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

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Georgia teacher in custody after reports of gunfire at high school

More guns for teachers, anyone?  Anyone?

Georgia teacher in custody after reports of gunfire at high school: An armed high school teacher in Georgia barricaded himself alone inside his classroom, then fired a gunshot when the principal tried to force open the door, but no one was seriously injured, police said after the instructor was arrested. The shooting, which unfolded as schools around the country remained on edge from gun violence earlier this month that claimed 17 lives in the neighboring state of Florida, unfolded around lunchtime at Dalton High School, about …

Monday, February 26, 2018

KIPP Co-Founder, Mike Feinberg, Fired for Sexually Abusing Middle Schooler

Always an advocate of a kind of heedless "let the stallions run" mentality for charter school administrators, Michael Feinberg was fired last Thursday for sexually abusing a KIPP student in Houston in the late 1990s, where Feinberg was the principal of the only KIPP school in Houston at the time. The KIPP home office carefully avoided pointing that this was a middle school, grades five through eight.

According to KIPP Houston, which now manages 28 schools in the Houston area, the KIPP home office learned in 2017 about Feinberg's sex crimes against a KIPP child in the late 1990s.  
. . . sources confirm an investigation was launched into a new allegation of sex assault of a student. Feinberg was reportedly instructed he couldn't be around students or at the school unsupervised.
Even though KIPP launched an investigation in the Spring of 2017, the charges remained a close secret until last week, with parents and students, alike, in the dark about the allegations.  

The KIPP Foundation also acknowledges (finally) that KIPP was party to a financial payout in 2004 to a KIPP employee, who was a victim, too, of Feinberg's sexual harassment. Punishment for Feinberg?  He was suspended for two weeks!

Feinberg's high-dollar lawyer is now quick to point out that the KIPP home office did not offer Feinberg "even the most rudimentary form of due process."  Perhaps Feinberg will come to know a tiny bit of how the thousands of fired KIPP teachers feel when they are summarily riffed with no reasons given.  At least Feinberg knew something about why he was fired.

We can only hope that Feinberg will take the KIPP home office to court.  That is probably the only way we will ever find out the extent of Feinberg's sex offenses.  In other words, don't expect to see Mike Feinberg in court.  

But I suspect that the KIPP Foundation made sure that Feinberg will be taken care of, that no court action will be taken, and that the KIPP home office will celebrate its decisive action, even if it was 20 years after the fact.

Charter school parents everywhere must wonder how many more privileged pedophiles like Mike Feinberg are lurking in charter schools, which are not subject to public oversight or public accountability for administrative conduct.  What price must school children pay so that paternalists and privatizers can achieve their ideological goals and the economic ends?

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Help Stop Charter Co-Location at North Hollywood High School

A concerned student at NHHS, Anna Winikow, contacted Schools Matter asking for help.  

Please sign her petition and share it widely everywhere.  Thank you.

Stop Charter Co-Location at North Hollywood HS
1,501 SIGNATURES (as of 1:08PM)
LAUSD School Board Members
LAUSD Superintendent, Local District Superintendent
Los Angeles Mayor, City Council Member, Neighborhood Council, CA Senator, CA Assembly Member
School Construction Bond Oversight Committee
LAUSD Charter Division
We strongly oppose the addition of VIP charter school to the campus of North Hollywood High School. LAUSD offering this campus for co-location is unrealistic, short-sighted, and wasteful of public funds.
NHHS facilities, which have already been determined outdated and unsafe enough to necessitate a $200+ million construction modernization project, do NOT have appropriate space for 330+ additional students. This would cause innumerable problems with safety, security, traffic, cleanliness, instruction, and much more. Many tiny classrooms were built 100 years ago when classes had 25 students, not 40. Many rooms cannot even fit 40 desks and chairs, so they are used for other purposes.
To give up 14 classrooms to a charter, North Hollywood would need to eliminate or reduce spaces and programs that are at the heart of our students' success, such as: College and Careers Center, computer labs, Parent Center, music room, weight room, workshops needed by Robotics teams, Student Government, Science Olympiad, Cyber Patriots, and other award-winning extracurricular programs.
Because major construction is scheduled to begin at NHHS in 2 years, this charter co-location offer is limited to 1 year, even though the charter application was for 5 years. This causes unnecessary chaos for both North Hollywood HS and the charter, which would need to move again to another co-location campus. Why not choose a long-term campus now?
Every new charter co-location requires construction work to create separate entrances, offices, technology, infrastructure, possibly disabled access, paid for with school bond funds. At schools slated for major construction, these adjustments would be demolished in 1-2 years and the charter would be re-located to another campus, where new construction would again be required. Why would LAUSD waste limited school bond funds this way?
Please join us in challenging this co-location proposal.
For more info: wernoho@gmail.com

Prez Buffoonery Reaches New Heights: Teacher Merit Bonuses Based on Marksmanship

Trump promises 'shootings will not happen again' if states give yearly bonuses to 'Armed Educators': After remaining silent most of Saturday, President Donald Trump once again made the pitch to arm school teachers with the promise that it will bring to end school shootings. Writing on Twitter, Trump pushed back against law enforcement officials and educators who want to see no weapons on school campuses at all, saying states should take the lead and give pistol-packing school officials “yearly bonuses.” “Armed Educators (and trusted people who work within a school) …

Friday, February 23, 2018

Philadelphia's School Reform Commission denies six new charters and approves one with conditions.

by Greg Windle and Dale Messacappa
Philadelphia Public School Notebook

The School Reform Commission denied six of seven applications for new charter schools on Thursday, heeding evaluations by the Charter School Office and information from follow-up hearings that raised significant questions about most of them.

Among those rejected were an elementary school in Yorktown proposed by Mastery, the largest charter operator in the city; two schools to be managed by ASPIRA Inc. of Pennsylvania; and a middle school on the Franklin Towne campus in Bridesburg, which already provides grades K-12.

Also rejected were bids from two new operators. The Asociacion Puertorriquenos en Marcha (APM), a community organization that builds affordable housing and runs preschools, wanted to open a K-8 school in North Philadelphia for 702 students. And Hebrew Public, a nonprofit that runs four schools in New York City, sought to operate a dual-language K-8 school in East Falls in which students would learn Hebrew and study the history of Israel.

The one that was approved, a third MaST school in Far Northeast Philadelphia, had significant conditions attached. One condition cut its planned enrollment in half – from 2,600 to 1.300. Another required that the school accept half its students from certain zip codes so that it can attract a more diverse population. And under a third, it must work to provide transportation to kindergarten students, because the District doesn’t provide transportation for them and the expectation is that many students will travel some distance to the school.

With the conditions, the MaST vote was 5-0 in favor. 

Click here to read the entire article. 

Click here to read the MaST III Charter report from the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools

Also see:
APPS members have an Op Ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer protesting the lack of transparency in Mayoral selecction of a new school Board
by Richard Migilore and Karel Kilimnik
Unlike those in every other school district in the state, and in almost every district in the nation, we the people of Philadelphia continue to be disenfranchised in the governance of our public schools. To make matters worse, the return to local control, after the 17-year reign of the state-imposed School Reform Commission, will devolve into one-person control unless our elected officials take steps to guarantee the independence of the new school board.
 Following the mandates of the current City Charter, Mayor Kenney appointed a 13-member nominating panel, which is scheduled to hold a public meeting Monday and vote on a list of names that Kenney will draw from to select a nine-person school board. The mayor had directed the panel to hold previous meetings in executive session, effectively barring members of the public from witnessing or taking part in the process in any way.
This absolute control by the mayor can be mitigated in several ways. First, the nominating panel, under the leadership of Chair Wendell Pritchett, should have opened all of its meetings to the public. As city officials, members of the panel are obligated to obey all laws, including the Pennsylvania Sunshine Act, which codifies the right of the people to witness the actions of all government officials, whether elected or appointed.

Monday, February 19, 2018

The Resistance After Trump Must Target the Zuckerbergs of the World

An astute piece at The Daily Beast on the emerging dystopian dream of the total surveillance urban society.

A clip:

Mark Zuckerberg, even as he fought to expand his own sprawling suburban homestead, envisions his employees living in crowded dormitories close to work, including a planned 1,500-unit apartment development near Facebook’s Menlo Park campus. Zuckerberg, like most oligarchs, prefers workers unengaged with the mundanities of family life.
“Young people just have simpler lives,” he explained to the San Francisco Chronicle. “We may not own a car. We may not have a family. Simplicity in life is what allows you to focus on what’s important.”
The man preaching this diminished view of urban life, of course, has a car, a family and all the benefits that come with a vast fortune. He is not part of the “we” he’s purporting to speak for.
The city that he is envisioning, that “we” are supposed to enjoy, will be organized not by civic loyalty but pools of constantly tracked personal information collected and sold by his company.

Trump rigged Miss Universe pageants to favor countries where he had business interests: report

Anyone surprised?  Anyone? Anyone?

Trump rigged Miss Universe pageants to favor countries where he had business interests: report: A new report from the New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin alleges that President Donald Trump used to regularly rig Miss Universe pageants to favor women who hailed from countries where he had business interests. Former contestants at the Miss Universe pageant told Toobin that Trump would regularly talk with them about business deals that he did in their countries — and that women whose countries were doing business with Trump would routinely get selected as finalists, …

Fox News host floats idea of 'Department of Education and Security' instead of gun control

Is anyone surprised that the proposed "solution" to mass murder with weapons of war would be to turn schools into armed camps? Will teachers get pre-checks?

Fox News host floats idea of 'Department of Education and Security' instead of gun control: Fox News host Brian Kilmeade argued on Monday that the way to prevent school shootings was for the Department of Education to be more like the Transportation and Security Agency (TSA), which is tasked with keeping firearms out of airports. During a discussion about the Parkland school shooting on Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy said that the lesson from the incident was that “unstable people should not have access to guns.” “Something needs to …

Friday, February 16, 2018

Fuck Your Thoughts and Fuck Your Prayers

Yes, again, a mass murderer too young to buy a beer but not too young to buy an AR-15 has killed another group of innocent humans (17 of them), whose only offense was going to school.   Yesterday morning Lamar Alexander, another of those U. S. Senators whose decency has been exchanged for undying fealty to a gangster buffoon president and his fascist funders, tweeted his "thoughts and prayers" to the school shooting victims and their families.

Like every other politician who hides behind the Second Amendment to sustain the gun lobby's insistence on marketing war weapons to adolescents, crazy people, and Nazis, Lamar Alexander has blood on his hands, and they get bloodier each time these predictable and avoidable tragedies unfold.  The U. S. is the only country on Earth where this kind of legalized and ongoing mayhem occurs, and it's way past time for it to stop.

A change has to happen, and a change will happen this time, I feel.  Law enforcement, parents, students, clergy, hunters, target shooters, and even a couple of politicians are going to make this change.  It will not be stopped by all the money that the NRA can hand out, and it will happen despite the cowardly scumbags hiding out in their Washington offices tweeting out their thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Philadelphia's Proposed New Charter School Reports: February 22, 2018


by Lisa Haver
The Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools
February 14, 2018

On February 22, the  lame-duck School Reform Commission (SRC) will vote to accept or reject applications from seven charter companies: APM Community Charter School, Franklin Towne Charter Middle School, Mastery Charter Elementary, MaST Community Charter School,  Philadelphia Hebrew Charter School, Antonia Pantoja Preparatory Charter School and Eugenio Maria de Hostos Preparatory Charter School.  (Pennsylvania Institute Charter School withdrew its application at the hearing; Qor Charter withdrew its application subsequent to the hearing.)

APPS members have read and analyzed the applications, attended the hearings, researched the charter company and its officers, and examined the records of any existing schools the company operates in the district.

Those who scratch the surface of this process begin to realize the depth and breadth of the questions surrounding the funneling of tax dollars into institutions that are not “public” in the sense of serving the common good.  Dig further to discover highly paid top administration officials, cozy and complicated financial dealings, far from transparent or open organizational practices, and academics that are rarely superior to public schools.

In defense of a truly public education system that serves the common good as a cornerstone of democracy, APPS continues to delve into the facts and history of charters. Our tax dollars should be spent to improve the quality of education for all of our students and should not be spent on a wasteful, corrupt, two-tiered system made possible by those who benefit from the provisions in what PA Auditor General Anthony De Pasquale has called “the worst charter school law in the country”.

Following are the reports by APPS members along with written testimony submitted to the SRC.

APM Community Charter School

Aspira Inc: Antonia Pantoja Preparatory Charter School

Aspira Inc: Eugenio Maria de Hostos Charter School

Franklin Towne Middle Charter School

Philadelphia Hebrew Charter School

Mastery Charter Elementary School

MaST III Charter School

Also see:
Philadelphia charter operators rally to demand deregulation and removal of oversight of charter schools. Read the comments. 

Monday, February 12, 2018

Commentary: Philadelphia’s children deserve human teachers, not algorithms and data-mining

Commentary: Philadelphia’s children deserve human teachers, not algorithms and data-mining: On Thursday, the Philadelphia School Reform Commission will vote on two resolutions. One (B-12) allocates $10 million for virtual classes and adaptive learning systems, while the other (A-7) awards...

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Is Charles A. Tindley Accelerated School a dropout factory?

Here is John Harris Loflin’s latest research.  Please read John’s piece and visit his website.  Doug Martin

Dear reader,

Although this report is about the Charles A. Tindley Accelerated School, it serves as a call for transparency regarding graduation rate figures for all Indiana public schools. It is the hope the analysis will spark diligence on the part of the public to hold school boards and charter boards accountable.

We must especially find ways to make clear what goes on in schools especially before/after “count day” when each public school in the state totals up all of the students attending their schools. The number of students tallied adds up to direct funding for the school. The issue is after count day, certain schools “council out” certain students, suggesting other schools as a better option/”fit.” This helps the numbers/reputation of these certain schools though at the expense of these certain students/families.

Please get back to me with your ideas about what we can do about making our public schools more honest.

John Harris Loflin

Is Charles A. Tindley High School a dropout factory?
A preliminary report and commentary on the graduation rates and promoting power of Charles A. Tindley Accelerated School

It is tragic to have to say that there is no need to prove urban public education in America is in trouble. We only have to look at local television to see the negative outcomes associated with urban school failure. We also know that when urban students are graduated on time ready for careers, college and citizenship, chances of being involved in crime or violence are reduced.

The Pushout Crisis   
The Schott Foundation (2012) report “The Urgency of Now” introduces a new factor to the discussion: “The pushout crisis.” Evidently, nearly 17% of African American students and 7% of Latinx students were suspended at least once in 2009-10, compared to 5% for White students. The section of the report concludes that disproportionate use of out-of-school suspension for Black and Latinx child-ren at all levels is the first step toward pushing them out.

This Schott report defines a “pushout” as a student who leaves their school before graduation through the encouragement of the school itself.

The challenge now is a new one: trying to persuade the “Unconvinced Generation” (Evans, 2006) to stay in school while trying to keep school officials from pushing them out (Loflin & Evans, 2015).

The “pushout crisis” reflects situations where many schools try to get rid of (dump or ”shed back”/“counsel out”) students who may tarnish the school’s statistics (Lewin & Medina, 2003) when they score low on tests, or fail to graduate on time.

During recent national hearings, an NAACP task force found, “…many participants testified about students with special needs, those perceived as poor test takers, or those who pose a behavioral challenge are either not accepted, or once enrolled, disciplined or counseled out of many charter schools” (NAACP, 2017).

This trend of manipulating students’ educational lives like pawns or stick pins on a map by “hiding” students in “alternative learning experiences” (Spring, 2016) to keep the “bottom line” of academic outcomes and grad rates with other “quick fixes” is widespread (Turner, 2015). It reflects the shady underbelly of a market ideology’s system of competition and choice applied to, of all things, the lives of children (Winerip, 2011; Miller, 2015; Taylor, 2015; Wolfe, 2015; Brown, 2017).

As well, whole districts are not above throwing some students under the bus to get/maintain high grad rates (Spring, 2016; Koran, 2017).

Pushing students out is especially tempting for urban charter schools which are under intense scrutiny and pressure to perform. Taking into account the past economics of educational politics (i.e., school choice) in Indianapolis, this is especially the case for Mayor Hogsett’s bevy of charters.  

Particularly relevant to issues regarding “pushing out” students is the December 19, 2015 Indiana Business Journal (IBJ) story on events at the Charles Tindley Accelerated School (CTAS): “Charter star Tindley in cash crunch as CEO’s expenses questioned” (Columbo, 2015). Though the story raises concerns, IBJ joins other local media in validating the “star” status of the Tindley brand (www.tindley.org). Note, both Indy’s local establishment (Pulliam, 2013) and Black community (Perry, 2013) hold CTAS up to everyone and praise the school as a model for other urban charters.* In fact, CTAS is recognized nationally as one of the “highest-scoring schools” by US News and World Report (2015).

A scrutiny of this blend of concern and praise suggests a public discussion.  A deeper review of factors behind the school’s graduation rates, which are in the lower 90% for the classes 2013 and 2014, will promote dialogue and clarity.

Introducing “Promoting Power”
In order to open a conversation about the “success” of CTAS, fostering a clear view of the school’s graduation rates (or those of any Indiana public school) is needed. The concept of Promoting Power (holding power) is being used because it can provide a quick way to determine how a school is doing. Promoting Power also circumvents certain graduation rate formulas which can hide the inability of schools to keep students in school and graduating.

Promoting Power takes the number of 9th graders and divides that by the number of these students who make it to 12th grade. It does not determine graduation rates--those 9th graders (cohort) who actually graduate. A Promoting Power of <60% is weak Promoting Power.  High schools with weak Promoting Power are called “dropout factories.” The term was used in the Indy Star’s 2005 “Left Behind” series: http://rishawnbiddle.org/RRB/Starfiles/leftbehind/Dropout_factories.pdf
To understand more about Promoting Power and the dropout factory term see:

Comparing grad rates and promoting power: Is CTAS a dropout factory?
Linking both the Promoting Power concept and “pushout crisis” factors will bring another possible explanation of the “success” of CTAS. Contrasting Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) graduation rates for CTAS with the school’s Promoting Power percentages reveals CTAS as a dropout factory in all but 1 of the graduating classes for the 2007-2008 to 2017-2018 school years. See Table II.

To illustrate, the graduation rate for CTAS for 2012-2013 was 90%. A closer look at the data shows only 27 of the 2009-2010 9th grade cohort of 61 graduated. The 90% rate was determined by dividing the number of seniors (30) into the number who actually graduated (27). In other words, the class of 2012-2013 had 30 seniors of which 27 graduated. Even though the cohort lost over half of its members after 3 years, it still had a graduation rate of 90%.  See Table II.
The Promoting Power formula measures the ability of CTAS to hold on to its 9th graders. Comparing the 61 freshmen who started the 2009-2010 school year with the 30 who made it to their senior year, CTAS has a Promoting Power of (30/61) 49%--making it, for that class, a dropout factory. See Table II.

An Indiana public school both traditional or charter can lose over half its freshman class after 3 years and still have a graduation rate of 90% 
How does this happen? According to IDOE guidelines, a school’s graduation rate will not be affected by students who leave a high school and are enrolled elsewhere. With regard to determining graduation rates, the “home school” does not have to count these students among those in that year’s cohort.  For example, a particular public high school could have 20 9th graders and 4 years later have 5 (seniors) left in that cohort due to 15 students leaving and enrolling in another high school. If all 5 graduate, and even though the school lost 75% of its freshmen class after 3 years, the school’s grad rate for that year will be 100%.

This raises the question and thus the rub: what if the student/family is counseled out or persuaded to “self-select”--pushed away from their school before they are graduated, through the encouragement of the school itself?

Also, what about a school coaching a student/family to choose homeschooling as an alternative to expulsion? In this way, these negative marks do not appear on the student’s or school’s record, and does not count against the school’s gradua-tion rate. However, are there drawbacks to the home schooling option for the student/family? See Appendix B

On the surface “self-opting” makes sense and appears fair to all parties: schools, and students and their families. Yet, the issues brought to the surface by the Schott report on the national “pushout crisis” raises questions as to whether these students left “on their own” or were they “pushed” out.

As stated above, “The ‘pushout crisis’ reflects situations where many schools are trying to get rid of (dump/’shed back’ or ‘counsel out’) students who may tarnish a school’s statistics (Lewin & Medina, 2003) such as by scoring low on state standard tests, or failing to graduate on time.”

A commentary: Why is weeding-out students disguised and excused by the status quo
A closer look at the January 2013 story on Tindley by Indy Star commentator Russ Pulliam (2013) is needed. Here Pulliam quotes Brian Payne, the president of the Central Indiana Community Foundation who said, “I think it’s human nature that people generally rise to the level of expectations.” Payne went on, “When you create a culture of high expectations, people generally will self-select out of that culture if they are not committed. They have this culture at Tindley that you will work hard. If you aren’t ready to work, you may not want to be there.” 

    What “self-select out” means in a general context, and then in the    
    context of charter schools
It appears the “self-select out” concept came out of the business world explaining why someone may not have applied for a job (they didn’t think they were qualified), or after applying, decided on their own not to follow through on the normal steps to being hired. For example, though they made it through to the final stage of the hiring process, the applicant decided (on their own) to “self-select out” and not to go to the final interview.

This also may occur with certain charters as Mr. Payne noted, “When you create a culture of high expectations, people generally will self-select out of that culture if they are not committed.” In this case however, due to the local/national education politics associated with charters and the present national “push out” crisis used to introduce this report, a critical stance is needed to analyze this situation.    

    “Self-select out” is a coin with 2 sides
A review of the research shows the “self-select out” concept is a coin with 2 sides. This is not just a simple act of a student or family deciding to attend a certain school or not--notably in this case, a school with “high expectations.”

On one side of the coin is the “self-select out” scenarios described above and by Brian Payne. On the other side of the coin is a trio of related scenarios: the Self-Selection Bias, Select Marketing Strategies, and the “Bum Steer.
Originating from the world of statistics, when applied to charter school scenarios, the concept of Self-Select Bias explains how some charters like Tindley or KIPP are influenced by this predilection, and so can benefit from the bias in that it can be implied their applicants are motivated to attend there. Many traditional public schools are not influenced by this special intent, giving charters “advantage” some see as unfair. The “bias” inherent in self-selection is also another way to explain the “self-select out” situation referred to by Brian Payne.

Due to the pressure to perform (high letter grades [from IDOE], test scores and graduation rates) some charters are not above using strategies to influence who considers their school or applies in the first place. Some charters, as a matter of policy, also have their own select marketing strategies: they organically target particular parts of the market with their public/private advertising and recruiting.

Plus, they have elaborate application processes or the “bum steer” where some charters “drive away” ELL and special needs students from applying via their high standard mentality.

·         Here is a look at the “self-select bias” regarding charters:
·         Here is a link that challenges the marketing idea that charters are a better way of educating minority students; yet, opponents say charters are able to educate only “some” of these students:
·         See how marketing/the “bum steer” ploy help charters maintain their “edge” over traditional schools:

    Other tactics: “Flunk or leave,” “A deal you can’t refuse,” “No
    backfill rules” and recruiting “good test takers”
Now that we’ve started a discussion about what happens before enrollment, we have to unpack what some charters use after enrollment to keep grad rates high.

For example, certain “high standards/high expectation” charters make use of the “flunk or leave” angle where school officials threaten to hold the student back a grade if they remain in the school. 

Even in some cases regarding disciplinary action/s, a student/family may be offered “a deal they can’t refuse.” In this situation, a school intends to suspend or expel a student, but proposes not to if he/she leaves (supposedly) by their own choice and then enrolls in another school or home schools (See Appendix B). Per- haps for certain students, such “counseling” is used to help them realize they “…may not want to be there.” Due to this “trade-off,” neither the school nor the student will have a suspension or expulsion on their record and the school unapologetically gets rid of a student they can say “…just wasn’t a good fit.”  

Plus, most likely those students/families that pick a Tindley-type charter will go to another school, thus removing that student from the cohort. Now, she/he will not be counted toward determining the graduating rate of that group/class.

And then we need to talk about the importance of the “no-backfill rules” in operation in many charter markets, guaranteeing that no new students ever come in during the middle of a multi-year program. One can read this plainly when reviewing each year of Tindley’s enrollment numbers. With traditional schools, in many instances, a school’s 10th grade enrollment numbers are larger than the 9th grade. This is not the case with Tindley. 10th grade enrollment is smaller than 9th grade, 11th grade enrollment is smaller than 10th grade and senior enrollment is smaller than 11th grade. This is because they do not “backfill.”

“It’s a deeply divisive issue within the charter sector. When transient students (those most likely to be low-performing) leave charter schools and are not replaced, it potentially makes some charters look good on paper through attrition and simple math: Strugglers leave, high performers stay, and the ratio of proficient students rises, creating an illusion of excellence that is not fully deserved.” 

Another obvious concern involves schools with high test scores—and the efforts of these schools to maintain such status by recruiting “good test takers.” Here, charters recruit/cultivate students from families with more resources who can perform on standardized test while “weeding out” more challenging students through their application process and school policies--like ones demanding volunteer time from parents.  How is it fair and equitable when schools, can under the cover of the “self-selection” alibi, actually “weed out” poor test takers?

·         See how/why charters can say their students of color do well on tests: “Charter students, especially minorities, score better on Florida tests, report finds.” http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/education/article148915414.html
·         Here’s link to why some charter schools have better test scores:

Respecting the school in light of graduation rate vs. Promoting Power percents, CTAS and its supporters may attempt to “spin” what’s going on at the school as one where the student and their family select the school or leave on their own accord.  In either case, the student/family is gone. The school is left free of responsibility and the school’s graduation rates and test scores remain high.

The concern of this study is the problems which arise when these rather “boutique” charters, that see themselves quasi-private schools, hold “high standards” mindsets for students/families, but not themselves.

In summary: The CTAS story calls for transparency in graduation rates
Indeed, the above report/commentary can be seen as presumptuous and even accusatory. The study is not so much about CTAS per se. As research reviewed and compared the various enrollment numbers and grad rates of local high schools, the CTAS data stood out because the school did not backfill and it was easy to follow the 9th grade cohort through to graduation. Such cohorts are hidden in most schools, getting lost in the increasing enrollments in 10th and 11th grades.

CTAS is just the canary in the coal mine inadvertently warning voters and tax-
payers that some of their public schools' performances aren’t what they appear.

Nonetheless, with over 20 years of pressure on certain high schools (notably urban charters), and in this case the very contentious, over 10-year local and state-wide debate over school choice, this level of suspicion simply cannot be avoided.

To the extent that Mayor Hogsett is the only mayor in the United State of America who can charter a school, to that same extent tremendous political-economic pressure is put on the mayor’s charters to perform. Thus, he cannot afford to have any of his schools fall below the norm--let alone be suspect of any deceptions exposed by the pushout emergency and a Promoting Power analysis.

As Indianapolis, Indiana, and the country praise the Charles Tindley Accelerated School for having high expectations for its students, families and staff, the Tindley board must maintain credibility by virtue of transparency and public accountability, practicing the same level of expectancy it holds for the school.
*This was especially the case when Mayor Ballard closed The Project School (TPS) charter over financial issues. TPS also had low test scores—which was why the Mind Trust’s David Harris said the school must be closed (Peg with Pen, 2012). Yet, many believe the closure happened because 28 students opted-out of ISTEP. In the wake of the closing, CTAS was presented to the public as the blueprint to follow—the opposite of TPS (RTV Channel 6, 2012).

Charles A. Tindley Accelerated School
(IDOE school #6208)
Enrollment numbers per 9th grade 4-year cohort for 2004-2015

04-05  05-06  06-07  07-08  08-09  09-10  10-11  11-12   12-13   13-14   14-15 15-16 16-17
  9   66     59     29     40     46     61     69     62      68     93     135   94    89
10            44     34     26     30     28     52     52      48     54      79    87    80
11                     15    22     23      23    22     43       32     41     42    44    64
12                             14     19     22     13     18      30     30      32    35    40  

Charles A. Tindley Accelerated School
Enrollment numbers, graduation numbers and rates,
and Promoting Power percentages for 9th grade cohorts

School                                                          IDOE *                Class       IDOE *      Promoting     Weak/  Dropout
Year       9th  10th          11th          12th       # grads                  of          Grad %    Power <60%    Strong   Factory
04/05   66   44 (-22)   15 (-29)   14 (-1)      12      12/19   2007-08   63.2%     14/66=21.2%      W          Yes          

05/06   59   34 (-25)   22 (-12)   19 (-3)      15      15/25   2008-09   60.0%     19/59=34.5%      W          Yes

06/07   29   26 (-3)     23 (-3)     22 (-1)      15      15/19   2009-10   78.9%     22/29=75.8%       S            No                                                                                    

07/08   40   30 (-10)   23 (-7)     13 (-10)    12      12/16   2010-11   75.0%     13/40=32.5%      W          Yes

08/09   46   28 (-18)   22 (-6)     18 (-4)      15      15/19   2011-12   78.9%     18/46=39.1%      W          Yes     

09/10   61   52 (-9)     43 (-9)     30 (-13)    27      27/30   2012-13   90.0%     30/61=49.1%      W          Yes    

10/11   69   52 (-17)   32 (-20)   30 (-2)      29      29/32   2013-14   90.6%     30/69=43.4%      W          Yes

11/12   62   48 (-14)   41 (-7)     32 (-9)      24      24/28   2014-15   85.7%     32/62=51.6%      W          Yes

12/13   68   54 (-14)   42 (-12)   35 (-7)      32      32/36   2015-16   88.9%     35/68=51.5%      W          Yes
13/14   93   79 (-14)   44 (-35)   40 (-4)      35      35/38   2016-17   92.1%     40/93=43.0%      W          Yes

14/15 135  87 (-48)   64  (-23)   61 (-3)                              2017-18                   61/135=45%       W          Yes        

15/16   94   80 (-14)   72 (-8)

16/17   89   77 (-12)

17/18   91

Breakdown of Graduation Rate Calculations
Charles A. Tindley Accelerated School

Class of 07-08 
IDOE # in 12th grade =14     
  Grad rate  # of grads
    63.2%       12
GED  5.3%       1
SiS   10.5%      2
DO   21.1%      4
Class of 12-13 
IDOE # in 12th grade =30     
  Grad rate  # of grads
    90.0%         27
DO   10.0%        3
                       30: 27/30=90.0%
Class of 08-09 
IDOE # in 12th grade =19     
    Grad rate  # of grads
     60.0%        15
SiS   40.%        10
                       25: 15/25=60.0%
Class of 13-14 
IDOE # in 12th grade=30     
  Grad rate  # of grads
   90.6%          29
SiS    6.3%         2
DO   3.1%          1
                       32: 29/32=90.6%
Class of 09-10 
IDOE # in 12th grade =22     
  Grad rate  # of grads
     78.9%       15
SiS   10.5%       2
DO   10.5%       2
      Class of 14-15 
IDOE # in 12th grade=32     
  Grad rate  # of grads
    85.7%         24
SiS   10.7%        3
DO     3.6%        2
                       28: 24/28=85.7%
Class of 10-11 
IDOE # in 12th grade =13     
  Grad rate  # of grads
    75.0%          12
SiS   18.8%         3
DO     6.3%         1
      Class of 15-16 
IDOE # in 12th grade=35     
  Grad rate  # of grads
    88.9%         32
SiS   11.1%        4
DO     0.0%        0
                       36: 32/36=88.9%
Class of 11-12 
IDOE # in 12th grade=18     
  Grad rate  # of grads
   78.9%         15
SiS   10.5%       2
DO   10.5%       2
                      19: 15/19=78.9%

      Class of 16-17 
IDOE # in 12th grade=40     
  Grad rate  # of grads
    92.1%         35
SiS     2.6%        1
DO     5.3%        2
                         38: 35/38=92.1%
SiS=Still in School students are expelled students, yet are still “enrolled” & expected to return. Until that happens or not, this is counted against a school’s graduation rate.

Appendix B
The limitations of homeschooling as an alternative to expulsion:
Why high schools benefit, but students, families, and society may not

The language of “counsel out,” “self-select out,” “shed-back” (Lewin & Medina, 2003) and now “de-selection” and “Got to Go” lists (Miller, 2015), even “thrive or transfer” bullying (Winerip, 2011) become alarming as analysis shows public school administrators have the option to offer parents and students the use of home-schooling as a “transfer” over expulsion.

·         Is this a good choice for low-income, marginalized families living in poor neighborhoods, characterized by crime and violence? 

This is noted because Indiana home schooling guidelines are non-in-forcible by the state. Indiana has no accountability for record keeping for students and/or families who select this expulsion option. This worries some important local and national community vitality and public policy groups (Fiddian-Green & Bridgeland, 2017).

·         What happens to those students being “homeschooled” without adequate or little or no parent involvement, or formal supervision?
o    What about situations where the parent/s works during the day and the student, who is normally in school, is left unsupervised? 
o    What if parent/s do not have the level of education needed to home school adequately?

This led to speculation that there is a possible correlation between the Indiana home schooling guidelines and the school to prison pipeline.

·         Are high schools inadvertently placing students in jeopardy by counseling families to choose this alternative?

The homeschooling choice is popular because it can benefit both parties: neither the student nor the school has the expulsion mark on their official school records.

Does count against a school’s grad rate
Does not count against grad rate
A student leaves a high school and drops out completely and does not enroll at another school

A student is expelled though counted as “Still in School”

The student/family “self-selects” out or is “counseled” out, or is just “pushed” out. The student leaves and then enrolls in another school.  

A student/family chooses homeschooling over expulsion

Grasp the analysis of Appendix B via the discussion about the homeschool option which resulted from an analysis by the National Council on Educating Black Children, the Black & Latino Policy Institute, and Indiana University’s School of Social Work. It was presented 02.17.16 to the Indiana Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
Other information

Office of Education Innovation 2013-2014/2014-2015 reports on CTAS

Chalkbeat 10.21.16 CTAS as one of the better local high schools regarding ISTEP

CTAS 2017 2nd Best Charter HS Out of 19 in Indy Metro Area

·         Overall Niche Grade is a B
·         288 Students
·         99% Free or Reduced Lunch
·         55% Female
·         45% Male

·         93.45%  African American
·         92% Proficient--Reading
·         95% Proficient--Math
·         85% Average Graduation Rate
·         1080 Average SAT composite score out of 1600

2017 Indianapolis Star Of the Indiana high schools reporting data since 2014, CTAS was 1 of only 16 enrolling at least 90% of their students in some sort of post-secondary education in Indiana or elsewhere as well as attaining a 90% readiness rate at Indiana public colleges. Of the 16 schools, 12 are private. (Herron, 2017). http://www.indystar.com/story/news/education/2017/07/30/how-well-indiana-high-schools-preparing-students-college/453616001/
Links to IDOE* Compass website data on CTAS

 Is Charles A. Tindley Accelerated School a dropout factory? A preliminary report and commentary on the graduation rates and promoting power is a compilation of data and analysis byjohnharrisloflin@yahoo.com of www.vorcreatex.com ©2018 John Harris Loflin


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