Posts Tagged ‘Urban Prep’

Tribune keeps repeating lie about charters’ “100%” grad rate

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

Tribune 100% graduation rate correction from 2008

I sent the Tribune “Corrections and Clarifications” department a note today about the error in Sunday’s report about Hales Franciscan going coed, which included this passage about Chicago’s single-sex charter schools:

“Urban Prep Academies’ three campuses in Englewood, Near West Side and Bronzeville and Young Women’s Leadership Charter School in Bronzeville reported 100 percent graduation and 100 percent college acceptance in recent years.”

I wrote:

While these schools claim 100% college acceptance (which could mean nothing more than an aggressive counseling program coupled with requirements that students apply to many levels of college), neither of these schools claims to have a 100% graduation rate, which would be a much more impressive achievement.

The Tribune and other media have reported on the significant enrollment attrition between freshman and senior year for both of these schools.

For example:

See also

The Tribune had to correct a similar story in 2008 (see photo) but apparently hasn’t passed the word on.

We’ll see if they actually print the retraction.

Urban Prep “miracle” – loses 50% of students, still reaps praise

Friday, March 30th, 2012

The Urban Prep Charter School marketing band wagon rolls on.

Once again, the school is pulling out all the stops (and, apparently, Governor Quinn) to congratulate itself for having once more gotten “100%” of its students into college.

Problem is, Urban Prep once more forgot to mention that it lost about half of its students along the way. This class started out with 165 students freshman year and yet only 85 are graduating.

At least this year some in the media are asking the question I first asked two years ago, when Urban Prep started this marketing campaign. In fact, this year’s results at the school are even worse than they were that first year, when 107 graduated in a class that started out with 166 freshmen.

It’s great that Urban Prep works to prepare mostly low-income, mostly African-American young men to go to college. It’s great that, as they report, 83% of the graduates from last year are still in college.

But it’s really lousy that they can’t be honest about how many students disappear from their rolls. It’s a fraudulent marketing practice and bad education to mislead people into believing that your school can create miracles where regular schools have failed. It’s part of the terrible problem in public education today, where the lies are standing in the way of making schools work for every student.

Here’s where your parking meter money is going

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

I’ve hated those &#@% Chicago parking meters ever since I got a $50 ticket on Mothers’ Day 2010, right after the new system was installed across the street from my church (no signs up – and the hours for the meter were changed over the weekend).

So, now I read that Chicago Parking Meters –the company that Mayor Daley sold us out to — recently gave a $10,000 gift to a charter high school.

That’s not quite as bad as when the ComEd/Exelon CEOs built themselves a charter school which they named after themselves. The (John “Exelon”) Rowe- (Frank “ComEd”) Clark Math and Science Academy started off with a sweet $4.2 million donation from the top guys and, of course, all of us who use electricity in Chicago.

So, I learned about the parking meter largesse as I was looking at the charter school’s web site to confirm something disturbing I heard about the school the other night.

Their web site describes “Parking Meter” charter school’s grading, assessment, promotion and graduation system, which is somewhat different from that of traditional CPS schools. There are three academic levels, and students must successfully complete each one before moving to the next. What the web site does not say, but what a recent visitor to the school told me, is that students must leave the school if they have not successfully completed a level in a set amount of time.

“Parking Meter” charter school is one of the growing number of Chicago charter high schools that have taken to bragging about the large percentage of their graduates who go on to college. Skeptics want to know how the schools get those numbers. In some cases, such as with “100%” Urban Prep, we know that many of the students who start out as freshmen are long gone by senior year, and UP does not count these drop-outs/push-outs/?-?s in figuring their 100%.

“Parking Meter” charter school claims that it graduated 100% of its class of 2010. It also brags about being 1st among ALL CPS high schools in the percentage of its graduates who go on to college or post-secondary education.

The official CPS annual charter report for 2010 states that the school’s graduation rate for 2010 was 83%, and characterizes its transfer out rate as “high.” The school’s web site notes that it does not accept new juniors or seniors.

So, where does the truth lie? Something to think about the next time you drop a handful of quarters in a parking meter.

Arne plays dodgeball with the test question

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

Arne’s not even trying the “better tests” dodge anymore…

Has testing become too scary a topic for the Obama administration after the President’s recent comments on the topic generated such a PR nightmare for USDE?

Here’s a Q and A from yesterday’s NPR Talk of the Nation with Fed Ed Head Arne Duncan, who took some questions from callers:

HELICKA: Hi. My name is Helicka(ph) and I’m a tutor at 826 D.C. And I just wanted to know about the emphasis placed on standardized testing. And if it’s going to be continued being the prevalent measuring forming decision making education.

CONAN: I think we have about 800 emails on exactly this point. Thank you.

DUNCAN: It’s a great question. So I think in some places we over test. And we need to be smart about that. I also think it’s important to evaluate students on an ongoing basis and know how much they’re learning. But I’m really interested in outcomes. What are schools graduation rates? Are graduation rates going up or down? Are more students who are graduating being successful in some form of higher education? If you guys graduate from high school today and don’t get any more education, how many good jobs are out there for you now? Not a lot, right. Not a lot. So to me the goal can’t just be to graduate from high school.

First of all, if you drop out, there are no good jobs – none in the legal economy. But once you graduate, the goal has to be some form of higher education, four-year universities, two-year community colleges, trade, technical, vocational training, whatever your passion is.

And so I want to look at are test scores a piece of what you have to look at, yes. But I want to look at graduation rates. I want to look at once students graduate, how are they doing on the next level? And where students are being successful and furthering their education, we need to do a lot of more of that. Where students are unprepared to be successful, then we have to challenge the status quo.

So, is Arne going to set a new ESEA standard of a 100% graduation rate by 2020 to replace the NCLB goal of 100% proficiency rate by 2014? Hey, Urban Prep’s already there!!!

More funky numbers from Urban Prep: 100% of 62%?

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

It’s back…. another heaping serving of Urban Prep urban myth.

Tim King’s Urban Prep Charter High School in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood is touting its second year of 100% college acceptance – PERFECT! as the Chicago Tribune web headline crows. “Golden again,” according to the print edition headline. ”We believe…in another 100%” says King’s e-mail announcement.

Last year, PURE took a little closer look at the numbers and found that only 64% of the school’s original 166 freshmen actually graduated, well below the district’s already dismal 70% rate.

The same is true of this year’s senior class. According to Urban Prep’s 2010 state report card, last year there were 121 juniors enrolled in the school.

Although King’s announcement doesn’t mention real numbers, the Tribune is saying that the senior class — this 100% college-going class — has 104 students.

So, between last year and this year, this class lost 14% of its students.

Make 100% success sound kind of funky, doesn’t it?

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About the PURE Thoughts blogger
Julie Woestehoff is PURE's executive director. Julie's work has earned her a Ford Foundation award and recognition as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Chicago.