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

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

The Bloomberg Spin Reported by Bloomberg News for Bloomberg Schools

The charter school crusaders and spin merchants at Larson Communications were sending out multiple emails to the media to set the spin on the release of the a CREDO report that shows some very mixed results for NYC charter schools. That fact, however, did not deter Larson and Bertelli from concocting this whopper as the first sentence in their media advisory on January 1:
A new report by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University commissioned by the New York City Department of Education found that charter schools in New York City are demonstrating significantly better results for their students in reading and in math than their traditional public school counterparts.
First, note who commissioned this study and who, I would imagine, is paying Mr. Larson and Mr. Bertelli for their dissembling PR. The last part of that sentence is, in fact, simply a lie that was repeated in the intro to the press release and that was negated a few sentences later in the press release, itself:
On a school-by-school comparison, the report found that 51 percent of New York City charter schools are showing academic growth in math that is statistically larger than students would have achieved in regular public schools, with 33 percent with no significant difference and 16 percent with significantly lower learning. In reading, the report found that 29 percent of charter schools are showing statistically better gains, with 59 percent with no significant difference and only 12 percent significantly lower.
Just to translate here for the Bloomberg reporters, the previous sentence from the findings makes Mr. Larson and Mr. Bertelli liars. Get it? NYC charters squeaked out an edge over the publics by ONE PERCENT in math, i.e., 51%. That means, Bloomberg reporters, that 49% of NYC charters did either no better or worse on math tests than the public schools. On reading, now pay close attention, Mr. Staley and Mr. Kaufman, your boss's schools in NYC did better in reading in only 29 PERCENT. That means, Mr. Staley and Kaufman, that 71% of Bloomberg schools did worse or no better in reading than the public schools. Got it?

Not yet, apparently. Here is the way that Bloomberg's boy, Oliver Staley, is reporting it, beginning with the Larson and Bertelli same lie from the earlier spin lit:

Jan. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Students in New York City charter schools outperformed their public school counterparts in reading and math, according to a Stanford University study.

Fifty-one percent of charter school students showed gains in math that are “statistically larger” than they would have achieved in conventional public schools, according to the report released today by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes, which is based at Stanford, near Palo Alto, California. The study, which analyzed six years of data at 49 charter schools from 2003 through 2009, also found that 29 percent of charter schools students showed greater gains than their public-school counterparts in reading.

Charter schools are publicly funded institutions that are privately managed under contracts with school districts and may be exempt from certain state and local regulations. The report follows a June study of charter schools in 16 states from the same Stanford center, which found nearly half did not perform better than local public options. . . .

Lastly, have a look at that final sentence just above for some fine, fine dissembling. Could that last sentence be intended to mean that, since "nearly half did not perform better than local public options," then just over half did perform better than local public schools? I think I figured it out!

Unfortunately, this, too, is a lie by Mr. Staley and his editor, Mr. Kaufman. Here is what can be found on page 3 of the National Charter School Study - Full Report:
The Quality Curve results are sobering:
  • Of the 2403 charter schools reflected on the curve, 46 percent of charter schools have math gains that are statistically indistinguishable from the average growth among their TPS [traditional public school] comparisons.
  • Charters whose math growth exceeded their TPS equivalent growth by a significant amount account for 17 percent of the total.
  • The remaining group, 37 percent of charter schools, posted math gains that were significantly below what their students would have seen if they enrolled in local traditional public schools instead.

1 comment:

  1. This is typical of the government trying to make money off education and students. Public schools are just as good as charter schools and in some cases better.