Blacks, Hispanics support charters

Civil rights groups that oppose charter schools are out of touch with blacks and Hispanics, writes Martin West on Education Next.  The 2010 Education Next-PEPG Survey asked:

Many states permit the formation of charter schools, which are publicly funded but are not managed by the local school board. These schools are expected to meet promised objectives, but are exempt from many state regulations. Do you support or oppose the formation of charter schools?

Support for charters among the public at large hasn’t changed much in the last three years, but black support increased from 42 percent to 64 percent, “jumping 15 percentage points in the past year alone.” Hispanic support for charters increased from 37 percent to 47 percent. Few Americans say they oppose charters; many are undecided.

It is puzzling, then, that a coalition of prominent civil rights organizations last week issued a statement criticizing the Obama administration’s current emphasis on chartering as a strategy to turn around low-performing schools and bemoaning the heavy concentration of charters in high-minority areas.

According to the poll, 39 percent of public school teachers support charter schools; 36 percent oppose charters.

About Joanne

Comments

  1. Richard Aubrey says:

    What current emphasis on chartering?
    Didn’t Obama stop a program in DC that would have allowed poor black kids to go to alternatives like charters?
    Or was it more restricted than that?

  2. The Democrats defunded vouchers that enabled low-income D.C. students to attend private schools.

  3. CarolineSF says:

    It’s simplistic to flatly state that blacks and Hispanics support charters (blacks and Hispanics being individuals who make up their own minds, just like us white people!). It’s also simplistic to quote figures of those who “support charters” and “oppose charters,” for that matter.

    To respond with my own simplified-but-based-on-truth view, the more you know, the more skeptical you become about charter schools, or at least the notion that charter schools are a magical miracle solution. (That does not apply to those who have a financial stake, including jobs funded by pro-charter interests and potential income from books written to promote charters.)

    The average person — whether the average white person, black person, Hispanic or teacher — doesn’t know much about charters, and charter schools sound really good in theory. But here’s what the organization Rethinking Schools has written about the complexities of the issue:

    “The elixir of an individualized bailout from a struggling system has serious side effects … It can create a painful wedge in many communities, especially among African-Americans. It can weaken the political will for a collective solution to the problems in public education; and it can promote the deterioration of traditional schools. As highly motivated and engaged families pull their children from traditional public schools, urban districts have fewer resources — both financial and human — to address their many problems. The worse the schools get, the more appealing the escape to charters and private schools, all of which feeds into the conservative dream of replacing public education with a free-market system of everyone for themselves, the common good be damned.”

    If that commentary were shown to people who were asked what they think of charter schools — to counteract the constant buzz of pro-charter propaganda coming from all sides, from the Obama administration to the Hoover Institution — the number of people saying “hmm, let me think about that” rather than “yes, I support charters” might change quite a bit, don’t you think?

  4. Suppose you had solid data proving that kids have higher test scores at a lowly urban public school than at the super progressive wonderful charter, and blacks and Hispanics in the community still preferred the charter school.

    We don’t have solid data proving this, but we could. And if we did, the blacks and hispanics in the community would probably still prefer the charter school. What’s that tell you?

  5. Stuart Buck says:

    Well, yes, if you fed people a tendentious stream of exaggerations and lies about charter schools, more of them would oppose charter schools. (E.g., no one has ever come up with evidence that charter schools on average have more advantaged students, and all the evidence I’ve seen is directly to the contrary, such as the Rand study finding that charter school students tend to transfer into charters with lower test scores than the rest of their public school peers).

  6. CarolineSF says:

    Well, Stuart, the “info” in favor of charter schools comes from a massive variety of sources, including:

    — People who are paid in one way or another to support charter schools (this would include you and Joanne — I’m not saying there’s anything WRONG with it, but I just wonder what you and she would say if there weren’t money in it for you — just pointing out that you do have an agenda, and your income is connected with it…) This is, of course, because there is such an enormous amount of wealth involved in promoting charter schools.
    — The major, well-funded think tanks.
    — Political leaders from the right to centrist Democrats, including
    — The Obama administration.
    — The editorial pages of all the major newspapers.*
    — An array of billionaires who have decided to make refashioning our nation’s education system their plaything.
    — The charter school lobbying groups themselves, which also don’t seem to be exactly impoverished — the California Charter Schools Assn., the Center for Education Reform, a long list of others. (Sheesh, if this money went into feeding the hungry or fighting poverty… oh well.)

    Critics of charters basically include a scattering of tiny voices, given a little bit of a forum by the Internet. I know you all have permanently affixed the adjective “powerful” to “teachers’ union,” and that’s mindlessly parroted in the press in every single mention, but of course that’s absurd. If the teachers’ unions were actually powerful, teachers would be well-paid and respected, and they certainly wouldn’t be blamed for every ill of society, and the scapegoats of all the powerful forces listed above.

    We have had the discussion before about the notion of “advantaged” students in charter schools. But that’s a straw man, because the issue is not that students in charter schools are “advantaged” or higher-performing. But they by definition had to seek out a charter school and jump through hoops, to varying degrees, to enroll. That eliminates any student whose family is not motivated and concerned enough about education to seek out a charter school and jump through hoops to enroll, and any student who is not compliant and motivated enough to cooperate.

    *The scholarly Columbia Prof. Aaron Pallas, who often deconstructs education statistics, has just posted a comment on the utter disconnect by editorial writers and beat reporters on their own newspapers when it comes to education. I’ve long wondered about that and don’t get it either, despite being a newsroom veteran myself. http://gothamschools.org/2010/08/02/the-editorial-divide/

  7. Stuart Buck says:

    I’m not paid to support charter schools. That is a lie.

    But they by definition had to seek out a charter school and jump through hoops, to varying degrees, to enroll

    This is silly. First, my kids have been in a charter school and in a traditional public school. In both cases, the process was exactly the same: filling out paperwork, providing SSN and birth certificate, providing shot records, etc. No difference whatsoever.

    Second, even if you’re right that charter school parents are more “motivated” somehow, the fact remains that charter school students on average are transferring in with LOWER test scores. So the “motivation” at issue is likely the parents’ hope that they will finally find a school where their kid will stop failing. This does NOT translate into a charter school advantage, and thus provides no ammunition to the anti-choice side.

  8. urban districts have fewer resources — both financial and human — to address their many problems.

    If there’s anything we know for certain, it is that urban districts do a very poor job of managing their resources.  Cutting their resources down along with their headcount may make their problems small enough that they can finally get hold of them—or finally run out of excuses.

  9. CarolineSF says:

    Stuart, you’re being disingenuous, to put it kindly. Obviously, a school that parents have to seek out, and that is free to make them jump through hoops, attracts more motivated, more compliant families. I’ve had this conversation so many times, probably including with you.

    Me: Charter schools self-select for more-motivated, compliant students from more-motivated families.
    Charter advocate: They do not.
    Me: (Explains why charter schools self-select for more-motivated, compliant students from more-motivated families.)
    Charter advocate: What’s wrong with self-selecting for self-select for more-motivated, compliant students from more-motivated families?

    If charter schools were such a great miracle, they wouldn’t have to be propped up by such a mass of dishonesty.

  10. tim-10-ber says:

    If parents want to send their kids to charter schools…let them.

    Yes, the kids that enter charter schools are behind, sometimes years behind, their stated grade level…

    If the default school was doing its job maybe there wouldn’t be a need for charters…they aren’t so the need is there…

    The charter schools receive less money per student than the default school child…the district keeps the rest…

    What is the problem…if they are working they will be kept open…if they are failing they are shut down quicker than the failing default school…talk about inequity…

    Charters are another option…if they help the kids I am all for it…

    My city had four charter schools…three are doing well, the fourth was closed after its first year due to a hold host of issues…two or three more will be opening next fall…one was selected by the state to take over a troubled “failing” middle school…lot riding on how well they do…

    I, for one, want to see how they do and I hope they are all very, very successful….

  11. The problem is that charters are an alternative to the district system.

    That’s a problem because for a very long time the district system was protected by a failure of imagination; no one could conceive of the existence of an alternative to the district system that was government supported. There was just one way to do public education and that was the district system.

    People can be dissatisfied with the status quo but if there’s nowhere to go – if there’s no conceptual alternative – that dissatisfaction has no outlet and can be safely ignored.

    Charters provide that outlet.

    It’s the difference between being unhappy where you are and knowing there’s some other specific place where you’d be happier. Charters provide are a place for parents to send their kids outside the district system and for the public to consider as an alternative to the district system.

    This puts CarolineSF, and other supporters of the status quo, in a difficult position.

    They want to protect the status quo but the status quo is protected by ignorance and a lack of alternatives. A sufficiently spirited defense of the status quo then is counter-productive. Holler loud enough about how terrible charters are and everyone will know they exist. That doesn’t help restore the blessed condition of public ignorance on which the district system depends for its continued existence.

  12. Richard Aubrey says:

    What is the point of keeping motivated, engaged parents in a public school?
    Who pays attention to parents?
    Nobody.
    That’s nonsense.
    Let’s suppose that a cabal of motivated parents get together and, in five years, force the school to improve, much against the wishes of various impacted interests.
    In five years, a kid goes from grade one to sixth grade, from grade seven to graduate (possibly). So it would work, for somebody else’s kids.
    Quicker to find a better school.

  13. Stuart Buck says:

    Obviously, a school that parents have to seek out, and that is free to make them jump through hoops, attracts more motivated, more compliant families.

    OK, let’s pretend that we know this this to be true. Then so what? How does this lead to an anti-choice position, as you seem to think? That’s where your argument disappears into thin air.

    Moreover, how do you account for the fact that charter school students come in with LOWER test scores than their peers? Obviously whatever motivation or compliance they might have didn’t translate into academic accomplishment beforehand.

  14. Stuart Buck says:

    Your last point really works in reverse: if anti-choice people are reduced to whining that students who really want to succeed shouldn’t have the chance to do that, then the game is over.

  15. Amy in Texas says:

    “Obviously, a school that parents have to seek out, and that is free to make them jump through hoops…”

    You are vastly over-simplifying how schools are set up and run- there are too many variables for your argument to hold water. I have personally worked in private, charter and now public schools and the differences are huge.

    My son’s charter advertises widely and jumps though hoops to get their students to school, as they are required to enroll a percentage from the district where they are (a Texas “open charter”).
    There is another charter school who admits students who would otherwise be in the juvenile justice system…cheek by jowl to all the others.
    As with so many issues in education, the variables are dizzying. Reading about “charters” on the internet is not going to give you comprehensive view of them.

  16. CarolineSF says:

    I don’t just learn about charters from reading on the Internet, Amy in Texas.

    In fact, I researched KIPP admission practices by going through part of the process with my own child, with KIPP San Francisco Bay Academy. I did this entirely for research purposes, not because we had any intention of actually enrolling her, though once she visited and learned more about the school she semi-jokingly asked me to enroll her so she could lead an uprising of the oppressed masses. Obviously she is not KIPPster material. (I didn’t pursue the research to the point that it would require any resources or effort from KIPP and its staff — I didn’t think that was fair — so we didn’t actually go through the testing and interview process that are among the required hoops.)

    Here in San Francisco, the most successful charter school, a high school, employs an admission process that requires an essay, teacher recommendations, transcripts and signed commitments by the parents and student to volunteer and follow various requirements.

    There are charters that address at-risk students specifically — in my district, Life Learning Academy is such a charter. We also have a charter specifically operating in the county jail. Those charters are among the reasons that even I wouldn’t flatly say I “oppose” charter schools.

    I oppose the education reform juggernaut, the faddish test-punish-attack-dismantle forces, of which charters are a key part.

    My point, again, was that it’s overly simplistic to declare that so-and-so numbers “support” or “oppose” charter schools. The more you know, the more nuanced the issue is.

  17. Don’t be so coy. What charter is it that has admissions requirements such as those you’ve described?

    Inasmuch as charter schools are public schools in all important respects save being a pseudopod of a school district they can’t establish admissions requirements any more then can any other public school. Well, any other public school save those with explicit entrance requirements – magnet schools. But then they’re district schools.

    Here’s the admissions requirements from KIPP San Francisco Bay Academy:

    Step 1: Complete Interest Form. Send or fax form to the address or number below.

    Step 2: Make appointment to visit school and fill out Admissions Application.

    Step 3: If admitted to KIPP San Francisco Bay Academy, an orientation and home visit will be required.

    You sure you didn’t apply to, say, Lowell High School which does have extensive admissions requirements? That’s a magnet school and is explicitly free of “accept all” requirements.

  18. Alan, I think you missed some:

    Students and parents sign the commitment to excellence during the home visit. Then, during the first week of summer school, the students sign a poster-sized commitment to excellence as a group, pledging their commitment to the school and each other.

    Enrollment Process

    Process for incoming students who are currently in 4th Grade:

    -Submit Student Interest Form (prior to 1st Monday in March)
    -Complete packet of paperwork (March)
    -Complete home visit (April-June)
    -Sign commitment to excellence (April-June)
    -Parent attends parent orientation (August)
    -Enroll in the 5th grade summer school (August)

    Process for incoming students who are currently in 5th grade:

    -Submit Student Interest Form (prior to 1st Monday in March)
    -Complete packet of paperwork (March)
    -Complete placement exam – this will determine what grade to enroll in (April)
    -Complete home visit (April-June)
    -Sign commitment to excellence (April-June)
    -Parent attends parent orientation (August)
    -Enroll in the summer school (5th or 6th grade based on placement test) (August)

    As a free public school, KIPP Bayview Academy does not discriminate in adminissions. (However, immediate siblings of current students do receive priority in filling open seats).

  19. (Caroline): “This is, of course, because there is such an enormous amount of wealth involved in promoting charter schools.

    The revenue stream which flows through the NEA/AFT/AFSCME cartel’s schools (the “public” schools) dwarfs whatever resources the advocates for parent control devote to their cause.

    (Caroline): “…it’s overly simplistic…
    That’s the gone-to-college way to say “stupid”.

    (Caroline): “…to declare that so-and-so numbers ‘support’ or ‘oppose’ charter schools. The more you know, the more nuanced the issue is.

    “Nuance” is an argument against political control of education and in favor of options such as charters, subsidized homeschooling, tuition vouchers, education tax credits, and Parent Performance Contracting outside the NEA/AFT/AFSCME cartel’s exclusive position in receipt of the taxpayers’ age 6-18 education subsidy.

    Laws and rule-bound bureaucracies are blunt instruments which guarantee ham-fisted handling of situations which require “nuance”.

    (Caroline): “I know you all have permanently affixed the adjective ‘powerful’ to ‘teachers’ union’, and that’s mindlessly…

    Accurately.

    (Caroline): “…parroted in the press in every single mention, but of course that’s absurd. If the teachers’ unions were actually powerful, teachers would be well-paid…

    (Caroline): “…and respected,…

    On what planet? Like members of the UAW, the Teamsters, UMW are respected?

    (Caroline): “…and they certainly wouldn’t be blamed for every ill of society, and the scapegoats of all the powerful forces listed above.”

    In Hawaii, over the span from 1987 through 1997, juvenile arrests fell in summer, when schools operated on a September through June schedule. Juvenile hospitalizations for human induced trauma fell in summer. Reported home burglaries fell in summer (car burglaries rose).

  20. Oops…
    (Caroline): “…If the teachers’ unions were actually powerful, teachers would be well-paid…

    Go here. Pretty good for a people at the bottom of SAT and GRE scores, who work 4 1/2 hours per day, 180 days a year.

  21. CarolineSF says:

    It’s Gateway High School, Allen. I was actually trying not to sound like I was singling it out for attack.

    Re KIPP SF Bay, I’m not a liar. The school contacted me to schedule the testing for my daughter prior to the lottery. First I get accused of not doing my homework and then I get accused of lying — that’s really not sound or valid.

    Re Lowell and also Ruth Asawa SF School of the Arts (where I am a parent) — yes, both schools have admissions requirements. Lowell accepts based on academic criteria and SOTA accepts based on audition (in both cases, like many public non-charter schools around the country). The difference is that they are open and honest about it, and they don’t claim superiority to other schools based on their higher test scores or (in SOTA’s case) high-quality artistic productions. Public-education opponents aren’t using Lowell and SOTA to attack and harm public schools, as they use comparisons claiming that charter schools are superior.

    Charter schools are perfectly free to establish any admissions procedures they want. Who’s to stop them? Exactly whom do you think would be providing oversight and regulation? Even the charter industry, currently, is acknowledging that charters get insufficient oversight.

  22. CarolineSF says:

    Malcolm Kirkpatrick, teacher-bashing just shows disdain for education overall, and encourages further disdain. Why would someone who devalues education and views it with contempt even be reading an education blog?

  23. 4.5 hours a day. On what planet?

  24. Here is an example of the kind of commitment it takes to attend a KIPP school

    http://www.kippla.org/empower/commitment-to-excellence.cfm

  25. Stuart Buck says:

    In response to Caroline’s cutesy fake dialogue, it’s perfectly consistent to say:

    1. Charter schools on average are not getting “highly motivated” students. At least no one, not Diane Ravitch, not anyone else, has pointed to any actual evidence of that. The actual evidence (see the RAND study) is that charter school students tend to come from lower-scoring populations. Whatever motivation they supposedly have wasn’t producing higher test scores for them.

    2. There are some charter schools (KIPP is probably among them) that might (in some circumstances) tend to attract highly motivated students. Informed people tend not to make a blanket statement here; it might help to have heard Dave Feinberg or other KIPPsters talk about going door to door trying to get anyone and everyone to sign up. But let’s grant that in a few cases, KIPP students arrive with higher levels of motivation.

    But so what? KIPP is still able to bring those motivated students to even higher levels of achievement than they were getting in their original schools. As for signing a Commitment to Excellence, that’s a way of generating commitment among students and parents — it’s something that all schools should be doing, and is something to praise, not sneer at. We’d never see such an anti-success attitude if we were talking about a highly successful sports team that made its members agree to 2-a-day practices all year.

  26. CarolineSF says:

    Hmm, I’m usually viewed as blunt and b****y in these discussions, not “cutesy,” Stuart Buck. You really know how to hurt a gal. In any case, your comment follows my “cutesy” script exactly.

    Nothing is inherently the matter with selectivity.

    It’s wrong to employ admissions processes that select or self-select for students who are more likely to succeed AND THEN LIE ABOUT IT. That’s one sin committed by the charter school operators and supporters.

    And it’s wrong to employ admissions processes that select or self-select for students who are more likely to succeed, lie about it and then proclaim yourself superior to the public schools that accept your rejects. That’s a second sin committed by the charter school operators and supporters.

    That’s without even going into the attrition/pushouts. The latest big fad is touting “it’s a miracle!” charters that send 100% of their graduates to college by the amazing miracle technique of kicking out all the students who weren’t headed for graduation and/or college. The press is a total sucker for these stories; looking into the attrition isn’t on the radar. Check it and lose it!

  27. Stuart Buck says:

    In any case, your comment follows my “cutesy” script exactly.

    No it doesn’t. You have to pay attention to what we’re talking about at any given moment — the average of all charter schools (no evidence of selectivity) or just the few that you seem to hate (like KIPP, which might somehow create selectivity despite having to run a lottery, but who cares? Selective or not, they’re still pushing the students to higher levels than before.)

  28. CarolineSF says:

    Yes, Stuart, it does follow my script. Don’t make me repeat myself. You are particularly tenacious about being shameless. I guess it’s what you’re paid to do.

  29. Stuart Buck says:

    When I say that selectivity doesn’t really exist, I’m talking about all charter schools. When I say that selectivity doesn’t bother me, I’m talking about the allegation that KIPP (a very small subset of charters) attracts more motivated students. You’re committing the fallacy of equivocation when you suggest that there’s a contradiction in my argument. It’s not remotely contradictory to say that 1) charter selectivity doesn’t exist overall and 2) even in the rare instance that it does exist, why is that such an issue? You can’t deny that even if KIPP starts out with more motivated students, they push those students to higher levels than what they were achieving before. Yes, some may drop out, but so what? The ones that stick with the program do well, just as people who stick to their marathon training get in good shape. (The attrition argument against KIPP is like saying that marathons don’t get people in shape, because after all some people are too lazy to run a marathon and they drop out of training.)

  30. Charter school selectivity does indeed exist, and not just in KIPP.

    All charters have the benefit (liability?) of being charters in an atmosphere where traditional public schools are being bashed and charters touted as the answer to our education woes (I submit it’s poverty, and crappy public schools are merely a symptom, but we’ll leave that alone, as always).

    Any attentive parent (and this is where the selectivity begins) would chose to have their kid in a “better” school. This self-selection is part of what Caroline refers to, and you deny.

    Also, most charters have codes of conduct and other contractual obligations parents and students must meet or get tossed out. That is more selectivity.

    The ones that stick to the program stick to it because why, Stuart? Because of the school, or their parents? Claiming you can run a marathon simply because you are in the race seems silly, especially when there are trained marathoners already running.

    Stuart, you are simply wrong.

  31. CarolineSF says:

    I agree that the students that stick with the KIPP program do well (though I wonder how such highly compliant individuals will function in real life — I’m speaking as the parent of the child who wanted to lead an uprising of the oppressed masses, so rather the opposite).

    But that raises other questions.

    If an ordinary public school enrolled only those same more-motivated and compliant kids, and the losers departed the school at the same intense rate that occurs at KIPP schools (60% do not make it through the course of study, and those are consistently the lower performers, according to a well-known SRI study) — and the school didn’t replace the departees, as KIPP doesn’t — how would their achievement look?

    If the characteristics of KIPP schools could be disaggregated and studied, which would be the ones that lead to success? Do the practices like requiring students to “sit up, look the speaker in the eye,” etc., and the lessons in how to “walk briskly down the hall” (my favorite), and the decibel meters in the classrooms, help them succeed or just help weed out the non-compliant?

  32. Peace Corps says:

    I may never get this argument. I understand why one would want to close failing schools, but I still don’t get why one would want to take away a parent’s choice, especially when the traditional district school has become a sad unfunny joke.

  33. (Caroline): “Malcolm Kirkpatrick, teacher-bashing just shows disdain for education overall…

    It is a mistake to equate “school” with “education”. It is a mistake to equate “government-operated schools” with “public education”. It’s not “teacher bashing” to describe accurately the product of Ed schools. Education majors have among the lowest SAT scores of all applicants for college admission. Education majors have among the lowest scores on standardized tests for graduate school admission of all undergraduate majors. According to a former Dean of the Honors program at UH, Education majors had the highest GPA in their major and the lowest GPA outside their major of all undergraduate majors.

    I taught in the Hawaii DOE for ten years. Secondary Math. Now I tutor.

    (TFT): “4.5 hours a day. On what planet?

    Earth. 4.5 hours is an overestimate. The HSTA/DOE contract called for less than that when I was in the system. Five fifty-five minute classes per day would be 275 minutes per day, which is 240+35, or four hours and thirty-five minutes, but Wednesday was one period shorter.

  34. (Caroline): “Why would someone who devalues education and views it with contempt even be reading an education blog?

    Why would anyone who values education defend the US State-monopoly school system?

  35. Malcom,

    My contract is for 7.5 hours a day. That doesn’t count the hours of prep, cleanup, conferencing, phone calling or the few hundred bucks I give to my class each year. Nor does it count recesses I cover, parent night or my half hour lunch. Maybe you are confusing instructional time with working hours.

    Why would anyone who values education defend the US State-monopoly school system?

    Your terms bother me. One of the greatest institutions we have as a nation is our free public school system. That you would rename it with a tip of the hat to totalitarianism-fear shows who you really are.

    Hey, when is the next tea party rally?

  36. CarolineSF says:

    So I infer from your comments that you’re a supporter of the “Separation of School and State” movement, Malcolm. That’s your right; we just need to be clear that you are a supporter of eliminating public education so no one else reading this is confused.

    http://www.schoolandstate.org/home.htm

  37. (Caroline): “But here’s what the organization Rethinking Schools…

    Buncha NEA shills.

    (Caroline): “…has written about the complexities of the issue: “The elixir of an individualized bailout from a struggling system has serious side effects … It can create a painful wedge in many communities, especially among African-Americans. It can weaken the political will for a collective solution to the problems in public education; and it can promote the deterioration of traditional schools. As highly motivated and engaged families pull their children from traditional public schools, urban districts have fewer resources — both financial and human — to address their many problems. The worse the schools get, the more appealing the escape to charters and private schools, all of which feeds into the conservative dream of replacing public education with a free-market system of everyone for themselves, the common good be damned.”

    Fact-free socialist nonsense.
    1. Does school choice have these effects in countries which subsidize parent control? No.
    2. Urban majority minority districts get MORE money per pupil than suburban and rural white districts. The myth of the under-funded-inner-city minority school district (Kozol) is a lie. Those districts get more money per pupil.
    3. The education industry, with it’s enormously varied inputs (individual student abilities and interests) and outputs (the possible career paths in a modern economy) is a very unlikely candidate for State (government-generally) operation. It is no even less appropriate for remote authorities to prescribe the curriculum and the pace and method of instruction for my neighbor’s 10 year-old daughter than to prescribe the size and style of her shoes.
    4. “Common good be damned”? Like collectivization of agriculture in the Ukraine served “the common good”?
    Are we sterving because the State does not operate farms, grocery stores, and restaurants? Are we naked because the State does not operate textile mills and clothing stores? The government of a locality is the largest dealer in interp[ersonal violence in that locality (definition). A nightstick is not a magic wand. Socialism is an infantile power fantasy.

  38. (TFT): “One of the greatest institutions we have as a nation is our free public school system.”
    Argument by assertion. Few of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution attended government-operated schools. The policy which restricts parents’ options for the use of the taxpayers’ pre-college education subsidy to schools operated by government employees originated in religious indoctrination (search ” ‘That Olde Deceiver, Satan’ Act”)” and anti-Catholic bigotry.

    Cyrus McCormick was homeschooled. Thomas Edison was homeschooled. Gandhi opposed compulsory attendance at school. Einstein opposed compulsory attendance at school.

    (Malcolm): “Why would anyone who values education defend the US State-monopoly school system?”
    (TFT): “That you would rename it with a tip of the hat to totalitarianism-fear shows who you really are.”

    A realist? Laws and district policy in most US States give to schools operated by government employees an exclusive position in receipt of the taxpayers’ age 6-18 education subsidy. The NEA/AFT/AFSCME cartel’s schools qualify as a monopoly.

    “The terrifying thing about modern dictatorships is that they are something entirely unprecedented. Their end cannot be foreseen. In the past, every tyranny was sooner or later overthrown, or at least resisted because of “human nature,” which as a matter of course desired liberty. But we cannot be at all certain that human nature is constant. It may be just as possible to produce a breed of men who do not wish for liberty as to produce a breed of hornless cows. The Inquisition failed, but then the Inquisition had not the resources of the nodern state. The radio, press censorship, standardized education
    and the secret police have alterted everything. Mass suggestion is a science of the last twenty years, and we do not know how successful it will be.” –George Orwell– “Review of ‘Russia under Soviet Rule’ by N. de Basily” (__Essays__,George Orwell, Knopf, 2002).

    “One has only to to think of the sinister possibilities of the radio, State-controlled education, and so forth, to realize that ‘the truth is great and will prevail’ is a prayer rather than an axiom.” –George
    Orwell [Review of “Power; A New Social Analysis” by Bertrand Russell].

  39. (Caroline): “So I infer from your comments that you’re a supporter of the “Separation of School and State” movement, Malcolm. That’s your right; we just need to be clear that you are a supporter of eliminating public education so no one else reading this is confused“.

    They’ll be confused anyway, but that’s okay. I signed the Sep/School petition. Supporter? Not really; there are too many “r”s in “revolution”. “Eliminating public education”? Not at all. As I wrote above, it is a mistake to equate “education” with “school” and it is a mistake to equate “public education” with “schools operated by dues-paying members of the NEA/AFT/AFSCME cartel”. Students in parochial schools are as much “the public” as are students in the cartel’s schools. Unions, even “public sector” unions, are private 501-c(5) corporations. Their assets are the property of their members and their legal obligations are to dues-paying members and agency-fee payers. Sometimes unions, like other organizations, get captured by insiders, who bend the institution to their interests. In no sense do the NEA, the AFT, and the AFSCME have an obligation to “the public”.

  40. Stuart Buck says:

    Also, most charters have codes of conduct and other contractual obligations parents and students must meet or get tossed out.

    No, in my experience, most charters don’t have the luxury of kicking out students, who are the only source of revenue (charter schools are underfunded compared to other public schools, and most charter schools are trying to get as many students as they can).

    Caroline —

    The larger and better Mathematica study found “little evidence that the transfer pattern of low-performing KIPP students differs from the pattern at other public schools.”

  41. (TFT): “Maybe you are confusing instructional time with working hours.”

    Face time with students, yes.

  42. CarolineSF says:

    False, Stuart Buck. KIPP schools do not replace the students who leave, and non-charter schools do. That makes the comparison a total lie.

    My understanding is that the Mathematica study only looked at the number of students who leave and didn’t even address the issue that public schools replace them (with other high-mobility students who are equally likely to be challenged) and KIPP schools don’t. That was a big ****up on Mathematica’s part, because it completely confounds the information.

    But I’m calling you out for lying, because you know that is the case. Don’t do it. Your mama taught you not to.

  43. Stuart Buck says:

    The Mathematica study is well-done, notwithstanding the attempts by ideological opponents to undermine it. All that Welner and Miron could do was hem and haw about there could possibly be some effect (how to measure this, they have no idea) from the “apparent” (Welner’s word) situation that public schools might have more bad students transferring in, and this might indirectly affect something or other about how the other students in the comparison group end up performing.

    A difference of opinion about the quality of a study is not a lie. Lying about someone’s occupation is.

  44. (Stuart Buck): “The Mathematica study is well-done, notwithstanding the attempts by ideological opponents to undermine it. All that Welner and Miron could do was hem and haw about there could possibly be some effect (how to measure this, they have no idea) from the ‘apparent’ (Welner’s word) situation that public schools might have more bad students transferring in, and this might indirectly affect something or other about how the other students in the comparison group end up performing.”

    While I accept that student-level performance measures and school-level performance measures are suggestive in most normal scenarios, advocates for parent control concede too much when they argue the point about self-selection bias. Although overall system performance depends on the performance of individual students and individual schools, from a policy maker’s point of view, it may not matter whether opt-out schools (choice schools) exhibit lower or higher performance. If your measure of school success is, say, the average AP Calc score, and if schools of choice cater to athletes and motor heads, and if these students disrupt instruction for everyone when compelled to attend the State-monopoly school, then school choice is wise policy even if choice schools perform at a lower level than the State-monopoly schools. This would hold even if some random-assignment lottery found that individual jocks perform worse in in choice schools than in the State-monopoly schools.

    By analogy: Feed all the animals in the zoo a homogenized diet of everyhing that the individual animals eat in the wild. The strict herbivores will die. The strict carnivores will die. Only the omnivores, the pigs and bears, will thrive.

    Gerard Lassibile and Lucia Navarro Gomez
    “Organization and Efficiency of Educational Systems: some empirical findings”
    __Comparative Education__, Vol. 36 #1, 2000-Feb.

    Furthermore, the regression results indicate that countries where private education is more widespread perform significantly better than countries where it is more limited. The result showing the private sector to be more efficient is similar to those found in other contexts with individual data (see, for example, Psucharopoulos, 1987; Jiminez, et. al, 1991). This finding should convince countries to reconsider policies that reduce the role of the private sector in the field of education.

  45. (Caroline): “Obviously, a school that parents have to seek out, and that is free to make them jump through hoops, attracts more motivated, more compliant families. I’ve had this conversation so many times, probably including with you.”

    Give up on that argument. The problem with that argument is that it supposes that these successfully concerned parents are systematically deluded. Whether it’s a comparison between independent or parochial schools and the NEA/AFT/AFSCME cartel’s schools in an unsubsidized market, in a voucher-subsidized competitive market, or charter schools, the argument against choice supposes that these successfully concerned parents devoted resources (tuition money in an unsubsidized market or effort in the charter or voucher case) that they could have spent on their children had they left them in the cartel’s schools and their children would have done even better since, in that argument, it’s not the difference in schools that makes the difference.

  46. CarolineSF says:

    Stuart Buck, that particular point was a clear methodological lapse in the Mathematica study.

    I once had the opportunity to talk with a RAND researcher who was doing a study of now-failed Edison Schools Inc., funded by Edison. The study was literally years late in being released due to the negotiations with the client (Edison) about how to present the data, which to put it briefly did not bear out Edison’s many boasts. There were compromises and tradeoffs in the presentation.

    KIPP commissioned the Mathematica study, so there were presumably similar negotiations.(One of the RAND researchers who worked on the Edison study appears to have changed jobs, as he is listed on this Mathematica study, though that’s not the one I discussed it with.)

    Anyway, back to Stuart Buck’s ongoing bluster: I did a lot of research on KIPP attrition (which the press SHOULD have done rather than gushing unquestioningly, I might add; I did the research as a volunteer advocate) a few years ago, and compared the figures to comparable public schools. KIPP’s numbers plummet over the years, while public schools’ numbers do not; they bump a tiny bit up or down, by just a few students. By contrast, as my research showed and a study by SRI International confirmed, KIPP schools lose 60% of their students AND DO NOT REPLACE THEM. The SRI International study added information that I didn’t have access to: the 60% of students who leave (or are pushed out of) KIPP schools are consistently the lower performers.

  47. Stuart Buck says:

    Considering that the high school graduation rate is less than 50% in most of the inner cities where KIPP operates, it’s mathematically impossible for the public schools to all be keeping the same numbers from year to year. There has to be a lot of public school attrition as well.

    that particular point was a clear methodological lapse in the Mathematica study.

    Tell me exactly what econometric technique the researchers should have used to account for the (as yet sheerly hypothetical) impact of peer culture here.

  48. Stuart Buck says:

    By contrast, as my research showed and a study by SRI International confirmed, KIPP schools lose 60% of their students AND DO NOT REPLACE THEM. The SRI International study added information that I didn’t have access to: the 60% of students who leave (or are pushed out of) KIPP schools are consistently the lower performers.

    As always, you need to be more accurate: Even if your figures are true, they’re not about “KIPP schools,” they’re about a handful of KIPP schools in San Francisco at a particular point in time.

  49. Mathematica’s KIPP studies are here.

    The 2010 study concluded that most KIPP schools have similar attrition rates to district schools. (The San Francisco schools are outliers.)

    The study of the KIPP school in Lynn, Massachusetts, which compared applicants who won the lottery to applicants who lost and remained in district schools, showed that KIPP students had lower fourth-grade scores than their classmates before starting at KIPP. At KIPP, the lowest-achieving students made the biggest gains. Overall, KIPP students did much better than lottery losers.

    Schools of choice, such as charters and magnet schools, benefit from attracting the children of parents concerned enough to look for an alternative and fill out an application. Sometimes they’re concerned because their children aren’t doing well in school, but they do care. Comparing lottery winners to losers factors this out.

  50. CarolineSF says:

    Those were middle schools, Stuart Buck. KIPP runs almost entirely middle schools, and at that time all their California schools were middle schools, so I compared their middle schools to public middle schools. Overall enrollment in middle schools doesn’t drop year by year, as opposed to high schools.

    My figures are true. To be more specific, I researched all the KIPP schools then operating in California — nine at the time (2007).

    SRI then researched the five KIPP schools operating in the Bay Area at about the same time, though their report took a while to come out.

    If you want more detail: My findings showed that six of the nine KIPP schools then operating in California showed a pattern of very high attrition — and I researched by demographic subgroup, so the findings showed something else of significance. All six of those schools also showed a pattern of far higher attrition of the subgroup that was most likely to be academically challenged — either African-American boys or Latino boys, depending on the makeup of the school. The most striking finding was with the school then known as KIPP Bridge in Oakland, where 79% of the African-American boys who started 5th grade there were gone by the BEGINNING of 8th grade. I don’t have information on how many, if any, completed 8th grade. (I used publicly available information on the CDE website — the enrollment figures are based on the 10-day count, 10 operating days into the school year.)

    The SRI study clearly used information obtained from KIPP and not publicly available. That study had some different findings. It actually showed a higher attrition rate overall than mine did (60% average over all five Bay Area KIPP schools). It did use the number who remained in the grade through the school year, so maybe that’s why. In one case, it showed that high rate at a school where I didn’t see much attrition — KIPP Heartwood in Alum Rock district, San Jose.

    The SRI researchers also had enough information to determine that it was consistently the lower achievers who left — information that wasn’t available to me.

    The Mathematica report should have included data showing whether students who left a school were replaced or not. It’s not rocket science. It’s clearly highly relevant to the complete picture.

    By the way, the research on KIPP attrition that I did — which should have been done by the paid professional press — was not at all difficult to do. It required only sufficient math skills to calculate percentages, and an hour or two of research with the CDE’s Dataquest function. Given the fact that you can now use an online percentage calculator, it takes no math skills. A newspaper editorial writer can do it!

  51. CarolineSF says:

    No, the San Francisco schools are not outliers within California, Joanne; as I say, the SRI study researched all five KIPP schools around the Bay Area. There are two KIPP schools in San Francisco, both of which showed the high attrition rate — and the pattern of a far higher attrition rate for African-American boys.

    The SRI research found that same attrition rate at KIPP Heartwood, right in your own backyard. And my research found it in a couple of Southern Calif. KIPP schools too (would have to go dig up my old blog posts to recall which ones).

    But when you take the lottery “winners” and put them in a school with only other “children of parents concerned enough to look for an alternative and fill out an application” and who “do care,” that puts them in a different environment from a school that also enrolls the children of parents who are not concerned and who don’t care. Those latter children are most likely to pose challenges to a school.

    So what I would like to see studied is what happens if a public school ONLY enrolls such children, and then further studies disaggregating the other features of KIPP and studying their effect.

    Again, comparing the KIPP attrition rates to the attrition rates of district schools is meaningless without the information that district schools replace the students who leave and KIPP schools don’t. That’s a critical confounding factor. (That’s unless the attrition rates are really small, of course.)

    Here’s a vague concept that I’ve wondered about — it only works in a district big enough to have a number of schools: Divide the public schools into choice/by-request schools and default schools. Guarantee every applicant an option of either. The by-request schools enroll absolutely no one who didn’t specifically request them; everyone who doesn’t request is assigned to the default school.

    That would replicate SOME of the KIPP selection effect, though the more hoops you add, the more it’s replicated (the mandatory test, the counseling session, the contract-signing etc.). It’s true it writes off the problematic kids whose parents/guardians don’t have what it takes to request a school, but so does a privatized/charterized school system, so oh well.

    It seems to be the standard rap in the pro-charter world that my research only addressed San Francisco KIPP schools and their outliers, because I’ve heard that line from others, and in other parts of the country. But it’s not true.

  52. CarolineSF says:

    Oops, typo — the standard (but false) rap is that my research only addressed San Francisco KIPP schools and THEY’RE outliers. It’s not true, though.

    Don’t even get me started on the claim that “thousands” of KIPP alumni have graduated from college. The lies and hype surrounding this “miracle” are really eye-popping — if it’s such a miracle, why does it need to be promoted with lies and hype?

  53. Stuart Buck says:

    But when you take the lottery “winners” and put them in a school with only other “children of parents concerned enough to look for an alternative and fill out an application” and who “do care,” that puts them in a different environment from a school that also enrolls the children of parents who are not concerned and who don’t care.

    Grant that this is true. So what? You do realize that in your incessant comments criticizing KIPP, you come across as someone who wants to block them from expanding, if not shut them down. Yet even you, earlier in this thread, admit that KIPP is good for some students. Why are you so obsessed with tearing down an organization that, even if occasionally praised too highly in some quarters, is still doing such good and difficiult work helping inner city kids?

  54. CarolineSF says:

    Why do you care how I come across, Stuart Buck? Why would you even discuss me in a conversation about KIPP?

    I would be a liar and an idiot not to acknowledge that KIPP schools have high test scores, and I’m neither. But to anyone who cares about kids and education, it’s important to try to look into the REASONS why KIPP schools have high test scores.

    You acknowledge that I’m right that the high degree of selectivity is a likely reason for KIPP’s success, and then say “so what?” Well, to anyone who does care about improving the lives of low-income students and erasing the achievement gap, it’s important to try to understand the reasons for KIPP’s success. You may not care, but people who are concerned about children and education do care.

  55. Stuart Buck says:

    You acknowledge that I’m right that the high degree of selectivity is a likely reason for KIPP’s success

    No, not so. I acknowledged only that in a few cases, there might be some selectivity going on. But I also said that informed people wouldn’t overstate this point — not if they’ve heard KIPP organizers talk about going door to door trying to get anyone to sign up. I could also add the KIPP Lynn study that expressly found that both applicants and attendees of KIPP were poorer and more non-white than in the Lynn public schools. And I would top that off with the KIPP Mathematica study, which found (see pages 9 through 12) that all of the 22 KIPP schools had higher percentages of minorities than the public school districts and all but 4 had higher percentages of students in poverty. In fact, 8 of the KIPP schools had 30 or more percentage points MORE minorities than their host public school districts, and 6 of the KIPP schools had a poverty rate that was 20 or more percentage points higher. That’s huge.

    It is nonsense to be complaining about KIPP selectivity when all of the empirical evidence is that KIPP students overwhelmingly tend to be poorer and more black than the public school districts where they’re located. Whenever a public school gets low test scores, the number one excuse offered by public school teachers and principals is that the students are poor and black. People like Diane Ravitch don’t go more than a week without publishing the sentiment that it’s not fair to hold schools and teachers accountable through merit pay or NCLB, because after all who can possible teach poor black kids anything?

    But KIPP is happy to take these same students.

    I think that for some people, the urge to tear down KIPP really has a bit of racism at its root — otherwise, why be so irritated that anyone has success at teaching poor black kids to read?

    If you don’t want to be in that group of unwitting racists, you should take a bit more time to emphasize how happy you are that KIPP is going into neighborhoods that need help.

  56. CarolineSF says:

    Stuart Buck, generally, branding those who disagree with you as racists is not viewed as an effective or thoughtful way to make your case, nor a route to improving education for low-income, at-risk students.

    This thread is getting long and old, but I still have some questions for Joanne Jacobs, based on her post about KIPP attrition issues.

    I think almost any reasonable person would agree that effective journalists should be inclined to ask penetrating questions, to challenge, to seek out information. I also think most reasonable people would agree that a person who is sincerely concerned about improving education would also want to learn all about proposed solutions, to do thorough research in quest of what factors can lead to success — again, to seek out the truth, to challenge, to inquire.

    Yet it has baffled me for the many years I’ve been following these issues that there is a pervasive attitude among editorial boards (and often among news reporters too): We have declared that this is the solution; do not question it. That attitude discourages, minimizes, stifles, deflects and even ridicules challenging questions and thorough research.

    We saw that In your post of yesterday, Joanne. I mentioned the KIPP attrition issues. Here’s a recap of your responses, with my comments:

    You said: “The 2010 study concluded that most KIPP schools have similar attrition rates to district schools.” Yet as already discussed, that does not take into account the crucial fact (at least I believe any reasonable person would see it as crucial) that district schools replace the students who leave and KIPP schools do not. Either you were unaware of that (which is surprising given your deep involvement in these issues and the fact that it was just discussed on this thread) or you were deliberately misleading. Or it could be that you truly don’t believe that’s an important factor. Can you clarify, please?

    You said, in addressing my research on KIPP attrition: “The San Francisco schools are outliers.” But that’s misleading and inaccurate for a number of reasons. First, I didn’t research only the San Francisco KIPP schools, as your comment implies; I researched all the KIPP schools that existed in California at the time. Second, six of those nine schools showed the same high attrition pattern. So your comment was inaccurate — the San Francisco schools are not outliers. Third, your comment also appears to be intended to dismiss the SRI study that researched all (then) five Bay Area KIPP schools and found very high attrition at all of them. Your, comment was also inaccurate and misleading in regard to that study, because SRI found that the San Francisco schools are NOT outliers.

    Again, perhaps you were misinformed or uncomprehending about those points, because it’s hard to believe that you were deliberately intending to mislead. Can you please clarify?

    Just those two sentences of yours appear to convey the attitude I’m mentioning — dismissing, minimizing and stifling questions — or, in this case, information that may slightly tarnish the luster of the program under discussion, a luster that you appear deeply committed to keeping bright. In addition, of course, there’s the question of why the press never did any of this research, which used publicly available data and can even be done within the constraints of the math skills of the average journalist.

    Would you agree that the widespread view would be that a journalist should embrace inquiry, questioning and challenge? And that an advocate for improving education should also do thorough research and ask penetrating questions about proposed solutions? What’s your response to my observation that you and your colleagues, including members of editorial boards around the Bay Area, state and nation, instead appear inclined to stifle, minimize and dismiss questions that might challenge programs and solutions they are promoting?

    Thank you.

  57. Stuart Buck says:

    It’s also not “effective or thoughtful” to launch utterly dishonest accusations that someone is being paid to say what they’ve said. So you’re not exactly in a position to claim the high road here.

    You obviously can’t refute the fact that KIPP students are poorer and more likely to be minorities than their neighboring public schools.

  58. The SRI researchers also had enough information to determine that it was consistently the lower achievers who left — information that wasn’t available to me.

    It’s the lower achievers who drop out of district schools, too.  Maybe KIPP is not for them.  What’s the excuse for denying KIPP to those who benefit from it?

    branding those who disagree with you as racists is not viewed as an effective or thoughtful way to make your case

    Yet it’s done all too often by defenders of schools which deliver crappy education.

    KIPP detractors carp
    What could be their bone to pick?
    Power to children!

  59. CarolineSF says:

    My understanding is that you work for a university department that promotes education reform, Stuart Buck. I don’t see that that’s an outrageous thing to mention — hardly on the level of calling someone a racist. If I’m incorrect, fine — say so.

    I don’t think it’s inherently wrong to set up a school that handpicks or self-selects by whatever means, so at-risk students are in an environment away from more troubled kids. In fact, I think it’s definitely worthwhile. I just think it’s wrong to lie about it. And again, my question to Joanne Jacobs stands — should journalists be suppressing, stifling, squelching questions — even ridiculing them — when most people would view a journalist’s job as ASKING the question? What gives?

  60. CarolineSF says:

    Engineer-poet, if you are an engineer you should be able to discern the difference between a school where the lowest-achieving 60% leave and are not replaced, vs. a school where students who leave are replaced, essentially by similar high-mobility (and thus likely low-achieving) students.

    Dropouts are irrelevant here, because we’re talking about middle schools. Except for perhaps a couple of hard-core outlaws, middle-schoolers can’t drop out.

    The fact that KIPP schools have this huge advantage — which as I’m saying isn’t inherently a bad thing; it’s the endless, loud lying about it that’s a bad thing — and then that encourages their boosters to attack the public schools that accept their rejects and dumpees: THAT’s what troubles me, along with the constant lying. Those public schools deserve support, not attacks.

  61. Stuart Buck says:

    My understanding is that you work for a university department that promotes education reform, Stuart Buck. I don’t see that that’s an outrageous thing to mention — hardly on the level of calling someone a racist

    I’m a doctoral candidate with a fellowship that is guaranteed for 4 years. My fellowship doesn’t go up if I say nice things about KIPP or charters or vouchers, nor would it go down or change in any way if I pulled a Diane Ravitch. No one in my department has ever cared or noticed whether I comment on blogs like this or not. To say that I’m being “paid” to do this is a stupid and ad hominem lie.

    I didn’t call you a racist; I said that some people strike me as unconsciously racist in how they make excuses for every inner-city public school that does poorly while bashing KIPP for having success with the same poor black kids. As a privileged white person, you might want to examine your own thinking from time to time.

  62. Stuart Buck says:

    The fact that KIPP schools have this huge advantage — which as I’m saying isn’t inherently a bad thing; it’s the endless, loud lying about it that’s a bad thing

    So you think that KIPP has a “huge advantage” when the relevant evidence says that their schools admit students who are more likely (often FAR more likely) to be poor and non-white? And you think KIPP is the one who is lying?

  63. (Caroline): “.. when you take the lottery “winners” and put them in a school with only other “children of parents concerned enough to look for an alternative and fill out an application” and who “do care,” that puts them in a different environment from a school that also enrolls the children of parents who are not concerned and who don’t care. Those latter children are most likely to pose challenges to a school. So what I would like to see studied is what happens if a public school ONLY enrolls such children, and then further studies disaggregating the other features of KIPP and studying their effect.

    Exercise for Caroline. Fill in the blank.
    Define “public”.
    A “public” school” is a school which _________________________.

    Every US State has compulsory education statutes on the books. Practically, this means compulsory attendance at some institution called a “school”. Every US State subsidizes attendance at school. The State cannot subsidize education or school operation without a definition of “education” or “school”. Across most of the US, State constitutional provisions, State statutes, or district policies restrict parents’ options for the use of the taxpayers’ age 6-18 education subsidy to schools operated by dues-paying members of the NEA/AFT/AFSCME cartel.
    Compulsory attendance statutes mean little unless the law compels some school to accept students which other schools reject. If you define “public school” to mean “a school under contract to the State to accept students rejected everywhere else”, what in this definition implies the policy of restricting the taxpayers’ education subsidy to these schools alone?

    (Caroline): “The fact that KIPP schools have this huge advantage — which as I’m saying isn’t inherently a bad thing; it’s the endless, loud lying about it that’s a bad thing — and then that encourages their boosters to attack the public schools that accept their rejects and dumpees: THAT’s what troubles me, along with the constant lying. Those public schools deserve support, not attacks.”

    1. What “lying”? You contend that a proclamation of success which fails to mention departures is a “lie”? So: a auto dealership which claims “98% of our customers are highly satisfied” is lying if it fails to mention people who walked onto the lot, looked around, and left without buying?

    2. If the ability to dismiss students confers an advantage, why suppose that taxpayers benefit from policies which restrict parents’ options for the use of the taxpayers’ age 6-18 school attendance subsidy to schools that do not have this advantage?

  64. CarolineSF says:

    Yes, KIPP definitely fuels and encourages the lying. Of course it has a clear reason: Creating and maintaining its image as a miracle worker keeps the millions and millions from private philanthropists pouring in. But the press, authors, commentators, bloggers, officials and all kinds of forces join in and keep it going.

    But here I’m calling out the press: Seeking information and truth, asking questions, is supposedly your job, your role, your calling, your mission. Can you explain — direct question to Joanne Jacobs and her colleagues — why, instead, in the case of the “it’s a miracle!” education reform fads, you not only refrain from asking questions, you also disparate, discourage and even ridicule questions?

    I also want to raise the issue of editorial writers who are now joining in the charter movement’s current newfound professions of concern for holding less-successful charters accountable. Yet editorial writers — my former colleagues at the Mercury News are particularly, egregiously guilty here — give local school boards a constant hammering when they don’t readily approve proposed new charter schools. That is clearly intended to intimidate local school boards into asking fewer questions and being less discerning about which charter proposals they approve. Those two positions (give charters more oversight, but be less critical of charter proposals) are inconsistent with each other, not to say hypocritical. Explain, please?

  65. CarolineSF says:

    Sorry, I meant “disparage.”

  66. CarolineSF says:

    Malcolm Kirkpatrick, I frankly don’t understand your questions. I think that’s because we’re in such different universes on this issue that you’re simply not making sense to me.

  67. Stuart Buck says:

    Sorry about the italics there.

    I guess this is how the world looks to Caroline and her pals: In inner-cities in America today, public schools are struggling to achieve anything. They’re stuck with all these poor black kids, and it’s just not fair to have accountability policies like NCLB that actually ask whether poor black kids are learning to read.

    But in the midst of all these poor black kids are a heretofore-unseen and unknown group of geniuses — highly motivated and brilliant children who are actually more poor and more black than everyone else. No one knows who they are, because they never choose to reveal their true abilities as long as they’re in a traditional public school.

    Then KIPP comes along. They admit a bunch of kids who are poorer and more likely to be black then the average kid in the inner-city districts. Even so, they somehow magically are able to tap into this group of poor black highly-motivated geniuses that no one else has ever spotted. Then KIPP kicks out any of the richer white slackers who somehow slipped into the lottery, so that they’re left with just the poor black geniuses.

    And this is so unfair.

  68. Sorry ’bout the botched italics in my last comment.

    Caroline: “Malcolm Kirkpatrick, I frankly don’t understand your questions. I think that’s because we’re in such different universes on this issue that you’re simply not making sense to me.”

    Are we naked because the State does not operate textile mills and clothing stores? Are we starving because the State does not operate farms, grocery stores, and restaurants?

    Why is the government in the education business at all? This “why?” question has three interpretations: the historical “why?”, the welfare-economic “why?” and the political science “why?”. The discussion to this point has turned on welfare-economic considerations. Continuing in that vein…

    1. Imagine either a dichtomous classification of industries: A={x: State operation of x enhances social welfare} and B={x: State operation of x degrades social welfare}, or a continuum: (highly unlikely)____________ . _______________.(highly likely). From State (government, generally) operation of what industries does society as a whole benefit?

    2. On what principles do industries qualify as likely candidates for State (government, generally) operation? What determines an industry’s placement in category A or B, or what determined it’s location on the continuum?

    3. Given the argument for tax subsidies to education, what does society gain from the policy which restricts parents’ options for the use of the taxpayers’ age 6-18 education subsidy to schools operated by government employees, over an alternative policy, tuition vouchers, which treats schools like suppliers of other services in a competitive market, where customers and suppliers meet on mutually agreeable terms?

  69. Let’s see if I can kill the italics.

    Okay, that’ll either work or it won’t.

    You can compare the KIPP and the conventional schools by looking at the top of the curve of the latter.  Is the KIPP school getting better achievement than a matched group that couldn’t get in?  KIPP is analogous to tracking, where kids who fail out of the honors track go back to the standard track.  Not having an honors track doesn’t help the kids who can’t hack it or don’t want to do the work, but it does hurt the higher achievers.  Unless the regular school is getting as good or better results from that subgroup, KIPP is worthwhile (and even if not, if KIPP is cheaper it’s still worthwhile).

Trackbacks

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by kriley19 and matthewktabor, joanneleejacobs. joanneleejacobs said: New blog post: Blacks, Hispanics support charters http://bit.ly/bKwhLx […]