Educate All Students: Larry Miller's Blog

September 24, 2014

Aldermen Target Incentives Offered by Charter Schools

Filed under: Charter Schools — millerlf @ 7:50 pm

Council members target enrollment incentives offered by charter schools

News release from Alds. Nik Kovac and Michael J. Murphy
By Nik Kovac – Sep 23rd, 2014

Charter schools in Milwaukee would be prohibited from using financial incentives as a recruitment tool, under legislation introduced today by Alderman Nik Kovac and co-sponsored by Common Council President Michael J. Murphy.

The charter ordinance is in response to reports that Central City Cyberschool—and others like it—offered cash incentives for student referrals. A flyer from Central City Cyberschool indicated that parents, staff and daycare centers could “earn $200” if they referred a student who met a number of conditions.

“Students and their families should be evaluating schools based on the quality of the education they will receive,” Alderman Kovac said. “Any schools that receive public money should not be trying to game the system like this, and it certainly should not be taking place at a school that is chartered by the city.”

The ordinance will be referred to the Steering and Rules Committee, and Alderman Kovac said he hoped it would quickly be adopted by the Common Council.

In conjunction with the proposed ordinance, Alderman Murphy said he will also be introducing a resolution that calls on the state legislature to prohibit choice and public schools from offering similar financial incentives as well.

“We don’t want any funds that could be used to educate children being diverted to spurious recruitment efforts,” Alderman Murphy said. “A race to the bottom isn’t in anyone’s best interest—least of all the children in our schools.”

School Choice Wisconsin Embarrasses Itself with False Reporting

Filed under: Charter Schools,Vouchers — millerlf @ 11:07 am

Supporters of taxpayer funded private schools (voucher schools) have no shame in attempting to berate public education.

In its latest attack on public education, School Choice Wisconsin (SCW) commissioned a report on 911 calls, comparing MPS and voucher and charter schools. The report lacks any validity in content, methodology and conclusions drawn .

The report uses data from school year 2012-2013. Since 2012-13, the Milwaukee Police Department has seen a significant reduction in calls for service to MPS schools. In a channel 6 interview yesterday, an MPD representative stated that MPS has been doing an excellent job of handling matters internally, avoiding the need for calls for service.

School Choice Wisconsin should be embarrassed to stand behind such flagrant political grand-standing. Note a few facts about the report:
• School Choice Wisconsin has issued at least 3 versions of the report because of errors in its data and reporting.
• The SCW study included calls after hours and on non-school days, so it doesn’t reflect what’s happening in school.
• Calls may include burglar alarms, medical calls, SRO activity and neighborhood incidents.
• SCW claims it is looking at the intersection of police calls and school locations, not just schools as educational settings. That’s a problem because all of the data comparison is on a per-student basis and doesn’t account for non-student users of facilities.
• There were simple math errors. The 2R charter count was over-reported, which deflated their per-student police calls.
• It was also that found MPS student count is underreported.
• SCW did not include all MPS students in all MPS schools, 151 buildings only.
• Conclusions did not match the data. For example, the data does not verify that MPS has 84 times as many juvenile arrests as MPCP.

School board President Michael Bonds Responds to Flagrant Comments by Alberta Darling and Joe Sanfelippo

Filed under: Darling,MPS Buildings,Tea Party — millerlf @ 10:33 am

Malcolm X to house high-performing school
Published: September 23, 2014

Legislative leaders misstate facts, ignore MPS efforts to place internationally recognized program in school

MILWAUKEE — Dr. Michael Bonds, president of the Milwaukee Board of School Directors, issued the following regarding the erroneous statement issued today by State Senator Alberta Darling and State Representative Joe Sanfelippo regarding the district’s plans to continue the development of the former Malcolm X Academy building:
“From the beginning of this process, Senator Darling and Representative Sanfelippo have clearly misunderstood this effort to bring a high-performing International Baccalaureate school to the Malcolm X neighborhood. Their statement today only further serves to illustrate that fact.

“There is nothing inappropriate about the decision made by the Milwaukee Board of School Directors to move forward with this project without the developer we initially identified. What was most critical to this Board is that the project move forward.

“It is unfortunate that Senator Darling and Representative Sanfelippo have characterized this effort as phony, crooked and obscene. In fact, the Board took the appropriate steps to continue the project itself and keep our promise to the neighborhood to deliver what it asked for: a high-performing school.

“I have asked the Office of the City Attorney to provide legal options with respect to the inflammatory and false allegations by Darling and Sanfelippo against the district, alleging corruption.”

September 15, 2014

Public Schools in Texas Outperform Charter Schools

Filed under: Charter Schools,Ravitch — millerlf @ 9:17 am

Tom Ratliff: Public Schools in Texas Outperform Charter Schools
by dianeravitch

Tom Ratliff, a member of the Texas state Board of Education, wrote this article for the Longview News-Journal. It is a warning to parents not to assume that charter schools are better than public schools. On average, he says, the opposite is true.

Public schools ranked higher for financial accountability:

During the 2012-13 school year (the most recent year of the rating), Texas’ traditional public schools far outperformed charter schools in both academic and financial measurements. Don’t take my word for it, look at the information straight from the Texas Education Agency:

To summarize these reports, I offer the following:
The FIRST rating is the Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas and, according to the education agency, is designed to “encourage public schools to better manage their financial resources in order to provide the maximum allocation possible for direct instructional purposes.” I think we all agree, that’s a good thing to measure.
According to the agency, the FIRST rating uses 20 “established financial indicators, such as operating expenditures for instruction, tax collection rates, student-teacher ratios, and long-term debt.” How did the schools do? Glad you asked.
Traditional ISDs: 89 percent ranked “superior” and 1.2 percent ranked “substandard.”
Charter schools: 37 percent ranked “superior” and 20 percent ranked “substandard.”
Yes, one out of five charter schools ranked “substandard” on how they spend the tax dollars supporting them, while almost 9 out of 10 ISDs ranked “superior”.

And public schools outperform charter schools academically too:

Let’s shift our attention to academic performance. If the academic performance is good, the taxpaying public might be more understanding of a low rating on a financial measure. Unfortunately, the charters do not compare well there, either, under the 2014 TEA Accountability System.
Traditional ISDs: 92.6 percent met standard, while 7.4 percent did not.
Charter schools 77.7 percent met standard, while 17.3 percent did not.
Again, almost one out of five charter schools failed to meet the state’s academic standards.

And then Tom Ratliff asks the best question of all:

“Where is the outrage from groups like the Texas Association of Business or the Austin Chamber of Commerce?” Those groups rarely miss an opportunity to criticize the shortcomings of traditional ISDs. Why not express concerns when numbers like these relate to charter schools? If these numbers were attributable to ISDs, you can bet those groups would be flying planes around the Capitol and holding press conferences like they have in the past. A little consistency would be nice when asking for taxpayer-funded schools to perform as expected.”

Ratliff points out that his father wrote the original charter law. It is refreshing to see a policymaker looking at the data and seeing that competition does not translate into better education or more accountability. By the way, Tom’s father Bill Ratliff –former Lieutenant Governor of Texas–is already a member of the blog’s honor roll for his willingness to speak up and think for himself. A good Texas family.
dianeravitch | September 14, 2014

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