PARCC scores offer rare opportunity for school sectors to unite

Yesterday, from a Washington Post article on the release of PARCC standardized test scores by Michael Allison Chandler:

“According to OSSE, 7 percent of charter school students who took the high school Math test and 23 percent of those who took the high school English test scored proficient, compared with 12 and 27 percent of D.C. Public School students respectively.”

Could it be that after years of the local charters promoting themselves as achieving higher academic performance than the traditional schools that the two are sectors are actually at about the same level?  If this is true then we now entering the next revolutionary phase in public school reform in the District of Columbia.

I’m sure educators across the city are scrambling to figure out how to implement the Common Core Standards better and faster.  And if this too is indeed the case, then everyone in both the charters and DCPS should be trying to get to the same point together.  Furthermore, with the pending re-authorization of the Opportunity Scholarship Program private schools accepting children utilizing vouchers will also have to administer the PARCC examination.  Therefore, these institutions as well should join the effort to drive academic improvement.  It could become the definition of the three-sector approach.

This all makes for a truly exciting time.

I am so proud of our education leaders.  There has not been one word about dropping the new standards, changing the test, or lowering the bar for what counts as proficient.  Instead, both DCPS Chancellor Henderson and DC Public Charter School Board executive director Scott Pearson have explained that the results are a new starting point on the way to excellence for our students.

This is indeed what we have to do if we want our children to be able to compete for jobs with kids around the world.

As far as charters go, over the last almost 20 years, this movement has always risen to heroically meet whatever challenge has been placed in front of them.  I have no doubt that they will once again lift their students to levels of attainment not seen anywhere else across the country.

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