Tag Archives: homework

Report Card Skirmish: Falcon High School's Standards-Based Grading

What’s in a grade? Strange question, I know. From my perspective, a good report card means praise and, if I’m lucky, a cookie or a new toy. Bad grades mean I get a “talkin’ to” from my parents. Those aren’t all that fun. For my parents, report cards are an important way to track how I’m doing, see where I might be struggling, and quantify my improvements. But do the grades on my report card tell a fully accurate story? Some districts don’t think so. Across the country, schools and school districts are experimenting with something called standards-based grading. This system of grading ties student grades not to a percentage of points earned in a class, but to competence when it comes to specific standards. Check out the video below for a brief overview of the arguments for standards-based grading. Sounds pretty good, right? But as with all things related to education, stuff may be more complicated than it seems. While some districts in other states are happy to sing the praises of standards-based grading, a recent Colorado Spring Gazette article indicates that Falcon High School parents in Falcon 49, one of Colorado’s most innovation-minded districts, may not feel the […]

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Milwaukee School Choice Research Yields a Lot of Interesting Results

School choice doesn’t provide all the answers to our education challenges, but it’s becoming very hard to deny that choice in itself yields some positive results. Look at the new results (PDF) from the University of Arkansas’s School Choice Demonstration Project for the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP). Milwaukee isn’t just famous for that show about two women who work as brewery bottlecappers. The Wisconsin city is the granddaddy of school choice programs, and probably the best place for in-depth studies of all sorts of issues surrounding choice. And the School Choice Demonstration Project has brought together some of the best and most experienced education researchers – including Patrick Wolf, John Witte, and Jay Greene – to do just that. The series of studies released this week focus on everything from fiscal impacts to parental satisfaction to academic growth and real estate prices. Some of the more interesting findings:

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Colorado State Lawmakers Give School Choice a Monday Double-Whammy

Another day at the state legislature, more setbacks for school choice. I’m back from school, have my homework done, so I wanted to share this quick update. Dead on arrival? Yes, that would be a proposal by state senator Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud, to create a modest pilot property tax credit for families who take their child out of public school and enroll him in a private school or homeschool program. The Democrat-controlled State Affairs Committee terminated Senate Bill 221 (PDF) on a party-line vote. In other news, the state house shot down an attempt to restore cuts in public charter school facilities funding. A double-whammy against school choice opportunities, and it’s only Monday….

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Kafer's Invaluable Advice for Colorado Families Seeking a New School

Yes, I’m not ashamed to admit it: I’m a big (and maybe the youngest) fan of Krista Kafer. The column Krista wrote for yesterday’s Rocky Mountain News is just the latest reason — even though she does tell readers to do more homework: While rankings and other analysis can provide the public and parents confidence in charter schools as a whole, school-by-school information is actually more important to individual families. When considering public schools – whether district-run or charter – the [School Accountability Report] is great place to start when choosing a school. Parents shouldn’t stop there. They should check out other sources of information such as www.greatschools.net, www.schoolmatters.com and www.schoolchoiceforkids.org. Next they should visit the school’s Web site and the school building. You don’t have to be an education expert to recognize student disengagement, apathy or boredom. Kids wandering aimlessly, teachers yelling angrily or trash scattered about the floor – these would be bad signs. Talking to other parents, teachers and students is a must. Families who want to look for a charter school for their child, or to take advantage of the open enrollment process and find a different traditional public school, you have to read the whole […]

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Your Summer Homework: Learn about New School Choice Programs

It’s exciting to see how much school choice has grown lately (even though it would be better to see some of it happening here in Colorado). I’ve told you about new programs in Georgia and Louisiana just in the past several weeks. Well, if you want to get a sense of all the different private school choice programs out there, you have to check out the Independence Institute’s “Voucher and Tax Credit Programs in the Nation” page. The page has just been updated by Marya, one of the nice people here in the Education Policy Center. I know it’s summer, so I can’t stand to think much about school either. But if you want to get a good historical picture of school choice in the United States, you also should read the newly-updated report by senior fellow Krista Kafer. So check out the updated web page and the updated report. Think of it as your homework assignment: a fun homework assignment. Besides, it’s not really that much to read and it’s not due right away either. Back to the playground!

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