If you’re keeping score…

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:

Here, there are only four schools (out of 70 charter schools, or about 6%) that have 80% or more of their students scoring at what is called “proficient”.

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:

We see that there are only TWO (2) charter schools out of 70, or about 3%, where 80% or more of the students score “proficient”.

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:


Published in: on October 4, 2012 at 11:01 am  Comments (10)  
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10 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. It makes you wonder if there people ever look at the data. They sure love talking about everyone else’s data, but please no mirrors people.
    Thank you for sharing this look at real data.


    • They look at the data. That’s why they have been releasing less of it or making targeted press releases that only emphasize whatever meger positives they can find.


      • I am a teacher in Louisiana, and our superintendent, is withholding our 2012 school performance scores. If these scores supported his stance that public schools are failing, these scores would have already made the headlines.


  2. Great job!


  3. […] Here he displays the data comparing DC public schools to charter schools. It is a healthy antidote to the fantasy so often spun by Arne Duncan, Michelle Rhee, Joel Klein, and the other luminaries of the reform movement. Share this:TwitterFacebookEmailLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. Categories Charter Schools, Duncan, Arne, Rhee, Michelle […]


  4. Data only counts to take over and shut down a school. After that the data doesn’t count anymore. The reformy non educators are willing to spin stats to their advantage. This will collapse eventually…but it may be the demise of our democracy.


  5. Very insightful. Such a great reminder we must look at range and distribution, quartiles and not just “mean”.


  6. Michelle and First Student are coming to town here in Missouri. I am an engineer and have put together a lot of data on the charters here in St. Louis and it isn’t good for the charters. Thank you so much for more ammo to blow apart Michelle storm troops when they come to our legislative session starting in January


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