Sunday, August 21, 2011

Imaginary Gulen Charter Schools and Getting Help from Overseas

This article is about Gulen charter schools: Once again, Mary and the alike are wrong in presenting the reality and information. She refers to the results of an internationally administered test (PISA) and ridicules the fact that Turkish students are behind their US peers in reading and math, so she asks how bringing Turkish teachers is going to help American kids. (tags: gulen charter schools)

As she is not a researcher, she is not very bright, either. It takes about only five minutes to look at the data presented by PISA reports and figure out that the reality is not so. []

Although American kids' average score is 500 in reading and literacy, the results are very much diverse in terms of race, ethnicity and level of income. Asian and white American kids scored 50-100 points more than their black and Hispanic peers. (charter article: gulen charter schools) The difference between the wealthy and the poor is worse, more than 110 (pp. 15-16).

This is the reality in the U.S., this is called the achievement gap educators must be attacking as of last decade. If we compare these results, you could say Asian American kids are living in South Korea, the number one among OECD countries, and African American kids are living in Chile, the bottom of the chart. Unfortunately, such gaps exist in many countries, not necessarily only by race, ethnicity and wealth but other factors as well, though, wealth is considered a common factor.

The PISA reports also compare how 15-year-old kids from different percentiles scored by country. The 5th percentile of kids from Turkey scored 325 in reading while their American peers 339. At the 90th percentile, the scores are 569 and 625 respectively. This means that Turkish kids who scored at the 90th percentile had better average than their Asian American peers in average (541) at all percentiles.

Majority of Turkish teachers at the charter schools managed by Concept Schools -so-called Gulen charter schools are coming from top universities in Turkey where only kids who perform at the 95th percentile or higher are accepted. The cut-off scores at the state-administered university-entrance exams for these universities fall into the top one percent. Language barriers can be tackled easily but core knowledge in subjects like math and science takes years of quality education and training.

When we look at the demographics at the Concept-managed charter schools -imaginary Gulen charter schools-, maybe we could estimate how students at these schools would perform had they taken the PISA test. The average free and reduced lunch eligibility at Concept-managed schools -so-called Gulen charter schools- is about 75%. The PISA results show that American kids at the 75% of free and reduced-price lunch eligibility received an average score of 446. Since students at Concept-managed schools -what they call Gulen charter schools - outperform their peers in their respective cities at the state-administered tests, it would not be wrong to estimate that they will score around and above 446 and it would not definitely be wrong at all to import teachers from countries overseas or groups with high scoring averages.

I do not think Mary and the alike will follow my advice, but I will share anyways. Let's listen to what the Secretary of Education, Mr. Duncan, tells us today (1/31/2011). Along with other well-known public figures, he points out that only 2% of teachers today are black males and "the nation’s teacher workforce does not reflect the diversity of its student when only one in 50 teachers is a black male. This is a national problem." With more than 70% African American students attending to Concept-managed schools -so-called Gulen charter schools with 100% college acceptance rate, we have a chance to respond to Mr. Duncan's call and encourage our students to attend to college, and colleges of education in particular.

So, let's use our energy and means to focus on this problem. Let's focus on raising more teachers. Let's focus on closing the achievement gap. Horizon Science Academy Cleveland High School -an imaginary Gulen charter schools- with an excellent record of being a college prep school, has received the National Recognition for nothing but closing the gap.

It takes a village to raise a kid. It would definitely take the whole world to change a generation. At this day and age, the globe has become one giant village.

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Please let me know what you think about Mr. Gulen and the schools labelled as Gulen charters.