Only a third of fourth graders perform at grade level in reading and math, according to NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress); minority students do much worse. Looking at NAEP’s pilot study of charter schools, the Center for Education Reform finds hope.
The report finds that in the race for student achievement, charter school students are in a statistically dead-even tie with conventional public school students, despite the fact that charter school students receive less funding, are twice as likely to be African American and live in a central city and attend schools that have been operating for only a handful of years.
The NAEP charter report is a one-year snapshot with no information on student progress from year to year, CER emphasizes.
Fortunately, there are a number of highly credible research studies out there that do examine student achievement gains over time. This research reveals that that charter school students are making progress at rates much faster than conventional public school students Ð- and the longer children are in charter schools, the more dramatic that progress is.
CER is strongly pro-charter.
Update: Here’s a Los Angeles Daily News story on the Hoxby study, as applied to California students, which found charter students outperformed students at nearby public schools they’d otherwise attend. Charters did best with poor and Hispanic students, and charters in existence for six years or more did better than new charters. The story mentions NAPE instead of NAEP. Just a tad sloppy.
The New York Times has a negative spin on charters once again.
The department, analyzing the results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress test for fourth graders, found charter students scoring significantly lower than regular public school students in math, even when the results are broken down for low-income children and those in cities.
In reading, the report said, over all there was no statistically significant difference between students in charters and in regular public schools. However, when students in special education were excluded, charter students scored significantly lower than those in regular public schools.
When broken down by race, the results show charter students generally lagging behind those in regular public schools in reading and math, but the differences were not statistically significant, the report said.
Charters enroll more black and urban students than non-charters.