Public charter schools may not save every Kentucky child trapped in a failing school. Harriet Tubman didn’t rescue every slave, either. But Virginia Walden Ford, executive director of DC Opportunity Scholarships, points out that 300 slaves were freed because of Tubman.
While Ford spoke about scholarships in her city, the same point applies to charter schools in our commonwealth: Just because we can’t save everyone doesn’t mean we don’t save some.
The Kentucky Board of Education just made a key decision — adopting regulation changes for the interim assessment process that will be used while the state rebuilds from our now discarded CATS program. As part of that interim change, the board made an especially important and commendable decision.
Kentucky will move as quickly as possible to more accurate graduation rate reporting using the federally researched Average Freshman Graduation Rate (AFGR) formula, which I’ve extensively discussed (such as here and here) in this blog.
Moving Kentucky to better graduation rate reporting has long been a goal of the Bluegrass Institute. We are pleased that this better formula for estimating graduation rates will be used for the class of 2010. We will also see fully disaggregated data by race from the new calculations for the first time, as well. Up until now, that information has only covered statewide totals.
Actual results from the improved calculation will be made public beginning in 2011 because all the data required to compute the AFGR cannot be gathered until some time after the class leaves school.
In the longer term, the state will move to a highly accurate graduation rate calculation around 2013. This will track each individual student in the system so that no longer will any kids “drop through the cracks.”
As a consequence of the increased accuracy, the department of education briefers at today’s meeting admitted that high school graduation rates from the AFGR calculation will be lower than those reported by Kentucky’s current, inflated and heavily criticized calculation. Based on experience in other states like Oregon that already moved to high quality student tracking for graduation rate reporting, the AFGR rates will also probably prove somewhat too high once the high quality data starts to appear after 2013.
No one knows for certain, but the experience in some other states indicates our true graduation rate could be as much as 10 points lower than the 84 percent rates currently being reported. That is a significant difference that would amount to somewhere around 50 percent more kids being lost than is admitted by the current calculation.
Gov. Beshear’s task force on the issue, which has been meeting since April, is divided on what to do — not surprising since government, union and business agendas have significant conflicting priorities.
How much more mandated costs can state lawmakers and the federal government throw at Kentucky’s businesses before the only business option is to put many more people into unemployment lines?
While anyone can rationalize a single incremental cost increase, the cumulative impact of a multitude of such costs reduces incentives for employers to create jobs. Kentucky must change — from being hostile to business to creating an atmosphere that attracts new companies, creates more jobs and lowers our record-high jobless rates.
Answering this question is key to getting unemployment costs under control.
Before the governor’s task force splits the baby in negotiations, remember: only business provides jobs. Government and unions are only good for adding mountains of cost and layers of bureaucracy.
– How about MSNBC!!!
No Virginia, the excitement about high performing charter schools isn’t just in the minds of the Bluegrass Institute.
Check out this video report from MSNBC.
It sure is a shame our kids can’t enjoy this kind of education that can only come when a state has charter school legislation. Why don’t you ask your legislator why that is?
Educators who want to be principals in the top performing Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) charter schools don’t just walk in the door and get hired.
In fact, if they don’t already have lots of experience, they first go through a special training program as Miles Family Fellows. Then, the Miles Family Fellows grads and other, more experienced applicants have to do an additional preparatory year in the Fisher Fellows program before they can take the reins of a KIPP charter school.
With all of that required preparation, what kinds of applicants are willing to go through all these requirements to run a KIPP school?
There are several Teach for America “graduates” plus college credentials from places like UCLA and Ivy League schools like Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia.
The Fisher Fellows program group is also loaded with educators from top-notch schools.
Their credentials read much like those mentioned above.
Why do these highly motivated people put up with all the training? They know that the KIPP schools are doing dramatic things in places like inner-city New York. They also know they will have a chance to really make a difference for kids without being stifled by all the red tape that tends to smother principals in regular public schools.
Sadly, Kentucky can’t attract any of these sorts of innovative educators. We don’t have charter schools where such dynamic leaders can really spread their wings.
Ask your legislators why Kentucky children are losing out while kids in high needs areas of more progressive states like New York and Texas get a chance to enroll in schools where the leaders have top notch backgrounds plus extensive preparation to be a school leader in a KIPP charter school?