Monday, February 2, 2015

The New Orleans charter school 'miracle'? Not in ACT numbers

Posted By on Mon, Feb 2, 2015 at 6:35 AM

RECOVERED? Tests scores remain lower for the Recovery School District, the all-charter-school group of former New Orleans public schools.
  • RECOVERED? Tests scores remain lower for the Recovery School District, the all-charter-school group of former New Orleans public schools.
As education in Arkansas continues to move toward the privatized version favored by the Walton Family Foundation and other billionaires, you'll likely hear the New Orleans charter school 'miracle' invoked. This is the conversion of most New Orleans public schools into charter schools following Hurricane Katrina.

Multiple sources have long made clear that no miracle has occurred in the 10 years since Katrina, if by miracle you mean producing substantially proficient performance among the poor, minority students that dominate the New Orleans public schools.

Here's more. An education blogger has managed to obtain ACT college test scores of all school districts in Louisiana. The Louisiana Education Department won't provide the numbers. Perhaps because they'd put the lie to Gov. Bobby Jindal's support for the "choice" education agenda.

Against the national average composite ACT score of 21 in 2014, the Recovery School District — the umbrella for the various independent charter schools — reported an average ACT of 15.7, with some school's graduating class average as low as 12. Of 70 school districts in Louisiana, the amalgamation of New Orleans charter schools ranked 66th, ahead of only four small rural districts. It's this kind of low status, you may recall, that prompted the Arkansas Board of Education to take over the Little Rock School District. Writes blogger Mercedes Schneider:

These RSD-NO ACT scores aren’t useful for selling the test-score-driven, state-takeover, charter-conversion model [state education superintendent] John White is so fond of. And so what does the state super who cries “accountability” do?

He hides the scores from public view.

The RSD Class of 2014 was in third grade when Katrina hit. The state has been in charge of their education since then, and this is what they have to show for their test-score-driven, charter-friendly, Teach-for-America-friendly, so-called “education.”

Nothing remotely touching “college ready.”

A sham.

Beware "reformers" proclaiming the New Orleans miracle in Arkansas.

PS — A college professor adds this note on ACT scores:

If someone takes the ACT and guesses on every question (e.g., filling in the second bubble for every question), their most likely composite score is 12. You actually have to do worse than pure guessing to score less than 12.

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