Sunday, January 23, 2011

StarNews on Charter Schools

There is some good information in this article, but there is one key mistake. It's a mistake that tends to be repeated a lot by opponents of charter schools, so I thought I'd correct it.

Basically, they quoted the 2009 Stanford CREDO report on charters instead of the 2010 one:

According to a 2009 Stanford University study, a recent comprehensive national look at charters, 17 percent of charter schools performed better than traditional public schools. But 37 percent of charter schools performed worse than their public school counterparts, and 46 percent of charter schools showed no difference.
Here is a comment about the 2009 CREDO report:

[S]tates like New York have something else that allows their schools to thrive: They collect and review data constantly—the kind of data that a recent study by Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes, or CREDO, ignores in favor of using “virtual” students in comparisons of progress with traditional public schools.

Why study made-up, composite kids when you can study the real thing? Why ignore years of state-by-state data when you can access the real poverty data (missing in the federal statistics CREDO used) and the real condition of students, schools, and even the laws that affect their outcomes?
The 2010 CREDO report basically demolished all of the arguments that people were using by citing the 2009 one, but for some reason the 2010 report is not mentioned in the article, just the 2009 one.

From what I've heard, aside from the problems the previous author cited, the 2009 wasn't really comparing like areas. Charter schools might be more likely to be in poor areas, so they might compare a poor charter school to a rich public school. The 2010 CREDO seems to avoid that by comparing more similar areas.

An exhaustive, eight-year-long study has documented that kids in the city's charter schools have outachieved students at traditional public schools by an enormous margin.

Grade by grade, charter students climbed further up the skills ladder, so that by eighth grade they scored 31 points higher than their peers on math exams and 23 points higher on English tests.

What do those numbers show? They show that the charter children, most of whom are from poor and minority-group families, had gotten almost 90% of the way toward closing the divide in math scores between Harlem kids and those in Scarsdale, as well as two-thirds of the way in closing the gap in English.

There have been studies with pro-charter school findings before, but opponents always forced asterisks on the research. Not this time.

This time, Stanford University economist Caroline Hoxby measured the gains made by children who got into charter schools by random lotteries with those made by kids who didn't win spots in those drawings.
When you look at the full story, charter schools seem to have the clear advantage both in cost and performance.

No comments:

Post a Comment