Monday, November 02, 2009

Response to DOE Charter Power-Point (Continued)

Last Friday, Patrick Sullivan, member of the New York City education policy board, criticized the Bloomberg administration by saying: "the mayor and the [schools] chancellor lecture us incessantly on how charters are better than traditional public schools, yet DOE's own accountability data shows charters lag significantly in the metric they prize above all else: improvement in state test scores."

The DOE's accountability data does not show charters "lag significantly" in improvement on state test scores compared to traditional public schools. Rather, they lag by a couple of points according to an overall DOE point system which I contend inaccurately portrays charter schools' comparative academic performance, as Friday's Daily News article (here) states when it uses the DOE's overall measure.

The DOE report had much useful information including NYC charters outperforming the City's district schools for the last four years on state exams, with improvement in each successive year. My criticism of this report is that its progress measure is skewed to the point of diminishing the impact of the overall academic performance of those many charter schools that improved scores and sustained that improvement over time.

As a result, the DOE's aggregate scoring system paints a misleading picture of charter versus district school aggregate performance in New York City.

Mr. Sullivan has more to say on the issue here.

This brings me to Mr. Sullivan's final point to the Daily News: "Either the progress reports are invalid, or charter schools are lagging." In fact, it is the former and the report's data compilation should be reconsidered to ensure a consistent, more accurate measure of charter school comparative performance. It is the natural tendency for people to just look at the overall measure and gloss over key details, even in the same presentation, which can lead to the wrong impression less than a week before an election.

Peter Murphy
for The Chalkboard

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