Proposed Accountability Plan for Voucher Schools Released

Superintendent White has issued his proposed standards 
for Academic Accountability for Voucher Schools.

BESE will meet tomorrow (Tuesday, July 24th) at 11:00 am to vote on Superintendent White’s Proposed Policy for the Voucher Program.

Educate Now! supports these policy recommendations and strongly urges BESE to approve them.

Quick Summary

Beginning with the 2012-2013 school year:

  • Schools with fewer than 10 voucher students in a tested grade and with fewer than a total of 40 voucher students enrolled in tested grades (3-11) will have their test results reported by grade (if more than 10 students) and by program (all students tested if more than 10 total).
  • Schools with more than 10 students in a tested grade or with a total of 40 or more voucher students enrolled in tested grades will:
    • Have a calculated Scholarship Index (like a School Performance Score) beginning with the 2012-13 school year, using only the test results of the scholarship students.
    • If a school’s Scholarship Index Score is below 50, which is equivalent to an F for public schools, then the school cannot enroll new scholarship students the following year.
      • Current scholarship students will be able to stay at the school or have priority enrollment preference at another participating scholarship school.
  • As outlined in the constitution, BESE shall also periodically determine if a participating school’s curriculum is at least equal to the curriculum prescribed for public schools. If it is not, and the situation is not remedied, a school could be ineligible for continued participation.

Why It Works

The proposal strikes the right balance between the need for public accountability and the different ways private schools will participate in the program.

  • Since only the performance of voucher students will be measured, it is appropriate that schools receive a Scholarship Index Score and not a School Performance Score.
  • This proposed policy recognizes that for some schools, only a small percentage of their students will be receiving vouchers. For these schools, the public and parents will know how students performed. If a school consistently fails to have their voucher students reach state standards, BESE can require a curriculum audit and determine continued participation.
  • For schools enrolling larger numbers of voucher students, their ability to take new scholarship students requires the performance of their voucher students be higher than a score of 50 – or the equivalent of a letter grade of D or higher. (In the new accountability system that takes effect next year for all public schools, a school with a score below 50 gets an F letter grade.)

Educate Now! applauds Superintendent White for proposing a thoughtful and balanced accountability policy that will give parents good information and require participating schools to perform in order to continue taking new students and urges BESE to approve the proposed policy.