A Look At The Indiana Charter School At The Center Of Tony Bennett's Resignation

Aug 1, 2013
Originally published on August 1, 2013 10:42 am

Florida Education Commissioner Tony Bennett is expected to resign today after the Associated Press published emails this week showing he and staff worked to change the state’s grading system in 2012, which boosted a charter school’s grade.

While we’re waiting for a press conference later this morning, here’s a link to a story our colleagues at StateImpact Indiana did on Christel House Academy, a charter school which went to a ‘A’ from a ‘C’ after the grading change.

An excerpt:

In Indianapolis Public Schools, roughly 80 percent of students receive free or reduced price lunches, but only 45 percent of students pass state tests. At Indianapolis charter school Christel House Academy, 90 percent of students receive free or reduced price lunches and about 70 percent pass state tests. Principal Carey Dahncke also says it costs $4000 less per pupil to educate students at his school than in Indianapolis Public Schools.

First graders at Indianapolis charter school Christel House Academy play a game during a break on the last day of summer school.

“We’re pretty sincere in our desire to be transformational,” says Dahncke, who acknowledges his test scores have “a lot of room for growth.” Christel House Academy’s scores, while enviable among charter schools, are roughly equivalent to the state average.

Schnellenberger says its not fair to cherry-pick top performing charters and compare them against the lowest-performing public schools.

“We think that there are charter schools that have their place alongside public schools, but we think there’s been an overemphasis on charter schools to the point that some legislators portray charter schools as the silver bullet to the problems that public schools face,” Schellenberger says.

Stay tuned. We’ll be updating through the day.

Copyright 2013 StateImpact Florida. To see more, visit http://stateimpact.npr.org/florida/.