Archives for category: Accountability

Jersey Jazzman pulls together a host of reformer ideas in this post and shows that none of them has any evidence behind it.

 

How can public schools, which take everyone, compete with and match the braggadocio of charter schools, which promise that every student will graduate and go to a four-year college, even if it isn’t true?

 

Why do policymakers continue to push merit pay, even though it has failed again and again for nearly a century?

 

Why the conservative love affair with vouchers, when we now have evidence from Milwaukee, Cleveland, and D.C. that vouchers drain money from public schools without producing better education?

 

Jersey Jazzman asks for proof. Before accepting any of the reformer policies, reformers should show the evidence? Indignation is not evidence. Nor are promises of miraculous results.

This year, for the first time, North Carolina followed Jeb Bush’s lead and gave each of its schools a letter grade, A-F. The grades reflect poverty and also the state’s failure to support the schools with the greatest needs. The idea that a complex institution can be given a single letter grade is nonsensical. If a child came home with a single letter grade, his or her parents would be outraged. How much stupider it is to stigmatize schools with a single letter grade.

Here is a letter from North Carolina teacher Stuart Egan on this subject:

“The North Carolina State Board of Education (SBOE) and the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) released performance grades for all public schools on February 5th. According to the formula, a high percentage of each school grade was based on a single round of tests, assessments rushed into implementation to satisfy Race to the Top requirements.

“These performance grades serve as a clear indication of what our leaders are not doing to help students in public schools. Of the 707 schools that received a “D” or an “F” from the state, 695 qualify as schools with high poverty; meanwhile, more than half of the schools that achieved an “A” were early colleges, academies, and charter schools whose enrollments are much smaller and more selective than traditional public schools.

“What the state proved with this grading system is that it is ignoring the very students who need the most help—not just in the classroom, but with basic needs such as early childhood programs and health care accessibility. These performance grades also show that schools with smaller class sizes and more individualized instruction are more successful, a fact lawmakers willfully ignore when it comes to funding our schools to avoid overcrowding.

“My prediction is that the results next year will be even more polarized but not because of any real improvement. Instead of a fifteen-point scale, the state will use a ten-point scale. Gov. McCrory and Sen. Berger will tout the strength of charter schools and other “reforms” for election-year platforms. It becomes confirmation bias.

“So as a parent, teacher, voter, and taxpayer, I want to offer my own grades to the very officials who control the conditions of school environments and manipulate how schools are graded:

The General Assembly receives an “F” for the following actions:

· The denial of Medicaid expansion for students who live in poverty. It is hard to perform academically when basic medical needs cannot be met. 1 in 5 students in Forsyth County are in poverty. WSFCS had an overall rate of 41.1 percent of schools with a “D” or “F”.

· The financing of failed charter schools that have no oversight and are, in many cases, acts of financial recklessness. New oversight rules are being requested in light of questionable use of taxpayer money as 10 charter schools are currently on a watch list.

· The funding of vouchers (Opportunity Grants) that effectively removed money for public education and reallocated it to charter schools.

· The underfunding of our public university system, which forces increases in tuition, while giving tax breaks to companies who benefit from our educated workforce.

· The removal of longevity pay for all veteran teachers, who now are the only state employees without it.

· The dismantling of the Teaching Fellows Program that recruited our state’s brightest to become the teachers of our next generation.

“The SBOE and DPI receive an “F” for the following actions:

· The emphasis on publicizing favorable graduation rates rather than on addressing the social factors that impede learning, particularly at the preschool or elementary levels.

· The removal of the cap for class size for traditional schools and claiming it will not impede student learning.

· The administration of too many tests (EOCT’s, MSL’s, CC’s, NC Finals, etc.). These change every year, take more time away from instruction and measure very little.

· The constant change in curriculum standards (Standard Course of Study, Common Core, etc.).

· The appointment of non-educators to leadership roles in writing new curricula.

· The engagement with profit-motivated companies that dictate not only what teachers are allowed to teach but also how students are assessed. Pearson, for example, provides not only curriculum standards for many of the subjects taught in North Carolina but also insists you use Pearson-made standardized tests many which require that Pearson employees grade them—for a price.

· The continuous change in how teachers are evaluated (Formative/Summative, NCEES, True North Logic, Standard 6). The system that many teachers are now subjected to is actually being implemented before it is even finalized.

“Officials who support the school performance grading system claim that it gives parents a better view of how our schools are performing. But if that is the case, why have EVAAS growth models and accreditation requirements? Never mind that those measures offer a more complete view of a school’s competence.

“Schools provide a great reflection of a society and how it prioritizes education. When our schools are told that they are failing, those with the power to affect change are really the ones who deserve the failing grades.”

Stuart Egan
West Forsyth High School
Clemmons, NC

Today, the New York Times has an article extolling the virtue of annual tests. It is written by someone who worked in the Obama administration and now works for Andrew Rotherhan’s Bellweather Partners, a consulting group. The writer claims that we learn a great deal from annual testing, and that better tests, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, are on the way (PARCC and SBAC). Of course, it is very hard to learn anything about how any child is progressing when the results from spring testing are delivered in August and when no one is allowed to see either the questions or the answers. But he doesn’t go into that.

 

Peter Greene answers the article succinctly. It is a must-read, Peter Greene at his incisive best. He calls the article:

 

A mishmosh of false assumptions. First, there are no “necessary” tests, nor have a ever read a convincing description of what a “necessary” test would be nor what would make it “necessary.” And while there are no Big Standardized Tests that are actually designed for school benchmarking and teacher evaluation, in many states that is the only purpose of the BS Test! The only one! So in Aldeman’s view, would those tests be okay because they are being used for purposes for which they aren’t designed?

 

And he adds:

 

New, better tests have been coming every year for a decade. They have never arrived. They will never arrived. It is not possible to create a mass-produced, mass-graded, standardized test that will measure the educational quality of every school in the country. It is like trying to use a ruler to measure the weight of a fluid– I don’t care how many times you go back to drawing board with the ruler– it will never do the job. Educational quality cannot be measured by a standardized test. It is the wrong tool for the job, and no amount of redesign will change that.

 

Good reminder though that while throwing money at public schools is terrible and stupid, throwing money at testing companies is guaranteed awesome.

 

Annual standardized testing measures one thing– how well a group of students does at taking an annual standardized test. That’s it. Even Aldeman here avoids saying what exactly it is that these tests (you know, the “necessary ones”) are supposed to measure.

 

Annual standardized testing is good for one other thing– making testing companies a buttload of money. Beyond that, they are simply a waste of time and effort.

 

 

Governor Scott Walker released a budget proposal that contains no significant increase in funding for public schools, but a large expansion of vouchers and charters for the entire state. He wants to remove the cap on the number of students who may receive vouchers to attend private and religious schools but maintain the income limit of about $44,122 for a family of four. He wants a new charter board that he and his allies control. He wants to withdraw support for the Common Core exam known as Smarter Balanced and to cancel Milwaukee’s integration funding. He proposes to lower standards for those entering teaching and to introduce A-F letter grades (a Jeb Bush invention):

 

If enacted, the proposals would cause major waves in the state’s public school systems, which have faced an onslaught of reforms in recent years, both financially and academically.

 

The governor’s budget calls for throwing out the new state standardized achievement exam aligned with the Common Core academic standards, which is set to be administered to students in third through eighth grade for the first time this spring.

 

And he wants schools to receive A-F letter grades on their state report cards, instead of the current descriptions explaining how well they’re meeting expectations.

 

Walker’s budget plan would also make it easier for anyone with a bachelor’s degree and real-world experience to get a license to become a middle or high school teacher. And to free up aid for districts statewide, the governor wants to end the Chapter 220 program designed to help racially integrate Milwaukee’s city and suburban schools — something he says will redirect $60 million in aid to other districts.

 

Even the state superintendent complained that Walker’s budget shortchanged public schools:

 

State Superintendent Tony Evers noted the governor’s budget offered no increase in the revenue limit for public schools, which is the total amount districts can raise per pupil in state aid and property taxes.

 

“That’s huge,” he said. “Schools are at the breaking point.”

 

Will this improve education in Wisconsin? Not likely, since vouchers in Milwaukee have not improved the performance of students receiving them, and several of Milwaukee’s charters are in academic distress. Letter grades have nothing to do with school improvement; they are a strategy that typically places extra emphasis on standardized test scores and sets low-scoring schools up for closure. As for inviting non-educators to become middle-school and high-school teachers, that might provide a new labor force to replace experienced teachers, but it is hard to see how it leads to better instruction to turn students over to people who have never taught and have no preparation to do so.

 

At a hearing in Albany, NYC Chancellor Carmen Farina disagreed bluntly with Governor Cuomo ‘s proposal to base 50% of teacher evaluations on student test scores and 35% on the judgement of independent evaluators, people from outside the school.

“I think 50 percent based on tests is too much,” Ms. Fariña told state legislators at a budget hearing on Tuesday, in comments that were echoed by representatives of other large school districts. “We need a human touch any time we evaluate anyone for anything.”

She also objective to the “independent evaluators.”

“Ms. Fariña said that teachers needed to be observed over time, watched for things like whether they engaged with parents or gave special attention to students who needed extra help, and that “flybys” could not replace that.”

And she added:

“There’s so many other things,” Fariña said. “I was a teacher for more than 20 years and if I was only measured in test scores, that would only have been a little bit of my work…..”

“I absolutely believe that holding teachers accountable only on test scores and outside evaluators is not a good idea,” Fariña said in response to questions about Cuomo’s plan.

Cuomo told the Buffalo News that:

“The test is really the only easy answer because it is objective numerical data and it was the same test with the same demographic,” Cuomo told a group of reporters and editors from The Buffalo News on Tuesday.”

The difference between Farina and Cuomo is that she has been a teacher, a principal, a superintendent, and now Chancellor. She is a veteran educator who knows teaching and learning. Cuomo has no experience in education but insists that he knows how teachers should be evaluated.

It is clear that he is over his head. He doesn’t know that most teachers don’t teach tested subjects. How does he propose to evaluate teachers of the arts, physical education, foreign languages, teachers of K-2, and high school teachers. It is a shame that he is unfamiliar with the extensive research on test-based accountability and VAM.

While all eyes were on the Senate hearings about the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind, the House of Representatives was putting the final touches on its own bill.

 

Alyson Klein of Education Week here describes the House legislation. Testing, i.e., the status quo, would remain unchanged. Clearly, the Republican leadership has not heard the outcry of parents who are enraged by the excessive testing forced on their children by federal mandates such as they intend to preserve.

 

On testing: The bill would keep the NCLB law’s testing schedule in place, requiring states to assess students in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school in reading and math. And, just like under current law, science assessments would be required in three different grade spans. Unlike under Alexander’s bill, there’s no first and second option here for discussion. This isn’t a surprise, since both Kline, and Rep. John Boehner, the speaker of the House, want to keep the testing schedule in place.

 

On Common Core, the bill would prohibit the Secretary of Education from compelling states to adopt it and would leave states free to draft their own standards.

 

On Title I portability: Just as in Alexander’s bill, states would be allowed to use Title I funds in public school choice programs, by allowing Title I dollars to “follow the child.” This is not likely to make education organizations—which might otherwise embrace a smaller federal footprint—very happy. But it’s unclear just how much of a dealbreaker it is. Advocates for districts, including AASA, the School Superintendents Association, and the National School Boards Association continued to support the bill back in 2013, even after the portability provision was included. (We don’t know yet if that will be the case this time around, however.)

 

Portability no doubt would spur the expansion of charter schools, further destabilizing public schools.

 

 

 

 

The Network for Public Education has released its statement on the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind. The statement weighs in on testing: If we have to choose between annual testing and grade span testing, we prefer the latter; but our first choice, which is not on the table, is to eliminate the federal role in testing and accountability. We believe that this role belongs to the states, not the federal government. We also believe that the original purpose of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (now called NCLB) should be restored: its was passed to promote equity for the nation’s poorest children. Testing does not create equity, and it is not the proper sphere of the federal government.

 

In addition to our recommendations about testing, we strongly support class size reduction; protection or the privacy of students from intrusive federal data collection; and assurance that federal funds are used to supplement, not supplant, local and state spending. We oppose the use of this law to expand federal funding for charter schools, which promote segregation and do not enroll students with the highest needs. We support greater accountability by the federal government and the states for the appropriate use of federal funds to provide equitable resources for the poorest and neediest students.

 

Here is our statement:

 

Summary of Network for Public Education’s comments on ESEA draft bill:

 

We support option 1 to eliminate mandated annual testing, and we urge the Senate to remove high stakes attached to standardized tests, encourage flexibility in designing assessments, and provide the right of parents to opt their children out of standardized testing.
Restore reducing class size as option that states and districts can use with their Title II funds, which is a research-based reform that also works to lower teacher attrition.
Eliminate the use of federal funds for merit pay, which has consistently failed to improve student outcomes.
Add to the reporting requirements of districts, states and the federal government so they must report trends in average class size data, as well as the disparity in class size between high and low poverty schools.
Strengthen the language around student data privacy and limit federally mandated data collection of individual students.
Oppose the diversion of resources to private and charter schools through portability of Title I funds and expansion of federal funding to charters.
Require maintenance of effort, so that states and districts cannot cut back on their own support for schools while replacing their funding with federal dollars.
We strongly urge the Senate to increase overall funding for Title I, Title II, and Title X for homeless students, especially as more than 50% of the children in our public schools are now officially classified as low income for the first time in at least fifty years.

 

 

More specifically:

 

Title I STATE PLANS:

 

We support the section entitled “Limitations” which prohibits the Secretary of Education from requiring any particular specific standards, assessments, accountability systems, or teacher or principal evaluation systems.

 

We support this section of the bill because states and districts should be allowed to craft their own standards and accountability systems, as long as they are research –based and are responsive to stakeholder and community input – neither of which is true of the currently mandated federal accountability systems and standards.

 

In this section we would like to see the language around student privacy also strengthened:

 

Section 6D removes the ability of the Secretary to “require the collection, publication, or transmission to the Department of individual student data that is not expressly required to be collected under this Act.”

 

This is rather ambiguously phrased, as it could allow for the Secretary to require states and/or districts to collect and publish individual student data as long as they do not transmit such data to the Department.

 

We would like this section to clearly prohibit the Secretary from requiring the collection or publication of ANY individual student data by states or districts, and/or restrict the Secretary from requiring that this data be transmitted to any third parties outside state and local education agencies, including the US Department of Education.

 

 

Testing:

 

We support Option 1 – to require states to give assessments only in the relevant grade spans, and to limit the footprint of the federal government in this way, especially as US children are over-tested. This has led to narrowing of the curriculum, and takes up too much instructional time and resources. As far as we know, there is no high-performing nation in the world that requires annual testing. We regret that there is no option to remove the federal mandates for testing altogether, other than sampling testing such as the NAEP, as this is a function that rightfully belongs to the states and was not part of the original purpose of ESEA. The ESEA was passed in 1965 specifically to supply federal aid to districts and schools that enrolled high proportions of poor children.

 

We would like to add two critical provisions to this section. The US Department of Education should also:

 

Discourage the attachment of high stakes to standardized tests, since high stakes have not only have been shown to be damaging to the quality of education overall but have caused the data to be less reliable as a diagnostic or analytic tool, as a result of Campbell’s Law.
Guarantee that parents have the right to opt their children out of state standardized tests.

 

The federal government should allow states to adopt their own assessments that can be used for diagnosing or improving student performance, not for labeling students, evaluating teachers, or closing schools.

 

Reporting:

 

Under the section that requires states and LEAs to report student achievement data, graduation rates, teacher qualifications, and other important metrics, disaggregated by high and low poverty schools, we would also like states to be required to report on average class sizes by grade, also disaggregated by high and low poverty schools; since class size has been shown to be a significant factor in student success, and yet accurate class size data has been difficult to find. In the Secretary’s annual report to Congress, this should include national class size data, average class size trends per state and per LEA, and disaggregated according to district and school poverty level.

 

Even though disadvantaged students tend to benefit the most from small classes, they often have much higher class sizes than those enrolled in low poverty schools. We would also like the language removed around requiring the reporting of “teacher effectiveness” as there is currently no reliable system to measure this factor.

 

Privacy:

 

In the section entitled (5) Presentation of Data in the reporting section: There is a discussion of states and LEAs including only data in their annual report cards sufficient for statistically reliable information and not revealing personally identifiable student information, which we support.

 

We would like added to “(B) STUDENT PRIVACY.— ‘In carrying this out, student education records shall not be released without written consent consistent with the Family Educational

 

Rights and Privacy Act of 1974’we would like the following words added: “and nothing shall require state or local education departments to collect, amass or share individual or personally identifiable student data with any third parties or officials, not employed directly by their agencies.”

 

Title I portability:

 

We oppose portability of funds which undermines the purpose of the Title I program –which is to support schools with high concentrations of poverty that need additional resources the most. Additionally, portability as defined in this draft would require a new level of federally-mandated bureaucracy and data collection and is a first step towards private school vouchers which we oppose.

 

Title II- High Quality Teachers and Principals:

 

This draft bill omits critical language that currently allows Title II funds to be used to reduce class size. This ommission is highly undesirable, especially as states and districts are currently using more than 30% of these funds for this purpose. Reducing class size should be restored as a spending option for states and districts. Lowering class size is one of the few reforms cited by the Institute of Education Sciences as having been proven to work to improve student learning, yet class sizes have increased in most schools across the country as a result of state and local budget cuts.

 

Small class size is particularly important as it has been shown to significantly narrow the achievement gap for poor and minority students, and yet because of funding inequities, these students are more likely to be subjected to large classes. We also oppose the “transferability” language that would allow states and LEAs to transfer up to 100 percent of the respective funds received under Titles II and IV.

 

As for the Teacher Incentive funds: We oppose the use of any federal funds to “develop, implement, or expand comprehensive performance- based compensation systems for teachers, principals, and other school leaders” as this has been proven over and over again through research and experience to be an ineffective and wasteful use of funds. Merit pay has been tried repeatedly for nearly 100 years and has never been successful. It failed to make a difference in student achievement most recently in Nashville, Chicago and New York City.

 

Title IV- Safe and Healthy Students:

 

We oppose the block granting of Title IV programs, and the elimination of specific targeted funding for 21st Century Community Learning Centers, Promise Neighborhoods, and school counselors, each of which provide important services to students.

 

We also support the Full Service Community School program and urge the preservations of language that enables 21st Century funds to be used for community schools.

 

Title V Charter schools:

 

We oppose the section of the bill that would increase the funding and number of charter schools, and would encourage states to provide funding for facilities commensurate with the funding of public schools.​ Charter schools have been shown to increase segregation, enroll fewer at-risk students including students with disabilities and English language learners, and often feature abusive disciplinary practices and high suspension and expulsion rates. We support the language in the law that would require independent financial audits that are publicly reported, but to add that charter schools should be subject to the same governmental auditing authority that exists for public schools in the same state or locality.

 

The definition of a “high quality” charter school that is eligible for federal or state funding should include not only academic measures but also their overall rates of student enrollment, retention, suspension and expulsion of students in the highest need categories, as cited above, as well as teacher turnover rates.

 

Each state should be required to report annually on charter schools’rates of enrollment of high-needs students, including students with disabilities, English language learners, homeless students, and students who receive free lunch, as well as their overall suspension and expulsion rates, as compared to the public schools in the same district. The reporting of “students with disabilities” should disaggregate mild disabilities (such as speech disabilities) from severe cognitive, emotional, and physical disabilities that require a higher level of care and funding. The state also should audit and provide proper oversight for the lotteries and admission practices of charter schools, to ensure that all applicants have the same chance to enroll.

 

Title IX Maintenance of Effort:

 

We oppose the elimination of the maintenance-of-effort requirement that would allow states to use federal funds to displace their own funding and eliminate the requirement that states maintain at least 90 percent of their funding from the previous year.

 

Title X:

 

We support increased rather than reduced levels of funding for homeless students, the numbers of which are a record high in many localities. Instead of $65M for each of FY 2016-2021 –$5 million less than was allocated for fiscal years 2003-2007 — we support an increase in the funding for this purpose to at least $70 million per year.

 

Overall Funding:

 

The authorization levels in this draft bill are inadequate to ensure that disadvantaged students are provided an education that provides them with an equitable chance to learn. Title I and other programs would continue to be frozen at $14.9 billion for the next five years. Other programs in ESEA would also be frozen at current levels. At the same time, the number of poor children has increased dramatically in our public schools. For the first time in at least fifty years, more than 50% of the children attending our public schools come from low income families and are eligible for free and reduced price lunch. Meanwhile, our federal investment in their education is lagging. According to OECD figures, the United States is one of only three developed nations where fewer public dollars are spent on poor children than wealthier children, and where schools serving disadvantaged students have higher student/teacher ratios. Our nation must increase current funding levels for Title I and other targeted education programs to ensure that more federal dollars are provided to our neediest students.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Riley, formerly of the NewSchools Venture Fund (which invests in charter schools and other “reform” ideas) has put together a group called Deans for Impact. This group will advocate for data-based decisions, perhaps including test-based evaluation of teachers (VAM).

 

Here is the group’s website.

 

Paul Thomas comments on this group in this post. These deans, he says, are announcing that they want to ruin their own field with data, data, data, without waiting for the feds to make them do it.

 

He writes:

 

Accountability seems to be a SF [science fiction] plague, spawned in the bowels of government like the root of the zombie apocalypse.

Pick your analogy, but the newest round isn’t really any different than all the rounds before.

The USDOE announces accountability for teacher education, in part using value-added methods drawn from student scores on high-stakes tests.

NEPC [National Education Policy Center] offers an evidence-based review, refuting accountability based on student test scores as a way to reform teacher education.

But in the wake of misguided bureaucracy and policy, possibly the most disturbing part of this pattern of doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results is that educators themselves invariably line up demanding that we be allowed to do that same thing ourselves (including our own continuous complaints about all the bureaucracy with which we gleefully fall in line).

 

And Thomas adds:

 

Let’s be clear, instead, that accountability (a lack of or the type of) has never been the problem; thus, accountability is not the solution.

 

Let’s be clear that while teacher quality and teacher preparation obviously matter, they mostly cannot and do not matter when the teaching and learning conditions in schools prevent effective teaching, when children’s live render them incapable of learning.

 

Mercedes Schneider also wrote about this new reformer organization. As you might expect, Schneider delves into Riley’s background at NewSchools Venture Fund. She also analyzes the funder of “Deans for Impact.”

 

She writes:

 

So now, Riley has started a “venture” using (according to EdWeek) a one-million-dollar grant from the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. Ironically, in 2013, the Schustermans also donated over one million dollars to Teach for America (TFA), whose temp teachers are “trained” in five weeks and who are assumed prepared because, after all, they are “talent.”

In 2013, the Schustermans also supported Stand for Children (SFC) for $2.3 million; the Gates-Walton-Broad-funded NewSchools Venture Fund (NSVF) for $500,000; the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) for $25,000; KIPP charter schools, for over $100,000; Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE) for $50,000, and Gates-Walton-Broad-funded Education Pioneers (EP) for $500,000. All of these organizations are known for devaluing education via privatization and test-score worship.

 

And now, thanks to Riley and his Schusterman million, we have deans who are willing to follow a guy who helped draft legislation to create teacher-prep charter schools.

 

Be careful, O Deans of Impact.

 

If teacher-prep charter “academies” are somehow worked into your traditional teacher training programs, your programs run the risk of being supplanted by a privatized substitute.

 

Higher ed charter co-location.

 

Already, you have agreed to play the test-score-driven, common-metric game easily recognized as a privatization gateway. Too, Riley is advertising that he wants to “remain relatively small,” which makes you sound like an unsuspecting petri dish for a man who wishes his GREAT legislation might find a testing ground.

 

Perhaps not. Perhaps I am wrong.

 

But watch out.

 

I have never understood the idea that anyone can run a school, even people who have never been educators, even people who are high-school dropouts (think Andre Agassi).

 

So it comes as no surprise when a school run by a football great runs into trouble. In this case, it is the charter school opened by professional star Deion Sanders. The New York Times wrote about the school last year. Opened in 2012, the school quickly had a world-class basketball team, its games broadcast on ESPN, but its academic quality was far below par. According to the Times, the lower grades were rated F by a respected nonprofit group, and its high school had no rating due to missing data.

 

Now the school is in deep trouble and might even lose its charter in charter-friendly Texas.

 

The Dallas school founded in 2012 is in financial straits after years of management disputes that led to a state takeover. Prime Prep could close in the middle of the semester if found insolvent.
Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams earlier this month announced that he would appoint a board of managers to run the school, effectively placing it under state control.
The sports programs of Prime Prep have faced scrutiny for recruiting and eligibility allegations. The school also has fought employee turnover, and last April had to repay more than $45,000 it received for providing subsidized meals in 2013 because the school provided no documentation those meals were served.

 

You might well wonder how a school founded in 2012 has been in “financial straits after years of management disputes.” I wonder too.

 

According to Forbes, the school is operating under “crushing debt” with finances that are in “utter chaos.”

 

Sanders was among those in 2012 who opened the school with the goal of combining a college prepartory curriculum with a high-powered athletic program. The school, with two locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, did develop a big-time basketball program, but most of what it produced was chaos and headlines. Through the course of its two-plus years, Sanders was fired, hired, re-fired and re-hired as school leaders and administrators fought with local media, with the authority that runs Texas public high school sports, and with each other (sometimes physically).

 

As the chaos mounted, so did the bills, which got harder to pay as enrollment fell by half to about 300 students, and eventually the state of Texas stepped in to oversee things. Sanders claimed a merger with another charter school was imminent (it wasn’t). He also seemed just as concerned with his latest reality show, refusing to grant an interview to a local TV station regarding the school when it refused to allow the show’s cameras to film the interview that was being filmed.

 

 

 

 

Kate Taylor of the New York Times checked with a few nonpartisan experts on Governor Cuomo’s claim that New York public education is in “crisis,” and in dire need of the draconian “reforms” he favors.

 

The experts said that New York public education is NOT in crisis. The public schools fare about the same as they did on national assessments as they did 20 years ago. Tom Loveless of the Brookings Institution says that if they are in crisis now, then they must have been in crisis for the past 20 years.

 

Aaron Pallas of Teachers College says it is unfair to use the Common Core test scores to gauge achievement because they are have a different passing mark from the previous tests. Only 30% passed the Common Core tests, but the year before, 80% were passing. The teachers didn’t suddenly get worse. The State Commissioner decided to change the standards.

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