California Charter School Association President Jed Wallace

When the California Charter Schools Association released our first “Portrait of the Movement” report in 2011, it revealed a stark picture of uneven performance among the state’s charter schools. While California’s charter sector had evolved to produce a substantial number of schools generating among the highest levels of student learning in the state, the movement was simultaneously allowing an unacceptable number of chronically underperforming charters to persist.

CCSA-POM-2014-figure1This story was depicted in an image that we presented called “the Shape of the U,” a graph showing the distribution of academic performance for charter schools across the state. “The Shape of the U” showed that in the 2007-08 school year, controlling for demographics of students served, approximately one in five California charter schools were performing in the bottom tenth of all public schools in the state, with another one in five in the top tenth, and strikingly few “in the middle.”

The mixed performance of the charter school sector was a huge threat to the charter school movement, and one that few had been willing to tackle with urgency. This was a wake-up call that fueled action, resulting in a much different picture today.

We developed a Similar Students Measure that goes beyond the Academic Performance Index (API), the traditional measure used to evaluate schools based on student test scores. The Similar Students Measure factors in things like average parent education level, poverty and race to come up with a predicted API score for a school. Then, it takes the predicted score and compares it to the school’s actual API. We are then able to determine which schools are “underperforming” or “overperforming,” based on their predicted API scores.

Chart showing Shape of U for 2012-13Over the past five years, we see that California has significantly reduced the percentage of charters performing in the bottom tenth of schools (the most underperforming as measured by the Similar Students Measure), and has held nearly constant the large percentage of charters performing very well in the top tenth (the most overperforming schools). These trends tell us that tens of thousands of students are being educated in better performing charter schools than just five years ago.

How have we done it? By expanding what is succeeding: almost all segments of the charter school movement have grown stronger – organizations that manage multiple schools, single-site charter operators, schools in brick-and-mortar classrooms and independent-study schools. Another key reason for the improvement is that more underperforming charter schools are closing. In the past five years, 143 charter schools have closed, and three out of every five of these schools have been in the bottom quartile of performance. We also believe that CCSA has played a role in supporting the development of new high-performing schools and advocating for the closure of the most chronically underperforming charter schools.

One of the brightest spots we see is the success that charter schools are having with low-income students and other historically underserved students. More than a quarter of all English learners, African-American and Latino charter students attend schools that are among the most overperforming public schools in California as indicated by the Similar Students Measure. In fact, one out of two students enrolled in charter schools with a majority of low-income students are in highly successful charter schools. These schools are helping them “beat the odds” and students in these schools are far overperforming, given their backgrounds, compared to their peers throughout the state.

This progress was made against the backdrop of a substantial increase in the number of charter schools in California, which is unmatched across the nation. And it was made in spite of one of the most severe funding crises to hit public education in generations.

The public has never been more supportive of providing families with public-school choices, charter schools in particular. A recent statewide opinion poll showed nearly 50% of respondents support charter schools. Evidence of this support can be seen in the growth in charter school enrollment (California now serves half a million public-school students), and expanding wait lists (more than 90,000 kids are on charter school wait lists in California). This growth in support happened during a period when charter schools have been held more accountable than traditional public schools, and have strengthened their academic performance, especially with historically underserved students. Charter schools are more accountable because in exchange for autonomy and flexibility, they are required at every five-year renewal to demonstrate academic performance outcomes or they can be shut down.

The success of the charter school movement depends on excellence and accountability. As long as charter school leaders, teachers and families continue to hold their schools to the highest standards, and are willing to scrutinize those charter schools that are not meeting expectations, the movement will keep growing, improving and transforming the academic careers of students.

•••

Jed Wallace is the President and CEO of the California Charter Schools Association, a membership organization supporting the state’s 1,130 charter schools serving more than 500,000 students.

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  1. Gary Ravani 5 years ago5 years ago

    Charter schools are located throughout the state in 50 of California’s 58 counties and in rural, suburban, and urban areas. Student populations are diverse and tend to reflect the student populations of the districts in which the charter schools are located. The number of students enrolled in charter schools is approximately 370,000, or approximately six percent of the public school student population in California. From Cal Edfacts CDE May 2014 (Let’s see, “half a million” v. … Read More

    Charter schools are located throughout the state in 50 of California’s 58 counties and in rural, suburban, and urban areas. Student populations are diverse and tend to reflect the student populations of the districts in which the charter schools are located. The number of students enrolled in charter schools is approximately 370,000, or approximately six percent of the public school student population in California.

    From Cal Edfacts CDE May 2014 (Let’s see, “half a million” v. 370,00 I guess !30, 000 short isn’t too big an exaggeration.)

    The Government Accountability Office report, commissioned by Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), found that 11 percent of students enrolled in public schools during the 2009-2010 school year had disabilities, compared with 8 percent of students in charter schools.

    From Huffpost , June, 2012

    Below taken from EdWeek online March 27, 2014

    Charter Schools and the Risk of Increased Segregation

    Charter schools, on average, don’t have an academic advantage over traditional public schools, but they do have a significant risk of leading to more segregation

    By Iris C. Rotberg, Phi Delta Kappan

    Conclusions:

    #1. There is a strong link between school choice programs and an increase in student segregation by race, ethnicity, and income.
    #2. The risk of segregation is a direct reflection of the design of the school choice program.
    #3. Even beyond race, ethnicity, and income, school choice programs result in increased segregation for special education and language-minority students, as well as in increased segregation of students based on religion and culture.

    This is a meticulously documented study for those who are interested in actual research on the impacts of many charters, and the “choice” concept, in general.

    It offers an interesting contrast to the advertising presented by the article above.

  2. Manuel 5 years ago5 years ago

    Meanwhile, back at the farm: L.A. County education officials seek to revoke group's charter By Stephen Ceasar The Los Angeles County Board of Education has notified a South Los Angeles charter school organization that it intends to revoke its charter after a state audit found that administrators funneled millions in state funds to the schools' founder and former director, her relatives and close associates. The county board voted unanimously this month to notify officials of Wisdom Academy for … Read More

    Meanwhile, back at the farm:


    L.A. County education officials seek to revoke group’s charter
    By Stephen Ceasar

    The Los Angeles County Board of Education has notified a South Los Angeles charter school organization that it intends to revoke its charter after a state audit found that administrators funneled millions in state funds to the schools’ founder and former director, her relatives and close associates.

    The county board voted unanimously this month to notify officials of Wisdom Academy for Young Scientists of its intent after a lengthy review of the audit’s findings. A public hearing is scheduled for Oct. 21.

    Meanwhile, the audit’s findings have been turned over to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office, said Kostas Kalaitzidis, a spokesman for the county office of education.

    The audit, which was released in March, details a litany of financial irregularities at the charter school, which investigators described as rife with possible criminal fraud, conflicts of interest and misappropriation of public funds. […]

    Read the rest at http://www.latimes.com/local/education/la-me-wisdom-academy-20140929-story.html.

    The school, BTW, is deemed to be “Below Most Years” by the SSM tool and it reports its 3 year cumulative API growth as -109.

  3. Jim Mordecai 5 years ago5 years ago

    Why must charter school movement focus on excellence? I get that there are charter school advocates such as Jed Wallace that embrace Milton Friedman, American economist's idea of vouchers and charters as providing a market that will result in creating better publicly financed schools by competitive pressure to be excellent. Hasn't Chile's long attempt to implement his model provide the data that shows Milton's concept was junk economic science? The mounting blow-back against charter schools and … Read More

    Why must charter school movement focus on excellence?

    I get that there are charter school advocates such as Jed Wallace that embrace Milton Friedman, American economist’s idea of vouchers and charters as providing a market that will result in creating better publicly financed schools by competitive pressure to be excellent.

    Hasn’t Chile’s long attempt to implement his model provide the data that shows Milton’s concept was junk economic science?

    The mounting blow-back against charter schools and vouchers is basically because excellence is only one value that creates distortions and dehumanization if a multiple of other values are suppressed: treating workers and students like a product on the Walmart shelf just isn’t working out.

    Yet, Jed Wallace tries to double down on this failed concept and resurrect excellence as the guiding light to the path of market-based managed American public education system.

    Saying public schools should be about excellence is being dumb to what the charter school movement has done to workers and students.

    Even if the Jeb Wallaces of the world want to define excellence (student standardized test scores operational surrogate as the goal of public education and Milton Friedman dream come true hope springs from recent events that the tide is turning against the M.F. dreamers.

    Replies

    • Don 5 years ago5 years ago

      That’s some crazy stuff, Jim. I read it over a couple of times just to make sure.

    • FloydThursby1941 5 years ago5 years ago

      Education impacts productivity and our standard of living, no way around that. If we were more educated, we’d be more prosperous, have less poverty and fewer problems. Reducing the divorce rate would also drastically reduce child poverty, but education is probably the single most important determinant not only of economic success but intelligent and inclusive voting/democracy.

    • Gary Ravani 5 years ago5 years ago

      Jim:

      Some are focusing their attention on “excellence” while others, if you read Manuel’s post, are more concerned with “indictment.”

      • Jim Mordecai 5 years ago5 years ago

        Gary: My challenge was for someone to justify a focus on excellence. Excellence is a frame. Too often the frames we use go unchallenged. Indictment is another frame. I like that frame in relation to charter school privatization of public education experiment. In arguing that charter school law as instituted in California is poor public policy, I find charter school scandals demonstrating failure of the fantasy that deregulated charter schools would bring forth … Read More

        Gary:

        My challenge was for someone to justify a focus on excellence. Excellence is a frame. Too often the frames we use go unchallenged.

        Indictment is another frame. I like that frame in relation to charter school privatization of public education experiment. In arguing that charter school law as instituted in California is poor public policy, I find charter school scandals demonstrating failure of the fantasy that deregulated charter schools would bring forth a superior form of delivering government funded education.

        Charter schools were initiated as deregulation of education laws. But, charter school abuses of public funding thieving in education deregulated environment call for greater regulation. Not to curb abuse keeps cost of charters down. Mistreatment of students and misappropriation of education dollars cannot be tolerated.

        At some point the cost of regulating charter school abuses will call into question whether the system of charter schools in California, as presently governed by its law, can be sustained.

        On top of the cost of analysis of deregulated charter school system is the consequence of a second system of education that tends to comparatively produce the outcomes you have listed Gary:

        #1. There is a strong link between school choice programs and an increase in student segregation by race, ethnicity, and income.
        #2. The risk of segregation is a direct reflection of the design of the school choice program.
        #3. Even beyond race, ethnicity, and income, school choice programs result in increased segregation for special education and language-minority students, as well as in increased segregation of students based on religion and culture.

        • Gary Ravani 5 years ago5 years ago

          I agree. Charter people are engaged in a national PR effort at the moment. Like all PR, unfounded claims and hyperbole are part of the game.

          • CarolineSF 5 years ago5 years ago

            Except that’s not new, Gary. It’s the way they’ve rolled all along.

          • Gary Ravani 5 years ago5 years ago

            http://ourfuture.org/20140828/charter-schools-dont-need-an-ad-campaign-they-need-regulation Carolyn: I agree, in general; however, if you hit the link above you can see that there is a NEW "new PR campaign." And the article above hits all the "high points" mentioned. We in the real public schooling sector should have been doing something of the same, only using actual facts and data, for some time now rather than leaving the "commercial" folks, as well as the public school criticism industrial complex, the chance to … Read More

            http://ourfuture.org/20140828/charter-schools-dont-need-an-ad-campaign-they-need-regulation

            Carolyn:

            I agree, in general; however, if you hit the link above you can see that there is a NEW “new PR campaign.” And the article above hits all the “high points” mentioned. We in the real public schooling sector should have been doing something of the same, only using actual facts and data, for some time now rather than leaving the “commercial” folks, as well as the public school criticism industrial complex, the chance to steal a march on us. On the other hand, as the recent annual PDK poll shows regular public schools remain in very high regard as far as the public is concerned. As per usual, the closer the public is to a public school (aka, actually having a child or grandchild in a public school) the higher the opinion of the schools and of teachers. I guess sometimes actual facts, data, and high quality people for themselves without speaking about themselves.

          • FloydThursby1941 5 years ago5 years ago

            You really have to run a comparison controlling for income.

        • Don 5 years ago5 years ago

          From Jim Mordicai: " ...that the tide is turning against the M.F. dreamers." and "The mounting blow-back against charter schools and vouchers." Angry, crude and totally fantastical excerpts of comments on the current state of the American charter movement, but great and entertaining examples of confirmation bias with fatuous if curious syntactical flourishes. Jim, yours and other angry anti-charter voices only grow louder in relationship to the exploding growth of charters nationwide. The blowback is the sound of … Read More

          From Jim Mordicai:

          ” …that the tide is turning against the M.F. dreamers.”

          and “The mounting blow-back against charter schools and vouchers.”

          Angry, crude and totally fantastical excerpts of comments on the current state of the American charter movement, but great and entertaining examples of confirmation bias with fatuous if curious syntactical flourishes.

          Jim, yours and other angry anti-charter voices only grow louder in relationship to the exploding growth of charters nationwide. The blowback is the sound of your own voice screaming futility into the gail that is rocking the foundations of the public and parochial education establishments. Unlike other education struggles, union money has provided no bulwork against the steady advance of charters in step with public education disfavor.

          It isn’t PR that drives the engines of the charter industry as you, Gary, Caroline and Jim would have us believe. It is a profound dissatisfaction with traditional public education that is at the core of the exploding alternative movement. For two decades you’ve been ranting at the evil charter industry, playing political tit for tat, while it has been making inroads inexorably into the once untouched but stale and sclerotic monopoly of public education. Flailing about for two decades you have failed notice that your efforts have not succeeded in stemming the tide that has now grown beyond the point of no return.The public might have taken notice had you alternative solutions to give them. You had the politicians, the money, the unions and the bureaucracy on your side. But instead all you had to give were criticisms of any kind of change.

          • FloydThursby1941 5 years ago5 years ago

            Very true, I find it odd that the union-supporting far left, which is usually so pro reform, pro change, seems to more maniacally against change of any sort than any institution in the nation, liberal or conservative. If Conservative means against any ideas of change, no institution is more Conservative than the teacher's unions. They have monopoly levels of control and are adamantly opposed to every reform movement. I think that was … Read More

            Very true, I find it odd that the union-supporting far left, which is usually so pro reform, pro change, seems to more maniacally against change of any sort than any institution in the nation, liberal or conservative. If Conservative means against any ideas of change, no institution is more Conservative than the teacher’s unions. They have monopoly levels of control and are adamantly opposed to every reform movement. I think that was a strategic mistake. Voters get turned of if there is a problem they are told doesn’t exist. When the left pretended crime didn’t exist, or a problem with welfare, it turned people off. When the right pretends poverty doesn’t exist, or racism/sexism, same thing. The union lost a lot of people by pretending bad teachers don’t exist. I believe if they’d forgotten about the bottom 2-4%, they’d have saved their power, but the defending of that group will ultimately cost them their control. They might have even been able to keep their power forgetting about 1%, because those are the ones who really make them look terrible and turn parents and Citizens against htem.

  4. Miles 5 years ago5 years ago

    The reason some charters are performing better is charters kick out low performing students and behavior problems. Anyone working in a traditional school knows that a few weeks before testing they get a wave of charter school students and to no one's surprise these students score low. Also, every time I get a new students I ask the student where s/he is coming from and if they tell me a charter I know they will … Read More

    The reason some charters are performing better is charters kick out low performing students and behavior problems. Anyone working in a traditional school knows that a few weeks before testing they get a wave of charter school students and to no one’s surprise these students score low. Also, every time I get a new students I ask the student where s/he is coming from and if they tell me a charter I know they will be a discipline problem. Charters have mastered the art of kicking out students and hiding the evidence. For example, they tell a parent that the school is thinking of expelling the student which will look really bad so they give the parent the option of simply removing the student.

  5. TheMorrigan 5 years ago5 years ago

    If I developed my own VAM-like lens (like ASPP/SSM), could I feasibly create a chart that demonstrated better outcomes in whatever I was looking at? While a particular charter high school may appear to have a similar demographic to a TPS high school, when one looks closely at the Technical Guide, one notices that some demographic groups/subgroups are lumped together. Take the EL's and DI's, for instance. Their chart clearly shows them all lumped … Read More

    If I developed my own VAM-like lens (like ASPP/SSM), could I feasibly create a chart that demonstrated better outcomes in whatever I was looking at?

    While a particular charter high school may appear to have a similar demographic to a TPS high school, when one looks closely at the Technical Guide, one notices that some demographic groups/subgroups are lumped together. Take the EL’s and DI’s, for instance. Their chart clearly shows them all lumped together in a single category. However, it is quite evident that some EL’s and DI’s are higher functioning than others. A level 1 EL is very different from a level 4. And a mild to moderate DI is very different from a mild to severe DI.

    Using their CCSA Snapshot, I also doubled check the charter where I used to be principal. I know it only serves high EL’s and full inclusion DI’s. Then I looked at the surrounding school that serves low EL’s and mild to severe DI’s. I noticed that it treats them as equals but they are clearly not VAM-like equals.

    Because of this, I’m not so sure that this reductive and substitution-like lens is as objective or as helpful as the author implies.

    Replies

    • Don 5 years ago5 years ago

      TheMorrigan, when you say DI are you referring to SWD, (students with disabilities)? I understand your skepticism as a charter school opponent and your point is eminently reasonable. However... since this measure was introduced about 4 years ago it hasn't received any research-based criticism that I can find after doing 15 minutes of google searching. You are probably right that it isn't a perfect measure, but it appears to address many of the problems … Read More

      TheMorrigan, when you say DI are you referring to SWD, (students with disabilities)?

      I understand your skepticism as a charter school opponent and your point is eminently reasonable. However… since this measure was introduced about 4 years ago it hasn’t received any research-based criticism that I can find after doing 15 minutes of google searching. You are probably right that it isn’t a perfect measure, but it appears to address many of the problems of the CDE’s more problem-fraught API indices such as the similar schools index.

      Your claim that it might not be entirely accurate is worth noting, but it probably would not change fundamentally the primary purpose of the measure, which is to identify schools on the extreme ends – the highest and lowest performers so as to emulate the best and discard the worst. I don’t think your criticism would change the outcome substantially.

      What might change the outcome would be RFPL identification given the well-reported on and rampant fraud in the system (though people argue over the degree). Is the percentage of fraudulent representation in the large and highly significant low income group equal between charters and TSPs? Do charters through their application processes weed out more or less of improperly and incorrectly identified FRPM? If charters actually had less low income families than reported, they might show an advantage in both the former API and SSM. More stringent application requirements could account for such variation. Inner city prevalence of charters could also play a role to increase or decrease the variation in fraudulent low income designation.

      You might want to read Louis Freedberg’s article of 2011 here:

      http://californiawatch.org/dailyreport/charter-group-aims-identify-lowest-highest-performing-schools-8954

      • TheMorrigan 5 years ago5 years ago

        I am NOT a charter school opponent. If it helps to label me in that petty way, I would say that I am for some and against others; I am for some rules that govern charters and against others. I am for some charter admission policies and against others. Does it really sound like I am a charter opponent? Think of it this way: Because we agree that there should be modifications to charter school … Read More

        I am NOT a charter school opponent. If it helps to label me in that petty way, I would say that I am for some and against others; I am for some rules that govern charters and against others. I am for some charter admission policies and against others. Does it really sound like I am a charter opponent? Think of it this way: Because we agree that there should be modifications to charter school oversight, does that mean you are also a charter opponent? Come on, Don, the world is so much broader than opponent and proponent. You are starting to sound like Floyd.

        I used “DI” and “EL” because that is what the Technical Guide uses.

        Perhaps you are right about “extreme ends.” But perhaps you are wrong, too. The Technical Guide does address this idea as well in the limitations section. So your point was nothing new to me. However, when we do not know the “for sures”, we should be at least minimally skeptical, especially when we are judging worth and value with a public measure that has obvious weaknesses and possible public policy ramifications. The Technical Guide addresses these weaknesses, but the author above does not. You argued before that a writer has an obligation to report on possible counters and address them fully. Yet this author did NOT even imply that they were any weaknesses there. The author states the measure as completely reliable when that isn’t quite the case at all. Shouldn’t that raise your bias flag just a little bit, even by a hair? It gives me pause that you can spot bias so well elsewhere but not here.

        Finally, as someone who has actually worked in a charter and a TPS, I am quite familiar with the possible misappropriation of funds in both. I have personally seen it happen at the district office and I have seen it happen with my charter supervisors. I am also quite aware that comparing TPS and charters requires some extreme twists and leaps and generalizations in logic to make it happen. It doesn’t mean that it cannot be done in a very limited way, but it does mean that we should be at least skeptical of any reductive argument that comes along.

        • Don 5 years ago5 years ago

          TheMorrigan, pardon me for incorrectly identifying you as a charter school opponent. As for your rhetorical argument over proponent/opponent versus everything in between, many people characterize themselves one way or another. For some people the fact that there are gradations doesn't change the fundamental opinions they have as to whether they believe in charters or not. Charter discussions are often existential arguments as opposed, for example, to debate over traditional public school, which are never … Read More

          TheMorrigan, pardon me for incorrectly identifying you as a charter school opponent.

          As for your rhetorical argument over proponent/opponent versus everything in between, many people characterize themselves one way or another. For some people the fact that there are gradations doesn’t change the fundamental opinions they have as to whether they believe in charters or not. Charter discussions are often existential arguments as opposed, for example, to debate over traditional public school, which are never existential debates.

          Moving back to education, the idea about the SSM informing the extremes was not my idea, but something broached in the linked CaliforniaWatch article.

          Regarding your criticisms of Mr. Wallace for not discussing the reliability of the SSM, I did not read anything saying he thought it to be 100% reliable and I don’t think any reasonable people view these sorts of indices as 100% reliable. Rather they use them as tools to discover patterns and to make reasonable predictions and assumptions. I’m no statistician or social scientist but it seems a 100% reliable predictor is an oxymoron. And the article is about using the tool to do just that – predict. For that matter, it isn’t an article specifically about the Similar Schools Measure, but rather it was about how to increase charter school excellence and the SSM was mentioned as a component of CSAA’s efforts to identify schools at the extremes.

          Like you, my first thought was to question the index since it was conceived by the charter school industry. But where in the article does it say “The author states the measure as completely reliable…”? Does the SSM fundamentally serve the purpose for determining which school are among the best and the worst?

          Again, I believe fraudulent FRPM identification would probably dwarf your criticism not only as it applies to the SSM, but as it applies to the LCFF grants and both state and federal categorical funding including T1. Billions of dollars ride on the integrity of the state’s ability to “trust but verify” as they say in LA. I don’t think trust is a good form of oversight and it confounds the meaning the the phrase – “the public trust” .But I digress…

          I suspect the measure does what it set out to do and I haven’t read anything to make me believe it is a hoax of the charter school industry.

          • TheMorrigan 5 years ago5 years ago

            If it makes it easier on you to call me a charter opponent, go right ahead. I completely understand why someone like you would feel the need to do so.

            And I completely agree with the former part of your last sentence about this tool: “I suspect the measure does what it set out to do.”

          • Don 5 years ago5 years ago

            The Morrigan,did you read the apology in the very first sentence of my reply to you?

          • TheMorrigan 5 years ago5 years ago

            Sure. It was right before all of your rhetorical arguments. Why?

    • Don 5 years ago5 years ago

      Neither does the API adjust for different types of ELLs or SWDs, as far as I can tell. There's no breakdown in any of the API technical info on the CDE's API site.Do you know differently? And what would such differentiation look like if it could be done? There are high and low performing students with various disabilities.. If you read the 'Limitations" of the SSM starting on page 15 of the Technical Guide, … Read More

      Neither does the API adjust for different types of ELLs or SWDs, as far as I can tell. There’s no breakdown in any of the API technical info on the CDE’s API site.Do you know differently? And what would such differentiation look like if it could be done? There are high and low performing students with various disabilities..

      If you read the ‘Limitations” of the SSM starting on page 15 of the Technical Guide, an explanation of the Measure’s shortcomings is given.

      As I said, I cannot find a single criticism of the SSM other than your own.That in no way means your criticisms are invalid, but, personally, if the API doesn’t break down types so why claim that the SSM is faulty for doing the same?

      If you have a smoking gun, this isn’t it.

      • TheMorrigan 5 years ago5 years ago

        Did I imply that I agreed with the API? I do not recall ever doing that. Hmmm.

        • Don 5 years ago5 years ago

          You leveled a criticism of the SSM for its classifications but did not fault the API though the same classifications are the same. In fact the critique is a straw man. But it illustrates that you have a bias to apply higher standards to charters. For that matter, one could make a case that we should apply higher standards.

          You also said “the author states the measure as completely reliable” when, in fact, he made no such statement.

          • Don 5 years ago5 years ago

            correction: “the XXXXXX classifications are the same”

          • TheMorrigan 5 years ago5 years ago

            FYI, I do not agree with API either. API has its own problems as well, too. But you are right, Don, API has nothing to do with this post. Who brought it up, BTW? You are also right about the incorrect verb I used. I should have used "treats" or "implies" instead of "states." Read More

            FYI, I do not agree with API either. API has its own problems as well, too. But you are right, Don, API has nothing to do with this post. Who brought it up, BTW?

            You are also right about the incorrect verb I used. I should have used “treats” or “implies” instead of “states.”

          • Don 5 years ago5 years ago

            Bertrand Russell said something to the effect - postulating what we'd like to find out has many advantages: they are the same as the advantages of thievery over honest work. Whether you actually believe Wallace is cooking the books in favor of charters with the use of the SSM or you set out to make it look like he's cooking the books whether he intended to or not, either way with the assertion the burden … Read More

            Bertrand Russell said something to the effect – postulating what we’d like to find out has many advantages: they are the same as the advantages of thievery over honest work.

            Whether you actually believe Wallace is cooking the books in favor of charters with the use of the SSM or you set out to make it look like he’s cooking the books whether he intended to or not, either way with the assertion the burden of proof is yours to make. Yet, all you have provided as evidence is a student characteristic defined wholly inline with the state’s own academic performance metric.So what you’re really saying is that both of these attempts to measure and compare performance are faulty.Yet, you began by pointedly implying in your VAM comment that CCSA’s SSM is an attempt to hoodwink the public with phony science. You are only faulting the API for the same at this time that you’ve been caught making the same kind of one-sided case of which you are accusing Mr. Wallace.

          • Don 5 years ago5 years ago

            correction: NOW that you have been caught

          • TheMorrigan 5 years ago5 years ago

            Actually, Don, I didn't bring up API at all. You did. Because you are using API and suggesting that it is so similar to the SSM, the burden of proof is yours to show how they are similar/different first before I can even enter the arena on this point. Simply asserting that it is does not make it so. Because the Technical Guide does so in a few places, you could easily use this information … Read More

            Actually, Don, I didn’t bring up API at all. You did.

            Because you are using API and suggesting that it is so similar to the SSM, the burden of proof is yours to show how they are similar/different first before I can even enter the arena on this point. Simply asserting that it is does not make it so.

            Because the Technical Guide does so in a few places, you could easily use this information to support your point. But then you will also need to look at the differences (the Technical Guide will not offer you much support here). One big difference is that the SSM looks at the data through multiple years–this is something the API was NOT meant to do according to the CDE. Yet SSM has found a way to make that work even when there are year-to-year demographic differences–now that’s interesting. How do they achieve that? Notice, Don, that I am starting to do your “honest work” here.

            You are obligated to fully explain this connection and point out how it is the same and different because EVEN the Technical Guide points out in a limited fashion why it is NOT “wholly inline” with the API.

            Because I am a nice guy, I will help you out with a difference that I spotted right away: California has included the CMA and the CAPA in its API score. By including these separate tests, the API is (kinda) inclusive of the DI spectrum. SSM’s Technical Guide does not even account for the CMA nor the CAPA–it is probably because most charters do not serve these populations to even offer the CMA nor the CAPA so there is no reason to account for it on their measurement system and that is why all DI’s are considered the same with the SSM. Perhaps they had to do it this way, so they could get their multiple year comparison chart. I do not know.

            I do not think the SSM nor the API is “phony science.” The SSM was created to do what is does and that is not “phony science.” I do agree with the “hoodwinked” part, though.

          • Don 5 years ago5 years ago

            So you agree that you are attempting to make the case that the SSM is hoodwinking the public, but you won't provide anything to demonstrate your assertion other than point out that two student characteristics (EL and SWD) are not broken down further even though the API doesn't break them down? Regarding the CMA, EdSource had an article 3 years back about how the CMA has increased total API scores as it is a … Read More

            So you agree that you are attempting to make the case that the SSM is hoodwinking the public, but you won’t provide anything to demonstrate your assertion other than point out that two student characteristics (EL and SWD) are not broken down further even though the API doesn’t break them down?

            Regarding the CMA, EdSource had an article 3 years back about how the CMA has increased total API scores as it is a much easier test. I’m not commenting on the value of the modified assessment only that,if anything, it makes the API less of a consistent standard. If the SSM does not use CMA then that is to its credit if the logic is to be applied across performance measures.

            I referred to those two student characteristics as in-line, not the whole API, otherwise there would be no point to the SSM.

            Don is done.

  6. Educator 5 years ago5 years ago

    Can you comment on whether attrition rates are taken into account when comparing charters to traditional public schools? For example, if a charter has students with really high standardized test scores, but 30%-50% of the students end up not graduating in the school (cohort attrition rate) and the charter does not replace the students who leave with those on a waitlist, is this taken into account in some way?

    Replies

    • CarolineSF 5 years ago5 years ago

      Definitely not, or there’d be a groundswell demanding that all the KIPP schools be shut down.

      • Don 5 years ago5 years ago

        Caroline, whether you are bashing charters using the tragic death of two children that had nothing to do with any school negligence or applying outlier examples of charter failures from the just past the turn of the last century, it is clear that you don't want any charters at all, be they good or otherwise. You have painted yourself into a corner and have lost any authority on the subject due to your … Read More

        Caroline, whether you are bashing charters using the tragic death of two children that had nothing to do with any school negligence or applying outlier examples of charter failures from the just past the turn of the last century, it is clear that you don’t want any charters at all, be they good or otherwise. You have painted yourself into a corner and have lost any authority on the subject due to your complete intransigence on the subject. Have you ever asked yourself why, despite your protestations, parents and their students are applying to charters in record numbers? Are they all dupes of a giant charter lie or are there some other forces at work? I guess I already know your answer – the conspiratorial charter industry has deluded the public into believing in the great charter promise. That charters are far more diverse and far more unlike each other than TPSs is of no consequence in your “logic”.

        As for KIPP, I look at the issue very differently than you do. On a fundamental level the purpose of the relaxation of ed code in the charter law is to create more school choice. There’s nothing in that code, charter or otherwise, that prevents expulsion through the properly applied processes. If a charter has a high behavioral bar that is understood from the get-go and the student does not toe the line, the basic mission of the school is jeopardized should the student remain. If you have an issue with the charter law don’t blame it on the school. If all schools have to abide by the same code of conduct, (which in TPSs seems to imply no code at all), there’s no point in having charter schools such as KIPP. Proponents of lower behavioral standards in traditional public schools create greater demand for charters among those who believe that effective schooling is impossible without clearly stated behavioral requirements and the means to effectively implement them.

        Nertheless many schools are as liberal in their discipline model as any traditional school. Myson attends a charter and, believe me,they have plenty of serious behavioral issues. I have not heard of a single student counseled out or expelled from that school. When you or Miles apply your broad brush to the discussion and contend that charters kick out the underperformers, I can tell you from personal experience that is, at a minimum, incorrrect. When students do leave, charter opponents like to attribute that to a concerted effort to increase test scores. When students are expelled from public schools is the same also true?

        Many years ago I started out a BIG charter promoter believing they could do no wrong. Then reality set in. I see there are excesses in the charter law and at some schools and I see there is also value for students from the charter experience. Given what’s going on in traditional public education, what else is new? Your efforts to denigrate the charter phenomenon falls on deaf ears as the movement grows by leaps and bounds.

        • CarolineSF 5 years ago5 years ago

          I’ll let the rest of that comment lie, but the death of two students at the long-defunct Urban Pioneer (who fell into a ravine in the dark on a school camping trip with no adult supervisors present) was directly due to school negligence. It’s jaw-dropping that anyone would say otherwise.

          • Joe Nathan 5 years ago5 years ago

            Caroline has no problem permitting district schools with admissions tests – or sending her own to such a quasi private public school. Of course the death of a child is a tragedy, no matter whether at a district or charter.

          • FloydThursby1941 5 years ago5 years ago

            Actually to be fair, Caroline opposes this. I have no problem with it. Almost all kids who have top grades in middle school and top test scores and go public, go to Lowell, but Caroline's kids qualified and she chose another school. She's written about this. I chose Lowell as I wanted my kids to be challenged and be in school with (almost) all the hardest working middle school kids who love … Read More

            Actually to be fair, Caroline opposes this. I have no problem with it. Almost all kids who have top grades in middle school and top test scores and go public, go to Lowell, but Caroline’s kids qualified and she chose another school. She’s written about this. I chose Lowell as I wanted my kids to be challenged and be in school with (almost) all the hardest working middle school kids who love and value education the most. If SF didn’t have Lowell, we’d have more white flight, which is a huge problem in SFUSD, to Fremont Mission, Palo Alto, and other districts.

          • CarolineSF 5 years ago5 years ago

            Joe, you've been trying to "gotcha!" me with that for years, and making it personal, neither of which is effective or gentlemanly. Behaving like a mensch would suit you much better. "El" actually made a case that sums up my view perfectly, applying it as well to audition and selective-admission public schools. "I have no problem with charter schools cherry picking kids and improving their outcomes as long as we all understand that is what … Read More

            Joe, you’ve been trying to “gotcha!” me with that for years, and making it personal, neither of which is effective or gentlemanly. Behaving like a mensch would suit you much better.

            “El” actually made a case that sums up my view perfectly, applying it as well to audition and selective-admission public schools. “I have no problem with charter schools cherry picking kids and improving their outcomes as long as we all understand that is what is happening, and we’re not using it as a club against others or pretending that the strategy is scaleable. The trick is doing so while also increasing opportunity for kids who remain in their neighborhood schools.”

          • Don 5 years ago5 years ago

            I had to splash my face with cold water when Caroline said she agreed with El that there's no problem with cherry-pickin' done in the light of day. She's been commenting and bad-mouthing charters for years on end for alleged cherry-picking. Now is she claiming such creaming is OK as long as the charters are up front about it? How does being up front help the students in TPSs who, under this scenario, … Read More

            I had to splash my face with cold water when Caroline said she agreed with El that there’s no problem with cherry-pickin’ done in the light of day. She’s been commenting and bad-mouthing charters for years on end for alleged cherry-picking. Now is she claiming such creaming is OK as long as the charters are up front about it? How does being up front help the students in TPSs who, under this scenario, could be impacted negatively by having the higher performing students creamed off their schools? Is this is new liberal I-got-mine rationale? It OK to damage their educational prospects as long as we’re honest about damaging them? And wouldn’t it be very irresponsible for the district trustee’s to sanction a policy that allows such creaming to take place if indeed it does? I think it would, yet SFUSD allows Lowell to do just that though charter probably don’t since they mostly serve students placed through lotteries.

            Floyd wants us to believe that we must have Lowell otherwise we’ll have more white flight. Isn’t he the guy that’s been saying whites are racists for failing to go to their less than stellar neighborhood schools and fleeing SF public education for the privates or the suburbs? His kids are at Lowell because he wants them to be there and nor be as at his less than stellar local school. Please pass the cream.

          • FloydThursby1941 5 years ago5 years ago

            Don's been trying to convince me for years that I am somehow obligated not to send my kids to Lowell but to send them to an average local school because I talk about issues of segregation and equity. I believe it's OK to have magnet schools with an entrance policy based on competition based on grades and/or test scores. I also think high school is the time to differentiate. I don't believe … Read More

            Don’s been trying to convince me for years that I am somehow obligated not to send my kids to Lowell but to send them to an average local school because I talk about issues of segregation and equity. I believe it’s OK to have magnet schools with an entrance policy based on competition based on grades and/or test scores. I also think high school is the time to differentiate. I don’t believe having a school which could be half white, half black, right in the middle of an all white neighborhood, and is 2% white, and is an elementary school, is a sign of being a liberal City. I wish elementary and middle schools were more integrated. I think most avoid integration. I wish we did a better job of integrating schools as we did 15 years ago, but I think integrating high schools and universities will require more money on tutoring and equalize study hours. I don’t feel I should be censored if I don’t move to the worst neighborhood possible and put my kids in the worst school I can find. It’s still a problem.

            It’s also a fallacy as an ad homimen attack. It doesn’t matter who says what, it could be a person without kids. It’s a fact. Our schools are more segregated than those in Texas and Mississippi. San Francisco is not liberal though it pretends to be. It’s very conservative, more conservative than Texas in terms of integration.

            Lowell encourages hard work. It is an opportunity for the 41% of it’s students on free and reduced lunch. It is open to all. It is the only school in SF with significant numbers of extremely rich and extremely poor people in class together. Brown v. Topeka has been evaded for the most part. Not at Lowell.

          • CarolineSF 5 years ago5 years ago

            Then you haven't been understanding my comments, Don. If cherry-picking impoverished, at-risk students and moving them away from schools attended by their less-motivated, more-troubled peers improves the lot of the cherry-picked, that's something we really, really, really need to look at closely. I've said this for years. But the cherry-picking, while obvious to anyone who isn't going la-la-la-la-I-refuse-to-hear-you, is still indignantly denied by the official voices, which makes it very difficult to scrutinize how … Read More

            Then you haven’t been understanding my comments, Don.

            If cherry-picking impoverished, at-risk students and moving them away from schools attended by their less-motivated, more-troubled peers improves the lot of the cherry-picked, that’s something we really, really, really need to look at closely. I’ve said this for years.

            But the cherry-picking, while obvious to anyone who isn’t going la-la-la-la-I-refuse-to-hear-you, is still indignantly denied by the official voices, which makes it very difficult to scrutinize how and how well it improves the educational outcomes of the cherry-picked.

            I understand the issues with selective schools. It’s complicated. I’m not being inconsistent, and Joe Nathan’s repeated “gotchas” issued from the distant reaches of St. Paul are
            pointless. I don’t see why it’s about me (and my kids) anyway — surely there are more substantive points to contribute to the discussion.

          • FloydThursby1941 5 years ago5 years ago

            I have to say, Caroline's right again. They should be honest about it if it happens, and self-selection can even occur as more motivated parents enter the lotteries, even if most don't get in. The goal should be to create a world where every parent has such a desire. Also, her situation doesn't have a bearing on her intellectual point. You can have any opinion even if you do the opposite. … Read More

            I have to say, Caroline’s right again. They should be honest about it if it happens, and self-selection can even occur as more motivated parents enter the lotteries, even if most don’t get in. The goal should be to create a world where every parent has such a desire. Also, her situation doesn’t have a bearing on her intellectual point. You can have any opinion even if you do the opposite. Ad hominem attacks are not valid. This is clear to anyone who studies basic Logic. The intention of ad hominem attacks is essentially, adult bullying. It’s one adult telling another, essentially threatening another, if you talk about certain things, if you express certain opinions, I’ll make you regret it by embarrassing you in an ad hominem attack. It’s essentially an attempt to silence someone an attempt to censor someone you disagree with. And it is logically irrelevant to the issue at hand. I think this board would be better without ad hominem attacks.

          • Don 5 years ago5 years ago

            Caroline, you might be able to convince Floyd even if he really doesn't understand what you're saying, but asserting cherry-picking by charters as a given is your way of avoiding having to make a case for it and to advance your "Overton Window' to the left by asserting your allegation as fact. So I ask you - how do charter schools in SFUSD, for example, accomplish this feat? Most charters are over oversubscribed … Read More

            Caroline, you might be able to convince Floyd even if he really doesn’t understand what you’re saying, but asserting cherry-picking by charters as a given is your way of avoiding having to make a case for it and to advance your “Overton Window’ to the left by asserting your allegation as fact. So I ask you – how do charter schools in SFUSD, for example, accomplish this feat? Most charters are over oversubscribed and by law run lotteries (through the authorizer)(100,000 waiting list) Small differences in application processes (submitting an essay for example) hardly meet the criteria of creaming as large differences at Lowell or SOTA do with their substantial demands. That charters educate more underprivileged students than TPSs is also informative.

            If I don’t understand your comments it is because you have claimed for years that cherry-picking is rampant in charters and that it negatively impacts TPSs, yet you agreed with El that you have no problem with charters cherry-picking as long as it doesn’t negatively impact remaining students. There seems to be a basic A=B, B=C, A=C logic shortage in your latest turn of thought.

            Floyd, I’m not engaging in an ad hominem fallacy ignoring your facts based upon the your personal exception. What I’m doing is questioning why it is you feel you can impugn thousands of anonymous traditional public school refugees as racists and do so on a regular basis, particularly if they are white, while taking offense at being singled out for doing the same? Remember, I’m not labeling you a racist, just a hypocrite. Apparently there is no ethical problem for you to classify certain school choice groups as racists even though that action is the very definition of racism.

            As for your “interesting” and self-serving contention that high school is the time to differentiate, I take that to mean you believe in some kind of socially engineered diversity at the elementary and middle school level, but not at the high school level. That certainly is convenient to make your case for Lowell as a creamery.

            As for your newly acquired knowledge of self-selecting – Newsflash! SFUSD has been running a lottery based on an algorithm that combines self-selection with a random lottery. But that’s not what Caroline is talking about. When she refers to charters as self-selecting she’s not talking about the applicants choosing the school but the school choosing the applicants. CSAA’s SSM was created IMHO to adjust schoolwide scores in relation to the demographics of the school so charters could be judged on a fair playing field. The temporary testing hiatus aside, whether the former API or SSM are a fair depiction of relative scores, I don’t know. But I haven’t read any critiques of the SSM methodology.

            As for Ann’s snippy insult, my son chose Lowell, not me. I counseled him to look beyond Lowell and we did. But he was old enough to decide for himself what he wanted. Floyd pursued Lowell for his kids.

          • CarolineSF 5 years ago5 years ago

            OK, I'll reply to Don. I don't know if this will show up right after his post. Don: Re "... advance your “Overton Window’ to the left ..." Caroline: It's not "leftist" to be a charter critic. It's just not being susceptible to hype and flackery. Lots of leftists love charters, at least in concept, because "whoopee, no rules." I remember being startled, when Al Franken was big news, that he made glowing, admiring comments about … Read More

            OK, I’ll reply to Don. I don’t know if this will show up right after his post.

            Don: Re “… advance your “Overton Window’ to the left …”
            Caroline: It’s not “leftist” to be a charter critic. It’s just not being susceptible to hype and flackery. Lots of leftists love charters, at least in concept, because “whoopee, no rules.” I remember being startled, when Al Franken was big news, that he made glowing, admiring comments about charter schools, but then I learned that that admiration was widespread on the left.

            Don: “How do charter schools in SFUSD, for example, accomplish this feat (cherry picking)?”
            Caroline: Various ways; various admissions procedures and requirements depending on the school and the year: a test as part of the process (as with the KIPP schools, in the past if not now (this isn’t known since the widespread attitude is la-la-la-I-can’t-hear-you)); very long applications; required essays; required recommendations; an intake interview; signed contracts for this ‘n’ that. I know families who’ve had charters refuse to accept their applications. They haff vays.

            Don: “Most charters are oversubscribed and by law run lotteries (through the authorizer)(100,000 waiting list).”
            Caroline: What did I just say about hype and flackery? SOME charters are presumably genuinely oversubscribed, though how would we know? Any proof? Many/most/all CLAIM to be oversubscribed. Some are known to claim publicly to be oversubscribed while desperately recruiting to fill their seats.

            Don: “Small differences in application processes (submitting an essay for example) hardly meet the criteria of creaming…”
            Caroline: Oh yes they do, when the result (intentional or not) is to ensure that the most challenging, troubled, low-functioning students are nowhere near the place.

            Don: “That charters educate more underprivileged students than TPSs is also informative.” Caroline: IF that’s true at all, don’t forget that TPSs serve many kids in middle-class and wealthy communities that aren’t interested in charters and aren’t targets for charter operators. The charter sector DOES largely focus on low-income communities. That’s where the cherry-picking and creaming come in. But you can’t make any judgments at all from that sweeping number.

            Don: “You have claimed for years that cherry-picking is rampant in charters and that it negatively impacts TPSs, yet you agreed with El that you have no problem with charters cherry-picking as long as it doesn’t negatively impact remaining students.”
            Caroline: IF they were honest about it and IF it didn’t negatively impact the remaining students, I would at least think it’s an important issue to look at if it benefits the at-risk kids who survive the cherry-picking.

            Don: “When she refers to charters as self-selecting she’s not talking about the applicants choosing the school but the school choosing the applicant.”
            Caroline: Both. There is significant self-selection, and in some/many cases, selection as well.

          • FloydThursby1941 5 years ago5 years ago

            Nationwide, this is more true than in SF, where everyone has to apply to any public school, which is very unique. However, there are some issues with selectivity here, but you can say, the Harlem Zone success is partly from the fact that the parents who care send their kids into the lottery. However, I think this is more than compensated by the fact that students tend to come from poorer and more … Read More

            Nationwide, this is more true than in SF, where everyone has to apply to any public school, which is very unique. However, there are some issues with selectivity here, but you can say, the Harlem Zone success is partly from the fact that the parents who care send their kids into the lottery. However, I think this is more than compensated by the fact that students tend to come from poorer and more disadvantaged backgrounds. No one is proposing making Palo Alto high a charter school. The strongest predictor of academic success is still education of the mother and family income, which is why getting average results from kids living in Harlem and the Bronx is impressive. Clearly, when you have the right to fire teachers, you are going to get harder work and better quality. Guarantee any profession lifelong employment outside of extreme malfeasance and you’ll see a decline. Look at waiters in Europe, far worse than here, despite many professions being more productive. It’s not lifelong but much more solid than here legally.

            As for Lowell, personally I don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t choose it unless their child has certain disabilities like dyslexia. It is looked down upon by many who send their kids to worse schools, I’ve heard people in Pacific Heights say it’s “too Asian” and send kids to SI, which is far worse, and these same people won’t consider Cobb, which is mostly African American, or mostly Latino schools. That’s basically saying all a school can do to be good is be white, AA or L schools are beneath consideration and you can’t get a good education there, but if a school is mostly Asian and the kids statistically get a better education than those at 30k private schools, then that’s wrong also somehow.

            Those who say they got into Lowell and didn’t go have to be taken with a grain of salt. It is hip to criticize what is best. In SF, Google offered free WiFi to all, and Getty and Lucas offered museums, and we rejected it due to anti success anger jealousy. Maufas of the school board made a big deal about her daughter rejecting Lowell to be more balanced, but she went to a school with lower after school participation, as Lowell beats every school save SOTA, public or private, in after school participation in sports and clubs, yet gets criticized for being too narrow. Her daughter did mediocre in high school and didn’t finish college, which 99.6% of Lowell students do, so I doubt here experience at Lowell would have amounted to anything more than transferring out. Maybe 1% are telling the truth, so instead of the top 15%, Lowell gets 15 of the top 16 or 17. Those who say they rejected belong in the same category of suspicion as those who say they ended their last relationship, Cuban Americans who say they owned millions of dollars of beachfront property before Castro, elderly French people who claim to have had an active role in the French resistance and those who claim to have rejected Harvard for San Francisco State.

          • FloydThursby1941 5 years ago5 years ago

            Lowell students get more credit for being self-made from colleges and do better in college so I think parents who choose private or other schools over Lowell are making a mistake, letting their kids spend 4 key developmental years not developing a 21st Century work ethic, skills and knowledge, not to mention Lowell's unique history as the oldest school west of the Mississippi. I do think we as a society fail to look in the mirror … Read More

            Lowell students get more credit for being self-made from colleges and do better in college so I think parents who choose private or other schools over Lowell are making a mistake, letting their kids spend 4 key developmental years not developing a 21st Century work ethic, skills and knowledge, not to mention Lowell’s unique history as the oldest school west of the Mississippi.

            I do think we as a society fail to look in the mirror and act like racism is only in the past, or the South. There is a reason virtually every school over 30% black and Latino gets the label of “bad school” by the white community and middle class/genteel community as a whole and kids in San Francisco and Oakland are less likely to go to public schools, which means integration, than kids in all white areas like Orinda, Saratoga/Los Gatos, or Marin. There’s a reason there’s white flight away from Asian areas like Cupertino rather than a resolve to have their kids work harder to keep up, as was documented in the Wall Street Journal. We are not as liberal as we think we are. The teachers are the same, it is the children parents are avoiding, whatever label they put on it. Concern with common core, testing, methods, a special nature class, bad teachers, trees in the suburbs, these come up far more with parents faced with sending their kids to a school over 30% black and Latino. Over 75% of California public schools are over 30% black and Latino combined, yet under 5% of white kids in the State attend such schools, and it doesn’t change much when they are across the street (Cobb), far away (Marin) or even in a situation where elementary schools are highly segregated and stratified yet whites move to private for middle and high school as they become more integrated (Oakland). Whites consistently in 2014 avoid integration, while publicly praising it every year for the anniversary of Brown v. Topeka. We fail to live up to our values, and no City is an exception, or very few, perhaps Berkeley.

        • el 5 years ago5 years ago

          Don, I’m not Caroline, but for the record I have no problem with charter schools cherry picking kids and improving their outcomes as long as we all understand that is what is happening, and we’re not using it as a club against others or pretending that the strategy is scaleable. The trick is doing so while also increasing opportunity for kids who remain in their neighborhood schools.

          • Don 5 years ago5 years ago

            El, I'm not Caroline either, but probably like her I'm more than a little surprised that you would accept the idea of cherry-picking even if it is understood from the get-go. Few things are as damaging to the remaining schools as creaming off the highest performing students to go to magnet or charter schools. San Francisco's Lowell High School illustrates the problem well. Though my own son attends this academic merit-based magnet school and I … Read More

            El, I’m not Caroline either, but probably like her I’m more than a little surprised that you would accept the idea of cherry-picking even if it is understood from the get-go. Few things are as damaging to the remaining schools as creaming off the highest performing students to go to magnet or charter schools.

            San Francisco’s Lowell High School illustrates the problem well. Though my own son attends this academic merit-based magnet school and I cannot deny that the school delivers great opportunity to its students, it is also clear to me that creaming off much of the top 20% of high school students damages the academic diversity of the other high schools in the district. This pretty much goes without saying.

            I don’t want to go far off topic with this tangent, so suffice is to say, charter supporter or not, I don’t think any charters or traditionals should have application processes that directly or indirectly selects students on the basis of characteristics, including preferences for certain subgroups. In that regard and back to your comment, we don’t have neighborhood schools in SFUSD, so students and families are at the whim of a lottery system. The “choice” system here is only really choice if you’re willing to consider 10 or 20 schools. For that matter many applicants don’t even get 1 or their 20 choices. Knowing that in advance families look to the charter schools. Lowell or Sota which have separate application processes to increase their placement opportunities.

            The issue of attrition/expulsion is a separate from application. There I agree with your basic premise – “as long as we all understand that is what is happening.” A school like KIPP provides a strong structure. Students who sign on but don’t deliver on their end of the contract jeopardize the mission. If the attrition increases the school level outcomes ( test scores) that is a natural by-product of effectively implementing the mission and enhancing a strong school culture for the benefit of those who do keep up the bargain. To the extent that any charter school would counsel out students for no other reason than low test scores, that seems entirely abusive and destructive to TSPs. This does occur most notoriously in some Chicago charters and whether proper oversight is in place to prevent such abuse here in California is doubtful. But unlike Caroline I wouldn’t use the possibility and potential for improper and planned attrition as a reason to throw the charter baby out with the charter bathwater. I’m more inclined to want greater charter oversight. This notion that greater oversight will make charters just like traditional public schools is so much bunk. Naive as it might sound, the mission of our public schools is to serve the public and necessary oversight goes without saying. (Do you hear that Jerry Brown? LCFF? LCAP?) The charter law can provide plenty of flexibility from the vast bulk of the Ed Code without emulating the formative era of justice of the Wild West

          • Ann 5 years ago5 years ago

            Yup. If ya’ll didn’t have double standards, you’d have none…..