Not So Fast: Comments on a Viral Charter School Video

Not So Fast: Comments on a Viral Charter School Video

There is a viral video on Upworthy’s Facebook page that has now over 600,000 views. Almost all of New Orleans schools are now charter schools (and in the fall all might be), so it shouldn’t be a surprise that Edna Karr is a charter school.

 

Recently, though, I had to point out another side of the charter schools in New Orleans. The lack of oversight of charter schools makes them ripe for what happened with a New Orleans charter school principal that was wearing Nazi gear.

 

In contrast the story of Edna Karr is a positive story about a charter on its surface, and everyone should be happy about the graduation rate and college acceptance rate at Edna Karr. However, in general, charter schools are able to do things like that because they have so much more leniency by law with who they allow and keep in their schools.

 

The stability rate at Karr indicates 9% of students did not reenroll the following year ( https://enrollnola.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/karr-update.pdf 91% ). Student enrollment of senior class was 261 this year from looking it up, but 291 there freshman year, so both the graduation rate and college acceptance rate are not all they would appear.

It must be noted, though, that Edna Karr is a charter authorized by the Orleans public school district, albeit one that is under immense pressure from the state but one nonetheless, and it is to a nonprofit operator. This is the only kind of charter I am not uniformly opposed to.  However, it does not mean there are not problems with this kind of system. Here in Indiana, Indiana Virtual School is a charter school that received large criticism for running ads after spending $116,000 over 6 months on promotion expenses ( https://twitter.com/Jorfer88/status/766752560564797440 ). It is authorized by public school district Daleville Community Schools:

“Indiana Virtual School is an Online Public Charter School funded by the Indiana Department of Education & formed out of the partnership between Daleville Community Schools & BCI, a non-profit Indiana corporation heavily involved in Indiana education since 1976. We are the only public charter school in Indiana to use the award winning curriculum developed by Pearson & Florida Virtual” ( http://www.indianavirtual.com/about-us/ )

This occurred even though there was concerning information regarding testing there at the time. There were 54 students taking the ISTEP Math for 2014-2015 at Indiana Virtual (2014-2015 was also its first year of data) and 45 the English in 6th-8th in an enrollment of 95 in 6th-8th ( http://compass.doe.in.gov/dashboard/enrollment.aspx ) . 22.2% passed math and 9.3% passed English of those that took it. You might think students using Pearson software would do better on a test they designed despite the test being as flawed as it was that year.

 

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