Studies in Contast

It’s hard not to contrast two new studies out today:

In “The Mirage,” TNTP estimates that districts spend 6-9 percent of their budgets on professional development for teachers, which produces approximately 0.0 effects on student learning.

In “Good News for New Orleans,” Douglas Harris estimates that the suite of school choice reforms adopted in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina produced student learning gains of .2 to .4 standard deviations, at the cost of approximately 9 percent* of spending. For context on those effect sizes, Harris and his co-authors concluded they were, “not aware of any other districts that have made such large improvements in such a short time.”

*That’s a VERY rough estimate. The report cites a cost figure of $1,000 per pupil. For comparison’s sake, I converted it to a percentage of expenditures using Louisiana’s per pupil spending figures here.

–Chad Aldeman

3 Replies to “Studies in Contast”

  1. Douglas Harris wrote, “For New Orleans, the news on average student outcomes is quite positive by just about any measure.”

    Now let us look at ACT scores for the RSD and OPSB:
    ere is a breakdown of 2014 average ACT composite scores for each RSD-New Orleans high school:
    MLK Charter: 14.7, GW Carver: 14.3, Cohen College Prep: 17.4, John McDonogh High: 13.8, Joseph Clark: 13.9, Landry/Walker: 15.6*, KIPP Renaissance: 15.5, Miller-McCoy: 15.2, OP Walker: 17.3*, Sarah Reed: 15.0, Sophie B. Wright 14.0, RENEW Accelerated: 13.4, Sci Academy: 16.6, Thurgood Marshall: 15.8**, Walter Cohen: 12.3, Algiers Tech: 14.5, RENEW Accelerated West Bank: 14.4.
    The RSD ranked 66th out of 70 school districts in Louisiana.
    These scores show that the average RSD student isn’t college ready at all. Indeed, that is why John White did not release these scores and they had to be found from an alternative source. Keep in mind that these are charter schools that on one level or another select their students. Some of these scores have actually gone done over the last two years. Mr. Harris never mentions ACT scores, even though they are the most meaningful an accurate indicator of college readiness. There is a name for a study like Mr. Harris’s: Snow Job.

  2. Cheap shot, on a couple of counts. First, it’s the OPSB schools that are selective. They were selective before Katrina and when they converted to charters they were inexplicably allowed to grandfather that selectivity; that’s not part of the charter model and especially since One-App, it has no bearing on RSD.

    Second, among RSD high schools, the ACT moved from an average of 14.4 in 2005 to 16.8 in 2012. That’s the largest gain of any district in the state, in a period when the test pool increased dramatically. (40% of students did take the ACT in 2005; it’s now mandated for all). You’re right, this still doesn’t reach ACT’s “college ready” standard or the national composite of 21.0 – -but it’s an impressive gain.

  3. The charters cannot move fast enough anymore. The tactic of “move fast and first to market” is failing in the charter markets. Ed. stats have a lag. And that lag is now gone. The data is piling up. Charters were never as good as they said. It was all one big fat sales job.

    But I think the charters should not go out of business. They should all be named after each member of the posse of education reformers, and let that name stand in perpetuity as the failure of that person.

    Let’s take the lowest achieving charters and name it “Hanushek High School”, or “Rotherham Reform’ or “Aldemann Accelerate Learning Center”.

    Come on guys. Man up and take some heat.

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