Innovative Programs

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Illinois School Reform

Innovative Programs


Charter Schools | Single-Sex Academies | African-American Academies | Schools within Schools  | Other Innovative Program


Charter Schools 

Charter Schools 1995: A Survey and Analysis of the Laws and Practices of the States.
The 30-page bibliography was published in volume 3, number 13 (July 1995) of the journal Educational Policy Analysis Archive, maintained at the Arizona State University Web pages. The bibliography accompanies state by state summaries and comparisons across states of charter schools in a report entitled Charter Schools 1995: A Survey and Analysis of the Laws and Practices of the States. The report is the result of a group project undertaken by Tom Mauks-Pugh's course in Policy and Politics in American Education at Dartmouth College during the spring of 1995.

Charter School Laws Across the States: Ranking and Scorecard 13th ed.
This report of the Center of Education Reform (CER) provides a state by state analysis and ranking of charter school laws and their implementation. States are graded based on their laws, regulations, administrative rulings and practices. The grading criteria measures four components that the CER has identified as fundamental for the development of high-quality charter schools. These components are: the existence of independent and/or multiple authorizers, number of schools allowed, operational and fiscal autonomy, and equity.

Charter School Laws: Do they Measure Up?
This report, from the American Federation of Teachers Charter Schools Research Project, briefly outlines the perspectives which both advocate and oppose charter schools. The concise report goes on to evaluate charter legislation from 25 states with respect to AFT criteria intended to produce quality schools and models for the public education system. Finally, the site provides the results of AFT analysis and recommendations for charter schools. Note: A follow-up article, Do Charter Schools Measure Up? The Charter School Experiment After 10 Years, provides an update to the original paper.

Charter Schools. ERIC Digest
This excellent summary of the charter schools movement examines the history and growing popularity of charter schools. It presents an overview of states where the movement has most taken hold, and concludes with an examination of the progress charter schools have made and the challenges they face.

Charter Schools in Action: Project Final Report 1997
This lengthy report, prepared by the Hudson Institute, presents an executive summary in 6 parts, followed by the survey instruments used for students, teachers, and parents. The sections address such issues as life cycles of charter schools, related policies, educational impacts, accountability, and implications of charter schools.

The Charter School Roadmap

The State of Charter Schools: What We Know—and What We Do Not— About Performance and Accountability
Opponent’s of charter schools view closures as a sign of the system’s ineffectiveness. For the author of this report, the closures illustrate that charter schools are being held accountable to meet national standards. The report aims to illustrate the processes behind charter school closures. It includes chapters on the reasons of the closures in addition to appendixes about charter school’s enrollment and growth in charter schools.

Educational Excellence Network
This online clearinghouse is the fruit of a collaboration between the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, which supports research, publications, and action projects of national significance in elementary-secondary education reform, and the Hudson Institute. 

NAEP Charter School Report: Charter School Achievement on the 2003 National Assessment of Educational Progress.
The report covers charter school students’ performance on the 2003 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) compared to other public schools students. This assessment consists of an initial report that compares charter and public non-charter schools and a second analysis that uses “hierarchical linear models (HLMs) to examine differences between the two types of schools when multiple student and/or school characteristics are taken into account”.

National Charter School Resource Center 
Operated by Safal Partners and funded through the U.S. Department of Education’s Charter Schools Program, The Resource Center is a national center that provides resources, information and technical assistance to support planning and implementation of charter schools. The site includes resources for focus areas such as authorization, charter operation, charter school policy and human capital among others. A section with postings about upcoming and ongoing funding opportunities is also featured.

Measuring up to the Model: A Ranking of State Charter School Laws
The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools report evaluates each state’s charter school law against 20 components of a strong charter school law. These components were based on the National Alliance’s: A New Model Law for Supporting the Growth of High-Quality Public Charter Schools report. The ranking details the leaders for each of the 20 components.

Perspectives on Charter Schools: A Review for Parents. ERIC Digest.
From the introduction: "Although the number of charter schools has grown in the last few years, it still is sometimes unclear what they have to offer students, parents, and educators that more traditional schools do not already provide. This Digest offers some general information on charter schools, discusses how they have been perceived, and summarizes the results of research on them."

Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research
Provides public policy information and practical recommendations about school reform efforts in Massachusetts that can be applied in other regions.


Single-Sex Academies

American Association of University Women
The American Association of University Women is a nationwide organization promoting educational equity for all women and girls. One approach to equal access to education for girls supported by the AAUW is single-sex classrooms. The AAUW website has much information on this topic as well as other factors effecting girls' education. From the homepage one can link to the Research page, which contains brief descriptions of various research projects mounted by the AAUW, as well as links to more detailed explanations of the research, and ordering information for research reports. One such report which deals directly with single-sex programs is entitled "Growing Smart: What's Working for Girls in School."

"Is Single Gender Schooling Viable in the Public Sector? Lessons from California's Pilot Program. Final Report"
In 1997, California began an experiment of single gender schools with the public sector. This report presents the findings of a three-year case study of the experiment. This report examines the context of the initiative and the results of the program as well as also the historical background of single-gendered schooling. It provides a very thorough analysis of the topic and examines future directions for single gender school reform programs.

K-12 Single-Sex Education: What Does the Research Say? ERIC Digest.
As the title suggests, this digest examines empirical data relating to single-sex education in an attempt to get beyond the polarization and biases that often surround the issue. While it finds the state of research to be inconclusive, the digest identifies common themes that have emerged involving attitudinal differences and achievement effects.

The National Coalition of Girls' Schools
This site is an excellent resource for those in favor of all-girls' schools. The National Coalition of Girls' Schools is an organization comprised of eighty-six girls schools in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The organization has collected and conducted research on gender issues, developed a series of publications, and sponsored forums and symposia. The site includes a list of recommended readings, information on the benefits of attending a girls' school, a list of NCGS publications, and tips for parents. There is also an ample list of links to other sites related to girls and education.

"The Yin and Yang of Learning: Educators Seek Solutions in Single-Sex Education"
This article from Education World ("Where Educators Go to Learn") is another overview treatment of single-sex schooling. It includes links to the Single-Gender Academies Pilot Program Fact Sheet and the Reference List for Single-Gender Academies.



African-American Academies

Quality Education for Minorities (QEM) Network
From the homepage: "QEM is a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C. dedicated to improving the education of African Americans, Alaska Natives, American Indians, Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans." The QEM Network seeks to improve the education of minorities through three components of the organization: Community Outreach and Leadership Development; Mathematics, Science, and Engineering; and Public Policy, Legislation, and Communications. The QEM Network homepage is straightforward and informative, with links to descriptions of each of the three components, as well as to various QEM projects and reports.



Schools within Schools

California Partnership Academies
The California Partnership Academies began in the early 1980s and has developed into over 290 programs throughout California. The program model provides a school-within-a-school design for grades 10-12. Integrating smaller learning communities with active business partnerships, the program focuses on integrating academic and career technical education. Included in the site is a program overview, directory, and performance statistics.

Comprehensive School Reform Demonstration Program (CSRD)
The CRSD is located under the auspices of the Office of Elementary and and Secondary Education in the Office of the Assistant Secretary within the federal Department of Education. The program works in connection with the stated objectives of Goals 2000, state-level education objectives and Title I guidelines. A comprehensive menu leads the user to further information including legislation and funding, state application and guidance, resources, as well as related sites.

CRSD in the Field: Final Update
This comprehensive report assesses the impact and response to the CSRD program during its initial inception. Based on interviews conducted at 10 schools, this evaluation is qualitative as well as qualitative. The website includes recommendations for ongoing implementation.

Elementary Profile: Watauga County
Located in North Carolina, Watauga County provides a school-within-a-school design for its middle level education programs. Curriculum is organized into two different blocks each day: a 250 minute academic block and a 100 minute academic block. The latter is intended as a supplement to enhance the academic program.

Schools within Schools. ERIC Digest
This 2002 digest provides a concise overview of schools within schools, covering the model's advantages, drawbacks, varieties, and sources of funding. As with other ERIC digests, a list of additional resources covering the issue is provided at the end.



Other Innovative Programs

Computers as Tutors: Solving the Crisis in Education
Created by Frederick Bennett, PhD, this site has been designated a Top Site by Education Index. It contains the full text of Bennett's entire book advocating the effective use of technology to improve the welfare of students, teachers, and society alike.

Critical Thinking Consortium
This site, divided into separate sections for college/university education and for primary/secondary education, promotes inter-disciplinary educational reform and critical thinking. The site contains articles, resources, and a discussion group.

Educating African American Males: A Dream Deferred
his ERIC abstract outlines the recommendations of the Milwaukee African American Male Task Force (MAAMTF) for improving the abilities of schools to address African American males' needs.

EdWeb - Exploring Technology and School Reform
This online book by Andy Carvin discusses the role of the Internet and technology in education, trends in educational policy, and issues in educational reform. It is revised regularly, and contains numerous resources, including a list of educational listservs.

Engines for Education
This site, sponsored by the Institute for the Learning Sciences, contains a book by Roger Schank and Chip Cleary. The book and the site describe "what's wrong with the education system, how to reform it, and especially, the role of educational technology in that reform."

Foundation for Excellent Schools (FES)
FES is a nonprofit organization designed to give individual assistance to schools (pre-K through high school) seeking to strengthen their ability to help their students succeed. They work within the target community in seeking to tailor solutions to the "school's individual needs, resources, and obstacles." FES helps "schools analyze strengths; plan strategically; develop partnerships with outside resources such as colleges, businesses and community groups; and connect to a national network of exceptional educators." Their programs are funded through corporate sponsorship.

Grandfather Economics Reform Report
The Education Reform Report, by Michael Hodges and Bill Mechlenburg, is one chapter of a series of reports addressing "threats to the economic future of families and their children, compared to prior generations." The goal of the investigation, the results of which are very critical of public education, is to examine the inadequacies of the current state of education in order to improve educational quality.

Mathematics Equals Opportunity
The information presented at this site, stressing the importance of mathematics in school and in life, was prepared in 1997 for U. S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley. The site explains the current state of mathematics in education and outlines steps to strengthen its position in the future.