Award for Ivy Prep shows just how wrong Lowery and others crying ‘resegregation’ are

Dear Rev. Joseph Lowery: Before you agree to record another advertisement decrying state charter schools as a maneuver to reinstate segregation in Georgia, perhaps you should check out the news about Ivy Preparatory Academy.

Ivy Prep, to which the Gwinnett County school board refused to grant a charter, and which as a result had to resort to the state’s chartering process, was named one the state’s highest-performers among schools with a high proportion of low-income students.

This news ought to be of interest to Gwinnett voters, given that their school system has fought tooth and nail to prevent the state from having a process to approve charter schools in general, and Ivy Prep specifically. The Gwinnett system was one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit that resulted in the old State Charter Schools Commission’s being declared unconstitutional, and about 20 percent of all the money donated to the anti-amendment campaign has come from administrators in the Gwinnett system alone.

But this news may be of particular interest to Lowery because Ivy Prep’s student body includes a much higher percentage of black students than the schools around it: 75 percent, compared to 46 percent for its nearest peer (Peachtree Elementary School) and 30 percent for Gwinnett’s entire public school system. (These and other data in this post come from the most recent Adequate Yearly Progress Reports available, those for the 2010-11 school year, on the Georgia Department of Education’s website.)

It may also be of interest to Lowery because black students at Ivy Prep were more likely to exceed state standards for both math (43 percent) and English/language arts (48 percent) than their peers at Peachtree Elementary (42 percent and 34 percent, respectively) or Gwinnett as a whole (36 percent and 38 percent, respectively).

And Ivy Prep’s black students were much less likely not to meet standards: just 6 percent on math and 2 percent on English/language arts, compared to 13 percent and 7 percent for Peachtree Elementary; and 12 percent and 5 percent for Gwinnett as a whole.

These students and their parents have chosen to attend Ivy Prep, rather than the traditional public schools Lowery defends as being better for black students — on what grounds and evidence, no one knows.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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209 comments Add your comment

DeKalb Parent

November 1st, 2012
11:29 am

Congrats to Ivy Prep. You should be held as an example to Wilbanks and the Gwinnett school board. Maybe that is why they are fighting so hard against the charter amendment. You are proving you can do more with less!

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

November 1st, 2012
11:39 am

Benghazi in 3…2…1

[...] Kyle Wingfield says the Ivy Prep award shows just how wrong Rev. Lowery, Sen. Emanuel Jones and others are when they [...]

Mom

November 1st, 2012
11:45 am

And Gwinnett School of Math, Science and Technology ( a Gwinnett County approved charted school) averages a score of 1941 on the SAT. Charters approved by the county can be just as successful.

And not all charter schools are successful…
See Maureen Downey’s Oct. 29th article… “Failing Charters Finally Closes and Principal collects a Cool Half Million.”

Charters should be locally controlled…for local accountability.

Kyle Wingfield

November 1st, 2012
11:45 am

Finn (and anyone else who wants to talk Benghazi): The earlier thread remains open for that discussion.

George P. Burdell

November 1st, 2012
11:45 am

It will be interesting to see how this vote turns out because there have been a lot of confusing arguments made by both sides. It took me a while to wade through all the nonsense and get to the details on what the real issues were. I doubt most voters in Georgia have actually done the same because everyone I have talked to is very confused or just doesn’t understand what is going on. I will vote for the ammendment but I will still watch closely to see if it gets used to fund alternative schools that are either only out for profit at the expense of standards or want to push their own agenda more so than educate children. While both of these are negatives in my mind, it is a bigger negative to not allow parents to have some say when things don’t go well with the local school. This article is a perfect example of the good that can come from charter schools when done properly and it is very telling that this school in particular is one that Gwinnett got so upset about.

Kyle Wingfield

November 1st, 2012
11:47 am

Mom @ 11:45: That school was in Florida. Georgia was recently awarded an “A” by the U.S. Dept. of Education for its financial oversight of charter schools.

And this amendment does nothing to the counties’ ability to create charter schools as well. There is no reason the two can’t co-exist.

Kyle Wingfield

November 1st, 2012
11:49 am

George P. Burdell @ 11:45: By all means, that kind of scrutiny should be applied to state charter schools … I only wish the anti-amendment folks were equally interested in paying so much attention to the failings of some traditional public schools. And keep in mind: There can only be oversight and changes made if the state can approve charter schools. And that is only guaranteed if the amendment passes.

JF McNamara

November 1st, 2012
11:50 am

So you are for re-segregation? I know what you mean, but, you may want to reword your argument a little.

Taipei Personality

November 1st, 2012
11:52 am

Excellent piece, Kyle, thanks for bringing this up! The Ivy Prep fight against GCPS, of which I am a product and had a parent who taught for several decades in, was just disgusting and totally warrantless on GCPS part. There was no logical or logistical reason to deny them, and I wondered how it managed to fly under the radar for so long, considering the demographic imbalance between Ivy Prep and the rest of the Gwinnett system. Won’t go so far to say GCPS was racist, rather they sadly are just typical educrats that think the only way to improve education is to throw more money at it.

Meanwhile, “Reverend” Joseph Lowery is embarking on his fourth decade of irrelevance, and he wants to just go on believing all white people go to hades, that is his choice, but it certainly shows his lack of touch with reality.

Junior Samples

November 1st, 2012
12:00 pm

Kyle,
Any other examples of charter schools with a higher percentage of black students? I’d hate to think you’ve chosen a needle in the haystack to base your article.

SBinF

November 1st, 2012
12:02 pm

On anecdote erases the mounds of quantitative data which show charter schools do no better job preparing students for “success” (however it is mandated) than public schools?

Riiiight.

Digger

November 1st, 2012
12:02 pm

Mom – It’s funny you should mention Gwinnett’s own charter school. A few things to note…

1. It’s not a start up governed by an independent board – it’s governed by the district’s school board.
2. They serve 55% gifted, .002% (yes, that’s 2 THOUSANDS of a percent) SPED, and 0% remedial education students. Interesting considering charters are public schools that MAY NOT have entry requirements.
3. They have been cited by the state for screening kids out – Gwinnett County has violated the law. Do an open records request and you’ll see this is a fact.

This IS an excellent school, but don’t try to compare it with Ivy Prep who DOES have an independent board, who exercises open enrollments, and serves a diverse population of students….and is also achieving and outperforming the district hands down!

Randy Ayn

November 1st, 2012
12:02 pm

Congrats to Ivy Prep. What did they do that made them excel and why can it only be done at a charter school? If they have figured out how to better educate the average child, then it seems this methodology ought to be shared system wide.

Dearie

November 1st, 2012
12:03 pm

Those of us that believe in charter schools are not surprised at the results of Ivy Prep. Black students, white students it does not matter. The charter school provides the student with an environment that encourages learning.

Please explain to me why so many of our wonderful, overworked, underpaid teachers are against charter schools? So many of the hassles that prevent them from “teaching” would be eliminated and they could do the job they were trained, hired and love to do. It should be about the students, and charter schools are proving every day that students are succeeding.

Digger

November 1st, 2012
12:03 pm

@ Mom – and that failing charter…. was in FLORIDA.

How about you do a fact check on what Beverly Hall’s payout was when she left. Geez.

md

November 1st, 2012
12:06 pm

Black parents are no different than any other color of parent, they too can see lazy regardless of color……..the under-performing schools are doing so due to lazy parents, not their color……..

CharterStarter, Too

November 1st, 2012
12:08 pm

@ Junior Samples – go to the DOE website http://www.doe.k12.ga.us Charter Schools homepage and pull up the annual reports for charter schools over the last few years. The demographics are in there, and it shows that historically, charters have had higher numbers of minority and economically disadvantaged students. This past year, we are comparable at about 49%, with the slight decline attributed to the number of schools in system charters.

State charters serve closer to 60%.

carlosgvv

November 1st, 2012
12:08 pm

A number of Atlanta area schools are virtually all black or all white now. Why hasn’t Lowery said anything about them?

JDW

November 1st, 2012
12:08 pm

@Kyle…”Georgia was recently awarded an “A” by the U.S. Dept. of Education for its financial oversight of charter schools.”

Wouldn’t that suggest that continuing to manage them in the current fashion would be better than bringing in the state?

I don’t know enough about Ivy Prep’s numbers to draw many conclusions but one thing I do know…if you strip out the better students from a school the ones left behind will not score as well. Question is why did not the parents involved with Ivy Prep institute the same type programs at the existing schools rather than creating a new one?

Kyle Wingfield

November 1st, 2012
12:08 pm

JF: The argument from the anti-amendment side is that blacks won’t be able to get into these schools. This proves that many black students and parents not only want to get into state charter schools, but they are able to do so.

But you’re probably right that I should have included that in the OP. Maybe I’ll add it.

Lil' Barry Bailout - Vote American

November 1st, 2012
12:09 pm

It’s a shame that race-baitng Democrats put politics ahead of student achievement. They’ll claim to support what works, but their actions put the lie to such claims.

CharterStarter, Too

November 1st, 2012
12:11 pm

SBinF:

Let’s actually LOOK at the data for our state schools. Wouldn’t want you to think it’s an isolated instance…

* AYP:

State charters: 75%
Districts served by state charrs: 66.7%
State: 72.7%

* CRCT

State charters out performed districts they served in 4/5 core subject areas

* Students with disabilities in state charters (54.8%) out performed the districts they served (48.8%)

Graduation Rates:

* State charter high school graduation rate (95.8%) significantly outperformed the district (69.03%)

THIS is what our state charters who have autonomous boards and good state oversight can do….

VOTE YES!

Randy Ayn

November 1st, 2012
12:12 pm

Well, the article implies that a charter school is an outlier in a set of data, so someone should be able to identify what made Ivy Prep successful and implement it elsewhere. True? I don’t think having the word “charter” in their title caused it, but, if it did, then we should rename all our schools.

CharterStarter, Too

November 1st, 2012
12:13 pm

@ JDW – it is the STATE that got the “A” (not the districts).

Kyle Wingfield

November 1st, 2012
12:13 pm

Junior @ 12:00: It takes some time to make comparisons of this detail, but off the top of my head: Fulton Leadership Academy and Atlanta Heights are two state charter schools with almost 100% black student bodies. I’m pretty sure APS and Fulton County schools, respectively, have very different makeups.

And, as I mentioned to JF a few minutes ago: The point is that black students and parents want to attend these schools, and the track record proves they’re able to do so. This is not a mechanism for creating all-white schools, as the anti-amendment folks imply.

md

November 1st, 2012
12:13 pm

And the difference between the parents of charter school kids and some of the others? Taking the initiative to put ones child in a better school vs just sticking the child on the big yellow magic transformation machine that stops at the end of the driveway…………

Kyle Wingfield

November 1st, 2012
12:14 pm

SBinF @ 12:02: As I’ve written before, the data in Georgia show state charter schools outperform the nearby traditional public schools.

md

November 1st, 2012
12:14 pm

“so someone should be able to identify what made Ivy Prep successful and implement it elsewhere”

Parents………..

curious

November 1st, 2012
12:15 pm

Kyle,

Got any racial demographics on Lake Oconee Academy in Greene County and how they compare with the public school?

Lil' Barry Bailout - Vote American

November 1st, 2012
12:16 pm

Sure, there is some self-selection going on–parents who care put their kids in charters.

Kyle Wingfield

November 1st, 2012
12:17 pm

Further to that point, SBinF: It matters what kind of charter schools we are talking about. If a traditional public school that isn’t performing well is simply converted into a charter, with the same leadership and faculty, we shouldn’t expect the results to be all that different. State charter schools, however, are almost always (I think they always are) start-up charters, which means different people trying a different approach. That’s where we should expect to see different results. And the track record (which admittedly is limited because they haven’t been around very long) demonstrates we are getting different, better results from these state-chartered start-ups.

CharterStarter, Too

November 1st, 2012
12:17 pm

@ Randy Ayn –

You cannot be more correct! We have a lot of “Charters,” (including start ups, conversions, system charters, career academies, etc.) All told, about 215 of them. HOWEVER, only about 70 of them (that are start ups and the ones this amendment is about) that meet the federal definition of a charter school.

These schools almost always outperform the districts they serve. And these schools that are state authorized and fully autonomous from any district perform even higher.

The secret sauce is autonomy and flexibility in exchange for accountability. The districts are fighting hard against autonomy (”local control” argument), refuse to give full flexibility to their own charter schools, and certainly have little accountability because charters authorized by districts can’t be shut down like start ups…they just revert back to status quo.

Start ups provide the MOST local control (governing board by parents, educators, and community members), have full autonomy, and are accountable to stakeholders. THAT is what the amendment is about.

Aynie Sue

November 1st, 2012
12:18 pm

Perhaps the organization of the school doesn’t matter as much as diligent students, involved parents, and determined teachers. Charter, smarter, bull!

curious

November 1st, 2012
12:18 pm

Are these well performing charters run by for profit companies?

Kyle Wingfield

November 1st, 2012
12:18 pm

Randy Ayn @ 12:02: That’s the idea behind having charter schools. We do need to see a longer track record before we start making wholesale changes elsewhere. But so far, so good.

Randy Ayn

November 1st, 2012
12:18 pm

md – I suspect you’re right. I think people will spend a lot of money on bogus “systems” and so forth to make charter schools seem different, but, in the end, if the parents support and push the kids to do well, they will. So, this basically becomes “schools for people who care” and “the rest” – which is sad, but probably reality.

CharterStarter, Too

November 1st, 2012
12:18 pm

@ Curious –

Lake Oconnee is about 70% FRL and outperforms Greene County by miles.

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

November 1st, 2012
12:19 pm

According to polls 73 percent of WHITE evangelicals will be voting for Mitt Romney. If the polls are correct here’s the question I’d like to ask evangelicals using their own style of language/concerns/theological thinking as applied to their choice:

What’s the explanation for the fact that white American Evangelicals made the allegedly philandering lying ignorant braggart lapsed Roman Catholic Dinesh D’Souza their anti-Obama hero, embrace a pro-choice Mormon bishop who promoted abortion and Planned Parenthood in MA, are working to elect a job-destroying tax-avoiding lying flip-flopping-tell-anyone-anything-they-want-to-hear Swiss bank account collecting draft dodger running with a disciple of the God-hating, Jesus-mocking hater-of-the-poor Ayn Rand, for their presidential candidate and look the other way as a crazed ultra-Zionist many Israeli Jews fear billionaire casino owner who is being investigated for allegedly making billions off the dirtiest Chinese gambling Communist Party-controlled outfit in the world funds the enterprise, at the very same time as Franklin Graham sold his ailing father Billy’s soul and denied core evangelical theology by taking Mormonism off the Billy Graham organization’s list of cults in order to help the Mormon pagan-ritual-performing, Trinity-denying, casino-money-grubbing billionaire-coddling, earth-destroying global-warming denying Mormon bishop win respectability for his dead-Jews-baptizing-polygamy-rooted-reality-denying-interplanetary Masonic lodge-embracing faith in an election against an exemplary modest faithful husband good father compassionate smart black evangelical Christian President whose major accomplishments include saving the economy, ending a war, killing our greatest enemy, giving health care to children and the poor and the “least of these” and who has tried to reduce the number of abortions by helping women escape poverty in a reenactment of the lesson of the parable of the Good Samaritan?

alternet.org

Kyle Wingfield

November 1st, 2012
12:20 pm

Finn: Unless you have some evidence, I’m not going to let you throw out an unsubstantiated smear like that. I’d do the same for a traditional public school that hadn’t been implicated in any cheating scandals.

obamacreep

November 1st, 2012
12:20 pm

When you don’t have a good argument, call the race card.

Now, let’s get back to Benghazi.

j/k

CharterStarter, Too

November 1st, 2012
12:20 pm

@ Curious – ALL start ups are run by non-profit governing boards. Some of them do contract with management companies, which they over see, and yes, those schools are doing quite well and doing so on significantly less money that what their traditional schools are using to educate less effectively.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

November 1st, 2012
12:20 pm

“so someone should be able to identify what made Ivy Prep successful and implement it elsewhere”

Or motivated students wishing to not be dragged down by unmotivated students.

curious

November 1st, 2012
12:22 pm

CharterStarter, Too

“Lake Oconnee is about 70% FRL and outperforms Greene County by miles.”

I’m a product of public schools and don’t know what FRL is.

How about racial demographics?

Kyle Wingfield

November 1st, 2012
12:25 pm

JDW @ 12:08: “Wouldn’t that suggest that continuing to manage them in the current fashion would be better than bringing in the state?”

The way they are managed wouldn’t change. The state’s doing it now, the state would be doing it later. The commission members would be unpaid, not full-time employees, so the DOE staff will continue to do the heavy lifting when it comes to oversight.

“Question is why did not the parents involved with Ivy Prep institute the same type programs at the existing schools rather than creating a new one?”

You seriously have to ask this? How many traditional schools do you know where the parents get to call the shots about how kids are educated??

Lil' Barry Bailout - Vote American

November 1st, 2012
12:26 pm

“here’s the question I’d like to ask evangelicals”
———

Here’s a few answers for ya:

$1 trillion deficits every year
$6 trillion in new debt
Unemployment worse than four years ago
Record poverty
Loss of our national credit rating
Near-zero economic growth
$4 gas

Hope that helps.

Kyle Wingfield

November 1st, 2012
12:27 pm

curious @ 12:15: I don’t need data about Lake Oconee Academy, because that’s a locally approved charter — you know, the kind Lowery and all the other anti-amendment folks say are done right — not a state charter, the kind at issue in this referendum.

Tanisha

November 1st, 2012
12:28 pm

Rev. Lowery might want to read the op ed piece by the Ivy Prep executive director (an African-American lady incidentally) in today’s Gwinnett Daily Post, pg. 6A.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

November 1st, 2012
12:29 pm

You gotta wonder how many more times the anti-amendment folks are going to keep banging their heads against the wall on this thing when Kyle can so easily debunk their nonsensical arguments.

It’s kinda like watching crazed monkeys throwing themselves against cage walls; in some ways very scary, with just a little entertainment value thrown in.

Darwin

November 1st, 2012
12:30 pm

If the amendment was good for the state and stood on its own merits, the amendment would not have been written in the manner that it was. The wording of the smendment itself proves there are sinister things at play.