Posts Tagged ‘charter schools’

NewSchool Summit

As Charters Face Growing Opposition, NewSchools Summit Makes Its Case

By Tony Wan     May 14, 2019

https://www.edsurge.com/news/2019-05-14-as-charters-face-growing-opposition-newschools-summit-makes-its-case

for the past 21 years its organizer, the Oakland, Calif.-based nonprofit known as NewSchools Venture Fund, has also put millions of dollars into novel schools in public districts

Charter schools operate with public funding, and sometimes philanthropic support, but are managed by an outside organization that is independent from local district oversight. In California, they are run by nonprofit organizations with self-elected boards. (For-profit charters are outlawed.)

Their supporters and operators—who make up the vast majority of the 1,300-plus attendees at this year’s Summit—say the model offers the flexibility needed to introduce, test and adopt new curriculum, tools and pedagogical approaches that could better serve students, particularly in low-income and minority communities.

Rocketship Education was an early showcase for blended learning, where students rotate between working on computers and in small groups with teachers. Summit Public Schools, a network of charters that now claims a nationwide footprint, promotes project-based learning assisted by an online learning platform.

But charters have also attracted an increasingly vocal opposition, who charge them with funneling students, teachers and funds from traditional district schools. Aside from raising teacher salaries, a sticking point in the recent California teachers’ strikes in Los Angeles and Oakland has been stopping the growth of charter schools.

Detractors can point to fully-virtual charters, run by for-profit companies, that have been fined for misleading claims and graduating students at rates far below those at traditional schools. At the same time, research suggests that students attending charter schools in urban regions outperform their peers in traditional school settings.

While the first decade of this century saw double-digit percentage increase in the number of such schools, it has almost entirely plateaued (at 1 percent growth) in the 2017-2018 school year, according to data from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

 

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more on charter schools in this IMS blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=charter

educational technology

The Overselling of Education Technology

By Alfie Kohn     Mar 16, 2016

https://www.edsurge.com/news/2016-03-16-the-overselling-of-education-technology

my response to ed tech is “It depends.”

Some people seem to be drawn to technology for its own sake—because it’s cool.

Other people, particularly politicians, defend technology on the grounds that it will keep our students “competitive in the global economy.”

But the rationale that I find most disturbing—despite, or perhaps because of, the fact that it’s rarely made explicit—is the idea that technology will increase our efficiency…at teaching the same way that children have been taught for a very long time. Perhaps it hasn’t escaped your notice that ed tech is passionately embraced by very traditional schools: Their institutional pulse quickens over whatever is cutting-edge: instruction that’s blended, flipped, digitally personalized.

We can’t answer the question “Is tech useful in schools?” until we’ve grappled with a deeper question: “What kinds of learning should be taking place in those schools?”

Tarting up a lecture with a SmartBoard, loading a textbook on an iPad, looking up facts online, rehearsing skills with an “adaptive learning system,” writing answers to the teacher’s (or workbook’s) questions and uploading them to Google Docs—these are examples of how technology may make the process a bit more efficient or less dreary but does nothing to challenge the outdated pedagogy. To the contrary: These are shiny things that distract us from rethinking our approach to learning and reassure us that we’re already being innovative.

putting grades online (thereby increasing their salience and their damaging effects), using computers to administer tests and score essays, and setting up “embedded” assessment that’s marketed as “competency-based.” (If your instinct is to ask “What sort of competency? Isn’t that just warmed-over behaviorism?”

But as I argued not long ago, we shouldn’t confuse personalized learning with personal learning. The first involves adjusting the difficulty level of prefabricated skills-based exercises based on students’ test scores, and it requires the purchase of software. The second involves working with each student to create projects of intellectual discovery that reflect his or her unique needs and interests, and it requires the presence of a caring teacher who knows each child well.a recent review found that studies of tech-based personalized instruction “show mixed results ranging from modest impacts to no impact” – despite the fact that it’s remarkably expensive.

 an article in Education Week, “a host of national and regional surveys suggest that teachers are far more likely to use tech to make their own jobs easier and to supplement traditional instructional strategies than to put students in control of their own learning.”

OECD reportednegative outcomes when students spent a lot of time using computers, while Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) concluded that online charter schools were basically a disaster.

Larry Cuban, Sherry Turkle, Gary Stager, and Will Richardson.

Emily Talmage points out, uncannily aligned with the wish list of the Digital Learning Council, a group consisting largely of conservative advocacy groups and foundations, and corporations with a financial interest in promoting ed tech.

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more on educational technology in this IMS blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=educational+technology

AltSchool

AltSchool shift raises concerns of profits placed over educational promise

 Nov. 8, 2017 https://www.educationdive.com/news/altschool-shift-raises-concerns-of-profits-placed-over-educational-promise/510293/

  • The announcement by Silicon Valley personalized learning startup AltSchool that it will close two of its lab school campuses in Palo Alto and New York City has some educators concerned that the company is putting profits over efforts to improve education, EdSurge reports.
  • Butler Middle School (PA) Principal Jason Huffman also told the publication that he sees the company’s struggles as parallel to those of other education reform models that didn’t live up to their promises, adding that organizations like Future Ready have made similar models and platforms for personalization available at a lower cost to schools and districts.

Education historian Diane Ravitch, a former assistant secretary of education under President George H.W. Bush, has been among the chief critics of these increasingly close ties, especially as it pertains to charter schools and voucher programs, decrying efforts to “turn us from citizens into consumers.” Public schools, she has said, should be focused around “building a sense of community, having a sense of democracy at the local level, having people from different backgrounds coming together to solve problems and learn how to be citizens.”

But AltSchool’s intentions with its lab schools and approach to developing its platform have seemed noble enough, with the company partnering with schools of varying sizes to learn how to best scale up successful approaches to personalized learning for traditional public schools. Its lab schools have been noted for eschewing traditional grade level structures and curriculum, attracting funding from the likes of Mark Zuckerberg.

Earlier this year, we visited one of the company’s partner schools — Berthold Academy, a Montessori in Reston, VA — to find out more about what AltSchool was looking to model and how its partnerships worked, finding a promising approach in action.

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more on charter schools in this IMS blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=charter

vouchers

Cory Turner offers a primer on how private school vouchers work, why they’re controversial, and the arguments for and against them

School Vouchers

nprEd correspondent Cory Turner offers a primer on how private school vouchers work, why they're controversial, and the arguments for and against them. Read more: “The Promise and Peril of School Vouchers” at http://n.pr/2psFwFz

Posted by NPR on Sunday, May 14, 2017

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more on vouchers and charter schools in this IMS blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=voucher

Ohio e-schools

Ohio’s E-School Attendance Dispute: Q&A With the Columbus Dispatch

The biggest Ohio e-school story over the past year: a push by the state education department to audit attendance at the full-time online schools using student-login records. A first round of reviews found that nine e-schools had overstated their enrollment by a combined 12,000 students. A Dispatch analysis of ECOT’s audit showed that nearly 70 percent of the school’s students missed enough school to be considered truant under state law.

Across the country, the question of how to best track and report student attendance in a full-time online school remains unresolved, contributing to the significant uncertainty around e-schools’ funding and performance.

 

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more on charter schools in this IMS blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=charter+schools

charter schools

Just What IS A Charter School, Anyway?

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more on charter schools in this IMS blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=charter+schools

education issues around election and charter schools

Peter Greene: What This Election Means for Schools

Trump’s education proposal is short but simple:

More school choice (a.k.a. “open the corporate charter floodgates”).

Merit pay for teachers (a.k.a. “we’ll pay them just what we think they’re worth and they’ll like it”).

End tenure (a.k.a. “You’re fired whenever the mood hits me”).

If Hillary is elected, we can expect more of the Obama style of reform. He deduces this from the advisors who are close to her, mostly from the Center for American Progress.

Bottom line: Trump will run over the schools like a steamroller, flattening them along with their teachers. He endorses vouchers, charters, online charters, anything goes.

Clinton is likely to be akin to Obama/Duncan in advancing charter schools and testing.

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REIGN OF ERROR By Diane Ravitch
Ravitch writes that the “the transfer of public funds to private management and the creation of thousands of deregulated, unsupervised, and unaccountable schools have opened the public coffers to profiteering, fraud, and exploitation by large and small entrepreneurs.”
The public school system, Ravitch argues, is under attack from corporate interests and Wall Street crusaders seeking to make a buck off the American taxpayer. The reformers, Ravitch writes, are an insurgency in America’s schools, “a deliberate effort to replace public education with a privately managed, free-market system of schooling.”
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Accountant Reconsiders Plea in Online Charter School Founder’s Tax Fraud

By Richard Chang 09/19/16

https://thejournal.com/articles/2016/09/19/accountant-reconsiders-plea-in-online-charter-school-founder-tax-fraud.aspx