New York’s State Tests Show the Weakness of Charter Schools

You live by test scores, and you die by them. Or something. New York recently altered its assessment tests, with the result of lowering scores. Gary Rubinstein makes a very important observation regarding these data–charter schools further than non-charter schools (boldface mine):

As can be clearly seen, the charters are, in general, the ‘outliers’ meaning the schools that had the biggest drops relative to other schools with similar 2012 scores.

In the Stephanie Simon report she mentions that KIPP Star and Democracy Prep hadn’t done so well with their proficiency rate, but she doesn’t mention how far they had dropped. Out of over 500 schools, which includes about 35 charter schools, of the one hundred largest drops, 22 were charter schools.

The most stunning example is the famed Harlem Village Academy which had 100% passing in 2012, but only 21% passing in 2013 for a 79% drop (you can see that sad dot all the way at the right of the scatter plot). Democracy Prep Harlem Charter, run and staffed by many TFAers, dropped 84% in 2012 to 13% in 2013. KIPP Amp dropped from 79% in 2012 to just 9% in 2013. The Equity Project (TEP) which pays $125,000 for the best teachers had finally gotten some test scores they can brag about with 76% in 2012, but that has now sunk to just 20% in 2013. The Bronx Charter School Of Excellence, which recently received money from a $4.5 million grant to help public schools emulate what they do, dropped from 96% in 2012 to 33% in 2013. So these are the schools that are the red ‘outliers’ hovering near the bottom right of the scatter plot. In general, the average charter school went down by 51 percentage points compared to 34 percentage points for the average public school. The most plausible explanation for charters dropping so much more than public schools is that their test prep methods were not sufficient for the more difficult tests. In other words “you’re busted.”


It is very important to these ‘reformers’ that our schools are ‘failing’ so they can justify their radical approach to reform which is centered upon shutting down public schools, opening charters, and firing teachers based significantly on standardized test scores.

I’m guessing the charter schools won’t be shut down and their teachers fired. Because it’s all about the kids.

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2 Responses to New York’s State Tests Show the Weakness of Charter Schools

  1. Mike of NZ says:

    Charter Schools are about to be introduced here in New Zealand, as a political sop to one of the government’s alliance partners. Whoopee!

  2. Pingback: Michelle Rhee Rebuffed By Boston | Mike the Mad Biologist

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