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Newswire: February 19, 2013

Vol. 15, No. 7

SELECTIVE? It’s irresponsible when facts are distorted, claims unsubstantiated, and balance not offered in the news. A series of articles by Stephanie Simon for Reuters News uncovering selectivity in enrollment at some charter schools was released on Friday. However, what’s not reported – and there’s a lot – is the fact that the reporter had an agenda and chose to be selective in her reporting. We share our colleague’s concerns and admonishment of schools that may be guilty of selectivity, but since CER’s research was so blatantly misreported, we took President’s Day weekend to do some fact-checking, because, after all, our first president taught us all not to tell a lie.

DATA DISTORTION. Apparently, charter schools are “[leaving] low-income parents scrambling to find a way to feed their children.” Or so the reporter concludes using data from CER’s Survey of America’s Charter Schools. As it turns out, participation in the federal free and reduced lunch program is not a good measure for determining socioeconomic status of students attending charter schools. About 40% of charter schools don’t participate in the federal program for a number of reasons, of those, a majority report that their student body would qualify. However, most charters feed all their children, regardless if they participate in the federal program.

DON’T CALL ME STUPID. Here they go again! This isn’t the first time parents have been questioned on their ability to make a choice. In fact, the creaming argument has been around since the first charter school opened its doors. This editor’s getting a little tired of “friends” and opponents alike underestimating parental choice.

NOT UP ON IT. What’s clear going line-by-line in the Reuters’ articles is that the reporter either misunderstood or misconstrued (or both) state policy to make a point. After examining the laws of the states cited as “explicitly selective” none are as selective as the definition goes or as negatively inferred.

Stay tuned for more analysis and fact-checking in the coming days. In the meantime, stay on top of the latest breaking news at www.edreform.com.