In case you missed the chat earlier today, you can read the transcript on Philly.com. I really enjoyed the experience, though I often found myself wishing that I had paid more attention in my high school typing class. There was a lot of good conversation that included me, Christine Carlson (a Greenfield Parent), and Inquirer reporters Miriam Hill and Kristen Graham. We talked about the school search process including how to get started, how to interpret test scores, and what single factor makes a school successful (in my opinion, parental involvement).
Building on the article in yesterdays Inquirer, Philly.com is hosting a chat today, and I am one of the featured panelists!
Can Philly Parents Trust The City Schools? Join the online chat with
Philly School Search Founder Len Lipkin, Greenfield parent Christine Carlson, and Inquirer reporter Miriam Hill at 11 AM this morning.
There is a great article in the Inquirer today by Miriam Hill (who wrote about this blog last month) about the struggle parents face during the school choice process. I know all about it–it’s that struggle that fuels my blog traffic (there is an online chat on the topic tomorrow at 11 AM featuring me at www.philly.com/education, details at the bottom of this post).
Hill’s angle is interesting, it’s right in the title–Schools a Key to Keeping Young Families in Philadelphia. Instead of it being a pure city versus suburbs decision for parents as it has been historically, many are choosing to stay and work to improve the schools themselves–read my articles marked with the parental involvement tag to see my numerous observations of the same phenomenon across the city. There is definitely a movement afoot to change the system rather than relocate. My experience in talking to parents matches Ms. Hill’s pretty closely. Though some families are still choosing the suburbs, more and more are sticking around and pitching in to make things better.
Having this struggle yourself? Chat with Philly School Search founder Len Lipkin and activist Greenfield School parent Christine Carlson, at 11 a.m. on Thursday June 30 at www.philly.com/education
When I started my school choice process, I was completely ignorant of the sides of the charter school debate. I had an understanding that there were pro- and anti- charter people, but I never understood their positions in any depth. In the almost two years since starting this blog, I have had a lot of folks lobbying me from both sides–charter school organizations, child advocacy organizations, and parents. Now I understand the issue better, but I’m still not completely swayed one way or the other. Though I care about improving our educational system at large and improving the charter school system specifically, my primary concern all along has been about what is best for my child. This blog has reflected that–with a few tangents, it has been been about school search and not about school policy.
I have learned that for many of my readers, opinion on policy is an important factor in school choice. It makes sense–if you are strongly opposed to the charter movement, sending your child to a charter isn’t exactly consistent behavior. The problem for most of you who are like me is that there are not a lot of impartial resources out there to help you form an intelligent opinion.
Yesterday on WHYY’s Radio Times, there was an animated discussion on Pennsylvania charter schools that succeeded pretty well on that score. The segment featured a charter school advocate but also referenced the Stanford CREDO study critical of PA charters (primarily cyber charters) that I wrote about last month. Here’s the description of the program from the WHYY web site
Since 1997 when Pennsylvania first authorized the establishment of charter schools, over 70,000 students in grades K-12 have enrolled in one of 135 “bricks and mortar” charter schools and a dozen cyber charter schools state-wide . In Philadelphia, one out of four students attends a charter school and the numbers are growing. Charter schools are created by parents, teachers, community leaders, and education management organizations. And while they have become a centerpiece in the school choice movement their very existence is the source of considerable debate. A new study by Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes reports mixed results when it comes to student learning. Have Pennsylvania’s charter schools fulfilled their promise? Our guests include the report’s author DEV DAVIS , ROBERT FAYFICH of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools, and education researcher GARY MIRON of Western Michigan University.
The discussion is definitely worth listening to-it’s a good primer for those of you who are considering a charter school for your own kids. The most poignant comment for me was–”let’s call them franchise schools” On the fence yourself? Have a listen.
There were a lot of talks at last years’ TedXPhilly that should be of interest to parents and others interested in education in Philadelphia. I posted a couple (Ted Hauger and Stanford Thompson) back in January, but the one I was most interested in seeing was Chris Lehmann’s. Lehmann is the Principal of Science Leadership Academy, avid twitterer and author of the blog Practical Theory. His talk was posted back in February, but I’m just getting around to sharing it today (sorry!). His talk describes a different approach to education. It’s worth watching and reading his blog post on giving the talk.