1. Sean Roberts, Deputy Director of the Advocates, was interviewed for the article and is quoted with facts about the difference between performance in “all charter schools” and independent charter schools in Milwaukee. In the study, more than 80% of the schools labeled as “charter schools” are a distinct type of district-operated and staffed schools known as “instrumentality charters,” whereas about 19% of the schools in the study are non-instrumentality or 2R schools – those that we consider independent charter schools.
2. The authors based their assertions on an interpretation of the DPI Report Cards on Accountability that differs from the intended use of the DPI Report Cards. Different measurements are used for different categories of schools and even within the same category of schools (i.e. not every high school is assigned the same measure as other high schools). See the Advocates op-ed in the Journal Sentinel explaining this.
3. Traditional public schools are NOT performing better than independent charter schools for low-income students, according to the DPI Report Card results, and according to WKCE test results. The average DPI Report Card accountability score for independent charter schools in Milwaukee, (those not employing MPS teachers), is 64.36 compared to 54.92 for MPS. Again, we don’t claim that one-time comparisons of a state ranking are the best measure, but if that's the measure the authors of the report are using, they missed this fact.
4. The author of the report posted a comment after the article ran, questioning whether or not independent charter schools enrolled significant numbers of low-income students and if they had selective admissions. The facts are that independent charters in Milwaukee enroll 80.6% low-income students, comparable to MPS’ 83.5%; and charter schools, by law, cannot have selective admissions (although some MPS schools do have a selective admissions process – perhaps the author doesn’t know that).
5. Lastly, the Milwaukee Charter School Advocates reiterates that the DPI Report Cards are not a good way (nor were they intended) to compare data between schools because they are using different data points for different types of schools.
To discuss this response, please contact Sean Roberts, Deputy Director and for further reading, check out Mike Ford's blog post