March 11, 2016

Ben Carson On Education, Charter School Data, Smarick Speechwrites, Cami Anderson Interviews, Hess On Evaluation, New Brookings Reports, Higher Education, South Dakota On The Move, Is Evidence? Plus Penguins & Fish!

By Bellwether

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So apparently Ben Carson will run education for Donald Trump? Well, when Campbell Brown of The 74 asked him about education he said,  ”Campbell, I think no child should be left behind.” OK then…

Meanwhile, in actual school improvement goings on, a lot on charters: Here’s a new NACPS report on the health of the charter movement. A lot of data.

Don’t agree with everything Greg Richmond is saying here, but a lot of it and it’s an important read and challenge to the charter school world and education world more generally:

….we need to change. We cannot do better tomorrow by continuing the ways of yesterday. We need to improve. One way that we are changing public education is through charter schools. Charters are not the only way we will improve public education, but they can be one powerful way.

The charter school movement is 25 years old; 6,800 charter schools in America serve nearly 3 million students. Many of these schools are achieving extraordinary results. But then again, some of them are not. The outcomes have been mixed, both here in Philadelphia and nationally.

So when we examine how well we are doing for the next generation, if we are honest, we have to acknowledge that all charter schools are not fully delivering on their promise. We need to do better.

Unfortunately, progress in charter schooling has been difficult and frustrating. In recent years, we seem trapped inside policies and practices that prevent progress, as charter school proponents and opponents wage a never-ending war.

Also on charters, Andy Smarick wrote a speech for DC Mayor Muriel Bowser. And here’s a Bellwether deep dive on the charter movement and where things stand and what new challenges are (pdf).

New Brookings analysis on dropping out and income inequality.

The data are consistent with this prediction: low-income youth are more likely to drop out of school if they live in a place with a greater gap between the bottom and middle of the income distribution.

Related, anyone who works or has worked with young people gets that the discount rate is pretty high on anything you tell them. So dropping out can be an interesting phenomena. We tell kids non-stop it’s a terrible choice – and it’s not a good one in the long term for sure. But, in the near-term the adverse effects are not always visible. In fact, dropping out can lead in the near term to more freedom, more disposable cash, and previously out of reach lifestyle choices. That’s not so bad! And that’s what young people see immediately with regard to their peers rather than the persistent effects that last a lifetime even if their in a community with those effects around them.  Seems like a solvable problem in terms of reaching kids before they make bad choices and one we could do more on.

Rick Hess on the teacher evaluation status quo.

Back in the 1990s, there was a sense that reforms failed when advocates got bogged down in efforts to change “professional practice” while ignoring the role of policy. Reformers learned the lesson, but they may have learned it too well. While past reformers tried to change educational culture without changing policy, today’s frequently seem intent on changing policy without changing culture. The resulting policies are overmatched by the incentives embedded in professional and political culture, and the fact that most school leaders and district officials are neither inclined nor equipped to translate these policy dictates into practice.

New cost adjustment tools from EdBuild.  Evidence and education. South Dakota on the move! Breaking! We can do a better job with teacher hiring. It’s all about relationships.

Cami Anderson talks teachers and Newark and the payoffs.

Employer sponsored quality assurance in higher education? Income share agreements for financing higher education.

Yesterday I wrote about how if school sucks or alienates parents then kids and families won’t want to be there.

Interesting parallels between this column and some of our education debate. Justin Fox notes some positive trends on key issues and asks why people are upset  about the status quo in America. Well, it’s great that the trade deficit is declining but if you’re in a place adversely impacted by trade or globalization you can’t feed your family trendlines. In the same way, people who say that public schools are doing great – when you separate out the poor kids – ignore the concentrated costs of our school problems on some Americans.  In addition, trade and school reform probably share the trait of being overall drivers of progress and improved standards of living but disruptive and creators of acute costs for particular constituencies.

Homer penguin. Fish swimming across the road.

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