Election results: Good for school choice. Mixed for Common Core.

What does this election mean to education? (AJC Curtis Compton)

Interesting observations this morning on what the election results mean for education from Michael Petrilli, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.

This is an excerpt of a longer blog posting. Go here to read in full

By Michael Petrilli

What does this election mean to education? (AJC Curtis Compton)

What does this election mean to education? (AJC Photo/Curtis Compton)

So here we are again, with Republicans winning stunning victories in races for governor’s mansions and statehouses nationwide. And once again this will be good for education reform, especially reforms of the school-choice variety.

And what about Common Core? For sure, some of these outcomes will complicate matters in the short term. With an anti-Common Core governor-elect and an anti-Common Core state chief, Arizona is probably the most precarious state, but we should expect another round of bruising legislative fights this spring all over red America, particularly in states with emboldened Republican legislatures. Those of us who support the Common Core will win some and will lose some. But it won’t change the fundamentals: The vast majority of states, I predict, will continue to move ahead with these higher standards.

The national political scene is even more interesting. The 2016 primary campaign starts today and features several strong Common Core supporters as serious contenders. Of course there’s Jeb Bush, who continues to stick to his guns even as he wisely builds bridges to his base. But there’s also Chris Christie, who resurrected his presidential chances thanks to his role as chairman of the Republican Governors Association—and as fundraiser and campaigner-in-chief for the many GOP candidates who won last night, including those in deep-blue Maryland, Illinois, and Massachusetts.

Reader Comments 0

40 comments
class80olddog
class80olddog

"and we were concerned. because the public school was handing out A's like candy. "


NAH!  REALLY!?

Dacula2012
Dacula2012

As a parent that recently went from a highly ranked public middle school in Gwinnett  to a private school, I have experience from both.  We tried the public middle for 9 weeks.  However, the child wanted more rigor and we were concerned. because the public school was handing out A's like candy.


Common Core- I had no opinion on either one until I made the transition.  At the private school my child is learning things never taught at the public school, like ancient civilizations.  The math at the private school is more algebra intense and the students are expected to be more analytical.  Arithmetic-multiplication and division is done however student wants. (no funny math or bow tie mult.)  However, the private school is ahead and it has been very stressful to play catch up.  The public school lets the students re-take a test/quiz if they were not satisfied with their grade.  Private school-Better get it right the first time. There are no test re-takes in private school. The science text book is similar.  At the public school it took a month to finish a chapter and work consisted of worksheets and a test.  Private school-chapter is completed within a week and a half.  Students are expected to complete the standard worksheets,quizzes, and test.  However, they must also do a project, which must be presented and accompanied by a paper.  Language Arts expects a term paper with references and all.  Her public school never mentioned term papers.


Private school places a lot of emphasis on presentation skills.  Every class has an oral presentation. 


Teaching environment-I am sure that the public school teachers would thrive at the private school .  However, their advanced degrees, love of teaching, and years of experience are useless due to their environment.  The private school has 15 students average in a class. Public school had 33 in a class, and that number was growing when we left.   Each student must pass a test to be accepted and is expelled if they don't behave or keep their grades up.  Also, no red tape for the teachers. A teacher is a teacher-not a second mom, priest, or social worker.    Discipline is just one email or call to parent away.


Public school-My child was being robbed of an education, because the teacher had to spend the first 15 minutes addressing discipline problems.  Also, the curriculum was being dumbed down to meet the masses .  Band at the public school was interesting-There are 2 large classes with over 100 students each(1 teacher) , that meet every other day.  Private school band (2 teachers and 40 students) Teachers pull students aside if they are behind and let the students practice after school.  This has been great, because my child did not even know how to hold the instrument properly.


Social Environment- Everyone wears uniforms.  So, I don't have to hear about whomever has 10 pairs of Nikes or $300 jeans. Instead of 20 minutes of advisement time everyday, the students get a 20 minute break.  Why the public school has advisement time every day is puzzling. 


Testing-No CRCT.  The students take the ITBS and on average score in the 90th percentile. Instead of  teaching a test from Feb-Apr and then taking the rest of the year off,  the teachers have to teach.  They have to produce results, because the school has a reputation f 100% college acceptance.


Financials-The tuition is the same as the cost to educate a Gwinnett County Public School child. 


I wish that every family wanting school choice for their children could afford it.  The scholarships(GOAL) are income based and a lot of middle class families are left behind.





Quidocetdiscit
Quidocetdiscit

@AlmostAnIBParent


There are a lot of shades of grey in this video.  


Within the first five minutes, the speaker basically says that 'all children will have to do the exact same things regardless of ability.'  This is not accurate any more than it has been true with ANY set of standards.  The idea that there is a set of standards that ALL students are responsible for has ALWAYS been the case!  It is not as if we have had separate sets of standards for each individual child, or even each ability group! Good teachers see standards a set of guidelines that all students SHOULD strive for - if they have trouble, you support them in getting as far as they can.  If they master the standards, then you stretch them beyond the standards or you take them to a deeper level.  For example, a third grade standard may be "Students will analyze two different stories by the same author, comparing and contrasting different aspects of the text."  The teacher then takes this "standard" and applies it as needed, so your third grade who is below level reads comparative texts at their level, and your child reading at a fifth grade level does so with higher level text.  The speaker is misleading  here (or perhaps he simply does not understand fully since he actually is in real estate and not education.)  tThe CC does not mean all kids have to take the same classes in high school.  The CC are no different from what we have now, where all students are all expected to take certain core classes, while other classes are flexible. If anything, there is a growing focus on "career ready" education which allows for mentoring and job shadowing opportunities that have been missing from our schools for quite awhile. 


The second item he talks about is the meaning behind Gate's comment concerning not knowing if the standards are working until the curriculum and tests are aligned with the standards."  This is not necessarily anything nefarious.  Regardless of the standards, you cannot assess any type of standards until  you have tests that are reliable and valid.  If the curricula does not follow the standards, or the test do not test what you taught, then it is rather hard to assess if the standards are any good!     Gates comment is completely accurate.


Now, you could suggest that the whole push by Gates and others for CC, is to get district to buy THEIR products and tests - and I am SURE that is a big part of it.  I have no love for the big text book companies or the tests they keep pushing - but the whole focus on testing is an entirely different kettle of fish, and will continue to be an issue regardless of which standards we follow.  Thanks to the big "accountability" push, the public has bought the whole "we have to test them to see if the teachers are any good" line, hook and all, so as long as the demand is there, the testing will continue and testing companies will make billions. And I am sure many districts will adopt the curriculum put out by these companies just to make sure the curriculum lines up with the tests so their students will have the most advantage on the tests - but this is all separate from the standards themselves. 


What is the problem here is not actually the standards, but the influence, power and control that certain corporations now have over the educational process.  (There are strong links between certain politicians and some of these large testing companies...) This is something that should be brought to light, and should be addressed, but we don't have to toss out the CC to do so...all we have to do, is refuse to buy into the whole push by these big companies to buy their tests and their text books and materials.  The idea of common standards is a good one... but any time we have common standards, we are going to get companies who want to develop materials to align with those standards. This is free enterprise at work. However, if we backed off this whole "testing push" and the billions that go into it, there would not be nearly the incentive for these companies to monopolize the process.


In addition, the speaker's assertion following a question where he states, "I'd like to get through to the end"  comes across to me as a reluctance to listen to any opposing opinion.


That is all I have time to watch or address right now.  I think this guy is right to question the influence that big corporations now have over the curricula and testing our children get in school, but he is also misrepresenting the standards to suit his agenda. 

newsphile
newsphile

1.  Get ready to see large chunks of the education budget go to for-profit groups to run charter schools whether your district needs help or not.  Schools that are really good will lose funding to pay for it, thus increasing the number of failing schools


2.  Wood's ideas have been tried, back when the student teacher ratio was much better.  You would need many additional teachers and para pros to be successful.  While it looks good on paper, it does not work in reality. We've been there; done that. 


3.  I hope Woods is able to understand that many people who voted for him did so because he had an "R" beside his name, not because most people agree with him. 

Astropig
Astropig

@newsphile


Start running decent candidates and winning elections and you can spend the money as you would wish. Funny that Dems didn't realize Georgia schools were hurting until Republicans ran them out of office.

newsphile
newsphile

@Astropig I have realized the sad truth about GA schools for years.  Several members of my family are teachers, and my family has attended/attends GA public schools.  We also volunteer in schools.  People who have never spent one day in the classroom appear to be appointing themselves as experts or taking the word of someone who stands to gain financially. 

Astropig
Astropig

@newsphile @Astropig


Governor Deal has the right to put his budget priorities in place and the legislature can agree or disagree.We voters confer that power on him.He scratched up $300 million more dollars in this years budget and his opponents rejected it. I hear all of this drivel about "working with the other side",but they want the other side to do all the work.The toxic atmosphere in the state is being made worse by the pseudo unions that line up behind one party and make any meaningful compromise impossible.

newsphile
newsphile

@Astropig @newsphile  I admit the party I supported yesterday is guilty.  I hope you, too, will admit that the party you supported yesterday is not without blame.  We should be able to express differences of opinion without name-calling and hatred.

liberal4life
liberal4life

@Astropig @newsphile 

Conservatives argue that education should be under state control, but they refused to even fund their schools at the required level.

Wndrlnd25
Wndrlnd25

"Move ahead with these higher standards" suggests that those of us who dont like it dont want high standards! You dont know what is IN the standards and what stupid things they have put out as HIGH standards! Just because someone SAYS something is true does not MAKE it true!!!

The_Centrist
The_Centrist

Although the headline is technically correct, it is NO CHANGE from every year for the past dozen.  The legislature and executive leaders have been on the same track, just a different legislative session coming up.

dcdcdc
dcdcdc

If school choice wins out, then the poor and disadvantaged students of Georgia will clearly win out, as they get the means to move to more learning conducive environments - something the upper middle class kids have been able to do using their own money.


But what's also true is that the outstanding teachers (which includes a large majority of our current teachers) will win out as well.  That's because principals will be forced to deal with the few bad apples (which requires actual work), and to promote and recognize the ones who produce results.  The incentive will change from "go along and get along, don't make waves" to one of "we have to deliver an outstanding product, or our funding will dry up".


The only loser....the few but incredibly damaging low end teachers.  Oh...and perhaps the layer upon layer of eduacracy that is getting paid, but delivering little to no value.

dcdcdc
dcdcdc

@GobBluth @dcdcdc If it helps a handful of kids, it's still worth it.


But of course you and I know it will actually help a huge number of kids.  Especially when the funding becomes "available" for creative schools, ones that don't exist today - i.e. ones who don't expect energetic young males to sit at a desk, while drugging them.


And in the end, because principals will have now have to face a loss of their money, they'll have to improve their schools for everyone.   And I do find it interesting how you defaulted to "public school choice".  If that's the only option, then it's destined for failure.  (look up Bright Futures academy in vine city for an example of what a private operation can deliver to the neediest of kids in Atlanta).


So everyone wins.  But again, back to point 1, it's still worth it even in it's only the kids who care, but are stuck, who gain.

GobBluth
GobBluth

@dcdcdc


School choice, will actually only help a very small number of poor and disadvantaged students. Theoretically, it might be great, but when you play out the string, the reality is not so nice and rosy.


There are so many loopholes that will allow the higher performing schools to be very selective about who they take. Many of the top schools in the metro area are already very large, and either pushing capacity, or are already over. Those schools will not take any new students (unless of course they are athletes, but that has been happening for years already), so they are no help to the poor and disadvantaged.  


Even if the better schools do accept them, there is still the matter of transportation. Students will have to find a way to get themselves to the new school, which is a problem for the poor and disadvantaged. 


Now let's assume that both of those problems are solved somehow and that masses of poor and disadvantaged students make their way to top performing schools. What do you think is going to happen to the students that already go to those schools? Huge numbers of them will leave (school choice, right?) and go where they can maintain their privilege and isolation. I say this because I have lived through it. When Cobb allowed students to move from schools that were deemed "failing" (students could only to a very select few schools that had open seats), many of the students at said schools left for the better school down the street. They could do so because of the influx of students from the failing schools. The new students were not taking honors/AP classes, so those teachers were required to drop down and teach on-level courses just to cover the kids in the building.  Well, when not as many AP classes are offered, those students can go to a school that does offer them, as long as they get themselves there. That's exactly what happened. Over the course of 2-3 years, several hundred of the school's top students left. 


The whole idea of public school choice, while I do believe is well-intention ed, does nothing but shift the problem. Schools that were originally bad become atrocious, and average schools become low achieving. The top schools will simply use their political power to keep out kids they don't want. Nothing changes, and education doesn't get any better.

Astropig
Astropig

@Quidocetdiscit @dcdcdc


"But aside from a few well intentioned charters, the big push behind charters is being run by big companies who just want to get their hands in the cookie jar and siphon off public money.   "


You're asking the reader two believe two diametrically opposite things at once.To wit: That schools are chronically underfunded,BUT the business of education is so lucrative that big businesses want a piece of the action. I would like a little clarity about this.


Again, I've always said that the true value in charter schools is their effect on OTHER schools nearby.By succeedig in stimulating competitions among public schools (which charters are),everyone benefits. Everyone,that is, except the sclerotic bureaucracy that CAN"T compete.

Quidocetdiscit
Quidocetdiscit

@Astropig @Quidocetdiscit @dcdcdc


Competition can backfire when applied to education!  Competition leads to the idea that only YOUR students are the ones you should try to advance and to heck with all the other children in schools.  Education has always been a cooperative venture, where teachers SHARE their best ideas and best practices.  I bristle at the idea of making it into a competitive game where there are winners and losers.  We want ALL students to win.


Of course, someone with a competitive mindset has trouble understanding this...why would anyone be willing to help others when there is no direct benefit for themselves?

Quidocetdiscit
Quidocetdiscit

@dcdcdc


First of all, the poor and disadvantaged students will still be poor and disadvantaged, and very few of them will ever have the opportunity to get into those high end schools you envision - if I though the charter movement was really about offering opportunities for all kids, i would be much more supportive.  But aside from a few well intentioned charters, the big push behind charters is being run by big companies who just want to get their hands in the cookie jar and siphon off public money.    They are not in it to support "poor and disadvantaged children"  They will give out a few token scholarships, then pad their student body with the best performers who will bring in the most money.  They will pay their teachers less, give them fewer benefits (if any) not offer any retirement, have high teacher turnover, and brag about all the money they are saving the public, while paying their CEOs mega bucks. Just look into what some of those CEOs make.  Most make far more than any of their counterparts in the public schools, but for some reason, no one accused the charter CEOS of eating at the troughs.



How do you fairly determine which teachers are "producing results"?  Is it the teacher with the "gifted" cluster in his/her room?  Or is it the teacher across the hall, with the ELL (English Language Learners), the EIP (in need of support) and slow learner students?  


How do you "promote" a classroom teacher? 


Do you know what happens when you tie "funding" to delivering an "outstanding product" when you are talking about children who come with all sorts of baggage than cannot be "fixed" the the school?  You get Beverly Hall and the cheating scandal. THAT is what you get!  And don't give me some line about "teachers should have integrity".  You start tying a personal livelihood and paycheck to some unattainable goal - like turning a roomful of slow learners into "outstanding products" and people will say, "What the heck.  I can't possibly reach the goal as it is set, so I will cheat to get there."   Teacher work their hearts out, but not all children are from Lake Woebeggon.  Most of us do the very best with what we have, but we are not going to turn every child into an "outstanding " product.  


One would never advocate giving a carpenter a lot of rotten wood, rusted nails and broken told and expect him to build the same quality of home as a carpenter given quality hardwoods, brand new tools and well formed nails.  Yet, we expect this of teachers all the time, and even suggest rewarding the one with the best supplies and punishing the one who cannot seem to build the Taj Mahal out of plywood and duct tape.


The business model does NOT work with teaching!

Astropig
Astropig

Common Core is a loser politically.Almost twice (37%-20%) of Georgia respondents opposed it in the last poll before the election.40% are unsure of it. Every survey shows that the more people learn, the more they break against it. Politicians know this. That's why we may be having a very different discussion about CC over the next little bit.


Woods addressed this in his statement last evening:


I have been very clear on my positions and ideas for moving education forward in our  state. Tonight, Georgians were clear that they fully support my child-focused and classroom-centered vision.


Woods has the legitimacy of three wins at the ballot box (and a distinguished career) to buttress his position. It will be interesting to see how he outmaneuvers his opponents.


He probably can't by himself stop CC implementation and expansion, but he can slow roll it through the bureaucracy.Here's hoping that happens.

Skeetercat
Skeetercat

@Astropig  Are you a teacher?  Do you know what goes on in a classroom everyday?  I wish all the teachers would protest and walk out and hand people like you the keys and say "here you go....you think you know what education is all about.....you teach them!"

dcdcdc
dcdcdc

@Skeetercat @Astropig Once was told by a wise person to be careful what you ask for.  I suspect there are a number of taxpayers who are willing to try out some alternatives - since they feel the current eduacracy is incredibly non-responsive.  

Astropig
Astropig

@Skeetercat @Astropig


Please prove just one element of what I wrote above wrong or counter factual.Til then, you're just making a fool of yourself.

Astropig
Astropig

@Skeetercat


Let me just say that I'm glad Mr. Woods won and leave it at that. There are only a handful of days like today in a persons lifetime and I want to enjoy every minute of it.


Sorry things didn't work out. The hurt will fade.Tomorrows another day.

Skeetercat
Skeetercat

@Astropig @Skeetercat  You didn't answer my question, so obviously you do not know what you are talking about.  Go to college for four years, student teach and then go into a high school classroom of 34 students and teach physics or chemistry.  Then get back to me.

Astropig
Astropig

@Skeetercat @Astropig


You obviously didn't study "ad hominem attacks" and why they are not very effective in public discourse.

Skeetercat
Skeetercat

@Astropig  All I hear is crickets from you. 

By the way, I have had several students who had been home schooled in early grades. Most are not prepared for high school.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@Skeetercat @Astropig 

I will merely report what Astropig has posted over the last few years. He is now a businessman, and formerly a bail bondsman.

Astropig
Astropig

@ Skeetercat


Homeschoolers do what you do every day for free.

Quidocetdiscit
Quidocetdiscit

@Astropig


Some homeschoolers do a great job.  I have worked with their children when they ended up in my class.  I have family members who homeschool.


Oh the other hand, many homeschoolers do a poor job. Shall I tell you about the number of "homeschoolers" who have been dumped back in my classroom when the parents found out they did not have the patience or ability to teach their kids?  Or about the ones who come in not even knowing how to write their names in third grade?  



Furthermore, I doubt very much any "homeschoolers" deal with what many teachers do every day.  Do they teacher classrooms of 25 -30 students, but only have materials for 20?  Do some of their students not speak english? Do their students live in trailers with no running water?  Do they have to teach children who throw desks across the room, threaten them or cuss them out?  Do they have to get observed six times a year? Do they are after school meetings, data team meetings, Intervention meetings, grade level meetings, faculty meetings, parent conferences and have to e-mail parents all the time?  Do they have to fulfill continual educational hours> Do they start work at 6:00 and work till 7:00?  Do they have to fill out report cards, write up intervention reports, collect intervention data, keep portfolios on all their children, track students through twice weekly probes, send home weekly newsletter, keep an updated online blog, and keep a phone record showing contact with every parent at least bi weekly?  


If not, they do not do what we do.





Astropig
Astropig

@sneakpeakintoeducation @Astropig


"with 30 students in their class, some of which come from a nightmarish background"


But they also don't have $10-12k per year per student in funds for materials and supplies and other things that public schools get.In fact, they pay their taxes and still have to pay to educate their own kids.They free up a desk in their local school.


I could go on. But the fact is, there are arguments to be made on both sides of the issue.