This is a follow-up to a story link I posted a while back.
Hundreds of students in Illinois are spending the first day of classes trying to enroll in higher-performing schools instead of in seats at their home sites. Students and their parents say they hope their protest will highlight disparities in Chicagoans’ education along the socioeconomic divide.
People on both sides of the issue have compelling arguments: one side saying the protest sends the wrong message to kids, the other saying that taking a stand is their best shot at rectifying an unequal education system. Which camp do you fall into?
Read the full story here, and then share your thoughts.
Less than 1 percent of public school students in Oklahoma attend charter schools, and Oklahomans make up less than half a percent of the nation’s total population of charter students.
But there were still 4,708 students enrolled in charters here last year — more than 4,000 students to whom charters do matter.
That figure is according to the new Annual Survey of America’s Charter Schools by The Center for Education Reform.
Jeanne Allen, the center’s president, calls the results “educational for the uninitiated, solace for the skeptics and fodder for the fans.”
So whether you find this information to be educational, solace or fodder, here are some highlights:
- -There are 1.2 million students in about 4,100 charter schools nationwide. There are about 4,700 students in 15 charters in Oklahoma.
-Demand is growing, based on the size of wait lists that grew 33 percent over the previous year. However, growth dipped for the first time ever due to caps in some states.
-Charter schools operate with less public funding than regular schools.
-About 40 percent of charters serve majority-minority populations.
-A sampling of state data shows charter schools consistently outperform their conventional counterparts. (Locally, Dove Science Academy, a charter school in Oklahoma City, has the highest API score in the state.)
And while the report did not draw the conclusion that all schools should be able to close the racial achievement gap because charter schools are raising minorities’ performance, others have used this type of data to make that argument.
That thought reminded me of something a presenter said at the Hechinger Institute seminar I attended earlier this month in New York.
Professor Douglas Ready said that there is a selection bias in play, that the low-income, single-parent, minority children in the charter schools are not the same as the low-income, single-parent, minority children in traditional schools.
Their parents are in some way different in that they found reason and time to take a proactive stance in enrolling their children in such a school, Ready said.
Share your thoughts on charter schools in the comment section below.
Six Oklahoma districts made the list:
- Tulsa, 123rd largest with 41,568 students
- Oklahoma City, 128th largest with 40,322 students
- Moore, 374th largest with 20,028 students
- Putnam City, 398th largest with 19,207 students
- Edmond, 400th largest with 19,178 students
- Lawton, 462nd largest with 17,020 students
None made the top 100, which is what most of the report focuses on. Nevertheless, Tulsa and Oklahoma City were close, and you may find the highlights of the report interesting.
According to the NCES, these are some characteristics of the 100 largest public school districts in the U.S. and its territories:
- -The 100 largest educate 23 percent of all public school students even though they make up less than 1 percent of all school districts.
- -The 100 largest have an average school enrollment of 695, compared to an overall average of 518 for all districts. They also have a higher student-teacher ratio.
- -The percent of nonwhite students is 71 percent, compared to 44 percent in all school districts.
- -The lowest per pupil expenditures among the 100 largest districts are $5,104 and $5,503 for the Puerto Rico Department of Education and the Alpine District in Utah, respectively.
- -The highest per pupil expenditures are $17,988, in Boston, and $18,878, in the District of Columbia.
Wendy K. Kleinman
The nonprofit Center for Education Policy released a national report today studying the effect of NCLB: Has it really helped?
Researchers found that they couldn’t tell whether the No Child Left Behind Act has indeed left fewer children behind. But what the law did give the researchers was more data because of the required testing and reporting.
Here’s what that data showed about Oklahoma.
-The percent of all students proficient in reading and math saw a moderate-to-large gain all levels — except middle school reading — from 2002 to 2007. The percent of middle school students proficient in reading saw a slight gain.
-In reading, the achievement gap narrowed between blacks and whites, Hispanics and whites, and American Indians and whites on all grade levels except for high school Hispanics. There was no change in the gap between high school Hispanic and white students in reading.
-In math, the gap narrowed between whites and the other racial groups on elementary and middle school levels, but widened across all racial groups at the high school level.
Wendy K. Kleinman
Report cards are out for schools and school districts across the state.
The Education Oversight Board in the state’s accountability office recently released data for the 2006-07 school year.
The report cards include statistics like regular and special education enrollment, average teacher salary, census data and of course test scores.
They are accessible online for free at www.SchoolReportCard.org/reports.htm.
Wendy K. Kleinman
You gotta hand it to some of those first nursing school graduates at OSU-OKC. They didn’t let their starched white nursing caps get in the way of a good bee-hive.
Portraits of graduating students from the past decades hang proudly on the walls of a hallway in the nursing building. They show a chronology of the school’s growth, and hair style fads through the ages.
But more has changed in the nursing profession than follicle fashion. Training has changed as dramatically as technology, and advanced education is more important than ever.
A few things have remained constant. It’s still mostly women — white women — seeking nursing credentials, although more minorities and men are entering the profession.
What’s your story? When did you become a nurse and why? I want to know more about the many pathways to education, jobs and maybe now, even retirement.
And maybe you can also explain the engineering of the bee-hive. It’s making a comeback, ala Amy Winehouse. But that’s another story altogether.
E-mail me at email@example.com
Susan Simpson, Education Writer
The Oklahoma students who took the 2007 National Assessment of Education Progress exams are likely proud of the test results that were released Tuesday.
The scores show that Oklahoma was only one of 14 states whose students made gains in both grade 4 and grade 8 math since the 2005 assessment. Grade 4 reading scores also went up; grade 8 reading scores remained unchanged.
Nationwide, scores rose for both grades in both subjects. However, actual state scores are below the national averages.
About 2,800 Oklahomans took the four NAEP exams — about 40 percent were minority and more than 50 percent qualified for free or reduced lunch, a poverty indicator.
But scholars at Cato’s Center for Educational Freedom, a nonprofit policy research foundation in Washington, caution that the students’ gains may not be worth much celebration.
“While scores did generally improve, today’s NAEP results are nothing to write home about, nor are they any indicator that No Child Left Behind is doing any good,” said Cato policy analyst Neal McCluskey.
“Score improvements were small and either only continued increases taking place before NCLB, or actually slowed or stopped overall improvement rates,” he said.
Check out http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard for more details on the test results.
Wendy K. Kleinman
After getting tipped off about a new U.S. Department of Education Report, “Status of Education in Rural America,” I did my customary search for mentions of Oklahoma before embarking on reading the entire report.
Interestingly, although the report doesn’t single out Oklahoma, and only mentions that state in lists with the other 50 (and the District of Columbia), Oklahoma largely stands alone in its proportion of city, rural, town and suburban students. Data are from 2003-04, which is a typical lag time for federal statistics to wind up in reports.
Oklahoma is in the low-middle in its percentage of city students. In terms of suburban students, its percentage is fairly low, although there’s a lot of spread. Its percentage of students in towns is fairly high, comparatively speaking, and its percentage of rural students
Admittedly, the definitions are complicated, but what the numbers show, to me, is clear. Although North Carolina comes fairly close overall, and Tennessee isn’t too far off, Oklahoma has fewer city, suburban and rural students than many southern states yet more students in towns.
According to the report’s appendices, a town is considered a territory inside an urban cluster (although not near a city of 100,000 or more) that is 10 to 35 miles from an urbanized area.
So, what does all this mean?
Oklahoma has a number of small, yet not too small, towns and hundreds of school districts. Although rural Oklahoma (by my definition, not the report’s) has lost people for years, it’s still educating a lot of kids and is perhaps healthier, from the perspective of school enrollment, than most other southern states.
But I could be wrong. That’s just my two cents.