Getting an accurate picture isn’t easy
For a number of years, school choice opponents have been expending major effort to try and prove that charter schools, which offer an alternate education choice to students regardless of their backgrounds and income levels, actually don’t perform well. These choice opponents point to some reports that generally show charters doing no better than traditional public schools. But, are these reports providing an accurate picture?
In fact, a very important research finding that has been mentioned in numerous reports helps to explain how charters might actually be doing quite well while inadequately conducted research doesn’t show it. Incredibly, this finding is even found, buried, in a report that charter critics love to cite.
Very simply – and unsurprisingly – it takes time for charter schools to turn around students who often enter these schools of choice performing well behind their grade level. Expecting students to magically blossom as soon as they enter a charter school just doesn’t happen. Give a student two or three years in a charter, however, and report after report shows those more experienced charter kids are moving out ahead of their counterparts in traditional public schools (TPS).
One consequence of the need for time is that reports about charter schools that don’t examine impacts over time will inevitably short-change charter schools. In addition, studies that include a lot of first-year charter school student results in the overall charter school comparison scores will be insensitive to the real capabilities of these schools of choice.
So, beware studies that don’t examine impacts of charter schools as students spend more time in them, and also understand that anytime a charter to TPS comparison includes first-year charter students, that study will tend to be biased against the true charter school performance picture, as well.
If you want more details and references for these facts about charter schools, just click the Page 2 link below.