If a tree falls in the forest and no media carries the story, did the tree really fall?
If public charter students test the highest and no media carries the story, did the public charter students really test the highest?
In disaggregating official state test results posted by the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) for 2015, public charter school students outscored public traditional students 66.6% to 56.2%.Official test results of all North Carolina public school students for 2015 have been posted by DPI[i] on their web site.
DPI also reported the percentage of tests passed by all NC public school students combined to be 56.6%[ii].
Not reported by DPI or the mainstream media is the fact that, when results are categorized into either public charter students or public traditional students, the public charter students pass 66.6% of their tests while the public traditional students pass only 56.2% of their tests.
Thus charter students pass 18.5% more tests than traditional students: 10.4/56.2 = 18.9% more.
This outstanding achievement by charter students is even more newsworthy when the results are further categorized into the various demographic groups.
Not only did the combined charter groups outscore traditional groups by 66.6% to 56.2%, but Black public charter students outscored Black traditional students. Even though the percentage of Black students is in each group is nearly identical, 25% and 26%, the public charter Blacks outscored traditional Black students by 47% to 37% – a 27% greater passing rate for charter Blacks.
Similarly, DPI data reveal that low-income public charter students also outscored low-income traditional students 50% to 41%.
In fact, DPI data show that in 12 of 13 demographic groups, public charter students outscored their traditional school classmates. The only two groups where charter students did not outscore traditional students were American Indians and Academically Gifted – groups where there were very few such students in charter schools.
These important results are even more newsworthy when it is noted that they were achieved by spending 27% less tax money on public charter students than on public traditional students.
So back to the original question: if no one in the mainstream media carries the story, did it really happen? And what could be the benefit to the state’s system of traditional schools? What could our legislators and bureaucrats learn and do that could lift all of the state’s children to these real but, alas, unreported higher levels of success achieved by charter schools?
I guess we may never know.
[ii] Ibid. “Performance Composite Percent Grade Level Proficient”