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How Obama's Education Grants Hinder True Innovation

A funny thing happened on the way to education innovation, a new report reveals.


Around the time a thirst for change ushered Barack Obama into the White House, the education world was seized by a sudden realization that the structure of schooling had barely evolved in a century.

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Can Andre Agassi and a Team of Investment Bankers Improve Education (and Turn a Profit)?

The tennis legend is launching a for-profit venture that hopes to leverage $750 million in assets to build 75 charter schools nationwide.

The latest investor in charter schools isn't a tech billionaire or a venture capitalist, it's tennis great Andre Agassi. He's teamed up with an investment banking group to create the Canyon‐Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund, a for-profit venture that hopes to leverage $750 million in assets to fund the construction of 75 charter schools nationwide over the next few years.

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KIPP's Graduation Rate Stats Spark Charter School Debate

Data from the charter school network shows a higher college graduation rate than for students attending regular public schools.


The debate over charter school effectiveness roars on thanks to new data from national charter network, KIPP. On Thursday they released a report showing that of the 209 students who attended the first two KIPP schools in New York and Houston 10 years ago, only 33 percent have gone on to earn a college degree. The results are way below KIPP's ambitious goal of 75 percent of students graduating from college, but the national college graduation average for students from predominantly low-income black and Latino student schools is a mere 8.3 percent. And, in the general population, only 30.6 percent of Americans between the ages of 25 to 29 have earned a college degree. By comparison, KIPP's first class has done great. But, does this mean that all charter schools—or all 99 KIPP schools nationwide—are high performing, and regular public schools should be converted to charters? Not exactly.

Every charter is different, but there are some commonalities. Many have cohesive school cultures around student achievement and work to invest and motivate the entire student body around academic goals. They also usually have much longer school days—KIPP students attend from 7:30 a.m to 5:00 p.m. and have mandatory Saturday classes. Charters often require that teachers be available to kids after hours. KIPP teachers are required to carry a cell phone, give the number to students, and be available till late in the evening for student and parent questions. And, most charter school teachers aren't unionized. Principals have the power to hire who they want instead of just being assigned a teacher by the school district, and they can fire a teacher immediately for any reason.

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Is Jail Time the Best Way to Get Parents Involved in Education?

Extreme and less-extreme measures for getting parents to pay attention to their child's education.

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NPR's Talk of the Nation hosted a discussion on Monday about how to get more parents involved in their child's education. In 2007, according to Department of Education numbers, 20 percent of parents skipped conferences with their kids' teachers—a phenomenon that is more pronounced in low-income communities. Proposed solutions for raising the level of parental involvement in education run the gambit from making schools more "welcoming" to visiting parents to jailing parents who willfully neglect their children's education.

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