Friday, September 9, 2011

Small Charter Schools May Have a Future in California After All

Because AB 440 died a deserved death in the California Senate this week, after another member of the Troika, SB 645, couldn't pass the appropriations committee, freedom will live on for another year in the California charter school community. This doesn't fix our funding debacle, and without continuous significant philanthropical support, world-class schools cannot survive here; but the sunny California dream has not yet set.

Perhaps the best direction now for One World Secondary School, which is still my dream for my son who has just started sixth grade and for all like-minded parents, is to start small, either here in Irvine or, if enough parents show interest, up north in Silicon Valley, a location I was pursuing until the three-headed hydra of AB 360, AB 440, and SB 645 threatened to chase us out of California, and focus on single-sex middle schools to which all students would be welcome, with admissions tests only for students replacing those who would choose to leave. Having been heavily influenced by a paper published late last year by the Sutton Trust, an organization dedicated to educational equity, I still believe this is best policy, since the Sutton Trust paper shows that if a country wants to maximize educational achievement for all, student selection in upper secondary school trumps policies that keep all students together in comprehensive schools through the end of secondary school. This is a very important point, and I need more time to get the message out and change people's minds about what our teenagers in the lower third or so of academic ability need in order to have a decent future. But we live to fight another day.

No comments:

Post a Comment