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Last month, the charter schools office at Ball State University announced that it was revoking the charters of seven of its lowest performing schools for failure to meet the performance expectations outlined in the schools’ performance contracts. Sadly, rather than accept responsibility for their failure and the consequences that they agreed to when they opened, all seven schools have decided to appeal. State Impact Indiana has a rundown of the numbers for each school, all of which received D or F grades on the state’s accountability system and all of which perform worse than their local school districts. 

Charter School of the Dunes (Gary)

    • ISTEP+ pass rate: 41.6 percent, compared to 45.5 percent in the Gary Community School Corporation.
    • The school serves a transient population, according to the school’s charter renewal application, and “an overwhelming number (78 percent in math and 77 percent in reading) of these new students are at least a grade level behind” when they enroll.

Imagine Indiana Life Sciences Academy – East (Indianapolis)

Imagine MASTer Academy (Fort Wayne)

    • ISTEP+ pass rate: 51.7 percent, compared to 67.0 percent in the Fort Wayne Community Schools.
    • From the school’s renewal application: “There is not one hole that caused our overall low score in math,” and the school’s leadership team also “noticed many areas of weakness” in English Language Arts. They say they developed interventions to address the shortfalls.

Imagine Schools on Broadway (Fort Wayne)

Kenneth A. Christmon STEMM Leadership Academy (Richmond)

    • ISTEP+ pass rate: 40.4 percent, compared to 68.8 percent in the Richmond Community Schools.
    • One in five of the school’s students has an Individualized Education Plan, according to the school’s renewal application. The average Indiana school’s special education student population is closer to 15 percent.
    • Christmon’s English Language Learner population has doubled in size since 2009 which, the school’s application notes, “resulted in a need to shift instructional practices.”

LEAD College Preparatory Charter School (Gary)

    • ISTEP+ pass rate: 19.3 percent, compared to 45.5 percent in the Gary Community School Corporation.
    • End-of-Course Assessment pass rate: 28.3 percent, compared to 36.8 percent in the Gary Community School Corporation.
    • From the school’s renewal application: “A good sign of progress for us is that our 5th grade scored over 50 percent in Reading and almost 35 percent in math. We do believe with researched based interventions in both math and reading our students will show great growth on the ISTEP in the Spring 2013.”

Timothy L. Johnson Academy (Fort Wayne)

    • ISTEP+ pass rate: 41.3 percent, compared to 67.0 percent in the Fort Wayne Community Schools.
    • From the school’s renewal application: “Children who have attended for at least three years have a 73 percent passing rate on English/Language Arts, and a 72 percent passing rate for mathematics.”

Hopefully, Ball State will continue to stand strong for quality and remind these schools that having a hard-to-serve student population is not an excuse for failure.

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