Bill Turque wrote in a recent column (3-17-2010) that it’s a myth that significant numbers of students transfer out of (or are pushed out of) DC’s charter schools, ending up in DC public schools.His sources, which include DCPS spokesperson Jennifer Calloway and professional charter school advocate Barnaby Towns, also claim that even this number is offset by students who transfer from DCPS to charter schools.
That may be what his sources are telling him, but it doesn’t appear to be true, based on the only actual published data that is in the public domain. In fact, the numbers that Calloway and Towns gave to Turque for “mid-year admissions” seem to be only for one or two months, rather than for the entire year! In addition to that, the actual published data show that during the three-month period November 2007 to January 2008, there were approximately 400 students who transferred from some DC charter school to some DC public school. The school year is 9 or 10 months long (depending on how you count it), so if we extrapolate from the data we actually have, then we probably had about 1200 or more students transferring from charter to public during SY 2007-8. I see no reason why that transfer rate would suddenly be cut by a factor of five for the current school year!
Turque’s sources claim that there were only 264 such transfers this year. I doubt it very, very strongly.
Now, how about mid-year transfers from DCPS to charter schools? According to the only publicly available data out there, there was a grand total of twenty-one (yes, 21) students who transferred from public to charter schools during the same 3-month time period mentioned earlier (11-08 to 1-09).
In case you are wondering, 400 students transferring from charter to public is about TWENTY times bigger than the 21 students transferring from public to charter, during the same time period. The first group is NOT offset by the second in any meaningful way.
Here is that graph, the only one we can actually see:
I hope you can read that. Here is some of the accompanying text:
‘*The “DCPS to Charter” category has 12, 6, and 3 students for each respective month; the “Charter to Charter Transfer” category has 1, 2, and 7 students for each respective month; all numbers, when rounded to the nearest 25, round down to 0.’
Furthermore, “PLC Last updated: 3/20/2008 with data through 1/05/2008” so it sounds like the data for January should probably be much higher, since January has a lot more than five days!
Bill Turque, if you are reading this: Did they actually give you data tables to look at, or were they jus telling you something they made up off the top of their heads?