Charter school advocates from across the country have gathered in Nashville this week for a national conference. Of course the major news is good news. Or at least good PR.
Here is one session:
From Recovery to Extraordinary: States and Charter Schools Working Together
The Louisiana Recovery School District and the Tennessee Achievement School District have brought new attention to the role that charter schools can play in replacing poor performing schools. They have also tested the theory that the freedoms associated with chartering can in fact benefit those who are the most at risk. This panel will explore the role that charters have played in serving the hardest to educate and what policymakers should consider to better serve these students.
The state’s Achievement School District is a statewide “district” of low-performing schools. Funding for the project came from the Obama administration’s Race to the Top program. The goal of ASD is to move the bottom five percent of schools in Tennessee to the top 25 percent.
However, when it comes to touting success for ASD, Nashville-based education policy consultant Dr. Andy Spears says, “Not so fast.”
Spears, who does the Tennessee Education Report, goes into detail pointing out that results from the Tennessee experiment have been less than overwhelming.
For example, he calls attention to a Vanderbilt University study that states: “While there were some changes year-to-year–up and down–there was no statistical improvement on the whole, certainly not enough to catapult these low-performing schools into some of the state’s best, which was the lofty goal.”
But then, as we know all too well, never let the facts get in the way of a good story.