by Max Brantley
Hmmmmm. Not that this could happen anywhere else, but, an AP exclusive from the New York Times:
... when it appeared an Indianapolis charter school run by a prominent Republican donor might receive a poor grade, [former Indiana School Superintendent Tony] Bennett's education team frantically overhauled his signature "A-F" school grading system to improve the school's marks.
Bennett wrote that "anything less than an A" would compromise all the state's accountability work. How's that for irony.
There's compromise enough already to the accountability claims about charter schools in national studies, the New Orleans 'miracle' and abundant other evidence that charter schools put their raggedy pants on one leg at a time just like every other school.
Which reminds me: I just got a bundle of state Department of Higher Education data, that shows the college dropout rate of state scholarship recipients from three public school districts in Phillips County since 2010. The scholarship dropout rate from the conventional school districts — Barton, Helena-West Helena and Marvell — is superior to that of the much lauded KIPP Delta College Prep High School for the 2011 and 2012 classes — 10 of 36 from Barton, 37 of 68 from Helena Central, 15 of 21 from KIPP and 15 of 23 from Marvell. It's too early to say how the 2013 grads have done. I'm not ready to make a mountain, or even a molehill, out of this, but I also don't expect to find the fact mentioned anytime soon in Billionaire Boys Club promotional literature. KIPP's a good school. But it is also possible that the others nearby, despite some obvious disadvantages against KIPP in terms of private financial support and requried parental commitment to the KIPP program, may be somewhat different than presumed. Or maybe the old-fashioned schools have just responded to the competition.