Cardinal Sin?

My take on the Stanford charter school situation is below.  Punchline: This is sad in some powerful ways, it’s not funny.

But the New York Times story demands a bit more discussion.   (Plus it buries the lede…check out the Shalvey quote)

In the story Linda Darling Hammond points out that the Stanford school takes all kids.   Sure, but so do many other public schools (including some in the community including Aspire Public Schools, a network of public charters established by a former CA school superintendent) that have better results.  More on that below.  That uncomfortable reality  also makes Diane Ravitch’s quote in the story really curious.  This situation doesn’t illustrate much about the debate about schools and poverty overall, but it does again show that there are big differences among schools serving similar kids and that powerful and intentional instruction matters.

Here’s one screen shot from Educational Results Partnership, more data there you can check out yourself.   Despite the variety of additional resources (fiscal and otherwise) the school had at its disposal, it substantially under-performs similar schools on a variety of measures – so demographics are not an acceptable excuse here.

Screen shot 2010-04-16 at 8.17.21 AM

61 thoughts on “Cardinal Sin?

  1. Billy Bob

    I’ll take that as, “I couldn’t bother to look it up and see the truth for myself.” Just go to http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/naepdata/

    Its easy to walk through the data and use the gap analysis to see that gaps have not closed since 1998. Also easy to see that no progress has been made since 200/2003.

    Ask your friends at Edvance to look into it–they will tell you exactly what I am telling you.

  2. Linda/Retired Teacher

    Sandy, I’m glad you brought up your background because I was hesitant to do so. I didn’t know who you were until I detected something in your writing that shouted “conflict of interest” so I looked you up. My worst fears were confirmed.

    President Obama just spoke about “the loosely managed gambling of our financial system.” Well, many of us are terrified of a “loosely managed gambling of our educational system” where taxpayer money is siphoned off by business interests. This could have dire consequences for the educational system that has made possible the success of so many Americans. This is the system that sent me, an immigrant child from the working class, to a state university. It is the system that sent my sons to Harvard and Stanford.

    To be specific: Are you interested in testing because it will help children or because tests owned by your company will earn billions?

    Is the Washington Post pro-”reform” because its editors truly believe in the path it is taking or are they more interested in enhancing Kaplan testing, which reportedly makes more money than the paper?

    Are charter school operators interested in improving the education of children or in awarding themselves six-figure salaries at public expense?

    I try to be open-minded so I concede that perhaps most of these people are truly interested in closing the achievement gap, but I am extremely skeptical, mainly because few of the “reformers” have spent even one day in a classroom. That speaks volumes for me.

    As to scores in Texas, maybe you give them credence but I don’t. We need a lot more security around these tests before they can be used to evaluate schools, students or teachers.

    Again, I don’t mean to insult you. For all I know you can be a person who has devoted his life to improving education for all children. But the fact that you have such a huge conflict of interest is frightening to me.

  3. Linda/Retired Teacher

    One more point:

    We all have our opinions about what is very important in education. For me the first seven years in a child’s life form the basis for his education. Also critically important are high school and college graduation. To me a person who learns chemistry and physics in college has a better chance at a successful life than a high school student who excels in those subjects but does not attend college.

    So if Stanford really did find a way to get 96% of its graduates to college let’s find out how they did it. That’s a huge accomplishment.

  4. sandy kress

    Linda – I have no interest whatsoever in the California tests. They show what they show.
    The children in this school are not being educated to the standards set in California.
    You essentially allege other schools that appear to be do a better job have “security” problems.
    Do you have any proof? If you’re going to impugn the integrity of those schools, you ought to bring forward some evidence.
    Then you raise security issues about the NAEP tests in Texas. Do you have any
    proof of that?
    I have never read or heard of any allegation of cheating, much less proof.

    Billy Bob, I cited the numbers. I’ll reference Russ Whitehurst, the former head of the IES, as a source for the proposition gains of 20-30 scale score points on the NAEP, with gap closing of 5-20 points, is statistically significant and that 5 points is equivalent roughly to 1/2 a grade level..
    Do you want to keep jabbering, or can you cite some proof or an expert to the contrary?
    It’s cute to put up the general link to the NCES website. It’s cute to mention experts I know. Either disprove with facts my conclusions about the data, or stop wasting the time of the readers.

  5. Linda/Retired Teacher

    I want to repeat that ALL schools have security problems with the state tests because the tests are delivered to schools at least a week in advance and are often given to teachers several days before administration. The teachers themselves administer these tests, often without proctors! After that they are sent to the principal’s office to be “checked” before they are sent to district office.

    Do you want proof ? Write to each state department of education and ask about the logistics of administering these tests.

    I DO believe that many tests are secure: the SAT, PSAT, professional exams (law, medicine) etc.

    In the old days when standardized tests were administered to inform parents and teachers, it was OK if they were handled by school personnel. However, now that they are being used for “high stakes” purposes, such casual handling is no longer acceptable.

  6. Billy Bob

    1992 1996 2000 2003 2005 2007 2009
    a b c d e f g

    W-B 31 28 21 22 26 23 23
    c,d,f,g c,d,f a,b a,b a,b a

    W-H 22 24 18 18 19 17 21
    f d,e,f b b a,b f

    Ok–this is 4th grade math–where Tx does the best. These are the white-black and white-hispanic gaps. the numbers are the differences in scale scores between the two groups. The letters refer to the columns.So, the 2009 w-b was 23. This was stat sig from the gap in column a (1992).

    So, the w-b gap has not closed since 2000 and the w-h has essentially not changed. The gap in 2009 was greater than the gap in 2007, however.

    This is all from the NAEP data tool–try it–even a policymaker can use it.

    How do you like them apples?

  7. Billy Bob

    /92 /96 /00 /03 /05 /07 /09
    /a /b /c /d /e /f /g
    W-B /31 /28 /21 /22 /26 /23 /23
    /c,d,f,g/c,d,f /a,b /a,b /N /a,b /a
    W-H /22 /24 /18 /18 /19 /17 /21
    /f /d,e,f /N /b /b /a,b f

  8. Billy Bob

    First row: year–so 03 represents 2003
    Second row: column letter
    Third row: w-b scale score gap
    Fourth row: letter indicating what column that year’s gap is stat sig different than
    Fifth row: w-h scale score gap
    sixth row:letter indicating what column that year’s gap is stat sig different than

  9. eugene

    Sandy Kress: Lobbyist

    http://www.schoolsmatter.info/2010/04/sandy-kress-lobbyist.html

    Here’s a list of companies that pay NCLB architect Sandy Kress to push their interests.

    From the Texas Ethics Commission:

    Citizen Schools Inc.
    $10,000 – $24,999
    Client Start Date: 03/10/2010
    Client Term Date: 12/31/2010

    Edvance Research Inc.
    Less Than $10,000
    Client Start Date: 1/22/2010
    Client Term Date: 12/31/2010

    National Council on Teacher Quality
    Less Than $10,000
    Client Start Date: 1/22/2010
    Client Term Date: 12/31/2010

    Pearson Education
    $10,000 – $24,999
    Client Start Date: 1/22/2010
    Client Term Date: 12/31/2010

    Teach For America
    Less Than $10,000
    Client Start Date: 1/22/2010
    Client Term Date: 12/31/2010

    Texas Charter Schools Association
    Less Than $10,000
    Client Start Date: 1/22/2010
    Client Term Date: 12/31/2010

    Wireless Generation Inc
    $25,000 – $49,999
    Client Start Date: 1/22/2010
    Client Term Date: 12/31/2010

  10. Arvilla Nylander

    We all have our opinions about what is very important in education. For me the first seven years in a child’s life form the basis for his education. Also critically important are high school and college graduation. To me a person who learns chemistry and physics in college has a better chance at a successful life than a high school student who excels in those subjects but does not attend college.

    So if Stanford really did find a way to get 96% of its graduates to college let’s find out how they did it. That’s a huge accomplishment.

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