Fast In Indy…Slow In NOLA

The new accountability report on Mayor Bart Peterson’s charter schools in Indianapolis is out (pdf). If it’s true that nothing is more annoying than a good example, this will piss a lot of people off. Still a lot of work to do, as the AYP ratings show, so that these schools are not just among the best in Indianapolis but among the best in the state, but for now:

ISTEP+ pass rates in these 12 schools as a group rose by 6.7 points compared to a statewide increase of 0.6 points.

Other schools in Indy were, as a group, flat. So, in other words some progress.

From New Orleans, new AFT report on student achievement there (pdf). Local press here and here. Update: AFT letter to the ed here. While the obvious agenda is to push back on the charter schools and restore some old power arrangements there is some useful data in here and it’s worth checking out. But if you’re not familiar with the landscape down there this report could easily confuse because there are so many players on the schooling scene and that’s not all explained well here. So the punchlines are (1) the data are the data, take the context with a grain of salt and (2) there is a daunting but doable amount of work to be done there and no one can say that any schooling sector is yet tearing it up.

What will get obscured, I worry, is that while New Orleans has a dual-school system with open-enrollment and selective schools, those delineations cut across all schooling categories and predate Katrina. It’s not a charter and non-charter issue. In fact, many of the charter school leaders in New Orleans, for instance New Schools for New Orleans, are more committed to the idea of open-enrollment than much of the previous public system.

Also, this line is a chuckler:

The rush to compare one category of schools with another can produce unsound conclusions.

Good point!

3 Replies to “Fast In Indy…Slow In NOLA”

  1. Isn’t it ridiculous for the union to call for comparing charter schools to performance before the flood rather than compare the charters with the performance of traditional public schools sinc 2006.

    What makes no sense to me is the union’s knee jerk desire to return to the governance structure that pre-dated Katrina and the fact that they are convinced the new arrangements will fail. Didn’t the pre-Katrina system have 90 years plus to prove itself a failure? Now in 2 years they expect the open-enrollment charter framework to show results? That seems a little shall we say, unfair if not laugh able.

  2. There are charter proponents and there are charter ideologues. Charter proponents praise effective charters and damn ineffective ones, support accountability and take a close look at the data. Charter ideologues praise all charters for being charters, support accountability for other public schools and view data selectively. There are very few charter proponents. Like this bog, there are mostly charter ideologues. Charters often actively exclude children with disabilities, take fewer children with serious disabilities, and often discriminate against children who are second language learners or children who exhibit the slightest behavioral problems. For charters, those groups are “public school kids”. The test score comparisons that dominate the charter school superiority industry very rarely control for the demographics of their respective populations, making their assertions of superiority both selective and useless. As for New Orleans experiment, I will grant that it is only in its second year and that the pre-Katrina schools were terrible. They should be given a chance to succeed. If the AFT wants to prove poor performance, and identify charters that game the system by excluding the very children who one would expect them to welcome with open arms, they should come to California.

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