Selected readings on US charter schools
CLEVELAND, Ohio – Charter schools matched up just fine on state report cards, thank you, to other big-city schools, the Ohio Alliance of Public Charter Schools reports.
Earlier this week, we showed results of a Fordham Institute study that concludes that charter schools fell short of the Big 8 city school districts – Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo and Youngstown – on this year’s state report cards.
But the Alliance notes that that’s not an apples-to-apples comparison. When you match charter schools up against individual schools in those districts, the charters’ performance looks a lot better – often better than the district schools.
The Alliance provided charts showing how charters performed against Big 8 schools on both achievement (Performance Index, or PI) and progress (value-added), the two main measures that educators and others are using since the state did not give overall grades to districts or schools this year.
For Performance Index, the Alliance found the weighted average – 80.3 – for all of the schools in the Big 8 districts. It then looked at the number of students in district schools with a PI above that average and the number of students at schools below. It did the same for charters.
The resulting pie charts above show a greater percentage of charter students at better city schools than the percentage of district students.
A few things to note about these findings: The weighted PI score of 80.3 is based on the PI score of each district school in Big 8 cities weighted by the number of students they have. The distribution on the pie chart is not split down the middle because schools close to the average have to be assigned to one side of the other.
In addition, the Alliance excluded statewide online-only schools, since those draw students from all over, not just the home city. The Alliance excluded dropout recovery schools – as did the earlier Fordham analysis – since the state doesn’t measure them the same way as other schools.
And the Alliance excluded several charter schools with a very high percentage of special education students, such that the state doesn’t subject them to the same rules for closure for poor performance.
Fordham included those schools in its analysis, said Fordham researcher Aaron Churchill, because many Big 8 schools also have large numbers of special education students.
The Alliance includes these special education schools, however, in its look at value-added scores – the state’s measure of academic progress, of whether a student makes a year’s worth of progress over a year.
The chart from the Alliance shows greater percentages of charter schools receiving high grades on value-added than district schools in Big 8 cities.
Source: Cleveland.com – by Patrick O’Donnell, The Plain Dealer