Gary Rubinstein here
analyzes the unimpressive showing
by Democracy Prep on
the recent disastrous Common Core tests in New York State. He takes
apart the effort by Mike Petrilli of the Thomas B. Fordham
Institute to rationalize the poor performance of the
much-ballyhooed charter chain. Gary writes, “The hardest
thing about trying to have an intellectual debate with ‘reformers’
is every time they start to lose, they try to change the
First they say “poverty doesn’t matter”
and when it becomes clear that it does, they start saying “Well, it
matters, but we still need to make schools as good as possible and
standardized test accountability is the best way to do that.”
First they deny that charters have a self-selected population that
is easier to teach, and then when you prove them wrong, they say
“Yes, it’s true, but it is a good thing.”
Less than a
year ago, Arne
Duncan gave Democracy Prep $9.1 million
to open new
schools in poor communities. But if you look at the scatterplots
that Gary constructed, it is clear that Democracy Prep is an
average school, no better than the typical New York City public
school. So why did the U.S. Department give Democracy Prep $9.1
million to open more average schools with high attrition rates in
Harlem and Camden, New Jersey?