Boston’s charter schools outperform district-run public schools, according to a four-year Boston Foundation study. However, the city’s experimental “pilot schools” produced “ambiguous” results, reports the Boston Globe.
In the most stark example, charters – independent public schools dedicated to innovative teaching – excelled significantly in middle school math. However, pilots, which have similar goals but are run by the School Department, performed at slightly lower rates than traditional schools, according to the study.
The report directly addresses two of the most frequent criticisms leveled at earlier studied of Pilot and Charter schools: that their students are not representative of traditional Boston schools but rather are more likely to succeed; and that charters and pilots tend to shed students who do not perform up to their standards, again creating an elite student body that will inevitably outperform their BPS peers.
Winning the charter lottery made a significant difference for students. In middle-school math, half the black-white achievement gap was erased in one year.
Update: Eduwonkette notes that the study necessarily included only charter schools with so many applicants that they need to hold lotteries. Presumably, less successful schools aren’t in high demand. True enough, though apparently pilot schools that need to hold lotteries aren’t raising achievement.