Need proof that charter schools work?

New study of NYC charter schools provide compelling evidence.

I recently stumbled upon an interesting research study by CREDO – the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University.

CREDO was established to gather and analyze empirical evidence about education reform and student performance (i.e. “outcomes) with a particular emphasis on innovative programs, curricula, policies and accountability practices.

A recent report focused on New York City  charter schools since “New York City has been the nexus of public discourse about charter schools for nearly two decades but only a fraction of that debate has been grounded in well researched evidence about charter schools’ impact on student outcomes.”


And, the answer is …


In general, CREDO concludes:

Compared to the educational gains that charter students might have had in a traditional public school (TPS), on average, charter school students in New York City show stronger growth in both reading and math.

More specifically:

The impact is statistically significant when thinking of a 180-day school year as “one year of learning”.

An average New York City charter student demonstrates an annual academic growth equivalent to completing 23 additional days of learning in reading and 63 additional days in math.

Those results are, indeed, statistically significant in favor of the charter schools.


P.S. Note the highlighted demographics in the table above.

First, black students are a majority in the NYC charter schools … and their academic growth is better than their white counterparts.

That’s a good thing, right?

Second, note that there are proportionately fewer “ English Language Learners” in the charter schools versus NYC public schools (6% versus 15%).

Recently, I’ve had friends (including teacher-friends) remark that the rising number of students who don’t speak English is creating a challenge for schools.

Draw your own conclusions on that one.



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One Response to “Need proof that charter schools work?”

  1. John Carpenter Says:

    I am a fan of charter schools. My daughter taught in one (science) for 5 years in the less than affluent community of Mesa, Arizona. Great school, good results, efficient (no teacher union) and a decided advantage over public schools that makes comparative statistics difficult. Basically, charter schools have a selection process. It is not always the same but the two big results of any charter school selection process are the students and the parents are more committed. Not necessarily smarter or more affluent, but definitely more committed. I think when comparing the educational results of charter and public schools they should be described as educational results of schools with committed parents and students and those where commitment is not required. Guess what the results will be every time.

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