Cash for 'clunker' schools

Inspired by the feds’ “Cash for Clunkers” program, which Congress wants to give another $2 billion, Brooks Garber of National Alliance for Public Charter Schools calls for using turnaround funds to replace clunker schools with new schools.

Instead of just pouring countless resources into “turning around” certain schools, we should use the federal school turnaround resources to help create new high quality successful schools, especially replicating public charter schools that are already excelling.

Of course, the new schools will have to educate the old students.

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  1. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of research to suggest that entirely reconstituting struggling schools or turning them over to charters is the best answer. Yes, some schools thrive after reconstitution or takeover by charter organizations. Yet some schools also thrive after existing staff employ much better strategies and make better use of more resources. (We collect some of those stories here:

    On the other hand, reconstitutions and takeovers can easily fall flat, as can attempts to reform schools without replacing staff. There is currently no prescription that rests on sound research.

  2. Dear USA Today,
    Please do an investigation on state tests!
    Some questions may include:
    *how do you define achievement;
    *what is a formative/summative assessment;
    * how do teachers use formative assessments;
    *how/why do educators collaborate; will they with Race to the Top;
    *how are test questions chosen and created;
    *how are the tests scored;
    *who scores the tests;
    *what are their qualifications/pay;
    *are companies making money from the tests;
    *how much do they lobby for their tests;
    *how much do these companies contribute to political campaigns;
    *how valid are the test questions;
    *how are they biased;
    *do the tests create the curriculum;
    *do the tests inform instruction;
    *what exactly do these tests measure;
    *define reading; how does the test define reading;
    *define writing; how does the test define writing;
    *is there corruption associated with these tests; where does the money trail lead:
    *how many weeks are kids tested;
    *what time of year do the tests place;
    *do universities support state tests;
    *do trades support state tests;
    *are students happy going to school when their curriculum is test preparation;
    *how many schools have a library/how is the library staffed;
    * how many students have art;
    * how many students have music?

  3. Perhaps Brooks Garber of the National Charter of Alliance would be willing to “cash in” the 83% of charter schools that are worse than the local public schools.

    I guess he didn’t read: