I pointed out in a recent post that there's a very strong correlation between state school grades—which are based on student AIMS scores—and family income. (One of the two maps I used is at the top of this post.) Ed Supe Diane Douglas, who, as you know, I don't always agree with, was right on the money on this one when she said, “Standardized and high stakes testing measure demographics, not student achievement or teacher performance.” And now, we have a new article by a promising young journalist that covers similar ground.
The New York Times has a Student Journalism Institute that's convening right here at UA, and one of its journalists, Ben Bartenstein, just published a story, Critics of State’s School Funding Plan Say It Will Favor Charters. If you skip to the bottom, you'll find an interactive map that's far niftier than mine, showing the A-rated schools in the Tucson area along with the family income in the area. (I really need to learn how to do that!)
Most of the article is about Arizona school funding in general, along with a discussion of charters. Bartenstein pulls together lots of good information and a wide variety of quotes from people on different sides of the issue. And he gets it about BASIS. While he acknowledges the accomplishments of BASIS students, he also points out that they're a very select group. (If only the charter chain will admit to its selectivity instead of suggesting that it takes unformed hunks of student clay and turns them into academic world-beaters, I'll stop writing about BASIS so much. But as long as they continue mythologizing their schools and making other schools look like failures by comparison, I'll keep pointing out the truth.)