TCF fellow Halley Potter writes for Inservice, the blog of international education association, ASCD, as a guest blogger on the topic of teacher voice in schools. Potter highlights the success of Green Dot Public Schools, a charter school network based in California, which sends 86 percent of its graduates to college.
Unlike most charter schools, Green Dot has had a teacher union from the start. "We began with a deep-rooted belief in the importance of teachers at the table, for there to be built-in collaboration for teachers and managers," explains Cristina de Jesus, Green Dot's Chief Executive Officer.
Potter's full blog post can be read here.
Support for "portability" and high-poverty schools is a contentious debate that relies heavily on the details involved. TCF fellow and education expert Rick Kahlenberg's research is cited in a blog post featured by the National Education Policy Center. Kahlenberg argues that socio-economic integration is a far better and less costly alternative to pouring funds into high-poverty schools directly.
Current proposals offer too little in the way of financial incentives to fundamentally alter student enrollment trends. "But," Kahlenberg remarks, "every school has his price. What is the magical amount of extra money low-income students should have in their backpacks to be attractive to middle-class schools? That’s an empirical question that surveys of school administrators could answer definitively. Meanwhile, past experience shows that financial arrangements can be made to assuage middle-class schools."
Check out the whole blog post.
TCF fellows Rick Kahlenberg and Halley Potter believe in the power of schools that embrace socio-economic diversity and foster teacher voice. The charter school landscape in Philadelphia at the moment is hitting a point of contention with the School Reform Commission pushing for priority of low-income schools and saying that there is generally no place for economically integrated charter schools. Kahlenberg and Potter cite their insightful book, "A Smarter Charter" and say that the idea of public education is more than academics, but also to promote social mobility and social cohesion.
Indeed, the guidelines under which the School Reform Commission operates make no mention of teacher voice or student integration. To the contrary, the guidelines give priority to schools in neighborhoods that have higher poverty rates. On one level, this is understandable, because low-income students are in the greatest need. But given that low-income students perform best, on average, in socioeconomically integrated schools, why not make room for charters that take that approach?
Read Kahlenberg and Potter's full article from Philly.com.
TCF fellow Halley Potter looks at Veritas Academy, a high school in Flushing, Queens, for ideas on how to promote high-quality education in integrated settings.READ MORE
The "No Child Left Behind" bill is up for debate once again with Republicans and Democrats struggling to compromise on proper policy. While Democrats support the system that provides funding directly to schools Republicans believe those same funds should be allocated directly to students who can then choose which school to attend. TCF senior fellow Rick Kahlenberg says that if executed properly, the Republican proposal to allow "portability" could increase socio-economic diversity in schools and foster better student environments.
Those findings would suggest that the Republicans’ principle of portability, in fact, has in it the seeds of a solution to reduce economic segregation through public-school choice—if, and only if, portability is properly structured. In order to accomplish this, portable federal Title I funding, as well as state and local funding, would need to be weighted heavily enough to give poor kids sufficient money in their "backpacks" that middle-class public schools would want to recruit them to attend.
Read the full article featured in The Atlantic.
A recent Slate article points out the "catch" associated with Obama's "America's College Promise" proposal which supposedly excludes high school seniors from family's with an average annual income of over $200,000. TCF fellow Rick Kahlenberg is quoted in the article, defending the idea that universal access to two-year community college is an advantage since socio-economically diverse schools tend to produce more successful students.
Capping eligibility based on income is the exact opposite of creating a universal program, and in this case, it makes very, very little sense to me as a political or policy decision. Politically, it kills some of the program's appeal to upper-middle-class voters (who, as we all know, tend to get what they want out of government). Meanwhile, as Richard Kahlenberg wrote at the Atlantic, one of the attractive aspects of Obama's plan was that it might lure more affluent students to community colleges, helping to make the schools more socio-economically diverse, and perhaps convincing legislators to fund them more generously (again, what the upper middle class wants, the upper middle class gets).
Read the full Slate article.
Most K-12 education reforms are about trying to make "separate but equal" schools for rich and poor work well. The results of these efforts have been discouraging. The Century Foundation looks at ways to integrate public schools by economic status through public school choice. At the higher education level, we examine ways to open the doors of selective and non-selective institutions to students of modest means.
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