Sam Dillon wrote for the NYTimes today, Troubled Schools Try Mimicking the Charters
Classrooms are festooned with college pennants. Hallway placards proclaim: “No Excuses!” Students win prizes for attendance. They start classes earlier and end later than their neighbors; some return to school on Saturdays. And they get to pore over math problems one-on-one with newly hired tutors, many of them former accountants and engineers.Charter schools were supposed to be pilot projects, so why not adopt what works there in public schools?
If these new mores at Lee High School, long one of Houston’s most troubled campuses, make it seem like one of those intense charter schools, that is no accident.
In the first experiment of its kind in the country, the Houston public schools are testing whether techniques proven successful in high-performing urban charters can also help raise achievement in regular public schools. Working with Roland G. Fryer, a researcher at Harvard who studies the racial achievement gap, Houston officials last year embraced five key tenets of such charters at nine district secondary schools; this fall, they are expanding the program to 11 elementary schools. A similar effort is beginning in Denver.
However, this still seems to be all about test scores. Maybe some public schools could look farther afield, Continue reading