Thursday, September 14, 2017

New Report Cards Tell Similar Story

The new report cards are out, and while there are a few surprises (high performing districts like Upper Arlington receiving Fs for student growth among special education students, for instance), the overall tale the report cards tell is the same: Ohio's public school districts outperform Ohio's charter schools. This is all with the major caveat that in many cases, the report cards simply perpetuate the problem with standardized tests being so closely tied to poverty rather than academic performance. But I digress.

I know many in the charter cheering section hate when I compare district performance with charters. But just remember that all but a handful of school districts lost funding and students to charters last school year. In addition, only about 1/2 of all charter school students come from the Big 8 urban districts (Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo and Youngstown) anymore.

If you're taking kids and money from kids in all districts, your overall performance comparison should be with all those districts, not just the lowest performing districts, or the worst performing schools in those districts.

I contend the reason they don't like the comparison is because 2 out of 3 Ohio school district grades are A, B, or C. Meanwhile, 7 out of 10 charter grades are D or F.

While overall Big 8 performance is worse than charters overall (nearly 3 out of 4 big 8 grades are Fs), don't forget that significant portions of students in charter schools, including many high performers, do not come from the Big 8.

It's also interesting to note how high performing buildings in Big 8 urban districts compare with high performing charters. Using the state's standard for high performing charters located here, I found that while about 4.5 percent of all charter school students go to high performing charter schools, 7 percent of Big 8 students attend high performing buildings.

And in  terms of performance, Big 8 high performers receive significantly higher percentages of A grades than their high performing charter school counterparts.

Even though a slightly higher percentage of high performing charter school grades are A, B, or C, what you'll see is that the high performing Big 8 buildings, which have nearly 100 percent of their students from the Big 8, more than hold their own against the highest of the high flying charter schools, many of whose students do not come from the Big 8.

I will dig into other and different aspects of the report card data in the coming days.

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