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The state test score data released this week for grades 3 through 8 shows Rochester’s charter schools on the whole performing better than Rochester City School District schools. About 13,500 RCSD students and 1,200 charter school students took the tests.

English Passing Rate:

  • RCSD – 21%
  • Charters – 46%

Math Passing Rate:

  • RCSD – 27%
  • Charters – 63%

But there are some RCSD schools that performed as well or better than some charter schools. Take a look:

School 23 (RCSD, grades 3-6)

  • English – 54%
  • Math – 67%

School 52 (RCSD, grades 3-6)

  • English – 47%
  • Math – 54%

School 58 (RCSD, grades 3-8)

  • English – 42%
  • Math – 49%

Urban Choice (Charter, grades 3-6)

  • English – 39%
  • Math – 50%

Rochester Academy Charter School (Charter, grades 7 -8)

  • English – 43%
  • Math -41%

University Prep (Charter, grades 7 &-8)

  • English – 22%
  • Math – 42%

This shows not all city schools are terrible and not all charter schools are great.

There are charter schools serving students extremely well, such as True North, Genesee Community Charter, and Eugenio Maria de Hostos. Other charter schools are not doing better than the best city schools.

It is worth pointing out charter schools by their very nature attract families more involved in their children’s education. Charter schools have been criticized for drawing away better students. In addition, charter schools do not have as many children with special needs and children who speak English as a second language.

I suspect the better performing schools are more economically diverse. Studies have shown economic integration works to raise achievement.

As the city’s failing schools get criticized, it’s important to look at the common denominator of all of the schools mentioned above: They have students and parents who want (and in some cases, fought) to be there.

6 Responses to RCSD v. Charters

  1. July 18, 2012 at 9:22 pm Steve Wershing responds:

    The point is not that all Charter schools will be better than all City schools – the point is that Charters provide an opportunity to try new things, and to give the government run schools a little competition as incentive to get better if they want to retain the good students.

    It will be a great day when there are families fighting to get into City schools.

  2. July 18, 2012 at 10:13 pm Edward Richards responds:

    “They have students and parents who want (and in some cases, fought) to be there”.

    Through a City sponsored parent “lottery” too eh?!

    What a farce.

    Charter schooling is federally subsidized (?) education (nothing wrong with that). But it should be supplemental (on top of, add to, extra help), not core/foundation, like every other City school.
    I am sure there are a lot of parents who care about their kids in City schools. It’s just that to complicate things even further than they need to be doesn’t help anyone. Or the system. Who is responsible for creating this chaos and confusion? And don’t think mayoral control will do anything major to help.

    What bothers me is that the City is short changing kids’ futures. While a LOT of money is being spent on these kids, I fear charter schools will lack the high school experience (proms, sports, functions) and not be what it is supposed to be. Enough with academics. School is one thing. Not the only thing. There should also be extracurricular activities. Creative stuff. We need well adjusted kids, not just book worms.

    And so, I step back as I digress and take a deep breath. And realize, this education situation is much more complex than I thought. There are a lot of different leadership viewpoints. Rochester has been there, done that (through wasted money and failure). We need problem solvers, not double talkers. Leaders who will mean what they say and say what they mean. Because there are no easy answers.

    There aren’t supposed to be.

  3. Ever since I went to school in the city 30 years ago, these 3 schools have always performed well on the state tests. Why is it that these schools still maintain that higher standard that the rest? Maybe they should look into these 3 schools and see why they are getting better results.

  4. July 18, 2012 at 11:12 pm Bill Stratton responds:

    When are we going to understand that there are hundreds and hundreds of independent variables that influence the educational experience of a student and that a single set of “constructed” (and very focused) objective test scores (the dependent variable) cannot hope to measure the total shaping of a graduate. It’s mindless to think that educating our young is all about learning just facts. We ask our educational system to do so much more than that. As one who did his graduate work in this arena, I’m appalled that the State of NY is so naive in its assessment practices. In fact, it’s embarrassing to anyone who understands this environment.

  5. July 19, 2012 at 8:32 am Orielly responds:

    40yrs of decline in the CSD. Now less than 50% graduate.. HS thats HIGH SCHOOL.. that number should be what % graduate college.

    This week the results showed a decline in RCSD performance when all other major districts in the State showed improvement.

    Anyone taking responsibility for the decline? Urbanski – hes been around for Decades? How about Brizzard, he got promoted. Anyone asking him to explain what didn’t work? How about the School Board PREZ? Anyone, anywhere responsible?

    If this was a business, with all competitors showing better results and ours in decline, heads would roll. Managers and non performers would be fired. How about in this system? Nothing … no one is responsible.

    Meanwhile, they’re all (everyone in the RCSD) against vouchers and charters. Pretty easy to see who they REALLY care about. Its not about the kids, they care about their job.

    Parents should vote out the school board and put in REPS and vouchers. The School board should demand Urbanski resign. And teachers should be put tied to performance with the lowest 10% fired.

    That is if you want to “change” things. If not lets just continue to live with these failed results. We’ve only been doing it 30 years now. And hey whats the harm?

    Lets just keep taking about it and voting in the same party and people to run it.

  6. July 19, 2012 at 9:40 pm lynn e responds:

    So millions of state dollars were spent on testing kids with a slight variation of scores probably explained away by margin of error. Wealthier well to do students and areas where there are wealthier well to do students do better on these tests and graduate more. Wouldn’t it be more cheaper to do this by sampling a cross section of students, rather than every student? How about studying why the differences occur? Wait! Aren’t there studies already done to tell us why? Then why are governments being forced to undertake this explosive testing of children and profiling of schools? What are the effects to students,teachers, and school systems? Why are they being distracted by such worthless activity? I think it to provide income to testing and education corporations making profits from public tax money.

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