Sunday, July 01, 2012

Khem Irby Blogs on Charters from NC

NYC parent activist and friend to many of us, Khem Irby, moved to NC and is already blogging about charter schools in her new community.  Hurray for Khem and may her involvement spark activism of other parents in her new home!

According to NCLB half of Guilford County charters are not meeting AYP

Description: Khem Irby's photo
Greensboro Charter Schools Examiner
All charter schools and public schools in North Carolina must meet their Adequately Yearly Progress or AYP. According to No Child Left Behind (“NCLB”) students in grades 3-8 must not only pass their required state reading and math exams but each year they must make progress on these exams. If a school does not meet one of their targets they did not meet AYP. AYP has high stakes and is a measuring tool used by the U.S. Department of Education to determine if the use of Title I funds has been spent well.

This accountability tool for assists educators, administrators, community and parents. Ideally charters have the flexibility to use innovative teaching methods, materials and technology when possible. So if the schools make AYP then it is safe to conclude that the teaching methods were successful as well. This is good news for any parent in Greensboro when exercising their charter choice.

Guilford County has four charter schools, Guilford Preparatory Academy, Triad Math and Science, Phoenix Academy, Inc., and Greensboro Preparatory Academy. Two more will be opening in fall 2012. According to the 2010-11 progress reports for these schools two out of the four charter schools did not meet their AYP targets. Guilford Prep met 11 out of 13, Triad Math met 17 out of 17, Phoenix Academy met 12 of 13, and Greensboro Prep made 9 out of 9. This report also revealed that the state of North Carolina did meet its AYP.

Last year North Carolina legislators and the governor decided to lift the charter school cap in North Carolina. Guilford County as of April 2012 thereby also decided to fast track the opening of Cornerstone Charter Academy and The College Preparatory and Leadership Academy of High Point this coming fall 2012. Should AYP influence the decision to create more charters with our tax dollars or how will new charters learn from the report of their peers?

AYP does not reveal the character, and the development of the whole child which includes art, music, team building, social skill development and culture. Therefore, how much weight should be given to AYP? Quality education and reform should not be determined merely reading and math scores.

The community at-large and parents need a measuring tool to determine whether charter schools are a high quality choice. Therefore, parents must therefore attend open houses, talking to other parents, students, teachers, administrators, read reviews, and search the media and see for themselves how to use their choice wisely with charters. Of course all four of the charter school websites brag about their successes and display their best foot forward.

We must conclude that there is much to learn from this report and the information also leaves us with questions. AYP Report Card system is not adequate for legislators, educators, communities and parents to make informed decisions regarding charter choice. AYP must be put in perspective and used as one tool and opportunity to learn how best to educate children. If charters are being used as a choice in education reform, then they also must be scrutinized more carefully, especially if they seem to be mimicking or encountering the same educational struggles that public schools are facing.

By the way, North Carolina was granted a waiver from their 2010-11 progress report.

No comments: