New study confirms charter schools benefit disadvantaged students

A new random assignment study on charter school achievement found significantly higher academic gains for students attending charter schools.
 
The study, conducted by Stanford economist Caroline Hoxby, examined test results for students in New York, and compared the academic gains of those students who win a lottery to attend charter schools to those students who lose the lottery and remain in traditional schools.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Among students who had spent their academic careers in charter schools, the average eighth grader in Ms. Hoxby’s study had a state mathematics test score of 680, compared with 650 for those in traditional schools. The tests are generally scored on a roughly 500 to 800 scale, with 650 representing proficiency.

Ms. Hoxby’s study found that the charter-school students, who tend to come from poor and disadvantaged families, scored almost as well as students in the affluent Scarsdale school district in the suburbs north of the city. The English test results showed a similar pattern. The study also found students were more likely to earn a state Regents diploma, given to higher-achieving students, the longer they attended charter schools.
In Arizona the rate of new charter school openings has stalled in recent years. Other states have raced ahead by allowing universities and cities to authorize charter schools. Arizona should follow the examples of these states and encourage charter schools that provide access to high-quality education for our most vulnerable students.
 
Dr. Matthew Ladner is vice president for research at the Goldwater Institute.


Comments

  1. Rosco P Coltrane says

    ” the average eighth grader in Ms. Hoxby’s study had a state mathematics test score of 680, compared with 650 for those in traditional schools. The tests are generally scored on a roughly 500 to 800 scale, with 650 representing proficiency.”

    So if 500 is the lowest grade and 800 is the highest, we can subtract 500 and then divide by 3 to get a normalized 0-100 score.

    650 represents proficiency, huh? That’s a normalized score of 50. Wow.

    And 680 (60 normalized score) represents the improvement that a charter school offers.

    From 50 to 60. I am not impressed.

    (How did these kids do on their 10-question citizenship test?)

  2. Some interesting quotes from the WSJ article:

    “Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, argued that New York City’s charter schools aren’t representative of the nation’s, because the state caps charter schools and agencies vet them thoroughly before authorizing them, assuring they are of higher quality than elsewhere.”

    “But Ms. Weingarten, the union leader, cited another study this year from the Center for Research on Education Outcomes — also at Stanford — that looked at charters in 16 states and found that half did no better than traditional schools, and more than a third performed worse”

    Sounds like NY has good charter schools that they monitor and make sure are good quality unlike here in AZ.

    What I find most important in this article is that the two charter schools in NY they mention are explicitly aimed at preparing kids for college. Is this true of AZ Charter schools? AZ public high schools?

    Finally, what is the difference in per pupil spending for these schools vs. public schools?

Leave a Reply