School & District Management

UPDATE: NewSchools Responds on Charter Networks Study

By Sarah D. Sparks — November 04, 2011 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

UPDATE: Jonathan Schorr of NewSchools Venture Fund has emailed me about their approach to the charter study released last week:

“The exclusive was totally legit,” Schorr said “There was no separate arrangement; all dissemination plans were worked out cooperatively between NewSchools and Mathematica, and the TIME exclusive from our perspective was a fairly standard effort to get the report some attention in the mainstream media that such studies rarely receive.”

A new national study of academic progress in charter networks—which my colleague Nirvi Shah wrote about yesterday and this morning—is already generating debate among the commenters here. Yet it also highlights some interesting ways research on controversial issues gets channeled in our 24/7 blogo-news world.

It seems the NewSchools Venture Fund—which managed the research project on behalf of sponsors including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation—wanted to keep a close watch on the release of a study that found some bright stars among charter managers but no overall academic benefit for a school being run by a charter network. While media, including Education Week, were told the report would be embargoed until Friday, Eduwonk and longtime charter school proponent Andy Rotherham gave his take on the study in a Time column on Thursday.

The research groups who conducted the study, the Princeton, N.J.-based Mathematica Policy Research and the Center on Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington Bothell, said they provided an exclusive release for Rotherham at the behest of NewSchools.

“There were a lot of players involved here” in the report roll-out, according to Jennifer de Vallance, Mathematica spokesperson. “We were working with CRPE and with New Schools and it was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates and Walton foundations. Some of the folks that were involved in the project had worked with Andy in the past.”

Paul Hill, CRPE director and research professor was more specific, noting that New Schools “operated as sponsors of the study. Any agreement was made by them and not by us.” New Schools did not respond to phone and e-mail requests for comment.

The Time column focused on the need to accept the risk of bad charter schools in order to find and support the great ones. Rotherham disclosed that he was on an advisory board for the early design of the study and noted that he is affiliated with CRPE and has consulted for Mathematica—but he did not mention the NewSchools Venture Fund’s role in the study. He noted, though, that his consulting group, Bellwether Education, “also works with the funders who commissioned the study,” meaning Gates and Walton. (Education Week‘s parent corporation, Editorial Projects in Education, also receives support from Gates.)

None of that is to say that Rotherham’s perspective lacks merit or that NewSchools didn’t handle the release of the report as it saw fit. Yet it does bring a note of caution that even when studies are conducted by well-respected research groups, a little message management comes with the territory.

Related Tags:

A version of this news article first appeared in the Inside School Research blog.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
What’s Next for Teaching and Learning? Key Trends for the New School Year
The past 18 months changed the face of education forever, leaving teachers, students, and families to adapt to unprecedented challenges in teaching and learning. As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
How Data and Digital Curriculum Can Drive Personalized Instruction
As we return from an abnormal year, it’s an educator’s top priority to make sure the lessons learned under adversity positively impact students during the new school year. Digital curriculum has emerged from the pandemic
Content provided by Kiddom
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Reported Essay Principals Need Social-Emotional Support, Too
By overlooking the well-being of their school leaders, districts could limit how much their schools can flourish.
7 min read
Conceptual Illustration
Pep Montserrat for Education Week
School & District Management From Our Research Center Educator Stress, Anti-Racism, and Pandemic Response: How You're Feeling
A new nationally representative survey offers key takeaways from teachers, principals, and district leaders.
EdWeek Research Center
1 min read
2021 BI COVER no text DATA crop
Pep Montserrat for Education Week
School & District Management Download 8 Tips for Building a Digital Learning Plan That Conquers Chaos
Craft flexible strategies, encourage experimentation with new instructional models, and regularly solicit feedback.
1 min read
onsr edtech tips
Getty
School & District Management Opinion New Polling Shows the K-12 COVID Fights Aren’t Going Anywhere
Teachers, administrators, and school boards will continue to be squeezed between two angry, distrustful camps when it comes to COVID-19.
4 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty