Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Shocker: Charter Schools Under Perform Public Schools in Milwaukee.

The hot thing now in politics is giving mayors control of their public school systems. Never mind the fact that anti-public school ideologues will do everything they can to promote vouchers and charter schools and put in place lackey appointees. It's happening now in Milwaukee: Governor Jim Doyle today joined ... supporters in announcing a bill to reform Milwaukee Public Schools and establish a Mayorally-appointed Superintendent.
But what is or is not working don't necessarily scream out mayoral control. In fact the newest research should be telling everyone, including Arne Duncan and Barack Obama, they may not be promoting the winning strategy after all.

State Representative Tamara Grigsby (D-Milwaukee) made public recently obtained information related to City of Milwaukee charter schools, raising new concerns over the merits of a mayoral takeover of Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS).

A memo drafted by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau reveals that, on average, more students at MPS are performing better than the students attending charter schools under contract with the City of Milwaukee. As the Legislative Fiscal Bureau notes, in the 2008-2009 school year 49.9% of those attending a city-controlled charter school scored proficient or advanced in reading, while 59% of MPS students scored at that level in the same year.

In the area of mathematics, 49% of the tested MPS students scored at a proficient or advanced level in the 2008-2009 school year, while only 33.1% of students at the City of Milwaukee charter schools met that standard.

As the recent fiscal bureau memo concludes, after averaging together test scores from the three most recent school years, “49.6% of City charter school pupils were proficient and advanced in reading, and 32% were proficient and advanced in math.”

Within that same time period, 59% of MPS pupils scored at the proficient or advanced level in reading and 45% scored at those levels in mathematics, resulting in an achievement gap in which MPS students are outperforming City of Milwaukee charter students in both subjects.

Grigsby said. “The need for improvement at both our city charter schools and MPS is a clear indication that no simple change in school governance or sleight of hand will be the solution needed to better educate our children. We cannot afford to pander to such ideas, just as we cannot afford to abide by the status quo.”

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