Stanford Charter School Faces Discontinuation of Its Charter

Last week the Ravenswood City School Board voted to deny an extension of the charter needed for Stanford New School, a charter school started by Stanford’s School of Education, to continue operating. Carol Pogash of the New York Times mentioned that a possible provisional two year charter could save the school, but if it does not pass, then the charter school will have to close its doors.

Stanford New School began in 2001. It teaches K-12 students in East Palo Alto, a low-income area with traditionally low-achieving students. Even with higher than average per pupil spending and graduates from the School of Education, Stanford New School could not raise its test scores to acceptable levels. However, the charter school’s high school graduation rate is 6% higher than the state average.

By focusing not just on academics but on social, emotional, and family aspects, the school hoped to create a new model of education in low-income communities. Deborah Stipek, who is chairman of Stanford New School’s board and Dean of Stanford School of Education, stated simply, “We’re all in shock.”

Education Scholar Diane Ravitch told Pogash:

“Maybe this demonstrates that schools alone cannot solve the very deep problems kids bring to school…You cannot assume that schools alone can raise achievement scores without addressing the issues of poverty, of homelessness and shattered families.”

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