The Shelby County School Board, which represents the interests of the corporate machine, has brought in an economist from Chicago to assure the local media and politicians that the closure of 47 schools in Chicago is fine, because, after all, the closures have not affected test scores in Chicago. How the Chicago researcher knows this is hard to tell, since the closures were only approved at the end of the last school year! So, school closures in Memphis will be just fine, the illogic goes, because someone said it will not hurt test scores in Chicago.
The meeting will be at 6 PM today at 160 South Hollywood in Memphis.
Below is a chart that Wendi Thomas posted from the Achievement School District, which attempts to justify the closures on low test scores and low enrollment.
If low enrollment were a criterion that really mattered in making decisions on closing schools, then almost all the charter school in Memphis would shut down: only one of the 22 charter schools in Memphis has over 400 students, and almost half of the 22 charters have fewer than 100 students.
Will Shelby County Schools try to make the case that turning over closed public schools to smaller corporate charter operators will improve the "programmatic utilization rate?" I'd say.
In terms of low test scores of targeted schools that the chart above identifies as having "less than 40% Proficient," this is another phony criterion being used to justify school privatization in Memphis.
Note in the chart below that the Memphis average is closer to 30% of students at Proficient. Are the poorest schools supposed to be better than the average school in terms of test scores??
When we look at the Memphis charter schools in the chart below from the latest State report (2012), we see that very few of the replacement charter schools have proficiency rates over 40 percent.
In fact, we find a number of charter schools' Math or Reading/Language Arts scores below Wendi Thomas's public poster school of failure, with its 20 percent of children proficient in reading and math. Why is the school board of Shelby County not howling to shut down these segregated charter schools?
Please note, too, the vast differences in the percentages of ELL and SPED students in Memphis charters, compared to Memphis public schools:
Below are my comments on the Wendi Thomas column, which is here if you can get by the firewall.