Researcher: Florida district schools outperform charters on average

While charter schools are an increasingly popular option for Florida students, a University of Central Florida researcher says they don’t perform as well as district schools. Stanley Smith, a professor at the University of Central Florida’s business school, analyzed school grades of Florida elementary schools last summer, examining the effect of poverty and minority status on those grades. Smith found that “when the poverty and minority characteristics of the student population are controlled, the average charter school performs significantly lower than the average traditional public school.” Smith used complicated formulas (see documents) to conclude that: The average charter school is doing about the same as the non-charter school when no adjustments are made for poverty and minority statuses.  When the adjusted scores are considered, the average charter school performs significantly worse than the average non-charter school. These results call into question the emphasis by state education leaders — particularly Republicans — on charter schools, Smith said. “Although charter schools may be cheaper for the state to fund, the adjusted scores suggest that Florida is also getting a lower return on these schools,” Smith said. “Is the lower average return on these schools worth the lower cost?”


Broward, Miami-Dade see big jumps in charter school enrollment


Palm Beach union and district back at bargaining table tonight (Brian Phillips quoted)


Franklin School Board meets with teachers (Cathy Wood quoted)


Gates report oversells strengths, ignores weaknesses

A recent report from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Measures of Effective Teaching” (MET) Project presents advice on administering and using information from student surveys to evaluate teachers and provide feedback to teachers. A new review, however, finds that the report doesn’t provide sufficient justification for many of its conclusions. Professor Eric Camburn of the University of Wisconsin reviewed Asking Students about Teaching for the Think Twice think tank review project. The review is published by the National Education Policy Center, housed at the University of Colorado School of Education. Camburn’s own research focus is on instructional improvement, particularly in urban schools, and he has studied the use of survey methods to measure school improvement outcomes. Asking Students about Teaching seeks to establish that student surveys provide valid evidence usable to evaluate teachers. The report then offers guidance about optimal practices for using and acting on such surveys. Camburn agrees that student surveys are potentially useful and that the report “contains many practical pieces of advice that are sensible and worth putting into practice.” He cautions, however, that the report’s claims of a strong relationship between student survey results and teacher effectiveness are not supported by evidence in the report itself. Camburn further warns that a “broader limitation of the report is that many of the findings and conclusions are presented too uncritically and without sufficient justification.” He continues: “Developers of the MET project embrace the idea that multiple measures of teaching effectiveness are needed to represent such a complex, multi-faceted phenomenon. However, in discussing the potential uses of student surveys, this report’s stance is lopsided, placing too much weight on the strengths of student surveys and not enough weight on their weaknesses.” In short, student surveys can potentially provide useful information, but the report’s policy recommendations far outpace the available evidence.

Florida ranks high in new report on teacher quality


Newark teachers ratify innovative contract (Randi Weingarten quoted)


Jeb Bush’s reform summit: Democratic-GOP “mind meld?”


SBOE may tweak tenure rules for state college professors

The State Board of Education is in the process of updating its rules regarding continuing contracts, a type of tenure awarded to community and state college professors. Among other things, the rule would allow full-time faculty to be hired without them being eligible for a continuing contract, and it also requires reviews of all continuing contracts every three years. That concerns the United Faculty of Florida, which says the state is trying to fix a system that isn't broken. "As I see this rule, it’s unnecessary," said Ed Mitchell, executive director of the union representing higher education faculty. "The local boards of trustee for 50 years have been deciding the criteria and whom to award a continuing contract to. And again it's not broken.” Randy Hanna, chancellor of state Department of Education's Division of Florida Colleges, said state college presidents have been working on updating the continuing contract rules for nearly a year. Republican members of the Florida Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott have talked about changing or even ending tenure for college and university professors, but have not been successful in getting a bill passed. By contrast, in 2011 they passed a law that ended tenure for K-12 teachers. Hanna said the rule under development simply allows community and state colleges more flexibility in how instructors are hired and evaluated. "We think that it’s a good rule that provides some accountability and some structure but at the same time allows some decisions to be made by the local boards of trustees within the parameters that we’ve set," he said. A hearing on the proposed continuing contract rule will be held on Nov. 29 at 1 p.m. at Seminole State College in Heathrow. Hanna said he expects to present a final version of the rule to the state Board of Education in early 2013.


State: FSCJ reporting error could be costly


Report: SCF broke law to prop up failing program


Scott not taking lead in push for elections reform


Democrats oppose ending retirement system


Florida keeps top foreclosure ranking


Weatherford announces new leadership positions; minority posts also filled


Court hearing set Friday in West-Murphy vote-count dispute


Rubio's new mantra: Upward mobility


Obama details lines of battle in budget plan


Economists say jobs first; reject the grand swindle


Obama meets CEO’s as fiscal reckoning nears


Facts falling off the fiscal cliff


Obama standing tougher


Republicans say they will not back down


Romney blames loss on Obama’s “gifts” to minorities and young voters


Romney support “historically low” among Cubans


Latino voter impact “will be felt for generations,” says report,0,6354487.story


Republicans need much work to gain Hispanic vote,0,4911677.column


Credit gerrymandering for GOP House control


Pelosi “wouldn’t think of walking away” from job as minority leader


Changing times

 0 user(s) rated this page
Login to leave a comment
No Comments yet