In case you missed it, veteran Forsyth County schoolteacher and regular Policy Watch contributor Stuart Egan has a fine new post on his blog Caffeinated Rage entitled “These Ten Educational ‘Reforms’ In North Carolina Have Intentionally Hurt Our Public Schools.” Here are his first five:
1. Opportunity Grants (Vouchers) –
There has never been any empirical evidence that the vouchers actually work. Maybe voucher proponents would like to point to NC State’s study last year, but that study ultimately did not make conclusions on the veracity of the vouchers. In fact, it said that the Opportunity Grants need much more research as it is hard to assess the program.
Or they might point to “satisfaction surveys” like Joel Ford of PEFNC did in an op-ed on EdNC.org. If that is the only variable by which they can measure the effectiveness of the grants, then that is absolutely weak.
And it has been shown that Opportunity Grants have heavily been used in nontransparent religious private schools. Furthermore, not even half of the funds for the vouchers have been awarded, yet the NCGA keeps putting more money into this reform.
In the 2017-18 school year, 7001 students attended 405 private schools at a cost of $20.3 million. The largest cohort of Opportunity Scholarship recipients attended a single religious school in Fayetteville, with those 201 students making up more than half of its student population. The largest dollar amount, $451,442, went to Liberty Christian Academy in Richlands, NC where 122 of the 145 students are voucher recipients. The 2018-2019 Budget Adjustments bill increased funding for the Opportunity Scholarship program from $45 to $55 million.
2. Innovative School District –
North Carolina’s ISD is run by an out-of-state for-profit charter chain. To date it has only school and it just got its third superintendent and its second principal – after only one full year in operation.
It is not a success by any stretch of the imagination.
Here is the most recent growth rates and grades for subsets for that ISD school.
Southside Ashpole Elementary:
- 4 – F’s
- Everything else is an “I” which stands for “Insufficient Data.”
- 1 – Not Met’s
- 2 – Met
The current ISD here in NC has been in existence for over three years. It has not worked.
3. Charter School Cap Removed –
This past January, Kris Nordstrom published an article that openly showed this data.
The cap was removed beginning in 2012-2013.
And there is substantial evidence that charter schools are more segregated than traditional public schools.
The Excel spreadsheet in the previous post lined to above is a list of every charter school that exists now in this state that had a school performance grade attached to it for the 2018-2019 school year. It is cross-referenced to the last full school report card it has on record from the 2017-2018 school year.
According to that data table in that post which includes 173 charter schools,
- 81 of them had a student population that was at least 65% white.
- 40 of them had a student population that was at least 80% white.
- 100 of them had at least 50% of the students classified as white.
- 31 of them had a student population that was at least 65% black.
- 17 of them had a student population that was at least 80% black.
- 43 of them had at least 50% of the students classified as black.
To put in perspective, that means:
- Over 110 of the 173 charter schools had a student population that was at least 65% one race/ethnic group.
- 150 of the 173 charter schools had a student population that was at least 50% one race/ethnic group.
- Over 50 of the 173 charter schools had a student population that was at least 80% one race/ethnic group.
- 132 of the 173 schools listed had a 2017-2018 student population that was lower than 40% Economically Disadvantaged.
4. School Performance Grades –
NC is the only state that puts more emphasis on proficiency than growth and counts proficiency for 80% for a school performance grade. NC weighs proficiency at least 30% more than the next ranking state.
And North Carolina’s school performance grades are a confirmation that student poverty levels have so much to do with how schools perform.
5. Virtual Charter Schools –
There are two virtual charter schools that have not very well in the past, but were renewed by the state for another four years and championed by Mark Johnson.
Here are their grades and growth by subset groups.
NC Virtual Academy:
1 – F
6 – D’s
5 – Not Met’s
NC Cyber Academy:
4 – F’s
4 – D’s
6 – Not Met’s
Click here to see the other five.