Tuesday, January 12, 2016

"Charter schools in North Carolina are increasingly serving the interests of relatively able white students in racially imbalanced schools and that despite improvements in the charter school sector over time, charters schools are still no more effective on average than traditional public schools."

Think the News and Record will report it?

How many more readers with kids in charter schools 
could stop taking the News and Record if they report it?

"Charter schools in NC less diverse than traditional schools, report shows

A report showing the student population at state charter schools is wealthier and whiter than student bodies at traditional public schools was pulled Wednesday from the State Board of Education’s consideration.

Lt. Gov. Dan Forest argued that the report, intended for the legislature and full of data on charter school enrollment, demographics and costs, was too negative.

...Forest did not detail his concerns with the report...

More than 57 percent of students attending charter schools in the current school year are white, compared with traditional public schools’ 49.5 percent, the report said.

The proportion of African-American students is about the same across both types of schools. A little more than 8 percent of charter students are Hispanic, while enrollment at traditional schools is more than 16 percent Hispanic.

The report also references an April 2015 study by Helen Ladd, Charles Clotfelter and John Holbein of Duke University that showed little integration within individual charter schools. Student populations at individual charters, their study found, are predominantly white or predominantly minority.

The state board sends a report on charters to the legislature each year, but this one comes as charter school enrollments are accelerating while growth of traditional public schools stagnates.

...Charter schools have a smaller proportion of low-income students, the report says. At charters last year, 36 percent of students were economically disadvantaged, compared with nearly 55 percent at traditional schools.

...Charter schools receive public money but operate free of some of the laws and regulations that govern traditional public schools. Charters do not have to adhere to the state teacher pay scale and may extend the school year, for example. They are not required to offer student transportation or provide lunch to poor students...

"RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — State education leaders sidetracked a report describing the overall student population at North Carolina's charter schools as whiter and more affluent than student bodies at traditional public schools after Lt. Gov. Dan Forest complained it was too negative.

...Forest said a primary concern about the report was that it cited a study last year by Duke University researchers who wrote that "the charter schools in North Carolina are increasingly serving the interests of relatively able white students in racially imbalanced schools."

The report, prepared by the charter school office of the state Department of Public Instruction, said while black and white children attend charter schools and traditional public schools in similar proportions overall, individual charter schools are more racially segmented.

That could be because more charter schools are being organized in poor neighborhoods that serve heavily minority populations, a detail left out of the draft report, Forest said.

...Charter schools also consistently serve fewer low-income students, the report said, but they are exceeding targets for student and overall classroom performance set by the state school board.

State Board of Education Chairman Bill Cobey said he expects lawmakers will accept a delay until the report is revised..."

"The sausage factory: Watch ‘negative’ N.C. charter report get revised

People who care about the politics of public education in North Carolina will get a rare glimpse of the inner workings as state officials revise a charter school report that was characterized Wednesday as too negative.

As Lynn Bonner of the (Raleigh) News & Observer reported, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, who serves on the state Board of Education, asked the board to delay voting on a 30-page staff report because that report “did not have a lot of positive things to say”...

The board agreed, even though the report was done at the demand of state lawmakers, who set a Jan. 15 deadline.

But if the goal was to remove the draft report from public scrutiny and media commentary ... well, there’s the fact that it was a public document presented at an open meeting in Raleigh. Bonner used it as the basis for reporting that charter schools have more white students, few Hispanics and fewer low-income students than district schools.

I was among the reporters present. The brief discussion struck me as an unusually blunt demand to make data more politically palatable. And because the draft remains online, we’ll all get to see how it changes.


The report deals with demographics, students with disabilities, test scores, academic growth, charter school openings and closings, and the financial impact on school districts...

And the report highlights why all of this matters: Statewide enrollment in charter schools has grown from 41,200 in 2011, before the state lifted a 100-school cap, to 81,951 in 158 schools this year.

State funding has grown from $200 million in 2010-11 to $366 million in 2014-15, according to the report. The Department of Public Instruction tells me the current budget is for $394 million.

Forest didn’t cite any specific problems. He simply offered to “run cover” if legislators question the blown deadline. Board of Education Chairman Bill Cobey agreed to the delay.

The making of public policy has been compared to the making of sausage – something you’d rather not see. But for those of us who can’t resist, it’s going to be fascinating to see what gets removed, what gets added and what gets recast to give state lawmakers a report that satisfies Forest and the board."