Friday, March 14, 2008

Turning Around the Nation's Worst Schools
(Fifty percent of urban and minority students don't graduate).

Tuesday in DC saw a long day of looking at this toughest of questions. Some from people who have done it. ( I didn't get to attend, though I've been in this room oft enough). There's plenty of video--use Internet explorer if you want to skip any; the shortcuts don't work in Firefox. Also audio, but the single file will fill your 80GB iPod Classic.

The day starts with this report of same name from Mass Insight: Andy's slides are here.

Key to the day is the idea of High Performing High Poverty schools (see slide 8). Many ed professors would have us believe there is no such thing, yet there are.

The second speaker is where you really want to tune in. Kevin Johnson escaped Sacrimento's worst public schools with his athletic abilities, eventually playing for the Phoenx Suns. He came back to Oak Park, where his high school was about to be taken over by the state. Instead, he persuaded the superintendent to allow to to be converted to a charter school.

At this point, 20% of 9th graders were reading at grade level. The plan received a standing ovation from teachers--for one day. In the end, a certain union spent $750,000 to oppose reform of a school where 80% of the students could not read.

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