Thomas Sowell—writer, economist, social theorist, and currently a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution—is having a moment at age 90. He has long been a champion of high-quality education as a source of power for Black youth. His new book, Charter Schools and Their Enemies, looks at educational outcomes in more than a hundred schools in New York City. He concludes that charters, if they are able to stay true to their nature and promise, can hold the key to ending longstanding educational inequalities for Black students.
The Overdeck Family Foundation recently published their list of what they term “bright spots”—schools and other educational providers whose learning models adapted reasonably well to the abrupt changes required of pandemic-mitigation school building closures. A number of charter schools and networks fit that bill. The foundation was looking particularly to highlight common patterns of adaptation and common lessons learned.
Speaking of pandemic-related adaptations, National Heritage Academies in Michigan is working on developing curricula and lessons that work equally well in-person and online. While they and many other schools and districts were able to pivot quickly from in-person to remote learning, the variability of access to high-speed internet and connected devices remained an issue throughout the remainder of the school year. NHA reasons that even the best-laid plans for the 2020–21 school year could change unexpectedly, hence their enhanced efforts to build easily-convertible lessons to minimize disruption, downtime, and slide.
New Ohio charter schools
We learned this week that the Brilliance School is moving ahead with plans to open its new K-8 charter school in Youngstown for the fall. The Brilliance model is said to utilize a longer school day, intervention strategies to help students who are behind catch up quickly, Saturday school, social emotional learning curricula, and mentoring to help get students onto a college-prep track. They also tout a hybrid-learning component built into their model. Additionally this week, we learned even more about Cypress High School opening in Mansfield this fall. Its career-focus for students who have struggled in traditional high schools is called “a supplement to the community” by its director. “We’re not here to try to compete against any of the other high schools,” she said. “We’re all on the same team.”