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Charters get an unfair grade

June 13, 2008

Re "Survey gives L.A. charter schools higher marks," June 10

As an educator for one of those traditional LAUSD middle schools, I'm all for sharing best practices with charter school teachers.

However, the playing field between charter and traditional schools will truly be level only when my colleagues and I are granted the autonomy that charter school faculty have: the ability to select textbooks and design lesson plans. Until then, it is unfair to compare test score results between the two types of schools.

Melissa Mazzei

Los Angeles

The writer is an LAUSD English teacher.

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Simply using test scores to compare charter schools to local neighborhood schools is comparing apples to oranges, especially when looking at middle schools. Nowhere does The Times' article reference class size, which often exceeds 40 in local middle schools.

Also left out is the fact that local schools cannot be selective in enrollment policies. They must admit opportunity transfer students who are reassigned because of discipline problems. A comparison of charters with magnet schools, as UCLA education professor Jeannie Oakes observes, would give a more accurate picture.

Jean F. Cohen

Los Angeles

The writer is a former education consultant for the Los Angeles League of Women Voters.

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