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November 19, 2018
New York City charters burn through principals faster than district schools, report finds
Last school year, 25 percent of the city’s charter school principals were new, more than double the turnover rate as district schools.
October 11, 2018
Holding middle-schoolers back causes dropout rates to spike, new research finds
To hold back or not to hold back? For many policymakers, the answer was clear: it was time to stop allowing struggling students to keep moving through school.
October 18, 2017
Three years in, some signs of (slight) academic growth at struggling ‘Renewal’ schools
“The reality is it’s hard to get large increases in struggling schools.”
Student & School Performance
October 6, 2017
How Indiana’s A-F rules created a two-tiered system that benefits innovation schools
It raises the question of whether grades that were supposed to be easy for parents to understand are too distorted to be clear.
July 11, 2017
Conservative think tank finds ‘meaningful’ academic progress at New York City’s Renewal schools
The report estimates Renewal boosted student achievement by the equivalent of about 93 days of extra instruction in reading and 65 days in math.
Politics & Policy
January 3, 2017
Choosing a school in Indianapolis is changing. Here’s what you need to know.
Advocates for the unified enrollment system say it will make things easier by giving parents a single way to apply simultaneously to district and charter schools.
By the numbers
March 12, 2015
District and charter schools post similar attrition rates, as enrollment debate presses on
New research shows that low-performing students leave charter and district at similar rates. But a debate about what that means for charters is growing increasingly feisty.
October 1, 2013
Report: District-charter special ed gap not from "counseling out"
Stories of charter school officials telling — or hinting to — high-needs students that they should look elsewhere for their educational needs have long fueled criticism of the charter sector. But a new report from the Center on Reinventing Public Education argues that "counseling out" is not the cause of the special education gap between the city's district and charter elementary schools. In New York City, 13.1 percent of charter school students receive special education services, compared to 16.5 percent of district school students. Using lottery data from 25 charter elementary schools and information from the city, researcher Marcus Winters found two main reasons for the gap: that fewer students with disabilities apply for kindergarten spots at charter schools, and charters classify fewer students as needing special education services once they start school. The report was not mean to "fully explain away what is a well-documented disparity," New York City Charter School Center CEO James Merriman said at a discussion at the center on Monday. "What it does do, importantly, is demonstrate conclusively that a significant number of charter schools in New York City are having success in keeping children from inappropriately being classified in the first place as needing special education services and at the same time, hopefully giving them a far better chance at success in their school careers," Merriman said.
July 9, 2013
Charter advocates say candidates' rhetoric isn't cause for panic
City Journal editor Brian Anderson speaks at a breakfast panel discussion today about the future of education in New York City hosted by the Manhattan Institute. Some Democratic mayoral candidates are calling for a moratorium on charter school co-locations and at least two have said they would require charter schools to pay rent. But charter school advocates say they remain not too concerned. "We should be worried ... [but] I don't think we should be panicked," said James Merriman, CEO of the New York City Charter School Center, this morning at a panel discussion about the future of education in New York City hosted by the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, a right-wing think tank. Merriman joined Marcus Winters, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and Joe Williams, executive director for Democrats for Education Reform, on the panel. Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott also made an appearance to warn against moving away from the Bloomberg administration's school policies, which include helping the charter sector to flourish. Republican mayoral candidate George McDonald and Independent mayoral candidate Adolfo Carrión, who have each expressed support for charter schools, sat in the audience.
December 13, 2011
To one panel, unions are both moribund and living obstacles
Chris Cerf, Evan Stone and Seth Andrew at a Manhattan Institute panel this morning. Even though he received 6,000 applications to fill 60 teacher positions last years, charter school operator Seth Andrew said he still has trouble hiring the right people for the job. Andrew, who runs four Democracy Prep Charter Schools in Harlem said even the promise of a $65,000 starting salary – 50 percent above that of a city teacher's – did not attract the kind of teaching talent he wants for his schools. The reason, he said this morning, was that state laws — he called them "barriers" — require most prospective teachers to earn an education degree before they can to teach in a classroom. He said those degrees did not assure that a teacher would be effective, echoing an argument frequently made by advocates of non-traditional teacher training programs. "It doesn't matter how you enter the classroom," Andrew said. Andrew was one of four panelists at a breakfast sponsored by the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank, that was held to celebrate the release of "Teachers Matter," a new book authored by senior fellow Marcus Winters. Ex-Schools Chancellor Joel Klein delivered a keynote address lauding the role school choice plays in school reform.
March 11, 2010
When Race to the Top collides with states' rights, debate follows
Teachers unions, school district officials, and lawmakers have all weighed in on New York State's Race to the Top application with varying degrees of skepticism and enthusiasm, but few have given any thought to the legal issues behind the experiment. Last night, students at Columbia Law School held a panel discussion on Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's competitive grant program that, in its first round, will award several states hundreds of millions of dollars to adopt the Obama administration's education policies. The question put before the panel is one any federal initiative like Race to the Top is apt to bring up: Is this experiment stepping too heavily on states' policy toes? The panelists included Marcus Winters, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, Deborah Meier, a columnist for Education Week, James Liebman, a law school professor and the NYC Department of Education's former accountability chief, Richard Iannuzzi, president of the state teachers union, and Dan Weisberg, a vice president at The New Teacher Project.
November 11, 2008
For most students, no benefit to a school's F grade, study finds
A study examining whether getting poor grades on city progress reports prompted schools to improve their students' test scores found little evidence of such a boost. The study, released today by the conservative-leaning Manhattan Institute, asked the question by comparing schools with progress report raw scores that were roughly the same, but just different enough to get different letter grades. In fact the two groups showed about the same amount of progress — except in fifth-grade math, where students in failing schools made "significant and substantial improvement" compared to their peers in schools that had been assigned a grade of D, according to the study. The progress reports assign letter grades to schools based primarily on improvements in students' test scores. Since the first reports were released a year ago, the program has been the subject of sustained criticism: Parents and teachers have complained about unfair stigmatization of good schools, and statisticians have charged that the reports are driven as much by error as by actual school improvement. The study's architect, Manhattan Institute senior fellow Marcus Winters, called his findings "mixed-positive" in favor of the progress reports. Those findings were the subject this morning of a panel discussion sponsored by the Manhattan Institute featuring Winters, Columbia University economist Jonah Rockoff, and two officials from the Department of Education's accountability office, including its CEO, James Liebman.
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