Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Public Schools Outperform Charter Schools In Minnesota

From the Star-Tribune:

Students in most Minnesota charter schools are failing to hit learning targets and are not achieving adequate academic growth, according to a Star Tribune analysis of school performance data.
The analysis of 128 of the state’s 157 charter schools show that the gulf between the academic success of its white and minority students widened at nearly two-thirds of those schools last year. Slightly more than half of charter schools students were proficient in reading, dramatically worse than traditional public schools, where 72 percent were proficient.

Between 2011 and 2014, 20 charter schools failed every year to meet the state’s expectations for academic growth each year, signaling that some of Minnesota’s most vulnerable students had stagnated academically.

A top official with the Minnesota Department of Education says she is troubled by the data, which runs counter to “the public narrative” that charter schools are generally superior to public schools. ... 
“Schools promised they were going to help turn around things for these very challenging student populations,” said Kyle Serrette, director of education for the New York City-based Center for Popular Democracy. “Now, here we are 20 years later and they’re realizing that they have the same troubles of public schools systems.”
More than half of schools analyzed from 2011 to 2014 were also failing to meet the department’s expectations for academic growth, the gains made from year to year in reading and math.
Just like traditional public schools, the highest-performing charter schools tend to serve students from more affluent families, the analysis shows.

I wish the media would do more investigation into charter schools. A friend teaches in one that doesn't have a school nurse, so they have the IT guy administer meds to students. Seems like that would violate some sort of regulation somewhere.


I'm sorry but I just have to comment here.  I am a former LoveWorks Academy teacher.  First of all, several years back, this school actually got into trouble because they had unlicensed teachers; problem number 1.  Also, the people running that school, are not qualified to do so. Executive Director? No qualifications to be in that position; no principal/administrative license, no teaching license, nothing.  Teachers had administrators who did not even have a current teaching license, or had never even taught elementary school evaluating them and telling them how to "teach" properly.  For example, I actually had an "administrator" tell me after an evaluation that I should be giving students candy after each right answer they give, and that classroom management is like "training a dog" (direct quote).

My main goal every single day was to motivate those kids and to get them to progress; but every day the teachers were shot down.  Admin and behavior specialists constantly took the sides of the kids and never followed through with expectations.  Teachers had strict consequences in their classrooms, but anytime students were sent out of the room because of severe behavior issues, it was handled poorly by our behavior specialist and the students would just come back to the room to continue to disrupt.  In a way, this article is accurate.  No, teachers aren't teaching what they should be, but it's because they can't.  I was constantly breaking up fights; I was shoved by students trying to leave my classroom, called names like "wench" and "bitch", and was regularly yelled at by students and told to shut up.  Did I ever get any back up from administration? NO.  I was told to keep the kids in the classroom and to only send them down for severe behavior.  And when I did send kids out, I was questioned by the behavior specialist because the kids would of course make up a story to favor them, and admin would of course take their side, no question.

I am not, by any means saying this is all charter schools.  However, is it any wonder LoveWorks had over half of their staff leave on their own accord?


As a number of other posters have pointed out, the basic problems are not in the schools; the basic problems are social issues.  I've never been able to figure out why the schools are expected to leap the tall buildings of our many social problems with a single bound, and somehow get many students struggling with the consequences of those social issues to the same level of achievement as those who have all the advantages of stable homes, safe neighborhoods, and first and foremost, parents (and maybe a whole culture) committed to education.  Granted, the schools need to do their best for every child, but to blame them for outcomes so many of whose determinants are beyond their control doesn't help the situation.  Perhaps now that we can clearly see that charter schools which are supposed to be designed to help these kids aren't doing better than the public schools, we can widen the discussion to include the real problems.


But wait, I thought charter schools were the answer to everyone's problems? No??

Looks like charters are not doing as well as you would be led to believe they would be doing in the state that is the birthplace of the charter movement.

It will be interesting to see what happens in New York as Governor Cuomo and the charter operators continue to increase the number of charters, because at some point New York's charters are going to find it hard to select the best students for their schools, push out/counsel out the low-performers dragging down their stats and staff their schools with enough 20-somethings willing to work 12 hour days and be available for homework help for 3 hours after the workday is over.


  1. Cuomo is once again behind the curve. He is 15 years too late with casinos and will find out he his also on the down side of the charter movement. He probably doesn't care as long as the checks don't bounce.

    1. Cuomo's a few years behind w/ his deform rhetoric too - he peaks the language of deform that came before Common Core. I don't think he understands that the ground has shifted since CCSS, particularly w/ the rollout here in NY, and that deformers can't just hammer teachers and teachers unions as the evil that must be destroyed to "fix" pubic schools. It's just not as effective after the Tisch/King CCSS tour and the like.

    2. Agreed! This is what happens when you spend too much time with your finger in the wind.


    3. "This is what happens when you spend too much time with your finger in the wind."

      That, and/or kneeling before your campaign funders.

  2. Cuomo's ideological rhetoric tracks that of his hedge fund patrons and Rupert Murdoch. He is just regurgitating. Cuomo does not do his homework.