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09 January 2013

Comments

Paul Emery

Gregory

What I like about charter schools is that their success is not based on government surveys but more on what parents desire in an educational philosophy and that may not test well under government sponsored evaluations. I would think that in this case we would be in agreement that it's essentially not the governments business in this matter. I am totally in favor of charter schools based on spiritual leanings as well since it supports the desires of the parents. This will distance me from many in my camp but I strongly believe that education is the business of the parents and should be part of our culture not a government dictate, It gets pretty messy though when you look at funding through taxation but I can stand up to that discussion if necessary.

Gregory

Regarding the Nordic countries, lets also remember they are all homogeneous enough that they retain their Kings, and they have a history of obeying central authorities. In the US, that hasn't been the case.

Mea culpa on the Yuba River Charter, our local bastion of liberal education, it isn't at the bottom of the list of 100, there is another Waldorf charter school in Sonoma that did a bit worse.

Paul Emery

Gregory

That is consistent with the philosophy that Waldorf Education does not subscribe to the same timeline as other educational philosophies. There is however strong evidence that graduates of Waldorf elementary schools do very well in high school and college. My recollection is that graduates from Waldorf Charter Elementary Schools have over 90% graduation rate from High School and 75% from college. That is my recollection so I cannot provide documentation without a detailed search so give me a break on this one.

JesusBetterman

Typical Grand Slam, Green eggs and ham, served up Greg when describing schools. Doesn't have any links to any data, and the schools could be spread out between 99 and 89, but you'd never know it from Greg, the Fox News of Rebane's Ruminations.

Paul Emery

Yeah. It's a dead end when you complain about government education on one hand and depend on government evaluations when evaluating alternatives. I say create alternatives and let the parents decide where they want to send their kids.

Gregory

They don't subscribe to the same timeline or the same curriculums and the studies that show such great success don't seem to bother correcting for the socioeconomic status of the parents. A 90% graduation rate, for example, wouldn't be impressive if by socioeconomics they'd be expected to graduate at a 97% rate. Yuba River also doesn't have a wretched API compared to some other Nevada County elementary schools but the parents are among the best educated.


For a time I was dating a Canadian woman attending Steiner College to become a full fledged professional Waldorf teacher. She was, ahem, a bit farther to the Left than I but that wasn't a big deal to either of us.She did find herself often at odds with her classmates. I got her to take the World's Smallest Political Quiz keyed to the Nolan Chart and she found out why... she was more left-libertarian than drank-the-koolaid left, unlike the usual Steiner College attendee.

I really don't have a big problem with Steiner schools getting tax money via charter funding, but to be fair, Catholic school attendees should get the same in vouchers. Maybe also that Wiccan school in Frisco that didn't get its charter approved. If we're going to fund offbeat religions we should at least be fair about it, and the Catholics are arguably more egalitarian.

Gregory

So, Paul, your idea for public funding of education is the government should pay for whatever school a parent thinks is appropriate, and not require any direct evidence of student achievement? That sure would have saved me a bundle, but I thought the left was pretty much against that idea.

Most of the California STAR testing, beginning in '95, has been based on the privately developed and internationally normed Stanford Achievement Test series. The state gave up on trying to develop their own after crashing and burning a time or tow. In fact, at the local St. Sensible, Mt.St.Mary's, they were using it on every child coming in the door every year for diagnostic purposes long before the state decided to use it.

JesusBetterman

Funny how well kids o depends on their parents' socioeconomic background when denigrating the upper middle class at Yuba River Charter School, and then isn't brought into the equation when considering evaluating the state education system as a whole.

George Rebane

PaulE 644pm - Not at all Paul. The delivery of education and the assessment of its quality are orthogonal functions. Nothing about criticizing the state's delivery speaks against its unified assessment function across the land, no matter if it develops the methodology itself or subscribes to another that may come from the private sector.

The state should concern itself only with providing for the most facile way of educating its population to assure a decent quality of life (in the Pareto optimal sense, q.v.). Jurisdictions using the Underwriters Laboratory standards for, say, electrical equipment is an example of how the state can enforce quality without becoming an electronics manufacturer itself.

Paul Emery

Greg

I some what agree with you. Our local school (Yuba Charter) was a defendant a long and very expensive lawsuit from Pacific Justice Institute that claimed they were a religious based education system therefore violating church and state standings for public schools. PJI lost eventually after a long and expensive lawsuit that cost the school (taxpayers) hundreds of thousands of dollars. My ex was a teacher at the school and we got quite a laugh when a photo of a nature table in her classroom was used as evidence of witchcraft and occult rituals.

The school successfully argued it's position that they were a Waldorf inspired school and were neutered of their Waldorf spiritual leanings. With that threshold established, if there is indeed a Catholic educational philosophy that can be integrated into a curriculum without requiring Hail Mary's and Catholic rituals I'm all for it.

I also support vouchers for private schools that could include Catholic schools as long as the voucher, which should be equal to the average state contribution to public schools, covers the entire tuition so it would be equally available to all children, just like public education.

Perhaps this would be the economic challenge you suggest.

George Rebane

re PaulE's 721pm - It always amuses me when people see merit in some alternative process or procedure that is better than the one they are using. And their immediate thought is, why don't we copy what they are doing without bringing along all that other baggage (I was going to say 'crap') that is unnecessary and that we don't need?

This is often done with education/training approaches that work successfully in the military and/or within an institutional religious environment. These people seeking to improve their own impoverished approaches never seem to understand the role and relationship of the environment to the successful teaching that takes place there. The proposed surgery required for adoption quite often delivers a crippled methodology, or worse, one that is DOA.

Gregory

JB/Keachie, I'm surprised you didn't know the big reason for the Similar Schools index is to do exactly that, correct for socioeconomic status.

If Waldorf schools want to claim exemplary results, some quantitative justification is warranted. Somehow I doubt a kid graduating from Yuba River who goes on to Nevada Union will be able to follow a path of getting a degree in math or the physical sciences at a UC in four years unless their parents had supplemented their Yuba River studies with more conventional math and science.

Paul Emery

Gregory

I can point you to numerous examples of Yuba Charter graduates who breezed through Nevada Union it three years and went on to pursue science and technical degrees at Universities. Yes indeed, parents were involved but that's a requirement of Waldorf families. Also they (families) restrict electronic media and entertainment until they reach the age of 10.

George

I was referring to the process that religious schools have to go through under current law to be charter schools. Would you be supported of Islamic charter schools that required the Mecca prayers four times a day?

I do support vouchers for private schools that could include religious components under the terms I described.

JesusBetterman

Fully aware of API's background, but also aware that the correction does not handle the absolute difference by making the kid who lives under the overpass equal the software engineer's son, with Mt St. Sensible education. The comparison is nominally with 100 other schools of the same socioeconomic parental background, but is also a comparison with all schools statewide.

"The API is used to rank schools. A school is compared to other schools statewide and to 100 other schools that have similar opportunities and challenges."

In short, a classic kluge fudge factor worms it's way into the equations

Michelle Rhee is on Jon Stewart right now.

Gregory

Paul, I remember the suit. Yes, enough of the crackpot Steiner theories was sanitized out of the Yuba River and other Waldorf charters to pass muster in the court, but it's still based on Steiner's mysticism. For example,

"Steiner was very clear about why delayed reading was a good idea – not because older children can learn to read better, but because memorising and reading interfered with the incarnation of the etheric body. It could damage a spiritual protective sheath around the child leading to illness and spiritual degeneration ’Developmental needs’ in the Steiner world are to do with the incarnation of spiritual entities. Only after adult teeth have appeared is a child spiritually ready to learn to read."

Easy to fix... it's just a better timeline. No need for anyone to be the wiser.

In any case, the plural of anecdote is not data, and if the claim is that the Waldorf kids spurt forward in high school from their abysmal early years and that technical degrees in the hard sciences (not biology, 'environmental science' or other soft sciences) are in their grasp, there should be data to show it. A common school education should allow every child to gain the knowledge that they require to follow their dreams, not the dreams of their parents.

Gregory

Oh, and no, the Jewish, non-Catholic and heathen kids were not required to say hail Mary's at MSM. They were required to study a decent mix of language, math and science, and I'd say about a third of my son's 8th grade class attended the NU "Valedictorian" dinner.

JesusBetterman

Without knowing the socioeconomic background of the 8th grade class, and that of the other parents providing two thirds of the students attending said dinner, we can conclude very little to nothing.

Given that both you and Jeff Pelline reached the same conclusions in regards Mt. St. Sensibles, and neither of you is particularly stupid or poor, I'd say the sample was biased from the start.

Paul Emery

Gregory
The main point about charter schools and that is that it is the parents who decide the philosophy of education their children receive. I think it's a great thing. The alternative is to take away that responsibility by offering no other options. That's why some schools are losing enrollment because parents are saying o thanks and going elsewhere which is what choice is all about. It's a step closer to education being the responsibility of culture and not the State.

I've heard lots of good things about MSM. It's different than the Catholic school I briefly attended as a 3rd grader which gave you a choice of praying on you knees or being whacked with a ruler.

Gregory

Keach, the only reason my son went to MSM was that *every* *one* of the public schools within daily driving distance had gone fuzzy math. The "Mathland" program. Some, like the GVSD, kept it for years, despite half of my son's Hennessey cohort testing in the bottom quartile of the SAT9 math assessment when STAR hit the fan.

In general, the MSM kids weren't anything special, though in one measure the parents were... unlike at Hennessey, none of the parents were conspicuously tattooed. The main thing that seemed to come through at the high school was the work ethic. Actually doing the work. Being diligent. Imagine that.

I've no idea why Pelline's kid is there. In a number of ways the school is a shadow of its former self, with a near 100% turnover in staff since my son's day.

Ben Emery

Study after study show charter schools don't do any better or worse than public schools. The difference is charter schools are largely non union, which is the whole reason of disliking public schools isn't it?

JesusBetterman

Brass rings are fleeting. I missed Autodesk when it had less than 20 employees, wife was insecure about me working in a startup on commission sales. It was based in a 3 bedroom house in Mill Valley, stuffed floor to ceiling with Victor 9000's.

Paul Emery

Ben

Yes the Yuba Charter school is non union but the teachers do negotiate their own deal. The Union requires certain teaching criteria that the school found to be contrary to their philosophy so they chose not to join. They could have if they wanted to. The Union tried to pass legislation that would have required membership but as I recall it didn't become law. There is a Union supported boll AB401 working it's way through the Legislature. I don't know a lot about it but here's a little information

"Unlike 99+% of traditional public schools, only about 15% of charter schools in California are unionized, presenting a great problem for the teachers unions. Given the unions’ need to corral and collect dues from every teacher they can, so as to maintain a positive cash flow and their position as the state’s biggest power broker, charter schools are clearly an obstacle that must be overcome. The passage of AB 401 would certainly be one way to limit an expanding non-unionized work force."

http://www.capoliticalreview.com/top-stories/teachers-unions-continue-their-assault-on-school-choice-in-california/

Paul Emery

Gregory

You did the right thing and put your children in a school that matched your values about education

Gregory

Paul, is there *any* objective data showing good results from the Yuba River Charter?

"The main point about charter schools and that is that it is the parents who decide the philosophy of education their children receive. I think it's a great thing."

Whatever the philosophy of a school, it's reasonable to expect a certain minimal achievement, and the visible results from Yuba River sucks rocks. For example, only 6 of the 27 8th graders last year even took Algebra, and of the 21 who were in general math, about 40% were below Proficient.

This is a big deal; without Algebra in 8th, it's hard to get through high school with everything you'd need to compete in the hard sciences at the UC. How many Waldorf school parents understand what future paths they may be barring their children from by choosing a Waldorf school?

Paul, tell me again, why does *your* educational philosophy get subsidy, and I had to pay to get decent math, science and language instruction for my kid, given the documented incompetence of the GVSD that, unfortunately, continues with just minor improvements. Still, head and shoulders above Yuba River by the objective measures.

JesusBetterman

"Even petty power corrupts." ~Greg~

agreed, see TSA.

" a number of ways the school is a shadow of its former self, with a near 100% turnover in staff since my son's day." ~Greg~

Training wheels for intelligent teachers who need strong administration while they get the hang of things, then it's off to higher unionized salaries elsewhere, as you might expect of anyone intelligent enough to teach well.

BTW, 2nd graders ina GVSD elementary had to have the power cut to get them outside to play, they were that engrossed in the latest drill and practice math games, and Pleasant Valley seems to have 6-8th grade math texts for every skill level, sometimes up to three different but similar texts in use during the same class period. "Times they are a' chang'in." And what the parents do and encourage at home becomes of paramount importance.

Gregory

No Keach, it wasn't from teachers deciding to leave for greener Unionized pastures.

Finally, let me take this on directly:"You did the right thing and put your children in a school that matched your values about education".

No Paul, I didn't. What would have matched my values about education would have been a competent 20th/21st century secular public school education, but that didn't exist either in the GVSD or (at the time) the Nevada City district, and Chicago Park or the Pleasant Ridge (Alta Sierra) schools were just too far for a couple round trips a day.

Mount Saint Mary's was the lesser of a number of evils, and, given the mix of religions of the students thanks to the meltdown of competence and large class sizes at the GVSD. Competent math and language instruction, and we decided we could live with the inevitable judeo-christian ethics.

However, we had to pay, because religion out in the open like at a St.Sensible isn't supported, while religion driven underground, like at a Waldorf charter school, is.

JesusBetterman

Well if it wasn't teachers leaving for greener pastures, I can only assume that it was well seasoned teachers, at the top of their game, being replaced by youngsters, who are just beginning to get their feet wet. Can you find and describe yet another explanation. As usual, you are so coy.

BTW, when you find your universe of Greg perfection, do write us a postcard, and don't forget to put in detailed explanations of how to get there.

PS, I've subbed at Yuba River Charter School, no evidence of religion at all, suppressed, repressed, or otherwise.

Paul Emery

Gregory

The Yuba Charter School receives subsidy because it applied and went through the process to become a Charter School and subsequently has had booming attendance because parents choose it to be their school of choice. The school has a waiting list and in fact many families apply for admittance upon conception believe it or not. I know because my ex was a Kindergarten teacher. Whatever issues existed about the curriculum have been vetted several times and have always been found to be appropriate. By the way, the school declined to be unionized because the mandates that would have been placed on them by the union would have affected their core curriculum.

I have no documentation about the success of their students in further education but it does exist. I followed the education of many students during my 16 years in the schools family and have seen many students breeze through NU on their way to college success in many fields including computer science and medicine. I'm sure the school can answer those questions for you.

Gregory

So tell me, why do Waldorf schools delay reading? What of the mystic Rudolf Steiner's beliefs have been rejected by modern public Waldorf schools? If Steiner's Anthroposophy has been removed from Yuba River, why would their council write about a construction project line item, "Their slightly higher fee than a more standard architectural firm was considered well worth it due to this firm’s experience with incorporating anthroposophical knowledge and sensibility into our project, having designed beautiful Waldorf facilities for other schools." Ooops.


Possibly more to the point, how many Republican or conservative parents have their kids at Yuba River as long as a year?


Regarding good public schools in Nevada County, the Nevada City schools nowadays are back to their historic quality, Clear Creek is first rate, Pleasant Ridge is doing great.

The Yuba River assessment standards for math posted online are 15 years old, dating from the Fuzzy years in California. I guess assessment and accountability for public funding just isn't high on the radar.

Gregory

By the way, Paul, neither Computer Science or Medicine are particularly math or science intensive. CS's discrete math and formal logic are off the calculus track, and CS in most colleges is nearly devoid of chemistry and physics. The chemistry the life science majors take is calculus-lite and stripped of advanced topics, and one local Berkeley biology grad and PhD geneticist (though they never worked as one) managed to go from high school to doctorate without a single class in physics. So, sure, you've picked two that would still be available to students who came to high school crippled in math and science.

Paul Emery

Whatever Gregory, you're entitled to your view. No one is forcing you to send your children there. Are you saying that establishment standards should be placed on Charter Schools? That what the Unions want to do so they can force their curriculum on parents that don't want it. The reputation of the school stands on it's own merits and it's very successful. The overwealming experience of parents whose children have gone 8 years in Waldorf Grammar Schools is that their children are more than ready for public high school.

By the way, I know of several families with a Libertarian bent that are involved with the school. Remember, Charter schools are schools of choice and if they were doing a poor job they would not be thriving as they are today. Isn't that what prompted this discussion way back?

By the way, the courts have ruled time and time again that Anthroposophy is a philosophy not a religion. Yes, Rudolf Steiner is very esoteric and is not exactly my cup of tea but I support Waldorf education. By the way, Rudolf Steiner was asked by the Waldorf Cigarette company in Germany in I think 1920 to design an education system for the children of workers in the factory. That was the roots of the system. Steiner distrusted public education and believed government should have no role in mass education.

Are you proposing that Waldorf Charter Schools be closed? Join the list of those that have perused that in court and put your money where your mouth is. It's pretty much settled law at this point.

This might comfort you.

" Waldorf education addresses the child as no other education does. Learning, whether in chemistry, mathematics, history or geography, is imbued with life and so with joy, which is the only true basis for later study. The textures and colors of nature, the accomplishments and struggles of humankind fill the Waldorf students' imaginations and the pages of their beautiful books. Education grows into a union with life that serves them for decades. By the time they reach us at the college and university level, these students are grounded broadly and deeply and have a remarkable enthusiasm for learning. Such students possess the eye of the discoverer, and the compassionate heart of the reformer which, when joined to a task, can change the planet."

- Arthur Zajonc, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Physics, Amherst College

Gregory

Paul, if a plural of anecdotes isn't data, a singular anecdote isn't either. I also can't find any citation that shows Zajonc spent any time in a Waldorf school before he earned his scientific degrees, though he has certainly drank the Steiner koolaid as a General Secretary of the Anthroposophical Society in America.

I found the following on the Yuba River website:"In 2002, YRCS received a project grant from the State of California to align the Waldorf curriculum to state standards. Since its completion, this project has been used as a template for many other public Waldorf charter schools throughout the country."

So, YRCS *is* aligned with the state standards, it's just that they're piss poor at teaching the math and science of the state standards. Yes?

Paul Emery

Gregory, Not according to the parents who send their children(math etc) who are quite happy with the results of the school. Proof is in the pudding so they say and who better to judge that then the parents. Again, the purpose of Charter Schools is to offer options for parental choice and that's what YRCS does and quite successfully. I must also applaud the School for the Arts for their successful charter program as well. Again my 12 years experience with the school showed me that there was no problem with the graduates going on to higher education.

And we're talking about two different standards here. The one you refer to is the requirements of adapting private Waldorf pedagogy to public schools and the other is instructional methods that the Unions require of their teachers. That's one of the reasons the school decided not to become unionized so that they could have the freedom that Charter Schools were intended to have.

JesusBetterman

The state standards are in flux, and Common Core is the newest cureall to occupy center stage. Wonder how YRCS is rising to the challenge? Which eight grade algebra books are they using? Will there ever be a school that puts the "hard" sciences and math on a golden pedestal grand enough to suit the High Poohbah of RightvsWrong?

Paul Emery

JB

It doesn't matter which book they use. It's their choice. That's why we have Charter Schools. If the parents don't have confidence in the program they won't enroll and the school will disappear. Many have actually. Yuba Charter is thriving with a waiting list.

Gregory

"Beginning January 1, 2013, the "academic achievement" of a charter school's students will be the most important factor chartering authorities must consider when renewing or revoking a charter. Senate Bill (SB) 1290 amends various provisions of the Education Code to require chartering authorities, including school districts and county offices of education, to place greater weight on the minimum academic achievement of the charter school's pupils, and their significant subgroups, during the renewal and vocation processes. SB 1290 also changes the academic criteria that a charter must meet to qualify for renewal."

It's that Academic Performance index that put YRCS second from the bottom of it's 100 most similar schools. Hmmm... when does Yuba River come up for renewal?

Paul Emery

Gregory

This not a big deal. It's a Democratic sponsored bill that even the California Charter School Association supports (CCSA). It was written primarily to keep the federal bucks flowing. Glad you support it.

http://www.calcharters.org/advocacy/statewide/sb1290.html

"Summary

Introduced in response to a compliance issue prompted by a change in federal law
Federal law seeks an assurance from charter school authorizers that sub-group growth is the most important factor for determining the continuation of a charter
The US Department of Education has opined that California law does not meet this assurance, and compliance is needed to maintain our five year, $300 million start-up grant award
Declares that academic growth across all student sub-groups is the most important factor in deciding whether to renew or revoke a charter.

Impact on Charter Schools

Under this bill, charter school authorizers must take subgroup growth into account when renewing a charter school, which could lead to some charter schools facing closer scrutiny at renewal.

CCSA Action & What You Can (and Did) Do

CCSA opposed a prior version of this bill, which would have drastically changed the renewal requirements for charter schools, and affected up to 190 charter schools.

CCSA supported the amended bill because we understood the need for compliance to ensure California's continued access to this grant program.

Governor Brown's signing of SB 1290 makes clear that California is in compliance with this grant program."
Email your questions about this bill to governmentaffairs@calcharters.org

Gregory

The school's safe for now, but just barely. A 2nd decile compared to California's schools as a whole shows the curriculum is not aligned to the states, despite the grant to do so, and the bottom of the 1st decile similar schools probably shows the school desperately needs those high Socioeconomic status families it's attracted so the lack of the school's ability to teach the curriculum is covered by the underlying SES.

In order to not lose the school, all groups have to progress, or the school needs to be the 4th decile. From 2 to 4 is probably not in the cards, so it will be on the brink year to year.

However, that other Waldorf school (the last of 100 similar schools) may be on the way out.

JesusBetterman

If Greg had 10 kids, I wonder if he would shoot the lowest performing of them, in an effort to make the other nine work harder? And then repeat the process in four years, after telling the remaining kids what he was going to do? The whippings will continue until moral improves. I'm still waiting to hear where is fair haired School of the Golden Calf of "Hard" Science and Math is locxated, and how well it does with the average mix of current day California kids.

On a cheerier note, even clean energy can't keep it's capitalistic hands clean, a hat tip to the workers, be they union or non union, who most likely blew the whistle, resulting in the patticake (not Walt's Fantasy Iraqi Yellowcake) mild hand slap:

http://www.mercurynews.com/sunnyvale/ci_22527557/bloom-energy-startup-penalized-underpaying-immigrant-workers

JesusBetterman

This reminds me of somebody's rules about defamation here: http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_22524862/second-grade-loveland-student-reportedly-suspended-imaginary-weapon

Gregory

Keachie, this one's easy. The local Waldorf school is 99th on the list of its 100 Similar Schools, and the 100th is another Waldorf school whose API growth may be low enough for its charter to be revoked. Had YRCS's lower performing subgroup had an API three points lower, they'd also be at risk this time, and until they climb into the 4th API decile (from the 2nd), they'll be at risk every year. They will have to show growth every year and they may not be able to do it without actually teaching to the curriculum the state is paying them to teach.

Waldorf curriculum is light on math and science; I suspect even Keachie understands this.

JesusBetterman

Greg, it could be entirely possible that Waldorf is light on test taking attitudes and presentations. I have not spent enough time in eough schools doing enough observations to accurately comment on their situation. I used to teach only 9 - 12, only one year of my careers years in SFUSD was spent in a middle school, and that year I taught video production. The rest of my career was spent teaching computer literacy and science, back before kids and staff became much more savvy, and being the school's unpaid technician, grant writer, installer of thick and thin LAN, just happened to come with the turf. I was Pluto in the math department meetings, and the other faculty were the inner planets. I do recall one particularly heated discussion about which page in which chapter a particular course should end on, at the end end of the first semester.

Different learner find different texts easiest to learn form. If home schooling, I'd buy every major set for 6 -8 math, and work with my kids and observe which set seemed easiest for them to learn from. While expensive, I used the same system in college, usually spending hours in the ASUC before buying both the recommended text and the texted that made the fastest and best sense to me.

Gregory

Keach, effective schools don't have to spend any time on test prep.

Here's some Steiner on nutrition:
"And if the leaves stay green — the greener they are, the more fats they have in them. So when someone eats bread, for instance, he can't take in many fats from the bread. He takes in more, for example, from watercress — that tiny plant with the very tiny leaves — more fats than when he eats bread... And in this case, because these substances are destroyed in the intestines and only their forces proceed to work, cooking is not so necessary. That's why leaves can be eaten raw as salad. Whatever is to work on the head cannot be eaten raw; it must be cooked. Cooked foods work particularly on the head. Lettuce and similar things work particularly on heart and lungs, building them up, nourishing them through the fats." Steiner, R. (1924; GA0354). Lecture I (link), in the series of lectures: Nutrition and Health.

So much for sashimi. Also biochemistry.

JesusBetterman

"Keach, effective schools don't have to spend any time on test prep." ~Greg~ 10:23am Just like you never spend anytime looking at format requirements on RFQ's.

Rather doubt that any time is spent on Steiner, except as founder's historical notes. Do you know what Kellogg used to carry around? And now for the truly important stuff: http://www.foxnews.com/science/2013/02/05/worlds-largest-prime-number-discovered/

Gregory

Teach to the curriculum and the test is covered. Some schools actually do this.

Gregory

If there was a Kellogg school in Nevada County, Kellogg's crackpot theories would be fair game. With tax money being spent to teach to Steiner's theories, Steiner's crackpot theories are fair game.

Paul Emery

Gregory

A short question for you. Do you believe the parents of the children at YRCS should determine the curriculum of their children's schools as a Charter school or that it it should be determined by the state? SB 1290 was watered down from what the teachers union wanted. They are always trying to break down Charter Schools that don't join the Union.

Gregory

Interesting question taken more broadly, Paul. Should white separatists be allowed to organize charter schools to determine the curriculum they want, and expect their neighbors to pay for it?

YRCS gets what, something over a million dollars a year from the state? They also got a grant from the state to align the Waldorf curriculum with California's, and are sharing this with other Waldorf schools. So, why is it that the state shouldn't predicate the subsidy on some objective evidence that the curriculum is actually been taught?

Here's a hypothetical for you: what's wrong with a voucher being paid to an atheist or agnostic parent who sends their child to a school operated by a church that does a better job of teaching the State's curriculum than the failing local public school?

JesusBetterman

"With tax money being spent to teach to Steiner's theories, Steiner's crackpot theories are fair game." Greg 11:12 am

Can you prove that Steiner's theories are currently being taught at Yuba River Charter School?

Gregory

I wrote "teaching to Steiner's theories" Keach.
Not "teaching Steiner's theories".

"Yuba River Charter School offers kindergarten through grade eight as well as an on-site private pre-school. Often a single teacher leads the same group of children through grades one-five and six-eight. The teachers are guided by Rudolf Steiner’s pedagogical model of the child, which stresses natural developmental rhythms."

Some think Steiner's "pedagogical model of the child" are as crackpot as his theories of salad.


"The slightly higher fee than a more standard architectural firm was considered well worth it due to this firm’s experience with incorporating anthroposophical knowledge and sensibility into our project, having designed beautiful Waldorf facilities for other schools."


So, if evangelical White separatists were merely guided by the Klan's teachings and incorporated Biblical knowledge into the buildings, that would be OK?

Paul Emery

Gregory

I have no problems with vouchers for private schools as long as it covers the total cost of tuition. That way attendance is open to all children.

Also are you saying that State mandates should take precedence over parental judgement in determining the curriculum of a Charter school?

Steiner is very esoteric for sure. The curriculum has been vetted to the satisfaction of State requirements. They went through that almost 20 years ago so it's an old story.

If white racists want to start a Charter School they are free to do so and go through the process of application. They first have to be sponsored by a School District or County Superintendents office which is unlikely since they cannot advocate illegal activity as a curriculum.

George Rebane

A point of fact. In the 'enlightened' Nordic countries school vouchers can be spent anywhere with even the ability to augment the tuition from private funds. Sweden limits the amount of such add-ons.

JesusBetterman

I think you are mixing apples and oranges in your fruit salads Greg, you must have interesting barbeques, or do you just have them catered?

BarbiesQ copy

Gregory

So, to escape the local public schools I can only afford to send my kids to schools that can operate on less than the public schools get, both directly and indirectly, when bonds are floated to build and improve the designated public schools.

Not much of a choice, is it?

Gregory

Paul, if parents want a school that doesn't meet a minimum curriculum standard in math, science and language, and to have objective measures of achievement made and publicized, they can do it without money taken from others at the point of a virtual gun.

If you don't pay property taxes, eventually, an armed public employee will come to evict you. Give it a try.

JesusBetterman

If, in the Old West, you refused to build a school house, the neighboring towns would laugh at you for being so whiney.

Paul Emery

Gregory

Measure of achievement are made and publicized so parents of YRCS are aware of this information and still choose to send their children to the school of their choice. Do you think that they should not have that option? Why do you think this school is booming and regular public schools are losing enrollment?

I'm sure the teachers union loves this conversation. They want all public education to go through them and their curriculum.

Gregory

Tell me, Paul, where on the website are parents informed that the Yuba River Charter School is 99th on a list of the 100 most similar schools? Or that the Academic Performance Index is in the 2nd decile (10-20% from the bottom) for the state despite being populated by perhaps the highest socioeconomic status families?

BTW I checked, and the school didn't meet its growth targets last year. If it doesn't meet them next year it could be subject to closure.

Paul Emery

Gregory

Not to worry. The numbers you looked at are not what is used in evaluation. It's up to the County of Supes office to make that determnation anyway. It's a very soft law and a way to ensure federal bucks bucks. By the way, what is your view of home schooling? Should Home schooled children be forced into Union led classrooms if they fail to perform up to standards?

Gregory

The county board can take it over if they want, Paul, that's in the law, too. Who knows, they may want to if it appears the Supe's office isn't being objective.

No need to change the subject; besides, the Keachies of the world and their Unions squeal like stuck pigs when talk moves to actually using test results to help find the worst teachers.

The law may be soft, but if the 100th on the Similar Schools list drops off because they get closed, the 99th might be the next on the list in more ways than one.

Paul Emery

Gregory

I spoke with those in the know at the Sup of ed office today and they assured me that the scores of Yuba Charter are just fine and not at all a problem. Waldorf schools score low until the 7th and 8th grades then the rise dramatically. I got laughs when I mentioned SB 1290 and I was told these scores have nothing to do with that criteria for certification. That is all about federal funds and none of Nevada Counties schools are at all in jeopardy.

Again, what is your view of home schooling

Gregory

Golly, Paul, that's what I said... unless a subgroup is tagged as not meeting the growth target next year. Keep laughing.

We're talking about charter schools who spend state tax money, not homeschoolers. Why do you think the subjects are related?

My only experience with 'home schooling' was when my contacts in the upper realms of mathematicians who were concerned about the path of k-12 math education alerted me to just how lousy the Algebra text selected for my son's class was. One of the profs had been contacted by the publisher to try to fix it but he turned the job down as pointless. So I home schooled my kid in Algebra and Geometry with my choice of books, and only told his teacher a couple months after we started. Since it got me off his back, and he was delighted to hear the book I chose was actually still available (it wasn't in fashion anymore). He gave Joey tests just to make sure it was working, and he aced them all.

So, in short, if you're not taking state money, why should the state care?

JesusBetterman

If I recall correctly, the parents may not be taking state money, but those in charge of "supervising" the parents and the progress their offspring are making have been known to take in tons of state money. One husband/wife team down in eastern Contra Costa manage to make 1/2 million in one year doing just that.

JesusBetterman

Paul, if there is any way to put a negative slant on anything a public school is doing, trust me, Greg will find it, and play it on a big bass drum, that's his special genius. In fact, even St Mary's is now a shadow of its former self, now that Joey's done and Jeff's kid is there. See the pattern? And he still won't identifiy the true name of the Golden Calf Academy of the "Hard" Math and Sciences, but I suspect it once existed in Middle Earth, and is now buried with the Holy Grail. Maybe someday......unearthed beneath a parking lot, somewhere.....

Ben Emery

The key to any success k-12 education is the support in the home. Charter schools that don't cherry pick student do not do any better than public school and in many cases worse because their resources are limited. Nutrition, proper sleep, engaged parents, low stress, educated family members, and commitment is what creates a good education starting in the home. So lets see over the last 30 year workers wages have gone down while living expenses have sky rocketed. High Fructose Corn Syrup and GMO laced products pass as food, parents have to work longer hours and are more stressed thus are spending less time with their children reenforcing good study habits and learning.

Talking about the education system only in the context of schools is leaving out the most important factor, what is going on in the students homes.

Ben Emery

To add one thing to my last post. I support charter schools as another option not the solution, our daughter went NCSA.

JesusBetterman

Another "Like" for 8:27 am, as Ben again lifts curtains on the topic supposedly being discussed, to get to the heart of the matter. Discussing schools in a vacuum sucks.

Paul Emery

Well spoken Ben 8:27

One of the reasons for the success of YRCS and Waldorf schools in general is that parental involvement is required. Also, no electronic media or entertainment before the age of 9. ome private Waldorf Schools (not public) make the parents sign a pledge that they will not allow access to video games and TV as a requirement for enrollment.

Gregory

No Keach, it's my son who doesn't care for MSM anymore. They nearly went under a few years ago with machinations behind the scenes and donors squabbling. All the teachers my kid most liked were casualties in the resulting upheavals.

It is the local St.Sensible, and I have great expectations that their curriculums are, and will continue to be, sensible.

Keach likes the 8:27 because teachers like to blame parents no matter how bad the schools are. Any problem with the school is related to teacher pay, which will be too low for Doug as long as the CEO of Oracle makes more.

Mea culpa on one thing; just the API problems at Yuba River won't have any effect until 2017 when the current charter will have to be renewed, and it will be the API records of '14, '15 and '16 that count for that renewal and it remains to be seen if the Waldorf methods are up to showing a consistent 5 point improvement year to year. But the API does show a severe academic problem at Yuba River; yes, the language testing comes way up in the later years, but the math doesn't recover much, and neither comes close to what one would expect based on the very high educational level of the parents. That the school as a whole comes in at the 2nd decile (10% to 19%) for the state when you might expect it to be in the 9th or 10th based on their parents and lack of English Language Learners is telling.

Ben Emery

Greg,
Teachers pay is way to low for the job they are asked to do. How much one on one time did you spend with your kids k-12 years? How important was that time? When you are stressed about finances or things related to finances is your patience the same or worse? Teachers spend 7 hours a day with 20-40 kids in each classroom. Then they have unpaid work hours after school. I watched my mom who was an adult ESL teacher grade papers, continuing education, and do many many extra curricular activities with her students and their families. All of which were unpaid for by the county.

As for your remark "Keach likes the 8:27 because teachers like to blame parents no matter how bad the schools are". I am assuming that was meant for Doug not the basis of the 8:27 comment. If it was at the entire comment not just Doug, both of my kids are and were honor students and haven't had any serious problems in school. K-10 both my wife and I were very active in their schools and in courses they were taking. We let our son have some breathing room his Junior and Senior year from us and he continued to excel and were doing the same with our daughter and she is in her Senior year and her gpa is 4.0. So we know our time and energy were a good investment into shaping their work ethic, ability to learn, and most important critical thinking skills.

I'm just curious, other than a concerned parent what is your background in the topic of education?

Ben Emery

To add one more comment to my being a proud parent.

We were lucky enough to have worked hard through our lives and to have access to the tools necessary to allow us the privilege of being there for our kids in those all important years.

Not all families are so lucky and it is much harder. Some may thrive on the adversity but most struggle through those years doing the best they can. As a coach for Jr High and High School athletics over the years I have seen many families and student athletes struggling while others seem to be doing very well. Almost always but every once in awhile not the student players struggling at practice with fitness, concentration, and willingness to take constructive criticism is coming from a household that has financial turmoil, which leads to strain relations with parents or divorce and that affects the student athletes both in academics and being part of team.

JesusBetterman

Greg switches back and forth, depending on the shade of black he wishes to achieve, between API and SCI:

"Ranking the schools

Schools are ranked in two ways: (1) statewide according to type and (2) compared with 100 schools with similar characteristics. These rankings are calculated from the Base API data and included in the Base API reports only.

For the statewide ranking, the API scores are divided into 10 equal groups (deciles) for elementary, middle, and high schools. For each type of school, 10% of the schools are placed in each decile group; the groups are numbered from 1 (the lowest) to 10 (the highest). A school's statewide rank is the decile into which it falls.

Schools with 1 to 99 test scores are grouped with the others according to grades served, but small schools' scores are not used to calculate rankings. School districts and ASAM schools also are not ranked.

The PSAA also set up a mechanism, a school characteristics index (SCI), for comparing a school with its peers based on the challenges they face because of student demographics and some school and teacher characteristics. The SCI considers the following factors:

Socioeconomic indicators (average parent education, percent of students participating in free/reduced-price meals);
Percent of students who are English learners (ELs) or have been redesignated as fluent English proficient (RFEP);
Percent of students from eight different racial/ethnic groups, including "two or more races";
Percent of students with disabilities;
Percent of students in the Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program;
Teacher credentials (percent of teachers who are fully credentialed, percent with emergency permits);
Average class size in specific grade spans;
Percent of students first attending the school this year (i.e., school mobility);
Whether the school operates a multitrack, year-round educational program;
Percent of enrollment in specific grade spans by grade span; and
Percent of students in the Migrant Education Program.

SCI values primarily reflect student demographics and, to a lesser extent, school and teacher characteristics. The lower a school's SCI value, the more likely the school is to have low test scores because of challenges such as low average parent education level, high poverty rates, and high percentages of English learners. For more statistical information regarding the calculation of the SCI, see http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/ap/documents/tdgreport1112.pdf.

The SCI permits comparisons of student achievement among schools with similar characteristics and is used to prepare the Similar Schools Rank. To prepare the Similar Schools list, an SCI value is computed for schools of each type (elementary, middle, and high). Schools of the same type are listed in order of their SCIs. For a given school, 50 schools with an SCI immediately above and 50 immediately below the school are selected as the group for comparison. (If the SCI for a given school is in the top or bottom 50 of the statewide distribution, the group becomes the top or bottom 100.) The 100 schools are then sorted by their API scores, divided into 10 groups (deciles), and marked from 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest). The school's Similar School Rank is the decile in which it falls (which may be different from its statewide API decile ranking)."

Here he mixes the two up, not noticing that the factors he claims to damn YRCS, have already been taken into account in figuring the SCI.

" That the school as a whole comes in at the 2nd decile (10% to 19%) for the state when you might expect it to be in the 9th or 10th based on their parents and lack of English Language Learners is telling." ~Greg~


So Greg, eight graders alone, the finished "product" if you will, how does the school rank, statewide, percentage wise, on the API absolute scale?

Source for above quote by State Gov: http://www.ed-data.k12.ca.us/Pages/UnderstandingTheAPI.aspx

Gregory

Ben, for many teachers, the pay is more than they deserve and they don't actually do the job they are asked to do, which is to impart a year of academic progress to the average student for a year of the student's time. The best ones do far more and deserve to be rewarded for it, the worst ones do lifelong, lasting damage to their charges, the kids, yet the union is there to keep them from being shown the door.

Yes, in the past Keachie has often thrown out the salaries earned by tech CEO's when discussing how teachers are paid. It remains that the lower the SAT entering college, the higher the probability they are teaching 10 years after their baccalaureate, and couldn't survive in tech if they tried.

My background? I attended public schools for K-12. During a year's break during my own college years, I spent a year teaching algebra at a public middle school, as a teacher's aide, to a mentally gifted group who had burned through all the math the staff was capable of understanding. Then I went back to school to finish a degree in physics. My father (the first in his family to get a college degree) became a teacher on the GI Bill, ended up with a Masters in Ed Administration from USC. Just about all the adults that were my folk's friends were teachers, administrators (including the Principal who hired me for that year) and brewers belonging to the union where his brewer stepdad was Secretary.

My first wife, the first in her family to get a college degree, attended a St.Sensible then public high school, but when our son got close to school age she decided to retread from electrical engineering to being a math teacher; that's when she found out a degree in math from Harvey Mudd had no standing for teaching math in Calfornia because of an arcane requirement for a state certified transcript analyst to wave their wand and say she knew enough math to teach it. She was teaching math to Sierra College students when she passed away.

I became active in Math Education reform when finding the Grass Valley School District went with an experimental program, Mathland, when our son was in the 1st grade, and was the first person on the Internet to make the observation that the new, constructivist curriculums that Mathland was a vanguard of was essentially Professor Harold Hill's Think System from "The Music Man" applied to mathematics, and participated in math education listservers including one run by the American Math Teacher Educators, a group of math professors discussing math education from their point of view. The moderator was very kind to allow me to participate as I was the only non-math teacher or professor on the list.

If you had a student in the Nevada City district in the later 90's, you might have me to thank. One of the Nevada City teachers that I knew told me they were using Mathland and were stuck with it because only the fuzzy programs were on the approved state book list, but it was hated by the teachers and administration. Asking my contacts, I found that there was indeed a way to buy other books using state monies. Mathematically Correct, a parents group loosely headed by a Professor of Virology at the Salk Institute and a UCSD Statistician that I was associated with, sent me complete documentation assembled at another California district and printed it out with US Robotics donating about 250 pages of paper to do it. That was used by Nevada City principals to buy alternative books that were put into regular use, leaving them to be able to point to the dusty Mathland materials on the shelf if they were asked about them by the board members who had chosen it.

One big problem with K-12 math curriculums is that the people in K-12 administration, especially K-8, don't have a clue as to what it takes to gain the intellectual capital required to master algebra, geometry, trigonometry, statistics or introductory calculus and be able to enter college ready to tackle subjects that require that readiness. Mostly because they were horrible at it, one of the reasons why they went into Education in the first place.

Gregory

"Here he mixes the two up, not noticing that the factors he claims to damn YRCS, have already been taken into account in figuring the SCI.

" That the school as a whole comes in at the 2nd decile (10% to 19%) for the state""

No, Keach, the 2nd decile was for the whole school, whole state listing. They're in the 1st decile (0.2 decile to be specific) among their 100 most similar schools.

Ben Emery

Thanks Greg. I think the teacher pay thing is much more complicated than you make it out to be. If teachers were paid equal to their level of necessity and importance to society in general their pay would be at least double of what it is today. What it would do would be to attract the most innovative, enthusiastic, and professional prospects coming out of higher education with having competition for those teaching positions instead of getting a small few who choose to go into a profession they cannot afford to do but have great intentions. With the debt accumulated through higher education and inability to live a comfortable lifestyle for such important and draining work many good teachers leave the profession and those who are good that stay are used as a punching bag taking the hits on those who aren't qualified or have the aptitude for teaching staying in the education system. My brother is a perfect example. He would have made a great teacher, which as his intention was to become but he couldn't afford to have a family on a teachers income in Santa Cruz area. So he has worked in the tech field and has been a very valuable asset to what ever company he has worked. In our family (Founder/ head of NGO in Cambodia, Small Private Ranch Manager, Teacher, Truck Driver, Farmers) he the big money earner. I think he is in the 1.5 to 2% of income earners in America. Doing well but not wealthy by any means.

JesusBetterman

So maybe a peek at the page will help some. The SCI for the one hundred schools is supposed to even out all the foreign language speaking, minority, poor, free lunch factors. With that out of the way, the school overall evaluates like this in comparison to the rest of what Nevada County has to offer:

YubaRiverCharterSchool copy

The "bottom" is still a very respectable on the state wide measurements, and that includes all grades. We've already discussed the reason for low performance in the lower grades, and higher performances as the kids age./ BTW, this is exactly the opposite of the pattern for most ghetto schools. If you look at just what gets tested in 8th grade only, social sciences, YRCS is doing quite well.

JesusBetterman

Here's another look at the API. The state's target is 800, and each school is apparently increase their scores by 5% of the difference between their lower score and that magical 800 number.

YubaRiverCharterAPI copy

JesusBetterman

"That the school as a whole comes in at the 2nd decile (10% to 19%) for the state when you might expect it to be in the 9th or 10th based on their parents and lack of English Language Learners is telling." ~Greg~

And if you pay attention, the school does not come in as 2nd decile for state, it comes in 2nd decile for the group of 100 very similar schools, in terms of socioeconomic background, within the state, and that's using all of the grades, not the finished product coming out of eighth grade.

JesusBetterman

Mirabile dictu! The posts have returned to Capistrano, or maybe not. I got here via the search engine, so maybe I owe an apology, maybe I don't. Let's see if this stuff sticks?

JesusBetterman

And for your state averages and commentary, try this, and I'm done: http://www.insidelg.com/forum/content.php?1367-API-Scores-submitted-by-Joe-Madden

JesusBetterman

So 80% of the schools are within 100 points of the magical 800, 10% are up in the stratosphere, and 10% can be as low as 400 pojnts below the magical 800. Looks to me like a system designed to make all but the 10% at the bottom feel like they are doing "pretty good." Next question, how well do these scores correlate with the SAT/ACT scores at the end of high school?

Gregory

I encourage the literate and numerare ruminators with intact vision to look at Keachie's screenshot and decide for themselves.

Here's my link for the same 2011 API that Keachie's figure is based on, the latest that's correlated in the state reports:
"2011 Statewide Rank: 2 2011 Similar Schools Rank: 1"
http://api.cde.ca.gov/Acnt2012/2011BaseSchSS.aspx?allcds=29102980114322

There is one, and only one, school on the 100 Similar list that is lower than Yuba River Charter School with a 2011API of 729, and yes, it's also a Waldorf school.

YRCS did get a nice little increase in the 2012 Growth API but if it keeps the same relative demographics it doesn't look like it will get out of the bottom 100 Similar decile.

JesusBetterman

And here is a "similar school" one which stuck out like a sore thumb when I look at it, as during my year as roving techie, I spent some time there, along with an amazing group of federally funded aides, etc, in downtown SF, right next to Chinatown. http://dq.cde.ca.gov/dataquest/Acnt2012/2011BaseSch.aspx?allcds=38684786041131

One wonders how these schools are similar?

JesusBetterman

And also, what a difference a day makes. Balboa High used to be the bottom HS in SFUSD. I was taken aback when looking at its new API, and checked deeper, and the demographics have been completely switched around. I thought perhaps a mistake, so I called the school and confirmed, Asians have replaced most of the Blacks, and here we see a brand new school, same old building: http://dq.cde.ca.gov/dataquest/Acnt2012/2011BaseSch.aspx?cYear=2011-12&allcds=38-684783830288

Gregory

Crickets...

JesusBetterman

Crickets chirping, "How similar are these schools? How similar are these schools? Are the rest of them as far fetched? Are the rest of them as far fetched?"

Gregory

Keach, feel free to either again assert your claims of 10:29.

I do agree it's hard to judge what is a similar school to Yuba River, in that it's 100% English speaking and with a reported 98+% of the parents with some college/college/grad school. Just some of the demographics that being in the lower 20% of all California schools puts into stark relief.

Gregory

Keach, feel free to either again assert your claims of 10:29, or do another "I don't have attention deficit disorder... hey look! There's a chicken!" post.

Yuba River Charter School is in the 2nd decile statewide, and in the 1st (ie *lowest* decile) among it's designated 100 most similar schools.

And, in addition, it's actually the 99th on that list of 100.

Paul Emery

Gregory

I suggewt you contact Yuba Charter for a greater understanding of what those numbers mean. You're in the dark here. Do that and report back about your findings.

Gregory

Paul, if there is someone you think can explain it better than I, invite them to participate here.

I'm quite sure I'm interpreting the numbers correctly, and Doug isn't. I also think you may well be in denial because of your emotional attachment to the YRCS community.

Paul Emery

Gregory

I do have personal experience of the quality of education from YRCS through years of involvement and contact with families that are quite satisfied. That's why I suggest you spend a little time gathering additional information so we can carry on the conversation on equal terms. I'm sure if you call the school with your questions some one will sit down with you. They do it all the time. After you've done that let's continue our conversation.

Gregory

Paul, I've read much of the sales pitches on the school's website and am familiar with Waldorf issues and Steiner... even before I made friends with a woman who was a full time student at Steiner College.

The problem with the claims of 'we make up for lost time at the older ages' is that the data really doesn't support it when you consider that YRCS is 100% English speaking and from highly educated families. I'm working on coming up with reasonable swags from the published *public* data; perhaps, if you can't find someone to participate here and now, I may eventually do what you command before I write a larger piece to look at local schools and their 100 Similar Schools rankings.

Can you point me to a Republican family that had a child at Yuba River for most of their elementary years? I'd like to get a non-progressive take on the school.

Paul Emery

Generally politics is not a common topic among school families so I would hesitate to specifically point you towards anyone who might be Republican or Democrat. Many parents I know are much more in the Libertarian camp in their desire to form their own school based on the Waldorf model adapted to the public system. Generally families a are a bit of an independent lot who are happy with the school because it's an alternative philosophy of education to standard public schools.

A few years ago there was quite an uproar when the Unions tried to pass laws that would require Union teachers that would damage the schools independence. As I recall our Republican State Legislators at the time were quite supportive of the school and Charter schools in general during the struggle. This was a few years ago I might add probably around 2004 when the battle was in full force. The battle does continue as I see it through the Unions trying to pass legislation that would take away parental discretion in curriculum and pedagogy. Testing numbers come up and are part of the discussion from critics so the issue is not new. All in all the school is thriving and well established as a successful Charter School.

My information is a little dated-perhaps four years old but I do keep in contact and follow the schools progress through personal contacts and news stories.

George Rebane

Greg 428pm, PaulE 454pm - Gentlemen, this has been a most civil and interesting discussion on educational approaches and achievements. I invite you to continue it under a dedicated heading of a post bylined by either of you, or two contending pieces by each of you. The discussion has predictably sprouted many threads, and to bring more readers back into the circle, perhaps these pieces could pull together the main arguments, highlight where your current contentions lie, and each outline their reasonable plan forward. If you email them to me, I will gladly post them.

Paul Emery

Interesting idea George. However I don't want to be a spokesperson for Waldorf education as applied to Charter schools. There are far better representatives than me. A general discussion of the independence of Charter schools might be more appropriate since that would include Waldorf inspired schools as well as others and could examine their pursuit of independence from standard school curriculum and the teachers union. Also vouchers and home schooling can be part of the topic. I'm a bit out of wind on the topic right now and I don't have too much more to say. It has been a civil discussion and I appreciate it. There may be a contrast of values at the heart of the topic. One, the intent of charter schools to fashion programs based on the desires of the parents and the other being the grading of the system through testing, evaluation and accountability by the governments educational establishments such as unions and the government bureaucracy. There is big concern that Charter Schools are taking too many students out of the regular system therefore affecting the income of traditional districts through declining ADA (average daily attendance) or the "bean count" as administrators like to put it. ,

George Rebane

PaulE 546pm - As you wish. I just thought that to get more participation from a bigger audience, that the topic deserved its own space (that also pointed back at the current thread) if you both felt that it needed further development.

M. A.

As a parent with kids doing extremely well at GVC, which is unique in that it is a charter school within a traditional school district, there is no one posting here who has any grand idea about how to increase literacy in English, math, and science.

Well, I take that back a bit, the Tech Test crew does great work, but how does it scale? Let ALL the kids in Nevada County get a shot. Even the gay kids.

George Rebane

MA 1158pm - Thank you Michael. ALL the NC juniors and seniors already have "a shot" at TechTest (this year TT2013 will be on 23 March), it is their teachers who inform them of the test and recommend their taking it. Last year we also started TechTestJr for all the county's 8th graders, to motivate them to get onto a STEM curriculum path.

And rejoice, the your lament about no "grand idea about how to increase literacy in English, math, and science" is misplaced. The solution for marked improvement is easy as has been pointed out in my posts and in great detail by commenters like GregG. Step one is to reestablish the abandoned curriculum that made preceding generations very literate in English, math, and science. Then we can continue improving on path from which progressive political correctness has been banished.

Gregory

MA, Merry Byles-Daly of the Grass Valley Charter School *was* the "master teacher" in charge of the roll out of "Mathland" at the GVSD. She taught the initial pilot year, and based on her reports, the entire district went to Mathland the second year. Byles-Daly ran the Mathland Parent's Night where we were introduced to the curriculum and the "Mathematical Power" it would bring to all kids.

She was also in charge of evaluating the progress of the students, and I went to the board meetings where she regaled the clueless board members with stories about how the kids and the teachers all loved it and the kids were all learning so much more than with the old traditional methods. One of the board members was so excited she was hot on writing the high school and get them on board and aligned with Mathland... in a way, they did. They instituted a placement exam for Geometry X, expressly to shuttle poorly prepared GVSD students into the less challenging groups.

She was clueless about how kids learned math, felt any skills practice was just 'drill and kill', and told me directly that if a "child can do the first problem [on a textbook's exercise page] it does them NO GOOD [her emphasis] to do the rest of them".

Linda Brown, the ass't superintendent, and Jon Byerrum, the super, were the ones that moved the GVSD to whole language and whole math; my wife Teri was clued in by one teacher that many of the best saw the handwriting on the walls and found work elsewhere.

It was two years after we moved our son the MSM that the resumed state testing, STAR, showed half the kid's in my son's cohort in the bottom quartile in both math and language.

You might ask Merry how her teaching methods have changed since the constructivist methods she championed had failed so badly; I recently sent her a couple of emails with no responses back.

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