James Peyser, a partner at NewSchools Venture Fund, a non-profit education grant-making fund, has some interesting thoughts on education reform and charter schools over at educationnext.org:
Our analysis suggests that most of the CMOs [charter management organizations] in our “portfolio” are outperforming the local districts, especially for low-income students. Nevertheless, there is significant variation across our sample. The highest-performing CMOs in the NewSchools portfolio tend to be those that have embraced a “no excuses” approach to teaching and learning. These CMOs have created organizational and school cultures based on explicit expectations for both academic achievement and behavior, with meaningful consequences when those high expectations are not met.
This strategy is seeing results: “The five highest-performing CMOs in NewSchools’ portfolio operate 85 schools and serve more than 28,000 students. Their low-income students have proficiency rates that are more than 25 percentage points higher than those in their local districts.”Education is one of America’s biggest problems but 15 years of experiment, innovation, hard work and political fightback against misguided bureaucracies and union establishments is starting to turn things around. American ingenuity, optimism and drive can turn our educational system from a global laughingstock into a powerful engine of growth and renewal.The charter school movement is one of the reasons I am, despite it all, optimistic about America’s role in the 21st century.