You can read here an excerpt from a book on KIPP, based on interviews with former teachers. This is not how I was taught, not how my kids were taught, and it’s not how I would want anybody to be taught.
It sounds like a prison camp.
You can read here an excerpt from a book on KIPP, based on interviews with former teachers. This is not how I was taught, not how my kids were taught, and it’s not how I would want anybody to be taught.
It sounds like a prison camp.
Jersey Jazzman reports on how an charter-school entrepreneur in Pennsylvania tried to steer students his way by distributing a flyer painting students at the local public school as drug users. Definitely worth the read.
I don’t know a whole lot about the charter schools here in Brookland (a region of DC where I live). I’ve visited some charter schools in wards 1, 4, 7 and 8 while attempting to mentor new math teachers about 5 years ago, and found about as much variation in the charter schools that I visited as we have in the regular public schools.
I think it’s a shame that nearly all of the white parents in Brookland appear to have opted out of sending their kids to the neighborhood public schools here in Brookland (ie Noyes, Bunker Hill, Brookland, Burroughs). More diversity there would really help.
One important thing to consider is that the National Labor Relations Board no longer considers charter schools to be public institutions:
And while you can find the salary of every single DCPS employee with a little searching on the DCPS website, I have no idea where to find the corresponding information about any DC charter schools.
In PA, charter schools appear to try to keep such data private, and a report indicates that they spend much more on administration than do regular public schools:
In New York City, the head of a small chain of charter schools – Eva Moskowitz – earns almost half-a-million dollars annually (look it up), and here in DC I have lost count of the number of charter schools have been shut down because of wholesale theft or fraud by their leaders. (eg
And here is an article in The Progressive:
Guy on Randolph
You may not be aware that one Jacque Patterson is running for an At-Large position on the nearly-powerless District of Columbia State Board of Education, and has already managed to con quite a few people into donating money to him. He may unfortunately even win, even though he is a paid flack for the Rocketship chain of charter schools.
He’s running against Mary Lord, who actually has real expertise in education. One commenter on an article in the DC City Paper wrote,
“So this race features, on the one hand, one of the few incumbents on this board or any other elected office in this city that’s unquestionably qualified for her job. Someone who has actually been recognized by her colleagues across the country for her expertise, as the immediate past president of the National Association of State Boards of Education. Someone who can speak in intricate detail about the policies that this board is supposed to be weighing [ …]
“And on the other side we have a political hack who takes a crack at seemingly every open elected office in this city and has no apparent qualifications for the role other than having some cush[y] job at an unaccountable charter school. But hey, he raised a lot of money, so he must be qualified for the position!”
It would be bad policy in general for citizens anywhere to elect a paid operative of a powerful chain of charter schools to any city school board. (You know, conflict of interest…?) However, the Gates, Broad, Walton and Arnold foundations are spending lots and lots of money trying to take over local school boards by buying candidates and elections all over the country, because they really don’t like democracy. Local voices get in their way.
I think it’s worthwhile look into the background of the board of directors of the supposedly non-profit Rocketship, as reported on their own website. In reverse alphabetical order, we have:
I should point out that in 1993, Jennifer Niles, the current DC Deputy Mayor for Education, was also a member of the Rocketship board of directors, according to their Form 990.
I’m going to repost in its entirety this article on Schools Matter about the double game that has been played by Randi Weingarten, the current president of the American Federation of Teachers.
(I remember the racist teachers’ strike of 1968 in New York City…)
Posted by Mark Naison yesterday.
Mr. Ahern provides important corrections to Weingarten’s sketchy assessment of AFT’s first hundred years. I am sorry to see he did not mention AFT’s seminal role in creating TURN in the late 1990s, a traitorous group that could not have been created without financial support from Eli Broad.
Lies My Union President Told Me
Letter to the American Educator re AFT President Randy Weingarten’s “Honoring Our Past and Inspiring Our Future” (http://www.aft.org/ae/summer2016/wws)
President Randy Weingarten’s “Honoring Our Past and Inspiring Our Future,” written on the 100th anniversary of the founding of the AFT is an exercise in “perception management.” Weingarten claims that she has “pored over historical documents from our archives” and concluded that the AFT “has been a vehicle to fight for positive change both in public schools and in society.” Further on she states her case even more explicitly: “For 100 years, the AFT has worked to build power and use it for good.”
As a member of the UFT for the past 17 years, son of a UFT retiree, brother to a former UFT teacher and CSA principal, product of the NYC public school system (1959-1971) and father of three, all of whom graduated from NYC high schools, I proudly count myself as a witness to the last 50 years of UFT/AFT history. Based on my experience and knowledge I challenge her very one-sided findings for failing to point out major examples of how the AFT has been a hindrance to “positive change both in public schools and in society.”
I do not write to honor Albert Shanker and those who followed the course he took. It is my hope that through a full review of our AFT history, rational and thoughtful working people, acting in their own class interests, will conduct an internal critique, identify the wrong turns, and bravely set a new course for our union. It is my hope that current and future generations will overcome the seemingly willful blindness that is found in Weingarten’s article.
Weingarten’s airbrushed history offers a textbook example of how to frame a narrative by omitting all evidence that contradicts her thesis. This method is not one of historical inquiry seeking educational enlightenment. It is the method used by a defense attorney to sway a judge or jury, guilt or innocence aside.
In business and politics this is the method used to win market share, frame political campaigns and control the hearts and minds of the people.
The sociologist and historian James W. Loewen has critiqued this method when applied to global and US history textbooks in his widely read Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Book Got Wrong (1995, 2008). It is a method that seeks to produce a generation that is misinformed, politically unaware, and lacking in self-knowledge and self-esteem. It casts pedagogues as society’s thought police.
There is much in in AFT history that should be critically examined. When the full story is told it should include honest and in-depth criticism of key positions taken since Albert Shanker ousted his former mentor and colleague David Selden and rose to the Presidency of the AFT over two generations ago.
The 1968 UFT strikes against community control, led by then UFT President Albert Shanker weeks after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., became arguably the longest hate strike in US history and was part and parcel of the “white” backlash and neo conservative/neo liberal counter revolution which we still suffer from today. I was a high school student at the time in one of the community control districts where progressive teachers and students kept the school open during the strike.
With community control ended decentralization still afforded parents the power to elect local school boards. Efforts by UFT members to interfere with minority parents voting in the 1973 District 1 school board elections on the Lower East Side were successfully overturned in Federal Court and upheld on appeal.
“In their complaint, filed on September 18, 1973, the Coalition for Education in District One, various unsuccessful candidates at the election and members of minority groups (Black, Hispanic and Chinese) challenged the validity of the election under the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 as amended in 1970, 42 U.S.C. 1971, 1973 et seq.” http://bulk.resource.org/courts.gov/c/F2/495/495.F2d.1090.74-1296.74-1204.1017.1018.html
To be cited in violation of the 14th amendment and the 1965 Voting Rights Act hardly constitutes an “honor” to be conferred upon a supposedly liberal northern city and a largely “socialist” union leadership that prided itself on its support for civil rights in the 50’s and early 60’s. I attended public school in this district from 1959 – 1971. Weingarten apparently missed this case while she “pored over” the AFT archives.
The median salary for a NYC public school teacher in 2016, discounted for inflation and the extended day, is less than it was in 1973. Add to that the explosive costs of education and housing and it is fair to conclude that a teacher with 7 years on the job today is worse off than their counterpart was over 40 years ago. Top salary is now reached after 22 years on the job as opposed to 8 years in 1973. Even those few nearing retirement are just on par with their counterparts of 43 years ago. I ask President Weingarten the simple question: Who has the AFT been building “power” for? Surely the salary schedule is in the AFT archives and should figure in any assessment of the AFT’s “power” or lack thereof.
Jerald Podair in his Strike That Changed New York (2002) suggests a causal linkage between the 1968 strike and the decline in power, of both the UFT and the Black community. Among his most striking and relevant observations is:
“…the Ocean Hill-Brownsville crisis had so damaged the UFT’s standing with black New York that Shanker, even if he had possessed the fire in the belly to attempt a cross-class interracial assault on the champions of fiscal austerity, would have found few friends there. Black New Yorkers were as angry about the decimated schools as Shanker, but they viewed him, and the union he led, as an enemy…Community control in black neighborhoods was dead, replaced by a decentralization structure that gave the UFT more influence than black parents…the failure of the UFT and black citizens to work together to oppose school service cuts was as predictable as it was tragic. The union would now cast its lot with the banks. And the black community, politically marginalized, economically expendable and no longer in control of the language of “community” – would be unable to do anything about it.” (Pp194-195)
In the 1970s Shanker went on to become a leading national opponent of Affirmative Action, submitting a brief on Allan Bakke’s behalf. The brief, submitted in the name of the AFT, is not mentioned by Weingarten though it is in the Shanker Papers and the AFT Papers that she claims to have “pored over.”
The current wave of “Education reform” was launched with the 1983 publication of A Nation At Risk: The Imperative For Educational Reform towards the end of Reagan’s second term.
For over 30 years the leadership of the AFT has been a partner in this latest wave of “education reform” and thereby maintained their “seat at the table” alongside the “reformers.” This is a matter of public record. When questions were raised that strongly contradicted the claims made by “A Nation At Risk” (see the Sandia Report, Bracey, Berliner and Bidell, Emery and Ohanian) the AFT and those closely associated with Shanker (including Diane Ravitch, then Assistant Secretary of Education in the Reagan Administration) chose to ignore and even suppress a devastating critique that potentially could have deflated the bubble of “reform” a generation ago (See http://projectcensored.org/3-the-sandia-report-on-education-a-perfect-lesson-in-censorship/ ).
Comfortably based on the education reformers bogus critique of the state of public education and its politically motivated remedies, Shanker, Feldman and Weingarten are all on record in support of the “reforms” themselves: high standards for students and teachers, standardized curriculums, high stakes testing for students and teachers (for how else to measure whether the high standards are being met), charter schools (to counter the states monopoly over education and to give parents “choice”) and mayoral control in large urban systems serving predominantly Black, Latino and Asian students which has been the means through which “reform” was foisted upon school communities.
Most recently, the “reformers” and their corporate cabal attempted to hoist the AFT on its own petard. It was only the death of Supreme Court Justice Scalia that averted a negative ruling in Vergara v California that would have done away with the agency shop. The stay of execution is only temporary, there are more cases to follow. Is this what Weingarten means by “building power?” Power for whom? Power for what?
I challenge president Weingarten to go before any large urban local delegate assembly and defend the AFT’s record over 30 years in support of education “reform.” Does she have the gall to tell us to our face that school closings, privatization, elimination of sports, the arts, electives, vocational programs, attacks on tenure and seniority, the disappearance of Black and Latino educators, increased segregation, high stakes testing and value added teacher assessments are to be viewed as “collateral damage,” and not the central defining features of a neo conservative/neo liberal, corporate led consensus on the proper role and direction for public education? She wouldn’t do such a thing, so she redacts the record of AFT collaboration with the “reformers” and then presents herself as a teacher and student advocate.
Teachers and their unions face grave pressures and are in a more defensive posture than they were 50 years ago. What power? What positive changes have been brought about? No doubt Weingarten and her supporters will point to the fact that teachers have a job with benefits and a defined benefit pension plan, a rarity now among US workers. What is the message here? Do senior teachers shut up and thankfully crawl to the finish line? Do new and mid-career teachers count their lucky stars that they are not suffering the same hardships that the majority of our students, their families and communities face? Is this then the real meaning of “professionalism;” to divide us from the rest of the working class? Should the membership cast a blind eye to the AFT’s quisling response to the neo conservative/ neo liberal consensus on education, the U.S. empire and the economy so that at least some of the so called “professionals,” (most importantly the paid staff and retainers at AFT Inc.) will be spared because the oligarchy has need of an ideological police?
The isolated individual, teacher, parent, student, may opt to save their own skin when no alternative option is in sight, but experience shows that this is a losing proposition for the large majority. The greatest good for the greatest number comes not from dog eat dog competition, but from collaboration. Acknowledgement of this historical fact has led working people at important moments to embrace the fundamental credo of solidarity and act accordingly. Such a moment is upon us.
There is no defending the AFT record of betrayal of this credo and the self-destructive impact it has had on the membership and the communities we serve. Weingarten simply casts a blind eye over what needs to be understood and corrected. If teachers applied this same method to reflect on our own classroom practice we would never learn a thing.
I urge the American Educator to open its pages to a real discussion of AFT history. I urge my sister and brother educators to study and reflect upon AFT history. As William Faulkner wrote, “the past is not over, it’s not even past.”
Delegate to the UFT Delegate Assembly. Member of the Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE) caucus. August 7, 2016
I’d like to repost this blog entry on how the very wealthy can become even wealthier by investing in charter schools. Here is the original link:
This is entirely from Bob Schaeffer:
With public schools closing for the summer, many states are reviewing their 2015-2016 testing experience (once again, not a pretty picture) and planning to implement assessment reforms in coming years. You can help stop the U.S. Department of Education from promoting testing misuse and overuse by weighing in on proposed Every Student Succeeds Act regulations.
National Act Now to Stop Federal Regulations That Reimpose Failed No Child Left Behind Test-and-Punish Policies
Missouri Schools Are More Than Test Scores
New York Test Flexibility for Students with Learning Disabilities is Step in Right Direction
New York Families Fight Back Against Opt-Out Punishments
Ohio State Eases Some Test Score Cut Offs
Oklahoma Legislature Ends Exit Exam Graduation Requirement
Tennessee State Comptroller Finds Computer Testing Problems Widespread
Tennessee Testing Is “In a Transition Phase”
Texas Scrapped STAAR Scores Add to Standardized Testing Frustration
Texas Legislator Says State Should Not Pay for Flawed Tests
Texas Study Panel Not Yet Ready to Ditch State Standardized Exams
Utah State Residents Give Failing Grade to Common Core Standardized Testing
Wisconsin Test Changes Render Year-to-Year Comparisons Useless
International Nine Out of Ten British Teachers Say Test Prep Focus Hurts Students’ Mental Health
University Admission If High School GPA Is Best Predictor of College Outcomes, Why Do Schools Cling to ACT/SAT
Worth Reading Opt-Out Movement Reflects Genuine Concerns of Parents
Worth Reading Study Finds More Testing, Less Play in Kindergarten
Worth Reading Test Scores Are Poor Predictors of Life Outcomes
Bob Schaeffer, Public Education Director
FairTest: National Center for Fair & Open Testing
office- (239) 395-6773 fax- (239) 395-6779
mobile- (239) 699-0468
This is from Monty Neill:
The U.S. Department of Education (DoE) has drafted regulations for
implementing the accountability provisions of the Every Student Succeeds
Act (ESSA). The DOE proposals would continue test-and-punish practices
imposed by the failed No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law. The draft
over-emphasizes standardized exam scores, mandates punitive
interventions not required in law, and extends federal micro-management.
The draft regulations would also require states to punish schools in
which larger numbers of parents refuse to let their children be tested.
When DoE makes decisions that should have been set locally in
partnership with educators, parents, and students, it takes away local
voices that ESSA tried to restore.
You can help push back against these dangerous proposals in two ways:
First, tell DoE it must drop harmful proposed regulations. You can
simply cut and paste the Comment below into DoE’s website at
or adapt it into your own words. (The text below is part of FairTest’s
submission.) You could emphasize that the draft regulations steal the
opportunity ESSA provides for states and districts to control
accountability and thereby silences the voice of educators, parents,
students and others.
Second, urge Congress to monitor the regulations. Many Members have
expressed concern that DoE is trying to rewrite the new law, not draft
appropriate regulations to implement it. Here’s a letter you can easily
send to your Senators and Representative asking them to tell leaders of
Congress’ education committees to block DoE’s proposals:
Together, we can stop DoE’s efforts to extend NLCB policies that the
American people and Congress have rejected.
Note: DoE website has a character limit; if you add your own comments,
you likely will need to cut some of the text below:
*/You can cut and paste this text into the DoE website:/*
I support the Comments submitted by FairTest on June 15 (Comment #).
Here is a slightly edited version:
While the accountability provision in the Every Student Succeeds Act
(ESSA) are superior to those in No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the
Department of Education’s (DoE) draft regulations intensify ESSA’s worst
aspects and will perpetuate many of NCLB’s most harmful practices. The
draft regulations over-emphasize testing, mandate punishments not
required in law, and continue federal micro-management. When DoE makes
decisions that should be set at the state and local level in partnership
with local educators, parents, and students, it takes away local voices
that ESSA restores. All this will make it harder for states, districts
and schools to recover from the educational damage caused by NLCB – the
very damage that led Congress to fundamentally overhaul NCLB’s
accountability structure and return authority to the states.
The DoE must remove or thoroughly revise five draft regulations:
_DoE draft regulation 200.15_ would require states to lower the ranking
of any school that does not test 95% of its students or to identify it
as needing “targeted support.” No such mandate exists in ESSA. This
provision violates statutory language that ESSA does not override “a
State or local law regarding the decision of a parent to not have the
parent’s child participate in the academic assessments.” This regulation
appears designed primarily to undermine resistance to the overuse and
misuse of standardized exams.
_Recommendation:_ DoE should simply restate ESSA language allowing the
right to opt out as well as its requirements that states test 95% of
students in identified grades and factor low participation rates into
their accountability systems. Alternatively, DoE could write no
regulation at all. In either case, states should decide how to implement
_DoE draft regulation 200.18_ transforms ESSA’s requirement for
“meaningful differentiation” among schools into a mandate that states
create “at least three distinct levels of school performance” for each
indicator. ESSA requires states to identify their lowest performing five
percent of schools as well as those in which “subgroups” of students are
doing particularly poorly. Neither provision necessitates creation of
three or more levels. This proposal serves no educationally useful
purpose. Several states have indicated they oppose this provision
because it obscures rather than enhances their ability to precisely
identify problems and misleads the public. This draft regulation would
pressure schools to focus on tests to avoid being placed in a lower
level. Performance levels are also another way to attack schools in
which large numbers of parents opt out, as discussed above.
_DoE draft regulation 200.18_ also mandates that states combine multiple
indicators into a single “summative” score for each school. As Rep. John
Kline, chair of the House Education Committee, pointed out, ESSA
includes no such requirement. Summative scores are simplistically
reductive and opaque. They encourage the flawed school grading schemes
promoted by diehard NCLB defenders.
_Recommendation:_ DoE should drop this draft regulation. It should allow
states to decide how to use their indicators to identify schools and
whether to report a single score. Even better, the DoE should encourage
states to drop their use of levels.
_DoE draft regulation 200.18_ further proposes that a state’s academic
indicators together carry “much greater” weight than its “school
quality” (non-academic) indicators. Members of Congress differ as to the
intent of the relevant ESSA passage. Some say it simply means more than
50%, while others claim it implies much more than 50%. The phrase “much
greater” is likely to push states to minimize the weight of non-academic
factors in order to win plan approval from DOE, especially since the
overall tone of the draft regulations emphasizes testing.
_Recommendation: _The regulations should state that the academic
indicators must count for more than 50% of the weighting in how a state
identifies schools needing support.
_DoE draft regulation 200.18_ also exceeds limits ESSA placed on DoE
actions regarding state accountability plans.
_DoE draft regulation 200.19_ would require states to use 2016-17 data
to select schools for “support and improvement” in 2017-18. This leaves
states barely a year for implementation, too little time to overhaul
accountability systems. It will have the harmful consequence of
encouraging states to keep using a narrow set of test-based indicators
and to select only one additional “non-academic” indicator.
_Recommendation:_ The regulations should allow states to use 2017-18
data to identify schools for 2018-19. This change is entirely consistent
with ESSA’s language.
Lastly, we are concerned that an additional effect of these unwarranted
regulations will be to unhelpfully constrain states that choose to
participate in ESSA’s “innovative assessment” program.
From a recent discussion on the Concerned4DCPS list about a recent NYT article on the numbers of students taking remedial courses at the college level. I have taken the opportunity to revise and extend my remarks. If you want to read these in chronological order, start at the bottom.
I don’t trust, I verify. I share information for people to know what is going on and what is happening so that they can act or respond accordingly. Information is power. Those in the know and wise folks like you will explain what is really going on in your opinion or based evidence. From what I can see though, there are lots of middle class families that need a little remedial help and not all are scholars. It’s not just the poor.
From: Guy Brandenburg firstname.lastname@example.org [concerned4DCPS]
First of all, don’t trust any study from “Education Reform Now”.
Sent from my iPhone
On May 12, 2016, at 10:16 PM, KPW <concerned4DCPS@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
From The New York Times:
Guess Who’s Taking Remedial Classes
A new study shows that schools in privileged communities are failing to prepare significant numbers of students for college.
–KPWHave a Superfantastic Day!
(This article is normally behind a paywall at Education Week.)
Charter, virtual, and alternative schools account for a disproportionate share of U.S. high schools with low graduation rates, according to a study released Monday. Even though they enroll only a small slice of students, they account for more than half of the U.S. high schools that graduate 67 percent or less of their students in four years.
“Building a Grad Nation,” the seventh in an annual series of reports on U.S. graduation rates, concluded that regular district high schools make up 41 percent of those that didn’t surpass the 67-percent threshold in 2013-14. Charter, virtual, and alternative schools—a small sector, representing only 14 percent of the country’s high schools and 8 percent of its high school students—account for 52 percent of the schools that fell short of that mark. (The remaining 7 percent are vocational and special-education schools.)
The findings offer a challenge to a country that’s renewing its focus on graduation rates through the newly revised Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Known now as the Every Student Succeeds Act, the law requires states to report four-year graduation rates for schools that enroll 100 students or more, and districts to provide research-based help for schools that graduate fewer than 67 percent in four years.
With that new law in mind, the organizations that issue the “Grad Nation” reports annually—Civic Enterprises, the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University, the Alliance for Excellent Education and the America’s Promise Alliance—shifted their focus for this year’s report, from schools that enroll 300 or more students (about 13,400 schools) to those that enroll 100 or more (about 18,100 schools).
That change nearly tripled the scope of the study of schools with graduation rates of two-thirds or less: from 1,000 schools enrolling 924,000 students to 2,397 schools enrolling 1.23 million students. In a foreshadowing of the work that states face under ESSA, the Grad Nation researchers looked for patterns among the schools with low graduation rates. (Note: This paragraph reflects corrections made to the Grad Nation report.)
The contrast between “regular” district high schools, and alternative, virtual, and charter schools showed the starkest pattern. Here are the shares of U.S. high schools of each type, and their shares of schools with low graduation rates:
Regular high schools:
84 percent of U.S. high schools
7 percent have graduation rates of 67 percent or less
6 percent of U.S. high schools
57 percent have graduation rates of 67 percent or less
8 percent of U.S. high schools
30 percent have graduation rates of 67 percent or less
1 percent of U.S. high schools
87 percent have graduation rates of 67 percent or less
The Grad Nation researchers called attention to the preponderance of low-grad-rate schools among charter, alternative, and virtual schools in part because the numbers of those schools have been rising in the last 15 years. Additionally, they enroll large shares of low-income, black, and Hispanic students.
“In many states, these various high school options have become popular pathways for students that have struggled to stay on track in traditional high schools,” the study says. “Therefore, it is critical that issues surrounding these schools be addressed.”
The report also pinpoints a bigger problem with low-graduation-rate schools in some states than in others. In Alaska, New Mexico, and Florida, 30 percent or more of the high schools have graduation rates of 67 percent or lower.
Robert Balfanz, the-co-director of the Everyone Graduates Center, told reporters in a conference call that state variability is a key force in the numbers of low-grad-rate schools. For instance, of all the low-grad-rate schools in Hawaii, 100 percent were charter schools. In Arizona, the number was 73 percent, and in Indiana, 60 percent. Half of the low-grad-rate schools in California were charters. Kentucky, Texas and Washington topped the list of states with particularly high shares of low-grad-rate schools that were alternative schools.
But in some states, the charter sector is “helping solve the dropout crisis” by running many schools with good graduation rates, Balfanz said. He pointed to New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Oklahoma as examples.
Nina Rees, the president of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, welcomed the report’s inquiry into graduation rates at different types of schools. But she took issue with its methdology, saying the charter sector’s share of low-grad-rate schools looks worse than it is because researchers didn’t adequately separate alternative schools from mainstream charters. She also pointed out that the study found that more than 4 in 10 charter schools are graduating more than 85 percent of their students.
Many celebrated last December when the nation’s high school graduation rate reached an all-time high of 82 percent for the class of 2014. But the milestone also sparked skepticism about whether states or districts were using shortcuts to boost their diploma numbers, by lowering academic expectations or changing they way they counted transfer students in each class cohort.
The Grad Nation researchers took on those questions, and concluded that there was little or no evidence that such practices were affecting state-level graduation rates. Further analysis would have to be done to make such conclusions at the district level, the report says. It did not examine schools’ increasing reliance on quick credit-recovery programs to improve graduation rates.
The Every Student Succeeds Act gives states much more autonomy than they had under the No Child Left Behind Act over the way they handle low-performing schools. With that in mind, the Grad Nation authors urged states to give graduation rates significant weight in the accountability systems, and to make sure that charter, virtual, and alternative schools, as well as traditional high schools, are monitored and provided solid help with low graduation rates.
They also urged states to report five- and six-year graduation rates, to capture a more accurate picture of diploma-earning. Many alternative schools, in particular, were created to serve students who struggled in traditional schools, and who might take longer to earn their diplomas, the report notes. Adding five-year graduation rates to the national picture would boost the rate by 3 percentage points, it says, and adding six-year rates would increase it by another point.