East Side Charter & NYC Success Academy Benefit Immensely From Attrition & Proficiency Scores

On Diane Ravitch’s blog, she wrote an article today based on an editorial in the Wall Street Journal about the attrition rate at the Success Academy in Harlem.  The editorial, by Michael Mulgrew, the President of the United Federation of Teachers in NYC, pointed out Success Academy 13 in Harlem has very high attrition rates and high-needs children frequently leave the school.  This puts the school at an advantage in terms of proficiency scores on standardized testing.

Two months ago, Nelia Dolan pointed out that in one year, East Side Charter in Wilmington had 62 children in one grade, and their scores were lower on DCAS.  The scores dramatically improved the next two years, however that same group of kids was reduced to 29.  This illusion of improvement plays out constantly in Delaware and across America.  Success is only as great as the true story, and the story by Mulgrew gives some startling facts:

“While Ms. Moskowitz cites a recent report from the city’s Independent Budget Office about student attrition in charters, she neglects to mention an earlier IBO report that found that it is the less successful students who tend to leave New York City charters. And as Princess Lyles and Dan Clark note “Keeping Precious Charter-School Seats Filled,” op-ed, Feb. 3), failure to fill these seats allows a school to maintain “the illusion of success,” as the percentage of proficient students rises.”

As Governor Markell continues to compare the six priority schools in Wilmington to East Side Charter and Booker T. Washington Elementary School in Dover, he forgets these types of facts.  Booker T., I recently found out, also holds the district’s gifted and talented program for elementary schools in the district.

To read the full story on Mulgrew’s editorial response to Success Academy’s Eva Moscowitz, please go here: http://dianeravitch.net/2015/02/13/mulgrew-disagrees-with-eva-about-charter-cherry-picking/

Say, didn’t one of Delaware’s biggest charter supporter also write an editorial about the myth of cherry-picking in Delaware charter schools?  I seem to recall that….

Delaware House of Representatives Leadership Has Very Strong Reaction on DOE Letter to Christina about Priority Schools

The Delaware General Assembly House of Representatives leadership has issued a statement to all members of the House concerning the Delaware Department of Education letter to the Christina School District about their priority schools.

From: Finnigan, Sean (LegHall)
Sent: Thursday, February 12, 2015 4:48 PM
To: Finnigan, Sean (LegHall)
Subject: Memo on Behalf of House Leadership regarding Christina School District

 

To:                  House Democratic Caucus Members

 

From:             Representative Pete Schwartzkopf

                        Representative Valerie Longhurst

                        Representative John Viola

Date:              2/12/2015

Re:                  Christina School District Priority Schools

During the past two days, several caucus members have contacted leadership expressing concerns about the Department of Education’s letter to the Christina School District (which is attached). Thank you for contacting us. We wanted to update you on what actions we took and where the situation currently is.

On Tuesday, Secretary of Education Mark Murphy sent a letter to Christina School District saying that the district’s Board of Education is not in compliance with the Priority School program. As a result, Secretary Murphy gave district leaders until February 27 to decide on one of following options for its three priority schools: closure or restructuring, either as a charter school or under an education management organization. The letter also detailed the Wilmington Education Advisory Group’s recommendation to redraw Christina’s school district lines and close the noncontiguous Wilmington portion of Christina’s district in the city. The suggestion was that doing so could have an effect on “the planning process for Christina’s Priority Schools moving forward.”

Caucus leadership held a conference call with staff to discuss this issue and the concerns that several of you raised about this letter. We had multiple conversations with the governor’s office about the issue and had decided to send a letter to the governor asking that the Department of Education to extend the fast-approaching February 27 deadline. In part, the letter would have noted that forcing a short turnaround for Christina to make a decision would not result in a productive outcome, and it could have a negative impact on school referendums that are taking place. We also planned to ask the governor to convene a group of district, DOE stakeholders to reach a decision on this issue. The letter would have requested that the Chairs of the House and Senate Education committees be included in the negotiations to help facilitate the discussion, and to ensure that each caucus received accurate accounts of the progress of the negotiations. 

Late Wednesday evening, we learned that the Christina School Board voted at its Tuesday meeting to support the Wilmington Education Advisory Group’s recommendation to close the Wilmington portion Christina’s district (a copy of that resolution is also attached). When they learned of this, the governor’s office told us that the February 27 deadline no longer applied because Christina had pledged to work with the state to implement the WEAC redistricting recommendation.

Currently, we are communicating with the governor’s office about what they foresee as the next steps. Here’s what we do know:

·         Any redistricting process will require action by the General Assembly.

·         Any redistricting process will take multiple years to implement.

·         Any redistricting process is a complicated process that will involve a lot of discussions about finances and revenue, and it may require a significant amount of state money to implement.

Most importantly, we need to recognize and remember that when we talk about redistricting these Christina School District schools, we are talking about not just the physical schools, but hundreds of teachers who will be unsure of their future, and thousands of students whose educational future is at stake. Whatever we do in the coming weeks and months, our focus must be on what’s best for all of them, as well as the state of Delaware.

Please do not hesitate to contact any of us in leadership if you have questions, concerns or suggestions.

What Are Evidence-Based Practices and Policies in Education?

This is a must-read! Anyone who cares about education needs to read this.

radical eyes for equity

The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!

“To a Mouse,” Robert Burns

If John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men offers a fictional dramatization of Scottish poet Robert Burn’s dire warning in poetry, above, then the mangled federal education policy popularly known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB) may be a top candidate for real-world proof of Burns continuing to be right 230 years later.

Heralded as bi-partisan and bold, NCLB has been unable to manage its central directive: scientifically based policy and practice in education.

The wider accountability paradigm of education reform driven by standards and high-stakes tests and NCLB have proven to be failures, but with the reauthorization of ESEA (NCLB) now on the table, those failures provide ample evidence for how to move forward with education reform and policy.

A policy memo from…

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