The Kansas City Public Library

Reading Between the Lines (Part 2)

Part 2 of a 4 part series: Part 1
Despite required MAP testing each year, meeting adequate yearly progress does not carry the significance for charter schools that it does for public schools. MAP testing results weigh heavily on how a district will be accredited, as they are accountable to the state department of education, whereas charter schools can only be unaccredited by the sponsoring institution. Conversely, this means that many charter schools are allowed to stay open despite consistently underperforming and failing to meet the standards and expectations outlined in the charter.

Some argue that the sponsoring institutions need to be stricter about getting results from charter schools and ruthless about closing charter schools that do not meet standards. Sponsoring institutions seem hesitant to shut down charters, perhaps with the fear that it will abandon children to the KCMSD. However, if you look at the state standards met by charter schools and public schools, most charter schools meet a smaller percentage of their standards than the Kansas City, Missouri School District. You could call this an uneven comparison since the sizes are vastly different, but even if you look at individual schools in KCMSD and compare them to charter schools the scores indicate about the same (Kansas City Star).

There are several charter schools in the area that are currently exceeding the performance of the Kansas City, Missouri School District. A French-language immersion school, Academie LaFayette, significantly outperforms KCMSD according to Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) reports, which draw data from the annual Missouri Assessment Program (MAP tests) that charter schools and traditional public schools are required to take each year (MO Department of Education). Other schools with test scores that exceed KCMSD in some areas are University Academy’s High School and its Middle School, which met Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in 2010 (MO Department of Education). Allen Village School also produces some results that would indicate their students perform better than most of those in the KCMSD (MO Department of Education<a/>).

Most of the scores are about the same for charters and traditional public schools, but there do exist public schools that are excelling in the Kansas City, Missouri School District. Lincoln College Preparatory School, which covers grades 6 through 12, meets standards consistently and in 2010 had a higher percentage of students performing at advanced levels than several suburban high schools (MO Department of Education). But students are required to take an entrance exam and demonstrate academic excellence before admission to Lincoln. Charter schools are forbidden from discriminating admissions based on test scores, gender, race, ethnicity, religion or any qualification unrelated to zip code and prior or sibling enrollment (Section 410).

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