Thursday, August 27, 2009


Happy to see these great results for New York City low-income kids that have been gained with an excellent, back-to-the-basics curriculum, the Core Knowledge series, along with a sensible, cost-effective, back-to-the-basics approach to school management:


This Christian Science Monitor article contains several simple but smart changes that could help those 20 or so failing buildings in the Omaha Public Schools get it back together in a hurry.

Class size is kept fairly large, but test scores are 'way up, simply because these educators were able to say "no" to stupid and expensive fads, and met kids' learning needs in a straightforward way.

The Core Knowledge curriculum is excellent (www.coreknowledge.org), but in Nebraska is in only limited use right now, chiefly at the Core Academy in one grade school in the Millard district.

One of the neatest things the New York principal does is share the annual budget with parents and teachers. What a concept!

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Well, KISS seems to work, but KIPP (charter schools) work better. After four years at KIPP schools, EVERY KIPP Kid exceeds her district average in math and English. These allegedly disadvanteged KIPP Kids score at the 80th percentile nationally in math and at the 58th percentile in reading after only four years.

Omaha area learning community property taxes will to $5.00 on a $100,000 house.OPS property taxes are expected to increase by $20.00on a $100,000 home., This is just for starters. Both Omaha School Superintendent John Mackiel and learning community counsel Kevin Brashier, who normally charges $350 an hour, say that no progress can be expected among Omaha's disadvantaged kids for "a decade", about 12 years. My view is that there will be no progress even after 12 years.

However, experience with the Core Curriculum in New York and KIPP's sterling record proves that progress can be made much sooner than a decade. And at much lower costs than the regular public schools seem to require.

John Mackiel, and his top lieutenants should have the good sense to seek employment elsewhere, which they would certainly find, probably with pay raises. Maybe they could learn from their egregious mistakes at OPS. The fact that OPS ranks almost at the bottom of the states in the racial learning gap is just the last straw at OPS.
I think it's Kermit Brashear, not Kevin, just FYI. :>)
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