Utah’s SB 235, if not vetoed in the next two weeks, will be the end of real choice in public education in Utah.
Based on the 2014 Utah school grades, and SB 235, here are just a few charter schools who could soon be at risk of being literally taken over by the state and “fixed” by Federally-funded “turnaround experts.” Note that each of these schools has a high SAGE opt-out rate (percent of students whose parents opted them out of taking the Common Core/SAGE test).
- Canyon Grove Academy 20% opt-out (D grade)
- C.S. Lewis Academy 50% opt-out (C grade)
- DaVinci Academy 33% opt-out (D grade)
- Gateway Preparatory Academy 25% (C grade)
- Lincoln Academy 14% opt-out (C grade)
- Mana Academy 50% opt-out (F grade)
- Mountain Heights Academy 15% Opt-out (C Grade)
- Pacific Heritage Academy 29% opt-out (D grade)
- Paradigm High School 23% opt-out (D grade)
- Rockwell Charter High School 19% opt-out (D grade)
- Utah Connections Academy 9% opt-out (D grade)
- Utah Virtual Academy 22% opt-out (D grade)
State officials will (correctly) point out that parent opt-outs are not included in the SAGE portion of the school grade. But that belies two important facts:
1) Many of the opt-outs come from the most involved parents / highest performing students, so the “school grade” reflects the abilities of the lower-performing students, not all the students in the school. The punishments that SB 235 would inflict on a school thus violate the prohibition on such punishments in SB 122, and
2) If parent opt-outs (and enrollment in a charter school in the first place) are in any way indicative of parents’ desire for an alternative to Common Core/SAGE, turning these charter schools over to “turnaround experts” denies parents their unalienable rights (confirmed by Utah Code 62A-4a-201) to direct the education of their own children.
What can a charter school (or charter parent) do to avoid being “reformed” by the Fed Ed experts? Forget your charter and teach to the SAGE test. Like every other school in the state. Or, contact Governor Herbert right now and ask him to veto SB 235.