Saturday, June 25, 2016

Grand jury report: better management needed of Oakland's charter schools - San Jose Mercury News

Grand jury report: better management needed of Oakland's charter schools - San Jose Mercury News:

Grand jury report: better management needed of Oakland's charter schools


OAKLAND -- Although charter schools were intended to be an educational antidote to the city's struggling traditional public schools, many of the city's charter schools aren't outperforming their district-run counterparts, and on average, performed worse last year in statewide results, according to an Alameda County grand jury report released this week.
The grand jury, which looked into Oakland Unified School District's oversight of the city's 37 charter schools, found that 19 scored below district averages for both charter and traditional schools in mathematics in statewide test results. And 17 charter schools scored below the district average in English. The panel reported that 15 charters scored below the district averages in both categories.
Measured against the state, the results are more troubling: 62 percent, or 23 of the city's charter schools, scored below state averages in math, and 65 percent, 24 schools, scored below the state averages in English, according to results from the 2015 California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, which replaced the API scores of previous years. Many of the schools performed similarly on past API tests, the report stated.
For that reason and a host of others, the panel recommended that Oakland Unified adopt a more rigorous oversight and approval process when authorizing and reauthorizing charter schools in the city. It also urged the district to increase its staffing at the Office of Charter Schools and to increase the number of on-site visits to charter schools and their board meetings to ensure stronger accountability, including fiscal and governance oversight, since they are funded on the taxpayer's dime.
While acknowledging that other measures, such as school culture and support, must be taken into consideration alongside state test results to measure a school's success, "it's a concern that some charters are not achieving expected results and yet may still be reauthorized," the panel stated in its report.
The district also should do more to ensure charter school buildings' safety when they are located on nondistrict sites, since they don't need to conform with higher earthquake-resistance standards, the report noted.
The district is reviewing the report and will file an official response within the 90-day deadline, said district spokeswoman Valerie Goode.
"The district remains committed to ensuring all students have access to a high-quality Grand jury report: better management needed of Oakland's charter schools - San Jose Mercury News:




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