A handful of graphs and a bit of analysis of where are the highest and lowest-scoring students: in the regular public schools of Washington, DC, or in the publicly-financed but privately-run charter schools.
If you buy the current “party line” from most newspaper editorial boards and folks like Arne Duncan, Michael Bloomberg, the Koch Brothers, and Michelle Rhee, you would probably conclude that students in the charter schools are wildly outperforming students in the regular DC public schools.
Facts, as someone once wrote, are stubborn things.
It just ain’t so.
Look at these two graphs, which show bars that depict what percent of students in each of the public and charter schools are proficient in math:
The chart shown above is for all of the regular DC Public Schools. Notice that there are 15 schools (out of 117, or about 13% of the total number of schools) with proficiency rates over 80%.
Now let’s look at the graph for the DC charter schools:
What about reading? The situation is very similar. For the regular DC public schools, the chart follows here:
Here, there are 14 regular DC public schools out of 117 with student bodies where 80% or more of the students are “proficient” in reading on the DC-CAS. That’s 12% of the schools.
And in the charter schools, in reading, here is the graph for SY 2011-2012:
As I’ve written before, the regular DC public schools not only have the lion’s share of the high-flyers, so to speak. They also have the lion’s share of the low-achievers as well.
In math, there are 17 regular public schools, or about 15% of the schools, where less than 20% of the students are proficient in math. In the charter schools, there are only two schools (3%) with such low rates of proficiency.
In reading, there are 19 regular DC Public Schools (about 16%) with less than 20% of the student body proficient. In the charter schools, there are only two such schools (again, 3%).
By the way: none of this data is published at the regular NCLB/OSSE/DCPS data location, at least not yet. There are so far no breakdowns of student populations at each school by gender, race/ethnicity, proficiency in the English language, special education status, family income, AND grade — which is why I haven’t published anything on that. Seems to me that as time goes on, DCPS, charter schools, and OSSE are all releasing less and less information to the public.
I got this data here: