After 19 years, La Academia Partnership Charter School to offer first music class
Lancaster Online by ALEX GELI | Staff Writer Jun 12, 2017 Updated Jun 12, 2017
In 1998, La Academia Partnership Charter School, one of Pennsylvania’s first charter schools, opened in Lancaster city. Just before its 20-year anniversary, it’s introducing its first music course. With support from the Lancaster nonprofit Music for Everyone, La Academia will offer a music theory class beginning in the 2017-18 school year. “We’re really excited,” said Kristi Baker, a spokesperson for the school. “This will be the beginning of the music program. We want to build on this.” The course, which was, in part, made possible by a $2,218 grant from Music for Everyone, will serve as an elective for students in grades 9 through 11. Students will have the option of either music theory or a STEM course, both of which are taught the whole academic year, according to La Academia instructor Edward Webb. Webb, who earned a master’s degree in education from Arcadia University, will teach the music course, along with a new psychology course for seniors, starting in the fall. The music class is a new endeavor for both the school and Webb, as it will be the first music course he’s taught in his 16-year teaching career. Webb, who has been at La Academia for seven years, said he is certified to teach in six subject areas — social studies, business, technology, English, music and communications.
Here Are Some State ESSA Plans to Fix Struggling Schools
Education Week Politics K12 Blog By Andrew Ujifusa on June 14, 2017 7:10 AM
By Andrew Ujifusa and Alyson Klein
The Every Student Succeeds Act is supposed to be a brave new world when it comes to school improvement. States and districts will now get to decide what to do about perennially struggling schools, and schools where certain groups of students, like English-language learners, aren't doing well. So now that states have all this newfound freedom, what are they deciding to do with it? We looked at the school improvement portions of the 17 ESSA plans that have been submitted to the U.S. Department of Education for approval. Want to jump to details on a particular state? Click on it in the menu below:
For-Profit Charter Schools Show Poor Academic Growth
Education Week Charters and Choice Blog By Arianna Prothero on June 12, 2017 3:51 PM
Students in charter schools that are run by for-profit companies perform markedly worse than their peers in charters managed by nonprofit groups, according to a new study. These findings—released during the largest annual gathering of the charter school movement—could potentially drive a wedge further into a growing rift among charter school advocates over the role of for-profit companies in the sector.
What the Study Found: The study, conducted by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University, or CREDO, found that, on average, students attending nonprofit-run schools had faster academic growth than those in for-profit schools that was equal to about 23 extra days of learning in math and six extra days in reading. Students in nonprofit charters also saw faster academic growth than their peers in traditional public schools, equal to about 11 extra days of reading and math. CREDO's study also compared performance between students in for-profit charters and their peers in traditional public schools and found that students in for-profit charters do no better in reading, and perform worse in math. Where all charter schools stumbled is in serving special education students. For example, in charter school networks (where a single organization holds the charter for three or more schools, according to the study), students receiving special education fell behind their peers in traditional public schools in math by the equivalent of about 86 days over the course of a year. For all other types of charters schools, the number was 108 days.
CREDO Study: Charter Management Organizations 2017
Center for Research on Education Outcomes Stanford University June 2017
In 2013, the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) released the Charter School Growth and Replication (CGAR) study (Woodworth and Raymond 2013). The study examined the lifecycle of charter school networks from founding of the flagship school to development and eventual expansion of the network. Volume II of the CGAR study focused on the performance of charter school networks, organizations which operate at least three charter schools. This report is an update to CGAR Volume II. We examine the performance of charter networks compared to traditional public schools (TPS) and independent charter schools. A chief focus of this study is the management arrangement of the school and the impact it has on the school’s performance, as measured by student academic progress. Additional analyses explore the variation in performance across networks and performance by state.
“Some conference attendees lamented the fact that DeVos did not more specifically address concerns about quality and accountability, particularly when it comes to how the administration would ensure that taxpayer dollars for a federal private school choice program are used effectively. "She was vague and nebulous and she kept repeating herself," says Kayla Meadows, a kindergarten teacher at River Oak, a charter school in Ukiah, California, where she's taught for 17 years. "There was no substance." Meadows, who is working with a cohort of teachers and the Annenberg Institute for School Reform to develop a set of high-quality standards for charter schools, says her biggest qualm with DeVos and the administration is what she considers a lack of focus on quality. "She keeps talking about giving parents more choices, but you have to have accountability," Meadows says – something she said she believes would be difficult to execute with a voucher or tax credit scholarship program that allows students to attend private schools.”
DeVos Delivers Tough Love to Charter School Advocates
The education secretary attempted to address a growing divide within the charter school community.
US News By Lauren Camera, Education Reporter | June 13, 2017, at 12:14 p.m.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Tuesday delivered a gut check to thousands of charter schools advocates gathered in Washington, D.C., reminding them that when it comes to school choice they are not the only player. "Charters' success should be celebrated, but it's equally important not to, quote, 'become the man,' Devos said at the annual conference of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. "There is no one right way to help kids learn, and just because a school educates children differently than you might propose to does not make them the enemy," she said, making a veiled reference to the growing fracture in the school choice community largely driven by the Trump administration's education agenda, which includes both public and private school choice. "Let's applaud and encourage others who serve students well," DeVos said. "It's a both-and situation, not an either-or." The three-day conference in the nation's capital convened charter school advocates of all persuasions, including those who support private school choice and those who do not – two camps whose philosophical divide has recently grown in large part due to proposals in the president's budget request.
Betsy DeVos Warns Charter Schools Against Becoming 'The Man'
Education Week Politics K12 Blog By Alyson Klein on June 13, 2017 11:37 AM
Washington U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos challenged the charter school community, which has long been seen as a vanguard of innovation in education, not to allow itself to turn into just another entrenched bunch of paper pushers. "Charters' success should be celebrated, but it's equally important not to (quote) 'become the man.' ... Many who call themselves reformers have become just another breed of bureaucrats," DeVos said in a speech here Tuesday to the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools, the nation's biggest charter school organization. "We don't need 500-page charter school applications. That's not progress. That's fundamentally at odds with why parents demanded charters in the first place. Innovation, iteration and improvement must be a constant in our work." That line could be seen as a veiled shot at charter proponents who have criticized the approach to charter accountabilty that organizations backed by DeVos pushed in Michigan. Supporters of DeVos' work in the Wolverine State tout what they view as a blooming, diverse charter sector that gives parents a wide array of options. But critics say that low-standards and lack of accountability for charter operators have lead to the proliferation of low-quality charter schools in Michigan, particularly in Detroit.
“The education department’s review found that based on computer log-in durations and offline documentation, many ECOT students failed to meet the minimum 920 hours of “learning opportunities” required by the state. ECOT reported 15,322 full-time students in the 2015-2016 school year; the education department verified 6,313, nearly 60 percent fewer.”
ECOT ordered to repay $60 million for inflating attendance
The Columbus Dispatch By Catherine Candisky Posted Jun 12, 2017 at 1:25 PM Updated Jun 12, 2017 at 8:37 PM
Republicans and Democrats, school-choice proponents and opponents, appointees of Gov. John Kasich and those elected independently agreed Monday: Online school giant ECOT must repay $60 million in state aid for grossly inflating its attendance figures. The 19-member state Board of Education voted 16-1 to accept the findings of a Department of Education review, recently upheld by state hearing officer Lawrence Pratt, recommending that the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow give back more than half of the $108 million it received for the 2015-2016 school year. One member abstained, another was absent. “I feel like they’ve cheated the children and the taxpayers and they should pay it back,” said Cathye Flory, a board member from Logan. The decision is a death blow to the school, ECOT officials say, and they will have to close if forced to repay the money.
Education Activists Rally June 15 to Stop More Philly School Closings
Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools Press Release: June 13, 2017
The Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools (APPS) will hold a rally in front of school district headquarters on Thursday June 15, 3:30 PM, to call attention to Superintendent William Hite’s plan to begin closing three neighborhood schools each year for the next five years, and possibly beyond. Members of APPS, a grass-roots organization of educators, parents and community members, attend all SRC meetings, usually testifying on issues of funding and transparency.
In addition to announcing his plan at a recent SRC meeting, Hite told City Council of his intention to close schools at Council’s hearings on the school district budget last month.
“School closings are not just traumatic for students, they have a devastating effect on the surrounding community”, said Karel Kilimnik, co-founder of the Alliance, “We want to help communities understand what they can do to support their school if Dr Hite selects it for closure. Our schools need advocates as they fight for survival.” A coalition of community groups has endorsed the action, including Parents United for Public Education and Our City, Our Schools.
Contact: Karel Kilimnik, 215.301.3569
Thomas Murray, Director of Innovation for Future Ready Schools, a project of the Alliance for Excellent Education
Kristen Swanson, Director of Learning at Slack and one of the founding members of the Edcamp movement
*Leadership for Learning
*Professional and Community Leadership