Once again – why are unions (and dull Massey academics) fighting this kind of thing?
Why do they consider the ongoing failure of certain groups to be in the best interest of unionised teachers?
Parents need to make the needs of their children known.
The opposition parties need to wake up and actually represent those they say they stand with. (a $50,000+ donation would be a start).
And teachers in NZ need to react against the bizarre protestations of their union overlords.
Last month, the respected private firm Mathematica Policy Research published a multiyear study of students enrolled in KIPP (the Knowledge Is Power Program), a network of 125 charter schools serving 41,000 students in 20 states and the District of Columbia. The study found that after three years students in the KIPP program were 11 months ahead of their traditional-public-school peers in math and eight months ahead in reading. Also after three years (or four for some children in the study), KIPP students were 14 months ahead in science and 11 months ahead in social studies.
These gains are substantial. For every three (or four) years they spend in the program, KIPP students are benefiting from almost a full year of greater learning growth than they would if they remained in traditional public schools.
This success is even more remarkable given that KIPP draws from some of the most disadvantaged communities in the country. Some 96% of KIPP students are black or Hispanic. More than four of five come from households with annual incomes low enough to qualify for subsidized school lunch.
What’s more, the typical incoming student at KIPP scores in the 45th percentile in district-wide reading and math exams. That initial achievement level is much lower than for the typical student entering the traditional public school system.
Other studies have found similar results. In a report released last month on charter schools in New York City, Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes found that after just one year, charter-school students had gained one more month of learning in reading and five more months in math, compared with their district-school peers. More than a fifth of New York’s public charter schools post significantly larger learning gains in reading than do their traditional counterparts—and nearly two-thirds of charters outperform traditional schools in math.
KIPP runs 10 schools in New York City, but it also has competition. In 2012, 87% of students in the Uncommon Schools charter network—which operates 15 New York City schools serving 3,900 kids—scored advanced or proficient in math. That is 27 percentage points above the city average. In English, more than half of Uncommon’s kids were advanced or proficient, beating the city average by eight percentage points.
What is the key to the success of schools like KIPP and Uncommon?
For starters, as independent public schools, charters aren’t weighed down by onerous regulations that stifle innovation. Administrators and teachers have the freedom to develop new and creative teaching methods. Charter schools have also attracted a new generation of talented, motivated teachers, school leaders and entrepreneurs through the promise of a new approach to educating underserved children.