‘No-excuses schools’ make no excuse for updating their approach

Aug 5, 2019 by

Once-strict, toe-the-line charters are becoming looser and less predictable.

Jay Mathews –

Education scholars Joanne Golann and Mira Debs recently attempted to define the important term “no-excuses schools” in an online Education Week commentary. They got the common view of those controversial institutions right.

But the no-excuses model was born two decades ago. Are the schools now what they were then? Education debates should not depend on what was happening in the 1990s.

Golann, at Vanderbilt University, and Debs, at Yale University, listed five networks: KIPP, Uncommon Schools, Success Academy, YES Prep and Achievement First. They are good examples of the no-excuses species. All are successful charter school groups with mostly students from impoverished areas, college-prep curriculums and longer school days.

Here are, according to the scholars, the qualities they share:

“No-excuses students are typically required to wear uniforms, sit straight, with their hands folded on the table, and their eyes continuously on the teacher. At breaks, they walk silently through the halls in single-file lines. Students who follow these stringent expectations are rewarded with privileges, while violators are punished with demerits, detentions, and suspensions.”

Source: ‘No-excuses schools’ make no excuse for updating their approach – The Washington Post

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