No-stress school seeks students

In a California elementary district known for sky-high test scores, an alternative K-8 school promises no grades or tests.  But Cupertino’s “no stress school” has empty seats, writes columnist Patty Fisher in the San Jose Mercury News.

A majority of Christa McAuliffe students opt out of state tests. Scores for those who do take the tests are high, but below the district’s average. The school’s principal says teachers evaluate students’ understanding.

Parent Rick Kitson knows McAuliffe has a reputation as a “hippie school,” but he calls it a “research magnet school” where children strive to understand, ask questions and think creatively.

. . . Meanwhile, parents line up to get their kids into Faria Elementary, a back-to-basics alternative that always scores tops in the state.

Who does pick McAuliffe?  In a two-thirds Asian district, white students make up 58 percent of McAuliffe’s enrollment.

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  1. A no stress school is a great way to get a no stress job. I believe they call it “unemployment”

  2. Hey, I went to Stevens Creek! Good times, good times. 😀

    I’m glad I didn’t go to Faria, though. I don’t know if I’d want to be surrounded by practically only Asian students (I’m Asian myself). Then again, the demographics might’ve been different when I was a kid.

  3. Richard Aubrey says:

    If you have school choice, you obviously can’t enforce fads.
    I see why the educrats oppose choice.

  4. No stress? The name alone puts a knot in my stomach.
    The school motto: “You’re go for throttle up”

  5. I tried looking up this schools test scores in the past and thought that they didn’t have any published. So it was interesting to see that GreatSchools had some data. When looking up the state data this is what I see now:

    The school’s proportion of students excused at parent request compared to its 2008 Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) program enrollment on the first day of testing is equal to or greater than 10 percent.

    When a school’s proportion of parental waivers is equal to or greater than 10 but less than 20 percent, the California Department of Education conducts standard statistical tests to check whether the students tested at the school were representative of the entire school’s population.

    This school failed the statistical test or its proportion of parental waivers in 2008 is 20 percent or greater, therefore, the school does not have a valid Academic Performance Index (API) for 2008.

    You can find that at the following link:

    Looking up the AYP data indicates that the school did not meet participation requirements, but I see that there are some numbers available under the detailed school report. Does this mean that the school is under continuous school improvement. The CDE webpage seems to be mute on this point:

    PI Status:

    2008-09 PI Placement:
    Prior PI Placement:
    First Year of PI Implementation:
    Made 2008 Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP):

    From the following link:

    Does this mean if enough parents at a given school agree to opt out of the standardized testing that they can avoid the whole accountability system?

    I’ve also wondered if the school funding is adversely effected by the lack of participation. Anyone know?

  6. I’m not familiar with that particular school, but it sounds from the news article as though it functions as a co-op with a parent required to be physically present to help out in the classroom on a regular basis. That’s going to be a tough sell in Silicon Valley where dual-income families are the norm.