September 22, 2021

Charter Randomness, Five Year Plans, School A Pied? And Where Are Families Going And What Do They Want From School? More…

By Bellwether

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Light housekeeping: The blog will continue to offer the Google Feedburner as a way to read Eduwonk, but because Google is no longer supporting the tool the supported email will be via Substack going forward.

Bellwether’s Hailly Korman in NASBE’s Standard on supporting students furthest from opportunity. 

People are talking about…Woke Urban Institute. Here’s Liam Bright’s take.

Paul Hill on one aspect of the “no argument” problem, how teaching and learning become a casualty.

On Twitter a big part of the charter debate is over whether charters just want to take some of the easiest to educate kids or all of them. In real life on the ground, a lot of charter operators are concerned about gentrification and maintaining a focus on persistently underserved students. Random admission rules, which are important to address potential skimming, can have the adverse affect of making it harder to have diverse schools.

That’s why this policy change in DC is interesting, because the idea that charters should have totally random admit bumps up against problems caused by changing community demographics and scarcity of good public options. I’ve never had an issue with weighted charter lotteries if the weights are toward underserved students or other narrowly tailored goals (and like all choice options the choices should be in the context of a genuine set of choices for families), but some charter advocates understandably worry that it opens the door for trouble.

California wants to have all 3rd-graders reading by 2026. That’s really great. Until you remember that it’s 2021 and that’s 3rd grade…

In unrelated news, parents are bailing from traditional public schools. But, two things to keep in mind in all the fuss. First, a lot of this is driven by virtual. Unclear how sticky that will be over time as pandemic risk ebbs. Second, the evidence is clear there is a huge disaffected cohort of parents out there right now. But I’ve only heard one major foundation talking seriously about how to protect their interests (eg pods) or advance them (eg choice). It’s just not where the philanthropic world is right now. And as we have discussed here, diffuse interests generally lose to organized interests in a liberal political system and the producer interests in this sector aren’t that interested in accommodating disaffected consumers. Absent a concerted effort this moment will pass and we’ll still be arguing about whether objectivity and rigor are at odds with social justice.

Here, from 74 earlier this week, is Bellwether’s Alex Spurier on homeschooling and what it portends.

The other day we talked about school transportation and the bus driver shortage. Earlier this week the 74’s Mahnken looked at childhood obesity. My probably unpopular take is that more kids should walk to school. Yes in some communities that’s not an option, I live half time in a very rural area so I get that, and yes special needs students need accommodations, I did a book about that with Checker Finn and Charles Hoakason about twenty years ago, get that, too*. Other issues can be safety and availability of appropriate sidewalks. And weather. That’s a lot! But, all that notwithstanding it sure does seem like more kids could walk to school than to today, especially in the suburbs and more built environments – and it’s another way to keep young people moving. Also better for the air.

Did you see that really compelling cover of “Creep” in an early episode of Apple TV’s “The Morning Show?” That was Rozzi Crane. She’s doing a sort of pop-up tour this fall if you want to get out and see / support some live music.

*Although a big focus of our project was about how the stereotypes about most special education students are mostly wrong. In this case, most can walk to school.

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