Saturday, November 07, 2015

Stanford study shows that online charter school students are lagging

 A very interesting article re. the discussion/debate about how US kids are doing vs. those in other countries, especially when adjusted for various disadvantages:

Here's the good news: American schools may not be as bad as we have been led to believe.

Ah, but here's the bad news: The rest of American society is failing its disadvantaged citizens even more than we realize. The question is, Should educators be responsible for fixing this?

…The lackluster performance has reinforced a belief that American public education — the principals and teachers, the methods and procedures — is just not up to scratch. There must be something wrong when the system in the United States falls short where many others succeed.

But is the criticism fair? Are American schools failing because they are not good at their job? Perhaps their job is simply tougher.

In a report released last week, Martin Carnoy from the Graduate School of Education at Stanford, Emma García from the Economic Policy Institute in Washington and Tatiana Khavenson from the Institute of Education at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, suggest that socioeconomic deficits impose a particularly heavy burden on American schools.

"Once we adjust for social status, we are doing much better than we think," Professor Carnoy told me. "We underrate our progress."

…This line of thought may let American schools off the hook too easily. Equalizing opportunity is, in fact, one of the core purposes of education. And schools in countries poorer than the United States seem to do a better job.

"There is no way you can blame socioeconomic status for the performance of the United States," said Andreas Schleicher, the O.E.C.D.'s top educational expert, who runs the organization's PISA tests. "When you look at all dimensions of social background, the United States does not suffer a particular disadvantage."

Mr. Schleicher criticized the analysis of the PISA data by Professor Carnoy and his colleagues for using a single indicator: books at home. And he pointed me to a statistic that underscores how the role of socioeconomic status can be overplayed.

…In a country like the United States, with its lopsided distribution of opportunity and reward, social disadvantage will always pose a challenge. What's frustrating, Mr. Schleicher said, is "the inability of the school system to moderate the disadvantage."

Stanford study shows that online charter school students are lagging

The first national analysis of its kind has found that K-12 students enrolled in online public charter schools — where they take all courses online — seriously lag their counterparts in traditional public schools in math and reading achievement. (David Paul Morris/BLOOMBERG)
 October 27

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