Rubenstein Strikes Again: Miracle Schools are Not So Miraculous

Gary Rubenstein has done a great job again. This time, he points out that a handful of supposedly 90-90-90 schools that were praised by Arne Duncan and other corporate DEformers are actually doing much worse than the vast majority of other schools in their districts.

An excerpt:

At Urban Prep, where they had a 17% passing rate in 2010, they now have a 15% passing rate. In Math it is just 9%. When that 9% is broken down into free-lunch and not-free-lunch, we see that only 6% of the students with free lunch were proficient in math, while 24% who did not get free-lunch passed. On their college readiness statistic, even though 100% of their seniors get accepted into college, according to The Chicago Tribune database 0% of them were considered ‘college ready’. As far as comparing apples to apples, in their district they were way below the averages in every category, generally with about half the percent proficient as the rest of the district.

And here is a graph:

The red triangle represents Urban Prep Academy Charter HS, a so-called miracle school in Chicago. Its location on the graph shows that it has one of the higher percentages of students from low-income families (roughly 83%) and one of the lowest percentages of students who “meet” or “exceeds” whatever the norms are in Chicago, namely about 14%. If you were to draw a linear regression curve, UPACHS would probably be UNDER the line of regression, meaning that it does a bit WORSE than it normally should.

Rubenstein writes, “This scatter plot from the Illinois Interactive Report card shows how test scores correlate with free-lunch and how Urban Prep fits right on the trend line.  It is hardly an outlier.”

He ends his blog thus:

At Miami Central all their scores went down, so much that the school was scheduled to be closed down. The Miami Herald Reported that it was saved at the last minute, for now.

And Bruce Randoph lost most of the gains that Alter spoke about had returned to near it’s 2007 levels. Now it has 10% passing writing and 10% passing math. It is one of the lowest performing schools in Colorado.

Though some will still misunderstand the point of this post, I am not saying that poor kids are not capable of learning or that these three schools need to get shut down. The point is that the corporate reformers need to have ‘miracle schools’ to justify their shutting down the ‘failing schools’ even though many of the failing schools are as good, if not better than the miracle schools. If there were more transparency (accountability, the corporate reformers love to say) so schools could not leave out relevant statistics as they try to secure more private and public funds.

Despite their claims, the corporate reformers have no proof that the harm of their tactics is outweighed by any good. They lied about their 90-90-90-90 schools. Now they’ve been caught lying about their continually improving schools. They have absolutely nothing.

And the media and the public are finally starting to catch on to this. In Chicago, today, one of the most corporate reform friendly cities in the country, all the major newspapers reported about a study that showed that Chicago charters are doing no better, and often worse, than their public counterparts. It really is only a matter of time before knowledge of this spreads.

It is inevitable. The corporate reform bubble will soon burst.

Read the details at his blog here. Or else here:


Published in: on December 14, 2011 at 2:07 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. At the top of your blog, it says, “Just another wordpress blog.” I have a question for you. If you are a blogger, why don’t you know how to change that setting? Is that really the “subtitle” (to use an academic term) of your blog? Do you know how to use wordpress, or do you care?

    Likewise, your hateful rhetoric and disturbing images against a fellow educator show a lack of propriety. If you can’t even blog correctly, why would I assume *you* can educate?

    You are playing into the “hierarchical nature” of the education, which engendered corruption. Rather than calling Michelle Rhee names, why not use decency and civility in debating her. Your language makes me “believe” her more than you because I have to trust you to be on your side. With a silly photoshop of Michelle Rhee as Pinnochio, (very unoriginal) I just stopped reading.

    Feel free to delete this comment. But, feel even freer to delete your post and try again. You received an F. And, maybe spend some time studying your wordpress admin panel.


    • Oh, no! I’m not original! I don’t know all the ins and outs of wordpress! Oh, no! However, i can document all my charges.


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