November 29, 2012

Education Realist explains charter schools

From Education Realist
The Parental “Diversity” Dilemma 
By educationrealist

... Look at the history of most progressive charters and you’ll find they are initiated by white people who fit into one or more of the following categories: 
- Unnerved by the high percentage of low-achieving, low-income kids at their neighborhood school. 
- Unwilling to risk the lottery system for the good schools in their district. 
- Unable to afford private school, or a house in a homogenous suburb. 
- Unsure their kids are going to be able to compete with the top kids in their neighborhood school (particularly in high school) 
- Unhappy with the public school’s treatment of their idiosyncratic little snowflake. 
These are people who would move to homogeneous environments, but can’t.

I'm more sympathetic to the parents' dilemma. I don't think it's a bad thing for the people who would stay and pay a lot of taxes in a big city to contrive a satisfactory public school education for their kids. At $4 a gallon of gas, there's a lot to be said for making a stand in the city.

But, contrive is the necessary word.
So a bunch of well-off but not super-rich white folks* who don’t want to or can’t move and don’t want to or can’t pay for private school live in a school district in which low-income black/Hispanic kids must be a part of their kids’ school environment. This is not optimal. However, if they can create a charter school and require a bunch of commitments, they can skim the cream off of this population, minimize the impact of low ability kids on their own child’s education, get their kids something close to straight As with far less work than they’d have to do in a public school, congratulate themselves on their tolerance and dedication to diversity, and all for less than the cost of a mid-tier private school. Such a deal. 
Unlike low-achieving, majority URM [Under Represented Minority] charters, which are generally funded with billionaire grant money or for-profit charters, progressive charters are normally started by parents who are willing to fork out $10K or so apiece to get a charter school off the ground for their kids. Then, once they’ve got seed money, off they go in search of a reasonable amount of low income URM kids. 
This kicks off a big hooha with the local school district. First, the charter will never be as “diverse” as the local school district. It will always run considerably behind in URMs. Then, the local school districts will accuse the charter of creaming just the motivated students, of URM attrition, of creating rules and expectations that are tough for the low-income (read Hispanic/black) parents to follow. Then there’s the yearly squabble as the local school district points out that the charters are pulling the public schools’ top achieving low income Hispanic/African American kids whilst leaving behind low incentive kids, special ed kids, English language learners, thus lowering the district school scores, while the charters congratulate themselves for their diversity, tolerance, humanity, generosity and high test scores. The local school district will often reject the charter’s extension, only to be overridden by lawsuits or the state. All done ostensibly in the name of good intentions and diversity, all done actually in the name of minimizing their own kids’ exposure to the lower achieving, poorly behaved low income blacks and Hispanics. (Of course, if the charter’s in a rich enough district, then they don’t even have to worry about finding URMs.) 
Am I painting this in the worst possible light? Probably, but it’s not all that pretty. Using taxpayer dollars for upscale liberals (they are, usually, liberals) who don’t want their kids in the overly “diverse” local schools or have a little snowflake who just isn’t good enough to compete in a more competitive public school

Say you've got a 95 IQ daughter and you want her to go to school with kids with average IQs of 105 instead of 85.

I sent my kids to a private school that took in a lot of students like that. The students at this Lutheran school were quite good in grades 1 to 5, but then suddenly in grade 6 the class size increased and the average brightness of the kids dropped. But, there weren't any major behavioral problems, and the parents were super nice. It turned out that the new families were ones where the kid had been in public elementary school for 1 to 5. But with puberty looming, there was a scramble for places in more elite public middle schools. The less bright kids lost out, so their parents paid to put them in this private school for grades 6 to 8. Socially it was fine: a bunch of people with moderate amounts of money. But academically, things slowed down.

So, for my second son, my wife found a public middle school with an elite Science Academy program taught by a charismatic guy who'd come quite close to making it as an sci-fi action hero (when Kurt Russell cut my son's teacher's head off and then blew his head up with an atomic bomb at the climax of Stargate, my son said, "No sequel for Mr. L.") And she talked the parents of his two best friends into pulling them out of the private school and going to Norm Isaacs' public middle school for 6 to 8, which saved me a lot of money.
gaming the system and using their own dollars to bootstrap a plan to qualify for state and federal dollars? If you’re going to do it, then own it. We can argue about whether or not it’s appropriate to create charters for entirely low income populations, schools that skim the motivated kids without any disabilities or sped problems from the local public schools overloaded with all that and more and then take those kids and mercilessly beat information into them in the hopes of moving them to a better-educated life and middle class jobs. But at least, there, we are working with kids who have no other options, who are being funded largely by grants from billionaires who want to pat themselves on the back for helping the little people. 
None of this means that the teachers aren’t hardworking and dedicated and that some low income kids are getting a much safer education than they otherwise would. (In high school, however, it does mean that the kids are all getting much, much better grades than they would be getting in their local comprehensive high schools, which gives them a huge advantage in college admissions.) 
The eduformers have started to notice these progressive, “diverse” charters, as well as gentrifying urban schools, which spring from the same motivations. Mike Petrilli** has a book out (What, you didn’t know? You must not be on his Twitter feed.) celebrating the parents who seek out this choice for their kids, despite their concerns about performance and their own little snowflakes’ educations. Why, Petrilli himself suffered through the “diverse schools dilemma”. His own local school in Takoma Park had a student body in which THIRTY FIVE PERCENT of the students qualified for free lunch! I mean, that school almost qualified for Title I! Oh, the humanity. So you can see why Petrilli felt the need to write a book celebrating the parents who brave these schools full of the great illiterate unwashed, and showing them how to find schools that only looked bad on the outside, but weren’t, you know, actually bad. 
In fairness, Petrilli, like all educational policy folks, is fixated on elementary and middle schools, which are far more segregated than high schools. So 35% probably seems like a rilly rilly high number to him. But I can list at least five high schools in my general vicinity that have are 65% free-reduced lunch and 65% ELL (mostly Hispanic) with a 30% population of white students, ranging from working class to well-off, a situation that’s becoming increasingly common in many suburbs. So Petrilli’s intro has already spotlighted him as a dilettante. I mean, gosh. 35%!!! 
But Petrilli as a eduform policy wonk has been focused on pulling in whites to the reform movement for a while—in fact, I’m deeply skeptical that he ever really researched the issue for his own kids, given how neatly this book ties in with his clear policy goals. In his summary of takeaways from the 2012 election, #1 on his list is “don’t piss off the suburbs”. (And of course, Petrilli didn’t take any of his own advice, running away from the scarily “diverse” Takoma Park in favor of uprooting his family to an expensive house in the suburbs and sending his kids to lily white Wood Acres Elementary, a school he tsks tsks in the intro for being over 90% white. Really, who hands out book deals to people like this?) 
So call me uncharitable, but I figure Petrilli and other eduformers are pushing “diversity” as a means of gently tempting house-poor or other economically stretched white folks into seeking out charters in order to further undercut public schools, while also reassuring the suburbs that the reform movement won’t drill and kill their kids to test heaven. 
Of course, the real “dilemma” is one I wrote about earlier: 
….why are charter schools growing like weeds? 
I offer this up as opinion/assertion, without a lot of evidence to back me: most parents know intuitively that bad teachers aren’t a huge problem. What they care about, from top to bottom of the income scale, is environment. Suburban white parents don’t want poor black and Hispanic kids around. Poor black and Hispanic parents don’t want bad kids around. (Yes, this means suburban parents see poor kids as mostly bad kids.) Asian parents don’t want white kids around, much less black or Hispanic….So charters become a way for parents to sculpt their school environments. White parents stuck in majority/minority districts start progressive charters that brag about their minority population but are really a way to keep the brown kids limited to the well-behaved ones. Low income black and Hispanic parents want safe schools. Many of them apply for charter school lotteries because they know charters can kick out the “bad kids” without fear of lawsuits. But they still blame the “bad kids”, not the teachers, which is why they might send their kids to charter schools while still ejecting Adrian Fenty for Michelle Rhee’s sins. 
As I’ve mentioned before, education reformers are now pushing suburban charters with strong academic focus, which are nothing more than tracking for parents who can’t get their public schools to do it for them. 
And so the dilemma Petrilli and others write about involving both progressive charters and “gentrifying” public schools: how can white middle to upper class parents who can no longer afford to move to a homogeneous district sculpt the schools they want while minimizing the impact of the undesirable students?
Clearly, step one is for the parents to publicly congratulate themselves. They’re not avoiding diversity, they’re seeking it out! (They just don’t mention the part about controlling it.) 
And then, wait patiently for step two: Eventually, all but the best low income students will either behave badly enough or get tired of the rules and leave the charter schools for the required-to-take-them comprehensives, and eventually, gentrification will be complete and all the low income students, good and bad, will go off to an exurb somewhere. 
So all they have to do is cope until that happy day, and avoid the lawsuits. Tiptoe tentatively around the cultural issues in the meantime. If you want to worry, worry that you bet on the wrong neighborhood and that gentrification won’t take hold. 
That’s the diversity dilemma, in a nut shell: a white parents strategy to minimize the impact of low income low ability students on their kids without the expense of a private school or a new house. If the economy or the housing market picks up, expect the trend to fade. Sorry, eduformers, but by and large, white folks like big high schools and full-service middle schools. 
Anyway. Russo touches on another point directly: the upper middle class white funded charters are, in almost every case, progressive. They hire their teachers from straight from top-ranked ed schools, all of them thoroughly steeped in the tea of social justice, heterogeneous classrooms, complex instruction, and Freire. Teachers dedicated to closing the achievement gap not by drill and kill, but by shrinking the range by pulling the top-end in sharply. Not, to put it mildly, teachers who will provide an academically rigorous education. 
What this means in practice is that progressive charters (and, probably, the gentrified publics) do not have a high-achieving white population–particularly at the high school level. The parents who start progressive charters are more likely to have idiosyncratic kids who would be labelled weird in their public school. 
Others, like the parents of Emily Jones in Waiting for Superman, are worried their kids wouldn’t track into the top group in their local suburban high school, and thus be stuck with the lower achieving kids. Still others just know their kids won’t work terribly hard and will get weaker grades at the local high school than they would at a progressive charter where they’d be the top students (and where, of course, they will be donating quite a bit of money for that sort of consideration). Parents with high achievers are either going to seek out academic charters (which are rare) or leave their kids in the comprehensive high school, where they are able to compete and perform at the top level. 
You can see this reality reflected in the research on charter schools, with one of its key findings: Study charter schools’ impacts on student achievement were inversely related to students’ income levels. 
Yep. Drill and kill works great for low ability kids, but heterogeneous complex instruction is a lousy way to teach a mixed ability classroom without many high achievers. 
But that’s predictable, isn’t it? After all, progressive charters are a hybrid of the worst of both sides of the education debate. Progressive instruction and goals, social justice crap given full rein, all in an organizational structure designed to pull off exactly the sort of kids who wouldn’t benefit from it, courtesy of the reform movement.

60 comments:

Anonymous said...

http://barelyablog.com/tom-wolfes-big-bad-book/

Cail Corishev said...

"get their kids something close to straight As with far less work than they’d have to do in a public school"

Huh? I've never been to a charter school, but I find it hard to believe that they're easier to excel in than a public school. Yet he tosses this out a couple of times as if it's common knowledge. Everyone in charter schools (because we've skimmed the cream, remember) gets straight A's? Really?

bjdubbs said...

The whole test scores charade is just a way to blame workers for being lazy and stupid and getting replaced by cheaper imports. So wages go up if test scores go up and schools produce lots of learned scholars, right? HAAHAHAH

Anyway, this by Sandra Tsing Loh is good.

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/03/tales-out-of-school/306645/

Anonymous said...

"http://barelyablog.com/tom-wolfes-big-bad-book/
"

I saw that before you posted it here and I rolled by eyes when I read it... why didn't she just write her own review?

Ed Realist's latest post where s/he details the "disparate impact" of a teacher certification test is pretty amazing. 80% of whites/40% of blacks pass on the first attempt.

Someone should start a crusade to bridge the white-black teacher certification gap.

Anonymous said...

can we just have restrictive covenants back?

paleopaleo said...

..."Everyone in charter schools (because we've skimmed the cream, remember) gets straight A's? Really?"

When you are worried about your physical safety it is more difficult to concentrate.

Anonymous said...

This may be true some places, but it is not the typical in Georgia. Here, start-up charter schools tend to focus nearly exclusively on targeting poor minority kids, and they do a good job. The KIPP schools in Atlanta have results far superior to the traditional schools. I'm far from a blank slatist, but the standardized testing is so easy here that even people with IQs of 80-85 should be able to pass them with appropriate schooling. KIPP, Drew Charter school and others here in Atlanta prove that to be the case. Yes there is somewhat of a selection bias problem, but when schools are serving 90% African American, 90% FRL populations and have more than 90% of middle school kids meeting standards in math and English, that is damned impressive.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

http://barelyablog.com/tom-wolfes-big-bad-book/


It would be really, really groovy if people who go to the bother of posting links here just add a tiny bit more effort and tell the rest of us what we'll find if we click on it. This one happens to have a legible URL that gives us a clue but most don't.

education realist said...

Hey, Steve, thanks for the link. You are, as always, good for both ego and page views.

Cail--progressive charters in suburban school districts are much easier to excel in than suburban comprehensives, which suffer if anything from grade deflation. I know many kids who got 4s and 5s on APs in public schools with a B in the class, whereas it's common in suburban progressive charters to fail the test and still get an A.

Progressive charters. There are academic charters, but they are much rarer.

Anonymyous 8:01--thanks, I'm glad you liked that post.

IHTG said...

Great post.

Anonymous said...

I have a high-school-aged relative who's experiences, as observed by me, may shed some light on the situation. Several years ago she moved from 8th grade in middle school to 9th grade in high school. Her city is one that is most often described as highly diverse. This means that any white parents who can afford it get their kids into private schools as soon as possible.

To counter this trend, the school department has instituted a tracking system where the best students get to attend a program that's licensed by the international baccalaureateprogram (?), a very superior system designed for the children of Amerucan diplomats and executives abroad. Needless to say, this high track program, where entry is dependent entirely on academic performance, is basically lily-white and Asian.

In an excess of moral fervor, my relative chose to continue her education in the high track high school program, despite the pleas of her parents to switch to a good private high school which they would have been more than happy to pay for. Before continuing, let me say right now that my relative is outgoing and athletic. To put it bluntly, she can take care of herself, she's a natural athlete and quite strong, and she knows how to handle aggressive behavior.

But after her first semester in the zoo she was attending she had the equivalent of a nervous breakdown. Only much later did we find that she was the constant victim of physical attacks. (I suspect attempted groping and the like too but she's never admitted to this.) She carried her possessions in a thirty-pound backpack all day because lockers were constantly broken into and what was not stolen was vandalized in extremely disgusting ways that emulated the behavior of monkeys. The HS she attended that semester later made national news when a gang brawl broke out during that year's graduation ceremony.

Her parents worked hard on her recovery and helped her get into a decent Catholic girls HS where she is now thriving. This kid is hardly a snow-flake. She's a tough, hard-workin, high IQ, extremely talented young woman who was nearly destroyed by a public school system that is doing the best it can buit is overwhelmed by dysfunctional students and their families. The only hope for this place is to segregate the bright students from the dull and the animals from all the rest. the only hope of this really happening is a bunch of appropriate charter schools with a small public school system to warehouse the dregs uintil they are ready for some other form of institutionalization.
Desp

Kylie said...

Short version:

SWPLs to the rest of us: "Excellence for me but not for thee.

Diversity for thee but not for me."

Nothing new here.

Anonymous said...

The amount of his post you quoted has to go beyond fair usage.

Anonymous said...

Harvard College Approves BDSM Group:

http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2012/11/29/bdsm-new-club-approved/

"It started last October with a meal in Currier dining hall with a handful of friends who shared something in common: an affinity for kinky sex.

More than a year after the group first began informally meeting over meals to discuss issues and topics relating to kinky sex, Harvard College Munch has grown from seven to about 20 members and is one of 15 student organization that will be approved by the Committee on Student Life this Friday."

Skeptical Economist said...

Mark Thoma runs the Economist's View blog site. EV is one the most influential economics blog sites currently operating. Mark Thoma is a totally orthodox left-liberal. His personal observations follow.

"What did I do? Initially, my kids went to their neighborhood school, and the elementary school was one of the lowest average income schools in Eugene. I volunteered a lot - e.g. I led science experiments in third and fourth grades - and what I saw was a learning environment was less than optimal. Test scores were awful and many of the higher income families had moved their kids elsewhere. But I believed kids should go to their neighborhood schools, partly for social reasons, so I started them in their neighborhood school. But after a couple of years we moved to a new district and things changed dramatically. You pretty much had to take a number to help in the classes, the parents in the school used fundraisers to hire extra science and music teachers to come in once a week, all sorts of things like that. The state sent the same amount per pupil to both schools by law, but because of the difference in parent involvement and differences in income, and the use of devices like external fundraising and volunteers, the disparities were pretty large. If I had to do it over, I would likely transfer my kids much sooner, i.e. from the start."

peterike said...

All of this education insanity is why education should not be in government hands at any level.

However, public funding of education is a reasonable good as it benefits everyone. So, tax for education locally only (no State, no Feds) and anyone with children gets $xyz per child from the pool. All schools are private, all schools compete for business.

The fact that Catholic schools can do well with about 5% of the administrative overhead as public schools is one of those deep dark secrets we can't mention. Though Catholic schools aren't what they used to be either because they suffer from the same deranged lunatics that come out of education schools.

Oh yeah, other than privatizing education 100%, the other necessary cure is to burn every education school to the ground.

Anonymous said...


Ed Realist's latest post where s/he details the "disparate impact" of a teacher certification test is pretty amazing. 80% of whites/40% of blacks pass on the first attempt.



I am a teacher and I can tell you those certification exams are easy. I didn't prepare and got 100% on several sections. I bet you could give that test to the average college grad and he could pass it never having had any teacher ed classes. The questions are that obvious. I mean, come on, the average college grad has been in school for 15 years. He knows what teaching is. Duh.

Anonymous said...

If democratic nations don't attack other democratic nations, why did Israel attack Lebanon few yrs back?

peterike said...

Anyway, this by Sandra Tsing Loh is good.

Heh, that was a pretty good read. If only to hear somebody finally stand up to that idiot among idiots, Jonathan Kozol. It's amazing how you can have a spectacularly lucrative career by peddling a single idea, and a single idea that is absolutely, categorically false in every aspect.

Seriously, I'm on the wrong side of things. Kozol is getting old and might drop dead soon (with any luck), so I should be preparing to step into his tight little shoes and spread the siren song of RACISM! RACISM! RACISM! to guilty whites and permanently outraged blacks who will nod their heads and say, "yes, those whites are such racists."

And now you can even sell this same sour sauce to Hispanics and Asians! Best seller list, here I come!

dearieme said...

"... in an organizational structure designed to pull off exactly the sort of kids ...": eh?

pat said...

I looked up your kid's former teacher in IMDB. I won't spoil it for other reader's by revealing who he is. As puzzles go, this one is pretty easy.


Albertosaurus

stari_momak said...

All this reminds me of Lili Burk, she of the Oakwood school ('students of color', a whopping 27%!). I assumed it was some sort of newfangled deal, but no, it was started in 1951

"Oakwood began in the hearts and minds of a small group of parents who had three things in common: 1) one or more of their children attended the same nursery school; 2) they were equally disturbed by post-war overcrowding in the public schools; and 3) they disagreed about almost everything else! "

http://www.oakwoodschool.org/EarlyYears

Thank god it's there so the Bobos' kids.

Truth said...

- Unnerved by the high percentage of low-achieving, low-income kids at their neighborhood school.

- Unsure their kids are going to be able to compete with the top kids in their neighborhood school (particularly in high school)

- Unhappy with the public school’s treatment of their idiosyncratic little snowflake.

"Hey Jr., we don't like having you around all of these black and brown kids, but you're too dumb to go to the school with all of the yellow kids, and just too fucking weird to stay here anyway...."

LOL, well that's gotta scuk.

Truth said...

Steve, Walter Reed and North Hollywood High are fine institutions of education.

Anonymous said...

I presume our realist thinks charter schools are a bad idea, given his snarks about 'little snowflakes'.

Maybe parents just don't want their little snowflake bullied, beaten or alternatively getting in with a bad peer group (Pinker in Blank Slate I think ranked How Your Kid Turns Out as 1= Teen peer group 1= Nature 3. Nurture).

"Yes, this means suburban parents see poor kids as mostly bad kids."

I don't think parents other than social climbers worry about the kids being poor. But they DO worry about behaviour and academic standards. And for reasons this blog has oft articulated, "on average" behaviour and standards will be worse with a poor catchment area. (This only applies in the West btw - a school with poor pupils in India or Africa won't have this issue).

Ed said...

I think this whole article is suffused with SWPL hate or SWPL envy, or whatever you want to call it, to the point where some of the arguments stretch credibility. You get that in some of the comments on this very site too, but this is a really long and supposedly serious article.

Anyway, I have a six month old daughter and will be starting this cycle in a few years, but I have to admit I don't get the public school system in general, and the concept of "school districts" in particular. Why not have all public schools funded by state taxes, and parents can send their children to any public school they want within the state. Public schools would get money determined by how many students want to go to them, so the better or at least more popular public schools would be overflowing with $$$, and if they get more applications than capacity they could open satellite schools. The weaker or less popular schools would lose funding and eventually close for lack of students. Parents that try to send their children to a popular school that is over-capacity might have to settle for their second or third choice, but most people would be able to put their children in the environment they want to, with the trade-off in some cases of a long commute. The really popular schools might eventually get set up to take boarders, if they develop a statewide reputation.

Anonyia said...

"The whole test scores charade is just a way to blame workers for being lazy and stupid and getting replaced by cheaper imports. So wages go up if test scores go up and schools produce lots of learned scholars, right? HAAHAHAH "

Very true, Bjdubbs. Also a ploy to make teaching a blue-collar profession instead of middle class one.

Anonymous said...

"I saw that before you posted it here and I rolled by eyes when I read it... why didn't she just write her own review?"

That's why her blog is called 'barelyablog'.

Here is a lame joke for ya.

What do you call a community made up only of smart gays?

Homogenius.

Dutch Boy said...

We sent my two daughters to private schools so they could avoid the local middle school that their older brother had endured. Mind you, this is not one of the egregious middle schools with the gangs and chronic police presence but it was bad enough.

Anonymous said...

All this posturing and positioning and twisted logic could be avoided by identifying the 10 or so per cent of students who won't try, who spend their time ruining other kids' chances and futures, and segregating them in dedicated remedial educational (holding)facilities until they are eighteen. Then they can go ahead and hit the streets/prison/ whatever. Yes, I know, a mind is a terrible thing to waste; so is a chance in life for the other 90%.

education realist said...

What is SWPL again?

I don't think I'm envious of it.

I am a teacher and I can tell you those certification exams are easy.

The high school teacher tests are roughly the equivalent of AP tests, which are pretty tough. I've taken them in three subjects (Math, English, and Social Science). High school teacher content knowledge tests have always been rigorous.

The original elementary school content tests were on the 6th grade level, but most states significantly upped the difficulty level after NCLB. Elementary school teachers must now demonstrate genuine high school level proficiency (say, that of a smart junior or senior) in all four subjects. Middle school teachers in most states have to pass the same qualifications as high school teachers, I believe.

I presume our realist thinks charter schools are a bad idea, given his snarks about 'little snowflakes'.

I think charter schools are a waste of money that can't possibly scale. I'd rather we boot the unworkable kids to charters and keep the large comprehensive schools for the kids who want to be there and are capable of doing the work (tracked by ability). I wrote about that here: http://educationrealist.wordpress.com/2012/09/09/the-sinister-assumption-fueling-kipp-skeptics/

Reformers will figure out charters can't scale soon enough, so I'm just waiting for the light to dawn.

As for "little snowflakes", that's a general term of derision for the way some suburban moms want every possible path smoothed for their unique child. Not all kids are snowflakes. Remember, I like kids. Even the snowflakes.


Here, start-up charter schools tend to focus nearly exclusively on targeting poor minority kids, and they do a good job

I am reasonably sure that your state has progressive charters as well. If not, they will soon enough. But in case it's not clear, most people think of charters as URM low income. The point of my article is that reformers are starting to push the progressive charter to market to suburbans and urban well-offs.

And no, 80-90% African American proficiency level is either a sign of major skimming or really easy tests. KIPP schools aren't all that.

Ex Submarine Officer said...

I've got my little snowflake in public school in Japan. It is 5 blocks from where we live, he's walked there since 1st grade.

No nonsense there, they pretty much stick to the abc's (ka-ki-ku's?) along with a good dollop of Hiroshima. All the kids have to learn how to swim, play a musical instrument & each year learn about 250 kanji characters. It seems like all the girls are somehow required to learn how to ride a unicycle, it is like a circus seeing this at school events.

They don't ken much to this ADD business either, just run the kids around the schoolyard a few times in the morning to take the edge off of them.

Additionally, they seem to favor a lot of physical activities for the kids during the day. Japanese schools invariably have a field w/in their grounds covered with a beige aggregate somewhere between sand and gravel. When you pass by the school during the day, there is nearly always some group of kids trooping around the field, playing some game or sport, etc. Again, probably works wonders for the ADD, which myth they don't subscribe to in Japan anyhow.

Principal is out in front of the school gates every morning, rain or shine, greeting the kids as they arrive (all on foot, incidentally) with maybe a comment/insight about their child if a parent is in accompaniment.

The building, like every Japanese public school I've seen, is starkly utilitarian - no internal hallways, just stacks of classrooms with external balconies/stairwells. I don't think there is central heat/ac, just heating in each room. The windows are open a lot. The kids have to clean up the room at the end of each day, I think the janitorial staff is fairly minimal.

Lunch is served at the school, the kids have to take turns at mess duty serving the food.

At the beginning of each year, your kids teacher makes a home visit for each kid to understand the family context of their student.

The moms are way better looking than at a typical U.S. PTA. Lots more polite and decidedly more prone to apologizing for their own uncivilized little hooligan rather than berating your child in the case of an altercation/incident between them.

And yes, they have to take their shoes off in school, there is a staging area/shelves for this and they wear slippers in class.


Cail Corishev said...

"Elementary school teachers must now demonstrate genuine high school level proficiency (say, that of a smart junior or senior) in all four subjects. Middle school teachers in most states have to pass the same qualifications as high school teachers, I believe."

Strange, I missed the news reports about how half the teachers failed the tests and got fired.

sunbeam said...

Anonymous said:

"This may be true some places, but it is not the typical in Georgia. Here, start-up charter schools tend to focus nearly exclusively on targeting poor minority kids, and they do a good job. The KIPP schools in Atlanta have results far superior to the traditional schools. I'm far from a blank slatist, but the standardized testing is so easy here that even people with IQs of 80-85 should be able to pass them with appropriate schooling. KIPP, Drew Charter school and others here in Atlanta prove that to be the case. Yes there is somewhat of a selection bias problem, but when schools are serving 90% African American, 90% FRL populations and have more than 90% of middle school kids meeting standards in math and English, that is damned impressive."

Reading the articles today on this, it seems to me that the Charter schools have more liberty than the main track schools to tell a kid he is a discipline problem, and he can't come anymore.

Might that be what is going on here? The kids that are left aren't troublemakers and are now free just to be regular students?

Education Realist said...

Strange, I missed the news reports about how half the teachers failed the tests and got fired.

Many teachers were required to go back and get some sort of qualification to teach middle school. In many cases, they were moved back to elementary school and in some cases, if they weren't fully credentialed, they lost their jobs.

In other cases, they were able to either pass the test or document they had academic work that at least on paper showed they could do the work. (HOUSS, or whatever it is called).

So yes. You missed the news. You're missing the news now, because that's in some part how the Mumford fraud ring began, because teachers with looser credentials were required to go take tests that they couldn't pass.

http://educationrealist.wordpress.com/2012/11/28/more-on-mumford/

Truth said...

Public schools aren't all bad, Sports; I mean, if you had attended a traditional city public school, you would have had the opportunity to get rejected by this level of brilliant, talented and adorable little trollop.

Steve Sailer said...

Pat says:

"I looked up your kid's former teacher in IMDB. I won't spoil it for other reader's by revealing who he is. As puzzles go, this one is pretty easy."

It's okay, he's a really good teacher. I just have a general policy of trying to avoid mentioning the names of people I know in private life. Say, I want to recount an anecdote at another time where this unnamed person said something laughable. (I can't think of any at the moment, but let's just use him as an example.) I want to be able to cite examples from my life without making it terribly easy for people to connect the dots back to the name of the individual I'm talking about. Most people are less resourceful than Pat at searching online.

Also, the more steps you have to go through to figure out something, the harder it is to explain to somebody else and get them to believe it: their eyes start to glaze over as you explain how you know something must be true by connecting a bunch of different references.



Whiskey said...

Education spending is basically a waste for those with kids outside the age of schooling, or those with no kids. The money spent on NAMs, particularly Black/Hispanic kids, at most comprehensive schools, is basically to create jobs in NAM school districts, and babysit. That's it. Learning that goes on is minimal. Gangs rule the schools, most kids are uninterested and not able to learn much anyway. Literacy if it exists is only partial.

Most education outside the White/Asian areas is there for jobs and patronage, and to keep kids out trouble in the surrounding area from 8 am to about 3 pm. That's it.

Anonymous said...

"Of course, if the charter's in a rich enough district, then they don't even have to worry about finding URMs."

Not true.

In wealthy Marin County the city of Novato is going through yet another round of controversy surrounding a proposed charter. The usual fuss about diversity and URMs is being made, and the usual apologies and assurances from the charter promoters.

But Marin does have its share of URMs, chiefly Mexicans, and hundreds of White families are struggling to escape the mess they make of the otherwise fine Marin schools they colonize.

For example, White kids in San Rafael elementary schools scored an impressive average of 937 points on the state's test, while Hispanics, who outnumber Whites 2-to-1, scored 717. If anything the situation is much better in Novato, where the fur is flying: there Whites outnumber Hispanics 2-to-1, and the scoring gap is only 876-730. I wonder whether the Whites in San Rafael have just given up all hope of a charter?

-Dave

Anonyia said...

"Why not have all public schools funded by state taxes, and parents can send their children to any public school they want within the state. "

And that's going to save money, promote efficiency and improve schools how, exactly? The whole problem with public schools are the bad students. Do you think those students are going to magically disappear or alter their behavior in the right school? There are really only two ways for public schools to improve 1. culture and parenting techniques improve to the point where being disruptive and disrespectful is taboo, kids come from nuclear families, etc 2. bad students or poor performers are tracked into vocational training by high school.

Cail Corishev said...

"So yes. You missed the news."

Interesting stuff, thanks. I still can't help thinking that you're pulling our legs, though, with that stuff about middle school teachers being as proficient as a smart junior or senior. I doubt that was true of more than a few of the teachers I had, even through high school.

If teachers have improved that much since my day, then I suppose it's just more proof that the teachers don't affect the output very much.

David Davenport said...

bad students or poor performers are tracked into vocational training by high school.

Why do you think Bad students or poor performers might do well in vocational training?

Do you think such students can be trusted with power tools or welding equipment or natural gas plumbing or electrical wiring?

Truth said...

"And no, 80-90% African American proficiency level is either a sign of major skimming or really easy tests. KIPP schools aren't all that..."

Education Realist, that was a brilliant thesis supported by evidence, footnotes, links, and documentary evidence. Oh wait, I must have been reading someone else's post.

Anonymous said...

"Also, the more steps you have to go through to figure out something, the harder it is to explain to somebody else and get them to believe it: their eyes start to glaze over as you explain how you know something must be true by connecting a bunch of different references."

Amen, Steve! You have just described the process of explaining any concept with a non-trivial IQ threshold of understanding. The trouble is, the higher IQ you are personally, the more you understand things, but at the same time the diminishing number of people you can possibly explain your unique insights to.

There is a certain undeniable level of alienation that comes with having a high IQ, but I don't think many of us would trade it.

TGGP said...

On average, charters seem to perform as well as regular schools (though there's lots of variation). KIPP seems to have really found something that works, which I did not expect. And it's not due to skimming.

Education Realist said...

Hey, Steve--would it be a hassle to include the link to the earlier article in the included quote? It's "Of course, the real “dilemma” is one I wrote about earlier:" and here's the link: http://educationrealist.wordpress.com/2012/09/20/on-the-ctu-strike/

Anonymous: Wealthy Marin County is right next store to Marin City, I think it's called, with lots of Hispanics. Bullis School, in Los Altos, is on the Los Altos Hills side, and the nearest poor people are a couple school districts away.

Education Realist, that was a brilliant thesis supported by evidence, footnotes, links, and documentary evidence. Oh wait, I must have been reading someone else's post.

I've spent a lot of time analyzing KIPP's scores. There's plenty of info out there. Read up.

Peninsula Hauling and Demolition said...

Anonymous @11/29/12 8:44 AM, I love you. Yes, please people posting links, take the trouble to say a sentence or two, especially if you want someone to read them. I skip most, without. If that doesn't move you, think of poor Steve, having to click to find out whether they're spam. Also Mr Anonymous, I suppose it's easy enough to copy & paste the time of posting as an ID to reply to but, some sort of handle is good too.

Eric said...

Hmmm, suburban progressive charters with a lack academic rigor. I'm guessing California? In NY, with a lot less charters than California, there a very few charters that could even be considered suburban. I do know of one school located in a city that seemed to attract suburban type students. We used to joke that it was a diverse student body, some kids got dropped off in Saab's, some in Volvo's...

Education Realist said...

Yes, KIPP skims. The attrition rate in the mathematica report ignores the fact that KIPP doesn't replace its missing students, whilst public schools are constantly getting an influx of new students with the old ones that disappear. Moreover, there's a selection bias in the students that KIPP loses, whereas the public school attrition is more random.

This has all been discussed ad nauseum. All charter results are biased because of unavoidable factors. It's impossible for them not to be. And the improvement, given that bias, is quite tiny.

David Davenport said...

http://www.nashvilleledger.com/editorial/Article.aspx?id=62948

VOL. 36 | NO. 48 | Friday, November 30, 2012
...

Task force submits school voucher recommendations

...

NASHVILLE (AP) - A task force appointed by Gov. Bill Haslam to study how to start a school voucher program has submitted its recommendations to the governor.

The report submitted Thursday comes a year after Haslam appointed the nine-member task force, which included lawmakers and representatives from private and public schools

A school voucher program, or an opportunity scholarship program, would use state and local education funds to allow students to transfer to better private or public schools. Haslam appointed the task force because he said the issue needed more study before any legislation is pursued.

The group's recommendations included discussion about accountability and private school eligibility, student eligibility and program capacity, and the amount of the scholarship.

http://www.nashvilleledger.com/editorial/Article.aspx?id=62948


Notice the part about getting a tax payer-funded voucher to attend a private school? The Tennessee state legislature may actually approve this proposal, since Republicans have super majorities in both the upper and lower chambers of the legislature. Gov. Haslam is the obstacle. He's a Republican also, but of the wishy-washy, Can't-we-all-get-along? ilk.

In my opinion, parents of homeschoolers should also get vouchers. Homeschooling is a growing trend here in TN.

Kylie said...

Truth said, "'Hey Jr., we don't like having you around all of these black and brown kids, but you're too dumb to go to the school with all of the yellow kids, and just too fucking weird to stay here anyway....'

LOL, well that's gotta scuk[sic]."


Yep, LOL.

Marc B said...

The upper income liberals living in the City of Memphis, TN will lie, cheat and bribe to get their kids into a Charter/Magnet public school. Many of them can afford private school, but enjoy bragging that they send their kids to an MCS public school. It is very rare to find White students with parents with combined income over six-figures in a neighborhood Memphis city school.

not a hacker said...

This seems like a good place to repeat the story of my Berkeley basketball acquaintance, a black guy who'd attended one of SF's non-academic "neighborhood" high schools in the '70's. He told me, "you wouldn't have lasted a week at Lincoln, man."

alonzo portfolio said...

@Cail Corishev:

Your instincts are right. Here's one of the questions on the 1990 California CBEST, the threshold teacher credentialing exam -

Place the following events in chronological order:

World War I
World War II
Civil War
Spanish-American War

Clutch cargo cult said...


Related

http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20121130/BLOGS02/121129760

The bottom line, you can never do enough, you are always doing the wrong thing, give me more money!!

Clutch cargo cult said...


Related

http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20121130/BLOGS02/121129760

The bottom line, you can never do enough, you are always doing the wrong thing, give me more money!!

Clutch cargo cult said...

BTW here is the CBEsT exam

http://www.cbest.nesinc.com/CA_viewPT_PDF_opener.asp

This is AP level? Simple addition and percentages? Multiple guess? And some teachers need to cheat to pass?

Education Realist said...

Here's one of the questions on the 1990 California CBEST, the threshold teacher credentialing exam -


It is not the threshold teacher credentialing test. It's not even required any more. It was never the only required test for high school content teachers.

Here's what I wrote in an earlier post:

The high school teacher tests are roughly the equivalent of AP tests, which are pretty tough. I've taken them in three subjects (Math, English, and Social Science). High school teacher content knowledge tests have always been rigorous.

The original elementary school content tests were on the 6th grade level, but most states significantly upped the difficulty level after NCLB. Elementary school teachers must now demonstrate genuine high school level proficiency (say, that of a smart junior or senior) in all four subjects. Middle school teachers in most states have to pass the same qualifications as high school teachers, I believe.



If you want to read up, google a little better.

And, btw, the pass rate for blacks and Hispanics on the CBEST is very low, as it is for the Praxis I. But that's another of my posts:

http://educationrealist.wordpress.com/2012/11/28/more-on-mumford/

Sword said...

David Davenport said...
------
bad students or poor performers are tracked into vocational training by high school.

Why do you think Bad students or poor performers might do well in vocational training?

Do you think such students can be trusted with power tools or welding equipment or natural gas plumbing or electrical wiring?
-------
Well, if they can not be trusted, it might be cheaper - on a societal basis - that they fail the Darwin test early on.

swedish dude said...

It might be of interest that school vouchers exist in Sweden, and they can be used for private schools. Counties have a small amount of power in limiting the total number of voucher schools, but they often get overridden if they try to deny a voucher school founding.

The party that was the driving force behind the voucher law was the liberal party, which has a large proportion of the teacher vote. Those in opposition were the socialist parties.

Usually, the voucher schools have the express intent to use special pedagogy, or teach unusual subjects. There is also a small number of religious voucher schools. There is of course a significant proportion of the voucher schools that are geared to attract students that can handle significant academic rigor.

In the really big markets, there are also voucher schools that cater to decidedly unusual preferences among the parents. There is one voucher kindergarten in the capital in which the personell does not use the words he or she, or his or her - but instead uses made-up pronouns which do not indicate gender. The charter of that kindergarten states that it should fight against all types of gender stereotyping, and be inclusive of LGBTQ people. The logotype is a rainbow. The names - and other personally identifying data - suggests that several of the personell belongs to the LGBTQ group itself. They market themselves to superfeminists and LGBTQ parents, and in a big city there is a sufficient market base for the whole thing to work. Once consequence is that those parents segregate themselves out of other schools, and therefore influence them much less.