This is worth more than a glance. You can see the impact or lack thereof, of a Gates Foundation program to improve collaboration between districts and charters. The evaluation of this effort gives specific examples based on 23 District charter collaborations formed across the nation since 2011. The Center for Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) report cited what was and was not accomplished and why.
At the Florida House Innovation hearing a couple of weeks ago, Commissioner Stewart said that Florida ranked in the top ten in achievement scores. This is a stretch. Try 11th in fourth grade reading and 33nd in eighth grade reading. It is worse in mathematics.
The comparisons of Florida on the National Achievement of Education Progress (NAEP) average scores are reported below along with the achievement gains in scores from 2003-2015.
- Nationally Florida is 11th in grade four reading and 19th in math on NAEP, but it is one of the relatively few states that has mandatory third grade retention based on state assessment scores. Retention of third graders creates a temporary inflation in scores for fourth graders. Fourth grade NAEP scores diminish by eighth grade.
- Florida’s ranking in 8th grade reading drops to 33nd. Math is 43rd. nationwide.
Compare: Florida Nation Rank
Math……. 243… 200… 19
Reading.. 227… 221… 11
Math……. 275… 281… 43
Reading.. 263… 264… 33
COMPARISONS WITH LARGE ‘MEGA’ STATES
The Florida DOE does compare Florida’s NAEP scores to the nation and to other large states like California, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio and Texas. Of these so-called mega states, only California, Ohio and Florida have mandatory third grade retention. Note the drop in Florida’s percentage of students scoring at or above proficient in achievement rankings between fourth and eighth grade. The gain in the percentages of students scoring at or above proficient between 2003-15 is included in the report.
- All of the mega states except California out perform Florida in 8th grade mathematics. In reading, California and Texas have lower scores than Florida, but Florida also has a below average percentage of students scoring at or above the proficiency level.
- Florida’s 8th grade achievement gains in reading were less than all other large states except New York. California and Pennsylvania had large reading gains. The only large state to have large achievement gains in mathematics was Texas. Florida had significantly lower gains than most large states.
Education Week reports Quality Indicators that combine a number of ratings. If the National Assessment score rankings in grade 4 and 8 are used, Florida’s quality indicator is a C-, according to the latest Education Week report.
The bottom line is:
- Large states with large minority and low income populations do not perform as well as other states.
- Eighth grade scores are better indicators of achievement than are fourth grade scores due to differences in states’ retention policies.
- Florida ranks near the bottom in achievement gains. Wish it were different. Florida cannot improve achievement if it does not even recognize the problem it has.
In this article by Valerie Strauss, Carol Burris states: “All of the problems associated with charter schools, such as, siphoning public school funding, increased segregation, scandalous recruiting practices and blatant profiteering can be found in charters in and surrounding America’s Christmas city.” Superintendent of Schools Joseph Roy (Pennsylvania’s Superintendent of the Year) budgets $26 million for its charters. He estimates that if all charter students returned to public schools, the district, even after hiring some new faculty, would save twenty million dollars.
The U.S. Inspector General has recognized the serious nature of the charter management problems. The League of Women Voters has been calling for better transparency and management oversight for several years. Now, the federal government has joined us—-well, a part of the federal government.
It is one step toward better accountability for our tax dollars.
Last week tonight with John Oliver (HBO) featured charter schools. He sums it up. He does not engage in the discussion about charter quality. Instead, he goes into the management and oversight. This is our song. You can see it here. It is a strong message. He mentions Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania specifically.
Which states get it right? Not Florida. It was one of eight states that received an overall grade of ‘F’ when its grades were averaged across the categories studied. The Network for Public Education rated states based on six criteria.
For each category, I combined the percentages of A, B and C grades received across states. I was surprised at the results. Relatively few states (11) use test scores to punish students and teachers, but Florida is one of those that do. You can see the combined percentages (think of them as passing scores) at the end of each of the criteria.
Given the massive cuts in education funding, their claims are not trivial. Their arguments, however, are different. Judges are ruling differently as well. Based on information reported by Education Justice, a program of the New Jersey based Education Law Center, and Access, a research institute at Columbia University, charters want facilities and traditional public schools seek fairness.Continue reading
Fraud and Mismanagement in Pennsylvania’s Public Schools. The Center for Popular Democracy. October 2014. Two major findings: general auditing techniques are not designed to uncover fraud and staffing is inadequate to monitor charters.