A closer look at charter and regular public school enrollments, percentages of students at risk, and percentages of students ‘proficient’

Here is another look at the brand-new data concerning four variables in the District of Columbia schools, about which I wrote a couple of days ago. The difference here is that the dots representing the schools are more-or=less proportional to the size of the student body.

1. Is this a regular public school, or a charter school (blue or red):

2. What fraction of the kids at that school are officially considered to be At Risk? (That’s the scale along the x-axis at the bottom of the page)

3. What is the average percentage of the kids at that school are ‘proficient’ in reading and math on the DC-CAS? (That’s the scale along the y-axis at the left-hand side of the page)

4. How big is the school? (That’s the size of the dot, more or less; the legend is at the bottom left-hand corner of the graph)

Time spent looking carefully at this graph will be well-spent. If you click on it, it will expand.

It will certainly show that charter schools have not revolutionized education for the better in DC: for both types of schools, there remains a very strong, negative correlation between the percentages of kids At Risk and ‘pass’ rates on the DC-CAS.

Note that most schools have between 200 and 500 students and that most of the ones that are smaller are actually charter schools. As I wrote a couple of days ago, the schools with the largest fraction of At-Risk students (say, over 2/3 of the student body) are almost all regular DC public schools.

On the second graph, which is otherwise identical to the first, I’ve labeled some of the larger schools.

fixed bicolor, size of school and at risk vs average dc cas 2014 proficiency, both regular public and charter, dc

Here is the one with names of some of the larger schools, so you can see how individual schools fall on this graph.

(Sorry, I there was not enough room to label every single one, and my non-existent HTML skills won’t allow me to make it so that any of the dots are clickable. If any of my readers know how to do that and would like to offer to make that happen, then please let me know in the comments.)

again fixed and revised names and bicolor, size of school and at risk vs average dc cas 2014 proficiency, both regular public and charter, dc

And here is the entire data table. So you can see where every single school lies on these three dimensions.

(PS: I added a few more names of schools and corrected four other small errors, two pointed out by an alert reader.. 2/22/2015)

Bob Schaeffer’s Weekly Roundup of Actions Against the Testing Juggernaut

Demonstrating another surge of support for assessment reform as the Spring 2015 testing season nears, this week’s stories about the movement against standardized exam overuse and misuse come from more than 40% of the 50 states. The news is reinforced by several excellent analytic pieces and opinion columns (back issues of these weekly updates are archived at: http://fairtest.org/news/other)

In addition to keeping the heat on state and local policy-makers, now is the time to let your U.S. Senators and Representative know you support a significant reduction in federal testing mandates, an end to test-based consequences for students, teachers or schools and more funding for better forms of assessment. Please make those calls and send your emails today!

Recommendations for Overhauling “No Child Left Behind” From Forum on Educational Accountability
http://www.fairtest.org/fea-recommendations-improving-federal-law-january
Teacher Tells Congress: Federal Testing Mandates Are Wrong
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/01/21/teacher-tells-congress-the-federal-incentives-in-education-are-wrong/
Lawmakers Propose End to Annual Standardized Exam Requirement
http://dianeravitch.net/2015/01/21/a-proposal-to-end-annual-testing/
Listen to What Senator Whitehouse Said About Education Policy
http://educationopportunitynetwork.org/democrats-should-listen-to-what-senator-whitehouse-said-about-education-policy/

Arizona Schools’ Chief Wants New Assessment Ditched
http://www.abc15.com/news/state/arizona-schools-chief-wants-new-assessment-test-gone

Standardized Testing Fixation is Destroying Education in California and Across U.S.
http://www.citywatchla.com/8box-left/8272-wake-up-call-standarized-tests-are-destroying-american-education
Experts Say New Common Core Tests Not Ready to Grade California Schools
http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/social-affairs/20150120/some-experts-say-california-testing-should-not-be-used-to-grade-schools-yet

Colorado Lawmakers Continue Introducing Bills to Limit Testing
http://gazette.com/colorado-lawmakers-continue-introducing-bills-to-limit-testing/article/1544914

Five Florida Counties Sponsor Legislation Allowing Them to Opt Out of State Tests
http://www.nbc-2.com/story/27928046/swfl-school-superintendents-request-more-flexibility-from-state#.VMQmcOFLUZw

Louisiana School Expects Flood of Test Refusals
http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/2015/01/26/lpss-receives-first-testing-refusal-more-expected-soon/22346389/

No Maine Law Requires Students to Take a Test
http://www.sunjournal.com/news/columns-analysis/2015/01/25/jaclyn-boyd-government-should-not-dictate-if-child-takes-test/1645210
New Maine Tests Raises School Board Concerns; Some May Ask to Opt Out
http://www.mdislander.com/maine-news/education-news/test-raises-red-flags

Are Maryland Schools Giving Too Many Tests
http://www.wbaltv.com/education/are-school-systems-giving-students-too-many-tests/30866478

“We Are More Than Numbers” — Massachusetts Students’ Video on Testing
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B_oXWSpH_mLrVW9idHpIYXFSZms/edit?pli=1

Michigan Parents Upset By Schools’ Test Opt-Out Policy
http://www.wnem.com/story/27897329/parents-upset-about-standardized-testing-requirements

New Jersey Parents and Voters Want Kids Tested Less: New Poll
http://www.nj.com/education/2015/01/nj_parents_want_kids_tested_less_njea_poll_says.html
Early Results of New Jersey PARCC Testing: Widespread Misery
http://www.nj.com/opinion/index.ssf/2015/01/post_111.html#incart_river
New Jersey Commission Calls for Cutback in Time Spent on Testing
http://www.northjersey.com/news/n-j-commission-urges-school-districts-to-reduce-testing-1.1239411

Computer Crashes Mar New Mexico PARCC Test Trial Run
http://www.koat.com/news/glitches-afflict-parcc-test-run/30874602

Long Island, New York Teacher Refuses to Administer Common Core Test, Superintendent Backs Her
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/01/20/teacher-refuses-to-give-common-core-test-to-kids-with-her-superintendents-support/
Why Parents Are Refusing New York’s Common Core Tests
http://www.lohud.com/story/opinion/contributors/2015/01/24/refusing-states-common-core-tests/22217149/
New York Governor Cuomo “Obsessed” With Testing Teachers
http://www.lohud.com/story/opinion/editorials/2015/01/21/gov-cuomo-wrongly-focused-teacher-evaluations/22129435/
Open Letter to NY Gov. Cuomo: My Child Is Not a Test Score
http://www.syracuse.com/opinion/index.ssf/2015/01/dear_gov_cuomo_my_child_is_not_a_test_score_your_letters.html

More Tests Won’t Fix North Carolina Schools
http://www.heraldonline.com/2015/01/21/6723890_more-tests-wont-fix-schools.html?rh=1
The Flaw in North Carolina’s School Performance Grades
http://www.heraldsun.com/news/showcase/x2130548298/The-flaw-in-School-Performance-Grades

Some Ohio Students Opt Out of State Tests
http://www.starbeacon.com/news/some-grand-valley-students-opt-out/article_b57390a8-a508-11e4-89a8-2b7b80163bfc.html

Oklahoma High-Stakes Exam Opponents Look to Legislative Session to Cut Testing Overkill
http://www.fox23.com/news/news/local/high-stakes-testing-opponents-look-forward-state-l/njsKd/

Bill Would Expand Oregon Parents’ Right to Excuse Kids From Standardized Tests
http://www.wweek.com/portland/blog-32740-oregon_bill_would_expand_parents_rights_to_excuse_kids_from_standarized_tests.html

Many Students at Pennsylvania School Plan to Opt Out of Tests
http://citypaper.net/news/feltonville-arts-and-sciences-students-posed-to-quit-standardized-tests-en-masse/
Parents Back Teachers Who Explain Pennsylvania Opt-Out Process
http://dianeravitch.net/2015/01/26/philadelphia-warns-teachers-of-disciplinary-actions-if-they-inform-parents-of-opt-out-right/

Many Testing and Accountability Bills in 2015 Texas Legislative Hopper
http://educationblog.dallasnews.com/2015/01/testing-and-accountability-bills-in-the-texas-legislative-hopper.html/

Students, Activists Support Utah Teacher Fired for Refusing to Administer Test
http://www.sltrib.com/news/politics/2067279-155/rolly-activists-students-support-utah-teacher

Tacoma, Washington Parents Join Movement to Opt Kids Out of Standardized Testing
http://www.thenewstribune.com/2015/01/24/3599718_tacoma-area-parents-join-movement.html?rh=1-

High-Poverty Wisconsin Schools More Likely to Be Labeled “Failing”
http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/story/news/education/2015/01/24/impoverished-schools-likely-labeled-failing/22280449/?from=global&sessionKey=&autologin=

A Failing Grade for Test-Based School Report Cards
http://nepc.colorado.edu/newsletter/2015/01/why-school-report-cards-fail

16 States Plus D.C. Require Third-Grade Retention Based on  Test Scores
http://www.ecs.org/clearinghouse/01/16/44/11644.pdf

The Past, Present and Future of High-Stakes Testing
http://www.npr.org/blogs/ed/2015/01/22/377438689/the-past-present-and-future-of-high-stakes-testing

U.S. Addiction to Testing is Ripping the Humanity Out of Education
http://www.alternet.org/education/our-addiction-testing-ripping-humanity-out-education

Teachers Need Tests. . . Just Not Just Those Ones
http://badassteachers.blogspot.com/2015/01/teachers-need-tests.html

Why Everybody Hates Pearson
http://fortune.com/2015/01/21/everybody-hates-pearson/

Bob Schaeffer, Public Education Director
FairTest: National Center for Fair & Open Testing
office-   (239) 395-6773   fax-  (239) 395-6779
mobile- (239) 699-0468
web-  http://www.fairtest.org

==================

My apologies for not keeping up with this.

Kaya Henderson Really Doesn’t Know How to Run a School System

DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson told the city two days ago, “I want to be clear. We know what we need to do, and we have what it takes to get it done.”

That is patently untrue.

Even by her own yardsticks, namely test scores, Henderson and her kind of ‘reform’ has so far been a complete failure; Continuing the churn-and-test-prep regime won’t make it any better

As I wrote in a comment on the article in the Washington Post:

All of Henderson’s boasts of continuous progress are completely bogus. 
 
If you look at the scores on the DC-CAS for every single subgroup, you can see that they have stagnated since 2009, which was the year before Rhee, Kamras and Henderson implemented their trademark reforms (IMPACT, TLF, VAM “merit pay” and eliminating seniority protections for teachers). The gaps between white students and hispanic or black students have NOT narrowed since that time. There were some increases from 2006-2009, but it’s not clear how much of that was due to adults cheating, or simply because students and teachers were adapting to a brand-new test. (You may recall that the DC-CAS was administered for the very first time in 2006, and the percentages of kids deemed ‘proficient’ dropped quite a bit in comparison to what they were under the old test, especially in math.) 
 
Also: out of the 78 measurable goals set by Rhee and four large foundations, in order to earn that $64.5 million grant in 2009, the DCPS leadership has achieved a mere one and one-half of those goals (and I’m being generous with the one-half). That is a success rate of TWO PERCENT. 
 
In other words, Rhee and Henderson have an almost perfect record of failure, none of which is publicized by the media (esp. not WaPo editorial staff) but is easy to see if you look at the official OSSE statistics and are willing to dig a little bit.  
 
I’ve done some digging and have made some pretty easy-to-understand graphs showing how much Rhee and Henderson have failed. Look at my blog, gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com , and in particular at http://bit.ly/10mna8c , http://bit.ly/10mneEY , and http://bit.ly/1ptal1K . 
 
After you read those blog posts, can you explain to me why Kaya Henderson still has a job? It is so clear that mayoral control has been a complete failure!

Just how flat ARE those 12th grade NAEP scores?

Perhaps you read or heard that the 12th grade NAEP reading and math scores, which just got reported, were “flat“.

Did you wonder what that meant?

The short answer is: those scores have essentially not changed since they began giving the tests! Not for the kids at the top of the testing heap, not for those at the bottom, not for blacks, not for whites, not for hispanics.

No change, nada, zip.

Not even after a full dozen years of Bush’s looney No Child Left Behind Act, nor its twisted Obama-style descendant, Race to the Trough. Top.

I took a look at the official reports and I’ve plotted them here you can see how little effect all those billions spent on testing;  firing veteran teachers; writing and publishing new tests and standards; and opening thousands of charter schools has had.

Here are the tables:

naep 12th grade reading by percentiles over time

This first graph shows that other than a slight widening of the gap between the kids at the top (at the 90th percentile) and those at the bottom (at the 10th percentile) back in the early 1990s, there has been essentially no change in the average scores over the past two full decades.

I think we can assume that the test makers, who are professional psychometricians and not political appointees, tried their very best to make the test of equal difficulty every year. So those flat lines mean that there has been no change, despite all the efforts of the education secretaries of Clinton, Bush 2, and Obama. And despite the wholesale replacement of an enormous fraction of the nation’s teachers, and the handing over of public education resources to charter school operators.

naep 12th grade reading by group over time

 

This next graph shows much the same thing, but the data is broken down into ethnic/racial groups. Again, these lines are about as flat (horizontal) as you will ever see in the social sciences,

However, I think it’s instructive to note that the gap between, say, Hispanic and Black students on the one hand, and White and Asian students on the other, is much smaller than the gap between the 10th and 90th percentiles we saw in the very first graph: about 30 points as opposed to almost 100 points.
naep 12th grade math by percentiles over time

 

The third graph shows the  NAEP math scores for 12th graders since 2005, since that was the first time that the test was given. The psychometricians atNAEP claim there has been a :statistically significant” change since 2005 in some of those scores, but I don’t really see it. Being “statistically significant’ and being REALLY significant are two different things.

*Note: the 12th grade Math NAEP was given for the first time in 2005, unlike the 12th grade reading test.

naep 12th grade math by group over time

 

And here we have the same data broken down by ethnic/racial groups. Since 2009 there has been essentially no change, and there was precious little before that, except for Asian students.

Diane Ravitch correctly dismissed all of this as a sign that everything that Rod Paige, Margaret Spellings and Arne Duncan have done, is a complete and utter failure. Her conclusion, which I agree with, is that NCLB and RTTT need to be thrown out.

 

The Real Lesson of Singapore Math!

By now you’ve probably heard that Singapore and Shanghai are the two places on earth with the smartest kids in the entire world. We can see their PISA scores (go to page 5) are right at the top.

Case closed, right? Whatever they are doing in education, we in the US need to emulate that in order to catch up! Common Core! StudentsFirst! Teach for America! Race to the Top! PARCC! Bust those teacher unions! No more recess! All test prep all the time! Charter Schools! Turn the schools over to the billionaires (Gates, Bloomberg, Koch family, Walton family, and their hirelings and shills)!

But wait a second.

Have you noticed that an ENORMOUS fraction of the low-skilled, low-paid people living in Singapore are temporary foreign workers from various parts of Asia and Africa and are not allowed to bring their kids with them? Those kids are raised back in the workers’ homelands by various relatives, far away, and only get to see their parents at long intervals (somebody has to fly somewhere); back home, jobs are even scarcer and worse-paid, so the parents go elsewhere to try support their families.

Now, everywhere in the world, family income is very, very closely linked to children’s test scores in school. It’s one of the tightest correlations there are in the social sciences, as you can see in the simple scatter-plots I have repeatedly shown in this blog over the past 4 or 5 years. (Try using terms like “poverty” “income” and “scores” together in the search box on this page and be prepared to look through a lot of posts with such graphs, from all over!)

If one-quarter to one-third of the population of a country was legally not permitted to have children in the schools, and it was the low-paying 1/4 to 1/3 of the population, then the scores of the remainder of the kids would, quite naturally, be pretty darned good, since the bottom 1/4 to 1/3 of the distribution just got cut off.

If we systematically excluded the poorest quarter or third of our American student population from taking PISA, we know that our scores would be pretty darned high as well.*

Hmm, maybe the leaning tower of PISA hype is falling.

 

=====================

*Let’s remember that this WAS official policy in many states of the USA up until 1865: a large fraction of the population (guess which one!) was forbidden to send their kids to schools at all and it was explicitly forbidden even to teach them to read privately. When Jim Crow was established from the 1870s to the early 1960s, school facilities for Blacks and Hispanics, BY DESIGN of the racist authorities, so inferior to those for whites that they were a national disgrace. Which is why the calls for going back to the good old days should be so infuriating. There WERE NO GOOD OLD DAYS.

How Money Talks in Westchester County, New York

If you think it’s only in your school district that wealthy kids do better in school, think again. It’s all over the nation — and it starts when children are quite young and poor ones are often not spoken to or read to nearly as much by their parents, so that kids from poor families actually start preschool with a vocabulary disadvantage.

A recent article by Dave Greene, a teacher, author and activist in Westchester County, NY, puts that into focus by examining a local magazine centerfold that gives average family household income and a bunch of other data about schools so that home-buyers can figure out how “good” the schools are.

The old real-estate saying is that the three most important things about a house are its location, its location, and its location. That’s not quite true: it really should be, the average income of the other folks in the neighborhood (or AIOFN), AIOFN, and AIOFN.

It’s also true with the schools, as the data make clear — and it’s even clearer still if you put the data into a graph, which the original author did not do.

So I did.

Here are two such graphs:

sat and family income westchester co ny

I hadn’t realized that there were poor as well as rich areas in Westchester County, but apparently there are. The line of best fit that Excel calculated shows a very, very strong correlation: r-squared is 0.8819, which means that R itself is about 93.9% — about the strongest correlation you’ll ever see in the social sciences. The two variables here are average household income and average SAT score (these go from 600 to 2400).

The next graph shows average family income versus a composite score of college readiness as measured by the New York State Regents.

family income and college readiness westchester co ny

Once again, an extremely tight correlation between average family income and college readiness score.

Read the original article for the original data and its source. Here is my spreadsheet:

westchester raw data

Daily Howler on how the editors and reporters at the NYTimes get education right – or wrong

Two articles this past week by Bob Somerby on how at least one reporter (Motoko Rich) does a good job reporting on what is right and what isn’t right with education in America, and how the NYT editorial staff doesn’t get it right at all. But then again, the editors all went to cushy private schools and elite colleges and have mansions in the Hamptons, so they don’t have a clue as to how the other half lives.

First daily howler article here.

Second daily howler article here.

Published in: on March 29, 2014 at 3:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Audio Recordings from Ras Baraka’s Fund-Raiser in DC this weekend

I was able to record parts of the remarks of Ras Baraka (a progressive candidate for mayor of Newark, New Jersey)’s remarks at Busboys & Poets this past weekend, and I was going to attempt to share them with you here, but ran into some sort of snag, so I’ll have to give you the links on Google Drive instead.

My recordings are in four unequal parts, and are in iPhone’s ‘voice memo’ format.

The first one is quite short, less than a minute.

The second one is rather long, and is quite a rouser. Among other things, he points out that a victory against racism and oppression in one location encourages others to fight back harder and win.

In the third one, I asked him what his experiences were like as a teacher, building rep, and then principal.

In the fourth one, ‘Teacher Ken” asked him how he managed to bring medical and dental services to the schools under his care.

Let’s see how this works, and please let me know (via ‘comments’) what your experiences are.

nora ras baraka 004

Published in: on March 10, 2014 at 2:42 pm  Comments (1)  
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A Reader Comments on the South Korean Model of Education

A Korean-American reader shares his/her thoughts on the supposedly wonderful Korean educational system, as a comment on Diane Ravitch’s blog. The comments echo what I gleaned from the book “The Smartest Kids in the World.”

A Reader Comments on the South Korean Model of Education.

Published in: on February 21, 2014 at 3:53 pm  Comments (1)  
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James Meredith on the current civil rights struggle in our schools

Who’s he? Simply one of the heroes of the 1960’s civil rights movement. Here is his take on where we are going now in education:

Our schools are being destroyed by politics, profit, greed and lies. Instead of evidence-based practices, money has become the engine of education policy, and our schools are being hijacked by politicians, non-educators and for-profit operators. Parents, teachers, citizens and community elders must arm ourselves with the best evidence and take back control of our children’s public education before it is too late. We all must work together to improve our public schools, not on the basis of profit or politics, but on the basis of evidence, and on the basis of love for America’s children.

 

Read more at Anthony Cody’s blog.

Published in: on February 6, 2014 at 10:55 pm  Comments (3)  
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