Last week, the Los Angeles Unified Board of Education decided to revoke the charters of five schools – and it made major headlines. In response, the California Charter Schools Association issued a strongly worded press statement:
“For a long time, charter schools were evaluated mostly on the degree to which they were helping students learn. Those days are over. Now charter schools are judged on whether they are able to fit squarely into the box they were designed to break out of.”
Ironically, there actually is one organization that has evaluated Magnolia Science Academy “on the degree to which they were helping students learn.” That organization: the California Charter Schools Association.
You see, in the same week that the CCSA was vehemently defending those five charter schools, they also put out an analysis of ALL schools in the state. It is truly a triumph in data – I am in awe at their analytical power and mathematical majesty.
And what it does it is simple: it creates a “similar students ranking” from 1 to 10, only comparing students within similar demographics. For those of you familiar with the old scores, it is very similar to the “similar schools ranking” that the Department of Education used to put out.
Based on CCSA’s own data, Magnolia is by no means a “high performing school” as the CCSA claims in the press statement that they put out. Magnolia Science Academy 2 received a ranking of 1 on similar student scores. And the other two Magnolia schools aren’t exceptional schools either. Compare that to the two Celerity schools whose charters were also revoked: they were some of the highest scoring schools in the city on the similar student ranking.
You have to hand it to CCSA – if anything, this suggests that their similar students ranking is unbiased. But I feel like the organization has this tension built into it. On the one hand, CCSA is an advocacy organization for Charter Schools. At the same time, they are an organization that advocates for results-oriented educational reform.
That leaves us here: you have CCSA advocating for a school which they themselves say is not performing for students. I guess they aren’t too different from LAUSD after all….