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Not everyone was impressed by that CEP report

Last week, a Texas A&M researcher released a report that evaluated the effectiveness of Community Education Partners (CEP), the provider HISD uses for its disciplinary alternate education program. The evaluation was very positive for CEP, saying it did a good job meeting or exceeding the metrics that are set for it. But since then, there has been some dissension about the report.

Houston’s League of United Latin Americans chapter is slamming a glowing evaluation of the two Community Education Partners schools conducted by two A&M professors.

The professors’ report, which according to an HISD spokesperson was financed by CEP, found that CEP “performed well, relative to expectations.”

But the LULAC report questions the professors’ methodologies and states the profs were working with incomplete data. It also states that an internal CEP report on the number of student dropouts in 2007-08 do not match figures CEP gave to the Texas Education Agency.

There’s an interesting discussion in the comments of that Hair Balls post between Randle Richardson, the CEO of CEP, and Press reporter Craig Malisow about that post and the fact that CEP paid for the report, which their contract with HISD required them to do. I think that’s relevant information that should have been disclosed up front, but I don’t think there’s anything more to it than that. I don’t have LULAC’s report, and I didn’t find it on their website, so I can’t give a detailed analysis of it. Malisow’s response to Richardson suggested the Press may do that, and I hope that’s so. I’ll certainly be on the lookout for it.

LULAC wasn’t the only group unhappy with that report. All I know is I still don’t know what to think about CEP. I definitely agree with the ACLU’s Terri Burke when she says “a lot more transparency” is needed here. In the end, the CEP contract was renewed, so here’s hoping we get that. School Zone has more.

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3 Comments

  1. Gayle Fallon says:

    I have read both the A&M report and the LULAC analysis. The LULAC analysis was not done on the final report – it was done on an interim report given to HISD. There is considerable dishonesty on LULAC’s part stating that there was a serious problem due to incomplete data. The report they looked at clearly stated it is interim and that because they are still collecting data that no conclusions should be drawn until the final report is submitted. LULAC ignored that warning and drew conclusions from a report that clearly stated it was an incomplete work and that a final report would be submitted when the data was complete. The final report has been publicly released and posted in the media.

    As far as who paid for it, the subject is irrelevant. HISD selected the third party evaluator and CEP was contractually bound by the district to bear the full expense regardless of the outcome.

    The ACLU weighing in is interesting in that they have never set foot on a CEP campus in HISD and never asked CEP or anyone else involved with the company for any information. They just blindly accepted the word of LULAC without any external verification. Unfortunately, the union has found that the ACLU has a very poor position bith statewide and nationally when it comes to school safety and the right of teachers to teach and students to learn in a violence free atmosphere.

    Gayle Fallon, President
    Houston Federation of Teachers

  2. Randle Richardson, CEP CEO says:

    I am writing to address the issues raised in your June 12, 2010 article entitled, “Not everyone was impressed by that CEP report.”

    Members of LULAC 402 and the Houston Press questioned the integrity of the report since CEP paid the evaluators and you raised the issue that this should have been disclosed up front. Not having the facts, I understand why you would raise the issue. Here are the facts:

    • HISD selected the evaluator. CEP was contractually bound to pay the evaluator regardless of the findings.

    • When CEP initially requested the cost of the evaluation be shared by the District during the spring 2009 contract negotiations, HISD explained it was their standard procedure to select the evaluator and the vendor was required to pay for the evaluation.

    • The contract between HISD and CEP detailing the terms of the evaluator’s selection and payment is a public document. It has been on file with HISD, therefore available to the public since the contract was executed in March 2009.

    I do not believe this small faction of LULAC 402 members, nor the Houston Press, would question the findings of the evaluation or payment terms if the evaluation had been negative toward CEP.

    Your article also mentioned that transparency was an issue raised by the Texas ACLU. The ACLU has never visited the CEP Program, never requested information from CEP nor ever expressed a concern to CEP. The contract is a public document and all student data is entered into HISD’s Chancery System. All data is routinely monitored by HISD’s Office of Federal and State Compliance. This information is available to the public.

    The LULAC 402 report questions the professors’ methodology and states, “the profs were working with incomplete data.” The standards to evaluate CEP were set forth in the contract and the professors’ were required to analyze the data per those standards.

    LULAC 402 is being less than honest in their claim that the professors were working with incomplete data. The A&M professors clearly indicated their first report was a “partial” report; that all data had not yet been collected and that no conclusions could be drawn until all data had been collected and analyzed The analysis done by LULAC 402 was not an analysis of the finished evaluation. Instead, LULAC 402 “analyzed” the partial report. LULAC 402 deliberately ignored Professor Goddard’s declaration that his first release was a partial report and no conclusions could be drawn. Professor Goddard issued a cautionary warning in writing to HISD and CEP not to release the partial report or draw any conclusions from it.

    An example of how data has been misinterpreted is the conclusions drawn from the partial report about CEP’s performance under the leaver code standard. The partial report indicated 58 percent of students enrolled in CEP during 2008-09 had been located, which meant CEP did not meet the standard. The final report found that 91 percent of the students enrolled in CEP during 2008-09 had been located, which meant that CEP exceeded the standard.

    Please note I refer to LULAC 402 rather than “LULAC,” as referred to in your article. LULAC 402 is one of 18 Houston area LULAC councils. Its “active membership” is small. A small faction of that membership has waged a five-year vendetta against CEP after CEP rejected a proposed program from one their members. Prior to that, we received plaques and thank you letters from LULAC 402.

    I am more than happy to review the facts and documents detailing this five-year history, including sworn testimony refuting published statements previously made by the LULAC 402 member whose proposal was rejected by CEP.

  3. […] noted before, Randle Richardson, the CEO of Community Education Partners (CEP), left a comment on the Hair Balls […]