Saturday, January 18, 2014

Two semi-random (but critical) facts about public education

Number One is retrieved from the post below this one, because it is buried deep in the middle of the post and might not receive the attention it merits.  [Hit that article for all the links.]

According to CNBC, conducting a study of the attractiveness of each state to business and investment, in 2008--which was when Governor Markell came into office and just before the Race to the Top--Delaware was rated #26 out of 50 in terms of Education.

Five years later, after Vision 2015 2020, data coaches, Race to the Top, $119 million in Federal funds we think we may or may not have spent, and all else, by the CNBC rankings we have raced up to #34 out of 50 in terms of Education.

That's right:  during the first five years of the Markell administration, CNBC finds that our national Education ranking has dropped 6 places.  Think about that when you are evaluating how well we've done.

Number Two comes from the American School Board Journal, which supports something I have been asserting for several years:  district school boards should be the primary issuer of school charters:

Evidence suggests states that identify local school boards as the primary authorizer of charter schools are more likely to create academically successful charters. 
This approach has worked well in Maryland, where a 2003 law allows school boards to have the opportunity to ensure charter school applications include viable academic and financial plans before approval. Boards can closely monitor these schools and intervene if problems arise.... 
The stance of NSBA [National School Board Association] is that the local school board should be the sole authorizer of charter schools -- as school board members are a community’s elected or appointed trustees responsible for the education of local schoolchildren. 
“The advantage, not just of having a single authorizer, but having the school board as authorizer, is that they are already there to be responsible for the students in their district,” says Patte Barth, director of NSBA’s Center for Public Education. “They’re closer to the community. They know what the needs of children are. They are better able to manage the flow of resources, and they can keep an eye on the children and make sure the promise of the charter is being upheld.” 
According to the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA), school boards already play this role for the majority (53 percent) of charter schools across the nation. But the remaining charters are authorized by and report to a variety of groups, including higher education institutions, independent charter boards, municipalities, for-profit organizations, and state education agencies.
Too often, here in Delaware we don't actually get to look at data or research because we're too busy drowning in spin.


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