Selected readings on US charter schools
According to data released from the N.C. Department of Instruction earlier this month, the Leland-area school–which serves students on both sides of the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge–also saw scores higher than the state average.
Across North Carolina, performance dropped dramatically in 2012-13 due to an increase in accountability standards to match the new Common Core curriculum that was adopted in 2010, according to local public school officials.
Overall, 44.7 percent of North Carolina students were considered proficient on tests in reading, science and math.
Although Charter Day does not follow the Common Core curriculum, opting instead for what founder Baker Mitchell calls a “traditional classical” approach, 58.3 percent of students at that school were proficient on those same tests. Established in 2000, Charter Day now has approximately 900 students enrolled in kindergarten through eighth grade.
Brunswick County’s composite was 42.4 percent, and New Hanover’s was 53 percent.
“I believe that the new national [Common Core] standards constitute a gigantic educational experiment, with the future of our children at stake, and we…are not going to gamble with the education of our students,” Mitchell said. ”Therefore, we will continue to rely on the tried and true classical approaches.”
North Carolina charter schools are not required to teach the Common Core curriculum but are subject to the same tests. Mitchell said the “unproven standards” inherent in the Common Core–a comprehensive set of math and English standards for all grade levels that was adopted by North Carolina and 39 other states in 2010–were now driving conventional public schools.
He said Charter Day’s performance on the Common Core assessments shows that the school’s approach is working.
Charter Day saw a math proficiency score of 58.4 percent, well above the state average of 42.4 percent. Brunswick County Schools had a score of 38 percent and New Hanover, 51.5 percent.
In reading, 54.9 percent of Charter Day students were considered proficient, compared to 50.9 percent in New Hanover County and 43.8 percent in Brunswick County. The state average in that subject area was 43.9 percent.
Science scores for the charter school were at 66.3 percent proficient, significantly higher than the state average of 52 percent. Forty-five percent of Brunswick County students were proficient in science, and New Hanover County Schools scored a proficiency rating of 62.3 percent.
Charter Day School is operated by Roger Bacon Academy, which also runs the newly opened Douglass Academy in Wilmington, as well as Columbus Charter in Whiteville. The nonprofit corporation plans to open a second charter school in southeastern Brunswick County in 2014.
Source: Port City Daily