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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Not that there is anything wrong with that

One of the big pushes for education reform this year is to remove the limits on charter schools. While I have no problem with that as charter schools have often proven to produce great results to say the limit in and of itself is holding children's education back is far from the truth.

Tennessee just passed a charter limit increases last year. The old limit was 50 schools. The current limit is 90 schools.

How many charter schools are there currently in Tennessee? 22

The limit, in and of itself, is clearly not stopping failing schools from becoming charter schools. Possibly we need to dig a little deeper.


  1. Only 17% of Charter Schools outperform public schools. Want to improve education overnight? Get government out of it! Teachers no longer have leeway to be creative and their day is pretty much scripted as to what they will teach, how they will teach it, and the expected results. Starting next year, teachers will be evaluated four times more than in the past and student progress data will be part of the evaluation. The standards have changed three times over the past 4 years and will change again. Teachers are told they must improve test scores and meet the targets yet the government keeps moving the target. Look for unintended consequences if the attacks on education are successful.

  2. If I could take a school that is failing year after year and turn it into a school that is out performing a regular school 17% of the time I would take it.

  3. Me too but you miss the point. There is in place now a process to take schools that miss the targets and place them in an Achievement School District. This was part of Tennessee First to the Top legislation which teachers supported. There have been many changes made to education over the past two years and we haven't even given those changes time to be put fully in place and the results evaluated and now a new group of legislators want to make further changes. That is not sound policy.

  4. How much more time should Memphis and Metro Nashville get? Could we get an update on those $200/day + expenses consultants that were hired to fix everything when the state wouldn't enforce the NCLB provisions to take over failing systems?

    Take a look at where the current charters were approved. Take a look at what students were allowed to attend those charters and where they were attending before - what was the performance (and note that specifically in TN, they already spent the most money per student of any public systems in the state). I.e., TN public charters don't start out with "average" students by design. You will find that permitted charter student population to be monolithic in certain demographics (particularly melanin level and household income). You also have to consider how the academic performance is measured from that point forward. If you start with a student several grades behind and improve them to one grade behind in a year, your testing will show you are behind and "ineffective", but did the student improve or not?

    I'm not sure you have to get the government out for public education to succeed (although I think the federal level is way too far removed to be able to say what any state, let alone local, system needs). I think your schools would fare better by ending the compulsory education law.


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