Monday, November 13, 2006

Take the bait from The State

The State opined that "It’s time for common-sense school reforms." Well, it's about time they took a few steps towards the real world with the rest of us.

Only 49.2 percent of incoming ninth graders will graduate from high school on time. So this isn't the recognition that is really necessary by The State of the reality that our current model of delivering education fails large percentages of students, but it's something and we ought to take the bait.

Specifically they suggest, "We need to go in and open state charter schools in areas where the local school boards can’t get the job done." OK. So here's a specific idea that we've talked about here before.
KIPP is a network of free, open-enrollment, college-preparatory public schools in under-resourced communities throughout the United States. There are currently 52 locally-run KIPP schools in 16 states and Washington, DC, serving over 12,000 students. At KIPP, there are no shortcuts: outstanding educators, more time in school, a rigorous college-preparatory curriculum, and a strong culture of achievement and support help our students make significant academic gains and continue to excel in high school and college.
Let's start a chain of KIPP charter schools serving children in impoverished communities. KIPP is a proven model that works. It makes a lot more sense to have a statewide district serving a homogeneous demographic, than it does to have local schools district trying to be all things to all students from the poorest to the most affluent. That's a major source of much of the problem in public education the way it is delivered today.


Steve Stevenson said...

All of the studies I've seen show that charter schools are statistically the same as public school IMHO, it's the curriculum that's busted. Assessment mania is also a problem and charter schools are not going to fix that.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like someone is trying to imply School Vouchers. Not a good idea. Sorry.

Swamp Fox said...

The suggestion is "Let's start a chain of KIPP charter schools serving children in impoverished communities."

If would be really refreshing if just once someone who is viscerally opposed to school choice would actually engage his brain rather than just dismissing any alternative to the status quo with the "v" word.

Anonymous said...

Post & Courier has an article on school ratings this morning:

Seems like everyone is up in arms about the downward shift in ratings across the board as a result of higher performance targets.

Here's a modest proposal. Provide performance based cash bonuses to schools each year (and by schools, I mean bonuses flowing directly to teachers and administrators) based on either:

a) improvement in 4-year college acceptance rates (% change vs prior year) OR

b) for the best schools, maintaining high 4-year college acceptance rates (80%+ of graduating students)

Create a payment schedule linked to the % change:

- $1,000 per person for 5-10% increase in number of students admitted to 4-year colleges/universities,

- $1,500 per person for 10-15% increase,

- $2,000 per person for 15% or higher increase

And for schools already at "best in class" with 80%+ college admissions, pay out $2,000 per teacher/admin

According to this source:

SC will spend ~$2.3B on public education this school year. The state has ~46,000 teachers, add 10% for admin (?) and you get ~50,000 potential bonus recipients. Assume in any given year a max of 1/2 of these folks qualify, and that the average payout is $1,5000 per head -- that's about $38 million in incentive payments annually, less than 2% of the total budget.

Would these incentives drive performance? Could the state muster up an additional $30-$50M for such a program? I'd love to hear some educators chime in on the feasibility of such an approach...

Fred said...

An example/model of a solution that would work statewide is Greenville Technical Charter High School. Although only in existence about 6 years, GTCHS has been recognized as one of the top high schools in SC - on a number of measures: test scores, graduation rates, college transition, etc.
It is a public school with funds coming from the local school district, students do apply but enrollment is limited to 100 per grade and, when there are more than 100 applicants, a drawing selects the class. The school emphasizes 3 priorities: academics, technology, and community service. The state would be well served if this model were developed in partnership with every technical college in the state.

A Red Mind in a Blue State said...

The studies that show parity of charter schools, or public-private ventures like Edison always leave out one important fact-- rarely if ever do they receive the same $$ as public schools.

Here on Loing Island, for instance. our schools spend approx $16,000 per kid. While most of our schools are good, whatever that means, I'd love to see what "private" educators could do with that kind of money.