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Mass media deception on Washington State charter school test scores

 shhh

Don’t be charter fooled.

It’s interesting how much charter schools really do not want to be public schools beholden to public scrutiny.

Case in point, 74, a slick media rag brought to you by the the WalMart Walton’s and Michael Bloomberg, and the News Tribune both came out with the same story about students in charter schools here in Washington State making great progress after being in their schools a mere five months. Amazing.

The author of the Tribune article wrote she had met with folks from Summit charter school and they shared with her how well their students were doing.

In the article she wrote  that the charter school was (illegally) receiving public funding through the Mary Walker School District, but apparently that was a minor detail for the writer and overlooked.

What was also overlooked was any request by the author for this source of information.

I reached out to the author of the article and asked if she had a source on the test scores. I have not received an answer yet and its been two days. Maybe she’s still looking.

After seeing articles at both news sites, I got curious.

I asked around, where was this information? If a public school made such an announcement, there would be a webpage with dis-aggregated scores and all the information on the type of test given, when it was given, the number of students who took the test and the location of the schools to get a sense of the demographics.

No one seemed to know where all this information was so I asked one of our school board directors, Sue Peters, if she had any idea in terms of the source of this rather startling information.

This made Sue curious as well and she went directly to the source, the Washington State Charter Association (WA charters). Because the Charter School Commission is now officially closed, ahem, they appear to be the folks in the know. It was WA charters that went to great lengths to put into place the illegal funding of the charter schools to keep them open.

Well, no one there seems to know where these scores are or any information about the testing that is typical for a public school district to publish.

So much for transparency…although they are gladly taking our money.

This is what we have so far besides an invitation to tour a charter school and the suggestion of doing a FOIA:

Subject: FW: Re: Request for information regarding press release about WA Charter Schools data

Hi Dora,

Per your request, here is my exchange with Maggie Meyers of the Washington Charter Association inquiring about the recent press release containing “data” from the state’s charter schools. Apparently the information is self-reported,  and I have been unable to obtain the original source of this information or verify the content.

Regards,

Sue

Sue Peters

Vice President

& Director (District IV)

Seattle School Board

sue.peters@seattleschools.org

206-252-0040 / Fax 206-252-0101

________________________________________

From: Maggie Meyers [maggie@wacharters.org]

Sent: Tuesday, February 09, 2016 4:17 PM

To: Peters, Susan M

Subject: Re: [Possible SPAM]  Re: Request for information regarding press release about WA Charter Schools data

Hi Sue,

As stated in the release, this data was self-reported to the Association. School teams analyzed their results internally and sent us the aggregated results reported.  We do not collect individual student-level data.

I am not sure to what requirements to release “such information” you are referring.  Our schools are subject to SBAC/MSP/WELPA/ELPA21 administration and reporting like all other public schools. As you know, those assessment results are not released by OSPI until later in the year.

If you are interested, we would be happy to try and set you up with a tour of the charter school in your district.

Thanks,

Maggie

Sent from my iPhone

> On Feb 9, 2016, at 3:16 PM, Peters, Susan M <sue.peters@seattleschools.org> wrote:

> Hi Maggie,

> What I’d be interested in reviewing is the data that the schools submitted to the charter commission that prompted the press release. I assume it primarily consists of assessment results. Can you please forward that to me?

> In general, am I incorrect in assuming that charter schools are required to release such information, just as school districts are so required?

> And no, I am not asking for identifiable student data, even though FERPA has unfortunately been weakened in recent years, and does allow the release of a surprising amount of student information for ‘educational purposes.’

> Thank you again.

> Sue

> Sue Peters

> Vice President

> & Director (District IV)

> Seattle School Board

sue.peters@seattleschools.org

206-252-0040 / Fax 206-252-0101

> ________________________________

> From: Maggie Meyers [maggie@wacharters.org]

> Sent: Tuesday, February 09, 2016 2:19 PM

> To: Peters, Susan M

> Subject: [Possible SPAM] Re: Request for information regarding press

> release about WA Charter Schools data

> Hi Sue,

> You could file a records request with the schools, but please note that per FERPA, it is our understanding that you would not have access to individual student-level data.

> Thanks,

> Maggie

> On Tue, Feb 9, 2016 at 2:09 PM, Peters, Susan M <sue.peters@seattleschools.org<mailto:sue.peters@seattleschools.org>> wrote:

> Thank you for your reply, Maggie.

> Since these schools were considered public and are now many still operating under a public aegis of some sort (ALEs via the Mary Walker School District, homeschooling, etc), am I correct to assume that the “internal diagnostic, progress monitoring and/or interim assessments” data is publicly available?

> In which case, can you please direct me to this information?

> Thank you.

> Sue Peters

> Vice President

> & Director (District IV)

> Seattle School Board

sue.peters@seattleschools.org<mailto:sue.peters@seattleschools.org>

206-252-0040<tel:206-252-0040> / Fax 206-252-0101<tel:206-252-0101>

_______________________________

> From: Maggie Meyers

> [maggie@wacharters.org<mailto:maggie@wacharters.org>]

> Sent: Tuesday, February 09, 2016 1:31 PM

> To: Peters, Susan M

> Subject: Re: Request for information regarding press release about WA

> Charter Schools data

> Hi Sue,

> In their approved charter applications, the schools stated they would be giving both internal and external (i.e. SBAC Math/ELA, MSP Science) assessments to measure and report student progress. The data cited in our release was self-reported to WA Charters by the schools who have completed internal diagnostic, progress monitoring and/or interim assessments.

> Thanks,

> Maggie

> On Tue, Feb 9, 2016 at 12:04 PM, Peters, Susan M <sue.peters@seattleschools.org<mailto:sue.peters@seattleschools.org><mailto:sue.peters@seattleschools.org<mailto:sue.peters@seattleschools.org>>> wrote:

> Dear Ms. Meyers,

> I read with interest this 2/8/16 press release about charter schools in Washington State:

> Washington’s Public Charter Schools on Path to Successful First Year

> Despite Threat of Closure Following State Supreme Court Ruling

> Early Data Indicates Rapid Gains in Student Achievement

http://us7.campaign-archive2.com/?u=36a2a1b17ba3ff174c005c978&id=d43a5

> 12a30

> I would be very interested to know more. Can you please send me the source of the data cited in this statement?

> Thank you.

> Sincerely,

> Sue Peters

> Vice President

> & Director (District IV)

> Seattle School Board

sue.peters@seattleschools.org<mailto:sue.peters@seattleschools.org><ma

ilto:sue.peters@seattleschools.org<mailto:sue.peters@seattleschools.or

> g>> 206-252-0040<tel:206-252-0040><tel:206-252-0040<tel:206-252-0040>>

> / Fax

> 206-252-0101<tel:206-252-0101><tel:206-252-0101<tel:206-252-0101>>

****************

So much for the idea of public oversight with these charter schools.

Dora Taylor

Post Script:

A big thanks to Sue Peters for going the extra mile.

 

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This entry was posted on February 18, 2016 by in Cashing in on ed reform, Charter schools and tagged , .
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