Jason Fischer explains his data comment (rough draft)

I spoke with Jason Fischer and he explained his data comment
to me. In a nutshell he doesn’t think it is fair to compare all charter schools
to all public schools. Instead he wants to compare the individual data between
comparable schools.

Say little Johnny attends Charter School A but is zoned to
attend Public School B. Mr. Fischer wants to compare those two schools scores
to see if Johnny is attending the school with the best data. That actually
seems like a fair comparison and it is hard to understand why just a few days
before 2013 we can’t do it but even that won’t tell the whole story.
We have to look at student populations to make sure
problematic students aren’t counseled out thus bumping up the numbers and what
other requirements like extended time or parental involvement that the charter
schools put in place. Also it shouldn’t be ignored that charter school parents
just through the mere fact their children attend them are typically more
involved parents.
I know what some of you are thinking, how many more barriers
am I going to insist on that would skew charter schools performance, what would
make me happy? The thing is we should want to know all these variables because
what we need is an accurate picture of what is going on, what is really working
and what isn’t if we are going to improve our schools.
Also have you ever noticed that charter school proponents
always say one of the reasons that charter schools are successful is they don’t
have some of the onerous regulations and policies that public schools have and
they can do different things but have you ever noticed they never say, you know
what, we should get rid of some of the onerous regulations and policies that
public schools have to endure and allow them to do different things too. It’s
like it never occurs to them. Instead of fixing or improving what we have, they
would rather replace them but I digress.
I think charter schools as parent teacher driven
laboratories have a small role to play as a supplement to education. The
problem is many of our education leaders and drivers want them to replace
public education and at least right now, the aggregate data and I suspect the overall data even when closer comparisons are made doesn’t bare out that is a good
move. Shouldn’t we slow down and get it right?  

I will take Mr. Fischer’s word that he will be data
driven when making his decisions. I just hope other education leaders follow
his lead. 

One Reply to “Jason Fischer explains his data comment (rough draft)”

  1. There is a contingent that believes that school districts should use their authority to regulate charter schools as though they are traditional schools, essentially striping them of their autonomy. I regularly attempt to re-frame the argument to be that school districts should instead be pushing the state to deregulate traditional schools and grant them the same autonomy charter schools have.

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