Retired UK professor Marty Solomon’s claim that “Most charter schools no better, worse than public ones” comes up short.
Claiming it is a “most-trusted” report, Solomon repeats an oft-heard partial citation of findings in the Stanford University (CREDO) “Multiple Choice” report on charters. What Solomon conveniently doesn’t tell us about that report is disappointing and indicative of shaky scholarship.
Maybe Solomon never read the CREDO report. He certainly overlooks the section titled “Charter School Effect Over Time,” which begins on page 32. There it says charter schools do start to outshine regular public schools once students have been in charters at least three years.
That makes sense. There are no magic wands in education to suddenly reverse years of educational neglect and suddenly convert students into Albert Einsteins. It takes charters several years to bring entering students, who often arrive two or more grade levels behind, up to grade-level performance.
That’s just common sense. Why would anyone, especially an education professor, expect different? And, how did Solomon miss this finding in the study?
Since he seems enamored of the CREDO study’s methods, it’s surprising Solomon apparently never read two other CREDO studies on New York City and Louisiana charter schools.
Click the “Read more” link to learn about those.
CREDO’s Louisiana report says, “The typical student in a Louisiana charter school learns more than their virtual counterparts in their feeder pool (public schools) in reading and mathematics.”
The report also says:
“The results suggest that new charter school students receive no significant impact on learning in reading or math compared to their counterparts in traditional public schools. In subsequent years, charter school students have an initial gain in both reading and math from charter school attendance compared to their counterparts in traditional public schools and this impact stays positive and significant through the fourth year of attendance and beyond.”
Does that sound like CREDO thinks charters don’t “carry the mail” for kids? Once again, there are no instant Albert Einsteins in Louisiana, but in time charters do work better for kids.
Solomon’s comments about New York City’s charters are also ‘interesting.’ He doesn’t mention it, but his much admired CREDO did another study in NYC, finding charters there outperform, too. Solomon apparently never read that one, either.
Those NYC findings from CREDO matched another NYC study by Stanford researcher Caroline Hoxby that Solomon claims was discredited by unnamed sources. I don’t know who Solomon thinks discredited Hoxby, but her general methodology is the best one I’ve seen for selecting comparison public school data for charters. It’s much better than CREDO’s approach.
I’ve written a lot more on this subject in past blog items, and a word search with the term “charter school” in our blog’s search function should pop up a number of those. Do that and you might know a lot more about the subject than Professor Solomon.