Friday, April 20, 2012

Kipp Truth Academy & student loss

Research studies both by the University of Michigan and University of Texas have strongly documented that students are leaving charter schools in greater percentages than students are leaving public schools such as DISD. (See links to both studies below.) Now a small study of Kipp Truth Academy here in Dallas is reinforcing that finding.

Kipp Truth Academy, Dallas, & Student Movement
Right-click on the above chart to enlarge and/or print.

The above chart comparing student loss at Kipp Truth Academy with that at Dallas ISD was drawn from data found online at the Texas Education Agency web site indicated on the chart.  It is public data.  It indicates a 5th grade to 8th grade decrease in student population that is greater for Kipp Truth Academy that for Dallas ISD.  The history of such DISD student movement 5th to 8th grade is given in the chart below covering such movement since 1999.
Dallas ISD 5th grade to 8th grade enrollment comparison since 1999
Right click on above chart to enlarge and/or print. 
A much more critical pattern is indicated when you study the chart below that was created from the same TEA data base for the 14 largest ISD's in Dallas County.
Largest Dallas County School Districts Dropout Rate Progress
Right-click on chart to enlarge and/or print.
Notice the second to the last row in the above CPI history chart, the row titled "Dallas County w/o DISD."  Notice that with the simple removal of DISD students from the Dallas County wide enrollment chart, that the overall progress with raising graduation rates within Dallas County is erased!!!

When this chart was made in January I was amazed by this result and went back to double check the numbers.  I still think there may be an error and therefore place the chart here to invite anyone to help find the error. This is important. If there is not an error in this calculation it means that the multiple smaller school systems, specifically the charter school systems in Dallas County, as a group, have a VERY significant drop in 11th and 12th grade enrollments, and graduations, and therefore their CPI's dropped significantly as a group.

By the removal of the wonderful progress in CPI measurements for DISD from the remaining enrollments in Dallas County combined, the other ISD's positive measurements should NOT allow the entire CPI average to drop to negative 1.13 percentage points, unless the remaining charter school progress measurements, not included in this chart, are terrible!  Only one ISD in the chart, Duncanville, went down in their CPI measurement!  The answer has to remain with the charter schools as to what pulled the Dallas County progress average down so quickly once the DISD progress was removed.

Sadly, the wonderful progress in graduation rates within DISD that I, and many others, have been celebrating may be, at least partially, caused by students leaving charter schools to return to DISD, and not by students kept within DISD all along.  Thus DISD is getting a boost in enrollment and graduation numbers.  The question must also be asked: are these students who would have pulled charter schools testing averages down and are therefore being placed under pressure and "pushed out" and back into the public ISD system?

Corrections, and any reasons for these losses in student population being much worse at Kipp Truth Academy, than even in DISD, are welcome.  These numbers must be checked!

Update posted 4-29-12: Two major research studies have been found that both reinforce the existence of a pattern of students leaving charter schools at higher rates than public schools. The first of these two was published in March of 2011 by the University of Michigan:

The second study was published within the past month. See "Charter Schools No Cure-All for Black Students, Says Study" and the research it is linked to.

Both of these studies include KIPP Truth Academy and reinforces the findings above that charter school attrition rates are higher than those of public schools.

KIPP has issued a rebuttal of such findings: “Statement by KIPP regarding report: "Is Choice a Panacea?” by Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig and colleagues."  Click on title to see statement.

My question to KIPP regarding KIPP Truth would be "Why did the fifth grade consistently loose more students by the 8th grade than did Dallas ISD?"   Within the past year KIPP has improved, from loosing about 18 percentage points of enrollment more than DISD to only loosing 5 percentage points more than DISD.  While they are improving, they still have significantly higher attrition rates that DISD.

Bill Betzen