In There Is No One Magic Bullet or Holy Grail In Education Period I said:
Education tends to be populated by idealists and dreamers who are true believers and who think of what is possible. Otherwise, why would one look at children in second grade and think one of those children could win the Nobel Prize or be president? Maybe, that is why education as a discipline is so prone to fads and the constant quest for the “Holy Grail” or the next, next magic bullet. There is no one answer, there is what works for a particular population of kids. Geoffrey Canada is an exceptional educator and he has stuck his neck out there. He was profiled in “Waiting for Superman.”
The words of truth are always paradoxical.
Sharon Otterman has an article in New York Times which reports some of the challenges faced by Mr. Canada’s schools, The Harlem Children’s Zone.
In Lauded Harlem Schools Have Their Own Problems Otterman reports…
Criticism WILL occur if you are doing something that is not inline with others’ expectations. It IS going to cost to educate children out of the cycle of poverty. Still, that means that society should not make the attempt.
There is no magic bullet or “Holy Grail” in education. There is only what works to produce academic achievement in each population of children. That is why school choice is so important.
Mary Ann Zehr has an article in Education Week about the sharing of “best practices” between charters and public schools. In the article, Regular Public Schools Start to Mimic Charters Zehr reports:
Collaborations popping up across the country between charter and traditional public schools show promise that charter schools could fulfill their original purpose of becoming research-and-development hothouses for public education, champions of charters say.
But both supporters and skeptics of charter schools agree that so far the cooperative efforts are not widespread nor are most of them very deep.
The U.S. Department of Education spent $6.7 million in fiscal 2009 on grants to states for charters to share what they’ve learned with other schools. It is now conducting a feasibility study on ways to support the spread of promising charter school practices, said Scott D. Pearson, the department’s acting director of the charter schools program.
One idea being explored, he said, is to establish a prize for exemplary collaborations….
“There’s not a lot to share. Charter schools are a lot like [regular] public schools,” said Joan Devlin, the senior associate director of the educational issues department at the American Federation of Teachers.
But others, such as the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools, believe charter schools do have some distinctive practices that should be shared with traditional public schools. The alliance hosted a conference in September that featured 26 “promising cooperative practices” between the two kinds of schools. Examples included a Minnesota Spanish-immersion charter school working with a local district to create a Spanish-language-maintenance program, and California charter school and districts teaming up on a teacher-induction program.
“We were trying to move past the whole charter-war debates and move to a more productive place,” said Stephanie Klupinski, the alliance’s vice president of government and public affairs.
Lincoln High School in Tacoma is highlighted in Zehr’s article:
Borrowing Best Practices
Lincoln High School, in the 29,000-student Tacoma district in Washington state, is also seeing test scores rise after borrowing some practices from charter schools, according to Patrick Erwin, a co-principal with Greg Eisnaugle of the high school.
About 350 of the 1,500 students in the high school attend the Lincoln Center, a school-within-a-school started more than two years ago that implements practices Mr. Erwin says were picked up from the well-known Harlem Children’s Zone, Green Dot, and Knowledge Is Power Program charter schools. The Lincoln Center operates from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and is in session for two Saturdays each month. It also uses standards that are more rigorous than the state’s 10th grade standards, for example, and requires teachers to apply for jobs, selecting only those who have shown success in the classroom, according to Mr. Erwin.
He said the school has an agreement with its 15 teachers, in addition to their union contract, to work extra hours, for which they receive extra compensation.
See, Well, duh, Lincoln High School’s School Within a School is Working
If the goal is that ALL children receive a good basic education, then ALL options must be available.
It is Time to Consider Charter School Authorization In Washington?
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