Friday, October 30, 2009

Public Schools Better than Charters Says DOE Progress Report Data

A DOE study shows traditional public schools outperform charter schools when compared using Progress Report data. Public schools had larger improvements in state test scores, the measure DOE views as paramount. The Bloomberg administration seems to have been caught in a bind: either they admit charters don't measure up or that the Progress Reports are garbage. So the report was buried on the DOE web site.

The study also shows large gaps in the enrollment of English language learners and students receiving special education services with charters taking far fewer of these students.

State Board of Regents Chancellor Meryl Tisch has been making her list of public high schools to close and replace with charters. She ought to pause and figure out what's really going on with charter schools first.

Daily News has the story here.

Actual report (pdf) here.

UPDATE: The charter school community responds.

In a lengthy defensive statement posted to the web site of the New York Charter Schools Association, NYCSA Policy and Communications Director Peter Murphy attacks the DOE Progress Report study. In the DOE study, charters were compared to traditional public schools using the same controversial approach public school parents have criticized for two years. Year to year changes on state test scores constitute 60% of the A through F letter grade, an approach Murphy dismisses as "woefully lopsided".

Murphy then goes on to criticize the Daily News and me:

...we are presented with a hodgepodge compilation of numbers cherry-picked for an article resulting in a false and misleading comparison between the academic performance of charter and district schools with zero context added. And, all of this comes less than a week before a Mayoral election, no less, enabling one Patrick Sullivan of the City's education policy board his embellished anti-charter talking-point. What a coincidence.

Let's get the facts straight. The report was prepared solely by DOE staff headed by Michael Duffy, the Executive Director of the charter school office. No one "cherry picked" any measures: the measures are exactly those incorporated in the city-wide Progress Reports. And my point was not anti-charter. I was simply pointing out the administration can't say charters are better while the DOE accountability framework says they're worse.


Anonymous said...

Interesting stuff. Unfortunately, that's a PowerPoint presentation and not the actual report.

Is there an actual report? Is it available?

Patrick J. Sullivan said...

Excellent point. Michael Duffy is in charge of charters for DOE and the lead author. I will ask him for the full report. Stay tuned.

yomister said...

Thanks for obtaining the report, Patrick!

yomister said...

Opps! I inadvertently thought the "actual report" had been posted. Regardless, thanks for attempting to obtain it.

Patrick J. Sullivan said...

I received a prompt reply from Michael Duffy: "What you saw online was what there is."

I've asked for a list of charters along with their Progress Report grades and metrics. This information is available online by looking up each school but it would be helpful to have a look at them all at once.