Watching the Numbers: Unlike District Schools, Edison Charter Must Succeed to Survive

By Jacobs, Joanne | Reason, February 2002 | Go to article overview

Watching the Numbers: Unlike District Schools, Edison Charter Must Succeed to Survive


Jacobs, Joanne, Reason


WHILE RISING TEST scores on California's statewide test saved Edison Charter Academy from takeover by the San Francisco Unified School District, falling test scores have now put the charter's future at risk.

Spring 2001 test scores were announced August 15, two months after Edison Charter's charter was transferred from the district to the State Board of Education. Edison Charter's reading and math scores, which had risen sharply for the school's first two years, were down in virtually every grade and subject.

On the state's Academic Performance Index, Edison was the lowest-ranked elementary school in San Francisco--just like the district-run school that the charter replaced.

Scores remain above the school's 1999 level, but the numbers are very low. Only 23 percent of students tested at or above grade level in reading, compared to 32 percent the year before; only 32 percent make the grade in math, down from 42 percent. Students do better the longer they attend Edison Charter, says principal Vincent Matthews. Edison's cohort analysis found fourth and fifth graders did better than they had the year before. But third graders did worse than they had as second graders. And the 2001 second grade scores are dismal.

"The amount of time we spent defending ourselves--all those late-night board meetings, all the media tours--we could have used that time to educate students," says Matthews. "It was a distraction."

To Edison opponents, the scores proved the school was a fraud. Caroline Grannan, a critic of the school, e-mailed the press: "After months of publicity by New York-based Edison Schools claiming superior gains and implying superior performance to San Francisco districtwide schools...Edison Charter students scored significantly below districtwide students in every category both in spring 2000 and in the newly released spring 2001 results."

It's not uncommon for schools that post a large rise in scores one year to dip the next year. Statewide, one-third of schools where teachers earned performance awards for gains in 2000 lost ground in 2001. Reading and math scores fell at other San Francisco schools that are comparable to Edison Charter in percentages of black and Hispanic students.

However, no other school is under the scrutiny that Edison Charter faces. The company promised progress. It has to deliver.

Diallo Dphrepaulezz studied the school's progress for the Pacific Research Institute and now serves on the charter's board. He doesn't know if the drop in scores reflects a statistical blip, a leveling-off once the easy progress is made, or the high anxiety that gripped the school in the spring of 2001. He does know that another bad year won't be tolerated.

Edison Charter's scores must start improving again in 2002, warns John Mockler, executive director of the State Board of Education, which is now the school's charter granter. "This year they probably deserve a pass because of all the stuff that was going on with the district," Mockler told the Los Angeles Times. "But if that happened two years or three years in a row, you'd have to say adios, and we will."

Reed Hastings, who chairs the state board, is dedicated to the expansion of charter schools--but only if they work. Hastings urges the speedy revocation of charters when a school isn't performing. Which, after all, is precisely the point. His report, part of a Teacher's College at Columbia University study of Edison's schools, was laudatory: "Parents appear happy with the school's turnaround. After all, they must feel a sense of jubilation to have their children in a safe school rather than in a chaotic environment where real danger was ever present."

The transition was bumpy. Most of the teachers quit in the first two years, complaining of the longer hours, the scripted reading curriculum, the frequent meetings, and the pressure to show results.

Edison Inc.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Watching the Numbers: Unlike District Schools, Edison Charter Must Succeed to Survive
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.