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Thompson: What To Make Of Failing Charters In Oklahoma City

AstecMegan Rolland of the Daily Oklahoman reports that the Oklahoma City School Board is confused about what it should do to meet the new accountability system prompted by the state's NCLB waiver.  Nearly a quarter of the district's schools could be subject to some sort of state intervention.  All four of my former neighborhood schools are eligible to be taken over, and now the district is planning to fight back.  Like OKC's Board Chair, however, I am struck by the appearance of four charter schools on the preliminary list, if for no other reason than they have not addressed the gap between improvements for the highest and lowest performers. One of the four is the largest alternative school that takes the city's most traumatized kids.  Another was praised not too long ago by the Wall Street Journal.  A third, an elementary school, was the lowest performing urban school in the state before a hospital transformed it.  Before it became a charter, most of my students came from the old failing school, but now its graduates go to the best magnet schools in the city not to where I used to teach.  The charter conversion has been listed as one of the nation's top 53 charter schools.  And ASTEC, which is 86% Hispanic and 93%  low income,  may be the best school I have ever seen. One subgroup did not measure up -- just one. When I worked at the Aerospace Academy, there wasn't a good teacher in the building.  All were superb.-JT (@drjohnthompson)Image via.      

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