Charter school concept founder, Albert Shanker, would be ashamed of the state of the charter school system today. TCF senior fellow Rick Kahlenberg says that in many ways, the charter school idea has been flipped on its head.
Teacher turnover rates, teacher voice, collective bargaining and teacher recruitment in charter schools are important issues, he said.
Kahlenberg noted challenges charter schools face in recruiting effective teachers, referencing a study last year that found that high-performing charters tend to be in cities where they can attract bright and talented people.
Read the full blog post.
The academic merits of standardized testing in schools have long been questioned. In an article for Common Dreams, TCF VP for Policy and Programs Greg Anrig writes that aside from testing, a surefire way to measure success is the level of collaboration among administrators, teachers, parents, and students.
Demanding schools have those types of assessments in place is fine, but making those assessments standardized, centrally controlled, and implemented en masse across the nation is never going to work.
Read the full article with Anrig's comments.
Greg Anrig, vice president of policy and programs at TCF, shows how effective public schools are built on strong collaborative relationships, not conflict.READ MORE
VP of Policy and Programs at The Century Foundation, Greg Anrig, writes on the most crucial indicator of student success in schools. He says that we should not underestimate the power of "relational trust" among administrators, teachers, and parents, and advises of five organizational features that point to this success.
No matter how hard though, what is especially exciting is that when trust is developed at this level, entire urban school districts end up pursuing and sustaining these collaborative practices, and subsequently exhibiting improved student outcomes.
Read Anrig's full article featured in Shanker Blog.
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.
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.
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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