What a sad story, which I somehow missed when it came out almost two weeks ago. The Ravenswood City School District apparently denied a five-year extension to a charter school created by Stanford’s School of Education after the school landed on the state’s “persistently low-achieving” list. The Board will consider a two-year extension but the prospects are not clear.
For those of us in education who are fighting the current narrative that traditional public schools are irrevocably flawed and failing, this news incites a strong urge to say, I told you so! Diane Ravitch says it more diplomatically in the article:
“Maybe this demonstrates that schools alone cannot solve the very deep problems kids bring to school,” said Diane Ravitch, the education scholar and historian. “You cannot assume that schools alone can raise achievement scores without addressing the issues of poverty, of homelessness and shattered families.”
The news probably also demonstrates that the state’s “persistently low-achieving” list is fundamentally flawed and unfair. Linda Darling-Hammond, the widely-respected Stanford professor who helped start the school, said as much:
Ms. Darling-Hammond — who told the board that the school “takes all kids” and changes their “trajectory” — was angered by the state’s categorization of the charter as a persistently worst-performing school. “It is not the most accurate measure of student achievement,” she said, “particularly if you have new English language learners.”
I’m sure Stanford created and has overseen the school with the best of intentions, and in the end it’s very sad to me that the idealism, academic pedigree and resources the university brought to the Stanford New School have not been able to boost the academic outcomes of underprivileged children.