Friday, February 26, 2016

New Report Card: Greater Percentage of Urban Buildings Meet High-Quality Charter Definition Than Charters

There has been lots of discussion recently about how many charter schools meet the state's definition of a "high-quality" school. The primary state "high-quality" definition is a school with a student growth grade of A or B on the state report card and a performance index (proficiency) grade of C or higher. There are a couple other types of definitions (allowing a charter to receive a B or higher on student growth while showing three years of improvement on performance index, even if it's below a C). But if we want to look at the most exclusive definition, it is the A or B in growth and at least a C in performance index.

Even though about 1/2 of charter students do not come from the state's Big 8 Urban districts (Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo, Youngstown), I thought it might be illuminating to use the new state report cards to see how many charters and how many Big 8 urban buildings meet that most exclusive definition.

The results are fascinating.

There are 33 Big 8 Urban buildings that meet that definition, representing 8% of all Big 8 buildings. Those 33 buildings do not include any district-sponsored charter schools.  Meanwhile, only 14 of 288 charters (including district sponsored ones) that receive report card grades would qualify. That's a rate of 5%. There are about 100 more charters in Ohio, but they are evaluated under a different system.

So the state's urban districts produce high-quality buildings at a 60% greater rate than the state's charter schools, which only have about 1/2 of their students coming from those urban districts.

And here's how the highest performing buildings in each sector perform:

High-quality urban buildings produce 60% As and Bs on the report card. High-quality charters produce 55% As and Bs. But it is on the other end of the scale where the performance difference is most profound. That's because while 16.6% of high-quality urban building grades are Ds and Fs, an astonishing 28% of high-quality charter grades are Ds and Fs.

What this is meant to show is something pretty simple: While high-performing charters are out there and are doing amazing things, there are even more high-performing Big 8 Urban buildings that are also doing amazing things. And it's time we recognize their accomplishments as often and vigorously as we're willing to correctly acknowledge high-performing charter school accomplishments.

And while only having 8% of Big 8 buildings meet this most exclusive "high-quality" definition is still far too infrequent, the fact is it's about a 60% more frequent occurrence than in Ohio's charter schools.

What else is interesting that those 33 high-quality buildings come from 5 of the Big 8 districts.

Number of High-Quality Buildings

So while it's encouraging that kids in most of Ohio's urban districts do have some high-quality options, there remain too few in too few districts.

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