Education Notes: Funding, Charters and High School Rankings
There have been a number of interesting education articles in the past few days. Rather than write them up separately, I figured I'd just do a brief recap of several worth reading.
Does more funding actually produce results? It appears that even NJ Governor Jon Corzine has concerns about what is being accomplished by the state’s skyrocketing funding for education.
- New Jersey funding of poor districts called into question: Critics say New Jersey has spent billions of dollars on 31 needy districts, but it hasn't produced results. These concerns have prompted Gov. Corzine to ask the state Supreme Court to freeze funding until an audit can be completed.
In some good news, Charter schools in Baltimore are producing amazing results for students. Their programs are become a model for education across the country. Even Virginia educators recently traveled to Baltimore to learn more about how the programs have positively impacted students. Unfortunately, the local school system in Baltimore is showing little interest in learning how they can incorporate these results-producing programs into their own schools.
- Baltimore district fails to learn from successful charters: Crossroads School and KIPP Ujima Village Academy have earnered national attention for success in helping at-risk middle school students achieve. The Baltimore city school system, struggling to reform its own failing schools, has shown little interest in seeking guidance from these two successful models.
Finally, via the Washington Post, Newsweek asks the question, “What makes a high school great?”
The article notes: “A one-size-fits-all approach no longer works for everyone, the new thinking goes; a more individualized experience is better.”
It also covers what is sometimes viewed as controversial: the annual ranking of high schools across the country.
Jay Matthews, who developed the ranking method used by Newsweek, defends his methodology, and in his article in yesterday’s Washington Post, “Four Steps to High School Greatness,” he debunks some common perceptions about how we superficially compare schools.
So we have to ask the question, does this competition help schools? Does comparing schools incentivize teachers, administrators and school systems to work harder and therefore provide greater opportunities for their students?