Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water

CREDO at Stanford University released a study showing that only charter schools aren’t doing well, to put it simply.

Robin Lake responded with an article in Education Next. Ms. Lake points out that online charter schools are important opportunities for innovative pedagogy and individualized learning, but that structures tasked with regulating online charters need revamping.

This policy discussion is an effective illustration of the K-12 education debate in general. While we may support a certain type of school for its innovative capacity or community heritage, the ultimate measure of any school’s value is the learning and growth its students accomplish. So all schools should have the autonomy, talent, and support they need to succeed. Students and their families should be empowered to find the schools that work best for them among a diverse set of options. And policy makers need to ensure that every school is accountable for their outcomes.

Ms. Lake applies this basic formula to online charter schools, and it applies to every other sort of school as well. We ensure every child’s right to a high quality education by shifting the focus from school type to school quality.

NOMINATE AN EDUCATION INNOVATOR

Click here to nominate a visionary in education now

Since 1988, The Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education has recognized outstanding individuals who have dedicated themselves to improving education through new approaches and whose accomplishments are making a difference today.

Past McGraw Prize winners have included Geoffrey Canada of Harlem Children’s Zone, Sal Khan of the Khan Academy, Wendy Kopp of Teach For America and Andreas Schleicher of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

As part of a new alliance between McGraw-Hill Education and Arizona State University (ASU), the public will have the opportunity for the first time to submit nominations for the Prize by visiting McGrawPrize.com until November 15, 2015.

The McGraw Prize will include three categories: U.S. K-12, higher education and international. Honorees receive an award of $50,000. The McGraw Prize dinner and ceremony will be held at the ASU+GSV Innovation Summit in San Diego on April 19, 2016.

Nominees for the 2016 Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education should exemplify:
Leadership in at least one of the three categories
Adaptivity to a changing environment
Dedication to best practices in education
Measured, positive impact on his or her institution or the field
Positive change in the lives of others
Transformational accomplishments in education
Highest respect by his or her peers
Inspiration to others to strive for excellence

Submit nominations at McGrawPrize.com by November 15, 2015. Follow the Prize process on social media using the hashtag #McGrawPrize.

McGraw Prize winners in the news:
Chris Lehman (2014) Huffington Post:
How to Plan Better Professional Development
Sal Khan (2012) ChicagoInno:
Khan Academy Founder Talks Bringing Virtual Learning To Brick-And-Mortar Schools
Robert W. Mendenhall (2010) The Atlantic:
The Online College That Credits Life Experience

 

WEEK IN REVIEW: OCTOBER 19-23

A roundup of the biggest news in education this week, in case you missed it…

As Charter Schools Become Divisive, Two Parents Give Their Take (NPR)

Math story time at home bolsters achievement in school (University of Chicago)

SEEING THE BENEFITS WE REEP (OCI Blog)

America’s smart kids left behind (Education Next)

Forrest Claypool’s kid goes to a private school. Does it matter? (Chicago Reader)

The Evidence That White Children Benefit From Integrated Schools (NPR)

Should we turn high school into college? (The Hechinger Report)

SEEING THE BENEFITS WE REEP

Efforts to merge entrepreneurship and education are expanding across the nation.

The 74 Million recently reported on Rice University’s Education Entrepreneurship Program (REEP), “a Houston-area leadership program geared toward K-12 educators who want to instill business savvy and management skills into their work in schools.”

REEP brings together traditional and charter school educators from throughout the Houston area, and even other states, to receive innovative leadership training.

Locally, the Science and Entrepreneurship Exchange is a Chicago organization aimed at bringing entrepreneurship into elementary school classrooms.

“SEE delivers real-world entrepreneurship, invention and engineering into 3rd-8th classrooms. During the pivotal elementary and middle school years, SEE students work with professional and university mentors to conceive, design and manufacture real products, and build, fund and manage real businesses around their inventions.”

SEE does most of its work through Nettlehorst Elementary School – a district school in Lakeview. And according to their Facebook, SEE is expanding to St. Philip Neri Elementary School, a Catholic school in South Shore.

REEP and SEE are embodying the principle that children deserve personalized education options regardless of geography or sector.

Click here to learn more about SEE’s efforts.
Click here to read The 74 Million article.

HIGH RETURN REFORM?

The Center for American Progress has released a report arguing that states should reform their curriculums to get better bang for their buck. However, some think that curriculum reform will take accountability out of the hands of teachers.

Is curriculum reform a high ROI education investment, or a way of easing the burden on new teacher accountability systems?

Read the report here, and let us know what you think on Facebook.

EDUCATING REFUGEES

Refugees making their way to Europe are seeking education through free online schools. Could the model apply to education policy in the US?

Read the article here, and visit our Facebook page to let us know what you think.

GIFT FOR THE GIFTED

The US Department of Education has awarded $4 million to support underrepresented students in gifted and talented programs. The grant targets students of color, low income students, students with limited English proficiency, and others.

Earlier this month, OCI Policy Director Josh Dwyer wrote a blog post about certain groups of students being left out of gifted and talented programs.

Perhaps the Department of Education has taken notice of the inequity.

Learn more about the details of the program.

GROWTH MINDSET

“Must it always come back to finding a reason why some children just can’t learn, as opposed to finding a way to help them learn?”

Carol Dweck originated the “growth mindset” method. She finds that students are most successful when they believe their intelligence can develop.

Read more: Carol Dweck Revisits the Growth Mindset

GREAT DEBATERS

Carl Snyder, Carlos Polanco, and Dyjuan Tatro won a debate round last week. Their opponents were from Harvard. Snyder, Polanco, and Tatro are inmates.

Competing through the Bard Prison Initiative, the team argued in favor of the resolution that, “Public schools in the United States should have the ability to deny enrollment to undocumented students.”

Although they personally disagreed with the argument, they won the round.

These students’ success is a testament to the unwavering assumption of every stakeholder interested in improving education for kids: every student can learn.

Find out how they won here.

BLUE RIBBON SCHOOL SPOTLIGHT: ST CORNELIUS

Congratulations to St. Cornelius Elementary for winning a National Blue Ribbon for Exemplary High Performing Schools.