Charter students in New York City outperform similar students in reading and math in grades 3 through 8 concludes a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
A student can expect to improve by about 12 percent of a â€œperformance levelâ€ in math and about 3.5 percent of a â€œperformance levelâ€ in reading for every year in a charter school in New York City. These gains are in addition to whatever improvements the student would have been expected to make in a traditional public school.
To provide an apple-to-apple comparison, the study compared students “lotteried in” to charter schools with those who applied but were “lotteried out.” Not enough students were turned away from charter high schools to do a comparison.
More than 90 percent of charter applicants qualify for a free or reduced-price lunch, making them poorer than the typical public school student in the city but comparable to students in the neighborhoods where schools are located. Nearly 64 percent of charter applicants are black, compared to 32 percent for district-run schools.
Charters’ special education enrollment appeared comparable to district-run schools, but differences in record keeping made it difficult to know if the numbers really match.