Pre-K & Charters

Sara Mead looks at pre-K and charter schools in a new DFER* policy brief (pdf). *On the board.

One Reply to “Pre-K & Charters”

  1. There is no issue more important than expanding high quality early childhood and pre-K learning, and I want my union and my Democratic leaders to commit to whatever is necessary.

    Similarly, there is no issue more important than driving a stake through the heart of the NCLB accountability provisions.

    I had never heard of Jim Ryan, but again his Slate article points the way to a compromise. Just take your words on pre-K accountability, “accountability needs to be more nuanced, incorporating on-site observations, input measures, and a variety of assessment results, and looking beyond literacy, and math to students’ social, emotional, and physical development,” and apply it to NCLB II. After all, you cooperated with the Turnaround Challenge and it recommended almost exactly the same thing for high poverty schools.

    Kevin Carey’s taxation metaphor didn’t work for me, and he missed the point by focusing on the number of tests. (As Robert Pondiscio explained, its not the quantity of tests but the “testing culture” that produces kids who can decode but not comprehend.) Maybe I’m grasping at straws, but I agree with Carey’s actual words. We need testing for detailed, comparable, comprehensive and honest information. If that’s the goal, Ryan pointed to the way. Then we could get people of good will to come together and invest in per-K.

    I hope you will read the following as it is intended. Look at today’s economic news and you know that student performance is going down. When economic hardship hits, teachers are among the first to see its effects. We flesh and blood educators simply do not have the power to reverse the effects of economic hardship. So if you are disppointed by the evidence of the last year or two, which shows the underwhelming positive results of NCLB (and even if you deny that the negative results are so serious), how popular will the law be in two years? Not only will teachers be frustrated about battling greater challenges with relatively fewer resources, we will be even more tired of the pro-NCLB spin. We classroom teachers won’t be in the mood for our leadership to make concessions. So if I was as committed to accountability as you guys are, I’d make a deal sooner than later. You don’t have to agree, but please admit that we are as dedicated to our values as you are to yours. (and actually if we backed off on fighting this one issue we may find that our values are the same.) We may never agree on standardized tests and AYP, but why can we come together “For the pre-K children.”

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