Charter schools shoot themselves in both feet

Written By: - Date published: 2:03 pm, October 23rd, 2012 - 16 comments
Categories: education, making shit up, schools - Tags: ,

I notice that DPF is pushing data supposed to show the success of charter schools in New York (and of course pushing his anti-teacher agenda at the same time). The source is the WSJ:

New York City recently released official progress reports for the city’s 1,230 schools, including measures of how each school compares with other schools that have similar students. The reports provide yet more proof that charter schools—which outperformed traditional public schools by a wide margin—are working. Eight of the top 11 elementary and middle schools by student performance are charters, and four of those charters are in Harlem.

There many problems with this supposed success. Here’s one:

Something very similar happened in New York state, where unrevealed relaxations in state testing standards led to a multi-year belief in the efficacy of reforms there. When results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests revealed the gains were illusory, New York admitted the test changes, thereby wiping out half a decade of supposed achievement gains on math and language tests.

Who knows how much of this cooking the books goes on – here’s another example:

Gov. Tom Corbett’s education chief changed the PSSA testing rules in a way that makes it easier for charter schools to meet federal benchmarks than traditional public schools.

Education Secretary Ron Tomalis’ change, made without federal approval, might have skewed the results of the 2011-12 PSSA scores to make it appear charter schools were outperforming traditional public schools, according to a Morning Call review of publicly available test score data.

The proponents of charter schools shoot themselves in the foot with this kind of nonsense, because it means that no evidence purporting to show the success of charter schools can be trusted at face value. (The New Zealand version of charter schools are – surprise! – going to be able to opt out of national standards and NCEA – expect more dodgy data of self-reported success to start emanating from this country in due course.) And that’s before all the other ways of manipulating the results, like selective admissions, expelling “unsuccessful” students (a tactic of the New York schools the WSJ quotes), and so on.

Charter schools do worse more often than the do better, are bad for education in general. Our public education system is already very successful and very cost effective. If we want even better results, the solution is to strengthen public education, not to throw ourselves under the ideological bandwagon of charter schools.

16 comments on “Charter schools shoot themselves in both feet”

  1. Gosman 1

    The key point in the article that Kiwiblog discusses was the comparision between districts over time. In that respect it should not really matter if testing standards have been relaxed because supposedly they will have been relaxed for all schools and therefore do not explain the changes in the relative measurements between school districts.

    The great bastion of Social Democracy – Sweden – has gone big on Charter Schools with little evidence that they are failing students or that the leftist parties in Sweden are itching to get rid of them. I wonder why that is.

    • McFlock 1.1

      it should not really matter if testing standards have been relaxed because supposedly they will have been relaxed for all schools

      cf:

      Gov. Tom Corbett’s education chief changed the PSSA testing rules in a way that makes it easier for charter schools to meet federal benchmarks than traditional public schools.

      my boldface both quotes.
      moron.

      • Gosman 1.1.1

        Ummmmm…, if you had bothered to read that article you should have noticed it was about Pennsylvania not New York. Considering the article Kiwiblog is discussing is about the comparative performance of various schools in in another state entirely it is irrelevant unless the argument is about comparing Charter School against Public Schools in PENNSYLVANIA.

        • McFlock 1.1.1.1

          Actually – good call. Through shear weight of numbers you have managed to not spout bullshit.
              
          Of course, it calls into question your basic assumption that general rule relaxation doesn’t favour some schools over others, but nevertheless, good call. I read too quickly between taskings.
           

        • Dr Terry 1.1.1.2

          Not only New York as such, but in Harlem specifically. Anyone who has resided in New York, as I have, will understand the implications of this.

          Are you conceding that comparisons in Pennsylvania are not favourable? (I cannot imagine Gosman making too many concessions, actually. I wonder why?)

    • Dv 1.2

      >>testing standards have been relaxed because supposedly they will have been relaxed for all schools

      Interesting assumption

      Sweden
      >>with little evidence that they are failing students

      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/swedens-free-schools-model-has-limited-impact-2008070.html

      The report highlights evidence that shows a “moderately positive” impact of free schools on academic performance when pupils are 15 and 16, but adds: “The biggest beneficiaries are children from highly educated families; the impact on low educated families and immigrants is close to zero.”V

      The report also cites evidence that says: “The researchers also find that the advantages that children educated in areas with free schools have by age 16 do not translate into greater educational success in later life.”

      • Gosman 1.2.1

        All that suggests is that they aren’t as successful in Sweden as some would have hoped according to a particular meassure. It doesn’t support the view they are failing students.

        • Dv 1.2.1.1

          Didn’t say they were, BUT how are they going to improve the 10% tail, as they are suppose to as the impact on low educated families and immigrants is close to zero.

    • Georgecom 1.3

      sad thing Gosman is that the New York comments suggest that standardised testing and charter schools didn’t lead to a great leap in achievement levels. Supposed improvments were the result of ‘relaxation of standards’. The claims that standardised testing and charter schools improve achievements have been cast into doubt, yet again, by this report. On that basis, why bother investing tens of millions of dollars into programmes that are not proven to deliver what is claimed. The govt is apparently short of money. Why waste it on underachieving programmes.

      • Draco T Bastard 1.3.1

        This government is only short of money to help society be better. They’ve got plenty to give to their rich mates.

    • KJT 1.4

      Sweden has had a bit of a swing towards the Neo-liberal paradigm lately. And as expected are having the inevitable decline in social outcomes.
      Though as they started at a high level of social wages they have a longer way to fall than we did.

      • Colonial Viper 1.4.1

        I saw a recent speech by the Swedish finance minister on Youtube. Yeah a barely disguised neoliberal hack.

    • lprent 1.5

      The great bastion of Social Democracy – Sweden – has gone big on Charter Schools with little evidence that they are failing students or that the leftist parties in Sweden are itching to get rid of them. I wonder why that is.

      First off Sweden isn’t exactly a homogenous country nor is it uniformly liberal. I’d suggest you have a look at some of the local juristrictions which have quite a lot of autonomy. Especially their history since the war for “hooligans” and unwed mothers. Makes some of our worst excesses look tame.

      That is why they have a rather classic authoritarian second term government at present.

      I believe it was because their charter schools were highly regulated even beyond the state school regulations about what could or could not be done. That was all tha would pass the legislature. That reduced the amount of room there was to cut corners. Why are you trying compare apples with oranges? The intent here is to have extremely light regulation, whichis why an ACToid has been put in charge of the pilot programme.

      Charter schools, if implemented here, should be regulated up at least as far as the private schools in NZ that take state money and for exactly the same reasons. Using state money to finance nutters and/or low standards of basic education is unacceptable.

      As Dv pointed out the results were not particularly useful in target groups in Sweden that were the ostensible reason for creating the schools. They however were of use for getting state money to set up enclave schools for the already affluent. That kind of closed community is not acceptable either – it appears to be just a good way of manufacturing arrogant idiots. Bad enough seeing the silly buggers coming out of Kings..

  2. ianmac 2

    There is a long tail. We will have Charter Schools. Therefore the tail will be eliminated.
    Simple as 1+1=2. If John Banks can see it why can’t you? Hmmm?.
    Actually testing is the gremlin both as in NS and as in how to measure success. The Question is the Answer.
    Would those running our Charter schools cheat in order to get the funding and pump up their success? Doubt it. 😈
    Come to think of it, had National Standards not been shunted in front of Charter Schools, there might have been a good case for designing alternative schools to cater for specialised learning unfettered by normals and testing. Now the suspicion and doubt that has been thrust by Parata and the Ministry has made cooperation nil.

  3. captain hook 3

    I dont live in Pennsylvania.
    I live in New Zealand and I know that the promoters of charter schools in New Zealand are barely literate and posessed of anti everything ideas except their own weird beliefs.
    This is a case of not only loonies running the asylum but actually being given state money to build half assed versions for themselves.
    Is this really the democratic ideal?

Leave a Comment

Show Tags

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Nats’ housing policy fails to keep pace with population growth
    Auckland got less than half the new houses it needed in the past year to keep up with record population growth, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 days ago
  • Urgent action needed on dirty rivers
    The Our Fresh Water Environment 2017 report re-confirms that we need urgent action to clean up our rivers. Meanwhile, National is standing by as our rivers get even more polluted, says Labour’s Environment spokesperson David Parker. “This report is yet ...
    3 days ago
  • Where there’s smoke and mirrors, there’s Steven Joyce
    Steven Joyce’s much vaunted pre-Budget speech is simply an underwhelming response to the infrastructure deficit National has created, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Steven Joyce has belatedly come to the realisation that everyone else has a long time ago, ...
    3 days ago
  • Time to stamp out cold, mouldy rentals
    New figures show a small number of landlords are letting down the sector by renting cold, mouldy rentals. These houses need to be brought up to a decent standard for people to live in by Andrew Little’s Healthy Homes Bill, ...
    4 days ago
  • Time for fresh approach on immigration
    Latest figures showing another record year for immigration underlines the need for an urgent rethink on how this country can continue to absorb so many people, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “New Zealand needs immigrants and is all the better ...
    4 days ago
  • Bring back the Mental Health Commission
    The People’s Mental Health Review is a much needed wake up call for the Government on mental health, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.   “I applaud their proposal to restore a Mental Health Commission and their call for ...
    6 days ago
  • And the band played on…
    Making Amy Adams the Housing Minister five months out from the election is just the orchestra playing on as National’s Titanic housing crisis slips below the waves – along with the hopes and dreams of countless Kiwi families, says Labour’s ...
    6 days ago
  • Hotel no place for children in care
    ...
    1 week ago
  • Maybe not, Minister? Nick Smith’s housing measure suppressed
    Sir Humphrey: Minister, remember the Housing Affordability Measure work you asked us to prepare back in 2012? Well, it’s ready now.Minister Smith: Oh goodie, what does it say?Sir Humphrey: Nothing.Minister Smith: Nothing?Sir Humphrey: Well, sir, you asked us to prepare ...
    1 week ago
  • Inflation data shows many New Zealanders are worse off under National
    The latest inflation data from Statistics New Zealand shows that too many New Zealanders are now worse off under the National Government, said Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson “Consumer Price Inflation (CPI) is now running at 2.2 per cent, and ...
    1 week ago
  • Another emergency housing grant blow out
      Emergency housing grants data released today show another blow out in spending on putting homeless people up in motels, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.   ...
    1 week ago
  • Families struggle as hardship grants increase
    The considerable increase in hardship grants shows that more and more Kiwi families are struggling to put food on the table and pay for basic schooling, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. ...
    1 week ago
  • More tinkering, no leadership from Nats on immigration
    National’s latest tinkering with the immigration system is another attempt to create the appearance of action without actually doing anything meaningful, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Suicide figures make for grim reading
    The 506 suspected suicides of Kiwis who have been in the care of mental health services in the last four years show that these services are under severe stress, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.   “If you do the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Pay equity deal a victory for determination and unions
    The pay equity settlement revealed today for around 55,000 low-paid workers was hard-won by a determined Kristine Bartlett backed by her union, up against sheer Government resistance to paying Kiwis their fair share, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “Labour welcomes ...
    2 weeks ago
  • DHB’s forced to make tough choices
    The Minister of Health today admitted that the country’s District Health Boards were having to spend more than their ring fenced expenditure on Mental Health, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.   “The situation is serious with Capital and Coast ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Nats break emergency housing pledge – deliver just five more places
    Despite National’s promises of 2,200 emergency housing beds, just 737 were provided in the March Quarter, an increase of only five from six months earlier, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Research underlines need for KiwiBuild
    New research showing the social and fiscal benefits of homeownership underlines the need for a massive government-backed building programme like KiwiBuild, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Social data security review too little, too late
    The independent review into the Ministry of Social Development’s individual client level data IT system is too little, too late, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “The Minister of Social Development has finally seen some sense and called for ...
    3 weeks ago
  • More questions raised on CERA conflicts
    With the admission that three more former CERA staff members are under suspicion of not appropriately managing conflicts of interest related to the Canterbury rebuild, it’s imperative that CERA’s successor organisation Ōtākaro fronts up to Parliamentary questions, says Labour’s Canterbury ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Labour to tackle Hutt housing crisis
    Labour will build a mix of 400 state houses and affordable KiwiBuild homes in the Hutt Valley in its first term in government to tackle the housing crisis there, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “Housing in the Hutt ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Farewell to John Clarke
    This wonderfully talented man has been claimed by Australia, but how I remember John Clarke is as a young Wellington actor who performed satirical pieces in a show called “Knickers” at Downstage Theatre. The show featured other future luminaries like ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    3 weeks ago
  • Valedictory Speech
    Te papa pounamu Aotearoa NZ Karanga karanga karanga; Nga tupuna Haere haere haere; Te kahui ora te korowai o tenei whare; E tu e tu ... tutahi tonu Ki a koutou oku hoa mahi ki Te Kawanatanga; Noho mai noho ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Buck stops with Gerry Brownlee
    The fact that the State Services Commission has referred the CERA conflict of interest issue to the Serious Fraud Office is a positive move, but one that raises serious questions about the Government’s oversight of the rebuild, says Labour Canterbury ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Teachers deserve a democratic Education Council
    Teachers around New Zealand reeling from the news that their registration fees could more than double will be even angrier that the National Government has removed their ability to have any say about who sits on the Council that sets ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Free trade backers are simply out of touch
    Are the backers of free trade out of touch with public opinion? This was the question asked when the Chartered Accountants launched their Future of Trade study. I was astonished by the answer in a room of free trade enthusiasts ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    3 weeks ago
  • John Clarke aka Fred Dagg will be missed by all Kiwis
    The man who revolutionised comedy on both sides of the Tasman, John Clarke, will be sadly missed by Kiwis and Aussies alike, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.   “I grew up with Fred Dagg and I am ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Labour’s modern approach to monetary policy
    A commitment to full employment and a more transparent process to provide market certainty are the hallmarks of Labour’s proposals for a new approach to monetary policy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Greens back Labour’s plan for monetary policy reform
    Labour plans to change the way we do monetary policy in New Zealand and the Green Party supports them fully. We’re now of a single mind on this. Labour will move away from our reliance on a single, unelected person ...
    GreensBy robert.ashe
    3 weeks ago
  • Greens back Labour’s monetary policy reform
    Labour plans to change the way we do monetary policy in New Zealand and the Green Party supports them fully. We’re now of a single mind on this. Labour will move away from our reliance on a single, unelected person ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    3 weeks ago