School choice advocate: Evidence shows an OSD could work

Here is a mailer sent out by proponents of the Opportunity School District.

Longtime school choice advocate Glenn Delk is taking his fight for the Opportunity School District to the bitter end, which it may turn into for proponents.

Polls show an uphill battle for Amendment 1 as voters appear wary of changing the Georgia constitution to expand the state’s ability to intervene in local schools. Even the architect of the OSD, Gov. Nathan Deal, has acknowledged he may have to find a Plan B.

Delk has defended state takeover in several Get Schooled posts and cites a new study in his final effort on the eve of the election.

By Glenn Delk

Georgians have been bombarded with competing claims from supporters and opponents of Amendment 1, Gov. Nathan Deal’s effort to create the Opportunity School District.

One of the primary claims of OSD opponents such as the teachers union is there is no empirical evidence that takeovers of poor performing schools results in greater academic achievement.  However, a recent report by the University of Washington’s Center for Reinventing Public Education contradicts the claims of those opposing the OSD.

As Ashley Jochim, the author of the study says: “The different approaches to state-initiated turnaround offer states a variety of ways to support school improvement: some empower states to directly shape the terms of the turnaround while others rely on local education leaders, some target selected schools, while others seek to improve entire districts… All four of the approaches evaluated were found effective in at least one context, with significant effects ranging from 0.13 to 0.24 standard deviation units.  For comparison’s sake, the Tennessee class size initiative, which reduced class sizes of between 22 to 26 students per class down to 13-17 students per class, found effects on the order of 0.11 standard deviation units in reading and 0.22 standard deviation units in math…”

Her ultimate conclusion was: This means that state-initiated turnarounds can achieve effects similar to those found in other kinds of k-12 reform…”  Ms. Jochim is very careful to admit that state turnaround efforts are not a silver bullet for successfully increasing student achievement.  She identifies four ingredients as being crucial to any successful initiative:

•The will to initiate changes to practice

•Sufficient authority to implement effective strategies

•Adequate capacity to execute the turnaround plan

•Political support to sustain changes over time

Gov. Deal has shown the will to seek, via passage of the OSD, sufficient authority.  Assuming Amendment 1 passes, he will need to search world-wide for individuals and organizations with the capacity to achieve significant improvement.  Finally, before he leaves office, Gov. Deal will need to ensure there is lasting political support to sustain changes over time.

As I’ve argued repeatedly, the most effective way to sustain these changes is to pass legislation authorizing education savings accounts so that every family has a vested interest in supporting the necessary changes.  Gov. Deal need look no further than Zell Miller’s passage of the HOPE Scholarship to see what putting control over education in the hands of the consumer.

No politician in his right mind would attempt to take away HOPE. Likewise, if Gov. Deal combines passage of the OSD with the K-12 equivalent of the HOPE Scholarship, his willingness to take the political arrows and slings will be rewarded with sustained improvement.

Reader Comments 0

27 comments
EdJohnson
EdJohnson

Reposting.Wrong link, first time.

“Third Wave is a new marketing package for ideas forged at the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE), aided by charter friendly Bellwether, field tested in Boston, New Orleans, and coming to other ‘Education Cities.’ Third Wave is a planned tsunami intended to eliminate local school boards. Private foundations—the billionaire donor class—provides the impetus for the Third Wave. Themes in the pitch for donor-controlled education ‘seats’ for kids, and nothing less than ‘great’ schools.”

From… https://dianeravitch.net/2016/06/07/laura-chapman/

More at… https://dianeravitch.net/2016/06/11/christine-langhoff-report-from-boston-on-our-broad-superintendents-trail-of-destruction/

RoyalDawg
RoyalDawg

People, stop playing the "it depends on what "it" means" like the lying Clintons. Whatever their official label. GAE and PAGE are de facto unions, and we all know that.


You are free to oppose this Amendment, but stop the Hilary dance already!!

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@RoyalDawg

Thanks for granting us our freedom. I missed the part where Maureen made you Blog Sheriff.

newsphile
newsphile

Let's evaluate fairly.  Much of the money in support of OSD has come from out-of-state for-profit management companies that also donated large amounts of cash to Deal's re-election. This means out-of-state funding doesn't factor in because both sides are guilty.  We have to look at facts, and the facts in support of OSD are anything but convincing.   

RoyalDawg
RoyalDawg

@newsphile You can't make up your own facts. You think all of the GAE and PAGE money was from in-state- none from out-of-state affiliates? I guess you missed the $4.7 million- 94% of the opponents total- from the NEA.


If this works in GA it could spread; they can't risk that.

HelpOurKids
HelpOurKids

 According to the AJC, of the $5 million raised to oppose the OSD amendment $4.7 million came directly from one of the nation's largest teachers unions, the National Assoc. of Educators.  Wow!!  Talk about influence by out of state union educrats.  OSD opponents never want to acknowledge it will affect only a few of our very worst schools and one's that their school boards have done little or nothing to save those trapped kids.  

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@HelpOurKids Initially it will affect a very few of our worst schools.  However, once the door is open, who is to say that the definition of "unsuccessful" will not be changed? It can; nothing in the amendment says it cannot.  So, it could be, by law, changed to sweep up the upper middle class schools, which would be more profitable, by defining unsuccessful as "fails to show 10% growth in scores."  If your score is 85%, that 10%, statistically, would be hard to reach.  So there go many of the great Gwinnett schools.  And you would have NO RECOURSE to stop it.  Are you willing to take a chance?


And what has state government done to save those trapped kids?  Cut money for about a decade, first in the guise of "austerity cuts" when things were booming!  And then after the state actually began suffering from the (Bush) depression, the state cut even more money to "balance the budget" while still being able to fund special programs for the wealthy to steer their tax payments into private schools.  So let's not hear about local school boards, who raised property taxes if they were under the cap, trying to patch together enough money to run the schools!

newsphile
newsphile

@HelpOurKids Let's evaluate fairly.  Much of the money in support of OSD has come from out-of-state for-profit management companies that also donated large amounts of cash to Deal's re-election. This means out-of-state funding doesn't factor in because both sides are guilty.  We have to look at facts, and the facts in support of OSD are anything but convincing.   

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@newsphile @HelpOurKids I believe much of the Charter Schools Commission advocacy 3 (?) years ago also came from these same re-election supporters. If I am wrong, someone correct me.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

Here are the sentences and phrases of Mr. Delk's that should have people running away:


"OSD opponents such as the teachers union"


"he will need to search world-wide for individuals and organizations with the capacity to achieve significant improvement."


"before he leaves office, Gov. Deal will need to ensure there is lasting political support to sustain changes over time."


" the most effective way to sustain these changes is to pass legislation authorizing education savings accounts"

RoyalDawg
RoyalDawg

@Wascatlady Catwoman, Delk  is a laughingstock and a pariah among the school choice crowd. PLEASE do not consider him to be a representative of anything but his struggling, ambulance-chasing law practice.


He may support Amendment One, but no one asked his opinion.

Jennifer Henley
Jennifer Henley

If class size was so important, why is it okay for schools in the SWSS to have larger class sizes?

Astropig
Astropig

Whether the OSD proposal passes or not,Education Savings Accounts would be a great reform for legislators to pass. ESA's would empower parents to sidestep their local educrat power brokers and take real control of their kids futures.They have passed numerous court challenges and have several working models in operation around the country to learn from/expand on. I would think that they'll get a really hard look by the legislature from this point forward.

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@Astropig 

I agree. Parents should be able to remove their children from the public school system and get a refund their local education taxes paid each year. Only what they paid. But you don't get to take any of my tax money away from me and my local schools to pay for your kid's private education.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@AvgGeorgian @Astropig And you don't get to send any of your tax money (on a dollar for dollar forgiveness) to one of those"opportunity scholarships" for poor kids for private schools that are STILL an unregulated joke.  Our local private school still plays the "wink, wink, nod, nod" game.

chonwang86
chonwang86

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John Martin
John Martin

I'll grant that there are benefits of reducing class sizes especially from 22-26 down to 13-17. There are other ways to achieve smaller class sizes than handing schools over to a takeover district. OK, I don't have a degree in statistics, but I know a little bit - can anyone tell me: " found effects on the order of 0.11 standard deviation units in reading and 0.22 standard deviation units in math…” - Is that a significant improvement?

Education_Patriot
Education_Patriot

Mr. Delk...


There are NO teachers unions in Georgia! Georgia is a right-to-work state. Teachers cannot form unions that collectively bargain on behalf of their employees. Now, advocacy groups - sure! There are a few of those, just like there are in every profession.


On to his silly argument...


The study he cites (http://www.crpe.org/sites/default/files/crpe-measures-last-resort.pdf) actually shows that school takeovers like the Opportunity School District have NO statistically significant effects on student achievement. The study's author fails to say why the ASD in Tennessee met her "four ingredients" of a successful initiative, yet still failed to produce meaningful results.


The interventions he cites, like class size initiatives, are absolutely nothing like the OSD. Reducing class sizes is one thing; directly taking over the management and personnel of schools en masse is quite another.


On page 15 of the study, you can see the impacts for yourself. Tennessee's ASD had NO significant student growth, as longtime OSD -watchers already know. 


It's true the Recovery School District had pretty sizeable, statistically significant testing gains for its students. But it also had another thing that the OSD won't have:  school choice. Parents could send their child to any school in the RSD. This spurred constant managerial improvements in order to attract more and better students, which led to improvement. the RSD also had lots of creaming - schools getting rid of low or perceived-to-be-low test performers by all manner of techniques. Any school system that gets rid of low-performing kids will perform better on tests.


The OSD will not include ANY school choice - children will be as "trapped" in the OSD schools as they currently are in the "failing" schools. It shouldn't include creaming, but if for-profit companies are brought in to manage some or all of these schools - and let's be real, with a governor like this, that's the plan - they WILL cream the kids that need help the most in order to raise their school's test scores, their reputation, and their future profits. Just ask Ohio (http://plunderbund.com/2011/04/03/ohios-for-profit-charter-schools-make-great-businesses-crappy-educators/).


If Delk really wants the benefits he thinks will come from universal ESAs, he should opt for another option:  true school choice in school districts. Let kids in each school district in the state attend whatever school within their district their parents wish. Good luck getting it passed in the suburbs, though.

Chantelle Kirk
Chantelle Kirk

The name on the flyer causes me to not take this writing seriously!

newsphile
newsphile

Delk does not appear to be credible.  Evidently, he believes GA has a teachers' union which we know is not true.  One has to wonder what other inaccurate information he is citing in the article. 

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@newsphile A union has the ability to do more than beg for its members.  Also, the members can hold a strike.  Not allowed in Georgia.  Georgia effectively castrates any educational "union" into a eunuch.


To get an idea about actual unions, check out Massachusetts.


In a way, Georgia really misses the boat.  If we HAD educator's unions many of the ills like behavior would be addressed, I believe.  Set up the schools for failure?

Tom Green
Tom Green

I love an article that points to smaller class sizes for improvement. I bet spending the 13 million dollars on smaller class sizes instead of another layer of government might be more logical.

Vera Wynn
Vera Wynn

Thank you for sharing all sides.Happy this will be over tomorrow

EdJohnson
EdJohnson

“Third Wave is a new marketing package for ideas forged at the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE), aided by charter friendly Bellwether, field tested in Boston, New Orleans, and coming to other ‘Education Cities.’ Third Wave is a planed tsunami intended to eliminate local school boards. Private foundations—the billionaire donor class—provides the impetus for the Third Wave. Themes in the pitch for donor-controlled education ‘seats’ for kids, and nothing less than ‘great’ schools.”

More… http://getschooled.blog.myajc.com/2016/11/07/school-choice-advocate-evidence-shows-an-opportunity-school-district-could-work/