“Charter school experiment a success: Our view.” Editorial. USA Today. April 1, 2013. KIPP’s eighth-grade graduates go to college at twice the national rate for low-income students. A Houston district courted charters to open with their own teachers and principals inside two existing public schools. Mathematica Policy Research found that KIPP schools improved student achievement in math, reading, science and social studies. The arrival of charter schools in any city usually starts a fight. A rigorous new study of KIPP, the nation’s best known and most scrutinized charter network, blew away criticism that has fueled the charter fight. Critics have long contended that KIPP’s success with minority and low-income children is less about its methods than about skimming the best students with the most motivated parents. Not so, the five-year study of 43 KIPP middle schools concluded. Instead, Mathematica Policy Research found that KIPP schools improved student achievement in math, reading, science and social studies. Researchers compared students who had won lotteries to enter KIPP schools against students in the lotteries who lost out. Thus, students and their parents were equally motivated. Even so, the KIPP students did better.
The sooner educators figure out how to replicate charter successes, the better off students will be.
“Charter school operators guilty of misusing funds; The couple running Ivy Academia could face prison time over the $200,000 in public funds. The case is seen as having major implications for other charters.” By Howard Blume. Los Angeles Times. April 5, 2013. In a case that could have impact statewide, a Los Angeles jury Friday found the operators of a west San Fernando Valley charter school guilty of illegally taking or misappropriating more than $200,000 in public funds. Together, Yevgeny “Eugene” Selivanov, 40, and his wife, Tatyana Berkovich, 36, faced 26 felony counts for using state money in ways they insisted were legal under laws that apply to nonprofits and charter schools in California. Over several years, for example, they spent more than $34,000 on meals, entertainment and gifts that they classified as business expenses or gestures of appreciation for teachers. Charter advocates followed the case closely because it could expose other operators to prosecution and, because, they said, it could undermine the flexibility that is benefiting more than 410,000 California students now enrolled in those campuses. For charter critics, the result is a long overdue rebuke of an anything-goes mentality that they contend sometimes abuses the public trust and drains resources from students. “This message is going to resonate throughout the charter school community,” said prosecutor Sandi Roth. “You can’t spend the charter school funds for anything you want. It has to be money spent on the kids and the schools.” Charters are independently managed, publicly funded and exempt from some rules that apply to traditional schools. Defense attorneys argued that a charter school — California has nearly 1,000 — should be treated as nonprofits, which have flexibility in spending money, provided it furthers the mission of the organization.
“Investments in Education May Be Misdirected.” By Eduardo Porter. New York Times. April 3, 2013. James Heckman is one of the nation’s top economists studying human development. Thirteen years ago, he shared the Nobel for economics. In February, he stood before the annual meeting of the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry, showed the assembled business executives a chart, and demolished the United States’ entire approach to education. The chart showed the results of cognitive tests that were first performed in the 1980s on several hundred low-birthweight 3-year-olds, who were then retested at ages 5, 8 and 18. If education is supposed to help redress inequities at birth and improve the lot of disadvantaged children as they grow up, it is not doing its job.
“Massachusetts: Harvard Admits Deeper Search.” By Richard Perez-Pena. New York Times. April 2, 2013. Harvard’s search of staff e-mail accounts went further than previously disclosed, administrators said Tuesday. They announced that an outside lawyer would investigate the matter and a task force would review privacy policies. President Drew Gilpin Faust and two deans revealed the developments in a faculty meeting, and the deans apologized. In investigating leaks about a cheating scandal, administrators searched subject lines in the accounts that 16 instructors have as resident deans. On Tuesday, administrators said that with one resident dean, the search included that dean’s personal Harvard account, but no e-mails were opened.
“Revelation of Second Email Search Contradicts Administrators’ Previous Statement; Smith and Hammonds Apologize for Handling of Searches at Faculty Meeting.” Harvard Crimson. April 3, 2013.
“Harvard e-mail searches broader than first described.” Boston Globe. April 2, 2013.
“Email Search Fallout Prompts Dismay Over Privacy, Trust.” Harvard Crimson. April 4, 2013.
“New Medical School Wants To Build Ranks Of Primary Care Doctors.” By Jeffrey Cohen. Morning Edition/National Public Radio. April 2, 2013. The Frank H. Netter School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn., will open this fall. The school has a specific mission: minting doctors who want to go into primary care practice. Michael Ellison has a tough assignment. He’s the associate dean of admissions choosing the first class of a brand new medical school, the Frank H. Netter School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn. “We have over 1,600 applicants, and we will interview 400 for 60 spots,” Ellison says. The school has a very specific mission: minting doctors who want to go into primary care practice. Under the Affordable Care Act, millions more people with insurance may be headed to the doctor’s office. That means the medical system will need more doctors, nurses, physician assistants, and other health care workers to meet the demand. Quinnipiac is one of about a dozen new medical schools cropping up, and it’s spending $100 million just to get up and running.
‘Startup Takes Aim at Old-School Ways; Pittsburgh’s Saxifrage Offers Classes at a Fraction of the Price of Traditional.” By Douglas Belkin. Wall Street Journal. April 2, 2013. Tim Cook is fighting the sky-high cost of a college education by constructing his own school here without expensive buildings or well-paid deans. Classes are taught in local coffee shops. The administrative staff of two works in a church basement. The Saxifrage School, Mr. Cook’s two-year old experiment, is seeking to upend the traditional notion that college students need a sequestered, ivy-covered campus—and will endure the price tag that comes with it. He is gambling that for a nominal tuition—$395 a class—they will use the public library, the neighborhood YMCA and existing apartment buildings to study, play and live in. “What’s the point of spending a fortune to reinvent the wheel?” said the 28-year-old Mr. Cook. “Everything you need to operate a campus is already right there in the community.” With just four classes and 60 part-time students so far, Saxifrage is still a long way from competing with established universities. It doesn’t yet offer a degree or have accreditation. But it reflects a larger antiestablishment surge beginning to reshape higher education. In the last decade, the average cost of a public four-year school including tuition and fees has climbed to $17,860 a year from $12,304 in 2012 dollars. Student debt has soared as a result, and some are looking beyond traditional institutions. Neil Shah explains how young people have become more wary of taking on more debt in general as student loan debt has reached record levels
“The Golf Shot Heard Round the Academic World; The tale of a teed-off philanthropist and the head of Bowdoin College, where identity politics runs wild.” By David Feith. Wall Street Journal. April 5, 2013. It sounds like the setup for a bad joke: What did the Wall Street type say to the college president on the golf course? Well, we don’t know exactly—but it has launched a saga with weighty implications for American intellectual and civic life. Here’s what we do know: One day in the summer of 2010, Barry Mills, the president of Bowdoin College, a respected liberal-arts school in Brunswick, Maine, met investor and philanthropist Thomas Klingenstein for a round of golf about an hour north of campus. College presidents spend many of their waking hours talking to potential donors. In this case, the two men spoke about college life—especially “diversity”—and the conversation made such an impression on President Mills that he cited it weeks later in his convocation address to Bowdoin’s freshman class. That’s where the dispute begins. In his address, President Mills described the golf outing and said he had been interrupted in the middle of a swing by a fellow golfer’s announcement: “I would never support Bowdoin—you are a ridiculous liberal school that brings all the wrong students to campus for all the wrong reasons,” said the other golfer, in Mr. Mills’s telling. During Mr. Mills’s next swing, he recalled, the man blasted Bowdoin’s “misplaced and misguided diversity efforts.” At the end of the round, the college president told the students, “I walked off the course in despair.” Word of the speech soon got to Mr. Klingenstein. Even though he hadn’t been named in the Mills account, Mr. Klingenstein took to the pages of the Claremont Review of Books to call it nonsense: “He didn’t like my views, so he turned me into a backswing interrupting, Bowdoin-hating boor who wants to return to the segregated days of Jim Crow.”
PRIVATE & PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS
“Abuse Charge at Academy Stirs Inquiry.” By Jess Bidgood. New York Times. March 31, 2013. Prosecutors plan to investigate possible sexual abuse at Deerfield Academy, an exclusive private boarding school in western Massachusetts, after a report released by the school detailing its own investigation into allegations against two faculty members who taught there for decades. “We intend to independently investigate whether these abuse allegations were criminal in nature and, if so, whether or not the statute of limitations or other factors would preclude criminal prosecution,” David E. Sullivan, the district attorney for Hampshire and Franklin Counties, said.
The school’s report, which was released Saturday in a letter to the Deerfield community, said investigators had confirmed that Peter Hindle, a mathematics teacher who worked at Deerfield from 1956 to 2000, engaged in sexual conduct with at least one student. The investigation also found evidence that Bryce Lambert, who taught English at the school until 1990 and is now dead, engaged in sexual conduct with two students, and that investigators received additional reports of sexual misconduct that they could not corroborate. “The investigation also led us to the conclusion that the Deerfield administration in the 1980s could have — in the case of Peter Hindle — moved more forcefully to address reports of inappropriate behavior,” read the letter, signed by Philip Greer, the president of the school’s board of trustees, and Margarita Curtis, who is the head of the school. “Given Mr. Hindle’s denials and highly revered status, the administration relied solely on verbal and written warnings,” said the letter. “By any measure, Mr. Hindle’s behavior represents an outrageous violation,” read the report, which said Mr. Hindle lied to investigators, “raising serious questions about whether his admission was too limited.” Mr. Hindle, 78, declined to comment.
“Former Students Recall Teachers Accused of Abuse.” New York Times. April 2, 2013.
“A Reporter at Large: The Master: A charismatic teacher enthralled his students. Was he abusing them?” By Marc Fisher. New Yorker. April 1, 2013 .