Harlem miracle and thoughts on authorization

Now old new, last week’s release of Hoxby‘s report demonstrating the superiority of New Yorks’s charter schools is a BFO for those of us that spend time in NYC schools.  Following up on my recent post on the best school operators, it’s worth highlighting two ladies running networks of extraordinarily good elementary schools: Dacia Toll of Achievement First and Eva Moskowitz of Success Charters.
Eva, Dacia, and their networks  share a lot in common.  They’re both a force of nature–bright, passionate, and driven.  I describe their strategy as managed instruction–a rigorous core curriculum infused with liberal arts, periodic assessment, and the relentless use of data to drive improvement.  They set a very high bar for quality in every classroom and exemplify the ‘no-excuses’ culture.
Despite the fact that opening new charters in NY is extremely difficult (e.g., new board and full application for every site), these two networks have transformed elementary options in Harlem.  It’s great to see researchers confirm what we know–these ladies run great schools and should have access to a streamlined authorization process.
Every state should have three paths for charter authorization:
1. New operators: standard process and 5 year approval for groups proposing traditional schools
2. Fast track for high performing networks (i.e., quick addendum of existing charter for multi-campus operation)
3. Innovation: encouragement for innovative models targeting specific populations/geographies (with 3 year rather than 5 year charter)

Tom - Speaking Engagements

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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2 Comments

Susan Oliver
9/24/2009

Tom,
I thought this post was going to include your thoughts on RE-authorization. where are you on this morning's speech to gast track ESEA reauth?

greg
9/26/2009

I think AF is only in brooklyn, but democracy prep and villaga academies are kicking butt in harlem middle schools (much tougher than elementary). Dpcs and Vacs are #1 and 2 in halem ahead of kipp, af, and success. We need more of ALL these networks.

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