Educate All Students: Larry Miller's Blog

April 18, 2012

Questions Concerning Howard Fuller Charter Proposal to Milwaukee Common Council

Filed under: Charter Schools,MMAC — millerlf @ 7:49 pm

4/18/12

The Milwaukee Common Council is reviewing a proposal by Dr. Howard Fuller and the Institute for the Transformation of Learning to create three new charter schools. The Institute is proposing to become a charter management organization, following in the footsteps of other national charter management organizations such as Rocketship and KIPP. The new schools, intended to be contracted by the City of Milwaukee, will be called Quest.

Acceptance of charter plans cannot be based on political ties, favors to political allies or just a well-written document, even if the proposal draws on the most current education terminology or suggests that it will use the most current practices in education. Whenever possible, the awarding of contracts should take into account past school and student performance of schools run by the applicant.

MPS is constantly scrutinized under a magnifying glass, correctly so. But the same should be true for the City of Milwaukee charter school district, UW charter school district and voucher schools.

In the case of this proposal, it would be valuable to look at Dr. Fuller’s results with specific schools. He is the board chair of CEO Leadership Academy, previously a voucher school and presently a city charter school. Dr. Fuller has worked  closely with that school for a number of years.

What is the data on CEO Leadership Academy? The WKCE results from the Fall of 2010 show the following:

Grade # Students Tested Subject % Proficient and Advanced MPS % Proficient and Advanced
10 42 Reading 21% 40.2%
10 42 Math 12% 31.6%
10 42 Language Arts 4% 35.7%
10 42 Science 12% 33.1%
10 42 Social Studies 23% 46.8%

The WKCE results from the Fall of 2011 show the following:

Grade # Students Tested Subject % Proficient and Advanced MPS % Proficient and Advanced
10 8 Reading 25% 47.9%
10 8 Math 0% 33.1%
10 8 Language Arts 12.5% 37.7%
10 8 Science 25% 32.2%
10 8 Social Studies 25% 41.7%

Among the questions that need to be raised :

Why were only eight students tested this year, when there were 42 students tested last year? Are students intentionally being withheld from taking the test?

Is there a public explanation for the low test results?

What accountability measures are in place to demand improvement for the performance of students at CEO?

How is the Common Council ensuring improvement?

How can the Common Council accept a whole new proposal from ITL and Dr. Fuller when the results at CEO are so unsuccessful?

Is there not a conflict of interest with Dr. Fuller being the director of ITL, which oversees the City’s chartering process, and also the board chair for CEO high school?

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