While the numbers are small, the percentages make it clear that Texas charters are in for a blow. Nine of the 11 public schools ranked academically unacceptable for three years under the state’s accountability system are charters.
Don’t you love statistics? Reading the above, you would think that charter schools are much more likely to be failing than public schools. In fact, Sen. Shapiro, says that the “statistics” speak for themselves.
“The statistics speak for themselves,” said Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, who designed the provision and is a charter school supporter. “We cannot fund in any way bad schools for our students. If they are not producing for our children, they need to be closed.”
Well then, how about these numbers from 2004-05 TEA Academic Excellence Indicator System:
5,294 Number of children attending all eleven unacceptable schools
1,707 Number of children attending unacceptable charter schools
3,587 Number of children attending unacceptable public schools
Let’s see, that would mean that 68% of the kids attending unacceptable schools are attending public schools.
Now I’m not saying whether these schools need to be closed down or not. I think a lot would depend on the nature of the school itself. If it is Gulf Shores High School which is providing over 800 at-risk kids the opportunity to attend school day or evening, I would look more carefully at the numbers. If TEA had it’s way, all the students who had been at the school for less than a full year and 2 months, would count on their previous’ schools numbers. I bet that would make some public schools nervous, but they probably wouldn’t apply the rule to students who transfer into charter schools, just out of them.
And that’s the other thing–just who are these students? Adequate yearly progress is measured by subsets. So if you’re a small school with just one or two people in a selected subset, it would be easy to see how the school fails to make progress in the subset.
So what’s my point? There are no simple solutions as Senator Shapiro would have us believe when we’re talking about our children’s future. Numbers need to be put in context.