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Grizzly Mama

There's a Grizzly who has escaped the City of Brotherly Love..(and she's going back to homeschooling!!)

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Location: Out of Philly, Pennsylvania, United States

"All who have meditated on the art of governing mankind have been convinced that the fate of empires depends on the education of youth." Aristotle - Greek Philosopher.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

'Another Black Eye for the Gray Lady'

New York Times Editorial Uses Faulty Data To Slam Charter Schools

Courtesy of The Center for Education Reform.

The Center for Education Reform offers the following facts and data to refute today's editorial.

Another Black Eye For The Gray Lady
  • This is the third time The New York Times has chosen to use a discredited study, which fails to compare accurately apples to apples, to draw sweeping conclusions about charter school achievement.
  • The New York Times uses reports from Western Michigan University's Evaluation Center that have been discredited by the U.S. Government Accountability Office and the Brookings Institution and which vary in age from 1-6 years old.
  • The Times fails to mention that charter public schools are accepting children from the most dismally failing traditional schools, and often have to work twice as long to get them up to standard levels of proficiency.
  • The Times also concludes that for-profit charter school operators have the worst achievement record, a fact that has been refuted by last month's study released by the American Institutes For Research which determined that Edison schools had a modestly superior performance; there was insufficient data to determine the performance of other for-profit operators.
  • The Times editorial called for more regulation of charter schools to correct lagging achievement. However, a strong charter school law is one that prevents local districts and authorizers from over-regulating and interfering with a charter school. This is the very concept that makes charters successful, and which Miron says leads to their failure.
  • Today, 40 states and the District of Columbia have charter school laws in place. Of those laws, 21 laws are considered strong, according to CER's latest rankings; 20 laws are considered weak.
  • There is a direct correlation between strong laws and successful charter schools. Of those states with strong laws, 65 percent showed positive achievement gains last year; of the weak states, only two demonstrated the same level of progress.
  • A 2004 report commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education found that charter schools are smaller than conventional public schools and serve a disproportionate and increasing number of poor and minority students.
  • A 2003 national report by the Brookings Institution found that test scores at charter schools are "rising sharply" and out-gaining conventional schools.
  • A December 2004 Harvard University study found that charter school students are more likely to be proficient in reading and math than students in neighboring conventional schools. The greatest achievement gains can be seen among African American, Hispanic, or low-income students.
  • Charter schools that have been open for significant periods of time boast even higher achievement rates; Harvard found that charter schools that have been operating for more than 5 years outpace conventional schools by as much as 15 percent.

  • Charter School Achievement.

    * The New York Times editorial specifically mentions Michigan achievement but provides no substantiating data. According to the Times "getting a handle on the problem is going to be difficult for states like Michigan, which has become a textbook example of how sloppily administered charter programs can harm students and undermine faith in both the chartering process and public education in general." But the statistics refute that claim.

    * Michigan's charter high schools are making faster progress toward meeting state standards than other public schools. This is based on MEAP (Michigan Education Assessment Program) scores that show that students in charter high schools are gaining faster in math, reading, science, and social studies.

    * 38.1% of seniors in charter schools met state standards on the 2004 MEAP math tests, up 2.7% from 2003, compared with 30.7% of urban schools, which were up just .2% from 2003.

    * State test results from the fall of 2005 show that, as a group, students in schools authorized by Central Michigan University outperformed students in the Host Districts in all four core subjects. When the data for the four subjects is disaggregated to show the performance of Black and Hispanic students, students with disabilities, and economically disadvantaged students, those in schools authorized by CMU again outperformed students in the Host Districts in 15 of the 16 categories. The 16th was a tie.

    * Where public school students are often expected to do poorly, they usually do. The state test results for urban districts bear this out. Schools authorized by CMU across the state, from Detroit to Benton Harbor to Flint, which are serving particularly high percentages of economically disadvantaged students (75% and above) are beating the odds. Students in these schools are outperforming their local districts by a very wide margin as well as producing results above the state average.

    * In 2005, some schools authorized by CMU - such as Holly Academy and Walden Green Academy - have already reached the NCLB goal of 100% Math and Reading proficiency by 2014 for entire grades of students.

    * For three years CMU has been consistently collecting standardized test data (Scantron's Performance Series) which clearly shows that students entering charter public schools, on average, are performing below grade level in reading and math. This data also clearly indicates that students who have stayed at the same charter school for three or more years are catching up. To date, results for approximately 9,000 students in grades 4 through 8 have been analyzed. In reading, students in grades 5, 7 and 8 are at or above the 50th percentile nationally after 3 or more years in the schools chartered by CMU and students in all grades are catching up. In math, on average, students in their first year perform below the 25th percentile while the average for students who have been enrolled for three or more years, in all the grades, is between the 25th and 50th percentile.The data show a clear and compelling pattern that the longer the students are at schools authorized by CMU the better they perform in math and reading. (Emphasis mine)

    So! Big surprise, eh? The New York Times gets it wrong AGAIN. I feel bad for all of us not knowing if we can trust ANYTHING that the NYT puts in print. I especially feel bad for the lefties out there, **cough**Adrian in India**cough**, who use the NYT as a source in interpreting any kind of anything - especially studies or reports!!

    These kinds of results, when studying Charter Schools, are not unusual. There are older studies out there showing the same thing: The longer a child stays in one Charter School the better they perform. If they stay in for over 3 years they easily outperform their peers in traditional public education. The minorities ESPECIALLY have shown great benefit from school choice. Sheesh - I was having this argument 2 years ago with a lefty over at MoveOn.

    By the time these kids land up in a Charter School - if they are the lucky ones - they are in miserable shape academically. It does take several years for them to catch up - and then surpass - the public school kids. But catch up and surpass they most certainly do!

    (Thank you CER and Jon who gave me permission to reprint their article on my blog.)



    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Sorry to be off-topic, but would you consider providing an RSS feed for your blog, please? You can use feedburner, or there are others.
    Thanks for considering it!

    As to the actual topic of this post, I no longer get ANY of my news from the MSM. I have ZERO trust in the lot of the them.
    As for the charter schools, the closest association I have with any, has been my friend's husband, who was a principal at one. He was fired from there because he wouldn't falsify documents. I think there just aren't many charters in Texas.

    17 May, 2006 09:30  
    Blogger MonicaR said...

    Oh dear. I thought I HAD an RSS feed set up. Silly me! I will look into it - thanks.

    I have zero trust in the MSM as well Karen. Terrible about that friend of yours. I will check to see if Texas has a weak charter school law or a strong one.

    17 May, 2006 19:40  
    Blogger "Alice" said...

    Not the New York Times? They are so, so fair [sarcasm off].

    18 May, 2006 02:43  
    Blogger Kermit said...

    Gee whizzz...

    I don't have to wonder anymore why America's free press loses readership on a daily (or, sometimes hourly!) basis.

    If some of these Dodo Birds had actually been in the military, they might realize that sequence of caommands is NOT "Ready... Fire...

    Aim..eace and all good,


    P.S. - I would be LOL and/or ROF if this crap were not so freaking sad!

    18 May, 2006 10:40  
    Blogger Kermit said...

    PPS - ignore the spelling on the previous...

    Passion does that to frogs!


    18 May, 2006 10:43  
    Blogger tshsmom said...

    I have a great time with telemarketers, who try to sell me the NYT! I vent a LOT of frustration this way. ;)

    18 May, 2006 18:42  
    Blogger MonicaR said...

    Texas Charter School law is weak - which we have learned impedes charter school's ability to maintain enough control to be effective. PA actually is rated strong - which is good.

    I know Alicenot. It's always a good time to point out how crappy the NYT is though! ;-)

    I hear ya Kermit - no need to apologize for misspellings here at Grizzly Mamas! It is sad that so many people are taken in however it seems that I have met more and more people who desire to be taken in by the lies.

    tshsmom - too fun! I haven't had a telemarketer try to sell me the NYT yet. I get a few trying to sell me the Philadelphia Inquirer and I also enjoy venting when that happens!

    18 May, 2006 23:42  
    Blogger Always On Watch said...

    The NYT isn't worth reading, as far as I'm concerned. So I'm not surprised at the slant of this NYT report.

    19 May, 2006 08:08  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Blogger provides an atom feed automatically, which you could stick on your sidebar most easily. Less easy would be going to feedburner or some such and "translating" to an RSS feed and then stick that in your sidebar.

    Texas may not support charters much because there's no perceived need for them. Homeschoolers are considered private schools and private schools are not regulated in any way. It seems like half the churches here in the DFW metroplex have their own private school!

    19 May, 2006 18:49  
    Blogger MonicaR said...

    AOW - for some odd reason I am still surprised by the slant or most commonly seen outright LIES that the NYT prints.

    Karen - I had enabled RSS feed in my 'settings'. The site feed url is:

    Is there something more that I should do??

    Interesting about Texas homeschool law. It seems to me that Charter schools would be a desirable alternative for many families. The more options we have the better off our kids are - IMHO, of course.

    19 May, 2006 23:45  
    Blogger Gem said...

    I don't know much about how RSS works, but your RSS works fine for me in Firefox Sage reader.

    22 May, 2006 19:17  
    Blogger MonicaR said...

    Why thank you Gem. LOVE your new blogsite. It's beautiful!

    22 May, 2006 23:34  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    That url works fine--I just wanted to know what it was!

    I believe in school choice, too. The education of our children is infinitely more important than where we eat. Yet look at the dizzying array of restaurant choices versus the near monopoly of public schools! Makes no sense.

    I have just posted an article aimed at homeschoolers that may seem critical of charter schools. I'd like to know your take on it. Her point is not to knock charter schools but to ensure that homeschool parents know the pros and cons of charter school-homeschool hybrids. Personally, I think there is room for all sorts of educational options. We parents just need to make informed decisions.

    23 May, 2006 22:45  
    Blogger MonicaR said...

    Thanks Karen.

    I'm there.

    23 May, 2006 23:05  

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