Sunday, April 11, 2010

Change and Growth

I love it when people grow and expand and change their minds about something. Especially when it supports my point of view.

I don't think Diane Ravitch's about-face last month got enough press, so I want to talk about it.

She is an education historian. In a nutshell, 20 and 30 years ago, she was a big proponent of school choice, charter schools, competition on the educational landscape - just like business.

And now, after No Child Left Behind has been a colossal failure, she's changed her mind.

Some quotes from the article.

First, on charter schools

The only major national evaluation of charter schools was carried out by Stanford economist Margaret Raymond and funded by pro-charter foundations. Her group found that compared to regular public schools, 17% of charters got higher test scores, 46% had gains that were no different than their public counterparts, and 37% were significantly worse.

So, charter schools, otherwise known as for-profit-competition for public school funds, don't work any better than public schools. Hmmm.

NAEP compared charter schools and regular public schools in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2009. Sometimes one sector or the other had a small advantage. But on the whole, there is very little performance difference between them.

Read the entire article, it's enlightening. In fact, I'm going to get the book she wrote from the library this week and read it.

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