Charter school lease aid: two updates

Wanted to correct one fact and add one observation to my charter school lease aid story from a few days back:

I wrote that charter-affiliated building corporations own facilities “because the schools legally can’t.” Gary Hill, the communications director for the state Senate DFL caucus, pointed me to the statute saying they can (subdivision 7), though they can’t get lease aid for that purpose. For example, someone could donate the land or building, or the school could raise the money privately. 

The Star Tribune’s Tony Kennedy also made this mistake, repeated in a follow-up. In the context of his lease aid coverage it seems like an innocent and minor error, though a correction would be good.

Also, I noticed TCF Bank CEO Bill Cooper wrote a letter to the Strib editor defending St. Croix Prep, a charter school criticized for “insider payments” on a building deal. Cooper, a take-no-prisoners player, should have identified himself as the board chair of St. Croix Prep’s sponsor, Friends of Education (which until recently was known Friends of Ascension). According to editorial page editor Scott Gillespie, Cooper didn’t.

I found it interesting that the Strib didn’t identify Friends of Education in its original story; that was one hot button avoided. However, it’s a defensible call — enough folks have told me that sponsors had limited authority to vet deals in 2008, when the questionable practices went down. (Again, the school’s defense is here.) The legislature beefed up sponsors’ power in 2009; for example, they can now nix building deals they don’t like.

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Comments (46)

  1. Submitted by Nick Coleman on 12/11/2009 - 10:07 am.

    To avoid mention of TCF’s top honcho Bill Cooper — who is a former chair of the MN GOP Party and still a player in conservative string-pulling strategies — in any discussion of charter school problems is difficult to do. But perhaps the better part of valor. Cooper’s “Friends of Education” sponsors 17 charter schools in Minnesota, including St Croix Prep. Seventeen!!?? Cooper has become a walking argument for the case for a cap on the number of charter schools. He isn’t “experimenting.” He’s building a rival education system, at taxpayer expense, that is draining resources from traditional public school districts and pushing a conservative “values” agenda that closely mimics his own conservative Catholic beliefs. Avoiding mention of him is like avoiding the 800-pound gorilla at the tea party. You don’t want to piss him off. I know: Cooper canceled a TCF advertising contract at the STRIB a few years back when he was displeased by a column I wrote…

  2. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 12/11/2009 - 10:34 am.

    Shorter Coleman: “Teh Charter Schools are burning”!!

    Heh, heh, heh.

  3. Submitted by Annalise Cudahy on 12/11/2009 - 10:56 am.

    I’ll agree that it’s unreasonable for a sponsor to provide the oversight and connection that they should be when they have 17 under their wing. While I don’t see the need for a draconian cap overall, a limit to how many any one group can sponsor, somewhere far south of 17, seems pretty reasonable to me.

    However, that doesn’t change my basic belief that charters have been a very positive force overall, providing options that even a few school districts have found very valuable.

  4. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 12/11/2009 - 11:14 am.

    More like, the Charter Schools are burning our money, and singing the children in the process.

  5. Submitted by Peter Swanson on 12/11/2009 - 12:31 pm.

    Ah Nick. Let’s be honest. You wrote a column attacking Scott Johnson of Powerline, mentioned his day-job employer, TCF, and suggested that people withdraw their money from TCF. Cooper supported his employee, saying, “To suggest that customers of TCF Bank should move their money because of a TCF employee’s blogging activities (an exercise of free speech) is just wrong.” So you hinted at a boycott of TCF by your readers and Cooper simply pulled his ads.

    Ad hominem vs. Ad hoc. No one mentioned the substance of Cooper’s letter. That’s a bit harder than talking about his political and business activities.

  6. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 12/11/2009 - 12:45 pm.

    “While I don’t see the need for a draconian cap overall, a limit to how many any one group can sponsor, somewhere far south of 17, seems pretty reasonable to me.”

    Why? Unless there is evidence that a group cannot properly oversee the schools it sponsors why should there be some arbitrary cap?

    I haven’t seen any criticism of “Friends of Education” or the schools they’ve sponsored other than some lefties don’t like Catholics or conservatives.

    What about the academic record of the schools? Anyone want to take that on? Anyone?

    This whole issue is nothing more than a thinly veiled, politically and financially motivated attack by supporters of a failing status quo upon a successful challenger.

    You want to talk about waste? How about the waste of the half a billion dollars the Saint Paul school district spends every year to produce a graduation rate of less than 60%.

    The public schools have been co-opted by people that see them as nothing more than a source of financial and political power; the kids are nothing more than a means to that end.

    But don’t take my word for it, listen to a guy that made millions fighting tooth and nail against any reform that challenged the NEA’s complete control:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-piPkgAUo0w&feature=player_embedded

    “Despite what some among us would like to believe it is not because of our creative ideas; it is not because of the merit of our positions; it is not because we care about children; and it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child.

    The NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have power. And we have power because there are more than 3.2 million people who are willing to pay us hundreds of million of dollars in dues each year because they believe that we are the unions that can most effectively represent them; the union that can protect their rights and advance their interests as education employees.

    This is not to say that the concern of NEA and its affiliates with closing achievement gaps, reducing drop rate rates, improving teacher quality, and the like are unimportant or inappropriate. To the contrary these are the goals that guide the work we do. But they need not and must not be achieved at the expense of due process, employee rights, or collective bargaining.

    That is simply too high a price to pay.”

    You get that? If it comes down to the union or the kids, the kids just have to go under the bus. Not even a “too bad, how sad”.

    Please show me where a sponsor of a charter school has ever said anything as heinous…forget about a crowd of charter school teachers applauding it.

  7. Submitted by Nick Coleman on 12/11/2009 - 01:10 pm.

    Mr Swanson: Your embrace of “honesty” is quite uplifting. Unfortunately, your memory is faulty. I didn’t suggest anyone pull their money from TCF. I said “I” would pull my money from TCF — if I had any money. That came near the end of a December 2004 column criticizing your pals at PowerLine, the right-wing blog that had just been called one of the best blogs of the year by Time Magazine — an honor I thought was mistakenly bestowed and betrayed little understanding of what PowerLine was up to, or in whose service the PowerLads toiled.

    Here are the portions of the column that caused Bill Cooper, a bully with a bank, to yank his ads from the StarTribune:

    “Powerline is run by Ivy League lawyers, one of whom (Scott Johnson) is a vice president at TCF Bank in Minneapolis and works for Bill Cooper, an ex-state Republican Party chairman…

    …Johnson recently had time at his bank job to post a despicable item sliming Sen. Mark Dayton. If I had the money they think I do, I’d put it all in TCF. Then I’d pull it out.”

    That was five years ago. But I still would.

  8. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 12/11/2009 - 01:43 pm.

    “That was five years ago. But I still would.”

    Yeah, five years later, Bill Cooper’s bank is TARP free and successful as ever. In his spare time, he’s making a real dent in the strangle hold the leftist cabal has on the public schools and the “power lads” daily readership exceeds anything you saw on your best year….but you hang on to those dreams Nick.

  9. Submitted by Peter Swanson on 12/11/2009 - 01:49 pm.

    Let’s be fair, Mr. Coleman.

    /////////

    2) “We keep it very much separate from our day jobs,” said Hinderaker, meaning the boys don’t blog at work.

    But they do. Johnson recently had time at his bank job to post a despicable item sliming Sen. Mark Dayton. If I had the money they think I do, I’d put it all in TCF. Then I’d pull it out.

    //////////

    You made the connection. You made the suggestion. It came back to bite you.

  10. Submitted by Nick Coleman on 12/11/2009 - 02:23 pm.

    “Mr Coleman,” finally? Cool!
    Yes, Mr Swanson, let’s be fair. Johnson and Hinderaker claimed they posted on their blogs on their own time. Their posts, to the contrary — especially Johnson’s — were time-stamped all over day parts that would’ve got a lowly bank teller — or newspaper writer — fired for dereliction. The logical conclusion was — and remains — that the erstwhile “Big Trunk” (Johnson) was a stalking horse for the real Big Trunk, Bill Cooper.
    I wrote the truth of it. Cooper didn’t like it. But, you say, it “came back to bite” me?
    Do tell, Mr. Swanson. Do tell.

  11. Submitted by Nick Coleman on 12/11/2009 - 02:33 pm.

    By the way,I wish I could tell you what the publisher, and the editor, each told me about Bill Cooper at the time he pulled his bank ads because of my column. It was delicious. But of course, that was back in ancient times, 2004, when newspaper had backbone.

  12. Submitted by Peter Swanson on 12/11/2009 - 03:08 pm.

    Mister Coleman (f/k/a Cappy Nick ca. 1983),

    Some employees are hourly. Some are salaried. I don’t know how (non-lowly) newspaper writers fit in, but I would guess that some have hours that are other than 9-5.

    More on this:

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2005/01/009255.php

  13. Submitted by Nick Coleman on 12/11/2009 - 04:31 pm.

    Um, show me the bank v.p. who gets paid hourly, Mr Swanblog. All of this fancy dancing doesn’t change a thing: Cooper greenlighted his Best Boy’s Nasty Blog. And when he got tagged with it, he did what he always does: Played the Bully Boy. The act has worked so well for Bill Cooper that one of his charter schools gets the spotlight for playing fast and loose and NO ONE DARES MENTION HIS ASSOCIATION — Not even when he writes a letter attacking the story that should’ve mentioned him but didn’t. This is Petty Tyranny and intimidation.By the way, the Executive Director of Bill Cooper’s St. Croix Academy holds a divinity degree from a school that says its mission is “to follow in the footsteps of the great universities that were founded on the cornerstone belief that all wisdom lies in Jesus Christ. Our task, if we are to be salt in the world of our day, is to build institutions where we can think like Christians and learn to live as Christians in a culture in which both have become equally hard. Whether preparing to be pastors or missionaries or attorneys, teachers, counselors, scientists, corporate leaders, homemakers or public servants, whatever our calling under God, we need excellence in education, grounded in the lordship of Jesus Christ.”
    Hmmm. Some “public” school, eh?

  14. Submitted by Mitch Berg on 12/11/2009 - 05:17 pm.

    Mr. Coleman:

    “Cooper has become a walking argument for the case for a cap on the number of charter schools.”

    Actually, if you look at the results, Cooper and his “Friends of Education” schools are a walking argument to abolish district schools, and go to an all-charter system. If you look at the actual numbers, most if not all of Cooper’s FoEd schools are at the head of the class, as it were, for achievement scores – not merely among charters, but among ALL schools statewide. He has schools in the ‘burbs (Eagle Ridge is among the best performers anywhere in the state) and the inner city (Yinghua and Nova in Saint Paul, Long Tieng and Millenium in Minneapolis.

    http://www.shotinthedark.info/wp/?p=5230

    Across economic, linguistic and ethnic lines that frustrate the district schools, FoEd schools consistently clobber the competition.

    In that same linked piece, I note that Mr. Coleman might do well to identify his own stake in this issue – working for a think tank, and apparently tasked with reciting MN2020 talking points to an audience that might seem not to know better than to dig a little deeper for the truth.

    Bear in mind I’m not interesting in getting into yet another whizzing match, Nick. Charter schools are way too important to me to waste my time on that. I’ll stick to the facts, and hope you’ll deign to do so as well.

    Expect a detailed breakdown of these numbers on my blog on Monday.

  15. Submitted by Patrick Kaiser on 12/11/2009 - 05:21 pm.

    Bill Cooper and his relationship to Ascension school needs to be brought to a public light. How can religion and public school educaton be so intertwined?

  16. Submitted by Mitch Berg on 12/11/2009 - 05:24 pm.

    Now, Mr. Coleman:

    “Cooper greenlighted his Best Boy’s Nasty Blog”

    Scott is a *Vice President and Chief Legal Counsel*. Like most salaried employees, he’s subject to an annual review. At those reviews, he’s judge by metrics that matter to his boss – Mr. Cooper.

    I’d assume those metrics include things like “Lose less money to lawsuits”, and “regulatory issues avoided” and the like, as opposed to, say, “keystrokes per hour” or “take fewer coffee breaks”. One might assume that, blogging or not, Scott (a friend of mine, btw) passed these evaluations with flying colors, or he’d not be employed at that level any more.

    Seems reasonable, doesn’t it?

    “And when he got tagged with it, he did what he always does: Played the Bully Boy.”

    Well, no. He exercised his fiduciary duty, pulling his advertising from a paper whose columnist was telling people to withdraw their assets from TCF over an exceedingly dubious charge.

    I mean, c’mon – what do you suppose would happen if Chris Steller called George Soros a fink, or if Brauer wrote “Peace Coffee (to grab a random ad from the sidebar) gives you salmonella”?

    As a TCF customer (long predating my friendship with Scott Johnson), I applaud Cooper for taking steps to stop the undercutting of the financial health of my bank. Go, Bill!

  17. Submitted by Peter Swanson on 12/11/2009 - 05:31 pm.

    Wow. I will not address the long comment. I will just point out that one cannot prove that someone goofed off on company time if that person is salaried. The time stamps on the posts mean nothing.

  18. Submitted by Mitch Berg on 12/12/2009 - 08:29 am.

    Patrick:

    “Bill Cooper and his relationship to Ascension school needs to be brought to a public light.”

    It’s always been public. Nothing is hidden.

    ” How can religion and public school educaton be so intertwined? ”

    There are two answers to that: “Legally” – the schools with pseudo-religious models, both Cooper’s pseudo-Catholic schools and others, like Tariq Ibn-Ziyad Academy are under immense scrutiny exactly because of the potential for religion being involved. Also “Successfully”; not only are the FoEd schools (including, but not limited to, the pseudo-Catholic schools) among the most successful in the state, but Tariq Ibn-Ziyad has had *spectacular* success, with a student body that is poorer and less likely to be English speakers than any other in the state.

    Peter Swanson:

    “I will just point out that one cannot prove that someone goofed off on company time if that person is salaried. The time stamps on the posts mean nothing. ”

    Very true, Mr. Coleman. I do all my blogging outside work hours, mostly between 5:30 and 7AM. But I set posts to pubish throughout the day, to give people a reason to keep coming back. It’s pretty common…

    …and utterly irrelevant to Scott Johnson’s job performance.

  19. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 12/13/2009 - 12:58 pm.

    Nick – Don’t you know how it’s just a coincidence that guys like Johnson work for TCF, where the biggest ideological conservative involved in Republican politics in the state is the boss? Johnson posted during work hours? That couldn’t have POSSIBLY meant his boss winked while he did political work while being paid by the bank! After all, he SAID he didn’t do it during work hours! Didn’t you hear that? These are the most honest and decent people in the world. How dare you suggest they are paid conservative propagandists working on bank time.

  20. Submitted by Joe Nathan on 12/13/2009 - 04:34 pm.

    As a progressive Democrat who supports strong – and has helped close weak charter public schools, I’ve followed this conversation with interest.

    Charters in Minneapolis enroll a higher % of low income, limited English speaking and students of color than the district public schools. Charters have helped encourage the district and the Minneapolis Federation to ask parents and teachers to create new strong options. I think that’s a good thing.

  21. Submitted by Mitch Berg on 12/13/2009 - 08:47 pm.

    Mr. Levine,

    Do you have any actual evidence supporting your claim?

    I mean, in five years Coleman’s never come up with any, but perhaps you know something he, and the TCF Board of Directors (who would have a fiduciary duty to repudiate anything of the sort) don’t?

    I mean, you never know.

    But I suspect you’re just tossing innuendo around. Which, to be fair, is all Coleman ever did.

  22. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 12/14/2009 - 06:59 am.

    Funny how Joe Nathan never tosses out any facts to support his claims about Charters. That is because, overall, Charters provide a worse education for children. Having anecdotal evidence about this or that school, or about how some parents are satisfied is NOT proof that the overall system is superior to what came before. Then again, Mr. Nathan is a POLITICIAN, not an academician. That is why when he wants to show how good Charters supposedly are he cites politicians who support them.

  23. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 12/14/2009 - 07:02 am.

    BTW – Nathan’s self-describing label about being a “progressive Democrat” is pure garbage. No self-respecting progressive would hang out and support Republican racists (yes – I mean racist – as in Charles Murray acolyte) like Mitch Pearlstein.

  24. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 12/14/2009 - 07:09 am.

    Mitch – which kind of evidence would work for you – a videotape?

  25. Submitted by Mitch Berg on 12/14/2009 - 10:03 am.

    Mr. Levine,

    I don’t care what evidence you come up with – but since you made some pretty scabrous claims about Scott Johnson, it’s incumbent on you to support those claims.

    Since you’re the one fussing about charter school proponents coming up with “evidence” to defend our claims, it’d be a little…”inconsistent” of you not to supply evidence yourself.

    You supply innuendo: “That couldn’t have POSSIBLY meant his boss winked while he did political work while being paid by the bank! After all, he SAID he didn’t do it during work hours!” Do you know what Scott’s work hours are? Hint: he works way more than 9-5. I’d be amazed if he’s on the job less than 60-70 hours a week. Which is why he’s *still* the bank’s chief legal counsel; because he does a good job. Which is all that matters.

    Speaking of evidence: “That is because, overall, Charters provide a worse education for children.”

    But I compared charters with public schools based on similarity of demographics, and proved you *statistically* wrong. Not that you bothered to read it, I’m sure.

    Face it, Mr. Levine; whether the subject is Scott Johnson or charter schools, all you have is talking points, from Coleman or from MN2020 and the MFT (pardon the redundancy) respectively.

  26. Submitted by Mitch Berg on 12/14/2009 - 10:15 am.

    By the way – since Coleman saw fit to claim that Bill Cooper’s “Friends of Education” was a “reason to cap the number of charter schools” or some such hogwash, I figured I had to respond.

    Since, when it comes to charter schools, in the immortal words of the all-knowing sage, “I know stuff”.

    I compare each of the “Friends of Education” schools to the public schools of the districts in which they reside:

    http://www.shotinthedark.info/wp/?p=7136

    Cooper’s schools do as well as most of their public neighbors, and better than most – while generally dealing with poorers students, more special-ed students, and more students who speak English as a second language.

    (Pardon me for introducing actual facts and analysis and evidence into this thread. I’ll await the MN2020 and MFT talking points in response).

    (The piece will actually publish at noon sharp – which is probably when this comment will get through moderation…)

  27. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 12/14/2009 - 10:32 am.

    Yes, Mitch, you must be correct, because of course you are more credible in your research than the US Department of Education (two large studies) and the University of Minnesota Law School.

  28. Submitted by Mitch Berg on 12/14/2009 - 12:32 pm.

    “Yes, Mitch, you must be correct, because of course you are more credible in your research than the US Department of Education (two large studies) and the University of Minnesota Law School.”

    That’s called an “appeal to false authority”, and it’s logical fallacy.

    HOW do the USDOE and UMinnLaw contradict me, especially on the issue at hand (the effectiveness and success of “Friends of Education” schools)? Don’t just wave vague names around and say “my study beats your study” – give us specifics!

    The anti-charter case is largely talking points, deprived of meaningful context. When context is added – as I have done as re the regional charter community – the case evaporates.

    Feel free to try to prove me wrong – but you’re going to need to do a lot more than repeat talking points to do it.

    You game?

  29. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 12/14/2009 - 12:51 pm.

    Geez – how many times do I have to provide the links – I’ve already done it two or three times.

    Second Report Shows Charter School Students Not Performing as Well as Other Students

    http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/16/education/16charter.html

    Institute on Race and Poverty Report:
    Dismal Results For Charter Schools

    http://www.law.umn.edu/news/charter-schools-report-11-26-2008.html

    Face it Mitch – there is NOTHING that would convince you that Charters are, overall, worse than regular public schools. You’re an evangelist, not a scientist.

  30. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 12/14/2009 - 01:16 pm.

    Mitch – Who cares about “Friends…” schools? That is anecdotal. The argument I made, and am making, is that, overall, Charters have made public education worse. Maybe you didn’t catch my argument above so I’ll waste some more bits repeating myself:

    …overall, Charters provide a worse education for children. Having anecdotal evidence about this or that school, or about how some parents are satisfied is NOT proof that the overall system is superior to what came before.

  31. Submitted by Mitch Berg on 12/14/2009 - 01:55 pm.

    No, Rob, I read both of those studies. Long, long ago. And noted – correctly – that both of them lacked several key points of context.

    1. Neither study controlled for economics, special ed status, or ESL status among their student bodies.
    2. Neither study controlled for students’ prior academic experiences.
    3. Neither study accounted for the fact that district schools can shunt students “off the books” to the ALC system – an option Charters don’t have.

    I’ve noted – correctly – that the only really dispositive study of charter school effectiveness would be one that compares the *improvement* of students that leave the public systems to go to the charter schools.

    You can call me an “evangelist”, and say that I’m using “anecdotes” if it makes you feel better – but unlike you, I’ve taken the time to dig beneath the numbers the “authorities” are giving you. Your tossing out of flawed studies is worse than “anecdotal”.

    And dont’ throw out “anecdotal evidence”; there is a reason all of us charter parents are as fanatically loyal to our schools as we are.

    I’d be interested in seeing whether you have any knowledge of this issue beyond what you’re told by the MFT/MN2020, and a couple of one-size-fits all links to flawed surveys that you wield like cudgels.

    Finally – I am both an evangelist (charter schools DID save my kids, and I want the world to know it) and, on this issue, a reporter with some hard-earned expertise on the subject.

  32. Submitted by Mitch Berg on 12/14/2009 - 01:58 pm.

    Oh, yeah:

    “Who cares about “Friends…” schools?”

    Well, apparently Nick Coleman does. He went out of his way to slag them as an argument to abolish the system. I answered that by showing otherwise.

    Does that answer your questions?

    ” That is anecdotal. ”

    Er…I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

    I went and actually *compared the numbers*, school by school, district by district, in the blog post I linked. You *did* read it, didn’t you? There was nary an anecdote involved.

    You *do* know “anecdodal” isn’t a synonym for “I disagree”, don’t you?

  33. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 12/14/2009 - 04:32 pm.

    “Geez – how many times do I have to provide the links – I’ve already done it two or three times.”

    Rob must have been thinking of some other Minnpost…I only see the one instance.

    But I digress….

    Rob’s first report, according to the link:

    “The analysis, released Wednesday, largely confirms an earlier report on the same statistics by the American Federation of Teachers.”

    Linked to a public school trade labor union “report” = discredited on it’s face and unworthy of serious consideration.(See comment #6)

    Second report, compiled by “Prof. Myron Orfield
    Director, Institute on Race and Poverty”

    That’s “Prof.” Orfield….as opposed to the more well known Myron “All your land use are belong to the collective” Orfield”, yeah, he’s got no dog in this fight.

    But setting his bona fides aside, the good “Prof’s” conclusions are based upon analysis for which Mitch Berg’s detailed fact checking prove are demonstrably false:

    “Analysis of proficiency rates in charter elementary schools finds lower proficiency scores in both reading and math, compared to students who attended comparable traditional public schools. For reading proficiency, the average difference is nearly 9 percentage points; for math, nearly 10 percentage points.”

    Um, no. Not really.

    Since Mitch provided the raw data and source of his information (on his blog), and “Prof” Orfield didn’t, I, as with most intelligent readers, will go with what I can independently verify.

    I do give Rob credit for veering the conversation back to the topic at hand…as absolutely fascinating as Nick Coleman fancies himself, the topic was schools, not his hatred of Bill Cooper, Christians or “the lads”.

  34. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 12/14/2009 - 05:51 pm.

    Mitch –

    The DOE Charter study DID control for various factors:

    http://www.ed.gov/rschstat/eval/choice/pcsp-final/execsum.html

    p<.01 (Indicates significant difference between charter schools and traditional public schools in the percentage of students with various characteristics.)

  35. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 12/14/2009 - 05:54 pm.

    Hey Mitch – Refute this!

    The report uses hierarchical linear models (HLMs) to examine differences between the two types of schools when multiple student and/or school characteristics are taken into account.

    http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2006460

    http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/pubs/studies/2006460.asp

    In the first phase of the combined analysis, all charter schools were compared to all public noncharter schools. The average charter school mean was 5.2 points lower than the average public noncharter school mean. After adjusting for multiple student characteristics, the difference in means was 4.2 points

    In the first phase of the combined analysis for mathematics, all charter schools were compared to all public noncharter schools. The average charter school mean was 5.8 points lower than the average public noncharter school mean. After adjusting for student characteristics, the difference in means was 4.7 points

  36. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 12/15/2009 - 07:44 am.

    *crickets*

  37. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 12/15/2009 - 07:46 am.

    Summary

    After adjusting for student characteristics, charter school mean scores in reading and mathematics were lower, on average, than those for public noncharter schools. The size of these differences was smaller in reading than in mathematics.

    http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/pubs/studies/2006460.asp

  38. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 12/15/2009 - 07:49 am.

    BTW – in any other “experiment,” if the “new” way of doing something cost more, and had other bad “side effects” (i.e. balkanization of student population), and in addition provided WORSE results the experiment would be terminated. Not so with charter schools. Why is that? It is because the movement is political, not educational. In addition, as now revealed, it is a great fraud that is hurting the education of our children and costing us more money.

  39. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 12/15/2009 - 07:59 am.

    Charters, 2009: 17% of students do better; 37% do “significantly worse” than regular public schools

    The most authoritative study of charter schools was conducted by the Center Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University in 2009. The report is the first detailed national assessment of charter schools. it analyzed 70% of the nation’s students attending charter schools and compared the academic progress of those students with that of demographically matched students in nearby public schools. The report found that 17% of charter schools reported academic gains that were significantly better than traditional public schools; 46% showed no difference from public schools; and 37% were significantly worse than their traditional public school counterparts. The authors of the report considering this a “sobering” finding about the quality of charter schools in the U.S. Charter schools showed a significantly greater variation in quality as compared with the more standardized public schools with many falling below public school performances and a few exceeding them significantly. Results vary for various demographics with Black and Hispanic children not doing as well as they would in public schools, but with children from poverty backgrounds, students learning English, and brighter students doing better; average students do poorer. While the obvious solution to the widely varying quality of charter schools would be to close those who perform below the level of public schools, this is hard to accomplish in practice as even a poor school has its supporters.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charter_school#United_States_Department_of_Education_Study%5B45%5D

  40. Submitted by Mitch Berg on 12/15/2009 - 01:52 pm.

    Mr. Levine,

    “*crickets”*

    Er, sorry, but I do have a day job and a family to deal with. If I don’t keep up with your exacting schedule, a thousand pardons.

    “In the first phase of the combined analysis, all charter schools were compared to all public noncharter schools. The average charter school mean was 5.2 points lower than the average public noncharter school mean. After adjusting for multiple student characteristics, the difference in means was 4.2 points.”

    For starters, “availability of an ALC to shunt underperforming students off the books” was NEVER a control factor. And that counts for a LOT at the high school level.

    And I maintain that any study that compares *all schools*, even after controlling for “various” student factors across *all schools*, is invalid on its face.

    The ONLY study that will be of any real value is one that…:

    1) Analyzes performance (grades, retention, truancy and graduation rates) for *individual* students in public schools, and then…

    2) …studies those same factors charter students who changed FROM public schools (using similar samples of public students, as well as students who spend their entire careers in charters, as controls.

    I’m not sure how many more ways I can put this; raw, across-the-board comparisons of both types of schools, even controlling at a high level for student characteristics, are misleading and meaningless.

    And that doesn’t even get into the fact that many of you anti-charter activists just plain *lie* about so much of the debate, as noted here:

    http://www.shotinthedark.info/wp/?p=4919

    Look, Mr. Levine. I don’t know if you have kids, or if they do, where they go to school. I’m inclined to suspect not, but it’s immaterial. You can believe whatever book-cooking MFT-funded twaddle you want. But public schools didn’t just fail my children; they actively harmed them, in ways even they recognize.

    http://www.shotinthedark.info/wp/?p=683#more-683

    I will consider anyone trying to force my kids out of the charters and back to the public schools to constitute a direct threat to my childrens’ health and well-being, different in no way from a predator, and I will act accordingly.

    I’m far from alone.

    I’m done with this thread. But every time MN2020 or Nick Coleman publishes more MFT-agenda-based lies about charter schools…

    http://www.shotinthedark.info/wp/?p=5230

    …(and *lying* is indeed the right word for it) I’ll be there, throwing the truth into the face of the pork-fed machine. We, all of us charter parents, have found our charters to be islands of sanity, of competence, where kids can *learn*, and more importantly, *learn to love to learn, and be *children* rather than “units of work product”. Dismiss it as “anecdotal” if you want; we, every one of us, know better. They’re OUR kids, not the MFT’s.

    And seeing the wondrous changes in my children now that they’ve been rescued from the MFT Gulag (to call it “night and day” wouldn’t come close), my resolve is as clear as your logic isn’t; you haven’t a leg to stand on.

    You may not know it yet. I don’t have to care. For my kids, and for the thousands of us who stand at the doors of our little islands of sanity and wave our middle fingers at you (pl), and yell “you can take our taxes, but you can’t take our freedom”, “debating” with the likes of you and Nick Coleman is irrelevant. We know the truth. For our kids, that’s all that matters.

    That is all.

  41. Submitted by Joe Nathan on 12/15/2009 - 02:01 pm.

    Mr. Levine writes, “Nathan’s self-describing label about being a “progressive Democrat” is pure garbage. No self-respecting progressive would hang out and support Republican racists (yes – I mean racist – as in Charles Murray acolyte) like Mitch Pearlstein.

    President Barack Obama has made clear, over and again, that he supports and is working with others to help create more excellent charter public schools.

    How would Mr. Levine describe President Obama, and why does he think the President supports creating more charter public schools?

  42. Submitted by Joe Nathan on 12/15/2009 - 02:09 pm.

    More facts that might be useful:

    Mr. Levine quotes a report from wikipedia asserting that closing ineffective charter public schools “is hard to accomplish in pracice as even a poor school has its supporters.”

    To its credit, the Minnesota State Board of Education and and a variety of other authorizers have closed more than 25 charter public schools in Minnesota. While it is true that these schools have supporters, it also is true that a number have been closed.

    We can trade studies back and forth all day. Different studies come to different results.

    Charters, like district public schools vary widely. We examined the gains of charters in Minneapolis and compared them to the average group of district public schools earlier in this decade. We looked at growth as measure by reading and math scores. We found that over 1 year, 7 of 9 charters in Minneapolis showered more growth in reading or math, or both, and over two years, 6 of 8 charters showed more growth in reading or math or both than the district growth.

    Would this lead me to say “district schools are not as effective as charters?” No – my conclusion is some schools are more effective than others, and it is useful to learn from and apply lessons from the most effective schools, whether they are district or charter.

    That is what we have tried to do in a variety of reports available on our website, http://www.centerforschoolchange.org

  43. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 12/15/2009 - 02:18 pm.

    Why would I care what Obama thinks? He is a political opportunist, plain and simple. You never answered why you cite politicians when you are a supposed academician (Humphrey Institute, anyone?)

  44. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 12/15/2009 - 02:20 pm.

    Shorter Mitch Berg: I got mine, who cares what happens to the majority of Charter students who get inferior educations.

  45. Submitted by Mitch Berg on 12/15/2009 - 02:24 pm.

    By the way, Mr. Levine,

    “Republican racists (yes – I mean racist – as in Charles Murray acolyte) like Mitch Pearlstein”

    I know Mitch Pearlstein. To so defame the utterly honorable and classically-liberal Mr. Pearlstein shows you to be not only unworthy of the courtesy of civil debate, but worth only contempt.

    I’d no sooner debate you than I would a Klansman – your moral equal.

    I’m done with you.

  46. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 12/15/2009 - 03:07 pm.

    Mitch must be unfamiliar with the ways of Charles Murray, and Mitch Pearlstein’s longtime promotion of his career.

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