Sunday, October 16, 2016

Panic in the Charter Lobby: Families for Excellent Schools (FES) Attack Public School High Scoresl Test Gains, Ignore Charter Phony Gains

Kittredge and FES will soon be calling for a ban on immigrants who might raise test scores in public schools.
Several charters had notable jumps but Families for Excellent Schools didn’t target them. They include Imagine Me Leadership Charter School in East New York, where 71% passed in math in spring, up from 41% the year before.... WSJ, Some Brooklyn Test Scores Jump, Sparking Call for State Investigation
Pro-charter group sees big gains as ‘suspiciously high’
Following on their loss at the NAACP (NAACP Sends a BIG FU to Charter Lobby), the charter lobby is increasingly in a state of panic.

Oooh, the poor boobies at the slimebag astroturf  FES led by the ultimate piece of shit, Jeremiah Kittredge, are scared that high test scores from public schools in neighborhoods with clusters of charters are becoming a threat to them.

As public schools begin to rise in test scores they present an inherent threat to the pro-charter narrative. So now FES is asking for schools with jumps in test scores to be investigated.

How funny considering charters mark their own tests, toss low-scoring kids back into public schools and in their closed environment can cheat like hell. A charter school teacher caught cheating probably gets an award. At most they will get rid of a teacher but cover it up. A public school teacher caught cheating not only can lose their job but go to jail - see Atlanta.

Some public schools threatened by charters have figured out ways to attract some of the parents who might go charter.

PS 147K, my former schools, is listed by FES. I had to laugh. I was in the school stuffing mailboxes during the UFT election on one of the testing days and the principal not only gave me a tour of the building to show me all the new stuff they had - hydroponics lab, state of the art library, a hot stuff computer lab - and then invited me into her office for a long chat about education policy. I remember my old principal in the 80s-90s being neurotic on test days and poring over the test papers to make sure everything was OK. No signs of that at all.

She took me in to see the Japanese dual language program which, as the only school in the city, has attracted Japanese parents. I'll leave it to readers to figure out if that has had an impact on test scores. And as we know that if you get a critical mass of kids who can function academically it raises all boats.

Kittredge and FES will soon be calling for a ban on immigrants who might raise test scores in public schools.

Yes Kittredge, let's open up Eva's schools for total scrutiny and watch you guys squawk. 

In some cases the opt-out movement might be having an effect. The assumption has been that the better scoring kids opt out - and in many areas that is true. But some of the low-scoring kids who have enormous struggles with the tests might also be opting out to avoid the trauma of tests that are so clearly unsuited for them. 


Lisa Rudley commented on the CTS listserve:
No surprise the charter schools are upset that they can't take over more schools to line their pockets and disrupt local communities. To call for full transparency is an insult when charters are the most secretive, non-transparency entities themselves with laws that protect them to be so.

The WSJ clearly is clearly not being balanced as charter school scores 'supposedly' went up even more.  Should they be investigated? In the end, these scores are not even comparable! 

Lastly, there were several charter schools across the state that had students opting out and did not meet the 95% threshold. .. Lisa Rudley, NYSAPE
Here is the WSJ article in full.




WSJ: Some Brooklyn Test Scores Jump, Sparking Call for State Investigation
Pro-charter group sees big gains as ‘suspiciously high’

By Leslie Brody • Oct. 14, 2016 5:14 p.m. ET

P.S. 5 in Bedford-Stuyvesant saw big gains in its state test scores. The elementary school has many homeless students and is seeing enrollment drop. Photo: Kevin Hagen for The Wall Street Journal

A pro-charter advocacy group wants New York education officials to investigate 10 district schools in Brooklyn that it says had “suspiciously high spikes” in scores on state tests.

At P. S. 5 in Bedford-Stuyvesant, the share of children passing in math rose to 67% last spring, from 9% the year before. It recorded nearly the same jump in English language arts scores. The struggling elementary school has dwindling enrollment and many homeless students.

Families for Excellent Schools, which backs charter schools and frequently criticizes Mayor Bill de Blasio’s education policies, said such big increases in scores warrant scrutiny. “We hope there is an understandable explanation but the public has a right to know if there is not,” said Jeremiah Kittredge, the group’s chief executive.

City Department of Education officials said Friday that schools have worked hard to improve. They said in small sites, having 10 or 15 more students pass can lead to double-digit gains in the percentage deemed proficient. Further, they said these 10 schools are in districts where community groups encouraged families to opt their children out of the tests, and the resulting rise in test refusals muddied the picture. The principal of P.S. 5 didn’t respond to requests for comment.

“We congratulate schools across the city that are strengthening instruction and making gains on state exams, and we have procedures in place—and work with the state—to review schools’ testing practices,” said department spokesman Will Mantell.

Allegations of possible misconduct in testing or scoring can be explosive. Cheating scandals have rocked districts nationwide where educators said they felt under tremendous pressure to show progress to get more pay or avoid discipline. In Atlanta, 11 teachers and administrators were convicted last year on racketeering charges. Many districts have taken steps so teachers no longer proctor or grade their own students’ exams.


A State Education Department spokeswoman said her agency would review the group’s analysis. She said the state has a range of procedures to detect irregularities, including hunts for high numbers of wrong answers that are erased and replaced with correct ones.

Many factors can affect a school’s scores, including changes in tests, curriculum, teacher training, demographics and the abilities of a new set of children tackling them. Despite these caveats, the score jumps in several Brooklyn schools flagged by the advocacy group looked suspicious to Gregory J. Cizek, an expert in educational testing at the School of Education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

At P.S. 191 in Crown Heights, for example, 57% of students passed in math last spring, up from 27% the prior year. In language arts, 48% passed last year, up from 10% the prior year.

“I used to be more reluctant to come to a conclusion based on just a little bit of quantitative evidence but having seen so many of these situations, this is remarkably characteristic of test cheating,” Mr. Cizek said.

NeQuan McLean, a parent and president of District 16’s Community Education Council, where three of the flagged schools are located, expressed caution. “I don’t want it to be that when schools begin to be successful, it’s said that something is suspicious, unless they have concrete” proof, he said.

Last spring, 253 students opted out in District 16 while nearly 3,000 took the tests. Mr. Kittredge, of the advocacy group, said the opt-out number couldn’t account for the big gains in scores.

Federal rules require that schools and districts have at least 95% of students test. Such rules are intended to deter educators from discouraging low-performing students from participating.

‘I used to be more reluctant to come to a conclusion based on just a little bit of quantitative evidence but having seen so many of these situations, this is remarkably characteristic of test cheating.’

—Gregory J. Cizek, an expert in educational testing
State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia has cautioned that last spring’s test results can’t be compared directly to the prior year’s because the tests had fewer questions and were untimed. Scores rose for the state and New York City overall for children in grades three through eight. In the city, 36.4% were proficient in math, up from 35.2% the year before, and 38% passed in language arts, up from 30.4%.

New American Academy in East Flatbush saw double-digit jumps in pass rates, to 22% in math and 33% in language arts. Principal Jessica Saratovsky credited tailoring instruction to each student, Saturday test preparation and the switch to untimed tests, which made students less anxious. “We worked with them on…what it means to recheck their work and how to annotate a text,” she said in an email.

M.S. 267 also saw its state test scores skyrocket. ENLARGE
M.S. 267 also saw its state test scores skyrocket. Photo: Kevin Hagen for The Wall Street Journal

Other Brooklyn schools flagged by Families for Excellent Schools include M.S. 267, P.S. 15, P.S. 147, P.S. 21, P.S. 133, P.S. 120, and Brooklyn Science and Engineering Academy. Their principals couldn’t be reached for comment or referred requests to the central office.

Several charters had notable jumps but Families for Excellent Schools didn’t target them. They include Imagine Me Leadership Charter School in East New York, where 71% passed in math in spring, up from 41% the year before.

Mr. Kittredge said many of this charter’s students were on the cusp of passing in 2015, thus its improvement was understandable. Katherine Corbett, the charter’s executive director, said adding professional development helped and no students opted out.

5 comments:

  1. Norm, all is not as it seems at 147. The DL kids are years away from taking the test.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The staff at 147 is excellent. Thank you for bringing the reality of the pro-charter lobby to light. As for the person who stated 147 is not as it seems, what I would say to the public is to arrange for a visit to the school on any given day and judge for yourself.

      Delete
  2. 1) I loathe FES.
    2) Many teachers are 147 are great.
    3) The administration at 147 is a nightmare. Charming upon first meeting but bullies. Any teachers looking at this blog would be wise to stay away.
    4) The school would look fine on a one shot visit, but that's not the daily reality.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am concerned about the negative rhetoric in the comments section which is a la Trump. The party spreading accusatory comments about the school's leadership is inappropriate and unprofessional. You are contributing to the pro-charter school lobby through your divisive, negative comments about this public school. If you don't have anything nice to say, please don't say anything at all.

      Delete
    2. This comment epitomizes the administration of 147. The administration's view is the only acceptable view. Image matters more than reality.

      EdNotes has long been a source of information for teachers to learn about difficult administrators (and the DOE/UFT's refusal to challenge those administrations).

      Any teachers considering 147 should take these responses as a warning. Anyone with any differing views from the 147 administration is branded an enemy.

      Delete

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