We know not all public schools are the same. Some are amazing, some are fine, and some are failing. The same is true about charter schools.
And some operators of failing charter schools are being allowed to expand in the state according to a new analysis from the group Education Trust Midwest.
"Some of the fastest growing charter networks have been these charter operators that have been low performing," says David Zeman, who works for the group. "We support charter schools that make a difference, we just think there should be some common sense quality standards."
Yes, we have lots of content here on the State of Opportunity blog: audio from our features; full-length recording and transcripts of topical documentaries; and hat-tip to good writing and data around the web about kids, education, poverty, health, and community in Michigan. We're also building connections to the other new sources and projects concerned about these issues. It's a good network to be a part of, so come follow us on Twitter!
We love research. Studies grounded in empirical research drive a lot of what we do and who we talk to for State of Opportunity reporting. Yet, if we take a step back, maybe we should periodically reflect on the actual practice of research, in addition to intent and outcomes.
When airlines and travelers complained of long flight delays due to the sequester, Congress jumped into action and passed a quick resolution to end the delays. Meanwhile the millions of low-income families who lives are being impacted by the sequester continue to wait for Congress’ help.
We've already acknowledged the proliferation of different days and weeks, whether by official proclamation or organizational mandate, declared for raising awareness of various social issues. But let's talk about just one more: National Foster Care Month. While it's likely meant to raise awareness about kids who need foster care and people willing to serve as foster parents, kids who age out of the foster care system caught our attention.
We've been tracking the discipline gap between students of color and students with undiagnosed learning disabilities. News from the west coast that might roll across the nation to narrow that gap: LA Unified School District will no longer use "willful defiance" as a reason to suspend students.
School suspensions are a big issue in California. Last year, schools handed out 700,000 of them. But the Los Angeles Unified School District took a step to change that this week when it voted to ban suspending students deemed "willfully defiant."
We got a lot of response from yesterday's piece about an after-school music program for disadvantaged youth in Grand Rapids.
But here's a little secret: That story came to us pretty much 'as is' - meaning Casey Stratton reported and produced the whole audio piece and sent it in to us. We tweaked it a bit here and there to fit our style, and voila! Stratton and company made their radio debut.
Every once and a while, our State of Opportunity team receives a story pitch from someone in the community who's trying to make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged youth. This is one of those stories. It’s a piece about boys, girls, and the universal language of music.