Thursday, April 30, 2015

Ohio Charters Just Don't Work, Part II

Yesterday, I went over how charter failures hurt kids in local school districts, as well as how much worse Ohio charters perform compared with those districts. Today, I'm going to deal with some of the excuses for charter school failures.

Claim: Charter schools struggle because their populations are so much more challenging than districts'.

Fact: While charter schools do have higher percentages of students in poverty and minorities, they have smaller percentages of special education children.

But here's the deal: Charters do worse on the report card than districts with greater challenges. So that means that while charters' poor performance compared with districts overall can perhaps be explained by more challenging populations, districts with greater challenges are doing better. So charters are not, on the whole, doing a better job serving our state's most challenging students than districts with more challenges than the charter faces.

Here are the performance comparison between charters and districts with greater percentages of poverty, special education and minorities.

In every category, districts with higher percentages of poverty, special education and minorities have a greater percentage of As, Bs and Cs.

So, again, charter schools do have higher percentages of these challenging populations than districts overall, except special ed where the typical Ohio district has a higher percentage. But even districts that are facing greater challenges, Ohio districts outperform charter schools and their less challenging populations of students.

Claim: Charter schools should be only compared with Ohio's urban districts because they have similar populations.

Fact: Ohio's urban districts face greater challenges than Ohio's charter schools. Here are the percentages of poverty, special education and minorities in both sectors:

As you can see, charters have slightly higher poverty rate, but far fewer special education children and far fewer minorities than the urban districts.

Yet despite urban districts' greater overall challenges, urban districts actually score higher on the state's proficiency metric -- the Performance Index Score, which is most influenced by demographic challenges.

In addition, 45% of the children in Ohio charter schools do not come from the state's urban core. So it is not really fair to compare overall charter performance, only 55% of which comes from the state's urban core, with the overall performance in the state's urban core.

Tomorrow: Even building-level data shows that Ohio's public schools do better