At tonight's monthly meeting of the D.C. Public Charter School Board members will vote to approve its Performance Management Framework Guidelines and Technical Guide which will for the first time provide a structured process for revocation of Tier 3 schools.
Here's some background. The D.C. School Reform Act of 1995 allows the PCSB to revoke the charter of any school that "has failed to meet the goals and student academic achievement expectations set forth in the charter." Traditionally, the Board has shuttered charters for failing to meet academic goals at its five, ten, and fifteen year "High Stakes Reviews." The PCSB has closed many charters between these periods for poor financial performance.
Beginning with the PMF Guidelines in 2011, the first year in which the tier system was implemented, criteria was established for utilizing the tool to identify charters for possible closure. "Schools scoring below 20 percentage points in the most recent year, showing greater than or equal to five percentage point decease within Tier III from one year to the next, or performing in Tier III for three consecutive years will become candidates for revocation."
The following year the guidelines for taking actions against Tier 3 schools was modified slightly to say that a school could face revocation if it is found to be in this category for three of the last five consecutive years instead of just three consecutive years. This was done to allow the board to include under consideration academically low performing charters that move between Tiers 3 and 2 "within a three-year consecutive period."
In 2013, the PCSB has built upon this language to say that any charter that is categorized as a Tier 3 school under the above criteria will be "immediately subject to a High Stakes Review as a 'Candidate for Charter Revocation' to determine whether their charter should be revoked pursuant to the SRA." The contention by the regulatory body is that schools that frequently score in the lowest PMF category are often failing to meet the academic goals spelled out in their charters.
A staff member of the Board pointed out that they were reluctant in the past to begin revocation procedures against Tier 3 schools based upon PMF results because of limited experience with the measure. Now it appears that the organization is heeding calls to close consistently poorly academically performing charter schools at a much faster rate.