Crowdsource This!

In November NYT columnist Joe Nocera wrote a column about the Steve Brill book that took the trite party line on charter schools – they can’t scale etc…and the trite union line – it’s all about collaboration.  Some truth to both claims but both issues are also, of course, much more complicated.  Today he’s back with a column going hard the other way – touting a charter school in Rhode Island and a reading initiative launched in tandem with the local school district (none other than Central Falls, btw).  I  haven’t visited this school but when I look at the data it looks to be trailing state averages in math and reading? Today’s column touts dramatic gains in reading in grades k-2 as a result of this initiative, and the state only reports the data in grades 3 onward so perhaps…but what measures are being used her to cite “dramatic” gains? Anyone know what’s up?  Update: Here’s some data (pdf).

2 thoughts on “Crowdsource This!

  1. phillipmarlowe

    Rotherham:
    In November NYT columnist Joe Nocera wrote a column about the Steve Brill book that took the trite party line on charter schools – they can’t scale etc…

    Nocera:
    Though a fan of the charter school movement, Brill concluded that, by themselves, charters were never going to fix what ails the nation’s public schools; you couldn’t possibly scale them to encompass 50 million public school students.

    Again, Roehrham:
    Anyone know what’s up?

  2. John Piscal

    Few of us in the charter movement have grandiose visions of replacing the traditional public school system. The traditional public school system has too many inherent issues of seniority, promotion from political connections than merit, and multiple bureaucratic layers of inefficiency that it is the antithesis of entrepreneurial, innovative, and effective.

    What charter operators really want to accomplish is to introduce a rigorous academic program that impacts students in a particular community. If successful, such schools can have a positive impact on neighborhood schools through competition. I never took any measure of satisfaction when my charter schools outperformed traditional schools in the community.

    What is troubling to many charter operators is the effort (money, time, resources) that school districts, and unions, put into discrediting charter schools, and building obstacles to their operations, rather than investing these resources into student achievement.

    Any school operator, public/private/charter, can identify with the challenges of serving students, parents, teachers, staff, and the community at large. The last thing that any school leader needs is another challenge.

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