"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Ohio Attorney General Goes After Failed Charter Schools

If I were David Brennan, I would be trying to move my operation to another venue. Marc Dann is on the move in Ohio:
Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann has filed lawsuits against two Dayton charter schools, saying they should be stripped of public funding because their poor academic performance breaks a public trust.

Dann filed the cases in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court against Colin Powell Leadership Academy and New Choices Community School, both of which enroll more than 200 students.

In the complaint against the Powell academy, Dann argues that in spite of $10 million in public funding, the school has not achieved its academic purpose, meeting only one of 61 state indicators for school performance and averaging a 51.58 out of possible 120 on the state performance index in recent years, giving the school an "F." The academy received a 59.4 on the performance index in the 2006-07 school year.

Superintendent Shane Floyd said the school is aware of the improvements that need to be made and has been working to be in a better position academically next year. The Powell academy replaced 70 percent of its teachers for the 2007-08 school year and officials sat down in the summer to work out an academic plan.

"We are confident that we are on the right track, and making the necessary strides to ensure the academic success of our students," Floyd said.

The complaint against New Choices also lays out the school's academic performance - an "F" - as reason for taking its public funding. The school has met only one of 29 applicable state indicators for school performance and has averaged a 49.26 out of a possible 120 on the state performance index in recent years. New Choices received a 63.8 out of 120 for the 2006-07 school year.

New Choices Superintendent Gary Hardman said the school he started six years ago for students who have fallen through the cracks of Dayton City Schools has shown progress over time - it recently moved from "academic emergency" to "academic watch" status - and can't be judged like other districts.

"What I expected was for the cameras to come here and say, 'Congrats, you made "academic emergency" into "academic watch" with this tough population," Hardman said, noting that 23 percent of New Choices' population of seventh- to 12th-graders are involved in court proceedings and all came in at least two grade levels below standard. "We have made progress and that's not what people are seeing... It takes a while to build from nothing."

Both schools, Dann says, have performed worse than Dayton City Schoolscq, from where they draw the bulk of their students and funding. That 15,825-student district scored a 71.5 on the state performance index, meeting two of 30 district requirements in the 2006-07 year. . . .

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