TCF fellow Halley Potter and senior fellow Rick Kahlenberg recently published an article that cites the many advantages of socioeconomic and racial integration in charter and traditional public school classrooms. They cite statistics that prove the supreme benefits of integrated classrooms and the stark difference in performance of low-income students who learn among diverse peers.
It's an advantage to be in a school with lower concentrations of poverty in part because peers learn from one another. A low-income student in a mixed-income school is more likely to be surrounded by classmates who are high-achieving and expect to go on to college than a similar student in a high-poverty school. Likewise, it's an advantage to be in a mixed-income school where parents are more likely to be active in school affairs and to volunteer in class than stressed-out parents in a high-poverty school.
Read Potter and Kahlenberg's full article here.
The public education system has never been without fault, but it seems that most recently more and more issues have arisen that concern teacher unions and standardized testing. Despite the faith put in charter schools to fix this seemingly flawed public education system, TCF fellow Amy B. Dean writes that charter schools are in need of reform before they can be confidently considered a viable and effective alternative.
Charter advocates claim that they are data-driven technicians who pay attention to evidence of what works. But research does not support their preferred education policies. A national moratorium on charter schools would stop the hemorrhaging of funds from traditional public schools. It would also allow time to address the corruption that has plagued the charter industry. This would create an opportunity for some reflection on what actually works best for educating our children.
Read the rest of Dean's article featured in Al Jazeera America.
TCF fellow Halley Potter takes a closer look at why we should advocate for integrated charter school classrooms.READ MORE
For many, the concept of charter schools can be a bit confusing, even though they are closest in nature to public schools. Today however, charter schools are estimated to educate only about 5 percent of public school students in the U.S. TCF senior fellow Rick Kahlenberg and fellow Halley Potter sat down with the Washington Post's Valerie Strauss to discuss founder Albert Shanker's original intent of charter schools and the state of the network today.
"... Al Shanker believed — and we agree — that it is often difficult to engage in deep innovation within the traditional public school system. The flexibility that charter schools offer allows schools to experiment so that a small group of teachers and parents can try things that might be inappropriate to implement widely in district schools without a very strong evidential basis."
Check out the full interview.
A recent New York Times article detailed the Success Academy charter school network led by education advocate and reformer Eva Moscowitz. The network has been a long-time subject of both criticism and praise. TCF fellow Halley Potter commented on the higher than average standardized test scores of Success Academy students. She says:
"[The] network’s test scores were impressive, but that the conclusions that could be drawn from them were limited."
Read the full New York Times article.
A new public school model has emerged in Washington, D.C. with a network of schools called Urban Prep that comprises all-boys schools. TCF senior fellow Rick Kahlenberg says that the outcomes of this single-sex system are questionable since diversity is such a big player in student success.
But the legality of the proposal is not the only issue at hand. Little consensus exists among researchers about the educational impact of limiting student populations to specific genders or races.
Read the article from The Atlantic featuring Kahlenberg's comments.
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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