2007 and 2012, New Orleans gained 44,005 college grads – a 20.3% gain. The gain is not just a returning Katrina-displaced population. College educated people are looking for affordable cities with cultural and natural amenities and strong economies, which New Orleans offers.
The Charter School Performance Breakout
The Wall Street Journal says the claim that charters perform no better than conventional schools is out of date and inaccurate. The Journal points to recent studies that show closing weak charters and replicating strong charters is having powerful effects across the country. In New York City, the average charter school student now absorbs five months of extra learning a year in math and one extra month in reading, compared to conventional schools students. At KIPP schools, the largest national charter group, 86% of all students are low-income, 93% are African-American or Latino, and 83% go to college.
Word on the street is that the Governor is supporting efforts to stop the use of PARCC tests next year, and he might even show up at the House Education Committee to testify.
PARCC, which stands for the Partnership for Assessment Readiness for College and Careers, has worked for 4 years with states, school districts, principals, and teachers to develop tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards. If Louisiana abandons the PARCC tests now, it will cost the state millions of dollars and many years to develop an inferior test that would not allow us to compare the performance of our schools and students to the rest of the nation.
— Louisiana adopted the Common Core Standards in 2010, with the Governor’s support.
— The PARCC tests were developed according to the agreement the Governor signed in June 2010, expressly recognizing the states were developing the test and that is was not a federal test.
— PARCC was developed by a consortium of 19 states and the District of Columbia. It is not a federal, one-size-fits-all test. The Governor would never have agreed to a “federal test” in 2010.
Funny … the Governor has a long record of supporting Common Core and PARCC tests.
November 2009: In a press release touting Louisiana’s decision to apply for Race to the Top Funding, which included signing on to the Common Core State Standards, the Governor got it right, saying:
“Our children have only one chance to grow and get the skills they need to succeed. We must take advantage of every opportunity we have to strengthen our education system and provide more opportunities for Louisiana children.”