Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Charter Schools "Outpace" Public Schools Because...

According to the Florida Department of Education, the state's charter schools outperform public schools on virtually all of the Florida Comprehensive Achievement Test (FCAT) exams, including reading, math, and science. They also performed better on the end-of-course Algebra I exam.

The Orlando Sentinel included a very important disclaimer in the title to their report on the story. Here it is:

Exactly. Charter schools can attribute some of their success to enrolling on average fewer free/reduced priced lunch students, English language learners, and those with disabilities. The performance of these groups, including racial/ethnic minorities, factor heavily into schools' Adequate Yearly Progress standing in No Child Left Behind and the school's grade from the Florida Department of Education. 

In addition to enrolling lower numbers of these subgroups (NCLB language and not mine), these schools are more capable of removing students who do not perform academically and/or behaviorally. I don't want to begrudge the work of charter school teachers, but reformers cannot present the public with a true comparison of their results when they have some degree of selectivity with their populations. 

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