Feds On PA Charter Schools: You Must Compare Apples To Apples

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In Pennsylvania (and the rest of the country), they have rigged the numbers every way they can to make charter schools look like an improvement -- when they're not. Anytime you privatize a public resource and add a layer of profit, of course you're going to get lower performance! That's how they make their money, like every other business the vultures rape and pillage. And when it ceases to be profitable enough, they'll fold their tents and disappear into the night:

PHILADELPHIA -- Federal education officials have denied Pennsylvania's request to evaluate charter school achievement using more lenient criteria, saying they must be assessed by the same standard as traditional schools.

The rejection means Pennsylvania cannot substitute a less stringent method for measuring "adequate yearly progress," the federal benchmark known as AYP. Critics said the formula artificially inflated charter schools' performance for political reasons.

"I cannot approve this ... because it's not aligned with the statute and regulations," U.S. Assistant Education Secretary Deborah Delisle wrote in a letter released by the state Wednesday.

The issue surfaced in September, when Pennsylvania's latest standardized test scores were reported. For the first time -- and without approval from federal officials -- state Education Secretary Ronald Tomalis treated charter schools as districts, not individual schools.

Schools must hit certain targets at every tested grade level to make AYP. But for a district to meet the benchmark, it needs only to hit targets in one of three grade spans: grades 3-5, 4-6 or 9-12.

Under Pennsylvania law, every charter school is considered its own district. So by using the grade span methodology, about 59 percent of charters made AYP -- a figure that supporters touted, comparing it with the 50 percent of traditional schools that hit the target.

Yet only 37 percent of charters would have made AYP under the individual school method. Delisle ordered Pennsylvania to re-evaluate charter schools' AYP status using that standard by the end of the fall semester.

She noted that Pennsylvania can assess charters under the district method but only in addition to the school method.


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