Because so many charter schools are specifically targeted to struggling students, a large percentage of their minority and poor students face obstacles greater than students of similar demographics in regular public schools.
Manhattan Institute researchers “compared test-score gains in charter schools serving the general student population to those of their nearest regular public schools.”
When we make this fairer comparison, charter schools outperform regular public schools by 3 percentile points in math and 2 percentile points in reading for students at the 50th percentile over a one-year period. Charter schools might not be trouncing regular public schools, as some overzealous advocates claim, but when we make fair comparisons charter schools are significantly better.
Charters could raise test scores easily by targeting suburban students. But what’s the point of that?
Chester Finn, who helped talk the feds into testing charter students, discusses the charge that the National Assessment of Education Progress hid the data (on its web site).