Boosters: Charter Schools Fare Better Than Public
Charter schools exceeded state expectations at a greater rate than traditional schools in five of the state's eight largest districts, a group that promotes charter schools said Monday. via WLWT-TV Cincinnati
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#1 Jan 19, 2008
George Orwells warnings about language and news outlets continue to be validated in modern times. In a recent example, a story printed in Ohio newspapers about a new type of state ratings for schools called Value Added Scoring, portrays "bad" as "good" because "bad" schools met the "expectations" for them set by the state. But the state had higher expectations for better performing schools, and if they did not meet these different expectations, the report characterized the good schools as less successful. The fact that the "good" (or do I mean the "bad"?) schools actually had better scores was omitted from the report.
Getting weird enough yet? The "Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools" submitted the cited data and opinions in a press release to trumpet its members' success versus public schools. In Youngstown, Ohio, the only local newspaper, The Vindicator, dutifully reported that 57% of 7 charter schools met expectations!(That's 4 to those of us who can multiply). This was compared to "only" (Vindicator's words) 38% of 16 public schools.(That would be 6 in plain English.). There are in fact, 16 charter schools enrolling Youngstown students, but only 7 were required to report scores. In this world in which 4 can be explained to be better than 6, I guess the following statistics make perfect sense:
I worked at West Side Upper Elementary in Youngstown last year, a public school where about half of the kids in the sixth grade passed the Ohio Achievement Tests in reading and math (the data being considered by the article). This number did not meet the expectations of the state, and indeed, our students could certainly have done better. Meanwhile at the charter "Youngstown Academy of Excellence," about a fourth of the kids passed the tests, and at another charter, "Legacy Academy," less than a fifth of the students passed the tests; but the article argues that this proves the superiority of charter schools because their levels of success EXCEEDED the state's expectations for these students.(The expectations must have been pessimistic to say the least.)
Some charter school students perform well though. At "Youngstown Community School", 68% of sixth graders passed the reading test. But, no, sorry. This does not meet the state expectations for the YCS students. In this article, that makes YCS a poor performer despite the fact that they consistently have the highest reading scores in the city.
Teachers in high performing suburban schools have been anxious about the advent of this "Value-Added" rating. It looks like their fears will be realized. In this weird world, a student who receives a close to perfect score in the first year of the two-year cycle has nowhere to go but down the next year. A score of 90% correct answers would then be said to indicate a lack of efficacy at his school, when at an inner city charter school, a child's score might rise from 40% to 55%, a positive gain of 15 points. This failure would then be celebrated. Bad is Good. Were all totally confused. But according to George Orwell, that would be the intent of the state government. The Youngstown Vindicator swallowed the Alliances press release in whole and published it on the front page of the newspaper with color pictures of happy children at a charter school, and the headline: "Charter schools top citys in performance". If you have a strong enough stomach, you can check it out at ( http://www.vindy.com/news/2008/jan/17/charter... )
#2 Jan 20, 2008
Charter schools are another rip-off of the taxpayer.
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