Darrell Tiénou-Gustafson | Chicago Reader

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Re: “Today's lesson: charters do not outperform unionized schools

That’s fine – I think suggesting charter school teachers are not the “real thing” is offensive, but I’m willing to move on. That wasn’t the bulk of my argument.

My main point was that Mr. Joravsky was arguing based on one data point that CPS schools were outperforming charters, without acknowledging the limitations of his data point (only grammar school ISAT scores), looking at averages of the very data he references (which support the opposite of his claims), or looking at other data points (even other grammar & high school test data). By most measures, charters DO outperform CPS schools, even on the ISAT he references, although it is certainly also true that (1) one would hope charters would be even better yet, (2) charter results vary widely, and (3) charters must be held accountable.

How is an open lottery “cherry picking?” Charters are not selective enrollment. Most charters take all comers unless there are more comers than there are spaces (which is generally the case – demand is greater than supply right now), in which case there’s a random selection of names in a public forum.

@Shorty Lee
Cheers! Press on.

Posted by Darrell Tiénou-Gustafson on 10/09/2012 at 11:32 PM

Re: “Today's lesson: charters do not outperform unionized schools

@EZD - true enough, it's not the point he's explicitly making, but there sure seems to be an undercurrent / subpoint to me. And he *is* saying charter teachers aren't the "real thing." Ask around, but I would guess most charter teachers would take this offensively.

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by Darrell Tiénou-Gustafson on 10/08/2012 at 12:59 PM

Re: “Today's lesson: charters do not outperform unionized schools


Noble produces higher ACT scores than CPS schools, hands own. Is that the only predictor of college success or future academic performance? Absolutely not. We recognize that, and we’re working on other predictors. Writing proficiency has become much more of MY focus than when I started as an English teacher two years ago. But the other side is that the ACT is a measurable tool that does open doors for our students.

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Darrell Tiénou-Gustafson on 10/07/2012 at 9:12 PM

Re: “Today's lesson: charters do not outperform unionized schools


I can’t speak for all charters, but none of the Noble Street schools turn down students for disability. We run on a lottery system, after all, and it’s open to anyone who applies. My campus has had students with significant physical and mental disabilities, and I currently have classes with up to 30% students with IEPs for diagnosed special needs (and others undiagnosed).

We don’t “throw out” many students (under 10 expulsions in just over three years we’ve existed… can’t remember exact numbers), and they’ve been for drug possession, assault, and robbery only – and usually multiple infractions after significant interventions. I wish CPS schools could expel on these grounds too, as it would send a message about the severity of these actions, and as most of our schools (charter or CPS) are not equipped as alternative schools that could really help these kids. However, I don’t think the principle is bad or abused.

The admission “bias” is true in that we’re self-selective in a sense – either the parent or the child needs to want to apply, and that requires commitment – and I agree: I do think charters should do better and can do better, as Noble has shown. Underperforming charters should be held accountable (see my point #3).

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Darrell Tiénou-Gustafson on 10/07/2012 at 9:11 PM

Re: “Today's lesson: charters do not outperform unionized schools

@ Shorty Lee Lowe &

Re: namecalling or slighting, I was annoyed by the “charterheads” name and by saying that we “hate the teachers’ union,” but what got me really upset was toward the end: “the charter school teachers are to their unionized counterparts what the NFL's replacement refs are to the real things.” That’s offensive, and I don’t think interpreting this as calling charter teachers “incompetent replacements” is off base. He’s outright saying that I’m not a “real” teacher, and suggesting that I’m somehow of lesser quality. Or am I seriously misreading this slight?

Re: the Sun-Times article, the key phrase: “on EVERY campus it oversees.”

Look at their data on the bottom: There are 22 charter high schools in Chicago that have senior classes; 10 are doing better than the city average; 12 are doing worse; the average of all of them combined is just about 1 point higher than the city. Not significant – you could argue either that a FEW more charters are doing worse than are doing better, or that charters are on average doing a BIT better than their counterparts. Weak ammunition for either side. Also, the % low income students is about the same, and the % graduation rate is 88% for charters (CPS last year celebrated their highest recorded graduation rate of 60%). Not a strong argument for charters faring worse than CPS, although clearly there is a wide range of performance.

4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Darrell Tiénou-Gustafson on 10/07/2012 at 9:08 PM

Re: “Today's lesson: charters do not outperform unionized schools

... but charters DO outperform noncharters in Chicago... and you ARE a jerk for calling us charter teachers incompetent replacements for "real teachers." This is slander & name-calling, not reporting. If you're interested in the facts, read on...

(1) You're only talking about grammar schools, but you never tell folks so. If you look at High school ACT scores, charters are doing quite well. The only non-selective enrollment school outperforming Noble Charters is Lincoln Park; all Noble schools are in the top 10 of nonselective schools; and Noble even outperforms some selective enrollment schools (Westinghouse, Brooks, King). Furthermore, they make more growth than the top performing selective enrollments, whose students come in with higher scores than theirs do.

~ cf. http://www.suntimes.com/data/14643055-515/…

(2) Even for grammar schools, on the average charters ARE outperforming unionized schools, despite not being in the top 40. If you look at 2011 NAEP scores, charters are 10% higher than CPS in 4th grade reading, almost 20% higher in 4th math, 8% higher in 8th reading, and 4% higher in 8th math. I'd wish for sustained growth in higher grades, but still, saying charters are NOT outperforming is not accurate.

~ cf. http://www.chicagonow.com/chicago-libertar…

(2b) I wanted to look further, since you only referenced ISAT, not NAEP. You extrapolates that since charters aren't in the top 40, that unionized schools are "outperforming" charters. True, 40 schools are outperforming charter elementary schools, but I wasn't sure about the averages, which I think are more telling. The Chicago Tribune only reports that charter schools are not "much" better than noncharters, but doesn't give numbers. The Sun Times does much better, acknowledging that "Chicago charter schools produce wildly uneven results on state tests" - however, the charter average is still higher than noncharter in both elementary & high school. (They gave the raw #s; I ran the averages myself from the % different from city averages.) You can legitimately argue that the results are not consistent across all charters, or that the results should be even better in charters, but still, your statement is disingenuous at best.

~ cf. http://www.suntimes.com/news/education/914…

(3) And lastly, charters are still responsible to the state to make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), just like every other public school in the state. (You didn't directly address this, but it's an undercurrent I hear in a lot of complaints against charters.) True, some charters are not performing. They are held accountable to the same standard, and they shouldn't be given a break because they are a charter.

8 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Darrell Tiénou-Gustafson on 10/06/2012 at 6:41 PM

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