Monday, July 25, 2022

In Case You Missed It – July 25, 2022

Here are links to last week's articles receiving the most attention on NEIFPE's social media accounts. Keep up with what's going on, what's being discussed, and what's happening with public education.

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This week Peter Greene at Curmudgucation praises Dolly Parton for starting the Imagination Library and charter schools continue to take public funds without improving on public education.


Dolly Parton's Imagination Library has been giving away free books to kids from ages birth through five for more than 20 years. During that time she's given away nearly 185 million books. What started as a way to help the children in Sevier County, Tennessee, her home county, has grown to a program helping millions of kids in five countries.

[NOTE: Peter Greene's title for this post worried some people. They thought that something had happened to Dolly Parton. He later added an update to the story indicating that she is fine (as far as he knows) and that his title wasn't meant to imply that something was wrong with her...but that the subscription to her Imagination Library, which his children had been receiving for the first five years of their lives, had ended.]

Goodbye, Dolly (Note: She's Okay, Honest)

From Curmudgucation
Update: I wrote the headline to express a personal point and make a play on "Hello, Dolly," but apparent some readers have been panicking. Sorry. Everyone is fine, honest.)

After five great years, the Board of Directors has aged out of Dolly Parton's Imagination Library.

I have been plugging this program for years (my first post was in 2014, back before the Board of Directors was even a sparkle in our eyes). Parton has engineered putting a book a month into the hands of families all across the country--we're talking (currently) 184 million books in millions of households meeting no requirement other than they have a child between the ages of born and five. It costs the family nothing.

The quality of the books is great. Over the years we have received classics, newer books, books featuring every sort of family, every sort of kid. They are filled with wonder, kindness, beauty, excitement. This is one of the best examples of thoughtful, useful, not-trying-to-take-over-a-government function philanthropy you'll find.


Tennessee: Another School District Rejects a Hillsdale Charter School

Districts in Tennessee are pushing back on the Governor's plan to open charter schools around the state. Does it have to do with the fact that Hillsdale College (supported by Betsy DeVos and family) President Larry Arnn didn't hesitate to insult teacher training institutions as well as public school teachers?

Kudos to those districts who are supporting their college educated faculty members.

From Diane Ravitch
Governor Bill Lee of Tennessee invited Larry Arnn, president of Hillsdale College, to open 100 charter schools in Tennessee. Arnn scaled it back to 50, but Hillsdale’s patriotic charters are not getting a warm welcome in the state. A third district rejected an “American Classical Academy.” It seems they like their local public schools and don’t want to divert money away from them. The teachers are their neighbors, and the school board knows them and respects them.

A charter school program tied to the controversial Hillsdale College suffered a third rejection by a Tennessee school board Tuesday night as the Clarksville-Montgomery County school board said it wanted nothing to do with the school pushed by Gov. Bill Lee.


Blogger Gary Rubinstein digs into the graduation rate of Eva Moskowitz's Success Academy Charter Schools (spoiler: the graduation rates are not very good). His post caught the attention of some Success Academy parents who reached out to him.

First, the original post about graduation rates.

Gary Rubinstein: Nearly Half of the 9th Graders at Success Academy Won’t Graduate From There

From Diane Ravitch
Gary knew that the overall attrition rate was high but was surprised to see how high it is for students who enter ninth grade.

Over the years I’ve tracked the attrition at Success Academy. They are a K-12 program and I’ve found that generally when I compare the number of kindergarteners entering the school with the number of 12th graders that graduate 13 years later, they lose approximately 75% of their students over the 13 years.

Success Academy has argued that losing 75% over 13 years isn’t actually that bad since it equates to about 10% attrition per year, which is what district schools also have. One flaw in that reasoning is that district schools fill in those 10% of seats each year while Success Academy stops ‘backfilling’ in the 4th grade. Another problem with comparing attrition rates from Success Academy to district schools is that a student can pretty easily move from one district school to another and those schools won’t be all that different. But for Success Academy which are supposedly the best schools in the country, it is a major life change to leave Success Academy for a district school so if they really are as good as they say, you would expect their attrition to be less than the 10% per year that district schools have.
Parents respond...

Gary Rubinstein: Parents at Success Academy Speak Out: “I Was Not Allowed to Attend My Son’s Graduation”

From Diane Ravitch
If they attended a public school, they could see the principal, the superintendent, or any number of officials who might be able to intervene.

So Success Academy parents have reached out to Gary to see if he can help them.

But at a charter school, if you have a complaint, they may tell you to choose another school. Leave.

This post is about a mother who was not allowed to attend her school’s graduation. It seems there were a couple of incidents. On one occasion, she failed to buy exactly the right pants for him to wear at school. On another, she went to his classroom without permission.
Note: NEIFPE's In Case You Missed It is posted weekly except holiday weekends or as otherwise noted.

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