The Cost of Choice

A new study finds that charter school expansion in Michigan has meant financial chaos for a growing number of school districts…

detroit_damage2_640-900x570.jpg (900×570)EduShyster: Your new study looks at why certain school districts in Michigan have descended into a state of, as I like to describe it, *smoking ruin.* To keep the suspense alive, tell us what you found DID NOT contribute to the severe financial distress of these districts.

David Arsen: The question we looked at was how much of this pattern of increasing financial distress among school districts in Michigan was due to things that local districts have control over as opposed to state-level policies that are out of the local districts’ control: teacher salaries, health benefits, class size, administrative spending. We also looked at an item that the conservative think tanks are big on: contracting out and privatization. We found that, overwhelmingly, the biggest financial impact on school districts was the result of declining enrollment and revenue loss, especially where school choice and charters are most prevalent. We looked at every school district in Michigan with at least 100 students and we followed them for nearly 20 years. The statistics are causal; we’re not just looking at correlation.  Continue reading →

Are You Being Served?

How do Hillary Clinton’s *hardest-to-teach* students fare at Boston charter schools?

Reader: Hillary Clinton recently said something that made a lot of adult interests who put kids first really mad. In brief (because what she said was actually very brief), HRC said that most charter schools *don’t take the hardest-to-teach kids, or if they do they don’t keep them.* Which resulted in a flurry of sternly-worded rejoinders, like this one, this one and this one, none of which responded to HRC’s actual very brief words. Which gave me a wacky idea. What if we looked at some actual data?  Continue reading →

Shrinking Possible

How did the vision of what’s possible get so small?

Klein

While this Tweet from former school chancellor Joel Klein refers to NYC, he could mean any number of cities where pitched battles over charter schools have raised a complicated question:  Who exactly is a progressive when it comes to education? Continue reading →

Kick the Cap

Behind the scenes (and out in the hallway) at the Statehouse charter school hearing…


statehouseAnd that’s a wrap, folks! After nine hours, and thousands of pages of testimony concerning 35 different pieces of legislation—35!—this week’s marathon hearing on the state and future of charter schools in the Bay State had finally reached its end. But still, the question lingered: had anyone actually learned anything? It might surprise you to learn that my answer is an unabashed *Yes.* In fact, I learned quite a lot.
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Students Say the Darndest Things

From the impact of school closures to the perils of an all-charter system, Boston students seem to know a lot more than the adult interests…  

WestieIt’s sad when adult interests decide to close schools 🙁 Which is why I took it upon myself to be the bearer of great news to the students protesting at last week’s School Committee meeting. So your old schools are going out of business. Lots of shiny high-performing seats are headed your way! And even greater, those high-performing seats turn out to be even higher performing than we thought. But there was a rub. These students turned out to be, well, educated on the topics at hand. From the impact of school closures to the perils of an all-charter school system, the students seemed to know a whole lot more than, say, this guy. What do you say we listen to them?
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