Monday, August 14, 2017

Why School Choice is Good for All Children

Anti-school choice activists often argue that charter school expansion hurts existing schools, but a new study of New York City schools found that new charter schools are increasing the performance of schools around them.

The peer-reviewed statistical analysis, conducted by Temple University professor Sarah Cordes, indicates charter schools are not only helping the students enrolled, but also students at schools that feel pressured to increase performance due to their close proximity to a new charter school.

The study found that schools located within half a mile of a new charter school saw increased scores in both math and reading, and the increases become more significant the closer the schools were. The impact was felt most in situations where a charter school opened inside the same building as an existing school.

“The closer the school is, the more it’s on the minds of the people in the building,” Cordes explainedto The 74, an education nonprofit.


Too politically correct? Board drops 'Lynch' from school names

A school board in Portland, Ore., has dropped “Lynch” from the names of two elementary schools, claiming it had negative connotations and made some people feel uncomfortable.

The move Wednesday evening by the Centennial School District’s board also included a slight alteration to the name of a third school.

But the move has sparked criticism, including on social media, from some community residents and former students. They claim the board’s decision is a sign of political correctness running amok.

The district had received complaints in recent years that the names of Lynch Meadows Elementary School, Lynch View Elementary School and Lynch Wood Elementary School reminded them too much of “lynch mobs” and “lynchings,” conjuring the image of people being hanged by an angry mob, KATU reported.

All three schools were named after the Lynch family, who donated land for the schools more than a century ago.

There’s disagreement over the derivation of “lynch mob” and “lynching.” Some say it started with an 18th century politician named Charles Lynch, NPR reported. Others link the words to Capt. William Lynch, an 18th century Virginian who was a proponent of quickly dispensed “justice” – although accounts vary.

Complaints suggested that the names of Lynch Meadows Elementary School, Lynch View Elementary School and Lynch Wood Elementary School could make people feel uncomfortable as the word "lynch" has negative associations.

On Wednesday, the school board agreed to drop Lynch from both Lynch Meadows and Lynch Wood Elementary. But it agreed to rename Lynch View Elementary as Patrick Lynch Elementary School, KOIN 6 reported.

As Sharlene Giard, the school board’s chairwoman, told the community Wednesday: “We have children of color and other cultures and we want to make sure that they are able to cross the threshold of those three schools and be comfortable in their surroundings.”

“I’m just disheartened because where will it stop?” one local resident said, according to KOIN 6. “Any moment someone could be offended by any name. Do we keep changing the name of everything? That would be the question, right?"

“It’s official. We are now Meadows Elementary School. I won’t change the name of the group!” wrote Andrea Vaughn in a Facebook group called Lynch Meadows Elementary School Alumni.

Another former student, Rob Grimes, criticized the school district on its Facebook page, calling the board’s decision “pure ignorance.” He accused the board of disrespecting the Lynch family that donated the land.

"This isn't even a matter of political correctness because it wouldn't apply or make sense in this case,” Grimes wrote. “This is just pure ignorance and playing to the fears or concerns of the very few.”


Rich Arabs drawn to British private schools

This should be a beneficial Westernizing influence

Britain’s most prestigious schools are set to welcome a fresh intake of international students in the next three weeks as the 2017/18 academic year gets underway. Enrollments in British schools from the Middle East rose by almost 14 percent over the last year, according to the Independent Schools Council (ISC).

From the £39,000-a-year ($50,000) Harrow School, where many of the Jordanian royal family were educated, to Eton College, previously attended by royals including Kuwait’s Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah – British public schools have long been popular with the region’s wealthy elite.

They are increasingly being joined by students from Asia.
Chinese students make up the highest proportion of overseas pupils by far, with the number of Chinese pupils in UK private schools increasing by more than 190 percent in the past 10 years.

According to Knight Frank’s 2017 Wealth Report, the number of ultra-high net worth individuals worldwide – including the Middle East — has jumped by 42 percent in the last decade to 193,000, and these super-rich are looking overseas to educate their children.

In a survey of nearly 900 private bankers and wealth advisers, 40 percent with clients in the Middle East said the super-rich individuals they work with – earning $30 million or over – are more likely to look overseas for a good school for their children than to educate them in their own country.

Liam Bailey, global head of research, Knight Frank, told Arab News: “The UK has been always been a preferred choice for education and, as more wealth is created, around the world there are more parents who can afford this education.”

Bailey said that as economies have become more globalized, “the benefits of an English education have become more important.” He added: “UK schools have become more diverse over time and are now seen as a place to build international networks for students.”

Quirk also said he has witnessed more parents from the Middle East region requesting impartial advice on boarding school choices over the past five years. He said: “While the majority of our inquiries used to be from British expats, recent years have seen us receive a growing number of advice requests from Middle Eastern parents. We also receive almost weekly requests from people looking to leverage our expertise and start their own education advice businesses in the Middle East region.”

Quirk said he expected the UK’s schools to welcome many more Middle East students in the coming years because the market for global education has matured rapidly in the region. “Parents are much more well-informed than they used to be, and want to provide the best possible education for their children.

There are plenty of international schools in the Middle East, but parents are becoming increasingly aware that these rarely match the academic achievements and extra-curricular opportunities set by their UK counterparts. There is also so much more choice in the UK, so they can find a school which is the best match for their child’s ability and aspirations.”

Quirk added that the students themselves are more interested in studying overseas than they were a generation ago. “The Internet and globalization has seen to that and needs no further explanation. Middle East students know the UK is a great place to come for both their academic and personal development.”

According to Dean Hoke, co-founder and principal of Edu Alliance, a higher education consulting firm based in Abu Dhabi, the UK education system is reaping the spoils of being a major influence in the GCC region “for the past 150 years”.

He said: “Many of the leaders of the region attended British schools and universities over the years and the quality of British education is held in high regard. To this day the UK is still a desirable international location for their children to attend school if they are not staying in their home country.”


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