Charters: School-By-School Transfer Rates

The citywide transfer rate from charters is about 11 percent, according to WBEZ's Linda Lutton, or about 2500 students a year.  But it varies widely from school to school and there's a spreadsheet listing the various rates tucked at the bottom of the WBEZ page that I thought others might have missed the first time around.  Take a look -- they're self reported numbers -- and what do you see?excel table for web_0.jpg


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  • INCS is disputing the numbers used in the story -- take a look at the following letter sent out today --

    INCS responds to a pair of news stories


  • update -- lutton says she's going to respond shortly to the INCS rebuttal -- i'll let you know when that's up.

  • here's lutton's response to the INCS letter, which (if i read it correctly) suggests not only that the data being presented by INCS is wrong but also that the state recently pulled its charter school reports from its website making further analysis impossible:

    ON THE NUMBERS: WBEZ and Catalyst asked Chicago Public Schools for more information on the numbers printed in its annual charter school report, which Mr. Broy cites. Those numbers are derived from a complicated formula that takes into account the length of the school year and is NOT a strict transfer-out rate (ie. number of students who transfer divided by total enrollment). CPS could not provide raw data for transfers-out that matched the percentages it had published in its report. In some cases, CPS refused to provide raw transfer-out numbers because fewer than 10 students had transferred out of a school, and the district claimed that releasing those transfer-out figures would be a violation of student privacy under FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Andrea Ross, head of Research and Analysis at CPS, ultimately told Sarah Karp that she did not know how the percentages reported in the 2008-09 charter school report were arrived at

  • Shallow

    I must take this spreadsheet with a great deal of skepticism .While it is nice to see some numbers
    The devil here is in the definition or lack therein, of the categories. But I am pleased to read that
    Out of 24,169 students enrolled not one died! That is quite an accomplishment.
    Just taking the Perspective information as an example, if 211 students transferred to a cps school
    And 102 did not return that equals 313 students, like they said, but how about the 133 kids
    Who transferred out of district? That would add up to 446 not 313 which would push the
    percentage of the gone up past the reported 19%.

  • Take the High Ground and hold it.

    I think the propaganda arm of the charter schools has done a wonderful job
    Of taking the high ground and trying to defend it from the lowly regular CPS
    schools advancing up the hill. How did this happen?
    In my opinion the charter movement is a neo-parochial system of well
    intentioned people praying on fear to sell their services to apprehensive parents.
    The pitch is this: send us your students and we will keep them safe, and provide
    a super education .It is a pretty slick and effective way of taking money from
    the general coffers without having to put up with pesky problems faced by
    general CPS schools. Although I work in a general south side high school far
    removed from any type of selective enrollment . it does my heart good to see
    Nothside Prep. Payton, Young, and a host of other CPS schools, with unionized
    faculties on top of mountain.

  • PURE's julie woestehoff weighs in on the huffington post about how charters aren't intrinsically bad but have been corrupted etc.

    not sure there's anything new or any value added, but i try to bring you everything no matter how repetitive, etc.

  • First off I want to say that the Illinois Network of Charter Schools statement was very poorly done, because it was shot from the hip. INCS is an extremely weak organization because charter schools have effectively become in competition with each other as their numbers have grown and it is not in their diverse interest to have a strong central body. INCS has no enforcement ability over its members at all, it does no fiscal auditing of charters, and does no independent auditing of the issue that was raised by the WBEZ story of students effectively being pushed out or counseled out of charter schools back into traditional CPS schools. INCS is a broad charter school lobbying organization.

    Second, there is nothing in the existing Illinois charter law (105 ILCS 5/Art. 27A) that would clearly make it illegal for charter schools to academically or disciplinarily push out students to traditional schools, there are rules relating to formal expulsions. Sec. 27A 2 (b) (2) has a non-discriminatory clause which does not include anything related to academics or discipline.

    A charter school is exempt from all other State laws and regulations in the School Code governing public schools and local school board policies, except rules on criminal background checks, the formal rules involving expulsions and suspensions, the tort immunity act, rules relating to not for profit corporations, rules on abused children, the student records act, school report card requirements, the special education section of the school code, and longitudinal data reporting requirements.

    So what is to be done? The CPS can if it chooses to do so create additional rules for charters for additional funding they receive from CPS that go beyond the requirements of the charter school law. For example there is nothing in the charter school law that requires CPS to provide buildings to charters. Conversion of traditional schools into charters is an option under NCLB and not a requirement. Each of these extras can be used and the charter law requires CPS to negotiate with the charters on these issues. Like the federal government does with the states in creating rules they must follow to get programs, CPS can create contractual conditions for charters that can make push outs far more difficult than they are now. By the way this issue exists nationally not just in Chicago.

    CPS has elected not to put such requirements on charter schools, the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago and other powerful entities in Chicago also support a laissez-faire approach to charter schools. These powerful entities believe deeply in policies of non-interference by authority in any competitive process and they see charter schools as introducing competition into the field of public education and hence support as few rules as possible relating to charter schools. Mayor Daley has fully supported this approach and it is consistent with his own laissez-faire inclinations that include massive privatization of public services.

    The public needs to bring this issue into the current Mayor campaign. Do the candidates think allowing charters to pressure families to withdraw students should be an inherent part of the choice system and a requirement of a culture of high expectations as Andrew Broy from INCS argues? Or do they believe charter schools have an imperative to retain as many students as possible and would they authorize creating contractual obligations that would make that a requirement for charter schools operating in Chicago?

    Rod Estvan

  • All charter school parents of students with disabilities have the same rights to due process as do any other public school parents. There have been cases filed against charter schools in Chicago, formally the CPS if filed against and the charter school is listed as the school of attendance. Most cases against charter schools are settled out of hearings with settlement agreements. Overall charter schools are what I would call special education litigation adverse.

    To the extent that public school parents of students without disabilities have some very limited rights to due process so do charter school parents.

    The Fifth Amendment

  • By the way if readers of this blog want to see the detention fee rules for Noble Street charter you can find them by going to:

    The fees are discussed on page 6 and 7.

    The school also says it can wave fees for detentions but it can also chose not to apparently. See page 17.

    You can see CICS-Irving Park's parent handbook by going to:

    go to section on parents and go to parent handbook

    At page 8 you will find: "Unlike other public schools, a charter school is populated by students who have freely chosen to attend that school. Students who choose to accept the academic program of a charter school assume also the obligations imposed by the
    policies of the school."

    Rod Estvan

  • here's catalyst's response to the INCS letter, pointing out several errors and areas of disagreement:

    First, our report was not based on an internal memo from Chicago Public Schools, which was used only to provide context. Our report relied on transfer data reported directly to the Illinois State Board of Education by charter schools. Deputy Editor Sarah Karp filed two separate Freedom of Information Act requests for the raw data that Chicago Public Schools uses to compute the transfer rates presented in the district

  • I doubt it, my hunch is, this will be a net win for the charter operators. Most people who select charter schools do so because they want their children going to school with other students who are well behaved and serious about their studies.

    Look at the other side of this story. Who is hurt when a student causes disciplinary problems in class? The rest of the students. Don't they have a right to be able to pursue their education without the impediment of misbehaving peers?

  • Is that fair to the other students. And anyway, if the IEP is done correctly, isn't the student supposed to be able to fit into the class because the supports are keeping him able to function properly? I don't believe that a student with an IEP is entitled to interrupt other students' schooling. He is entitled to services and supports that keep him from interrupting other students' schooling.

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