While the arguments about silver bullets and secret sauces for successful schools continue, I confess fealty to Justice Potter Stewart’s observation about the definition of pornography: “I know it when I see it.”
In fact, I would wager (although I’m no Mitt Romney) that I could walk into any school in America and within 30 minutes, without looking at any data, tell you whether the students in that school are performing well – or poorly. And I’m a novice.
There is no secret sauce except what hardworking teachers, administrators, and students create.
During the last month I have been visiting high performing high schools in Ohio – high performing poor students—for an upcoming “needles in a haystack” report for Fordham’s Ohio team* (see 2010’s Needles report for a taste of what’s to come) and can confirm Justice Stewart’s aphorism. Success is in the air, the hallways, the offices, the gyms, the cafeterias. It’s on the walls—and probably in the water. There is no secret sauce except what hardworking teachers, administrators, and students create.
It was thus not surprising to see Roland Fryer’s latest study of charter schools conclude that the key ingredients of success were “increased time, better...