CUSD Superintendent Farley has finally confirmed that Oxford Preparatory Academy was cleared of an allegation it cheated in administering last year’s California Standardized Tests. The Mission Viejo K-8 charter school scored 993 of a possible 1000 points in the API results.
The result of CUSD’s investigation was leaked last month, but the Dispatch questioned why neither a press release nor CUSD website article was issued to resolve the accusation. Two weeks ago a CUSD spokesman replied to the Dispatch that the investigation report was confidential, but stated it vindicated Oxford. An earlier internal investigation by Oxford came to the same conclusion.
Farley released the following statement Tuesday:
“Capistrano Unified School District is pleased to announce the Academic Performance Index of 993 earned by the students at Oxford Preparatory Academy (OPA) charter school has been validated. An investigation did not support allegations of testing irregularities at the school. The students, teachers, and parents at OPA have been, and deserve to be, congratulated for their success on the California STAR tests.
“The conclusion of this investigation is welcome news. As the authorizing entity for five charter schools, the District has the responsibility to investigate allegations of misconduct. The investigator conducted a thorough analysis, interviewing 26 people and reviewing more than 30 documents.
“CUSD is a strong supporter of school choice for its students, having more charter schools than all but one school district in Orange County. (There are 13 charter schools in Orange County. Santa Ana Unified School District also has five.) District staff worked closely with the OPA founder to build a strong charter petition that would serve the students of this community. In addition, the Board of Trustees approved a charter revision which permitted OPA to enroll additional students and turned over an entire elementary school for its use.
“The District is committed to providing the best possible educational experience for its students. We have been, and will continue, working with OPA and its staff to ensure academic success for our students.”
State and federal laws direct school districts to encourage charter schools, but rank-and-file teachers’ organizations have viewed charters as a threat to the status quo.