Sunday, May 13, 2018

Louisiana Recovery District's Performance

In my most recent post below, I provided statistics obtained by public records requests that showed that an extremely small percentage  of Louisiana public school students who fail both their math and English-Language-Arts LEAP tests each year are denied promotion to the next grade.

The precise statistics for the 2015-16 school year revealed that a total of 66,209 students in grades 3 though 8 failed both their math and ELA LEAP tests. That's approximately 21% of students enrolled in grades 3-8 statewide.

The purpose of this post is to compare the performance and promotion rate of students in the Louisiana Recovery District (the RSD) with the average for all other public school students.

Starting in the fall of 2005, the state took over approximately 70 schools from local school boards and created a new school system called the Louisiana Recovery District. The purpose was to upgrade the performance of these so called failing schools and to convert them into successful schools. Most of these takeover schools were chartered to a mix of non-profit and for-profit charter management organizations that were expected to boost performance of students to acceptable levels.

For the first few years after the state takeover and conversion of the RSD schools to charter schools we saw press releases from the state department of education proclaiming that student performance on state LEAP tests were improving at a much faster rate than that of other public schools. I wanted to know how these schools compared more recently to other public schools after all these years of greater growth. So I requested the most recent statistics on student performance and also on grade retention rates.

At the end of the 2015-16 school year, the Louisiana Recovery District was operated under the BESE as the charter authorizer. Public records obtained from the LDOE reveal that the failure rate of RSD students in both ELA and math for the 2015-16 school year totaled 49% of all students enrolled in grades 3 though 8.

After 11 years of state control of the RSD and operation of its schools by charter managers, approximately half of the students in such schools failed both their math and English-Language-arts tests. Statistics also obtained from the LDOE indicate that only 2.9% of students in grades 3 though 8 in the RSD were denied promotion to the next grade. That's almost the same rate as the students that were retained in grade by all other public schools under the administration of local school boards even though their failure rate on state LEAP tests was much lower.

So what was the result of transferring control of all these so called failing schools to BESE and to charter management organizations? Approximately half the students in such schools failed to score even 30% correct answers on their math and ELA state tests. Yet almost all of these students were promoted to the next grade. And each year these takeover schools continued graduating more and more uneducated students.

A general analysis of all state "recovery districts" or so called "achievement zones" patterned after the Louisiana Recovery District finds that such takeovers have had pretty much the same phony results as our model reform district.

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