Should SC Increase Charter School Investment?

Charter school advocates are calling for more investment from South Carolina, according to Jamie Self at The State (Columbia, SC):

South Carolina’s public charter schools struggle to find and pay for space, and often end up without access to kitchens, libraries, or places for kids to play – a problem the S.C. General Assembly needs to address, according to a new report.

The challenges that the state’s 49 brick-and-mortar public charter schools face are outlined in a new report, published with help from the Public Charter School Alliance of South Carolina by the Charter School Facilities Initiative, a partnership of federal and state charter school organizations. 

Charter schools in SC, however, are proving to match the growing body of evidence that charter schools produce similar patterns of measurable student outcomes when compared to public schools and that charter schools share and even increase the rising re-segregation of schools in the U.S.

Should SC increase charter school investment? The short answer is, No. But to answer this question fully a few factors should be considered.

First, charter school advocacy is itself a problem; as I have explained before:

Like medicine, then, education and education reform will continue to fail if placed inside the corrosive dynamics of market forces. Instead, the reform of education must include the expertise of educators who are not bound to advocating for customers, but encouraged, rewarded and praised for offering the public the transparent truth about what faces us and what outcomes are the result of any and every endeavor to provide children the opportunity to learn as a member of a free and empowered people.

Education “miracles” do not exist and market forces are neither perfect nor universal silver bullets for any problem – these are conclusions made when we are free of the limitations of advocacy and dedicated to the truth, even when it challenges our beliefs.

Next, if charter schools are a fiscally responsible investment, they should be producing outcomes that distinguish themselves from traditional public schools. However, analyses from two years of report cards for charter schools in SC reveal the clear picture that more investment is not justified (see below for complete analysis of both years’ comparisons):

  • Using 2011 SC state repost cards and the metric “Schools with Students Like Ours,” charter schools performed as follows: 3/53 ABOVE Typical, 17/53 Typical, and 33/53 BELOW Typical.
  • Using 2013 SC state repost cards and the metric “Schools with Students Like Ours,” charter schools performed as follows: 2/52 ABOVE Typical, 20/52 Typical, 22/52 BELOW Typical.

In other words, almost all charter schools in SC perform about the same or worse than the public schools they are intended to either motivate through market forces to perform better or offer parents better options; neither is likely occurring.

SC should not invest further in charter schools, but should begin decreasing charters while also seeking ways to fund fully and equitably our community public schools—while also abandoning wasteful investments in new standards and testing.

CHARTER SCHOOLS ANALYSIS AND LINKS TO DATA

How Do Charter Schools Compare to “Schools with Students Like Ours” in South Carolina?

2013 — SC Charter School Report Card Performance Compared to “Schools with Students Like Ours”

Above Typical 2/52, Typical 20/52, Below Typical 22/52 (N/A 6/52, * 2)

SOUTH CAROLINA CHARTER SCHOOLS (COMPOSITE) 2012-2013 

2013 State Report Card 

2013 SC CHARTER SCHOOL > DISTRICT

Overall Weighted Points Total 75.5
Overall Grade Conversion C
Points Total – Elementary Grades 76.6
Points Total – Middle Grades 76.8
Points Total – High School Grades 70.5 

 

Charter School or District

ABOVE Typical

Typical

BELOW Typical

SC Public Charter School District

 

 

X

CAPE ROMAIN ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION CHARTER SCHOOL
Summary   Full

 

X

 

EAST POINT ACADEMY
Summary   Full

 

X

 

IMAGINE COLUMBIA LEADERSHIP ACADEMY CHARTER
Summary   Full

 

 

X

LAKE CITY COLLEGE PREP ACADEMY
Summary   Full

 

 

X

Royal Live Oak Academy of the Arts and Sciences Charter
Summary   Full

 

 

X

SC CONNECTIONS ACADEMY
Summary   Full

 

 

X

SC VIRTUAL CHARTER SCHOOL
Summary   Full

 

 

X

SOUTH CAROLINA CALVERT ACADEMY
Summary   Full

 

 

X

SPARTANBURG CHARTER SCHOOL
Summary   Full

 

X

 

YORK PREPARATORY ACADEMY
Summary   Full

 

 

X

CALHOUN FALLS CHARTER
Summary    Full

 

X

 

PALMETTO SCHOLARS ACADEMY
Summary    Full

 

X

 

Youth Leadership Academy Charter
Summary    Full

 

X

 

Fox Creek High School
Summary    Full

 

X

 

PALMETTO STATE E-CADEMY
Summary    Full

 

 

X

PROVOST ACADEMY SOUTH CAROLINA
Summary    Full

 

 

X

SC WHITMORE SCHOOL
Summary    Full

 

N/A

 

Academy for Teaching and Learning

 

 

X

Academy of Hope

 

X

 

Aiken Performing Arts Academy

 

 

X

Anderson Five Charter School

 

N/A

 

Brashier Middle College

X

 

 

Bridgewater Academy

 

X

 

Carolina School for Inquiry

 

X

 

Charleston Charter School for Math & Science

 

 

X

Charleston Development Academy

 

X

 

Children’s Attention Home

 

*

 

CHOiCES

 

X

 

Coastal Montessori

 

 

X

Discovery School of Lancaster County

 

 

X

East Montessori Charter School

 

X

 

Legacy Charter School

 

 

X

James Island Charter High School

 

X

 

Langston Charter Middle School

 

X

 

LEAD Academy

X

 

 

Lloyd Kennedy Charter School

 

 

X

Meyer Center for Special Children

 

X

 

Midland Valley Preparatory School

 

 

X

Midlands Math and Business Academy

 

*

 

Orangeburg Consolidated School District Five Charter High School for Health Professions

 

 

X

Orange Grove Elementary Charter School

 

X

 

Palmetto Academy of Learning and Success

 

X

 

Palmetto Academy of MotorSports

 

N/A

 

Palmetto Youth Academy

 

X

 

Pattison’s Academy for Comprehensive Education

 

N/A

 

Phoenix Charter High School

 

 

X

Richland One Middle College

 

N/A

 

Richland Two Charter High School

 

N/A

 

Riverview Charter School

 

X

 

The Apple Charter School

 

 

X

Youth Academy Charter School

 

 

X

* no data found

2011 — SC Charter School Report Card Performance Compared to “Schools with Students Like Ours”

Using the South Carolina School Report Card system and the state Poverty Index, the tables below list charter schools within the SC Public School Charter District and additional charter schools within public school districts to identify how charter schools in SC compare with “Schools with Students Like Ours” (a metric established by the SC Department of Education, see notes).

Conclusions

• Charter schools in SC have produced outcomes below and occasionally typical of outcomes of public schools; thus, claims of exceptional outcomes for charter schools in SC are unsupported by the data (3/53 ABOVE Typical, 17/53 Typical, and 33/53 BELOW Typical).

• Charter schools in SC vary widely in student populations relative to the Poverty Index; but high-poverty charter schools appear to function below typical compared to high-poverty public schools, and thus, offer rare examples of meeting the needs of high-poverty students superior to outcomes found in public schools.

• Charter school advocacy in SC should be measured against the available data when that advocacy makes claims of exceptional outcomes or outcomes superior to similar public schools.

• Student populations served, stratification of students, enrollment, attrition, teacher status, and teacher turnover remain areas of concern for current charter schools and considerations of expanding charter schools in the state.

SC Poverty Index 2011

2012 ESEA – SC Public School Charter District

Overall Weighted Points Total 69.7
Overall Grade Conversion D
Points Total – Elementary Grades 80.6
Points Total – Middle Grades 79.1
Points Total – High School Grades 36.7

SC Public School Charter District – EAA School Report Cards 2011

District Summary    District Full

Elementary

Poverty Index

Relative to “Schools with Students Like Ours” (1)

LAKE CITY COLLEGE PREP ACADEMYAt-Risk/Below Average, AYP NM
Summary   Full

96.63

BELOW Typical

87/161 Average

MARY L DINKINS CHARTERAt-Risk/At-Risk, AYP NM
Summary   Full

100

BELOW Typical

93/115 Average, Below Average

SC CONNECTIONS ACADEMYAverage/Below Average, AYP NM
Summary   Full

64.7

BELOW Typical

68/83 Excellent, Good

SC VIRTUAL CHARTER SCHOOLAverage/Below Average, AYP NM
Summary   Full

73.22

BELOW Typical

68/108 Excellent, Good

SOUTH CAROLINA CALVERT ACADEMYBelow Average/Average, AYP NM
Summary   Full

55.72

BELOW Typical

54/60 Excellent, Good

SPARTANBURG CHARTER SCHOOLGood/Good, AYP NM
Summary   Full

55.21

BELOW Typical

33/58 Excellent

YORK PREPARATORY ACADEMYGood/Below Average, AYP NM
Summary   Full

29.56

BELOW Typical

18/19 Excellent

Middle

Poverty Index

Relative to “Schools with Students Like Ours” (2)

CALHOUN FALLS CHARTERBelow Average/Below Average, AYP NM
Summary    Full

89.34

BELOW Typical

30/58 Average

LAKE CITY COLLEGE PREP ACADEMYAt-Risk/At-Risk, AYP NM
Summary    Full

96.63

BELOW Typical

37/62 Average, Below Average

MARY L DINKINS CHARTERAt-Risk/At-Risk, AYP NM
Summary    Full

100

BELOW Typical

18/37 Average, Below Average

PALMETTO SCHOLARS ACADEMYExcellent/Good, AYP M
Summary    Full

31.82

Typical

10/11 Excellent

SC CONNECTIONS ACADEMYAverage/Average, AYP NM
Summary    Full

64.7

BELOW Typical

27/48 Excellent, Good

SC VIRTUAL CHARTER SCHOOLAverage/Average, AYP NM
Summary    Full

73.22

Typical

37/57 Average

SOUTH CAROLINA CALVERT ACADEMYBelow Average/Average, AYP NM
Summary    Full

55.72

BELOW Typical

26/34 Excellent, Good

YORK PREPARATORY ACADEMYGood/Average, AYP NM
Summary    Full

29.56

BELOW Typical

10/11 Excellent

High

Poverty Index

Relative to “Schools with Students Like Ours” (3)

CALHOUN FALLS CHARTERAverage/N/A, AYP NM
Summary    Full

89.34

Typical

18/42 Average

MARY L DINKINS CHARTERN/A, AYP NM
Summary    Full

100

N/A

PALMETTO STATE E-CADEMYAt-Risk/N/A, AYP NM
Summary    Full

65.06

BELOW Typical

38/40 Excellent, Good, Average

PROVOST ACADEMY SOUTH CAROLINAN/A, AYP NM
Summary    Full

71.82

N/A

SC CONNECTIONS ACADEMYBelow Average/N/A, AYP NM
Summary    Full

64.7

BELOW Typical

38/40 Excellent, Good, Average

SC VIRTUAL CHARTER SCHOOLAt-Risk/N/A, AYP NM
Summary    Full

73.22

BELOW Typical

23/40 Average

SC Charter Schools (outside SCPCSD)

School

Poverty Index

Relative to “Schools with Students Like Ours” (1, 2, 3)

FOX CREEK HIGHExcellent/Good, AYP M
Summary    Full

45.07

Typical

17/21 Excellent

CHARTER ACADEMY FOR TEACHING AND LEARNINGAverage/Average, AYP NM
Summary    Full

57.41

BELOW Typical

30/38 Excellent, Good

BRIDGEWATER ACADEMY CHARTERAverage/Excellent, AYP NM
Summary   Full

74.36

BELOW Typical

65/110 Excellent, Good

PALMETTO ACADEMY OF LEARNING (E)Excellent/Average, AYP M
Summary   Full

57.25

Typical

30/65 Excellent

PALMETTO ACADEMY OF LEARNING (M)Good/Average, AYP M
Summary    Full

57.25

Typical

16/37 Good

AIKEN PERFORMING ARTS CHARTERAt-Risk/At-Risk, AYP M
Summary    Full

76.27

BELOW Typical

23/33 Average

KENNEDY/LLOYD CHARTER SCHOOLAt-Risk/Below Average, AYP M
Summary    Full

93.75

BELOW Typical

51/72 Average, Below Average

MIDLAND VALLEY CHARTER PREPARATORY SCHOOLBelow Average/Average, AYP NM
Summary    Full

79.63

BELOW Typical

43/59 Average

BRASHIER MIDDLE COLLEGE CHARTERExcellent/Good, AYP M
Summary    Full

18.86

Typical

5/5 Excellent

LANGSTON CHARTER MIDDLE SCHOOLExcellent/Excellent, AYP M
Summary    Full

16.15

Typical

4/4 Excellent

LEAD ACADEMYBelow Average/Average, AYP NM
Summary   Full

88.16

BELOW Typical

97/129 Average

MEYER CENTER FOR SPECIAL CHILDRENExcellent/Good, AYP M
Summary    Full

94

Typical

8/10 Excellent

CAROLINA SCHOOL FOR INQUIRYBelow Average/Average, AYP NM
Summary   Full

85.22

BELOW Typical

89/124 Average

LEGACY CHARTER (ELEM)Below Average/Below Average, AYP NM
Summary   Full

87.31

BELOW Typical

97/125 Average

LEGACY CHARTER (MID)At-Risk/At-Risk, AYP NM
Summary    Full

87.31

BELOW Typical

46/49 Average, Below Average

GREENVILLE TECHNICAL CHARTERExcellent/Excellent, AYP M
Summary    Full

27.49

Typical

5/5 Excellent

GREER MIDDLE COLLEGE CHARTER SCHOOLExcellent/N/A, AYP M
Summary    Full

21.48

Typical

5/5 Excellent

RICHLAND 1 CHARTER MIDDLE COLLEGEN/A
Summary    Full

78.87

N/A

MIDLANDS MATH & BUSINESS CHARTER ACADEMY (E)Below Average/At-Risk, AYP NM
Summary   Full

94.19

BELOW Typical

110/191 Average

MIDLANDS MATH & BUSINESS CHARTER ACADEMY (M)Below Average/Below Average, AYP NM
Summary    Full

94.19

Typical

31/71 Below Average

CHARLESTON CHARTER SCHOOL FOR MATH AND SCIENCE (H)N/A, AYP NM
Summary    Full

57.91

N/A

CHARLESTON CHARTER SCHOOL FOR MATH AND SCIENCE (M)Average/Average, AYP NM
Summary    Full

57.91

BELOW Typical

33/41 Excellent, Good

CHARLESTON DEVELOPMENTAL ACADEMY CHARTER (E)Good/Excellent, AYP M
Summary   Full

91.96

ABOVE Typical

104/166 Average

CHARLESTON DEVELOPMENTAL ACADEMY CHARTER (M)Average/Average, AYP M
Summary    Full

91.96

ABOVE Typical

43/70 Below Average, At-Risk

GREG MATHIS CHARTERAt-Risk/Below Average, N/A
Summary    Full

98.94

Typical

6/14 At-Risk

JAMES ISLAND CHARTER HIGHExcellent/Excellent, AYP NM
Summary    Full

47.22

Typical

18/26 Excellent

EAST COOPER MONTESSORI CHARTER (E)Excellent/Excellent, AYP M
Summary   Full

13.54

Typical

7/7 Excellent

EAST COOPER MONTESSORI CHARTER (M)Excellent/Excellent, AYP M
Summary    Full

13.54

Typical

3/3 Excellent

ORANGE GROVE CHARTERExcellent/Excellent, AYP NM
Summary   Full

61.26

ABOVE Typical

32/68 Good

PATTISONS ACADEMY (E)N/A, AYP NM
Summary   Full

100

N/A

PATTISONS ACADEMY (M)N/A, AYP NM
Summary    Full

100

N/A

THE APPLE CHARTER SCHOOLAt-Risk/At-Risk, AYP NM
Summary   Full

95.73

BELOW Typical

99/187 Average

CHILDREN’S ATTENTION CHARTER (E)At-Risk/At-Risk, AYP NM
Summary   Full

96.77

BELOW Typical

87/171 Average

CHILDREN’S ATTENTION CHARTER (M)N/A, AYP NM
Summary    Full

96.77

N/A

CHOICES (M)At-Risk/At-Risk, AYP NM
Summary    Full

92.73

BELOW Typical

47/65 Average, Below Average

CHOICES (H)
N/A, AYP NM
Summary    Full

92.73

N/A

DISCOVERY CHARTER OF LANCASTERExcellent/Excellent, AYP M
Summary   Full

39.81

Typical

23/25 Excellent

PHOENIX CHARTER HIGH SCHOOLAt-Risk/Excellent, N/A
Summary    Full

87.5

BELOW Typical

19/40 Average

PALMETTO YOUTH ACADEMYBelow Average/Good, AYP M
Summary   Full

93.22

BELOW Typical

109/182 Average

RICHLAND TWO CHARTER HIGHN/A, AYP NM
Summary    Full

N/A

N/A

RIVERVIEW CHARTER SCHOOLGood/Good, AYP M
Summary   Full

35.31

BELOW Typical

22/23 Excellent

YOUTH ACADEMY CHARTERN/A, AYP NMSummaryFull

100

N/A

(1) Ratings are calculated with data available by 11/09/2011.  Schools with Students Like Ours are Elementary Schools with Poverty Indices of no more than 5% above or below the index for this school.

(2) Ratings are calculated with data available by 11/09/2011.  Schools with Students Like Ours are Middle Schools with Poverty Indices of no more than 5% above or below the index for this school.

(3) Ratings are calculated with data available by 11/09/2011.  Schools with Students Like Ours are High Schools with Poverty Indices of no more than 5% above or below the index for this school.

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