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

Friday, September 12, 2008

Central Ohio Charter Schools Performance "Bleak"

The Sanders Value-Added Model has all kinds of limitations, not the least of which is Sanders and Co.'s undying faith in an assessment model that entirely ignores the quality of the tests whose values are being added up. A year's worth of growth to a crop that will never bear fruit is not worth much, unless, of course, you are interested, as most Americans are, only in the height of your stalk.

Even with such limitations, it is going to be interesting for some ambitious reporter or researcher to look specifically at the growth scores of the charter chain gangs in comparison to other schools. Those comparisons have already begun, in fact, and as the Columbus Dispatch reports, the charter miracle schools are worse that the struggling public schools they were intended to replace. In Columbus, for instance, the 59% of the public schools managed a year's worth of growth. In the Columbus charters, 41% of them showed a year's worth of growth.

With numbers like that, one must wonder what kind bogus line Rotherham is feeding the Obama camp to make them so enthused be speed up public school conversion to charters. Oh, I forgot, the charters are 20 percent cheaper to operate, since they can hire teachers who aren't held back from teaching by such "bureaucratic barriers" as certification requirements.

Here is a clip:
As experts analyzed heaps of data released as part of the school report cards a few weeks ago, this much has become clear: The debate about how the charter-school movement really works - and why charters exist - has changed dramatically since the experiment began in Ohio a decade ago.

"Some of the early charter advocates clearly overplayed their expectations," said Jeffrey Henig, a Columbia University professor who has written about charter schools.

And when data came out, "It clearly wasn't the case that charters were blowing schools out of the water. It became necessary to recalibrate the argument."

In Ohio, the argument for charter schools was that charters could deliver a better education for less taxpayer money, parents would "vote with their feet" and pull their children from poorly performing charters, and the charters would force competition.

While the data don't offer a definitive answer about whether charters are academically any better than traditional schools, the figures include that:

About 43 percent of charter schools and traditional schools statewide fail to provide students at least a year's worth of education. The "year's learning" measure, called the "value-added" rating, is new on the report cards, which use last school year's data to grade schools for the current year, and gives credit to schools that made gains even if students didn't pass required tests.

About 51percent of central Ohio's 59 charter schools have failed to teach at least a year's material. In the region's schools, which include statewide virtual schools, 61percent were given grades of D or F.

About 10,000 students attend central Ohio charter schools and virtual schools that serve only central Ohio students.

Narrowing the view to just charter schools that operate within Columbus City Schools territory, the outlook is bleaker for charters. Of the city's charter schools that received a value-added rating, 59 percent showed less than a year's growth. Among the Columbus district's traditional schools, 41percent failed the year's-growth standard. . . .

1 comment:

  1. I'm not sure who "Rotherham" is, so I can't comment on that, but the Ohio example is starting to break down the myths of charter schools, and other studies trashing the voucher private schools myth.

    I was hoping charters could experiment with newer teaching techniques and spur innovation, but it looks like the real goal is, as you point out, a less costly system of education. On the cheap so to speak.

    Good stuff.