by Margery Marcus, LWV of Broward
Margery’s compares two schools located across the street from one another, Pinewood traditional elementary and North Broward Academy charter school. Pinewood used to earn a ‘B’ school grade. The schools could be fraternal twins, but now one earned a ‘D’ and the other an ‘A’. I was intrigued. So, I went back through the data for the last three years to see if there were changes in the schools over time. There were.
- For two of the years, Pinewood had twenty percent fewer students proficient on the kindergarten readiness test than North Broward (74%-92%). In 2012-13, there was a 40% difference. Clearly, North Broward has attracted better prepared students.
- Broward’s district achievement levels are nearly identical from one year to the next. However, Pinewood’s FCAT proficiency levels go down somewhat over time, especially in third grade, and North Broward’s go up.
- Pinewood’s staff is stable; they had 16% new teachers compared to 43% new teachers at North Broward. They were not likely to become less effective in three years. Yet, school grades kept declining.
- Pinewood lost 100 of its 716 students in three years. North Broward gained fifty students (683) over the same period.
- The mix of students also changed. Pinewood gradually increased its percentage of economically disadvantaged students to 80% in 2014 compared to 75% at North Broward.
Margery states that CSUSA is doing something right. What do you think it may be? Numbers do not always tell the whole story.