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The Real Charter School Experiment

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Screening is legally permitted for charter schools in Texas according to an attorney for a high performing school (Burnham Wood Charter School) who defended against cherry-picking charges by claiming that the Texas Education Code allows charter schools to reject students who have been suspended, expelled, or sent to alternative schools. http://www.elpasotimes.com/news/ci_18760015 A lot of kids get suspended, and it's likely that many charter schools are taking advantage of that provision to the max. Comparisons won't be valid unless the Apollo schools can screen their students in the same way.

?"a well-planned school day that is 3-4 hours longer can provide a real boost to student performance – especially when the students who can’t handle it sometimes leave." Doesn't sound like necessarily a good idea. the research on extending school day is very ambiguous. About extended day and year proposals, see Gene Glass’s summary of the research: ”Within reason, the productivity of the schools is not a matter of the time allocated to them. Rather it is a matter of how they use the time they already have." for more negative studies on extending school time on see http://bit.ly/obS9mc

America's foundational economic policy, capitalism, has shown to be the most effective in driving progress. It's not perfect, as 2007-08 and 2000-01 have shown otherwise, but I digress. Offering real, financial bonuses for exceptional performance is such a no brainer! Every other distinguished and prestigious profession has one form of bonus or another. Why are teachers left out in the cold? Because it's a civil-service job? It's time to rethink how we see teachers! I'm currently working on earning my Master's of Education online at this site: http://www.cu-portland.edu/ and as a future teacher, I want to see a job market that is lucrative, prestigious, and more importantly COMPETITIVE.

Leonie, there are two reasons that more time in school wouldn't help: 1) students are already learning to the maximum that their brains will allow; or 2) teachers and schools are incompetent.

The five Apollo tenets do sound fine in theory. But what happens when Apollo comes to an urban school that happens to already have many excellent teachers - and then drives out those excellent teachers? Then you have the story of Lee High School, the flagship Apollo school celebrated in the New York Times article. For the story of a school mismanaged under Apollo, see Letters from Lee: https://sites.google.com/site/lettersfromlee/ Working at Lee last year under Apollo, we learned that implementation and administrative philosophy matter just as much, maybe more than, any theory of change.

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