A quote from Daniel Webster appears on the side of Harding Charter Prep's building Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2016. (Josh McBee)
The OKCPS board deserves great praise for conducting a roundtable discussion of charter schools in a retreat Monday that was open to the public.
The board was briefed on OKC’s complex history that resulted in creating 12 different charter schools in 20 locations. Different charter contracts were negotiated over time as the history of school choice unfolded. As a result, today’s charters provide very different academic programs to incomparably different student populations.
My only complaint about the board’s discussion: Had the exact same conversation been conducted with the exact same data to start an overview of the district’s capacity, it would have been a win-win process, but the data that the board was provided is utterly worthless for accountability or decision-making purposes.
No, the data is worse than worthless. Until we all, not just education leaders, realize that schools are forced to use primitive metrics that can barely provide apples-to-watermelon comparisons, we will continue this charade. Until a firewall is created to separate these numbers from accountability processes, high-poverty systems like the OKCPS will be in jeopardy.
In short, the OKCPS is now responsible for holding charters and traditional public schools accountable using student-performance and demographic data that is not up to the task.