Join for FREE,
and start talking with other members, weighing in on community discussions,
Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky
welcome messages (like this one!)
# In five case study states, charter schools are less likely to meet state performance standards than traditional public schools. It is impossible to know from this study whether that is because of the performance of the schools, the prior achievement of the students, or some other factor. The study design does not allow us to determine whether or not traditional public schools are more effective than charter schools.
The most comprehensive study to date found that students attending charter schools tied to school boards do not fare any better or worse statistically than students attending public schools on reading and math scores. But students attending charter schools not tied to school boards fared worse in reading and math. This study was conducted as part of the National Assessment of Educational Progress in 2003. The study included a sample of 6000 4th grade pupils and was the first national comparison of test scores among children in charter schools and regular public schools.
A second study released on August 22, 2006 by the U.S. Department of Education also found that students in charter schools performed several points worse than students in traditional public schools in both reading and math on the National Assessment of Educational Progress test.
 Supportive Results
There are also some studies that claim charter school students do better than public school students. A 2000 paper by Caroline Hoxby found that charter school students do better than public school students. This paper was the subject of controversy in 2005 when another researcher was unable to replicate her results. Hoxby released a follow up paper in 2004 claiming to have again found that charter school students do better than public school students This second study compared charter school students "to the schools that their students would most likely otherwise attend: the nearest regular public school with a similar racial composition." It reported that the students in charter schools performed better in both math and reading. It also reported that the longer the charter school had been in operation, the more favorably its students compared. Hoxby's methodology in this study has also been criticized, arguing that Hoxby's "assessment of school outcomes is based on the share of students who are proficient at reading or math but not the average test score of the students. That’s like knowing the poverty rate but not the average income of a community -- useful but incomplete."
A report issued by a pro-charter school group, released in July 2005, looks at twenty-six studies that make some attempt to look at change over time in charter school student or school performance. Twelve of these find that overall gains in charter schools were larger than other public schools; four find charter schools’ gains higher in certain significant categories of schools, such as elementary schools, high schools, or schools serving at risk students; six find comparable gains in charter and traditional public schools; and, four find that charter schools’ overall gains lagged behind. The study also looks at whether individual charter schools improve their performance with age (e.g. after overcoming start-up challenges). Of these, five of seven studies find that as charter schools mature, they improve. The other two find no significant differences between older and younger charter schools.
My kids went to an arts and humanities magnet for elementary school. There were aspects to being a magnet (which I think also hold true for charters) that I feel tend to make them superior. One is that a large portion of the parents in these schools have chosen them. That makes for involved parents and involved PTAs. Second is that in order to continue to receive funding our school had to justify their programs. So they did periodic checks to make sure they were effective.