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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Tony Bennett made grade changes that benefited charter schools

From the Fort Wayne Gazzette: The scramble to inflate Christel House’s grade also was successful in pushing more than half of the state’s charter schools to a letter grade of C or better, a claim Bennett couldn’t make before the formula was massaged.

First ,WOW!!

Now I would like you to think back a few months to when the FLDOE put out a public school charter school comparison. In it, charter schools dominated and I asked if it was to be believed.  I have to tell you before the report came out, I thought it was inconceivable that charter schools would be doing better than public schools in any measure and that’s with selection bias, them counseling out low achievers and limiting the amount of disabled and English as a second language students they take but boy according to the FLDOE’s study was I wrong. They reported charter schools beat public schools in something like 83 out of 96 indicators.

But before we take our torches and pitchforks and head down to the local public school we should ask ourselves a few questions. Starting with, how is this possible? The CREDO, the gold standard of charter school studies says the vast majority of charter schools are no better or are worse than their public school counterparts. Yet somehow in Florida where 226 have failed in the last 13 years, including about a dozen in the last year and where any Tom, Dick or Harry with a knack for paperwork and a space bigger than a broom closet can start a charter school are charter schools blowing public schools away.

I also ask this question because even according to the FLDOE’s study, charter schools were five times as likely to be an F school and 91 percent of public schools were A, B or C schools and only 89 percent of charter schools were and that’s with 159 charter schools, a little over 30 percent of them, not receiving a grade at all.

I didn’t ask, hmm I wonder if the commissioner of education is manipulating data but perhaps I should have. Especially since later the Stanford CREDO study said students attending charter schools in Florida weren’t performing at the same level of their public school counterparts (despite numerous advantages).

The thing about Tony Bennett and his ilk is they don’t want the right answer, they want their answer to be right and if they hurt kids or teachers along the way so be it.   

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