Study ignores parents; bases results on high-stakes testing
WASHINGTON – Today, PublicSchoolOptions.org responded to a newly released study about an important public school option for thousands of families across the country: online charter schools.
STATEMENT FROM TILLIE ELVRUM, PUBLICSCHOOLOPTIONS.ORG PRESIDENT AND SCHOOL CHOICE ADVOCATE:
“We would take this Virtual Charter School Study a little more seriously if they had actually talked to parents of online charter school students – like me. We know why we chose this option and why our students are succeeding. It’s disappointing that they would release a study that bases its conclusions on high-stakes testing, a “virtual twin” model that, at best, compares apples to oranges, and never talks to a single online charter school parent. If these organizations were interested in a credible study, they’d start by talking to the parents and students benefitting from this school choice option.
When it comes to decisions about the future of public charter schools we should trust parents, not unelected elites, to determine what’s working best for our children. We should empower parents with choices in education, not disenfranchise parents by empowering bureaucrats and districts and returning our children to the same public institutions that have already failed them.”
Virtual Charter School Study includes questionable methodology and conclusions
1. Parents of students in online charter schools were not part of the study or its conclusions – the very parents making the decision to use this important public school option.
2. The study does not account for the many reasons that students and parents choose online charter schools in the first place.
3. Conclusions were based solely on high-stakes testing, at a time when many school districts, parents, teachers, and lawmakers are pressing the pause button on testing as an accurate way to measure individual student success. Just days ago President Obama addressed ongoing concerns about over-testing.
4. Conclusions were based on school-wide performance, not individual student success, despite recent polling that underscores the importance of not using school-wide test results as a measure of success.
- 74 percent of respondents agree that accountability systems should focus on individual student vs whole student populations
- 63 percent agree that when evaluating a school, individual student learning is more important than overall school performance
- 73 percent agree that a grade level a school is given by the state is not an accurate measure of the success of the individual students in it
5. This study uses a “virtual twin” methodology that fails to analyze or account for factors in the lives of actual students, including enrollment dates, progress over time enrolled in an online charter school, or reasons why students enrolled in that option.