The average charter school doesn’t do any better educating kids than the typical traditional public school, according to a new study released Wednesday. In some cases, charter schools do worse.
The report from the Center of Research on Education Outcomes compared the reading and math test scores of charters and traditional public schools that shared traits.
The study concluded that 37 percent of charter schools posted math gains that were significantly below what students would have earned at local traditional public schools.
The report wasn’t all negative. Researchers found charter school students do better the longer they’re in charter schools. While students’ learning declines the first year, they post huge gains during their second and third years.
What makes this study so important is that the group reviewed about 70 percent of the nation’s charter schools.
Expect advocates on both sides of the charter debate to cite this study as leaders debate new rules over charters and how quickly to expand them.
The pro-charter Center for Education Reform put out a news release disputing the findings by questioning the report’s methodology and data. CER studies show charter schools outperform traditional public schools.
We already know fights are coming here because of the new Georgia Charter Schools Commission, which could authorize its first charters today.
(UPDATE: The commission approved two of the three requests before them. Ivy Preparatory Academy of Norcross and Statesboro’s Charter Conservatory for Liberal Arts & Technology got the thumbs up. Scholars Academy State Elementary in Riverdale, was denied because of academic and enrollment issues.)
Charter schools are supported with taxes but exempt from many regulations traditional public schools must follow. The expectation is that charters use innovative methods and programs.
What are your impressions about Georgia’s charter schools? What questions should we ask as Georgia looks to expand these schools?