Archives for category: Charter Schools

A report released by Representative James R. Roebuck, chair of the House Education Committee, found that one of every six charters in the state is “high-performing.

None of the state’s cyber charters is high-performing.

Pennsylvania has 162 brick-and-mortar charters, with 86 in Philadelphia. It has 14 cyber charters.

Representative Roebuck recommended that public schools might learn from the practices of the state’s 28 high-performing charters.

Public schools outperform charter schools. Cyber charters perform worst of all schools. Charter schools, with a few exceptions, do not improve their performance over time. The report says:

 

“In terms of school performance, in 2013 the state changed how it measures academic performance of schools from Adequate Yearly progress to a School Performance Score on the new School Performance Profiles. Although the measures have changed on average, charter schools, particularly cyber charter schools, still perform academically worse than other traditional public schools. For 2012-2013, based on a scale of 100, the average SPP score for traditional public schools was 77.1, for charter schools 66.4 and for cyber charter schools 46.8. None of the 14 cyber charter schools had SPP scores over 70, considered the minimal level of academic success and 8 cyber charter schools had SPP scores below 50.

These results mirror results in both the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 school year where traditional public schools performed better than charter schools and significantly better than cyber charter schools in terms of achieving Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), the federal school performance standard established under the federal No Child Left Behind law. AYP is determined by student academic performance on state reading and math assessments (PSSAs).

For 2010-11, while 94% of school districts met AYP, 75% of public schools met AYP. In contrast, only 61% of charter schools met AYP and only two of the 12 cyber charter schools met AYP.

The percentage of students performing at grade level in Math and Reading in order for a school to achieve AYP increased from 67% of students in Math in 2010-2011 to 78% in 2011-2012 and increased from 72% in Reading in 2010-2011 to 81% in 2011-2012. This resulted in reducing the percentage of all public schools achieving AYP in 2011-12 with larger declines for charter and cyber charter schools.

For 2011-12, while 61% of school districts met AYP, 50% of public schools met AYP. In stark contrast, only 29% of charter schools met AYP and none of the 12 cyber charter schools met AYP.

Performance of Charter Schools Based on How Long They Have Existed

In looking at the performance of just brick-and-mortar charter schools, their results do not significantly improve the longer that a charter school has been open. Fifty percent of brick-and-mortar charter schools have now been open for ten years or more. Unfortunately, for 2012-2013, a majority, 51%, of the charter school open 10 years or more have SPP scores below 70. While this is better than those charter schools opened within the last 3 years, where 85% have SPP scores below 70, these results are not encouraging and it raises concerns about renewing many charters with poor performance over so many years.

Charter schools in the Philadelphia school district do slightly better that charter schools located outside Philadelphia the longer that they have been opened, with 52% of charters open 10 years or more in Philadelphia having SPP scores above 70. In contrast, none of the 10 Philadelphia charters open 3 years or less has an SPP score above 70.

For cyber charter schools, no cyber school, no matter how long they have been open has an SPP score above 70.

 

The report recommends that the state’s 28 high-performing charters might serve as a model. It says:

“Twenty-eight of the 163 charter schools had SPP scores of 80 or above. When examining the characteristics of these high performing charter schools there are certain common characteristics amongst the 28 charter schools. What is most common is that they offer innovative education programs with most of them focused on a specific approach to education instruction or a specific academic area of instructional focus. Three offer the Montessori approach to instruction, many offer longer school days and more days of schools and many offer more individualized education programs. These charter schools also tend to be smaller with less than 1,000 students in part because more of them are elementary schools. Only seven out of the 28 had enrollments more than 1,000 students and only two of the 28 schools serve only a high school population, though there are five charter schools that serve K-12 grades.

“These charter schools also serve significantly fewer special education students than traditional students. Only two of these 28 high performing charter schools have a special education student population greater than the 15% average of traditional public schools. Further, as noted in the 2013 Special Education Funding Commission report, charter school enroll significantly less special education students with severe disabilities than traditional public schools.”

Half of the 28 high-performing charter schools enroll 10% or fewer students with disabilities.

Two interesting findings emerge from this report. One, it echoes the 2009 CREDO report that found that only one of every six charters was high-performing. Two, it echoed previous studies that found that cyber charters get abysmal academic results. It also found that a significant number of students in cyber charters were previously home schooling, meaning that money is siphoned out of the districts’ budgets to pay the sponsors of the cyber charter for their low-quality services to homeschooled students.

Representative Roebuck recommends that the state’s schools can learn from the examples of the 28 high-performing charters. One lesson: accept small numbers of students with disabilities (nothing is said about the nature of disabilities, as many charters do not accept those children with the most challenging disabilities). Given the large proportion of low-performing charter schools, it would have seemed apt to recommend that the charter sector might learn from high-performing public schools. One lesson from high-performing public schools: it is better to have 100% of your teachers certified, not 75%.

The Miami Herald reports that the U.S. Department of Education’s Inspector General is reviewing the business practices of the Academica charter chain, a for-profit and highly profitable charter chain.

 

Ironically, at the same time, the charter-friendly Florida legislature is considering legislation that would weaken district oversight of charter school corporations. The charter industry makes substantial campaign contributions to political candidates, and Academica has family members elected to important positions in the legislature. Academic controls a real estate portfolio estimated to be worth more than $100 million. The rapper Pitbull’s new charter is part of the Academica chain.

 

The Education Department’s Inspector General Office is auditing the South Miami-based Academica Corp. as part of a broader examination of school management companies nationwide. The audit will be complete this summer, department spokeswoman Catherine Grant said.

 

A preliminary audit report obtained by the Herald/Times identified potential conflicts of interest between the for-profit company Academica and the Mater Academy charter schools it manages. One example the auditors cited was the transfer of money from Mater Academy to its private support organization, which shares the same board of directors.

 

Asked about the potential conflicts of interest raised in the report, Academica attorney Marcos Daniel Jiménez, in an email to the Herald/Times, touted the charter-school network’s academic record and commitment to its students….

 

Under current law, school districts have the authority to negotiate contracts with new charter schools. HB 7083 would mandate the use of a standardized contract, meaning school districts would give up most of their leverage…..

 

Academica oversees almost 100 charter and virtual charter schools in Florida, according to its website. It also manages schools in Texas, Nevada, Utah, California and Washington, D.C.

 

The preliminary audit report homes in on the Mater Academy family of schools in Miami-Dade County.

 

Academica President Fernando Zulueta founded the original Mater Academy in 1998, and was a member of its governing board until September 2004, auditors wrote.

 

The auditors found that three of the schools in the Mater network — Mater Academy, Mater High and Mater East — entered into leases with development companies tied to the Zulueta family. Two of the leases were executed while Zulueta sat on the Mater board.

 

In addition, Mater Academy hired an architectural firm from 2007 through 2012 that employs Fernando Zulueta’s brother-in-law, state Rep. Erik Fresen, the report said.

 

“We identified four related-party transactions, two of which indicated, at a minimum, the appearance of conflicts of interest between Mater Academy and its CMO [charter-management company],” the Mater Academy in Hialeah Gardens and its nonprofit support organization, Mater Academy Foundation.

“Mater Academy shares the same board of directors with the foundation and based on our review of the board of directors meeting minutes at Mater Academy, there is evidence of Mater Academy’s board of directors transferring public funds to the foundation,” the auditors noted….

 

Charter-school critics said the inspector general’s findings were a reason to push back on HB 7083, the bill that could weaken the power of school districts over new charter schools….

 

Jeff Wright, of the Florida Education Association, the statewide teachers’ union, agreed. “If an audit like this is going on, the Legislature should not give charter schools more opportunities to game the system,” he said.

 

But Rep. Manny Diaz, the Hialeah Republican sponsoring the bill, said his proposal would not open the door to questionable business practices.

 

“This is not about opening up the Wild Wild West,” said Diaz, who left his job with the Miami-Dade school district last year to become dean of an Academica-managed private college. “We want there to be controls [over charter schools]. We just want to make sure the controls are uniform and transparent.”

 

The bill, which also would require school systems to share underutilized facilities with charter schools, is scheduled to be heard on the House floor Monday. The Senate version (SB 1512) has been watered down, and now does little more than clarify that military commanders can help establish charter schools on their bases.

 

 

 

In response to “Confessions of a Teacher in a ‘No Excuses” Charter School,” this comment was posted:

 

Thank you for writing about your experience. I taught at a “no excuses” charter school in Brooklyn for a year. It was the most frustrating and disturbing experience of my life. The ridiculously punitive disciplinary system enforced by a teaching staff of young white recent college graduates felt like a mission to “tame the savages.” The students were forced to lose all individuality and become a white persons ideal of a perfect representation of the black race.

In the end, the school claims that 100% of the student to a four year college. What they don’t tell you about are the numerous students (particular males) that are discarded because they could not be tamed by demerits, detentions and suspensions for speaking without raising their hand or not looking at a classmate when they are speaking or slumping in their chair or speaking out of turn or resting their hand on their chin or talking in the hall.

I have always wanted to tell my story. I applaud you for doing it.

Julie Vassilatos, a Chicago parent, blogs about school issues.

 

In one of her latest posts, she realized she could  no longer use the term “education reform” because it was a complete phony and misrepresentation of reality.

 

She writes:

 

Something in me snapped today and I realized that I am finished using the phrase “education reform.”

 

That’s how folks refer to the constellation of ideas firmly entrenched in the White House right now, upheld by almost every governor of every state, red and blue, and most mayors, notably our own. It includes the tenets that privatizing our schools will improve them, that the Common Core State Standards are the fix for all that ails our failing schools, and that testing our students more and more will raise test scores.

 

But this, truly, is not “reform.” Some of these are ideas that have been implemented for 25 years all over the country to little effect.

 

This is the status quo.

 

So I’m not going to call it reform anymore.

 

I’m going to call it what it is. Corporate control of education.

 

 

I want you to read her whole post so I hate to print too much of it. But it is so on-target, so clear-headed, so obvious that I am going to have to give you even more to think about, then go open the link and read how this Chicago mom went straight to the heart of the beast:

 

In every instance, every plank in the platform, every element of this effort can be traced back to cash–flowing into the coffers of very rich corporate entities and individuals.

 

Like Pearson, one of the testing companies that is creating the tests and the test prep materials, all new and improved and Common Core aligned, and who lobbies Congress to mandate more tests.

 

Like Reed Hastings, Netflix CEO, a huge proponent of charters and innovative uses of technology in schools. What kind of technology does he advocate as the best fix for students today? In Learning Lab modules at his Rocketship Charters kids sit at a computer monitor, streaming video content for 100 minutes per day.

 

Or Rupert Murdoch. He is a cheerleader for what he calls a $500 billion industry of education technology including content and assessment.

 

Or Bill Gates. His push for the Common Core, the inBloom initiative to harness students’ big data, and his vision for the classrooms of the future, which will be heavily dependent on his own technologies.

 

The proponents of this snake oil have managed to control the rhetoric for so long that we don’t even blink when they say that their education plan is “the civil rights issue of our time.” They say this a lot.

 

So if we wish to stand up against the corporate control model we are not only anti-reform but anti-civil rights.

 

They say they want “excellent teachers,” and by this they mean they want to get rid of union teachers and replace them with uncertified, pensionless staff handling up to 50 kids at once who receive their education from handheld devices or monitors.

 

They say they want “school choice,” which usually means less choice: families can’t choose their neighborhood schools that the city has underfunded to the point of death throes, pouring its available money instead into privately supported charters.

 

 

I don’t know Julie, but I know this: She has seen through the sham rhetoric and the phony claims. She has seen through the facade to the internal workings of a machine that hurts children, closes community schools, and will ultimately do grievous harm to our democracy.

 

She writes:

 

Enough little bits of reality have popped out that folks are starting to notice. The stranglehold grip on the narrative held by the corporate education controllers is beginning to weaken. Because we can all see with our own eyes that it isn’t actually civil rights for kids to have their school closed or subjected to a turnaround. It isn’t actually higher order critical thinking to bubble in bubbles. And it isn’t education and it isn’t reform to work toward the dismantling of public schools in our city and our country.

 

It’s stale old rhetoric that is losing its power. And it can no longer conceal the naked emperor, nor the naked greed of the corporate power grabbers.

 

Thanks, Julie, for seeing through the PR baloney.

 

I am so tired of the media accepting the corporate bosses’ claim that they are “reformers.” Listen up, reporters. They are NOT reformers. Their program is the corporate control of education.

This teacher read the post about Gulen charter schools and wrote the following comment:

 

This is so eerily similar to my job-it is a shame that there is poor oversight in these types of schools. I work in a Ohio-based charter school. I’m under great stress due to this under performing school. Misleading marketing leads unsuspecting parents to the school with inaccurate curriculum/academic expectations. Unfortunately, student turn-over is high, attendance/enrollment records are altered and no one ever questions-if you do, you just may lose your job. The principal is a bully and the superintendent is a pushover. Taxpayers don’t deserve for their hard-earned monies to be utilized in such a irresponsible fashion. There is no HR or outlet for employee grievances, no unions, the Department of Education really needs to stop winking at these degrading practices and shut underperforming schools down ASAP.

Ras Baraka is a high school principal and City Council member in Newark. He is running for mayor of Newark against a candidate funded by hedge fund managers and corporate reformers. Baraka was endorsed by the Network for Public Education.

Contact Frank Baraff (914) 469-3775 fbaraff@optonline.net

For Release Friday, April 18th

Baraka praises Ministers Fight for a Moratorium on One Newark School Reorganization Plan

Statement by Ras Baraka

“Nearly one year ago, the City Council passed my resolution calling for a moratorium on all of Cami Anderson’s public school initiatives. A year later, Ms. Anderson continues to run away from input by Newark citizens and continues to carry out her relentless drive to close our neighborhood schools.

Today, the ministers of Newark have joined me in calling for a moratorium on the destructive One Newark Plan to close our schools, a plan already being implemented against the will of the people of Newark.”

Advocates for school choice like to say they believe in a free market in education. They say, let the consumer choose, let the market decide. And with this ideology, they merrily seek to undermine public education.

But is there a free market?

I received this comment from a reader:

“There is absolutely nothing “free market competitive” about the charter school movement. The only thing they are competing for is to strip away federal tax subsidies from public schools. I say, terminate all federal tax subsidies. Why should federal taxes subsidize Michael Milken? Public school funding should just stay funded by local taxes.

“The hedge funds are all good businessmen of course, because they smell the free government money. That’s what businessmen always do. Particularly Wall St. They love taxpayer guarantees.

“Free market competition means you are able to sell your product because it is better than the competition with NO government subsidy.”

Representative Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) is co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. He sees right through the Obama education policy and recognizes that it is a continuation of George W. Bush’s failed No Child Left Behind.

 

In this astonishingly candid interview with Josh Eidelson in Salon, Rep. Grijalva lacerates Race to the Top, high-stakes testing, privatization, and the other features of the Obama education policy.

 

Rep. Grijalva recognizes that the Obama program is now driven by financial interests:

 

Obama’s education secretary is “a market-based person,” his education policy manifests a “market-based philosophy,” and “we continue to starve public schools,” the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus charged in an interview Wednesday afternoon.

 

The privatization of education “began as driven by ideology, but now [it’s] getting momentum because of the financial aspects,” Rep. Raul Grijalva argued to Salon. The Arizona Democrat called charter schools “a step towards” privatization, called the Chicago teachers’ strike a “necessary pushback” and warned of a “self-fulfilling conflict of interest.”

 

 

Grijalva was the first Congressman to support the Network for Public Education’s call for public hearings on the overuse of standardized testing, their costs, and misuse. Not only does he see the problem with high-stakes testing, but he understands that test scores are used to set schools up to fail and to be privatized.

 

He told Eidelson:

 

One of the things driving, right now, education is … mandatory testing … the frequency, the quantity of the testing that’s going on …

I understand accountability. I don’t have a problem with testing as a teaching tool, to help to guide the improvement in children. But what’s happened is the standardized testing has become the end-all-be-all in terms of curriculum, in terms of how you prepare students for the future.

And I think that issues related to what these tests are, how we are impacting communities that have, let’s say, learning disabilities … students who use primarily languages other than English, how are we dealing with cultural differences …

A whole hearing on testing, the culture of testing, and what it is producing for public education.

What you see … is a real move toward the privatization of schools, based on what test results are. A school doesn’t do well, a school doesn’t do well again, then suddenly there is a movement to either let that school be run by private management [or] let the students then go somewhere else — usually to a private charter school.

 

Rep. Grijalva sees the pattern on the rug: The game is rigged to starve public schools and force families to seek private alternatives:

 

And so we see enrollment in our public education system dropping as a consequence of people leaving the schools, or the schools being converted into more private institutions as opposed to the public schools … Public schools are still held to the standards that they should be held to … whatever situation they come into school, that [children] always be treated and educated in the same manner. Yet other schools outside the public institution system can pick and choose who they want to educate … and leave to the public schools a less and less diverse grouping of students, a more difficult group of students, with shrinking resources. At the same time all of this is going on, the funding at a national level and at a state level continues to shrink for public education.

 

Eidelson asks him the crucial question–do you think there is any hope for change from the Obama administration, and Rep. Grijalva gives an insightful, powerful response:

 

I think the fight is keeping some of the worst from happening, No. 1. No. 2, as long as we are resource-deprived in public schools, they’ll never be in that competitive mode that Duncan talks about, OK? As long as we shift public resources to accommodate private ventures in education, and as long as you continue to be myopic about “one mandated test tells us all,” “one Common Core will be the solution …”

There’s also, you know, a shrinking of our curriculum in order to satisfy prepping for tests, as opposed to getting people ready in a more holistic way to be better human beings, and educated better …

If you continue to starve the schools, public education, then they’re never going to be [in] a position to be competitive. And if you do independent analysis, the public education system, compared to private charter schools, is no worse and no better. You know, there’s not a significant difference – yet … we continue to starve public schools. That’s why you see enrollment drop …

There’s a demographic shift going on in our schools … So this is a time to invest in those schools, because this generation of kids of color — with many of them having English learners coming into our public schools — those are the new Americans … Those are the generations of the future …

The public schools have always been one of the most powerful integrative social institutions that we have in our country, that build community and build the kind of allegiance to the values of this nation as part of the education process. Now you have a new demographic group coming into our schools, you’re disinvesting from the schools, and you’re leaving the public schools to that demographic with less resources and less attention. This is a really, really wrong time to be pulling [away] from the commitment to public schools. And it’s probably one of the times in our history when we should be doing more investment. Because this is the generation that is going to have the greatest responsibility for our nation come 10, 20 years from now.

Perhaps someday historians will figure out how the Obama administration pulled the wool over the eyes of so many people about its plans for urban schools. As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama named Professor Linda Darling-Hammond as his senior education advisor. She went on national television to describe the progressive policies he would pursue if elected.

Soon after the election, President-elect Obama dropped Darling-Hammond and selected his basketball buddy Arne Duncan as Secretary of Education. He introduced Duncan as someone who had enjoyed remarkable success in turning around the Chicago public schools. We now know that Duncan did not enjoy remarkable success, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel is applying a wrecking ball to the Chicago public school system.

What went wrong? How did Obama fool us? Once he was elected, why did he choose as Secretary a non-educator who was determined to make standardized testing the centerpiece of his program, to advance the privatization of America’s public schools, to demoralize teachers, and to make common cause with the nation’s most rightwing governors? Why does Duncan never speak out against segregation? Why does he pretend that poverty doesn’t matter so long as poor kids have “great” teachers? Why does he never speak out against vouchers? What will historians say about Race to the Top, which turns out to have as much evidence as No Child Left Behind?

 

The Obama Administration’s “Scorched Earth Policy” for Urban Schools

By Dr. Mark Naison

The Obama Administration, in the five years it has been in office, has pursued an Education “Scorched Earth” policy in major urban centers, closing public schools en masse and replacing them with charter schools. And for the most part, Democratic Mayors have enthusiastically supported this policy. Only in the last year, there has been finally been some resistance to this policy, by newly elected Mayors in New York and Pittsburgh. That resistance must spread if public education is to survive and be revitalized in Urban America. Electing anti-testing, anti-charter school and pro public school Mayors in big cities should be a major priority of activists in the last three years of the Obama Presidency, along with building the multi-partisan movement against the Common Core Standards. That is the only way we can build public schools into strong community institutions where creative teaching and learning is practiced and honored.

 

Dr. Mark Naison is one of the Co-founders of BATs with Priscilla Sanstead

http://badassteachers.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-obama-administrations-scorched.html

This article was written by an independent education researcher who requests anonymity. It is unfortunate that the politics of education have become so intermingled with powerful forces that researchers remain silent or hide their identities to escape retribution. In this case, everything in this article is carefully documented.

Lessons Learned:

How the Nation’s Most Powerful Mayor Lost His First Battle Against Corporate Interests and How He Can Win the War

Mayor Bill de Blasio has lost his first battle against the status quo corporate education reform policy machine. In attempting to lessen the influence of charter schools, which often comes at the expense of public schools, he made a number of key tactical errors. This led to the passage of a new law in New York State that now forces New York City to either co-locate every new charter school or pay for its rent in private space. De Blasio was also forced to overturn his decision not to co-locate three Success Academy schools. A review of the tactical errors made can serve as a roadmap for future policy changes that will benefit all of New York City’s children.

Be transparent, and engage communities. Prior to leaving office Mayor Bloomberg had the Panel for Educational Policy vote and approve of over 40 co-locations including 17 charter co-locations. Historically these votes were held in March, but they were moved up to October in order to force de Blasio’s hand. Upon entering office de Blasio should have immediately begun a transparent process of re-evaluating these decisions. Instead he delayed addressing the situation and when he did a single employee at the NYC Department of Education (and former de Blasio deputy at the public advocate’s office) seems to have been primarily responsible for the reviews. Future policy changes should follow a clear process with open avenues of community and stakeholder input.

Be bold. Universal Pre-K is a bold move. But policy changes must not stop there. Instead of deciding to overturn only three co-locations, which left him vulnerable to accusations of a personal vendetta, de Blasio should have stopped every single one that did not meet community needs. Instead of stacking a new space-sharing committee with charter supporters de Blasio should assign them seats based on number of students served (6%) rather than number of dollars in the bank accounts of their backers. A lack of boldness and a reluctance to make waves has also interfered with attempts to re-organize Tweed (the NYC DOE’s headquarters). Besides the departure of a sole deputy Chancellor all the officials in Bloomberg’s DOE are holding onto their positions. This may explain why, as of yet, there have been no changes to the test-centered promotion policy, no changes to test-centered school accountability metrics, and no changes to the test-centered teacher evaluation system. Without significant changes to the ranks of central office managers, progressive educational reforms will have no chance of success.

Communicate the values, figures, and facts used in making policy decisions. Bloomberg was a master at this. He used numbers to bludgeon opponents into submission. Although careful analysis and review of the data showed that many of the numbers were false, the charts in the powerpoints at every press conference lulled the media. In the empty space created by the lack of communication on the part of de Blasio’s City Hall, others stepped in to address some of the falsehoods that de Blasio’s political adversaries were spreading. Eva Moskowitz, the $475,000 CEO of Success Academy, was the loudest and boldest of the de Blasio attackers. Her claims, made on national television, were debunked, but not by City Hall.

We know that countering lies with the truth works because Success Academy has recently changed its multi-million dollar political advertising campaign. They no longer claim to have the highest 5th grade math test scores in New York State. They now claim to have a school with the highest 5th grade math test scores in Harlem. Even this claim does not pass the smell test. There are 32 school districts in New York City. Out of those 32 districts Harlem is but one neighborhood (not even a full district). There are four Success Academy schools in Harlem. Out of those four schools we are asked to focus on a single one. There are three elementary grade levels where students are tested. Of those three grade levels we are asked to pay attention to only one. There are two main subjects in which students are tested, English and Math. Again we are asked to consider only one. The data in fact show that even on this narrow view there are four schools in Queens and four schools in Manhattan that have higher average 5th grade math state test scores than this Success Academy school. And they got these scores without kicking out 50% of their students as Success Academy does.

As de Blasio comes to terms with the constraints that the New York State Legislature recently imposed on his decision-making around charters, he must not accept defeat. He must initiate a conversation about the practices of the charter sector in New York City. He must use his bully pulpit and ask the legislature to address the questions that charter school advocates refuse to confront.

*How will charter schools be held accountable for suspending large numbers of students leading to those students leaving the school?
* How will charter schools be mandated to stop their selective attrition approach whereby they keep the high-performing students and kick out the low-performing students (making comparisons to schools with natural patterns of attrition unfair)?
*How will charter schools be forced to address their unwillingness to accept the neediest students?
*How will charter schools be subject to basic oversight regulations going forward (such as the grading of their state exams by a 3rd party)?

Now is not the time to run and hide. Let’s take advantage of this opportunity to have an honest discussion about the charter sector.

The research cited below can get us started.

http://www.edwize.org/middle-school-charters-suspending-their-way-to-the-top charter schools have high suspension rates and shrinking cohorts of students suggesting that charters suspend and expel challenging students and as a result their test scores increase.

http://www.edwize.org/new-charter-report-improves-transparency-but-leaves-many-questions-unanswered reviews data from “state of the sector” report on NYC charter schools. Charter schools in NYC serve a less needy student population (fewer ELL students, fewer students with disabilities, fewer students in poverty), have higher teacher and principal turnover, and have declining middle school enrollments.

http://www.edwize.org/asking-hard-questions-about-what-works Harlem Success and Harlem Village charter schools serve more privileged student body than the district in which they are located and have very high (up to 68%) attrition rates

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15582159.2011.548242?journalCode=wjsc20 “Using 3 recent years of data from the New York State School Report Cards and analyzing the charter population at the school level, the authors found that English language learners are consistently underrepresented in charter school populations across 3 academic years.”

http://www.edwize.org/new-study-confirms-uft-report%E2%80%99s-findings-on-ells-in-charters reviews above study. Points to some issues (such as including less than reliable high school data) with their finding that charters serve a proportionate number of free-lunch students

http://schoolfinance101.wordpress.com/2012/08/15/still-searching-for-miracle-schools-and-superguy-updates-on-houston-and-new-york-city/ finds that charter schools in NYC serve a more privileged student population, spend more money per student, and have smaller class sizes.

http://www.uft.org/files/attachments/uft-report-2010-01-separate-and-unequal.pdf UFT study finding that NYC Charters ”serve significantly fewer than the average of the City’s poorest children, and 10 to 25 percent fewer of such children in the charters’ own neighborhoods. Charters serve on average less than four percent of English Language Learners (“ELL”), rather than 14 percent of such children in the City’s district public schools (the “district schools”). Less than 10 percent of charter pupils are categorized as special education students versus a citywide average of more than 16 percent in the district public schools. In addition, despite their concentrations in highly diverse neighborhoods, charters as a group admit substantially fewer Hispanic and/or immigrant students. As a result, charters contain a heavier concentration of African-American students than is true in the City as a whole or even in the neighborhoods charters are supposed to serve.” Also raises questions about the financial practices and “outsize “management fees”” and the transparency of charter schools.

http://www.uft.org/files/attachments/uft-report-2010-04-special-ed-in-charters.pdf UFT study finding that NYC charter schools do not serve the same percent of students with disabilities as non-charter schools and serve significantly fewer of the higher need students with disabilities.

https://dianeravitch.net/2012/12/03/reader-calls-out-ny-daily-news-for-charter-spin-2/ Daily News story claiming that charter schools serve same students as public schools in districts 7 and 23 is false. There are in fact 500% fewer high needs special education students, 50% fewer ELLs in charter schools.

https://dianeravitch.net/2012/12/20/inflated-claims-of-charter-success-in-nyc/ KIPP has fewer of the highest need special education students although the media claims otherwise

http://www.edwize.org/rhode-island-charter-board-to-seth-andrew-you%e2%80%99re-fired compares Democracy Prep Charter School to co-located district schools and finds that the charter schools serves over 30% fewer students with disabilities with self-contained special education students and fewer students eligible for free lunch.

http://www.edwize.org/at-charters-struggling-students-vanish-as-scores-rise#more-7161 it seems likely based on the data that charter schools are removing students from testing cohorts and that might account for some of their test outcomes

http://www.edwize.org/the-anatomy-of-a-cover-up-the-nyc-department-of-education-and-special-education-in-charter-schools#more-6932 claims that the New York City Department of Education attempted to conceal information that should be available to the public regarding the numbers of students with disabilities served by charter schools. And “is failing to provide the most minimal oversight of the education of students with special needs in NYC charter schools.”

http://www.edwize.org/charter-schools-and-special-ed-eva-moskowitz-gets-defensive#more-6890 links to data on characteristics of students served by NYC charter schools. Notes that “virtually none of the information available for district schools is also available for charter schools” on schools’ public web pages.”

http://garyrubinstein.teachforus.org/2012/06/12/it-takes-a-village/ looks at the performance of the Harlem Village Academy Charter School. Finds that “In 2010-2011, HVA had 55% free lunch and 13% reduced lunch. The district, that year, had 74% free with 5% reduced. In 2010-2011, HVA had 3% LEP vs. 11% for the whole district. In 2010-2011 38% of the students at HVA were suspended for at least one day while 7% were suspended for the whole district. Student attrition at HVA is huge. For example, the 66 5th graders in 2007-2008 have shrunk to just 16 9th graders in the 2010-2011 school year. This is a 75% attrition. In that same time, the district that the school is in went from 904 5th graders in 2007-2008 to 1313 9th graders in 2010-2011. That is a 45% growth.” Also notes “staff turnover was 2007-2008 53%, for 2008-2009, 38%, and for 2009-2010, a whopping 61%. By comparison, the teacher attrition for the entire district in 2009-2010 was just 19%.” Not a single student took the New York Sate Trigonometry exam.

http://miracleschools.wikispaces.com/Harlem+Village+Academy%2C+NY%2C+NY more on Harlem Village Academy Charter School.
http://www.edwize.org/charter-vs-district-student-demographics-beyond-the-lotteries cites research showing that charter schools do not educate the same type of students as district schools. For example, KIPP charter schools in NYC serve fewer poor students than the district middle schools.

http://miracleschools.wikispaces.com/KIPP+Academy+New+York tracks high attrition rate in NYC KIPP school.
http://www.edwize.org/joel-klein-turns-a-blind-eye-to-his-own-data-on-charters-and-test-scores “58% of district schools got an A or a B in 2010, compared to only 34% of charters. In Districts 4 and 5 in Harlem, more than half of district schools got either an A or B (27 out of 53), compared to only 8 out of the 21 charters in those neighborhoods.” “Based on the data charters reported to the state last year, the city-wide difference in poverty between charters and district schools almost doubled — from 2.5 percentage points in 2008-09 to 4.3 percentage points in 2009-10. In addition, poverty at public schools rose 2 percentage points from 2008-09 to 2009-10, while at charters the increase was only a tenth of one percent. Across the city, 15 percent of district students were English Language Learners, while in charters, English Language Learners made up only 5 percent of students.”

http://gothamschools.org/2009/02/17/toward-a-new-definition-of-creaming/#more-9646 discusses evidence of creaming at Democracy Prep charter school at both the initial application stage and later on as students are dropped from the school’s roster.
http://school-stories.org/2012/05/pushed-out-charter-schools-contribute-to-the-citys-growing-suspension-rates/ “no excuses” charter schools have very high suspension rates which, in some cases, violates legal regulations.

http://www.edwize.org/democracy-prep-and-the-same-kids-myth the populations of Democracy Prep Charter School and its co-located public show that their populations are dramatically different with the charter school having fewer poor, limited English proficient and special education students

http://www.edwize.org/middle-school-charters-show-alarming-student-attrition average attrition rate for charter middle schools examined is 23% between 5th and 8th grades. Students appear to be removed from the school rather than being left back a grade. As students are removed from cohort proficiency on state exams goes up.

http://schoolfinance101.wordpress.com/2012/08/28/what-do-the-available-data-tell-us-about-nyc-charter-school-teachers-their-jobs/ an examination of charter school data shows that they “have smaller classes… spend much more than surrounding district schools … serve much less needy student populations than surrounding district schools… have 4th grade students with relatively “average” to below average scale score outcomes compared to schools serving similar population… in some cases, have 8th grade students with high average scale score outcomes compared to schools serving similar populations… where data were available, have value-added scores which vary from the citywide average in both directions, with KIPP being the lowest and Uncommon schools the highest (in the aggregate). Notably, Uncommon Schools also have consistently smaller class sizes and the fewest low income students.”

http://nepc.colorado.edu/newsletter/2010/06/new-kipp-study-underestimates-attrition-effects-0 study of KIPP doesn’t fully account for high attrition rates at KIPP middle schools and other external factors that influence student outcomes.

http://schoolfinance101.wordpress.com/2011/07/06/zip-it-charters-and-economic-status-by-zip-code-in-ny-and-nj/ demographic comparison showing that KIPP middle schools in NYC have fewer poor students than other district middle schools.

http://schoolfinance101.wordpress.com/2010/08/05/upperhalf/ charters in NYC have fewer poor students and fewer English Language Learners than district schools.

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