TIME Magazine today came-out with a big story today titled A Quick Fix for Bad Schools. It perpetuates the myth that private charter schools often come in, takeover a challenging school and, then with the same students, quickly turn everything around.
The story leads off with a recounting of a school takeover in Philadelphia by charter operators Mastery Schools:
In fall 2006, the School District of Philadelphia gave the building over to Mastery, a local operator of charter schools–that is, ones that are publicly funded but privately managed. The adults left, the kids remained, and the once failing school has been turned around.
There’s one thing wrong with this story: Mastery Schools in Philadelphia have a huge student attrition rate.
Of course, this myth of private charter turnarounds is being promulgated by the Obama administration, too.
To TIME’s credit, though, they do at least mention that the strategies being pushed by Secretary Duncan don’t have evidence behind them to show they really work:
In 2008, the Institute of Education Sciences, the Education Department’s research arm, published a guide to turning around low-performing schools that noted that “the research base on effective strategies … is sparse.” In other words, taxpayers are betting billions of dollars on what essentially remains a crapshoot.
I just wish so much of the media wouldn’t buy-into these, as TIME puts it, “Keep the Kids; Bring In New Adults” stories…