Saturday, January 26, 2013

Accountability for Thee, But Not for Me! Charter School Edition.

First, let's review:
....and numerous other editorials, letters, Facebook posts, and pretty much everywhere else you looked.

Contrast that with this language from Senate Bill 5328, prime sponsored by Steve Litzow and co-sponsored by 7 others.  The effect of the bill would be to give every school a letter grade from A to F, of course based off of test scores.  Actually, not every school:
(3) Each school that has students who are tested using the assessments administered statewide in reading, writing, mathematics, and science required under RCW 28A.655.061, 28A.655.066, and 28A.655.070 shall earn a school grade, except as follows:
(a) To protect the privacy of students, schools, and district testing fewer than ten students in a grade level;
(b) An alternative school may choose to receive a school or a school improvement rating;
(c) Charter schools, unless the charter school governing board chooses to earn a school grade;
 There is absolutely no legitimate excuse for this.

"They're new, it's not fair to grade them!"  High turnover schools are practically new every year.
"They work with high-need populations!"  So do all of our alternative high schools.
"They have their own accountability!"  So does my public school, through the State Board of Education's Achievement Index.

This is what those who were against I1240 were talking about when they worried that the initiative would create a two track system of public schools that were accountable and charter schools that are not.  In the coming years, when the test scores tank because of the switch to the Common Core State Standards, this bill would create a reality where most every real public school had a scarlet F attached to them while the "public" charter schools could opt out and avoid the consequences.

There are other problem with the bill--the incentive piece is simply insulting, and this would be another layer of accountability bureaucracy on top of what the Board of Education is already doing--and I can't imagine it would pass the House.  It's simply sad to see just how little Senator Litzow and the rest of the Majority Coalition Caucus think of public schools.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would say the accountability for a compulsory education school should be different than an optional-attendance school.

Now, if you wanted to apply this rationale in a policy way, perhaps any school with a nearby charter school does not have to be tagged with a grade--since feet-voting is possible.

I would also note that the charter of a charter school has a level of accountability absent from other schools. Theoretically (admittedly, we'll see what actually happens), a charter school gets closed for poor performance.


11:54 AM  

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