DC Charter Sector Ranked #1 in the Nation
|New Report from National Alliance Puts DC At the Top for
Growth, Quality, and Innovation.
Washington, D.C. — A new analysis of the national charter school movement released today places DC as first in the nation for a strong and healthy charter school movement. Studying data from 26 states, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools looked at 11 different factors to see how well charter schools across the country perform, grow and innovate.
“Our job as a charter authorizer is to make sure we foster more innovative, high-quality schools and hold underperforming schools accountable,” said John H. “Skip” McKoy, Board Chair, DC Public Charter School Board (PCSB). “We are encouraged to see DC’s charter sector and its school leaders recognized for its efforts to raise student performance, provide innovative programs and serve the neediest students.”
DC’s charter sector was singled out as the best in this first-ever report in part because it serves a higher percentage of students who are low-income and from minority groups – and these students academically outperform traditional public school students.
DC charter students, who make up 44 percent of DC’s public school students, also have higher year-to-year academic growth in reading and math compared to traditional public school students. Finally, DC schools were noted as innovative, with 29 percent of DC’s charter schools having one or more enumerated “innovative” programs ranging from an extended day, extended academic year, higher education courses and independent study.
According to the methodology in the study, states received ratings on each of the 11 indicators, and each indicator was given a weight – for example, quality had a greater weight than market share. The report also noted that several other factors contribute to a healthy charter movement, including strong charter laws and a charter authorizer focused on quality – including taking the hard decision to close underperforming schools.
PCSB encourages high-performing schools to expand and lower-performing schools to close by using a Performance Management Framework, giving schools one of three Tier ratings based on student academic performance, academic growth and other factors like graduation rate and the percent of students who re-enroll.
In the first-ever rankings, Washington, D.C. joins Louisiana in topping the list of the 26 states that were evaluated, while Nevada and Oregon found themselves at the bottom of the rankings.
“This report provides an important framework for us to determine the overall health of the charter school movement in each state,” said National Alliance President and CEO Nina Rees. “We are pleased to expand our work to address the question of how states are growing and strengthening their public charter schools and expect that this report will become a meaningful benchmark for the charter school movement each year.”
“These strong results in DC’s charter schools are thanks to the hard work by teachers and school leaders, supportive elected officials and advocates who work tirelessly to create a charter sector where quality can flourish, giving parents outstanding public school choices,” said Scott Pearson, executive director, DC Public Charter School Board.
“D.C.’s public charter schools have brought hope and opportunity to tens of thousands of our most disadvantaged students and their families,” said Robert Cane, Executive Director of Friends of Choice in Urban Schools (FOCUS). “We’re delighted at this acknowledgement of their success, which is the product of talented and dedicated school leaders and unceasing efforts to keep their road to success clear of obstacles. We look forward to working with the D.C. government to create the conditions for even better health in the future.”
The full report will be released at 11 a.m. today on the National Alliance website.
The report calls upon the District of Columbia to enact policies to increase the impact of such success, including ensuring equitable operational funding and equitable access to capital funding and facilities.
There will be a discussion of the report this afternoon at a joint event with the Thomas B. Fordham Institute in Washington, D.C. The event will feature a live panel with report author Todd Ziebarth; Mike Petrilli, President of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute; Kenneth Campbell, President of the Black Alliance for Educational Options; and Scott Pearson, Executive Director of DC Public Charter School Board. Those not in the D.C. area are welcome to view the panel via live-stream at publiccharters.org/chartermovement and may tweet in comments and questions using the hashtag #CharterMovement.