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education news bulletin, 9.14.2004

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  • edupreneurs_moderator
    Education News Bulletin 9.13.2004 CHARTERS, CHOICE AND NEW SCHOOLS Charters get high grades in report NATIONAL - Kids in charter schools do better on reading
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 14, 2004
      Education News Bulletin


      Charters get high grades in report

      NATIONAL - Kids in charter schools do better on reading and math
      tests than traditional public-school students, a new national study
      shows. The findings differed dramatically from those in an American
      Federation of Teachers report last month that found charter-school
      students lagging behind their peers at regular public schools. The
      latest study, by Harvard Professor Caroline Hoxby, found that
      charter-school students were 3 percent more likely to be proficient
      on their state's reading exam and 2 percent more likely to be
      proficient on their state's math exam. "These differences are modest
      but statistically significant," Hoxby wrote. "One clear lesson that
      can be taken from [the two studies] is that it is too early for
      anyone to draw sweeping conclusions about charter schools." The AFT
      findings were flawed, she said, because they were derived from a
      sample of 3 percent of fourth-grade students in charter schools.
      Hoxby said she gathered data on "virtually 100 percent" of fourth-
      graders in charter schools and compared them to students at the
      nearest public school. (By David Andreatta for the New York Post)

      http://www.nypost.com/news/regionalnews/28148.htm (for the
      report, "A Straightforward Comparison of Charter Schools and Regular
      Public Schools in the United States," see

      California Charter Schools Showing Greater Student Achievement
      Gains; Positive Results Come in Midst of Strong Increase in Number
      of New Charter Schools

      CALIFORNIA - California's public charter schools are making greater
      student achievement gains compared to their non-charter
      counterparts, according to an analysis of the 2004 Academic
      Performance Index (API) released last week. In addition, the average
      growth on student achievement for charter schools nearly doubled the
      growth for their non-charter school counterparts. The positive
      student achievement gains were announced during a new school year
      that has 78 new public charter schools opening their doors for the
      first time - a 15 percent increase in the number of new charter
      schools compared to last year. … According to the latest data,
      which looked at API growth gains from 2003 to 2004, 64.4 percent of
      charter schools increased their API scores, compared to 61.1 percent
      of non-charter schools. Charter schools increased their API scores
      by an average of 12.9 points, compared to 7.3 points for non-charter
      schools. (California Charter Schools Assocation, via

      ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20040907005851&newsLang=en (for more on
      California charter schools, see "Charters Remain Best Hope For
      Public Education" by Sacramento Bee columnist Daniel Weintraub at

      Can competition really improve schools?

      NATIONAL - When an economist first introduced the idea in the 1950s,
      it was a notion both controversial and contentious. Education, he
      argued, was a commodity like any other, and would benefit from
      fierce, free-market competition. It was a fairly simple idea:
      Parents and children should become consumers, and schools the
      product. If a school isn't up to snuff, parents move their children
      to a better one. Thus good schools flourish and bad ones are forced
      to improve, or else fall away. ... But the theory of choice has
      faced some difficult reality checks of late. Studies don't
      necessarily support the claims that students will perform better
      either in charter schools or in private schools made accessible by
      vouchers. At the same time, the idea that students should be free to
      leave failing public schools is bumping up against the simple
      reality that there are not enough seats in good schools to go
      around. It's causing some to ask if the growth of the choice
      movement may not be outpacing evidence of its efficacy. (by Teresa
      Mendez for the Christian Science Monitor)



      Executive Summary: How leadership influences student learning

      NATIONAL - Effective education leadership makes a difference in
      improving learning. There's nothing new or especially controversial
      about that idea. What's far less clear, even after several decades
      of school renewal efforts, is just how leadership matters, how
      important those effects are in promoting the learning of all
      children, and what the essential ingredients of successful
      leadership are. ... This report by researchers from the Universities
      of Minnesota and Toronto examines the available evidence and offers
      educators, policymakers and all citizens interested in promoting
      successful schools, some answers to these vitally important
      questions. It is the first in a series of such publications
      commissioned by The Wallace Foundation that will probe the role of
      leadership in improving learning. It turns out that leadership not
      only matters: it is second only to teaching among school-related
      factors in its impact on student learning, according to the evidence
      compiled and analyzed by the authors. (The Wallace Foundation - full
      report coming soon)



      Data Show Schools Making Progress On Federal Goals

      More schools nationwide will meet their annual achievement targets
      under federal law this year than last, if initial trends hold up.
      But parents in many states won't know how their children's schools
      did until well into the academic year. By Sept. 1, just over half
      the states had released at least preliminary lists of the number of
      schools that had made adequate yearly progress under the No Child
      Left Behind Act, based on 2003-04 test data. In general, the percent
      of schools that met all their targets either held steady or
      increased compared with the previous school year - sometimes
      substantially, according to an analysis conducted by Education Week.
      … Yet while state press releases have largely attributed the
      gains to hard work and better test scores, at least part of the
      reason stems from changes in state accountability plans and the
      additional flexibility granted by the federal government. (by Lynn
      Olson for Education Week)


      Column: API or AYP test? Will we call the whole thing off? (by Peter
      Schrag of the Sacramento Bee)

      If ever there was a set of school testing and accountability systems
      made for spinning, we've got them. And in California's case, the
      spinning applies not only to the activities of the spinmeisters in
      Sacramento, but to the spinning heads of the parents and community
      leaders at the receiving end. Take last week's simultaneous release
      of the state's API (Academic Performance Index) and the numbers for
      the federally mandated AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress). Each is
      supposed to measure the performance of each school and district. The
      news wasn't great on either scale, but since the two often diverged,
      and since neither measure is based on anything approaching hard
      science, there's plenty of room for confusion. (Sacramento Bee)



      Preschool may help bridge rich-poor gap

      BERKELEY -- Attending preschool can shrink achievement gaps between
      poor and rich children and help students from all backgrounds enter
      kindergarten better prepared, says a new report. The study, to be
      released today in Sacramento, found that large numbers of children,
      especially minorities and those from lower-income households, start
      school already lagging their peers in reading and math skills. But
      children who attend preschool early and regularly are about four
      months -- or almost half a school year -- ahead of those who don't,
      according to the report conducted by researchers at the University
      of California and funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.
      (LA Daily News)

      2C00.html (for more on preschool, see "Open the Preschool Door,
      Close the Preparation Gap" from the Progressive Policy Institute at
      knlgAreaID=110&subsecid=180&contentid=252867, or go directly to the
      report at http://www.ppionline.org/documents/PreK_0904.pdf)


      The Teachability Index: Can Disadvantaged Students Learn?

      NATIONAL - This study, the first of its kind, systematically
      measures the teachability of students by examining sixteen social
      factors that researchers agree affect student teachability.
      Combining these factors into a single Teachability Index provides
      the first-ever valid measurement of whether schools are facing a
      student population with greater challenges to learning. The
      Teachability Index shows that students today are actually somewhat
      easier to teach than they were thirty years ago. Overall, student
      disadvantages that pose challenges to learning have declined 8.7%
      since 1970. (By Jay Greene and Greg Forster of the Manhattan
      Institute for Policy Research)


      Where Do Public School Teachers Send Their Kids to School?

      NATIONAL - Teachers, it is reasonable to assume, care about
      education, are reasonably expert about it, and possess quite a lot
      of information about the schools in which they teach. If these
      teachers are more likely than the general public (which may not have
      nearly as much information or expertise in these matters) to send
      their own daughters and sons to the public schools in which they
      teach, it is a strong vote of confidence in those schools. ... The
      data show that urban public school teachers are more likely than
      either urban households or the general public to send their children
      to private schools. Across the states, 12.2 percent of all families
      (urban, rural, and suburban) send their children to private schools -
      a figure that roughly corresponds to perennial and well-known data
      on the proportion of U.S. children enrolled in private schools. But
      urban public school teachers send their children to private schools
      at a rate of 21.5 percent, nearly double the national rate of
      private-school attendance. (by Denis P. Doyle, Brian Diepold, and
      David A. DeSchryver for The Thomas B. Fordham Foundation)

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