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Friday, April 17, 2015

A-F Grades: Public Schools vs. Charter Schools

As I said in an earlier post, I generally do not agree with assigning schools an A-F grade (School Performance Grades: What they do and don't do). An A-F grade is an incomplete and misleading way to measure a school.

That said, given the great amount of time and effort that has recently been expended to promote charter school expansion as the solution for academic distress and to transfer public school resources to charter schools, I thought it would be interesting to compare grades traditional public schools received to those received by the state's open-enrollment charter schools. Here is what some simple math calculations yielded:

There are 1,050 schools in the report. 1,017 are traditional public schools and 33 are open-enrollment charter schools. Here is a breakdown of their letter grades:

1,017 Traditional Public Schools

     A                      B                   C                 D                    F
   152                   317                356              158                 34
   15%                 31%              35%            16%               3%

33 Open-Enrollment Charter Schools

    A                      B                    C                 D                    F
    9                       5                     9                  1                    9
   27%                 15%               27%            3%                27%

Percentage of traditional public schools making A, B, or C:  81%

Percentage of open-enrollment charter schools making A, B, or C:  69%

Does posting this data mean that I am against charter schools?  No, and in a later post I plan to explain (for those who don't know) what a charter school is and what role I think charter schools should play in our education system. 

These figures do indicate, though, if a school is not performing as well as it should, making it into a charter might not fix the problem. They should at least inject some skepticism into the blind faith that charters are the answer for everything. They should at least raise the question of whether we should be transferring public assets from traditional public schools to charter schools.

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