June 28, 2016

Detroit Charters, Remote Reporting, The King And I, Plus Baseball! Also One-L On Evidence, Christie’s School Finance Stunt, Kansas’ Finance Mess, And Barr In The Arena! Slack And Edu, And Snakes On A Grill. Plus More!

By Bellwether

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If you’re in Nashville John King and I are talking charters today at 2pm. What’s working, what’s not at 25 years? Here’s a preview of what he’ll talk about later in the afternoon. 

The Supreme Court has denied a rehearing of Friedrich’s before a full court (earlier this year it resulted in a 4-4 tie following the death of Justice Scalia).

Kids and baseball – read this.

Kate Zernike on Detroit charters in The Times. Landscape overview. Important story, but in my view it overplays the accounts of school failure while underplaying that there are a lot of good schools – including some in the for-profit sector. That’s important context and one reason (there are others including just plain old politics) it’s been so challenging to clean up Detroit’s charter sector. Blanket approaches carry unintended costs.  Also shows why it’s hard to do a Smart Cap approach to charter quality in a really fluid authorizing environment and a tough political environment for quality advocates (one faction wants all charter schools, one faction wants none, hard to find sensible middle ground).

Michele McLaughlin on evidence and its intermediaries. Sarah Sparks on teacher absenteeism.

This pretty much covers New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s school finance stunt. There is a political logic to this sort of reverse class war but let’s hope it doesn’t catch on because the policy is so stunningly bad.

A pig in every pot or every pig….or something like that…because Steve Barr is running for Mayor of LA! He has an uphill climb but don’t underestimate Steve’s ability to actually talk to people and organize them in a very authentic and organic way.

This NPR story on Rocketship, a California-based non-profit charter school network, is pretty slanted. Rocketship has had its struggles but the NPR story goes in other directions. Rocketship responds here. As it turns out apparently the lead reporter never visited the school and another reporter visited one school. The story didn’t have a dateline but you sort of assume NPR wouldn’t do that and there must have been some visits and in-depth reporting for a story like this. Apparently no. The problem for NPR is that longtime education writer Richard Whitmire literally wrote the book about Rocketship and has spent a lot of time at the network. He took issue with the whole episode. (Rocketship has been a past Bellwether client and we share a board member with them but the two organization are not related).

Amazon’s presence in the education sector is significant but it doesn’t seem to get as much play, and controversy, as others. Perhaps that’s changing, here’s their latest play.

CPR requirement for Missouri students.  Yes schools can’t do everything but basic CPR and the ability to use a defib machine is a good public safety step. A lot of states also used to require swimming – something else that sounds nanny state but can save lives.

Latest chapter in the D.C. Child Find dispute. Kansas school finance dispute.

Slack probably has applications in the education sector. But this is not one of them.  And as if you needed more evidence that promotion ceremonies for little children are out of hand. 

What happens to classroom pets over the summer? (Ask me about anole arbitrage sometime if you want a story).

Snakes on a grill.

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