Implementation and Performance in New American Schools: Three Years into Scale Up

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Yet if Obey-Porter aided NAS in fulfilling an important goal, it also indicated that NAS was changing from an agency committed to operating outside the constraints of Washington into one that depended on Washington for the success of its venture.

Success for All

But this sort of reliance on limited and often time-consuming research as a way of assessing comprehensive designs may be outmoded. Practices involving implementation, communication, and data collection are all vital to viable campus change. Was Anderson implying that the NAS designs were so novel that standard approaches to research could not capture what they were doing? Was he questioning all traditional external reviews of the NAS programs?

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Meanwhile, the data finally produced by RAND on the performance of NAS schools in scale-up jurisdictions relative to other schools in the same district showed mixed results. In other words, about half of the NAS schools in the cities studied by RAND only met the district average or underperformed relative to other district schools. RAND identified Roots and Wings as the most consistent design, with 10 of 21 schools making progress in both reading and mathematics relative to the district.

Modern Red Schoolhouse did even better, with 7 of 11 of its schools improving in math and 8 in reading.

Other designs showed considerable variation. Of the Audrey Cohen schools, for example, 5 of 8 schools improved in math, but only 2 in reading. The inescapable finding from RAND was that, despite millions of dollars and enormous effort, over the course of a decade what NAS had brought about was at best incremental change and modest achievement gains.

In the spring of , when Johnnie Watson took over as superintendent from Gerry House, the great promoter of whole-school reform, he found a deeply troubled district. Moreover, the study revealed that only 3 of 18 reform models implemented in the city had boosted student achievement; none of the three was a NAS design.

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The report found that even Success for All, which was being used in almost 25 percent of the Memphis schools, performed poorly. These events should signal to NAS that the future of whole-school reform rests as much on the fluid and unpredictable nature of educational politics, changes in leadership, and the sufferance of parents and teachers as it does on successful marketing, buy-in from key administrators, and substantial federal funds.

Participation in the MPCP increased by 6, students in —, and by an additional 5, students in the following four years. Yet, further improvements did not occur despite increases in voucher uptake implying increased competition from private schools in subsequent years.

In other words, these studies suggest that the threat of vouchers provides a one-time boost to achievement of students in public schools, but this boost is not necessarily sustained. One possible reason that public school test scores did not continue to rise is that the Milwaukee Public School District MPSD did not take aggressive action against low-performing public schools or those public schools losing enrollment.

That is, the MPSD may not have conveyed a sufficiently strong signal to public schools that poor school management would result in reorganization or closure. But that is not the case. The MPSD did send a sufficiently strong signal that poor management would have repercussions because it has been closing and consolidating public schools since the early s.

If researchers examining other programs in other locations were finding that private school competition leads to a sustained increase in public school student performance, the Milwaukee results would be an anomaly and thus have to be explained by specific conditions in Milwaukee. But researchers are not finding that private school competition elsewhere has led to a large sustained increase in public school student performance.

Studies in Chile, which implemented a national voucher program in , show no impact of competition on public school student performance Hsieh and Urquiola And a general review of studies on the effect of competition on educational outcomes indicates that competition has a positive impact but the impact is small Belfield and Levin The estimates showed no significant difference in student performance in the two types of communities. While there are certainly reasons to be skeptical that countries so different from the United States provide the strongest evidence that private school competition does not lead to large sustained increases in public school student performance, the lack of other domestic studies renders stronger comparisons impossible.

Why does school privatization at public expense continue to be pushed at the state and federal level when the empirical evidence points so glaringly in one direction—that neither the move from public to private school nor increased competition from private schools significantly improves student achievement?

This is a doubtful justification for such a radical departure from direct public school improvement policies for several reasons. The same researchers who suggest that the introduction of accountability measures, rather than vouchers, drove test score bumps also estimated high school graduation and college attendance differences for the eighth- and ninth-graders in the Milwaukee sample.

They found that MPCP students were somewhat more likely to graduate on time but overall graduation rates in voucher schools were not found to be significantly higher once fifth-year graduation is included and to attend four-year college Cowen et al. The differences are significant but small, and they are consistent with higher graduation rates found in the Washington, D. The Milwaukee researchers were not able to identify the reasons for the differences, but for both research and policy purposes it is important to understand whether these schools are increasing graduation rates because they are shedding lower-performing students or because they are engaged in positive practices.

Second, high school graduation rates have risen sharply in public education in the last 10 years Murnane The increases reported by Murnane are much larger than the small effect estimated on graduation rates from attending a voucher school. Third, it would be relatively easy to increase both graduation and four-year college attendance by investing modestly more in the number of college counselors in public high schools and in training them better.

Expanding public subsidies to private schools has enough other potential downsides—such as increased school segregation Bifulco and Ladd , in North Carolina; Hsieh and Urquiola , in Chile , and losing the common, secular educational experience provided by public schools—that moving forward with this radical reform to achieve slightly increasing high school graduation rates seems rather unreasonable.

Another argument often given for vouchers and choice programs is that vouchers cost less per student than traditional public education. This argument also applies to charter schools. However, this cost argument is flawed. Voucher programs and most charter schools can run at a lower cost for several reasons that would not be sustainable were voucher programs to replace much of public education. First, private voucher schools have several ways to avoid higher cost students not available to public schools.

Second, some teachers and staff at religious private schools are subsidized by religious organizations. Without this structure, many fewer individuals would take the training needed to become certified to enter teaching. Since teaching salaries are low compared with other professions, the prospect of tenure and a decent pension provides the option of security as compensation for low pay.

This pool of young, trained teachers is available to voucher and charter schools, generally at even lower pay than in the public sector and without promise of tenure or a pension, but with the possibility of training and experience. Fourth, installing and maintaining a voucher plan is not cheap. If the lower cost argument does not compensate for the lack of evidence that vouchers significantly improve student achievement test scores and they, at best, have a modest impact on educational attainment graduation rates , what is left to support privatization?

The answer is: ideology.

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According to Henry Levin, William H. Kilpatrick Professor of Economics and Education at Teachers College of Columbia University, the debate about vouchers is based on ideological differences between those who attach greater importance to individual choice, and therefore education markets, and those who place greater importance on equity, commonality, and public accountability, and therefore support public education Levin The push for vouchers and charters could be seen as distracting from implementing programs that can, in fact, improve student learning.

There are many other policy changes that are likely to have much higher payoffs than privatization. Investing more in excellent teacher pre-service training Boyd et al. The fact is that some U. She has played a major role in pushing for charter expansion in her home state of Michigan. Charter expansion has not helped Detroit or Michigan improve their stagnant, low-performing education systems Carnoy, Garcia, and Khavenson ; Harris The federal government has relatively little to say about education policy in our distinctly federal system.

States are in charge. Nevertheless, DeVos, with the backing of a conservative Congress and the president, could provide funding for voucher and charter expansion in the states rather than funding programs that are more likely to improve learning. DeVos could also divert many states from implementing public school reforms that would improve student learning. On the other hand, the appointment of DeVos could provide increased motivation for states that want to improve public education in a meaningful way, investing in longer range programs that work.

He has written more than 40 books and articles on political economy, educational issues, and labor economics. He holds an electrical engineering degree from Caltech and a Ph. Much of his work is comparative and international. Originally, voucher eligibility in Milwaukee was determined by family income being below percent of the federal poverty line. This requirement has edged upward, so that today, it is percent of the poverty line, and percent to be eligible for a tuition waiver in those private high schools permitted to charge additional fees for voucher recipients.

Although some studies show that Teach for All teachers fare about as well as young trained teachers Boyd et al. Belfield, Clive, and Henry M. New York, N. Bifulco, R. Boyd, D. Grossman, H. Lankford, S. Loeb, and J. Carnoy, M. Adamson, A. Chudgar, T. Luschei, and J. Brand New. Language: English. Brand new Book. This study sets forth the RAND statistical analyses determining both the areas of significant progress in the new American schools scale-up of implementation of its whole-school reform designs, and various other areas in need of additional attention.

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Publisher: Rand Publishing , This specific ISBN edition is currently not available. View all copies of this ISBN edition:. Synopsis About this title This study sets forth the Rand statistical analyses determining both the areas of significant progress in the New American Schools scaleup of implementation of its whole school reform designs, and various other areas in need of additional attention.

From the Publisher : As a private nonprofit corporation, New American Schools NAS began in to fund the development of designs aimed at trans-formingentire schools at the elementary and secondary levels. Buy New Learn more about this copy. Customers who bought this item also bought.

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