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DCPS: You Can't Really Weigh Rhee's Reign W/O Charters

image from www.thenation.comI was with @danagoldestein's recent post on achievement gaps in DCPS right up until the point at which she revealed that the numbers she was using -- NAEP TUDA stats just released this week -- didn't include charter schools.  Of course it's not Goldstein's fault that charters aren't included -- a fact I hadn't known and really needs to be addressed.  But the absence of charter school data undercuts her argument that achievement gaps remain large in DC (and by extension that Michelle Rhee's reign was largely ineffective) because it means so many low-income minority kids are left out of the NAEP data.  The ever-helpful Jay Mathews tells us that there are 53 charters in DCPS serving 40 percent of DCPS students.  Not all of those are high performing schools, of course, and DCPS like most urban districts doesn't have direct oversight of charter schools, but I feel that the presence, growth, and whatever impact the charter schools have had on DCPS students accrues in part to her.  Someone figure out how to get NAEP scores for a sample of charter kids into TUDA and then we can really see what the achievement gap looks like in DCPS.   

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"I feel that the presence, growth, and whatever impact the charter schools have had on DCPS students accrues in part to her."

You "feel" it, but can you provide evidence of this? Rhee had nothing to do with the charter schools in DC. She talked about "choice" and may claim credit for their expansion, but they were completely separate entities. There was no partnership between DCPS leadership under Rhee and the leadership of the Charter School Board.

I suppose this is a relatively small detail but it's an inaccuracy that continues to be assumed and repeated by journalists, critics, and fans alike.

rachel --

obviously there's no real way that i know of to measure rhee's influence on DC charters -- that's why the sentence you cite is so full of cautions and caveats. i thought i'd signaled pretty clearly, but maybe not clearly enough.

still, the argument for her influence (strong proponent of choice, charters, and accountability) is just as strong or stronger than your argument against (bureaucratic separation of responsibilities).

my larger point, that leaving out 40 percent of the kids in DC is a problem for TUDA and for goldstein's analysis, remains.

It was (characteristically--kudos!) cautious and your larger point certainly stands.

"still, the argument for her influence (strong proponent of choice, charters, and accountability) is just as strong or stronger than your argument against (bureaucratic separation of responsibilities)."

Perhaps. I'm not sure. There's a lot more to the genesis of charters in DC and to relationship or lack thereof than just "bureaucratic separation of powers" than has been covered. But maybe I'm the only one who finds it interesting.

For data that include charter as well as DCPS students, you can simply consult the DC state-level reports.
The TUDA data are not fully comparable, because 2003-2007 include charter students, and 2009-2011 exclude them. There's a footnote in minute print in the TUDA reports:

"NOTE: Beginning in 2009, results for charter schools are excluded from the TUDA results if they are not included in the school district’s Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) report to the U.S. Department of Education. For the District of Columbia, beginning in 2009, TUDA results for DCPS do not include charter school results due to a change in the education governance structure for the District of Columbia. SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), various years, 2002–11 Reading Assessments."

The change in governance cited by NAEP had nothing to do with it, since DC charters have always been completely independent of DCPS. When Ms. Rhee was DCPS Chancellor she supported charters in word, but not substance (e.g., access to DCPS excess space). In my observation, her influence was strongest in closing many DCPS schools and otherwise angering minority group parents, so that many enrolled their children in charter schools instead.

For anyone interested in comparative DCPS and charter scores, I have extracted them from the NAEP Data Explorer, but they are not published anywhere.

I'm beginning to think that lack of complete data is going to be the standard reason used to avoid analyzing the disappointing, but huge reforms of Michelle Rhee and her former deputy and successor Kaya Henderson.

As Mary Levy says -- check the local standardized scores, the DC-CAS to see the differences - they are there, they are minute (charters slightly up this year, for the first time) and from what I can see with the naked eye, the data track with TUDA.

Or do as ML has and extract the charter scores from TUDA yourself - they are there -- she has done it. You could ask for her data and verify it. Seems to me this deep analysis is vital to understanding the effect of reform in DC, which was sweeping and of great interest to education writers while scores were rising and Rhee was making big news closing schools and firing principals and teachers.

To drop the analysis here for lack of easily accessible information would be a huge abnegation of responsibility to the cause of reform -- and to the kids were are supposed to be the main focus of it.

Please check the data.

It was (characteristically--kudos!) cautious and your larger point certainly stands.

"still, the argument for her influence (strong proponent of choice, charters, and accountability) is just as strong or stronger than your argument against (bureaucratic separation of responsibilities)."

Perhaps. I'm not sure. There's a lot more to the genesis of charters in DC and to relationship or lack thereof than just "bureaucratic separation of powers" than has been covered. But maybe I'm the only one who finds it interesting.

New DC charter school head poised to be more helpful to charters than Rhee-era predecessor says WP's Bill Turque http://ow.ly/7YhcE

Detailed analysis of NAEP scores for DCPS here:
http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/

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