Monday, May 19, 2014

Peer-Based Assessment

The Broad Foundation issued a news release on May 15, 2014, titled "Three Charter School Systems Named Top in Nation, in Running for 2014 Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools." These 3 charter schools include the Achievement First network (Connecticut, New York, and Rhode Island), the KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) network, and the Texas-based IDEA network. Read the news release HERE.

This is an important document which indicates, as far as I can see, that the sort of academic achievement/improvement Broad Foundation is touting exists only when inner city charter schools are compared with other inner city schools, charter or not. In other words, poorer inner city school children are being assessed and compared with other poor inner city school children -- not their richer cousins out in well-funded suburbia.

Among the reasons the three charter organizations were selected as the top performers:
  • In 2013, Achievement First’s students performed better than peers in districts with similar demographics in Connecticut in all available comparisons—elementary, middle and high school reading, math and science. In recent years, Achievement First narrowed 63 percent of its achievement gaps at the advanced proficiency level between its low-income students in Connecticut and New York and the rest of each state’s non-low income students—the highest percentage of all eligible CMOs. And in 2013, 98 percent of Achievement First’s African-American seniors took the SAT exam, achieving an average SAT score of 1482, one of the highest averages among the eligible CMOs.

Is this really the extent/nature of improvement inner city parents are looking for? 

One would be impressed if inner city charter school test scores were rising, getting close to test scores of ALL public schools in the nation.

Isn't it discriminatory to  expect so much less of inner city children/schools; to give statistics relating only to comparison between similar demographics?

This is the definition of outcomes based education.  Lowering the bar and being pleased with those results.

Am I reading this wrong?

Are we returning to a segregated education system where true academic excellence is expected  ONLY in non-minority schools?

Are we returning to the "low expectations system" described on page 9 in my book the deliberate dumbing down of america? Read the entry below and see how the poor rural (and now inner city) children are the guinea pigs for the education reform experiments.

JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER, JR.’S DIRECTOR OF CHARITY FOR THE ROCKEFELLER FOUNDATION, Frederick T. Gates, set up the Southern Education Board (SEB), which was later incorporated into the General Education Board (GEB) in 1913, setting in motion “the deliberate dumbing down of America.” The Country School of Tomorrow: Occasional Papers No. 1 (General Education Board: New York, 1913) written by Frederick T. Gates contained a section entitled “A Vision of the Remedy” in which he wrote the following:
Is there aught of remedy for this neglect of rural life? Let us, at least, yield ourselves to the gratifications of a beautiful dream that there is. In our dream, we have limitless  resources, and the people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hand. The present educational conventions fade from our minds; and, unhampered by tradition, we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive rural folk. We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into philosophers or men of learning or of science.We are not to raise up from among them authors, orators, poets, or men of letters. We shall not search for embryo great artists, painters, musicians. Nor will we cherish even the humbler ambition to raise up from among them lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen, of whom we now have ample supply.

Portrait of Frederick T. Gates