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Re: Liberty Academy Charter To Be Shut Down by State - Heights
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dtjcview wrote:
Taking a step back. What is the definition of success in educating our kids?

I think the problem is that success isn't easily defined, never mind measured, and we've only implemented the simpler stuff.



Bravo...+1

Posted on: 2013/3/4 3:40
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Re: Liberty Academy Charter To Be Shut Down by State - Heights
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building the whole child that is what success is.

Posted on: 2013/3/3 23:23
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Re: Liberty Academy Charter To Be Shut Down by State - Heights
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Charter schools have the same curriculum standards as district schools and the same state tests as the district schools. There are accounting requirements, audits, teacher certifications (in some schools, unions). They report the state department of education, instead of the local board of ed.
The only real difference is that the Board of ed is elected - but given the number of people in this town who actually vote in BoE elections, it's a distinction with no political difference. Furthermore, there are plenty of public enterprises run by appointed rather than elected officials. Oh yes, and the other other difference is that charter schools get shut down when they don't perform.



Posted on: 2013/3/3 19:32
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Re: Liberty Academy Charter To Be Shut Down by State - Heights
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Taking a step back. What is the definition of success in educating our kids?

I think the problem is that success isn't easily defined, never mind measured, and we've only implemented the simpler stuff.


Posted on: 2013/3/3 18:36
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Re: Liberty Academy Charter To Be Shut Down by State - Heights
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JPhurst wrote:
Once I went to college, no one ever talked about what their SAT scores were.


Yes, but before you went to college, your SAT scores mattered. They were one of a few factors which determined whether a particular college considered your application or gave you financial aid. They mattered precisely because that test was a proxy for learning and for college preparation.

I went to high school before people got obsessed about studying for the test, and people did all kinds of extra test prep. Nobody has been complaining about teaching to that test, because millions of individual students saw the value of doing well on that test. That's a ridiculous amount of importance to place on a single test. It's interesting to note that individual families and students bought into the "teaching to the test" model welll before NCLB.

This all misses the mark, because a test used well is only an indicator of whether a student has acquired certain knowledge and skills. There really are things we want our 3rd graders and 8th graders to have learned. Schools which have not been able to do this need change. Period.



Posted on: 2013/3/3 14:13
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Re: Liberty Academy Charter To Be Shut Down by State - Heights
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Without a test, what is the barometer to gauge how much was actually retained/learned?

Posted on: 2013/3/3 4:37
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Re: Liberty Academy Charter To Be Shut Down by State - Heights
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All I know is this.

Once I went to college, no one ever talked about what their SAT scores were.

Once I went to law school, no one ever talked about what their LSAT scores were. (One exception, someone who did really well put it on his resume when he was applying for judicial clerkships. The only judge that mentioned it was a magistrate that said "I scored higher.")

Once I started working as a lawyer, no one ever asked me what my grade point average was.

There is a role in education for testing. But I think we are overemphasizing these tests as gatekeepers even though they have very little relevance once you make it through the gate.

Posted on: 2013/3/3 1:31
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Re: Liberty Academy Charter To Be Shut Down by State - Heights
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i see, "a test" vs. "the test" that makes sense.




Posted on: 2013/3/2 22:43
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Re: Liberty Academy Charter To Be Shut Down by State - Heights
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Why is "teaching to the test" a bad thing?


This is a really good question. To understand one side of the argument is to really see what "teaching to THE test" means. It doesn't mean teaching to "A" test - which is a fine thing, in most cases IMHO.

What has happened in large part in our public schools is that children, even in the youngest grades when the timing is so critical to gain foundational literacy and math skills, have their school day focus targeted upon mandated state tests like the NJASK.

When I went to public school in the 70's, we were instructed and even tested - but the entire day's focus was not on achieving a good grade on a state test. That left our teachers room to be creative, explore interesting curriculum, have extra projects, etc. Bright children were given supplementary work to challenge them even further.

Now, the entire year's focus is on taking and getting a good grade on one test - THE TEST. I believe that public school education has suffered tremendously because of this.

Last time I looked into this seriously, the NJASK program is run, also, not by NJ educators, but by a private, out-of-state corporation under a state contract that would curl your toes if you knew the cost. Who grades the NJASK tests? Not teachers. Mostly temps. And they're not from Jersey either. That means that a non-educator, who doesn't understand the district dynamics of NJ communities could potentially be grading your child's exam, not understanding how to even evaluate a student's work critically and fairly.

Further, all children are grouped in the same pot with these tests. So if you have a classroom where 25% of the kids are high achievers, they're basically ignored while the teacher has to bring the other 75% up to minimum competency to make an "acceptable" score on the test. Those 25% should be taking accelerated courses (not handed "honor level" worksheets as busy work, mind you), but they cannot, because they have to be prepared to "take THE test."

I know that there has been some reform in the No Child Left Behind edicts. I am a strong proponent of evaluating children and making sure they (and their schools) are on track.

But I dislike the NJASK/state test structure in that it does create a cookie-cutter evaluation system that dramatically diminishes the true ability of teachers to teach in a way that is meaningful and impactful to young learners in their individual classrooms.

Further, when consistent parental involvement in a child's education is absent or entirely abdicated, and our school district is either powerless or inept to change that dynamic, state testing will have little impact in the long run on the vast majority of these student's lives.

Posted on: 2013/3/2 17:37
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Re: Liberty Academy Charter To Be Shut Down by State - Heights
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re: teaching to the test
This is a honest no trolling question.
As I recall every single single thing I was taught in school ended up on a test. The early tests were simple recitations of facts like spelling and multiplication tables. Over time the tests increased in difficulty ultimately culminating with tests that included research papers and public presentations.

Why is "teaching to the test" a bad thing?

Posted on: 2013/3/2 14:12
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Re: Liberty Academy Charter To Be Shut Down by State - Heights
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HHend wrote:
Ah, yes. More know-nothing chatter from "reform" cheerleaders, who boil kids down to test scores. News flash: schools are not shoe stores hoping to meet their quarterly sales targets. I'd rather my children have a substantive, interdisciplinary education and fail these narrow and biased tests than meet such foolish expectations of what it means to be educated.


But you don't have children and you don't live in Jersey City. Truth be told, you don't care about the schools here either, other than the fact that your paycheck requires you to defend the status quo.

Posted on: 2013/3/2 13:24
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Re: Liberty Academy Charter To Be Shut Down by State - Heights
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K-Lo wrote:
In what way is a charter school a private enterprise?


Public schools are governed by an elected or appointed school board which is accountable to the body politic. Charter schools are governed by a privately organized board.

Public schools are subject to all kinds of standards appropriate to public enterprises like public financial reporting, public budgeting including in some cases electoral approval of school budgets and bond issues, public records acts, etc. Charter schools are generally either not subject to these requirements or need to conform to less stringent versions.

Charter school advocates often like to say that charters are public schools. I get it. They are funded by public money and must follow many of the same educational and reporting standards as traditional public schools. They generally must take any students which come (although usually pre-select away from serving students with significant special needs). But "charters" are chartered by the state and effectively bypass local school management. That's their raison d'etre. They step outside the normal public school management system but not the normal public school funding system.

I'm ok with charter schools. They are a potentially creative response to poorly-performing, wasteful, entrenched school systems. But they only have a place if they improve educational outcomes and/or provide educational opportunities not available in the traditional public system.


Posted on: 2013/3/2 13:05
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Re: Liberty Academy Charter To Be Shut Down by State - Heights
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In what way is a charter school a private enterprise?

Posted on: 2013/3/2 1:34
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Re: Liberty Academy Charter To Be Shut Down by State - Heights
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HHend wrote:
News flash: schools are not shoe stores hoping to meet their quarterly sales targets. I'd rather my children have a substantive, interdisciplinary education and fail these narrow and biased tests than meet such foolish expectations of what it means to be educated.


Nice little speech. But at Liberty Academy we're not talking about a quarterly sales target. We're talking about a 14 year track record. missing a "quarterly sales target" is one thing. Missing 14 years of them is another.

Everybody (except perhaps Michelle Rhee and No Child Left Behind Dubya) understands that education is more than a test. But if you are being educated, you will pass the tests. A school's consistent failure to better its students' test scores is an indication that it is failing in its educational mission.

Charter schools got into the business by promising that these private enterprises would get public tax money to improve educational performance. Whatever other wonderful things are going on in a charter school, the schools' own claims have been that the will impact the bottom line of producing better-educated kids, who can pass these tests in school and the tests of life.


Posted on: 2013/3/1 13:31
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Re: Liberty Academy Charter To Be Shut Down by State - Heights
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Ah, yes. More know-nothing chatter from "reform" cheerleaders, who boil kids down to test scores. News flash: schools are not shoe stores hoping to meet their quarterly sales targets. I'd rather my children have a substantive, interdisciplinary education and fail these narrow and biased tests than meet such foolish expectations of what it means to be educated.

Posted on: 2013/3/1 13:16
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Re: Liberty Academy Charter To Be Shut Down by State - Heights
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This is one of the great things about charter schools. When they don't deliver on their promise of quality education, it's easier to close them down and restart.

Wishing all the best to the folks at Liberty Academy.

Posted on: 2013/3/1 5:07
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Liberty Academy Charter To Be Shut Down by State - Heights
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The state Department of Education will close charter schools in Jersey City, Atlantic City and Hammonton at the end of the academic year because of low test scores and problems with the schools? leadership, state education officials said tonight.

The Institute for Excellence Charter School in Hammonton had been open for four years. Liberty Academy Charter School in Jersey City and Oceanside Charter School in Atlantic City had been open 14 years.

"... Although Oceanside Charter School has been open for 14 years, there is no evidence that the school is providing its students with a quality education or that it has the capacity to dramatically improve student achievement in the future,? state officials wrote in a leter to the Atlantic City charter.

?The school has not engaged in academic goal setting, both in the short-term and long-term, and does not have a clear strategy yo improve student outcomes,? the letter said.

News of the closures came as the education department also announced that 13 schools would have their charters renewed for five more years. Five elementary schools in Newark are among the 13.

Charter schools are public schools that are publicy funded and privately run.

For some of the schools allowed to keep their doors open, the good news came with a warning.

Two charters in Newark ? New Horizons Community and Newark Educators ? along with schools in Blairstown and Camden have been placed on probation by state officials because of concerns about poor academics, school climate and staffing practices.

?It is a privilage to be able to operate a charter school in New Jersey and we must treat it as such,? state Department of Education spokeswoman Barbara Morgan said.

None of the schools could be reached for comment.

Link to NJ.com Article

Posted on: 2013/3/1 2:36
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