"A Smarter Charter" authored by TCF fellows Rick Kahlenberg and Halley Potter was referenced in a recent Salon article that profiles a number of schools that are being forced to transition from public school to charter model in hopes of lifting test scores and student performance. Charter school performance varies widely around the country, with results ranging from increased segregation to less teacher voice. "A Smarter Charter" provides a reminder of the original charter school model and advocates for increased diversity and strong teacher voice.
The authors conclude, “The current thrust of the charter school sector … is bad for kids.” They recommend “changes to federal, state, and local policy” and a greater degree of “neighborhood partnerships” among charters, public schools, foundations and universities if these schools are to “be a powerful vision for educational innovation in a new century.”
Check out the Salon article.
More info on the book "A Smarter Charter" can be found here.
Guest blogger Jonathan Hasak explains why critics of President Obama’s community college plan who say the federal government would be mostly reducing the cost for higher-income families are missing the point entirely.READ MORE
TCF fellow Halley Potter weighs in on the importance of incorporating the voices of young teachers in labor union and charter school debates. Potter says new organizations such as America Achieves go beyond the typical labor union conversation of teacher tenure and expands to include teacher voice in policy debates.
Unions remain “necessary in charters because charters by design are eroding the rights of teachers as workers,” said Rowan Shafer, a third grade teacher at Morris Jeff and co-president of the school’s fledgling union. “Charters hire young people who will work ridiculous hours and burn out rather than provide a sustainable work environment.”
Check out the full report from Hechinger Report.
President Obama recently announced his goal to provide universally free education to two-year community colleges in the U.S. Despite the difficulties in hammering out strategies and complications of achieving this ambitious goal, many critics have lauded the fact that if passed, this new provision would promote integration and diversity on otherwise low-income community college campuses.
Today, there is an enormous degree of economic stratification in higher education. According to research by Anthony Carnevale and Jeff Strohl of Georgetown University, wealthy students outnumber poor students at the most selective four-year colleges by 14 to one, while community colleges educate twice as many low-income students as high-income students. Moreover, their research finds that, between 1982 and 2006, the proportion of students from the richest quarter of the population attending community colleges has declined, while those attending from the poorest quarter has increased.
The whole piece featured in The Atlantic can be found here.
President Obama’s proposal to make community colleges free is a logical next step in today’s skilled economy. Access to free education shouldn’t end at high school, but there’s more we can do to improve community colleges.READ MORE
TCF fellow Richard Kahlenberg reviews and praises Lani Guinier's book The Tyranny of Meritocracy. Guinier delves into the weak ties indicated by SAT scores and success, linking high SAT scores with wealth instead of merit. He writes:
As a result, our testocracy fails to produce what our democracy needs, Guinier argues. Leading colleges claim to serve the public interest, which is why they receive enormous tax breaks. Princeton University’s informal motto, for example, is “Princeton in the Nation’s Service and in the Service of All Nations.” That commitment is what justifies an estimated $45,000 per-pupil tax subsidy of Princeton students. And yet in a recent year, more than half of Princeton graduating students went into investment banking or consulting, careers “lacking in any element of social service,” Guinier notes.
Read Kahlenberg's full review featured in The Nation here.
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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