Page for charters

Chicago Trib columnist Clarence Page stands up for charter schools.

A closer look at the NAEP study reveals that 4th-grade students in Arizona, California and Colorado charter schools actually outperform their traditional public school counterparts in their states in reading, the pro-charters Washington-based Center for Education Reform found. Eighth-grade charter students in the District of Columbia outscored all other public schools in the district in reading. California’s 8th-grade charter school students also outscored their public school counterparts in their state in reading.

Eighth-graders in Colorado and Delaware charter schools outperformed 8th graders at all public schools nationally in reading and math.

Charter schools that don’t work can be closed, Page writes. “Public schools that fail to perform too often continue to non-perform year after year.”

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  1. Mike in Texas says:

    How is the performance measured? Are the charter school kids required to take the state mandated tests the public schools are required to give and are evaluated on?

    And finally, are they actually learning anything?

  2. In California, charter students take the same tests as other public school students. However, some states don’t require charter students to take state tests.

  3. Charter schools have to compete with large, political structures that have lots of resource to manipulate. It seems like it would be very difficult to keep afloat in a politically weak neighborhood, and could become a dumping ground for problems. I think steps should be taken to even the playing field for schools in general that encourage diverse solutions to succeed. It should be easier to cross district boundaries. There should be better solutions for discipline that facilitate families instead of punishing them.

    If teacher’s are reluctant to embrace technology (and that’s ok), why would they embrace a difficult child whatever the problem? If we don’t want to pay MORE money for tending needy people, we need to support reasonable alternative and most of all realistic guidance. Charter schools should all be tested and their scores should be public. But, the public should decide the value of the school. When parents and children are struggling for resouce to find strength the ability to provide that should be public too.

    A testing society teaches often looses children because it teaches the minimal. Real people need support groups that aren’t afraid of warts. Parents and children know that, so, I wonder what the public perception is of these schools locally.

  4. linda seebach says:

    The measure in this study was the tests NAEP administered nationally to a sample of students, so charter and traditional students took the same tests. In Colorado, both charter and traditional schools take the state tests as well. At low-poverty schools, charter students do slightly better (link to Aug. 18 story here): In high-poverty schools, results are similar (link here:

    Compared with other states, Colorado has somewhat more charter schools with favorable demographics, but the magnitude of the effect is difficult to calculate. It has a very large Hispanic population (a majority in Denver) so one effect of charter schools may be to keep low-performing students in school long enough to graduate, another effect difficult to calculate. It also differs from many states in allowing full intra- and interdistrict transfers.

    Page’s column unfortunately contained one misleading paragraph:
    And it wasn’t helpful that the U.S. Department of Education released the data online without a public announcement of its own. Instead, the Times trumpeted the story on Page 1, headlined with the AFT’s spin. “Charter schools trail in results, U.S. data reveal.”
    The DoE released the full NAEP data in mid-November, with plenty of public announcement; they didn’t make an announcement about the AFT report, but why should they?

  5. mike from oregon says:

    In Oregon, all charter schools have to take the same tests as the public schools.