Yesterday, the California Charter Schools Association caused a stir. The pro-charter group came out with a list of 10 independently-run schools it deemed underperforming — and encouraged their respective school districts to close them when their 5-year contracts expire!
That list included West County Community High in Richmond, as my colleague Hannah Dreier reported in today’s paper. Leadership High in San Francisco was also on it.
The complete list included 31 schools, but the association only published the names of those that are nearing the end of their 5-year terms and seeking a charter renewal.
Here’s the reasoning behind the mov, from the news release:
“We cannot have an honest discussion about education reform and increasing accountability without closing the charters that have demonstrated an inability to meet the challenge of excellence–granted to us by law–and chronically underperform. Our accountability framework has been pressure tested, analyzed and deliberated thoroughly. The time to act on persistently low-performing schools is now, because our children’s education cannot be put on the back-burner,” said Myrna Castrejón, senior vice president, Achievement and Performance Management, CCSA.
The “call for non-renewal” was criticized by another state charter group, the Charter Schools Development Center. The center put out a statement today, noting flaws in California’s testing system and arguing that renewal decisions should not be purely based on test scores.
What do you make of all this?
To meet the association’s minimum standard, a school needs to have one of these three things (copied directly from the news release):
- Academic Performance Index (API) score of at least 700 in most recent year
- 3-year cumulative API growth of at least 50 points (2010-11 growth + 2009-10 growth + 2008-09 growth)
- Within range of or exceeding predicted performance based on similar student populations statewide, for at least two out of the last three years, based on CCSA’s metric, the Similar Students Measure.