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Thursday, October 16, 2014

On Secret Sauces for Success

Scenes from Success Academy PREP Rallies:  Things to Come or Things That Have Come? 

Too often I hear about miracle charter schools.  People who abhor the public schools attribute charter success to superior staff.  Public-school teachers are portrayed as unionized, depraved leeches from which only half-a-million-dollar-a-year Eva can save society.

Given the teacher attrition rates, however, and the degree of mistrust in their staff, exhibited, in part, by hand-delivered uniform lesson plans to their teachers, I'm guessing her charter staff develops about as much creative initiative as experience.  

If charter schools truly wish to claim a secret sauce for success, they should bare all their statistics, including percent served with differing types of IEPs, limited English-language capabilities, student attrition rates, class size, funding per pupil, etc. Then, if they truly wish to serve society, they can award more seats to students with greater needs.  

Then, we might find that in terms of test scores, it's not so much the quality of the teachers as much as the capabilities and aptitudes of motivated students with proactive parents or guardians in small, well-funded classrooms that makes the difference.  Of course,a focus on test prep, bordering on insanity, doesn't hurt either.  

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