First, the percentage of poor (economically deprived) students in charter and regular public schools, and in the two combined:
According to this data, DCPS is a high-poverty district, with roughly 60 to 70% students deemed economically disadvantaged, whether they be in the regular public schools or the charter schools. That should be no surprise, unless you only visit a handful of schools west of Rock Creek Park.
But it might be surprising that up until 2010, the proportion of poor students in the charter schools was even higher than in the regular public schools, but only by about 2 to 4 percentage points. If these data are correct, for some reason unknown to me, in the last school year, the public schools have now surpassed the charter schools in terms of the percentages of poor students. In any case, the fraction of students in poverty in the regular public schools has risen substantially according to these figures, rising from about 62% to 70%, an increase of about 8 percentage points, which appears to be both sizable and real. Perhaps a result of the current economic slowdown?
Now let’s look at fractions of students who don’t speak English well – those who have limited or no English proficiency.
This data concurs with other data I have found that shows that while public schools in DC don’t have as much of a new-immigrant population as some other cities, and thus, overall percentages of LEP-NEP students are under 12 percent, those students are rather concentrated in the regular DC public schools. The rates of LEP-NEP students are nearly twice as high in the regular DC public schools than in the charter schools. Why there was a rise in 2009, followed by a fall almost to unseen lows in 2010, I haven’t a clue. Perhaps someone can enlighten some inquiring minds?
My last graph for today is one that I am a bit skeptical about. It pertains to ‘proficiency’ rates in math for the same time period, as measured on the DC-CAS. Perhaps you can discern what raises my skeptical hackles?
For some reason, proficiency rates in the charter schools appear to have been much higher than in the regular public schools from 2007 through 2009, at least according to this data. This contradicts a lot of my own previous findings. Another weird thing about this table is that the percentage of students ‘passing’ in math in the entire publicly-funded DC school system is slightly higher than in either the charter schools or in the regular public schools. That’s a mathematical impossibility which I cannot yet explain.
In any case, notice the large drop in ‘pass’ rates in the charter schools, and the small drop in the ‘pass’ rate in the regular public schools. All of that raises plenty of questions in my mind.
What about you?