Blog: The Educated Reporter

New Multi-state Charter School Study Notes Progress, Setbacks

Wall Street Journal: “Students attending publicly funded, privately run charter schools posted slightly higher learning gains overall in reading than their peers in traditional public schools and about the same gains in math, but the results varied drastically by state, according to one of the most comprehensive studies of U.S. charter schools.”

Huffington Post: “Charter students on the whole end the school year with reading skills eight instructional days ahead of public school kids, and perform at about the same rate as public school students in math, according to the study released Tuesday by Stanford University’s Center for Research on  Education Outcomes, or CREDO. In math, the study found that 29 percent of charter schools showed ‘significantly stronger learning gains’ than their public school peers, with 40 percent performing similarly and 31 percent ‘significantly weaker.’ In reading, 25 percent of charters showed “significantly stronger learning gains” than public schools, 56 percent showed no difference and 19 percent showed ‘significantly weaker gains.’”

Washington Post: “But 56 percent of the charters produced no significant difference in reading and 19 percent had worse results than traditional public schools. In math, 40 percent produced no significant difference and 31 percent were significantly worse than regular public schools.
“States that shuttered at least 10 percent of their charter schools — the worst performers — had the best overall results, the study found.”

Reuters: “The CREDO study found vast differences in quality. Charter students in the District of Columbia, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Louisiana posted strong gains in reading and math, far outpacing peers in local schools. But charter students in Nevada, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Texas and Arizona lost significant ground.”

Associated Press: “When broken down into groups, the study showed that black students gained the equivalent of 14 days of learning by attending charter schools but that black students living in poverty saw even greater benefits, the equivalent of 29 days in reading and 36 days in math. Hispanic English-language learners saw even higher gains, though Hispanics in general scored similarly to Hispanics in traditional public schools.”

Deseret News: “But for white students, charter school attendance was found to be detrimental, with students losing out on the equivalent of 14 days of reading and 50 days of math.”

Education Week: “Another difference researchers saw since the 2009 study was that charter schools are educating more disadvantaged students than they were four years ago.

“More than half of the charter school population—54 percent—live in poverty, a higher percentage than reported in the 2009 study. Charters are also educating more Hispanic students, although they still enroll a lower number of white and Hispanic students than regular public school districts. Charters enroll a higher percentage of African-American students than do regular public school districts.”


New America Foundation: “The real lesson from the new CREDO study is less dramatic, and thus gets less attention. The national aggregate data on charters mask wide variance in school quality; charters in Washington, D.C. are good and getting better, for example, while Nevada charters are weak. In other words, “charter schools” alone aren’t the solution to our educational ills, though high-quality charters can make a big difference in students’ lives.”

Photo Credit: Mikhail Zinshteyn (Students wrapping up the 2011-2012 school year at Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia, Pa.)

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