Monday, September 19, 2011

Data Presented to Governor regarding Charter Schools - "Virtually no difference"


Schools Hope Data Stalls Charter Cap Lift

Gov. Rick SNYDER said he is data driven, so the education lobby is providing data that it hopes will convince him to pull back his plan to lift the cap on charter schools now pending in the Senate.

The Tri-County Alliance (TCA) representing 86 school districts in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties has fired off a letter to the executive office contending, "No quantitative data exists that shows parental choice improves student learning" and the TCA leader suggested "those responsible for public policy must hold to the standard of examining all data regarding charter schools and choice, rather than promoting politically expedient agendas that could negatively impact Michigan's children."

The data used by the group includes a report by Western Michigan University (WMU) Professor Gary Miron, who argues charter advocates "quickly reinterpret research and shape a message to fit their needs rather than the long-term interests of the movement."

Tom Svitkovitch, who runs the Alliance, writes in strong language that there should not be a rush to judgment on this issue when the 2010 MEAP scores show "virtually no difference between charter schools and community-governed public schools . . .

"It is disingenuous to promote charter schools as the only quality choice for parents and children," Svitkovitch wrote.

The Miron report also looked at the student population in charters and found "evidence of both white flight and minority flight" into those schools which results in parents selecting schools where "their children will experience less diversity."

The five-page correspondence obtained by MIRS from an Alliance source asserted that the Governor and Legislature "refrain from placing charter schools on a partisan pedestal of education reform."